Posts tagged with "Adaptive Reuse":

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1940s Texas gas station gets retro rebirth as new Megabus stop

Tim Derrington, founder of Derrington Building Studio in Austin, Texas, opened his firm during the recession when he found it was easier to find clients than jobs. He said his studio’s work is modern in concept, but more regional vernacular in aesthetic and style, always playing off the context. That rings particularly true in Derrington's most recent project, the adaptive reuse of a small gas station into a Megabus station. “Everybody has driven by or seen that building,” said Derrington. “It’s prominent and it’s background at the same time.” (It’s located a few blocks from the University of Texas and the state capital.) Built in 1941, it was originally a Conoco station that maintained much of its original character through the years. Derrington said that altering the building’s original exterior was out of the question; instead they would clean it up and celebrate its character. He felt it was important not to paint the building a bright color and insisted that the color white would accentuate the form and textures of the original structure. Luckily, Megabus agreed and the company's bright gold and blue scheme became accents that played off the structure’s more retro elements. The blue, in particular, Derrington said, connects the building to its context by playing off the big blue Texas sky. “It almost painted itself,” he added. Preserving the original tile work on the exterior was also deemed non-negotiable. “The building owner’s wife fell in love with the tile and it was mandated that ‘thou shall not touch the tile,’” Derrington explained. “Nobody wanted to anyway, it’s just a neat little feature.” The tile already matched the new color scheme, so it was easy to incorporate. Of the many retro features the studio kept, he said the Jetsons-like rings around the tops of the columns were one of the more iconic elements that spoke to the building’s roots. Although the quirky features like that give the building a lot of character, Derrington added that his favorite elements are the panoramic steel windows on the back façade. In order to keep the original windows, years of paint needed to be excised. “There were guys out there scraping for days,” he said. On the interior, the team removed everything, scraping all of the paint and finishes down to the original walls. They also added bathrooms and a kiosk for the waiting patrons; Kimberly Bruce of Designs and Details Interiors LLC designed the interior, including the selection of all the interior finishes. Derrington also credited Joey Chioco of Chioco Development, Inc. as general contractor on the project. Since its completion, the building has received a lot of attention from the community. “So many people were appreciative of the fact that we maintained the original character,” said Derrington. “It made me realize that this is a special building and it should be shared.” In the end, he said his studio was proud it could bring a diamond out of the rough. “The idea was to make this into something that is a desirable place, a nice place, to be so that bus travel no longer has this stigma,” Derrington said. Now that the station is complete, the studio is moving on with several other projects in Austin, including a few homes, a school, and an extension to a rock-climbing gym they designed.
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Atlanta-based BLDGS brings new creativity to adaptive reuse projects

The Architectural League’s Emerging Voices award and lecture series spotlight individuals and firms with distinct design “voices” that have the potential to influence the discipline of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design. The jury, composed of Sunil Bald, Mario Gooden, Lisa Gray, Paul Lewis, Jing Liu, Thomas Phifer, Bradley Samuels, Billie Tsien, and Ian Volner, selected architects and designers who have significant bodies of realized work that creatively address larger issues in the built environment.

The Architect's Newspaper featured the Emerging Voices firms in our February issue; stay tuned as we upload those articles to our website over the coming weeks. The firm featured below (Atlanta, GA–based BLDGS) will deliver their lecture on March 2, 2017, at The Architecture League in New York City. Click here to learn more!

When Brian Bell and David Yocum first founded BLDGS 10 years ago, they didn’t plan to specialize in adaptive reuse—certainly not in Atlanta, a city not necessarily known for exploring the past.

But after they continued to land such commissions, they began to relish the role and have elevated this ever-expanding realm of architecture to a more creative, thoughtful, complex level than almost any firm has been able to achieve.

“We take a lot of pleasure in uncovering,” Yocum said. “If we can find the truth in each of the challenges and kind of reflect the presence of that truth it gives us a lot that we would not be able to layer onto a project.”

