Posts tagged with "AECOM":

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AECOM Urban SOS: All Systems Go Competition winners announced

Three graduate design students at the University of Pennsylvania—Daniel Lau, Joseph Rosenberg, and Lindsay Rule—have claimed the top spot in AECOM’s sixth annual Urban SOS competition. Their project, called The THIRD Reserve, is an urban landscape concept that would, in theory, allow Singapore's food production system to become self-sufficient. The team takes home $7,500 in prize money and has access to up to $25,000 to support the project. Encouraging cross-disciplinary thought to deal with contemporary urban issues, the Urban SOS program aims to provide design education and strives to help communities in need.   Co-organized by AECOM, Van Alen Institute, and the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities (100RC), this year’s “All Systems Go” brief asked students to develop site-specific ideas to solve urban food/water systems in one of the 100 Resilient Cities locations. With juries in twenty offices worldwide, AECOM chose three finalist teams, later ordered by a final jury comprising design leaders from AECOM, Van Alen Institute, 100 RC, and AN's own West Coast Editor Mimi Zeiger. “Making cities more resilient to change is core to what we do at AECOM," Michael S. Burke, AECOM chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “We believe that tomorrow’s cities will require holistic, integrated thinking—like that advanced by UrbanSOS participants in this competition—to prepare for the challenges ahead and to prioritize for the long-term what projects they pursue, develop and fund." In second place, Bennett Lambert and Elizabeth Reed Yarina from MIT took home $5,000 for their scheme, WATERPOWER, in Quito, Ecuador. Third prize went to Michel Liang from Berkeley City College, Pin Udomcharoenchaikit from University of the Aegean, and Sunantana Nuanla-or and Jacky Wah from Louisiana State University. Their proposal for CANAL SOS in Bangkok, earned $2,500. “This year’s entries were particularly strong and deep, coming from universities around the world,” Bill Hanway, competition chair from AECOM, said in a statement. “We commend all of the finalists and all of the entrants for their efforts and innovative thoughts on improving urban communities and their commitment to practice cross-disciplinary design.”  
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Jeddah hopes a high-design transit network by Norman Foster can transform the Saudi city into a transit capital

British design firm Foster + Partners recently inked a deal reportedly worth upwards of $80 million to master plan a city-wide public transportation network in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Currently, just 12 percent of the population resides within a 10-minute walk from a transportation hub, and just 1–2 percent of commuters use public transportation. But can high design lead to higher ridership? The new network will encourage pedestrianization with shaded streets in deference to the sweltering climate, while the ambitious transportation grid will introduce a 42-mile light rail metro system and public spaces at key locations below the elevated tracks. The grid will also build on the existing ferry, bus, and cycling networks, and this three-line network will operate from 22 stations. In addition, a sea transport network with 10 stations will be built along the Corniche to boost tourism. The overarching "architectural vision" by the British firm will address everything from station design to trains to branding, all the while with careful regard for the “high-density, compact urban model of Al Balad,” Foster + Partners wrote in a statement, referring to Jeddah's historic district. “Each station node will create a new neighborhood with a unique characteristic.” The Norman Foster–owned firm has set a goal for a 2020 completion date and 2022 opening. According to the Saudi Gazette, the new transportation network could reduce traffic by 30 percent within the next 20 years. Also on board for the project are architecture and engineering firm AECOM, which signed an 18-month contract in May 2014 to provide pre-program management consultancy services. Meanwhile, French railway engineering firm Systra was appointed in July to provide preliminary engineering designs.
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Bush Terminal Piers Park finally opens in Sunset Park, Brooklyn

Finally. After years and year of delays, Bush Terminal Piers Park in Sunset Park, Brooklyn is open. DNAinfo reported that the opening comes more than 10 years after people started talking about turning the brownfield site into a public space. The long-anticipated park includes a waterfront esplanade, wetlands, tidal ponds, lawns, and athletic fields designed by AECOM and Adrian Smith Landscape Architecture. There is also a comfort station by Turett Collaborative Architects. But after all this time waiting for a park, Sunset Park residents won't actually have that many hours to use it. Until March, the park is only open every day until 4:00p.m. In the Spring, it's open until 5:00p.m., and over the summer, closing time is pushed back to 8:00p.m., which is still five hours earlier than New York City parks typically close. In response to AN's question about the park's early curfew, a spokesperson for the New York City Parks Department said hours are subject to change, but are currently set according to "daylight and security." So for the foreseeable future, Sunset Park's new park closes just before Sunset. The official ribbon-cutting ceremony takes place on Wednesday.
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AECOM's Merger Mania: Los Angeles–based firm doubles in size

