At the end of January, the International Center of Photography (ICP) opened its new integrated center at the rapidly constructed Essex Crossing mega-development on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The new center, a three-story, 40,000-square-foot arts center designed by Gensler, is the ICP’s third home and the first to house both its educational facilities and curatorial spaces. Essex Crossing is a six-and-a-half acre site located on the southern border of Delancey Street master-planned by SHoP Architects and was built on land formerly razed for urban renewal efforts and left vacant for half a century. The bulk of the redevelopment consists of mixed-use towers—ICP is located at the podium level of one of the projects—but is studded with several publicly accessible venues such as the new home of the Essex Street Market. Gensler’s design runs through the entire block, with a glazed facade on the east elevation and one of patterned aluminum for the service entrance to the west (the western facade covers a blank wall, lending the illusion of a brise-soleil and breaking up a monolithic street presence). The ground floor houses a cafe and largely serves as a point of circulation for the galleries, library, and the school above. The ICP’s new central gallery is a double-height space defined by a concrete-and-metal material palette and is flooded with natural light from the eastern glazed facade. The entire exhibition room is ringed by a catwalk which provides a top-down viewing perspective of the hall while simultaneously lined with smaller works. A multimedia gallery located on the third-floor functions as both a curatorial and event space. As an educational institution, the ICP hosts programs, courses, and workshops for over 3,500 students annually. Facilities include darkrooms, shooting studios, digital media labs, amongst others. The focal point of the educational amenities is a double-height library of metal-and-wood framing accessible to both members and guests. The COVID-19 outbreak has, unfortunately, also led to the temporary closure of the ICP and its inaugural exhibitions; Tyler Mitchell:I Can Make You Feel Good; CONTACT HIGH: A Visual History of Hip-Hop; James Coupe: Warriors; The Lower East Side, and Selections from the ICP Collection. While the Center will be closed for the foreseeable future, thousands of images and interviews from its collection have been made available to the general public online.
Posts tagged with "Gensler":
Plans have been unveiled for a rather snazzy 14-story Hollywood office tower designed by Gensler that will take shape on a 1.7-acre Sunset Boulevard site currently populated by a Staples and a smattering of surface parking lots. Dubbed Sunset + Wilcox, the commercial high-rise would include of 445,158 square feet of office space, with 2,141 square feet carved out for a ground-level restaurant and retail space as well as a substantial amount of space dedicated to parking, some of it subterranean. Compared to a decidedly humdrum 1968 Maxwell Starkman-designed high-rise located directly across Wilcox Avenue at 6430 Sunset Boulevard that’s home to CNN’s West Coast headquarters, Sunset + Wilcox will provide, literally, a breath of architectural fresh air. Each floor of the tower will include outdoor space, with the sixth floor featuring a lushly landscaped outdoor “Campus Commons” spread out over 10,000 square feet. Starting on the seventh floor and moving up, a series of stepped terraces, all connected by an exterior staircase, will provide additional open air space. A mass timber crown—a unique addition to the surrounding skyline—will encase the “penthouse” levels of the building. This largely workaday stretch of Sunset east of Highland Avenue has been on the up-and-up in recent years as the demand for both housing and entertainment industry-earmarked office space in Hollywood proper grows. “With the majority of this underutilized site being surface parking, Sunset + Wilcox provides a tremendous opportunity to further Hollywood’s ongoing transformation into a true live-work neighborhood,” said Mario Palumbo, managing director of Seward Partners, an affiliate of infill-centric developer MP Los Angeles, in a press statement. “Hollywood is world-renowned for its association with the entertainment industry, and the demand for new creative office space in the area is substantial.” Other major projects in the immediate area include a mixed-use megaproject designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and RCH Studios surrounding the Crossroads of the World site, an iconic 1936 outdoor shopping center-turned-office complex encircling a Streamline Moderne building shaped an ocean liner. Once complete, the $1 billion Crossroads Hollywood project, which has been opposed by preservationists since its inception, will include over 900 new housing units, a large hotel, and over 190,000 square feet of commercial space spread across nine new buildings. Most of the original Crossroads of the World complex and the neighboring Hollywood Reporter Building, a Regency Moderne landmark declared as a Historic-Cultural Monument in 2017, will not be razed and instead be incorporated into the new development. Further east along Sunset, is the future home a 26-story residential tower that will replace beloved indie record store Amoeba Music, which has been a fixture on Sunset Boulevard since 2001. The redevelopment scheme has been highly contentious although just last month Amoeba formally announced it will reopen in a new location, also in Hollywood, later this year. Not far from the Sunset + Wilcox site and also developed by MP Los Angeles is Hollywood Center, a “mixed-use vertical community” with a substantial amount of affordable housing. It too has been met with controversy. As Sunset + Wilcox enters the planning stages (per the Real Deal the city will need to green-light several zoning changes before the project commences), it doesn't seem that many objections will be made about demolition work at the site when compared to these other redevelopment projects in the immediate area. “Our goal is to retain existing Hollywood businesses and attract new businesses that have to-date overlooked the area because of a lack of supply,” said Palumbo. “With this large site, we see an opportunity to create a truly exceptional creative office experience in the heart of Hollywood.”
