Posts tagged with "Gensler":

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L.A.’s South Bay Galleria to undergo mixed-use upgrades by Gensler

A long-awaited mixed-use renovation and expansion plan led by international architecture firm Gensler and developer Forest City for the aging South Gate Galleria complex in Redondo Beach, California was finally revealed late last week. The plan calls for adding 300 housing units and a 150-bed hotel over an existing mall parking lot, demolishing several existing shopping structures, and redesigning retail areas with a new focus on open-air dining and pedestrian accessibility. A rendering released for the project depicts a grand lawn surrounded by open air dining spaces while elevations for the project showcase a mix of building forms, including a traditional apartment block, a balconied hotel, and re-skinned existing mall structures. The project site plan features generous planted open spaces at the site’s northeast corner, where a series of swales and trails wind from the busy intersection of Artesia Boulevard and Hawthorne Boulevard toward the proposed hotel. The project team also includes AHBE Landscape Architects; KGM Architectural Lighting; RSM Design; Tait & Associates engineers; and architects Togawa Smith Martin. Regarding the project, Forest City president Ratner told The Daily Breeze, “we want to enable people to use public transportation, walk or bike to shopping and dining destinations and use their cars a lot less than they do today.” Ratner added, “the proposed development will pay significant attention to better pedestrian and bicycle access and will promote easy transitions between a variety of transportation options.” The 29.85-acre site was identified in the City of Redondo Beach 2013-2021 General Plan Housing Element as the site with the “greatest potential for future residential development” in the city and as “an ideal location for transit-oriented development involving high-density residential uses” due to its proximity to a new stop along a forthcoming expansion of the regional Green Line light rail line that runs through the area. Despite that vaulted status, the project density has gradually fallen over time. Originally, the project was proposed with 480 residential units, a number that had to be scaled back after community opposition arose against the added residential density. The site itself is zoned for up to 650 units, according to a Draft Environmental Impact Report. The project is currently open for public comment as it makes its way through the environmental review process.
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Landmarked Sasaki fountain at Citicorp demolished

