Search results for "Rockwell Group"

Placeholder Alt Text

Dick & Rick

A punchy new guide from the Center for Urban Pedagogy shows architects how not to be Dicks
Don't be a dick. For some, it's a motto to live by. One New York City–based nonprofit would like architects to design by it, too. The Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) teamed up with the Equity CollectiveChristine Gaspar, executive director of CUP; Theresa Hwang, founder and director of Department of Places; and Liz Ogbu, founder and principal of Studio O—and illustrator Ping Zhu to produce Dick & Rick: A Visual Primer for Social Impact Design, a gently didactic pictorial for architects on the dos and don'ts of community-engaged design. As their names suggest, Dick is the Goofus to Rick's Gallant. The 15-page spread walks readers through the design process in each architect's respective office: In a stroll around the neighborhood, Rick spies a flier for a community meeting about parks, and wonders if he could lend his skills to the project. Dick reads a news piece about the same initiative and, pen aloft, offers help to "them." Channeling Howard Roark, Dick does a site analysis himself and holds perfunctory public meetings where he explains his ideas to residents, with no space for feedback. Rick, in contrast, lives the principles of socially-engaged architecture by collaborating with stakeholders over a sustained period to discuss how the park should be designed and programmed. Readers familiar with social impact design are vindicated when Dick's park is nice, but devoid of visitors while Rick's park is nice and a hit with residents. The Equity Collective believes that art can spur effective citizen engagement and that, if done right, social justice is integral to great design. Take their advice and don't be a Dick.
Placeholder Alt Text

Cleveland Public Square

Cleveland Public Square reopens after major renovation by James Corner Field Operations
After several years of planning and 15 months of renovation, Cleveland Public Square reopened to the public last Thursday. The dramatic $50 million restoration of the 6-acre park offers a variety of opportunities for public programming and activities; it has even helped prompt a series of residential and commercial construction projects in the city’s center. James Corner Field Operations has completely transformed the park: Ontario Street is now permanently closed between South Roadway and Rockwell Avenue; Superior Avenue is used exclusively for transit; corners of intersections and formerly paved areas have been converted to green lawn. The design also includes a fountain in the park’s center which will serve as an ice rink in the winter, a wide range of vegetation, and extensive walkways. LANDStudio and the Group Plan Commission, two civic groups, oversaw the project’s financing and construction. The extensive restoration consisted of the reconstruction of water, electrical, and communication infrastructure below ground and above ground construction that converted the roadways into a pedestrian corridor. The opening comes just before the Republican National Convention to be held in Cleveland.
Placeholder Alt Text

Playscapes

New exhibition at BSA Space explores playground design
Now on view at BSA Space is an exhibition and accompanying education program that focuses on playgrounds around the world. Dubbed Extraordinary Playscapes, it will run until September 5, 2016 and was curated by Design Museum Boston. On display are drawings, sketches, videos, scale models, and playable installations featuring 40 international playgrounds. Examples of contemporary architect-designed playgrounds in the U.S. abound: in April, the Rockwell Group–designed Imagination Playground (featured in Extraordinary Playscapes) opened in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Similarly, in December the renovated Adventure Playground in Central Park, designed by Richard Dattner, also opened. These two playgrounds provide the opportunity for “unstructured play,” a growing trend in playgrounds. Some of the designs featured in the exhibition include: Wild Walk in Tupper Lake, New York, designed by Chip Reay; PlayForm7 in Singapore, designed by Playworld Inc; Esplanade Playspace in Boston, designed by Halvorson Design Partnership; Takino Rainbow Nest in Takino, Japan, designed by Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam; Maggie Daley Park in Chicago, designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates; and Ambulance Playground at Beit CURE Hospital in Malawi, Africa, designed by Super Local. You can read more about Extraordinary Playscapes here.
Placeholder Alt Text

