Search results for "gensler"

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Macro-Chip

VR was essential to Gensler’s design of NVIDIA’s new headquarters
Hao Ko, principal and design director at Gensler, will be delivering the keynote presentation at the 2017 Tech+ Expo (May 23, New York City). Like a test rendering of a 3-D model, Gensler’s new headquarters for microchip maker NVIDIA in Santa Clara, California comes haltingly into view across the landscape, a glitchy image slowly gaining resolution. The 550,000-square-foot structure has been in the works since before the Great Recession and after nearly a decade in development, work is quickly progressing on final construction. The structure is on track to open for business in September of 2017—construction photos provided to The Architect’s Newspaper (AN) by Hao Ko, principal and design director at Gensler, indicate that work on the building envelope is almost complete, with the installation of final interior finishes and the landscape underway. Devcon Construction is building the project and Louie International is acting as the structural design engineer. Along the exterior, practically every edge of the wide, triangular structure is canted subtly. A roof profile that appears curved is actually made up of broad, segmented lines. Along two sides, the building bulges at the middle, creating fat, cyclopean bay windows. From above, the building is revealed across the landscape as a microchip-inspired paper airplane—a thin roof structure pierced with triangular skylights heaving over the earth. The building is actually capped by a steel truss roof supported by steel beam walls and columns. The deeply-overhanging and undulating roof creates a cavernous interior volume below. Whenever the roof’s folded planes meet at a peak or a valley, they turn downward as large steel section columns that resolve themselves dutifully and unceremoniously by plunging straight into the concrete slab. [interstitia] The construction images showcase a cavernous, two-level interior volume intersected by a series of opaque, faceted cores that interlock with one another and contain communal functions and meeting rooms. The peripheries of each floor plate are lined with work areas. Here, the formal rows of desks and more open-ended breakout spaces will exist in a broad, sky-lit space, framed by triangular roofing members above. The project is notable for the collaborative effort between client and architect that allowed the design team to embed virtual reality-based (VR) visualization into the design process. NVIDIA worked to develop new uses for the graphics chip manufacturer’s Iray rendering engine: the project's iterative daylight simulations involved modeling up to 5,000 light sources per image. Using the technology and cluster computing to pool GPU-power, designers were able to generate renderings in as little as ten minutes’ time, converting the technology into a rapidly-deployable design tool. The technology was also designed to include physically scanned materials in such a way as to capture light intensity and character—rather than to generate only various intensities of color, as is more common in rendering applications. The resulting “simulations” guided the design of the workspaces, where NVIDIA wanted to maximize quality of light. The scheme, as a result, ended up with fewer skylights than originally intended. Simulations showed that not as many skylights were needed to achieve the correct lighting effect designers were looking for. Ko explained over telephone that virtual reality workflow integration allows for a project to take on more life, saying “previously we only had artists’ renditions of what a space could feel like.” Ko added that with VR, the architects at Gensler wanted to figure out how could get “more reality” into the design experience. Scott DeWoody, Gensler’s creative media manager, said that the use of virtual reality was integral to the NVIDIA project and that the firm had “found a use for it at every spot in the design process.” VR is something that is not only easy to adopt into the traditional office workflow, DeWoody explained, but once rendering times are reduced, the tool can result in better overall design quality, as designers “render everything around them, instead of just (rendering) an open scene.” Ko agreed that the advanced simulation techniques add more to the design process than traditional renders, saying, “I’m old school—I came in the profession back in the day when we were building big physical models, to understand size, scale, and experience. Prior to having VR, it was always a challenge to reconcile how you do that.” Technology is driving rapid changes in architecture and construction industries and the building industry, in turn, is a driver of the U.S. economy. Tech+ Expo brings together, for the first time in NYC, industry and technology leaders that are shaping the future of the built environment.
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Heart of L.A.

