Posts tagged with "LMN Architects":

Placeholder Alt Text

Microsoft announces that LMN, ZGF, and others will design its corporate campus in Washington State

Computer software giant Microsoft is moving along in its efforts to replace and expand its longtime corporate headquarters campus in Redmond, Washington, east of Seattle.  According to Geekwire, Microsoft recently announced the architecture and contracting teams for the transformational project, which aims to replace nine existing two-story office clusters with 18 four- and five-story office blocks. On the design side, LMNNBBJWRNS Studio, and ZGF Architects are on board for the 3 million-square-foot project; Berger Partnership will act as lead landscape architect with OLIN partnering on the project as well. Microsoft has also selected SkanskaBalfour BeattyGLY, and Sellen as general contractors for the re-do, which will affect roughly 72 acres on Microsoft’s 500-acre campus. The project will demolish all of the of the site’s original 'X-Wing'-style, 1980s-era office buildings, replacing those facilities and then adding a net 1.8 million-square-feet of space on top of what is existing. The new offices will be clustered into “distinct villages,” according to a Microsoft statement, with the core section aiming to be “more open and less formal” than the current campus. A rendering unveiled by Microsoft depicts glass-wrapped office buildings laid out along a skewed grid surrounding a central green containing playing fields and a bosque.  The project comes as Redmond begins to densify ahead of forthcoming transit investments that will link the city with Seattle in coming years. The first phase of the city’s Overlake Village—a 170-acre mixed-use district that will eventually house 40,000 residents—is underway and will bring 1.2 million square feet of offices, 1,400 housing units, 25,000 square feet of retail uses, a hotel, and a conference center to the town. Microsoft aims to begin work on its $250 million campus expansion later this year with an eye toward completing the project by 2022. 
Placeholder Alt Text

Here are the winners of the AIA Honor Awards 2018 in interior architecture

[Editor’s Note: This the second in a three-part series documenting the winners of the AIA 2018 Honor Awards, which are broken down into three categories: architecture, interior architecture, and urban design. This list covers the interior architecture awards, but additional segments spotlight winners in architecture and urban design.] The American Institute of Architects announced its 2018 recipients of the Institute Honor Awards January 12. The 17 winners were pulled from approximately 500 submissions from across the globe and five interior architecture projects took home the prize. The designs range from a high-end New York loft to a middle school in Missouri, with unique approaches to lighting, spatial volume, and material palette. The five-person jury that selected this year’s AIA Interior Architecture Honor Award winners included:
  • Brian Caldwell, THINKTANK Design Group;
  • Joshua Aidlin, Aidlin Darling Design;
  • Kiyomi Kurooka, DWL Architects + Planners Inc.;
  • John Paquin, Statesville;
  • William T. Ruhl, RUHL WALKER Architects.
Chicago Public Library, Chinatown Branch Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Chicago From the jury: “The conscious approach for the building’s ideals for interior decisions are evident in the artistic expression of the history of the cultural identity of the community." Photographer's Loft Desai Chia Architecture New York City From the jury: "This is exquisitely detailed and crafted so much so that it appears one would be living in artwork." Reeds Spring Middle School Dake Wells Architecture Reeds Spring, Missouri From the jury: "Such a clear concept organized the program around elements found in the Ozark landscape led to beautiful execution. Buried in a hill, yet bursting full of daylight is praiseworthy.” Sound Transit University of Washington Station LMN Architects Seattle From the jury: "An aesthetically inspiring jewel that doubles as fantastic public art." Square, Inc. Headquarters Bohlin Cywinski Jackson San Francisco From the jury: "The company’s ethos is reflected in every detail of their software and hardware products, with a crisp, minimalist design that is both intuitive and elegant."
Placeholder Alt Text

