One of Louisville’s largest architectural eyesores recently received a shiny upgrade by Kentucky-based firm EOP Architects and HOK Chicago. The Kentucky International Convention Center (KICC), a 960,000-square-foot facility located downtown in the heart of the state’s largest city, reopened to the public this month after a two-year, $207 million renovation. Thanks to a vision supported by the state, city, and the community, the glass-enclosed structure looks nothing like its dark, concrete-clad former self. The Brutalist building, long-despised by Louisville natives, now features a new transparent face along its western facade and includes improved public circulation spaces representing the structure’s new “extroverted personality,” according to HOK. The KICC has undergone several renovations since opening in 1977, but none of them were this dramatic. The architects collaborated with convention center specialist Donald Grinberg, FAIA, on the transformative design, updating its main entrance on Fourth Street and building a canopy with a colored lighting display to create a more welcoming experience for visitors. The glass panel exterior appears to undulate as the light shines on it throughout the day. Hovering over the sidewalk outside the property line, the upper-level floors provide sweeping views that are unattainable anywhere else in the building. EOP Architects’ design partner and co-founder Rick Ekhoff explained that the flowing transparent curtain wall is a nod to Louisville’s history as a river city, and the new canopy symbolizes its extensive park system and the many local landscapes designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. “We designed KICC to connect with the culture, people, and spirit of Louisville,” he said. “By incorporating the visual analogies to these images and making them a part of the story behind the design—even in an abstract way—it connected with the community from the very beginning.” Vertical oak wood paneling is a central design feature found throughout the bright interior and references the local bourbon distilleries that populate the Bluegrass State. The material starkly separates the “pre-function” gathering spaces—new areas for people to congregate before events—from the 40,000-square-foot ballroom and the 200,125 square feet of exhibit spaces. The redesign also included the addition of a 175-seat conference theater as well as new hybrid morning and evening restaurant called Oak & Brew. Peter Ruggiero, design principal at HOK’s Chicago practice, highlighted the much-improved wayfinding within the newly-renovated structure and the simplified circulation paths that open up the interiors to the outdoor spaces. “This structure was what I called an urban introvert,” he said. “It didn’t engage the city and was very inwardly focused. It spoke to the nature of how convention centers were built in big cities forty years ago. There were big pieces of the interior program that needed to be flexible and adapt to differently sized shows, exhibits, and venues, but we believed there was no reason why the circulation and gathering spaces needed to be part of this internalized world.” The architects decided to place those spaces outside the larger, main venues and expose them to the light afforded by the new clear facade. They also integrated a central stair, configured in the spirit of a grand staircase, according to Ruggiero, that doubles as a meeting point with bleacher-like seating for alternative, informal events. Uniquely-shaped skylights create puddles of light and interesting shadows throughout the circulation spaces. At night, the building becomes a lantern in the city and illuminates the downtown streetscape. According to Ekhoff, the new design has already impacted development in the area. He sees the city’s tourism increasing now that the center looks like an inviting place to visit and invest in. “If the city had a living room," Eckhoff said, "KICC would be it."
