It looks like the latest collaboration between Foster + Partners and Apple is dead in the water. The pair’s future flagship Australian store in Melbourne, Victoria, has been blocked by heritage officials, and Apple has decided not to move forward with the project. The pagoda-like Apple store was first revealed to the public in late 2017, and immediately drew criticism for its siting and design. Preservationists were up in arms over the decision to place the shop in the eight-acre Federation Square, Melbourne’s main public plaza. Federation Square emerged from a design competition sponsored by the Victoria government in 1999 to transform a polluted patch of industrial land on the Yarra River into public space. A group including Lab Architecture Studio, led by Donald Bates and Peter Davidson, Karres en Brands Landscape Architects, and the local firm Bates Smart, ultimately won the commission. The square’s eclectic collection of three-story buildings, most of them clad in panelized glass, zinc, and sandstone arranged in dizzying patterns, have become a Melbourne fixture. To the square’s south is the Yarra Building, which currently holds the Koorie Heritage Trust, and would have been demolished to make way for the $35 million Apple store. Other than the auspicious location, the store’s original tiered design drew comparisons to a pizza box, among other things, and Foster + Partners was forced to go back to the drawing board. In July of last year, the design team released a heavier, blockier scheme that oriented viewing angles out towards the river. That effort now appears to have been for naught. On April 5, Heritage Victoria, a state body responsible for protecting Victoria’s cultural and environmental heritage, ruled that the Yarra Building’s demolition would fundamentally alter Federation Square’s fabric. With Heritage Victoria’s refusal, Apple announced that it would be abandoning its plans to build an Apple Global Flagship Store in the square. Federation Square was nominated to the Victorian Heritage Register for historic preservation last August. Undeterred, Federation Square’s management submitted the application to Heritage Victoria for permission to demolish the Yarra Building in December. Now that the Apple store plan is off, Federation Square’s induction into the Victorian Heritage Register will be completed by the end of April.
Posts tagged with "Foster + Partners":
London’s 1,000-foot-tall Tulip tower looks like it might have an easier time receiving approval than first thought. Plans for the Foster + Partners–designed observation tower will go before London’s Planning and Transportation Committee on April 2, but before that, planning officials have released a 152-page document expressing their support for approving the project. The tower was controversial from the beginning. The Tulip would loom over the neighboring Gherkin in Central London, both developed by Jacob J. Safra, and its distinct “concrete-stem-and-glass-bulb” design drew ridicule online. The tower’s siting would also, according to a report released by the Greater London Authority (GLA) in January, impede views of the historic Tower of London. Questions over whether the building would contain an area open and free to the public, as required by the London Plan, were also raised. The GLA’s report came on the heels of concerns submitted to the City of London shortly after the tower’s reveal, wherein the London City Airport questioned whether the rotating, Ferris wheel-esque pods on the tower’s exterior would interfere with their radar systems. The report released today acknowledged these issues, but on the whole, recommended the planning and transportation committee approve the scheme. “Virtually no major development proposal is in complete compliance with all policies,” the report reads, according to BD Online, “and in arriving at a decision it is necessary to assess all the policies and proposals in the plan and to come to a view as to whether in the light of the whole plan the proposal does or does not accord with it.” Additionally, planning officials praised the design, stating that it was “highly unusual and unique within the UK context” and had “the potential to become an architectural icon for the City, London, and the U.K.” However, that doesn’t ensure that the scheme will sail through to approval, as a number of preservation groups, London mayor Sadiq Khan, and the Tulip’s prospective neighbors have spoken out against the plan. Additionally, the city’s built environment team, which is responsible for overseeing London’s public spaces, has expressed doubt that the street-level entrance would be able to handle the tens of thousands of expected annual visitors. Twelve stories of restaurants, observation decks, educational spaces, and rides would greet guests in the Tulip’s glass “bulb.” AN will follow up on this story following the committee’s vote on April 2.
JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank and financial services company in the United States, filed permits last month to demolish its massive headquarters on Park Avenue to build an even bigger, 70-story tower on the same site for its ever-growing number of employees, according to CityRealty. The destruction of the 52-floor, 1.5-million-square-foot tower will mark the tallest planned demolition in history, surpassing that of New York City’s Singer and Deutsche Bank Buildings. The 2.5-million-square-foot replacement will be the first skyscraper to rise up after the 2017 rezoning of Midtown East, which made a 73-block area surrounding Grand Central Terminal available to taller skyscrapers. JPMorgan Chase has long been dissatisfied with its outdated headquarters at 270 Park Avenue, with over 6,000 of its employees jam-packed into a building meant for only 3,500 people. While the modernist tower was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s esteemed Natalie Griffin de Blois, a female pioneer in the architectural field, it is not protected by landmark status from demolition. Its soaring replacement will be more open and flexible with 20 additional floors where employees will have an extra one million square feet of office space. JPMorgan Chase has slated the demolition work for early 2019, and a construction elevator can already be seen alongside the building. Once the new structure is completed in 2024, it will be one of the tallest buildings in New York City and one of the largest office buildings in the northern hemisphere. The design team, led by Foster + Partners, will seek LEED certification, and the project anticipates to introduce over 8,000 construction jobs to the city. In the meantime, JPMorgan Chase has negotiated leases at nearby buildings—including 237, 245, and 277 Park Avenue—for the workers who will soon be displaced due to the impending wreckage.
At the reopening of the renovated Norton Museum of Art earlier this month, Norman Foster revealed his two points of inspiration for the project: an existing banyan fig tree and Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen's Typewriter Eraser, Scale X sculpture from 1999. Both elements were crucial to the architect’s intuitive redesign and reorientation of the museum’s entrance. The new west-facing forecourt features a 43-foot-high metal canopy with a scalloped cutout that cuts around the towering tree. Within the shaded hollow the overhang creates, an embedded reflecting pool surrounds the massive sculpture. This careful approach carries through the entire project. Rather than create another statement-piece museum where the architecture steals the show, Foster + Partners opted for a contextual approach that spotlights the Norton's vast collection. Adding over 12,000 square feet to the original 1941 Art Deco building, the firm introduced a 210-seat auditorium, the museum’s first restaurant, and additional gallery spaces. Major extensions include the new 3,600-square-foot, double-height Ruth and Carl Shapiro Great Hall, featuring a unique concave skylight. The 150-foot-long, glass-walled Ira and Nicki Harris Family Gallery extends from the former south-facing entrance. This addition flanks a covered promenade and a new sculpture garden. Occupying what was originally the Norton Museum of Art’s main 20,000-square-foot parking lot, the green space is Foster’s first ever public landscape project. The sculpture garden divides into two curated "rooms." Native plant species were spread throughout to highlight the museum’s subtropical surroundings. Foster + Partners' renovation blends new and old components with a minimalistic, all white, stone facade. The firm also restored the museum’s existing galleries and six historic artist residence homes, located nearby. The redesign champions historic architectural detailing while also introducing large light-filled voids. The overall reprogramming of the space mirrors the Norton Museum of Art’s curatorial vision; some of the museum's key historical collections are dispersed between temporary shows. The museum places emphasis on exhibiting female, African-American, and living artists. The Norton Museum of Art officially reopened on February 9. This unveiling is only the first milestone in a 20-year masterplan that Foster + Partners has conceived for the museum.
