HOK’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, just became the first LEED Platinum–certified professional sports stadium in the world. The $1.5 billion project opened in August and is best known for its operable, aperture-shaped roof, but HOK and Buro Happold Engineering have also integrated a suite of sustainability features into the base design of the stadium. Replacing the now-defunct Georgia Dome as the home of the Atlanta Falcons, the 2-million-square-foot, 71,000-seat Mercedes-Benz Stadium is styled after the Roman Pantheon, as the entire arena is centered around a domed oculus. Because the building is multi-use—designed for holding football, soccer, and basketball games—and because Falcons owner Arthur Blank had wanted to build what he described as an “iconic stadium” with a retractable roof, a watertight aperture was designed for the roof. Comprising eight 200-foot-long, 450-ton blades clad in Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene (EFTE) film, the roof’s semi-transparent iris is capable of opening and closing in only nine minutes. Because every petal needs to swing into place at a different speed, not rotate like a true aperture, the roof uses an algorithm to judge how much counter-balance is needed while the blades are cantilevering out over the field. Reinforcing the centralized focus of the design is a 350-ton, six-story, ring-shaped “Halo Board” seated inside the oculus itself that’s viewable from every seat and angle. Outside, the stadium’s base is a wall-to-ceiling glass curtain wall meant to give uninterrupted views of the surrounding city as fans make their way to their seats. Eight steel and glass “leaves” radiate out from the aperture at the top of the stadium and drape down over the glass at the bottom, referencing the swooping wings in the Falcons’ logo. According to HOK, Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s LEED score of 88 points is the highest of any sports venue. Through the use of its 4,000 photovoltaic panels, the stadium produces enough solar electricity to power nine football games, or 13 soccer games. By using water-conserving fixtures and infrastructure adjustments, the building uses up to 47 percent less water than a building of comparable size. The location was also key, as the stadium is located between three MARTA bus lines and next to a forthcoming 13-acre green space that fans can use between games. The site also features electrical vehicle charging stations, bike parking, and new pedestrian paths. An incredibly complex project that required coordination between architects and structural engineers at every step of the way, the stadium still isn’t fully operational even though it’s in use. Work on the roof is still ongoing, and engineers hope to have the aperture fully functional by the time Atlanta hosts the Final Four basketball tournament in 2020. The stadium's innovative high performance facade will also be discussed more in-depth at Facade Plus's Atlanta conference in January 2018.
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The Oakland Athletics have finally settled on a site for their new ballpark, and have hired Sasaki, Snøhetta, Studio T-Square, and HOK to not only design the stadium, but to also better integrate it into the surrounding urban fabric. Ending years of contentious debate over where to build, the A’s have chosen the lakeside Peralta Community College District in downtown Oakland, California. Sasaki, Snøhetta, and Oakland-based Studio T-Square will lead master planning, urban design efforts, and build a community engagement process. HOK and Snøhetta will collaborate on the design of the new ballpark and how it interacts with the master plan. No images have been released as of yet, but the team and design firms involved are hoping that the new stadium will catalyze investment along Lake Merritt without alienating the community. “Our goal is to create the best ballpark experience for our fans, players, and community. It is critical for our ballpark to truly integrate into the fabric of Oakland,” said Oakland A’s President Dave Kaval, in a press release. Craig Dykers, founding partner at Snøhetta, also stressed that the project wouldn’t be an insular experience. “With its new home closer to downtown Oakland, the project will re-invigorate the relationship between the A’s and the city as a new kind of ballpark that acts as a center for sport, wellness and culture,” he said. Even with the promised outreach, community groups have been opposed to the plan owing to fears of displacement, gentrification, and potential environmental damage to the sensitive estuaries nearby. Another potential wrench in the plan is the presence of hazardous materials in the soil that would need to be remediated. An unknown amount of gasoline and other toxic substances have seeped into the ground and water at the site over the years, and no one knows how much the clean up will cost. Still, the new stadium will be a step up for the Athletics, set to become the only major league sports team in Oakland after the Raiders leave in 2019. The A's current Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum is a 51-year-old concrete eyesore that the team currently shares with the Raiders, and that regularly floods with sewage when the plumbing backs up. The team claims that the new stadium will be privately funded and put up to $3.05 billion into the local economy, and that construction should finish in 2023.
