In life, by all accounts, William Penn, founder of the Province of Pennsylvania, was a good man. In death, however, this portly, English-born idealist has turned nasty—if the good sports fans of Philadelphia are to be believed. But Norman Foster has a plan to appease the spirits. The trouble all started when a Bronze statue of Penn was placed atop the tower of Philadelphia’s Second Empire–style city hall, which, upon its completion in 1901, was the tallest structure in town. It maintained that status, and Penn his supremacy, until the erection of One Liberty Place in 1987, which stood some 400 feet taller. As soon as Penn’s perch was eclipsed, Philadelphia was plunged into a 25-year drought during which none of the city’s professional sports franchises won a championship. Many began to speculate that the founding father had cursed his progeny. To appease the peeved spirit, upon the completion of the even taller, Robert A.M. Stern–designed Comcast Center in 2007, a miniature statue of the great man was placed atop the building’s highest beam. A year later, the Phillies won the World Series. Now, to keep old Penn happy, the statue will be moved to the top of an even taller tower designed by Foster + Partners, which is currently under construction.
Posts tagged with "Foster + Partners":
Lord Norman Foster’s pickle-shaped 30 St. Mary Axe building in London, widely known as “the gherkin,” has been featured in an advertisement for a UK chemist that sells erectile dysfunction pills at £6 a pop. The print ad for Lloyds Pharmacy features the interrogative headline “Lost the perk-in your gherkin,” illustrated with a photo-shopped image of a drooping 30 St Mary Axe. The ad goes on to exhort readers not to “let a hard day stop a hard night.”
Foster + Partners have collaborated with London landscape architecture firm Exterior Architecture and urban planners Space Syntax in developing a proposal for an extensive system of elevated-bike paths in London. The project entails the construction of over 130 miles of pathways along routes that parallel those of an existing system of rail lines that already weaves in and around the city. Suspended above the train tracks, cyclists would access SkyCycle through the over 200 hydraulic platforms and ramps that would act as entry points. While somewhat evocative of New York's own High Line, the precedent for the project actually goes back much further. As illustrated in the accompanying promotional video, the project would essentially segregate cyclists from their fellow residents navigating London in cars or by foot. The move comes on the heels of a spate of cycling-related deaths that plagued the city last year. Foster himself is an avid cyclist and the current president of Britain's National Byway Trust. London bikers will have to bide their time before taking to the air, however. If the proposal is to be realized, there are many hoops to jump through, including fundraising. SkyCycle would likely be completed sometime after 2030. While the use of the rail corridors has been framed as a cost-saving measure, estimates for an upcoming 4 mile trial route place costs at £220 million.
The Norton Museum of Art in Palm Beach, Florida has unveiled a new master plan including galleries and public spaces designed by architecture firm Foster + Partners, under the direction of Pritzker Prize-winning architect Lord Norman Foster. The new Foster design will upgrade the museums 6.3-acre, art deco–inspired campus and gardens first designed in 1941 by Marion Sims Wyeth. The new plan relocates the main entrance on South Dixie Highway to the west, allowing visitors to once again see through the entire building, capturing views of the Intracoastal Waterway beyond the Norton via a new, transparent grand hall and refurbished glass and iron courtyard doors. The new entrance will be defined by three double-height pavilions, unified with the reworked existing wing by a shared palette of white stone. These pavilions will house a new state-of-the-art auditorium, event space, and a "grand hall"—the social hub of the Museum. Foster's design includes a new museum shop and restaurant with al fresco garden seating which, like the new pavilion spaces, can operate independently of the Museum for events on the Norton’s campus throughout the day and at night. A metal roof canopy will float above the pavilions, shading the entrance plaza. The canopy structure will be gently tapered to visually reduce its profile—a technique he previously employed in Marseilles, France—while providing stability to withstand hurricane-strength winds. The canopy’s gentle luster will cast diffuse patterns of light in an abstracted reflection of the people and flowing water below. A linear series of pools with fountains and a row of hedges between the pools and Dixie Highway will mask the sound of traffic and create a tranquil setting at the entrance plaza. A curved opening in the roof will accommodate the branches of a mature ficus tree and a light well above the lobby will illuminate and define the new entrance. The master plan will be implemented in several phases, beginning with the reconfiguration and extension of the existing museum and the new public amenities within a lush garden setting. Two new wings for galleries can be added to the east in later phases of the long-term master plan.
