In the heart of Rotterdam’s central museum campus, a mirrored vessel designed by the hometown MVRDV is currently under construction to house the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s collection of approximately 151,000 artworks. Coined the “Depot,” the building will feature over 16,000 square feet of space and serve as the world’s first art storage facility that also offers access to the museum’s entire collection without the mediation of a curator. Located on the northern edge of Rotterdam’s Museumpark (realized by OMA with Yves Brunier in 1994), the building aims to be less visible from the exterior and instead offer more public access to the interior. With the intent of increasing Museumpark’s attractiveness as an international art complex, the Depot is roughly 130 feet tall and will be completely clad in mirrored panels once complete. A public route zigzags through the building, where 99 percent of the collection will be on display, among seven different climatic zones that will facilitate ideal conditions for art storage, offices, and the public. The rooftop terrace will offer a view over the city and harbor 78 planted trees, a sculpture garden, exhibition space, and a restaurant. The museum will also offer commercial storage spaces rented to private collectors, corporate collections, and other museums. If the renters so choose, these spaces may also be publicly accessible. The Depot represents a new typology that museums can learn from. The existing Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen building has been in desperate need for renovations, related mostly to its outdated electronic and climate-control systems and asbestos remediation. The motivation for the project was to replace the museum’s current storage facilities, which are too small, unsafe, and obsolete. However, even after the renovation of the museum buildings, an external storage facility was still necessary. The total investment cost of the project is approximately $96.5 million and was funded through a public-private initiative between the City of Rotterdam (which owns the majority of the collection), Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, and the De Verre Bergen Foundation. The museum is continuing to fundraise among sponsors and donors; one initiative includes a scheme for "adopting" one of the mirrored panels. The building should be completed at the beginning of 2020 with an official opening in 2021. Once finished, the build must sit empty in the intervening year to allow for drying time, calibration of the climate control systems, and artwork installation.
All posts in Architecture
Earthquakes have been in the news lately with increasing regularity: Southern California recently experienced a July 4th quake registering 6.4 on the Richter scale followed by one just a day later at 7.1. It's predicted that within the week there's an 11 percent chance that a major quake could follow, and, of course, there's the looming specter of the so-called Big One. But despite the relative frequency of seismic activity on the West coast and in other parts of the United States, in general, the U.S. lags behind other earthquake-prone countries, especially Japan, in terms of earthquake readiness. A recent New York Times investigation asked why, when buildings can be designed to stand up to earthquakes, the United States has so few of them. Though there are notable exceptions—like older retrofits such as Los Angeles’s city hall, and luxurious new construction like Apple’s Foster + Partners-designed headquarters, a ring that floats on base isolators rather than being fixed to a traditional foundation—most buildings in the States feature concrete cores, relatively un-rigid construction, and no seismic shock absorbers or isolation systems. Even those that do, the Times reports, are of varying quality of construction, with many failing basic preparedness tests. Simply put, while Japanese buildings are, in general, designed to sway in an earthquake and minimize damage (and use a steel grid to make up their core), American buildings are designed primarily to fail and collapse in a way that will hopefully minimize loss of life. This can mostly be chalked up to not only weak regulations, but to economics. It’s more costly to build an earthquake-ready building, though obviously only in the short run. A federal study demonstrated that rebuilding after a quake in urban centers will cost billions of dollars, and is four times as expensive as simply building a structure that can stand up to an earthquake in the first place. However, with lax laws and a real estate and development market that prioritizes short term ownership and thinking, building owners and developers remain wary of spending the extra cash up front; estimated to only add approximately 13–15 percent in cost in a seven-story building, according to the Japanese construction company Nice Corporation. Though, per the Times, engineer Ian Aiken says that some systems “can cost as little as 5% more.” Tokyo, which experiences more than 1,000 seismic events each year, is also anticipating its own big quake in the next 30 years, a follow up to the devastating 1923 earthquake. while predictions of the potential damage remain calamitous, there is perhaps no city more ready to take the hit. Not only are high rises, skyscrapers, and smaller buildings all designed to withstand significant seismic activity, but, as The Guardian reports, “parks feature hidden emergency toilets and benches that turn into cooking stoves, and the city has the world’s largest fire brigade, specifically trained to prevent the kind of flash blazes that spread after earthquakes.” The city is not only a world population and business center, but also a