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Tour an LED-Spangled Cafe in Marcel Breuer's Yale Building

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The American Institute of Architects, the architecture organization that doles out awards to the best (read: sleekest, prettiest, and most ecological) new buildings in the country, just bestowed a Small Project Award to this LED-bedazzled room in Marcel Breuer's Becton School of Engineering at Yale University. The architects at Bentel & Bentel carved Ground Cafe out of an "unadorned poured-concrete volume," as AIA describes the former seminar room, bringing in a 23,000-diode LED "digital canvas" to slather the work of the master modernist with purple and red swirls. In all it adds an unexpected oontz oontz and an interdisciplinary appeal that allows for a space where Yale students and faculty from all over campus can sit and talk about Visigothic Spain or Dimitri Kirsanoff or, most likely, the ever-inadequate selection at J. Press' bowtie sale. To set the scene, the architects swathed the walls and floors in walnut planks, perforated aluminum, and cleft bluestone. Then, of course, there's the LuxED canvas, the "physical embodiment of the connection between science and art."

According to the AIA jury:

"Very delicate installation in an iconic historic building. An engaging space with an energy likely to stimulate creative thinking and thoughtful exchange. Astute use of new materials that enliven but respect the existing context. A convincing coming together of clear spatial strategy, strong materials and digital media that holds its own within a powerful work of modern architecture." · Ground, Becton Center at Yale—Small Project Awards [AIA via Business Insider]
· All AIA coverage [Curbed National]