Bell and Yocum met at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and then worked together at Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects in Atlanta. They founded their firm in 2006, spurred mostly through work from art galleries, whose budgets and interests called for work within existing spaces. One of their first, Whitespace Gallery, is located inside an 1880s carriage house. Impressed by how clearly the original functions were expressed structurally, they set out to not only maintain that core, but also express the building’s new artistic focus with equal intensity. They hid lighting and HVAC along the periphery, and installed thin, floating panels—framed in steel—to display art.

Yocum calls this inserting the “featherlike presence of the new while respecting the gravity of the old.”

“We’re pushing and pulling off things that are seen and unseen rather than inventing from our own imagination,” added Bell. “There’s a lot of fascination with the situation that’s already there.”

Their work has continued along these lines, pushing and pulling on the complex layers of existing materials and techniques and the addition of contemporary ones. The installation Boundary Issues at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center removed contemporary plaster walls to display a mesmerizing combination of existing paint and bricks.Essentially they practiced addition by subtraction, architecture’s version of etching away a solid in a block print.

For their Caddell classroom and faculty building at Georgia Tech, they took cues for a new canopy from the structural logic of the existing 1950s building, whose steel frame is hidden behind a concrete exterior. The resulting canopy of aluminum louvers looks ultra-light from below, but like the original building, its thick steel frame is hidden above, out of sight. At Congregation Or Hadash Synagogue, they converted a former Chevrolet paint and auto body repair shop by carefully carving away its tilt-up concrete and sheet metal cladding, creating a radically different typology, nonetheless informed by its bones.

Even their only ground-up building, the Burned House in Atlanta, plays with history. Its cladding is painted with dozens of layers of paints, stencils, metallics, and other markings, which are meant to become exposed as the paint decays. Its interior plays with solid and void, with spaces pushed and pulled in unusual configurations to maximize exposure and push the boundaries of expectation.

“We wanted to think of history in reverse,” said Yocum. “Everything has a historical presence. If you’re not exploring that you’re missing opportunities.”

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Midcentury modern bank building in Memphis to become boutique hotel

Historic urban buildings across the country are being converted into boutique hotels, and Memphis, Tennessee, is seeing its own set of downtown makeovers. The latest is the forthcoming hotel at 158 Madison Avenue in the 1962 Leader Federal Savings and Loan building with a new nine-story neighboring addition. Seattle-based Chris Pardo Design: Elemental Architecture is transforming the five-story midcentury modern building into a 70-room hotel and the planned addition would take the room count up to 150. Along with the hotel, Pardo is also designing a ground-floor restaurant, Teller, and a rooftop bar, Errors & Omissions, names that pay homage to the building’s original program. The building will retain its distinctive precast facade. “We will be restoring the entire exterior of the building, adding back the fifth-floor planters, repairing the windows, and adding architectural facade lighting. The building is a real jewel and speaks for itself; we intend to honor its originality,” Chris Pardo said.

Architect: Chris Pardo Design: Elemental Architecture Client: Wessman Holdings Location: Memphis, TN Completion Date: Spring 2018

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Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill will transform former Studebaker factory in South Bend, Indiana into tech hub

The former Studebaker car plant in South Bend, Indiana, is undergoing a complete transformation. At nearly a century old, the complex will be reborn as a major technology hub for the entire Midwest. Working on the design is Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG). Dubbed the Renaissance District, the project broke ground nearly two years ago, with the first phase expected to be completed by this summer. The project is so large that companies have already moved into portions of the former plant. When completed the complex will include a 150,000-square-foot data center, a 230,000-square-foot workspace platform with commercial, incubator, and educational space, a 58,000-square-foot education center with classrooms, learning center, and auditorium, a 88,000-square-foot commerce platform with a fitness center, daycare, retail, and food services, and 100,000 square feet of housing. The large north section of the complex was designed by Detroit-based Albert Kahn in 1923. The six-story reinforced concrete structure was state of the art at the time, designed to host an automobile assembly line. While the process of building cars was generally linear, the AS+GG’s design will enable to the multi-directional, multi-discipline approach of today’s technology industry. The housing in the project will take the form of a long-term hotel and serviced apartments that groups or organizations can rent for weeks, months, or years, depending on their needs. Both the housing portion and commercial portions of the project will include landscaped green roofs and terraces. A large courtyard will also provide outdoor gathering space on the east end of the project. This landscaped courtyard will act as the center of the project for workers and visitors. A 200-seat auditorium will “float” above the east courtyard. The hope is that the project will act as an example for a post-industrial city looking to address economic and development issues on complex sites.
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This Mexican city turned an abandoned rail yard into a 86,000-square-foot museum and arts campus