Skins, Deep

Glass breaks, shines, and shares spotlight at Facades+
The 18th conference in the Facades+ series was presented by The Architect's Newspaper (AN) at Metropolitan West on April 21. With YKK AP as 2016 conference chair, a record-breaking attendance of over 500 design professionals, 60 other sponsoring organizations, and additional workshops held at New York Law School on April 22, Facades+ explored the potentials of new materials, fabrication processes, and design strategies on scales from single windows to urban districts. Facades+, a mobile event offered several times a year since 2012 (hitting seven U.S. cities during 2016), offers regular updates on high-performance enclosures. Contemporary technologies and materials, participants noted, allow increasing control of light and heat as well as expanding design options; at the same time, specialists argued for tempering expectations about parametric design and renewable power generation. “Glass is really the material of the 21st century,” asserted morning keynote speaker and 2016 Jane Drew Prize winner Odile Decq, discussing innovative combinations of laminated glass with external sunscreens, embedded textiles, and other elements. Decq led the audience through a series of projects employing transparency, color, and stylistic contrasts, including the Banque Popular de l’Ouest in Rennes (with Peter Rice), the Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome, the Garnier Opera House restaurant in Paris, and the Fangshan Tangshan National Geopark Museum in Nanjing. Architecture can look to the auto industry, she added, for advances in safety, self-cleaning, and energy management that are adaptable to buildings. In contrast, rising energy concerns mean that “glass is no longer king,” said Buro Happold's Jonathan Sakula; it is part of a broader material repertoire. Stringent codes often make triple glazing difficult to avoid, he noted, despite disadvantages in weight, acoustics, and cost. Responding to an audience question about curtain walls as media for power generation, NY conference co-chair KPF's Shawn Duffy suggested that building-integrated photovoltaics are not yet realizing their potential. Among featured buildings with concrete or masonry façades, standouts included DDG's 12 Warren Street condo clad in Catskill bluestone, discussed by Peter Guthrie, and S9 Architects' 205 Water Street, a gritty neo-brutalist grid of board-formed concrete and exposed steel where, in engineer Stephen DeSimone's pithy phrase, “the structure is the façade.” Technical briefings covered distinctions between fire-resistive and fire-protective glazing (Tim Nass of Saftifirst), woven-metal shading (Tom Powley of GKD-USA), and a dramatic breakage test by Kuraray's Mark Jacobson comparing polyvinyl butyral and SentryGlas ionoplast interlayers (hammer blows to the edge shattered both panes, but only the latter resisted crumpling). YKK's Bang Ting Tan described a top-down curtain-wall retrofitting method that outperforms conventional procedures in safety, weathertightness, and work-cycle efficiency. Tension between design ideals and constraints of economics, zoning, context, and client input was a recurrent theme. In a panel on Related's 17-million-square-foot Hudson Yards, William Pedersen commented that “the ability to achieve structural purity in a speculative office building is almost impossible” because dimensional requirements guide formal gestures. Yet the Yards hardly shortchange aesthetics: KPF's chamfered-cornered north and south towers will “perform a choreographed dance” near the High Line and the ETFE cushions of the Culture Shed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro / Rockwell Group, and Tower D by the latter team plus Ismael Leyva Architects will morph from a rectangular base to a quatrefoil as it rises. Neil Thelen (Thelen Design Group) hailed the subtleties in this tower's residential entrance of CNC-milled stone and the curtain-wall panels' complex geometries. Another high point was Thomas Phifer's afternoon keynote presenting designs from the Salt Lake City U.S. courthouse to the Corning Museum of Glass, augmented by a Q&A with AN's Matt Shaw considering local variations in light quality. “The light is the one thing that always surprises you when you build,” noted Phifer. Enclos's Mic Patterson provided a sobering note in the concluding panel on digital fabrication. Despite impressive recent projects—Hoeweler Yoon's Sean Collier Memorial of milled granite, James Carpenter's Fulton Center Sky Reflector-Net, and Kreysler & Associates/Enclos's fiber-reinforced plastic rainscreens for Snøhetta's San Francisco Museum of Modern Art—the gap between “those buzzwords we have in our industry” and seamy real-world transitions between programs or contractors can be alarming. “The obvious trend is accelerating complexity of the building skin.... How much complexity is sustainable?” Patterson asked. “All you have to do is visit a university architecture program: kids go nuts with Rhino, but nobody's talking craftsmanship.” The precise woodwork in Kahn's Escherick House, he added, “screams, 'Digitize this, sucker!'”—a challenge for everyone to take home.
Placeholder Alt Text