Today bulldozers eviscerated the sunken plaza at Citicorp Center, eliminating its late modern fountain and plaza, one of the last surviving works by Hideo Sasaki's firm in New York. The destruction of the fountain is tied to renovation plans for the public spaces that surround Citicorp, the late 70s tower at Lexington Avenue and 53rd Street  distinguished by its angled top and four silvery legs. At its base, welcoming commuters to and from the subway, sat a stepped concrete plaza and fountain designed by Sasaki principals Masao (Mas) Kinoshita and Stuart Dawson. The Landmark's Preservation Commission (LPC) designation report calls the fountain out as a historic feature, which signals a degree of protection. In this case, though, changes to the designated plaza were approved without the public's input. Charles A. Birnbaum, president and CEO of advocacy and education nonprofit The Cultural Landscape Foundation, walked by the plaza today and sent a video of the demolition to The Architect's Newspaper, below: Though shocking to those used to seeing the fountain on their commute, the bulldozer was in the picture months ago. Last year owner-developer Boston Properties hired Gensler's New York office to produce a new (and flatter) plaza that met requirements for its POPS status, one of the city's hundreds of privately owned public spaces that developers erected to build taller than zoning allowed. Here and elsewhere, the Department of City Planning regulates POPS; it requires part of the Citicorp POPS to include a fountain, and a fixed number of chairs and trees, among other amenities. The agency leaves all aesthetic and historical concerns to Landmarks. In this case, there is nothing original or historic about the new plaza Landmarks okayed. The approvals process for the plaza re-do was done by the letter of the law but not its spirit: Through a series of behind-the-scenes approvals, the public was deprived of the opportunity to weigh in on permanent changes to a public space. "When I see what has happened to the landscape architecture at Citicorp," Birnbaum said, "all I can think is 'Who dropped the ball?' How could a project like that go through Landmarks? How could a significant work of landscape architecture be destroyed and rendered tabula rasa?'" Some in the preservation community were just as displeased, with failure a running theme. "This news profoundly depressing. It's a failure on the part of Boston Properties—a failure of imagination and taste—to demolish a one-of-a-kind late modern water sculpture. They had something of incalculable value," said preservation activist Theodore Grunewald. He believes the stewardship of the historic property, too, was lacking. "It's mostly, though, a failure of [LPC chair] Meenakshi Srinivasan and LPC staff for cynically abdicating their responsibility to protect and defend a designated landmark." (At the last public Citicorp hearing, many Landmarks commissioners seemed surprised that the fountain's fate was pre-determined.) "This is a failure of civic governance," said Christabel Gough, of the Society for the Architecture of the City. "Millions of New Yorkers enjoyed passing Sasaki's cool cascade, a fountain beside a busy subway station—now smashed by philistine investors." The Society is a historic preservation advocacy group that regularly testifies before the LPC. At Citicorp's last public hearing, in March 2017, Gough maintained that the plaza's steps and angles, complemented by the geometry of the fountain, are essential to the experience of the site at street level, especially in relation to the tower's angled top. Is there a lesson in this loss, a way forward through the wreckage? There might be. Gensler itself is leading the way at a nearby building, Kevin Roche and John Dinkerloo's nearby Ford Foundation headquarters, completed in 1967. At that project, Birnbaum pointed to what he believes is a sensitive treatment of the plant-filled atrium as a foil to the Citicorp plaza, which will soften the plaza's deliberate angles with flowerbeds and a subdued fountain. Grunewald believes the fountain's loss boils down to transparency. "This was an opaque process. Further evidence of Landmarks's subservience to New York City's development community. Boston Properties got what they wanted, at the expense of the public. This is a tragic loss of one of New York's best public works of art." AN is planning a follow-up story on what happened at Citicorp, because the editors believe the approvals process that led to the fountain's destruction deserves explanation beyond the scope of this article. Stay tuned.
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Gensler releases new images of multi-building development in L.A.’s Koreatown

Gensler has released new renderings for a proposed mixed-use development in Los Angeles's Koreatown neighborhood that would extend a spur of dense, urban development northward along Vermont Avenue. The development, currently referred to as the “Vermont Corridor Project,” would bring a slew of new uses—market-rate and affordable apartments, as well as retail and office spaces—to the transit-connected neighborhood. The project is being developed as a public-private partnership between Los Angeles County, who owns the land, and Trammell Crow, the developer, in an effort to remediate currently underutilized lots and relocate Department of Mental Health (DMH) employees to more “architecturally prominent, cost-effective” facilities, according to a preliminary planning document. The project will encompass three sites, one of which is set off from the others by about one block. The two southernmost sites will contain a trio of tower structures—one, the existing DMH headquarters building, will be converted into a 172-unit housing complex while the second and third will be erected as new office and parking facilities for DMH staff. The new 471,000-square-foot office building will rise 13 stories and will include an eight-story, 965-stall parking podium along its lower levels. The office complex will be joined on the site by an 11-story, 768-stall parking tower located just to the east of the main tower. The office complex will contain up to 10,000 square feet of retail spaces along the ground floor, as well as 134 bicycle parking stalls. The structure, according to the new renderings, will be marked along its Vermont Avenue facade by a diagonal grid of parallelogram-shaped window frames, with the podium levels wrapped entirely by the motif. Next door, the repurposed office will feature diagonal exterior bracing, glass-clad facades, and inset balconies. The tower will include retail uses along Vermont Avenue and ground floor units along its backside. The detached parking podium mentioned earlier is being designed in such a way as to allow for the potential future construction of 74 additional units above the highest level, should the city deem the additional homes necessary. The third site, on the other hand, will be developed outright with 72 affordable housing units for senior citizens by Meta Housing Corporation. The complex will be made up of affordable and Special Needs Housing units and will include a 13,200-square-foot community center in lieu of retail spaces. That project is designed as an angular apartment block with push-pull massing and exterior circulation. The project will be located beside an existing stop along the region’s Purple Line, which is currently undergoing a multi-phase extension to the Westwood neighborhood. The Vermont Corridor itself, a north-south artery that runs from the Hollywood Hills to the South Bay, is currently being studied as a potential Bus Rapid Transit route, though some, like Urbanize.LA., have argued that the corridor’s high population density merits light rail infrastructure. The partners behind the project are currently preparing a draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) in order to receive the necessary approvals. A final construction timeline has not been released.
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Jackie Robinson Museum finally starts construction after a decade-long wait