major tourist destination, something that's likely to become only more true with events like the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. But even new construction for the Olympics is getting the high tech treatment. Seismic isolation bearings are being placed inside the new Tokyo Aquatics Center and the Ariake Arena, which will be home to Olympic volleyball and wheelchair basketball games. The aquatics center and arena are using Bridgestone Seismic Isolation Systems, an update to older methods that relied on increasing the rigidity of buildings or adding additional framing. Instead of adding greater rigidity, base isolation systems use rubber bearings ranging in size between approximately 23 inches and 70 inches to allow structures to sway slowly and cause only minor disturbances, if any at all, on the floors above, instead of allowing the whole structure to shake violently. Similar such bearings can be found in buildings like Tokyo Station and Los Angeles's City Hall. While the isolators are often placed in the foundations of buildings, for the new arenas, they’ve been located in the roofs, a common approach for buildings with large open spaces that helps decrease the stress on the roof’s support elements. Still, all the technology in the world only goes so far if the community isn’t prepared. As Tokyo-based disaster preparedness specialist Ronin Takashi Lewis told The Guardian, even all this tech, “If you look around the Tokyo skyscrapers it’s incredible how advanced a lot of technology here is, especially seismic resistance – but my concern is preparedness at the community and individual level.” As per usual, technology alone won’t save us. Still, hopefully the United States can learn from Tokyo and invest in resilient buildings for safer cities and communities.
The first phase of The Tide, London’s version of the High Line, officially opened to the public on Friday. Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) in collaboration with London-based firm Neiheiser Argyros, the inaugural section of the linear park marks one-fifth of the overall three-mile-long landscape coming to the banks of the River Thames. As an outdoor cultural destination set in the city’s burgeoning creative district, Greenwich Peninsula, The Tide features what Kerri Sibson, director of the local development office, calls a “bold 3D landscape” that’s perfect for enjoying nature and absorbing art. “The Tide brings to London an unrivaled outdoor experience in the city,” Sibson said in a statement. “Most importantly, it’s a place for everyone.” When fully finished, the elevated and at-grade park will weave through and connect the seven different neighborhoods being constructed as part of the 150-acre Greenwich Peninsula district. This new urban enclave will boast architecture by Santiago Calatrava, C.F. Moeller, SOM, and SelgasCano, among others, and is currently being marketed as London’s emerging art and design community. The Tide is just one element that’s slated to attract future residents to the Peninsula over the next two decades as it is built. The mega-plan includes adding 15,000 new homes, nearly 4,000 affordable housing units, 13,000 new jobs, two new schools, and 48 acres of public green space to the formerly industrial zone—a move prompted by the area’s recent regeneration sparked by enhanced transit connections to downtown London. Though this level of development is substantially larger than what DS+R’s High Line has inspired in New York’s Chelsea, The Tide is actually a project that’s been envisioned ahead of future growth in the district, and of course, it’s being done from scratch. Unlike DS+R's seminal urban park project, the British iteration will be built in tandem with the buildings that will rise above and around it, while still making nature, art, and city views the focal point of the landscape. And it won’t necessarily be a tourist destination either, according to the architects, who have envisioned it as a source of respite for locals with ample programming for meditation, running, and waking. The first section of The Tide features curvaceous walkways that mirror the ebb and flow of the river, as well as terraces, and overlooks, all which are supported by 28 angular steel stems. Some parts of the park’s initial viewpoints feature support structures as tall as 29 feet high. The paths themselves also stand out with a striped pattern that doubles as a wayfinding tool, guiding visitors from one section to the next. Giant sculptures by Damien Hirst and Allen Jones already populate the introductory segment The Tide’s above-ground routes act as canopies covering the plazas below, which DS+R used asphalt and granite Portuguese paving stones to surface. Edinburgh-based landscape studio GROSS.MAX designed a textured vision for the park’s many elevated and sunken gardens, of which phase one includes native birch and pine, waterside trees, seasonable bulbs, ornamental grasses, and sections of groundcover. All of the open spaces above, below, and within the park, including the jetty garden and a picnic area that boasts an 88-foot-long communal table, were intended to invite incoming locals to experience the city from the waterfront and create community through it. These activation areas make up a network for recreation, culture, and wellness. Benjamin Gilmartin, partner-in-charge of the project at DS+R, said The Tide aims to “embed a new public realm into the daily rhythms of Greenwich Peninsula” as it grows. “Diverse programming along the way will act as islands that welcome the surges of commuters, visitors, cyclists, and runners,” Gilmartin said in a statement, “while also providing intimate places for pause contemplation, conversation, and people watching.”
