Posts tagged with "SOM":

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New details emerge for major plan to urbanize San Francisco’s Treasure Island

Despite being recently rebuffed as the potential site for the forthcoming MAD Architects–designed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, San Francisco officials are moving ahead with plans to expand the city's sleepy Treasure Island district into a lively residential enclave and tourist destination. The city recently revealed plans to add a bevy of cultural institutions and up to 20,000 residents to the man-made island, which sits in the San Francisco Bay halfway between San Francisco and Oakland.San Francisco Arts Commission have developed an arts-focused master plan for the island in conjunction with urban and architectural master plans developed by SOM and Perkins + Will The plans, overseen by the Treasure Island Development Authority and the San Francisco Arts Commission, would see the island's public offerings expanded, beginning with a new series of public art installations. Eventually, the island—which is accessible only via its connection to Yerba Buena Island and the Bay Bridge—could add up to 8,500 new residential units and 550,000 square feet of commercial space. The island’s art program will be pursued using a projected $50 million fund generated by contributions made toward the city’s 1% for Art in Private Development fund as a result of the new development. According to a planning document released by the development authority, in the case of Treasure Island, the 1% for Art in Private Development funds will be applied toward the installation of public artworks on public lands. Generally speaking, the Treasure Island master plan, which includes the adjacent Yerba Buena Island in its scope, calls for leaving some 75% of the available land area free of development, with the remainder being plotted out as relatively dense mixed-use neighborhoods. The plan would focus on multi-modal complete streets designs in order to create a “network of parks and streets… [with] sunny, sheltered public space that is enlivened by artwork, buildings of enduring interest and active ground floor uses” while also reducing the island’s dependence on automobile traffic. The plan, according to the documents, would cluster development along the southern and western edges of the roughly rectangular island in a series of perimeter block formations. The project was selected in 2009 as one of 16 founding projects of the Climate Positive Development Program, part of the Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Climate Initiative grants supporting “climate positive” urban developments. For more information on the project, see the Treasure Island Development Authority website. The full plan is available here.
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New Penn Station concourse is now open to the public

The West End Concourse of the revamped Moynihan Train Hall is now open to the public. Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill's (SOM) New York office, the work is the first phase of a wider project that sees Penn Station engulf the James A. Farley Building.
SOM's work gives commuters greater access to 17 of Penn's 21 tracks; it also increases the overall floor area of the station complex. As a result, pedestrian accessibility into the concourse itself has been improved, with people now able to enter from Eighth Avenue—a boost for those looking to live or work at Hudson Yards.
Phase Two of the project will see more extensive work done to the Moynihan Train Hall. This will include a new lavish skylight comprised of the building's original steel trusses. SOM has been spearheading the move to rejuvenate the Penn Station for some time. In 1999 the firm submitted a proposal that saw a parabolic, glass-and-steel canopy cover a multi-level concourse that allowed travelers to view the trains beneath. Eight years later, SOM presented further plans, this time with a higher glass and steel roof structure. In 2010, the practice's New York arm was awarded the commission to design Penn Station's West End Concourse. Now those plans will be moving forward, with a $1.6 billion price tag.
"Our design for Moynihan Train Hall culminates a long-held vision to create a new transportation hub that serves not only as a suitable entry and departure point to our magnificent city, but also a destination unto itself," stated Roger Duffy, design partner at SOM in a press release. "We are honored to have been involved with this project since its inception and look forward to continuing to make Moynihan Train Hall a new landmark for New York City."
According to the same press release, in revealing the plans yesterday, Governor Cuomo said: "The state-of-the-art infrastructure, technology upgrades, and wayfinding improvements of the expanded West End concourse will provide immediate relief for passengers enduring increasing congestion and overcrowding in Penn Station and help New Yorkers get to where they need to go better and faster."
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Governor Cuomo announces long-awaited plans for Penn Station and the Farley building

The James A. Farley Building on 34th Street and Eighth Avenue will be given a $1.6 billion overhaul as it is repurposed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) from being a former post office to a rail hub.

