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Athens of the Prairie

Columbus, Indiana…Don’t call it a comeback
Columbus, Indiana, is known for its legacy of midcentury, late modern, and postmodern architecture, most of which was commissioned by industrialist J.I. Miller and his pals in the 1950s, 60s , and 70s. While it is true that Miller is a “Midwest Medici” and  hugely influential on the town’s success, it is best to understand the town’s design legacy not as a series of architectural “gems” that mark the passage of time like a museum—eight National Historical Landmarks and a collection of over 50 notable works by important architects—but rather as the embodiment of a living system of socio-political values that have come to define the town. It is often said that all political systems are most successful at a small scale: Their progress is most palpable and their systems less corruptible. In Columbus, this can be seen in the town’s almost-impeccable history of public-private partnerships, where a group of leading businesspeople and community leaders realized what could be seen as the American industrial capitalist dream—and along with it—at least a part of the modernist architectural project. Recently, a group of patrons (who of course know Miller and his legacy) and world-class arts administrators have come together to continue this tradition of design and community. This exhibition, called Exhibit Columbus, is a town-wide festival of design, including five large-scale architectural installations by winners of the inaugural “J. Irwin and Xenia Miller Prize;” a series of small design interventions along the main downtown commercial corridor; and several pavilions designed by local universities and high school students. This could be read as another “biennial,” or “Design Week” alongside the growing list: Seoul, Venice, Oslo, Chicago, Lisbon, Vienna, Eindhoven, Ljubljana, New York, London, Miami, Mexico City, Shenzhen, Beijing, Stockholm, and Milan. However, the first biannual Exhibit Columbus proved to be something different. For starters, the original name “Columbus Design Biennale” was abandoned because, according to Director of Landmark Columbus Richard McCoy, "we wanted to put Columbus’s history on display rather than explore the current trends in design." This perfectly demonstrates how the primary focus of the event is not on engaging global discourse, but continuing and re-aestheticizing the design culture of the place by connecting the residents of the town. This might prove to be the best lesson from Exhibit Columbus: How to engage with the heritage of a place while pushing forward cutting-edge design. In this context, the word “continuing” is particularly important here, as it would be easy to look at this as a “revival” or a “renaissance,” where the legacy of Mr. Miller is exhumed from the grave by a new generation of design-minded leaders. However, the truth is that this mentality never really left, it has been influencing the town quietly ever since the first notable building was built. Columbus is an exception. It has a thriving economy with the highest percentage of its output as foreign exports, as much as 50 percent, according to the Washington Post. It has not seen the Rust Belt-ification of many of its neighboring towns, because local Fortune 200 company Cummins Inc., an engine manufacturer, has somehow managed to remain an industrial giant in the American Midwest and abroad. (It is said that Mr. Miller was the first American to go to China when it opened up trade with the west.) Because the town never descended into a post-industrial dystopia, strong ties to the community and the spirit of collaboration and design excellence also never went away. The underlying phenomena of “The Columbus Way,” a community-based collaborative spirit, was always there—there was never a lack of leadership in the town, or a strong sense of community. It just needed to be re-aestheticized. This idea of continuation is best seen in one of the Miller Prize installations. Oyler Wu’s Exchange is sited at the Irwin Conference Center, which is currently owned by Cummins and used for corporate hospitality, but was originally completed in 1954 by Eero Saarinen and Associates as a flagship branch of the Irwin Union Bank and Trust. The one-story banking hall pointed toward a new type of modernist space unbound by walls and conventional banking architecture, such as cages for the tellers. Instead the new open-planned bank was bound by glass walls. It would be easy to stop here and draw a connection between the white, contemporary forms of the 2017 installation—digital fabrication aesthetics made in L.A. and assembled onsite in Columbus—and the glassy Saarinen bank building, and read it as a sort of new language for Columbus: Less midcentury modern and more digital tectonics as a metaphor for a small Midwestern hamlet turned globalized 21st century networked town. However, there is more to the story than that. In fact, the entire site is less about Saarinen than about a series of urban encounters and transactions that have left that plaza the perfect place to manifest and aestheticize the continuation of the community spirit of Columbus. Oyler Wu chose to build its pavilion around a series of three decommissioned drive-thru bank teller canopies, citing the legacy of Saarinen and “Euclidean geometries, solid-void relationships, and tectonics.” However, these canopies were not designed by Eero Saarinen, but rather by local architect Frank Adams in the 1980s. In fact, when the bank was completed in 1954, the site next to it was still Harrison Motors, an auto dealership. Later, as part of a 1966 Dan Kiley–led landscape extension, three manned teller booths were added in the adjacent lot after it was purchased from the car dealership. It wasn’t until 1973 that a three-story office building was completed by Saarinen’s protégé Kevin Roche of Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates. In the 1980s, the teller booths became pneumatic drive-up stations and the Adams canopies were added. A later renovation was completed by Columbus architect Todd Williams. Considering this more complicated history of the site, it makes the most recent addition to the site, the Oyler Wu pavilion, even more poignant. It is not just Oyler Wu and Saarinen in a clean past-present relationship. It is a literal and figural continuation of myriad complex issues and histories in the town. It—and Exhibit Columbus—is an extension and re-aestheticization of something that never left. The canopies, walls, and benches of The Exchange almost grow organically out of the existing structures, continuing the evolution of the site from an autoyard to a car dealership to a bank to a conference center and then finally to a small urban parklet. Not only does the form continue to complete the implied volumes of the canopies, but it updates the use of said structures into a viable place for urban respite along a main pedestrian thoroughfare. It is certainly a new aesthetic for Columbus, as Oyler Wu’s style comes through in the welded steel forms that mingle with CNC bent steel tubing. Transparent volumes capture space that is suspended in the air, allowing us to see what was already there, but in a new frame—like Exhibit Columbus itself. So what is the impact of Exhibit Columbus and its continuation? For the locals, it is about education and a re-engagement with the design heritage and legacy. But the exhibition can't escape being relevant globally, and it has much to offer as a living, urban laboratory. If we look to some of the more forward-looking design events: The 2017 Shenzhen Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture and its examination of the urban villages in the hyper-local yet hyper-global context of Shenzhen, The Istanbul Design Biennial 2018 and its questioning of the biennial as a site of education, and the Open Design School at Matera European Capital of Culture 2019, where the curators will try to start an academy that they hope will harness the after-effects of a global cultural event in order to invigorate one of the poorest regions of Europe. Some may not want to admit it, but Columbus is now back in its rightful place in discussion with these large global cities, as it has been historically for both design and business reasons. Today, Exhibit Columbus shares DNA with all of the aforementioned projects. How does it uniquely engage with the local community? What will be its immediate and long-term impact on the community, the economy, and the students of the town? What can we learn from Columbus’s attitude about design and community? What new forms of knowledge might arise, or what new forms of design can come from such an important and rich context? What are the new challenges Columbus faces as its demographics change and what opportunities are there to incorporate these new identities into the heritage of the place? Exhibit Columbus is positioned to be a unique voice among many voices in the cultural events sector. Based on the reactions from the community at the opening, and the sustained efforts of McCoy and his team over the duration of the exhibit, it has revived the design heritage of Columbus. “There was a hum that emerged from the exhibition,” Columbus resident Mary Harmon told AN, “What I have really loved is that there was something for all ages, interests ..........ranging from tots to the elderly and those with a knowledge, curiosity and fondness for art and architecture to those who could care less, but felt happier just walking by and seeing the people out and about.” Of course, it can still be improved upon, and it will be a site to watch for those interested in how cultural production can interface with a local community, and even become an integral part of it and its mission to make a place better through architecture and design. Thanks to Will Miller and Enrique Ramirez for their editorial support on this essay.
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Room with a view

