Search results for "Atlanta"

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Home Run Derby

Goooooaal! The best sports architecture of 2017
Soccer fields, ballparks, and football stadiums are all designed to direct attention towards a central spectacle, but that doesn’t mean they all have to follow the same playbook. In a year where cities tried to integrate their stadiums into the surrounding urban fabric, developers and designers demonstrated new ways of thinking about how we imagine sports architecture. Designing for sports means thinking not only about withstanding the elements and the wear and tear of massive crowds, but also make sure the project stands the test of time. 2017 saw stadiums go to new, sometimes weird places, all made possible through creative engineering. Below are some of the best sports architecture projects that AN has written about this year. The Rams' Stadium dapples in the sun The swooping, biomorphic shape of the new L.A. Rams stadium is pierced by 20 million holes. Even though the whole thing is clad in metal panels, the breezy, HKS-designed arena will let fresh air blow through, hopefully solving at least some of the “hellish” conditions of the current coliseum. HOK’s oscillating Georgia Dome replacement A viral story about the Georgia Dome’s failed implosion couldn’t overshadow the opening of its replacement, HOK’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Crowned by an iris-shaped roof that can open or close in only nine minutes, the stadium features a host of innovative engineering applications that make it what it is. The multi-use, LEED Platinum certified stadium has certainly been recognized for it, too. The Oakland Raiders are leaving (to) Las Vegas Putting aside the Raiders’ controversial move from Oakland to Las Vegas, the stadium proposed for the team’s new hometown is light, airy, and undeniably football-centric. A step up from the 50-year old concrete coliseum that the Raiders share with the Oakland A’s, the approximately $2 billion project will focus solely on one sport. While the project broke ground just last month and is on track for the NFL’s 2020 season, that means three years of tension between fans while the Raiders are still in Oakland.* Bending it like Beckham in Miami This year new renderings were released for the stadium that soccer star David Beckham hopes will draw a pro-soccer team to Miami. After feedback over an initially bulky design, Populous unveiled plans for an open-air stadium with a soaring superstructure topped by a canopy. The most ground-breaking part of the stadium is that it won’t break ground on any parking lots, encouraging spectators to use the nearby Metrorail, waterways, and even a shuttle service from stadium-owned parking garages that could be built further away. Los Angeles goes European with their latest soccer stadium The Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) teamed up with Gensler earlier this year to release their plans for a “European-style” soccer stadium where steeply stacked seating arrangements would put fans closer to the field than a traditional layout. Newly-christened as the Banc of California Stadium, the open-air stadium is ensconced around the edges by cavernous glass sections that will both keep viewers dry as well as house the lighting system. A focus on upscale interior finishes might not be the first thing that comes to mind when discussing a soccer stadium, but the LAFC hopes that these restaurants and commercial spaces will draw non-fans to the area as well. Tampa’s new-old skatepark wins over critics Skaters were outraged when Tampa demolished the Bro Bowl, a concrete skatepark that boarders had been tagging since 1978. Part of the city’s redevelopment of the Central Avenue drag, a compromise was reached where an exact replica of the park was built a few hundred feet away, with the original site being turned into a sculpture garden for works portraying prominent members of the African American community. With both Tampa’s African American community and the skaters up in arms at first, both sides have come to embrace the new developments.
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Milking It

Perkins+Will revives old Atlanta Dairies plant as a cultural destination
With its red-and-white milk carton raised proudly along Memorial Drive, the Atlanta Dairies cooperative served Georgia's capital for 60 years. Complete with a Streamline Moderne facade and typographic logo, the cooperative's site had an aura that was deliciously 1950s (it was built just one year prior, in 1949). Like all milk, however, it couldn't stay out in the Southern sun for too long, and today, the site is in a state of dereliction. But this is set to change, through a Perkins+Will–designed scheme, backed by developer Paces Properties, that will reimagine the former plant. The ten-acre lot will soon be home to offices while doubling as a new cultural and entertainment destination in Downtown Atlanta, offering a music venue, retail outlets, cafes, and dining options. The all-encompassing program will feed off bisecting catwalks that span most of the site. While not original to the existing historical building, the catwalks were added when the building became a processing plant. They represent what Erika Kane, project architect at Perkins+Will, described as part of the "building and site’s eclectic evolution over time." Bar the old and damaged metal facade panels that were hanging off the rails, the catwalk structures have been kept in their entirety. A new open-air catwalk will also be installed. Mostly made from exposed steel, the catwalk continues to echo the site's industrial heritage. It will serve as a visual guide, drawing visitors down a large pedestrian corridor to the main courtyard at the heart of the site. "Atlanta Dairies is as much of a landscape architecture project as it is about the buildings," said Kane. "The buildings provide a rich visual framework and programmatic content around these outdoor spaces and the catwalks float above the ground level, linking up the five buildings on the Atlanta Dairies site." Further features of the old building will also be preserved. This includes loading docks, along with the iconic curved brick wall which looks onto Memorial Drive. Maintaining the material precedent set, a brick and steel colonnade complements the loading dock found on the west elevation. Kane described the architects' approach: "This component was not a part of the original building, but again, a fun appendage added over time. For these components, we took more of an adaptive reuse strategy, keeping the uniqueness of the element, but carving into it to keep it porous and in line with the pedestrian-friendly and park-like layout of the site." In addition to this, the original masonry from the loading dock was salvaged with what Perkins+Will called a “truck wash portico.” This will frame outdoor patios for a restaurant, coffee shop, and retail tenants along the facade. "The site is layered in many ways; historically, topographically and programmatically, with new, existing and adaptive reuse structures," Kane continued. "These layers are all connected with these organizing elements. The design of the two entirely new structures on the site, the new four-story office building and music venue uses a contemporary facade language that, together with the second-story addition on the adaptive reuse building, complements the historic Streamline Moderne building." Phase One of the project broke ground in March this year and is headed for completion in late 2018. Erika Kane will be speaking about the project in greater detail at the Atlanta Facades+ Conference on January 26 in 2018. For more information and booking visit am2017atlanta.facadesplus.com. Seating is limited.
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42 Categories

