Posts tagged with "Cooper Robertson":

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Architect and Disney-favored urban planner Jaquelin T. Robertson dies

Jaquelin “Jaque” Taylor Robertson, the Driehaus Prize-winning architect and urban planner best known for co-developing the master plan for the Walt Disney Company’s pastel-hued, theme park-adjacent community of Celebration, Florida, died on May 9 in East Hampton, New York. He was 87 and had been battling Alzheimer’s Disease. “Over the course of his long, fruitful and rich life, Jaque’s accomplishments were innumerable, extraordinary and widely varied. He had a staggering breadth of life experiences and a seemingly bottomless well of talents; always setting the bar high, holding to the highest of standards and accepting nothing short of excellence, first in himself, and in his partners and colleagues as well,” reads a statement released by New York City-based architecture and urban design firm, Cooper Robertson. Born into a considerably wealthy Virginia family, Robertson returned to his home state in 1980 to serve as dean of the University of Virginia School of Architecture, a role that he held until 1988 while simultaneously serving as partner alongside Peter Eisenman in the eponymous, New York City-based architectural firm. A Rhodes Scholar and graduate of the Yale School of Architecture, Robertson enjoyed a fruitful early career in municipal urban planning prior to returning to an academic setting. This included 1960s-era stints in New York City as City Planning Commissioner and inaugural director of the Mayor’s Office of Midtown Planning and Development. Per Paul Goldberger’s obituary for the New York Times, it was also during this period that Robertson founded the Urban Design Group, “a special municipal agency intended to help the mayor [John V. Lindsay] raise the level of public design in the city.” In the late 1970s, Robertson relocated to Tehran where he planned and designed major development projects in the Iranian capital city. After leaving his role at the University of Virginia—as well as his partnership with Eisenman—Robertson joined as a partner at the eponymous firm of Alex Cooper, who was also an old friend and former Yale classmate instrumental in envisioning highly regarded planned communities and reshaping numerous public spaces in New York City and beyond. (The master plan for Battery Park City is perhaps Cooper’s keystone project.) The firm, renamed Cooper Robertson & Partners (later Cooper Robertson), went on to take on several high-profile projects, including the Robins Center at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Virginia; the Henry Moore Sculpture Garden at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri; and the Institute for the Arts & Humanities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Robertson also designed a large number of private residencies for well-heeled clients, most of them in the Hamptons. As Goldberger noted in the Times, these commissions “were both elaborate and understated and evocative of older structures without being directly imitative of them.” In the mid-1990s, Cooper Robertson, in close collaboration with Robert A.M. Stern, developed the master plan for Celebration, a nearly 11-square-mile New Urbanist community founded by the Walt Disney Company that's located in close proximity—and directly connected—to Walt Disney World Park. (Although it served as developer, Disney divested most of its control of the town after it opened although it continues to oversee some aspects of it.) While the new town design is strictly the creation of Robertson and Stern, numerous friends and contemporaries were enlisted to design signature buildings within the community including Michael Graves, Charles Moore, César Pelli, Philip Johnson, and Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown. Wrote Michael Pollan for the New York Times in 1997:
The town of Celebration represents the Disney Company's ambitious answer to the perceived lack of community in American life, but it is an answer that raises a couple of difficult questions. To what extent can redesigning the physical world we inhabit -- the streets, public spaces and buildings -- foster a greater sense of community? And what exactly does ''a sense of'' mean here? -- for the word community hardly ever goes abroad in Celebration without that dubious prefix.
In addition to Celebration, Cooper Robertson also designed the master plan for Val d’Europe, a similar New Urbanist community built in conjunction with Disneyland Paris. WaterColor, on the Florida Panhandle, is another notable master-planned enclave (sans Disney associations) executed by the firm as is the golf course-centered community of New Albany, Ohio. In addition to receiving the Driehaus Prize in 2007, an award bestowed to champions of and contributors to New Classical architecture, Robertson was awarded the Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture by the University of Virginia in 1998. He retired from Cooper Robertson in 2014. “Jaque mentored, and instilled certain values in, dozens of young architects over his career – many of whom are still with Cooper, Robertson, and many others who are practicing elsewhere across the globe,” concluded Cooper Robertson in its announcement. “That is, perhaps, his greatest gift to the profession and the culture; perhaps his greatest legacy. We will miss him. He will be roundly missed, and never forgotten.” Robertson is survived by his wife, Anya Sohn Robertson, and a sister, Catherine “Kitty” Robertson Claiborne, of Virginia.
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OMA reveals first renderings of New Museum expansion