Los Angeles approves massive two-tower City Center development
Steinberg Architects, Gensler, and developer Shenzhen Hazens Real Estate Group have released a new batch of renderings depicting a slew of design changes for their $700 million L.A. City Center project, a two-tower luxury development planned for Downtown Los Angeles that was recently approved by L.A.’s City Planning Commission. The new renderings depict the latest iteration of a continually-changing project that has morphed from a three-tower complex into one containing only two spires. Previous schemes showed a collection of 32-, 34-, and 38-story towers clustered over an eight-story parking podium. The new images depict a pair of towers, one 29 stories tall, the other rising 49 floors. The 29-story tower, which sits on the southern corner of the site, will contain a 300-key hotel operated by W Hotels and will be designed by Gensler. The 49-story edifice, designed by Steinberg, will contain 435 condominium units. The scheme has also jettisoned the parking podium connecting the towers. Parking will now be located underground and a shorter podium structure filled with hotel public amenities, commercial spaces, and a hotel spa will ground the towers instead. Like several other developments in the quickly-changing area, the L.A. City Center’s base will be wrapped with massive LED displays. Both towers have grown significantly more conservative in their massing and articulation throughout the design review process. Gone are the towers’ soaring pitched roofs, angled articulated massing, and vertically-oriented patterning. Instead, the towers now feature minimally-broken curtain wall facades, vertically-oriented setbacks, and expressed floorplates. AHBE Landscape Architects is designing the project’s open spaces along the parking podium and at street level, as well as each of the tower’s rooftop amenity deck areas. The complex will contain 5,000 square feet of retail functions along the ground level organized along a public shopping plaza fronting Figueroa Street. When compared with previous iterations of the project, the plaza space appears to have been enlarged and deepened, with less LED screen coverage than previously designed. The plaza’s central area will be dotted with trees that extend along the sidewalk in paired sets. According to Urbanize.LA, the first phase of the multi-phase project will construct the hotel tower, with the residential component following after an existing hotel structure on the site is cleared. The complex will add to the ever-growing set of construction cranes in the area. Construction crews are currently wrapping up work on the Harley Ellis Devereaux-designed Circa Towers located nearby and partway through construction on the Oceanwide Center complex by Gensler. A final timeline for the L.A. City Center project has not been announced.
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Instagram Eavesdrop

From Hudson Yards to Chengdu, China: Where top architects were this week
At The Architect's Newspaper, we're plain addicted to Instagram. Sure, we love seeing Brutalist concrete through "Inkwell" or "Ludwig" filters, but there's also no better place to see where architects are getting their inspiration, how they're documenting the built environment, and where they've traveled of late. Below, we bring you some of the best Instagrams of this past week! (Also, don't forget to check out our Instagram account here.) Anne Fougeron of San Francisco–based Fougeron Architects was in Lisbon, Portugal, and she enjoyed the shade underneath London-based AL_A’s Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT).

#Lisbon #MAAT #museum #whitetiles

A post shared by Anne Fougeron (@fougeronarch) on

The ever-on-the-move Iwan Baan stopped by Dia:Beacon and snapped this glowing pic of Dan Flavin's Untitled (to you, Heiner, with admiration and affection).