Here are the winners of the 2017 AN Best of Design Awards
The 2017 AN Best of Design Awards was our most successful yet. After expanding the categories to a whopping 42, we got over 800 submissions that made the judging more difficult than ever. Projects in all shapes and sizes came from firms big and small from every corner of the country. While we were surprised by the quantity of submissions, we were not surprised by the quality of the work put forth by our trusty base of architects and designers. There were some telling trends, however. First, the Adaptive Reuse category could have been three times as big as it was, because almost every category received some kind of reuse project. From lofts to retail spaces in disused buildings, the amount of old structures made new is astounding and speaks to larger movements in U.S. architecture. Reclaimed spaces are currently stylish and it is generally better for the environment and local culture when we reintegrate existing structures into their cities. One surprise was that our Northeast Building of the Year, the MASS MoCA renovation by Bruner/Cott Architects, took home the prize. The massive reuse project skillfully renegotiates an old factory, which the jury found to be more successful and important than some other new buildings that might have won in the past. Similarly, for Midwest Building of the Year, we saw a tie between two powerhouse campus projects. Studio Gang’s University of Chicago Campus North Residential Commons and WEISS/MANFREDI’s Kent State Center for Architecture and Environmental Design ignited a strong debate among the jury, and in the end they both proved worthy of the award. It is refreshing to see such good architecture being realized in the Midwest, and it says something about the state of architecture nationwide. Our jury this year was a blast as always, with a very talented group that sparked vigorous discussions and refined the way we look at architecture. It is always good to get more people involved in the conversation, and we are constantly shifting our views on what is relevant and interesting. We hope you enjoy this selection of winners and honorable mentions, and we look forward to hearing from you next year as we keep searching out the best architecture and design to award! William Menking, editor in chief Matt Shaw, senior editor We will be updating this list over the next few days with winner and honorable mention profiles. To see the complete feature, don't miss our 2017 Best of Design Awards issue, out now! 2017 AN Best of Design Awards Building of the Year Midwest Winners (tie) University of Chicago Campus North Residential Commons Studio Gang Chicago Kent State Center For Architecture and Environmental Design WEISS/MANFREDI Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism Kent, Ohio Building of the Year West Winner Point Loma Nazarene University Science Complex Carrier Johnson + CULTURE San Diego, California Building of the Year Northeast Winner The Robert W. Wilson Building at MASS MoCA Bruner/Cott Architects North Adams, Massachusetts Building of the Year Mid-Atlantic Winner Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University Steven Holl Architects Princeton, New Jersey Building of the Year Southwest Winner Arizona State University Beus Center for Law and Society Ennead Architects Phoenix Building of the Year Southeast Winner Grove at Grand Bay Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) Coconut Grove, Florida Restoration Winner The Benacerraf House Michael Graves Architecture & Design Princeton, New Jersey Honorable Mentions ROW DTLA Produce Renovation Rios Clementi Hale Studios Los Angeles Aurora St. Charles Senior Housing Weese Langley Weese Architects Aurora, Illinois Adaptive Reuse Winner The Contemporary Austin Jones Center Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis Architects Austin, Texas Honorable Mentions New Lab at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Marvel Architects Brooklyn, New York MASS MoCA, The Robert W. Wilson Building Bruner/Cott Architects North Adams, Massachusetts Building Renovation Winner Black House Oza / Sabbeth Architecture Sagaponack, New York Honorable Mentions Billboard Building SHULMAN + ASSOCIATES Miami The Beckoning Path BarlisWedlick Architects Armonk, New York Lighting – Outdoor Winner Longwood Gardens Renovation L’Observatoire International Kennett Square, Pennsylvania Honorable Mentions University of Iowa, Hancher Auditorium Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design Iowa City, Iowa City Point Mall Focus Lighting Brooklyn, New York Lighting – Indoor Winner Second Avenue Subway Domingo Gonzalez Associates New York Honorable Mention Body Factory BFDO Architects New York Civic – Administrative Winner Boston Emergency Medical Services The Galante Architecture Studio Boston Honorable Mentions United States Courthouse, Los Angeles Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Los Angeles San Diego Central Courthouse Skidmore, Owings & Merrill San Diego Civic – Cultural Winner Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art SO-IL with Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Davis, California Honorable Mention Chrysalis MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY Columbia, Maryland Civic – Educational Winner Elmhurst Community Library Marpillero Pollak Architects Queens, New York Honorable Mentions Lakeview Pantry Wheeler Kearns Architects Chicago University of California, San Diego Jacobs Medical Center CannonDesign La Jolla, California Hospitality Winner Broken Rice Undisclosable Denver Honorable Mention Wilshire Grand Tower Complex AC Martin Los Angeles Office & Retail Winner Albina Yard LEVER Architecture Portland, Oregon Honorable Mentions Cummins Indy Distribution Headquarters Deborah Berke Partners Indianapolis Zurich North America Headquarters Goettsch Partners Schaumburg, Illinois Facade Winner United States Courthouse - Los Angeles Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Los Angeles Honorable Mention University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, Kate Tiedemann College of Business ikon .5 architects, Harvard Jolly Architects St. Petersburg, Florida Green – Residential Winner Casa Querétaro DesignBridge Chicago Honorable Mention Inhabit Solar Cabana Inhabit Solar Queens, New York Green – Civic Winner Princeton University Embodied Computation Lab The Living Princeton, New Jersey Honorable Mention United States Courthouse, Los Angeles Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Los Angeles Infrastructure Winner 10th and Wyandotte Parking Garage BNIM Kansas City, Missouri Interior – Residential Winner Chilmark House Schiller Projects with Lisa Gray of GrayDesign Chilmark, Massachusetts Honorable Mention Capsule Loft Joel Sanders Architect New York Interior – Retail Winner Health Yoga Life BOS|UA Cambridge, Massachusetts Interior – Workplace Winner Memphis Teacher Residency archimania Memphis, Tennessee Honorable Mention RDC-S111 Urban Office Retail Design Collaborative Long Beach, California Landscape – Private Winner LaGrange Landscape Murray Legge Architecture La Grange, Texas Honorable Mention De Maria Garden Gluckman Tang Architects Bridgehampton, New York Landscape – Public Winner Confetti Urbanism Endemic (Clark Thenhaus) San Francisco Honorable Mentions Farnham-Connolly State Park Pavilion Touloukian Touloukian (Pavilion Architect) with Crosby Schlessinger Smallridge (Landscape Architect) Canton, Massachusetts The Meriden Green Milone & MacBroom Meriden, Connecticut Mixed Use Winner North Main Bates Masi + Architects East Hampton, New York Honorable Mention Brickell City Centre Arquitectonica Miami Residential – Multi Unit Winner True North EC3 Detroit Honorable Mentions American Copper Buildings SHoP Architects New York 2510 Temple Tighe Architecture Los Angeles Residential – Single Unit Winner Michigan Lake House Desai Chia Architecture with Environment Architects Leelanau County, Michigan Honorable Mentions Constant Springs Residence Alterstudio Architecture Austin, Texas Upstate Teahouse Tsao & McKown Pound Ridge, New York Urban Design Winner India Basin Skidmore, Owings & Merrill San Francisco Honorable Mentions Atlanta’s Park Over GA400 Rogers Partners and Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects Atlanta The Reconstruction of Astor Place and Cooper Square WXY New York Small Spaces Winner Five Fields Play Structure Matter Design + FR|SCH Projects Lexington, Massachusetts Honorable Mention Attic Transformer Michael K Chen Architecture New York Unbuilt – Commercial/Civic Winner The Ronald O. Perelman Center at The World Trade Center REX New York Honorable Mention Lima Art Museum (MALI) Young Projects Lima, Peru Unbuilt – Infrastructure Winner The Regional Unified Network ReThink Studio New York Honorable Mention Rogers Partners Galveston Bay, Texas Unbuilt – Landscape Winner Maker Park STUDIO V Architecture Brooklyn, New York Honorable Mentions The Statue of Liberty Museum FXFOWLE Liberty Island, New York Pier 55 Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects New York Unbuilt – Residential Winner 14 White Street DXA studio with NAVA New York Honorable Mentions Long Island City Oyster Carlos Arnaiz Architects (CAZA) New York Necklace Residence REX Long Island, New York Young Architects Winner mcdowellespinosa architects Charlottesville, Virginia and Brooklyn, New York Honorable Mentions Spiegel Aihara Workshop San Francisco Hana Ishikawa Chicago Temporary Installation Winner Living Picture T+E+A+M Lake Forest, Illinois Honorable Mentions Big Will and Friends Architecture Office Syracuse, New York and Eindhoven, the Netherlands Parallax Gap FreelandBuck Washington, D.C. Representation – Analog Winner Cosmic Metropolis Van Dusen Architects Conceptual Honorable Mention Trash Peaks DESIGN EARTH 2017 Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism Architectural Representations – Digital Winner Three Projects SPORTS New York Honorable Mentions MIDDLE EARTH: DIORAMAS FOR THE PLANET NEMESTUDIO Conceptual New Cadavre Exquis NEMESTUDIO Conceptual Digital Fabrication Winner Under Magnitude MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY Orlando, Florida Honorable Mentions Flotsam & Jetsam SHoP Architects Miami As We Are Matthew Mohr Studios Columbus, Ohio New Materials Winner Indiana Hardwood Cross-Laminated Timber IKD Columbus, Indiana Research Winner Snapping Facade Jin Young Song (University at Buffalo, Dioinno Architecture) Conceptual Honorable Mention The Framework Project LEVER Architecture with the Framework Project Portland, Oregon Student Work Winner Preston Outdoor Education Station el dorado inc Kansas State University, College of Architecture, Planning, and Design Elmdale, Kansas Honorable Mentions Waldo Duplex el dorado inc Kansas State University, College of Architecture, Planning, and Design Kansas City, Missouri Big Vic and the Blue Furret Rajah Bose California College of the Arts San Francisco, California A special thanks to our 2017 AN Best of Design Awards Jury! Morris Adjmi Principal, Morris Adjmi Architects Emily Bauer Landscape Architect, Bjarke Ingels Group Eric Bunge Principal, nARCHITECTS Matt Shaw, Senior Editor, The Architect’s Newspaper Nathaniel Stanton Principal, Craft Engineer Studio Irene Sunwoo Director of Exhibitions, GSAPP
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Photo Finish

