Search results for "gensler"

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Sliding Doors

Sunset Strip Hustler store to make way for Gwyneth Paltrow–backed Arts Club
The London-based Arts Club’s new Gensler-designed California outpost has won planning approval from the City of West Hollywood. The 132,000-square-foot mixed-use complex is partially backed by wellness impresario Gwyneth Paltrow and represents the latest members-only club establishment to take root in Southern California. The new arts-focused clubhouse will be located on the Sunset Strip on the site of the original Hustler store, one of the former mainstays of the district. The proposed building is set to contain restaurants and a public art gallery on the ground floor, with private offices located on two of the floors above. The Arts Club facilities will be located on the uppermost floors and will contain private dining spaces, a movie screening room, up to 15 hotel rooms, and a rooftop pool. Renderings for the complex depict a dramatic structure that slopes into the site from the street edge, creating a semi-pyramidal building. The wedge-shaped complex is shown wrapped in vertical louvers with floor-to-ceiling glass-walled exposures located beyond the shading elements. A dining terrace on the third floor along the back of the building is set into the mass of the complex while a dual-level roof terrace steps back at the top floor to reveal a pool deck studded with cabanas. The Arts Club was originally founded in London in 1863 by cultural figures including Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, and Frederic Leighton. The private, members-only club also boasts a location in Aspen, Colorado. In recent years, a spate of members-only arts-focused clubs has spread across Los Angeles, with the Neuehouse opening at the nearby Columbia Square development in 2016 and a new outpost of SoHo House slated to open in L.A.’s Arts District in coming years. The Arts Club is headed toward construction with an anticipated 2020 completion date.
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Take Me Out to the Bjarke

BIG, Gensler, and JCFO to design new Oakland Athletics baseball stadium
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has been hired to lead design for a new ballpark for the Oakland Athletics baseball team. The decision comes after months of speculation over the team’s future in Oakland as the Oakland Raiders professional football team moves forward with a deal to abandon the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum—currently shared with the A’s—in order to build a new $1.8 billion stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada, designed by Manica Architecture. A handful of plans have been proposed over the last 18 months for the baseball team’s future home, including purchasing the Coliseum site outright from the City of Oakland for $135 million. But the team is keeping its options open: Aside from the Coliseum bid, the team is currently pursuing plans for a brand new ballpark in the Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal. https://twitter.com/davekaval/status/1019773158843281409?s=21 The plan for the Howard Terminal site is reportedly favored by Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf, as it would allow the city to buyout Alameda County’s stake in the jointly-owned Coliseum site. The arrangement would give the city control over a centrally-located public amenity that is already connected to mass transit while passing on the costs of redeveloping Howard Terminal to private coffers. Despite Schaaf’s intentions to purchase the park, however, the mayor recently announced that the city does not have the money to make the purchase itself and is unwilling to commit public funding for the plan. In the past, the A’s were also considering a potential partnership with the Peralta Community College District nearby for a new standalone ballpark, though that fell through earlier this year due to community opposition. Previously, it was thought that HOK was on board to design a new A’s stadium, but the latest announcement seems to have scuttled those ideas. Now, it’ll be BIG, Gensler, and James Corner Field Operations working together to craft the new ballpark and the surrounding areas. “We are honored and excited to team with the Oakland A’s to help imagine their future home where sports culture and local community culture unite as one," Bjarke Ingels told The Architect's Newspaper. "We envision a stadium district that will be active and inviting 365 days a year for athletes, fans, and Oaklanders alike.” Announcing the new design team, A’s president Dave Kaval told the Chronicle, “We wanted a team that could look at the ballpark with a fresh perspective…and this is really a game changer.” https://twitter.com/oakstadiumwatch/status/1019785475555450880?s=21 The announcement was somewhat expected, especially for anyone who has been keeping close tabs on relevant social media channels. Earlier this summer, amid a trip to the Bay Area to check in on construction for the forthcoming Googleplex headquarters, BIG’s founder, Bjarke Ingels, took in an A’s game with Kaval. A flurry of Twitter selfies and Instagram stories from the pair hinted at a potential partnership. BIG is no stranger to working in the Bay Area. As mentioned above, the office based in New York City and Copenhagen is currently working with Heatherwick Studios on a new tent-inspired headquarters for Google. The firm also recently unveiled a scheme to reurbanize sections of Islais Creek with Sherwood and ONE. A planned 242-unit mixed-income housing complex in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood designed by BIG is under construction, as well.  Designs for the BIG-led proposal have not been released, though Kaval has stated that the new stadium will be privately financed and will open in time for the 2021–2022 season.
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A Lesson InDesign

