Posts tagged with "SOM":

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Community Board 1 waits to vote on controversial plaza modifications

A modernist plaza in lower Manhattan is glass cube–free, for now. At their monthly meeting last night, Community Board 1 (CB1) heard from members of the public about changes to 28 Liberty, SOM's modernist office building and plaza. The owner and developer, Fosun, has commissioned SOM to add three glass pavilions to increase access to the plaza's below-ground retail. Although the scheme received Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) approval in August of last year, the plans cannot proceed unless Fosun gets approval to modify a restriction in the deed that forbids structures higher than six feet from rising on the plaza's surface. Prior to LPC approval, the community board approved SOM's design in March 2015, minus one pavilion at Cedar Street which members thought obstructed the view across the plaza. Among the residents and architects who came to speak on 28 Liberty last night were preservation advocates and museum professionals concerned about Fosun's plans. Marissa Marvelli, a historic preservation specialist at BKSK and a Docomomo New York/Tri-State board member, stated that the modern architecture preservation organization "[implored] the Community Board to retain the original public-spirited deed restrictions and preserve the generous space and non-commercial character of the plaza, as intended by the original owner and architect." Like the CB1 board, Docomomo particularly opposes the planned stair enclosure at Cedar Street, pictured above. Although CB1's board does not recommend the Cedar Street plaza to be built, it still could rise, as the community board's voice is purely advisory. "The Cedar Street structure is the most egregious of them all," said Kyle Johnson, Marvelli's fellow board member and architect at Snøhetta. To him, the pedestrian continuity between four public plazas—28 Liberty, 140 Broadway, Zuccotti Park, and the WTC memorial plaza—is intrinsic to the overall experience of the plaza in question, and the pavilion at Cedar Street would disrupt this relationship. Johnson questioned the overall purpose of the pavilions, speculating that their purpose is mainly to advertise the retail beneath. "The access to the proposed retail is already there—how many doorways do you need?" Plans show there will be access to below-grade space from Pine and William Streets (and through the building itself). Other speakers included Jenny Dixon, director of the Noguchi Museum, who cited the importance of the Jean Dubuffet sculpture and the Noguchi's dialogue with the plaza. She critiqued the pavilion's effect on the experience of the work, saying, "These are really important pieces of public art that are part of the history of Lower Manhattan. The space itself, the placement of work, and the relationship to the environment is the totality that Noguchi considered, not an isolated object on the plaza in relation to the building." Noting that the museum's board of trustees encourages CB1 reject the modification, she addressed the attending board members: "People don't come to New York just to make money. People come here to experience the arts." One leader on the board was influenced by the developer- and board-led site visits. Chair Anthony Notaro said that they added to his understanding of the design and the developer's desire for a modification. For him, the design and the deed are definitely related, but the deed restriction is something the board should weigh in on. He advocated for a deeper understanding of how modifying the deed restriction could impact the use and appearance of the plaza in the future. Notaro was clear to connect the conversation at the meeting to Rivington House, noting that if that "debacle" hadn't occurred, there would probably be little to no debate around 28 Liberty. "We [the board] need to do more work on understanding this," he said. "I want the developer to come back with more drawings, more schematics, and [speak] to whether or not they can do this in a different way." In light of the Rivington House deal, reforms to the deed modification process are being worked out by the city, with some elected officials favoring a process that would subject deed modifications to a ULURP. The legislation is being reviewed by the City Council's Committee on Governmental Operations tomorrow morning. In light of the chair and the public's comments, the board voted overwhelmingly to re-table a tabled resolution from July on the modification of the deed restriction for 28 Liberty, at least until October.
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Developer wants to put glass cubes on landmarked SOM plaza

