Search results for "LED"

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More Than Meets the Eye

A Tesla struck and “killed” a robot at CES—or did it?
It’s either a documented case of robot-on-robot violence or an elaborate self-perpetuating hoax. At the January 7 opening of the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, a Tesla in “self-driving mode” struck a Russian Promobot, and the event was captured on video. Or did it? The story seemed too good to be true, and touched a nerve over fears that autonomous vehicles could be dangerous (see the case of Uber’s Arizonan test car that got into a fatal crash last March). In the video, a Tesla Model S can be seen cruising by a robot standing curbside, at which point the Promobot falls over and its arm falls off. Promobot’s manufacturer, also called Promobot, posted footage of the incident to Twitter, tagged Elon Musk, and “Promobot was killed by a self-driving Tesla car” racked up over a million views. Promobot claims that its robot was damaged beyond repair and that they would be filing a police report. How did the robot manage to “run off” to the far side of the road without anyone noticing? How did Promobot seem to know that the Tesla was in self-driving mode? Why was the scene being filmed in the first place? The company has thus far been unable to provide answers, but tech writers and Twitter users were quick to point out the inconsistencies in Promobot’s story. Tesla’s cars, while equipped with an “Autopilot” mode that assists drivers on highways, lacks a fully-autonomous self-driving mode. When the driver, George Caldera, was asked for a comment by the Daily Mail, he allegedly told the British tabloid that he had shifted to the passenger seat and handed over control to the vehicle. “I switched this Tesla into a self-driving mode and it started to move. And wow! A robot on the track! I thought the flivver would come round, but it bumped straightly into it! I am so sorry, the robot looks cute. And my sincere apologies to the engineers.” Other than the strange quote, a rope can be seen on the far side of the road near the robot, and Promobot appears to fall over slightly before being passed by the car. Robots and self-driving cars have captured the public’s imagination, but confusion over the capabilities of each have at times also served to confuse. For instance, the robots deployed to ward off homeless people in San Francisco and Waymo’s self-driving cars in Arizona, have both elicited visceral responses from the public. The integration of artificial intelligence into the urban fabric has a long and bumpy road ahead.
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Structural Surprises

Atlanta’s nature-filled Serenbe community allows residential architecture to pop
Set deep within the Chattahoochee Hills of northwestern Georgia are four carefully-curated, close-knit communities each designed to emulate architectural styles that could be found around the world. Serenbe, a 1,000-acre neighborhood housing over 350 homes outside Atlanta, offers its residents vastly different aesthetic experiences from hamlet—as they call them—to hamlet via the power of placemaking. Conceived over 15 years ago by Atlanta restauranteur Steve Nygren, Serenbe is designed around a quartet of individual hamlets—Selbourne, Grange, Mado, and the upcoming Mado West—all connected by a few roads and miles of nature trails. The entire site has become a sprawling live and play destination that attracts a diverse group of young families, part-time residents from Atlanta’s core, as well as retirees. Since opening, some have called it a New Urbanist enclave, while others see it as an oasis that provides both access to ample greenery and comforts of city life like walkable downtowns and unique cultural opportunities. For the design-minded, what’s most curious about Serenbe are the various building types packed within each hamlet. From straight-laced Southern homes to metal-clad boxes and Scandinavian-inspired apartment complexes, Serenbe’s architecture is an education in the field of residential design itself. According to Nygren, each hamlet’s architecture is largely influenced by the purpose it serves. For example, Selborne, the first hamlet completed, serves as Serenbe's culture and arts sector. Its Main Street resembles an American downtown with touches of Italian influence found on the building ornamentations. The structures in Grange, which houses Serenbe’s agrarian efforts, evoke both a farmhouse and agro-industrial feel. Mado, a two-part hamlet that’s now under construction, is Serenbe’s sector for health and well-being where the architecture takes on more minimalist designs inspired by Copenhagen and cities in Sweden. Though it may sound like Serenbe is a cookie-cutter community full of non-site-specific architecture, and, if you go there, the whole community will look practically pristine in every way and almost too idyllic, the reality is that the build-out of Serenbe has been meticulously planned to maximize authenticity. Dictated by the Nygren family and the new architecture firm, Serenbe Planning and Design, led by Steve Dray and Cecilia Winston, every adjustment made to an existing home, as well as every new structure built, goes through an extensive design review process where the site, architectural language, floor plan, and other community guidelines are considered before a design decision is made. All the materials used for construction must be original, sustainable, and in keeping with the style found throughout each hamlet. What’s more is that Serenbe’s architecture, much like the popular outposts of Atlanta restaurants on site, is actually an eclectic mix of Serenbe’s strict style and that of other outside architects. Collaborators have included Bill Ingram Architect, J Ryan Duffey Architect, Peter Block Architects, Kemp Hall Studio, and Smith Hanes Studio. AN toured Serenbe during the Nygren Placemaking Conference where the Nygren family annually spells out the story of Serenbe and how it functions as both a business and living destination. Part of what attracts people to Serenbe, according to its residents, is the collection of surprising structures populating the hamlets and how, architecturally, they express the personalities of the people living there.
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Building Wall and Building Wall Quickly