When asked why he installed his latest public intervention at the Museo Espacio in Aguascalientes, Mexico, French artist Daniel Buren simply said, “Because I was invited.” But it is not difficult to see what makes the Museo Espacio and the larger Macro Espacio para la Cultura y las Artes (MECA) campus desirable for an international artist. Over the past five years the local government has been quietly developing one of the most intriguingly designed arts destinations in North America.

Many municipalities profess a dedication to the arts, but the government of the state of Aguascalientes, with assistance from Mexico’s federal government, has successfully implemented an ambitious master plan that transforms a century old rail yard into MECA, a world-class destination and center for the arts.

Carlos Lozano de la Torre, the governor of Aguascalientes, always viewed the revitalization of the rail yard as a cultural imperative. Established by an American railroad company in 1898, the 200-acre property was shut down by the government in 1991, effectively leaving Aguascalientes without any viable industry. Recognizing an opportunity for “regeneration through culture,” Governor de la Torre assembled a homegrown team including architect José Luis Jiménez García and Aguascalientes Cultural Institute director Dulce María Rivas Godoy to develop a master plan to stealthily transform the industrial structures into modern containers for the arts and connect the campus to the other established arts institutions in the small urban center.

Museo Espacio, one of the first buildings to open, is a generous 86,000-square-foot, intentionally barebones contemporary platform for international artists to display large-scale works of art. The former wood warehouse was revitalized with simple materials that nod to the building’s industrial history—polished concrete, steel, and glass—all seamlessly integrated into the long, wide bays often favored by conceptual artists. Rail tracks weave through the building and the site maintaining the balance between old and new. A custom metal screen wraps the exterior with monumental openings on either end.

In January, Museum Espacio opened with a site-specific installation by Jannis Kounellis, followed by a site-specific intervention by Buren, who has a long-standing relationship with Mexico. Buren’s work, titled Como un juego de nino, fills over 64,000 square feet, creating an exaggerated colorful playground on one side that is mirrored by one devoid of color on the other. Buren, who likes “to work with different spaces as much as possible,” found “the transformation of this space very original. It is very simple, and is so sophisticated in many aspects. They took a lot of care [with the structure], so you have this connection between a very straight, modern view of architecture inside and the shape of an old manufacturing outside. The connection of both is very successful.”

While the Museo Espacio and the master plan were conceived of over five years ago, it was built in a quick five months, which is inconceivable in the United States. Construction is complete on new offices for Grupo Modelo, an archaeology museum, and a concert hall. All of the buildings on the campus were designed by an in-house design team at the Secretary of Infrastructure and Communications (SICOM) offices headed by Jiménez García, director of projects and secretary of infrastructure and communications. Governor de la Torre hopes MECA will inspire other cities in Mexico and beyond to not just revitalize local resources, but to use native talent to do it. “It was something that was broken’ for a long time it was a place that nobody went, and now we have people from all over the world visiting,” he said. “They always ask, ‘Who did this?’ and we tell them, ‘Our own people.’”

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L.A.'s La Kretz Innovation Campus in is a one-stop shop for cleantech development

The La Kretz Innovation Campus (LKIC), designed by John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects (JFAK), is a new business incubation center in Los Angeles developed by the Department of Water and Power (LADWP), the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles, and Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), a nonprofit tasked to transform the city into a green-collar hub.

The 61,000-square-foot “sustainability factory” is located in a collection of single-story, masonry-and-bow-truss warehouses from 1923 in L.A.’s Arts District. The neighborhood, home to the Southern California Institute of Architecture and a growing number of creative industries, is well-suited to benefit from a “Cleantech Corridor” specifically zoned to support the green economy-related development now running through it.

