Posts tagged with "Foster + Partners":

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Zaha Hadid Architects paid women employees about 20 percent less in 2017

Following a 2017 change to U.K. law that required firms with 250 or more employees to report their gender pay gaps, Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) has released data showing their female employees were paid 20.86 percent less on average in 2017. The firm’s pay gap reflect a general trend across the industry, although some firms have an average pay gap as low as ten percent, according to the Architect’s Journal. Through an in-house report produced by ZHA (available here), the firm compared the median incomes earned by both men and women–the middle-most figure–to calculate the pay disparity. Men were paid 20.86 percent more on average and received bonuses 64.94 larger on average, while only 75.6 percent of women received a bonus in 2017 versus 84.05 percent of men at the studio. Across the firm’s 310 U.K. employees, 37 percent are women. ZHA has chalked this imbalance up to the higher percentage of men in leadership positions, who have been with the firm the longest and command bonuses that are tied to the company’s revenue. According to the report:
“This pay gap exists because [a] higher proportion of our longest-serving team members who grew the practice with Zaha Hadid over the past 30 years are male and have continued to lead the company since her passing in 2016. We therefore currently have a smaller proportion of women than men in higher paid senior positions.”
In an effort to address these imbalances, ZHA has increased the company’s maternity pay and partnered with the Architect’s Journal’s Women in Architecture forum. A mentorship program has also been established throughout the firm. Still, even as firms are motivated by public exposure to address the imbalances in pay between men and women, studies have shown that the pay gap is widening. Foster + Partners, AECOM, and other big names have disclosed similar figures, though they claim that the imbalance also results from having more men at the top and not as an equal pay issue. Foster + Partners has, for their part, also committed to broadening gender diversity at the senior level, while AECOM pledged to create a more inclusive workforce. Transparency in the field has become a pressing topic as of late, as more and more women have been coming forward with their experiences regarding harassment, discrimination, and general misconduct. A full list of U.K. companies who have disclosed their pay and bonus gap data is available here. Companies have until April 4 to disclose their pay gap report, and more industry figures will be forthcoming.
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Foster + Partners reveals their Vatican Chapel for the Venice Architecture Biennale

Following the reveal of the Asplund Pavilion, a precursor to the ten chapels that the Vatican will be presenting at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, Foster + Partners has released renderings for the United Kingdom’s contribution. First announced in January, the Holy See’s pavilion, Vatican Chapels, will be built on San Giorgio Maggiore, a forested island across from St. Mark’s Square, and consist of ten temporary chapels meant to embrace the reverence of nature. The designs released by Foster + Partners show a serpentine timber pavilion that curves through the Venetian woods, with three distinct sections supported by cross-shaped structural elements. A series of perforated vertical slats will drape the exterior of the chapel, letting visitors glimpse the surrounding woodland while also dappling the interior with light and shadow. In a statement sent to AN, the final idea for the chapel arose from the concept of three symbolic crosses draped with a “tent-like membrane”; ultimately the crosses became anchoring masts and the membrane transformed into the lattice shown in the renderings. The chapel will be supported largely in part through tensioning between the different components. “Our project started with the selection of the site,” said Norman Foster in a statement. “On a visit to San Giorgio Maggiore, close to Palladio’s magnificent church and the Teatro Verde, we found a green space with two mature trees beautifully framing the view of the lagoon. It was like a small oasis in the big garden, perfect for contemplation. Our aim is to create a small sanctuary space diffused with dappled shade and removed from the normality of passers-by, focused instead on the water and sky beyond.” The 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale is the first time that the Vatican will be represented at the festival. In describing their design approach, the Church emphasized that the chapels–each built by a team from a different country–are meant to express Catholicism through that country’s unique history with the religion. After the conclusion of the Biennale, the chapels will be sent all over the world to serve in areas lacking dedicated houses of worship. Foster + Partners’ chapel is being constructed in partnership with Italian furniture manufacturer Tecno. The pavilion’s opening ceremony will be held on May 25, and will remain on display through November 18, 2018.
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Apple’s Melbourne flagship faces opposition from local politicians and architects