An analysis of the Foster + Partners–designed “Tulip,” the 1,000-foot-tall observation tower first proposed for Central London in November of last year, has revealed that the as-is scheme would clash with the London Plan. In its 15-page report, the Greater London Authority (GLA) had “significant concerns with the design approach” and the potential impact on the public’s ability to see the Tower of London. The London Plan, a strategic planning resource for development across the metropolis, lays out economically and environmentally sustainable development criteria that preserve the city’s heritage. The plan is also a framework for the mayor to consider when considering strategic planning applications submitted to the mayor's office. As the plan notes, responsibility for reaching the goals therein is shared between the Mayor’s Office, London’s 32 boroughs, and the Corporation of the City of London—with the GLA set up to administer the plan. In their January 14 review of the Tulip’s strategic planning application, the GLA voiced its concern that the tower failed to comply with the London Plan. The authority pointed out that the scheme conflicts with London Plan Policy 7.7, which mandates that tall buildings set aside a free-to-enter public space (it’s presumed that the Tulip will charge for entry to its bulb-like observation area). As for the design, which would balance the solid concrete shaft and glass observation topper above a two-story retail podium, the GLA wrote that: “officers have significant concerns with the design approach. The height appears unjustified and the introduction of significant expanse of solid and inactive building frontage would appear incongruous in the existing faceted context of the Eastern Cluster, drawing significant attention in this heritage sensitive location.” The report goes on to note that the planning application made use of pedestrian numbers from 2015 as opposed to a 2025 forecast, and that as such, “The proposals are considered to result in a poor quality, unwelcoming, unnecessarily confined pedestrian environment contrary to Policy 6.10 of the London Plan and Policy to D1 of the draft London Plan. The proposals would not reflect the Healthy Streets approach detailed within Policies T2 and T4 of the draft London Plan. The level of cycle parking would not accord with draft London Plan Policy T5.” The Tulip’s impact on the sightlines for historic buildings was also called into question. This isn’t the first time official concerns have been raised over the building, as the London City Airport requested that construction be postponed until it could study how the gondola pods on the observation bulb’s exterior would impact its radar systems. In response to the GLA report, Foster + Partners released the following statement to the Architects’ Journal: “We are pleased to see that the mayor of london considers the use of a visitor attraction as complementing the City. “We welcome the detailed technical comments by GLA officers and, as part of the ongoing planning process, we will continue to work closely with the City of London Corporation and the GLA to resolve those matters raised and to improve the package of public benefits associated with the Tulip.” If construction proceeds as scheduled, the Tulip is expected to break ground in 2020 and open to the public in 2025.
In November 2018, news first broke of the five-firm shortlist competing to design the $8.7 billion Terminal 2 at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. The star-studded list held both international and local firms, and today, Chicago city officials have made public designs for each team’s proposal. Chicagoans and frequent fliers have until January 23 to vote for their favorite designs and offer feedback, here. The O’Hare 21 expansion, which will expand O’Hare from 5.5 million square feet to 8.9 million square feet, is a pet project of outgoing mayor Rahm Emanuel. O’Hare currently serves nearly 80 million travelers a year, and with demand projected to grow, the extant Terminal 2 (built in 1963) needs to be expanded. The team of Colorado’s Fentress Architects, engineering and architecture firm EXP, Brook Architecture, and Garza Architects have proposed an undulating terminal with a ribbon-like canopy, held up by slender, full-length columns. A split in the terminal’s massing would allow natural light into the center of the building, a necessity given that the team has stacked more floors into its terminal than the other four. Foster + Partners has been working with local firms Epstein and JGMA, and have produced a dramatically curved, cave-like terminal fronted by an enormous wall of glass. Foster’s terminal resembles a draped piece of fabric swaying in the wind that splits into three separate arched halls at the rear but opens to what they’ve dubbed a “theater of aviation” at the tarmac. The use of a crisscrossing truss system topped with glass creates a coffered ceiling effect while also allowing in natural light. From the renderings, it appears that the terminal’s interior will be clad in a warm wood finish. Studio ORD Joint Venture Partners, the team formed by Chicago’s Studio Gang, Corgan Associates, Solomon Cordwell Buenz, and STL Architects, was heavily influenced by themes of convergence and confluence. Three curves join in the middle to carve out space for a massive central skylight. The roof of each curve, formed from ribs that extend into the terminal’s interior, tent in the center; it appears the underside of each will be clad in timber. The team has described their proposal as one that’s layered but easy to navigate. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), who have partnered with Ross Barney Architects and Arup, are proposing ORD, from a shortening of Orchard Field, the original name of O’Hare (unrelated to Studio ORD above). Although their plan is squarer than the others, the SOM team has also designed an undulating roof supported by coffered timber trusses. The roof would cantilever out over the terminal’s tall glass walls, and according to the video, ample landscaping that references Illinois’s nickname as “the Prairie State.” Intriguingly, the terminal would also include enclosed outdoor plazas, complete with tree-strung hammocks, for passengers to relax in. Last but certainly not least, Santiago Calatrava and local firm HKS have presented the most ambitious of the five proposals (though it fits quite snugly within Calatrava’s oeuvre). Resembling a ship’s prow, the glass facade bulges in the center before terminating at a sharp point. Inside, large, unbroken spans are supported by Calatrava’s signature structural “ribs” to create a soaring interior space. The team has also proposed turning the existing parking area to the terminal’s rear into a landscaped “hotel, retail, and business complex,” though there’s no telling how much that would add to the budget. The city and Chicago Department of Aviation are being pushed to make a decision before Mayor Emanuel departs in May of this year, and the project is expected to finish in 2026. Models of each team’s submission can be viewed at the Chicago Architecture Center until January 31, and Terminal 2 will be displaying the new designs digitally until the 31st as well.