Weekend edition: Amazon gets grilled, Brutalism gets preserved, and more
Missed some of this week's architecture news, or our tweets and Facebook posts from the last few days? Don’t sweat it—we’ve gathered the week’s must-read stories right here. Enjoy! Stunning new photos document I.M. Pei’s early brutalist museum I.M. Pei's first museum design, The Everson Museum of Art, is a big, brutalist structure that's celebrating its 50th birthday in Syracuse, New York. Chicago aims to preserve the vernacular architecture in its largest Mexican-American community The Commission on Chicago Landmarks has approved a preliminary designation for a dense array of vernacular buildings in the heart of Pilsen. Against all odds, progressive land-use reforms are taking root in American cities With Minneapolis, San Francisco, and Los Angeles moving forward with land-use reforms, the thinking behind how American cities work could soon change. DHS says it is “building wall and building wall quickly” in bizarre statement In an odd press release, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security touts quick construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall key sections. New York’s proposal for Amazon’s HQ2 is much worse than we thought The concessions from the city have raised eyebrows and triggered a trio of City Council hearings on the terms of the deal.
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Tweet Now, Cry Later

Elon Musk’s planned tunnel for L.A.’s Westside has been cancelled
After settling a lawsuit with community groups in Los Angeles this week, Elon Musk’s Boring Company has agreed to halt its plan to build a 2.7-mile test tunnel underneath the city’s Westside. The lawsuit was filed following a preliminary approval from the Los Angeles City Council that would have shielded the project from stringent environmental review. After the approval, community groups began to fight the project, arguing that rather than building a test tunnel, Boring Company was actually pursuing “piecemeal” approval of a larger transportation project in an effort to minimize the appearance of its impact. The group argued that the City of Los Angeles violated California law in its initial approval. The terms of the now-settled lawsuit are confidential, The Los Angeles Times reported but the parties involved issued a joint statement saying they had “amicably settled” the matter. The Boring Company has agreed to cease planning on its test tunnel and will instead, according to the statement, focus on a recently-proposed plan that would link Dodger Stadium with regional transit via a scheme similar to the one proposed for the Westside. The so-called Dugout Loop would link the isolated stadium to the regional Red Line subway. The plan is supported by Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti and comes as a separate group works to create a gondola line connecting the stadium to Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles. Boring Company has been busy working on another test tunnel in the City of Hawthorne, where the company is headquartered. Musk recently announced that the test tunnel was complete and would open to the public in December. Musk also announced that he would be making good on an earlier promise to use excavated dirt from the tunnel to fabricate bricks for affordable housing projects. To push the initiative forward, Musk launched the so-called Brick Store where blocks will be available for 10 cents apiece to the public. The bricks will be free for affordable housing builders, according to Musk.
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Form of Wander