As the economy continues to hum along, it's time once again for merger mania. By far the most significant example is Los Angeles–based construction giant, AECOM, which in the span of just a couple of months has more than doubled its size. In past years the company has bought firms like DMJM, EDAW, Ellerbe Becket, and Tishman, but it's been nothing like this year's spree. In July, AECOM announced it would buy construction and engineering company URS Corporation for around $6 billion, bringing its total workforce to around 95,000, up from 45,000. The merger is expected to go through in late October. Weeks later it said it would purchase Hunt Construction Group to join its construction services business. More than 70 years old, Hunt adds more than 700 employees to the company. With these acquisitions, AECOM—which among other things is overseeing the planning for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio and the 2018 World Cup in Moscow—will have the highest revenue of any publicly traded company in the city of Los Angeles. “To say the least, this is a significant acquisition for AECOM, which is acquiring a company that is about 40 percent larger based on our 2014 revenue projections,” Adam Thalhimer, analyst at BB&T Capital Markets, told Bloomberg. As with any merger, most of the companies' departments are strategizing how to combine and streamline resources. It's unclear how this will impact the company's architecture division, which pales in size to most divisions at just around 700 employees worldwide, confirmed company spokesperson Erik Miller. At a company that specializes in everything from engineering  to oil and gas exploration, that's a drop in the bucket. "AECOM and URS are currently going through an integration process with the goal of creating the most efficient structure to meet our clients’ needs. The architects within both companies are engaged in this process, though it’s too early to share a definitive solution," confirmed Bill Hanway, Executive Vice President, Global Architecture, at AECOM.
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14th Annual Serpentine Pavilion Opens in Kensington Gardens, Designed by Smiljan Radic

On June 26, London's Serpentine Gallery opened its 14th annual Serpentine Pavilion in Kensington Gardens. Designed by Chilean architect Smiljan Radic, the pavilion is made up of an organically formed semi-transparent fiberglass shell structure perched atop giant boulders sourced from a local quarry. Over the next four months, visitors will be encouraged to interact with the 1,700-square-foot installation, which is occupied by a cafe and multi-purpose event space. On select Friday nights from July through September, the pavilion will serve as a stage for the gallery's Park Nights series of site-specific events, which combine art, poetry, music, film, and theory, including installations by emerging artists Lina Lapelyte, Hannah Perry, and Heather Phillipson. Radic's design follows Sou Fujimoto's cloud-like 2013 installation, which attracted nearly 200,000 visitors, the most of any Serpentine Pavilion to-date. For the second year in a row, global design services giant AECOM provided engineering services for the project. In previous years, such architectural luminaries as Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel, and Herzog & de Meuron with Ai Weiwei have designed the pavilion. Radic had this to say about his design in a statement:
The Serpentine Pavilion 2014 continues a history of small romantic constructions seen in parks or large gardens, the so-called follies that were popular from the late sixteenth century to the beginning of the nineteenth century. In general, follies appear as ruins or have been worn away by time, displaying an extravagant, surprising and often archaic form. These characteristics artificially dissolve the temporal and physical limits of the constructions into their natural surroundings. The 2014 Pavilion takes these principles and applies them using a contemporary architectural language. The unusual shape and sensual qualities of the Pavilion have a strong physical impact on the visitor, especially juxtaposed with the classical architecture of the Serpentine Gallery. From the outside, visitors see a fragile shell in the shape of a hoop suspended on large quarry stones. Appearing as if they had always been part of the landscape, these stones are used as supports, giving the pavilion both a physical weight and an outer structure characterised by lightness and fragility. The shell, which is white, translucent and made of fibreglass, contains an interior that is organised around an empty patio at ground level, creating the sensation that the entire volume is floating. The simultaneously enclosed and open volumes of the structure explore the relationship between the surrounding Kensington Gardens and the interior of the Pavilion. The floor is grey wooden decking, as if the interior were a terrace rather than a protected interior space. At night, the semi-transparency of the shell, together with a soft amber-tinted light, draws the attention of passers-by like lamps attracting moths.
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Delays Plague New Waterfront Park in Brooklyn's Sunset Park