Work has finally begun on a New York City museum that will honor Brooklyn Dodgers legend Jackie Robinson. Originally, the museum was slated open in 2009, but the Great Recession stalled fundraising for ten years. Now the museum, designed by Gensler’s New York office with exhibition design by Ralph Appelbaum Associates, is set to open in 2019. The 18,500-square-foot museum is being built into the ground floor of One Hudson Square, in Manhattan’s Soho district. A permanent exhibit will inform visitors of Robinson’s part in the civil rights movement, showcasing Jackie Robinson’s achievements against the backdrop of U.S. history from 1919 to the present. Beyond learning, these panels are functional, retracting to form the walls of an arena setting, or sliding out of sight to create more space for larger events. In these cases, temporary seating can also be installed. More hands-on exhibits, meanwhile will inform visitors on subjects including baseball, segregation, citizenship, personal integrity, and social change. A 75 seat theater will round out the program. "The Jackie Robinson Museum is an opportunity to bring an important cultural landmark to NYC—one that challenges visitors to think about the history of social and cultural change and tolerance," wrote said Joseph Plumeri, chairman of the Jackie Robinson Foundation National Legacy Campaign, in an information document about the museum. "The lessons learned from Jackie’s personal journey will touch people of all ages, educational levels, and cultural backgrounds." In terms of funding, the Associated Press reported that about $23.5 million has been raised to build the museum. The Jackie Robinson Foundation has its eyes set on a total of $42 million to pay for the museum's operating costs (42 was the baseball player's number).
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New renderings released for Gensler’s “EPIC” creative office tower in Hollywood

Architects Gensler and developer Hudson Pacific Properties have revealed a new set of renderings for a 300,000-square-foot creative office tower complex in Hollywood, California. The project, dubbed EPIC, will replace an existing parking lot and be 230 feet tall. The EPIC tower rises highest and most prominently along Sunset Boulevard and contains ground floor retail wrapping its base. The structure steps up from a wide parking podium section until roughly the midway point of the tower’s height. These stepped sections contain a series of elaborate, multi-level planted terraces that overlook the surrounding neighborhood. Higher up, the tower presents a more formal silhouette and is studded with floor-to-ceiling, square-shaped expanses of glass. These sections are offset slightly from one another and contain divided light window assemblies Interior creative office spaces feature spare interiors, with unfinished concrete floors and a spare grid of square-shaped concrete columns spanning the structure’s broad floorplates. The new batch of renderings includes several views of multi-level interior office spaces and of the outdoor terraces, as well. The terrace areas contain a variety of seating configurations, are landscaped with modestly-sized trees, and divided up by variable planted partitions. The tower is being developed as a sister project to the developer’s $150 million expansion of the Sunset Bronson Studios complex directly across the street. That project consists of a 14-story tower containing 400,000-square feet of office spaces, including five-stories of movie, sound, and film production facilities. Both projects join an increasing number of high-rise, mixed-use tower complexes slated for the area, including the recently-completed RCH Studios–designed Columbia Square development and the beleaguered Natoma Architects–designed Hollywood Palladium towers. EPIC is currently in the beginning stages of construction; a final construction schedule has not been completed.
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Landmarks cites nonexistent permits for iconic Citicorp Center plaza