An ongoing fight over a storied Manhattan landmark proves that indeed, size does matter. Fosun International, the Shanghai-based owner of lower Manhattan's 28 Liberty Street (formerly One Chase Manhattan Plaza), has commissioned SOM to revamp their own classic International Style building and 2.5-acre plaza design. Among its planned changes to the site, Fosun received Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) approval to build three glass cubes on the landmarked plaza that will serve as entrances to below-ground retail. Although the commission approved the scheme, implementing changes at 28 Liberty requires an additional, and contentious, next step.
Fosun is seeking a modification of 28 Liberty's deed restriction that would allow the cubes to rise 11 to 17 feet above the highest points of the plaza, heights that far exceed the deed restriction's stipulation that structures rise no more than six feet above the highest point on the plaza. Both the International Style building and plaza were designated a New York City Landmark in 2009. SOM is updating the tower's office space and plaza and reintroducing original details lost in prior renovations while transforming approximately 290,000 square feet (four floors) of basement space into retail. (AN first covered the design proposal, and ensuing controversy, in July.) Renovations will add accessible entrances and restore tree wells on the south plaza. Along Pine Street, the project will conserve on-site art, remove air intakes, and perhaps most crucially to the design, reinstate the parapet that encircles the space, particularly a corner at Liberty and Nassau Streets that renovations have compromised over time. The developers maintain that the glass cubes, or pavilions, are a key part of the renovations. Fosun argues that the three pavilions will improve handicap accessibility to the stepped plaza as well as protect shoppers entering and exiting the retail spaces from inclement weather. The pavilions, along with glass storefronts along Liberty and Williams Streets, are intended to activate street frontage and encourage more fluidity between indoor and outdoor, below-grade and street-level spaces of the plaza, sidewalk, and tower.
Although some later modifications imitate original conditions, all of the plaza's elements are non-original aside from the Isamu Noguchi sunken garden. (The black-and-white Jean Dubuffet sculpture, installed 1971, was not included in the landmark designation.) The space is not a privately-owned public space (POPS), but remains open to the public nonetheless.
Some Community Board 1 (CB1) members say the design and the deed restriction, although technically unrelated, cannot be considered independently from each other. They point to the scale of the pavilions as proof: According to plans filed with the Department of Buildings, the three proposed pavilions, pictured in plan above, are a 17-foot-tall, 46-foot-long, 1,473-square-foot cube at the corner of Nassau and Liberty Streets; another 16-foot-tall, 43-foot-long, 1,132-square-foot cube facing Pine Street; and a third 11-foot-tall, 18-foot-long, and 418-square-foot at Cedar Street (which a CB1 joint committee ultimately rejected at a July 2016 meeting). A site tour with the architects scheduled September 23 was canceled because key stakeholders from Fosun and SOM were not able to attend. Instead, CB1 board members led a peer-to-peer tour, showing their colleagues the scale of the pavilions and their placement on the plaza.
The cubes’ size is not the only point of contention. Some residents think the architects' renderings suggest the cubes are being rendered too transparently (a common offense in renderings), and that the built structures will impede sightlines on the plaza, especially to the Dubuffet and Noguchi pieces. "Depending on light angles and angles, a glass cube can be quite reflective. At most angles, glass cubes are pretty transparent, but they are not like a window, they're totally going to interrupt the view,” said Michael Ludvik, glass engineer and founding principal of M. Ludvik Engineering. SOM’s glass pavilions have been compared to the Apple Cube, which is not entirely accurate, Ludvik said. The Apple Cube is not made of anti-reflective glass, so when viewed from an angle, it can look almost opaque. To make the proposed pavilions as transparent as possible, he suggested using the thinnest and clearest glass available, along with appropriate fins to minimize impact on clarity. SOM could not be reached for comment on the glass choice, but a spokesperson for the developer explained that they are not far enough along in the process to have made a materials choice. For one CB1 board member, design and deed are unequivocally separate. “The current owners are not the omnivorous developer creatures we’d expect,” said Bruce Ehrmann, co-chair of CB1’s Landmarks Committee. “They are trying to steward the plaza. They followed our original CB1 resolution, and they followed the instructions from the LPC. This issue is about a six-foot height cap,” not the design, Ehrmann said. An architecture enthusiast, Ehrmann maintained that "the first proposal changed the whole nature of the Modernist platform. It’s important to the plaza that the parapet is restored."