Rockwell Group–designed Imagination Playground opens in Brownsville, Brooklyn
Local students and community members joined NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, City Council Member Darlene Mealy, and David Rockwell, founding principle of Rockwell Group, for the opening of the Imagination Playground at Betsy Head Park in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Although the concept derives from adventure playgrounds and similar philosophies of unstructured play, the Brownsville Imagination Playground is technically the first permanent one of its kind in Brooklyn, and the second worldwide. (The first, also designed by the Rockwell Group, opened in 2010 at the Burling Slip in Manhattan). The $5.05 million project was influenced by tree houses, a foil to the monolithic blocks of high-rise public housing for which Brownsville is best known. A curved ramp wends its way through mature trees, while blue foam blocks, cut into funky shapes, along with water and sand, are tools for children to collaborate, build, or create by themselves. Traditional play elements—slides swing sets, chess tables, and a basketball court—round out the program. A year before the Burling Slip playground opened, Rockwell Group tested the designs in Brownsville with former NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. David Rockwell elaborated on the process: "When we were asked to do a second Imagination Playground, it gave us a chance to do a couple of things from a design perspective: One, these London Plane trees were incredible, they were a landmark that was important to preserve. We were able to create a path that weaves around the trees. Like the lower Manhattan playground, it's a playground you can see from 360 degrees. It's really a community space." https://www.flickr.com/photos/136339520@N03/25924630244/in/dateposted-public/ This reporter dodged zooming children and risked limb (well, ankle—platform sandals were a bad choice for this assignment!) to give you, dear readers, a panoramic view of the park from the bridge. (Look closely at 0:55 in the video above and you can see another local landmark, the Kenneth Frampton–designed Marcus Garvey Village.)
Placeholder Alt Text

On View> Luminaries at the Brookfield Place Winter Garden
Luminaries Brookfield Place Winter Garden 10:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m. 230 Vesey St., New York Through January 10, 2016 New York–based architecture and design practice Rockwell Group is lighting up New York City this holiday season with Luminaries, an interactive lighting display inside the ten-story, glass-vaulted pavilion Winter Garden Atrium at Brookfield Place New York. Designed by the LAB at Rockwell Group, the festive display features a large illuminated canopy comprised of 650 lanterns and an array of color-changing LED lights. The display is also outfitted with three interactive “wishing stations,” which trigger various lighting effects upon touch. For every wish made at Luminaries, Arts Brookfield will donate $1 up to $25,000 to the GRAMMY Foundation in an effort to fund music education programs for high school students. Inspired by the holiday traditions of sharing, community, and connection, Luminaires includes five choreographed light shows—Snowfall, Christmas Tree, Ribbons, Firecracker, and Northern Lights—that are scheduled every two hours during exhibition hours. Visit Arts Brookfield's website for more information on the exhibition.
Placeholder Alt Text

