Posts tagged with "Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates":

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Pier 3 at Brooklyn Bridge Park is now open, making the parkland 90% complete

Another five acres of permanent green space was added to New York City yesterday with the opening of Pier 3 in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Now 90 percent complete, the beloved, 85-acre waterfront parkland designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates is almost finished after nearly 20 years in the making. The project is the final pier of the formerly industrial site to be turned into green space and features a rolling landscape of shrubs and over 500 trees. It also includes one of the largest open spaces in the entire park, a great lawn reminiscent of the seminal one found within Central Park in Manhattan. Laid out at the northern edge of the pier is an exploratory labyrinth garden with hedges of varying sizes. It houses interactive elements like mirrored games, a walk-in kaleidoscope, a conference tube, and unique stone seating by German industrial designer Gunter Beltzig. The design was inspired by the community’s need for a more expansive hangout space within Brooklyn Bridge Park. While meandering walkways provide unmatched views of Manhattan and the other piers have settings for recreational activities, there was not a dedicated area for relaxation until now. “The center of Brooklyn Bridge Park needs an embracing green space," said landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh in a statement, “and with Pier 3 we finally have it. The bowl-like lawn provides a serene interior that I think will draw people in, acting as a complementary counterbalance to the dynamics of river and city.” Since the design for Brooklyn Bridge Park was first revealed in 2005, the 1.3 mile-long parkland has been one of the city’s best examples of land reclamation. The narrow site along the East River had been out of operation since 1983 when the rise of container shipping replaced the need for the bulk cargo shipping and storage complexes that once lined the shoreline. Under Mayor Bloomberg and Governor George Pataki, the city and state signed a joint agreement in 2002 to begin the design and development of the Park. Construction began in 2008 with reclaimed soil from the World Trade Center site. The remaining sections of the park include the recently announced Squibb Park Pool, Brooklyn Bridge Plaza, and the Pier 2 Uplands, which will add 3.4 acres to the park and is slated to begin construction this September.  
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Long-awaited museum beneath St. Louis’s Gateway Arch opens to the public

The intensive revamp of the landscape and museum under the St. Louis Gateway Arch is finally complete and open to the public, capping an eight-year process just in time for the July 4 holiday. Lack of accessibility and awareness have historically been major issues in attracting visitors to the museum. The museum sits at the base of Eero Saarinen’s soaring gateway to the American west, which was originally envisioned as both a tribute to westward expansion and as a way to clear low-income waterfront property. Gullivar Shepard, Principal of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA), which has been handling the redesign of the landscape beneath the arch since 2010, said: “Eighty percent of visitors don’t even know there’s a museum underneath the arch.” That’s changed radically since the CityArchRiver Foundation (now the Gateway Arch Park Foundation) kicked off a competition in 2010 to re-envision the campus while respecting Saarinen’s and the original landscape architect Dan Kiley's vision for the 91-acre park. The completed museum now takes center stage beneath the arch and acts as a link between the Old Courthouse and the recently covered Interstate 44 to the west, and the Mississippi River to the east. The Museum at the Gateway Arch uses its sunken, circular form to carve out wide views of the St. Louis skyline without impacting sightlines towards the Arch. That was a deliberate choice on the behalf of New York’s Cooper Robertson and James Carpenter Design Associates (JCDA), who, with the St. Louis-based Trivers Associates, renovated and uncovered the existing Saarinen-designed museum. “The new West Entry and Museum expansion [are] discretely incised into the landscape,” said James Carpenter, Founder and Principal of JCDA. “This welcoming gesture is announced by an arc of glass laid flat on the ground, reflecting the image of the sky above, while the Arch itself scribes an arc against the sky beyond.” The ribbed glass canopy above the museum’s entrance serves to reduce the outside natural light and ease visitors into the subterranean museum, which has been programmatically transformed. The museum, formerly the Museum of Westward Expansion, will now focus more on the design and construction of the Gateway Arch itself and present more diverse narratives in American history. Inside, the museum’s layout follows the natural contours of the surrounding landscape. The lighting has been designed to keep a consistent level of brightness as visitors move from the glass entrance to the underground galleries. The wraparound paths have been laid out to funnel traffic to the west-facing entry, as visitors coming from either side converge at the entrance and are presented with framed views of the Arch and courthouse. A time-lapse video of the museum's construction, courtesy of EarthCam.
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Museum at St. Louis’ Gateway Arch to open this July