The complex is meant to be a place where, as JFAK founder and principal Alice Kimm said, “Ideas for new goods and services can be birthed, researched, developed, prototyped, and pushed out to market from under one roof.”

The complex, measuring 290- by 200-feet, is carved into eight similarly sized warehouse bays mirrored about a central axis. The eastern four bays are dedicated to business incubation services: office spaces, meeting rooms, and lounge areas. The western half of the building contains maker spaces: state-of-the-art fabrication rooms with robots and wood shop tools.

While the exterior of the building has been left mostly untouched, the whole of the structure has been seismically retrofitted and its interiors upgraded with new surfaces and partitions. Upon entering the building, one discovers a waiting lounge demarcated by an abstracted triumphal arch. The area is wrapped on two sides by a luscious indoor green wall while white prisms—actually, light cannons designed to reflect sunlight indoors—descend from the ceiling above the adjacent reception desk. Spaces beyond contain an arrangement of single-height partitions and fully-enclosed meeting rooms, all sandwiched between polished concrete floors and the soaring, lumber arches of the bow-trusses distinctive to L.A.’s industrial architecture.

Kimm explained that daylighting strategies guided the design: “We staggered the placement of enclosed spaces so light could penetrate all the way through the building.”

The following bays provide more offices and lead to a semi-formal, wood-paneled amphitheater and cafe lounge. The lounge overlooks the new Arts District Park, designed by staff landscape architects from the Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering with JFAK, who designed a shade structure for it. The half-acre park features a playground and landscaping fed by a gray water–reclamation system designed by LADWP. BuroHappold was the mechanical and sustainability engineer.

The western portion of the building contains utilitarian conference rooms, laboratories, and fabrication spaces. Generously proportioned gypsum and glass partition–lined hallways snake along the main party wall at the center of the complex, connecting the business and fabrication spaces along a social core. These routes connect physically discrete spaces, giving the building’s interiors a sense relative impermanence that contrasts with the solid masonry walls and the elaborate truss ceiling above, now bedazzled with all manner of mechanical and electrical systems.

Kimm explained: “[With LKIC] ‘adaptive reuse’ meant that we had to make a building that had enough identity on its own, as a unifying architectural framework, but that would still allow the individuals to have their own voices. The project revolved around finding a balance and knowing when to stop.”

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JGMA overhauls a former Kmart for a progressive Chicago high school program

Before JGMA was given the job to design a new school for the Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep (CRSM), it was working with students and faculty in design charrettes. The high school was looking for a design and an architect as progressive as its approach to education, which endeavors to have students function at college level by the time they graduate. On top of offering typical coursework, CRSM matches students with corporations; the students work for the corporations and in turn the corporations sponsor them. Now, the school is hoping to have a campus that lives up to its academic ambitions.

The path to a state-of-the-art school has not necessarily been clear. Currently located in a building in desperate need of repair and updating, CRSM has had no room to expand—even after the school bought a nearby abandoned Kmart store. It took working with the JGMA team to realize a design that would transform the banal nature of a big-box structure into a cohesive campus.

One of the first and most difficult challenges of the project was to remove the stigma of the big box and its not-so-appealing suburban surroundings: Seas of parking lots, strip malls, and fast-food joints surround the site. So JGMA worked to break up the monotony of the vast concrete lot and sterile facade of the building. “These students are used to getting hand-me-down everything,” noted JGMA designer Katie LaCourt. “Their current building is a hand-me-down. Overcoming this stigma associated with the big box was one of our first concerns.”

The artificially lighted interior also needed to be addressed. This came in the form of the biggest and most visible move in the project: plans for three large cuts to be taken out of the roof and facade of the building. These cuts will bring light into and throughout the building, interrupting the visual form of the 120,000-square-foot structure. Playing on the Kmart’s original decorated shed form, a second facade will be draped over the building, giving it a completely different appearance and character. Additionally, the former parking lot at the front of the building will be covered by a soccer field, distancing the building further from its big-box roots.