Posts tagged with "convention center":
The city of Memphis, Tennessee, will be 200 years old in 2019. In anticipation of that milestone, the city is investing in improvements throughout the downtown and along the Mississippi. Along with redeveloping the Mississippi Riverfront, Mud Island, and the Pinch District, the Memphis Cook Convention Center renovation is part of the much larger citywide Bicentennial Gateway Project. Led by the Memphis office of Looney Ricks Kiss (LRK) and Atlanta-based tvsdesign, the overhaul will affect the entire complex, including the neighboring Cannon Center for the Performing Arts. In the first week of the year, the City of Memphis filed for the project’s first construction permit, which lists the budget at $175 million. That money will be drawn from a 1.8 percent hotel tax and Tourism Development Zone (TDZ) funds gathered from the convention center’s surrounding neighborhood. The most dramatic changes to the convention center will come in the form of an expanded footprint and outdoor terraces with views to the river and downtown skyline. New glazed concourses and meeting rooms will increase breakout space while providing more views of the city. In the 125,000-square-foot main exhibition hall, new retractable ceiling lights and additional material upgrades will allow for a 40,000-square-foot secondary hall to be carved out from the west end. The number of breakout rooms will also be expanded from the current 30 to 52. Access to the building will be updated with the addition of a new grand entrance and a new sky bridge. The new grand entrance will open to the Main Street Trolley station and neighboring Sheraton Memphis Downtown Hotel. The sky bridge will connect the convention center to the Sheraton. Back-ofhouse access will also be improved with a redesign of the loading docks. The neighboring 2,100-seat Cannon Center for the Performing Arts will undergo a complete cosmetic update, as well as backstage improvements. Along with the performing arts, more public art will be brought to the complex through a partnership with ArtsMemphis and the Urban Art Commission, as well as private contributions. In order to establish these goals, the Memphis Meeting Planners Advisory Board met with convention and event planners from around the country. Along with this research, feasibility studies conducted in 2010 and 2011 found that redeveloping rather than moving or rebuilding the convention center would be more cost effective while achieving the same goals. Another advantage of not moving the complex is that through careful phasing, both the Convention Center and the Cannon Center will be able to host events throughout construction. Other portions of the city are set to be transformed through major infrastructural improvements in multiple neighborhoods, and TIF districts will be expanded to help pay for the improvements. With work beginning in earnest this year, Memphis will be a changed city by 2019.
Design plans are moving ahead on the convention center expansion in downtown Seattle with a design recommendation meeting scheduled for May 3rd. The Washington State Convention Center—which runs over Interstate 5 and holds large annual regional events like the February northwest garden show and the Emerald City ComiCon—opened in the spring of 1988. The just under 415,000 square foot center has reached capacity and has hired LMN Architects to add 440,000 square feet of convention space, 5 stories above ground, with underground parking (anywhere from 600-800 vehicles). The site for the expansion is about a block northeast at 1601 9th Avenue, what is currently the Convention Place bus station that routes buses through a bus tunnel. With more light rail coming in the near future and slated to use the bus tunnel, the city will make all buses run on the street by 2021. The convention center expansion plan requires demolishing the station. The project is part of what the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections is describing as a “planned community development component.” In 2014, the convention center also bought property on two additional blocks, with plans for mixed-use projects on each. There’s a proposal for a 29 story building with 6,000 square feet of ground floor retail space and 438 residences at 920 Olive Way (currently hosting two restaurants, a two story light rail transit facility, and parking lots). There’s also a planned 16 story office building on top of 11,000 square feet of commercial space at 1711 Boren Avenue (right now it’s a Honda dealership and car lot). Such a massive project is not without legal battles, however. The proposed construction timeline is on hold. Skanska and Hunt Construction, the hired contractor team, sued the convention center this March after the center dropped them from the project (reportedly to search for a cheaper firm). Earlier this April, the King County Superior Court issued a ruling: “King County Judge Beth Andrus on Wednesday denied Skanska-Hunt’s bid to be reinstated as the contractor, but granted the request to stop the convention center from starting to select a new contractor,” wrote the Seattle Times. “The question of whether the convention-center authority wrongly terminated Skanska-Hunt should be decided in a trial, beginning within 120 days, the judge ruled.” The total cost of the convention center project is estimated at $1.4 billion, with construction at $750 million. If the project moves beyond the lawsuit and finds a builder without delay, breaking ground could start early 2017, with an opening in 2020. On a side note, back in the fall of 2015, a Seattle firm proposed to cap a section of I-5 with a 2 mile long park that would run near the convention center expansion. At the moment, the project is just conceptual, but it would not be out of place close to Lawrence Halprin’s 1976 5.5 acre Freeway Park.