The Berggruen Institute, a political think tank founded by billionaire investor and philanthropist Nicolas Berggruen in 2010, is officially moving ahead with the construction of a headquarters in the Santa Monica Mountains. A $500 million endowment has been set aside for the project the institute is calling a “scholars’ campus,” designed by Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron and the multinational Gensler, all nestled within landscaping designed by Michel Desvigne and Inessa Hansch. In 2017, when the project was first announced, Pierre Herzog of Herzog & de Meuron told the Los Angeles Times that the campus “will be a place of knowledge, of research, of curiosity, and also of some privilege at the same time. It will be something that ideally helps to make our societies work again.” While the institute owns a 450-acre parcel, it is proposing to build on fewer than 22 acres, leaving roughly 95 percent of the site in its current condition, and the headquarters will be raised 12 feet above the ground on pillars. The 137,000-square-foot campus will include conference spaces, offices, study quarters and other facilities along a square perimeter. Its hard-edged geometry will be contrasted by two spheres—one a 250-seat lecture hall at the project’s center, and the other a water tower on the roof. A residence for Berggruen and his family will be constructed along the northern edge of the site, while a grouping of 15 living units for visiting scholars will be set closer to the campus. The campus will also include exhibition spaces to complement the institute’s recently announced Transformations of the Human Program, a research-based initiative for which it has selected ten inaugural Artist Fellows, including Pierre Huyghe, Anicka Yi, Martine Syms, and Kahlil Joseph. “We look forward to the ways the artist fellows will expand our understanding of how our definition of humanity is changing,” Berggruen told the Art Newspaper. “It is also a great pleasure to elevate the role of the arts at the Berggruen Institute by commissioning them to make the first works in our envisioned art collection.” Once complete, the Berggruen Institute will move from its current location in the Bradbury Building in Downtown Los Angeles to the Santa Monica Mountains to be closer the Getty Center—another campus-like, billionaire-funded development romantically isolated in the mountains.
When tourists visit Los Angeles with little information aside from a guidebook, their first stop is often the Hollywood Walk of Fame. An approximate 10 million out-of-towners flock to the 1.3-mile stretch of Hollywood Boulevard annually in the hopes of finding their favorite celebrities’ names among the more than 2,500 brass stars. The built environment around those stars, by contrast, has left visitors feeling underwhelmed about their Hollywood experience. With bonds secured from the local Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA/LA), a new master plan for the area has recently been revealed as part of City Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell's Heart of Hollywood initiative that was first announced in October 2018. “Hollywood is an iconic destination known the world over,” said O'Farrell on his website, “but it is also a regional economic engine helping create good jobs and healthy neighborhoods. I’ve been working to ensure that Hollywood evolves into a future worthy of its rich history with a priority focus on its residents, businesses, and its signature entertainment industry, as well as its rightful place as a world tourist destination.” Global design and architecture firm Gensler presented plans for a more pedestrian-friendly version of the 15-block tourist destination. Beyond necessary repairs to the sidewalks, which have been badly damaged by decades of neglect, the main planning proposal addresses the area’s lack of unified signage, greenery, and street furnishing. Under the proposed plan, street parking and driving lanes would be significantly reduced to make room for more pedestrian activities, including sidewalk dining and outdoor performances, and will even establish five “event plazas” adjacent to the area's most popular tourist attractions, such as the Pantages Theatre and the Hollywood Highland Center Mall. Though there is currently no construction date set, Gensler is working with the city to further develop the master plan design, to be presented to the public throughout 2020 for feedback. The renovation of the Hollywood Walk of Fame is just one of many attempts to make Los Angeles a more pedestrian-friendly city in response to recently increased densification. Last November, local architecture firm RCH Studios presented their master plan for Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade that would similarly create room for unimpeded pedestrian traffic, street performances, and other related outdoor activities.
In November 2019, voices from the spheres of architecture, design, political science, cybernetics, sociology, urbanism, and curatorial practice assembled in Riga. Standing alongside a delegation of over four hundred from, and fresh to, the Latvian capital, Architecture of Migration—the first international conference of its kind—sought to open a fissure within which architecture in its broadest sense could be discussed through the lens of migration. “The world today is characterized by movement, speed, networks, connections,” declared Dina Suhanova and Dagnija Smilga. “It is a globe of constant circulation.” Against this backdrop, Suhanova and Smilga, both Riga-based architects and co-organizers of the event, advocated for their own understanding of architecture; an understanding that is quiet in its radicality. In their reading, architecture cannot be reduced to an inhabitable building. It is a system – the physical infrastructure of space, intangible connections, and a medium and prerequisite for movement. A central aim of the conference was to push recognition that architecture operates through, beyond, and without borders, that it is, and always has been, a natural process with varying social and spatial consequences. “Think of [this conference] as an exploded axonometric!” Smilga explained to the delegates. Organized around four scales: “The Nordic-Baltic region in the Crossroads of Global Mobilities”, “The Ecosystem of the Baltic Sea region: A Space Shared?”, “Beyond Intersections of Urban and Rural”, and “Current Responses to the Baltics in flux,” discussions were distilled from global concerns to regional conversations. These four chapters were bound together by a single spine: To build a platform for common understanding and to isolate opportunities between divergent actors. At the heart of this approach was a desire to seek out and identify future scenarios for the development of the "Baltic Space," a physical and conceptual territory encompassing Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the Baltic Sea. The most evident pan-national parallels were drawn between the Nordic and Baltic regions, something not altogether unexpected given the area’s distant and recent past. Beginning formally in the 1990s, the Nordic Council (a body that fosters cooperation between Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and the autonomous islands of Åland) set its sights firmly on closer collaborations with the Baltic nations. This has resulted in an influx of investment. Coupled with a diversification of populations, closer ties with the Nordics has led to a gradual identity realignment. Nordic-Baltic relations go further back, however. In 2016, architects Jurga Daubaraitė and Jonas Žukauskas passed along a text written by the Lithuanian geographer and geo-politicist Kazys Pakštas. (Daubaraitė, Žukauskas, and Smilga were part of the nine-strong curatorial team that presented the first Baltic Pavilion at the 15th Biennale Architettura in Venice.) Published in English in 1944, The Baltoscandian Confederation envisioned a new supranational entity, eponymously named, comprising what we know today as Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania. Pakštas prefaced this prospect with an urgency masked as an observation. “We are living in turbulent, but nevertheless interesting times,” he wrote. This decade has proved to be similarly turbulent for Europe and the region. In 2014, Russia illegally annexed Crimea and the E.U. discontinued regular bilateral summits as a result. Russia was excluded from the G8. Sanctions were initiated. For the Baltic states, each of which territorially border the Russian Federation (Lithuania does not border Russia’s western border, it does border the Kaliningrad Oblast) and stand as the easternmost flank of the European Union, recent events have heightened focus on what it means to be in the ‘East’ and what it means to be in the ‘West.’ And they are not alone. The Nordic region—Sweden, Norway, and Finland in particular—have also started to raise an eyebrow eastwards. In 2018, the Swedish government (diplomatically “neutral” and not a member of NATO) reissued a document titled If Crisis or War Comes (Om krisen eller kriget kommer), an informational pamphlet indicating that planning for the defense of the realm had been resumed after decades of demilitarisation. Many opportunities center on the Baltic Sea, and so follows tension. The Baltic is today considered less of an aquatic ecosystem (although it is, and is rapidly approaching the status of an oceanic dead zone) and more of a pool of infrastructure, movement, and mobility. If it had come to pass, Pakštas’s Baltoscandia would have likely become a nation of significant economic and geopolitical influence. From the low-lying lands of middle Europe to the arctic territories of the far north, the federation would have encircled and controlled access to the Baltic Sea. People of different cultures and languages would have been united under one aegis to form, in Pakštas’s own words, a “zone of smaller nations of common cultural interests and mutual sympathies.” In March 2004, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania became members of NATO. In May of the same year, they joined the European Union and become the first and so far only former states of the Soviet Union to have joined either supranational organization. Architecture of Migration opened with a discussion on this theme: the Nordic-Baltic region as a territory at the crossroads of global mobilities. During the opening session, a conversation took place between Kirsten Ritchie (Gensler), Ieva Ilves (adviser to the President of Latvia for Information and Digital Policy), and the researcher Justinien Tribillon (cofounder of Migrant Journal, a publication that culminated with its sixth volume earlier this year). Faced with a question on the role of national identity at a moment increasingly shaped and influenced by supranational forms of governance, Tribillon said: “I’m wondering what the [nation] state of tomorrow will look like, and therefore what the identity of tomorrow will look like.” The greater part of the conversations that took place were along similar lines. The discussion was fluid and underlying themes were often reminiscent of ideas that were put forward by the late sociologist and political philosopher Zygmunt Bauman. In 2016, in what was to be his final television interview, a conversation on Al-Jazeera centered on the mass migration and movement of people. Bauman contextualized the perceived ‘migration crisis’, as it was unhelpfully labeled at the time, as part of a crisis of fear and uncertainty. Exponential inequality, dysfunctional economies, increasing concern for the climate, the smelting of governments and institutions—their decreasing dependability, authority, and ability to follow through on their promises—have all contributed to the murky mess that we presently find ourselves wading through, he argued. With no single solution in sight, Bauman was pressed by the interviewer to contemplate a way out of the soup. His retort was simple; he advocated for empathy. “But,” he asserted, “and that is a big but, unfortunately [...], there is no instant solution. Dialogue is a long, long process.” Room for dialogue on issues as urgent, muddling, and wide-reaching as migration remain as hard to find today as they were in 2016. Architecture of Migration made enormous inroads to carve out space for discourse. It was, in many ways, a show-and-tell, a presentation of case studies that oscillated around themes of borders, land, identity, and geopolitics. Alongside presentations by architect and historian Ignacio G. Galán, architect and educator Sille Pihlak (PART), architects Petras Isora and Ona Lozuraityte (AIL), urbanist Keiti Kljavin, and urban researcher Mike Emmerik (Crimson Architectural Historians), Irene Stracuzzi’s project The Legal Status of Ice articulated the diplomatic firestorm currently faced by the Arctic region. At the center of a contentious territorial dispute, Canada, Denmark, Norway, the United States, and Russia all have claims (the latter laid theirs by planting a titanium flag on the seabed 14,000 feet below the North Pole, aided by a robotic submarine). Closer to home, Ivan Sergejev presented the Estonian town of Narva, where he is currently Chief City Architect. As one of the leading minds behind Narva’s European Capital of Culture 2024 bid, which it ultimately lost to Tartu, Sergejev took delegates through the latent potential that can be harnessed by way of conceptual projects. As Estonia’s most eastern township, only meters from the country’s border with Russia, its Russian-Estonian citizenry came together under the auspices of the bid and new life was injected into a place that, in recent years, had suffered from a post-industrial slump. A propositional presentation by Markus Schaefer, a partner of the Zürich-based studio for architecture, strategies, and research Hosoya Schaefer, put the concept of "Deep Urbanism" onto the table. Using Switzerland as a point of reference, Schaefer described a discipline of relationships that generate a complex system of people and their culture acting on equally as complex territories. For Schaeffer, cities cannot be seen as a solution to achieve a sustainable existence. Rather, they should be considered as a form of cultural technology that, in the same way as all technologies tend towards, can have both beneficial and adverse effects. The inherent and multifaceted depth of the city—a place of interaction and transformation, plus—must be recognized and, in so doing, utilized. Smilga and Suhanova had made clear their reasoning for the conference from the beginning. “We both believe that performing in the field of architecture is part of building surrounding culture,” they declared. Through the lens of architecture, a discipline and practice fundamentally tethered to the ways we live, work, move and belong, came an event that embraced an open-ended understanding of the topic it was seeking to address. The (perpetually) turbulent times that we are each a part of demands us to listen to one another more closely, and with more generosity. As we all move into the third decade of the new millennium, Architecture of Migration proved that space to exchange and reimagine the transforming and transformative role of architecture has a crucial role to play in the most formidable challenges—and opportunities—that we face. James Taylor-Foster is a writer, editor, and curator working in the fields of architecture, design, e-culture, and technology. He is the curator of contemporary architecture and design at ArkDes, Sweden’s national center for architecture and design, in Stockholm. He moderated a discussion at the Architecture of Migration conference.