Opposition to Foster + Partners-designed Apple flagship store in Melbourne is mounting, as local politicians petition the Victoria state government to withdraw planning permission without significant revision to the store’s design. Criticism of the Apple store stems from worries that the two-story, pagoda-inspired pavilion, composed of glass curtain walls and metal cladding, is not contextual with the bulky and deconstructivist character of LAB Architecture Studio’s Federation Square. Moreover, the construction of a new flagship store entails the demolition of the Yarra Building, a three-story structure that is home to an organization that promotes and celebrates Aboriginal culture. Its replacement with a commercial structure is perceived to run counter to the civic role of the urban campus. Opened in 2002, Federation Square is a 7.9-acre civic precinct located in the center of Melbourne. The complex is renown for its fractal composition and diverse cladding materials, which include zinc, a range of sandstones, and glass. One year after opening, the city-block-sized development became the most awarded project in the history of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects. Federation Square has evolved into an integral component of Melbourne’s cultural scene, and is home to a number of public institutions, including the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and the National Gallery of Victoria. Since 2016, Apple has eyed Melbourne’s Federation Square as a site for a new flagship store. Foster + Partners is a longstanding collaborator with Apple, designing numerous stores as well as the company’s new Apple Park campus. Advocates for the new Apple store view the project as a financial boon for Federation Square. As reported by ABC, the regional government estimates that the flagship store will deliver an extra two million visitors annually and create 250 construction jobs, as well as 200 permanent positions. Additionally, the Foster + Partners proposal includes a 5,380-square-feet extension of public space towards the Yarra River. Outside of design complaints, criticism has also been lodged at the state government for their lack of public consultation during the planning process. Citizens for Melbourne, an advocacy group for public space composed of many architects, characterizes the demolition of the Yarra Building and the construction of the Apple store as a back-door corporate takeover of public space. Interestingly, architect Donald Bates, whose practice Lab Architecture Studio was responsible for designing Federation Square, supports the idea of the Apple flagship on the plaza. Peter Davidson, the former co-director and designer of Lab Architecture Studio, has not yet commented on the alteration of Federation Square. The construction of Apple Federation Square is set to begin in 2019 and finish in 2020.
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Renderings revealed for Foster + Partner’s PGA TOUR headquarters

Foster + Partners has revealed plans for the new PGA TOUR headquarters near Jacksonville, Florida today. The 187,000-square-foot, neo-Modernist structure is slated for an undeveloped corner of the PGA TOUR's Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida's property. The office building will consolidate 750 employees who are now scattered throughout the Ponte Vedra Beach and St. Augustine area when it's complete in 2020. The PGA TOUR, which hosts golf tournaments all over the world, could accomodate several hundred more workers at the new headquarters if necessary.

"As we strive to reach an increasingly diverse, more global fanbase and position the PGA TOUR for future success, we must be equipped to meet the ever-changing landscape in international business, media and technology," said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan, in a press release. "Moving forward with this beautiful new global home in Ponte Vedra Beach will allow for more creative, efficient collaboration among our staff and partners, and will set us on the right path toward achieving our goals as an organization."

It being Florida, Foster + Partners' building is designed to let in maximum sunlight. A central atrium surrounds the building's two parallel, three-story bays, which are glazed from floor to ceiling. Those bays will be connected by 20-foot-wide bridges, which, the London firm hopes, will encourage employee mingling and co-working without obstructing traffic in the core. Flexible workspaces are also located on the terraces around the atrium and on the periphery of the upper floors. According to the PGA TOUR, a freshwater lake surrounding the structure will, "[echo] the iconic ‘Island Green’ 17th hole from THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass." The roof, meanwhile, will sport five skylights and hosts photovoltaic panels that will supply the structure with energy (the architects are going for a LEED Gold rating). The mercury rarely dips below freezing in Ponte Vedra Beach, so they won't have to worry about falling icicles, either. 
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Toronto delivers its largest subway expansion in decades

