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.
Posts tagged with "AECOM":
Don't look now, but LAX—the airport everyone loves to hate—is starting to complete its major makeover. The biggest change is the brand new $1.9 billion (yes, billion) addition to the Tom Bradley International Terminal, designed by Fentress Architects and unveiled in 2008. Its curving roofline, emulating waves breaking on the nearby beach, pops up behind the original Tom Bradley structure, which itself was recently renovated (for the cost of $723 million) by Leo A Daly. Inside, the soaring new terminal is comprised of echoing arches and massive vaults forming a 110-foot-tall Great Hall, which beams natural light through large windows and clerestories. The terminal also includes 150,000 square feet of new retail and dining. The entire new facility, including large new concourses, security facilities, light wells, and more retail, measures 1.2 million square feet, which doubles the space of the existing Tom Bradley terminal. This is just the tip of the iceberg. LAX's overall Capital Improvements Program budget is—wait for it—$4.1 billion, including a new Central Utility Plant, additional terminal renovations, and restoration of the Theme Building. Perhaps the most noticeable change just opened last night: AECOM's new roadway enhancements, including new LED light ribbons above roadways, sculptural, Y-shaped light poles, and fancy new metallic canopies outside of Tom Bradley. Watch for more details in the next West Coast issue of The Architect's Newspaper.
Zaha Hadid is on a stadium kick of late. Work has already begun for the design of a 2022 FIFA World Cup Stadium to be built in Qatar by Zaha Hadid Architects and AECOM. The 45,000-seat stadium is meant to visually embody an oasis and will be built 12 miles southeast of capital-city, Doha. The stadium will be built alongside historical buildings, including mosques and archeological sites, and its design looks to mediate between modern sports facility design and the historic context. Hadid has also taken the unrelenting heat that characterizes the region into the stadium's design by including cooling technology and climate control systems. The stadium will also be outfitted with a spa, an aquatic center and other sporting facilities. The facility is designed to be reduced in scale after the World Cup games to a final capacity of 25,500 seats. [Via Designboom.]
How many Americans know that the Eisenhower Memorial will be the largest presidential memorial in Washington, D.C.? Or that it will be using untested, experimental elements for the first time? Or that it will cost nearly as much to build as the neighboring memorials to Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson combined? These basic facts are still not widely known because the current design has emerged from a planning process that limited rather than encouraged public participation. It has also led directly to a controversy that has stalled the project in regulatory and political limbo and left its supporters and critics without common ground. We need public input to find the consensus that this and every memorial needs. At least one federal agency is already working toward that outcome. Recently the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC), which reviews all major physical changes to the District of Columbia, called for more public feedback before it will decide whether to approve the current design. In September, it refused to hear the Eisenhower Memorial Commission’s (unannounced) request for preliminary design approval and published its application online. This was the first full public disclosure regarding the Eisenhower Memorial, and it reveals practical as well as principled reasons for the NCPC’s delay. These include unresolved technical questions about the design’s main feature, a set of suspended steel “tapestries” eight stories tall, and a record of official doubts about their size and placement. The Commission of Fine Arts has even suggested eliminating them altogether. The current design is neither as feasible nor as popular as the Eisenhower Memorial Commission has represented it to be. It won’t be cheap, either. The cost of the Eisenhower Memorial is $142 million, a huge increase over its original budget of $55 to $75 million, which was comparable to those of previous presidential memorials. The skyrocketing cost follows a familiar pattern with architect Frank Gehry, the memorial’s designer. The final cost of many of his buildings exceeds their original budgets, sometimes several times over. Typically, asthese buildings are private, wealthy donors and institutions pick up the additional cost. But the Eisenhower Memorial is public, which means we, the taxpayers,will be paying for it. Do we realize we are being asked to commit an open-ended budget to an experimental design? Public debate has been forestalled as well as squelched. The Eisenhower Memorial Commission rejected established practice to choose its architect through a process that excluded public participation. It considered only registered architects to design the memorial, whom it alerted on one government website. The Commission evaluated these architects on the basis of their reputations and experience, criteria that whittled away all but established contenders. The drawbacks of this closed process, moreover, are well known. The only other time it was tried, for the World War II Memorial, it had to be abandoned after a public outcry over its exclusive and undemocratic character. The Eisenhower Memorial Commission’s decision to revive this discredited process was so unusual that it is the subject of a Congressional investigation by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa. A public memorial conceived in this closed and secretive fashion is unlikely to become a unifying national symbol. We should return to the established democratic tradition rejected by the Eisenhower Memorial Commission. Our national memorials are typically designed through open public competitions, which consider anonymous designs from anyone who wants to submit one. This process echoes and reinforces our democratic political process, which helps explain why we keep using it, from the White House and the U.S. Capitol to four of the last five memorials built on the National Mall and all three of the national September 11th memorials. The current impasse over this memorial shows what happens in a democratic culture of competing ideas when consensus is hoped for at the end rather than planned for from the beginning. No one debates, however, that such consensus is necessary, and we should find paths to it wherever we can. The NCPC has now provided one. The public has the opportunity and the responsibility to make its opinion known. Sam Roche is a writer and a lecturer at the University of Miami School of Architecture. He is the spokesman for Right by Ike: Project for a New Eisenhower Memorial.