Gensler's Michael Volk and Olivier Sommerhalder discuss Facades+ LA and the trends reshaping their city
Brought to you with support fromFrom November 14 to 15, Facades+ LA will bring regional, national, and international leaders of the AEC industry to Southern California for the fifth year in a row. Hosted by The Architect's Newspaper and co-chaired by Gensler's local office, the conference is split between a full-day symposium and a second day of hands-on workshops. Conference keynotes include MVRDV principal Fokke Moerel and Rojkind Arquitectos principal Michel Rojkind. Other participants at the conference symposium and workshops will include Access Industries, Belzberg Architects, Christopher Hawthorne, CO Architects, FreelandBuck, Front, Gensler, Griffin Enright Architects, Grupo Anima Mexico, HGA, John Fidler Preservation Technologies, Morphosis, Neme Design Studio USA, Omgivning, PATTERNS, RDH, Rios Clementi Hale Studios, Walter P Moore, Trammell Crow, Sasaki, Shubin Donaldson Architects, Spectra Company, Studio NYL, WJE, and Zahner. In this interview with The Architect's Newspaper, Gensler principals and conference co-chairs Michael Volk and Olivier Sommerhalder discussed their firm's recent work and the architectural trends reshaping Los Angeles. AN: Gensler is the largest architectural and design practice in the world. How does this breadth of scale impact design at the regional level? Michael Volk & Olivier Sommerhalder: As an integral part of our firm’s philosophy, our 50 global offices practice as though we are one firm, and we have set up our infrastructure to fluidly support this behavior. We bring our global knowledge and a very deep bench to bear on every endeavor, from large scale international work to regional and local projects. Our dimension is such that it allows us to have in-house expertise in many relevant disciplines, including facade experts, and we bring this capability to the table wherever needed, at any time, making us nimble and innovative designers who add value to our client’s projects. What exciting projects is the Los Angeles office up to, and are you demonstrating any concepts tested at your research institute? In our Los Angeles office, as in all our offices, we are extending our thinking on building design to the scale of shaping the future of cities. At the forefront of this is a design that addresses energy, climate, and housing concerns. Like many things in design, we are finding, however, that low tech and simple solutions are most impactful and meaningful in addressing these issues. Projects such as our office building C3 in Culver City and upcoming projects now on the table for mixed-use and residential high rises downtown and in the Hollywood area are returning to simple passive solar and ventilation techniques, as well as significant integration of public and private green space, to reconsider the “First Principles” of their typologies. Living with nature and consuming less energy and water, while at the same time being in closer proximity to intellectual, economic and recreational capital, are among the positive aspects of urban life research shows to be most valuable and sustaining. Los Angeles is in a certain sense maturing as a city. What do you perceive to be the most interesting trends within the region today? Los Angeles is indeed maturing, and at the same time it’s dimension and urban condition make it an ideal city to be a testing ground for new urban innovations. Housing, density, and mobility are the leading topics, alongside climate change and energy considerations. These topics are often seen hand in hand leading to development in the city. For example, with the expansion of Metro-rail corridors, mixed-use and higher density projects are naturally emerging, bringing with them an integrated, urban lifestyle of live/work/play within a short radius that is somewhat new to Southern California. As another example, long-standing neighborhoods now connected by mixed-use corridors and transportation, are evolving into multi-faceted hubs, rather than the single-use bedroom communities they traditionally have been. This has had the consequence of shrinking the typical radius of commuting and the positive synergistic effect of an organic mix of programs supporting a vibrant daily life, increasing economic and cultural offerings within a denser fabric. Another surprising observation that may seem counter-intuitive considering Southern California’s envied climate: Over the past few years Los Angeles’ built environment seems to have rediscovered the connection to the outdoors. The mainstream has adopted outdoor patios for restaurants, the workplace has begun an extension of the workspace to the outdoors, and new apartment buildings and condominiums have generous balconies and roof terraces. This once-forgotten, but obvious, benefit is having a big impact on the design of buildings, envelopes, and landscapes. Which materials do you believe are changing facade practices in terms of design and performance? The most exciting material, surprisingly, is landscape. Projects like Second Home in Hollywood by Selgascano, and our projects for One Westside, Epic in Hollywood and several mixed-use and residential high-rises we are currently working on in the city are (re) introducing landscape as a major building and space-defining element. The notion of biophilia as a driving conceptual element has emerged internationally in the last years in places like Europe, South East Asia and significantly in Singapore. Now, in Los Angeles, we are beginning to see this design thinking taking place. Landscape as a design element is now becoming foreground - as it can and should in our climate, not just background as it often has been. More conventionally, timber and wood are also emerging on the horizon, not only as a primary structure but also as an envelope. Our project for the Headquarters of the company Alexandria in Pasadena includes a unitized curtainwall made of white oak with a second skin of wooden sunscreens. Further information regarding Facades+ Los Angeles can be found here.
