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Shohei in L.A.

OMA unveils fresh renderings for its first cultural project in Los Angeles
The Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), Gruen Associates, and Studio-MLA are working toward a November 11 groundbreaking for the new Audrey Irmas Pavilion, an addition to the historic Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles. Ahead of this weekend’s groundbreaking ceremony, OMA has unveiled a batch of new renderings of the 55,000-square-foot cultural center. The two-story, trapezoidal pavilion will contain two large event spaces within its sloped walls, including a rooftop terrace designed by Studio-MLA. The main gathering space along the ground floor will be elliptical in nature and will provide arched openings along two of the principal facades. The second space will run perpendicular to the ground floor space and will be outlined as a trapezoid along the opposing set of exterior walls. The terrace will stream daylight through the pavilion via a circular opening. The addition will allow the temple to offer supportive services for its congregants, including hot meal programs and medical clinics, Urbanize.LA reported. Renderings for the project depict a singular volume skinned with hexagonal stone cladding, with each of the stone tiles containing a rectangular glass block at its center. Gruen Associates is working as the executive architect for the project, which was designed by OMA partners Shohei Shigematsu and Rem Koolhaas. In a press release announcing the groundbreaking, Shigematsu said, “Focusing on communicating the energy of gathering and exchange, the pavilion is an active gesture, shaped by respectful moves away from the surrounding historic buildings, reaching out onto Wilshire Boulevard to create a new presence.” Shigematsu added, “We are thrilled to break ground on this significant project that will provide a new anchor for the Wilshire Boulevard Temple and the broader Los Angeles community.” The project represents OMA’s first cultural commission in the region and will join the firm’s forthcoming First and Broadway Park—also designed in collaboration with Studio-MLA—in Downtown Los Angeles and The Plaza, a mixed-use shopping complex slated for Santa Monica, as other works under development nearby. Plans call for the Audrey Irmas Pavilion to be completed by 2020.
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Etched in Memory

Michael Arad unveils design for Charleston shooting memorial
Yesterday Michael Arad unveiled a design for a permanent memorial dedicated to the victims of the Emanuel Nine massacre at the historic Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston. Arad, a partner at New York-based firm Handel Architects, is the mind behind the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center. He was chosen last June to imagine a space honoring the lives who were lost and the five survivors of the June 15, 2015 tragedy, which made worldwide headlines after a 21-year-old white supremacist shot and killed nine African American church members and clergy during a Wednesday night Bible study. The memorial was revealed on Sunday after a service and celebration marking the church’s 200th anniversary.    The concept for the Emanuel Nine Memorial breaks down into two parts: a Memorial Courtyard and a Survivors’ Garden. Before beginning work, Arad was asked to write an essay on forgiveness and his design approach. Arad told The Architect’s Newspaper that his task was to not only relate what had happened that fateful day, but to showcase how the Charleston community and members of the congregation came together in a way that no one expected—with grace and forgiveness. “To be asked to participate in this project and be part of their incredible response was something I felt was an obligation and a huge honor,” he said. “The hard work has already been done by the families of the Emanuel Nine and as an architect, it was my responsibility to find a way to convey this to the visitors of the site.” The Memorial Courtyard, which opens up to Calhoun Street, features two fellowship benches facing each other with high backs that arc up and around. Meant to symbolize sheltering wings, the benches are reminiscent of the circular shape the Emanuel Nine probably sat in the evening they were killed. At the center of the courtyard is a marble fountain with the victims’ names etched into the edge. Water flows from a cross-shaped opening at its core while another cross placed atop a simple altar hovers over the space in the back of the courtyard. A stone pathway connects the courtyard to the Survivors' Garden to the east, which features a green open space surrounded by six stone benches and five trees, each symbolizing the five survivors and the church itself. The garden’s design takes cues from local landscape architecture precedents with fig ivy-covered walls, brick, live oaks, and stone displayed throughout. Arad said both spaces were integral to the sincerity of the memorial. “It would have been wrong to do one without the other,” he said. “The Memorial Courtyard has a quiet, contemplative mood to it dedicated to prayer and memory. In some ways, it’s an analog of the church itself. You can imagine a service being held here. The Survivors’ Garden is about joy as well, but it’s more tucked away.” In order to realize the design for the two-part memorial, Arad’s proposal called for reorganizing the church’s grounds and opening certain areas up to the public and the world. One of the biggest challenges, he said, was that there wasn’t any space for a memorial when the design process began. The design had to feel public, though it is situated in a private space. “I do think it’s a tremendously generous act for this church to do this,” Arad said. “This is the church’s home and yet they're inviting the public in. The vast majority of people who visit this memorial are going to be strangers from away so I believe it will be a pilgrimage site of sorts. As part of our national collective memory, all that happened here has to resonate with and answer the needs of strangers.” A timeline to start construction on the Emanuel Nine Memorial has not been announced yet, but the church has set up a nonprofit to begin fundraising for the estimated $10 million project. Learn more about the design process and what the members of the design committee, clergy, and church congregation have to say about it in a video here.  
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Bridging the Final Gap