L.A. to heal planning scars with ambitious Civic Center Master Plan
The City of Los Angeles is moving quickly in its efforts to rework the historic Civic Center district as it aims to rectify nagging post-World War II era planning and building legacies amid a period of intense development within surrounding Downtown Los Angeles neighborhoods. The areas around the district—roughly encompassed by the 101 Freeway, Judge John Aiso Street, 1st Street and Grand Avenue—are already undergoing broad change, including the recent completion of the SOM-designed Los Angeles U.S District Courthouse and the forthcoming First and Broadway park by Mia Lehrer+Associates and OMA. The area is also due to receive a series of high-rise residential towers from Canadian developers Onni Group, including a boxy scheme by Gensler and a collection of pointed condo towers by AC Martin. The draft plan aims to convert the purpose-built bureaucratic and administrative quarter into a “Civic Innovation District”—a mixed-use neighborhood containing street-fronting retail, startup office space, broad pedestrian paths, a bounty of public parks, and high-rise residential housing. In March, the Los Angeles City Council voted to approve the new Civic Center Master Plan—a document based on a study by multi-service firm IBI Group that would guide the redevelopment of the area. The plan envisions adding 1.2 million square feet of office space to the area, as well as roughly 1.1 million square feet of housing, and at least 217,500 square feet of retail space, all the while reworking surrounding streets and blocks into a network of interconnected, axially-driven, pedestrian-friendly promenades. Most controversially, instituting the plan involves demolishing a variety of structures, including the historic but socially-problematic former Los Angeles Police Department headquarters from 1955—designed by architect Welton Becket and known as Parker Center. The modernist-style City Hall East building and the Metropolitan Detention Center, a 757-bed federal prison, would also be demolished via the plan, among other structures. Another aim of the plan is to establish City Hall as the visual and conceptual locus for an area that would stitch together the Bunker Hill, Little Tokyo, Arts District, and El Pueblo neighborhoods. The plan would be implemented over six phases beginning later this year with the demolition of Parker Center. That structure was recently denied historic status and is headed toward demolition, to be replaced with a high-rise tower containing 712,500 square feet of office space and 37,500 square feet of ground floor retail. The existing City Hall South building will be replaced starting in 2019 with 569,000 square feet of housing and 90,000 square feet of retail uses in a podium-style tower that would also create a paseo between itself and the City Hall East building. The housing tower would face the Morphosis-designed CalTrans Building from 2004 and would sit diagonally from the new Los Angeles Police Department Headquarters building by AECOM from 2009 that made the Parker Center structure functionally redundant. Starting in 2021, the scheme calls for converting the existing Los Angeles Mall into a 390-foot tall tower complex containing 675,000 square feet of government office, commercial, and flexible spaces. The podium-style building will leave generous, wedge-shaped areas along the ground as open space. A fourth phase would bring another 520,000 square feet of housing and 90,000 square feet of retail to the southern portion of the block containing the Parker Center’s replacement between 2024 and 2027. Planning documents show those structures as a series of wedge-shaped housing towers and low commercial buildings organized around a continuation of the paseo started on the block just to the north. This paseo would connect to the booming Little Tokyo and Arts District neighborhoods, which are due to receive a slew of high-rise, mixed-use developments along the Alameda Corridor, as well. Following that development—the document times phase five to start in 2027—the Metropolitan Detention Center at the eastern edge of the block will make way for a 360,000-square-foot government office and retail tower. It is unclear whether the prison will be replaced locally or elsewhere. The final phase of the plan would demolish the modernist-style City Hall East building, replacing the striking 13-story tower with a small cultural building and a civic plaza. The plan, as specified, would be completed sometime between 2030 and 2032. A recently-released rendering by IBI Group describes the area as a more uniformly 12-20 story tall cluster of towers separated by broad swaths of open space. The plan—more radically—also envisions placing a lid over a three-block section of the 101 Freeway currently dividing the Civic Center from the El Pueblo and Union Station areas. The connection would make the Civic Center area accessible to the currently-under-construction $410 million La Plaza de Cultura project by Johnson Fain, Benchmark Contractors, and the non-profit Cesar Chavez Foundation. That project aims to bring 355 housing units at 46,000-square feet of retail space to the area.   Once completed, the Civic Center Master Plan has the potential to convert the sleepy, bureaucratic district into the lynchpin of a continuous, mixed-use center spanning from Pershing Square at the heart of downtown to the western banks of the Los Angeles River on one end and Chinatown on the other. The areas between the Civic Center and the Arts District are expected to receive a series of stops along the new Regional Connector subway line, a condition that will surely drive further residential and commercial growth in the area. The plan was recently approved by the Los Angeles City Council’s Entertainment and Facilities Committee. It now heads for consideration by the full city council, and eventually, the mayor’s office.
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It's Still Rock And Roll To Me