Today OMA revealed its design for the New Museum addition, a brawny 62,000-square-foot gallery expansion that leans into the contemporary art museum's current home on the Bowery. The seven-story building will replace an older loft that was home to the museum's incubator, NEW INC, as well as artists who had lived and worked in the building for decades. The new structure will align with the SANAA-designed main building's floorplates on three levels, doubling the current exhibition space. It will also sport additional space for education and community events, a spot for NEW INC, an 80-seat restaurant, studios, and more. The architects contend that it will be possible to see the vertical circulation through the laminated glass with metal mesh facade. OMA New York partner-in-charge Shohei Shigematsu is the design lead on the project, and New York's Cooper Robertson is the executive architect. The New Museum first announced OMA's involvement in the project in 2017. Rem Koolhaas, the co-founder of OMA, explained the design reasoning to the New York Times, which first reported on the expansion, as such: "One building is very enigmatic, and it did not seem fruitful to create an enigma next to an enigma." The project will break ground next year and is slated for completion in 2022.
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Museum at St. Louis' Gateway Arch to open this July

A spiffy revamp of the park and buildings surrounding Eero Saarinen's Gateway Arch in St. Louis is slated for completion this summer. Along with a new landscape by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA) that sensitively dialogues with the Dan Kiley original, the symbolic demarcation of the west will be complemented by a revamped Museum of Westward Expansion, now known as the Museum of the Gateway Arch. The building, which sits directly beneath the Arch, was originally designed by Saarinen and is being redone by New York's Cooper Robertson and James Carpenter Design Associates (JCDA) with Trivers Associates, which is based in St. Louis. The team added 45,500 square feet to the museum's west side, connecting a new entrance (pictured above) to the main programming in the 113,000-square-foot Saarinen-designed museum. In deference to the site—which is both a national landmark and national park—much of the new construction sits underground. The architects collaborated with MVVA on 2010's CityArchRiver, a competition to master-plan and tweak Kiley and Saarinen's 91-acre landscape and structures for better public access and connectivity with downtown St. Louis. In conjunction with the renovation, the Museum of Westward Expansion is being rebranded as the Museum at the Gateway Arch, a switch that removes the jingoistic emphasis on the colonization of indigenous land, but preserves its ties to the site. The re-christened building will open July 3, 2018. In the meantime, take a gander at this neat timelapse construction video:
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New Jersey waterfront is transformed in massive $2.5 billion master plan proposal

New York-based Cooper Robertson is set to master plan a $2.5 billion ground-up community along the Raritan River in Middlesex County, New Jersey. The site’s owner and developer, Atlanta-based North American Properties (NAP), announced the project on Monday and released a first look at what would become the largest mixed-use development in New Jersey’s history. Located less than 20 miles from Manhattan and covering a 418-acre site, the new community combines residential, retail, office and hotel spaces with a fully walkable city layout. Named Riverton, the  town will focus on building a street-level pedestrian experience and open waterfront access, including a marina. Cooper Robertson has also filled the plan with public recreation spaces along an unrestricted mile of riverfront esplanade along the Raritan. An update of an earlier 2014 plan, the expanded Riverton will also be the state’s largest brownfield remediation. Besides counting on the proximity of the site to the Garden State Parkway to drive demand, NAP is also banking on an influx of potential residents who have been priced out of New York and are looking for a development with a “hometown” atmosphere. Although none of the others can match its scale, Riverton is the latest project to crop up in New Jersey hoping to court New Yorkers as rents on the other side of the Hudson River continue to rise. Cooper Robertson is no stranger to waterfront development. Besides contributing planning work to Hudson Yards in Manhattan, the studio is currently working on a separate 1,300-acre master plan for the Charlotte River District near Charlotte, N.C. Co-developed with New Jersey-based PGIM Real Estate, Riverton is shovel-ready but is still waiting on a new round of local and state approvals. No estimated construction dates have been released at this time, but NAP hopes to complete the 5 million-square-foot project by 2021.
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Concept Plans Released for Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Schuylkill Avenue Plan

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) is planning an extensive expansion of its facilities. On May 7, at The Philadelphia School, representatives from Cooper, Robertson & Partners—the New York–based architecture firm selected to design the hospital—revealed renderings to community members regarding the world's oldest and largest children's hospital. Along with the construction of modern facilities, highlights include innovative stormwater management solutions and an open campus with extensive green spaces. The project consists of a large existing facility below the South Street Bridge on nine acres of land. The new buildings will be positioned with their long sides perpendicular to the river in an effort to minimize their presence, thus offering extensive waterfront views throughout the grounds. Open spaces will include a green plaza on South Street and a promenade that offers various ways to enter the new buildings. The Schuylkill River Trail will be extended to Christian Street and will emphasize a natural environment with large trees and supplemental shady areas. On the banks of the Schuylkill River, the hospital will be a model for stormwater management facilities. The stormwater concepts for CHOP involve rain gardens for surface run-off and a cistern for roof run-off reuse. Collecting stormwater and filtering it into the adjacent river will protect the facility and surrounding area from possible flooding and erosion. Phase One Development will culminate by mid-2017 with a total gross development area of 743,000 square feet, of which 546,000 (approximately twenty-three stories) are dedicated solely to office based research. The site will also incorporate interim commercial space in addition to parking and loading space.   Plans were initially presented last year and final designs will be confirmed in the next few months. With CHOP’s current collaboration and coordination with the district, plans are expected to progress promptly and have the community saying, "chop, chop." [Via Curbed.]