After fending off Rafael Viñoly, Zaha Hadid, Nicholas Grimshaw, Haworth Tompkins Limited and compatriots Mecanoo, OMA's design for "The Factory" will become Manchester's new art house. Lead by Rem Koolhaas, The Factory will be in the British city's center and is touted to cost $166 million with a further $13.5 million-a-year to run. Funding will not be an issue for Koolhaas' building as U.K. Chancellor George Osborne has pledged $117.5 million to the project with the view that The Factory will become the "Northern Powerhouse" showpiece. The project's name supposedly comes from the home-grown Factory Records, an indie record label launched in 1978 that produced notable bands such as Joy Division and Happy Mondays. Koolhaas has designed what essentially is an art-box that will host a wide range of artistic events in Manchester, with an aim for the facility to become the cultural focal point of the region. The venue is dedicated to theatre, music, dance, technology, film, TV, and scientific advancements and will have a combined capacity of 7,200—2,200 seated and 5,000 standing. This will be OMA's first major public development on British soil, aside from a few minor forays into London, Glasgow, and the south coast. “The importance of the Factory cannot be overstated," Manchester council leader, Sir Richard Leese, told the Guardian. "It will be of international significance, the cultural anchor for the next phase of economic and cultural regeneration in Manchester, Greater Manchester and beyond. It will help power Manchester and the wider region towards becoming a genuine cultural and economic counterbalance to London, as well as being a place where inspirational art is created.” Koolhaas' project in Manchester is set to break ground next year with the aim to finish by 2019. According to the Guardian, "Those behind the project have predicted that within a decade it will help create the equivalent of 2,500 jobs adding nearly $211 million to the local economy."
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Pier into the future: Tribeca's Pier 26 to get an OLIN landscape and a Rafael Viñoly–designed science center
Citibank announced on Friday that it will donate $10 million t0 the Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT) for the renovation of Tribeca's Pier 26. For Citi, it's a sweet quid pro quo: the river pier is adjacent to Citi's soon-to-be global headquarters at 388–390 Greenwich Street. Philadelphia-based OLIN will lead the park's design team. Rafael Viñoly will work pro bono to design a research and science education center for the site. Pier 26 will expand programming for Hudson River Park's 17 million annual visitors. In 2008 and 2009, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation used HUD funds to rebuild the pier to support future development. When current construction is complete, pier will host the science center, free kayaking, and City Winery's sister restaurant, WXY-designed City Vineyard, opening in 2016. HRPT is also getting $10 million from the city for the project, and is applying to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation for additional support. Construction and completion dates have yet to be finalized. New Yorkers will be able to weigh in on "ideas for uses and programming at the new pier" at Community Board 1's meeting on October 19.
On the heels of a new 86-story project by JAHN. Chicago's South Loop neighborhood is also prepping for a 76-story tower designed by Rafael Viñoly. Both projects were unveiled Tuesday and would be among the tallest buildings in the city if built. Viñoly's project, planned for 113 E. Roosevelt Rd., bears a striking resemblence to the city's most well-known skyscraper: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill's Willis (née Sears) Tower. According to the architect, that's no accident—the "stepping gesture" of the two towers, which would be joined at their bases, recalls the bundled tube structure of Sears, although Viñoly's version opts for silvery, reflective glass and a bevy of thick white mullions that segment the buildings' vertical faces along dozens of horizontal axes. Trees dot the tops of tubes that don't reach full height, terminating columns that form a rotating motion around the towers' central tubes. DNAinfo Chicago reports Miami-based Crescent Heights, which already owns about 5,000 units in the South Loop, is the project's developer. The eastern tower would be built first, over the next two years.