Foster + Partners revealed renderings of the much-anticipated Lusail Iconic Stadium, an 80,000-seat soccer venue that will house the opening and final games of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The project, commissioned by Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, will be situated within the center of the up-and-coming Lusail City, an under-construction modern metropolis set nine miles north of Doha. The British firm designed the centerpiece structure to mirror the ancient Arab craft of bowl weaving. It will feature a shimmery, gold palette wrapped around a slightly undulating exterior and a saddle-form retractable roof that will float above a concrete seating bowl. According to the architects, the stadium will boast a highly-efficient energy saving system, a requirement for FIFA World Cup constructions. Since Qatar’s climate is so intense, the building will help cool players and fans. Solar canopies will also hover over the parking and service areas to produce energy for the stadium and power the surrounding buildings. With Lusail Iconic Stadium, Foster + Partners joins the star-studded roster of studios that have designed projects for the tournament, including Zaha Hadid Architects and its controversial stadium in Al-Wakrah, which is near completion. Fenwick Iribarren Architects, a Spanish firm, is building a modular, 40,000-seat stadium made of repurposed steel shipping containers. After the tournament, the arenas are expected to be reused by the cities in which they’re built. The seats within Lusail Iconic Stadium, for example, will be removed and the structure will be used as a community space with room for shops, cafés, athletic and education facilities, as well as a health clinic. The project is slated for completion in 2020.
The internet was aflame last week after Foster + Partners and the development company J. Safra Group revealed plans for the tallest building in Central London, a skyline-busting observation tower with a suggestive shape that would overshadow the Gherkin. Although planning documents for the Tulip have already been submitted, the London City Airport has requested that construction not move ahead until an assessment of the tower’s impact on the airport’s radar systems was conducted. The 1,000-foot-tall observation tower would resemble a sprouted version of the adjacent Gherkin, with a bulbous glass pod balanced atop a solid concrete core. At 984 feet up, visitors would be able to take in London (and much further beyond) in 360-degree views from a series of internal observation decks, as well as glass gondola pods that would rotate on an exterior track. Those sky-high Ferris wheels are cause for concern, according to the London City Airport (LCY). In a letter submitted to the City of London yesterday, Jack Berends, technical operations coordinator for the airport asked that: “Construction shall not commence until an assessment has been carried out on the impact of this development on the radar coverage.” Skyscrapers can impact radar results, either hiding real objects or creating the impressions of aircraft where there aren’t any. Modern radar systems are generally capable of differentiating buildings from actual moving objects, but the airport fears the moving gondolas will throw off the safeguards such systems have in place. A fly-through of London's Tulip from The Architect's Newspaper on Vimeo. "No part of the proposed development or associated construction activities shall commence until LCY is satisfied that there will be no reduction of the integrity of the current instrument landing system in use at London City Airport," said Berend in the letter. The airport maintained that it would be closely coordinating with the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority to resolve the issue. Construction of the Tulip was expected to begin in 2020, with a 2025 opening date. When reached for comment, a spokesperson for the J. Safra Group told AN that: “As part of the planning process, interested parties have the opportunity to respond to the proposals and raise any questions or seek clarification. We look forward to working collaboratively with London City Airport, and other stakeholders, to work through planning matters during the current consultation period.”