Completed in 1984 as the headquarters of the telecommunications giant AT&T, the postmodern Philip Johnson and John Burgee–designed tower at 550 Madison has been the subject of a series of controversial renovations over the last two years. Today, the developer behind the Snøhetta and Gensler revamp of the former AT&T building, The Olayan Group, has released the first look at its new interiors. Designed by Gensler, the new lobby has been rendered in a basic Midtown office building palette of bronze and terrazzo, offset with large expanses of white marble which seem to contrast rather starkly in material, color, and proportion. The basic visual language of the architecture of the original lobby were worked into the new design, making for what architect Philippe Paré claims in a press release is a “powerful expression of the building’s character.” Recessed lighting embedded in the ceiling arcs and cutaways creates a formal distinction with a minimal hand. The lobby is designed to connect to Snøhetta’s proposed garden, which should be visible through the lobby's rear windows (though the outdoor space will only be accessible through side doors). 550 Madison is the youngest building to receive landmark status in New York, though only the exterior is protected; the original interior was demolished early last year. Additionally, the pair of site-specific Dorothea Rockburne murals that were added in 1994 when Sony owned the building—and that some feared would be destroyed or moved—will be preserved in a “sky lobby” seven stories up. The forms in the tiles pictured in the lobby's floor vaguely seem to echo the shapes of the 30-foot-by-29–foot pair of paintings. In addition to Gensler’s lobby renovation, Snøhetta intends to replace the enclosed Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman rear plaza with an expanded garden, open up the Madison Avenue loggias with large glass panes, and reconfigure the current elevator arrangement. This renovation is a more modest proposal after a plan to replace the base of the building’s granite facade with sheer glass was met with backlash. Originally designed for 800 workers, current plans are meant to fit in as many as 3,000. The former AT&T Building is expected to reopen in 2020 as a multi-tenant office tower with LEED Platinum certification and will include ground-floor retail and expanded public space.
After four months of work behind closed doors, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is finally ready to reopen its main Manhattan museum to the public on Monday. Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) in collaboration with Gensler, the multi-phased renovation and expansion adds one-third more gallery space to the institution’s 80-year-old complex on West 53rd Street and integrates it more seamlessly with the public realm. Since MoMA’s debut in its iconic, Philip L. Goodwin- and Edward Durell Stone-designed home, the museum has been physically inching closer and closer towards Sixth Avenue. Three individual extensions by Philip Johnson (1964), Cesar Pelli (1984), and Yoshio Taniguchi (2005) attempted to modernize the museum and keep it competitive, while also giving it increased room to display its permanent collection and rotating exhibitions. But these changes—in sheer size—pale in comparison to the massive new addition by DS+R and Gensler. The MoMA’s new David Geffen Wing came into existence following the demolition of the American Folk Art Museum and the construction of Jean Nouvel’s 53 West 53 in its place. The 950-foot-tall apartment tower next door now houses three levels of gallery space that adds an additional 11,500 square feet per floor to the older, eastern galleries—all of which are now connected and configured in a single loop. A central blade stair, visible from the street below, reveals activity and circulation within the building while signaling the separation between old and new. According to Charles Renfro, a partner at DS+R, the minimal and spacious design wasn’t meant to be a big, heroic gesture but help expand the museum naturally. “In order to make MoMA’s curatorial vision possible, our architectural intervention had to be quite stealthy in a lot of ways,” Renfro told AN. “We knew we couldn’t overwhelm those different building projects that have happened over the past almost 100 years, so we tried to work within the DNA of MoMA to advance a new concept of detail that reflects the 21st century.” Built out over the last three years, the $50 million renovations and $400 million expansion increased the museum's total footprint to 708,000 square feet. Approximately 165,000 square feet of that space is brand new, 40,000 square feet of which is used for galleries. Renfro said the design team was charged with making a more consolidated, borderless exhibition space that would help create a clear narrative within the museum and allow the curators to showcase various art disciplines. “The vision was to dissolve the media divisions that have guided the curatorial position since the beginning, merging up painting and sculpture with photography, film, design, and architecture,” he said. “We’re not service architects by any stretch of the imagination, but with MoMA what we’re trying to do is breathe a new kind of life of possibility into its curatorial direction.” These ideas of mixing and mingling materials—just like the art—extend down into MoMA’s new main lobby space as well. Its formerly dark and crowded front door on 53rd Street received a much-needed makeover by the design team in an effort to make it more welcoming and less confusing for visitors. DS+R and Gensler added a thin, stainless steel entrance canopy (supported by only a few cables, giving it a cantilevering appearance) to the facade to signal its presence on the street. They also introduced a glass curtain wall to make for a broad, light-filled lobby. As patrons walk by, they’ll be able to see the installations hanging from the double-height interior or on the walls of the adjacent street-level galleries. From the exterior, people will also get a new perspective of the 5,950-square-foot flagship museum store, which was sunken one level and is now accessible via a grand staircase. The floorplate cutout is a design move that adds new dimensions of depth to the museum’s public-facing spaces. Apart from any crowds inside, passersby should be able to see right through the lobby to 54th Street. The new ground-level galleries, like the lobby itself, will be free to the public.
