Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) announced last week it would design a new headquarters for Dubai-based Mashreq Bank. The 32-story tower is “a quiet sculptural form within Dubai’s skyline,” SOM Design Director Ross Wimer said in a statement. Its L-shaped floor plate is cantilevered around an empty volume between the building’s eight-story podium and its top levels. The building’s massing shields that courtyard from solar gain, while opening up views to Sheikh Zayed Road and the Burj Khalifa to the east. Executive offices occupy the top two floors, where the square floorplate resumes, with Mashreq’s Board Room suspended from an interior opening at the middle.
Posts tagged with "SOM":
SOM's first major project in Los Angeles in years, the Los Angeles U.S. Courthouse, broke ground last week. Those in attendance included new LA mayor Eric Garcetti, who's just beginning his rounds of ceremonial events around the city. The downtown commission, located at First Street and Broadway, was awarded late last year. The 600,000 square foot building will include 24 courtrooms and 32 judicial chambers and will house the U.S. District Court and the Central District of California, among other facilities. Renderings reveal a serrated, glassy cube resting on a narrow, solid pedestal, and a sky-lit central courtyard at the building's core. The project is pursuing a LEED Platinum rating. The design build team also includes Clark Construction and Jacobs Project Management. Completion is scheduled for summer 2016.
Follow the Architecture Chicago Plus blog as Lynn Becker raises an eyebrow at the new sculpture that quietly popped up in the lobby of downtown Chicago’s celebrated Inland Steel Building. The 1957 SOM icon seems to have acquired a consortium of ice hunks, courtesy Frank Gehry. Ostensibly a formal counterpoint to the elegant energy of Richard Lippold’s Radiant I, the original lobby art, Gehry’s glass agglomeration (fabricated by the John Lewis Glass Studio of Oakland, California) frames Radiant I and responds to its angularity with carved blobs. It’s admittedly atypical in the setting of the modernist masterpiece, but doesn’t overpower the space or the original artwork.
When Madison Square Garden’s 50-year special permit expired last year, it launched a fiery debate over the future of the arena atop Penn Station. Critics, urban planners, and government officials have called for a 10-year term limit to encourage the relocation of MSG allowing for an overhaul of the crowded station. Today the Municipal Art Society of New York unveiled four different visions for a re-imagined Penn Station and MSG from firms Diller Scofidio + Renfro, H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture, SHoP Architects, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). Each firm offered up its own rendition—some focused more on expanding infrastructure, while others honed in on opportunities for cultural and educational programming and new amenities within the station. But all the firms decided to relocate the arena, make room for green space, and create a new light-filled and spacious train terminal. And on the more far-reaching side, they envisioned and described this new station as a civic hub that will anchor and reinvigorate the surrounding neighborhood and serve as a “gateway” (a buzz word liberally used at the unveiling) for the city. The presentations were a fantastical exercise in design if all variables—funding, political might, and private interests—miraculously came together. H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture was the first to take the stage. The firm recommends re-locating Madison Square Garden to a 16-acre site on the waterfront by the Javits Center, which would then pave the way for a new Penn Station to be built with an eight-track high-speed rail, a three-acre park, retail space, and a roof garden. The Farley Post Office would then be transformed into a Center for Education and the four corners of the station would be privately developed “hybrid buildings.” SOM has concentrated on providing a robust infrastructure with a network of high-speed rail lines for the North East Corridor, better commuter rail service, and rail lines linking to the major airports in the area. The station will have a ticketing hall in center of building and then two concourses below with retail spaces. The firm would move Madison Square Garden to an adjacent location and imagines private development will crop up around the station. Charles Renfro of Diller Scofidio + Renfro described their “Penn Station 3.0” as a “grand civic space founded on growth and innovation.” The transit node would become “both a front door and living room” that would be “alive 24/7” and organized by “fast, transit-oriented programs” and “slower” activities including retail, cultural space, and restaurants. MSG would then be moved to the west end of the Farley building. “In closing, we basically would put a wrecking ball to the site,” said Elizabeth Diller. SHoP Architecture’s Vishaan Chakrabarti started off talking about safety as a critical challenge to the current Penn Station aggravated by a “lack of air” and “disorientation” caused by MSG. The firm envisions an open, light-filled station that would be at the heart of a new district they’ve dubbed “Gotham Gateway.” They would relocate MSG to the Morgan site and create “a link from east to west and north to south” connecting the station, a new park, and the arena. While the other presenters focused on design, SHoP dipped its toe in public policy side of the equation. The firm is calling for the creation of a “Gateway Task Force” consisting of the Vice President, US Transportation Secretary, the governor, and the mayor, which would serve to facilitate a relocation of MSG, spearhead the Gateway Project (including funds for new tunnel, track and station), and provide necessary amenities.