#danflavin #fence at #diabeacon @diaartfoundation

A post shared by Iwan Baan (@iwanbaan) on

International firm Snøhetta showcased its Snøhetta: Relations installation in Innsbruck, Austria; the angular landscape has served as everything from theatrical stage to gathering place.
We couldn't resist: here's some feline Instagram love from Amsterdam-based UNStudio
L.A.-based Oyler Wu Collaborative teased its next project, a large steel structure that will soon be powder coated.
New York–based Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) posted this update of the firm's 55 Hudson Yards, which will eventually rise 780 feet and feature several outdoor terraces.
Last but not least, also New York–based Steven Holl Architects furnished these fresh photos from its Sliced Porosity Block - Raffles City Chengdu project.
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Land Of Illusion

T+E+A+M tapped to design this year’s Ragdale Ring outdoor theater

For the past four years, Ragdale, an artist residency in Chicago’s North Shore, has asked young architects to reimagine a historic garden stage that was once a focal point of its property. In these short years, the Ragdale Ring competition, and the accompanying Adrian Smith Prize, have proven to be architecturally adventurous, and often playfully eccentric.

This year’s iteration will be built by the Ann Arbor, Michigan–based T+E+A+M, a collaboration among young designers Thom Moran, Ellie Abrons, Adam Fure, and Meredith Miller. Their proposal, entitled LIVING PICTURE, superimposes images of the original 1912 Ragdale Ring onto a set of lightweight objects spread throughout the grounds. The scene of the original ring will be an immersive, if not surreal, space for the audience to become part of the theatrical setting. The varied scale of the objects also allows for the audience to position itself in relation to the stage, either sitting on or standing among the installation. The shapes, which make up the stage itself, will blend historic imagery with the lush surroundings of the property.

While the imagery on the installation will mostly be seen as disparate yet related images, audience members approaching from the Ragdale House will see the entire original Ring snap into view. Watching from the other approaches, viewers will discover the scene as a series of separate vignettes of the original.

“At the beginning of this year we suspended our individual practices and committed fully to T+E+A+M, but the fact that the four of us have practiced individually is one of the unique strengths of our collaboration,” Fure explained. “Each of us has different audiences through our previous work’s engagement with conversations inside and outside the discipline.

The objects will range in form, making up seating areas and platforms for performances. Arranged in seven clusters, most of the objects will also be hollow to provide storage. Their arrangement centralizes the audience while providing masked areas where performers can enter from stage-side.

The project will be built in late May, to be ready for four performances starting in mid-July. T+E+A+M, along with a group of workers, will live at Ragdale for 18 days to build the installation. The Adrian Smith Prize, sponsored by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, provides $15,000 for the construction.

The members of T+E+A+M are not strangers to exhibition and installation building. Between the four members, their work has been shown in multiple Venice biennales and at the Beijing International Art Biennale, the Shenzhen and Hong Kong Biennale, the Storefront for Art and Architecture, and the Graham Foundation, to name just a few.

T+E+A+M will join the ranks of past Ragdale Ring designers SPORTS Collaborative, Bittertang, Design With Company, and Stephen Dietrich Lee. Last year’s iteration by SPORTS, entitled Rounds, won The Architect’s Newspaper’s 2016 Best of Design Award for Temporary Installation.

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1,965 feet

Shenzhen’s Ping An Finance Center crowned World’s 4th Tallest Building
This article was originally published on ArchDaily as "CTBUH Crowns Ping An Finance Center as World's 4th Tallest Building."

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has announced the completion of the Ping An Finance Center in Shenzhen, China, according to CTBUH tall building criteria. At 599 meters (1,965 feet), it is now officially the second tallest building in China and the fourth tallest in the world, behind only the Burj Khalifa, Shanghai Tower and Makkah Royal Clock Tower.

Designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF), the Ping An Finance Center is located in the heart of Shenzhen’s Fuitan District. The building contains over 100 floors of office space located above a large public podium, with a multi-story atrium providing retail, restaurants, and transit options to the city and greater Pearl River delta region. The CTBUH describes the form of the tower as a “taught steel cable, outstretched by the sky and the ground at once. At the top of the tower, the façade tapers to form a pyramid, giving the tower a prismatic aesthetic.” The form is further emphasized by eight composite “megacolumns” along the building envelope that streamline the building for improved structural and wind performance, reducing baseline wind loads by 35 percent.

The facade of the building is one the project most innovative features; its use of 1,700 tons of 316L stainless steel makes the envelope the largest stainless steel facade system in the world. The specific material was chosen for its corrosion-resistance, which will allow the building to maintain its appearance for decades even in the city’s salty coastal atmosphere.

Read more about the project here. News via CTBUH. Written by Patrick Lynch. Want more from ArchDaily? Like their Facebook page here. Archdaily_Collab_1
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Back to the Future