THEVERYMANY creates tangled aluminum sculpture for Tampa’s riverfront
From a distance, the twisted, green sculpture set along the Hillsborough River in Tampa, Florida, looks like an inappropriately planted tree. It sits on a pier that juts out over the river, calling attention to itself. But the massive permanent installation, designed by Marc Fornes of the New York-based computational and digital fabrication studio THEVERYMANY, is actually a winding collection of aluminum plates assembled to resemble the native mangroves that take root along Florida’s shorelines. Form of Wander, as the structure is called, features seven trunk-like columns that stretch the entire pier and connect via a mess of branches. Standing 21-feet-tall, the green-tinted structure is made up of thin, aluminum metal plates with a double layer core. Overall, it has 3,123 parts. The exterior layers, which include six different gradients of green, reflect light and take on a brighter color in the sun. According to Fornes, the tangled network of branches and its cantilevered edges were designed to look as if the form had been swept up by the wind. The site-specific project was created to complement the landscape of the Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park near downtown Tampa. The 25-acre park opened last May and includes an array of amenities for sports, leisure activities, art-viewing, and more. One of its greatest natural resources, however, is the collection of beautiful mangrove trees that line the parkland. These mangroves, which evolved over time into dense thickets to prevent storm surge, are part of the land’s resilient ecology. Much like the real thing, Form of Wander can withstand severe weather, too. It held up when Hurricane Michael ripped through Florida’s Gulf Coast earlier last month. While the striking sculpture has both striking visual and resilient qualities, its purpose is simple. Fornes designed Form of Wander to enhance a leisurely walk in the park. Based on the tradition of 17th-century French gardening, the project creates an allée, or promenade on the pier, lined with manicured trees (or in this case metal structures) that frames views of the sky and leads to a point on the horizon. While Form of Wander is a contemporary twist on this idea, it’s a destination for Floridians in its own right.
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Deep Freeze

Chipperfield’s Nobel Center and 2026 Olympic bid cancelled by Stockholm
The shutdown of the Foster + Partners–designed “town square”–style Apple store in Stockholm by the new City Council was only the beginning. Now, the city won’t appeal a decision on May 22 by Sweden’s Land and Environment Court to halt construction of the $132 million Nobel Center, effectively dooming the David Chipperfield Architects–designed complex. Stockholm’s bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics has also been halted, leaving only Calgary and a joint bid between Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo remaining on the shortlist. The shift is the direct result of the new center-right coalition established in the City Council between the right-leaning Alliance group and the Green Party following an election on September 9 that left the council without a majority group in power. The new power-sharing agreement was only realized in mid-October owing to the more than eight active major parties in Sweden's national politics. The coalition was predicated on two major deals: blocking the Winter Olympics bid and stopping the Nobel Center. This isn’t the first time that Chipperfield’s Nobel Center has faced pushback from the city government, and a revised, more contextual design was presented back in 2016. Opponents have argued that the Center, formed from two stacked boxes wrapped in vertical bronze louvers, would destroy the cultural and historic fabric of Stockholm’s Blasieholmen peninsula. The Blasieholmen extends into the Klara Sjö canal, and the Center would have oriented its double-height presentation out toward the waterfront to provide a permanent home for all future Nobel Prize award ceremonies. Despite the smaller footprint and a tighter circulation plan, the court ruling in May dinged the proposal for the building’s size, out-of-context color, and sensitive location. Now that the City Council has pledged to let the ruling stand, the Nobel Foundation is crying foul. “For the past seven years, we have acted in accordance with our agreements,” Foundation executive director Lars Heikensten told the Architects’ Journal. “We interpret today’s announcement as meaning that the Alliance, in co-operation with the Green Party, is trying to diverge from signed agreements. “A project of major, long-term significance for Stockholm as a city of science and a center for lively discussion in the spirit of Alfred Nobel is thus at risk of being sacrificed to short-term political interests.” David Chipperfield Architects released their own statement, saying that, “The project for the Nobel Centre has been developed over the last five years through a process of continuous dialogue between the client team, planners and the city authority. We are, therefore, extremely disappointed by this announcement.” If Stockholm’s city government ultimately decides not to challenge the lower court’s ruling, the Nobel Foundation will need to go back to the drawing board and choose an alternate location for the Center.
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Hardware the Wild Things Are

Finely detailed hardware that people can’t keep their hands off of

These finishing touches add a glimmer of light and polish to any project. Rendered in gold, silver, bronze, and glass, this is hardware that is meant to last.