As Brooklyn Bridge Park opens two new piers, a planned green space five miles south continues to sit empty. Work began on Bush Terminals Piers Park in Sunset Park in 2009—just months after Brooklyn Bridge Park got started—but has been behind construction fencing ever since. The park was slated to start opening last fall, but that did not happen. And it's still not clear when it will. The Brooklyn Bureau reported that community members are becoming increasingly frustrated with the delays and the lack of explanation they are getting from the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC). At a recent community board meeting, representative from the EDC reportedly said they are “close” on completing the first phase of the park. Ninety-five percent there, they said. The slow pace was blamed on problems with construction and permitting. When the park finally does open, the formerly brownfield site will offer tidal ponds, wetlands, recreational space, picnic areas, and sports fields designed by AECOM and Adrian Smith Landscape Architecture. There is also a sustainable comfort station by Turett Collaborative Architects. But all of that is less than what was originally planned. “There’s no children’s playground as planned, nor an environmental center that the original plan envisioned. Bases for lighting have been installed, but not the fixtures,” reported the Bureau. As for Phase  2 of the park, there is no word on that at all.
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AECOM Surprise: Zellner Named Head of Southern California Architecture

peter-zellner-aecom-01 Our friends at one of the largest firms in world, AECOM, have made a move we never anticipated: signing Peter Zellner, known as a maverick architect of galleries and houses, to be their new head of design in Southern California. Zellner said it best: "I think my hire suggests they want to move things in a different direction." Indeed it appears with the hire of Zellner and former SOM principal Ross Wimer that the firm is ready to further embrace design. (Photo: Courtesy Peter Zellner)
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HOK to Restore London's Palace of Westminister

Palace of Westminister, courtesy Jeremy McKnight, Flickr The renewal project of one of Britain's most monumental buildings, and home to its two houses of parliament, has been entrusted to the team at HOK. The restoration of the Palace of Westminster will involve the short and long term repair and replacement strategies of existing building fabric and systems, as well as the scheduling of works while parliamentary activities are temporarily relocated. HOK will provide architecture and heritage conservation advice, in conjunction with Deloitte Real Estate and AECOM for real estate and engineering services respectively. ( Photo: Jeremy McKnight / Flickr)
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Calatrava Offers First Glimpse of Liberty Park at World Trade Center When Unveiling Church Design

The cat is out of the bag. An elevated park, covering over an acre of ground at the Word Trade Center site, will ascend 25 feet above Liberty Street in Lower Manhattan. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey had tried to keep the project—named Liberty Park—under wraps, but last month, Santiago Calatrava, the architect of the new St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, posted images of the building on his website, which also revealed the design of the adjacent park. The New York Times reported that the $50 million park, which will eventually overlook the National September 11 Memorial, will have multiple uses from a a forecourt for St. Nicholas to a verdant passageway between between the financial district and Battery Park City. It will also provide a practical function as a green rooftop covering the trade center's security center.

Joseph E. Brown, landscape architect and chief innovation officer of Aecom, will design the park, which will include 40 trees and shrubs, a curving balcony, several walkways, and a 300 foot long "living wall" composed of Japanese spurge, Baltic Ivy, among other plantings. It will also feature a grand staircase behind the church furnished with wooden benches and seating tiers.

Much of the design is subject to change, but construction on the park should be well on its way by early next year. The new St. Nicholas Church will barely resemble its former home that was destroyed on September 11th. The new structure will rise on a large bulkhead to cover the vehicle security center on Liberty Street. In stark contrast to the simplicity of the original building, the new structure gives a nod to the architectural heritage of Byzantine churches in Istanbul: the Hagia Sophia and the Church of the Holy Savior in Chora. According to the Times, Calatrava will design a dome with 40 ribs just like the Hagia Sophia, and detail the interior with "alternating bands of stone on the corners" which will "echo the walls of the Chora church." This decision to pay homage to the architectural tradition of religious institutions in Turkey is not only an aesthetic one. Many of these churches became places for Islamic worship at different points in history, and tailoring the design after these historic structures has greater and more meaningful implications about religious tolerance. Several years ago, protests ensured when a plan for an Islamic community center and mosque surfaced. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese struck a deal with Port Authority to lease the site for 99 years in exchange for allowing them to build at their original location on 155 Cedar Street.
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Ross Wimer to Lead AECOM Architecture

