With 2014 quickly receding into history, here's a look at what blog posts AN's readers clicked on most last month. Big international stories, many with starchitects attached, abounded in New York, London, Los Angeles, Helsinki, and Rio de Janeiro. All of December's top stories point toward the future, with many under-construction projects that will be sure to dominate additional headlines this year. Here's a glimpse at what was in the news. 1. Here’s how Santiago Calatrava’s New York City transit hub got its enormous $4 billion price tag. With the final rafter installed on Santiago Calatrava’s World Trade Center Transit Hub the New York Times has done a deep-dive on how, exactly, the long-delayed structure ended up costing close to $4 billion. Read more. 2. Bjarke Ingels joins Foster and Gehry for Battersea Power Station redevelopment. Bjarke Ingels is slated to join elder architectural statesmen Norman Foster and Frank Gehry at the Battersea Power Station in London. The multi-billion dollar, mixed-use redevelopment was originally master planned by, yes, another starchitect, Rafael Viñoly. Read more. 3. LA’s Westside Urban Forum hands Renzo Piano, Peter Zumthor Darth Vader Awards. It’s good to see some good old-fashioned roasting, and that’s what the Westside Urban Forum’s WUFFIES awards are all about. Read more. 4. One of these six firms will design the new Guggenheim Helsinki. Over 1,700 proposals were submitted in the Guggenheim Foundation’s open-call competition to design a new museum in Helsinki—and now, just six teams remain. Read more. 5. Zaha Hadid’s first Brazilian project ups the level of luxury on Rio’s beachfront. Zaha Hadid will lend her futuristic style to the strip along the Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, with an 11-story luxury condo building, dubbed Casa Atlântica—the first project in Brazil for the London-based architect. Read more.
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Up-and-coming architect Frank Gehry recently sat down with the New York Times to discuss his Guggenheim museum under construction on Saadiyat Island near Abu Dhabi. The eccentric or idiosyncratic or whimsical structure totals 450,000 square feet, making it 12 times larger than the Guggenheim in New York. The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi is defined by multiple cones that Gehry says were influenced by teepees because of how they remove hot air. The design is also supposed to evoke the domes of mosques around the Middle East. Although that's a bit harder to discern. On Saadiyat Island, Gehry's museum will be joined by other lavish projects from Zaha Hadid, Rafael Viñoly, Tadao Ando, and Jean Nouvel. These architects, and their clients, have faced scrutiny for the notoriously bad labor conditions in the region. But back in September, Gehry addressed these concerns in an interview with Architectural Record. In a statement, the architect's firm said, “Gehry Partners has been engaged in a substantial and on-going dialogue over many years now that has involved government, the construction industry, architects, project, sponsors and NGOs." Record added, "Gehry may be the first prominent architect to take steps towards labor reform on Saadiyat Island." If you like, give the video a look, but be warned there's a lot of self congratulations and opining on world affairs.