Chicago Architecture Biennial announces 2017 participants
The Chicago Architecture Biennial has announced its 2017 list of participants. Artistic directors Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee of Los Angeles-based firm Johnston Marklee selected the 100 firms to present their work at the second Biennial from September 16th, 2017, through January 7th, 2018. This year’s Biennial, titled "Make New History," will take a decidedly historical look at architecture. The show hopes to address the persistent "insistence on creating works that are unprecedented and unrelated to architectures of the past." The participating architects represent a generation which has a renewed interest in historic precedents, while still being interested in progressive architecture. "This year’s list of participants was carefully chosen to showcase the future of architecture and design rooted in history," said Todd Palmer, Executive Director of the Chicago Architecture Biennial. “Through presenting a variety of work, we aim to give visitors of all kinds, from leaders across the global architecture community to the interested traveler, an in-depth look at architecture as we know it today, and the chance to be inspired by how architecture is making new history in cities around the world.” The following participants will present work at the Chicago Cultural Center, as well as sites across the city. 51N4E (Brussels, Belgium; Tirana, Albania) 6A Architects (London, UK) Ábalos+Sentkiewicz (Madrid, Spain; Cambridge, USA; Shanghai, China) Adamo-Faiden (Buenos Aires, Argentina) AGENdA agencia de arquitectura (Medellin, Colombia) Aires Mateus (Lisbon, Portugal) Ana Prvački and SO-IL (Los Angeles, USA; New York, USA) Andrew Kovacs (Los Angeles, USA) Angela Deuber Architect (Chur, Switzerland) Ania Jaworska (Chicago, USA) Aranda\Lasch and Terrol Dew Johnson (New York, USA; Tucson, USA) Archi-Union (Shanghai, China) Architecten de Vylder Vinck Taillieu (Ghent, Belgium) Arno Brandlhuber and Christopher Roth (Berlin, Germany) Atelier Manferdini (Venice, USA) AWP office for territorial reconfiguration (Paris, France; London, UK) Bak Gordon Arquitectos (Lisbon, Portugal) Barbas Lopes (Lisbon, Portugal) Barkow Leibinger (Berlin, Germany) baukuh (Milan, Italy) Besler & Sons LLC (Los Angeles, USA) BLESS (Berlin, Germany) BUREAU SPECTACULAR (Los Angeles, USA) Caruso St John (London, UK) Charlap Hyman & Herrero (Los Angeles, USA; New York, USA) Charles Waldheim (Cambridge, USA) Christ & Gantenbein (Basel, Switzerland) Daniel Everett (Chicago, USA; Salt Lake City, USA) David Schalliol (Chicago, USA) Dellekamp Arquitectos (Mexico City, Mexico) Design With Company (Chicago, USA) Diego Arraigada Arquitectos (Rosario, Argentina) DOGMA (Brussels, Belgium) DRDH (London, UK) ENSAMBLE STUDIO (Madrid, Spain; Boston, USA) Éric Lapierre Architecture (Paris, France) Estudio Barozzi Veiga (Barcelona, Spain) fala atelier (Porto, Portugal) Filip Dujardin (Ghent, Belgium) Fiona Connor and Erin Besler (Los Angeles, USA; Auckland, New Zealand) First Office (Los Angeles, USA) formlessfinder (New York, USA) Frida Escobedo (Mexico City, Mexico) Gerard and Kelly (Los Angeles, USA; New York, USA) Go Hasegawa (Tokyo, Japan) HHF Architects (Basel, Switzerland) Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle (Chicago, USA) J. MAYER H. und Partner, Architekten and Philip Ursprung (Berlin, Germany) James Welling (New York, USA) Jesús Vassallo (Houston, USA) Jorge Otero-Pailos (New York, USA) June14 Meyer-Grohbrügge & Chermayeff (New York, USA; Berlin, Germany) Karamuk * Kuo Architects (New York, USA; Zurich, Switzerland) Keith Krumwiede (New York, USA) Kéré Architecture (Berlin, Germany) Kuehn Malvezzi (Berlin, Germany) Luisa Lambri (Milan, Italy) Lütjens Padmanabhan Architekten (Zurich, Switzerland) Made In (Geneva, Switzerland; Zurich, Switzerland) MAIO (Barcelona, Spain) Marianne Mueller (Zurich, Switzerland) Marshall Brown (Chicago, USA) MG&Co. (Houston, USA) MONADNOCK (Rotterdam, The Netherlands) MOS (New York, USA) Norman Kelley (Chicago, USA; New York, USA) Nuno brandåo costa arquitectos Ida (Porto, Portugal) OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen (Brussels, Belgium) PASCAL FLAMMER (Zurich, Switzerland) Patrick Braouezec (Paris, France) Paul Andersen and Paul Preissner (Chicago, USA; Denver, USA) Pezo Von Ellrichshausen (Concepción, Chile) Philipp Schaerer (Zurich, Switzerland) PRODUCTORA (Mexico City, Mexico) REAL Foundation (London, UK) Robert Somol (Chicago, USA) SADAR+VUGA (Ljubljana, Slovenia) Sam Jacob Studio (London, UK) SAMI-arquitectos (Setubal, Portugal) SANAA (Tokyo, Japan) Sauter von Moos (Basel, Switzerland) Sergison Bates (London, UK; Zurich, Switzerland) Serie Architects (London, UK; Zurich, Switzerland) SHINGO MASUDA+KATSUHISA OTSUBO Architects (Tokyo, Japan) Stan Allen Architect (New York, USA) Studio Anne Holtrop (Muharraq, Bahrain; Amsterdam, The Netherlands) Studiomumbai (Mumbai, India) Sylvia Lavin (Los Angeles, USA) T+E+A+M (Ann Arbor, USA) Tatiana Bilbao Estudio (Mexico City, Mexico) Tham & Videgård Arkitekter (Stockholm, Sweden) The Empire (Verona, Italy) The Living (New York, USA) The Los Angeles Design Group (Los Angeles, USA) Thomas Baecker Bettina Kraus (Berlin, Germany) Tigerman McCurry Architects (Chicago, USA) Toshiko Mori Architect (New York, USA) UrbanLab (Chicago, USA; Los Angeles, USA) Urbanus (Shenzhen, China; Beijing, China) Veronika Kellndorfer (Berlin, Germany) WELCOMEPROJECTS (Los Angeles, USA) Work Architecture Company (New York, USA) Zago Architecture (Los Angeles, USA) ZAO/standardarchitecture (Shanghai, China) “Our goal for the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial is to continue to build on the themes and ideas presented in the first edition,” said Mark Lee. Sharon Johnston added, “We hope to examine, through the work of the chosen participants, the continuous engagement with questions of history and architecture as an evolutionary practice.”
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Electronic Light-Emitting Orchestra

Three huge LED public art installations planned for downtown L.A.