The large cuts will also provide common areas between the teaching spaces to create the feeling of a campus rather than a single building. Outside of the building, the planned landscaping mirrors these cuts. Long paths will extend from the front and the back of the building to provide outdoor learning areas and connect a marsh to the campus.

Though on track to begin construction by early spring 2017, the conversion process is a long one. Working to accommodate the school and its students, JGMA has divided the project into three phases. The first phase will involve converting 50,000 square feet of the floor area and making two of the designed cuts. This will allow the current 375 students to move into the new space. When the second phase is complete, the entire building will have been converted, and the school will be able to expand to its goal of 500 students. The third and final stage will be the landscaping, which will complete the transformation to an educational campus.

JGMA’s conversion of this empty Kmart is not the first of its kind, but it is indicative of changes happening in many of America’s suburbs. Many big boxes across the country, which for numerous reasons have closed or moved into new spaces, have begun to be redeveloped. In a few notable examples, large stores have been converted into city libraries. In Eden Prairie, Minnesota, BTR Architects converted a former grocery store into the county’s public library; just as for the Cristo Rey project, light and large expansive spaces were issues that had to be addressed. Others have been converted into fitness centers and go-kart tracks, and one even became a Spam museum. These conversions have achieved varied levels of success and innovation. When complete, Cristo Rey will arguably be one of the most ambitious.

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The iconic Saint Boniface Church on Chicago’s Near North Side narrowly avoids the wrecking ball

One hundred and fourteen years to the month after the cornerstone of Saint Boniface Church was laid, the building was saved from the wrecking ball. After lying vacant since 1990, the City of Chicago set a deadline of September 23 for the building to be sold, or it would be ordered demolished. That same day, local developer STAS Development closed on the property with plans to convert the iconic North Side church into residences and a music school.

The Saint Boniface parish has been a staple of the Near North Side in Chicago since 1860. First German and then Polish, the story of the parish and the church it called home is one that is common in Chicago. As one of the first schools in the area, the church was the center of an immigrant community. The four-towered Romanesque design by architect Henry J. Schlacks sits 900 and has a 52-foot-high ceiling.

Now, a collaboration between STAS Development and the Hyde Park–based Chicago Academy of Music will transform the original structure: The 32,000-square-foot church will be converted into 15 residential units, with a music school and 24 more units planned for new construction on the site. While this will completely change the nature of the historic structure, it is still considered a big win by preservationists.

As development continues at breakneck speed on the Near North Side, churches have become popular structures for conversion into housing throughout its neighborhoods. Saint Boniface’s neighborhood of Nobel Square, as well as nearby Wicker Park, Ukrainian Village, Bucktown, and Logan Square, were once filled with German Catholics and Eastern European Catholics building churches literally every few blocks. Only a very small number of these churches remain as active worship spaces. Those lucky enough to be spared the wrecking ball attract developers with their high ceilings, stained-glass windows, and distinctive character. As they are often larger than the typical stacked-flat housing stock in the neighborhoods, they can be used for denser development.

Saint Boniface is an outlier among these converted churches, though. Unlike so many of the others, it is not deeply embedded in the tight streets of its surrounding neighborhood. Instead, it stands out on a major street with its four large bell towers, one of which is 150 feet tall. The church is an icon in its neighborhood, and more recently an icon for the whole city. After the Chicago Cubs’ recent World Series win, Saint Boniface was used as the backdrop for a Nike commercial in which a young Cubs fan plays out his own World Series win in the adjacent park.

Although neighborhoods in Chicago quickly change in demographics and density, Saint Boniface will not be the last of the old churches to be “saved” by development, though it is likely to be one of the largest. While complete plans have not yet been released, one can’t help but wonder if someone will have a condo with an ornately vaulted ceiling or a rose window.

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Foster-designed Apple store proposed for historic Carnegie Library in D.C.