A spiffy revamp of the park and buildings surrounding Eero Saarinen's Gateway Arch in St. Louis is slated for completion this summer. Along with a new landscape by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA) that sensitively dialogues with the Dan Kiley original, the symbolic demarcation of the west will be complemented by a revamped Museum of Westward Expansion, now known as the Museum of the Gateway Arch. The building, which sits directly beneath the Arch, was originally designed by Saarinen and is being redone by New York's Cooper Robertson and James Carpenter Design Associates (JCDA) with Trivers Associates, which is based in St. Louis. The team added 45,500 square feet to the museum's west side, connecting a new entrance (pictured above) to the main programming in the 113,000-square-foot Saarinen-designed museum. In deference to the site—which is both a national landmark and national park—much of the new construction sits underground. The architects collaborated with MVVA on 2010's CityArchRiver, a competition to master-plan and tweak Kiley and Saarinen's 91-acre landscape and structures for better public access and connectivity with downtown St. Louis. In conjunction with the renovation, the Museum of Westward Expansion is being rebranded as the Museum at the Gateway Arch, a switch that removes the jingoistic emphasis on the colonization of indigenous land, but preserves its ties to the site. The re-christened building will open July 3, 2018. In the meantime, take a gander at this neat timelapse construction video:
 
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Johnston Marklee’s Menil Drawing Institute to open this November

After a lengthy build-out, Houston's Menil Drawing Institute will open to the public this fall. As its name suggests, the Institute, a project the Menil Foundation initiated a decade ago, will showcase the drawings of master artists from all over the world. Los Angeles's Johnston Marklee designed the Drawing Institute's home, while the landscape architects at New York and Cambridge, Massachusetts–based Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates will knit the building together with the existing structures that comprise the Menil Collection. When it opens to the public on November 3, the Menil Drawing Institute will showcase the work of Jasper Johns, the American artist best known for his interpretations of the stars and stripes. The retrospective, entitled The Condition of Being Here: Drawings by Jasper Johns, will be the first exhibition hosted in the 30,000-square-foot building. The Menil stewards one of the largest collections of Johns's drawings in existence, so the exhibition is meant to highlight this portion of the Foundation's wide-ranging collection. Johnston Marklee's $40 million structure—the first freestanding space purpose-built to display, study, and conserve modern and contemporary drawings—will joins four others on the Menil's 30-acre home. The main building, designed by Renzo Piano in 1987, is undergoing a concurrent renovation. That space will reopen to the public in early fall. Construction or not, the Menil Collection is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is free at all times. More information on the Menil Drawing Institute and other programs can be found here.
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Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, David Adjaye selected to design Detroit’s West Riverfront Park