After roasting cars and carpets, London's 20 Fenchurch Street, nicknamed the Walkie-Talkie Tower, has itself been roasted as the winner of the Carbuncle Cup, British architecture's least desirable award. Building Design magazine, which organizes the award, described the tower as a “gratuitous glass gargoyle.” The structure, designed by Rafael Viñoly, has struggled for any form of critical acclaim since it opened in 2010. “It is a challenge finding anyone who has something positive to say about this building,” said BD editor Thomas Lane. The Guardian's architecture critic, Oliver Wainwright, was just as unforgiving when he likened the structure to a "sanitary towel." Londoners have claimed that the Walkie-Talkie, nicknamed for its visual resemblance to the handheld communication device, has blown them away—and into the street. Twenty Fenchurch Street's embarrassing wind problem has prompted the City of London to look at "changing the way it works with developers." Knocking people off their feet isn't the only accusation lobbed at Viñoly's design. In what is becoming a growing list of misdemeanors, developers of 20 Fenchurch Street have had to pay £946 ($1,500) in compensation after the tower burnt a Jaguar and a hole into a shop carpet. A screen has been built to halt the reflective death-ray. In its turbulent start to London life, the building's reflective power has been harnessed by the locals, as one resident was able to fry an egg with the building's glare. That led to another nickname, the "fryscraper." "When I once described Rafael Viñoly as a menace to London," tweeted ex-RIBA president George Ferguson, "I didn't think he was going to burn it." The architect's proposal has prompted equally vicious responses during its planning stages. UNESCO voiced its distaste for the design and English Heritage bestowed it as a "brutally dominant expression of commercial floor space" with an "oppressive and overwhelming form." Peter Wynne Rees, chief planner of the City of London, has since admitted he made a mistake for the building's location, saying that he was persuaded by the project's public element, a 525-foot-high garden. Even this signature feature has been the subject of scourge. Wainwright, who is clearly not the building's biggest fan, wrote in the Guardian that it "feels like you’re trapped in an airport, you can barely see the city because of a steel cage – and the more money you shell out, the worse it gets." Twenty Fenchurch Street's issues with sun glare are nothing new to modern architecture however. In Las Vegas, the Vdara Hotel startled Bill Pintas, a Chicago lawyer and businessman, when he started to smell his hair burning. "I actually thought that, Oh my God, we've destroyed the ozone layer because I am being burned," Pintas told NBC's TODAY show back in 2010. "My head was steaming hot... I could actually smell my hair burning." In Dallas, too, the Museum Tower by Scott Johnson has been subject to criticism as it fried artwork at its neighbor, the Nasher Sculpture Center. And of course, Gehry's Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, drew international attention for sizzling surrounding buildings and blinding drivers. Blustery conditions from skyscrapers are also no new problem. New York City's Flatiron Building caused an "ankle-revealing sensation" in the early 20th century with winds it sent rushing to the sidewalk. In 1983, engineering consultant Lev Zetlin asked for laws to halt the wind-tunnel-effect termed "downdraught" in New York.
British architects are now deciding which one of these six finalists is the worst building of the year
Six of the worst buildings in Britain, shortlisted by British magazine Building Design, will battle it out to claim British architecture's least wanted trophy. The projects were chosen by a panel comprising BD editor Thomas Lane; architectural critic Ike Ijeh; writer, broadcaster, and historian Gillian Darley; and architectural designer Eleanor Jolliffe. The list was whittled from ten projects put forward by readers who felt compelled enough to voice their distaste about the structures that rudely entered their view. The Carbuncle Cup is in its ninth successive year and is proving to be a humorous, tongue-in-cheek response to the Stirling Prize awarded by RIBA. Pedigree, it seems, won't save you from being shortlisted for the prize. Foster+Partners and Rogers Stirk Harbour+Partners have previously made the list for their Moor House office development and One Hyde Park projects in London. Past winners include the Strata SE1 building in south London by BFLS and the Cutty Sark renovation in Greenwich by Grimshaw Architects. Last year, Sheppard Robson's Woolwich Central took the prize. The winner of the Carbuncle Cup will be announced next Wednesday, September 9. Take a look at this year's finalists below. 20 Fenchurch Sreet (aka The Walkie-Talkie Tower) London Rafael Viñoly Architects Woodward Hall North Acton, London Careyjones Chapmantolcher Whittle Building Peterhouse, University of Cambridge John Simpson Architects Waltham Forest YMCA London Robert Kilgour Architects City Gateway Swaythling, Southampton Fluid Design Parliament House Lambeth, London Keith Williams Architects
This dying mall in Silicon Valley will be reborn with a 30-acre blanket of green roofs including a vineyard, orchard, and walking trails
Green roofs these days are the new blacktops. And just when you thought they couldn't get any bigger, there are now plans to build a 30-acre park blanketing a mixed-use, $3 billion development in Cupertino, California. Right now, the site is the dying Vallco Shopping Mall. Developers Sand Hill Property bought the mall last year and hired Rafael Viñoly and Olin Landscape Architects to redevelop the 50 acre site. "[Sand Hill] didn’t quite know what they would get when Viñoly traveled to their offices in Menlo Park last April for a first-round presentation," wrote the Silicon Valley Business Journal. "While other architects came armed with reams of site plans and renderings, Viñoly had a suitcase. In it was a model of his concept, which he assembled piece by piece, topping it off with the roof park." Renderings show a rolling lush carpet of green capping a 15-block grid of buildings below. But that green is not just a lawn. The rooftop park will feature quite an unusual mix of amenities: a vineyard, close to four miles of trails, an orchard, a playground, as well as lots of oak trees. Plans also include 800 apartments and over 250,000 square feet of retail. There are multiple plazas, a market hall, 2 million square feet of offices, and parking mostly below ground. The highest point in the development would top out at seven stories. "To secure the community buy-in, the developer is going all-out, promising to contribute more than $40 million to build a new K-5 elementary school, replace portable classrooms and provide an “innovation center” to the Fremont Union High School District, among other goodies," reported the SVBJ.