If you’ve seen the giant etched-glass dragon snaking across the ceiling at Shun Lee Palace in New York, you’ve glimpsed of the handiwork of Philip Vourvoulis, an expert in architectural glass known for his work on projects ranging from museums to residences to restaurants. On April 12, Vourvoulis will lead the workshop "The Challenges of Glass Architecture: Controlling the Appearance and Performance of Glass in the Building Facade" part of Facades + PERFORMANCE, an upcoming conference on high-performance building enclosures sponsored by The Architect’s Newspaper. At the workshop, Vourvoulis will be joined by Christoph Timm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Bruce Milley of Guardian Industries, and Nick Bagatelos of BISEM. In the form of an interactive panel discussion, the group will explore the latest in architectural glass materials and processes, including new printing processes, electrochromic products, and other high-performance glazings. Using case studies, the workshop will highlight strategies to optimize performance while maintaining aesthetic control. This workshop offers 4 LU/HSW AIA CE credits. Vourvoulis, who has his own California-based consulting firm and also serves as acting creative director for the LA fabricator Triview Industries, trained as a ceramicist but soon fell in love with glass thanks to an encounter with the Art Deco glasswork in the Shangri-La Hotel in Santa Monica. "I'm fascinated by the plasticity of the material," Vourvouli told the LA Times. "You can take a blank sheet or a melted lump and out of it conjure magic." Collaborating with numerous architects over the last decades, including Frank Gehry, Stephen Ehrlich, and landscape architect Maggie Jencks, Vourvoulis’ work has evolved along with the technological innovations in glass. New this year, "dialog workshops" offer a daylong series of in-depth conversations with leading architects, fabricators, developers and engineers following presentations their current projects as real-world case studies. With a limited number of spaces in each session, the intimate environment aims to encourage conversation and creative problem-solving, and participants create a customized schedule of half-day workshops to suit their professional goals. To register, click here.
The plan to relocate Pennsylvania Station to the James Farley Post Office across the street has been slow in coming. The developers, Related Companies and Vornado Realty Trust, are now revisiting a previously-rejected proposal to move the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) to what will be Penn Station’s new home, called Moynihan Station—named after Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan who first introduced the idea in the 1990s. The New York Times reported that the college would theoretically occupy 1.1 million square feet of the building, and in return, the developer would take over BMCC’s campus downtown. But, it looks like government officials still have their reservations. Some progress has been made, however. The state has provided around $300 million for the construction of a new passageway and two new entrances leading to Penn’s train platforms. Skidmore, Owings and Merrill designed the plans for the renovation of the station.
Scrap your afternoon plans and take an amazing aerial tour of Dubai, instead. Photographer Gerald Donovan has created an interactive panorama of the city as seen from the top of the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa for the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award. The view was taken from the top of the tower, some 2,722 feet above the street, reached by climbing nearly 660 feet through the Burj Khalifa's enormous spire. Users can pan around and zoom in to observe the surrounding cityscape with amazing detail. To achieve the stunning effect, Donovan stitched 70 photographs together, each a whopping 80 megapixels, to create a single 2.5 gigapixel panorama. [Via The Telegraph.]
We’ve known for some time that SOM will be designing the new US Courthouse in Downtown Los Angeles. We've even gotten some glimpses of their scheme. But the firm has just unveiled new images of the project, filling out the picture of this new landmark for the city on the corner of 1st Street and Broadway. The familiar image of a cube-like, 550,000-square-foot structure in the middle of the city is now accompanied by a closer view of a folded glass façade imbedded with a United States seal. The building, which floats above a central core, appears to cantilever outward on all sides, with ramps and a small park leading the way to the entry. Inside we get a peek at a large central atrium rising several stories, and walls made of some kind of blond stone. Exposed central stairs appear to make climbing upward a public process. SOM is still unable to comment on their scheme, but we’ll let you know when that changes.
Manhattan's far west side is about to become one of the busiest construction sites in the country. Last Tuesday morning, officials gathered at the corner of 9th Avenue and West 33rd Street to celebrate the second major groundbreaking in the Hudson Yards District, Brookfield Properties' trio of new SOM-designed towers comprising the Manhattan West development to be built over a large rail yard serving Penn Station. The $4.5 billion project's first phase, construction of the north portion of the railroad-spanning platform that will eventually support development, is now underway, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg speculated that the second half of the platform could be underway in coming months. Excavation has been ongoing since the fall of 2012. "From Battery Park to Riverside Park, it's just amazing how much development there has been all along the west side; an area everybody thought did not have the potential to become a hot neighborhood." Bloomberg said. "Manhattan West will be a prime location in which to live or work, a vital piece of the mixed-use community we've envisioned for the Hudson Yards area, which is beginning to take shape." He noted the project's proximity to Hudson River Park, the High Line and its cultural connections in Chelsea, and ease of access via Penn Station. Bloomberg was joined on stage by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Port Authority's Patrick Foye, Hudson Yards Development Corporation President Ann Weisbrod, Brookfield chairman John Zuccotti, and Brookfield executives Dennis Friedrich and Ric Clark. Bloomberg attributed the success of the west side to a 2005 rezoning of the Hudson Yards district and the 7-line subway extension. "Let me remind you," he noted. "A subway line paid for by city dollars when the state wouldn't come