Governor Cuomo announced the plans last Friday, but he had originally floated the idea back in September. The Farley Building sits to the west of Penn Station and under Cuomo's scheme, it will go from once holding letters to instead accommodating 700,000 square feet of retail, commercial, and dining areas with the Moynihan Hall serving as a train hall for Amtrak and LIRR services.

"Fifty years after the loss of the original Penn Station structure, passengers will once again experience a world-class rail hub worthy of New York," Cuomo said in a press release. "The Farley Building’s Moynihan Train Hall is two decades in the making, and we are proud that this project is finally a reality. With better access to trains and subways and state-of-the-art infrastructure, the Moynihan Train Hall seamlessly joins history, architectural design, and function, bringing the nation’s busiest rail station into the 21st century."

McKim, Mead and White designed both the Farley Building and the original Penn Station. The latter was lost in 1963 but now the New York architecture firm's work will once again be used for the station, serving as a grand entrance. Inside Moynihan Hall, where nine platforms and 17 tracks will be accessible, a 92-foot high skylight will be built above the hall's iconic steel trusses. The hall will also facilitate access to the Eighth Avenue Subway as well as provide an entrance to the station from 9th Avenue.

In addition to the work being done at Moynihan Hall, the width of the 33rd Street Corridor will be almost tripled as part of a "comprehensive redesign" of the LIRR concourse. Cuomo's office also stated plans for "extensive renovation" to the adjacent Seventh and Eighth Avenue subway stations. Furthermore, additional changes to Penn Station include upgraded lighting and signage, new digital screens, and adding LED panels that projecting blue skies.

According to Crain's New York, Cuomo's plans will only aid around a fifth of Penn Station's 600,000 daily commuters. The work is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2020. That, however, might not be soon enough for those in line for what Cuomo has described as an upcoming "summer of hell" with track shutdowns for repairs set to cause commuter despair. "You'll see… breakdowns for the foreseeable future," said Cuomo. "We need major renovations at Penn and… an organization that can actually do them."

"We would be crazy to do something without Vornado," Tom Wright, president of the Regional Plan Association, who was named Cuomo's committee for the Penn Station project, told Crain's. "They have shown themselves willing to put skin in the game, and they see what's good for the public is also good for them. An improved station boosts the value of so much of Vornado's real estate."

The plan is being carried out and financed by Empire State Development and Related Companies, Vornado Realty LP, and construction firm Skanska's U.S. arm. Divided up, $550 million will be state supplied and $420 million will come from Amtrak, the MTA, the Port Authority and federal grants. The remaining $630 will be provided by Vornado and Skanska who in return for building it will have the right to run the new commercial concourse.

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New renderings released for L.A.’s massive Crossroads Hollywood project

International firm SOM and L.A.-based Rios Clementi Hale Studios (RCH) have released new renderings depicting the firms’ massive redevelopment of the historic Crossroads of the World complex in Hollywood, California. The 1.43-million-square-foot project, currently pegged to cost between $500 and $600 million to develop, aims to repurpose, update, and expand the Crossroads of the World complex by adding a collection of new programs and several high-rise towers. Crossroads of the World was designated as a City Cultural-Historic Monument and was designed in 1936 by architect Robert V. Derrah as the region’s first outdoor, mixed-use office and shopping complex, according to the Los Angeles Conservancy. The complex, which features a collection of squat, streamline, Spanish-, Moorish-, and French-Revival style structures, will be joined on surrounding blocks by a group of high rise towers and mid-rise podium structures. Overall, the so-called Hollywood Crossroads project aims to add 950 housing units, 94,000 square feet of office space, and 185,000 square feet of commercial uses to the roughly eight acre site. The project features a trio of towers, including a 26-story hotel tower containing 308 rooms, a 30-story tower with 190 condominiums, and a 32-story tower containing 760 units, including the podium levels. The project’s site plan features a diagonal paseo cutting through the site that connects the Crossroads of the World complex with the new housing towers. The paseo is lined with ground floor retail uses overlooked by apartment balconies. The generic-looking, glass-clad housing and hotel towers rise from these integrated lower levels, according to the renderings. Sunset Boulevard, via a collection of new—and controversial—high rise developments, is in the midst of  becoming a new vertical spine running through Los Angeles. The Hollywood area, in particular, is seeing a rush in high-rise construction, as developers scramble to meet an insatiable demand for new housing. These projects, however, have run into problems, as the new density has rankled local residents hesitant to see their neighborhoods change. Projects like Natoma Architects’ Palladium Residences and Frank Gehry’s 8150 Sunset in nearby West Hollywood have drawn the ire of local residents, for example. David Schwartzman, chief executive at Harridge Development Group, however, is unfazed by the potential controversy. The developer behind the project told the Los Angeles Business Journal, “In Hollywood, you always have issues with projects and people complaining, but we’re following the rules.” He added, “We’re not doing a general plan amendment, we’re providing affordable housing. We’ve thought about the needs of the community. At the end of the day, you’re not going to make everybody happy.” The recent completion of RCH’s Columbia Square—another tower-over-historic-complex project developed a few blocks east of the Hollywood—has been met with praise, so perhaps there is hope yet for this project. Harridge aims to complete construction on the project by 2022, though an official construction timeline for the development, has not been released.
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How wellness is influencing the workplace