HOK’s oscillating Atlanta stadium is now LEED Platinum certified
HOK’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, just became the first LEED Platinum–certified professional sports stadium in the world. The $1.5 billion project opened in August and is best known for its operable, aperture-shaped roof, but HOK and Buro Happold Engineering have also integrated a suite of sustainability features into the base design of the stadium. Replacing the now-defunct Georgia Dome as the home of the Atlanta Falcons, the 2-million-square-foot, 71,000-seat Mercedes-Benz Stadium is styled after the Roman Pantheon, as the entire arena is centered around a domed oculus. Because the building is multi-use—designed for holding football, soccer, and basketball games—and because Falcons owner Arthur Blank had wanted to build what he described as an “iconic stadium” with a retractable roof, a watertight aperture was designed for the roof. Comprising eight 200-foot-long, 450-ton blades clad in Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene (EFTE) film, the roof’s semi-transparent iris is capable of opening and closing in only nine minutes. Because every petal needs to swing into place at a different speed, not rotate like a true aperture, the roof uses an algorithm to judge how much counter-balance is needed while the blades are cantilevering out over the field. Reinforcing the centralized focus of the design is a 350-ton, six-story, ring-shaped “Halo Board” seated inside the oculus itself that’s viewable from every seat and angle. Outside, the stadium’s base is a wall-to-ceiling glass curtain wall meant to give uninterrupted views of the surrounding city as fans make their way to their seats. Eight steel and glass “leaves” radiate out from the aperture at the top of the stadium and drape down over the glass at the bottom, referencing the swooping wings in the Falcons’ logo. According to HOK, Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s LEED score of 88 points is the highest of any sports venue. Through the use of its 4,000 photovoltaic panels, the stadium produces enough solar electricity to power nine football games, or 13 soccer games. By using water-conserving fixtures and infrastructure adjustments, the building uses up to 47 percent less water than a building of comparable size. The location was also key, as the stadium is located between three MARTA bus lines and next to a forthcoming 13-acre green space that fans can use between games. The site also features electrical vehicle charging stations, bike parking, and new pedestrian paths. An incredibly complex project that required coordination between architects and structural engineers at every step of the way, the stadium still isn’t fully operational even though it’s in use. Work on the roof is still ongoing, and engineers hope to have the aperture fully functional by the time Atlanta hosts the Final Four basketball tournament in 2020. The stadium's innovative high performance facade will also be discussed more in-depth at Facade Plus's Atlanta conference in January 2018.
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Upping the Ante