Beating out a pool of over 80 international design teams, a team with Brooklyn-based landscape architects Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA) and Sir David Adjaye have been chosen to transform the 22-acre West Riverfront Park in downtown Detroit. While the nonprofit Detroit RiverFront Conservancy has stressed that they were choosing a team, not a design, MVVA’s presented plan for the park would substantially change the waterfront. While the final four competitors for the park presented big names in landscape architecture, including James Corner Field Operations, Hood Design Studio and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, the diverse programming proposed by MVVA ultimately won out. The $50-million redevelopment will present all-ages options throughout the shore, including the carving out of a beach inside of a secluded cove. Now that the design team has been chosen, the MVVA-led team and Detroit RiverFront Conservancy will solicit input from the community to nail down the final design details. The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy will also fundraise to reach the rest of the $50 million goal in the meantime, meaning the construction and completion date for the project are uncertain at the time of writing. MVVA’s design for the riverfront park mixes active uses with more passive recreational areas and mingles the park’s natural systems with the city grid, similar to firm’s approach at Brooklyn Bridge Park. On the western side of the park, there will be a pool house and built up “performance hill,” complete with a clamshell-shaped amphitheater that will sit on a pier in the river. The circular “Sport House” will go up to the east, which from the renderings looks like it will float above a basketball court and feature a green roof on top. Moving east, a tall, artificial bluff will surround the park house and picnic grove. Perhaps the most prominent feature in the proposal is the aforementioned beach at the park’s center, which will be hemmed in by a stone jetty to the west and a fishing pier to the east, likely to prevent erosion. MVVA’s renderings show kayakers and beach-goers relaxing in the summer and skating on the frozen river in the winter, part of the Conservancy's vision for an all-year-round park. Capping off the eastern edge of the park is the enormous “Great Lakes Play Garden” for children, and “Evergreen Isle.” The stone island sits parallel to the playground in the river and is designed to break up ice floes and anchor ecological improvements by creating a shallow, biologically diverse channel. The shore of the entire park will be bounded by the Detroit Riverwalk. “It was love at first sight when I saw the Detroit River,” said Michael Van Valkenburgh in a press release. “I immediately recognized that this new park could draw the city to the water’s edge.” West Riverfront Park is bounded by Rosa Parks Boulevard to the west and Eighth Street to the east, a stretch that had been in private hands for nearly 100 years before the Conservancy purchased it in 2014. A $345,000 grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation’s “Livable Communities” focus area financed the West Riverfront Park Design Competition. MVVA’s team for the project, besides David Adjaye, will also include Utile and Mobility in Chain, and local partners LimnoTech (Ann Arbor), PEA (Detroit) and NTH Consultants (Northville).
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Obama Presidential Center won’t move controversial parking garage

Despite comments from Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects that the forthcoming Obama Presidential Center (OPC) would consider moving a freestanding parking garage out of the Frederick Law Olmsted–designed Jackson Park in Chicago, officials have decided to keep the building on the greenway. The 450-car structure will potentially eat up five acres of parkland in addition to the 20 acres the center itself is taking. The decision to build an aboveground garage on the eastern edge of Midway Plaisance, a narrow strip of historic parkland that connects Jackson and Washington parks, has been contentious from the beginning. Although the two-story structure had always been envisioned with a green roof on top to help it blend into the surrounding park, critics charge that this fails to negate the destruction of a historically significant landscape. Olmsted and Calvert Vaux designed all three of the aforementioned parks in 1871, while Jackson Park was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. As opposition from the local South Side community continued to mount, Tod Williams said earlier that, “We are wondering whether this parking should exist here, or whether it should be pressed further into the ground ... or whether it comes back to the site here.” But following a private meeting between the Obama Center design team, the Obama Foundation, and local community activists last night, the Foundation has announced that the garage will be staying put. Part of the Obama Center master plan calls for linking the site with the nearby Museum of Science and Industry, and the location of the garage proved too integral in that design for designers to consider moving. The walkability that an aboveground garage brings was also given as the reason why the team couldn't bury the structure. Instead, project landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh detailed a list of changes that the design team hoped would assuage outcry from concerned preservation groups. Van Valkenburgh told the Chicago Sun Times that landscaped slopes would be installed on all sides to better camouflage the building, that the plan would call for no longer staging busses on the Midway, and that the entrance to the garage would be moved to cut down on the time it took to walk to the Center. Additionally, the green roof has been made more pastoral, and plans for a basketball court and barbecue area have been tabled. “I think that the way it honors the intent of the original Olmsted plan is with a strong landscape connection between Jackson Park and the beginning of the rest of the Midway,” said Van Valkenburgh. Despite the changes, the Chicago City Council will still need to give the Obama Foundation permission to build in the Midway, while a review of the entire OPC is also underway at the federal level.
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The iconic St. Louis Arch is revamped with new landscape designs