Top: Brass Pull Bar Buster + Punch

Right to left: Flex Knob Belwith Keeler

Tab Edge Pull Atlas Homewares

Vale Knob Belwith Keeler

Atlantic Knob O&G Studio

Hollywood Hills Cabinet Bar Baldwin Hardware

Clockwise from top: U-Shape Pull INOX Voile Pull Klodea Chrome Knob Elisabeth Norse Interiors Loop Pull Atlas Homewares Hollywood Hills Knob Baldwin Hardware

Background: Adamo & Eva cotton velvet Dedar

Clockwise, starting at top: Flex Knob Belwith Keeler Atlantic Knob O&G Studio Art Deco Pull INOX Vale Knob Belwith Keeler Newport Rosette with White Knob Grandeur Hardware

Hollywood Hills Knob Baldwin Hardware

Vale Pull Belwith Keeler

Circulaire Rosette with Coventry Knob Grandeur Hardware

Background: Splendido velvet Dedar

Top to bottom: ESOR Pull Sugatsune

Nouveau Handle Häfele

Flex Knob Belwith Keeler

4 Off Center Pull Atlas Homewares

Vale Pull Belwith Keeler

Nouveau Knob Häfele

Ultra Euro Pull Atlas Homewares

Clockwise from top:

Clear Fluted Crystal Cup Pull Nostalgic Warehouse

Gather Vase Good Thing Grab Bar Newport Brass Cheetah Glass Square Knob Atlas Homewares Carre Tall Plate with Baguette Amber Crystal Knob Grandeur Hardware

Clear Crystal Cup Pull Nostalgic Warehouse

Horn Handles Viking Handles Leather Handles OCHRE
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Big Changes

Latest renderings unveiled for San Francisco’s Harvey Milk Plaza
New York–based architects Perkins Eastman and engineers Arup have unveiled the latest batch of renderings for San Francisco’s Harvey Milk Plaza. The updated designs were submitted to city agencies this week in an effort to begin the formal approval process for the renovations envisioned for the plaza and its associated Muni subway station. The extensive renovations come as the city works to perform required Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) upgrades for both facilities, including the addition of an elevator that will connect the street level to the subway platform. Backers for the project also seek to boost the plaza’s function as a memorial to Harvey Milk, San Francisco’s first openly gay elected official, and to create a new gateway into the city’s Castro neighborhood. Perkins Eastman was selected in 2016 as part of an international design competition held by Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza (FHMP), the volunteer group with business connections in the neighborhood. The latest renderings for Harvey Milk Plaza come after a previously-released iteration of the design was met with community opposition. Perkins Eastman revised the plans following four community workshops over the summer. The initial designs featured red paving and a uni-directional “stramp” (stair-ramp) that crossed the site going toward the west to create an elevated community amphitheater with the subway entrance located below. The new plans have flipped the arrangement by rotating the amphitheater and subway entrance 180 degrees so that they are located at the easternmost corner of the site, where it is expected that foot traffic would be greatest. The center of the plaza is now marked by a new elevator with the western edge of the plaza populated by low-slung benches and a grove of trees. The plaza bearing Milk’s name was planned before his death and was not named in his honor until 1985—Milk was assassinated in 1978— and according to FHMP, “the public has longed to see [the plaza] transformed into a place that captures [Milk’s] spirit; a place that embodies [Milk’s] passion to bring people together and see that all are treated with dignity and given voice at the tables of influence.” The plaza redesign is more-or-less the product of community input, Hoodline reports, a delicate dance the designers and organizers have played with local residents as they seek to win on-the-street approval for the project. The designs, however, are relatively unloved by San Francisco Chronicle urbanism critic John King, who has lamented that the plaza would weaken the vitality of the district’s street life by pulling pedestrians away from its key attractions. King added that the proposal’s function as a true memorial to Milk’s legacy could better be suited by other means, as well. King said:
If the desire is to celebrate Milk’s life and legacy, it might be easier to freshen up the current plaza and create an ongoing fund for its maintenance. Then, install plaques or informative artwork along the bridge-like walkway to Collingwood Street, a path that has serenity despite its surroundings.
The design for the proposal is by no means finalized, however. As the bid makes its way through the approval process, changes and new approaches are sure to be recommended. A timeline for final approval and completion of the plaza has not been announced.
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$200 million

