Posts tagged with "AECOM":

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Clippers’ owners purchase The Forum to end legal back and forth

The Forum, an iconic entertainment venue in the Los Angeles County city of Inglewood designed in 1967 by architects Charles Luckman & Associates, was recently purchased for $400 million by CAPPS LLC from the New York-based Madison Square Garden Company (MSG). The LLC was formed by Steve Ballmer and Dennis Fong, respectively the chairman and vice-chairman of the Los Angeles-based Clippers basketball team, with plans to maintain the 11,000-seat building as an entertainment venue while making their dream of a nearby NBA arena one step closer to reality. The recent deal reflects the potential end of a feud between Ballmer and MSG that has been going on for years. When Balmer proposed the construction of a $1 billion NBA arena designed by architecture and engineering firm AECOM in Inglewood, less than two miles away from Forum, MSG responded with a series of lawsuits, the first of which claimed that the proposed site was originally slated to be a 'technology park’ that would have improved Inglewood’s economy. According to the LA Times, Ballmer had eventually grown tired of the mountain litigation, and formed CAPPS LLC to purchase the one asset MSG had that kept them invested in the city of Inglewood. “I’m not sure they understand what they’ve gotten themselves into, from my perspective,” he said last October. The new stadium, currently scheduled to be completed in 2024, will become the center of the Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment Complex that will include a practice facility, public outdoor spaces, and team offices. Meanwhile, CAPPS LLC has expressed that they do not wish to tear down the Forum, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2014. “This is an unprecedented time, but we believe in our collective future,” Ballmer said in a statement. “We are committed to our investment in the city of Inglewood, which will be good for the community, the Clippers, and our fans.”
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Indonesia’s new capital city will be master-planned by AECOM, McKinsey & Company, Nikken Sekkei

Last August, the Indonesian government announced that the city of Jakarta will no longer be a viable capital city in the near future, given increasing flood risks attributable to sea-level rise. Instead, a new capital city for up to seven million people would be constructed on higher ground in East Kalimantan, a province in the neighboring island of Borneo that the country shares with Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, founder and CEO of Japanese holding company SoftBank, Masayoshi Son, and the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, are all on the overseeing committee for the ambitious project. Three international organizations—international engineering company AECOM, international consulting firm McKinsey & Company, and Japanese architecture and engineering firm Nikken Sekkei—have recently been selected to develop a master plan for the 988-square-mile property. “[The consulting firms] have experience designing large cities,” said Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, according to The Jakarta Post. Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo expressed that the development of a new capital city is an opportunity to create a “smart metropolis” that will be energy non-intensive and beneficial to the country’s economic growth. Additionally, Blair told The Jakarta Post that “It’s going to be a project that doesn’t just mean creating a new capital city, but a capital city that is going to be very special in the way that it's developed with a particular emphasis on it being clean and green and doing the very best for the environment, but also a capital city that will allow the economy of the country as a whole to develop and grow.” A large portion of the budget, currently estimated to be 466 trillion rupiahs ($34 billion), will go towards the development of its 21-square-mile downtown, in which the new presidential palace and related government buildings would be sited. A fifth of that budget will be provided by the state, while the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the United States International Development Finance Corporation (IDFC) have agreed to invest an additional $22 billion through a sovereign wealth fund. While the master planning committee develops a scheme for what the ‘smart metropolis’ will entail, exactly, it will have to be designed in a way that benefits the area’s indigenous Dayak tribe and preserves the abundant natural resources. Construction is expected to begin later this year and the new city will accept new residents as early as 2024.
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AECOM designs Center for Cyber Innovation for the United States Air Force Academy

Since 1954, the United States Air Force Academy has been training cadets on its 18,500-acre-campus on the edge of Colorado Springs, 60 miles south of Denver, Colorado. The Academy is regarded as the site of several midcentury architectural gems, beginning with the striking Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)-designed Cadet Chapel completed in 1963. In 2015, multinational engineering firm AECOM was hired to oversee the renovation of the chapel, which included the immense challenge of eliminating exterior envelope leakage as well as bringing the building up to the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection (AT/FP).  The Academy was apparently so pleased by the renovation under AECOM that the firm was hired last year to design the Center for Cyber Innovation, a bold new addition to the eastern edge of the campus. Supported by $45 million from the USAFA Endowment and $30 million in federal funding, the center will house the academy’s Department of Computer and Cyber Sciences, the Air Force’s CyberWorx center, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Center of Innovation all within the 47,600 square foot facility.  With exposed steel, floor-to-ceiling windows and an impressive cantilevering space above the entrance plaza, AECOM’s design is a respectful nod to the modern mid-century campus that surrounds it. An expansive, naturally-lit lobby and a grand circular staircase comprise the majority of its first floor, punctuated by a grand circular staircase, while its more private second floor includes 31 breakout rooms, three classrooms, and ten collaborative laboratories.   The lightness, clarity, and transparency of the overall design also serves as an encouragement against the relatively dense and cryptic nature of cybersecurity research that will be taking place within its walls, as well as the need for collaboration among the cadets, industry leaders, academics and military operators that will soon work together under one roof. A date to begin its construction has not yet been announced.
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A built environment symposium closes out Climate Week NYC 2019