“Our project is at the end of a seventy-year project,” said Gullivar Shepard, principal at Brooklyn-based Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA), of his firm’s St. Louis CityArchRiver design. Back in 2010, MVVA’s team won a competition to rework the landscape around the St. Louis Gateway Arch—technically the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial—to make it more universally accessible, easier to maintain, and more integrated into its urban context. Expanding and popularizing the site’s little-known museum was also a key goal. While the client was technically a foundation, the firm would have to work closely with the site’s owner and preservation-minded steward, the National Park Service (NPS). The challenge was complex: The landscape was hardly a clear-cut expression of Eero Saarinen and Dan Kiley’s designs.

Kiley was on Saarinen’s original design team, whose 1947 proposal won the memorial competition. But the project languished until 1957, when funding became available. Saarinen and Kiley were internationally renowned by then, “so they went back to the drawing board, literally, and came up with a new design for the memorial,” said NPS Historian Robert Moore. “Basically, it evolved from a rectilinear-looking plan to a very curvilinear plan that echoed the curves of the arch itself.” Moore described how the curving paths and ponds were Saarinen’s ideas, while the allées and cypress circles came from Kiley.

The NPS subsequently stepped in and became involved in the design, thinning out Kiley’s dense vegetation. After the completion of a 1964 “final landscape plan” with Kiley (Saarinen had passed away in 1961), the NPS continued without him. Money to build the landscape only became available in earnest in the early 1970s, with much of the landscape elements in place by 1974, though final plantings were made in 1983. During this time, the NPS made small changes to Kiley’s ponds and the special stairs Saarinen had designed. “Again, [there were] many hands in the design,” said Moore.

The resulting shortcomings are numerous. Eighty percent of visitors, said Shepard, don’t even know there’s a museum underneath the arch. Many drive in from the highway, park on the on-site parking lot, take the tram to the top, and leave. The park is also cut-off from the city by highways, which didn’t exist in 1947.

In addition, the decision-making process was complicated by the fact that “this is not an actual historic landscape or actual historic building or fabric,” said Shepard. “It’s a monument to a historic concept, a moment of time.”

MVVA broke down the proposed interventions into 14 key decision points, each a constituent part of a larger landscape resuscitation.

Ultimately, key interventions included building new, fully accessible paths—embedded in the landscape—that snake down from the arch plateau to the river, replacing the allées’ infestation-prone ash trees with London plane trees, and bulldozing the parking lot to create a new seven-acre park that connects to Washington Avenue, a major urban corridor of St. Louis. The biggest (and perhaps most controversial) intervention was a new circular museum entrance embedded in a berm that leads up to the arch plateau. A new vegetated bridge, which leads directly to the new museum entrance, will replace caged highway overpasses.

While the stakes are high for the memorial, this project could have broader implications for other NPS sites. “This was the project that everyone in the Park Service has been very carefully watching,” stated Shepard. If the NPS, an organization “not built for change,” can successfully update a complex site like this, then perhaps similar projects could be possible in other cities.

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The Wharf, D.C.’s massive waterfront development, is now open