through." He said over $6 billion has been invested in the area since 2005. Brookfield has owned the Manhattan West site since 1984, and Friedrich noted that the current economic conditions made it the right time to build. Twin office towers with retail space will anchor the corners of the site, each with two million square feet of office space, and a third residential building will be built along West 31st Street for a total of 5.4 million square feet of space. The cores of the office towers will be anchored in bedrock adjacent to the new platform and the residential tower will be built to the side of the rail yards, adjacent to the new platform. In addition to the three towers, Manhattan West also calls for a 100-foot-wide swatch of new public space between the office towers built on the new platform. High Line designers James Corner Field Operations will design the new 1.5-acre landscape, which is imagined as a recreated 32nd Street forming a pedestrian link with Hudson Yards and park amenities farther west. "The open space at the center of the development will form a pedestrian-friendly link between those mass-transit hubs and Hudson Yards, the High Line, and the Hudson River Park," Bloomberg said. The existing 16-story tower built in 1970 and already spanning the yards is also being redeveloped, and the Observer reports that Brooklyn-based firm REX will be handling the updates to the building, which, based on new renderings from Brookfield, includes a new facade. The structure was originally designed by Davis, Brody & Associates. Initial work includes building the northern platform over the west side rail yards, work that is expected to be complete by late 2014. Friedrich said office construction will start thereafter once financing is secured, remaining optimistic that initial tenants could be on site in the first tower by 2016. Financing for the $680 million deck is already in place with a $340 million construction loan. Brookfield is paying for the remaining $340 million. The deck consists of 16 prefabricated concrete bridge structures covering 60 percent of the five-acre Manhattan West site. "Initially we planned a platform that involved a very elaborate system of structural steel down at the track level," Friedrich said. "We challenged our engineering teams and they came up with a new plan called a 'segmental precast bridge system,'" that minimizes the disruption to track levels, reduces costs, and speeds up construction time. A sample segment of the platform was on display, which Mayor Bloomberg and spectators signed after the ceremony. The large "launcher" that will set the platform pieces in place (see video above) is currently being fabricated off site.
A proposed 57-story residential tower designed by SOM's Roger Duffy at the corner of Manhattan's East 57th Street and 2nd Avenue is seeing new life after laying low through the recession. The Observer reported today that the 250 East 57th project, announced in 2006, will begin construction this year now that developer World Wide Group has filed new construction papers with the city and began clearing the site. AN previously reported how the project is a partnership with the New York City School Construction Authority to extract the air-rights value beneath the city's school properties. In this case, developers of 250 East 57th paid the Department of Education $325 million for a site lease and agreed to rebuild P.S. 59 adjacent to the tower's site, including roof terraces and a large astroturf play area. Roger Duffy told AN at the time, "A lot of school sites in New York remain underdeveloped in terms of FAR (floor-area ratio)." The school opened in September 2012. The 715-foot-tall, 270-unit tower is the latest addition to the 57th Street corridor, which has seen many new skyscraper plans unfold in recent years. To the west, Extell's One57 by Christian de Portzamparc continued construction, and the same developer recently announced that Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill will design a new 1,550-foot-tall tower near Broadway. Additionally, Cetra Ruddy is also designing a skinny skyscraper at 107 West 57th, Rafael Viñoly's supertall 432 Park tower is under construction, and Bjarke Ingels is moving forward with his plans for a pyramid-shaped tower at the Hudson River. While SOM remains the architects for the project, developers told The Observer that an updated design is in the works, which reportedly sheds the towers crisp angles for a more undulating facade. Roger Duffy previously designed the Toren Tower in Downtown Brooklyn.
Last month AN reported that SOM had won the commission to design the new $400 million federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. Today, designs for the new facility were unveiled (via our friends at LA Downtown News and Curbed LA), showing a cube-shaped structure with a porous white surface. So far only two renderings have hit the web, but SOM has promised to share more with us soon. Located at 107 S. Broadway, the project will contain 550,000 square feet (scaled down from an original 600,000). Completion is planned for 2016. Other finalists for the job included Yazdani Studio and Gruen Associates with Hensel Phelps; Brooks + Scarpa and HMC Architects with McCarthy; and NBBJ with Mortensen. The GSA began taking solicitations for the project back in January. SOM recently opened a new LA office—currently working on a new medical education building at UCLA, the San Joaquin student housing complex at UCSB, and the new superior courthouse in San Diego—so things seem to be starting out pretty well for them in Tinseltown. SOM's LA office will work with their San Francisco office on the courthouse project.
AN has been anxiously awaiting official news of an architect for Los Angeles' long-awaited Downtown Federal Courthouse, and we've picked up the scent of a promising rumor. Brigham Young's DTLA Rising blog has heard from a "source at a large architectural and design firm in Downtown LA" that SOM has won the commission, beating out a short list of teams including Yazdani Studio and Gruen Associates, Brooks + Scarpa and HMC Architects, and NBBJ Architects. The new $322 million courthouse will be located on a 3.7-acre lot in Downtown LA at 107 South Broadway and will contain 600,000 square feet incuding 24 court rooms. The General Services Administration (GSA), the federal agency in charge of building the new courthouse, hopes to have the project completed by 2016. The former art-deco courthouse at 312 North Spring Street will be sold to help pay for the new structure, drawing criticism from some politicians. The GSA is expected to make an official announcement soon, and we'll be sure to keep you updated as news comes in.