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Flying High Again

TWA Hotel opens in JFK Airport's Eero Saarinen–designed landmark
Airport hotels aren’t typically buildings to be praised. But one that’s attached to and helps revive a formerly untouchable, mid-century icon is automatically admirable. The new TWA Hotel is a seven-story split structure that humbly perches behind Eero Saarinen’s Jet Age landmark, the TWA Flight Center, at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport. Designed by Brooklyn-based firm Lubrano Ciavarra Architects, the glass-clad building features 512 rooms, a rooftop infinity pool, and a 10,000-square-foot observation deck that looks out over incoming international flights in Jamaica Bay. It’s these things and more that have allowed the revered terminal to reopen as the hotel’s lobby and reception after being closed to the public for over 18 years. Read the full story on our new interiors site aninteriormag.com.
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Bento Boxes & John Cage

Sister City brings unpretentious hospitality to New York's Lower East Side
"Distilled" is the operative word when describing the new Sister City hotel. The latest offering from the Ace Hotel empire, this new lodging takes on a sober and functional yet comfortable aesthetic that harkens back to simpler times; a welcomed respite from the hustle and bustle of the gritty Lower East Side neighborhood that surrounds it. Though the design of this new boutique hotel draws inspiration from as varied a source as Finnish saunas, Japanese bento boxes, prehistoric rock-cut cliff dwellings, and deconstructivist musician John Cage's seminal and silent 4'33" composition, Sister City's use of lattice-wood wall structures, planes, and build-it furniture pulls it all together. Sharp terrazzo, geometric tile, indoor plants, and white-wall accents make for a striking mise-en-scene. For the full story, head over to our new interiors site, aninteriormag.com.
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IN PLAIN SIGHT

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners cloaks spy museum in pleated "veil"
The International Spy Museum opened its doors to the public on Sunday, May 12, for the first time since closing its original location last January. The new facility, a not-so-inconspicuous design by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP), is located at L’Enfant Plaza in Washington, D.C., between the National Mall and the Southwest Waterfront. As the country’s only freestanding museum “solely dedicated to the tradecraft, history and contemporary role of espionage,” and RSHP’s first cultural building in the United States, the project had few precedents to follow. Instead, the architects blended their usual display of sophisticated engineering with tongue-in-cheek references to espionage and intrigue. The majority of the program, including 35,000 square feet of exhibition space and a 150-seat theater, is concealed within the “black box,” a slightly sinister-looking building clad in corrugated metal. Suspended in front the box is the "veil," a 60-foot-tall, pleated glass curtain wall that encloses the lobby and public circulation. The black box cantilevers past this veil dramatically on one side, bringing to mind the trope of the spy peeking out from behind a newspaper to surveil the world around him. The fritted-glass-and-perforated-metal structure was designed to “hide in plain sight,” explained the architects. It reveals just enough of its internal activity to pique the public’s curiosity, enticing crowds from the Mall to come snooping. Their hope is that the museum will play a vital role in the revitalization of L’Enfant Plaza and, in turn, the surrounding waterfront. “It has been an absolute delight to have been involved in the design of the International Spy Museum,” said Senior Design Partner Ivan Harbour. “It is a building for the future that will bring its neighborhood to life; a celebration not only of the long-standing human activity that it showcases but also of the city around it. A landmark for 21st-century D.C.”
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The Center of May

Leong Leong and KFA finish new campus for the Los Angeles LGBT Center
Leong Leong and Killefer Flammang Architects (KFA) have finished the first phase Anita May Rosenstein Campus, a series of spaces for the Los Angeles LGBT Center. The 72,000-square-foot project in Hollywood, California, occupies nearly a full block and will house a variety of social services for LGBT youth, seniors, and general community. The three-story buildings are an aggregation of white and glass blocks irregularly stacked and carved by swooping curves. Anamorphic projections were used to create oval patterns in the fritted glass surfaces that appear as circles from certain vantage points in the area. Picking up on local Southern California building traditions, a series of courtyards and covered walkways open up the structures and bring the outside in. The new campus includes a youth center, a senior center, events spaces, 100 beds for homeless youth, the Ariadne Getty Foundation Youth Academy, retail and administrative spaces, along with an observation deck looking toward the Hollywood sign.
“The Center’s leaders gave KFA and Leong Leong a clear vision: that the design of the new Anita May Rosenstein Campus must reflect the boldness, optimism, and absolute certainty of the Center’s mission to care for, champion, and celebrate LGBT individuals and families,” said KFA Partner Barbara Flammang, AIA, in a statement. Dominic Leong, AIA, founding partner of Leong Leong said in a statement: “It is a symbol and an intersectional platform for social progress forged by the Los Angeles LGBT Center and comes at a moment when this progress must be relentlessly supported and sustained."
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Column Couture