Over the last few years, the areas around L.A. Live and the nearby Los Angeles Convention Center in Downtown Los Angeles’s South Park neighborhood have been undergoing a development boom, with mid- to high-end condominium and apartment complexes sprouting up at a steady clip. However, a new crop of projects currently either under construction or in the entitlement stages of development—dubbed Metropolis, 1020 Figueroa, Circa, and Oceanwide Plaza by developers—signal an infusion of upscale amenities headed for the area, all connected to the financial core and the rest of the city by a growing transit system, including the Long Beach–bound Blue Line and Santa Monica–bound Expo Line.

Three of the four projects mentioned above—1020 Figueroa, Circa, and Oceanwide Plaza—are to be located on the blocks directly across the street from the StaplesCenter, with the Metropolis development located a block northwest. Through their sheer density and size, they will bring a sorely missing street culture to an area that is roaring back to life.

But what will greet those pedestrians when they step off the trains and onto the streets? Walls of LED screens.

That’s because each project features large expanses of LED ribbon walls wrapping street-level commercial and leisure programs. And, to varying degrees, these ribbon walls are being programmed with art content in an effort to bring a new form of artistic expression to the street.

The Metropolis project, consisting of a multiphase, multi-tower hotel and apartment complex on a 6.33-acre site, is currently under construction, with the first phase of the project due to finish at the end of 2016. Eventually, the $1 billion-plus development will consist of four towers: Tower I will be 38 stories tall and contain 308 condominiums; Tower II will be 18 stories tall and contain a 350-room hotel; Tower III will be 40 stories tall and contain 514 condominiums; and Tower IV will be 56 stories tall and contain 736 condominiums. This project, designed by Gensler, is much further along in the construction process than the others and, as such, its arts program is starting to come into sharper focus.

The Metropolis project, like the others mentioned here, is subject to Section 22.118 of the City of Los Angeles Administrative Code, “Arts Development Fee Credits” (ADF) provision that requires commercial projects valued at $500,000 or more to pay a fee either based on the square footage of the building or equal to one percent of the project’s Department of Building and Safety permit valuation—whichever is lower—into a fund used to increase access to public art citywide. The ADF fund is administered by the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs, an arm of the city government that maintains a trust fund organized by project address to be used to fund arts initiatives at required sites, as necessary. This “one percent for the arts” approach is common in many California municipalities and is being stretched by this collection of projects to incorporate potentially new definitions of what public art might be in the city.

For Metropolis, arts consultants Isenberg & Associates partnered with project management firm DG Hunt & Associates to find suitable artists for the project. After a lengthy selection process, a team made up of digital media artists Refik Anadol and Susan Narduli was selected for the project. Their work Convergence, a 100- by 20-foot LED wall installation, will be unveiled in January of 2017 as construction on phase one wraps up, creating, the developers hope, an opportunity to introduce the project to the city and local community. Anadol and Narduli describe Convergence as “a generative construct fuelled by data and informed by aesthetics,” a synergy of Anadol’s digitally focused art practice and Narduli’s narrative-infused artwork. The duo wants the artwork—located in a plaza facing Francisco Street on the site’s eastern edge—to “create a lively public space by giving urban activities a new experiential dimension.” They plan to do this by fusing the “real-time demographic, astronomical, oceanographic, tectonic, and climate data streams, as well as social media posts, traffic, and news feeds into a constantly shifting cinematic narrative of Los Angeles.” The project was developed hand-in-hand with the architects as part of the overall design process, and is being deployed as an integrated architectural component of Metropolis.

According to the team’s statement, “Convergence explores new ways of storytelling through an intelligent platform that both expresses and responds to the spirit of the city in a seamless fusion of digital content, public space, and urban life.” The work will be available in situ for pedestrians to experience as part of the new sports and entertainment promenade the developers behind Metropolis hope to extend from L.A. Live to the upper reaches of the financial district. It will be available online, as well as via a mobile-device-friendly website accompanied by real-time audio. Experiencing the work in person will generate changes to the physical manifestation of the art, as the attendant data resulting from proximity, interaction, and occupation become woven into a living digital display.

It’s unclear what pedestrians can expect from the arts programs developed for the other three projects, but if Anadol and Narduli’s Convergence is a guide, expect more lights, more data, and perhaps most importantly, a closer relationship among architecture, digital art, and the public realm.

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MOCAPE

Coop Himmelb(l)au completes Museum of Contemporary Art & Planning Exhibition in Shenzhen
Vienna-based firm Coop Himmelb(l)au has completed the Museum of Contemporary Art & Planning Exhibition (MOCAPE) as part of the master plan for the Futian Cultural District in Shenzhen, a major city in Guangdong Province, China. The complex merges two independent institutions—The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and the Planning Exhibition (PE)—within a structurally unified form. (The latter is an exhibition venue.) The combined art and exhibition facility consists of a seven-story building which reaches a maximum height of 131 feet, rests on a 233,447 square-foot site, and offers a total of 861,112 square feet of floor space. The building’s irregularly shaped volumes are clad in natural stone louvers and insulated glass, which create a transparent exterior. Within the complex, the central atrium houses an amorphous reflective structure referred to as ‘the Cloud,’ which houses a café, bookstore, and museum store, while joining the exhibition rooms of both museums with bridges and ramps, according to Perspective. Architects at Coop Himmelb(l)au extended this synergy between the two organizations throughout the complex, with both organizations sharing the lobby, auditorium, conference rooms, and service areas. According to a press release, “the transparent facade and a sophisticated internal lighting concept allow a deep view into the joint entrance and transitional areas between the buildings. From the inside, visitors are granted an unhindered view onto the city suggesting they are somewhere in a gently shaded outdoor area, an impression enhanced by 6 to 17 meter high, completely open and column-free exhibition areas.” Energy-wise, MOCAPE utilizes solar and geothermal energy, with a groundwater cooling system in attempts to reduce the facility’s carbon footprint. The transparent roofing of the museum also filters in natural sunlight into the exhibition rooms, reducing the need for artificial lighting sources.
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Coming into Port