Pier 3 at Brooklyn Bridge Park is now open, making the parkland 90% complete
Another five acres of permanent green space was added to New York City yesterday with the opening of Pier 3 in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Now 90 percent complete, the beloved, 85-acre waterfront parkland designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates is almost finished after nearly 20 years in the making. The project is the final pier of the formerly industrial site to be turned into green space and features a rolling landscape of shrubs and over 500 trees. It also includes one of the largest open spaces in the entire park, a great lawn reminiscent of the seminal one found within Central Park in Manhattan. Laid out at the northern edge of the pier is an exploratory labyrinth garden with hedges of varying sizes. It houses interactive elements like mirrored games, a walk-in kaleidoscope, a conference tube, and unique stone seating by German industrial designer Gunter Beltzig. The design was inspired by the community’s need for a more expansive hangout space within Brooklyn Bridge Park. While meandering walkways provide unmatched views of Manhattan and the other piers have settings for recreational activities, there was not a dedicated area for relaxation until now. “The center of Brooklyn Bridge Park needs an embracing green space," said landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh in a statement, “and with Pier 3 we finally have it. The bowl-like lawn provides a serene interior that I think will draw people in, acting as a complementary counterbalance to the dynamics of river and city.” Since the design for Brooklyn Bridge Park was first revealed in 2005, the 1.3 mile-long parkland has been one of the city’s best examples of land reclamation. The narrow site along the East River had been out of operation since 1983 when the rise of container shipping replaced the need for the bulk cargo shipping and storage complexes that once lined the shoreline. Under Mayor Bloomberg and Governor George Pataki, the city and state signed a joint agreement in 2002 to begin the design and development of the Park. Construction began in 2008 with reclaimed soil from the World Trade Center site. The remaining sections of the park include the recently announced Squibb Park Pool, Brooklyn Bridge Plaza, and the Pier 2 Uplands, which will add 3.4 acres to the park and is slated to begin construction this September.  
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Miyazakiland