As sustainability becomes the new normal, designers are turning their focus to how people are affected by their surroundings and looking to new measurable standards that provide concrete frameworks for making healthy buildings. We examine one standard up close and break down how it can guide a project from start to finish.

Performance certifications like LEED, Passivhaus, and Green Globes have changed the way we think of baseline environmental concerns, but a new set of rubrics looks to build on those standards. The concept of wellness in many ways is an extension of the environmental movement, as it expands the ideals of building performance to the human experience.

There are several programs that fall under these formulas, such as Fitwel, developed by the General Services Administration (GSA) and Center for Active Design (CfAD), and the Living Building Challenge by the International Living Future Institute, which is more focused on the envelope of a building. Both are both great resources for making healthier and more livable places.

The WELL Building Standard® (WELL) is a “performance-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of buildings that impact the health and well-being of the people who live, work, and learn in them.” It is administered by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) and has been employed by engineering firm Arup for its Boston office—designed by Dyer Brown Architects—and by the American Society of Interior Designers for its Perkins +Will–designed headquarters in Washington, D.C. Others, like SOM Interior Design partner Stephen Apking, use the WELL Standard as a guideline for projects outside the U.S., such as the Japan Tobacco International (JTI) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

The key to WELL’s success is its ability to use scientific evidence to support claims about wellness that have until recently been too esoteric. “Research is required to take it from the anecdotal to something that we can clearly define, with added value,” said Apking, who reported that clients are often convinced by the data and metrics that support WELL.

The standards are useful for giving clients an idea of how to design a healthy workplace, said Apking, who explained that the research into the measurable qualities of building environments has led his team at SOM to push wellness more aggressively. He cites a Harvard University study that focuses on air quality. It found that though LEED buildings get to a point where they do help workers, they should also remove carbon dioxide in addition to VOCs. This is how wellness can go beyond environmentalism and how science can help give clients more specific assurance rather than just anecdotal tales of healthy environments.

At Arup’s Boston office, it has developed a physical prototype for simultaneously quantitative and qualitative performance assessments. It sets up a continuous air-quality feedback system that monitors air quality, noise, and thermal comfort. “The sensor kit was a way to connect in a multidisciplinary way with the other parts of Arup that are advanced in building software systems,” said Mallory Taub, sustainability and WELL consultant at Arup, explaining the monitoring system. “Talking about metrics is extremely important for understanding these design strategies and how your space is performing. Is it making an impact on the people who are using it?”

However, it is important to keep in mind that people are not just numbers. Working with its in-house operational psychology team in London, Arup developed a survey with a series of questions that solicit responses that follow the seven features of WELL. How much are employees using sit-stand desks? How are the dining spaces working? How are lighting and acoustic systems working?

Similarly, designer Ilse Crawford—in her book A Frame for Life—explained the design of her London studio:

The space is laid out as an apartment, with the intention of keeping the space as domestic as possible, while allowing for us to function as a creative studio. Throughout we have used materials and elements that stimulate rather than curb the senses: wood, stone, proper rugs, plants.… The office of the future has a lot to learn from the hospitality industry. It should be a place where people feel good and grounded and motivated. The office of the past was essentially about control, a white-collar factory predicated on measurables and human ‘machines’ rather than people.