Shingled glass and twisting terra cotta accentuate new music building in Iowa City

  facadeplus_logo1
Brought to you with support from
Open last year in Iowa City, the University of Iowa Voxman Music Building is a six-story, 184,000-square-feet academic building containing performance spaces, a music library, practice rooms, classrooms, and faculty studios and offices. It establishes a connection between the community and the school though specific massing articulation and building envelope detailing. LMN Architects credited their collaboration with W.J. Higgins (envelope), Weidt Group (energy consultant), Jaffe Holden (acoustics), and Design Engineers (MEP) with ultimately delivering a high-performance acoustic and energy-saving building envelope design. Among other awards, the building recently received the 2017 Excellence in Energy Efficient Design Award at at the 2017 AIA Iowa Convention in Des Moines.
  • Facade Manufacturer Wausau Windows (glazing); Foshan X+Y (terracotta)
  • Architects LMN Architects; Neumann Monson Architects (Associate Architect)
  • Facade Installer AWS (envelope contractor/installer)
  • Facade Consultants W.J. Higgins & Associates, Inc. (envelope consultant); Overgaard (envelope consultant to contractor); Magnusson Klemencic Associates (Structural); Design Engineers (MEP); Jaffe Holden (Acoustics & A/V); The Weidt Group (energy analysis)
  • Location Iowa City, IA
  • Date of Completion 2016
  • System unitized terracotta rainscreen; glass curtain wall
  • Products large format low iron glass from Wasau; custom terracotta from Foshan X+Y
Throughout the Voxman Music Building, the project team created an array of bespoke systems that responded to unique challenges presented by the complexity of the building type and programming. From facade components to acoustic systems, LMN worked to optimize the often conflicting needs of acoustic performance, aesthetic quality, and constructability. One of the most recognizable elements of the building design is a cantilevered “shingled” glass wall, containing a recital hall for students. Exposing this space, and expressing its function to the surrounding area, was central to the connective ideology of the project. It is here that students, in the words of LMN partner Stephen Van Dyck, learn about the art of performance. Prototyping scale models developed by the architectural team helped establish constructability goals and manage contractor bidding on the job. “We found that if we could build the design through models, it became much easier to have a discussion with contractors about our intent.” The unique facade was constructed as a series of rectangular units that produced a gridded, cantilevered steel frame for individual glass units to sit within. Aside from the shingled glass recital space, all other performance spaces were clad with a unitized terracotta system. The baguettes were composed of variable combinations of textures (smooth and grooved) and glaze finishes (matte and glossy). The resulting effect was a dynamic surface quality capitalizing on variable daylight conditions, including what the architects noted as exceptional sunrises and sunsets. Van Dyck said this idea of variable form and finish options within a base cladding material was one of the successes of the project and ended up guiding future facade designs, one of which is currently under construction. At key moments, terracotta cladding tiles formally twist into vertical fins. These moments accentuate a break between major program elements within the building. To ensure the accuracy of the complex form, the architects worked with the terra cotta manufacturer to develop a jig in which the extruded clay would be slumped, dried and later fired. “Buildings need to read at a variety of scales,” said Van Dyck. At a distance, the facade of Voxman reads at a solid/void compositional level. The medium scale allows for a reading of how program in the building is dispersed, through the cladding and aperture distribution. At a detail scale, the shimmering quality of varied terracotta tiles becomes legible. LMN’s Tech Studio, a small team within the firm, was integrated with the project team from the beginning of the design, playing a central role in the rationalization of surface geometry and interior acoustical surface detailing. Combining research in acoustic properties, material science and manufacturing processes, Van Dyck said the team approached each opportunity with a similar toolkit. Parametric modeling was central to the pursuit, enabling rapid ideation and precise geometric control despite vast complexity. In-house prototyping capabilities augmented the team’s abilities to test ideas well before finalizing documentation and procurement. Van Dyck said project opportunities often spawn unanticipated research problems that can be packaged to solve future design problems, and that the work from Voxman, which was completed last year, served as a basis for current and future projects. Further details can be found on LMN’s website documenting their acoustic related form-finding research and “Theatroacoustic System.” Van Dyck is co-chairing the upcoming Facades+ conference in Seattle, on Decemeber 8, 2017. More information about this conference and its participants, including registration details, can be found here.
Placeholder Alt Text

Facades+AM Seattle will showcase the city’s innovation, facades, and preservation debates