Toronto opened the largest expansion of its subway system in decades on December 17th, after years of construction and delays. The massive infrastructure project serves as a link between the city's northern suburbs and its urban core, with the new six-stop extension of Toronto's Line 1 passing through Toronto's municipal boundary into the York region, the area adjoining Toronto's northern border. The 5.3-mile extension of the Spadina Line adds six unique stations, bringing the system total to 75. Each station is designed as a standalone piece and features contextual artwork that reflects the surrounding neighborhood. By matching architects with artists early on in the visioning process, Toronto officials hoped that the station's site-specific designs would give residents a sense of ownership and connection to the new spaces. Will Alsop’s aLL Design, Foster + Partners, and Grimshaw Architects were among the firms selected to design the stations. The Spadina Line extension is intended to spur high-density development in Toronto’s northern suburban periphery. The City of Vaughan, at the terminus of the Spadina line, is taking the lead in this redevelopment by transforming the area around the station into a mixed-use district with Diamond Schmitt Architects and developer SmartCentres. The Toronto Star reports the forthcoming 100-acre Vaughan Metropolitan Centre will feature Diamond Schmitt's 55-story Transit City and the 14-story KPMG tower. In total, the City of Vaughn estimates that the development will one day be home to 25,000 residents, and support 11,000 jobs. According to CBC News, the $3.2 billion project should add an additional 36 million annual train trips, while reducing the number of car trips by 30 million, and reduce congestion across the city. The subway's costs will be split evenly between the City of Toronto, the York Region, and the Province of Toronto. Overseeing the Spadina Line strategy is the outgoing chief executive officer of the Toronto Transit Commission, Andy Byford, who will assume control of the New York City Transit Authority, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority body responsible for handling New York's subways, before the new year.
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Gingerbread City draws Zaha Hadid, Foster + Partners and more to London for the holidays

Nearly 50 well known architecture, engineering, and landscape architecture firms have teamed up to bring a massive edible exhibition to life, as London’s Museum of Architecture hosts its annual Gingerbread City show. Master planned and sponsored by Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design, the utopian cookie metropolis is built to 1:100 scale and comprised of four neighborhoods. Old Town, which has twisting, narrow streets and is centered around Crumble Square, an industrialized New Town with a Central Baking District, a waterside energy district, and “eco-town”. The vastly differing styles of each neighborhood allowed the museum to feature every architectural typology, while designers were free to experiment in every style. Participants were asked to design for one of four categories, housing, landscapes, landmark buildings, or bridges, but with the caveat that they had to bake and decorate the gingerbread themselves. Foster + Partners, Zaha Hadid Architects, NBBJ, Periscope, Pitman Tozer, Burwell Deakins and dozens of other studios have all contributed to the Gingerbread City, including several bridges which link the distinct districts together. Zaha Hadid Architects and Foster + Partners were each given entire inidvidual islands in the eco-town to decorate as they wished. Because gingerbread is a finicky material to build with, firms had to find ways to keep their buildings structurally sound, while still being edible. Sugar glass, gumdrops, frosting and melted candy were all turned into supporting elements. But even the most intelligently designed cookie building is vulnerable to the elements. Speaking with CNN, museum director Melissa Woolford said that humidity inside the museum wreaked havoc on last year’s display, and that several buildings had collapsed in 2016’s show. Gingerbread City will be on display at the Museum of Architecture until this Friday, December 22nd.
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Foster+Partners’ Apple Park visitor center opens to the public