The Rockwell Group gets in touch with their emotions at the pop-up Museum of Feelings
Usually, strong smells wafting from the Hudson River are bad news. This time, though, there's nothing to worry about: household fragrance maker Glade has partnered with the Rockwell Group to create a pop-up branding exercise on the waterfront outside of Brookfield Place. The Museum of Feelings ask visitors to reflect on how the senses, especially smell, contribute to emotion. It's like raving with James Turrell at the Yankee Candle factory outlet store—plus crystals. Like a groovy mood ring, a board on the exterior of the museum changes colors to reflect the current mood of the city. Rage triggers like the weather forecast, stock market indices, and flight delays are tracked in real time. The "mood" is translated into color and light. On opening day, the colors, pale blue and deep purple, indicated calm. This being New York City, one wonders whether "calm" is a proxy for "low-level resentment and deep-seated apathy," a more ambiguous emotion that often masquerades as serenity.  Inside, feelings are compartmentalized into five zones, each themed with a different emotion and corresponding scent. The first room, Feel Optimistic, is inspired by the soon-to-be-released Radiant Berries fragrance. Before entering the room passageway of hanging cloth panels, staff members hand out reflective (and scented) cards that trigger and reflect bursts of pink and blue light reflected off of strategically placed interior crystals. Ambient music, not dissimilar to Music for Airports, is intensified or diminished as visitors enter or leave the space. The "Balsam & Fir" room invites you to Feel Joyful. The hanging LED light forest invites comparisons to Yayoi Kusama's installations. The strands emit a piney scent when touched, and it's impossible not to touch. According to a museum staff member, Blue Odyssey, the "marine scent" of the next room, is designed to invigorate. Upon entering the space, an oscillating LED halo encircles the floor around each visitor. The halo moves with its owner, vibrating as subwoofers beneath the floor thump with a bass-heavy beat. Visitors can swap halos by jumping into someone else's halo. The scent in this, and other rooms, was released through wall-mounted scent diffusers that resemble tissue under a microscope. "Feel Exhilarated" is a kaleidoscope of floor-to-ceiling video screens that project patterned peony and cherry blossoms, the base of the room's fragrance. Touch screens arranged around a central panel allow visitors to manipulate the floral patterns. One visitor remarked, "if you stare at the ceiling long enough, you feel nauseous, in a good way!" After exhilaration comes calm. "Lavender & Vanilla" fragrance permeates a candy purple and pink space. The powerful fog machine creates a sight radius of approximately three feet, giving visitors ample opportunity to bump into one another or trip over small children rolling on the heavily carpeted floor. What museum would be complete without a gift shop? The "retail lounge" gives visitors the opportunity to buy small and large Glade candles. The true treat, however, is the "MoodLens." Visitors place their hand on a sensor connected to a large screen and camera. The sensor allegedly reads emotion and generates a "mood selfie" based on that emotion. The selfie is printed out (for free!) on scratch-and-sniff paper that matches the emotion. Selfies are uploaded to the museum's website to create an archive of feelings. The Museum of Feelings is open through December 15th.
Placeholder Alt Text

Ever swum in a cenote? Grand Hyatt spa designed by Rockwell Group inspired by freshwater swimming holes
While cave-like spa experiences aren’t all that novel, the Cenote Spa at newly opened Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen on the Riviera Mexico is inspired by the eponymous, naturally-occurring freshwater swimming hole. Cenotes are unique geological formations from the Yucatan peninsula. They look like hot springs but are often the surface manifestations of extensive underwater cave systems, and are considered by many to be energy centers because of their high concentrations of minerals and nutrients. The spa features eight treatment rooms, two double suites and an 82-foot lap pool, while the resort architecture itself is billed “a unique fusion of sleek and contemporary design aesthetics blended with Mayan-inspired elements...that pay tribute to the local surroundings.” The 6,000 square-foot spa facility and cenote were designed by Sordo Madaleno Architects and New York–based design and architecture practice Rockwell Group. A hydrotherapy area and fitness center complement the spa and beauty services on offer, such as the locally-inspired Mayan head massage with cocoa and tequila oils and hot stone massage using Mexican opal. Expect customized scents, a personalized consultation, and a detox juice upon arrival. Facing the opulent waters of the Mexican Caribbean and set on the white sands of Mamitas Beach, the “urban beach hotel” assumes a V shape to reduce its environmental footprint, while a mangrove jungle nestles within the grounds as a wildlife sanctuary. The hotel’s much vaunted Air Suites are elevated over the beachfront of the Caribbean sea, offering unimpeded views of the horizon and incredible sunsets.
Placeholder Alt Text