Bjarke Ingels is slated to join elder architectural statesmen Norman Foster and Frank Gehry at the Battersea Power Station in London. The multi-billion dollar, mixed-use redevelopment was originally master planned by, yes, another starchitect, Rafael Viñoly. Ingels' firm, BIG, joins the bunch after winning a competition to design a public space for the project called Malaysia Square. Why is it called Malaysia Square? Because, lest the Brits forget, the project is backed by a Malaysian development consortium. BIG's plan for Malaysia Square goes beyond the name; it takes its form and design from the caves of the country's Gunung Mulu National Park. The Battersea developers describe the space as a “two-level urban canyon.” To that end, Malaysia Square is clad in limestone, granite, marble, sandstone, gravel, and has dolomite striation. The square's natural materials are sculpted into a dramatic design, but don't necessarily make for the most comfortable place to stretch out. Before unveiling Malaysia Square, London Mayor Boris Johnson addressed criticism that the Battersea Power Station development has too few affordable units and will just be another investment opportunity for wealthy foreigners. (15 percent of the plan is currently "affordable.) “I think 600 affordable homes are better than no affordable homes," Johnson told the Guardian. "If you didn’t do a deal of this kind you couldn’t get either the transport or the affordable homes so that’s the reality." The mayor also said that the development comes with two new Tube stations and the first extension of the system in a quarter century [h/t Dezeen]
Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Scott Johnson's Museum Tower in Dallas, and Rafael Viñoly's Vrada Hotel & Spa in Las Vegas have at least one thing in common. All three provoked the ire of their neighbors when glare from their reflective facades raised sidewalk temperatures, blinded drivers, or—as in the Museum Tower case—jeopardized the nearby Nasher Sculpture Center’s collections. Glare is increasingly a problem in facade design, says Curtainwall Design Consulting president Charles Clift, in part because of the tools contemporary architects have at their disposal. "The conclusion I came to is that the digital age of architecture has allowed designers to create anything they can imagine, but with that comes some unintended consequences." Clift and other experts in high-performance envelope design, including George Loisos (Loisos + Ubbelohde) and Luke Smith (Enclos), will dig into the problem of glare in a symposium panel at this month's Facades+ Dallas conference. Nasher Sculpture Center director Jeremy Strick, David Cossum of the City of Dallas, and the Dallas Morning News' Mark Lamster will join them to discuss the reflectivity challenge within the local context. The conversation will continue on day 2 of the conference at the "Curating Daylight: Effective Control of Interior Illumination & Issues of Exterior Reflectivity" dialog workshop (led by George Loisos and Susan Ubbelohde), which meets at the Nasher Sculpture Center. Advancements in building materials offer one solution to the glare challenge, which exists in tension with the demand to reduce thermal gain. "An easy way for the facade to accomplish sustainability goals is to use highly reflective glass, but obviously that rejected glare goes back into the environment," said Clift. Happily, innovations by today's glass manufacturers, including low-e coatings, boost performance, reduce glare, and allow a decent amount of visible light transmission. External or internal sunshades can also do double duty as thermal barriers and glare blockers. But both specialty glass and shading structures come at a cost, and are often the first to go when the budget gets tight. "A lot of the time, the issue of glare has been taken into account in the design process, but it’s one of the first components that might get value-engineered out," said Smith, who will moderate the panel. Municipal-level regulation is another possible fix for the reflectivity problem. Clift reports that some Dallas builders he’s talked to are confident that the market will sort things out. They say that the Museum Tower/Nasher Sculpture Center debacle "is such a bad situation that a savvy developer won’t do that in the future." Smith is not so sure. "This is an urban problem, but as soon as the city tries to step in, people say, 'No, this has nothing to do with the city,'" he said. "I think the problem is getting worse because density is increasing in cities, and right now glass is predominantly the building material of choice." Dallas, he notes, is the perfect place to explore the glare issue. "The city’s going through a regeneration: the place is coming back. Plus, it’s sunny, and they like glass buildings." To hear more from Smith, Cliff, and the other panelists about the problem of glare, register today for the Dallas Facades+ conference. The complete lineup of symposium speakers, dialog workshops, tech workshops, and networking events can be found on the conference website.
The historic Wardman Tower in Washington D.C. is getting an interior update courtesy of Deborah Berke. The New York–based architect has been tapped by JBG Companies to update all of the building’s interior spaces and its 32 private residences. According to JBG Companies, the renovation “will pay tribute to the opulence of mid-century Paris while adding an open and contemporary feel to the spaces.” If it wasn't obvious, that's code for: Expensive. As in, these condos will be very expensive—priced between $2 million and $8 million. According to the Washington Post, that could make the Wardman condos “the most expensive units ever to hit Washington." “The sites and the views are absolutely spectacular due to the ingenious layout and cruciform shape of the building,” Berke said in a statement. “The gracious, large apartments will not be flamboyantly traditional nor will they be jarringly modern but rather a happy overflow of styles." When the renovation is completed next year, this high-profile building with its high-profile designer, will likely attract some Washington elites. And that's nothing new for the Wardman. Since it opened nearly 100 years ago, presidents including Herbert Hoover, Dwight Eisenhower, and LBJ have rested their historic heads in the building. While renovations continue on Berke's interiors in D.C., she has some substantial work underway in New York City. In Lower Manhattan, Berke is designing 700 apartments in a 66-story art deco tower and in Midtown, she is doing the interiors for Rafael Viñoly's 432 Park, which is the tallest residential tower in the Western Hemisphere. You can watch Berke describe her design approach at 432 Park in the video below. Click play and let the jealousy ensue.