Adobe unveils a glassy office tower for its San Jose headquarters
New renderings have been released for Adobe’s latest addition to its San Jose, California, headquarters, an 18-story office tower designed by multinational architecture firm Gensler. The tech company filed finalized plans with the City of San Jose last Thursday, according to The Mercury News, and the new building could hold up to 3,000 employees when complete. The building would be an addition to Adobe’s existing complex. It has been dubbed 'North Tower' and will sit on the northern side of the campus. Adobe is considering making the tower a mixed-use building and plans on building out 650,000 square feet of retail and office space in the tower, as well as above- and below-ground parking. The building itself will be linked with the other offices via a sky bridge and will sit to the east of the adjacent State Route 87. As shown in the renderings, Gensler has taken a playful approach to the building’s massing and cut a massive triangular gap in the tower’s upper section, reminiscent of Adobe’s stylized “A” logo. Diagonally-slanted louvers will wrap the building and run parallel to the cutout, and Adobe will use the open space created by the cutout to lay a plaza on top of the retail podium. A series of smaller rooftop gathering spaces are planned for the building’s other setbacks. The sky bridge will feature concrete pavers and wood seating areas alongside plantings of native grasses, evoking a High Line-type feel. According to Adobe, construction is expected to begin sometime in 2019. Adobe is far from the only tech company to pursue a new headquarters this year: Gensler’s NVIDIA building opened, Google and BIG unveiled a new campus in Sunnyvale, Microsoft revealed that it would be upgrading its Redmond, Washington complex, and the search for an Amazon HQ2 host city has kicked into high gear.
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Classy Glass

Add panache with new types of decorative glass
Not a solid, yet not a liquid; glass is somewhere in between. These decorative varieties accentuate the aesthetic qualities of the material, calling attention to its almost supernatural, amorphous condition—a state somewhere between two states of matter.
Channel Bronze Nathan Allan Glass Studios Convex grooves line this kiln-formed glass that is shaped like flowing water. It is available in a maximum panel size of six-by-ten feet and in six profile depths. Detail photo of glass pieces

Rayures Glas Italia

The French fraternal design duo Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec conjured a colorful crystalline modular screen with layered hinged panels. The folds of transparent glass feature horizontal and vertical veins that light filters through in a wonderfully lucid way. The individual panels vary in size, allowing for compositions that divide but don't separate.

Metallic Carvart

Woven metallic threads form a reflective herringbone wall cladding in this new product from Carvart. The effect is created by laminating metal mesh between a mirror and a panel of glass. This mesh can be used for both exterior and interior applications, as well as for acoustic performance.

Linework Skyline Design

Exploring linework and other 2-D geometries, Gensler collaborated with Skyline to develop a collection of five glass patterns. Linework is available in four thicknesses, can be sized up to 72 inches by 144 inches, and is suitable for interiors and exteriors.

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More Magic

Upgrades approved for South L.A.’s Magic Johnson Park
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors recently voted to fund the construction of the first phase of a new master plan by AHBE Landscape Architects and a new community event center designed by Paul Murdoch Architects that aims to transform Magic Johnson Park in South Los Angeles.  A statement from the office of Mark Ridley-Thomas, supervisor for the 2nd district, announcing the agreement explains that the initial $50 million phase will bring a 20,000-square-foot community events center, an outdoor wedding pavilion, a splash pad, and new children’s play areas to the 120-acre park. Plans for the initial phase also include upgraded security lighting, new walking paths, and additional parking space. The project will also transform the park into a key element of the region’s water management ecosystem by diverting and filtering water from nearby Compton Creek in order to irrigate a 30-acre section of the park and to fill a large artificial pond, as well.  The initial phase will be bolstered in future years by a physical expansion of the park as grounds are added to the site from an adjacent housing development known as Ujima Village that has been torn down and will be converted to parkland. The site was once home to oil storage facilities, Urbanize.la reports, and has been remediated significantly since closing to residents in 2010. AHBE is currently at work on a series of transformative projects across the L.A. area, including a new $8.5 million public park slated for L.A.’s Chinatown neighborhood and a mixed-use renovation and expansion plan for the South Gate Galleria complex in Redondo Beach, California, led by Gensler. The firm also recently completed a landscaped terrace at Cedars Sinai hospital that functions as a collection of outdoor rooms anchored by a large pavilion designed by Ball-Nogues Studio constructed out of CNC-shaped steel tubing. The initial phase of the master plan is set to begin in October of this year and be wrapped up by Spring 2020. The final $135 million buildout should be completed by 2036. 
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On To The Next