OMA reorients the Sotheby’s New York headquarters towards the public
The renovation, reorganization, and revitalization of the Sotheby’s New York headquarters is complete, and the public is welcome to wander the newly expanded exhibition space. Instead of moving the Sotheby’s headquarters as originally planned, the OMA team (and executive architect Beyer Blinder Belle), led by Shohei Shigematsu, expanded the public galleries in the auction house’s York Street location in Manhattan from 67,000 square feet to 90,000 square feet. That meant shifting and condensing all of the public programming to the building’s first four stories, and reorienting many of the floors towards a public, museum-like experience. Works of every scale can be found throughout, and the 40 public galleries vary in size to accommodate them. The most noticeable additions are the three two-story galleries, which provide Sotheby’s with enough space to display the largest pieces of art. Concrete columns have been left exposed throughout the headquarters, and combined with the polished concrete floors, and exposed HVAC system, reference the building’s industrial past. All of these flourishes are used to accentuate sightlines and, in the ground floor’s lobby gallery, frame massive paintings and sculptures. To bring the New York Sotheby’s location in line with the auction house’s Paris and London locations, stained walnut woodwork has been used to clad the entrance portals. The renovation covers 20 different gallery typologies, from the 150-foot-long Grand Gallery, to a smaller Octagon Gallery for displaying jewelry and watches, to the Enfilade Galleries, which are punched through by a hallway. The public exhibitions, which opened May 3, highlight Impressionist & Modern and Contemporary Art through May 14, putting works from Picasso, Monet, Rothko, and more on display. Apart from the gallery renovations, visitors to 1334 York Avenue can also enjoy a new haute Sant Ambroeus Coffee Bar on the ground floor, next to the Sotheby’s wine store, in the summer.
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Costume Institute

Assemble converts New Orleans garage into experimental fashion school
The London-based architecture collective Assemble has converted a former car repair shop in New Orleans into a fashion manufacturing hub that offers free education and training for local youth. Dubbed Material Lab, the school is part of an experimental art school founded by the Tasmania-based Museum of New and Old Art (MONA), which also includes a music recording studio and a cooperative garden located nearby. In New Orleans, Assemble, a multidisciplinary studio known for its civic-minded interventions on abandoned structures and in disenfranchised areas, created a space that nods to the ruin. The first floor of the industrial garage was adapted into two large work and production spaces that are finished simply with coats of white paint and exposed concrete floors. One of the most visually striking elements of the building are the doorways and windows that appear to be punched through the walls, complete with jagged brick outlines. Some of these openings frame small plots of vegetation growing inside the building envelope, which are held behind large panes of clear glass. Bright coats of orange and mint green paint highlight structural beams and ceilings, with the orange hue reappearing in the chairs and rolling racks for clothes and textiles. Much of the furniture was designed and put together onsite by Assemble. Material Lab melds the rich culture of costuming, craft, and fashion in New Orleans with the progressive pedagogy of schools like Black Mountain College, a radically run arts college in North Carolina. The lab offers space, professional guidance, and manufacturing equipment for the production of clothing and textile design to youth ages 14 to 30, with the goal of offering a venue for both creative expression and fostering economic independence. With a focus on hands-on learning, the pilot curriculum included textile printing, embellishment, pattern cutting, draping, and clothing design, and the new building is well-equipped with industrial sewing machines, a large dye sublimation printer, a weaving loom, a heat press, other dye equipment, computers, dress forms, and the like. The first pilot session of the school culminated in a December show. Judging by images from the event, the raw and unfinished aesthetic of the space serves the energy of the emerging and experimental designers well. Assemble began working with the school in 2016 at the invitation of MONA and ran the 2018 pilot, which continued through the summer of 2019. It worked with local legends like master beader Big Chief Demond Melancon of the Young Seminole Hunters as well as international fashion stars like Virgil Abloh, the artistic director of Louis Vuitton's men's wear, along with other fashion designers and textile artists. After the pilot, the school is now gearing up to run on a permanent basis.
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Into the Wildernesse