When it comes to the WELL framework, Apking also said that the early conversations with the clients allow him to organize the projects conceptually around employee well-being from the start. “It is not easy for clients to talk about this. WELL helps us lay out the concepts that we want to pursue in the design.”

To dive deeper into what wellness means in the workplaces, The Architect's Newspaper looks at how the ASID headquarters, Arup’s Boston office, and the JTI headquarters have manifested the seven concepts of WELL.

Air

Designers must address issues of air quality standards, including ventilation and filtration systems, to control moisture and reduce harmful particulates.

The shape of the JTI headquarters by SOM helps to draw in fresh air, which is then filtered by a hybrid system that also conditions the air through a radiant system in the ceiling tiles, cooling the air with chilled water. This produces an “even coolness” that is both energy efficient and comfortable.

Because Arup’s Boston office is on the tenth floor of the building, it replaced the air handler in the building so that it could have all the systems needed and be able to take on more capacity in the future. It also used an on-demand control system that allows different ventilation depending on occupancy. Conversations around cleaning and facilities maintenance are important for keeping up on this feature.

Light

Beyond the simple specification of lighting devices and the daylighting strategies, WELL calls for light to be controlled in more sophisticated ways that mimic natural and comfortable levels and types. Circadian lighting designs and glare controls for both electric and natural lights.

Arup’s lighting designers used the ceiling as a luminous surface by casting light onto it in an even way, reducing glare and dark spots. They also received a WELL innovation credit for their design of an electric circadian lighting system at Arup’s Boston office that changes color throughout the day to mimic natural daylight patterns. This involves more blue tones in the middle of the day and warmer tones at the end of the day, which gives the body cues that the day is progressing. The ASID headquarters includes an automated shading system made by Lutron that senses when to control light levels from the exterior.

Mind

Because the Mind feature is the most esoteric, it requires post-occupancy surveys to be conducted to verify that the design is accomplishing its aims. Beauty, design, and a sense of natural connectivity are all included.

For JTI, SOM created environments that it wanted to make “joyful” and “optimistic.” Working with artist Liam Gillick, it developed a series of colorful canvases that move through the building along a staircase. Additionally, Lake Geneva and nearby mountains can be viewed from meeting spaces, and the cafeteria at the top of ‘‘the building has a stunning vista.

At the ASID headquarters, biophilic design strategies such as incorporating natural materials and patterns are employed alongside spatial and architectural configurations meant to inspire and give a sense of subconscious well-being. Plants give a sense of peacefulness and add a splash of color, while a soundproof meditation room gives respite from the office environment.

Water

While environmentalism focuses on reducing water usage, wellness is about water quality.

In order to guarantee a base level, this feature sets standards for water purity, targeting inorganic and organic contaminants as well as agricultural contaminants and public-water additives.

Because the municipal water testing doesn’t take into account aging pipe infrastructure, Arup added a chlorine filter to the water line of its building to ensure that drinking water tastes great. Arup also upgraded to a sparkling-water dispenser so that everyone remains hydrated. At ASID’s headquarters, placing water dispensers in desirable areas promotes healthy hydration habits, and no one is more than 100 feet away from water at any time.

Comfort

The comfort feature includes thermal, acoustic, visual, and ergonomic criteria, not only considering ADA accessibility, but also protection from noise generated inside and outside the building. At the ASID headquarters, Perkins + Will used donated furniture by Humanscale, including “Quickstand” sit-stand desks complete with the Humanscale ergonomic setup of monitor arms and adjustable under-desk keyboard trays.

Arup’s office used sit-stand desks by Teknion and monitor arms by Humanscale, with smaller individual work areas and more common space. To mitigate noise, the designers used mechanical systems that met lower criteria for noise allowances as well as a range of finish materials that make the space quieter. Armstrong acoustic tiles reduce noise, and the office is fully carpeted with Interface carpet tile that has an organic pattern as part of the biophilic strategy.

