Posts tagged with "SOM":

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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.
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Plaza revamp begins at landmarked SOM tower, minus controversial glass pavilions

Scaffolding is going up around a landmarked modernist plaza in lower Manhattan, signaling a revamp that's been a long time in the making. Previously, SOM took on its own vintage work for plaza modifications at 28 Liberty Street (formerly One Chase Manhattan Plaza), a Financial District building that opened in 1964. Those plans, which were approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) in 2015, featured three large glass pavilions to provide additional access to below-grade retail, among other modifications. But the development did not go according to plan. The Architect's Newspaper reported in January that the pavilions were abandoned by owner-developer Fosun, in light of new rules that make it harder for owners to change city-imposed deed restrictions. In case readers missed it, a TL;DR version of the plaza saga can be found here (and here). A recent site visit revealed new plans for the plaza. One posted rendering showed a restored parapet—with not a glass pavilion in sight. Based on the character and style of the rendering, it is almost certain that the rendering was completed by SOM, but at press time, multiple requests for comment on the latest developments were not returned. [Update 2/27/17: AN has learned that the rendering is not by SOM and that there are no additional details on the rendering at this time.] Permits on file allow for the construction of scaffolding around the site, as seen at the corner of Nassau and Liberty streets, above, and on the southeast side of the plaza along William Street, below. As of right now, no additional permits for plaza construction have been filed, although the signage states that work is expected to be complete later this year. Images on SOM's website, however, still show the older version of the design. Fosun declined to comment on the ongoing work.
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SOM’s new L.A. courthouse needs almost no artificial lighting during the day

The new Los Angeles U.S. District Courthouse is located downtown midway between City Hall and the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and it’s a worthy companion to those exemplary civic landmarks. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) won the competition four years ago with a simple yet powerful design: A cube of folded glass that seems to float above a recessed base. The nine upper floors are suspended from a multi-dimensional roof truss system supported on four structural cores—a strategy that halves the amount of steel a conventional building requires and makes it more resistant to a blast than one supported on columns. Architects and the Clark Construction Group collaborated on a design-build program that brought the building to completion in 40 months, and it expects to secure LEED Platinum rating.

Few buildings achieve so much, so quickly, and SOM has made a significant contribution to the renaissance of Downtown L.A., which is still a work in progress. A park designed by OMA and Mia Lehrer + Associates will occupy the long-vacant block fronting City Hall, and a Frank Gehry–designed mixed-use complex, repeatedly delayed, may soon begin construction to the west across from Disney Concert Hall.

As SOM design partner Craig Hartman explained, “We began with the concept of a courthouse that had the appropriate scale and massing and strengthened the civic axis of First Street. The facades had to achieve transparency and clarity of expression, qualities that express what Americans hope to get from the justice system.”

To exploit the drop of 25 feet from Hill Street to Broadway, the building was raised so that—as Hartman noted—the topography flows under it and it stands apart, accessed by steps on three sides and by ramps that slice up through gardens to either side of the entry. Steel bollards provide an unobtrusive security perimeter. The downtown grid is 38 degrees off from a true north-south orientation, which complicated the architects’ task of protecting the facades from solar gain. Rather than rotate the building, they folded the glass. About 1,600 chevron-shaped units of high-performance, blast-resistant glass were craned into place, and nearly all of them have an inner baffle on the side that receives direct sunlight. That cuts solar gain by half, and a rooftop array of photovoltaic panels further reduces energy consumption. The elegance of the detailing at the corners and along the upper and lower edges is the product of intensive research by SOM, which constructed full-scale mock-ups and worked closely with curtain wall manufacturer Benson Industries.

The upper stories are cantilevered 28 feet over an entry plaza, shading people who are waiting to pass through the security barrier inside the glass doors. From there, they emerge into a soaring atrium with south-facing baffles that channel light down to all 10 levels, including the 24 courtrooms on floors five through ten. “The whole building is about light,” said José Luis Palacios, design director at SOM with Paul Danna. The courtrooms are lit from clerestories facing in and out to achieve a harmonious balance. United States Marshals deputies share the third floor with the holding area for the accused. The 32 judicial chambers occupy the periphery with sweeping views of the city. Artworks, including a multi-level work by Catherine Opie, enhance the minimalist interior.

The public has free access to the upper floors and to a tree-shaded patio in back, which is flanked by low, meticulously detailed glass wings. Jurors gather in one and a cafe occupies the other. Many cases are settled by mediation, even on the day scheduled for a trial, and there are breakout areas with comfortable seating on three upper levels to accommodate these encounters. Only a small amount of artificial light is required and this is provided by energy-efficient LEDs.