A circular bridge will go up this November over Uruguay's beautiful Laguna Garzon, connecting two formerly remote shores
If conservatives bristle at building a bridge over a UNESCO World Heritage Site, just make it circular. This ring-shaped bridge by architect Rafael Viñoly will superimpose the Laguna Garzon, its circular design meant to minimize its environmental and visual impact by recalling a winding road—plus the fact that it uniquely affords veritable 360-degree views. [Video courtesy Teledoce.] The final cost of the project is $11 million, with the state providing $1.8 million. Argentinian real estate developer Eduardo Costantini, owner of high-end guesthouses Las Garzas in Rocha, will foot the remaining bill. The Uruguayan Ministry of Transport has eyeballed the prospect of a bridge over the lagoon since 1950, but the project did not start until May 2013. Slated to connect the cities of Maldonado and Rocha when it opens in November, the bridge has the potential to mediate the flow of travelers and tourism dollars up and down the eastern seaboard. It will replace the current system of rafts that connect the two cities, which allows only two cars to pass at time, depriving Rocha of the development frenzy seen in Maldonado. Statistics indicate generally favorable views of the project, with 81 percent of Rocha residents and 64 percent of Maldona residents who spoke positively about the bridge. Government estimates indicate that 1,000 vehicles will traverse the bridge daily, with an increase in those numbers during the peak summer months. Scheduled to open in November, the bridge is well under construction. View the video above from Teledoce to see how it works.
Courtesy Edward M. Kennedy InstituteLet’s start next door. Enter the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum (I.M. Pei & Associates, 1979) on Columbia Point at the University of Massachusetts–Boston, and you find yourself on a balcony, looking into the space-frame tower that will later complete your experience. A placard explains the water view: “When Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis sought the perfect location for the JFK presidential library, she looked to the sea that President Kennedy loved so well.” The truth is rather more complicated. Siting and designing the library was a dreary, 16-year slog of shrinking expectations and genuine heartbreak. Kennedy himself had chosen an urban site at Harvard, and Pei designed two different schemes accordingly, but logistics and community opposition stalled the project for a decade. In 1975, the Kennedys turned to maritime sites, and landed at Columbia Point—home to U. Mass. and a garbage dump. “It was a backwater, literally,” said Ted Musho, Pei’s associate partner on the project. “[U. Mass.] went there for the same reason we wound up there: Nobody else would take us. We’d been thrown out of the best site in the world, and here we are. So what do you do?” To sell the family on the dump as the best remaining option, said Musho, “We rented a big flatbed truck and we loaded everybody on, and we drove out as far as we could onto the muck, and I remember Mrs. Kennedy saying, ‘Where are you proposing putting the library?’”