The Wharf–a $2 billion new development on a former industrial stretch of the D.C. waterfront–has finally opened. The developers are Madison Marquette and PN Hoffman, and the master architect and planner is Perkins Eastman. Previously the site was a mile-long stretch of boat storage, industrial space, and some back-door barbecue joints. At its northern end, it also includes the oldest fish market in the United States. Before the Wharf could be built, the existing seawall and promenade were torn up and replaced by an underground, two-story parking garage spanning the length of the development. The garages connect from below into an array of luxury residential structures with ground-level commercial space–restaurants, yoga studios, and other amenities. Last week all of these opened to the public–in total, 1.2 million square feet of mixed-use space including office structures, luxury and affordable residential space, a marina, and waterfront parks. The fish market was the only structure preserved as-is. The Anthem, a new 6,000-person theatre venue, is a cornerstone development of the Wharf. Designed by New York-based Rockwell Group, the venue is essentially a concrete volume hedged in by two L-shaped residential structures. The Anthem has a warehouse-like interior and two levels of balconies split into smaller, drawer-like extrusions. Massive steel panels flank the stage, laser cut and illuminated with the pattern of two enormous curtains drawn back, resembling the velvet drapery of Baroque theaters. The space is managed by a 30-year old staple organization in D.C. entertainment–the 9:30 Club–to whom the Wharf reached out in the initial stages. The building’s board-form concrete paneling and industrial facade are intended as a nod to the Club’s famed punk-laden lineups. In the lobby, one can look up through an installation of floating cymbals to four rectangular skylights three floors up. If you look closely, the skylights ripple with water–the underbelly of a pool for a residential structure stacked above. A key design challenge for the Anthem was its siting between two residential structures. To address the noise issue, Rockwell spent several million dollars designing a multi-layered sound barrier between the structures, which are reportedly so effective that amplified concerts are inaudible from the interiors of apartments less than a hundred feet away. Supposedly, a resident could sleep soundly while Dave Grohl shredded away on opening night. The Anthem's neighboring structures include designs by FOX Architects, Kohn Pedersen Fox, Perkins Eastman, Parcel 3A, Cunningham Quill Architects, BBG_BBGM, Handel Architects, WDG Architecture, Studio MB, SmithGroup JJR, MTFA Architecture, SK&I, and Moffatt & Nichol. Only Phase One has opened. Phase Two will add an additional 1.2 million square feet to the overall site footprint, mostly extending south. The roster of new structures will include designs by firms such as SHoP Architects, Rafael Viñoly, Morris Adjmi Architects, Hollwich Kushner (HWKN), ODA, WDG Architecture, and Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA). The expansion will include increased office and residential space, an additional pier and marina, as well as increased park space. Phase One is notably without much public greenery. The construction of Phase Two is slated to begin in 2018, with a projected opening of 2021.
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Huge walkable waterside development slated for Jersey City

Jersey City, New Jersey—where tall towers have popped up with some regularity for the past decade—is about to get another huge waterside development by Studio V and the landscape architects at Michael Van Valkenburgh. Private equity firm Quadrum Global is planning a 2,150-unit complex that includes 50,000 square feet of retail and a new public park for a now-vacant parcel (though a representative for Quadrum reached out to The Architect's Newspaper on January 23 to say the unit count "might change"). One available rendering of the development, called Crescent Park, depicts glassy 12-story towers curving around a lush park and waterway. Just east of I-78 on the banks of Mill Creek Outfall, a Hudson River tributary, the development is roughly parallel with lower Manhattan's Financial District. Future residents will live within walking distance of ferry service to Manhattan and the Hudson-Bergen light rail line. Jersey Digs reports that Quadrum's partner, developer Argent Ventures (doing business as Johnston View), bought the 7.5-acre property, which is part of the Grand Jersey Redevelopment Area, for close to $35 million in April 2015. Crescent Park could break ground as early as next year, documents show. Plans call for a cleanup of the creek in addition to the new construction, though the Jersey City Planning Board has yet to approve the project. This article appears on HoverPin, a new app that lets you build personalized maps of geo-related online content based on your interests: architecture, food, culture, fitness, and more. Never miss The Architect's Newspaper's coverage of your city and discover new, exciting projects wherever you go! See our HoverPin layer here and download the app from the Apple Store.
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Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s new garden is inspired by New York wetlands

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) opened its new Shelby White and Leon Levy Water Garden, a 1.5-acre project inspired by the wetlands of New York. The new section of the park was designed by landscape architecture firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates and will act as a habitat for local wildlife. In addition to more than 18,000 new plants, the garden will also include a brook system, Belle’s Brook, which will feature riparian flora that can adapt to different water levels. The garden is part of the BBG’s innovative Water Conservation Project, an ongoing initiative to reduce its freshwater usage and cut down on stormwater runoff. BBG expects to cut water usage from 22 million to 900,000 gallons per year and reduce discharge to the city’s stormwater system from 8 million gallons to 2.5 million gallons per year.