The Architect’s Newspaper will be hosting its Facades+AM conference in Seattle on December 8th at the Motif Seattle Hotel. The latest installment in AN’s ongoing conference series, Facades+AM will bring a total of three sessions and nine speakers to Emerald City–based Architecture Engineering and Construction industry professionals. The conference is co-chaired by Stephen Van Dyck, partner at LMN Architects (LMN), and will feature a bevy of Seattle-specific discussions led by some of the region’s best-known architects, designers, and engineers, including Van Dyck, Maurya McClintock of McClintock Facade Consulting, and Jim Graham of Graham Baba Architects. The morning’s panel presentations will cover three topics: cross-industry innovation, facade design for the Washington State Convention Center Addition project, and the role of historic preservation in Seattle’s ongoing construction boom. The first panel will be moderated by Van Dyck, who explained to AN that the discussion will center around the way in which Seattle’s tech-heavy economy is resulting in a collection of emerging architecture industry–adjacent technologies. The discussion will include presentations from Dan Belcher, developer with McNeel, Andry Bridge, Director of R&D with Janicki, and Choong Ng, co-founder of Vertex.AI, and will delve into synergistic technological developments coming of out the city’s most fruitful architecture and technology partnerships, like new advances in digitally-guided tooling and fabrication methodologies. The morning’s second panel discussion will zero-in on the Washington State Convention Center Addition project, for which LMN is serving as associate architect. The 1.5 million-square-foot addition to the Washington State Convention Center will usher in one of the world's first vertically-organized convention centers. One of the major challenges for the design team on the project will be to integrate the sprawling 15-story structure into surrounding areas while also promoting energy efficiency and social incubation, according to Van Dyck, who will also moderate this discussion. He will be joined by various members of the project team discussing each speaker's respective role in the project. Panelists for the discussion will be Peter Alspach, principal at ARUP, Maurya McClintock, founder of McClintock Facade Consulting, and Kate Rufe, architect at LMN. The morning’s final discussion will highlight Seattle’s ongoing growth dilemma, which is pitting high-rise residential growth and the city’s urban renewal against historic preservation efforts, many of which are aimed toward adaptive reuse, like Olson Kundig's renovations to the Seattle Space Needle. From the ongoing issues over changes coming to Lawrence Halprin’s Freeway Park, to plans for reusing the city’s iconic Key Arena and LMN’s own renovation and expansion to the Asian Art Museum, Seattle is packed with controversial, inspiring, and thoughtful historic preservation approaches alike. The adaptive reuse-focused panel—moderated by Jessica Miller, principal at LMN—will feature presentations from Blair Payson, principal at Olson Kundig, Michael Aoki-Kramer, managing principal at RDH Building Science, Inc., and Jim Graham, co-founder of Graham Baba Architects who will discuss their own firms’ preservation-related projects. For more information on Seattle’s Facades+AM conference, see the conference website.
Placeholder Alt Text

LMN Architects unveil new renderings for Seattle Aquarium expansion

Seattle-based LMN Architects has released new renderings depicting the firm’s planned 50,000-square-foot addition to the Seattle Aquarium complex. LMN’s $100 million design focuses on adding a new wing adjacent to the existing aquarium to boost capacity at the 40-year-old institution, which has been operating near capacity in recent years. The so-called Ocean Pavilion will house new exhibits focused on tropical and reef ecosystems and will include a 350,000-gallon warm-water tank that can house larger aquatic specimens such as sharks. The shark tank will come outfitted with several viewing platforms and will be located within a larger, flexible gathering space that can hold up to 200 people in a variety of configurations. The new addition will also include smaller “jewel” tanks that will highlight rare species with the help of new interpretive technologies. This space will also include smaller, more intimate gathering spots for “hands-on educational activities and interpretation,” according to a statement from the architects. In the statement, Bob Davidson, CEO of the Seattle Aquarium said, "LMN Architects brings a rich history and commitment to community-focused civic projects, combined with a strong design approach that connects public-focused building programs with the crafting of urban space and experience.” Mark Reddington, partner at LMN Architects, said, "The Seattle Aquarium is a leader in education and advocacy for the health of the world's oceans. For the City of Seattle, this project will create a prominent civic presence for the Aquarium and form the primary public connection between the new waterfront promenade to Pike Place Market." The proposed addition comes as work on the Seattle waterfront redevelopment plan by James Corner Field Operations (JCFO) progresses toward construction. JCFO’s plan would bring a network of pedestrian trails, streets improvements, and plaza spaces to an area currently occupied by the Alaskan Way Viaduct, a section of Interstate-5 that is in the process of being buried below the proposed improvements. Once the new tunnel is completed, the expanded aquarium complex will sit at the end of a generous pedestrian plaza and will have direct access to the improved waterfront areas and the newly reconnected downtown. The aquarium expansion is due to finish construction in 2023.
Placeholder Alt Text