Perched in the verdant hills outside San José, Costa Rica, sits a coffee lover's dream: Starbucks’s Hacienda Alsacia, an experiential visitor center devoted to the caffeinated beverage. Visitors can learn about harvesting and roasting processes, a variety of brewing techniques—and, of course, sip some of the company’s signature drink. The 46,000-square-foot hacienda is the public gateway to Starbucks’s surrounding research-focused coffee farm, where the java giant tests new growing techniques and develops better farming strategies that are then shared with growers around the world. Designed by Starbucks’s in-house team, led by David Daniels, AIA, the hacienda is meant to be more than just a variation of the chain’s typical stores. “Everything needed to be authentic, everything needed to be contextual, and everything needed to be driven by creating a space for community,” Daniels said. Those principles led Daniels and his team to design a low-slung structure with exposed steel columns and roof trusses, polished concrete floors, and a wood-lined ceiling that gently peeks over a generously proportioned cafe overlooking the rolling hillside. Because the team wanted to connect visitors to the spectacular site as closely as possible, they opted for a glazed operable wall system from LaCantina Doors to line more than 60 feet of one of the grand room’s long sides. The team chose the company’s aluminum system in a bronze anodized color because LaCantina's doors were reliably available from a local provider, Bella Vida. Further, Adrián Jiron-Beirute of Jirón-Beirute Arquitectura, who led the local team, felt that they offered the right balance of design and durability for the rustic setting. Operability is crucial for this wall because, while the coffee farm enjoys an agreeably balmy climate most of the time, the mountain weather can occasionally be pretty punishing. Jiron-Beirute said, “During the dry season we have lots of sun, but it gets very windy; and during the rainy season we have sun during the mornings and a lot of rain in the afternoons.” The operable glass wall ensures that no matter the weather, the only mud inside is the kind being peacefully sipped from a cup. Location: Outside San José, Costa Rica Architect: Starbucks Global Creative Wall system: LaCantina Doors General contractor and project manager: Ventajas Mundiales Architecture construction drawings + coordinator of the consulting team: Jirón-Beirute Arquitectura Structural engineer: BA Ingeniería Hydraulic and electric engineer: Circuito Landscape design: PPAR Lighting design: Lumina Lighting Design
Lawn, the interactive exhibition designed by the LAB at Rockwell Group, is now open at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. As the latest iteration of the museum’s Summer Block Party series, the pop-up installation pays tribute to how humans spend time in the many open green spaces that flourish during the sunny season. “As we delved deeper into the design process, it became clear that so many of the summertime activities that we look forward to enjoying with friends and family each year take place on a ‘lawn’— whether it’s a yard, a public park, a playground, or a rooftop,” said David Rockwell, founder and president of Rockwell Group, in a statement. “Lawn is our celebration of this iconic idea.” As the background of several season-long events, the LAB imagined the exhibition as a giant lawn where visitors could come, connect, and play with one another, while also observing the museum’s Renaissance Revival architecture up close. The green expanse was built on a sloping superstructure made of scaffolding that lightly undulates and then levels out towards the center of the museum's Great Hall. It’s a rectangular space that cuts directly through eight of the parallel Corinthian columns signature to the museum’s interior; they’re among the largest in the world and measure 75 feet tall. Additionally, the LAB suspended blue hammocks from the building’s 100-foot-tall ceiling grid, each of which features audio recordings of stories from Americans such as Venus Williams, Bette Midler, Whoopi Goldberg, Susan Stamberg, Jose Andres, and more. Also scattered throughout Lawn are sets of white lounge chairs, umbrella stands, and equipment for spontaneous games of cornhole, cricket, bocce ball, and dominoes. The LAB designed a scaffolding tower at the top of the lawn which offers views of the museum’s third floor and the column capitals. The sides of the tower are subtly covered in clouds, which allows it to stand out in contrast to both the dark and light green colors of the lawn. The grass-like floor has a “just-mowed” effect. During the daytime, the sun streams in from the clerestory windows of the museum, giving the installation an outside feel. Another element that contributes to the simulated outdoor experience is the distilled audio of distant crickets chirping, bees buzzing, and lawnmowers at work. The design team collaborated with Yessian Music, a soundscape production company, to envelope the space in these classic summer sounds. Furthermore, the LAB developed an augmented reality game for kids and adults that provides them the chance to chase, collect, and release fireflies throughout the museum. On view through September 2, the Lab at Rockwell Group’s Lawn comes on the heels of past exhibitions for the Summer Block Party series by Snarkitecture, Studio Gang, James Corner Field Operations, and Bjarke Ingels Group.