Landmarking efforts take a step forward for Los Angeles Times complex
Efforts to landmark the historic Los Angeles Times headquarters in Downtown Los Angeles took a step forward last week when the city’s Cultural Heritage Commission (CHC) agreed to take up a Historic Cultural Monument (HCM) nomination for the complex put forth by a group of Los Angeles preservationists. The agreement moves the historic nomination process forward for the five-building complex just as the Los Angeles Times staff vacates the property amid a move to El Segundo, California.  Concurrently, a fight over several of the buildings’ historic lobby artifacts has entered a new stage as the new LA Times owner, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, has moved to illicitly remove a collection of historic elements from the complex in a bid to create an LA Times-focused museum at the paper’s new headquarters.  Just days before the CHC hearing took place work crews removed several historic busts from the so-called Globe Lobby, a grand, marble-wrapped entry space punctuated by a 66-inch wide aluminum globe sculpture. The orb, created by Gutzon Borglum in 1891, survived a 1910 bombing of the newspaper’s offices and is joined in the lobby by a series of 10-foot-tall murals painted by Hugo Ballin in 1934 that depict the origins and major industries of Los Angeles. In a blog post describing the removal, Kim Cooper of historic tour group Esotouric described the emptied lobby as “a defaced space that looks like a plucked chicken.” The nomination for the complex was compiled by preservationist Richard Shave, also of Esotouric, with the help of other experts, including Cooper and the historian Alan Hess. The nomination considers the entire complex for designation, including a pair of late modern-era buildings designed by William Pereira. The buildings included in the nomination follow:
  • The eight-story Los Angeles Times Building designed in the Art Deco/Moderne style by Los Angeles architect Gordon B. Kaufmann in 1935.
  • The four-story Plant Building completed in 1935 that includes an original two-story Art Deco/Moderne-style building by Kaufmann and two one-story additions designed by Los Angeles architect Rowland H. Crawford in 1946 and 1955.
  • The 12-story Mirror Building designed in the Late Moderne architectural style by Crawford in 1948
  • The six-story Times-Mirror Headquarters Building and an attendant six-story parking structure designed by Pereira in the Corporate International architectural style in 1973. 
The nearly 400-page historic nomination can be found here.  The effort to landmark the complex—years in the making—is somewhat coincidental in terms of its timing with the newspaper vacating its historic offices and comes after a particularly turbulent half-decade at the Times. Soon-Shiong announced his purchase of the newspaper in February of this year and unveiled plans to move the LA Times offices in April. Canadian developer Onni purchased the Times complex in 2016 from the previous Times owner, Tronc, and had proposed raising the rent for the facilities to over $1 million per month, prompting the relocation. The Times’s lease ran out June 30, 2018.  Onni is currently pursuing a pair of redevelopment proposals that aim to demolish the Pereria-designed sections of the complex. The developer plans to replace those buildings with two mixed-use condominium towers designed by AC Martin. The towers, rising 37- and 53-stories, would bring 1,127 residential units and 34,572 square feet of commercial areas to the site. Gensler is also working on a blocky 32-story tower containing 107 condominium units, 534,000 square feet of commercial space, and 7,200 square feet of ground-floor commercial area that is slated to rise in what is now a parking lot across from the Times complex. The CHC will next conduct an on-site inspection of the LA Times complex in order to consider whether to advance the application for historic cultural status any further. The designation could impact the developer’s plans for the AC Martin-designed towers, but as the recent case with Gehry Partners’s designs for 8150 Sunset complex shows, landmarking a historic structure does not prevent its demolition. If the HCM nomination is successful, however, the developer’s plans could actually be bolstered by the availability of historic tax credits for renovating the complex if that is done in line with historic standards. A key question for the CHC committee will be how to qualify the historic nature of the Pereira-designed additions to the complex. The historic nomination explains that the Pereira additions are key to the significance of the entire complex and represent the apex of the newspaper’s development and relevance following L.A.’s post-World War II expansion. Pereira’s additions were designed to intentionally fade into the background so as to not detract from the iconic Kaufman-designed portions of the building, according to William L. Pereira, a monograph of the architect’s work compiled by James Steele. The resulting black granite panel-clad complex remains almost entirely intact and represents a key moment not only in Pereira’s career but in the development of L.A.’s architectural history, according to the report. The report says, “The building demonstrates not only Pereira’s role as a master architect who helped to shape the city we know today, but a building which is symbolically, urbanistically, and creatively part of the life of the city.” The entire complex is eligible for National Register of Historic Places and the California State Historic Monument list, though it is unlisted in both. The complex was included in the SurveyLA Los Angeles Historic Resources Survey and is listed in California Register of Historical Resources. The CHC will meet to tour the building at a yet-to-be-announced date and time. Until then, check out the nifty, illustrated explainer created by the Times that highlights the historic complex’s history and internal organization. 
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Launching Satellites in L.A.