Alice Blank, an architect and resident who also serves on CB1's board, asks why the design can't be done differently, without the large pavilions that trigger the deed restriction modification: "I need to know, have all alternatives been considered before pavilions were added on top of the plaza? I need to know why the existing street level entrances to the underground cannot be adapted." She noted that the pavilions didn't appear in earlier iterations of the design, pointing to SOM’s May 2015 LPC presentation that showed capped entrances to the retail space and only one pavilion, a stair enclosure at Cedar Street, pictured above. While she doesn't endorse the first design per se, she sees it as an example of how alternatives could be crafted to improve access without adding glass cubes. At the August 2015 meeting, commissioners raised questions about the height and transparency of the cubes before granting approval. One LPC commissioner, noting that the cubes were two and three times taller than an average human, asked what was driving the height of the cubes. "The sidewalk is incredibly varied around the site,” said Roger Duffy, design partner at SOM. He explained to the commission that the taller-than-human height is required to prevent mischief and liability: "If [a person] climbed on top of the parapet, they couldn't climb on top of the pavilion," Duffy said. The community board, though, didn’t approve the same plans that the LPC did. The LPC's August decision came after the community board's review of SOM and Fosun's original plans. "We are being asked to modify a deed on a proposal the full Board never saw or approved," said Blank. In July, a spokesperson for the developer issued a statement on the deed restriction modification to assuage concerns about the modification: "CB1 is voting on a MINOR MODIFICATION which would ONLY PERMIT THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE GLASS PAVILLIONS [sic] AS APPROVED BY THE LANDMARKS AND PRESERVATION COMMISSION [sic], AND NO OTHER CHANGES.  THERE IS NO CREATION OF ADDITIONAL RETAIL SPACE, AND NO CHANGE OF USE." Blank questioned the impact of the changes and the legacy they could set. “Development is important, but [a] violation of commitments to preserve open space for the public in perpetuity ought to be reviewed with extraordinary care in light of the compromise of the public interest. What would be next—Seagrams, Lever House?” In a statement, the preservation advocacy group Historic Districts Council (HDC) echoed Blank's question in their indictment of the proposed deed restriction modification:
“The sheer existence of such a restriction reveals the great foresight and care which went into the planning of this architecture to prevent it from being marred from future, insensitive fads, most relevantly the corporate ‘Apple Cube.’ More broadly, the proliferation of recent deed changes which disadvantage the public to serve private entities is deplorable. Any changes should be weighed in the context of the long term: Is it wise to permanently alter an individual landmark for the current owner? Do these proposed spaces hold any longitudinal, classical value?"
Both the HDC's and Blank’s concerns mirror public outcry over the recent Rivington House scandal, in which the city lifted a deed restriction that mandated the property be managed as a healthcare nonprofit, a move that allowed the owner to profit handsomely from the sale of the property. In response, Mayor de Blasio has announced a series of reforms to the deed modification process that could impact the dealings at 28 Liberty in the near future. Faulting "a process that has failed to protect and preserve significant community assets, like Rivington House," Councilmember Margaret Chin, whose district includes 28 Liberty, along with speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Councilmember Ben Kallos, and Manhattan borough president Gale Brewer, favor a process that would make deed restriction changes subject to a ULURP. Although Fosun is not seeking to lift the deed restrictions, it has paid James Capalino, the same lobbyist involved in the Rivington House deal, $120,000 since January 2015 to push the city's Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) for deed modifications at 28 Liberty, DNAinfo reports. Judgment day for the plaza is near. The board is voting tomorrow on the modification of the deed restriction it tabled in July, thus confirming the fate of the design and the deed restriction. Although the board's decision is purely advisory, a vote to modify could give Fosun leverage in future discussions with DCAS to modify the deed restriction.
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Port Authority may sell Freedom Tower