Brought to you with support fromOn September 27, The Architect's Newspaper is returning to the Great Lakes for the sixth time to host Facades+ Chicago. The city is no stranger to architectural innovation, pioneering steel-frame construction, and the curtain walled skyscraper. The conference is, in effect, an appraisal of the most recent projects and research that keep Chicago ahead of the curve in architectural design and technology. Participants for the conference symposium and workshops are leading practitioners based in Chicago and the Midwest, including Brininstool + Lynch, the Chicago Department of Buildings, Gensler, Heitman Architects, Krueck + Sexton Architects, the Passive House Institute US, Sentech Architectural Systems, Sterling Bay, Thornton Tomasetti, and WJE. Edward Peck, managing director of Edward Peck Design and a facade expert with decades of experience, collaborated with AN as co-chair of the conference to curate the program and will also present on the panel "Ongoing Advancements in Glass Technology: From Smart Coatings to Connection Design," which will be expanded upon as an afternoon workshop. In this interview with AN, Peck discusses the themes and objectives of the upcoming conference. AN: Research and Innovation are at the forefront of this year’s conference in Chicago. What lessons do you hope will be garnered by the audience? Edward Peck: Correct. At this conference, we want to draw the connection between the two. To innovate, one needs to invest time and effort into Research (R&D). We are a profession where every project is a prototype yet we find ourselves with less and less time for the integration of Research and Advanced Analytics but to build meaningful architecture that is inspirational, sustainable and resilient we will need to find better ways to perform and collaborate on Research and new Innovations to meet the environmental challenges of today and tomorrow. AN: How are firms in Chicago impacting design across the country and perhaps globally? EP: Architects in Chicago have a rich history for impacting architecture and urban conditions globally. We have a collective body of progressive work around the world-leading innovations in sustainability, performance and structural force pushing towers to new heights. With this comes a body of innovative engineers that are our primary collaborators on these projects enriching the entire practice of architecture and enabling Chicago to maintain our position as a critical thought leader in progressive architecture. AN: What do you perceive to be the most interesting design trends within Chicago today? EP: I try to stay away from trends. One needs to focus on the building’s performance; both its impact on the environment and the user while understanding its urban or contextual integration. If these conditions are your focus your work will transcend trends. I believe the Trumpf Smart Factory, a featured project at this conference does that; it is focused on its program while also exhibiting the values and capabilities of Trumpf as a company. AN: Facade materials are undergoing a significant evolution due to advanced research. Are there any specific materials we should be paying attention to? EP: I think smart or dynamic building skins and systems are worth paying attention to – There are a lot of products that are now moving into their second generation making them more attractive and feasible in the market. Buildings must perform in a wide range of conditions, systems that can adapt or transition within this range will undoubtedly be integrated into future designs. Further information regarding Facades+ Chicago can be found here.
Gensler has been announced as the lead firm on the project team for the new Walmart headquarters in Arkansas. The 350-acre home office campus, centered around community, innovation, and sustainability, will be located between Central Avenue and Highway 102 in Bentonville, Arkansas. Dan Bartlett, the executive vice president of corporate affairs at Walmart, announced the project team for the campus as design leaders across both the Arkansas community and the world. His team choice was intended to highlight the collaboration between global and local designers. The rest of the project team includes: Miller Boskus Lack Architects of Fayetteville, Arkansas, CEI Engineering Associates, Inc. of Bentonville, Walter P Moore of Houston, Sasaki of Watertown, Massachusetts, and the Los Angeles branch of landscape architecture firm SWA Group. The team will focus their abilities towards amenity buildings, low-cost engineering and material sourcing, a downtown extension, and wildlife preservation. Douglas C. Gensler, Gensler's managing director and principal, issued the following comment for Walmart's website: “We are honored and humbled to be the creative partner helping shape Walmart’s future campus. The design is innovative, resilient, thoughtful and purpose-driven that places people at the heart of the company's next chapter. The new Walmart campus will embody the DNA attributes for a connected and successful work-place with the latest advances in technology and sustainability, while reflecting the Walmart culture and seamlessly integrating into the fabric of the community.” The new headquarters will span 20 buildings, with the "Razorback Regional Greenway" running through the center of the campus, harmonizing biking and walking trails that encourage internal mobility. The offices are expected to hold 14,000- to- 17,000 employees, and will join expanded cafeteria spaces, fitness spaces, a childcare facility, and accessible parking. The renderings, released in May, display office buildings boasting large windows with an abundance of natural light and open green spaces seeded with native vegetation that bolster the sustainable design. Gensler has noted that the buildings will feature energy-efficient lighting and HVAC systems under the goal of creating a zero-waste environment that operates completely on renewable energy. The new Walmart Arkansas headquarters will be another corporate campus that Gensler can add to their extensive resume; it joins Facebook’s one-million-square-foot headquarters in Menlo Park, California, the Washington Post Offices in Washington D.C., and the renovation of the Adobe campus in San Jose, California.
This is the third article of AN‘s July/August 2019 print edition feature focused on development. The first, “A new breed of skyscraper threatens to devastate the fabric of New York,” can be read here. The second, "Why the developer’s vision matters in the experience economy," can be read here. As it celebrates the 250th anniversary of its founding this year, San Diego is rethinking past projects, planning billions of dollars’ worth of new projects, and coping with a housing shortage that is making it one of the nation’s least affordable markets. The most significant project on the boards is the redevelopment planned for Horton Plaza shopping center, a 1985 postmodernist downtown mall designed by Jon Jerde. But there are many other megaprojects under construction or in the offing throughout this county of 3.3 million residents. Laura Warner, an architect who moved from the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1980s, watches all this action from her perch as cochair of the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s Orchids & Onions program. This 43-year-old education effort celebrates the good and shames the bad in local building, landscape, planning, and historic preservation projects. “We’ve got some really well crafted, well designed, and well detailed buildings that are places that people like to go to, where they want to create memories,” Warner said. San Diego’s architectural zeitgeist goes back to its founding in 1769 by Spanish colonizers intent on protecting the area from