LACMA is planning to launch up to five satellite campuses throughout L.A. County
During a recent breakfast with members of the local AIA|LA chapter at Gensler’s Los Angeles offices, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) director Michael Govan announced a potential plan to add up to five satellite campuses to LACMA’s current sites. While the plan is largely still in the works, Govan explained that as the institution seeks to demolish and replace its existing William Pereira and Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer-designed complex, LACMA was “hitting the limit for space on Wilshire Boulevard” and would need to start looking at other sites for potential future expansions.  Explaining that he had explicitly instructed Peter Zumthor—the architect behind the controversial $600 million revamp—to design a singular structure that would be difficult to expand, Govan said, “There’s never been a building that’s been added onto that has been made better [because of that addition].” Govan explained that it would be better if LACMA’s future expansions happened “elsewhere in Los Angeles” so that the new facilities might become a resource for the broader population of Los Angeles County. Govan then detailed a conceptual plan for the future of a “de-centralized” LACMA that could bring a jolt of arts and educational programming to arts-starved communities throughout the city, starting with South Los Angeles, where the organization recently announced what could turn out to be its first regional outpost.  Earlier this year, LACMA announced plans to expand to a 80,000-square-foot industrial building in South Los Angeles Wetlands Park and to a vacant site located in the 104-acre Earvin “Magic” Johnson Park in an effort to boost community outreach and make better use of its resources while the expansion at the Wilshire campus is under construction.  LACMA is also currently operating a small gallery at Charles White Elementary School in L.A.’s MacArthur Park neighborhood, where it is working to have an updated security and ticketing system installed that would allow the space to be open to the public on weekends, Govan explained. LACMA plans to exhibit objects from its collections there and to work with local artists and students at the school to create programming for the site, as well.  Aiming for a “decentered museum for a decentered metropolis,” Govan also explained that LACMA is currently partnered with the Vincent Price Art Museum at East Los Angeles College for an exhibition on ancient Egyptian artifacts in LACMA’s collection. Govan hinted that sites in the San Fernando Valley were also potentially under consideration and that ultimately, he would like to see five 50,000-square-foot satellites in operation over the next decade or so. 
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The Architecture of Five Exhibitions

Fashion, infrastructure, and retrofuturism collide in new shows at L.A.’s A+D Museum
This weekend, the Architecture and Design Museum (A+D) in Los Angeles launched The Assembly, an event marking the opening of five simultaneous exhibitions at the museum that engage with a variety of architectural perspectives. The wide-ranging exhibitions deep-dive into the work of local architects and disciplinary concerns, like the relationships between plan, section, and elevation. See below for a breakdown of the various exhibitions now on view.   With Cycle & Pattern For With Cycle & Pattern, A+D has partnered with Otis College of Art and Design to create an exhibition of student work from the school's Fashion Design department focused on the "playful interaction between the elegance of the celestial and whimsy of the mortal and material." The horoscope-inspired works have been created by junior and senior students studying under Jose Fernandez of Ironhead Studio and costume designer Louise Mingenbach, two top Hollywood costume designers. The works are organized as four dioramas that can be experienced individually as well as in a group.   3-Ways Billed as A+D's inaugural Guest Curator Program exhibition, 3-Ways is organized by A+D Chief Curator Anthony Morey and Guest Curator Program members Ivan Bernal and Ryan Tyler Martinez, and aims to create a "platform for plan, section, and elevation to communicate with each other at a 1:1 scale." Organized as a "series of conversations," the exhibition pulls together work from over 30 architects, designers, and artists to explore the interrelationships between different viewing and drawing modes.   Sunset 2050 Sunset 2050, a collaboration between Craig Hodgetts's SUPRASTUDIO at the University of California, Los Angeles and students from the ArtCenter College of Design Transportation Design program, posits a master plan for L.A.'s Sunset Strip that fully embraces autonomous vehicle technologies. By championing the "innate charm" of the Strip, the collected research project interrogates the ever-escalating "congestion" of urban street life, a territory that now demands space for digital, geo-location, and soon, autonomous technologies. The exhibition is supported by the UCLA Department of Architecture and Urban Design, Gensler, Matt Construction, and BuroHappold Engineering.   Dopplegänger Dopplegänger is a view into the inspirations that lie behind the "architectural mind" of Los Angeles-based Patrick Tighe Architecture. The exhibition presents a collection of recent work that has been reinterpreted through digital and physical collages that circle back to each project's original sources of inspiration in an effort to "retrospectively reinvigorate" the firm's work. By presenting each project with dueling collages and model assemblies, the firm seeks to "catalyze the intentions" behind these projects.   Back to Front StereoBot & Oasys are collaborating on Back to Front, an examination of advances in building technology, zoning, and city planning with regards to affordable housing in Los Angeles. The "urban activation" installation will create a 400-square-foot backyard unit at AplusD. The structure will be used as a community forum that will host a series of community workshops focused on recent trends in affordability innovation. The installation will be on view until September 30, 2018. See the A+D museum website for more information.
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Goin' up!