The Visitor Center at the new Foster+Partners–designed Apple campus in Cupertino, California is now open to the public. According to a press release issued by the design team, the new visitor center will act as an “exclusive public gateway” to Apple Park, the official designation for the recently-opened 2.8 million-square-foot office campus. The visitor center features a roof terrace, quartz stone cladding, and marble finishes, among other features. These design elements are deployed in the visitor center in order to give the public a glimpse of the sumptuous finishes utilized in the office building proper, which is not open to the public and is accessible only via automobile. The visitor center also features a small exhibition space showcasing a scale model of Apple Park as well as a small cafe. Images released to commemorate the opening depict rounded glass walls and a thin wood and carbon fiber canopy topping the center’s most public facade. The images also showcase interior design elements like a quartz-wrapped staircase similar to those deployed throughout the campus’s office areas. In the press release, Stefan Behling, head of studio at Foster + Partners said, “The idea was to create a delicate pavilion where visitors can enjoy the same material palette and meticulous detailing seen in the Ring Building in a relaxed setting, against the backdrop of Apple Park.” The public visitor center is located within an olive grove, part of the OLIN-designed campus landscape plan, which includes 175-acres of woodlands, drought-tolerant plants, fruit trees, and expansive earthworks. The Philadelphia-based landscape architects planted over 9,000 tree specimens for the project. The campus has been criticized from all sides since opening earlier this year for its budget, internal layout, and mono-functional programming, among other aspects.
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MVRDV’s stacked desires, Zaha Hadid’s latticework roofs, and other updates from the architects of Instagram

At The Architect’s Newspaper, we’re plain addicted to Instagram. Sure, we love seeing Brutalist concrete through “Inkwell” or “Ludwig” filters, but there’s also no better place to see where architects are getting their inspiration, how they’re documenting the built environment, and where they’ve traveled of late. Below, we bring you some of the best Instagrams of this past week! (Also, don’t forget to check out our Instagram account here.) Last Friday, Rotterdam-based firm MVRDV opened The Why Factory (W)ego: The Future City is Flexible, a bright new installation for Dutch Design Week 2017 in Eindhoven. According to MVRDV co-director Winy Maas, the project is "based on the hypothesis that the maximum density could be equal to the maximum of desires." https://www.instagram.com/p/BaguLgZBAbV/?taken-by=mvrdv AN contributor and designer Adam Nathaniel Furman shared an alarmingly value-engineered facade in the UK. Beneath the fake brick, a hollow duct–a compelling metaphor for our current newscape. In the comments, there is a bit of hope: Furman and friends list British architects who would never do such a thing, like Sergison Bates, FAT Architects, Outram, or Caruso St. John. https://www.instagram.com/p/Baqmp7ag80u/ Bloomberg is getting a new $1.3 billion, Foster+Partners-designed headquarters in London. The bronze fin-covered building boasts artwork and installations by Cristina Iglesias, Michael Craig-Martin, Olafur Eliasson, and Langlands & Bell. Eliasson's No future is possible without a past crowns a central room within the building, resembling the silvery surface of a pond inverted onto the ceiling. https://www.instagram.com/p/Ban9Gxvnt8u/?taken-by=studioolafureliasson Zaha Hadid Architects completed the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre (KAPSARC) in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. The 70,000-square-foot, five-building complex includes an auditorium, library, exhibit hall, and a prayer room sheathed in white latticework (pictured below).  https://www.instagram.com/p/Barov2bFJr6/?taken-by=zahahadidarchitects
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Foster + Partners reveals first public landscape design for Norton Museum of Art

Foster + Partners has designed sub-tropical green spaces and a sculpture garden as part of the $100 million expansion of West Palm Beach’s Norton Museum of Art. The new landscape will be composed of native flora and is based on the spatial concept of the masterplan—a series of 1941 Art Deco-inspired pavilions—by creating a series of “garden rooms” formed by trees and plantings. Each room will have a thematic sculpture grouping, with works by artists like Keith Haring, George Rickey, and Mark di Suervo. Pritzker Prize-winning architect Lord Norman Foster called it a “museum within a garden” in a statement. The campus’s native trees and flowers will create shaded walkways, while a great lawn will provide an open-air venue. The design includes eighty-two mature trees, including eight mahogany trees brought in from around the state to be planted on site. At the center of the design is a banyan tree that was part of the original 1941 design. It will anchor the entrance while the roof of the museum curves around it. As for the building extension, AN’s Jason Sayer put it best. “A simple, all-white stone facade and minimalist form stay true to the aesthetic of the 1941 original by New York’s Marion Sims Wyeth, where a subtle Art Deco style creates a central axial courtyard. Later developments meant that the original axial configuration, on which the building was based, was lost.” The extension is Foster + Partners’ third building in Florida, and was unveiled in 2013, broke ground in 2016, and is set for completion in 2019.
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Some Apple employees are reportedly unhappy with workspaces in the new $5 billion Apple Campus