Studio Ghibli, creator of ‘Spirited Away’ and ‘Princess Mononoke’, releases new drawings of its theme park
Miyazaki fans, rejoice: there’s a new theme park coming to Japan built around animation house Studio Ghibli, the Oscar-winning studio known for films like Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro founded by Hayao Miyazaki. In 2017 Japan’s Aichi Prefecture announced that they would be building a Studio Ghibli theme park. Early renderings of the park were released this year, done in the style of Miyazaki’s movies. While details about the rides have not been released, the fantastical renderings hint at what’s to come. The theme park will be divided into sections based on films, including Princess Mononoke Village (Princess Mononoke), Witch Valley (Howl’s Moving Castle, Kiki’s Delivery Service), and a Totoro-themed Dondoko Forest (My Neighbor Totoro). Visitors will be greeted with a partial recreation of the castle from Howl’s Moving Castle, according to Sora News 24. The park will be built on the Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park, a 500-acre lot that previously served as the site for the World’s Fair and where there is already a life-size replica of the house from My Neighbor Totoro. The new park will be integrated into the existing grounds and make use of existing facilities while building new structures to become a "one-of-a-kind park", according to the Aichi government. Studio Ghibli is a world-famous animation studio based in Japan and can be considered to be one of the pioneers of the anime genre. Its co-founder, Hayao Miyazaki, is often compared to Walt Disney and is the mastermind behind many of the studio’s famous films. No architect or designer has been announced at this stage. The theme park is slated to be completed in 2022 in Aichi Prefecture’s Nagakute City, near Nagoya.
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Bring Your Home to Work Day

Fogarty Finger designs a domestic office for a financial firm in Flatiron
Most of us would prefer to keep our work and home lives separate, but as the line between office and living room continues to blur, the professional world is increasingly trading staid benches for plush couches. New York-based Fogarty Finger, together with Kevin Dumais, have recently completed a top-floor office in Manhattan’s Flatiron district that brings a homey touch to what would otherwise be a sprawling floorplate. 119 Fifth Avenue, smack dab between Union Square and Madison Square Park, might seem like an odd location for a wealth management firm. It’s not Wall Street, but as Fogarty Finger cofounder Robert Finger describes, financial firms are beginning to scout for locations that set them apart from their competitors. In the case of 119 Fifth Ave., the client requested a different type of workplace that would feel more like an extension of his home; he even brought in his own furniture, said Finger. The result, an 8,000-square-foot office for only six employees, uses soffits, residential furniture, and soft natural lighting (the ceilings are high enough for clerestory windows) to avoid feeling cavernous. Taking advantage of the office’s top floor location and soaring ceilings, Fogarty Finger and Dumais highlighted the historic cast iron building’s skylights over the central gathering places by framing them and illuminating them from within at night with installed lights. The building’s original ornate elevator frame and French windows were kept and restored as well. The design elements help further delineate the office’s programming. A more traditional office space adjacent to the reception lounge has been carved out with filing cabinets, cone-shaped overhead lights, and a specialized desk system, and the carpeted floors of the meeting rooms denote the transition from one discrete area to the next. Doors and partitions were specifically arranged to allow views framing the entire length of the floor, and contemporary art was strategically placed throughout to break up the larger spaces.
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Over-Arching