We heard this morning that Fred Schwartz—one of the most independent, passionate, and even fearless voices in the New York architecture world—passed away last night. Frederic Schwartz Architects was well known for its waterfront park planning and various 9/11 memorials (Fred died at 9:11p.m. last night). Schwartz was the founder of the THINK Team (with Rafael Viñoly, Shigeru Ban, Ken Smith, David Rockwell, William Morrish, Janet Marie Smith, ARUP, Buro Happold and Jorge Schlaich) that presented one of the most creative master plans and designs for what might have been at the World Trade Center site. Everyone that knew Fred knows how passionate he was for New York City (he was raised in Plainview, Long Island not far from Levittown). His architectural practice was firmly rooted in the dynamism and diversity of the city. Schwartz was a proud 1973 graduate of Berkeley and, in 1978, of Harvard. He taught design at Harvard, Yale, Penn, Columbia, Berkeley, and Princeton and was the co-author of essays on architecture. His voice and presence in the New York architecture world will be greatly missed. AN will publish a more detailed obituary of Schwartz in an upcoming print edition of the paper.
Despite having first dibs on the project, Rafael Viñoly is being forced to hedge his vision for London's Battersea Power Station redevelopment under pressure from fellow power players Norman Foster and Frank Gehry. Responsible for guiding "Phase III" of the project, the latter pair have rejected the two large structures Mr. Viñoly had initially envisioned lining a raised pedestrian thoroughfare in favor of five smaller structures in an attempt to "humanize the scale." Viñoly's now-sullied initial vision for Battersea. The masterplan for the overhaul will now be populated by, among others inclusions, five residential towers of American origin. Assuming the moniker Prospect Place, the quintuplet is ostensibly Gehry's debut in the British capital. The centerpiece of this grouping comes in the form of "the flower," a titanium-tinted tower that resembles a series of more angular versions of the architect's Viennese designs crammed against each other. The rippling facades of the four surrounding structures complete Gehry's bouquet. The cluster is pierced by the Electric Boulevard, a two-tiered walkway that stretches to the original power plant. The western border of the site is parsed out by the Skyline, a curvaceous apartment block by Foster + Partners. Capped by trees and gardens, the wavy structure seems to slither uneasily past Gehry's design before doubling back upon encountering the smoke stacks of the Battersea. Another aspect of the Viñoly vision that has since been jettisoned is a large reflecting pool that once lay east of the projected location of Prospect Place. In its stead Gehry is calling for a public park that will have a lecture hall and playground in its southern and northern poles respectively. Along with its grounds, the plant itself will be subject to a major facelift as well. Local firm Wilkinson Eyre is responsible for sterilizing the industrial ruin, recasting the building as a shopping, office, residential and events complex. Instead of black clouds, a glass elevator will emerge from one of the refurbished chimneys as its converted into an elevator cum observation deck. The Wilkinson Eyre undertaking is not the first drastic transformation of the plant in recent years. All in all the roughly $13 billion project is set to provide 1,300 new homes to London, of which a meager 8 percent have been set aside for affordable housing. The percentage has been labeled derisory among wholly-warranted fears that the new development will be little more than the city's latest magnet for foreign investment.