New York's enormous Javits Center could grow $1 billion larger with Cuomo's plan and FXFOWLE's design
As part of a package of proposals for his 2016 agenda, development on Manhattan's West Side will intensify. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently revealed a $1 billion plan to expand the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. The expansion, designed by New York–based FXFOWLE, calls for adding 1.2 million square feet of event and meeting space, as well as a four-story, 480,000-square-foot parking garage to house the 20,000 or so tractor-trailers that bring event supplies to and from the venue each year. The Javits Center, between West 34th and West 40th streets along 11th Avenue, is one of the nation's busiest convention centers. The state estimates that the convention center generated $1.8 billion in economic activity in 2014. Cuomo's proposal would add 1.2 million square feet of space to the 2.1 million-square-foot venue, increasing its size by 50 percent. Upgrades include 500,000 square feet of uninterrupted event space, as well as a 60,000-square-foot ballroom. The parking facility will improve pedestrian safety by diverting trucks from the streets surrounding the Javits Center into a central delivery area with 35 loading docks. The venue is aiming to up its current LEED Silver certification to LEED Platinum with energy-saving upgrades. 2014 renovations added a 6.75 acre green roof, new flooring, and a new facade. A 34,000-square-foot solar energy array, the largest on any public building in New York, will be installed to complement these upgrades. Additionally, a terrace with a 2,500 person capacity will be built to take advantage of sweeping Hudson River views. Construction is expected to begin in late 2016. See the gallery below for more images of the planned renovations.
Cincinnati's U.S. Bank Arena unveils major overhaul and expansion to stay relevant amid regional competition
A major renovation and expansion project planned for Cincinnati's U.S. Bank Arena could further change the face of the city's rapidly evolving riverfront. Nederlander Entertainment and AEG Facilities, the downtown arena’s owners, have not specified a cost or timeline for the project, but U.S. Bank will have to compete with a $70 million overhaul of Fifth Third Arena on the University of Cincinnati campus. Cincinnati architect Michael Schuster’s MSA Sport firm is leading the redesign of U.S. Bank, while Moody Nolan and Populous have the helm on the Fifth Third project. Writing in the Cincinnati Business Courier, Steve Watkins reported that the project may be an attempt to stave off arena irrelevance for Cincinnati, where the shadow of Louisville, Kentucky's Yum Center grows long:
I wrote in spring 2014 that the city needs a new or vastly renovated arena to compete with surrounding cities and lure many big-time events. At the time, some experts said Cincinnati will remain behind other cities without a brand-new facility. Peter Marrocco, vice president of business development and marketing at Walnut Hills-based HGC Construction, said a proper overhaul would cost $100 million, but even that might not work. “My concern is that’s not even going to get you up to par with Yum Center,” he said. “I don’t even think $100 million is going to be enough. We’d be putting a Band-Aid on a bleeding wound.”While the expansion adds only 500 regular concert seats, it will balloon the amount of club seats from 352 to 1,750. It will also add 40–60 suites in a new middle level closer to the stage. The lack of such suites apparently contributed to the arena losing its bid to host the 2016 Republican National Convention. (That convention will be held in Cleveland.) More images of the U.S. Bank Arena project, courtesy MSA Sport:
Here are three bold designs from winning teams that completely reimagine the Los Angeles Convention Center
The Los Angeles Convention Center is desperately in need of an overhaul. Architect Charles Luckman designed the original boxy structure in 1971 and James Ingo Freed added the glassy Annex in 1997. Today, both buildings lack the square footage and amenities to add up to a competitive venue. Centers in Las Vegas or Chicago eclipse LA’s meager 870,000 square feet by double or triple square footage. Indeed, in the decades since the venue was constructed the whole approach to convention center design has changed. The City of Los Angeles announced the three final teams in a design competition for a proposed renovation and expansion of the Los Angeles Convention Center: AC Martin and LMN Architects, Gensler and Lehrer Architects, and HMC Architects and Populous. The schemes, on public view at the convention center through June 4, reflect the need for not only a bigger, more contemporary venue, but for a full-service destination, not unlike nearby LA Live. As the South Park neighborhood continues to boom, renderings show connections between the older buildings across Pico Boulevard, and include landscaped outdoor spaces, bold supergraphics, and open-air entertainment areas equipped for concerts. Each design comes in under a budget of $350 million or less. A comparison to LA Live is no accident. AEG, developers of that venue as well as the Staples Center and the Ritz-Carlton/J.W. Marriott, were contracted to revamp the dumpy Convention Center as part of the defunct Farmers Field NFL stadium plan. The design competition was launched in late 2014 before AEG announced that it would no longer pursue the stadium project. As part of the larger “Expansion and Futurization Project” for the Los Angeles Convention Center, the City of Los Angeles' (led by the L.A. Department of Convention and Tourism Development and the Bureau of Engineering) competition is somewhat of a back-up plan to ensure that LA remains a draw. “Today, we’re taking a big step forward in investing in our future and bringing more business, more visitors, and more jobs to our city,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “I’m very pleased that with these functional and attractive designs, Los Angeles is closer to a Convention Center that reflects our city’s position as the global capital of creativity, innovation, and possibility.”