Frank Gehry and Foster + Partners have been selected to design the third phase of the mixed-use Battersea Power Station development in London, which includes a retail pedestrian street that serves as the entryway to the complex. Gehry and Foster will collaborate on the High Street section, and each firm will design residential buildings on the east and west sides, respectively. This will be Gehry’s first building in London. He will approach the project with the “goal to help create a neighborhood and a place for people to live that respects the iconic Battersea Power Station while connecting it into the broader fabric of the city.” The iconic Battersea Power Station has captured the imagination of everyone from furniture designers to rock stars. Take a look below at AN's roundup of 12 of the most amazing Battersea Power Station photos.
A tired strip along Collins Avenue in Miami, once populated by swanky hotels, will soon be returned to its former glory days. The Miami Herald reported that Argentinian developer Alan Faena is moving forward with his grand vision for this ghostly side of town, dubbed the "Faena District Miami Beach," which will consist of an elaborate mix of residential, hotels, retail, and cultural space. Modeled after his successful transformation of the Puerto Madero district in his hometown of Buenos Aires, this new plan aims to turn this washed up, beachfront stretch into a bustling cultural and residential neighborhood. And to accomplish this, Faena has enlisted the help of big name architects such as Norman Foster, Rem Koolhaas, and Roman & Williams. The developer just broke ground on the first phase: A lavish 18-story condo tower designed by Foster + Partners with apartments, ranging from 4,000 to 18,000-square feet in size, and costing up to $50 million. Across the street, Koolhaas' OMA will design a cultural center with a domed auditorium and an underground parking garage with shops on ground floor. The firm will also overhaul the understated Atlantic Beach Hotel and turn it into an open courtyard building for retail. The developer has also purchased the run down Saxony Hotel and asked Roman & Williams to renovate the interior of the historic landmark. And apparently designers aren't the only creatives coming on board this project. Filmmaker Baz Luhrmann—of the flashy, over-the-top productions, such as The Great Gatsby, Moulin Rouge, and Romeo and Juliette—will work in some currently-vague capacity, along with his wife Catherine Martin, in what the Herald has called a “creative role’’ at the hotel. Should we expect to find his visual spectacles projected on walls of suites playing to soundtracks by Jay-Z?
Foster + Partners likes to think of itself as a high-design firm with glamorous projects all over the world. But the banal rendering accompanying this week's announcement of a new 19-story, "luxury" residential tower, 551 West 21 Street, belies their design skills. Could it be that they have a two-tier design strategy in their office where glamorous cultural institutions get "Sir Norman" and commercial towers get, well, something less? The building's press release states that it "marries the timeless elegance… of classic Park Avenue apartment buildings with the excitement and energy of West Chelsea" and "has a robust, cast-concrete exterior that frames expansive windows with warm metal surrounds." It goes on about luxury finishes and unimaginable penthouse views, but really, the client, SR Capital, needs to spend some more time with Sir Norman. Only one rendering showing a facade detail has been released, but Foster + Partners is expected to reveal more soon. The building is expected to be complete in summer of 2015.
Norman Foster is expected to design a new skyscraper in downtown Philadelphia, according to sources cited by the Philly Inquirer. Media company Comcast has outgrown its current home in the city's tallest building—Robert A.M. Stern's 975-foot-tall Comcast Center. Details of the planned tower are being guarded, but architecture critic Inga Saffron reported that Comcast is exploring plans to build a "vertical campus" including several new towers, potentially beginning with a new structure on a 1.5-acre vacant lot at the corner of 18th and Arch streets (indicated above). The site was previously approved for a 1,500-foot-tall tower in 2008 but Saffron said the new tower would likely be shorter. Developer John Gattuso of Liberty Property Trust told the Inquirer, "The tower will be as big as it needs to be."