The “North Fork” of Long Island, from the town of Riverhead to Orient Point at the eastern tip, is one of the most varied and beautiful landscapes in the New York region. A peninsula jutting out into Long Island Sound, it is the last place where one can still find open space devoted to farming, alongside fresh and saltwater inlets, bays, and ponds in the state. It also has a unique regional style of cedar shingled “Cape” homes and handsome pine potato barns that date back to the 18th century. But North Fork is also home to a handful of modernist post-World War II summer homes, that have remained largely unknown in comparison to those in the Hamptons, it’s more glamorous neighbor across the Peconic Bay. Now, thanks to Columbia Art History Professor and ex-MoMA architecture curator Barry Bergdoll, the story of modern architecture on the peninsula will be better known. Somehow Bergdoll found the time last year to stage A New Wave of Modern Architecture, a small but alluring exhibition on the region’s post-war modern architectural history. Now, the exhibit has moved six miles east to the Oysterponds Historical Society in Orient, New York, and Bergdoll has added to the show’s survey of contemporary housing and expanded our understanding of the region’s architectural uniqueness. He begins with the area’s fascinating early history of artists who gathered around the legendary art dealer, Betty Parsons, who came to the area in the 1950s. Parsons commissioned the architect-slash-sculptor Tony Smith to build a guest house and studio above the Long Island Sound. He designed a pavilion fronting the sound out of large railroad ties. He then designed and built a house for Abstract Expressionist painter Theodoros Stamos in 1951. For Stamos, Bergdoll writes, “Smith designed a dramatically innovative variant on the American timber frame house, elevating a single-story space sandwiched between two trusses, one upside down to create a large open floor plan. Elevated off the ground, the house’s living space afforded sweeping views over Long Island Sound from its bluff-top site.” Finally, he points to the double pavilion house Charles Moore designed for Simone Swan in 1975, a few houses away from Parson’s home, as an influence to newer designs. This second exhibition highlights a number of new houses, including a modest but beautiful wood-shingled Peconic bayside house by Toshiko Mori, and a TTC passive house designed by Wayne Turett on a back lot in Greenport, New York. But Bergdoll’s most insightful addition to the show is his description of what makes the area’s modern houses unique. He points to the North Fork’s environmentally sensitive farm and wetland landscape as an influence in the innovative new houses being constructed “with structural openness” and elevated platforms capable of capturing views of the landscape. This modest little show identifies a singular new style evolving just a few hours east of New York. The exhibit is open to the public Wednesdays through Sundays, 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm, as well as Saturdays from 11:00 am through 5:00 pm. Admission is free.