Las Vegas supersized convention center expansion approved
The already-giant Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) is about to get even bigger, thanks to an expansion by Atlanta's tvsdesign. This week, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Board of Directors approved tvsdesign to spearhead the $860 million addition, and after renovations, the exhibition hall will be North America's second-largest (top honors go to Chicago's McCormick Place). The firm is collaborating with Henderson, Nevada's TSK Architects, as well as Las Vegas's Simpson Coulter Studio, Carpenter Sellers Del Gatto Architects and KME Architects on the 1.4-million-square-foot design. The megaproject will proceed in phases. This phase, the LVCC District Expansion, is expected to be finished by the end of 2020, while a subsequent renovation of the existing 3.2-million-square-foot convention center will wrap in 2023. "What gets us out of bed in the morning is doing big, complex projects that are important and have a meaningful impact on people’s lives," said Rob Svedberg, tvsdesign principal, in a statement. "The Las Vegas Convention Center expansion is just that: big, intricate and positioned to deliver a positive impact on many lives. We are thrilled about the opportunity to create an iconic design for the world’s greatest convention city." tvsdesign is part of the design-build team selected this year to realize the $1.5 billion expansion of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan. The firm also worked on the $585 million Music City Center in Nashville. Last year, 22,000 meetings, conventions and trade shows were held in Las Vegas. When it's complete, the larger LVCC is expected to attract 2 million visitors per year.
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Waterfront Windfall

New Jersey waterfront is transformed in massive $2.5 billion master plan proposal
New York-based Cooper Robertson is set to master plan a $2.5 billion ground-up community along the Raritan River in Middlesex County, New Jersey. The site’s owner and developer, Atlanta-based North American Properties (NAP), announced the project on Monday and released a first look at what would become the largest mixed-use development in New Jersey’s history. Located less than 20 miles from Manhattan and covering a 418-acre site, the new community combines residential, retail, office and hotel spaces with a fully walkable city layout. Named Riverton, the  town will focus on building a street-level pedestrian experience and open waterfront access, including a marina. Cooper Robertson has also filled the plan with public recreation spaces along an unrestricted mile of riverfront esplanade along the Raritan. An update of an earlier 2014 plan, the expanded Riverton will also be the state’s largest brownfield remediation. Besides counting on the proximity of the site to the Garden State Parkway to drive demand, NAP is also banking on an influx of potential residents who have been priced out of New York and are looking for a development with a “hometown” atmosphere. Although none of the others can match its scale, Riverton is the latest project to crop up in New Jersey hoping to court New Yorkers as rents on the other side of the Hudson River continue to rise. Cooper Robertson is no stranger to waterfront development. Besides contributing planning work to Hudson Yards in Manhattan, the studio is currently working on a separate 1,300-acre master plan for the Charlotte River District near Charlotte, N.C. Co-developed with New Jersey-based PGIM Real Estate, Riverton is shovel-ready but is still waiting on a new round of local and state approvals. No estimated construction dates have been released at this time, but NAP hopes to complete the 5 million-square-foot project by 2021.
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Winter is Coming