Nashville, long known more as a mecca for Country Music than a development hotspot, is enjoying a downtown resurgence. Projects like Music City Center and the redevelopment of the Tennessee capital's convention center are forging a new urban character for Nashville. The latest example is a new office tower that will stand among the city's tallest buildings. Work began last week on the $232.6 million, Perkins + Will–designed headquarters for Bridgestone Americas. The tire company is one of the largest private employers in downtown Nashville. Their move from existing offices near the airport brings 1,700 employees—600 of whom currently work out of state at facilities in Bloomingdale, Illinois, and Carmel, Indiana—into downtown Nashville's SoBro district. Named for its location south of Broadway, SoBro has seen rapid development in recent years, including tvsdesign's Music City Center—a 2.1-million-square-foot convention center with a wavy roof meant to evoke the rolling hills of Tennessee. The move also comes with a public sector price tag. Bridgestone's move qualifies for tens of millions of dollars in city and state tax incentives, as reported in the Tennesseean:
The transaction is contingent on $50 million in Metro incentives and an undisclosed package from the state that, according to sources familiar with the deal, is comparable to the city's commitment.At 30 stories the new tower would be among the city's tallest buildings. The last office tower built in Nashville was the Pinnacle at Symphony Center—a 29-story, LEED Gold building designed by Pickard Chilton and Everton Oglesby Architects that opened in 2010. Due in mid-to-late 2017, the new 514,000 square foot building will feature four parallel planes reaching up from a sleek, glassy facade.
Archtober Building of the Day #22 Jacob K. Javits Convention Center 655 West 34th Street FXFOWLE Epstein Designed by Pei Cobb in the early 1980s, the Jacob K. Javits Center had fallen into a considerable slump in the years following its debut. Plagued with structural problems, today’s Archtober tour leader and head of the building’s extensive overhaul, Bruce Fowle, began in the center’s Crystal Palace by showing photos of the space before his firm’s massive undertaking. He highlighted two of the worst features of the original structure—the dirty, impossible-to-clean glass and extensive water damage. Almost immediately after opening, large canvas “diapers” were constructed to catch the ever-leaking roof, costing the center nearly one million dollars a year to alleviate the constant influx of water. Bruce Fowle further explained that the original Javits' glass was too highly reflective, creating either a problematic glare or a dark, “Darth Vader” appearance. Later, the NYC Audubon Society identified the structure as the number one bird killing structure in New York City. To mitigate both the aesthetic and environmental problems with the existing glass, FXFOWLE Epstein reviewed many glass mockups before deciding to apply a “frit” or glazed dot pattern to the panes, reducing the avian death rate by 90 percent and giving the space a significant solar energy reduction. Another problem with the old structure was the fact that the original building plan did not include a viable way to clean much of the glass. As a result, some of the panes went without cleaning for more than twenty-five years. FXFOWLE Epstein solved this problem by installing catwalks throughout most of the Crystal Palace, both inside and outside of the building, so that repairs and cleaning could take place on a regular basis. As the tour proceeded to the North Concourse, Bruce Fowle pointed out the renovation to the concrete exposures. Cracked and yellowed after years of layering convention signage, FXFOWLE Epstein brought in experts to create a repair formula. The result was a ceramic material that brightened the concrete but allowed it to retain its original look. The tour concluded with a behind-the-scenes look at the new green roof. As the second largest green roof in the United States, tour participants happily traded a few very windy and drizzly moments for stunning view of the city and its surroundings. Looking toward the future, FXFOWLE Epstein has partnered with Drexel University to install a climate monitor that measures the roof’s water and soil content, and examines the impact of the roof on the building’s energy load. Future testing will determine how much FXFOWLE Epstein’s reimagining of the Javits will impact the ambient temperature in the entire neighborhood and possibly serve as a catalyst for green retrofitting for New York City’s future. Hit the books tomorrow with a visit to New York University’s School of Professional Studies!
Rochelle Thomas received an M.A. in American Studies from Columbia University and is the Membership Assistant at the AIA New York Chapter.
