New York has one, Chicago has one, and now the Chronicle’s John King alerts us that San Francisco might see a Trump-brand tower in its future. No one is taking bets on the conservative presidential candidate’s name emblazoned on a highrise located in one the most progressive cities on the planet, but King is stirring the pot to call attention to a land auction hosted by Transbay Joint Powers Authority on September 2. On the docket: a parcel of land on the 500 block of Howard Street, where zoning allows for an 800-foot tower. Five development teams will bid against each other. According to King, “[I]dentities are being kept secret until the live auction to, in the words of bureaucrats, 'preserve the integrity of the competition.'” Will Trump be one? The Chron’s critic is wagering a guess, suggesting that with minimum bid at $160 million, the live auction could set off a bidding war that would help pay for the Transbay Transit Center. Designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli, the center expected to serve eleven different transportation systems and feature a rooftop park. The tower on the offer would join others in San Francisco's Transbay district by Studio Gang, OMA, SOM, and Foster and Partners. Gang’s undulating 40-story tower recently came under fire for its soaring height, which community activists protested would cast a shadow over the public Rincon Park on the Embarcadero waterfront. King’s argument, however, is not that Trump will soon be mixing it up in the town of Milk and Moscone (or the new SF: Twitter and Uber) but that design is pushed off the table for the sake of raising cash. In 2007, the city held a design competition for the transit center and neighboring tower. This auction comes with no design strings attached. “Standards are slipping,” he wrote and continued: “If the check clears, good enough. Let the city’s Planning Department sort through messy questions about how the tower looks or whether the developer will try to push for extra space.”
Posts tagged with "SOM":
With the recent opening of One World Trade Center, the folks over at EarthCam have reshared their 2013 timelapse of the tower's 1,776 foot rise. There's not too much else to say about the video, other than that it sure makes the building's very long and arduous climb seem pretty quick and easy. It's also set to some very Game of Thrones-y music, so it has that going for it too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nn11DWH_LEA You can check out the video above to see One World Trade, and some other pieces of the World Trade Center site (hello, Four World Trade!), take shape over what has been a very fraught time frame. And, hey, maybe in another year or so, we'll be back here watching a timelapse of Calatrava's Transportation Hub. And after that, how about the rise of (maybe) Bjarke Ingels' 2 World Trade Center?
Nick Cecchi reflects on Doors Open Denver and the future of the city’s architecture and public design
Doors Open Denver turned 11 this spring with the Denver Architectural Foundation hosting the showcase of Denver architecture and design from the recently renovated Union Station. The event ran April 25th and 26th and included open houses at some of Denver’s most notable historic buildings, as well as tours and open doors at many local firms. The event was headquartered at, and highlighted by, the newly renovated Union Station, a Beaux Arts masterpiece that has become the anchor of a vibrant and rapidly growing transportation district. Union Station’s renovated interior, by JG Johnson Architects, serves to enliven and activate the historic space, with the detailing and character of the many shops and restaurants forming a pleasing juxtaposition with the carefully restored and accented historical interior. Behind historic Union Station sits a new commuter rail terminal, designed by the San Francisco office of SOM. The soaring steel and fabric form is not to be missed and its nimble execution and tectonic expression does an expert job of subtly referencing Denver International Airport’s architecture, the destination of commuter trains departing the terminal. Other historical buildings that were open for visitors included the Oxford Hotel, the Historic Sugar Building with its two original Otis cage elevators, and Hotel Teatro in the Tramway Building. Distinguished contemporary buildings included the newly renovated Nichols Building, the deftly executed Clyfford Still Museum, and both Gio Ponti (North Building) and Daniel Libeskind’s (Hamilton Building) contributions to the Denver Art Museum. The theme of this year’s event was “Denver Classics: Then and Now” which Brit Prost, chair of Doors Open Denver and a partner at Davis Partnership Architects, described as, “ [a] showcase [of] how innovative new public spaces are transforming the urban landscape while complementing historically beloved buildings.” While Union Station and other select renovation projects have greatly improved the urban core, the small number of new public buildings cannot nullify the overwhelming onslaught of faceless residential mid-rise and high-rise towers assaulting the city’s aesthetic character. Jeff Sheppard’s (of SheppardRoth Architects) recent invective against this bland and developer-driven architecture should give pause to anyone celebrating the recent increase in Denver’s architectural cachet. One only hopes that as the citizenry experiences and learns about the exceptional public spaces being developed in Denver, the public will begin to demand the same level of design and civic and spatial engagement in residential architecture. Indeed, it is the role of events like this to educate the public and other designers and artist to the role good design plays in urban living.