European rivals and the local Kumeyaay population. The colonists introduced new building techniques, laid out towns as required by Spain’s “Laws of the Indies,” and built adobe and stucco ranch houses that remain the local go-to style, especially for residential development. The city’s iconic buildings and structures include the Mission San Diego de Alcalá, Reid & Reid’s 1888 Hotel del Coronado, the 1915 Panama-California Exposition grounds in Balboa Park, the 1920s Navy and Marine Corps bases, the 1938 County Administration Center on the downtown waterfront, Louis Kahn’s 1964 Salk Institute, and William Pereira’s 1970 Geisel Library at the University of California, San Diego, campus. Post–World War II car culture led to sprawl, center-city blight, and urban ills shared with other American cities. Some midcentury mistakes are being reversed, but challenges remain: homelessness, high-priced housing (the median home price in May was $591,000), large wage gaps between tourism service workers and high-tech engineers, and relations with Tijuana across the Mexican border. Ten major projects in the works promise to add to San Diego’s collection of notable buildings, but it remains to be seen if any of them rise to world-class, must-see status in the decades ahead. The Campus at Horton Stockdale Capital Partners of Los Angeles bought the Horton Plaza shopping center in 2018 for $175 million with plans to turn it into a high-tech office complex with only half the 600,000 square feet of retail originally required in the center. The Jerde Partnership’s original postmodern design was copied worldwide, and the new owners are seeking ways to retain some of its quirky features. L.A.-area firms RCH Studios and EYRC Architects are the design architects, and RDC is the executive architect for the redesign. The developers hope to complete the first phase by the end of 2020. Chula Vista Bayfront A 535-acre World War II-era industrial zone is being transformed into a complex comprising hotels, housing, retail, parks, and a conference center in this South Bay city’s portion of the San Diego port tidelands. Houston-based RIDA Development plans a $1.1 billion hotel and conference center on 36 acres. RIDA’s architect is HKS of Dallas. Courthouse Redevelopment Another repurposing project involves the 1960s downtown county courthouse. On the first of three blocks owned by the county government would be a $400 million, 37-story mixed-use building developed by Vancouver, Washington–based Holland Partner Group and designed by local firm Carrier Johnson + Culture. Manchester Pacific Gateway The Navy Broadway Complex, which dates back to the 1920s, has been leased to local developer Doug Manchester, who agreed to build the Navy a new West Coast headquarters. He, in turn, won rights to build hotels, offices, a retail galleria, and a museum on the balance of the complex’s 13.7 acres. Gensler is the architect, and construction of the tower is well underway in the $1.3 billion, 3 million-square-foot complex. NAVWAR The Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR, formerly the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command or SPAWAR) occupies former Air Force hangars dating to World War II located between Old Town San Diego and the Marine Corps Recruit Depot north of downtown. The Navy, seeking a modern research and development home, would like to repeat its deal on the Naval Broadway Complex by signing up a developer who would deliver such a building in exchange for the right to develop the rest of the site privately. The 71-acre location is also being eyed by regional planners as a “Grand Central” multimodal transportation center. The Navy expects to issue a request for proposals. In the meantime, the local National Association of Industrial and Office Parks chapter sponsored a “university challenge” for a portion of the site. The winning $1.6 billion, 4.1 million-square-foot “Delta District” plan from students at the University of San Diego includes offices, housing, and retail, plus an “innovation center” where education and R&D would meet. De Bartolo + Rimanic Design Studio of San Diego aided the UCSD students. One Paseo Suburban development continues in San Diego County, and one of the most controversial suburban projects, One Paseo, opened earlier this year east of Del Mar on the North County coast. Opponents, led by a rival shopping center company, objected to the density and launched an initiative to kill the project, and the developer, Kilroy Realty, downsized the plans. The retail portion, by the Hollywood architecture firm 5+design, opened earlier this year, and the first apartments are due this summer. San Diego Convention Center Expansion The center, built in 1989 and last expanded in 2001, will appear on the March 2020 city ballot in the form of a hotel tax increase that will fund an $800 million expansion, plus homeless and transportation improvements if it can gain the required two-thirds approval. The main new feature would be a rooftop public park. The project designer is Fentress Architects of Denver. SDSU Mission Valley San Diego State University won voter approval in 2018 over local developers’ rival “SoccerCity” to redevelop the 166-acre site of the former Chargers NFL football stadium site in Mission Valley, north of downtown. When the Chargers returned to Los Angeles, the future of the 70,000-seat, 52-year-old stadium was up for grabs. SDSU plans to replace what is now called SDCCU Stadium with a smaller facility for its Aztecs football team. Developers would be selected to build 4,600 housing units and 1 million square feet of office and retail space that ultimately could be repurposed for academic use to complement the university’s 250-acre campus a few miles to the east. Carrier Johnson + Culture prepared a conceptual master plan, and Gensler is the architect for the new $250 million stadium, which is targeted to open for the 2022 football season. Seaport Village The downtown Embarcadero postindustrial transformation began with the construction of the Robert Mosher–designed San Diego–Coronado Bridge in 1969. The obsolete ferry landing was redeveloped as the Seaport Village specialty retail center in 1980. Now it’s time to turn the 39-acres of one-story buildings into something denser and more sophisticated. The current $1.6 billion plan calls for the usual mix of hotel and commercial uses plus an aquarium, ocean-oriented learning center, a 500-foot skytower ride designed by BIG, and water-centric recreational and commercial fishing features. The project architect is San Diego–based AVRP Skyport. UC San Diego The UC San Diego campus, whose first class of fewer than 200 students took up residence in 1964, is nearing an enrollment of 40,000 and is planning to add three more undergraduate residential colleges to the six already in place. The 2,100-acre campus, spanning Interstate 5 in San Diego’s La Jolla neighborhood plus a community hospital near downtown, has about $10 billion dollars in projects planned over the next 10 years. That doesn’t count the $2.1 billion extension of the San Diego Trolley light-rail system which is due to reach the campus in 2021. The campus trolley stop will lead to a new campus gateway entrance, where several major buildings and an outdoor amphitheater are in the works. An off-campus downtown hub on the trolley line is already under construction. Numerous architectural firms, both local and national, have been engaged to build out the campus, including HKS and San Diego–based Safdie Rabines Architects for Sixth College, now under construction; Seattle-based LMN Partners for the Triton Pavilion, a six-building complex at the new trolley stop; and the downtown hub by Carrier Johnson + Culture. Roger Showley is a freelance writer who recently retired from The San Diego Union-Tribune.