The Gherkin may be getting a much taller sibling, as Foster + Partners and billionaire Jacob J. Safra have revealed renderings of a 1,000-foot-tall observation tower for a Gherkin-adjacent site in Central London. If the planning application for “The Tulip” is successful, the rod-shaped building would become the tallest tower on the northern side of the Thames (directly across the Thames, Renzo Piano’s Shard is three feet taller). Tulip is an appropriate name for the project, as the renderings show a glass “bulb” supported by a slender, windowless, high-strength concrete stem. A two-story entrance atrium at the 31,100-square-foot building’s base will feature an occupiable public roof deck and retail to create a street-level presence for the tower. A new pocket park around the entrance that would include two green walls, and 284 bicycle parking spaces are also planned for The Tulip’s ground floor pavilion. At the 984-foot-high observation deck, visitors would be able to take in 360-degree views of London and beyond. The steel-framed observation “bubble” would be fully wrapped in high-efficiency glass, and feature sky bridges, glass slides, a restaurant and bar, and multiple floors worth of programming. The most impressive part is likely to be the gondola system Foster + Partners have envisioned for the bud’s exterior. Guests would be able to ride in glass pods along the tower’s facade on what amount to three sky-high Ferris wheels. Although The Tulip was envisioned as a destination attraction, the J. Safra Group has also included an educational facility. The tower would give free entry to 20,000 London public school students a year and offer classes on London’s history inside of what Safra described as a “state-of-the-art classroom.” A planning application for The Tulip was submitted on November 13, and if everything moves along smoothly, construction is expected to begin in 2020 and wrap up in 2025.
Five finalists have been selected in the competition to design the new $8.7 billion expansion of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, narrowing the field from the longlist of 12 released in September. The shortlist features a mix of local names and international studios: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), Santiago Calatrava, Foster + Partners, Chicago’s own Studio Gang, and Colorado’s Fentress Architects. The expansion, part of a modernization initiative dubbed O’Hare 21 by outgoing mayor Rahm Emanuel, will totally replace the V-shaped Terminal 2, a holdover from the airport’s opening in 1944. O’Hare is one of the busiest airports in the world and currently services nearly 80 million passengers a year, and O’Hare 21 will expand the airport’s footprint from 5.5 million square feet to 8.9 million square feet. Such a large project means that these teams likely won’t be going it alone. Fentress is joined by Brook Architecture, Garza Architects, and engineering and architecture firm EXP, Calatrava will be working with local firm HKS, while Foster + Partners has teamed up with local firms Epstein and JGMA, and Studio Gang has partnered with Corgan Associates, Solomon Cordwell Buenz, and STL Architects. SOM will also be joined by Ross Barney Architects and Arup in their bid. After a review by the Department of Aviation, one team will be chosen to design the Terminal 2–replacing O’Hare Global Terminal, while a second will be tapped to design the airport’s two new satellite concourses. Perhaps what’s most interesting is who didn’t make the cut. BIG was knocked out, as were HOK and Gensler. Even Helmut Jahn, a Chicago wunderkind who designed O’Hare’s Terminal 1 in 1986, wasn’t chosen. Now that the shortlist has been chosen, an official selection committee of business, civic, and transportation leaders from Chicago will choose who ultimately gets to design the new facilities (with local architecture firms and cultural institutions providing technical support). Mayor Emanuel is pushing the city to choose before he leaves in May of 2019, and if all goes as planned, the multi-phase O’Hare 21 should be complete by 2026.