SHoP and Gensler revamp the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Long Island
The New York offices of SHoP Architects and Gensler have teamed up to bring the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Long Island back to life. As part of a $165 million renovation, SHoP worked on the facade aspect of the design while Gensler configured the interior. Billy Joel will inaugurate the venue tomorrow with a concert. The Coliseum first opened in 1972, but after 40 years of being the Islanders' ice hockey home, the arena had fallen into a being a shadow of its former self. Developer Forest City Ratner Companies took on the task in 2013, teaming up with SHoP. The two firms had previously worked together on the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and their second collaborative project appears to have produced a facade of similar standing. Comprising 4,700 brushed aluminum fins, the facade gently undulates upon a horizontal axis as it wraps around the Coliseum. This is achieved by altering the fins' angled vertices incrementally. According to a press release, the material references Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis—the first non-stop solo transatlantic flight which took off nearby. The interior, meanwhile, makes use of the infused daylight from a new exterior glass storefront which illuminates a redesigned concourse, main entrance, and circulatory areas. New seating has also been installed within the 416,000-square-foot space. In addition to this, a new VIP Club and Blue Moon Beer Garden have also been installed as event amenity spaces. For performers, "residential style living spaces" are part of the venue's "Artist Quarters." 1,500 staff are set to work at the Coliseum which will also double-up as a home for the Brooklyn Nets’ NBA Development League affiliate, the Long Island Nets, as well as hosting family shows, sports, and outdoor festivals. “Our goal was to create a space that reflected the tremendous sense of place that permeates Long Island, from the look of the building, to the taste of the food,” said Bruce Ratner, executive chairman of Forest City Ratner Companies, the developer of the new venue in a press release. “Our talented architectural and development team have succeeded beyond our dreams, creating a venue that is visually striking and wonderfully comfortable. We’re excited about the opening and are looking forward to the ongoing development of this entertainment destination.”
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Walk Around Town

Development team releases renderings for North Hollywood’s new skyline
Areas around the only heavy rail transit stop in Los Angeles’s San Fernando Valley are poised to change dramatically as a new plan calling for the addition of over 1,500 residential units to the area coalesces. The redevelopment plan—orchestrated as a joint proposal by developers Trammell Crow Company, Greenland USA, Cesar Chavez Foundation, architects Gensler, and landscape architects Melendrez—also aims to bring roughly 450,000-square feet of offices and 150,000-square feet of ground-level commercial spaces to a collection of lots owned by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (L.A. Metro) surrounding the North Hollywood Red Line station. The plans will also consolidate a series of bus turnaround areas around the station into a single transfer complex. Urbanize LA reports that the plan, to be detailed in an upcoming presentation by the development to L.A. Metro’s San Fernando Valley Service Council (SFVSC), comes after Trammell Crow and Greenland had initially proposed two competing schemes. A rendering of the proposed project showcases a collection of mixed-use towers surrounding a series of open plaza areas and the new bus turnaround. The renderings depict the tallest tower as a podium-style structure located at the northern corner of the site, with a much shorter, perimeter block structure topped with a green roof standing beside it. The back corner of the site is populated by several courtyard apartment building complexes and a mid-rise housing tower. Another tall tower will be located on a corner opposing the main portion of the development. The complex is designed as a Transit Oriented Community (TOC), a notion that builds on transit-accessibility at the core of Transit Oriented Development (TOD) projects by including “holistic community development” that engages not only with mass transit but also facilitates pedestrian activities, according to the report that will be shown to the SFVSC. The plan comes out of a series of community scoping meetings conducted by L.A. Metro and the developers that uncovered historic preservation of the surrounding NoHo Arts District and balance between height, density, and pedestrianism as major community concerns. As such, the development will aim to engage and building upon existing street life in the pedestrian-heavy node while also adding generous paseos between various structures to create pedestrian paths around the station. The project will also include an unspecified number of affordable housing units. A detailed timeline for the project has not been released.
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Be like Monier