Renderings of pillow-clad soccer stadium revealed for Cincinnati
The Ohio soccer club FC Cincinnati has revealed renderings of a new stadium designed by Meis Architects. The design borrows features from some of Europe's best stadia. Meis Architects, which has offices in Los Angeles and New York, has designed the $200 million stadium to seat 26,500 people, with room to expand to 30,000. The new stadium is part of FC Cincinnati's bid to become a Major League Soccer (MLS) team. If successful, the club, which was founded in 2016, will leave the United Soccer League (USL), moving into the new stadium in 2021. Preliminary designs feature a U-shaped bowl which will be illuminated by LED lighting underneath an ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) canopy. The canopy can be lit up in the club's iconic orange and blue colors, much like the ETFE lighting scheme at FC Bayern Munich's Allianz Arena designed by Herzog & de Meuron. A site has yet to be confirmed, but a proposed site across the Ohio River in Newport means views of Downtown Cincinnati will be framed by the stadium. A retractable roof canopy meanwhile will act to mitigate noise from the stadium during game time. The main homestand, to be known as "The New Bailey,"  will be a single tier and have a capacity of 8,000, echoing the famous "kop" stand at Liverpool FC's Anfield Stadium in the U.K. The New Bailey will sit behind one of the goals in the open end of the enclosed horse-shoe shaped stadium. "It will lay against a tight dramatic backdrop, providing an unparalleled MLS experience for fans and players alike," said Meis Architects in a description of the stadium on its website.
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A Landmark Loss

A major mid-century modern bank in Oklahoma City gets leveled
A long-loved landmark in Oklahoma City faced the wrecking ball yesterday after being placed on the state’s Most Endangered Historic Places list in May. The former Founders National Bank, a mid-century modern structure featuring two distinct, 50-foot exterior arches, was listed for sale at $3 million last fall but couldn’t find a tenant leading up to Monday’s last-minute demolition, according to Oklahoma’s News 4. Situated near the Northwest Expressway on North May Avenue, the iconic building has been an architectural icon of the city since 1964. It was designed by Bob Bowlby, a student of famous Oklahoma architect Bruce Goff, and was originally built for Founders National Bank, eventually becoming the home of Bank of America for over 20 years until last August. It was Bowlby’s first project after finishing his degree at the University of Oklahoma and the only one he’s completed in his hometown.  Preservationists and advocates for the building are already mourning its loss. The unique arches—the focal point of the design—were easily visible from the city’s arterial roadways and drew people to the modernist building for well over half a century. Bowlby’s spaceship-like structure, sometimes also likened to a large-scale football, allowed the interior to be designed without walls. Brick walls and floor-to-ceiling glass windows lined the oval perimeter and a white, concrete roof seemingly floated atop its round core. Suspension cables, much like the ones seen on suspension bridges, connected the arches to the roof. A multi-lane drive-through was also designed next to the building. While several groups had repeatedly pushed to save Founders National Bank since news began circulating about its potential fate in early 2016, crews began tearing down the football-shaped structure this week—the same day a building permit was filed for its demolition. NewsOK noted that since the bank wasn’t protected by historical jurisdiction, its current owner, the Austin-based Schlosser Development Corp., was able to move forward with plans without consent from the city or public. In January 2016, an online petition to preserve the building was started via the modern architecture blog, Okie Mod Squad, and received 1,072 supporters. In a post dedicated to the event, Bowlby himself commented on the controversy:
My design and the subsequent building of the Founders National Bank building of 1964 is, I think, a one of a kind and interesting example of the contemporary Oklahoma architectural scene in its mid-century period and as such should be kept if at all possible as part of the architectural heritage of Oklahoma City. Surely, an effort could be made made by the new owners to find some new and suitable usage of the building.  
So far, Schlosser Development Corp. hasn’t released plans to redevelop the two-acre site. The building was one of many mid-century modern icons built in the city’s Founders District, as well as several others throughout the state of Oklahoma, including Goff’s Bavinger House, which was destroyed in 2016.
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Hollywood Park Rises