Here's what you need to know about the stadium hosting the World Cup finale
This Sunday, all eyes will be on the pitch of the Parc Olympic Lyonnais (Parc OL) for the final match of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The United States and its yet-to-be-determined competitor will go head to head in the French town of Lyon for the much-anticipated game, and while most will hope to see soccer star Megan Rapinoe back on the field, the impressive stadium architecture will also be back on full display for one last time. Designed by Populous and Paris-based firm Naço Architecture in 2016, the low-lying Parc OL, a.k.a Groupama Stadium, is a 578,000-square-foot arena holding nearly 60,000 seats. Its most distinctive feature—a turtle-shaped shell covered in white fabric—shines in the midday sun and is illuminated from within during nighttime play. The four-story concrete, glass, and steel venue actually boasts the nickname “Stade des Lumières” or Stadium of Lights, due to this. In addition, the undulating canopy was designed to mimic the rolling hills and forests found in Lyon, and its support columns look like tree branches, according to Populous principal Gary Reeves in conversation with Interior Design. Built just ahead of the 2016 European Championships, the $468 million stadium has quickly become one of the top sporting venues in all of France. It was one of nine stadiums selected to be a part of this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, and as the largest venue on the list by far, it was slated to host nine matches total, including last Monday's semifinal and the upcoming final. One of the most compelling reasons so many matches have been scheduled in Lyon is because of the town’s bigtime football history. Several major French professional players have come out of the 500,000-strong city, which sits southeast of the country’s core. Parc OL is also home to the Olympique Lyonnais, the Ligue 1 football club—hence the red- and blue-blocked colors of the bowl. Its women’s team is currently on a 13-year winning streak in the national league, and they’ve won the UEFA Women’s Champion’s League six times since 2011. But World Cup-level soccer isn’t the only pro sport the city excels in. Rugby is also huge, as is volleyball, basketball, and ice hockey. In other words, there are plenty of other large-scale sporting venues scattered throughout the city. While Lyon’s massive sports scene attracts throngs of local and visiting spectators, Parc OL was built outside the heart of the city to the east, away from many other venues. It’s situated next to a commuter highway and is largely surrounded by residential neighborhoods and farmland in the commune of Décines-Charpieu. In order to keep noise from seeping outside the stadium and into the adjacent community during gameplay, Populous designed the space with a large, open bowl that traps the sound of chants going from the north to the south stands. Since Olympique Lyonnais home fans are known to be noisy, the fabric roof also reduces sound reflection. Other carefully-designed attractions inside Parc OL include a series of lounges on the outer edges of the stadium sectioned off with double-height glazing. Food and beverages areas are also located here. The Salon des Lumières, one the arena’s seven larger dining options, was intentionally designed with a very sleek, French style that fuses the club’s identity in a seamless fashion. Creating subtle nods to the brand on the venue’s interior was important, according to Naço Architecture founder Marcelo Joulia. The design team integrated this, and a handful of other fan-centric elements such as 110 executive suits, multiple meeting rooms, banquet halls, and bars to get more people out to the stadium. According to Elizabeth Miglierina, an associate architect in Populous's London office, another driver for interest in the stadium is the fact that the pitch is nearly visible from the podium. She wrote in an interview that the protective roof canopy allows for a more dynamic experience in the communal spaces at Parc OL. The spectator concourses were designed by Miglierina and her team to also allow for varying views of the field and the distant French Alps. Some of those spaces are cathedral-like in feel, with triple-height ceilings and work by global street artists adorning the walls as part of Park OL’s Offside Gallery. The gallery is open even on non-match days. Like the stadium’s public spaces, the green car park that surrounds the structure also doubles as a place for congregation and play when matches aren’t going on. Populous worked with French group AIA Associés on the durable landscape. For real-time aerial views of the venue, watch the final match of the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup this Sunday at 11 a.m. EST.