Get ahead and stay ahead at this year’s Tech+ Expo in New York City
In 1849, Joseph Monier, a Frenchman, invented reinforced concrete. He didn't do much with it at the time, aside from making a few robust plant pots. Eighteen years later he finally showed off his radical technological innovation at the Paris Exposition of 1867. That year, Monier patented his creation and eight years and four more patents later, he designed the world's first iron-reinforced concrete bridge at the Castle of Chazelet. Thankfully today, the world is a great deal more connected than it was back in the 19th Century. Industry leaders can share their ideas instead of dithering around with flowerpots for decades. The Tech+ Expo is that forum. A hotbed of technological innovation, Tech+ is where you can find the latest advancements in virtual reality, rapid prototyping, smart materials, intelligent building systems, mobile apps, and software platforms. This year, The Architect’s Newspaper and Microsol Resources’ TechPerspectives have combined forces to present a full day program of industry leaders on the innovation stage at Tech+.Ten speakers will be presenting their thoughts and insight on various facets of technology and its role in architecture at Tech+ on May 23 in New York. A list of speakers can be found below:
  • Keynote Presenter: Hao Ko, Principal at Gensler
  • Zachary Aarons, Co-Founder MetaProp NYC
  • Daniel Diez, EVP, Chief Marketing Officer, R/GA
  • Cindy McLaughlin, CEO, Envelope
  • Kerenza Harris, Morphosis Architects
  • Jerrod Kennard, Architectural Designer at KPF
  • Alexandra Pollock, Director of Design Technology at FXFOWLE
  • Robert Otani, Principal at CORE Studio, Thornton Tomasetti
  • Joseph Romano, VP Surveying & Mapping, Langan Engineering
  • Jonathan Schwartz, Co-Founder + CPO Voodoo Manufacturing
  • Zoltan Toth, BIM Implementation Consultant, GRAPHISOFT
  • Luc Wilson, Associate Principal and Director at KPF Urban Interface
More speakers are due to be announced. Tech+ will be at Metropolitan West on 639 West 46th Street in Manhattan on May 23. To register and find out more, visit techplusexpo.com.
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Big and Tall

66-story tower proposed for Downtown Los Angeles
Global architecture firm Callison RTKL and Newport Beach, California–based MJS Landscape Architecture have released a rendering of a new 66-story tall mixed-use residential tower proposed for the bustling entertainment district in Downtown Los Angeles. According to documents submitted to the Los Angeles Planning Department, the project would bring 200 condominium units and a 220-room hotel to 925 S. Figueroa, Urbanize.LA reports. The project would also include 94,000 square feet of retail spaces and parking for 617 automobiles. The project is one of a handful of towers Callison RTKL is currently working on in the Downtown L.A. area, including a 57-story tall,  Jenga-shaped tower proposed for a lot adjacent to Pershing Square. That tower features projecting, cantilevered swimming pools and a sky-lobby. Callison RTKL is also working on the three-towered Oceanwide Plaza, also on Figueroa Street. The new, rectangular tower is set to rise out of a large parking and retail podium. That podium will be topped with recreational uses for hotel guests and condominium residents. The rendering released for the project indicates that like many of the historic high-rise towers across downtown, the monolith will be capped by a flat-topped roof. The arrangement used to be inscribed in local fire code as a safety measure to be utilized in the event tall buildings had to be evacuated via helicopter, but the rule was recently overturned. The project at 925 S. Figueroa marks the 19th high-rise tower proposed or under construction along Figueroa Street in Downtown Los Angeles. Architects Gensler recently revealed plans for an eccentric, 52-story tall tower at the southern edge of this new district. Gensler is also responsible for the Metropolis, 1020 South Figueroa, and Fig+Pico projects along Figueroa. Meanwhile, SOM and P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S are behind the Olympia development, while Harley Ellis Devereaux and Hanson LA are deep into construction on the twin Circa towers. The developments—which track along the Blue and Expo light rail lines and surround the L.A. Live, Staples Center, and Los Angeles Convention Center complexes—are sure to continue to grow in their ranks as the city moves toward building 8,000 new hotel rooms near the Convention Center by 2020.
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On a Boat