It's hard to think of a New York City building more laden with symbolism than the Freedom Tower, also known as One World Trade Center: The 1,776-foot-tall is a triumphant symbol of life after death, a toast to the city's post-9/11 resilience. For the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, though, the $3.8 billion building is a financial ball-and-chain. Last year, the Port Authority's revenue on the 3-million-square-foot, SOM-designed Freedom Tower was $13 million, a measly 0.35 percent return on investment, according to the Citizens Budget Commission. The Port Authority wants to sell the Freedom Tower—which could be worth as much as $5 billion—to the highest bidder within 2017. If it goes for that price, the tower will be the most expensive office building ever sold in the U.S., but observers told Crain's that the sale will almost certainly be fraught with complications. In a demonstration of good faith—or xenophobia—the families of 9/11 victims, the agency's own police force, and even the federal government, which maintains U.S. Customs and Border Protection offices in the building, would probably oppose a sale to, say, a Middle Eastern buyer. Because of its symbolism and location, the building is still a terrorist target. One World Trade Center's $121 million annual operating budget includes security, though the Port Authority doesn't make its security spending figures public. A buyer may cut those costs to afford the hefty mortgage, although there are few buyers flush enough to even consider buildings like One World Trade. (Since 2008, there have been only 12 buildings sold for more than $1 billion in New York.) TIAA, CalPERS, and large local real estate firms like Related, Silverstein Properties, and Brookfield Properties are expected to bid on the property, by themselves or in partnership with a foreign entity. Bidders, however, would compete with the Durst Organization, which bought a $100 million stake in the tower six years ago. The building is expected to be fully leased in 2019, at which point Durst would take an ownership stake in the tower. That means Durst gets to be the first to match any bid and would have veto power over any deal before its ownership is fully vested. If there was a buyer within the next two years, Durst would need to be bought out for the transaction to continue. In 2014, the Port Authority declared that it would sell off its real estate holdings to refocus on transportation, its original mission. Given the roadblocks to a sale, though, some officials are urging the agency to wait until the tower is fully leased, which would inject revenue and lead to a higher valuation (it's 70 percent full now). Alternatively, officials say the Port Authority could offload less fraught assets, like Brooklyn's Red Hook container terminal, first.
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Travel through 80 years of modern architecture with SOM's Tumblr