In May, San Francisco will open its intensive renovation of the Strand Theater, one of so many additions to the city's quickly-changing Mid-Market area. Designed by SOM and Page & Turnbull, the new facility is located inside a 1917 building originally used for Vaudeville and then for second-run movies. The theater had been empty since 2003. The firms maintained the structure's facade and portions of its original auditorium, and created a new cafe, a revamped two-story lobby (with huge windows opening to the outside), and a 120 seat event space above the lobby. The 283-seat auditorium can be transformed into a cabaret-style venue with only 220 seats. The building's historic renovation (which included tearing out most of the interior to the studs and exposing long-covered masonry) and seismic upgrades, invisible to most visitors, were a giant task, especially since space was so tight and the building had been neglected for so long. Don't believe us? Look at the construction images below.
A jury of architects, landscape architects, critics, educators, and planners has named the 35 winning projects of this year's AIA New York Chapter Design Awards. "Each winning project, granted either an 'Honor' or 'Merit' award, was chosen for its design quality, response to its context and community, program resolution, innovation, thoughtfulness, and technique," AIANY said in a statement. "Submitted projects had to be completed by members of the AIA New York Chapter, architects/designers practicing in New York, or be New York projects designed by architects/designers based elsewhere." Take a look at the winning teams in the architecture category below. But before we get to that, let's start with the Best in Competition distinction which goes to SsD and its Songpa Micro Housing in Seoul, Korea (above). "Like the ambiguous gel around a tapioca pearl, this ‘Tapioca Space’ becomes a soft intersection between public/private and interior/exterior building social fabrics between immediate neighbors," the firm said in a statement. "Finally, as this is housing for emerging artists, exhibition spaces on the ground floor and basement are spatially linked to the units as a shared living room. Although the zoning regulation requires the building to be lifted for parking, this open ground plan is also used to pull the pedestrians in from the street and down a set of auditorium-like steps, connecting city and building residents to the exhibition spaces below." Okay, now onto the Honor Awards in the architecture category. Davis Brody Bond National September 11 Memorial Museum New York, NY
Brooklyn Botanic Garden Visitor Center
Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology
From the architects: "Remembering the fallen Twin Towers through their surviving physical structural footprints, the 9/11 Memorial Museum stands witness to the tragedy and its impact."John Wardle Architects and NADAAA Melbourne School of Design Melbourne, Australia
From the architects: "The new building for the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning responds to the urban design values identi- fi ed in the Campus Master Plan and enhances the existing open spaces within the historic core of the Centre Precinct of the Parkville Campus. It engages with the existing landscape elements, continues the sequence of outdoor rooms arrayed across the campus, and links strongly to the intricate network of circulation routes that surround the site. The new building compliments and enhances the sense of place that the Eastern Precinct of the Parkville Campus already commands."REX Vakko Fashion Center Istanbul, Turkey
From the architects: "Turkey’s pre-eminent fashion house, Vakko, and Turkey’s equivalent of MTV, Power Media, planned to design and construct a new headquarters in an extremely tight schedule using an unfinished, abandoned hotel. Fortuitously, the unfinished building had the same plan dimension, floor-to-floor height, and servicing concept as another one of our projects, the Annenberg Center’s 'Ring', which had been cancelled. By adapting the construction documents produced for that project to the abandoned concrete hotel skeleton, construction on the perimeter office block commenced only four days after Vakko/Power first approached our team. This adaptive re-use opened a six-week window during which the more unique portions of the program could be designed simultaneous to construction."ROGERS PARTNERS Architects+Urban Designers Henderson-Hopkins School Baltimore, MD
From the architects: "The new Elmer A. Henderson: A Johns Hopkins Partnership School and The Harry And Jeanette Weinberg Early Childhood Center, together called Henderson Hopkins, is the fi rst new Baltimore public school built in 30 years. A cornerstone for the largest redevelopment project in Baltimore, it is envisioned as a catalyst in the revitalization of East Baltimore. The seven-acre campus will house 540 K-8 students and 175 pre-school children."WEISS/MANFREDI Architecture/Landscape/