Morris+Company designs a timber vaulted restaurant in southeastern England
British architecture studio Morris+Company has designed Wildernesse, a timber-vaulted restaurant in Sevenoaks in the southeast of England. The restaurant boasts a metal skin that features a series of arches—a nod to the adjacent landmarked Dorton House, also known as Wildernesse, which dates back to 1669. The restaurant is part of a wider development serving the public with eight new mews houses containing 53 apartments set within five free-standing villas. Grade levels differ across the site and so a plinth clad in ragstone was created to bring the restaurant up to ground level and connect it to the house, the rest of the site, and the new coterie of housing, as well as to nestle the building into an area steeped in history. "It needed to be simple, sensitive to the historic context, and act as a focal point within the landscape that you can look out from," Harriet Saddington, associate at Morris+Company and project architect, told The Architect's Newspaper. This approach has resulted in a relatively simple structure that manages to achieve a lot on a tight budget ($2.5 million, much of which was dedicated to a basement to house plants for the Wildernesse estate). To keep costs down, the building made use of off-site construction and repeating elements. Previously on site was a 19th-century glass conservatory. The architects wanted to bring the pavilion typology back to the area and create a modern take with a perforated metal–skinned glass house. "Unlike many sterile air-conditioned restaurants we wanted to use natural ventilation," added Saddington. In addition to the perforated facade elements, operable panels negate the necessity for air conditioning. The delicate skin, meanwhile, contrasts with the restaurant's interior where unfinished timber has been used extensively to create a warm, tactile environment. A structural timber frame, composed of spruce glulam and CLT has been used, but more notably, an array of timber vaults define the facade's glazing elements. Covered in birch-faced ply, the vaults are arranged in a grid formation measuring 13 feet square, mimicking the archways of the exterior. The archway motif continues at a smaller scale too, with fluted timber lining employed on interior walls, in patterned floor tiles, and in applied machined timber moldings and beads. Despite this, Saddington stressed the detailing on the project was minimal—a decision taken to make the restaurant all about views onto the rolling landscape it looks out onto.
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Spring Awakening

A twisting treehouse by modus studio blooms above the forest floor
Following a soft opening last June, Modus Studio’s hovering Tree House has been captured amid its fully-installed landscape in the firm’s native Arkansas. Tree House sits above the Garvan Woodland Gardens, a 210-acre botanical garden owned by the University of Arkansas—frequent Modus collaborators. Rather than sitting at the base of the oak and pine trees found in the Evans Children’s Adventure Garden, Tree House has been elevated to the top of the forest, allowing for expansive views of the canopy. The L-shaped treehouse snakes through the trees, ballooning from a child-sized opening at one end to a two-story observation area, capped with a steel screen, fabricated in-house by Modus, that mimics leaflike capillaries. Other than its biomorphic shape, the treehouse is strongly defined by its central steel spine and 113 timber ribs, which were sourced from local Southern Yellow Pine. The fins simultaneously allow the elements to pass through the treehouse while potentially obscuring the forest and adding a sense of mystery for the occupants. The first of three planned treehouses, the structure was envisioned as a refuge for children to explore the outdoors while learning about nature. Everything from the infrastructure, to the programming, to the intricate finishes, reference dendrology, the study of trees. Visitors can access the treehouse either from an elevated trail or directly from a staircase at the forest’s floor. The Fayetteville-based modus, an Emerging Voices 2018 winner, cited its deep ties to Arkansas’s rural landscape in designing Tree House and were directly involved in every step of the project's process.
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Green Screen

SHoP’s Pier 35 folds industrial materials into an East River habitat
Pier 35, the latest addition to Manhattan’s waterfront and yet another nod to the industrial heritage of the city’s waterways, is now open to the public just in time for spring. SHoP Architects, together with landscape architecture studio Ken Smith Workshop, have dropped a folded, zigzagging landscape intervention on the eastern edge of Lower Manhattan, in the shadow of the Manhattan Bridge. The pier-park’s most striking feature is the 35-foot-tall, 300-foot-long metal screen that both backdrops the park’s landscape as well as hides the Sanitation Department shed at the adjacent Pier 36. As the screen moves eastward and approaches the water’s edge, it rises on weathered Cor-ten steel panels, ultimately bending to create a raised and covered “porch,” complete with swings. A wavey esplanade runs alongside the landscaped lawns and a series of artificial dunes up to the porch, mirroring the sinuous curves of the screen. The underpass of FDR Drive connects with the pier at “Mussel Beach,” a micro-habitat that SHoP and Ken Smith designed in collaboration with ecologist Ron Alaveras. The urban “beach” seeks to recreate the historic conditions of the East River and foster mussel growth, similar to the work being done by the Billion Oyster Project. The 65-foot-long beach’s precast slopes and outcroppings are exposed and submerged as the East River rises and falls, mirroring the tidal conditions that mussels require “in the wild.” Mussel Beach was made possible through a grant from the New York Department of State’s Division of Coastal Resources, as it’s a prototypical environment that, if successful, could be replicated elsewhere. Although Pier 35 was launched with a soft opening in mid-December, the canopy and plants have sprung up just in time for Earth Day 2019.
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Where There's a Willis