Alaska’s “Dr. Seuss House” is a real-life manifestation of the revered storyteller’s Whoville
A rambling, gravity-defying structure in Willow, Alaska has drawn a bevy of curious onlookers, who have dubbed it “the Dr. Seuss house.” The structure was built in the aftermath of a forest fire once the trees had regrown, obscuring the owner’s view of nearby Mount McKinley and the Denali National Park. The previous owner spent a decade adding floors, but when he died abruptly, the tower was abandoned for 10 years. Renovations were then taken over a by a new occupant to add more stories, and the sky-piercing structure now comprises 12 floors that gradually taper in square footage. The building bears a striking resemblance to the winding, often structurally implausible structures incorporating endless staircases in Theodor Giesel’s fictional town of Whoville, which is rumored to be based on the Massachusetts town of Easthampton, as well as treehouse designs. The Giesel Library by William Pereira at San Diego State University, almost as much a spectacle as the so-called “Dr. Seuss house,” is named after the legendary storyteller and illustrator himself. The brutalist structure features gravity-defying concrete levels extending from a tapered base.
Placeholder Alt Text

Shagadelic
The bar in Virginns Commons Club.
Courtesy Virgin Hotels

Lest you think Virgin Hotel’s new outpost in downtown Chicago is a mild adaptation of its parent company’s ribald corporate persona—tempered for the historic confines of its art deco host—just know the lounge features a plush, circular “shag room.”

The first U.S. location of Virgin Hotels inhabits the Old Dearborn Bank Building at 203 North Wabash Avenue in Chicago’s Loop, one of only two office buildings designed by architects Cornelius Ward and George L. Rapp. Finished in 1928, the 27-story building was named a local landmark in 2003.

On one hand it seems an unlikely fit for Virgin, whose bushy, hang-gliding CEO Sir Richard Branson exudes an aesthetic and sense of humor that draw more on his playboy persona than his royal honorific. But there is whimsy in the original building, too. Facade ornaments depicting peacocks, acorns, and mustachioed old men mesh with the hipster sensibility informing some of Chicago’s ongoing boom in boutique hotels. “It was clear that they didn’t want a hotel that was Britannia, over-the-top,” said Diego Gronda, managing and creative director at Rockwell Group Europe. “They wanted it very respectful, but with a wink.” The design directive, Gronda said, went something like, “Don’t add TNT and destroy it, and don’t be boring.”

Chicago architecture firm Booth Hansen, led by Marshall  Butler, headed up restoration efforts, which were demanding after years of poor retrofits and neglect. Many of the historic features of the original bank had been covered up, battered, or both. Designers made silicon casts of intricate ceiling panels, replacing shattered tiles that in some rooms made up more than half of the ceiling. Original terrazzo floors and a stately curved stairway greet entrants who enter beneath a relatively understated overhang.

 
 

Once inside the lobby, however, guests are as likely to notice the cheeky art as they are the Jazz Age grandeur. A custom-designed red carpet flows down the stairs, spilling into a blob by the entrance like a giant pool of paint. Famous paintings are restaged with stuffed animals behind the check-in counter, an old cigar store that now accommodates guest interaction via smartphone.

That chic enthusiasm dulls a bit at the threshold to the 250 “chambers,” or guest rooms, giving way to a subtler palette mostly devoid of splashy art pieces. Though area rugs depict abstractions of London’s Tube and signature red phone booths, cool creams, and whites aim for serenity in what Virgin’s PR material describes as “home away from home” for its frequent travelers. The floor plan responds to a uniformity of business-class accommodations. The roughly 300-square-foot rooms open onto a small entryway with a sink, split closets, make-up table and mirror, toilet, and shower with a tile bench. That area closes off with a shade, leaving the bedroom a separate retreat. In an interesting touch smartly cornered by Rockwell Group Europe, custom beds feature a bonus headboard at the bottom corner for guests to lean against while reading or surfing a mobile device.

 

The heart of the hotel is the Commons Club, a double-height space beginning on the second floor that features a towering, elliptical bar, a cozily furnished “funny library,” and the moody “shag room” that can be closed off with a curtain and illuminated by an LED disk hanging overhead. Wary of overpowering the space with Virgin’s signature red, Gronda instead snuck it into the details in the carpeting—though it still screams in leather touches on the center bar, which frames a kind of exploded chandelier made from silver balls with zinc and long mirrors. Amid all this, the floor plan maintains a clean sightline from the Shag Room at the building’s south end to the daylight brushing the exposed kitchen against the northern exterior wall.