AN tracks the largest projects in Saudi Arabia
This story originally appeared in our June 2018 issue. Read the first part of our Saudi Arabia feature here. With so many large-scale projects going up and wholly new urban areas in development, it can be hard to keep track of the myriad established architecture offices working across Saudi Arabia. Here is a quick guide to some of the biggest, tallest, and most cutting-edge projects in the works across the country. King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture Snøhetta Opening 2018 Snøhetta’s King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture is the by-product of a design competition led by the Saudi Aramco Oil Company, which wanted a new knowledge incubator for Saudi Arabia to symbolize the nation’s aspirations for a diversified economy. The one-million-square-foot complex will feature a 930-seat Grand Hall as well as a cinema, library, exhibition hall, museum, and archive, among other offerings. The desert-bound structure is designed to resemble a series of stacked pebbles clad in parallel bands of metal piping. Inside, these give way to graphic, linear patterns that reveal a delicate metal structure underneath. Meanwhile, the Grand Hall's ceiling is wrapped in perforated copper panels. Jeddah Tower (formerly Kingdom Tower)| Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture; Calthorpe Associates Opening 2020 When completed, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill’s 3,280-foot Jeddah Tower will stand as the tallest building on Earth. The organically shaped pinnacle will be the focal point of the Kingdom City development (population: 210,000), a forthcoming $20 billion economic area master planned by Berkeley, California–based Calthorpe Associates for Saudi Arabia’s west coast. The tapered skyscraper is structured to mimic desert vegetation and is built with petal-shaped apartment blocks at its base. It will also contain a hotel, commercial spaces, and a variety of observation platforms above. King Abdullah University of Science & Technology BuroHappold; HOK Completed 2009 In 2009, St. Louis, Missouri–based HOK designed and built an 8,900-acre campus for the King Abdullah University of Science & Technology in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia, in just over 30 months. The 940-student university contains some of the most advanced scientific lab equipment in the world and features 5.5 million square feet spread across 27 buildings, including two million square feet of laboratories. The labs are arrayed across four 500,000-square-foot structures designed to be “flexible building shells” with universal floor plates that can accommodate different lab setups. The structures are wrapped in horizontal metal louvers to control for glare while the campus library is faced with translucent stone cladding that casts light from within at night. Haramain High-Speed Railway Stations Foster + Partners; BuroHappold Opening 2018 Foster + Partners and BuroHappold are working on a series of transformative high-speed rail (HSR) stations across the country as the Saudi government pushes to boost regional connectivity with a new 280-mile-long HSR line with stops in Medina, Mecca, Jeddah, and the King Abdullah Financial District. Designs for the stations are meant to seed new urban areas in each locale by fusing cavernous, 85-foot-tall arched interior spaces with strategically-placed solid facades to limit solar gain, overhead bridges to create covered outdoor spaces around the stations, and direct connections to the country’s most bustling cities. The line is expected to open sometime this year and will carry 135 million passengers per year by 2042. King Abdullah Financial District Henning Larsen; SOM Opening 2020 Danish architecture firm Henning Larsen has master planned a new business district on the northern edge of Riyadh, where 59 high-rise towers are now in the works. The firm took inspiration from the city’s historic center when calibrating the positioning of each of those towers, generating a taut, tall cluster of angled and closely set monoliths. The arrangement is designed to minimize solar penetration into the city, resulting in ambient temperatures—the designers hope—up to ten degrees cooler than surrounding areas. The massive, nearly complete development area has been in the works for years and features contributions from SOM, CallisonRTKL, Gensler, Foster + Partners, and many others. King Abdullah Petroleum Studies & Research Center Zaha Hadid Architects Opening 2018 Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) recently completed the 750,000-square-foot KAPSARC (King Abdullah Petroleum Studies & Research Center) complex, a nonprofit research institution focused on “policies that contribute to the most effective use of energy to provide social well-being across the globe.” The honeycomb-shaped complex is designed to optimize solar and wind orientation and is made up of five buildings clustered around a series of interlocking courtyards topped by metal canopies. The complex, which opened earlier this year, was one of the final projects Hadid oversaw. Among other features, it includes a 300-seat auditorium, a library with 100,000 volumes in its archive, and an inspirational prayer area called a Musalla.
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Building big