Last month the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) sidestepped a crucial discussion of a developer's plans to overhaul a plaza at the Citicorp Center (now 601 Lexington Avenue), citing permits that were, in fact, never issued (Update 5/8/17: see note at bottom). The opaque and irregular approvals process for these renovations—detailed below—deprived the public of the opportunity to weigh in on highly visible changes to the landmarked Citicorp Center, one New York’s most essential late modern buildings. Those changes especially impact a plaza and fountain by Sasaki Associates, one of the firm’s only surviving works in New York. In March The Architect's Newspaper reported on the planned changes to the building, one of the city's newest landmarks. The 59-story tower, designed by Hugh A. Stubbins & Associates in 1977, commands a busy corner in East Midtown, Manhattan. The landmark designation includes three interrelated structures—a 59-story, 915-foot-tall office tower on the western portion of the site, a six-story mixed-use structure nestled into the main tower, and St. Peter's Lutheran Church of Manhattan—all connected by a series of indoor and outdoor spaces that are privately owned but open to the public. At the Midtown East building, though, proposed changes to those spaces—known to city planners as POPS—have attracted attention.  The LPC put the Citicorp Center on its calendar for landmark consideration in May 2016, and, after one hearing on September 13, the commission declared 601 Lexington Avenue—three buildings and the POPS—a New York City landmark in December 2016. Typically, calendaring puts all renovations on hold—but not this time. In July of that year, just two months after calendering, the owner, Boston Properties, filed plans with the DOB for a $46.8 million renovation that included changes to the POPS and the six-story office-retail building at the base of the main tower. Fast forward to a March 21, 2017 hearing to discuss a proposed renovation, designed by Gensler, that included work on the building's facade. At this hearing, LPC commissioners twice stated that they couldn't comment on the plaza renovations because they were "already permitted" (5:38:01 and 5:41:40), while LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan said the owner "already got the permits" for the plaza reconstruction. But where are those permits? The permits the LPC referenced could only been approved by one agency: the Department of Buildings (DOB). For this project, the DOB approves development plans, while the Department of City Planning's (DCP) City Planning Commission oversees and approves changes to privately owned public spaces. Neither agency can approve major changes to a landmark or potential landmark without LPC approval. Today, a DOB spokesperson confirmed to AN that the agency rejected Boston Properties’ plans (just this week, in fact) but stated that the owner may file new plans at a later date. With no permits on file, was the LPC referencing approvals from City Planning? At the March 2017 hearing, the commission stated that, because the DCP oversees privately owned public spaces, any changes to the POPS had to be—and were already—approved by that department. That’s true: At DCP, public review of the project commenced September 14, 2016—a day after the LPC’s September designation hearing—and garnered departmental approval on November 2, 2016, months after the May calendaring and a little over a month before designation. This bizarre dialogue between Landmarks and City Planning left no opportunity for the public to comment on major changes to a landmarked public space. The LPC was unable to confirm what permits the commission was referring to at the March 2017 hearing, despite repeated requests. The designation report (PDF) confirms that the DCP has oversight over the POPS, but it incorrectly says Boston Properties received DOB approval to modify the sunken plaza. (The designation report contains an additional error: The Citicorp Center's calendaring is listed as August 9, 2016 but an LPC press release pegs its calendaring to May 10.) The DOB confirmed that it had not issued a permit for the renovation of the POPS at the site. With regard to the plaza changes, "I'm not sure what the Landmarks Commission thinks it is doing," said Michael Hiller, Esq. Hiller is the founding principal of Hiller, PC, a New York City firm that litigates zoning, preservation, and land-use issues. At press time, the LPC issued the following statement:
The application before the Commission on March 21st was limited to the building’s façade. The applicant represented to the Commission that they had valid DOB permits for the work on the plaza that pre-dated designation and, as a result, that portion of the work was not before the Commission. During the process, the Commissioner’s reference was based on the representation by the applicant. If there were no valid DOB permits for the work on the plaza issued prior to designation, the applicant would be required to obtain an LPC permit prior to the issuance of a DOB permit.
A site visit this week revealed that there is construction fencing surrounding the perimeter of the plaza, though the stair to the subway through the sunken plaza remains unimpeded. Signs show a Gensler rendering of the revamped plaza and office building, above, but the only permits posted are for work on the 29th floor: Boston Properties could not be reached for comment on the current status of the renovations or the approvals process. The changes that DCP approved in Boston Properties’ land use application would add benches and would not reduce the total area of the POPS's sunken plaza. (Technically, to the DCP, the plaza is an "open air concourse," an exposed area that sits more than 12 feet below-grade and provides access to the subway. Here, at its lowest, the tiered public space sits 13 feet below grade.) Its 6,000 square feet of tables, chairs, and concrete gave the Citicorp Center a FAR bonus of almost 59,000 square feet. In exchange, the public received six trees, 19 tables, 76 chairs, and a designer fountain, plus retail at the western edge of the concourse. The DCP-approved changes would add two tables, eight chairs, and 153 feet of benches to the count, and a new fountain would replace the Sasaki fountain in "approximately the same location." Among other changes, the plans call for a stairway from the concourse to the sidewalk would be widened, and repositioned to improved pedestrian circulation from the subway to the street. The land use review application says the changes would "improve public access, provide better circulation and connectivity, and create a more visible and vibrant Public Spaces [sic]." This fountain-for-fountain, space-for-space tradeoff is acceptable per City Planning but for preservationists, the thought of losing Sasaki fountain is devastating. “The Citicorp Center is about public space—that’s what makes it architecturally interesting and designation-worthy,” said preservation activist Theodore Gruenwald. “We are seeing all of these changes done very much behind the scenes, without public oversight.” Designed by Sasaki Associates principal emeritus Stuart Dawson, the Citicorp Center's plaza and fountain is just one of the city’s 333 POPS, the essential New York City micro-spaces that make public places out of office building plazas, atria, and concourses. Introduced as a development incentive in the 1960s, POPS let developers build taller than zoning allowed in exchange for open space. Recently, though, the public-ness of these public spaces has come under threat. The election propelled Trump Tower's inaccessible POPS into the limelight, and the loss of the Water Street arcades last year has further highlighted the vulnerability of POPS, especially those that are more marginal. Though not a POPS, the owners of SOM's landmarked One Chase Manhattan Plaza tried—and failed—to build three glass pavilions on the building's plaza, a move that would have segmented the public space and blocked views of a massive Dubuffet sculpture. Rule-breaking POPS have caught the attention of the law, too. This month the office of the New York City comptroller released the results of a POPS audit (PDF), which found that more than half of the city's privately owned public spaces did not provide mandated access or amenities (though the POPS at Citicorp Center was in-compliance—at least by this measure). UPDATE 5/8/17: The DOB initially represented to AN that there were no permits issued for the work on the sunken plaza and Sasaki fountain. On May 5, 2017, the agency informed AN that an ALT–2 permit to remake the plaza was filed on November 18, 2016 and issued on December 2, 2016. The LPC signed off on the permits that same day, four days before Citicorp's landmarking on December 6 and well after the conclusion of the public comment period. AN plans to update readers on this developing story.
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Gensler designs affordable housing TOD for Chicago’s South Side