Though surely over-the-top by purist standards—ceramic molds of English bulldogs are chained outside pet-friendly rooms; Branson’s self-explanatory art installation “Large Ball of Tangled Chargers” adorns the concourse of the business floor—Rockwell’s marriage of old and new befits the boutique hotel model and the historic setting alike. Is it the start of a British invasion? Virgin plans to open another hotel in Nashville next year, and has set its sights on New York for 2017.

Placeholder Alt Text

Fashion Anchors the Yards
Courtesy Oxford Properties

A flagship Neiman Marcus store, marking the company’s expansion into New York, is scheduled to open in Hudson Yards in 2018. The store will occupy 250,000 square feet—or one-fourth of the retail space—at the Shops at Hudson Yards, a retail destination designed by the Boston-based firm Elkus Manfredi Architects. The announcement by the high end retailer further cements Hudson Yards as a center for fashion-related businesses.

The building’s glass curtain wall will afford shoppers a view of the High Line and also the Culture Shed, a Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Rockwell Group–designed structure that is the planned home of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Group. The three-story luxury store will face the public plaza designed by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects in collaboration with Thomas Heatherwick. The store will have a dedicated entrance on 10th Avenue between 31st and 32nd streets, as well as multiple access points throughout the complex.

Neiman Marcus is not the first fashion brand to call Hudson Yards home. The high-rise tower at 10 Hudson Yards, now under construction, will be the world headquarters for the leather goods maker Coach and the U.S. corporate headquarters for L’Oréal.

The Dallas-based Neiman Marcus, which was acquired by Ares Management and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for about $6 billion last year, also owns the Bergdorf Goodman department store in New York City, which is scheduled to undergo a multimillion-dollar modernization. The company is also opening an outlet store, Last Call Studio, later this year in Brooklyn.

The Neiman Marcus store at Hudson Yards will be showcased in a three-month exhibition, Hudson Yards: New York’s Future Is Rising, that opened at the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle on Saturday, September 6, 2014. The exhibition will feature models and renderings of the transformation already underway on Manhattan’s west side. Exhibit goers will receive a build-your-own Hudson Yards postcard set designed by paper engineer and graphic designer Keisuke Saka as part of the “Make City” series of paper crafts that includes New York, London, and Tokyo.

The 28-acre Hudson Yards, developed by Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group, is the largest private real estate development in U.S. history and will bring more than 17 million square feet of commercial and residential space, more than 100 shops and restaurants, 5,000 new residences, 14 acres of public open space, a public school, and a 175-room luxury hotel to the city.

Placeholder Alt Text

Lagoon Taken
Courtesy Reed Hilderbrand

On April 11, The Contemporary Austin announced that it had selected Cambridge, Massachusetts–based Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architecture to design a master plan for its historic Laguna Gloria site. The master plan will seek to reconceive the 12-acre estate on the shores of Lake Austin, which comprises woods, meadows, and waterfront zones, as well as the Italianate 1916 Driscoll Villa. The goal is to create an ideal art-in-nature experience that will include a new sculpture park.

“This is an exceptional commission,” said Douglas Reed, partner of Reed Hilderbrand, in a statement. “The historic character of Laguna Gloria is a legacy of its terraced landform overlooking Lake Austin, the villa, its gardens, and the site’s diverse ecology. It is already exceptional among America’s cultural sites, and we look forward to expanding its natural appeal to support the Contemporary Austin’s remarkable curatorial program. It is an honor to be called on to design the master plan for what will become a must-see location for the art world.”

Reed Hilderbrand was selected by a committee headed by Frederick Steiner, Dean of the School of Architecture and Henry Rockwell Chair in Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin. The Cambridge firm beat out two other finalists to win the job: Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture of San Francisco, and Norwegian firm Snøhetta.

Trahan Architects of New Orleans, New York’s Lord Cultural Resources, and ETM Associates of New Jersey are also on the design team. Local Austin collaborators include Urban Design Group and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.