New details emerge on expansion and renovation of Seattle’s Asian Art Museum

On September 30, LMN Architects revealed renderings for a planned $49 million expansion and renovation to the Seattle Art Museum’s (SAM) Asian Art Museum, the first time in the 83-year-old institution’s history that its flagship art moderne structure will be renovated.

The building, located in the city’s verdant Volunteer Park, was designed by Carl F. Gould of the architectural firm Bebb and Gould to house SAM’s original art collection. After SAM’s principal collection was relocated in 1991 to a downtown Seattle flagship designed by Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates, the 1933 building was rechristened as the Asian Art Museum. That move left the original Bebb and Gould building languishing, a product of a bygone era when buildings relied heavily on natural ventilation as a means of climate control and the needs of only a small portion of potential building occupants were considered. As a result, the structure lacks the sophisticated temperature and climate control systems typical for a world-class art institution and is out of compliance with Americans with Disability Act (ADA) legislation.

LMN’s renovations aim to fix those discrepancies and more by rebooting the structure through the addition of a new wing along the existing eastern side containing a 2,650-square-foot gallery for Southeast Asian art, a community meeting room, and a set of new office spaces. The renovation will also add teaching spaces and possibly an Asian art conservation studio. Importantly, the extension will be clad in expanses of glass and aims to increase the connections between the museum’s interior and its park setting.

Regarding the complicated renovation plans for the structure, Sam Miller, lead architect for the project at LMN, said, “On the renovation side, our goal is to be true to the original intent of the building and to transform the [Bebb and Gould structure] into a fully functioning, 21st-century museum while also being entirely respectful of the historic fabric and the design quality the building represents.” He added, “In another way, our work is to make sure you would never know we were there.”

Placeholder Alt Text

LMN Architects to expand Seattle’s historic Asian Art Museum

The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) has revealed renderings for LMN Architects’ expansion of the organization’s Asian Art Museum (AAM) location in the city’s Volunteer Park. The $49 million expansion and renovation will be to the historic home of the SAM, an art moderne building originally built in 1933 to house the original SAM. (The flagship SAM collection moved to a Venturi, Scott Brown-designed complex downtown in 1991). The LMN Architects-designed project will entail the first substantial renovation in the structure’s history. Historically-significant aspects of the original building, like the stone facade, will be preserved, accompanied by the wholesale addition of new programmatic components to the existing structure, originally designed by Carl F. Gould of the architectural firm Bebb and Gould. The 83-year-old building will receive crucial upgrades like Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-related improvements and the addition of an air conditioning and humidity control system. The building, which was not listed on the National Register of Historic Places until July of this year, will also receive a new wing along its eastern side containing a 2,650-square foot gallery, a community meeting room, and a set of new office spaces relocated from within the existing building. Aside from hosting new, dedicated educational spaces and potentially, a new, publically-visible Asian art conservation studio, the extension will aim to increase connections between the museum and its surrounding park spaces. Renderings released by LMN Architects and the museum show a straightforwardly-articulated, masonry-clad, L-shaped extension overlooking a gently sloping park. Along the top floor of a three-story expansion, a large portion of the extension’s articulated facade is clad in glass and projects out over the landscape. The floors below are more solid in their massing and surface treatments, but also feature large expanses of punched openings. The SAM is currently making preparations for the two-year renovation process, which is set to begin in the fall of 2017. The AAM will hold community meetings to discuss the project throughout the following weeks, as the project moves forward. For more information on the Asian Art Museum renovation and expansion campaign, please visit the museum’s website.
Placeholder Alt Text

Inside LMN Architects, the studio designing major urban projects from San Antonio to Vancouver

Awarded the 2016 AIA National Architecture Firm Award in December 2015, LMN Architects is having a moment. Perhaps most well known for its large urban projects—convention centers, performing arts centers and urban infrastructure—the Seattle firm has worked out of its downtown Seattle office in the 1959 international style Norton Building for the past 30 years. Founded in 1979, LMN is a one-studio firm with close to 150 employees. Its 40,000-square-foot office spans two-and-a-half floors.