Saudi Arabia is building a future for its millennial population
This story originally appeared in our June 2018 issue and will be followed by a list of the largest projects currently underway in Saudi Arabia. When work on the Kingdom Tower by architects Adrian Smith Gordon Gill (ASGG) is completed in 2020 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, its elevators will bring visitors up to the building’s highest residential floors 114 stories up in roughly 52 seconds, where views will stretch out over the Red Sea and beyond. The trip, dizzying as it might sound, is symbolic of the speed at which Saudi Arabia is embracing new globalized perspectives as it seeks to pivot away from oil and toward a diverse, sustainable economy via its Saudi Vision 2030 plan, an initiative that seeks to crystallize this transformation. United States Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross recently touted the efforts at an economic summit, saying, “We're standing with [the Saudis] as they're about to transform both their society and their economy. This new move I think could be even more dramatic and more far-reaching for the whole geopolitical sector than was the original hydrocarbon." He means it could be more transformative than oil. The nation has been undergoing change for some time now, as it embarks on the early stages of fulfilling the dream of its recently-deceased monarch—King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud passed away in 2015—who sought to re-open Saudi Arabia to the rest of the world after a period of relative isolation. Abdullah’s initial plans involved developing several economic development zones that function outside of domestic norms and laws. These new areas aim to make the Kingdom a node for global finance between the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, seek to spur innovation at home with investments in universities, and look to boost appeal among tourists and pilgrims to its many religious and cultural sites. The effort has continued under the new king—Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud—and the heir apparent Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), who are enacting further reforms under the mantle of their Saudi Vision 2030 program. Vision 2030 The many changes are due to necessity more than anything else—over 70 percent of the Saudi population is less than 30 years old—while job and housing prospects for this group are anemic under the existing models. To boot, over 200,000 Saudis are currently earning professional and academic degrees abroad and will eventually join ascendant Saudi millennials in demanding steady, well-paying jobs (and relaxed social mores) that the oil economy simply will not be able to provide. The National Transformation Program, part of Vision 2030, calls for creating more than 450,000 new jobs for Saudis by 2020, increasing the private sector’s contribution to the national GDP, and boosting housing production and incentivizing housing affordability across the country. New cities and neighborhoods will be developed to meet this need, with Saudi authorities expecting to spend more than $78 billion on Vision 2030 initiatives between 2016 and 2020 alone. The new cities, infrastructure, and urban monuments that result will embody the manifold economic reforms the state wishes to embrace as it moves forward. Vision 2030 seeks to add no fewer than five new megacities and many smaller developments to the country over the next decade or so. These large and multifaceted developments, generally speaking, will be designed to have regionally specific industrial focuses like global finance, agribusiness, and religious tourism, and will be connected via new transportation investments like high-speed rail on the west coast and an upgraded central airport in the capital city of Riyadh and the country’s second largest city, Jeddah. The result, should it come to pass, will be one of massive change embodied by glimmering, faceted towers, cul-de-sac-bound streets, and tightly packed townhouses. As new reforms take off, and earlier experiments come online, questions on the nature of the coming changes abound. Is the sacrifice of historic and natural sites in the name of progress worthwhile? Will the reforms stave off social unrest in the future? New Cities A recently announced plan calls for the creation of a new multinational economic area called NEOM, a 10,230-square-mile purpose-built city (nearly 34 times larger in area than New York City) planned on the edge of the Red Sea. The megacity, focused on energy, water, biotechnology, and food production, is expected to cost $500 billion and will be jointly developed with Egypt, Jordan, and Israel, all of which share borders or Red Sea access with the development. Although an official master plan for the region has not been unveiled, a design document prepared for the area calls for “opulent buildings with modern and traditional Moroccan-style architecture." Like other forthcoming economic zones, NEOM will be designed with judicial and governing bodies that exist outside traditional Saudi governmental structures, a bid to leapfrog over incremental reforms and develop globalization-friendly areas that are attractive to young Saudis, international investors, and tourists. At least four other economic zones were planned prior to MBS’s tenure, including the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD), a 17.2-million-square-foot development master planned by Danish architects Henning Larsen on the northern edge of Riyadh. After lengthy delays, the leaf-shaped business district will be complete later this year. According to Henning Larsen, the district is planned in tightly grouped clusters of high-rise office and residential towers that are organized to mitigate solar heat gain. The faceted towers connect via networks of elevated skyways and will frame lively pedestrian zones along lower levels inspired by the region’s seasonal wadi riparian landscapes. Here, pedestrians will find shelter from the crippling heat while infrastructural elements capture and recycle runoff and rainwater. Overhead trams will provide further shade while the buildings’ varied geometries deflect direct sunlight. The firm studied the site’s solar and wind patterns intensely in order to generate a development envelope and site plan for KAFD that work together to bring down ambient temperatures by as much as ten degrees. KAFD will be connected to the rest of the city by a new metro system—one of many ground-up transit systems being built across the country—that will include six transit lines with 85 stations and 110 miles of track. The system is being developed by Bechtel, Siemens, Alstom, and Samsung, while station design is being undertaken by international architecture