With only one month remaining before Facades+ PERFORMANCE opens in Chicago, our exciting lineup of the industry’s leading innovators is gearing up for an electrifying array of symposia, panels, and workshops. Be there for this groundbreaking, two-day convergence of design and construction professionals, presented by AN and Enclos, coming to Chicago, October 24-25th. Join Chris O’Hara, founding Principal of Boulder-based Studio NYL, for his day-one symposium, “Ludicrous Speed: the Design and Delivery of Non-traditional Facades on a Fast Track,” and learn first-hand from the experts the technologies and fabrication techniques that are revolutionizing the next generation of high performance facades. Register today to redefine performance for 21st century architecture, only at Facades+ PERFORMANCE. After graduating with a B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Notre Dame, Chris O’Hara began his career in New York with M.G. McLaren Consulting Engineers, where he was confronted with a host of unique structural engineering projects, from amusement park rides to New York’s Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History with Ennead Architects. Things really got going for O’Hara when he joined up with London-based Dewhurst Macfarlane Partners and began to work closely with visionary architect Rafael Viñoly. Leading high-profile projects like Viñoly’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburg and the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, O’Hara developed innovative structural solutions that allowed for the pioneering architect to exercise the breadth of his architectural expression. In 2004 O’Hara relocated to Boulder, Colorado to launch his structural engineering firm, Studio NYL, who have since become renowned for their diligent application of emerging technologies and inventive structural solutions. Their adventurous, detail-oriented work has drawn the attention progressive architects, both local and global, while O’Hara’s integration of multiple design software programs and use of complex geometries made him a literal poster-boy for Autodesk. In his daily practice, O’Hara oversees the use of BIM and other advanced analytic technologies and leads the design of innovative forms in BIM, REVIT, and direct-to-fabrication CAD/CAM softwares. Collaborating with fellow Facades+ presenters Rojkind Arquitectos, O’Hara has pushed the boundaries of structure and design on pioneering projects like the aluminum and glass enclosure of the Cineteca National and the digitally fabricated metal skin of Liverpool Flagship store in Mexico City. Designed and built in little over a year, the Liverpool Flagship store is a stunning product of international collaboration, technological instigation, and fast-paced delivery. Studio NYL lead the design for the structural elements of the atrium, rooftop park and pavilions, skylight, and stainless-steel facade for the 30,000 square meter shopping center. Using BIM software to coordinate the work of multiple trades on complex geometries, Studio NYL and Rojkind Arquitectos constructed the fluid folds and fine reliefs of the shopping center’s sound-blocking double-layer facade. Learn more about the secrets to delivering innovative, high-performance building envelopes on a tight schedule as O’Hara presents a series of dynamic new projects in his afternoon symposia, and don’t miss out as frequent-collaborator Gerardo Salinas, principal of Rojkind Arquitectos, presents his exciting keynote address earlier that day! Register now to cash in on our Early Bird Special, and check out the rest of the groundbreaking schedule of events at the full Facades+ PERFORMANCE site. See you in Chicago!
Rafael Viñoly Architects has unveiled plans for a new 70-story residential tower located just a small block from the World Trade Center at 22 Thames Street. The developers are looking to replace the 10-story, former American Stock Exchange building with an 870-foot skyscraper. Fisher Brothers, who bought the site for $87.5 million in 2012, asked Rafael Viñoly to design the building and initial plans were presented to members of Community Board 1 last week, where Curbed and the Tribeca Tribune snapped photos of Viñoly's rendering. The glass building would include space for 450 apartments and commercial use on the ground floor. Under the existing zoning, the developers have the right to construct an 85-story tower. However, the company unexpectedly has decided to build a shorter, wider tower better suited for the area. The layout would create space for more spacious apartments and not block the neighboring 1,776-foot One World Trade Center. The skyscraper would act as a transition between the soaring World Trade Center and the low-rise masonry buildings on Greenwich Street. The requested zoning variance would reduce the required setback of the building from 20 feet to 10 or 13 feet, allowing for a wider building. While the number of apartments in the building may change, at least 20 percent will be set aside for affordable housing. The project will integrate environmentally-friendly design and energy efficiency. In the fall, Fisher Brothers will supply a more comprehensive presentation to CB1’s Financial District Committee when it seeks advisory approval for the zoning variance. The city will make the ultimate decision regarding the zoning amendment. A Fisher Brothers representative has revealed a completion goal of September 2017, if all goes as planned.