Tube Steak Break
Hot diggity! Here are America's most head-turning hot dog stands
Record-breaking traffic. Rain. President Trump's decision to move $2.5 million from the National Park Service budget to pay for an over-the-top Independence Day parade complete with tanks. With all of the July 4th gloom to wallow in, why not drown your sorrows in food? And what better food for July 4th emotional eating than the humble hot dog? There is no substitute for a juicy frank, especially when it's consumed under the delightful glow of retro neon. To that end, AN has rounded up America's high-design sausage sit-downs, weenie joints, and tube steak emporiums so you, dear reader, may eat in style this holiday weekend: Chicago's Superdawg has been slinging topping-heavy hot dogs since 1948. This 1970s North Carolina mini-chain operates out of huts shaped like dog houses (woof!). The trash cans are designed to look like fire hydrants. The big (literal) orange that is Mark's Hot Dogs has been a fixture in San Jose since 1936. The National Register of Historic Places–listed, family-owned, pagoda-shaped Walter's splits its dogs like a book before they hit the grill. Across the street from Mamaroneck High School, the stand has served up tube steaks to teens and country club dads for 100 years. The Coney Island Hot Dog Stand is a duck of a dog! It's Boomer-aged but the franks are always fresh. Green roof? No, I said ween(ie) roof! The fiberglass-and-steel tube steak on top of Wienerlicious is 60 feet long and it's perfect. This guy agrees:
Gadzooks: Ross Barney Architects has unleashed a new pavilion with a visitor center at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo. In plan, the structure resembles two 'Js' knit together by a steel canopy of cantilevered frames that hang together to provide structural support and shade the ground with a leafy pattern. Officially, the 9,500-square-foot building is known as the Searle Visitor Center and it opened to the public on November 15, 2018. Between the Js, zoo-goers may enjoy a bouldered courtyard designed by hometown landscape architects Jacobs/Ryan Associates. Offices encircle the space; elsewhere, the program includes a membership lounge and an information center. The info center's patterned walls retract to open the zoo up to the crowds in the visitor center. At the entrance, the gate's patterning was designed specifically to keep out rogue humans who might try to enter the zoo when
the animals throw parties at night it's closed.
Besides the architecture, the best part about the Searle Visitor Center (and the rest of the zoo) is that it's free to visit.
Zoos and cool buildings aren't necessarily a natural association, but they should be. In Detroit, Albert Kahn Associates in 2016 completed a penguin house that's shaped like a glacier, while at the Bronx Zoo, Morris Ketchum, Jr. & Associates' modernist World of Darkness (built 1969, but now shuttered) offered a windowless circular cast concrete enclosure to observe nocturnal creatures. In London, the ramped up Penguin Pool is a modern icon but a less than ideal environment for its inhabitants, and may be torn down sooner rather than later.
The Regional Plan Association (RPA) has selected architects Miriam Peterson and Nathan Rich of Peterson Rich Office (PRO) to dream up housing and maintenance strategies for New York City’s deteriorating public housing for the nonprofit planning think tank’s newly-funded chair of urban design. The joint appointment will give the pair the opportunity to build on past work that reimagined the New York City Housing Authority's (NYCHA) developments. It’s a tall order to step into a project that’s supposed to help NYCHA, the landlord for 400,000 New Yorkers, though it’s not necessarily the number of tenants that poses a challenge. The authority has been strangled by decades of under-investment, hobbled by long-running scandals, and faces an estimated $45 million backlog for repairs and capital projects. A December 2018 RPA report stated that maintaining the status quo of broken-down buildings could cost the city an additional $700 million every year that maintenance is deferred. The funding options for public housing are scarce, but nascent development plans aim to fill the gap created by missing funds at the federal level. Over the past five years, PRO has delivered concepts for building out the roofs of NYCHA high-rises and the transforming parking lots that surround the towers into units that scale to the size of two contiguous parking spaces. This time, PRO will have more financial resources and access to RPA experts at their disposal, allowing them to explore housing provision and maintenance in-depth. While Peterson and Rich have a year to develop a book of scalable public housing concepts, RPA—not NYCHA—is PRO’s primary client. Moses Gates, RPA's vice president for Housing and Neighborhood Development, confirmed that NYCHA is not a partner on the project. He added that the no-NYCHA approach aligns with the organization’s usual M.O. of giving experts free rein to explore ideas that might not be feasible within an agency’s framework. Richard Kaplan, the architect who endowed the chair at RPA, gave the organization the funds so it could focus some of its efforts on urban design. Gates emphasized that here, and with subsequent Kaplan chairs, the architects' ideas are springboards for future action, not prescriptions. For inspiration, Rich told The Architect's Newspaper that they’re looking to London, where