Three years ago, the Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC) bought Las Vegas’s Triple A baseball team, the 51s, with the plan of relocating the team from its outdated facility north of downtown Las Vegas to a new state-of-the-art facility in Summerlin, the company’s massive master-planned community of more than 100,000 people at the western edge of the Las Vegas Valley. Last week HHC unveiled the preliminary design of Las Vegas Ballpark, its new 10,000-capacity ballpark, designed by the San Francisco office of HOK. It is the latest sign that sports are becoming increasingly important both to Las Vegas’ ambition of becoming a “real city” as well as a driver of a new generation of more urban development. This season also marks the debut of Las Vegas’ NHL franchise, the Golden Knights, playing out of a new arena on the Las Vegas Strip (itself part of a large pedestrian-oriented plaza space on the Strip). The NFL’s Oakland Raiders, meanwhile, will relocate to Sin City in a brand new stadium starting in 2020. The new baseball park will form the centerpiece of a 400-acre tract called “Downtown Summerlin.” The ballpark will join an existing 1,000-room hotel casino, a large outdoor shopping center that opened in 2014, and a practice rink for the Golden Knights which opened last month. Over the next 10 to 15 years, Hughes expects to fill in the rest of the site with new office buildings, small parks and up to 4,000 urban dwelling units — none of which will be single-family detached homes. The design, which is still being finalized, will leverage the park's connection to the desert – the ballpark is a short drive from the color-drenched mountains of the Red Rock National Conservation Area.“There’s something about a project in the desert that’s a little bit different than a project in other places,” said Anton Foss, Managing Principal of HOK's San Francisco office. The base will be comprised of stucco and earthy burnished blocks. "We’re emphasizing the materiality of the ground — pieces of the project being of the earth," said Foss. The other design cue was the legacy of Howard Hughes himself. The aviator and industrialist originally bought up the 25,000-acre parcel that became Summerlin in the 1950s. Development of the land as a master-planned community didn’t begin until the late '80s. Foss said early plans actually considered trying to incorporate a Hughes museum on site, complete with his legendary Spruce Goose flying boat aircraft. The idea was abandoned, but it got Foss and his colleagues thinking about Hughes’ aviation legacy. Inspired by aircraft, the upper section is composed of exposed structural steel, glass and metal panels. The roof, Foss promised, “will touch the sky lightly like an aircraft wing.” A few Vegas touches are planned for the ballpark, including an outfield pool and an outfield concourse lined with games like ping pong tables and corn hole. Las Vegas usually hosts a few Cactus League games during Spring Training, so the new stadium will feature amenities like a clubhouse and a weight room that are designed to impress major league players. But the watchword here is more about grace than glitz. The design will eliminate complex vertical circulation like ramps — despite an 18-foot west to-east downward slope, the entire park can be accessed by one 360-degree, sloping circulation system. The ballpark, estimated to cost $150 million, is scheduled to break ground early next year and open for the 2019 season. As for the 51s' current home, Cashman Field, plans for next year include hosting a new minor league soccer franchise which will play alongside the baseball team until the 51s move. Beyond that, there are more question marks. The city is kicking around a variety of ideas, ranging from a sports complex (if the minor league soccer team draws interest, it could lead to a Major League Soccer franchise in a few years) to a new campus for tech giant Amazon, which has invited cities to bid for the chance to host their new headquarters. The Cashman ballpark dates back to 1983 and is one of the oldest Triple A fields in the country. It is part of a larger complex called Cashman Center, which includes a 100,000-square-foot exhibit hall. Just north of downtown Las Vegas, but cut off by an elevated freeway, the Cashman site is adjacent to a popular outdoor neon museum and a public library. The ongoing redevelopment of downtown Las Vegas has yet to cross over the freeway. For Tom Warden, Senior Vice President with the Howard Hughes Corporation, the future of both Downtown Summerlin and Downtown Las Vegas are bright. For him, the 400-acre Downtown Summerlin site is a dream opportunity to implement New Urbanist policies devoted to walkable, pedestrian-scaled environments on an unprecedented scale. “To be able to build that way tabula rasa is an exciting thing for planners,” he said.