In 1936 two architects—Louis Skidmore and Nathaniel Owings, both from Indiana—set up a firm in Chicago, a city that would prove a fertile ground for their work. Three years on, John O. Merrill joined the firm, prompting a name change to Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM). Now you can travel through all those 80 years of SOM's practice with their Tumblr blog. Within the archive, visitors can find a plethora of modernist architecture from SOM's early years. The trio was even dubbed "the three blind Mies" by Frank Lloyd Wright due to their emulation of the German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s principles. The images showcased here are only a few of SOM's buildings: The Hirshhorn Museum (1974) from Washington D.C.; Houston's First City National Bank (1961); The Netsch Campus (1968) in Chicago; and the Wells College Library in Aurora, NY are among a host of designs ranging in scale and location. Much more, including the firm's most recent projects, can be found here.
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Watch SOM test its latest in timber tower technology

Working with Oregon State University (OSU), Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) has been busy testing its design for a timber tower. The time-lapse video below shows a section of the wood tower being submitted to 82,000 pounds of pressure. SOM has been working on the Timber Tower Research Project, funded by the Softwood Lumber Board (SLB) since 2013. The goal of the project is to develop safe, sustainable building technologies using mass-timber. Using timber may reduce a building’s embedded carbon footprint by as much as 60% to 70% compared to benchmark concrete building. The Timber Tower Research Project has developed a structural system called the Concrete Jointed Timber Frame that employs mass-timber elements with reinforced concrete connections. Since 2014, SOM and OSU have developed a comprehensive physical testing program, which recently completed a full-scale test to prove the system’s ability to satisfy code requirements. The 36-foot by 8-foot specimen is comprised of a Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) deck topped with a thin layer of reinforced concrete. The concrete is used to improve structural, acoustic, and fire performance. The composite allows for long spans with a relatively thin cross-section. The 82,000 pounds tested is roughly eight times the required design load. Forty-eight sensors recorded stresses as a hydraulic actuator loaded the specimen over two hours. Timber Tower Research Project: Successful Test at Oregon State University from Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP on Vimeo.
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CB1 vote to modify deed restrictions on SOM's 28 Liberty Plaza today could pave way for SOM-led redesign

Update 7/27/16: CB1 voted yesterday to table the resolution modify the site's deed restriction to allow for more public review of the proposal. To demonstrate the proposed changes for the public, a tour of the site will be offered. The tour is provisionally scheduled for early September 2016, before CB1's Financial District Committee's follow-up meeting on the issue.
In lower Manhattan, some residents fear that SOM's take on a classic SOM design will compromise the character of one of the city's best-known International style plazas.
Manhattan Community Board 1 (CB1) is voting on a resolution tonight to remove the deed restriction on the SOM–designed 28 Liberty Plaza (formerly One Chase Manhattan Plaza) to allow for three glass cubes—entrances to basement-level retail—to be built on the landmarked site. SOM designed the 2.5-acre plaza and adjoining tower in 1964, introducing the International style to the Financial District. The firm is now leading the site's redesign by updating the tower's office space, reincorporating historic details lost in prior renovations, and converting 200,000 square feet of disused space underneath the plaza to retail. Apple Cube–like glass pavilions installed in the plaza will signal the below-grade offerings to passerbys while allowing additional points of access. Last August the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) approved changes to the plaza. To one community member who is still smarting from the decision to transform much of the Water Street POPS into retail space, the changes will degrade the plaza. In an email to The Architect's Newspaper, architect and member of citizen coalition Community Advocates for Public Space Alice Blank called SOM's and Fosun's (the site's owners) effort to increase access to below-grade areas "laudable" but denounced the glass pavilions:
The addition of the entry pavilions will change the integrity of the original design of this celebrated plaza; they will compromise three of the neighborhood’s important view corridors; they will act as beacons of commerce day and night and will significantly increase pedestrian foot traffic in the area. These are major changes with major consequences for the community.
Blank, who is a CB1 member but does not represent the board in her advocacy around this issue, went on to condemn the renderings as misleading. "The structures have been rendered so diaphanously as to risk leaving the misleading impression that the addition of 3 large structures on top of this classic modernist plaza, will have little visual impact or aesthetic consequence." The changes will enhance the plaza and bring key elements back to their original condition, countered SOM associate director Frank Mahan. "No one has a greater vested interest in doing right by this building than SOM. It's important to be good stewards of classic work." Mahan called the cubes in question "minimal and transparent," noting that they "will impact the existing architecture in a minimal and appropriate manner." Adaptively reusing the basement enables restorative measures like reinstating the parapet that once encircled the plaza, cleaning and restoring the Noguchi sculpture on-site, and eliminating non-original air intakes on the plaza's north side, he explained. Modifying the site's deed restriction clears the way for the proposed development. When reached for comment, Blank noted that if the deed is modified the return on investment for Fosun is high, and the public should have additional opportunities to weigh in on whether these changes offer an equitable exchange. For those wishing to weigh in tonight, CB1's meeting begins at 6PM in the DC37 - Auditorium at 125 Barclay Street.
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The ICP opens its first exhibition at a new SOM-designed center