Shelby White and Leon Levy Water Garden Brooklyn Botanic Garden 150 Eastern Parkway Brooklyn, New York Tel: 718-623-7200 Designer: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates

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Pier 3, latest addition to Brooklyn Bridge Park, breaks ground

Yesterday crews broke ground on Pier 3, the latest addition to Brooklyn Bridge Park. The first section of the 85-acre park, designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA), broke ground eight years ago. Since then, the New York–based firm has transformed a disused bulk cargo shipping and storage complex along the East River into a wildly successful park of sloping meadows, basketball courts and playgrounds, a kayak launch, and a marina. At a groundbreaking ceremony for the $26 million dollar pier, pictured above, attendees included firm principal Michael van Valkenburgh, outgoing Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation president Regina Myer, and local officials. The day marked another important milestone: Brooklyn Bridge Park's near-completion. As of now, the 1.3-mile-long park is 90 percent under construction or complete. “Breaking ground on Pier 3 marks a landmark achievement: The final major stage of construction to get underway at Brooklyn Bridge Park," Myer said, in a statement. "A decade ago, our 85 acres were still a barren stretch of industrial wasteland. Today, 330,000 visitors enjoy our waterfront every week and now they’ll have Pier 3—a beautiful central lawn and a fabulous play space that will transform this five acre concrete platform." The central feature of Pier 3 is its great lawn, ringed with trees and traced with walkways. The other programs—an all-ages "play labyrinth" and an events space—are organized around the main grassy expanse. Construction on the project is expected to be complete in 2018.
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Hopkins Architects moves forward with revamp of Sert’s Holyoke Center at Harvard

British firm Hopkins Architects (formerly Michael Hopkins & Partners) has been granted planning permission from local authorities to build the new Smith Campus Center for Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Hopkins was selected for the project back in 2013, but plans are now becoming clear with new renderings of the project. Included in the plan are shopping areas, cafes, and student exhibition areas. These areas will look out onto the open space laid out in front of the building, while sitting alongside and sheltering the study spaces inside. Such a scheme creates a defined hierarchy within the structure. Outdoor social space is separated from the quieter, more formal areas of study via the threshold of shopping, cafe, exhibition spaces, and reception area. The plan will become part of the Josep Lluis Sert's 1960s design for the Holyoke Center. Joining onto the exterior facade (as seen in the pictures) will be a steel structure, clad mainly in glass with softwood and concrete interior. After being appointed to the project in 2013, Hopkins Architects' vision for the Smith Campus was formed after asking students, faculty and staff about what they thought the campus should be. An exhaustive study into this comprised public meetings, over 25 focus groups, and almost 6,000 responses to University-wide survey. “One of our key design objectives was to ensure that the building engages the vibrancy of all of Harvard Square,” said Tanya Iatridis, senior director of University planning, speaking to the Harvard Gazette. “The new Smith Campus Center will embody the aspirations and values that we hold dear and seek to preserve. It will draw us together more closely, strengthening the sense of community at Harvard by encouraging spontaneous interactions among students, faculty, and staff, as well as members of the broader community,” Harvard President Drew Faust told the Harvard Gazette. “While plans are not yet final, and we have more feedback to gather, we are all pleased with the project’s direction and progress.” Joining Hopkins will be U.K.-based firms, Arup on the engineering team and  Faithful + Gould as project management consultants. It won't be an all British show however, as U.S. practice Bruner/Cott will be executive architect and Cambridge firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates will serve as landscape architect. The project is expected to break ground later in 2016 with the new campus expected to open in 2018.