While transit-oriented developments (TOD) have become ever more popular on the near Northwest side of Chicago, the latest such project is on the complete other side of town, and it offers something the others don’t. The Woodlawn Station development will be located at the 63rd and South Cottage Grove station of the CTA L Green Line, and will include 70 units of mixed-income housing, in three buildings. The main building of the development will have 55 market-rate and affordable housing units. The four-story building was designed by Gensler with Chicago-based Nia Architects as the architect of record. The base will include 15,000-square-feet of retail and commercial space, and other amenities include a rooftop deck, a play garden, and community room. As a transit-oriented development, it will have limited car parking, and extra bike storage space. A digital transit info screen will let residents know when trains are approaching, as they will only have a few steps to take to get to the station. The importance of the Woodlawn Station project is in the role it will play in the quickly revitalizing neighborhood. Earlier this year it was reported that, for the first time in 50 years, Woodlawn had seen an increase in population while simultaneously a decrease in crime. A great deal of emphasis is being put on the neighborhood by the city, as it will also soon be home to the Tod Williams Billy Tsien-Designed Obama Presidential Center. In recent years, other projects, from the Woodlawn Resource Center to University of Chicago student housing, have all added to the improvement of the neighborhood. The developers of the project, Preservation of Affordable Housing, Inc. (POAH), specifically focus on developing affordable housing. Along with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); City of Chicago; Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC); JP Morgan Chase; BMO Harris Bank; and the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) the project is an example of how multi-layered public/private financing is often used to build affordable housing in Chicago. Yet local officials are quick to point out that federal funding may soon be a smaller part of the equation. "The developers of this project were able to leverage more than $400 million in additional investments from the private sector after receiving $30 million in federal funding from the Choice Neighborhood Grant Fund—a HUD program that would be eliminated in President Trump’s budget blueprint," ‎said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) at the project's groundbreaking. "Programs designed to help revitalize struggling communities are smart investments that yield great benefits for the neighborhood and nation alike. They should receive more federal investment, not less.”
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VR was essential to Gensler’s design of NVIDIA’s new headquarters

