Ennead Architects is appreciated globally for marvellous architectural projects. Projects that differ in typology, magnitude, Location, and construction yet hold their core virtue of responding to its user, public, context, and environment. This collaborative process has significantly resulted in form-making that unleashes the potential of architecture.

The diverse portfolio of Ennead Architects has received innumerable awards for excellence in design, including national, state, and local AIA awards. 

Here are 15 such projects:

1. Shanghai Planetarium

Location: Shanghai, China
Typology: Cultural › Museum
Status: Under Construction

The design draws inspiration from the three “celestial bodies” or principles, the Oculus, the Inverted Dome, and the Sphere supporting the form, function, and circulation of the visitors through the series of galleries and let them experience the three bodies –The sun, moon and the stars. The concept of using astronomical instruments reminds the user of the conception of time originating in distant astronomical objects while invoking the experience of orbital motion. 

The project includes exterior exhibits, a seventy-eight-foot-high solar telescope, activities at a Youth Camp and the Observatory. 

Celebrating the rich history of Chinese astronomy and the future ambitions of China’s space exploration the program presents a Continuum of time and space on the 500,000 sqft of land.

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Shanghai Planetarium ©www.ennead.com/
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2. Yangtze River Estuary Chinese Sturgeon Nature Preserve

Location: Shanghai, China
Typology: Educational
Status: Concept

The design purpose of the 427,000-square-foot Shanghai Yangtze River Estuary Chinese Sturgeon Nature Preserves consists of a dual-function aquarium and research facility to draw critical attention, rescue endangered species, and restore the natural ecology of the River, which has been plagued by construction and pollution.

The form takes the shape of an undulating sculpture inspired by the curves of Asia’s longest river the Yangtze River while referencing “biomorphic anatomy.”

The project aims to engage more public participation and raise environmental awareness with immersive exhibit experiences. Split into three wings consolidated into a central spine, for the construction and energy-efficient technologies the building will be added in translucent PTFE panels and engineered with sustainable geothermal heating and cooling loops.

A complex program also includes a series of interior and exterior water-bodies for breeding local species mimicking their natural migration into waters of varying size and salinity, and research centres dedicated to their research and reintegration to their natural habitat.

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3. The University of Oregon, Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact

Location: Eugene, Oregon
Typology: Educational
Status: Concept

The design for the University of Oregon Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact reflects the identity of the university’s forward-thinking mission, establishing recognition for the new endeavor meant to inspire the next generation of innovators. The design beautifully reflects the university’s past, while illuminating a future of inspiring science.

The project features two L-shaped towers facing each other to cradle an elevated terrace and courtyard and a transparent connector is connected above. A skin of folded glass panels on the southern facade emulates water cascading over rock formations and provides shade for the interior of the house. 

In an unadorned glass curtain wall framework, the northern sides of the two towers, which fold into the courtyard and terrace, support simplicity that exposes the structure of the building and stresses openness. On every floor, there are four research neighborhoods organized around a central courtyard.

The construction utilizes cross-laminated timber, connecting with the surrounding environment as well as the local economy.

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4. Natural History Museum of Utah

Location: Salt Lake City, UT, United States
Typology: Educational, Cultural
Status: Built

The Natural History Museum of Utah creates an encouraging visitor experience and promotes curiosity. Designed to achieve the LEED Gold certification, the new museum is literally and figuratively at the threshold of nature and culture. 

The premises provide much-needed space for the exceptional collection of objects at the Museum, housing advanced research facilities at the University of Utah in support of both undergraduate and graduate education.

The Museum, conceived as an abstract extension and transformation of the property, rests on a series of terraces set along the site’s contours with minimal disturbance to the adjacent natural landscape.

A sprawling, 60-foot-high central public space is the heart of the Museum and its coordinating feature: the Canyon. North wing spaces encourage formal scientific research and an empirical view of our world; displays that discuss the fragile balance of life on earth and its natural history are located in the south wing.

The geometries lie in essential continuity with the natural topography. It is also embedded in the landscape through the material palette. At the foundation, the board-formed concrete makes the transition from the soil to the manmade; concrete then gives way to the cladding of the copper panel that continues to the overhanging volume soffits.

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5. William J. Clinton Presidential Center

Location: Little Rock, AR, United States
Typology: Educational, Cultural and Commercial
Status: Built

This Presidential complex’s architectural and site design maximizes public park acreage, reacts to its riverfront location, links downtown Little Rock with North Little Rock, and retains a historic bridge to the railroad station. The center’s main body is turned perpendicular to the river and raised from the ground plane to accomplish these goals, enabling the new 30-acre city park to flow underneath the south bank of the Arkansas River.

The project’s sustainability objectives included exceeding the criteria of the existing energy efficiency standard and showcasing the latest innovations for producing renewable energy.
The curtain wall of the building integrates a solar screening interlayer, and there is demand-controlled ventilation and radiant-floor heating and cooling in the interior environment. 

Due to their regional availability, recycled content, and low chemical emissions, materials have been chosen. Upon completion, the project received LEED Silver certification and was subsequently upgraded to LEED Platinum.