Moscow’s Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts expansion project, one of Russia's most prominent and contentious building schemes, has spiraled into disarray. Since Foster + Partners’ winning plans to expand and modernize the 101-year-old institution were originally approved in 2009, the development has been confronted with a series of delays including disputes between officials and preservationists. Now, to cap it off, the firm has officially resigned from the project. Recently, Pushkin's chief architect Sergei Kuznetsov publicly proposed that Norman Foster take a more hands-on role and demonstrate his commitment to the $670 million project by traveling to the Russian capital within a month. Kuznetsov’s ultimatum specified that “if Sir Foster, for one reason or another, refuses to participate further in the work, then, most likely, a competition will be held to choose another team, possibly of Western architects.” In response, Foster + Partners issued a statement revealing that the firm had already sent a resignation letter in June to former museum director Irina Antonova, who stepped down in July after running the museum for more than 50 years. The statement claimed that the museum has not involved the firm in the development of the project over the last three years, despite several attempts to continue working with the institution. In a statement sent to The Art Newspaper, the firm said that it had "formally resigned from the Pushkin Museum project and stipulated that their name could not be used in conjunction with the project.” Scheduled for completion in 2018, Foster’s design involved forming a museum complex encompassing the Pushkin Museum and overhauling twelve neighboring mansions. The “Museum Town,” first envisioned by Antonova in 2006, would incorporate a concert hall, a library, and underground facilities. Antonova had asked Foster to design a high quality, 21st century facility.
New York Public Library (NYPL) president Anthony Marx has commissioned a third-party review of the projected $300 million cost to implement Norman Foster’s redesign of its central branch. To pay for this costly renovation, dubbed The Central Library Plan, the library will use $150 million allocated by the city for this specific project and raise an additional $200 million from the sale of the Mid-Manhattan and the Science, Industry, and Business Libraries. NYPL says consolidation will save it $7.5 million a year. Critics of the plan advocate preserving the central branch’s stacks and renovating the Mid-Manhattan Library instead. Marx said to the New York Times, “we know there is skepticism about our numbers. We understand that there needs to be an independent cost estimate and will provide one as soon as we have a design.” Marx also mentioned that both the estimated cost and Foster’s design are subject to change. More specifics will be released in the fall, but for now Foster’s design would swap the stacks for a circulating library overlooking Bryant Park that features a four-level atrium with bookshelves, sitting areas and desks. Critics argue against removing the stacks and are skeptical of the financial estimates NYPL president Marx has put forward. State Assemblyman Micah Z. Kellner, chairman of the Committee on Libraries and Education Technology, questions why the NYPL has applied for and been granted building permits without a detailed design and specific cost. Construction has been announced to start this summer and to be completed by 2018.
Foster + Partners has released concept renderings for the proposed Albert Einstein Museum in Jerusalem. Part of Hebrew University’s Mount Scopus Campus, the museum will serve as a motivational learning center that reflects Einstein’s scientific and cultural impact on the world. The design concept is open and airy and emphasizes light at every bend, including an amphitheater covered in mirrors to illuminate the space. The idea behind the Museum is to “shine a light” on Einstein’s accomplishments. Foster's design accentuates light through the use of a spherical volume at the core of the structure that functions as an amphitheater. The gallery incorporates gyroscopic mirrors that rotate and bounce sunlight onto a dark screen, which creates shows to produce the effect of a star shining above the building. The mirrored surfaces form a canopy over the exhibition courtyard. Other techniques brighten the exhibition spaces inside the Museum. Einstein’s various scientific theories are luminously showcased throughout the design. The structure’s skeleton is composed of profiled stone ribs that expose the image of the German-born scientist’s face when viewed from particular angles. A model of the design is on display at London's Royal Academy Summer Exhibition this year. The project is expected to begin construction in 2015 with completion scheduled for 2017.
Apple's spaceship-like campus plans, designed by Foster and Partners, have been criticized for—among other other things— a lack of pedestrian friendly design. It appears the company has listened. New documents presented to the city of Cupertino show extended bike paths, winding walkways and private roads both circling the grounds and running through the center of the campus. The bike lanes would have buffer lanes to protect them from cars, pedestrian walkways would have increased lighting, a transit center would be the focal point for buses, and the plans also make room for public art projects. Not all the changes are eco/pedestrian friendly. The new design calls for an increase in parking spaces from 10,500 to 10,980. Slated for completion in 2016, the campus has also been in the news for budget overruns and delays, with Bloomberg Businessweek reporting its cost ballooning from $3 billion to $5 billion. The first phase of the campus is scheduled to be complete by 2016.The original date was 2015.