Gensler reveals renderings for $250 million Queen Mary Island development
Developer Urban Commons and architects Gensler have revealed renderings for a new $250 million entertainment complex to be located adjacent to the Queen Mary ocean liner in Long Beach, California. The project—dubbed Queen Mary Island—aims to bring 700,000 square feet of retail, a 200-room hotel, and a series of outdoor public spaces including a new boardwalk, marina, and public amphitheater to the Pacific Ocean–adjacent waterfront. The Los Angeles Times reports that the project will also bring a 150,000-square-foot entertainment facility by London-based Urban Legacies to the site. That facility is slated to include high-octane attractions like an ice climbing facility, a zip-line assembly, and indoor skydiving simulator, among others. The move is an effort by Urban Commons to create new sources of revenue to fund badly-needed repairs for the aging ship. It is estimated that structural repairs and upgrades over the next five years alone will cost roughly $289 million. The Queen Mary brought in roughly $15 million in revenues last year between the 314-room hotel on board and revenue generated from visitor fees and events. Urban Commons has not released what projected revenues might be after the improvements, but the developer is betting that by rebranding and reactivating the Queen Mary as the heart of a new entertainment complex, more revenue will be generated. The proposed changes would transform the surrounding bayside, which is currently populated mainly by a series of surface parking lots and the Long Beach Cruise Terminal. Several of those parking lots will be replaced with a cluster of a shopping structures designed around broad walkways and plazas. The structures are being designed to celebrate “the best of Great Britain [the Queen Mary was originally based out of Southampton, England] and Southern California,” according to a promotional video issued by Urban Commons. A new boardwalk will wrap the Queen Mary as it crosses the harbor, transforming into a new marina as it stretches west across the site. The new amphitheater will be located on this end, along with the new hotel. The plan also includes a new entry lobby and event entrance for the Queen Mary, both designed in the manner of 19th century English greenhouses. The project is expected to break ground in roughly two years.
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Frisco Tech

Four mega-developments near Dallas make up the Five Billion Dollar Mile

With the recent wave of corporate office growth, Frisco, a city at the intersection of the Dallas North Tollway and State Highway 121, has seen a number of large developments take shape over the past five years. With Toyota as the most recent and highly publicized to lead the pack by announcing its relocation of its North American headquarters, the area is quickly becoming host to large corporate campuses.

The Star in Frisco, designed by Gensler’s Dallas office, is the first to reach a milestone completion with the opening of the Ford Center, a 12,000-seat indoor field connected to an outdoor Dallas Cowboys’ practice field featuring an expansive glazed curtain wall. With the Ford Center’s completion in 2016, the development has greatly impacted the vitality of the region and the local community. The City of Frisco and the eight schools that make up the Frisco Independent School District will utilize the new Cowboy’s practice facility. “The Star has been a catalyst development for the five billion dollar mile,” said Scott Armstrong, senior associate with Gensler. “Since the completion of the Cowboys’ facility, the real estate development in the surrounding area has gained exponential traction.” Over the next two years, The Star will add an Omni Hotel and additional retail space; a Baylor, Scott & White Health facility will be completed on the remainder of the site.

Other projects are slowly gaining momentum: The $1.5 billion Frisco Station began construction in October of last year. The 242-acredevelopment spearheaded by Hillwood Properties will add nearly six million square feet of new office space with an accompanying mixed-use program, including a 40-acre medical park, 2,400 apartments, 300,000 square feet of retail, and 650 hotel rooms.