Nourishment

By providing quality snacks and office meals, WELL-certified workspaces create an environment conducive to wellness. Transparency about these foods, such as ingredient lists, nutritional facts, and allergy information are required. Unprocessed foods and fruits and vegetables are crucial.

Arup’s Boston office likes to brag that it has one of the best office nutritional programs. At first, employees were reluctant to give up their beloved bagel-and-donut breakfasts, but now the office kitchen has a healthy spread that meets WELL standards, as well as a weekly food delivery with transparent ingredients and nutrition facts clearly stated.

Fitness

The fitness feature requires a design that encourages movement. This can be simply in the form of fitness incentives from the employer, or it can mean the programming of fitness spaces and equipment into the design.

JTI’s continuous landscape loops inside and outside the building both vertically and horizontally right). The stairs circle and weave through the building up through each floor, which gives employees an attractive walking path instead of elevators. The meeting points, such as the conference center and the coffee and dining spaces, are woven through the building. The fitness center is also along the continuous landscape, which gives people the option of working out indoors and outdoors.

Want more on wellness design? Read how it's spreading across hospitality architecture and beyond. Workplace Wellness Resource List Arup Boston Carpet Interface Tile Crossville Paint PPG - Ecos Imperial Countertop Okite Wall Tile Mosa Wood Tree Frog Plastic Laminate Doors and Cabinets Pointe Cork Wall Forbo SOM — JTI HQ White Carrara Marble Stair Treads Staminal Stone Artwork Liam Gillick Carpet Interface Table and Chair Arper Acoustic Metal Ceiling Trisax Pendants Arne Quinze Impact Lighting Stool La Palma Perkins + Will — ASID Task Chairs and Sit-Stand Desks Teknion Humanscale Automated Shades and Lighting Control System Lutron Grade Glazing and Doorway System Haworth Chairs and Tables Steelcase + Coalesse Keilhauer Herman Miller Bookcase and Conference Tables Herman Miller Ergonomic Desk Accessories Humanscale Credenza and Mobile Conference Table Bernhardt Design Television LG Additional Furnishings ATG Stores Davis HBF Additional Finishes Cosentino Shaw Contract Nevamar Sherwin-Williams Armstrong Additional Fixtures Kohler
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SOM brings science center and new natatorium to Horace Mann School

Architects at SOM are going back to school, this time in the Bronx. Horace Mann School, a private institution in Fieldston, the Bronx, asked the firm to design a new campus and science center, a pool, and to upgrade its older gymnasium. In all, these improvements cover 111,000 square feet and add 68,000 square feet of space to the school, which serves 1,800 students, pre-K–12. Outside, the connected science and campus centers' brick-and-stone facade references the gymnasium, and their blocky massing steps away from the adjacent athletic fields to bring their scale in line with older buildings on campus. These structures, along with the new aquatic center and updated gym, will shape the North Campus, which is used by around 1,200 students in grades 6 through 12. New York–based Mathews Nielsen is the landscape architect.
The firm's New York office worked with the school to master-plan this part of the campus, too. The plan outlines a design standard grounded in classic brick and stone, while providing for fluid learning spaces where students can peck away at their laptops or collaborate on group projects.
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Gordon Bunshaft’s modernist tower is newest Dallas landmark

This week Dallas is celebrating its newest landmark, a goodie but not an oldie.

The Landmark Commission voted on Monday to designate One Main Place, designed by SOM's Gordon Bunshaft, as the city's newest landmark. Beyond its waffled exterior, the 48-year-old International Style tower houses 19 floors of offices and a Westin Hotel spread out over its 33 stories.

Usually, buildings have to be at least 50 years old to be considered for landmarking, but officials made an exception for its high quality design and its singular place in Dallas's history. The New Orleans–based owners sought the designation for one particular reason: historic preservation tax credits.

The gridded concrete and granite building, though, is already listed on the National Register of Historic Places. According to its designation report, One Main Place was supposed to be part of a three-phase redevelopment of downtown Dallas that was proposed in the 1960s. That superblock scheme, which would have replaced downtown with Corbusian Cities of Tomorrow, was never realized in full.

