The University of California, San Francisco has tapped Rafael Viñoly Architects to design a stem cell research center, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The 74,000-square-foot facility, to be built on the university’s hilltop Parnassus campus, will be “a silver, terraced structure that snakes uphill along the winding curves of Medical Center Way,” the article explains. Dr. Anrold Kriegstein, director of the university’s stem cell institute, told the Chronicle that the “unusual design” was selected for its ability to accommodate a restrictive building site and to facilitate collaboration among doctors and scientists. The $119 million project was formally announced Wednesday, after the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine awarded $34.9 million toward the facility’s construction. The project is being partly funded by $3 billion in taxpayer money earmarked for stem cell research in California. Renderings are available on the university’s Web site.

Photo © Benjamin Benschneider

This week, the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum announced that Tom Kundig received its annual Architecture Design Award. Kundig's firm designed the Delta Shelter, pictured above.

Lord Norman Foster has been approached to lead a costly redesign and restoration of Moscow’s Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, according to a CBC News report. The Russian government has allocated more than $177 million for the project, which will quadruple the museum’s size, President-elect Dmitry Medvedev announced on Monday. The aging Beaux Arts building, completed in 1912 and designed by Klein and Shukhov, houses a vast collection of European art, including works by Botticelli, Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Matisse, in addition to Egyptian antiquities. The article says the design calls for converting the structure into a complex with two exhibition areas, a concert hall, archive, library, and an underground parking lot. The museum will likely be closed during construction, from 2009 to 2012; the building’s reopening will coincide with its 100th anniversary.

Results of a study that looked at green-building rating systems were released on Thursday. The study, conducted by the American Institute of Architects, assessed Green Globes, SBTool 07, and LEED NC 2.2, and their “effectiveness in supporting the goals of the AIA sustainability position,” according to an AIA press release. The AIA advocates carbon neutrality in buildings by 2030. While all three systems were found to have merit, the findings suggest that Green Globes needs to have “more stringent and specific” requirements in the areas of energy reduction and operational performance, and SBTool 07 should “require” more elements rather than simply “encourage” them. The report also says that LEED will benefit from “continued development in life cycle assessment requirements for renewable energy or carbon reduction targets for certified projects.” Green Globes, SBTool 07, and LEED NC 2.2 were selected because they are “the most broadly used in the U.S. market and they take a comprehensive approach to evaluating an entire building,” according to AIA President Marshall Purnell. The full report can be viewed on the AIA’s Web site.

On Thursday, the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum announced the winners of its ninth annual National Design Awards. Tom Kundig, a partner in the Seattle-based firm Olson Sundberg Kundig Architects, received the Architecture Design Award. According to the award Web site, Kundig was recognized for his ability to “seamlessly integrate architecture and landscape, and pay uniquely meticulous attention to detail and the materials used, which are often left in their natural, raw state.” (Read an ArchRecord Interview with Kundig and view images of his work.) Two firms were named finalists in the architecture category: LOT-EK, led by Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano, and Weiss/Manfredi, founded by Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi. Michael Beirut, partner at Pentagram and member of RECORD’s editorial advisory board, won the Design Mind Award. The Interior Design Award was given to the Manhattan-based Rockwell Group, founded in 1984 by David Rockwell; Deborah Berke Partners was named a finalist. The Landscape Award was given to Olin Partnership, based in Philadelphia. Other winners include: Antenna Design, based in New York, Product Design Award; Charles Harrison, industrial designer, Lifetime Achievement Award; and Google, Corporate Achievement Award. Look for future coverage on Architectural Record's Web site.