Hao Ko, principal and design director at Gensler, will be delivering the keynote presentation at the 2017 Tech+ Expo (May 23, New York City). Like a test rendering of a 3-D model, Gensler’s new headquarters for microchip maker NVIDIA in Santa Clara, California comes haltingly into view across the landscape, a glitchy image slowly gaining resolution. The 550,000-square-foot structure has been in the works since before the Great Recession and after nearly a decade in development, work is quickly progressing on final construction. The structure is on track to open for business in September of 2017—construction photos provided to The Architect’s Newspaper (AN) by Hao Ko, principal and design director at Gensler, indicate that work on the building envelope is almost complete, with the installation of final interior finishes and the landscape underway. Devcon Construction is building the project and Louie International is acting as the structural design engineer. Along the exterior, practically every edge of the wide, triangular structure is canted subtly. A roof profile that appears curved is actually made up of broad, segmented lines. Along two sides, the building bulges at the middle, creating fat, cyclopean bay windows. From above, the building is revealed across the landscape as a microchip-inspired paper airplane—a thin roof structure pierced with triangular skylights heaving over the earth. The building is actually capped by a steel truss roof supported by steel beam walls and columns. The deeply-overhanging and undulating roof creates a cavernous interior volume below. Whenever the roof’s folded planes meet at a peak or a valley, they turn downward as large steel section columns that resolve themselves dutifully and unceremoniously by plunging straight into the concrete slab. [interstitia] The construction images showcase a cavernous, two-level interior volume intersected by a series of opaque, faceted cores that interlock with one another and contain communal functions and meeting rooms. The peripheries of each floor plate are lined with work areas. Here, the formal rows of desks and more open-ended breakout spaces will exist in a broad, sky-lit space, framed by triangular roofing members above. The project is notable for the collaborative effort between client and architect that allowed the design team to embed virtual reality-based (VR) visualization into the design process. NVIDIA worked to develop new uses for the graphics chip manufacturer’s Iray rendering engine: the project's iterative daylight simulations involved modeling up to 5,000 light sources per image. Using the technology and cluster computing to pool GPU-power, designers were able to generate renderings in as little as ten minutes’ time, converting the technology into a rapidly-deployable design tool. The technology was also designed to include physically scanned materials in such a way as to capture light intensity and character—rather than to generate only various intensities of color, as is more common in rendering applications. The resulting “simulations” guided the design of the workspaces, where NVIDIA wanted to maximize quality of light. The scheme, as a result, ended up with fewer skylights than originally intended. Simulations showed that not as many skylights were needed to achieve the correct lighting effect designers were looking for. Ko explained over telephone that virtual reality workflow integration allows for a project to take on more life, saying “previously we only had artists’ renditions of what a space could feel like.” Ko added that with VR, the architects at Gensler wanted to figure out how could get “more reality” into the design experience. Scott DeWoody, Gensler’s creative media manager, said that the use of virtual reality was integral to the NVIDIA project and that the firm had “found a use for it at every spot in the design process.” VR is something that is not only easy to adopt into the traditional office workflow, DeWoody explained, but once rendering times are reduced, the tool can result in better overall design quality, as designers “render everything around them, instead of just (rendering) an open scene.” Ko agreed that the advanced simulation techniques add more to the design process than traditional renders, saying, “I’m old school—I came in the profession back in the day when we were building big physical models, to understand size, scale, and experience. Prior to having VR, it was always a challenge to reconcile how you do that.” Technology is driving rapid changes in architecture and construction industries and the building industry, in turn, is a driver of the U.S. economy. Tech+ Expo brings together, for the first time in NYC, industry and technology leaders that are shaping the future of the built environment.
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SHoP and Gensler revamp the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Long Island