Meanwhile, The Gate, a 41-acre luxury development under the direction of Dubai’s Invest Group Overseas, continues to search for investment to partner in the $700 million project.

Wade Park, the largest development of the four, has seen some site work although construction has yet to take place. According to a November 2016 article by Dallas Morning News, the project’s first phase that would feature a large retail component was postponed with completion set for 2018. Its website lists signed tenants such as Whole Foods, iPic Theaters, and Pinstripes bowling.

Just off the Five Billion Dollar Mile, another project provides a contrast to the Mile’s predictable designs. One Legacy West will make a minimalist design statement amongst the horizon. “Given the context we, and our client, the Gaedeke Group, chose to differentiate One Legacy West through an architecture that is simple, ordered, and restrained,” said Mark Dilworth of Morrison Dilworth + Walls. From a 15- by 15-foot column grid, the firm developed a strict logic where the final outcome is a cube in and of itself. The move renders the architecture simultaneously iconic, as it is functional and flexible for the tenants. It is one of the rare, architecturally rich projects in the area based solely upon form. One Legacy West will be complete by mid-2017.

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Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls

Sasaki fountain at Citicorp Center may be demolished
One of Hideo Sasaki's few remaining works in New York is set to be demolished as the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) approved changes to the exterior of 601 Lexington Avenue, formerly known as the Citicorp Center. The building, designed by Hugh A. Stubbins & Associates in 1973, features a stepped public plaza by Sasaki Associates. As it dips into 601 Lexington Avenue, the plaza, built in exchange for a taller tower, reveals a fountain and entrances to the subway. Amid a dense urban setting, many consider the cascading design a welcome sight. Its corner location encourages passers-by to look up in tandem with steps towards the building's open vertices made possible by Stubbins's unusual column arrangement. Dubbed “super” columns, the four skyscraper supports rise above 100 feet and cover 24 square feet each. The resultant cantilevers articulate space in a way not commonly found in Manhattan and in the space, one is seldom aware of being situated below the 915-foot-tall structure, once described by critic Ada Louise Huxtable as a “singularly suave blockbuster that comes down to the street with innovative drama." This feature has prevailed for almost 40 years and subsequently, the sunken space works in an established harmony with the skyscraper. At the time of Stubbins’s death in 2006, critic Paul Goldberger called the Citicorp Center “probably the most important skyscraper built in New York in the 1970s because of its elegant and memorable shape, but also because of its engagement with the city at the base.” Tuesday's review included building entrances along 52nd and 53rd streets, as well as skylights and rooftop mechanical equipment. The Sasaki plaza, designed by principal emeritus Stuart Dawson, was included in the landmark designation, but DOB permits to alter the plaza were approved prior to the designation, and so the plaza changes were not under review by the LPC. In a March 23 email, a LPC spokesperson clarified that the permits are unrelated to the designation report's statement of regulatory intent (page 14) that states that the City Planning Commission is responsible for approving all changes to the plaza. The plaza design depicted in Gensler's renderings was not being considered at the hearing that day, a situation infuriated some preservationists who came out to speak the meeting. The renderings Gensler presented depicted the plaza without the fountain that was initially intended, in the words of the architect, to "mask much of the street noise and add to the feeling that the passerby is free from the congestion of the street." In a statement to The Architect's Newspaper (AN) Dawson commented on the situation:
I was and am incredibly proud of the work we did on the sidewalks, plaza, cascading fountain, and interior atrium of the Citicorp Center. The response from the public was immediate and strong: they loved it. As the fate of this work is up in the air I cannot help but to return to the original idea that carried through all aspects of the project: the idea of connection. At the time, we asked why not carry the fountain and broad steps all the way from street level; to chapel and atrium entrance level; to the subway level? While it required difficult permitting and multiple bureaucratic maneuvers, it seemed well worth the effort—and it was. It was a first! And today, as I learn that the plaza we designed is in danger of demolition I ask that we consider connection once more. I would like to see the plaza live on, connecting one era of design into the next. Once again, it may take some persistent maneuvering but I believe it will once more be worth it.