Imagine arriving at the Sheep Meadow in Central Park intending to lie on a blanket in the warm afternoon sun, as you have done many times before, only to find that there is no sunshine anymore. It has been blocked by a new tower just to the west more than twice the height of any building around it, including the 55-story Time Warner Center several blocks away. You look around and notice that more than half of the 15-acre lawn where you used to bask in sunlight is now in shadow. The greatest urban park in this country is directly threatened by those who see it only from a distance. Just as Capability Brown cleared long vistas in front of grand estates, new Excessively Tall buildings turn Central Park into a landscape framed from above. As a result of these new giants, in a few years Central Park may well be unrecognizable and barren—like much of our environment, dying off and becoming extinct. Our built environment, one that we architects designed, will have mortally damaged an Olmsted and Vaux masterpiece. The irony is that the new Excessively Talls (ETs), jacked up on stilts or interspersed with large and repetitive mechanical voids to increase their height over adjacent buildings and secure desirable park views, may ultimately lose their picturesque vistas. These multimillion-dollar investments may be responsible for the measured obliteration of New York City’s world-renowned park. Developers whose new, faster construction methods have accelerated the emergence of a building type catering to the superrich have now launched insidious advertising campaigns showing off the “new” New York: a thicket of gleaming skinny towers. None of these projects have affordable units. Their ads boast park and river views from altitudes of 600 feet and higher (not all ETs are Supertalls, defined by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat as towers measuring over 984 feet high). But the parks they showcase, Central Park first among them, will continue to exist in name only. No bucolic pasture will remain in the Sheep Meadow, the carousel will be too cold to enjoy, the ball fields unplayable (grass dies in the dark), Wollman Rink gloomy and windy, Tavern on the Green in shadow all afternoon. The New York City Marathon’s slowest runners will be greeted at the finish line not by waning sunlight but by a giant shadow, courtesy of the latest addition to the Upper West Side, a forthcoming tower designed by Snøhetta on West 66th Street, less than 600 feet from the park. The new ETs—many completed along 57th Street, now aptly nicknamed Billionaire’s Row—are also beginning to touch down wherever there is a view for sale and zoning doesn’t limit height, such as the remaining landing strip of underdeveloped properties between First and Second avenues with potential views of the East River and Long Island, and, most recently, on axis with St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where Gensler has designed a tower. Has anyone considered that natural light would no longer stream through the church’s stained glass? Whatever happened to protecting our heritage and neighborhoods with sensible planning and human-scale development? ETs are catastrophic energy hogs, far worse than typical urban residential construction. Exaggerated floor-to-floor heights and full-floor apartments create a worst-case scenario for energy efficiency. Superskinny towers also have far more structural steel and concrete than is required to bear gravity loads because of the need to resist outsize wind loads. Local infrastructure (water, sewage, and power) is compromised, or service cut, because of the time needed to pump and discharge water and waste. And consider life-safety issues—how long will these buildings take to evacuate in an emergency, factoring in the time it takes to navigate multiple elevator banks, to rescue people in distress? But the impact of ETs spreads far beyond their physical footprints, especially when they appear in numbers. Sophisticated software can conduct shadow studies on the cumulative effect of more than one ET on a city block. The East Side will soon have two towers between 62nd and 63rd streets, one fronting 2nd Avenue and the other on 3rd. Surrounding apartments left in their shadows will need artificial light all of the time, increasing demand on the power grid and our dependence on fossil fuels. And then there is the wind. While data retrieved from the study of a single ET may show that it has no negative effect, the cumulative wind tunnel effect produced by multiple ETs will quite possibly create impassable and turbulent streets, with vicious downdrafts caused by the Bernoulli effect (increased turbulence, or downdraft, as the wind hits a large facade). The developers of these projects and some of our elected officials, unfortunately for us, have ignored the neighborhood residents affected. The public review process has become virtually nonexistent. Gone are community reviews, special permits, and even cursory notification to neighbors. The only way to find out how big these buildings are is by exhausting a Department of Buildings zoning challenge, then moving on to the Board of Standards and Appeals (Article 78), and finally, issuing an injunction. By then, the as-of-right ET will likely have entered construction, or worse, be built. All is not bleak, as there are new regulations limiting the use of glass on tall buildings, thanks in part to the monitoring efforts of the Audubon Society, which has reported that millions of birds fly into such buildings every year because they can’t recognize a mirrored image. That may help. Not since Central Park was practically devastated by neglect during the Beame administration in the mid-1970s has it been so direly threatened, but this time the danger is from without, not within. ETs and other out-of-scale development also place community and public gardens, pocket parks, and playgrounds at risk. It’s time for New Yorkers to rise up and insist on new restrictions to stop the indiscriminate abuse of light and air that could suffocate the city’s parks and their adjacent neighborhoods. To be sure, our skyline is rapidly changing, and there will be consequences, but the potential for irreversible damage demands a moratorium. To insist on more insightful planning is not “NIMBYism”—it is the professionals taking charge. Page Cowley is founder of the New York architecture practice that bears her name and serves as chair of Landmark West!, a New York preservation nonprofit, as well as cochair of the Manhattan Community Board 7 Land Use Committee. Peter Samton was managing and design partner of the New York architecture firm of Gruzen Samton, aka IBI/Gruzen Samton, and is a past president of the New York Chapter of the AIA. He now serves on Manhattan Community Board 7 Land Use and Preservation Committees. Daniel Samton practices architecture as Samtondesign in Harlem, has worked at KPF and Gruzen Samton, specializes in sustainability, and is a certified passive house designer.