Rooftop ice rinks are the new High Line
Just in time for the cold weather to set in, a new trend in urban entertainment is heating up: rooftop ice rinks. The Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. will open a skating rink and lounge on November 16, giving guests and visitors another reason to visit its rooftop bar and a new way to take in views of the nation’s capital, 14 stories above the street. “There are other skating rinks in the District of Columbia, but there isn’t another hotel in D.C. that has a skating rink on the roof,” said Debbie Johnsen, the hotel’s digital marketing director. The hotel's management team was looking for a way to attract people to its Top of the Gate rooftop bar during the winter months, and decided adding a rooftop rink would do that, explained general manager Jeff David. "We were brainstorming about how we could keep the popularity of the Top of the Gate going–how we could extend it for 12 months of the year," he said. "This was almost a no-brainer." Becoming a popular ice skating destination is perhaps an unexpected direction for the Watergate, which is known for its association with the 1972 break-in of the Democrat National Committee headquarters in the adjacent Watergate office building. The hotel marks its 50th anniversary this year, after closing in 2007 and reopening last year following a $125 million, six-year renovation. The hotel's oval rink, called Top of the Skate, measures 70 by 20 feet and can accommodate 40 to 50 skaters at a time. Open during the winter months, it offers views of the Potomac River and the city’s monuments while patrons enjoy S’mores, mulled wine, and German-style pretzels in the lounge. The rink also features a skate-up bar so guests can order a drink without leaving the ice. The Watergate’s rink is the latest in a series of rooftop ice rinks that are opening around the world, often as part of hotels. These rinks constitute a new trend aimed at rejuvenating cities by giving people another reason to come downtown in the winter months, when tourists tend to visit in fewer numbers. They also represent a relatively low-cost, creative use of previously dormant urban space. Their appeal is unmistakable; they combine two things many people like: skating rinks and rooftop bars. For patrons, they offer vistas that ground-level rinks don’t have and a new way to socialize, combining entertainment and exercise. For hotels, rooftop rinks are photogenic and provide a new experience to draw patrons. They’re ideal settings for “selfie” moments that can later be posted on Facebook, further promoting the hotel. The Watergate even has an ice skating package, which includes skating and skate rentals and a reduced room rate for skaters who want to stay overnight. Some rooftop rinks are made with real ice. Others, including the one at the Watergate, are made with synthetic ice, composed of interlocking polymer panels designed for skating with conventional metal-bladed ice skates. The synthetic ice panels don’t add as much weight to a roof as actual ice would and require less maintenance. They can also be installed in a relatively short time and dismantled when the season is over. Europe’s highest rooftop rink opened last winter atop the 354-meter OKO tower in Moscow’s commercial district. London got its first rooftop rink on November 2, when Skylight London opened at Skylight Tobacco Dock in East London. Located on the 10th floor of the Penning Street parking garage, where a croquet court was, the rink doubles as a rooftop bar, complete with cocktails and chocolate fondue. In Toronto, a division of the Molson Coors Brewing Company built a temporary, 100-foot-by-45-foot rink atop a 32-story office building for winners of its #AnythingForHockey contest in 2015. There was so much interest the rink was later opened to the public for group bookings, but it was eventually dismantled. Other rinks prove that winter temperatures aren’t a requirement to enjoy this amenity. Las Vegas has The Ice Rink at Boulevard Pool, a 4,200-square-foot rink on the roof of The Cosmopolitan Hotel, where skaters can take in views of the Strip from four stories up. Construction also began this month on Atlanta’s Skate the Sky, a 3,500-square-foot rink 10 stories above Ponce City Market on Ponce De Leon Avenue. Capable of holding 90 to 100 skaters at a time, it’s scheduled to open November 20. “I don’t think there’s another rooftop skating rink anywhere in Atlanta or maybe even in the Southeast," Brett Hull-Ryde of Slater Hospitality, which will operate the rink, told Fox5 in Atlanta. “We’re happy that we’re getting this opportunity to show people another way to have some fun."
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Park It

Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park gets a bland new redesign
The Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) has just released new renderings for the renovation of Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park. Built for the 1996 Summer Olympics and located in the core of Atlanta's downtown, the 21-acre park is one of the city's most frequented green spaces, crowned at its north end by a trio of tourist magnets: the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca Cola, and the Children's Museum of Atlanta. Construction has already been underway for most of the year. The improvements focus on six specific areas of the park with staggered timelines for each. Phase One, which includes renovations of the West Lawn Promenade and the Fountain of Rings Plaza, is slated for completion in January 2018, while Phase Two, which includes a new events center, renovated amphitheater, streetside water feature, and Paralympic Plaza, is expected to wrap up in early 2019. The new renderings are also an improvement on those released in March 2017, which mostly depicted flatly nondescript grassy spaces with little appeal. Phase One largely targets footpaths and plazas. During this phase, a road that used to cut through the park, Andrew Young International Boulevard, will be completely pedestrianized. Many of the designs for the park leave much to be desired, with their monotoned pathways, expanses of shadeless lawn, and lack of seating or plant variance. Thankfully, some shade structures will be built near the Southern Company Amphitheater–in southern climes like Atlanta with year-round heat, temperature matters. According to the GWCCA, the park's legacy is twofold: to preserve and honor the Olympic Games of 1996, but also to ground development efforts downtown in an accessible public space. The organization was created in 1971 to create a convention center for downtown Atlanta, and now manages a number of properties around the park including the Georgia World Congress Center, the Georgia Dome, and the New Atlanta Stadium, as well as a conference center to the south in Savannah. Many cities left with vast, expensive spaces after hosting the Olympics face the question of how to repurpose and maintain them once the games are over–here, the GWCCA appears to have stuck to the model of keeping a banal park space to fuel corporate development at its fringes.
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hotlanta history