With Climate Week NYC coming to a close, the Built Environment Symposium was a fitting finale, gathering together political bodies, industry professionals as well as architects and designers to speak openly about their collaborative efforts to make New York City a greener place The third panel discussion in particular, “New York City’s Climate Mobilization Act: Significantly Reducing Building Emissions,” brought together preeminent voices working to address the environmental impacts of New York’s buildings. Melanie La Rocca, commissioner of the Department of Buildings (DOB) sat down with Jason Vollen, director of architecture for Metro New York at AECOM and Christopher Toomey, vice president of major projects at McKinsey & Company to discuss the importance of addressing the costs of the built environment, and why pieces of legislation are invaluable to instituting rapid change.  With 67 percent of the city’s emissions stemming from its buildings, the need for action is acute, and the mayor’s office has accentuated the urgency by implementing Local Law 97, a mandate that all buildings over 25,000-square-feet comply with aggressive carbon caps by 2024. The very building the panelists sat in, the Midtown Manhattan office of host firm AECOM, is one such building that will fall under the new jurisdiction.  Local Law 97 is the first of its kind to make the financial penalties for non-compliance so significant that building owners will have to address the issues head-on. Fines start at $268 per metric ton over the predetermined limits (based on a building’s size and class) and additional fees are added for non-submittal of records, as well as false or flawed reports, all on an annual schedule. Hopefully, these financial roadblocks will incentivize building owners in ways that previous legislation has only wagged fingers.  This regulation doesn’t just apply to new buildings, but all buildings in New York City. That’s roughly 50,000—and this measure has sparked controversy as older buildings will have to invest in major renovations, as many did not incorporate energy efficiency in their original designs. Aged technologies like boilers and old-fashioned window glazing will need to be replaced, likely at a great initial cost to those landlords.  The panelists talked very seriously and practically about the realities of retrofitting all these spaces. “We could build an entire industry around retrofitting structures,” Toomey said, adding that there are studies that speculate that this would necessitate the creation of up to 140,000 new jobs.  However, the bureaucracy involved in clearing thousands of new buildings in the next four years in advance of the “penalty stage,” where non-complying structures will be fined heavily for carbon use, is intimidating even for the DOB: “We don’t want 20,000 applications coming in 2023,” said La Rocca. To avoid this, the DOB, architects, and project managers are encouraging companies to act now and stay ahead of the curve for not only the 2024 benchmarks but the 2030 ones as well. “No one wants to be an SUV in a Prius world,” said Vollen, “It would be an embarrassment down the line.” Architects like Vollen are encouraging high-profile companies to handle their compliance measures sooner than later with a leading mindset—to both leverage their names as well as allow for more time to design creative, innovative solutions to emissions targets rather than hasty adaptations.  While the panelists all acknowledged the risks and experimentation needed in NYC’s fight to lower emissions, La Rocca closed the discussion, saying, “This is an opportunity for us all to reimagine what we do.” 
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Renderings revealed for the Clippers’ new net-shaped stadium