According to the Dallas Morning News, one preservation expert told the Landmark Commission that Bunshaft's building, like Dallas' pedestrian tunnels, merited protection because it reflects a specific approach to planning that prevailed in the city through the 1980s.

One Main Place is "the center and genesis of the tunnel system," said Jay Firsching, a senior historic preservation specialist at Architexas. That system was proposed by Vincent Ponte, the Montreal urban planner behind his city's famous tunnels that keep pedestrians out of the cold during long Quebec winters.

To become official, though, the landmark still needs the Plan Commission and City Council's approvals.

Back east, Bunshaft's SOM designs are getting recognition by another landmarks commission: In 2015, New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission added 28 Liberty, an office tower and plaza in Manhattan's Financial District, to its roster of protected modernist buildings.

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Fazlur Rahman Khan celebrated with Google Doodle

Today’s Google doodle is celebrating the 88th birthday of famed Bangladeshi-American structural engineer and architect Fazlur Rahman Khan. Perhaps most famous for his work on the Willis Tower and the John Hancock Center, Kahn played an integral role in the rise of super-tall skyscrapers. Khan is credited with multiple engineering and architectural innovations including the tube structural system, the framed tube, the bundled tube (notably used for the Willis Tower), as well as many other structural systems. Khan also developed a new earthquake-resistant structural system that usedshock-absorbing soft stories. Khan was a partner at SOM, where his collaborations with Bruce Graham would define the company’s most famous buildings throughout the late 1960s and 70s. He passed away in 1988, but his name lives on in the form of multiple awards including the IALCCE’s Fazlur R. Khan Life-Cycle Civil Engineering Medal and the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat’s Fazlur Khan Lifetime Achievement Medal. Perhaps most notably, his legacy lives on through the continued use of his engineering concepts. From the Petronas Towers to the Burj Khalifa, his solutions for super-tall buildings have become a benchmark for the tallest buildings in the world.
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Renderings released of Waldorf Astoria restoration

Today, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts submitted designs for a revamped and restored Waldorf Astoria New York to the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) for review. Global architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and Paris-based interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon (PYR) are leading the restoration. “We are at an exciting and transformative point in Waldorf Astoria’s renowned history, during which time Waldorf Astoria New York will be restored to its original grandeur while maintaining a modern and inspirational look and feel,” said John T. A. Vanderslice, global head, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, in a press release. Earlier this month the LPC voted to designate several major interiors in the Waldorf Astoria as landmarks (the exterior was made a historic landmark in 1993.) The move to landmark these interiors came with the news that the Waldorf's new owner, Anbang Insurance Group, aimed to renovate the hotel and convert up to 1,100 of its 1,413 rooms into private apartments and sell them as condominiums. The Chinese holding company originally purchased the hotel for $1.95 billion in 2014. “We have assembled a world-class design team with unparalleled experience restoring and revitalizing historic properties to create a proposed plan that treats the Waldorf Astoria New York’s history with respect and dedication to detail,” said Brandon Dong, Anbang Insurance Group, in a press release. “The restoration of the beautiful landmarked spaces is central to the Waldorf Astoria New York’s future as a New York City icon and global destination.” SOM will be the design architect while PYR will serve as the interior designer of the hotel's public areas and guest rooms. “Protecting the spirit of this iconic property and reflecting its history through a modern, more forward-thinking lens will be at the heart of the hotel’s interior design. From the overall atmosphere down to the finest Art Deco details, American grandeur and international glamour will meet in the Waldorf Astoria New York—no other hotel in New York will compare,” added Pierre-Yves Rochon, principal and global design director, PYR.
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New renderings revealed for SOM’s The Milstein Center at Barnard College