John Portman's Peachtree Center is now a Georgia landmark
Correction 10/2/17: This article initially stated that the Peachtree Center was added to the National Register of Historic Places. It was added to the the Georgia Register of Historic Places, an initial step in National Register of Historic Places nomination process.  For most Georgians, the Peachtree Center is a defining feature of Atlanta. A transportation hub, a shopping complex, and public plaza densely thatched in by hotels and office buildings, the Peachtree Center is a point of reference in the downtown area. The buildings within the Center were largely designed by John Portman & Associates from 1961 through 1988, beginning with the Atlanta Furniture Mart and expanding outward. It is the largest mixed-use center in one of the most populated cities in the South. Now it has been added to the Georgia Register of Historic Places, a first step towards possible inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. Spanning 14 blocks, the Peachtree Center includes the AmericasMart (1957), the Hyatt Regency Atlanta (1967), the Westin Peachtree Plaza (1976), and the Atlanta Marriott Marquis (1985), as well as eight office buildings, retail space, restaurants, and parking garages. Taken together, the complex is a constellation of Portman's Southern late modernism and exemplifies the developer-architect approach that Portman, now 92, has built. Visually, the buildings are unified by their precast concrete and reflective plate glass curtain wall panels, as well as poured-in-place concrete elements. Though the Center is criticized by contemporary planners for the 24 suspended glass catwalks that connect buildings but remove pedestrian traffic (and commerce) from the street, the mixed-use, all-in-one typology that Portman pioneered was innovative urban planning in its time. The forbidding brutalist architecture of buildings like the Merchandise Mart and the futuristic cylindrical glass column of the Westin Peachtree Plaza are connected by the infrastructure layering them together. Portman's chilly glass facades and plummeting interiors have proved irresistible to film and television producers. The Peachtree Center is frequently featured in sci-fi and fantasy TV footage, as well as films set in the future, including The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Walking Dead. As the site has evolved over the past 50-plus years, it has continually been redeveloped even when the surrounding downtown area was beset by economic change. Per Portman's plan to design supersize spaces to work at the pedestrian scale, the Peachtree Center is today a busy node of Atlanta's MARTA (mass transit) system and nearby bus terminal, funneling arrivals into an easily accessible network of restaurants, shops, markets, and more.
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Silicon of the South

Georgia Tech lab cultivates Atlanta’s high-tech building industry
Georgia Tech's Digital Building Lab (DBL) is at the forefront of AEC industry applications of emerging technologies, thanks in large part to founder Chuck Eastman’s groundbreaking work in building information modeling (BIM). New DBL director Dennis Shelden is positioning the Lab and Atlanta as a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship in the built environment technology sector by cultivating partnerships between academia and industry. On October 2-6, the DBL will participate in BuiltTech Week, a week of panel discussions, workshops, and new initiatives presented in partnership with Supernova South, the Southeast’s largest and longest-running tech conference, and BuiltTech.com “Atlanta has all the ingredients necessary to become a leading center in high-tech applications to the built environment,” Shelden said. “Atlanta’s growth is driven by the intersection of technology development and real estate investment serving high tech.”  Examples of high-tech innovation abound, such as Tech Square at the edge of the Georgia Tech campus. Tech Square is home to numerous startups, entrepreneurship support programs such as ATDC, Venture Labs, The Garage and TechSquare Labs, as well as dozens of corporate incubators. Shelden is not alone in his vision for industry transformation. Fellow Atlanta innovator, K.P. Reddy, is co-founder of The Combine and Shadow Ventures, a venture firm focused on seed investing in BuiltTech companies.  The Combine is an industry leading incubator that helps traditional building industry companies launch startups and is working with the Digital Building Lab to incubate a regional BuiltTech network. “We see the BuiltTech market as one of the emerging leaders in technology entrepreneurship” said Reddy.  Reddy will be leading the BuiltTech programming at Supernova South.  Another BuiltTech Week collaborator is Dave Gilmore of DesignIntelligence. Prior to becoming the CEO of DesignIntelligence, Gilmore spent years in the technology worlds of Silicon Valley, Boston, and Tel Aviv, facilitating funding for startups and established firms to help their strategic growth. Gilmore said, “The industry is ripe for the sort of disruptive technology plays we’ve seen in other markets, and it’s exciting to see the local academic, research, commercial and government leadership coming together to tackle this opportunity.” What are the future models of practice for architects, engineers, and builders? How will the existing organization of the design and construction industry evolve to capitalize on new opportunities? Will outside players disrupt entrenched AEC culture or will AEC leaders learn to become more like entrepreneurs?  Shelden, Reddy, Gilmore and the many innovators at DBL will be tackling these challenges head-on during #BuiltTechWEEK 2017, which convenes in Atlanta on October 2-6. This first-of-a-kind event focuses on built environment technology as an emerging high-tech market. The inaugural #BuiltTech Week will culminate in Georgia Tech’s Digital Building Lab's annual symposium on the theme of “AEC Entrepreneurship: Creating the High Tech Building Economy” on October 5-6, 2017 at The Historic Academy of Medicine at Georgia Tech. 
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Water feature