Christabel Gough of the advocacy group Society for the Architecture of the City told AN that the Sasaki project has "fallen between the cracks of arcane inter-agency procedures and is not protected. Boston Properties would earn the gratitude of so many New Yorkers by abandoning the demolition plan revealed today." 

According to the LPC, the changes put forward by Gensler and Boston Properties were approved by the City Planning Commission prior to 601 Lexington Avenue’s designation as a landmark in December 2016 and that permits to alter the plaza had already been filed with the Department of Buildings (DOB). Despite an extensive search, at press time AN was unable to locate the permits on the DOB's website.

At the hearing, preservationists and commissioners raised questions about the missing foundation. "The HDC wishes to express its regret at reports that the water feature may be removed from the space, which seems like an unfortunate loss," said Barbara Zay, of advocacy group the Historic Districts Council. "We would suggest that the LPC retain a seat at the table in discussions for the fate of courtyard by working closely with the owner, and perhaps the MTA, to find an alternative or return this decorative feature which provides an element of civility and whimsy to the space.” Echoing Zay, Commissioner Michael Goldblum expressed regret about the turn of events. "It’s a shame that the plaza will be changed and the fountain lost," he said, adding that the fountain was a "key element of how the public experience this complex." Fellow commissioner John Gustafsson clarified that no decision on the plaza could be made. "We’re not expressing an opinion here because we can’t," he said. The only changes on the agenda then, were to that of the facade, particularly on 53rd Street. Here, a recessed entrance would be eradicated, but the LPC voiced weariness ahead of this decision.

AN asked representatives from Gensler and Boston Properties at the hearing about why they are eliminating the plaza. Both declined to comment.

In her closing statement, chair Meenakshi Srinivasan noted that "the Citicorp Building has a long history of changes... We recognized that these spaces will continue to change." She concluded that the proposed modifications were consistent with the building's history, and retained the spirit of the original design intent, particularly with the building's zoning history in mind. Prior to granting its approval, the LPC suggested that the proposed changes to the recessed entranceway be reconsidered. But questions remain as to why a plaza so integral to the landmark is beyond the LPC's oversight in the first place. AN will keep readers updated on this story as it develops. Update 3/22/17: This article originally stated that Sasaki's plaza was not included in the building's December 2016 landmark designation. It was in fact included in the designation. The post was also updated to include clarifying information about the plaza's jurisdiction and additional background on the statement of regulatory intent. The text was updated to reflect that Sasaki Associates principal emeritus Stuart Dawson designed the fountain.
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Episode III

New details emerge for L.A.’s Lucas Museum of Narrative Art

The board of directors for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art (LMNA) recently chose Los Angeles as the latest—and potentially final—site for its troubled museum proposal.

The decision marks the third attempt by the LMNA museum board to find a location for the nearly $1 billion museum—resulting in multiple design schemes by MAD Architects. The LMNA will house a growing and expansive collection of graphic art, including works by Zaha Hadid, Edgar Degas, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, among others.

MAD Architects’ initial designs for a site north of San Francisco were rebuffed in 2015 after community outcry. The LMNA team made a try for a site in Chicago in 2016, only to eventually scrap the plans in the face of fierce opposition to the project’s proposed location on the Chicago’s lakefront by a local community group. Most recently, LMNA’s board made parallel pitches for two sites in California: one on San Francisco’s Treasure Island and another in L.A.’s Exposition Park.

L.A. won out this round, gaining another cultural amenity for a site already home to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, California African American Museum, California Science Center, and the Museum of Natural History of Los Angeles County. The new museum, if built, will also be located along the city’s Expo Line light rail line, and will help—along with a forthcoming Gensler-designed Los Angeles Football Club soccer stadium—extend a leg of transit-oriented development from a growing entertainment and hotel district in the South Park neighborhood nearby to one of L.A.’s core working class neighborhoods.

In announcing its decision, the Lucas Foundation’s board of directors extolled the virtues of the urban park and its surrounding neighborhood, saying in a statement: “While each location offers many unique and wonderful attributes, South Los Angeles’s Promise Zone best positions the museum to have the greatest impact on the broader community, fulfilling our goal of inspiring, engaging, and educating a broad and diverse visitorship.”