Architecture and Engineering giant AECOM  has taken a big step to bolster its architecture offerings with the appointment of  Ross Wimer, former  partner and design director at SOM Chicago, as the leader of its architecture practice in the Americas. Wimer was known for fighting for design at SOM, and he plans to do the same thing at AECOM, where architecture can be overshadowed by much larger, and more profitable work. "I think if you guide the whole firm toward design excellence that gets you better opportunities for design everywhere," said Wimer, who wants to bring a design focus not just to buildings but to transportation projects and other realms where design isn't always the first priority. He also wants to bring his expertise in designing tall buildings to a firm where the focus has been more horizontal. AECOM has 50 offices in the Americas, and the task of getting them all on the same page is another challenge that drew Wimer to the job, he told AN. "The goal now is to let everyone feel like they’re connected, rather than being a series of different silos that work independently," said Wimer, adding, a lot of offices are working in a collaborative way. The challenge is to get that to work even better than it is now." Of course Wimer is also excited to take advantage of "the scale of the operation and the breadth of the reach at the firm." AECOM is not just the world's largest architecture firm, but its also the world's largest engineering design firm, according to Engineering News Record. Meanwhile the competition between AECOM and SOM seems to be heating up. Before Wimer's move from SOM a number of AECOM partners bolted to start SOM's new office in Los Angeles.
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AECOM Selected To Design New Arena for the NBA's Sacramento Kings

AECOM, already busy working with Snøhetta on a basketball arena in San Francisco, has been chosen to design the new downtown basketball facility for the Sacramento Kings. Renderings for the  project, set to open by 2016, will not be released until the fall, but earlier images, released when the ownership team was still competing for the site, show a pillow-shaped, glass ringed structure with a steep seating bowl and, rare for such a facility, natural light. Outside, the designers hope to create "a grand civic space that we hope will serve as our region's 'community campfire,'" said team spokesperson Adam Keigwin. Turner will be the project's builder. The $448 million budget will be funded by a partnership between the Kings and the city of Sacramento. AECOM  also worked on the London 2012 Olympic Park and is designing the 2016 Rio Olympic Park. "We now have a world-class team in place," said Kings president Chris Granger in a statement. Hopefully their basketball team, which went 28-54 last season, will reach that level sometime soon as well.
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Gehry's Updated Eisenhower Memorial Design Gains Key Approval

Frank Gehry's design for the four-acre Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial in Washington D.C. has sparked controversy for its departure from traditional memorial design around the National Mall from the president's family and others, prompting a third-party design competition and calls for redesign from Congress. Now the beleaguered memorial is one step closer to reality as the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) voted 3-to-1 this month to approve an updated design with additional changes to proposed woven-metal tapestries that have generated most of the public outcry. Besides the tapestries, Gehry's design has been criticized for its scale and the presentation of the president's humble Midwestern upbringing. Situated at the base of Capitol Hill across Independence Avenue from the National Air and Space Museum, the contentious design, carrying a $142 million price tag, has undergone several revisions from its original design. The commission asked Gehry to remove two of the tapestries still remaining in the latest layout, a request Gehry was receptive to considering. Other changes reflected in the new memorial include reorienting the center of the public space to create a more-defined alleé directing views to the Capitol building and providing more emphasis to Eisenhower's wartime achievements, such as new quotes from his famous Guildhall Address. The CFA includes new Commissioner Elizabeth Meyer, Vice-Chair Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Alex Krieger, and Edwin Schlossberg.  Meyer, the only landscape architect on the commission, held the sole vote against approval of Gehry’s updated design. According to ASLA blog, the Dirt, she was not comfortable approving the design without reviewing it as a complete landscape plan, noting that the success of the memorial is tied to how it operates as a park and that the “architecture of the trees needs more time and refinement.” AECOM is working with Gehry on the memorial's landscape. The revised design now heads to the National Capital Planning Commission for its next approval, but uncertainty remains whether Congress will withhold funding for the $142 million project and force a redesign. Based on past expenditure, legislation to terminate Gehry’s plan, revamp the commission, and select a new design would cost $17 million, according to the Congressional Budgets Office.