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6. Brooklyn Museum Entry Pavilion and Plaza

Location: Brooklyn, NY, United States
Typology: Cultural
Status: Built

The glass entrance pavilion and Eastern Parkway plaza establish a new identity for the Museum, in contrast with the classical solemnity and monumentality of the original structure.

The design’s generating concepts are deeply rooted in the historical structure’s formal and organizational strategies: its asymmetry, permeability, and minimalism are counterpoints to the original’s rigorous symmetry, opacity, and decorative qualities, and its stepped forms refer to the original monumental entry staircase.

The Hemi-cyclical geometry of the new entrance pays tribute to the design of McKim, Mead & White for the unbuilt eastern entry of the Museum and mediates between the frontality of the portico and the east and west oblique approach axes.

Renovation projects inside the historic building include the Cantor Auditorium with 460 seats; the Schapiro Wing Galleries; new storage facilities for state-of-the-art collections; and the historic Beaux-Arts Court renovation.

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7. Arizona State University, Beus Center for Law and Society

Location: 111 East Taylor Street, Phoenix, Arizona
Typology: Education
Status: Built

The Beus Center for Law and Society, committed to educating students and people on the role of law in shaping civil society, is built to serve as an institutional change agent. The six-story, 260,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility repositions the law school as a means of linking the progressive legal scholarship of the school with its community engagement by offering facilities such as a clinic for public interest law and the first non-profit teaching law firm in the country.

The building was developed with public transparency and openness in mind and creates a unique urban environment, the College of Law and the local community in downtown Phoenix north-south “slice” through the massing of the courtyard provides an inviting and active public space with a pedestrian path that takes people directly into the central core of the law school, exposing them to the main lobby and three spaces of double-height situated at the heart of the building. These three spaces are vertically stacked and act as the centre of the campus, with level one of the Great Hall, level three of the main library floor, and level five of the outdoor courtyard. 

Throughout the process, sustainability was a key design catalyst. To ensure efficiency and to achieve a higher thermal output level, the façade is unitized. The highly insulated walls and roof also contribute to the shell’s quality. 

In the Great Hall, other architectural features include an innovative retractable seating structure that allows the room to be transformed from an everyday tiered layout to a more formal configuration of the auditorium.

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8. Seoul Foreign School, New High School

Location: Seoul, South Korea
Typology: Educational
Status: Built

The New High School of Seoul International School provides students with an atmosphere that blends the perspectives of college and high school. To encourage this, the building was built to integrate “third spaces” that are neither the classroom nor the home in the established university tradition to promote learning both inside and outside the classroom for learning and collaboration.

In collaboration with faculty and administration, the classrooms themselves were built to be the perfect size and proportion, and yet versatile enough to accommodate a range of teaching styles and desk configurations. The walls can be used as both writable and projectable surfaces in the classroom, raising flexibility further.

“This is a very environmentally expressive building, one that prioritizes wellness, daylight, natural materials, and the links between the built and natural world. We looked to the balance between openness and privacy that is typical of traditional Korean architecture as we designed a space that draws the landscape into the building and draws the classroom into the landscape through multiple outdoor learning areas.” Said Peter Schubert, Design Partner at Ennead Architects.

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9. Stanford University, Denning House

Location: Stanford, CA
Typology: Cultural
Status: Built

Denning House is a gathering spot in the middle of the campus, a location for the Knight Hennessy program’s scholars. At the same time, it is a place apart, a silent sanctuary from the hubbub of the university surrounding it. The new building provides a range of conference, classroom and dining rooms, formal and informal, large and small, both inside and outside, suitable for individual studies, small meetings or large events, intended to provide a hub for academics, drawn from 7 different graduate programs at Stanford.

The design of the building takes advantage of this condition of the site by reversing the program, locating the large public spaces on the second floor, including dining, classroom, and lounges, where they take full advantage of the spectacular view. 

The building feels like a treehouse, enclosed in the woods, far from the campus around it, but looking out over the iconic landscape of California beyond, for which Stanford is famous. It’s a different kind of building for Stanford in this way, but a very huge part of its location.

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10. The Standard, High Line

Location: New York, NY, United States
Typology: Commercial, Hospitality
Status: Built

The 18-story building straddles the High Line, a new linear public park newly built into a 75-year-old elevated railroad line.

Located in the Meatpacking District of Manhattan’s Hudson Riverfront, the hotel responds to its context by contrast: sculptural piers, whose shapes clearly distinguish the building from the orthogonal street grid, lift the building fifty-seven feet off the street and allow the horizontally-scaled industrial landscape to pass under it and the street to penetrate natural light.

The juxtaposition of the buildings with concrete and glass materials represents the town’s character: the gritty nature of the concrete contrasts with the refinement of the glass. A delicate frame for the extremely transparent water-white glass, the two materials united in the continuous plane of the curtain wall, is supported by the concrete grid.