The Los Angeles Clippers have released initial renderings of their brand new 18,500-seat arena expected to open in 2024. Team owner Steve Ballmer and the city of Inglewood are moving forward with the $1 billion, 900,000-square-foot NBA arena over neighborhood concerns and lawsuits over the project.  Designed by local architecture and engineering firm AECOM, the metal-clad, oval-shaped arena is said to be inspired by the "swoosh" of a basketball net. Ballmer told ESPN, "I want it to be a noisy building… I really want that kind of energy." The grand vision includes a basketball arena, corporate office building, sports medicine clinic, retail, community and youth-oriented spaces, parking garages, a solar-panel-clad roof, indoor-outdoor "sky gardens," and an outdoor game-viewing area with massive digital screens. Ballmer's goal is to create, "the best home in all of sports," he said in a statement accompanying the release of the renderings. "What that means to me is an unparalleled environment for players, for fans, for sponsors and for the community of Inglewood. Our goal is to build a facility that resets fans' expectations while having a transformative impact on the city we will call home." Ballmer, one of the richest people in the world, will privately finance the mixed-use development. The project must overcome several legal challenges that cloud its potential success. First, from the Uplight Inglewood Coalition, an organization looking to strengthen Inglewood residents' political power, is suing the city on allegations that the city's deal to sell the land for the arena violated California state law. The California Surplus Land Act requires that public land be prioritized for affordable housing development before any other uses. Housing costs in the area had soared since 2016, when the NFL agreed to let the Rams and Chargers relocate to Inglewood. "In the midst of booming development—which has caused skyrocketing rents and the loss of affordable housing—it simply does not make any sense to prioritize an NBA arena over the needs of Inglewood residents without investing in the needs of residents," Uplift Inglewood member D'artagnan Scorza said in a recent press release, "Public land should be used for the public good, and access to housing is central to building strong communities." Second, James Dolan, owner and CEO of Madison Square Garden, owner of the New York Knicks and the nearby Forum has also sued the city, accusing leaders of secretly negotiating with the Clippers to build on land that it once leased. The 26-acre complex will house all team operations, from corporate headquarters to the team's training facility. The Clippers currently practice in Playa Vista, have a business office in downtown Los Angeles, and play at the Staples Center (shared with rival Lakers and NHL's Kings since 1999). Their lease ends in 2024, putting pressure on team ownership to finish construction on time for the next season.
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Francis Kéré completes timber pavilion at remote Tippet Rise Art Center

After seeing Francis Kéré’s Louisiana Canopy installation at the Louisiana Museum of Contemporary Art, Cathy and Peter Halstead were inspired to commission the Berlin-based architect to add a piece to their vast Tippet Rise Art Center in Montana. A few years on and Xylem, a piece developed in Louisiana, is now complete in Tippet Rise. The art center is home to a number of monumental art pieces, including three large concrete works by Madrid-based architects Ensamble Studio and a complex wooden construction by the New York-based artist Stephen Talasnik. While Tippet Rise stretches over 12,000 acres across southwest Montana’s broad, high plains, Xylem is located on one of the property's few intimate spaces. Rather than site the project on the top of a butte or at the base of a canyon, like many of the other monumental art pieces throughout the art center, Kéré’s pavilion sits nestled amid a stand of cottonwoods and aspens along the bubbling Grove Creek. Unlike the rest of the center’s collection, Xylem is meant to have a specific function as a gathering area for guests and a performance space for artists. “The Louisiana project was the inspiration for Cathy and Peter,” explained Kéré while walking through the new pavilion, “but Louisiana was in a museum, in a room, enclosed, protected. Here was have this landscape, which can be windy, hot, with a lot of snow. What can you do?” Kéré’s solution involved sourcing hardy local materials and playing with form and light, all while working to understand the clients' wish for an intimate, yet accessible, space. The 60-foot-diameter pavilion is comprised of thousands of linear feet of ponderosa and lodgepole pine logs. Each log was sustainably sourced from the nearby forests that had been ravaged by invasive mountain pine beetle or wildfires. Once stripped of their bark, the logs were cut to length and bound together to produce the bulk of the pavilion. These large masses of timber make up a series of lounging surfaces, as well as the expansive cantilevering canopy and the column cladding.  That canopy is comprised of specially configured hexagonal bundles suspended from an AECOM-engineered steel frame. This seemingly straightforward construction method has been the focus of Kéré’s office for a number of years and involves a title collaboration between architect and craftspeople. For Xylem, Kéré worked with local architects of record Gunnstock Timber Frames, who also served as wood fabricators for the project. Gunnstock Timber Frames is also responsible for the other buildings on the Tippet Rise main campus. Spaces for small groups or individuals were shaped and carved into the masses of logs as if they were a single volume, providing a cool space to sit and lounge in any number of positions.  The smoothed wood formations are dappled with light throughout the day, as sunlight slips between the gaps in the bundles of overhead timber and the steel frame. The careful positioning of the pavilion also directs views out to the often-dramatic setting sun, while maintaining a sense of enclosure in other directions. In its current state, the freshly constructed pavilion emits a fresh pine scent, which adds to the pleasant experience of being in the naturalistic surroundings. “The first instinct is not to consider this plot, why not build out there,” said Kéré as he discussed the siting of the pavilion with AN, while pointing out to the vast landscape. “We realized though, we had a chance to deal with this site, and respect the trees, and even to increase the feeling you have while listing to the water. Here you can focus on the sunset.”  
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Snøhetta reveals a Honolulu arts complex sculpted by water