Chicago and Philadelphia–based PORT Urbanism wants to redesign your city

PORT Urbanism is positioning itself to fill a very particular niche in the world of city making. The office is neither a landscape firm nor an architecture firm alone: It approaches projects with a vision that ranges from grand scheme master plans down to design at a human scale. With the recent addition of a new partner, it now has the pedigree and experience to engage in the high-stakes projects that are so often handed to firms many times its size. More and more often those projects involve the waterfronts of postindustrial cities across the country, and with a name like PORT, the firm is not surprisingly ready for the challenge.

PORT’s new partner, Megan Born, comes to the firm from James Corner Field Operations (JCFO), where she spent eight years as a designer and project manager. While at JCFO, she was lead designer on the much-anticipated Waterfront Seattle Program master plan, as well as project designer on the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront in Hong Kong. Her expertise will complement that of PORT partner Christopher Marcinkoski, who was a senior associate at JCFO before cofounding PORT. Marcinkoski, a licensed architect and a Rome Prize Fellow, also contributed expertise in waterfront design, as he was project lead on the Qianhai Water City district of Shenzhen, China, while at JCFO. Both work at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia—Born as a lecturer and Marcinkoski as an associate professor of landscape architecture and urban design.

Currently working with the ambitious young R2 developers in Chicago, PORT is in the process of envisioning the future of Goose Island. An industrial island in the middle of the Chicago River’s North Branch, Goose Island is poised to become one of the city’s most dynamic neighborhoods. Currently, it is completely zoned for industry, but as the surrounding neighborhoods quickly develop, the smart bet is on it becoming more programmatically diverse. PORT’s master plan takes into account the uncertainty of the island’s future while proposing improvements that will benefit whatever eventually happens there.

The island was formed by a canal that was dug to straighten out the river, a common occurrence in 19th-century Chicago. Now, however, that canal is no longer navigable. PORT imagines that this wet, and currently polluted, stretch of water can become an integral and unique part of the river’s rehabilitation into a recreational corridor. It is clear that it is only a matter of time before this prime location, just minutes outside of the downtown, will be more than a sleepy maze of shuttered warehouses and factories. PORT and R2 plan to be there to guide the way.

“Some of the largest attributes of water and waterfronts are their scale and connectivity,” explained Andrew Moddrell, partner and cofounder of PORT. “You always have this edge that you can’t completely occupy: the water. If you can connect the parcels along this edge, you’ll be able to set up the means of an accessibility that is uninterrupted and that unlocks new territories of the city. Previously all of these places were productive industrially by maximizing this connectivity. Now they are ripe again to be reconnected.”

Though PORT may be making a name for itself with waterscape projects, what defines the practice is its particular approach. Whether a waterfront, and urban park, or a former industrial district, PORT is not interested in simply drawing large arrows on maps and saying how great it would be to have a bike share program in the area. Instead, it does the math, talks to the stakeholders, and designs a way to achieve their vision, down to the individual’s experience. This separates them from other landscape firms that might only focus on the space around the buildings, as well as from the urban planner who so often provides bullet point guidance without a true design component. Add in the fact that two of the partners are licensed architects, and the firm’s thorough approach begins to make sense. There are few firms that are able, or willing, to take on the complex types of projects that PORT has made its bread and butter.

This article was part of our Oct. 12 issue which focused on how water is shaping today’s landscape architecture and urbanism. Communities face deluges and droughts—for some, the stakes can be survival itself, but others see opportunities for decadence. To explore these stories from around the U.S. and the world, click here.

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Straight-Up

Utopia to just-in-time production: a new book on the history of urban factories

This compendious, extensively illustrated slab of a book tackles, among other things, the development of the factory system, working conditions and working class resistance, utopian planning and modernist architectural design, the effects of suburbanization of industry, just-in-time production and containerization, fashion, urbanism, gentrification, and craft through such an onrush of dense information that it is often hard to ascertain exactly what the book is about. The nearest thing to a common thread—other than chronology—is an exploration of the factory in the city. That is, the role of industry in urbanism, what it means for a city to be a place of material production, how that production is housed and how its workers live and work, and, crucially, whether or not there is a future for urban manufacturing after 70 years of decentralization and inner-urban de-industrialization in Europe and the United States.

This central thread is so interesting that much of the rest of the book—basically a history of design and factories, familiar from the likes of Gillian Darley’s Factory—could have been cut away to make the book more lean. The eclecticism of the source material could do with major pruning, and the editing is often careless: Robert Owen’s Clydeside Utopia was New Lanark, not New Harmony, the account of Chicago slaughterhouses in The Jungle was written by Upton Sinclair, not Sinclair Lewis, to name two of several slips. Nonetheless, this excess might be the point—an appropriately daunting mesh of interlinked processes and stories. The question of why the factory left the city is put down to wartime paranoia and social planning; Rappaport takes the Jane Jacobs line that zoning industry out of inner cities was unnecessary and damaging to urban economies, which may have been true, but as recent histories like John Grindrod’s Concretopia might remind us, urban industry in dense 19th century cities like Glasgow was often extremely toxic and unsafe to the working class communities who had to live next door to it. However, her case here draws also on more radical sources, such as French Marxist philosopher Henri Lefebvre’s assertion of the “right to the city,” and especially the inner city, being cleared of undesirables in Lefebvre’s 1960s Paris. The end result of “the removal of industries  away from public view” was also the removal of certain groups of people. As counter-examples, she traces a history of integrated factory settlements, like Berlin’s modernist Siemensstadt, to suggest that there were other possible approaches than zoning and suburbanization.