David Adjaye reveals new renderings for Financial District tower
Ahead of the sales launch for the Adjaye Associates-designed 130 William condo tower in lower Manhattan, Sir David Adjaye sat down with the New York Times to discuss the building’s design philosophy and to drop new renderings of the arch-wrapped tower. Construction on the tower, with its gothic-flair and inverted take (and massing) on the arches seen in classic New York masonry, is already well above grade. Unlike many of its glass-clad contemporaries, dark, angled concrete panels as being used for the building’s facade, which Adjaye described to the Times as acting to break up rainwater running down the face of the building. A new detail revealed in the interview is the deeply gauged and pocked texture of the concrete, reminiscent of fresh volcanic rock. The arches-all-over motif is repeated in the lobby according to the new renderings, with arched book nooks notched from concrete and arching transoms over the main entrance doors. Like the building’s facade and the black tiling in the pool room, Adjaye and Hill West Architects have gone with a heavy dark material palette for the lobby. This is in stark contrast to the all-white residential unit interiors and they’re brass-burnished finishes. Adjaye Associates and Weintraub Diaz Landscape Architecture will also be designing a planted plaza at ground level inspired by the city’s historic pocket parks, though from the construction photos the building appears to be tightly slotted into the site. Potential residents can purchase units starting from $650,000 for a studio all the way up to a $5.42 million 4-bedroom condo, with an expected move-in date of 2020.
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Prada’s OMA-designed Torre is unveiled during Milan Design Week
A new profile rises almost 200 feet above the tangled web of railroad tracks cutting across southern Milan, dominating the otherwise flat skyline. Following the white concrete nine-story beacon to its source will land you in the OMA-designed Prada Foundation, officially inaugurated in 2015 (the tower was originally scheduled to open at this time). As the final notch in the Prada family’s campus–which boasts a pastel-soaked Wes Anderson-designed cafe-bar, a mirrored cinema, and a gold-leaf-encrusted “Haunted House” amid the century-old refurbished warehouses–Torre, the long-delayed tower is an appropriately startling final act for a foundation that intends to “activate and challenge the senses,” according to its Press Officer Nicolo Scialanga. “It’s not a passive building,” OMA’s Federico Pompignoli says simply of the tower. Working with Rem Koolhaas and Chris van Duijn, Pompignoli has overseen every conceivable aspect of the Foundation’s design since the start of the firm’s collaboration with the Prada family, even moving to the Italian city in 2013 to be closer to the construction. “Instead, every single space becomes a special occasion, an opportunity to curate oneself.” We are sitting on the cantilevering terrace outside the sixth-floor restaurant on perfect Milanese afternoon. The furniture flanks the glassy wall, which retreats to the original alignments of the building while exposing the bar inside. As the triangular terrace narrows, it meets the glass wall at what Pompignoli refers to as the “total convergence point” of the building. It’s among his favorite details in the zig-zagging tower. “We are not fans of the white cube,” admits Pompignoli. “So when Miuccia Prada gave us a brief to develop a building responding to this display condition, we responded with a series of vertical variations that test the architecture as well as the art.” But to merely call the building idiosyncratic would be to ignore the calculated irregularity of the building, which plays out through three main conditions. The floor shape, height, and orientation are used “as axonometrics” to develop nine floors that are “completely different” from each other, suggests Pompignoli. The result is sort of like an architectural Rubik’s Cube, where each floor’s unique style can play out independently and in unexpected ways while remaining rooted to the others through the building’s concrete core. “It’s an attempt at the white cube defying its own boringness,” says Pompignoli. The result is a space that not only stretches vertically, but somehow also through all directions at once. The windows start at under nine feet tall on the first floor and expand to nearly three times this height by the top level. This plasticity creates a sense of mounting anticipation (perhaps a more fitting name here than their recent Parisian project) through not just expanding space but also ever-increasing light. Ascending the tower, the grassy abandon of the railway tracks is replaced by Milan’s receding skyscrapers to the north, which ultimately yield to the brilliant blue sky by the time you hit the restaurant on the sixth floor. Cool light washes over the kitsch interiors of the restaurant, featuring ceramic pieces by Lucio Fontana; it’s more bourgeois Italian Grandma than bleak white cube minimalism. “Like the Prada Foundation at large, the tower is a vertical sequence of surprises and challenges,” suggests Pompignioli. This sensation is magnified by the dynamic floorplan and orientation of the six floors of gallery space, which alternates the glass side from north to east on each floor while maintaining the same silhouette. As you linger in the galleries to take in the art–a sampling of Miuccia Prada’s contemporary collection, ranging from impaled cadillacs by Walter De Maria to Carsten Höller’s magic twirling mushrooms–each level of the tower feels like a new space, without requiring (or justifying) an explanation. Thankfully, OMA seems less than interested in revealing the logic behind their magic tricks of space and light, preferring, like the tower, to leave much up in the air. This motif plays out in another of the architect’s favorite spots: the “ghost” scissored staircase backlit with two-tone millennial pink fluorescence, and where a sheet of glass separates two sets of public and emergency stairs–one white, the other gray– that never meet. In addition to the vertical expansion, OMA’s surprises also lie in the details: like the bathrooms on the second and eighth floors. I start to protest about the cladding detail in the first-floor bathrooms, where individual mirrored stalls open into a trippy black and lime green gridded washroom that conceals the door leading to the toilets. His response is just about as close as you can get to a riddle without telling one: “It could be true that we should make the handles a bit more clear, but it is also true that if you find yourself in a toilet, somewhere there should be a door.” Ultimately, the tower is a space where the curious and the wanderers will be rewarded. In this sense, it is a decisive contrast to the standard operating logic of the white cube. There’s also plenty of moments for second glances–like the view from the staircase between the sixth and seventh floors, which gives a spectacular view down to the tower’s burly support beam that anchors into the rooftop of a century-old distillery warehouse–and for serendipitous encounter, like an apparent dead-end that leads into the second floor’s gallery space (where Jeff Koons’ bouquet of candy-colored steel tulips is presented like a reward). Above all, there’s a feeling of triumph that hits when you stumble out onto the restaurant terrace–out of breath and disoriented from the climb up the staircase–and you are rewarded with a panoramic view of Milan’s skyline. “The rooftop terrace is the last surprise of this tower,” explains Pompignioli. “For us, it’s another opportunity for public programming, a place to go that’s not necessarily linked to the art.” A closer look at the surface of terrace reveals the exact same type of brick used on to pave Prada Foundation’s outdoor campus some 60 meters below: a public space that can be accessed without buying a ticket to the exhibitions. With its own entrance directly from the street, the restaurant connects the Foundation to the rest of the city in unprecedented ways. “Here, we are inviting the city to see itself from an entirely new perspective.”
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Rock the Moat