The Oslo- and New York-based Snøhetta have unveiled their master plan for the historic Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, a major arts and cultural venue on the island of Oahu. Conceived in collaboration with AECOM and local firm WCIT, the scheme encompasses renovations to the existing site and the addition of a new performance and exhibition hall, sports pavilion, and parking structure alongside a revisioning of the public space within the complex. Together, these changes emphasize a connection to water within the community and local landscape. Originally constructed in 1964, the 22-acre Blaisdell Center served as a memorial for Hawaii’s veterans and war heroes until 2016, when the City of Honolulu undertook efforts to modernize the existing structures and update the site to meet the needs of the ever-growing city. The proposal is grounded in three core concepts: gathering community, celebrating culture, and, most crucially, the Hawaiian term ho‘okahe wai, meaning “activate water.” The core addition to the new master plan is the combined 1,500-seat performance hall and exhibition hall, wrapped in a terra-cotta screen that borrows from the breeze block facades used across Honolulu and Waikiki. The combined facilities rest atop a shared, stratified basalt-clad base that opens to reveal an enveloping wood interior. That includes a performance space, a joint lobby with the exhibition hall, and interspersed outdoor lobbies that connect with the large terrace. Drawing on the significant role water plays in Hawaiian culture, the structure’s lifted terraces and the subterranean service core allows for a series of filtering pools and waterfalls, a fountain, an extensive stormwater management system, and renovations to the existing fish pond to stitch the historic and contemporary aspects together. These water features and gardens are part of a “broader system that supports a variety of outdoor performance and recreation activities,” explained Snøhetta in a press release, with the central goal of creating unique communal public gathering spaces throughout the site. Also included in the proposal are refurbishments to the original Concert Hall—which currently houses the Honolulu Opera, Symphony Orchestra and more—to expand its seating capacity, as well as enclosing the existing open-air arcade of the scalloped arena in vertical louvers to form an interior space along the perimeter. The Neal S. Blaisdell Center marks the Snøhetta’s first realized project in Hawaii, following their 2014 proposal for the Obama Presidential Center.
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AECOM chosen to oversee design-build of Rikers replacement towers

A joint team of AECOM and the Philadelphia-based construction consulting firm Hill International has been tapped by the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) to oversee the design and construction of the four borough-based jail towers that will replace Rikers Island. The pair was awarded a $107.4 million contract to administer the four teams that will build the new jails, one team for each location. Once complete, the four new jail towers will each be expected to hold approximately 1,500 beds, as well as rehabilitative and reentry programs, counseling, educational, and health components, as well as community space, at a total cost of $8.7 billion. If the new jails in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan move ahead, they would be the city’s first design-build projects. The DDC issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a Program Management Consultant team in October of 2018 for the borough-based jails project. AECOM touts that the company is no stranger to building correctional facilities, and the company’s broad architecture and engineering experience makes it a good fit for design-build, where the architects and builders work in tandem to realize the project. The AECOM-Hill team will work off of a framework first devised by Perkins Eastman, which, along with 17 subcontractors, laid out the potential sites and space requirements for the replacement jails. Their final determination was that the city should refurbish existing buildings or build new jails close to the central courthouses in each borough so that inmates could easily make their court appearances. Of course, the plan hasn’t been without its detractors. All four jails are being moved through the Uniform Land Use Review Process at once in an effort to close Rikers as fast as possible, but residents have been pushing back against erecting new jails in their neighborhoods, and clashing with carceral activists. At the time of writing, four community boards have voted against the plan (Community Board 1 rejected building a 45-story jail tower at 125 White Street on Tuesday), although their votes are nonbinding.
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In Buffalo, fired-clay terra-cotta facade systems take a leap forward