Apple's product design may win the company accolades, but the same cannot be said of its recent forays into architecture. Stockholm is the latest city after Melbourne to push back on the tech behemoth's plans for a new store. What Apple is calling its "town square" concept, designed by Foster + Partners, is being decried as an attempt to privatize the city's oldest and arguably most important public space, Kungsträdgården, or the King's Garden. Stockholm's new city government, elected into office this month, has announced that the Apple store project is welcome elsewhere, but that it would block the company's attempt to set up shop in the park. Currently, Kungsträdgården establishes a direct visual link to the Royal Palace and serves as the site of the city's major celebrations, protests, and public debates. “It is the thread that pulls together the historical power of the monarchy with the commercial blocks of Hamngatan and the working-class districts of Södermalm. This is very important for democracy because it has to do with power, symbolically and spatially,” Johanna Jarméus of Nyréns Arkitektkontor, a Swedish architecture firm, told The Guardian. The design by Foster + Partners dominates the public square, making it appear to be the main structure defining the space, with the garden serving the building. Or, as the editor of Arkitektur, a major Swedish architecture magazine, put it more bluntly, “It’s like a parasite.” The Apple store design requires the company to annex about 4,000 square feet of public park space in addition to the plot it has already purchased. The company has made a similar proposal to use public land for its Federation Square store in Melbourne. The King's Garden plot is offered to developers on the condition that they offer restaurants and cafes for the park, and is currently home to a TGI Fridays. The Apple design would also require rezoning the site for retail. For Apple, the dominance of public space is itself the point. "We call them town squares because they’re gathering places where everyone is welcome,” as Apple's vice president of retail said last year at one of the company's staged launches. It appears that the residents of Stockholm and the 1,800 public comments, most negative, against the plan, disagree. Stockholm's city government may have declared its opposition to the Apple "town square" store, but there's a hitch—the company still owns the plot of land. Still, some are envisioning a public park where there is no building at all, requiring a much bigger, longer battle to define what the park's future will be.
Mexico City’s new Foster + Partners–designed airport has been canceled while already under construction. In a referendum today voters rejected the partially completed project that’s been beleaguered by accusations of corruption, ecological irresponsibility, and lack of community involvement. The referendum was originally proposed by Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the president-elect of Mexico, as popular opposition grew against the project that was approved by President Enrique Peña Nieto in 2014. Not only was the project, called NAICM (Nuevo Aeropuerto Internacional de la Ciudad de México), deemed inordinately expensive at an estimated USD$13 billion, its location was less than ideal. The wetland plain of Texcoco outside the city that it was to be built on is quite literally sinking—as much as 16 inches a year. Not only does building the airport require thick supports, like much of Mexico City, which was built on former lakes dredged by the colonizing Spaniards five centuries ago, but it the area accommodates stormwater runoff for the city, requiring a complicated and expensive system of plumbing, tunnels, and canals to manage potential flooding. Furthering the environmental infeasibility is the impact it would have had on numerous bird species as well as its effect of exacerbating the decline of the city’s already dwindling water supplies. As Fernando Córdova, a professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico told Alto Nivel as later reported in translation in Citylab: “It’s just the worst terrain.” USD$5 billion has already been put into the airport, which was designed to handle the ever-increasing traffic through North America’s most populous city, which also serves as a travel hub for much of the rest of Mexico and Latin America. The mega-project, which would’ve been the third largest airport in the world and the most expansive in all of the Americas, was noteworthy for its six million square-foot main terminal designed in a sci-fi X-shape with a sweeping canopy. The no vote won by a large margin, with 70 percent voting in opposition of completing the project, though, as others have noted, voter turnout for the referendum was underwhelming, with only around 1 in 90 registered voters turning out to the polls. Those opposed argued that the project was being built and developed by contractors and other parties as a series of political favors to line each other’s pockets. Still, regardless of the fate of NAICM, Mexico City needs a new airport. The current main airport, Benito Juárez International, is operating 50 percent over capacity and the strain on it is only growing. López Obrador and others have supported a significantly cheaper project that uses existing infrastructure by converting part of the Santa Lucía air force base into a commercial terminal. As for the thwarted Foster + Projects design, it was reported in The Washington Post that López Obrador suggested turning the remains of the unfinished airport into “a big sports and ecological center for Mexico City.”