Beginning with the wartime U.S.—with its vast, single-story complexes like Willow Run—and continuing even through socially experimental factories like Volvo’s more democratic, collaborative factory at Kalmar, the factory left the city and settled into sprawling, off-motorway sites, expansive of land and elusive of view. Perhaps the most exciting parts of the book are Rappaport’s studies of some “vertical urban factories,” as opposed to the flat, hidden, exurban factories where most things get made—in the west, at any rate. These go from 1820s Manchester, where, in Schinkel’s words, “the life of the city runs along the massive houses of the cotton mills, to Manhattan’s astonishing, multifunctional Starrett-Lehigh Building, where a train could enter the building from West 27th Street and proceed to the elevators located in the central core, load or unload onto trucks and the exit onto 28th Street,” and to more recent examples like Zaha Hadid’s BMW Leipzig, where workers walk past the souvenir shop on their way to work. These genuinely do feel like a better way of designing production into cities than placing “pancakes” on the edge of motorways—a means of planning that makes production and distribution networks (and their workers) visible, and by implication, changeable.

However, many cities outside of the U.S. and Europe really are made up of vertical urban factories even today—Shenzhen and Dhaka being a particular case in point. The 400,000-strong Foxconn factory, integrated with eight-to-a-room dormitories is one she describes at length, while the multi-story textile factories of Dhaka are sketched out more lightly, though the fact that the worst industrial accident in decades, at Rana Plaza, took place in a vertical urban factory would seem to temper its validity as a means to create fairer cities. Although Rappaport never loses sight of the consequences of design and industrial processes on actual workers’working conditions, the emphasis falls too much on best practices. These include the new vertical urban factories that exist in the west—craft beer breweries in Canada, bike factories in Detroit, American Apparel in the U.S.—which use a seductive combination of adaptive re-use, renewed craft traditions, and inner city sites, which somewhat masksthe fact that they’re just as much part of the process of inner-city gentrification as Willow Run was part of post-war suburbanization. None of them can even begin to offer the quantity of jobs once offered to the cities they stand in that the motor industry or textile industry once did; she points here to a gap between celebrated middle class “makers” and invisible proletarian“‘workers.” The last quarter of the book features many examples of beautifully designed, sustainable, semi-automated actories integrated into the city; but whether these could ever have the role in most people’s lives that the factory once did is a very different matter.

Vertical Urban Factory Nina Rappaport, Actar Publishing, $64.95

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New Look

Update: Developers for Oceanwide Plaza in Los Angeles release new renderings for $1 billion mega-project
Earlier this week, Oceanwide Real Estate Group revealed plans for the addition of a new Park Hyatt hotel branch to be located at the currently-under-construction Oceanwide Plaza development project in Downtown Los Angeles. Following up on these additional details, the developer has also released a slew of new, glossy renderings by visualization firm Visualhouse for the CallisonRTKL-designed, mixed-use mega-project. The $1-billion development will bring three new towers to the Los Angeles skyline, including a 677-foot hotel spire that will contain two separate pool decks, 184 hotel rooms, and some number of the total 504 condominiums to be located on the 4.6-acre site. The two neighboring, 40-story towers will contain the remaining condo units and will share a rooftop amenity terrace that will the complex’s 100-foot-tall podium of retail space. The podium, dubbed The Collection at Oceanwide Plaza, will be laid out as an indoor-outdoor, multi-level pedestrian mall and is to contain 150,000 square feet of commercial space. The entire complex's retail component will be wrapped by a 32,000-square foot LED ribbon wall. The Oceanwide Plaza project joins a collection of other Chinese developer-backed tower complexes coming to the area, with Greenland USA’s Metropolis and Shenzhen Hazens’s 1020 South Figueroa project, both of which feature retail, hotel, and residential components, taking root on either side of the newly-updated complex. For more information on Oceanwide Plaza, see the developer’s website.
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Museum of the 20th Century