For the third year in a row, manufacturer Boston Valley Terra Cotta (BVTC) and the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning (UB/a+p) in upstate New York hosted the Architectural Ceramics Assemblies Workshop (ACAW). The weeklong event is a gathering of architects, engineers, and artists and offers a fast-paced opportunity for attendees to get their hands dirty physically testing the capabilities of terra-cotta design. Other sponsors of the gathering include Western New York’s Alfred University, an institution with expertise in glass and ceramics, and Rigidized Metals Corporation, a producer of deep-textured metal for exterior and interior cladding, among other products. “Architects designing with industrially produced ceramic components may have little material understanding of clay for large-scale production, while most artists trained in ceramics may have few opportunities to explore the medium at a scale beyond the individual object,” said Bill Pottle, BVTC’s Director of Business Development and organizer of the gathering. “At ACAW, architects, engineers, and educators collaborate with designers and manufacturers in order to deepen their understanding of designing with architectural terra-cotta.” BVTC was founded in 1889 as Boston Valley Pottery, a brick and clay pot manufacturing facility located on the outskirts of Buffalo, New York. The Krouse family purchased the facility in 1981 and transformed it into a cutting-edge architectural terra-cotta factory with a global footprint. Currently, projects range from the restoration of New York’s Woolworth Building to the cladding of Morris Adjmi Architect’s 363 Broadway and Kohn Peterson Fox’s One Vanderbilt. Keynote speakers, many of them workshop attendees, included Anne Currier, a clay sculptor and professor; Dr. William M. Carty, a ceramics professor at Alfred University; Christine Jetten, a ceramics and glazing consultant; Gerd Hoenicke, Director of Pre-Construction Services at Schüco; Matthew Krissel, partner at KieranTimberlake; Craig Copeland, associate partner at Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects; and Christopher Sharples, principal at SHoP Architects. This year, over 60 attendees participated in the workshop, which emphasized the role of pre-design and research at the early stages of a design project. Both the number of attendees and the overarching objectives of the workshop have evolved since its 2016 inauguration. The first event was largely a sandbox tutorial, featuring 20 attendees learning the basics of terra-cotta production. In its second year, ACAW and its 40 attendees focused on the bioclimatic function of terra-cotta in contemporary design and the retrofitting of structures. This year, building upon their experience at previous workshops, the attendees, divided into six teams, began researching and developing their prototypes in March. Designs were submitted to BVTC prior to the conference for prefabrication. Throughout the week, the teams received technical support from both BVTC and UB/a+p.
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Detroit's bridge to Canada ready for construction but faces political challenges

The Gordie Howe International Bridge, a six-lane span between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, is set to begin construction this fall after the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) selected a team to design and build the structure. Bridging North America, an architecture, engineering, and construction 'whos-who' team including ACS Infrastructure Canada Inc., Dragados Canada Inc., Fluor Canada Ltd., AECOM, RBC Dominion Securities Inc., Carlos Fernandez Casado S.L/FHECOR Ingenieros Consultores, S.A., Moriyama and Teshima Architects, and Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects, LLP, will oversee construction of the $3.7 billion bridge. The WDBA touted the bridge’s benefits in a project update on July 5. The Detroit-Windsor crossing is currently serviced by four separate crossings and accounts for 25 percent of the trade between the U.S. and Canada. Gordie Howe is supposed to streamline entry and exit across both countries for the 2.6 million trucks that make the crossing annually. The 1.5-mile-long span would be the largest cable-stayed bridge in North America and would be supported by two enormous, A-shaped structural towers. In addition to the six lanes for vehicles, three in each direction, bike lanes have been planned for the side of the bridge facing Detroit. The bridge project includes new ports of entry on both borders and a new connection to I-75. Not everyone is on board with speeding up the flow of goods from Canada. Reflecting the sometimes tumultuous relationship that the Trump administration has had with America's neighbor to the north, owners of the nearby Ambassador Bridge, the Moroun family, are reportedly trying to kill the project. The Ambassador Bridge currently handles 60 to 70 percent of truck traffic across the Detroit River, and the Canadian Government, owners of the WDBA, have stipulated that the Ambassador Bridge will need to be torn down once the Gordie Howe is complete. In response, the Morouns have been buying commercial airtime on Washington, D.C.-area Fox News stations in an attempt to influence Trump to scrap the Gordie Howe. The family has also been trying to get the Trump administration to inject the Gordie Howe into NAFTA negotiations and to pressure the Canadian government to drop its requirement that the Ambassador Bridge be dismantled. The Morouns are also fighting to keep the Michigan Department of Transportation from using eminent domain to acquire the land it needs to build a 167-acre port-of-entry in Detroit’s Delray neighborhood. The WDBA is still negotiating contract details with Bridging North America, and if everything proceeds as planned, work on the Gordie Howe should begin by the end of September.
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Zaha Hadid Architects paid women employees about 20 percent less in 2017