The Carnegie Library at Mount Vernon Square, a historic building next to Washington’s Convention Center, is likely to become the home of a flagship Apple store designed by Foster + Partners of London. Events D.C., the convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, last week entered into a letter of intent with Apple to lease portions of the 63,000-square-foot library, which is under its jurisdiction. If negotiations are successful, the development will reimagine the historic site for the 21st century, while remaining consistent with its original purpose. The plan calls for the tech giant to renovate the 1903 library at 801 K. Street N. W. and pay market-rate rent to operate a store designed by Foster + Partners, which was founded by Norman Foster and also designed Apple stores in San Francisco and London. “This is an extremely important repositioning of an iconic building—a building whose original purpose was about community, information and sharing of knowledge,” said Max Brown, chairman of the board of Events DC. "Amid rapid change in our city, we are confident the space can become a true blend of the square’s past and future.” “We are excited that Apple is interested in joining our growing tech ecosystem,” said Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser. “The store’s proposed location… will link D.C.’s rich history to our continued economic renaissance, will demonstrate the strength of our retail market, and will tell companies across the globe that the District is open for business.” According to Events DC, the proposed arrangement calls for Apple to lease portions of the library’s ground floor and basement levels under a 10-year lease, with two five-year options to renew. Events DC will have certain rights to use non-retail areas of the library for special events, and Apple will “co-locate” in the library with its existing tenant, The Historical Society of Washington. “A partnership with Apple would be a tremendous opportunity for Events DC, for the Historical Society, and for the District,” said Gregory A. O’Dell, president and chief executive officer of Events DC. “Not only can this new partnership cement the Shaw neighborhood as a convention and entertainment district in the city, but it can also drive economic impact with substantial revenue opportunities. Designed by Ackerman & Ross in the Beaux Arts style, the Carnegie Library was one of thousands of libraries funded by steel industry titan Andrew Carnegie, and it was the first fully-integrated public building in Washington, D.C. In 1999, Congress granted $2 million and a 99-year lease to the historical society to use the building as a history museum about Washington, D.C. After $20 million worth of renovations funded by local donors, the library has served as the home of the historical society’s exhibits, public programs, and renowned Kiplinger Research Library since 2003. The area around the library has seen rapid growth in recent years, with the opening of the Marriott Marquis Washington and a series of new restaurants, stores and housing developments. In 2014, Carnegie Library was considered as a new home for the International Spy Museum, which had outgrown its current location at 800 F. Street N. W. But the museum and its architect, MGA Partners, wanted to build additions to the existing structure and their plan was turned down by historic preservationists. Now that Events D. C. has shown support for Apple’s project, plans still must be approved by the National Capital Planning Commission and Washington’s Historic Preservation Review Board before construction can begin. It would be the second Apple store in Washington, after one in Georgetown.
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The plan to turn a Chicago industrial complex into an urban food manufacturing hub

The Chicago-based Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) wants to transform Chicago’s Central Manufacturing District (CMD) into a food-producing facility. The CMD is a city-owned complex in the near South Side which currently lies nearly vacant. Over 100 years old, the CMD was the first planned manufacturing district in the country, and was once one of the largest manufacturing districts in the entire world, home to over 250 businesses at one point. To those who know that neighborhood, the CMD is mostly known for the 12-story clock tower that stands at its main entrance. Now the CNT has some thoughts on how to return it to some of that glory. The Center for Neighborhood Technology is a think tank dedicated to research and strategy aimed at making cities more livable and equitable. In late 2015, the CNT brought together 28 though leaders to discuss the future of the CMD and propose actions to the city. The CNT set forth a specific mission for the group: “To revitalize the historic central manufacturing District as a 21st century vertical, green, and urban Industrial park that benefits from its central Chicago location, a dense network of related firms, and transportation cost savings from On-site rail-based freight handling.” The resulting recently released report outlines the group's findings and thoughts on revitalizing the district. The main idea presented in the report is to return the multiple six-story buildings to their manufacturing roots, and transform the site into a “food hub” and “Industrial EcoDistrict.” The CMD’s location, near rail and major interstates, and its near blank slate interiors mean the site can still handle the demands of manufacturing. With millions of square feet to work with, whatever happens there could be a big deal. The report sets forth five ideas on how to move forward with the CMD: Position the CMD facilities as a “food hub.” This involves attracting small to medium size food industry businesses by providing needed amenities to startups. Create a design/build competition or “right to develop” award. Based on competitions used by other cities to promote redevelopment, this would involve architects, planners, and designers. Use workforce development imperative as an investment generator. The CNT proposes expanding new workforce resources to provide training and jobs for the surrounding community and greater city. Eliminate the “transit desert” effect in the immediate area. The CMD currently lacks extensive access to public transportation. The report proposes adding a new L station, as the Orange Line currently runs above the western end of the site. Demonstrate the site’s potential in the near-term. By promoting events, pop-ups, and short-term low-cost leases, the CNT believes the site can gain the needed interest to get the redevelopment started.
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Dreyfuss + Blackford to convert historic power station in Sacramento to STEM center