From the architects: "A botanic garden is an unusual kind of museum: a fragile collection constantly in flux. As a constructed natural environment, it is dependent on man-made infrastructures to thrive. New York City’s Brooklyn Botanic Garden contains a wide variety of landscapes organized into discrete settings such as the Japanese Garden, the Cherry Esplanade, the Osborne Garden, the Overlook, and the Cranford Rose Garden. The Botanic Garden exists as an oasis in the city, visually separated from the neighborhood by elevated berms and trees."WEISS/MANFREDI Architecture/Landscape/
From the architects: "The newly-opened Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology demonstrates the University of Pennsylvania’s leadership in the emerging field of nanotechnology. Nanoscale research is at the core of cutting-edge breakthroughs that transcend disciplinary boundaries of engineering, medicine, and the sciences. The new Center for Nanotechnology contains a rigorous collection of advanced labs, woven together by collaborative public spaces that enable interaction between different fields. The University’s first cross disciplinary building, the Singh Center encourages the exchange and integration of knowledge that characterizes the study of this emerging field and combines the resources of both engineering and the sciences."Merit Awards Garrison Architects NYC Emergency Housing Prototype Brooklyn, NY H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture Theatre for a New Audience at Polonsky Shakespeare Center Brooklyn, NY Jaklitsch / Gardner Architects Toroishiku (Marc Jacobs Building) Tokyo, Japan Louise Braverman, Architect Village Health Works Staff Housing Kigutu, Burundi Maryann Thompson Architects Pier Two at Brooklyn Bridge Park Brooklyn, NY OPEN Architecture Garden School Beijing, China PARA-Project Haffenden House Syracuse, NY Skidmore, Owings & Merrill University Center – The New School New York, NY Thomas Phifer and Partners Project: United States Courthouse, Salt Lake City Location: Salt Lake City, UT Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects Project: Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts Location: Chicago, IL
When a huge piece of a starchitect-designed building comes crashing to the ground, the architectural world tends to notice. We are of course talking about the recent reaction to the 176-pound piece of concrete that fell off Zaha Hadid's Library and Learning Centre at Vienna University of Economics and Business. Making matters worse for Hadid, this is the second time the building has shed a piece of its skin. But Zaha is not alone; shed(-ding) happens. As we wait to hear what exactly happened in Vienna - an initial report suggests the issue stems from "defective installation" of the facade - we put together a list of some other starchitect buildings that have, let's say, lost a little bit of themselves. First, let’s go back in time—back to 1970s Boston when Henry Cobb's Hancock Tower is straight-up dropping 500-pound glass panes (at least 65 of them) onto the city below like in some sort of horror movie where buildings have rejected their human creators. Terrifying stuff. In a Pulitzer Prize–winning story, the Boston Globe reported on what exactly caused the building's window system to catastrophically fail:
Each panel was a sandwich: two layers of glass with an air space between, all held in a metal frame. To cut the glare and heat of the sun, a coat of reflective chromium was placed on the inside surface of the outside pane of glass. (This layer of chrome was what gave the building its mirror effect.) The window frame was bonded to the chrome with a lead solder. During the testing, it was noticed that when a window failed, the failure began when a tiny J-shaped crack appeared at the edge of an outside pane of glass. What was happening was this: The lead solder was bonding too well with the chrome—so well, so rigidly, that the joint couldn't absorb any movement. But window glass always moves. It expands and contracts with changes in temperature, and it vibrates with the wind. So the solder would fatigue and crack. The crack would telegraph through to the glass, and the cycle of failure would begin.Next we turn to Santiago Calatrava–the Spanish architect with a penchant for creating soaring buildings that are often accompanied by soaring budgets; for more on that, just Google Santiago Calatrava. Great. But right now let's focus on his Queen Sofía Palace of the Arts that opened in Valencia in 2005. The structure, which CityLab perfectly described as a mix between a bird's skull and a stormtrooper's helmet, had to be repaired because pieces of its tile mosaic facade were blowing off in high winds. And then just last year in London, two steel bolts the size of human arms dislodged from Richard Rogers' Leadenhall Building, which is better known as the "Cheesegrater." Thankfully, nobody was injured from the incident. But that's not the end of the Cheesegrater bolt story. As recently as last week, it was reported that a third bolt had fractured on the building. British Land, a developer of the building, said in a statement that the broken piece was "captured by precautionary tethering put in place last year." That's good. After some tests, it was concluded that "bolts had fractured due to a material failure mechanism called Hydrogen Embrittlement." Many bolts are now being replaced, but the developer insists there is, "no adverse effect on the structural integrity of the building." Now, let's head back