The New York offices of SHoP Architects and Gensler have teamed up to bring the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Long Island back to life. As part of a $165 million renovation, SHoP worked on the facade aspect of the design while Gensler configured the interior. Billy Joel will inaugurate the venue tomorrow with a concert. The Coliseum first opened in 1972, but after 40 years of being the Islanders' ice hockey home, the arena had fallen into a being a shadow of its former self. Developer Forest City Ratner Companies took on the task in 2013, teaming up with SHoP. The two firms had previously worked together on the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and their second collaborative project appears to have produced a facade of similar standing. Comprising 4,700 brushed aluminum fins, the facade gently undulates upon a horizontal axis as it wraps around the Coliseum. This is achieved by altering the fins' angled vertices incrementally. According to a press release, the material references Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis—the first non-stop solo transatlantic flight which took off nearby. The interior, meanwhile, makes use of the infused daylight from a new exterior glass storefront which illuminates a redesigned concourse, main entrance, and circulatory areas. New seating has also been installed within the 416,000-square-foot space. In addition to this, a new VIP Club and Blue Moon Beer Garden have also been installed as event amenity spaces. For performers, "residential style living spaces" are part of the venue's "Artist Quarters." 1,500 staff are set to work at the Coliseum which will also double-up as a home for the Brooklyn Nets’ NBA Development League affiliate, the Long Island Nets, as well as hosting family shows, sports, and outdoor festivals. “Our goal was to create a space that reflected the tremendous sense of place that permeates Long Island, from the look of the building, to the taste of the food,” said Bruce Ratner, executive chairman of Forest City Ratner Companies, the developer of the new venue in a press release. “Our talented architectural and development team have succeeded beyond our dreams, creating a venue that is visually striking and wonderfully comfortable. We’re excited about the opening and are looking forward to the ongoing development of this entertainment destination.”
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Development team releases renderings for North Hollywood’s new skyline

Areas around the only heavy rail transit stop in Los Angeles’s San Fernando Valley are poised to change dramatically as a new plan calling for the addition of over 1,500 residential units to the area coalesces. The redevelopment plan—orchestrated as a joint proposal by developers Trammell Crow Company, Greenland USA, Cesar Chavez Foundation, architects Gensler, and landscape architects Melendrez—also aims to bring roughly 450,000-square feet of offices and 150,000-square feet of ground-level commercial spaces to a collection of lots owned by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (L.A. Metro) surrounding the North Hollywood Red Line station. The plans will also consolidate a series of bus turnaround areas around the station into a single transfer complex. Urbanize LA reports that the plan, to be detailed in an upcoming presentation by the development to L.A. Metro’s San Fernando Valley Service Council (SFVSC), comes after Trammell Crow and Greenland had initially proposed two competing schemes. A rendering of the proposed project showcases a collection of mixed-use towers surrounding a series of open plaza areas and the new bus turnaround. The renderings depict the tallest tower as a podium-style structure located at the northern corner of the site, with a much shorter, perimeter block structure topped with a green roof standing beside it. The back corner of the site is populated by several courtyard apartment building complexes and a mid-rise housing tower. Another tall tower will be located on a corner opposing the main portion of the development. The complex is designed as a Transit Oriented Community (TOC), a notion that builds on transit-accessibility at the core of Transit Oriented Development (TOD) projects by including “holistic community development” that engages not only with mass transit but also facilitates pedestrian activities, according to the report that will be shown to the SFVSC. The plan comes out of a series of community scoping meetings conducted by L.A. Metro and the developers that uncovered historic preservation of the surrounding NoHo Arts District and balance between height, density, and pedestrianism as major community concerns. As such, the development will aim to engage and building upon existing street life in the pedestrian-heavy node while also adding generous paseos between various structures to create pedestrian paths around the station. The project will also include an unspecified number of affordable housing units. A detailed timeline for the project has not been released.
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Gensler reveals renderings for $250 million Queen Mary Island development