Today, the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York City opens the doors of its new home at 250 Bowery. The ICP's xpansive collection of photographic work include Zach Blas, Martine Syms, Natalie Bookchin, Cindy Sherman, Nan Goldin, and Andy Warhol Now on display is Public, Private, Secret, an exhibition that “explores the concept of privacy in today’s society and examines how contemporary self-identity is tied to public visibility.” Internationally-based firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) designed the museum; the exhibition itself was designed by New York–based architecture firm common room and graphic designer Geoff Han. The new ICP lobby features a temporary bookstore (currently occupied by Spaces Corners), a weekly poster wall of ICP’s School and Community Education projects, and a cafe, all of which aim to create a lively “village square” environment. Ninety feet of glass frontage help connect the interior to the streetscape. The Public, Private, Secret exhibition space features a range of transparent and reflective materials and surfaces, echoing its conceptual focus on “self-identity.” Materials are exhibited on glass display boxes with aluminum frames. In an adjoining viewing area, visitors can watch additional video works from simple bleacher seating on the back wall. Throughout the museum, the ceiling and duct work are left exposed and painted white; the structural columns are similarly sparse exposed concrete. SOM renovated the building with a minimalist approach, resulting in a space that is versatile and responds to "the spontaneity of the street," as the firm says on their website. “SOM gave us a space that advances ICP’s mission to serve as a forum for dialogue about photography and visual culture, and positions us to bring our exhibitions and programs to new, diverse audiences," said ICP Executive Director Mark Lubell in a press release. Public, Private, Secret, curated by Charlotte Cotton, Pauline Vermare, and Marina Chao, will be open until January 8, 2017.
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SOM completes trapezoid-clad tower in Beijing

The Chicago office of SOM recently completed a 55-story tower—called the Beijing Greenland Center—in the Dawangjing business district of Beijing. The mixed-use project is clad in a trapezoidal facade that's meant to catch and reflect daylight in the often overcast city. The Beijing Greenland Center is comprised of Class A office space and 178 apartments on top of a multi-story retail podium. SOM was also responsible for the masterplanning of the Dawangjing business district. The mixed-use development is located between Beijing's historic core and the Beijing Capital International Airport, northeast of the city. Along with the Beijing Greenland Center, SOM has also designed several other towers for the district. The tower’s trapezoidal skin is part of building’s sustainability systems. The undulating trapezoids provide self-shading on all sides of the building. Other sustainable systems include a Direct Digital Control building automation system, a heat reclaim wheel, and water-side economizer to utilize evaporative cooling. These systems account for an estimated 30% reduction in energy use and water consumption compared to baseline.
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SOM's plane-inspired multipurpose academic building lands at the U.S. Air Force Academy

SOM's striking Center for Character & Leadership Development (CCLD), designed for the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado is officially open. The focal point of the 46,000-square-foot education and research center is a massive skylight that resembles the tail fin of a plane. The CCLD's jaunty profile is intended to complement the academy's chapel across the quad. The structure hosts a library; forum; large flexible-use social space; conferences; offices; and the Honor Board Room, which sounds like Room 101 but is in fact where alleged violations of the Cadet Honor Code are heard and resolved. Inside the simple maple-clad room, cadets are bathed in light from the aperture above. It's a reunion building of sorts, as SOM designed the academy's campus in 1954. The 105-foot-tall skylight, constructed from diagonal steel plates arranged in a triangular grid, is aligned with the North Star, a nod to navigation heritage and the academy's founding principles. The skylight illuminates the forum, which is terraced to accommodate large crowds. Surrounding this central space are glazed meeting rooms that grab light from the main space. The building is designed to garner a LEED Silver rating, with radiant heating and cooling, a solar chimney within the skylight to channel hot air out, and an abundance of natural light from both the skylight and two courtyards that flank the structure.
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Old Cook County Hospital to be redeveloped

After 14 years of sitting empty, the Old Cook County Hospital in the Illinois Medical District may soon be redeveloped by Civic Health Development Group (CHDG), a team of developers, real estate investors, and builders. Selected through an RFP, the group plans to invest $600 million to transform the Beaux Arts structure into a mix of retail, hotel, and housing. CHDG will then pay $2 million in rent annually as part of a land lease agreement that will maintain the county’s ownership of the property.

