Indepth Arts News: Ecology.Design.Synergy

2008-02-23 until 2008-05-25
Carnegie Museum of Art
Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Ecology.Design.Synergy, an exhibition that presents recent collaborative work by Behnisch Architekten, the distinguished Stuttgart-based architectural firm, and Transsolar ClimateEngineering, the Stuttgart-based environmental engineering company, will be on view at Carnegie Museum of Art’s Heinz Architectural Center February 23–May 25, 2008. Ecology.Design.Synergy documents 10 innovative, aesthetically refined, energy-efficient, and sustainable building projects in Europe and the United States including RiverParc, a green, mixed-use, residential and arts neighborhood in downtown Pittsburgh, developed by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and Concord Eastridge of Washington DC.

Behnisch Architekten and Transsolar ClimateEngineering share the belief that quality is not a quantitative measure and their collaborative design approach to projects utilizes natural resources to highlight their value. Ecology.Design.Synergy is organized around six key topics—temperature, air, sound, light, material, and human scale. Each topic is explored through two recent or current projects and includes working methods, the results of previous collaborations, and prospects for the future on the subject matter. Examples include a natural light collection system in Genzyme Corporate Headquarters, Boston, Massachusetts, that uses heliostats and mirrors mounted on the roof to redirect sunlight into the building’s atrium. A “double fa├žade” of glass on Hannover, Germany’s Norddeutsche Landesbank protects against noise as well as vehicle emissions, offers wind protection, and serves as an air supply duct to adjacent offices. The 120-foot high flower-like structures in the Senscity Paradise project provide both shade and cool air to the park beneath them by pumping water through the hollows in the structures’ leaf forms, creating an evaporative cooling effect.

The work of Behnisch Architeken and Transsolar is noteworthy for its ability to connect infrastructure and technology to human scale. A human silhouette, the installation’s graphic identity, guides visitors through the exhibition.

“It’s an opportune time to exhibit this collaborative work in Pittsburgh”, says Raymund Ryan, Carnegie Museum of Art curator of architecture and organizer of the Pittsburgh installation, “both because of potential for Pittsburgh of the RiverParc proposal and because Behnisch and Transsolar are at the forefront, internationally, of excellence in sustainable environmental design.”

Ecology.Design.Synergy is curated by Frank Ockert, Stuttgart, in cooperation with IFA, German Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations, and represented by the Goethe Institute and Galerie Aedes, Berlin. The exhibition was inaugurated in Berlin in November 2006 and scheduled to tour across America.

Specific to Pittsburgh, the show highlights the RiverParc proposal for more than 700 residential units between 7th and 9th Streets, and between Penn Avenue and Fort Duquesne Boulevard, that offers varied forms of urban living and mixed uses of retail, restaurants, leisure and hotel facilities. Winner of an international design competition in 2006, the RiverParc project locates public spaces and recreational areas on the southern, sunny sides of residential streets and provides a wide range of opportunities for people to linger, meet, and interact. In accordance with Behnisch and Transsolar’s collaborative ethic, the plans are not only environmentally responsible but aim to produce a new architectural aesthetic and aid in Pittsburgh’s desire to be a leader in the development of “green architecture.”

The three finalists in the Pittsburgh competition will also be exhibited at the 707 Penn Gallery, 707 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, April 25–June 7, 2008. The exhibition, Live Green, View Blue, Paint the Town Red: Finalist designs from the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust International Design Competition will be feature the design models of the three finalist development and architectural teams. The 707 Penn Gallery is free and open to the public Tuesday -Thursday, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. (412) 325-7017.

Behnisch Architekten and Transsolar Climate Engineering have been successful for many years in their efforts to design sustainable and responsible architecture. Current common projects in the US include Harvard’s Allsont Science Complex in Cambridge, Sencity Paradise Universe in Las Vegas, Mill Street Lofts in Los Angeles, and the Arizona State University Gateway Project in Tempe. Ecology.Design.Synergy should be noted for its efforts to take a more conceptual approach to these ecological goals. With this exhibition, the firms hope to investigate solutions to environmental issues and prevent new problems from arising, through a rewarding and challenging fashion.

Lunch and Learn: Ecology.Design.Synergy and Pittsburgh’s RiverParc project Thursday, March 20, 2008 10:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m., includes lunch in the Carnegie Cafe CMA Theater, $36 members/$45 nonmembers, including lunch

Heinz Architectural Center curator Raymund Ryan puts Pittsburgh’s RiverParc project in the context of green design by these two internationally renowned firms. Following lunch, Ryan gives a tour of the exhibition.




The programs of the Heinz Architectural Center are made possible by the generous support of the Drue Heinz Trust. General support for the exhibition program at Carnegie Museum of Art is provided by grants from The Heinz Endowments and the Pennsylvania Council on the Art.

Carnegie Museum of Art

Located at 4400 Forbes Avenue in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh and founded by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1895, Carnegie Museum of Art, one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, is nationally and internationally recognized for its distinguished collection of American and European works from the sixteenth century to the present. The Heinz Architectural Center, part of Carnegie Museum of Art, is dedicated to the collection and exhibition of architectural representations and to the study of all aspects of the built environment. For more information about Carnegie Museum of Art, call 412.622.3131 or visit our web site at

Behnisch, Behnisch & Partner +Transsolar
Norddeutsche Landesbank, Hanover/Germany: Connecting bridge
Competition: 1996
Completion: 2002;
Digital image
Photo: Roland Halbe