Hank Willis Thomas creates 25-foot-tall Afro pick for 5th Avenue
A new 25-foot-tall statue of an Afro pick now stands outside The Africa Center in East Harlem, New York. All Power to All People, created by conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas, was erected last Friday in its temporary location on 5th Avenue. Designed in collaboration with the Kindred Arts cultural equity initiative, the steel sculpture is intended to honor and celebrate cultural identities of the African diaspora. Thomas worked with fabricator Jeff Schomberg to imagine the larger-than-life Afro pick, which sits at an angle on a black podium and features a handle in the outline of a clenched fist. The design is an iteration of Thomas's 2017 sculpture made with Monument Lab in Philadelphia for Thomas Paine Plaza. In connection with the Afro pick’s distinct cultural and political identity, the piece symbolizes the strength, comradery, and perseverance of the African-American community, as well as the ongoing pursuit for equal rights, justice, and belonging.  Marsha Reid, executive director of Kindred Arts and producer of the project, noted the important location of the installation. “Representation matters,” she said, “and this monumental art is placed here at The Africa Center in the heart of the community, with the purpose of inspiring conversation and facilitating a space where communities might affirm cultural citizenship and freely express identity.” All Power to All People will be on display through July 7, 2019, in the public plaza outside The Africa Center at 1280 Fifth Avenue in New York City. A slew of public programs will coincide with the monumental installation. For more information, visit The Africa Center’s website.
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Literal Jewel-Box

Safdie Architects completes world's largest indoor waterfall
After six years, the first phase of Safdie Architects’ monumental Jewel Changi Airport in Singapore will open to the public on April 17. That not only includes an indoor “rain forest” with walking trails, but also the world’s largest indoor waterfall. The 1.4-million-square-foot doughnut-shaped building is a greenhouse ensconced within a steel diagrid frame engineered by BuroHappold. The five-story toroid stretches another five levels underground as well and is designed to connect the Changi Airport’s terminals 1, 2, and 3, and to public transit. Jewel was conceived of as an amenity hub for the airport and contains over 280 retail stores, galleries, and restaurants, a 130-room hotel, and operations space for the airport, including a lounge and check-in area. To mitigate the noise from the aircraft taking off around it, the triangular window sections were installed with a .6-inch-thick air gap between the two glass panes. Jewel's crowning feature is its seven-story indoor waterfall, the “Rain Vortex,” which dramatically pours down from a central oculus and into a circular catch below. The waterfall is, appropriately enough, fed by water collected during Singapore’s constant thunderstorms, and the recirculated rainwater diffuses throughout the Jewel to passively cool the interior. All of that humidity also helps maintain the thousands of plants, including 2,000 trees, found within. Other than the Forest Valley, which includes terraced vegetation and “forest walks” around the waterfall, the 150,000-square-foot Canopy Park on the fifth floor further enhances then garden feel. Glass bottomed bridges, topiary mazes, sky nets (suspended net paths), mirrored “discovery slides” that will open on June 10, and a gathering space for up to 1,000 guests can all be found on the Jewel’s top floor. Such an enormous undertaking was a collaborative effort, and Safdie led a multidisciplinary group of designers and engineers. Atelier Ten was responsible for the building’s climate control systems; Singapore’s RSP Architects Planners & Engineers was the project’s executive architect; the Berkeley, California-based Peter Walker and Partners was responsible for the landscape design and plant selection; and Los Angeles’s WET engineered the Rain Vortex and developed a 360-degree light and sound show to play against the waterfall at night.
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The High Road

Trail wends through the tree canopy in Michigan's Dow Gardens
In central Michigan, a new walkway is snaking its way through a forest canopy. The elevated trail was designed by Philadelphia-based firm Metcalfe for the Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens, a historic public garden established by Herbert H. Dow, the founder of Dow Chemical, in 1899. The 1,400-foot-long catwalk snakes through the canopy 40 feet above the floor of the 54-acre forest. At various points, trail's solid floor turns into mesh netting that visitors can sit on, floating among the tree trunks. Structures built along the trail create other spaces for reflection and observation to complement other structures on the site, including a playground, visitors' center, café, and educational spaces.