Sacramento-based Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture revealed plans this week to convert a long-vacant Beaux Arts style power plant designed by Bay Area architect Willis Polk into a $63 million regional science and educational center. The structure, designed in 1912 during the region’s recovery from the disastrous 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and while Polk was the West Coast representative of the illustrious and prolific D.H. Burnham & Company, was once the largest power plant north of San Francisco. The plant formally closed in 1954 and was declared a superfund site in 1986 due to a high concentration of heavy metals in the soil around the Sacramento River-adjacent structure. After being remediated over the following five years, the power plant came to be seen as the lynchpin of a post-industrial, regional science and culture greenway. Dreyfuss + Blackford’s adaptive reuse project aims to bring the structure back into relevance as a Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) center by inserting a new mezzanine level into the plant’s former turbine and boiler rooms. The large, open volumes formerly housing massive industrial machinery will make way for approximately 48,000 square feet of exhibit space and offices and will include a 150-seat planetarium. A new entry structure, clad in glass and intentionally deferent to Polk’s design, will feature exhibits, a café, and support services for the historic structure. Future phases of the project will also include the construction of a parking structure (with a 273 car capacity), outdoor amphitheater, terrace, wetland “living machine,” and other outdoor hands-on exhibits, with West Office Exhibition Design of Oakland, California, designing the interior and exterior exhibits. The project is currently in the midst of capital campaign, a construction timeline has not been released for the project.
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PARTSIANS transforms power plant into venue for Toronto's Luminato Festival

Toronto’s 10th Luminato Festival will #TurnOnTheHearn from now until June 26. To host the festival, Toronto-based architecture firm PARTISANS, in collaboration with theater and acoustics consultancy Charcoalblue, have repurposed the decommissioned Hearn Generating Station as a cultural center. The 400,000-square-foot space now serves a variety of purposes, including housing galleries, theaters, and cafes. A drone video captures the Hearn transformed: One of the exhibits—dubbed Trove: A View of Toronto in 50 of its Treasures and curated by Luminato Festival Artistic Director Jörn Weisbrodt—features fifty photographs by Toronto-based artist Scott McFarland of treasured objects and artworks from the city's private and public collections, The images are adhered onto the sides of the building. "Trove is like looking in a rear view mirror only the reflection reveals objects rarely before seen and stories yet untold," the press release states. PARTISANS designed a virtual gallery for Trove accessed via an augmented reality app “TheHearnAR." The app was developed by PARTISANS and Norm Li Studios; the duo also developed a video game to #PlayTheHearn that permits the exploration of the space and festival. PARTISANS has set up a temporary studio in the Hearn where it can engage with visitors and produce 3D models of the power plant and surrounding Port Lands. The models, created with the help of Ryerson University design students, will be a part of PARTISANS & Friends: Pop-Up Studio I & II, a two-part studio session in which designers and guests will imagine the future of Toronto. The discussion will range from the city’s infrastructure and architecture to its cultural and economic success. Guests will include: Halifax-based architecture firm Omar Gandhi, Toronto-based architecture firm UUfie, Luminato Festival Art Director Jörn Weisbrodt, and Toronto City Councillor Paula Fletcher.