stateside to Chicago. Do you remember that time the glass coating on the Willis Tower's observation deck cracked? If you were the tourists standing on the SOM-designed attraction 1,353 feet above the city you probably do. Sure, while everyone was fine and nothing was structurally wrong, just imagine being the people up there when that happened—just imagine that. Of course this list of high-profile architects would find its way to Frank Gehry. A while back the most famous architect of them all was sued by MIT for supposed flaws in his $300 million Stata Center. While pieces of the building didn't fall off, it was said to have leaks, cracks, and drainage problems. “These things are complicated,” Gehry told the New York Times after the suit was filed, “and they involved a lot of people, and you never quite know where they went wrong. A building goes together with seven billion pieces of connective tissue. The chances of it getting done ever without something colliding or some misstep are small.” And now let's end this list where we started it, with Zaha Hadid. Just a year after her dramatic Guangzhou Opera House opened in China, it began showing problems—lots of problems. In 2011, the Guardian reported that "large cracks have appeared in the walls and ceilings, glass panels have fallen from [Opera House] windows, and rain has seeped relentlessly into the building." In fairness to Zaha, the Wall Street Journal noted that when it comes to construction practices in China, architects have little say.
In architecture—and especially in warm, sunny locales like Southern California—light is a double-edged sword. Successful daylighting reduces dependence on artificial lighting and enhances occupants' connection to the outdoors. But the solar gain associated with unregulated natural light can easily negate the energy savings effected by replacing electric lights with sunshine. As leaders in the field of high-performance building envelope design, James Carpenter and Joseph Welker, of James Carpenter Design Associates (JCDA), are no strangers to the benefit-cost balance of designing for light. Carpenter and Welker will draw on their firm's extensive portfolio of both civic and commercial projects for "Light in the Public Realm," the morning keynote address at next month's Facades+ LA conference. "We'll talk about the approach we have to light—how you use light for the occupant, and for the public realm," said Carpenter. "It obviously has technical components, like cable walls and curtain walls. But the thread might be less about a purely performative agenda and more on performance and aesthetics together." JCDA's notable facades include two joint projects with SOM, 7 World Trade Center and the Time Warner Center atrium, both in New York. For 7 World Trade Center, the firm was tasked with integrating the glass tower and concrete podium. By floating vision glass in front of a stainless steel spandrel panel, the architects encouraged the play of light on the tower facade, creating an ever-shifting dynamic that blurs the line between building and sky. In the case of Time Warner Center, JCDA designed the largest cable-net wall ever constructed, and achieved the remarkable feat of hanging two cable-net walls from a single truss. To hear more from James Carpenter and Joseph Welker on JCDA's approach to light and the building envelope, register today for Facades+ LA. More information, including a complete schedule of speakers and workshops, is available online.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has announced the 2015 recipients of its Institute Honor Awards, which it describes as “the profession’s highest recognition of works that exemplify excellence in architecture, interior architecture and urban design.” This year’s 23 recipients were selected from out of about 500 submissions and will be honored at the AIA’s upcoming National Convention and Design Exposition in Atlanta. Here are the winners in the urban design category. Beijing Tianqiao (Sky Bridge) Performing Arts District Master Plan; Beijing, China Skidmore, Owings & Merrill According to the AIA:
Old Tianqiao was once a bustling hub of cultural activities and folk arts traditions ranging from storytelling, variety shows, acrobatics, and operas. The project intends to reestablish the cultural heart of the capital with a collection of modern and traditional performance venues that respect the city’s sensitive, World Heritage context. An integrated design process across many disciplines laid out a series of environmental goals, including reintroducing the historic farm fabric, developing a storm water filtration system, reducing waste by using existing materials, and reducing automobile dependence and carbon footprint by creating walkable neighborhoods around three new subway stations.The BIG U; New York City Bjarke Ingels Group According to the AIA:
The BIG U is a 10-mile protective ribbon around lower Manhattan that addresses vulnerabilities exposed by Superstorm Sandy (2012). The BIG U consists of three components: BIG Bench, Battery Berm, and Bridging Berm. BIG Bench is a continuous protective element adapted to the local context that mediates new and existing infrastructure. The Battery Berm weaves an elevated path through the park, enhancing the public realm while protecting the Financial District and critical transportation infrastructure. This signature building features a “reverse aquarium” that enables visitors to observe tidal variations and sea level rise. The Bridging Berm rises 14 feet by the highways, connecting the coast and communities with greenways.Government Center Garage Redevelopment; Boston CBT Architects According to the AIA:
The redevelopment of the Government Center Garage project is an example of undoing the ills of the 1960's urban renewal in Boston that critically separated six thriving neighborhoods. The plan unlocks neighborhood connections, reopens urban vistas, and creates engaging public spaces by strategically removing a portion of the garage while preserving the remaining structure through creative phasing to provide for a sustainable and economically feasible redevelopment. The project introduces 3 million square-feet of housing dominant mixed-use program to downtown, creating a dynamic 24-hour neighborhood as a model for sustainable, transit-oriented development. The project also sets up a new position for urban design in Boston by shaping the urban form to respond to acute desire lines of a pre-grid city and promoting slender building typologies.Target Field Station; Minneapolis EE&K a Perkins Eastman company According to the AIA:
Target Field Station, which opened in May 2014, is a distinct transit station located in the heart of Minneapolis’ revitalized North Loop neighborhood. By combining sustainable design, open public space, and private development, all linked seamlessly with varying modes of transit, Target Field Station sets the bar for how modern cities leverage transit design to create iconic cultural centers.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has announced the 2015 recipients of its Institute Honor Awards, which it describes as “the profession’s highest recognition of works that exemplify excellence in architecture, interior architecture and urban design.” This year’s 23 recipients were selected from out of about 500 submissions and will be honored at the AIA’s upcoming National Convention and Design Exposition in Atlanta. That event will be keynoted by former President Bill Clinton. Now onto the winners in the architecture category. 28th Street Apartments; Los Angeles Koning Eizenberg Architecture
From the AIA: The historic YMCA (1926) had been a focus of African-American life in the era of segregation but had fallen into severe disrepair. The design re-establishes the building’s role as a community focus, restores principal spaces for youth training programs, brings existing living quarters in compliance with contemporary standards and adds new housing units. Inventive integration of new building systems released the existing rooftop for outdoor social space that connects and anchors old and new. The new addition is thin and cross-ventilated. It is shaded to the south by a vertical photovoltaic panel array and wrapped to the north with lightweight perforated metal screens that contrast with the heft of the original masonry building.Brockman Hall for Physics, Rice University; Houston KieranTimberlake
From the AIA:The campus of Rice University is a continuously studied and managed “canvas” that represents an intensive ongoing collaboration between architects, planners, and administrators. Its park-like environment—with live oaks, lawns, walkways, arcades, courtyards, and buildings—comprises a clear and timeless vision. The Brockman Hall for Physics needed to fit within this distinctive setting, to gather together a faculty of physicists and engineers working in as many as five separate buildings, and to house highly sophisticated research facilities carefully isolated from the noise, vibrations, and temperature fluctuations that could destroy experiments.California Memorial Stadium & Simpson Training Center; Berkeley, California HNTB Architecture; Associate Architect: STUDIOS Architecture
From the AIA: The historic stadium is one of the most beloved and iconic structures on the UC Berkeley campus. The key goals for this project were to restore the stadium’s historic and civic prominence, integrate modern training and amenity spaces, and address severe seismic concerns. By setting the new athlete training facility into the landscape, a new grand 2-acre public plaza for the stadium was created on the roof. A new press box/club crowns the historic wall; its truss-like design acts as a counterpoint to the historic facade.Cambridge Public Library; Cambridge, Massachusetts William Rawn Associates; Associate Architect: Ann Beha Architects
From the AIA: The Cambridge Public Library has become the civic “Town Common” for a city that celebrates and welcomes its highly diverse community (with over 50 languages spoken in its schools). With its all-glass double-skin curtain wall front facade, the library opens seamlessly out to a major public park. This double-skin curtain wall uses fixed and adjustable technologies to ensure that daylight is infused throughout the interiors and to maximize thermal comfort for the most active patron spaces looking out to the park.Danish Maritime Museum; Elsinore, Denmark Bjarke Ingels Group