First phase of Atlanta BeltLine's reservoir and green space slated for 2019 opening
Last week, the City of Atlanta announced that the first phase of the Atlanta BeltLine's keystone project – a 400-foot deep former granite quarry proposed as a new reservoir and public greenspace – will open to the public in 2019. The Atlanta Beltline is a ring of former railways around the southern capital that is being redeveloped into a 22-mile ribbon of parkway that will eventually connect 45 neighborhoods. It is the single largest economic development project the city has ever undertaken. The Bellwood Quarry itself is an impressive site at a monumental scale, and has been featured in shows and movies like The Walking Dead, Stranger Things, and The Hunger Games.  The re-use of the quarry and parkland surrounding it, spanning 280 acres, is no small task. In partnership with the BeltLine, the Department of Watershed Management has drained the mineral pit of its standing water and is now boring a massive mile-long tunnel connecting it to the Chattahoochee River, with the end goal of providing Atlanta with 30 days of reservoir water rather than its current 5-day supply. Although the quarry is closed to the public for construction, it seems to be proceeding at a clip, and this announcement may be a hint that the process is being expedited in line with the end of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed's term in November. After all, the quarry is a highly-anticipated legacy project. The RFP for design proposals for the park surrounding the reservoir closed yesterday after opening in late July. According to an anonymous source close to the project, the first phase of the Westside Reservoir Park will likely be a smaller prototype park on a small fraction of the total property, meant to garner public enthusiasm and draw investment while the larger reservoir project undergoes construction. Whether this pocket park will be completed by 2019 is a matter of skepticism within the organization, according to AN's source. One factor complicating matters is a recent shakedown in leadership: Paul Morris, the former CEO of Atlanta BeltLine, Inc., stepped down three weeks ago after a heated public controversy surrounding the organization's shaky commitment to affordable housing in new development around the park. However, Morris' replacement, Brian McGowan, brings a hefty amount of experience in civic and economic development to the seat, having formerly served as the Executive Vice President of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, CEO of Invest Atlanta, and is now leaving a position as a Principal at international law firm Dentons. Whether the first chapter of Bellwood Quarry's extensive refurbishment will be open to the public by 2019 or not, the BeltLine and its partners have, at least for the time being, redirected public attention away from what's sure to be a long and drawn-out debate about what the BeltLine – with all its ecological, recreational, and economic benefits – will mean for surrounding neighborhoods in the long term. This is not a question limited to the BeltLine. Hopefully the project will spur lawmakers to push for more affordable housing than is currently proposed by ABI, which now works in tandem with the Atlanta Housing Authority. For the scale of the project – which circles the entirety of Metro Atlanta with a population of 5.7 million – 5,600 affordable units seems like a low bar.
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American Pickers

Robotics and fulfillment centers are reshaping retail—and cities could be next

The city of Leonia refashions itself every day: every morning the people wake between fresh sheets, wash with just-unwrapped cakes of soap, wear brand-new clothing, take from the latest model refrigerator still-unopened tins, listening to the last-minute jingles from the most up-to-date radio. On the sidewalks…the remains of yesterday’s Leonia await the garbage truck. - Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

I just learned that my underwear, my mattress, and most of my wardrobe all came from the same place. I didn’t purchase them from a one-stop, big-box retailer, but from a no-stop, small-box room—my bedroom, to be specific (from my bed to be more precise). All I had to do was open up a web page, pick, click, and then wait as my underwear, my mattress, and most of my wardrobe were shipped from a warehouse located in a Massachusetts exurb to arrive at my doorstep in two days or fewer. The maker of this mundane miracle is a company called Quiet Logistics, a third part logistics (3PL) provider that helps online retailers like Mac Weldon, Bonobos, and Tuft & Needle reach customers as quickly as possible. They and companies like them, along with online retailer behemoth Amazon, are using new technologies to redefine retail and transform the architecture of fulfillment. And if they don’t bring about the birth of Skynet and the robot apocalypse first, they might also transform cities and towns across America.

Open up any newspaper (or newspaper app) and you’re likely to read an obituary for the shopping mall. While the reports of its death may be somewhat exaggerated, malls are indeed changing as more and more people buy, well, everything online. Some are being transformed into mixed-use “town center”-style developments; others are filling vacancies with new tenants who lean into recent consumer habits like “showrooming,” an industry term for trying on clothes in one store and then buying them online from another at a lower price. While showrooming may be the bane of many a salesperson, retailers like the aforementioned Bonobos design and build stores as showrooms: comfortable environments where customers find the right-size pants and then leave empty handed; two days later they’re delivered to their home. Any longer than that and customers might not be so quick to leave without those slim-fit chinos. Thanks to the proliferation of fulfillment centers, no one has to wait for anything anymore.

Fulfillment centers are massive warehouses where the ephemera of our lives is stored until we call upon it with a wave of our hand. The typical fulfillment center is a rectangular box built from precast concrete slabs or tilt-up concrete panels that are poured on-site and lifted into place. They range in size from 300,000 square feet to more than a million, feature hundreds of loading docks, 30-to-40-foot-tall-space-frame ceilings (cubic volume is key), and towers of nearly endless shelves containing rainbow Slinkys, Swiffer Wet Jets, Hello Kitty pencil cases, and literally everything else. “The picking towers are like mini-buildings, only without mechanical systems,” said architect Greg Lynn, who has visited two Amazon facilities and has long been interested in the formal and spatial possibilities presented by new technologies. “Then there are the massive sorting areas and areas where they compress boxes. It’s like a little world. Or a theme park.”

While large distribution centers aren’t new, the growth of online direct-to-consumer shopping has prompted a building boom of the fulfillment center. For better and worse, no company is better known for these buildings than Amazon, which has built more than one hundred fulfillment centers in America alone, totaling over 77 million square feet in size. Amazon uses a few different types of these centers, each designed to accommodate a specific type of item: small sortable items, large sortable times, large non-sortable, expensive specialty items, and apparel, as well as newer facilities designed for perishable and nonperishable food. Some are conventional centers, where products are picked and packaged by human pickers who can walk up to ten miles a day; some use mechanized conveyance and sorting systems; others are automated with robots handling most of the heavy lifting.