“We believe the best way to comprehensively understand a space is to build physical models,” said LMN partner John Chau. “Models don’t lie...That’s why we like this building. It allows us to have spaces to do that.” The LMN office is mainly an open plan with downtown views, column-free studio spaces, model building areas, and conference rooms. A lower floor hosts LMN’s in-house digital fabrication shop. There’s a dual gantry CNC mill that LMN built about a year ago that features two cutting machines on a single cutting bed.

LMN discussed the challenges of building in the future: With less available land, sites will get smaller, necessitating building more efficiently and vertically to accommodate denser layers—more people, more infrastructure, and more ecology in the same space. “We no longer are just simply architects,” said Chau. “The need for all of us to collaborate more, communicate more, is even more critical—it’s important to know what the city council is thinking about, what its leads are. And it’s going back to being very informed citizens—we have the gift, ability, and the responsibility to help solve a lot of issues that arise.” 

Tobin Center for the Performing Arts San Antonio, TX

The performing arts center opened late 2014—an effort to reinvigorate the 1926 San Antonio Municipal Auditorium designed by architect Atlee Ayres that had become outdated. “We built a new auditorium, but rotated the geometry to create a new outdoor space and new entry to the San Antonio River Walk,” said LMN partner Mark Reddington. LMN kept the historic facade and added a new structure, clad in a textured metal veil. The shroud encloses the auditorium and filters the light in different colors and angles. The interior lobby hosts custom tiles that curve in plan and section—each row shifts, creating a negative volume.

Inside the main concert hall, a perforated wood fascia backlit with LEDs allows for an array of colorful effects. The hall can hold up to 1,738 seats and 2,100 people with a flat floor setup. The performance hall also contains the first gala floor system in the U.S. The seats sit on motorized platforms that can fold over, creating a flat floor that can be used for other types of events like rock concerts. Inside the performing arts center is a 295-seat studio theater and the outdoor plaza facing the San Antonio River can hold up to 600 seats.

University of Iowa Voxman Music Building Iowa City, IA

Opening October 2016, the new 180,000-square-foot music school for the University of Iowa will replace the previous one sited along the Iowa River that flooded in 2008. LMN moved the new building 50 feet up the hill, orienting it with the center of the college town. The mostly glass exterior building will hold a 700-seat concert hall, a recital hall with 200 seats, and rooms for pipe organs, classes, rehearsal areas, and faculty. “We wanted to create a building that was an extension of the public experience of the street, so that people could wander in, go to a performance at the music school, or students could come in and visit a professor,” said Reddington.

The building’s small footprint necessitated going vertical, stacking up to five stories of isolated music rooms. LMN developed a theatroacoustics system, a high-performance ceiling system that optimizes acoustics while hiding some of the structural elements such as speakers, microphones, fire sprinklers, and stage lights. “[The theatroacoustics system] was actually a money saving move,” said LMN partner Stephen Van Dyck. “They’re all put together in one gesture. It kind of becomes transcendent beyond any one of those individual pieces,” said Reddington.

Vancouver Convention Centre West Vancouver, BC, Canada

After a series of false starts and shifting sites, LMN knew its design for the west addition to the Vancouver Convention Centre would finally happen if Vancouver won the 2010 Olympic Winter Games bid. The project was included in the bid as the media center. When the architects saw the front page of the Vancouver Sun with the winning news, they knew they would get the green light. “That’s how we knew it was real,” said Chau. The 1.2-million–square-foot convention center addition was completed in 2009. It occupies 22 acres—14 acres on land, eight acres over the water—of what was once a brownfield site.

The convention center boasts a six-acre green roof with 240,000 bees producing honey for the convention center restaurant. The interiors feature local British Columbia wood. The project also supports the maritime harbor ecosystem. “It’s linked into the landscape, habitat, and shore system,” said Reddington. “There’s a marine habitat that goes around the edge of the building and underneath.” LMN used the concrete loading dock as the infrastructure to support a reef, said Van Dyck.