Bjarke Ingels Group’s design for Washington Redskins Stadium features large moat

Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has released its design for a new stadium for the NFL’s Washington Redskins. The scheme offers a curvaceous, open-air seating bowl enveloped in a mesh-like skin—and surrounded by a moat.

A model of the stadium depicts it as a semi-transparent, wave-like structure that will also act as a performance venue for approximately 100,000 people. The general area will also become a recreational haven with parks and pedestrian bridges for tailgating fans.

“The one thing that everybody is…excited about is that the stadium is designed as much for the tailgating, as for the game itself,” Ingels said in a recent interview with 60 Minutes on CBS. “Tailgating literally becomes a picnic in a park. It can actually make the stadium a more lively destination throughout the year without ruining the turf for the football game,” he added.

The arena is designed to be used year-round. Images show people abseiling down from the arena and surfing on the moat. Meanwhile, during the winter, the moat doubles as a place for ice-skating and, as the renders imply, ice hockey too.

However, despite designs jumping from one recreation to the next, the exact location of the new stadium is currently unknown. That said, the Danish firm is considering sites in Prince George’s County, Maryland; Loudoun County, Virginia; and the District of Columbia. The team now plays at FedEx Field in Greater Landover, Maryland, but is headquartered in Ashburn, Virginia. 

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Pershing Square-Off

Here’s a First Look at the Finalists Vying to Redesign Downtown LA’s Pershing Square
Here’s the first look at the four final designs by Agence Ter and team, James Corner Field Operations with Fredrick Fischer and Partners, SWA and Morphosis, and wHY and Civitas for LA’s Pershing Square. Angelenos are being invited to comment on the finalists’ proposals over the next few weeks as Pershing Square Renew, a collection of designers, business leaders, and officials civic leaders, seeks to redevelop the centrally-located, five-acre square at the heart of Downtown LA. The teams of finalists hail from an original pool of ten groups that presented work to the nonprofit in October of 2015. That grouping was reduced to four teams in December, with those finalists' final submissions are now vying for the final selection, to be announced in May. The proposals are shown below and will be formally presented to the public at the Palace Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles on April 28th at a sold out event. See Pershing Square Renew’s website for updates on further public viewings.
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Populous unveils design for Minnesota United FC’s stadium

Major League Soccer’s newest expansion team, the Minnesota United FC, unveiled the first renderings of its planned 20,000-seat stadium. Designed by Kansas City–based stadium experts Populous, the field is expected to be complete by the start of the 2018 season in the Snelling-Midway neighborhood of St. Paul. The outdoor stadium will be enveloped in an LED-illuminated translucent PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) facade, which will act as a shade for the spectators.