While Amazon is the standard-bearer for this new model of retail, it’s not alone. Logistics real estate is booming. Online retailers, 3PLs, and traditional big-box retailers like Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Target have all invested heavily in new fulfillment centers to more quickly reach online customers. Target’s online sales tripled from 2013 to 2016, and in that time it nearly doubled the amount of space dedicated to e-commerce with two new fulfillment centers totaling 1.7 million square feet. According to Colliers International, in 2016 e-commerce prompted the construction of 74 million square feet of new warehouse space in the United States, with 93 percent of that space occupied. Already this year is on track to deliver another 55 million square feet, according to research firm Reis Inc., with Dallas, Chicago, Kansas City, Central New Jersey, and San Bernardino, California, as the top markets, although warehouse construction is also booming in Atlanta and Indianapolis.

As with all things real estate, it’s about location. Many of these fulfillment centers are built on former farmlands in centralized locations with easy accessibility to highways and airports. For example, Quiet’s new facility in Hazelwood, Missouri—its first outside Massachusetts—is part of a larger development of fulfillment centers built near St. Louis, where ground shipments can reach anywhere in the United States in two or three days. Amazon initially followed a different tact, building its warehouses in locations selected to take advantage of state tax policies. But those policies have changed as the industry has grown and states have grown savvier. Since 2013, Amazon has focused on building smaller fulfillment centers closer to major urban areas—sometimes even in cities—rather than building larger fulfillment centers in farther-out, less populated areas. The ultimate goal is same-day, and even same-hour, delivery.

But fulfillment isn’t just about fast delivery; it’s also about fast packaging. And that’s increasingly done by robots. In 2012 Amazon purchased Kiva Systems, now Amazon Robotics, whose rechargeable orange robots might look like a 1970s ottoman but can find anything in any warehouse instantly, and lift up to 3,000 pounds. They’re designed to move proprietary shelving “pods” along a predefined grid to workstations where real-live humans pick, pack, and prepare the items for shipment—often working on multiple orders simultaneously. Among other benefits, the Amazon Robotics system is flexible, scalable, and it’s five to six times more productive than manual picking. Plus, without the need for human-scale aisles, a fully automated warehouse requires half as much space as a traditional warehouse, and can use purchasing data to constantly rearrange itself so that the most frequently bought products are closer to the picking stations. The downside of this robot revolution? The robots can only be used to transport relatively small items that fit in the pods, and the systems requires a large and expensive investment in infrastructure—as well as a very, very flat floor.

After purchasing Kiva, Amazon took it off the market, forcing competitors who previously used them to find a new solution. This has resulted in a robot arms race as new companies rush to fill the void. One of those companies, Locus Robotics, was founded by Quiet Logistics, which was the first 3PL to use Kiva’s technology. Locus’s robots, which look like the love child of the Jetsons’ Rosie and a hat rack, can be integrated into any standard warehouse, cutting startup costs and accommodating the unpredictable nature of e-commerce. In a Locus-equipped warehouse, human pickers work in specific areas and the robots zip around each other from zone to zone, following the most efficient path to fill an order before taking it to the shipping station. Sensors, cameras, and LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) help the robots map the warehouse and keep them from running into anything or anyone. Locus markets its robot as a more collaborative, worker-friendly solution that plays to the unique skill sets of both: The robot, with its infinite spatial knowledge, limitless stamina, and complete lack of self-doubt, quickly locates and delivers items, while the nearby human, with his or her prehensile hands, picks it up and puts it in the basket. For now, anyway. The robot arms race is becoming a robot hands race as companies work to develop reliable grasping mechanisms to replace human pickers who have annoying habits like going to the bathroom and going home at the end of their shift.

These two automation systems have very different implications for warehouse design, but denser solutions like Amazon’s automated ottoman seem ideally suited to the smaller fulfillment centers encroaching into our cities with carefully calculated products selected to get more people more things in less time. Lynn believes they could do a lot more than cut down shipping time on your Crest Complete Multi-Benefit Toothpaste with Whitening + Scope. “The level of spatial intelligence in these buildings is remarkable,” he said. “It’s clear that every item is being tracked at all times. In terms of localization and knowing where things are, it’s a hyperintelligent space.… [But] how do you take that kind of spatial thinking and apply it to other building types—a library or market or university?”

Lynn has been exploring that question with architecture students at Yale and UCLA, but we may not have to wait long to find out. Amazon is already experimenting with brick-and-mortar bookstores and grocery stores. Could Amazon U really be that far out? Could logistics save the shopping mall? Should more architects and planners consider these interconnected systems and design for robots as well as people? It may only be a matter of time before automation becomes integrated into our daily lives outside the warehouse and the architecture of fulfillment becomes the architecture of the city. Beyond packing and shipping, could fleets of autonomous vehicles transform cities by making parking garages and parking lots obsolete—creating new space for fulfillment centers, perhaps, or putting a new premium on curb space for drop-offs and pick-ups? I haven’t even mentioned drones yet. As technology evolves to meet the demands of our on-demand lifestyle, what else will change? Perhaps all cities will come to resemble Calvino’s fictional Leonia, whose opulence was measured “not so much by the things that each day are manufactured, sold, [and] bought…but rather by the things that each day are thrown out to make room for the new.” Ultimately, Leonia was threatened by a looming mountain of its own leftovers. But I bet they could get new underwear delivered in less than an hour.