Apple’s new $5 billion headquarters has been in the works for almost six years now and it recently opened its doors, only to reportedly receive complaints and criticism from some employees. A controversial building from its conception, rumor has it that Apple Park has been met with dissatisfaction from certain workers over its open and collaborative workspaces, according to the Silicon Valley Business Journal. The late Steve Jobs imagined the complex as a rethinking of the modern office—“I think we have a shot at the best office building in the world,” he said—and instructed London-based Foster + Partners to design a building that would fit all 12,000 Apple employees under one roof and include access to perks like a wellness center and cafes. Additionally, Apple Park moves away from private offices and cubicles and uses an open floor plan, bench seating, and shared desks. Although this design was intended to encourage collaboration between workers, some employees reportedly want the cubicles and old offices they left behind. Recent rumors of discontent among high-level Apple staff come from the notable Apple podcaster and blogger John Gruber. On his podcast, as reported by Silicon Valley Business Journal, he described how Apple’s Senior Vice President of Technologies Johny Srouji demanded a separate space outside the main building for his team. Reports of similar arrangements for other Apple employees were echoed by Bloomberg. Concerns from Apple workers were also echoed in a recent Wall Street Journal article that stated, “many will be seated in open space, not the small offices they’re used to. Coders are programmers are concerned that their work surroundings will be too noisy and distracting.” It is doubtful that Apple anticipated this response from its staff, but this conflict continues the ongoing discussion surrounding collaborative and progressive workspaces.
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How green are Apple’s carbon-sequestering trees really?