Star-studded list of international architects compete for new Berlin museum
A total of 42 firms have been selected in the most recent round of a design competition for the Museum of the 20th Century. The museum will be located in the heart of the Berlin Cultural Forum. New York practices SO-IL, Snøhetta and REX are on the list, along with British firms Zaha Hadid Architects and David Chipperfield Architects. Back in November 2014, Germany’s parliament put aside 200 million euros for the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation and a new, much-needed building to show 20th century art at the Cultural Forum. In September 2015, a competition was launched for a design strategy that would include the site layout, architecture, and landscaping of the museum. The new building is set to display "internationally significant art collections" including the National Gallery's Marx and Pietzsch collections, parts of the Marzona collection, and works from the Kupferstichkabinett (Museum of Prints and Drawings). Now whittled down to a pool of 42, of which 13 were invited agencies, the selected firms will submit more detailed proposals mid-September of this year. A jury is due to meet the following month to decide where to go from there. Culture Minister Monika Grütters explained: "The great interest [in] the project shows that it is an attractive challenge for any renowned agency to build in this neighborhood. We expect exciting and bold designs [that] dare the restructuring of the Cultural Forum, without challenging the existing ensemble," which includes the nearby Mies van der Rohe-designed Neue Nationalgalerie. President of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation Hermann Parzinger said: "It must be possible to combine outstanding architectural and urban design with the requirements of a museum in the 21st century. I want a building that sets a new mark at this location, but it brings the necessary openness." The finalists include the following offices:
  • 3XN Architects, Copenhagen, Denmark with Henrik Jorgenson Landskab, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Aires Mateus e Associados, Lisbon, Portugal with PROAP Lda, Lisbon
  • Beatriz Elena Alés + Zaera, Castelló, Spain
  • Arga16, Berlin, Germany with Anne Wex Berlin, Germany
  • Barkow Leibinger GmbH, Berlin, Germany with Professor Gabriele Kiefer, Berlin, Germany
  • BAROZZI / VEIGA GmbH, Barcelona, Spain with antón & Ghiggi landschaftsarchitektur GmbH, Zurich, Switzerland
  • Behnisch Architekten, Stuttgart, Germany
  • Bruno Fioretti Marquez Architekten, Berlin, Germany with Capatti staubach Landscape Architects, Berlin, Germany
  • David Chipperfield Architects, Berlin, Germany with Wirtz International NV, Schoten
  • CHOE Hackh / CUTE ARCHITECTS, Frankfurt am Main, Germany with Park Design, Kejoo Park, Seoul, South Korea
  • Christ & Gantenbein Architects, Basel, Switzerland with Fontana Landschaftsarchitektur GmbH, Basel
  • Cukrowicz nachbaur ARCHITEKTEN ZT GMBH, Bregenz, Austria with Studio Volcano, Landschaftsarchitektur GmbH, Zurich
  • Pedro Domingos arquitectos unip. Ida + Pedro Matos Gameiro arquitecto Ida Lisbon, Portugal with Baldios arquitectos paisagistas, Ida Lisbon, Portugal
  • Dost architecture Schaffhausen, Switzerland with Boesch landscape architecture Schaffhausen, Switzerland
  • Max Dudler architect, Berlin, Germany with Planorama Landscape Architecture, Berlin
  • Sou Fujimoto Architects, Tokyo, Japan with Latz + Partner, Kranzberg, Germany
  • Gmp International GmbH, Berlin, Germany
  • Grüntuch Ernst planning GmbH, Berlin, Germany with Sinai Society of Landscape Architects mbH, Berlin, Germany
  • Zaha Hadid Limited (Zaha Hadid Architects), London, United Kingdom with GREAT.MAX. Ltd., Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • HASCHER JEHLE architecture, design and consulting Hascher Jehle GmbH, Berlin, Germany with Weidinger Landschaftsarchitekten, Berlin, Germany
  • Heinle, Wischer und Partner, Freie Architekten Berlin, Germany with Prof. Heinz W. Hallmann Landscape Architect Aachen, Germany
  • Herzog & De Meuron, Basel, Switzerland with Vogt Landscape architects, Zurich / Berlin
  • Florian Hoogen Architect BDA Mönchengladbach, Germany with hermanns landscape architecture / environmental planning Schwalmtal, Germany
  • Lacaton & VASSAL ARCHITECTS, Paris, France with CYRILLE MARLIN, Pau, France
  • Lundgaard & Tranberg Arkitekter A / S, Copenhagen, Denmark with SCHØNHERR A / S, Copenhagen
  • Mangado Y ASOCIADOS SL, Pamplona, Spain with TOWNSHEND LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS LIMITED, London, United Kingdom
  • Josep Lluis Mateo - MAP Arquitectos, Barcelona, Spain with D'ici là paysages & territoires, Paris, France
  • Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA); Rotterdam, Netherlands with Inside Outside, Amsterdam
  • Dominique Perrault Architecture, Paris, France with Agence Louis Benech, Paris, France
  • REX Architecture PC, New York, USA with Marti-Baron + Miething, Paris, France
  • Sauerbruch Hutton Architects, Berlin, Germany with Gustafson Porter, London
  • Schulz and Schulz Architekten GmbH, Leipzig, Petra and Paul Kahlfeldt Architekten, Berlin with POLA Landscape Architects, Berlin, Germany
  • Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA, Tokyo, Japan with Bureau Bas Smets, Brussels, Belgium
  • Shenzhen Huahui Design Co., Ltd. Nanshan (Shenzhen), China with Beijing Chuangyi Best Landscape Design Co. Ltd. Beijing, China
  • Snøhetta architects, Oslo, Norway
  • SO - IL Ltd, New York, USA with Stoss Landscape Urbanism, Boston, USA
  • Staab Architekten GmbH, Berlin, Germany with Levin Monsigny, Berlin
  • TOPOTEK 1, Berlin, Germany and Pordenone, Italy with TOPOTEK 1 Berlin, Germany
  • Emilio Tuñón Arquitectos, Madrid, Spain, Tunon & Ruckstuhl GmbH Architects SIA, Rüschlikon, Switzerland with Benavides Laperche, Madrid, Spain
  • UNStudio, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Wenzel + Wenzel Freie Architekten, Berlin, Germany with Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl GmbH, Ueberlingen, Germany
  • ARGE Weyell Zipse architect / architect horns Basel, Switzerland with James Melsom landscape architect BSLA, Basel, Switzerland
  • Riken Yamamoto & Field Shop Co., Ltd., Yokohama, Japan, Holzer Kobler Architects Berlin GmbH, Berlin, Germany, Holzer Kobler Architects GmbH, Zurich,
  • Switzerland with vetschpartner Landschaftsarchitekten AG, Zurich, Switzerland