offices, including Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) and Snøhetta. At the center of the citadel will be HOK’s Central Market Authority Tower. Developed with Saudi architects Omrania, the 76-story office building will feature triangulated exterior walls wrapped in an outward layer of horizontal fins and perforated metal panels. The highly articulated building will be joined by 58 other skyscrapers designed by various international firms, including SOM, CallisonRTKL, Gensler, Foster + Partners, and others. Describing the project, Roger Soto, senior vice president at HOK, said, “We carefully designed the building to be a part of [its] place.” Another new economic zone is the King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) outside of Jeddah on the Red Sea coast. The 65-square-mile development is master planned by a consortium led by SOM and BuroHappold and is billed as “a new world city for Saudi Arabia” that will take the country “far beyond the oil-based economy,” according to Fahd Al-Rasheed, managing director and CEO of KAEC. The new megacity will ultimately house two million residents and is located near the major cities of Mecca, Medina, and Jeddah. Carved into successive coastal, industrial, port, and business zones, the district will include the aforementioned Jeddah Tower by ASGG, which is currently under construction in the city’s “financial island,” a central business district. The nearby King Abdullah University of Science & Technology, also by HOK, opened in 2009 as the kingdom’s first co-ed university. The two nodes will sit at the nexus of the Haramain HSR line connecting Medina in the north with KAEC, Jeddah, and Mecca to the south. The rail line will feature stations designed by Foster + Partners and BuroHappold that are meant to act as large-scale welcome portals to each city. Each station is unique to its locale, but all present cavernous, 85-foot-tall arched interior volumes with intricate structural detailing. The stations, designed to strategically avoid direct solar glare and filled with wide-ranging functions, will also create accessible pedestrian zones at each stop, allowing travelers to seamlessly arrive into town car-free. When the 280-mile-long HSR line opens sometime this year, it will effectively create a contiguous urban spine along Saudi Arabia’s west coast with economic, educational, civic, and religious nodes. Two other economic cities are in the works, including the Knowledge Economic City (KEC) outside of Medina that will focus on intellectual property, knowledge-based industries, and medical, hospitality, tourism, and multimedia endeavors. The development is planned by AECOM as a residential hub and will offer housing for 150,000 Saudis across four distinct neighborhoods populated by apartment blocks, townhouses, and detached homes. The city will aim to provide roughly 20,000 jobs and is planned to contain large shopping and commercial areas. KEC is currently under development and is expected to be finished in 2025—five years later than originally anticipated. Smaller satellite cities across the country, anchored by cultural, academic, or economic institutions—like ZHA's King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC) in Riyadh—are also in development. The energy- and technology-focused think tank headquarters and cultural center is envisaged as a cluster of courtyard pods. The building is joined nearby by the KAPSARC Community, a new 200-home sustainable neighborhood by HOK. The 500-acre development features umbrella-shaded community spaces, a spiritual district, and neat rows of geometric, off-white villas. HOK is also at work on a similar arts-focused community located beside Snøhetta’s King Abdulaziz Centre for World Culture (KACWC) in Dhahran. Snøhetta’s pebble-shaped cultural center contains an auditorium, a cinema, a library, and a museum, among other services, all spread out across a stack of bulbous, metal-tube-wrapped volumes. In creating a complementary residential component to KACWC, design principal Roger Schwabacher and his team at HOK aimed to “create a place to celebrate traditional Saudi craft that also doubles as a next-generation incubator space” for Saudi creatives, Schwabacher said. Too Much Too Fast? In the city of Mecca, however, development is moving too quickly for some. Mecca is the Holiest City in Islam and hosts over 2.4 million pilgrims during the 2017 Hajj and Umrah annual pilgrimages. Efforts are underway to expand that number to north of 17 million pilgrims in coming decades, a prospect that has resulted in many renovations and large new public and private works. Recent hotel expansions, in particular, have led to the loss of much of the historic fabric surrounding the Great Mosque at the center of the city. In 2013, for example, the house of Muhammad's first wife, Khadījah bint Khuwaylid, was torn down and replaced with a new public bathroom facility intended to handle the increased visitors. The loss, one of several high-profile demolitions in recent years, angered many and brought into question the lengths Saudi officials are taking to solidify tourism as an economic force in the country. Other high-profile improvements include the addition of wheelchair-accessible viewing ramps to the Great Mosque, as well as a forthcoming expansion of the Great Mosque’s worship spaces that will double capacity to 1.2 million worshipers. All of these changes can now be seen from the city’s tallest spire, the Abraj Al Bait tower, by German architecture firm SL Rasch GmbH. The 1,972-foot-tall Big Ben–like structure is rooted in a cluster of midrise hotel and shopping mall towers and was completed in 2011, ushering in a wave of high-rise development directly beside the Great Mosque. The massive clock-tower-topped complex is now joined by the multiphase Jabal al Kaaba hotel, an even more tightly packed cluster of mixed-use towers containing a total of 8,500 hotel rooms. The projects will soon be joined by additional developments by Foster + Partners, HOK, and other international offices. The Foster + Partners project, for example, will bring a crystalline bundle of hotel and apartment towers conceived under a philosophy of “luxury with humility,” marketing speak meant to attract wealthy pilgrims to the new high-end residences. Once completed in a few years, the project will function as a gateway to the new multimodal King Abdul Aziz Road, a 2.27-mile-long spine of development connecting central Mecca with the country’s transportation network. The road will contain a 200-foot-wide promenade and will be surrounded by 100,000 residential units and 28,000 hotel rooms. Regardless of the reception, however, one thing is clear: In Saudi Arabia, the future is almost here, and it looks very, very big.
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Game Changer