Apple is planting a forest in Cupertino, California. When the company’s new headquarters is completed later this year, 8,000 trees, transplanted from nurseries around the state of California, will surround the donut-shaped building by Foster + Partners. The trees are meant to beautify Apple’s 176 acres (dubbed Apple Park). But they will also absorb atmospheric carbon. That’s a good thing. Carbon, in greenhouse gases, is a major cause of global warming. Almost everything humans do, including breathing, releases carbon into the atmosphere. Plants, on the other hand, absorb carbon, turning it into foliage, branches, and roots—a process known as sequestration. That’s why, when architects, landscape designers, and urban planners concerned about climate change talk about their work, they often mention sequestration. These days, seemingly every project that includes greenery is touted as reducing atmospheric carbon. But how much carbon can one tree, or even 8,000 trees, sequester? I’ve spent a lot of time trying to find the answer. Among my sources is a 2016 article from the journal Landscape and Urban Planning titled “Does urban vegetation enhance carbon sequestration?” Its authors, several from the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology, examine efforts to quantify the sequestration capacity of urban flora. For example, a study of a Vancouver neighborhood found that its trees sequestered about 1.7 percent as much carbon as human activities produced, while in Mexico City the figure was 1.4 percent. The results were worse in Singapore. Overall, the authors write, “The impact of urban vegetation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions directly through carbon sequestration is very limited or null.” Very limited or null. Another study seemed especially applicable to Apple. In 2009, researchers at California State University Northridge studied carbon sequestration on the university’s 350-acre campus. Students inventoried all 3,900 trees by type and size. Using data from the Center for Urban Forest Research, a branch of the U.S. Forest Service, they estimated the amount each tree was likely to sequester. The average was 88 pounds per tree per year. (By contrast, the average American is responsible for emitting about 44,000 pounds of carbon annually.) Then they compared total sequestration to the amount of carbon emitted by campus sources. (Those sources included the production of electricity to power campus buildings—but not transportation to and from campus.) The result: The trees sequestered less than one percent of the amount of carbon released during the same period. Put another way, the amount of carbon sequestered, at a school with 41,000 students, equaled the carbon output of eight average Americans. Are things better at Apple Park? On the emissions side, there is good news: The new building will rely largely on natural ventilation, reducing the need for air conditioning. (Note, though, that promises a building will perform a certain way often prove overly optimistic.) On the other hand, the campus is being designed with more than 10,000 parking spaces for some 12,000 employees, suggesting that the vast majority of employees will be driving to and from work. And those spaces are in garages that require lights and elevators. And the news gets worse. At Northridge, researchers looked at the trees as if they had always been there. But a reasonable approach to measuring the benefits of Apple’s trees would consider the carbon emitted in growing them off-site, bringing them to Cupertino, and planting them. Driving a flatbed truck 100 miles can release 100 pounds of carbon into the atmosphere—and Apple trees’ require thousands of such trips. And, since it wants the campus to be picture-perfect, Apple is using mature specimens. These are no seedlings; some are so large they have to be lowered into place by crane. And mature trees, because they aren’t growing much, hardly sequester any carbon. (Worse, when trees die, their carbon is returned to the atmosphere.) And keep in mind that many of Apple’s trees were already growing in other locations, meaning the carbon sequestered on the Apple campus would have been sequestered anyway. That suggests that any estimate of carbon sequestration at Apple Park should be reduced by at least half. In the plus column, grass and shrubs also sequester carbon, though not merely as much as trees, with their thick trunks and extensive root systems. So how much carbon will Apple’s trees sequester? The figures used in the Northridge study suggest that Apple’s 8,000 trees will remove some 700,000 pounds of carbon from the atmosphere each year. According to Apple’s submissions to the city of Cupertino, the new campus can be expected to produce 82 million pounds of carbon annually. That means that the carbon sequestered will be less than one percent of the carbon emitted. In short, Apple’s decision to plant 8,000 trees, whatever its other benefits, won’t have a significant effect on the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. The campus, even with a very green building at its heart, will emit more than one hundred times as much carbon as its trees absorb. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep planting trees. But it does mean that, as with so many issues related to global warming, there is no quick fix. Thinking there is could keep us from making the tough decisions climate change demands.
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Foster + Partners–designed Apple store approved for historic Carnegie Library in D.C.

An Apple store will be realized in the Carnegie Library at Mount Vernon Square, Washington, D.C. after plans were approved by the District's Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) last week. Last year, Events DC (the capital’s convention and sports authority) and Apple filed a letter of intent to lease portions of the 63,000-square-foot historic library. That now-approved plan includes restoring the exterior and retrofitting the interior to create retail, office, and exhibit spaces. Apple’s store will be designed by London-based Foster + Partners and the restoration efforts will be undertaken by New York–based Beyer Blinder Belle. Alterations already made to the neoclassical library, including a rooftop over the original skylight and the conversion of a reading room into a theater, will be reversed as part of the restoration process. The north elevation of the building will see a grander, rounded staircase replacing its current one, and a central pillar will be removed to enlarge the entryway and make space for a glass entrance. Other changes include the removal of the partitions in the library’s stacks and the original lay-lights in the Great Hall ceiling to create an atrium. Some of the proposed additions, mainly concerning 12 exterior banners fixed to the facade, are under revision for the quantity and size of the signage. “This new space, which will feature a massive video screen, new wall openings on both levels, and circulation 'bridges' connecting the upper floors, will significantly alter the historic layout and character of the interior,” a report from Historic Preservation Office (HPO) stated in Urban Turf. The current arrangement allows Apple to ‘co-locate’ in the library with the existing tenant, The Historical Society of Washington. Events DC will be able to use non-retail areas for special events. The building was constructed in 1903 and designed by Ackerman & Ross in the Beaux Arts Style; it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1969.