Following a 2017 change to U.K. law that required firms with 250 or more employees to report their gender pay gaps, Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) has released data showing their female employees were paid 20.86 percent less on average in 2017. The firm’s pay gap reflect a general trend across the industry, although some firms have an average pay gap as low as ten percent, according to the Architect’s Journal. Through an in-house report produced by ZHA (available here), the firm compared the median incomes earned by both men and women–the middle-most figure–to calculate the pay disparity. Men were paid 20.86 percent more on average and received bonuses 64.94 larger on average, while only 75.6 percent of women received a bonus in 2017 versus 84.05 percent of men at the studio. Across the firm’s 310 U.K. employees, 37 percent are women. ZHA has chalked this imbalance up to the higher percentage of men in leadership positions, who have been with the firm the longest and command bonuses that are tied to the company’s revenue. According to the report:
“This pay gap exists because [a] higher proportion of our longest-serving team members who grew the practice with Zaha Hadid over the past 30 years are male and have continued to lead the company since her passing in 2016. We therefore currently have a smaller proportion of women than men in higher paid senior positions.”
In an effort to address these imbalances, ZHA has increased the company’s maternity pay and partnered with the Architect’s Journal’s Women in Architecture forum. A mentorship program has also been established throughout the firm. Still, even as firms are motivated by public exposure to address the imbalances in pay between men and women, studies have shown that the pay gap is widening. Foster + Partners, AECOM, and other big names have disclosed similar figures, though they claim that the imbalance also results from having more men at the top and not as an equal pay issue. Foster + Partners has, for their part, also committed to broadening gender diversity at the senior level, while AECOM pledged to create a more inclusive workforce. Transparency in the field has become a pressing topic as of late, as more and more women have been coming forward with their experiences regarding harassment, discrimination, and general misconduct. A full list of U.K. companies who have disclosed their pay and bonus gap data is available here. Companies have until April 4 to disclose their pay gap report, and more industry figures will be forthcoming.
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Montreal to begin construction on massive automated light rail

After years of deliberation, Montreal’s regional light rail has been given the go-ahead to begin engineering and construction. Reseau Express Metropolitain (REM) is a fully automated, $5.3 billion light rail project consisting of 26 stations spread out over an approximately 40-mile electrified network. Upon completion, the REM will be the fourth largest automated light rail line in the world after Singapore, Dubai, and Vancouver. NouvLR General Partnership, which includes multinational engineering firms SNC-Lavalin and AECOM, is leading the construction and future operations of the network. The architecture and design of the future stations result from a collaboration between award-winning firms, Perkins+Will, Lemay, and Bisson Fortin. As reported by the Global Construction Review, the new light rail network will establish a comprehensive rapid transport link between downtown Montreal, the international Aeroport-Montreal Trudeau, and the suburban areas of South Shore, West Island, and North Shore. The four branches of the REM will consist of surface-level, underground and overhead routes, serviced by an initial fleet of 240 cars. The 26 stations will have 260-foot platforms, universal access facilities, and a number of intermodal connections to the city’s bus and commuter rail networks. Although REM will be a network independent of the Montreal Metro, the city’s existing public transit system, the two bodies will share four stations within the city’s center. With Greater Montreal boasting a population of over four million, the seamless integration of regional rail with local rapid transit has the capacity to dramatically boost economic growth within the city. The CDPQ estimates that REM could attract $4 billion in private real-estate investment and reduce congestion-related costs by $1.5 billion. Construction is slated to begin in April 2018, with an expected completion date of 2021. However, there are significant hurdles to overcome before construction begins, such as making the necessary land purchases. According to Business Insider, CDPQ will consult local communities and host urban planning competitions to insure that initiatives surrounding the new stations integrate into their neighborhoods and support local residents. Funding for the project derives from a mix of government entities and state corporations. CDPQ Infra will provide $2.35 billion as well as cover any cost overruns, the Governments of Quebec and Canada will provide $1 billion each, the public utility corporation Hydro Quebec will contribute $230 million, and the Montreal Transit Corporation will chip in $405 million. The REM is not the only ambitious infrastructure project undertaken in Canada recently. On December 17, Toronto opened the largest expansion of its subway system in decades. Although Toronto’s 5.3-mile extension of its subway network falls under the purview of the municipal Toronto Transit Commission, it similarly ties the urban core to the suburban periphery.