Gensler-designed soccer stadium in California brings fans close to the game
The new Gensler-designed Banc of California Stadium opened for its inaugural Major League Soccer season in late April, ushering in Los Angeles’s first new open-air sports and entertainment venue since the debut of Dodgers Stadium in 1962. The 22,000-seat arena is designed with intimacy in mind: No seat in the stadium is farther than 135 feet from the field, with those closest sitting just 12 feet from the action. The arrangement of steeply raked seating and close proximity to the game is meant to create a closer connection between players and fans in the manner of European-style gameplay, according to Gensler.
The buoyant-looking complex is built on a concrete base and is topped by slender, 45-foot-tall steel section canopies. Draped between these structural elements are 190,000 square feet of translucent ETFE fabric to provide cover from L.A.’s sometimes brutal sun while still allowing enough sunlight through so that grass can grow on the pitch. The complex—chock-full of pedestrian-oriented plazas, viewing and celebration terraces, and restaurants—connects directly to newly landscaped areas designed by Studio-MLA.
Banc of California Stadium 3939 S Figueroa Street Los Angeles Tel: 323-648-6060 Architect: Gensler
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Newest, Tallest

It’s official: A new 1,020-foot tower is coming to Downtown Los Angeles
The developers behind a recently-proposed project that would bring a 1,020-foot-tall, Handel Architects-designed skyscraper complex to Downtown Los Angeles have officially submitted their project plans with the City of L.A. Urbanize.la reports that developers MacFarlane Partners, Peebles Corporation, and Claridge Partners submitted updated plans for a 1.26 million-square-foot proposal last week that would bring 120 condominiums, 450 apartments, 480 hotel rooms, and 50,000-square-feet of commercial uses to the hillside site formerly known as Angels Knoll park.  The $1.2 billion project will also include a 45,000-square-foot charter school and is being designed to hug the rugged terrain via a complex of porous edges that connect to the adjacent Angels Flight funicular and an associated staircase. Site and landscape design for the project is being performed by OLIN and will feature a complex set of outdoor terraces, amphitheaters, and gardens. At least 50 percent of the project site will be left open under the current scheme, with a pair of towers and a stepped podium occupying improved areas.  Glenn Rescalvo, partner at Handel Architects, told The Los Angeles Times, “We want to make the site as permeable as possible. You could enter from different points and reach all the other locations." Renderings for the project depict a tapered 88-story tower filled with condominiums, apartments, and 192 hotel rooms. A second, 27-story tower will house the remaining hotel rooms and the charter school.  Don Peebles of Peebles Corporation told The Los Angeles Times, "It's basically a neighborhood within a building," adding, “It's the wave of the future for urban living." The Handel Architects proposal was selected by the city’s Chief Legislative Analyst earlier this year from among three other bids that included proposals by Natoma Architects and Gensler. The development site was originally envisioned as the location for a third tower planned for the California Plaza complex in the 1980s and 1990s, but the plan never materialized. Instead, disused site eventually became Angels Knoll park in early 2000s and was immortalized in the 2009 film 500 Days of Summer. The park closed in 2013 and its grounds have sat fenced-off and vacant ever since.  The project will soon be joining the long-stalled, Frank Gehry-designed Grand Avenue Project, which is slated to contain 436 housing units, a 314-room hotel and 209,000 square feet of commercial space in a pair of 20- and 39-story towers. The Handel Architects project is estimated to take at least 41 months to build; the development team behind the project has announced a projected completion date of December 31, 2024.