The architects’ main client was the General Services Administration, whose Design Excellence Program has done much to enhance the quality of federal architecture country-wide. But SOM also worked with a committee of judges, headed by Justice Margaret M. Morrow, who enunciated 10 guiding principles for the design of the courtrooms. “Decorum, fairness and equality are the essentials and those haven’t changed very much over the years,” explained Hartman. “But judges have different opinions on how to express those qualities and it’s surprising how much latitude there is in the layout. Judge and jury need to see the face of a witness, but where are they all to sit?”

To refine its design and win approval from the judges, SOM did a full-scale mock-up of their courtroom, which groups all the parties closely together. Sidewalls clad in ribbed gypsum reinforced plaster assure good acoustics, for audibility is the highest priority of all. A tilted ceiling diffuses the natural light, and every position—including the raised dais of the judge—is wheelchair accessible.

“America’s civic buildings offer a permanent record of our democracy’s values, challenges, and aspirations,” declared Hartman at the opening. Though the SOM courthouse is a demonstration of these ideals, the reality is that ever fewer Americans can afford a day in court, given the dizzying rise of legal costs. That’s the next big case for judges and legal associations to ponder.

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 area 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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Developer decides not to build huge glass pavilions on landmarked plaza

Thanks to new rules, it appears that one historic downtown plaza will be free of large glass pavilions, for now. For over a year developer Fosun had planned to build glass-clad entrances to retail spaces beneath the landmarked modernist plaza of 28 Liberty, designed by SOM in 1964. Although the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) approved the renovations in August 2015, the project needed an additional—but contentious—green light from the community and the city to move forward. The developer sought to change the site's city-imposed deed restriction (convents that guide the use of land) to allow the pavilions, some as tall as 17 feet, to be constructed. Currently, the site's deed restriction states that no object taller than six feet can rise from the surface of the plaza. Deed restrictions are usually enacted for public benefit; by limiting use, they can thwart an owner's ability to capitalize on the property. For months Manhattan Community Board 1, residents, and preservationists concerned about the integrity of the plaza debated whether to grant Fosun's request. For Fosun, a seemingly routine appeal for its plaza project couldn't have come at a worse time. The developer's campaign to change the deed restriction coincided with the unfolding scandal over the transfer of Rivington House to a private developer. In that deal, the city lifted deed restrictions on the Lower East Side nursing home, a move that allowed a private developer to flip the site for a hefty profit. A series of public meetings revealed the convoluted nature of the deed-change process, with the mayor's office and City Council offering two competing visions of reform. In response, the Council passed a new law in December that lays out a standardized process for removal and modification of deed restrictions. Among other changes, the law's public review component makes it much more difficult for property owners like Fosun to change deed restrictions. "The developers basically told the board that they're not pushing deed modifications now that the new rules are in place," said Diana Switaj, Manhattan CB1's director of planning and land use. Although community board resolutions on developments like 28 Liberty are non-binding, the city-sanctioned groups provide frontline community feedback on development in their jurisdictions. When reached for comment, Fosun confirmed that it will not be building pavilions. “At this time, Fosun is focusing on creating hundreds of feet of new storefront, restoring the historic parapet to its original condition, and creating a larger plaza by removing mechanical components," said Erik Horvat, managing director at Fosun Property, in a statement. "We continue to advance the effort to invigorate the plaza and bring some 200,000 square feet of new retail to Lower Manhattan. The site offers existing access points and we believe the new retail offerings will provide enormous benefit to the community. We will reevaluate the additional glass entryway pavilions in the future." 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 area 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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This is the best performing all-glass facade system in SOM’s history