In an effort to preserve the park’s green spaces, the selected scheme will include public open space on its rooftop. Renderings for the proposal show the curvaceous museum located in a leafy, park setting topped with tufts of greenery. The museum also appears to gingerly touch the ground by coming down in a series of large, discrete piers.

It’s still unclear what sorts of developmental hurdles the museum will need to surpass prior to construction, but the project clearly has a fan in L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, who after learning of the decision, remarked to the Los Angeles Times, “It’s a natural place to have this museum in the creative capital of the world and in the geographic center of the city. It’s a banner day for L.A.”

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601 Lexington Ave.

New York’s angled icon, the Citicorp Center, in line for a 200,000 square foot renovation
601 Lexington Avenue, widely known by its former title as the Citicorp Center, may be the subject of a revamp totaling 200,000 square feet, courtesy the New York office of global architecture firm Gensler. The recently landmarked building (designated in December) could see a new exterior plaza and array of terraces added if the design is approved by the Landmarks Preservation Committee (LPC) next week. Further changes include an atrium located inside (and thus exempt from LPC endorsement) that will house a coterie of retail outlets and dining facilities. Speaking to The Architect's Newspaper, a spokesperson for Gensler clarified that the plaza is indeed "being redesigned" as renderings suggest. 601 Lexington Avenue was designed by Hugh A. Stubbins & Associates in 1977 and completed the following year. The resultant angular apex created a silhouette that has become an icon of the Manhattan skyline and was a feature that led the building's landmark designation last year. It's at the other end of the building, at Lexington Avenue and 53rd Street, however, where the changes will be made. Critic Paul Goldberger was complimentary of the existing ground-level features at the time of Stubbins's death in 2006: “[It is] probably the most important skyscraper built in New York in the 1970s because of its elegant and memorable shape, but also because of its engagement with the city at the base," he said. According to Gensler, the building's owners, Boston Properties is "focused not on increasing rents, but on increasing the value of the entire neighborhood by making a distinctive plaza and atrium space." The firm continued: "To this end, the new outdoor plaza and terraces make room for more dining and retail options, while enlivening the staid office component. The resulting 200,000-square-foot redevelopment transforms an internally focused space into a bustling urban oasis for Manhattan’s Midtown East neighborhood." 601 Lexington (c) Gensler_4 Changes date back to as recently as 2010 when a new office lobby was installed. Twenty years ago, the existing atrium and open-air concourse were renovated. The LPC hearing for the changes will be on Tuesday, March 21.
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Tackling Inequality

Curry Stone Design Prize announces March’s round of Social Design Circle members
In honor of the Curry Stone Design Prize's tenth anniversary, the nonprofit is honoring 100 notable social designers with a spot in their Social Design Circle. Each month, the Prize focuses on a specific social issue, recognizing several firms whose work directly addresses that topic. January asked if designers should be outlaws and February challenged the existence of a right to housing. For the month of the March, the Curry Stone Prize asked the question: Can design challenge inequality? Eight groups are highlighted this month, including architecture firms, product designers, nonprofits, and more. These firms each address issues of inequality in unique ways, promoting community, leadership, and inclusiveness. Members of some of the teams will be featured on a weekly podcast, Social Design Insights, hosted by Eric Cesal, special projects director for the Curry Stone Design Prize, and Emiliano Gandolfi, director of the Curry Stone Design Prize. A new episode is released each Thursday, focusing on that month’s design challenge. “We seek to increase the impact of these creative and constructive individuals by supporting them during their efforts to develop visionary approaches to achieve change,” said the Curry Stone Foundation (which supports the Prize) on its website. Read on to learn more about the eight firms honored this month. Active Social Architecture Al Borde D-Rev Detroit Collaborative Design Center El Equipo Mazzanti Isla Urbana Project H   Public Architecture To find out more about past honorees you can visit the Curry Stone Design Prize’s website here. Save Save