Barnard College has unveiled designs for a new library and academic center by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). The Cheryl and Philip Milstein Teaching and Learning Center at Barnard's Morningside Heights campus will feature the "flexible learning spaces" that are pretty much de rigueur for any new academic building. The 128,000-square-foot, 11-story structure will be almost double the size of Lehman Hall, the building it is replacing. Barnard chose SOM to design The Milstein Center back in 2014, though the college waited until last week to reveal all the final renderings. SOM has envisioned a building with a five-story base and a comparatively narrow six-story top, a move that allows sunlight to flood the adjacent main lawn. In growing its footprint by 50 percent, The Milstein Center library program will almost double Lehman's seating while providing access to the outdoors on multiple terraces. Though there will be plenty of individual study spaces for students who prefer to hit the books in relative isolation, the library, in keeping with the times, will de-emphasize books in favor of multimedia labs and group study spaces. The core programming, which includes new offices and conference space, will be framed by a ground floor digital commons (Barnard is one of the only liberal arts colleges with a technology requirement) and a computational science center for teaching and research. The video below gives a snazzy introduction to The Milstein Center, which is slated to open in August 2018:
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New plans revealed for Detroit’s East Riverfront

The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy (DRFC), the City of Detorit Planning & Development Department, and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) announced the latest plans to expand Detroit’s riverfront land for public use. SOM has been working on the strategic framework plan for the East Riverfront since the Spring of 2016. Six local firms, including McIntosh Poris, Giffels Webster, Kraemer Design Group, AKT Peerless, Rich & Associates, and E. Austell Associates, also provided significant consulting throughout the planning stages. “We’ve had tremendous input from the community throughout the planning process,” said Mark Wallace, president & CEO of the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy. “The East Riverfront is a special place for all Detroiters, particularly families and the elderly. This plan builds on the lessons we have learned since opening up the RiverWalk in 2007.” The plan calls for the transformation of the former industrial area into a public waterfront. One of the most significant aspects of the scheme is a large swath of the riverfront that will be designated as parkland, indefinitely free from development. This area includes three sites that were previously slated for private development. New greenways will also connect several east side neighborhoods to the RiverWalk. Surrounding streets will also receive improvements in the plan, including more bike and pedestrian-friendly amenities to better connect the neighborhoods immediately to the north. Much of the work is expected to begin in the next few months. The first steps will include streetscape and promenade improvements. Along with the announced plan, the DEGC released an RFP asking for ideas for the adaptive reuse of the Stone Soup Building. The city is hoping to redevelop the historic riverfront structure into a dense mixed-use project. “The riverfront belongs to all Detroiters,” said Maurice D. Cox, director of the City of Detroit Planning & Development Department. “Thanks to the involvement of hundreds of residents, we have principles that frame an international riverfront that can be accessed and enjoyed by all.”
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Delve into the John Hancock Center’s history with this unique, first-person account now on display

Few buildings are more loved in Chicago than the John Hancock Center. The black, monolithic, 100-story tower was designed by Bruce Graham and structural engineer Fazlur Khan for SOM in the late 1960s, and to this day commands a prominent place on Chicago’s skyline. While most of the building is private office space and residences, three of the uppermost floors are dedicated to an observation deck (dubbed 360 Chicago), a restaurant, and a lounge. 360 Chicago sports some of the best views of the city along with historical information, a gift shop, and a “ride” in which guests are tipped over the edge of the building in a glass apparatus to look down over 90 floors, known as the Tilt! In a recent ceremony, a bit of enigmatic ephemera was added to that observation floor that any architectural fan can appreciate. "The Journal of Michigan Pete" is a first person account of the building of the iconic structure written by Evald Peterson, a.k.a. "Michigan Pete," a caisson inspector for the project. The journal, displayed in facsimile and digitally, recounts the technical side of the construction project as well as the more personal view of the rising tower. Along with the journal, Michigan Pete collected construction site photos, postcards, and other building literature from the time, which is all integrated the interactive display on digital tablets. The ceremony to open the new display included short talks by Gerald Peterson, Michigan Pete’s son, and William F. Baker, structural and civil engineering partner at SOM, and Lynn Osmond, president and CEO of the Chicago Architecture Foundation. Gerald Peterson, who also worked under his father as a laborer on the construction of the Hancock, spoke of his father’s pride in having worked on the building. “To the majority of people, Big John is just a big building, but to Michigan Pete it was his little baby. The building intrigued him. At night, when getting home in the evening, he would always write notes of the events of the day, this was the start of the journal,” explained Peterson. Peterson also recounted a story of how his father talked his way through security to ascend the 100 stories on foot once the structure was complete, a story that is included in the journal as well.