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Surrounded by parkland and built on a former industrial site, the new JTI Headquarters is located in a Geneva district home to prestigious international organizations. JTI (Japan Tobacco International) is a global tobacco company whose flagship brands include Winston, Camel, Mild Seven, Benson & Hedges and Silk Cut. The competition-winning design consolidates four existing JTI premises within a single landmark building. The project—a collaboration between SOM’s architecture, structural engineering, and interior teams—was led by their London office, but involved expertise from SOM offices in New York and Chicago, along with architects on site in Geneva throughout construction. Kent Jackson, design partner at SOM, said the new building demonstrates SOM’s commitment to integrated design, sustainability, and innovative workplace solutions. "Clearly we feel it is a huge benefit to bring all of our disciplines together and bringing different experts from across our offices. This is something we think brings added value to a project."
  • Facade Manufacturer Josef Gertner AG
  • Architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; Burckhardt+Partner AG (Local Architect)
  • Facade Installer Josef Gartner AG (facade contractor)
  • Facade Consultants n/a
  • Location Geneva (Switzerland)
  • Date of Completion 2015
  • System Closed Cavity Facade (CCF)
  • Products Interpane ipasol bright white coating on low-iron glass (Outer solar control glass); Interpane iplus 3E coatings on low-iron glass (Inner triple insulated glass); Mechoshade Thermoveil 1519 ‘ Silver Birch’ (Shading blinds within cavity); Christian Pohl GmbH (Anodized aluminum perforated soffit panels)
The building’s innovative Closed Cavity Facade (CCF) was designed in collaboration with Josef Gartner GmbH as a unitized curtain wall system that responds to the demands of seasonally changing external climatic conditions while providing exceptional views out and maximizing daylight penetration into the workspace. The facade prioritizes occupant comfort and reduces the energy demand and carbon emissions of the building, helping it to meet the requirements of European energy directives and the Swiss Minergie sustainability rating. The floor-to-ceiling glazed panels measure approximately 10-foot-wide-by-14-feet-tall and consist of triple glazing on the inner layer and single glazing on the outer, forming a cavity with a fabric roller blind in between. One challenge with a typical double skin facade is the risk of condensation and dirt in the cavity. This introduces the need to provide maintenance access to the cavity, either by opening up the interior side or exterior side of the assembly. The closed cavity facade at JTI reduces these requirements, because rather than drawing external air into the cavity, the cavity is pressurized with a very small amount of filtered and dehumidified air from a pipe system that runs around the perimeter of the building. This ensures dirt and moisture from outside don't travel through into the cavity, while also preventing condensation inside the cavity. To achieve this design, SOM relied on facade contractors who have become skilled in the assembly of envelopes that minimize building air leakage. Martin Grinnell, Associate Director at SOM and Technical Lead on the project, attributes this to increasingly stringent air tightness standards in Europe, where many buildings undergo building envelope pressure testing. "We were confident we could achieve this design and get a very careful balance of air tightness with a modest pump in the basement to pressurize all of the facade panels." The German-made closed cavity facade was shop-built in individual unitized panels comprised of both the inner and outer layer of glazing. By producing these units in a controlled factory environment, the fabrication sequence could ensure the cavity remained clean throughout the construction process. The panels were tested in the factory for air tightness, and whilst stored in the yard of the factory they were temporarily tapped into an air supply system which kept the cavity pressurized prior to delivery to site. Once installed on site, the panels were plugged immediately into a network of pressurized air so that the cavity would not draw in dirty air or moisture from construction activity. With just a single glazed pane on the outer layer of the facade, Grinnell says the project team was able to produce a more expressive facade. “We were able to achieve a quilted appearance on the outside; incorporating very delicate mullions, transoms, and diagonal elements because we were using a single outer layer. We were able to facet this layer much more easily than if we were trying to do that with a double or triple glazed layer. I think this lent a real delicacy to the detailing of the outer skin of the facade." Grinnell said the facade represents one of the best performing all-glass facade systems in SOM’s history. "This was a great project, and is a great demonstration of what a closed cavity facade system can do. We're very proud of it. All of the European countries—UK included—are pushing harder and harder on energy efficiency, and clients are quite rightly looking to us to improve the efficiency of our facades. We are going to be developing more and more facades which rely on dynamic performance—having to achieve very good solar control in the summer, while admitting sunlight in the winter—and the closed cavity facade is a really interesting solution to achieve that."
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Trio of high-rise towers announced for Downtown L.A.

Architects Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill (SOM), P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S, and developer City Century have unveiled renderings for a trio of high-rise, mixed-use towers in Downtown Los Angeles’s bustling entertainment district. The newly-revealed mega-project is called Olympia and is billed to include 1,367 residential units, 40,000 square feet of retail space, and 115,000 square feet of open space. Those programmatic components will be distributed across a trio of towers rising 43-, 53-, and 65-stories in height that will be positioned over a 3.25-acre site at the intersection of Olympic Boulevard and Georgia Street. The project will be sandwiched between the L.A. Live sports and entertainment complex and the Gensler-designed Metropolis mega-development, a similar mixed-use project containing luxury housing and shopping amenities. The Olympia project is being designed by SOM and P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S and will feature glass-clad residential floors with over-sized floor plates expressed across the facades of the rectilinear towers. Those floorplates shift in and out at various intervals and contain outdoor amenity spaces at various heights. Stuart Morkun, executive vice president of City Century is quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying, “We’re seeing opportunities in L.A. as the entertainment, media and fashion hub. There is a growing desire by a new generation of professionals who want an urban lifestyle. Downtown can provide that.” The project is one of many luxury, mixed-use, high-rise complexes going up in the immediate area, with the aforementioned Metropolis project, the Harley Ellis Devereaux-designed Circa, and CallisonRTKL-designed Oceanwide Plaza projects being but a few of the developments currently in the works along the blocks immediately surrounding the L.A. Live complex. Developers for the project expect for the entitlement process to play out over the next 18 months with a four-year construction timeline to come afterward. The developer has not announced whether the units will be for sale or rent.