Sound Transit U Link University of Washington Station Seattle, WA

LMN designed the University of Washington light rail station and surrounding open space that opened in March 2016. The boarding platform can accommodate up to 1,600 people. “We had to link in all of this stuff—a bridge, a bicycle pathway, a head house, escalators, stairs, and then the station block underground that is 500 feet long,” said Reddington. Perhaps the most challenging, but rewarding, part of the project was designing the smoke chamber. “For fire requirements you have to create a big smoke chamber,” said Reddington. “If there is a fire somewhere, it helps isolate the fire so people can get out and not have smoke running all the way through the entire station.”

LMN worked with Seattle artist Leo Saul Berk, who created “Subterranium,” an installation made with nearly 9,000 square feet of custom deep blue metal backlit panels that wrap the smoke chamber. The panels tell the story of the site’s geology. “By integrating a lot of things into a single system, you have the capacity of one system to solve many problems—like a smoke enclosure that is now the main sculptural expression of a subway station,” said Van Dyck.

Placeholder Alt Text

WA State Convention Center expansion developing even as lawsuit looms

Design plans are moving ahead on the convention center expansion in downtown Seattle with a design recommendation meeting scheduled for May 3rd. The Washington State Convention Center—which runs over Interstate 5 and holds large annual regional events like the February northwest garden show and the Emerald City ComiCon—opened in the spring of 1988. The just under 415,000 square foot center has reached capacity and has hired LMN Architects to add 440,000 square feet of convention space, 5 stories above ground, with underground parking (anywhere from 600-800 vehicles). The site for the expansion is about a block northeast at 1601 9th Avenue, what is currently the Convention Place bus station that routes buses through a bus tunnel. With more light rail coming in the near future and slated to use the bus tunnel, the city will make all buses run on the street by 2021. The convention center expansion plan requires demolishing the station. The project is part of what the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections is describing as a “planned community development component.” In 2014, the convention center also bought property on two additional blocks, with plans for mixed-use projects on each. There’s a proposal for a 29 story building with 6,000 square feet of ground floor retail space and 438 residences at 920 Olive Way (currently hosting two restaurants, a two story light rail transit facility, and parking lots). There’s also a planned 16 story office building on top of 11,000 square feet of commercial space at 1711 Boren Avenue (right now it’s a Honda dealership and car lot). Such a massive project is not without legal battles, however. The proposed construction timeline is on hold. Skanska and Hunt Construction, the hired contractor team, sued the convention center this March after the center dropped them from the project (reportedly to search for a cheaper firm). Earlier this April, the King County Superior Court issued a ruling: “King County Judge Beth Andrus on Wednesday denied Skanska-Hunt’s bid to be reinstated as the contractor, but granted the request to stop the convention center from starting to select a new contractor,” wrote the Seattle Times. “The question of whether the convention-center authority wrongly terminated Skanska-Hunt should be decided in a trial, beginning within 120 days, the judge ruled.” The total cost of the convention center project is estimated at $1.4 billion, with construction at $750 million. If the project moves beyond the lawsuit and finds a builder without delay, breaking ground could start early 2017, with an opening in 2020. On a side note, back in the fall of 2015, a Seattle firm proposed to cap a section of I-5 with a 2 mile long park that would run near the convention center expansion. At the moment, the project is just conceptual, but it would not be out of place close to Lawrence Halprin’s 1976 5.5 acre Freeway Park.
Placeholder Alt Text

Federal Aviation Administration clips the wings of this 102-story skyscraper proposed in Seattle