public (social) housing is similar in age and design to many NYCHA projects and has similarly struggled with disinvestment. But, unlike centralized NYCHA, London social housing is delivered on a borough-by-borough basis. Borough councils may act as developers, borrowing money against the value of their assets to build market-rate housing that subsidizes the upkeep of social housing units. That approach fits in with an emerging strategy in New York, where the city is entertaining plans to sell air rights and underutilized developable land in certain NYCHA projects to generate revenue for the cash-strapped agency. In a press release, the RPA stated that PRO’s mandate is to deliver ideas that will “bring NYCHA into financial solvency, while better integrating NYCHA into the surrounding communities.” Housing projects in New York are islands, separated spatially—and often socially—from their surroundings, especially in neighborhoods that are whiter and wealthier. From Chelsea to Canarsie, NYCHA stewards the largest portfolio of affordable housing within the five boroughs: If NYCHA residents had their own city, it would be larger than New Orleans, Cleveland, or Pittsburg. However, chronic mismanagement has impaired the agency’s ability to provide safe affordable housing. Last year, the New York Times reported that NYCHA officials routinely disputed the results of lead paint tests in its apartments and exposed children to the dangerous heavy metal. Elsewhere, thousands of families contend with vermin infestations and repair requests that go unanswered. The shameful conditions in the developments, as well as the opportunity to rework the modernist tower-in-the-park paradigm, make NYCHA housing a prime target for architects and planners looking for a do-good project. Most white-collar urbanists, however, have never lived in public housing, nor do they have personal connections to the projects beyond observing them from the sidewalk or reading about them in the paper. Designers also have to contend with a real fear on the part of some NYCHA residents that new development will catalyze displacement and spur neighborhood-wide gentrification. Under these conditions, how can a firm that’s best known for designing art galleries and high-end homes effectively design with, or for New Yorkers who live in public housing? First and foremost, Rich said, PRO intends to address immediate needs, like the mold that afflicts tenants in some developments and heating systems that fail in the dead of winter. This will be the firm’s first go at spearheading a community consultation, so they intend to collaborate with RPA-affiliates to help organize and guide the process. “It’s just crucial that residents have buy-in during the process and into the project,” said Peterson. “We’re thinking about phasing, how to create a process that sets a project up for success.” RPA has a relationship with Community Voices Heard, a social justice organization primarily led by low-income women and people of color, and together they will work to facilitate connections with NYCHA residents. NYCHA did not respond to multiple requests for comment on how it regards design proposals from outside the agency. Peterson and Rich first became interested in NYCHA after a 2014 fellowship with the Institute for Public Architecture (IPA) where they, along with urban designer Sagi Golan, thought through public housing in 9x18, a project that would infill development on NYCHA parking lots. The goal now, said Rich, is to think about incremental changes instead of jumping straight from an idea to a construction proposal. "NYCHA is a source of fascination for people in design and planning because it’s a city in a city; it’s just so big," Peterson said. "What we’re trying to do here is focus on actionable ideas."
How can new technologies make construction safer?
Construction remains one of the most dangerous careers in the United States. To stop accidents before they happen, construction companies are turning to emerging technologies to improve workplace safety—from virtual reality, drone photography, IoT-connected tools, and machine learning. That said, some solutions come with the looming specter of workplace surveillance in the name of safety, with all of the Black Mirror-esque possibilities. The Boston-based construction company Suffolk has turned to artificial intelligence to try and make construction safer. Suffolk has been collaborating with computer vision company Smartvid.io to create a digital watchdog of sorts that uses a deep-learning algorithm and workplace images to flag dangerous situations and workers engaging in hazardous behavior, like failing to wear safety equipment or working too close to machinery. Suffolk’s even managed to get some of their smaller competitors to join them in data sharing, a mutually beneficial arrangement since machine learning systems require so much example data; something that's harder for smaller operations to gather. Suffolk hopes to use this decade’s worth of aggregated information, as well as scheduling data, reports, and info from IoT sensors to create predictive algorithms that will help prevent injuries and accidents before they happen and increase productivity. Newer startups are also entering the AEC AI fray, including three supported by URBAN-X. The bi-coastal Versatile Natures is billing itself as the "world's first onsite data-provider," aiming to transform construction sites with sensors that allow managers to proactively