Renderings unveiled for mixed-use neighborhood around L.A.’s new NFL stadium
A project team led by developers Wilson Meany and Stockbridge has unveiled the latest batch of renderings for a 2,500-unit mixed-use neighborhood set to rise around the forthcoming Los Angeles Rams stadium in Inglewood, California. Gensler, BCV Architecture + Interiors, Architects Orange, and Hart Howerton are providing architectural design services for the project while Studio-MLA is the landscape architect for the 298-acre site, Curbed reports. The new HKS Architects–designed, $2.66-billion stadium is in the midst of heavy construction and topped out earlier this year. The teardrop-shaped structure will come wrapped in over 36,000 perforated metal panels and will be punctuated by a large-format elliptical screen located at its uppermost levels that will play advertisements and other graphic projections. A large artificial lake will be located beside the stadium, as well, and will feature a series of waterfalls. The stadium is due to be completed in 2020. According to a project website, the new surrounding neighborhood will open in phases starting in 2020 with an initial batch of 314 apartments of various configurations, including three-bedroom units, spread out over two structures. Eventually, the development will contain 2,500 dwelling units, 620,000-square feet of retail spaces, a 300-key hotel, and a new casino. The new renderings portray a series of porous outdoor shopping areas connected by covered outdoor spaces, programmed landscape areas, and indoor-outdoor venues like a foodie-friendly dining hall and several covered lounge areas. The plans also call for a long and narrow amphitheater and a performance stage. Residential areas for the development will see structures two- to four-stories in height while the hotel complex is slated for a five-story structure anchored by groundfloor retail. An unspecified amount of office space will also be included in the project. The size and market-driven nature of the new development—there are no new affordable housing units slated in conjunction with the project—has already jump-started gentrification in the renter-heavy, predominantly working-class area. Estimates indicate that property values have increased by as much as 80 percent in recent years, Curbed reports. New housing and shopping are not the only things coming to the area, however. A recently-unveiled plan seeks to link the new neighborhood with the regional transit system by building a new 1.8-mile automated people mover. The new infrastructure aims to provide easy access to the site when it will be used as a venue during the 2028 Olympic games, which Los Angeles is hosting across a series of scattered regional sites and facilities that will include the new stadium complex. *Correction: This story incorrectly reported that 3,000 housing units were being built in conjunction with the development; The correct figure is 2,500 units. 
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Mind the Gap

Renderings revealed for COOKFOX’s latest St. John’s Terminal scheme
New renderings have been released for the massive redevelopment of Lower Manhattan’s St. John’s Terminal, and a lot has changed since the City Council initially approved the $100-million air rights sale from the adjacent Pier 40 for the project. While a mountain of pixelated residential towers were initially slated to bring nearly 1,600 apartments to the three blocks across from Hudson River Park (30 percent of them affordable), the future of the former rail terminal now appears to be a 12-story office building. The shift is reportedly due in part to a slowdown in New York’s residential market. Canadian developer Oxford Properties, which purchased the southernmost 550 Washington Street site from Westbrook Partners and Atlas Capital for $700 million last year, has retained COOKFOX Architects to transform St. John’s Terminal into high-quality office space. 550 Washington, a low-slung, three-story brick building finished in 1934, will gain a nine-floor topper and most of the original facade will be converted into a thin “envelope” that the glassy base will sit recessed inside of. COOKFOX also plans on blowing out the 1.3-million-square-foot office building’s interior walls and creating open floorplates of up to 100,000 square feet, a hot commodity as tech companies continue to snatch up open office space in Manhattan. The conversion, which under the zoning approval granted in 2016 can proceed as-of-right, will dramatically lighten up the currently-enclosed building by recladding the west-facing side in glass. The 28-foot-tall first and second floors, and 16-foot ceiling heights everywhere else, will both give tenants views across the Hudson River as well as let in plenty of natural light. Referencing the plot’s industrial past, COOKFOX has included steel accents and large multi-mullioned windows but will also be adding a landscaped roof and a large amount of accessible terrace space. Housing isn’t entirely off the table across the rest of the site. Atlas and Westbrook still own the 420,000-square-foot northern portion, and the developers are reportedly looking into building 200 to 230 large, market-rate residential units. Perhaps 150 to 200 units of affordable housing for seniors could also be in the works, but the potential parking garage, recreation center, and existing elevated rail overpass will be scrapped.