This past fall, a Reddit post leaked a Seattle design proposal draft with massings of what could have been the tallest tower on the West coast. The images depicted a 102-story tower standing 99 feet higher than the current record holder, the 1,018-foot-tall U.S. Bank Tower in Los Angeles. The proposed Seattle tower, dubbed 4/C, is slated for a parcel that is currently a parking lot in Seattle's downtown central business district at the southwest corner of Fourth Avenue and Columbia Street. The developer, Crescent Heights International Living, based in Miami, has tapped Seattle design firm, LMN Architects. The mixed-use tower would house 150 hotel rooms, 165,000 square feet of retail space and offices, and 1,200 residences. But officials at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aren't approving the proposal. They issued a notice saying the tower would impede business at the Boeing Field airport. They cited that the height could interfere with navigable air space and that the massive size of a construction crane to build even a slightly smaller tower could cause issues with hospital helicopter flights. The FAA is giving Crescent Heights an alternative, take-it-or-leave-it deal: max out at 965 feet. With this revised height, 4/C would miss breaking the tallest Seattle building record by just two feet, undefeated since 1985 by the 76-story Columbia Center.
Placeholder Alt Text

Playful op-art beats out fifty shades of gray in competition to design new Los Angeles Convention Center

Call it a win for color. A bright-hued design for the renovation and expansion of the Los Angeles Convention Center by Populous and HMC Architects beat out the gray proposals by the other two finalists—Gensler and Lehrer Architects and AC Martin and LMN Architects—in a city-led competition. As previously reported by AN, the competition and design selection marks an important first step in the “Expansion and Futurization Project” led by the L.A. Department of Convention and Tourism Development and the Bureau of Engineering, which sees remaking the currently dowdy and cramped convention center as critical to attracting conventions, events, and investment to the area. A four-representative panel from the city’s tourism and engineering departments selected the winner. Each proposal was required to come in under a budget of $350 million. Populous and HMC Architects’ team includes landscape firm Olin and Chu + Gooding Architects. Per the brief, their design connects the South Hall and West Hall of the convention center with a structure over Pico Boulevard and expands the venue with more meeting rooms and a series of outdoor multi-use spaces, including a covered, but open-air performance venue overlooking a refurbished Gilbert Lindsay Plaza. Op-art supergraphics unite the scheme, with a tomato red and white stripe pattern appearing as paving, wall treatments, and architectural elements. It's a bold take on the conventional convention center approach, which for years was marked by interiority and overall blandness. Like the dazzle dazzle camouflage used on battleships, the move lessens the building's bulk while making it infinitely more exciting. The Populous/HMC proposal now goes to the City Council for approval.
Placeholder Alt Text

Here are three bold designs from winning teams that completely reimagine the Los Angeles Convention Center

The Los Angeles Convention Center is desperately in need of an overhaul. Architect Charles Luckman designed the original boxy structure in 1971 and James Ingo Freed added the glassy Annex in 1997. Today, both buildings lack the square footage and amenities to add up to a competitive venue. Centers in Las Vegas or Chicago eclipse LA’s meager 870,000 square feet by double or triple square footage. Indeed, in the decades since the venue was constructed the whole approach to convention center design has changed. The City of Los Angeles announced the three final teams in a design competition for a proposed renovation and expansion of the Los Angeles Convention Center: AC Martin and LMN Architects, Gensler and Lehrer Architects, and HMC Architects and Populous. The schemes, on public view at the convention center through June 4, reflect the need for not only a bigger, more contemporary venue, but for a full-service destination, not unlike nearby LA Live. As the South Park neighborhood continues to boom, renderings show connections between the older buildings across Pico Boulevard, and include landscaped outdoor spaces, bold supergraphics, and open-air entertainment areas equipped for concerts. Each design comes in under a budget of $350 million or less. A comparison to LA Live is no accident. AEG, developers of that venue as well as the Staples Center and the Ritz-Carlton/J.W. Marriott, were contracted to revamp the dumpy Convention Center as part of the defunct Farmers Field NFL stadium plan. The design competition was launched in late 2014 before AEG announced that it would no longer pursue the stadium project. As part of the larger “Expansion and Futurization Project” for the Los Angeles Convention Center, the City of Los Angeles' (led by the L.A. Department of Convention and Tourism Development and the Bureau of Engineering) competition is somewhat of a back-up plan to ensure that LA remains a draw. “Today, we’re taking a big step forward in investing in our future and bringing more business, more visitors, and more jobs to our city,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “I’m very pleased that with these functional and attractive designs, Los Angeles is closer to a Convention Center that reflects our city’s position as the global capital of creativity, innovation, and possibility.”