There was one question on everybody’s mind in New York this spring: What happened to Rick Bell? On March 27, without warning or explanation, the former executive director of AIANY and the Center for Architecture tendered his resignation, effective immediately, which AIANY’s board of directors promptly accepted. The unforthcoming announcement stirred up a steamy fountain of rumor and conjecture—very little of it fit for printing—over what could have precipitated Bell’s speedy departure, and AIANY’s continued reticence on the matter (there seems to be a gag order in place among its staff) hasn’t done anything to lessen the sheer salacious heights to which the gossip has climbed. Bell, for his part, doesn’t seem to be very phased by the upheaval. Eavesdrop spotted him at the Storefront for Art and Architecture’s annual benefit party—held this year in the unfinished lobby of the Rafael Viñoly–designed 432 Park Avenue—wearing a T-shirt that read “I Am Still Alive” and smiling like the cat that ate the canary. Also like a cat, Bell has landed on his feet. On May 8, New York City Department of Design and Construction Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora announced that the agency had hired him as its executive director of design and construction excellence. Meanwhile, in an interesting game of musical chairs, the AIANY appointed David Burney, who recently left his post as commissioner of the DDC, as its interim executive director.
Viñoly's latest Manhattan skyscraper will only be half the size of his 432 Park tower, but that's still really tall
Rafael Viñoly's latest Manhattan luxury tower almost seems quaint next to his 1,396-foot-tall, trashcan-inspired 432 Park Avenue. NY YIMBY has published renderings of the architect's 281 Fifth Avenue in NoMad, which is only about half the size of his Park Avenue behemoth. To be clear, this does not mean the new tower is short—it weighs in at 705 feet tall—but it does reinforce that 432 Park Avenue is really, really tall. As for its design? On its most basic level,281 Fifth Avenue's limited renderings released so far show a glassy box—a lot like other recent New York City skyscrapers. The tower sets itself apart with a series of horizontal spandrel bands between rows of ribbon windows that increase the amount of glass as it ascends—much like a slinky being pulled up from the ground. According to permits filed with the New York City Department of Buildings, the building contains 141 condominiums and nearly 8,000 square feet of retail on the first and second floor. Demolition is currently underway at the site, and the building is slated to be completed in 2018.
AN had the unique opportunity to walk around the top floor of the supertall 432 Park Avenue tower, where the full-floor penthouse with a $95 million view of Central Park is nearing completion. A Saudi billionaire, Fawaz Al Hokair, was recently announced as the buyer. Ironically, The Real Deal has reported this week that it was also announced by one of the architects—at a Cornell Center for Real Estate and Finance lecture in December—that the Rafael Viñoly design was inspired by, wait for it, a trashcan. It's no ordinary trash can, however. The alleged inspiration is a design by Viennese Secession/ Wiener Werkstätte mastermind Josef Hoffmann. His gridded designs represented a new rational, rigorous way of composing objects in the beginnings of modern industrial design. Today, apparently, they are being copied at a larger scale for entire building. The geometric purity of the tower originally looked to us like it came from Aldo Rossi, but Hoffmann makes more sense, especially given the urban context/political ambiguity of the building. In the lecture, Harry Macklowe, who co-developed the building with the CIM Group, revealed that Renzo Piano was also considered for the tower but didn’t work out. The idea for a tall building with a pure form came from Piano, and Macklowe carried that idea forward through the project. “Renzo Piano had said to me—if you have a pure architectural form like a square and you uphold the integrity of that architectural form you will build a beautiful building,” Macklowe to the Real Deal. “That stayed in my mind, and I had considered Renzo Piano for the architect, but it didn’t work out for several reasons.” While the world's super-elite who will soon call the tower home likely would snub the idea of living like an albeit more sophisticated Oscar the Grouch, they might do well to pick up their own Hoffmann trashcan, available for a cool $225 from the Neue Galerie.
Take a look at the view from the tippy top of Rafael Viñoly's 432 Park, the supertall tower that will soon house the world's billionaires
AN got a rare look at the penthouse of 432 Park, Rafael Viñoly's soon-to-be-tallest residential building in the western hemisphere. After a six-minute ride on the construction lift, expansive, $95 million views open up in a 360 degree panorama from large square windows along all four sides of the full-floor apartment. While the building is still under construction, it has already topped out some 1,396 feet above New York City's sidewalks below. The 85-story tower is expected to be completed early next year, but some of the lower floors will be available for move-in this fall, if you are interested. Deborah Berke is handling the interior architecture in the building. Here are some pictures from the six penthouses at the top of Viñoly’s incredibly tall building on Manhattan’s Billionaires' Row.