make decisions. Buildstream is embedding equipment and construction machinery to make them communicative, and, by focusing on people instead, Contextere is claiming that their use of the IoT will connect different members of the workforce. At the Florida-based firm Haskell, instead of just using surveillance on the job site, they’re addressing the problem before construction workers even get into the field. While videos and quizzes are one way to train employees, Haskell saw the potential for interactive technologies to really boost employee training in a safe context, using virtual reality. In the search for VR systems that might suit their needs, Haskell discovered no extant solutions were well-suited to the particulars of construction. Along with their venture capital spinoff, Dysruptek, they partnered with software engineering and game design students at Kennesaw State University in Georgia to develop the Hazard Elimination/Risk Oversight program, or HERO, relying on software like Revit and Unity. The video game-like program places users into a job site, derived from images taken by drone and 360-degree cameras at a Florida wastewater treatment plant that Haskell built, and evaluates a trainee’s performance and ability to follow safety protocols in an ever-changing environment. At the Skanska USA, where 360-degree photography, laser scanning, drones, and even virtual reality are becoming increasingly commonplace, employees are realizing the potentials of these new technologies not just for improved efficiency and accuracy in design and construction, but for overall job site safety. Albert Zulps, Skanska’s Regional Director, Virtual Design and Construction, says that the tech goes beyond BIM and design uses, and actively helps avoid accidents. “Having models and being able to plan virtually and communicate is really important,” Zulps explained, noting that in AEC industries, BIM and models are now pretty much universally trusted, but the increased accuracy of capture technologies is making them even more accurate—adapting them to not just predictions, but the realities of the site. “For safety, you can use those models to really clearly plan your daily tasks. You build virtually before you actually build, and then foresee some of the things you might not have if you didn't have that luxury.” Like Suffolk, Skanska has partnered with Smartvid.io to help them process data. As technology continues to evolve, the ever-growing construction industry will hopefully be not just more cost-efficient, but safer overall.
Miami’s vibrant nightlife scene was the design inspiration behind the modular tennis complex that hosted this year’s Miami Open. Fans, players, and sponsors at the top tournament were surprised this spring with a colorful new campus located in and around Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. Under the direction of Miami Dolphins' owner and Hudson Yards developer Stephen Ross, the Detroit-based ROSSETTI created an out-of-the-box solution for the annual tennis championship that was highly-stylized yet saved tons of money. Instead of building a new, standalone tennis stadium, the design team decided to integrate a mix of temporary and permanent structures into the overall plan, across a total of 26 acres. “During a time when new stadiums cost a billion dollars, we designed a solution that uses the existing venue while creating an entirely fresh experience,” said Matt Rossetti, president of ROSSETTI, in a statement. “This design solution equates to a fraction of the embodied energy of a brand-new stadium and is a low-impact solution for the Miami environment. At the same time, we are creating an ‘international tennis festival’ that embodies the essence of Miami and delights fans.” Centered around six themed “neighborhoods,” the food and entertainment areas within the tennis campus were broken down into hospitality concepts that promoted different experiences for fans. These activation zones were set up as public squares that flanked the centralized Dolphin Plaza, a palm-tree lined pathway with fountains and greenery that linked the new outdoor courts to the larger stadium next door. New infrastructure included the 5,000-seat, demountable Grandstand, and the 13,8000-seat, temporary Stadium Court, which as the name suggests, was inside Hard Rock Stadium. In order to provide a more intimate viewing experience in that venue, a 47,200-square-foot confetti scrim was hung from its upper deck. Additionally, 18 practice courts, 12 exterior tournament courts, and 24 demountable cabana suites inside the stadium were built for the two-week competition. Because this year’s March tournament was the first time the Miami Open was held at this location, ROSSETTI crafted the entire architectural set-up to be built securely and taken down swiftly. The firm partnered with Thornton Tomasetti on the structural engineering and stadium design expert Seating Solutions on the stadium components. Renewable materials such as recycled glass countertops, decorative bamboo paneling, and interlocking wood decking were used throughout the site, and some of the structural products were repurposed after the event. Much like ROSSETTI's recently revamped USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, elevating the energy efficiency and enhancing the spectator experience of the Miami Open were at the heart of the project. Both the semi-permanent and temporary elements of the complex are slated to return for the 2020 tournament.