From the AIA: The design solution to the site’s inherent dilemmas was to wrap a subterranean museum around a dry dock like a doughnut, where the hole was the dry dock itself and the centerpiece of the museum’s collection. Three two-level bridges span the dry dock, serving as shortcuts to various sections of the museum. All floors slope gently, so that a visitor continually descends further below the water’s edge to learn about Danish maritime lore. The civil engineering and construction work for the museum were among the most complicated ever undertaken in Denmark.John Jay College of Criminal Justice; New York City Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
From the AIA: Located in Manhattan, John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s new building provides all the functions of a traditional college campus within the confines of a single city block. SOM’s 625,000-square-foot addition doubles the size of the college’s existing facilities by adding classrooms, laboratories, auditoriums, faculty offices, and social spaces. These functions are arranged within a new 14-story tower and four-story podium topped with an expansive landscaped terrace that serves as an elevated campus commons. A 500-foot-long cascade runs the length of the podium and functions as the social spine of the campus. SOM’s design places a premium on communal and interactive space so that students may enjoy the experiences of a traditional college setting.Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology at the University of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia WEISS/MANFREDI
From the AIA: Challenging the established model of laboratory buildings, the Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology is organized around an ascending spiral that hybridizes the tradition of the campus quadrangle with the public promenade. The Center for Nanotechnology twists its laboratories around a central campus green, opening the sciences to the University of Pennsylvania’s landscape while providing a suite of public spaces within the building for cross-disciplinary collaboration amongst scientists. Here, multiple types—courtyard, laboratory loft, ascending gallery—each with their own distinct histories, are grafted together to create a new, but recognizable hybrid.LeFrak Center at Lakeside Prospect Park; Brooklyn, New York Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects
From the AIA: This project restored 26 acres of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in the 19th century and added a new 75,000-square-foot, year-round skating and recreational facility. In the winter, the facility’s two rinks are open for ice skating, and in the summer one rink converts to roller skating and the other to a large water-play fountain. Clad in rough-hewn gray granite, the new LeFrak Center appears to be large stone retaining walls set in the landscape. Much of the structure is tucked into the land. The L-shaped plan consists of the east and north block, both one-story structures with roof terraces connected by a bridge.Sant Lespwa, Center of Hope; Outside of Hinche, Haiti Rothschild Doyno Collaborative
From the AIA: The Center of Hope, commissioned by World Vision, is located in a rural region in Haiti and provides support, education, and skill building opportunities. The design process involved the entire community from children to elders. Construction included on-the-job skills training for over 100 residents. The courtyard scheme and breezeway capture prevailing winds while opening expansive views to the mountains beyond. Careful planning for natural ventilation, daylighting, water collection, sewage treatment, and electricity generation resulted in a completely self-sufficient building. The participatory and empathetic process created an uplifting environment that inspires hope.United States Courthouse, Salt Lake City, Utah Thomas Phifer and Partners; Naylor Wentworth Lund Architects
From the AIA: The design of the new United States Courthouse in Salt Lake City emanates from a search for a strong, iconic, transparent, and metaphorically egalitarian form to symbolize the American judiciary system. The primary nature of the courthouse’s cubic mass projects grounded dignity, immovable order, and an equal face to all sides. The 400,000-square-foot, 10-story courthouse resides on a landscaped terrace that spans an entire city block, uniting the new and existing federal courthouses as a public-access amenity while fulfilling a required federal security setback from the street.Wild Turkey Bourbon Visitor Center; Lawrenceburg, Kentucky De Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop
From the AIA: Located on a bluff overlooking the Kentucky River, the visitor center is the newest component of recent additions and expansions to the Wild Turkey Distillery Complex, one of seven original member distilleries of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. The 9,140-square-foot facility houses interactive exhibits, a gift shop, event venues, a tasting room, and ancillary support spaces. Utilizing a simple barn silhouette (an interpretation of Kentucky tobacco barns common to the area), the building, clad in a custom chevron pattern of stained wood siding, presents a clear and recognizable marker in the landscape.