The St. Louis Science Center (SLSC) has opened its largest new exhibit space in 25 years. The new exhibition space, GROW, is the largest agriculture exhibit in the United States. At the heart of the exhibit is a 5,000-square-foot pavilion designed by St. Louis-based Arcturis in collaboration with HOK founder Gyo Obata. The new pavilion is situated on an acre of land which was the former site of the pneumatic Exploradome. Between the pavilion and its surrounding outdoor space, the new complex includes 40 interactive exhibits. Visitors to GROW can engage with farming implements, beehives, a greenhouse, chickens, fish, and live crops. Exhibits like the Fermentation Station will follow the path of beer from farm to bar. The exhibition design was done by Oakland, California–based Gyroscope. Demonstrations and events will also be held at GROW to help visitors understand the long, and often complicated, food supply chain. “We wanted to create something that reflects SLSC’s modernist architectural history and also feels like art. The pavilion’s curved roofline is open to interpretation by visitors and has inspired some to say it looks like a leaf, others that it reminds them of a turn-of-the-century plow. We’re very pleased with the result,” said Arcturis Principle Megan Ridgeway. Gyo Obata was the original architect of the Science Center’s iconic Planetarium, which was built in 1963.
A plethora of big names are gunning for a $1.1 billion tower in Sydney, Australia. From the U.S., HOK, SOM, and KPF are vying for the commission. A stellar list of firms in their own right, British firms Foster + Partners and David Chipperfield Architects are also in running, alongside Australia’s BVN and Hassell. The lucrative project is an office skyscraper backed by developer Lendlease and located on 182 George Street. Nestled within Sydney's, Circular Quay—a prime piece of real estate—the office, according to the Architect's Journal, would climb to 813 feet. Tenants look set to gain access to vistas over the waterfront that look onto the iconic Sydney Harbor Bridge and Jørn Utzon’s Sydney Opera House. If built, the tower would be the tallest in the country. A masterplan is also said to be accompanying the scheme. On their website, Lendlease said that the scheme will "promote connectivity from George Street to Pitt Street, through to Circular Quay and maximise integration with transport infrastructure." In the statement, the developer goes on to say:
The project will deliver new quality commercial premises and new urban places in an environmentally sustainable way. A vibrant public place will be created with new urban amenity, including a public bike hub and public plazas with dining options, shopping, entertainment and leisure, delivering a new destination in Circular Quay for residents, visitors and workers. This will help to affirm Sydney's position as a globally relevant, intelligent, and innovative metropolis. It is also in alignment with the City of Sydney's vision to create activated areas and new public spaces.
The development is one of many touted/in the works for the area. Danish studio 3XN Architects is currently designing Quay Quarter Tower—a 49-storey office tower in the area of which they beat Japanese firm SANAA and MVRDV for the right to design. Meanwhile, the Sydney Opera House is undergoing a massive renovation courtesy of Australian firm ARM. Unlike his compatriots, Japanese architect Kengo Kuma won the commission for two high-rise residential towers earlier on this year. That project is due to cost $742 million and will offer two towers rising to 57 and 28 storeys, set for completion in 2018.
Kalamazoo, Michigan, has a consolidated all its family court functions into one new 81,200-square-foot facility. Designed by New York-based HOK, the Gull Road Family Justice Complex brings together juvenile functions, domestic relations, probate, prosecuting attorneys, clerks and family support services. The new natural light-filled project takes advantage of its site’s steep ridge. A two-story insulated curtain wall lines the buildings the public corridors. Courtrooms, hearing rooms, offices and conference rooms are lit by clerestory windows and borrowed light. Brick facades with punched windows reference the projects surrounding residential community and the neighboring juvenile center. A two-story glass atrium and three-story open staircase bring the public into the building. The complex’s four courtrooms, jury deliberation area, and the prosecuting attorney’s office are on the buildings upper floor. Discrete holding areas and a secure connection to the neighboring juvenile facility are separated from public, judge, and staff areas. The facility integrates the latest in court technology. All courtrooms and hearing rooms are equipped with integrated audio/video recording equipment, video conferencing technology, evidence presentation technology, and sound reinforcement. This system allows for reporters to monitor court proceedings from outside of the courtroom. The lobby also includes monitors outside courtrooms. HOK led programming, planning, and design on the $20.1 million project, with Grand Rapids, Michigan-based TowerPinkster managing the project and serving as architect of record. TowerPinkster also handed mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering. Funding for the project came from state revenue and money saved by the circuit court over recent years. The new facility is designed to improve operational efficiency and security, while anticipating future needs of the court system.