Originally designed by Paul Gerhardt and Richard Schmidt, and constructed between 1913–1916, the hospital, with its three story ionic columns, is on the National Registry of Historic Places. If allowed to move forward, the first undertaking of the development will be to restore the building’s historic facade. The Cook County Board of Commissioners and Finance Committee are currently reviewing the project. If approved, the rehabilitation could start as early as this year, with a goal of completion in 2018. Currently, the redevelopment plan calls for four stages to include the rehabilitation of the existing hospital building, demolition of neighboring buildings, and the possible construction of a nine-story clinic and administration building. The Cook County website identifies Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill as the architects working with CHDG to design the redevelopment.

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SOM Chosen to design Detroit’s East Riverfront District

Skidmore Owings & Merrill have been selected by the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy and the City of Detroit Planning Department to develop a comprehensive plan for the city’s East Riverfront District. Early stages of planning will analyze of the area's current building stock, pedestrian and car circulation, and land use patterns. One of the main early concerns is addressing the link between the city and the river front, a mission championed by the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy for the past decade. Along with SOM, six Michigan firms—Birmingham, MI-based McIntosh Poris, Detroit-based Giffels Webster, Kraemer Design Group, AKT Peerless, Southfield, MI-Based Rich & Associates, and West Bloomfield, MI-Based E. Austell Associates—will provide local consulting. Landscape architect Michel Desvigne will also join SOM for the project. Additionally a “Creative Detroit Think Tank” will be set up by Mohsen Mostafavi, dean of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. New York-based HR HR&A Advisors will provide real estate, economic development and energy efficiency expertise to the project. SOM was picked from a field of seven teams which presented initial proposals in late January. Those teams were led by New York-based BJH Advisors, Boston-based STOSS Landscape Urbanism, New York-based Partnership for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU), Chicago-based Gensler, and Boston-based Utile. "The selection process reflects our aspirations for promoting the Detroit waterfront as an international treasure," said Maurice Cox, director of the City of Detroit Planning and Development Department in a press release. "We see no better signal of this than assembling an accomplished team representing local, national and international talent." The first public meeting for East Riverfront District plan will be held on April 12th  from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Outdoor Adventure Center, 1801 Atwater Street, Detroit. “This project is integrally important to the continued evolution of the Detroit Riverfront,” said William Smith, CFO of the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy in a press release. “And, we’re looking forward to hearing what the community has to say. The community feedback we’ve received in the past helped shape what the riverfront is today. What we learn throughout this process now will shape what the riverfront will become in the future.”  
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Weiss/Manfredi's Cornell Tech Campus building tops off

Residential towers are rising on the banks of the East River in Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan. It's easy to forget that, in the middle of the river, development at Cornell University's New York City campus on Roosevelt Island is speeding ahead. The Bridge at Cornell Tech, designed by Weiss/Manfredi, topped off Monday. That building will have a partial green roof and a photovoltaic array to produce energy for campus. Stepped lawns leading up to the entrance encourage the building's program of spontaneous social interaction to spill out onto the street. Along with Cornell Tech phase one buildings, the Bridge is set to open summer 2017. When complete, the 12-acre campus on Roosevelt Island will be the home of hundreds of Cornell faculty and staff, and around 2,000 students. The master plan, executed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) with James Corner Field Operations, calls for a "river-to-river" campus with 2.5 acres of public space and ten buildings that perform to a high environmental standard. The video above gives a sense of scale and layout of the development. Phase one buildings include the Bloomberg Center, an open-plan academic facility designed by Thom Mayne of Morphosis Architects. The Center, which aims to be one of the largest net-zero energy buildings in the U.S., takes its design cues from the collaborative workspaces of Silicon Valley. Handel Architects designed a student, faculty, and staff residence with an ambition to become the world's first residential Passive House high-rise.