While speculation around the Barack Obama Presidential Library continues to swirl, plans for one of the project's four potential sites just became a bit clearer. The University of Chicago, where the President taught law, made public this week new renderings and details of their bid for the nation's 14th such library, trotting out sunny images that show the economic development potential of investment in the South Side areas surrounding Washington Park. The University of Chicago is among four finalists selected to vie for the library, whose governing nonprofit is expected to deliver a decision later this year. (Hawaii, New York City, and the University of Illinois Chicago also submitted proposals in December.) They proposed two sites, according to the Chicago Tribune: one in western Jackson Park, bounded by South Stony Island Avenue to the west, South Cornell Avenue to the east, East 60th Street to the north and East 63rd Street to the south; the other in western Washington Park and 11 acres outside of it, stretching as far west as South Prairie Avenue, and encompassing the Garfield Green Line stop. Both areas include land not owned by the University, which an anonymous source close to the deliberations previously told the Tribune could make the committee “hesitant to commit” to the plans. The sites each measure in excess of 20 acres, but only a fraction of that is slated for the library itself and accompanying structures. Nonetheless some open space advocates have accused the proposal of cannibalizing park land. Charles A. Birnbaum, president of The Cultural Landscape Foundation, penned an op-ed in the Huffington Post lamenting, “we still have to deal with retrograde thinking that views parks as dumping grounds and places to put 'stuff.'” Washington Park, which borders the University of Chicago's Hyde Park campus, was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and his partner, Calvert Vaux, the designers of New York City's Central Park. But Susan Sher, who is leading the the University of Chicago's library bid, told the Tribune's Melissa Harris it's common for such projects to include existing park space. “When you look at the possibilities and the criteria of having enough space for the legacy of a major historical figure, you can't just plop it in the middle of a shopping center,” she said. The University's hometown competitor, UIC, proposed a park that would bridge the Eisenhower Expressway, as well as economic development and community resources for underserved West Side areas. While UIC's proposal is more straightforward in its ownership, it also faces obstacles. Illinois' new governor, Republican Bruce Rauner, is expected to appoint a new chancellor of the public university system, which could sow uncertainty about the institution's library plans. Despite the new images and site boundaries, plans for the hotly anticipated library project remain unclear. In addition to selecting a host institution, the library foundation committee will also need to hire an architect, who will ultimately decide on the library's form and exact location. The plans newly made public by the University of Chicago are scant on details for that reason, although they do allude to an "education corridor" along 63rd Street, and a "cultural ribbon" that would connect Washington Park with a "renewed Jackson Park."
Downtown Des Moines, Iowa, courted an all-star list of architecture firms for a new $92 million corporate headquarters that has the unfortunate baggage of being helmed by the world’s most cringe-inducingly named and spelled convenience store chain, Kum & Go. BIG, Morphosis, SOM, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, and Safdie Architects all competed for what CEO Kyle Krause is calling Des Moines’ next landmark. And that landmark is going to be designed by the Piano man himself. According to the Des Moines Register, the convenience store was attracted to Piano's "ability to emphasize collaboration, transparency and light." The new building will be located between 14th and 15th streets north of the Pappajohn Sculpture Park, and locals hope the new building will take a back seat to the art on display that includes works by the likes of Jaume Plensa. The headquarters will house 300 employees in some 120,000 square feet and is expected to be complete in 2017. "What we want to do is create the best environment for our associates," Krause told the Register. "Architecturally, sure, they'll do a great job, but it's really about that inside space and what you can create inside the building that is best for our people." He added that Piano is "a great down-to-earth guy who we think can create the space that creates the transparency, the collaboration, the openness for our people to have a nice work space." Eavesdrop can’t be the only one who feels uncomfortable gassing up at this midwestern roadside retailer—but maybe a work of starchitecture can change our minds.
Sculptor Kenneth Snelson is tired of having his name all over the derided spire atop One World Trade Center. It has been widely reported that Snelson consulted with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) on the 441-foot-tall spire that brings the tower to its highly symbolic height of 1,776 feet. But he said he was only peripherally involved in the early stages of the design and is not all that connected to what now towers above Lower Manhattan. Snelson said everyone involved in the design of the spire had the best intentions, but as for its final iteration, he’s no fan. “I don’t know why somebody doesn’t decide, ‘well, we should remove the spire,’” he said.