Three of the University of Chicago’s Physical Sciences schools have a new home. The Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, the Institute for Molecular Engineering, and the Dean’s Office of Physical Sciences all moved into the new Eckhardt Research Center earlier this year. Designed by HOK, the new center is specifically planned to encourage interdisciplinary relationships between the different, yet related, fields in the building. Large conference facilities, breakout spaces, and purpose designed collaboration spaces provide formal and informal meeting areas. Each floor was envisioned as a neighborhood with fluid movement through light-filled hallways. The new building is anticipated to receive LEED Silver certification. The project is designed to reduce water use by 40 percent of water use and 30 percent of energy use of a similar size building. Five of the buildings seven floors rise above grade with transparent glass facades. Under consultation from James Carpenter Design Associates each face for the building is calibrated to the surrounding conditions. The upper floors of the building are set up for a variety of lab types from optics to chemistry. The two levels below grade are filled with highly technical spaces needed for advanced research (the video above gives an in-depth look at these facilities). Some of the underground laboratories are isolated from vibration and electromagnetic interference. The 277,000-square-foot building is the first new building for astronomy in well over 100 years. It is also the first time that the Institute for Molecular Engineering (IME) has been housed in one building. The IME will be taking advantage of the buildings 11,000 square feet of clean room space. Everyone in the building will be able to utilize the rooftop terrace with views of Chicago's skyline.
Recent press releases from the office of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the construction firm Skanska have revealed that a final partnership to renovate LaGuardia Airport has been made. The Public Private Partnership (PPP) consists of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and LaGuardia Gateway Partners, which is in turn comprised of the construction company Skanska, airport operator Vantage Airport Group, investment company Meridiam, among others. The architects are HOK. The deal includes the “finance, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of the LaGuardia Airport Central Terminal B…with a lease term through 2050,” according to the Skanska press release. Cuomo’s call for a more holistic design delayed the closing of the deal between the Port Authority and LaGuardia Gateway Partners, the latter of whom won the bid last May. The $4 billion renovation will commence this summer, beginning with the demolition of a parking garage situated in front of the terminal building where the new 1.3 million-square-foot building will be erected. The existing terminal will continue normal use during the construction period. This design for the new terminal attempts to solve the major problems with the current airport—notably aircraft circulation, gate flexibility, and delays—by making use of an islands-and-bridge concept. Pedestrian ramps will connect the terminal building with two island concourses, spanning above active aircraft taxi lanes, as described by Crain’s. So far, $2.5 billion has been raised for the construction. LaGuardia Gateway Partners will pay approximately $1.8 billion of the cost of the new terminal. The Port Authority must contribute the remaining $2.2 billion. Of that $2.2 billion, much “will be used to pay for infrastructure around the new terminal,” according to Crain’s. LaGuardia Gateway has been promised the revenue generated by the tenants of the new terminal, as well as from airline fees. It is expected that the majority of work for the new terminal is scheduled for completion by 2020, at which time it can be opened. Substantial completion of the whole project should be reached by 2022.
Are you a cat or dog person? If you're the former, and happen to be an architect or design enthusiast, we pretty much guarantee you will enjoy this post. Do read on. Enjoy. And for those of you who are not cat people, we understand! Dog-lovers, there is always this dog center and world' largest dog park that could come to north Los Angeles. Earlier this month, a cadre of twelve designers displayed their luxe cat shelter creations at a sold-out fundraiser in Los Angeles. Architects for Animals hosted the event to help raise money for FixNation, a nonprofit that neuters and spays homeless cats. There was something for every cat and design lover, including a spaceship-inspired shelter and a modernist “Catcube” with movable louvers for temperature control. And then there was the organic form of Abramson Teiger Architects' shelter and the whimsical, almost Dada-inspired design by Lehrer Architects. Not a fan of contemporary design? The free-admission Feline History Museum in Alliance, Ohio, holds a Cherokee Red custom cat house reportedly designed by Frank Lloyd Wright’s office in the 1950s. The cat home was originally created for car dealer Gerald Tonkens' daughter, Nancy, who had a cat named Felinus. Tonkens wanted the cat house to complement the family's Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian Automatic home. At one point Tom Monaghan, founder of Dominos Pizza, owned the cat house before it eventually made its way to the museum. And then, for fun: there is a traveling Internet Cat Video Festival, hosted by the Walker Art Center featuring curated cat clips, now touring 20 international cities from Gifu, Japan, to Melbourne, Australia, to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The festival started early January and will run through the first week of August.