According to LA Downtown News, while AEG's proposed downtown football stadium, Farmers Field, remains on hold, the city's Bureau of Engineering will most likely be holding a three-team design competition to rebuild part of its sister project: the LA Convention Center, down the street. AEG's Populous-designed plan for the convention center, whose funding depends on the construction of Farmers Field, calls for demolishing the older of the center's two buildings, the West Hall, and building a new structure that continues to the south, bridging Pico Boulevard. “The plan is shovel-ready at this point,” AEG’s Brad Gessner, told Downtown News. But if that proposal is unable to go ahead by its October 18 deadline, the city is preparing to solicit teams for a "Plan B," a more modest renovation of the existing convention center. Vicki Curry, spokesperson for LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, told AN that the Bureau of Engineering is considering a three firm design competition for this plan, but that its Task Order Solicitation—involving a general request for qualifications— has not yet been released.
After months of fierce rivalry and contentious one-upping, Rem Koolhaas' OMA has beat out Bjarke Ingels (BIG) in the competition for the Miami Beach Convention Center commission. At times, it appeared as if BIG was in the lead, but OMA crept up and ultimately took home the prize. OMA has proposed a $600 million overhaul of the 52-acre convention center to build a more integrated facility in addition to tacking on more open space and park land. This plan calls for reconfiguring the layout of the convention center to provide enhanced access to Lincoln Road, green space, and existing hotel on the beach. “We wanted to expand the convention center without taking up more space within the city, so one of the key elements of our design is that we stack the hotel and ballroom,” Jason Long, associate architect at OMA, told AN in June. “We integrated the hotel to reduce the footprint of the building and leave some breathing room for open space and as a buffer between the convention center and the Jackie Gleason Theater and new cultural building to the south.” Before announcing their decision, Miami Beach Commission requested trimmed down versions of their proposals. The winning South Beach ACE Team, consisting of OMA and Tishman, shaved off some retail, and axed the residential and cultural buildings.
NBBJ's Los Angeles office will lead design on renovations to Lexington, KY's Rupp Arena and the city's convention center. With more than 23,000 seats, Rupp is the largest arena designed specifically for basketball in the United States. NBBJ, which will be working in collaboration with Lexington-based EOP, elected renovation over expansion or replacement after studying the 3-year-old arena. Renovation, they concluded, would save the city $215 million in construction costs. Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said during a press conference that “the state will play some role” in the renovation projects, but did not say how. The University of Kentucky Wildcats draw large crowds to the downtown arena, as do concerts and other events. Designs for the renovation will be finalized over the next four months, the city said, with work expected to begin in late 2014. Construction will not interfere with the Wildcats’ basketball season. Renovations to the Lexington Convention Center will add 100,000 square feet to the facility, complementing Rupp’s renovation and amounting to a downtown arts and entertainment district. “Together, they will become the commercial, sports and entertainment destination that transforms Lexington,” said NBBJ partner Robert Mankin in a statement. Plans for that district last year included other new developments, including retail and housing, but have not secured financing. SCAPE Landscape Architecture was also selected earlier this year to re-imagine the landscape along Town Branch creek running through the site.
LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's "Vision Team," a group of eight architects consulting on the city's planned football stadium and convention center expansion have issued a damning report on the latter project, reports the LA Daily News. The center is being designed by Populous and developed by AEG. "This is not good city design," Norman Millar, dean of Woodbury University School of Architecture, and a Vision Team member, told the Daily News this week. Among the team's complaints, they worry about having visitors enter the new hall through a dark passage created by bridging the building over Pico Boulevard. The team also frets about possible fumes under the tunnel, the configuration of the center's huge ballroom, and the amount of natural light that would enter the building. The Vision Team also includes Hitoshi Abe, chairman of Architecture & Urban Design at UCLA; Scott Johnson of Johnson Fain; Joseph Coriaty, a partner at Frederick Fisher and Partner; and Paul Danna, principal at SOM. The group has met at least three times. Villaraigosa's spokesman Peter Sanders told the Daily News that the mayor knew about the Vision Team's concerns. "We believe we have the best plan given the constraints that exist," Sanders wrote. The project's EIR goes before LA City Council tomorrow.