Currently the proposed site, a parking lot for city buses, is not so fondly referred to as the “bus barn.” But the team believes the location, outside of downtown, can grow with the team and that the stadium can help give the area an identity all its own. Much to the praise of the public, the team plans to privately finance the entire $150 million budget, a departure from the economic model of most stadiums. Once completed the stadium will become publicly owned. Plans for the surrounding area have also been unveiled, including mixed-use retail, office, and residential developments. Completion is scheduled for 2018.

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wHY will design a new Gagosian Gallery in San Francisco across from SFMOMA
LA and San Francisco have always been in an arms race to see which city has more, or better, of everything. With the recent opening of LA's Broad Museum and next month's debut of the new SFMOMA, the stakes have never been higher. However, those proper art museums are facing competition for attention (and Instagram posts) from several major global art galleries setting up in the Golden State. Los Angeles recently debuted a new Annabelle Selldorf-designed Hauser & Wirth outpost in that city’s booming Arts District. Now, not to let their So-Cal brethren have all the glory, San Francisco is rolling out the welcome mat for Gagosian's recently-revealed gallery. Located in San Francisco’s downtown arts district, it will be designed by Kulapat Yantrasast, founder of LA and New York-based wHY The new gallery is an old brick building owned and occupied by Crown Point Press, a longtime neighborhood gallery that focuses on displaying printmaking and etchings. It's situated across the street from the soon-to-be-opened, Snohetta-designed expansion to Mario Botta’s original SFMOMA building. This new Gagosian certainly looks to fill a growing niche within Northern California’s wealthy, tech industry-driven, art-buying community. In reference to the decision to open this new gallery, Gagosian told the San Francisco Chronicle,“This makes sense with the new museum opening and with the emerging collector base in Silicon Valley.” According to renderings provided to A/N by Gagosian, the new 4,500 square-foot design is organized as a traditional white-walled gallery. It features nothing more than a line of structural columns, some lateral bracing, and a skylight interrupting the otherwise minimal space. The historic building’s facade is being left untouched, save for new signage displaying the gallery’s name over the building entrance. The new gallery's May 18 opening is timed to coincide with the debut of the new SFMOMA. The inaugural show will feature works on paper and sculpture by the likes of Cy Twombly, Richard Serra, and Pablo Picasso.
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New renderings revealed for Kava Massih Architects’ 472 unit, mixed-use development in L.A.’s new Arts District
There’s a fresh set of renderings for an under-construction, mixed-use development in the new and upcoming Arts District (AD) in downtown Los Angeles (or DTLA). L.A., like other west coast cities such as Portland, Oregon's Pearl District or Seattle's Georgetown is now converting defunct warehouses into galleries, exhibition areas, restaurants, and living spaces. In L.A., the 400,000-square-foot housing and retail development is set to include 472 units—studio, one, and two-bedroom loft and flat style apartments. "[T]he development has been in the works for a few years, but recent designs for the project drew criticism from locals, who deemed it monolithic and worried about its car-focused layout," reported Curbed Los Angeles. "In response, parking was reduced from 922 spots down to 744 and a public walking path (which appears to be featured in the renderings) was inserted to connect Third Street to Traction Avenue." There are seven apartment buildings, some five stories high, and others six stories, oriented around a courtyard featuring a dog park and swimming pool, among other amenities. A "social club" features a library, lounge, and stalactite chandelier to illuminate the double-height space. Upper story walkways will connect the buildings together. Of the 400,000 square feet, 22,000 square feet will become retail planned at ground level. Berkeley, C.A.–based Kava Massih Architects is designing the project with local L.A. interior design firm House of Honey. The project reportedly costs $215 million. Phase one completion (a little over half of the units) is slated for December 2017.