MIPIM takes place in the most complicated, counterintuitive series of convention halls on the Mediterranean waterfront. In trying to find the basement registration hall I ran into Ben Van Berkel who tried to help, but was having his own problems finding the ‘innovation forum’ that is the center of the architecture presentations. He claims he attends every other year because he can meet, in two days, 15 to 20 old and potential new clients. In the forum, we heard HOK present their Responsive Cities project that mines municipal data and then expresses it in maps that can be used by architects to drop future projects into and understand how they interact with the existing city. They showed a HOK sports stadium that might then become a useable bridge and public space during the day when it is not used for sports events. Speaking of models, MIPIM has a collection of the most fantastic scale models of cities like London and Istanbul that are enough of a reason for the design press to come to this event. This technical forum then morphed into a talk by Arik Levy, the Israeli/French designer who showed how to create value through the placements of art in projects and also bring culture to the places where working people spend their days. The forum was sponsored by Vitra, and they used their famous Swiss campus as an example of high design to super-charge daily life. We also met with Asudio, a young firm of ex-Foster employees who started up during an economic downturn and were able to get a series of schools projects that taught them to work efficiently and on-budget to produce impressive low-budget public work. They have also just started a new venture '63,000 Homes' that they hope can steer clients into creating work with innovative plans, uses, and architecture Asudio showed a new project that was meant to be a single commercial building, but they convinced the client to create two buildings that used a heat exchanger to transfer the daytime heat generated for the commercial space to heat the residential spaces when they needed the warmth during the day. There seem to be no end of the high technological solutions to everyday urban problems here at MIPIM. More tomorrow.
Dubbed the "Flower Tower" and officially known as Hertsmere House, this new residential tower by HOK will be London's tallest residential building, reaching 771 feet. The petal-shaped tower was awarded planning permission last week to be constructed in East London's Dockland area. The 67-story building will offer 861 flats, of which 96 will be "affordable." Also included are shops, a pool, a cinema, and gym, though it's advised that you don't drive there, as only nine parking spaces will be available, all for disabled users. Another plot on Dalgleish Street in Limehouse adds 60 more “affordable” homes. Shanghai developer Greenland Group has hailed the design as a "vertical city" as it looks for tenants for the scheme. Despite its flowery nickname, all has not been rosy for the "Flower Tower," which has be been subject to criticism from heritage group Historic England. While the structure will offer views of West India Quay and the Isle of Dogs, Historic England worries that the building will disrupt views of these historic landmark areas as well as in Greenwich. Meanwhile, 15 local residents have written letters of complaint arguing that their homes will be cast in permanent shadow when the tower goes up. Jumping on board, Credit Suisse bank (whose voice is likely to carry more clout) argues that their nearby offices will be subject to noise disruption, vibration as well as dust and air pollution during the construction phases of the project, which should take a few years. In reply to this, council’s director of development and renewal, Aman Dalvi, said that "The site is highly suitable for a tall building." “The tower would be of a high architectural quality, providing a marker at the end of the dock," he added. "[It] would also form part of an established cluster of tall buildings.” Greenland says the project is its "most important project in Europe," and is reportedly paying Tower Hamlets Council $27.2 million, allocated solely for the affordable housing program. Meanwhile, an additional, $31.1 million will be contributed via "Community Infrastructure Levy and section 106 contributions." Construction of the tower also controversially involves temporarily removing the Grade II–listed West India Docks gateway and wall, a former port for all the West Indian cargo shipped in under the Imperial rule. Once the tower is built, the wall and gateway will be reconstructed brick by brick. Construction on both the Dockland and Limehouse sites will break ground later in the year with the tower projected to be complete by 2020.