In an effort to expand its facilities without depriving residents of a view of the East River, Rockefeller University is proposing a series of changes to its Upper East Side campus. Founded by John D. Rockefeller in 1901 to promote medical research, the school plans to construct three new buildings. As the university has done in the past, two of those buildings, a one-story conference center and a two-story research building boasting a green roof and rooftop pavilions, would be constructed atop a platform over FDR Drive. Extending approximately four blocks from East 64th Street to East 68th Street, the new platform would join two other Rockefeller buildings straddling the highway, stretching from 62nd Street to 64th Street. The third new building, an athletic center for students, would replace a faculty parking lot in the northwest corner of campus. Civitas, an advocacy group focusing on development in the Upper East Side has some concerns that the buildings, in addition to other proposed medical facilities, could affect parks along the East River. Speaking with a reporter from Crain’s, Executive Director Hunter Armstrong said he’s particularly concerned about the East River Esplanade. “We’re trying to rescue the esplanade,” Armstrong said, “so we have to be careful of the impacts of these cantilevers on our park.” As the university still requires approval for the project, neither a completion date or price estimate have been determined, though school officials have chosen architect Rafael Viñoly to head the project.
The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) has shortlisted six firms to design the new U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon. The new Embassy will be located in Awkar, about 7 miles north of the city center, in the vicinity of the existing Embassy. The new compound will consist of a chancery, support offices, a parking structure, Marine residence, Representational and staff housing, and a community center. Thirty-nine firms replied to the public announcement regarding the task of designing the center. The shortlisted firms are: · Diller Scofidio + Renfro · Mack Scogin Merrill Elam/AECOM · Morphosis Architects · Rafael Viñoly Architects · Steven Holl Architects · Yazdani Studio According to the OBO, the six selected submissions display an exceptional array of high-design projects, characterized by novel site and landscape plans, and a strong understanding of sustainability practices. The firms on the preliminary shortlist will bring together their technical teams to present comprehensive information on their companies and their credentials for the second evaluation stage. OBO’s Excellence in Diplomatic Facilities initiative sought out the project, which encompasses a holistic project development plan that aims to construct facilities that are exceptional in all aspects. OBO’s objective is to supply secure, practical facilities that signify American values and the best in American architecture, engineering, technology, and sustainability.
In the wake of the completion of the $111.9 million Bing Concert Hall in January, Stanford University has kicked off construction on a new seven-story hospital as part of the ongoing renewal of its medical center. Designed by New York City–based Rafael Viñoly Architects, the facility features a modular layout that allows for incremental horizontal extensions to the building. This development strategy seamlessly merges with the low-rise campus. "This project represents an unprecedented endeavor in the hospital's successful 50-year history of healing humanity," said the ever-modest Viñoly in a statement. "By reinterpreting and updating the Stanford campus and the original hospital through a modular plan, it is poised to adapt to evolving medical technology while continuing to provide advanced care and treatment—in a healing environment unique to Stanford—to patients from surrounding communities and beyond." One of the largest developments currently underway on the San Francisco Peninsula, the new hospital will be open for patient care by 2018. The design is based around a universal modular building block measuring 120 feet by 120 feet, which was calculated to offer the best possible arrangement for numerous hospital roles, guaranteeing flexibility in adjusting to the constantly shifting needs of medical technology. The new building includes 368 private patient rooms with wall-to-wall windows that provide natural light and sweeping views, high-tech diagnostic and treatment rooms, and a Level 1 Trauma Center that triples the size of the existing Emergency Department. A 1,000-car parking structure and five gardens are part of the modular plan, which integrates open public spaces such as a glass-covered atrium and landscaped drop-off plaza. The hospital will be seismically isolated to protect occupants and the facility from catastrophic earthquakes.