Friday marked Designight 2012—AIA Chicago’s annual awards gala—which brought nearly 1,000 members of the area’s design community together at Navy Pier to recognize 39 projects in four awards categories: Distinguished Building, Interior Architecture, Divine Detail, and Sustainability Leadership. John Ronan’s Poetry Foundation; Perkins+Will’s Universidade Agostinho Neto in Luanda, Angola; Sheehan Partners’ Facebook Data Center in Prineville, Ore.; and David Woodhouse Architects’ Richard J. Daley Library IDEA Commons in Chicago (featured in the October Midwest issue of AN Midwest) were among the repeat winners of the night. Helmut Jahn accepted a lifetime achievement award, calling on the designers present to imagine a better future and then “make that future happen.” On behalf of his firm, Jahn also formally adopted the changes reported earlier—a new name, JAHN, and the ascension of Francisco Gonzalez-Pulido to share design leadership with Jahn. Click on a thumbnail to launch the slideshow. The full list of winners and all 262 projects entered into the competition can be found on AIA Chicago's website.
In September, AN reported on the three proposals to replace Los Angeles' iconic but crumbling Sixth Street Viaduct by HNTB, AECOM, and Parsons Brinckerhoff. The three teams have notably added pedestrian amenities and adjacent lush landscaping to the 3,500-foot-long cable-stayed span. While the renderings were compelling for each design, these video renderings fly the viewer in and around each proposal for a more detail view of what might soon be built in LA. Take a look. Courtesy AECOM Courtesy Parsons Brinckerhoff Courtesy HNTB [Via Curbed LA.]
The Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering has announced three finalists in an international design competition for the $401 million Sixth Street Viaduct Replacement Project. The three finalists—AECOM, HNTB, and Parsons Brinckerhoff—will be asked to design an “iconic” cable-stayed bridge across the LA River between the LA Arts District and Boyle Heights. The project is complicated by overhead high voltage lines, a change of alignment that will remove a kink in the roadway, and numerous right of way and jurisdiction issues near the river. The bridge—one of the city’s most famous structures and a frequent subject of film crews for commercials and movies—is dying a slow death from “concrete cancer” (aka, Alkali-Silica Reaction), much to the chagrin of preservationists who fought for years to save the structure. The city culled ARUP, Parsons, and SOM from the competition before advancing to the final stage. The finalists will launch a citywide tour or sorts to present their proposals for the replacement project in September. The full schedule for the proposal presentation is available here. A final decision about the winning design team is expected in October.
We learn from our friends at Curbed that Los Angeles' Sixth Street Viaduct Competition, replacing one of the most famous—and fragile—landmarks in LA, has a shortlist. The 3,500-foot-long, art deco span was recently deemed beyond repair, and the winner will build a $401 million, cable-stayed bridge in its place. The teams, all present at an LA Bureau of Engineering meeting last night, are AECOM, ARUP, HNTB, Parsons, Parsons Brinckerhoff, and SOM. Three of those teams will present their plans in September, with a winner chosen in October.
LA’s proposed 44-acre Hollywood Central Park, which would be set atop the capped 101 Freeway between Santa Monica and Hollywood boulevards, made new friends in Washington last week, according to the LA Daily News. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood met with local congressman Adam Schiff and Friends of the Hollywood Central Park (FHCP), a non-profit formed in 2008 to raise funds for the park. LaHood expressed interest in the project, and provided insights on its development and possible benefits. He also offered to have members of his staff contribute to its planning process. As noted in the FHCP website, the park would be built on a deck constructed over the below grade portion of the freeway in that area, allowing easy park access from adjacent streets. FHCP stated that the “44-acre street level urban park allows us to rethink and reimagine our physical environment," adding that the final design would incorporate ideas developed by students at the USC School of Architecture's Master Landscape Studio. AECOM and The Olin Studio have also completed studies for the project. Park features would include “an amphitheater, walking trails, a dog park, a children’s playground, water features, recreational facilities and much more.” The AECOM feasibility study estimates the cost of building the park at $949 million; a more recent cost estimate by Psomas Engineering puts the total development cost closer to $1.15 billion. It's among several freeway cap parks proposed in the city. While $2 million in funding for the park’s EIR was approved by the CRA/LA Board in December 2011, the recent banishment of California's redevelopment agencies puts the funding in question. FHCP board members are working to resolve the issue and say they are moving forward with development. Once the EIR is completed, the feasibility report estimates that the park would take four years to complete.
BD Online is reporting that architect Zaha Hadid has been shortlisted for the $1 billion new home of the Iraqi parliament. The project will be built on a site of the former Al Muthana airport once slated for Saddam Hussein's partially constructed super-mosque in central Baghdad. The finalists haven't officially been made public, but Iraqi-born Hadid is on the list along with Buro Happold and AECOM. Designs are due in July and a winner will be announced at the end of the year.
SOM returns to LA with a new office to be led by Michael Mann, Paul Danna, and Jose Palacios, all coming en masse from AECOM. The new studio will start out with ten to 40 people in a temporary office, with plans to eventually find a permanent home in downtown LA. The Boston Society of Architects announced the departure of executive director Margaret Wigglesworth. Wigglesworth, who only assumed the ED role in February 2011 and oversaw BSA's move to a new home, will be returning to the commercial real estate sector. In Chicago, Crain's reports that FGB, an architecture firm based in Oak Brook, has acquired Deerfield-based SRBL, specialists in schools and institutional work, to create a 95-person strong office. On January 18, John Hatfield will join Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens as executive director. Hatfield leaves the New Museum of Contemporary Art, where he has served as deputy director since 2008. Fore Solutions, a green building consulting firm, has joined Thorton Thomasetti to create the Thorton Thomsetti Building Sustainability practice area, to be led by Gunnar Hubbard.
AN has heard on good authority that three high level architects from AECOM have left that firm to open a Los Angeles office of SOM. SOM's major west coast presence has long been in its San Francisco office. This story has been updated, please click here to read the full story.