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11. University of Michigan, Biological Sciences Building

Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Typology: Educational
Status: Built

The 312,000-square-foot building, located on the main campus of the university in Ann Arbor, Michigan, provides a new home for the departments of molecular, cellular, and developmental biology; ecology and evolutionary biology; and the teaching collections for its museums of paleontology and zoology.

Deep into the facility, the form of the BSB generates public views. The five-story structure consists of three towers of terracotta and glass, linked by two wide, transparent atriums that carry light deep into the laboratories and public spaces. In addition to the study on the upper floors, these atriums serve as vitrines for large-scale displays, curated by the museum, which can be seen at a distance.

Researchers and workers are organized into small, interconnected “neighborhoods” designed to accommodate 90 principal investigators and their teams, bringing together complementary fields of research. 84 wet and dry research laboratories, classrooms, administrative offices, breakout areas, and Darwin’s cafe are part of the BSB.

The form, reminiscent of a ‘cabinet of curiosities,’ serves to demonstrate the purpose of the institution to educate the public in the collections and study environment through these monumental views.

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12. Anderson Collection at Stanford University

 Location: 314 Lomita Drive, Stanford, CA
 Typology: Cultural, Institutional
 Status: Built

The Anderson Collection building, which is part of the Stanford University Directive to establish a prominent arts district and the University’s revitalized arts gateway along Palm Drive, houses the University’s recently donated prized collection of renowned American twentieth-century art.

There are dedicated gallery spaces, offices, a conference room, a library/study area, and storage spaces in the new 30,000-square-foot-building.

The primary objective of the design was to translate and interpret the art’s accessibility, as it was seen in the home and offices of Anderson, cultivating a similar, powerfully direct, and intimate experience. The architecture of the gallery is conceived as one open space, freeing visitors from a predetermined sequence and encouraging individual interests to be explored.

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13. The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business, Robert B. Rowling Hall

Location: Austin, TX
Typology: Cultural, Institutional
Status: Built

The design is the physical embodiment of the highest principles for business education: invention and human interaction by collective participation, the building design juxtaposes an elegant outer perimeter of limestone, which explicitly refers to the historic campus’ venerable structures, with a faceted, glassy inner perimeter that maximizes openness, connectivity, to enhance the community.

The building as a destination provides a dramatic sense of arrival and continues the rich network of green spaces that characterizes the campus as a central, public entrance plaza.

The building serves McCombs’ network of overlapping communities: students from all programs, faculty, staff, and visitors, including alumni, recruiters, interdisciplinary partners, and business leaders, by integrating classrooms and meeting spaces that flexibly support conventional and progressive teaching methods.

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14. Weill Cornell Medicine, Weill Greenberg Center

Location: New York, NY
Typology: Hospitality
Status: Built

The architecture of this world-class ambulatory care treatment provides an atmosphere that encourages wellness and healing while acknowledging the stature of the respected physicians of the College and its state-of-the-art clinical services. 

The building blends itself into the city’s daily fabric and provides healthcare with an elegant, reassuring, and welcoming face. Sheathed entirely in glass, chosen for its open, transparent characteristics and experiential richness, the building symbolizes the institution’s progressive identity. 

The water white ceramic fritted glass curtain wall, which is cut into long vertical facets, conceals the structure, creating the undulating reflective surface of the building with softness and depth. This transparent skin subdues the hustle and bustle of the city from the inside and forms the flow of natural light gently. 

The main lobby is distinguished by a set of water features that increase the sense of relaxation and, in combination with the diffused natural light, relieve patient tension and anxiety. The lobby’s material palette comprises natural materials, including wood, travertine, and Cor-Ten steel.

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15. The University of Texas at Austin Cockrell School of Engineering Education and Research Center

Location: Austin, TX
Typology: Education
Status: Built

Given the strategic and programmatic needs of the school, the building is organized into two nine-story limestone and glass towers, recognizing the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and interdisciplinary graduate research’s significantly different criteria for laboratories, offices, and workspaces.

The two towers are linked by an enclosed three-story atrium with a folded glass and steel roof, with inner-oriented glass curtain wall facades, providing a lively, light-filled public space, which is the social core of the building to encourage “productive collisions” between faculty, staff, students and visitors to the campus. 

Bridges and staircases create circulation routes and join the numerous study environments within. The truthful expression of raw concrete, fully exposed mechanical structures and room-to-room glass walls bring on full display architecture and engineering education. To elevate and celebrate engineering values, architectural gestures throughout the building were built.

Ennead Project Designer Alex O’Briant explains, “The design of this project began with establishing the basic drivers, as programmatically there were two research environments that had to function in specific ways. Every other architectural move was made to undo the separation of the two towers and stitch these carefully crafted compartments together into one single cohesive engineering community, through a series of unifying gestures and an emphasis on transparency. We created physical and visual connections throughout and anchored them with a massive, open, light-filled atrium at the center of the building that exposes all the layers of activity going on within the building.”

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Sweta Singh
Author

Sweta Singh is a final year Architecture student. Who believes that Architecture is the way to life. Her architectural journey has taught her the importance of unlearning to learn. She hopes her critical thinking and passion for Architecture will lead her towards social welfare.

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