Developer Urban Commons and architects Gensler have revealed renderings for a new $250 million entertainment complex to be located adjacent to the Queen Mary ocean liner in Long Beach, California. The project—dubbed Queen Mary Island—aims to bring 700,000 square feet of retail, a 200-room hotel, and a series of outdoor public spaces including a new boardwalk, marina, and public amphitheater to the Pacific Ocean–adjacent waterfront. The Los Angeles Times reports that the project will also bring a 150,000-square-foot entertainment facility by London-based Urban Legacies to the site. That facility is slated to include high-octane attractions like an ice climbing facility, a zip-line assembly, and indoor skydiving simulator, among others. The move is an effort by Urban Commons to create new sources of revenue to fund badly-needed repairs for the aging ship. It is estimated that structural repairs and upgrades over the next five years alone will cost roughly $289 million. The Queen Mary brought in roughly $15 million in revenues last year between the 314-room hotel on board and revenue generated from visitor fees and events. Urban Commons has not released what projected revenues might be after the improvements, but the developer is betting that by rebranding and reactivating the Queen Mary as the heart of a new entertainment complex, more revenue will be generated. The proposed changes would transform the surrounding bayside, which is currently populated mainly by a series of surface parking lots and the Long Beach Cruise Terminal. Several of those parking lots will be replaced with a cluster of a shopping structures designed around broad walkways and plazas. The structures are being designed to celebrate “the best of Great Britain [the Queen Mary was originally based out of Southampton, England] and Southern California,” according to a promotional video issued by Urban Commons. A new boardwalk will wrap the Queen Mary as it crosses the harbor, transforming into a new marina as it stretches west across the site. The new amphitheater will be located on this end, along with the new hotel. The plan also includes a new entry lobby and event entrance for the Queen Mary, both designed in the manner of 19th century English greenhouses. The project is expected to break ground in roughly two years.
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Four mega-developments near Dallas make up the Five Billion Dollar Mile

With the recent wave of corporate office growth, Frisco, a city at the intersection of the Dallas North Tollway and State Highway 121, has seen a number of large developments take shape over the past five years. With Toyota as the most recent and highly publicized to lead the pack by announcing its relocation of its North American headquarters, the area is quickly becoming host to large corporate campuses.

The Star in Frisco, designed by Gensler’s Dallas office, is the first to reach a milestone completion with the opening of the Ford Center, a 12,000-seat indoor field connected to an outdoor Dallas Cowboys’ practice field featuring an expansive glazed curtain wall. With the Ford Center’s completion in 2016, the development has greatly impacted the vitality of the region and the local community. The City of Frisco and the eight schools that make up the Frisco Independent School District will utilize the new Cowboy’s practice facility. “The Star has been a catalyst development for the five billion dollar mile,” said Scott Armstrong, senior associate with Gensler. “Since the completion of the Cowboys’ facility, the real estate development in the surrounding area has gained exponential traction.” Over the next two years, The Star will add an Omni Hotel and additional retail space; a Baylor, Scott & White Health facility will be completed on the remainder of the site.

Other projects are slowly gaining momentum: The $1.5 billion Frisco Station began construction in October of last year. The 242-acredevelopment spearheaded by Hillwood Properties will add nearly six million square feet of new office space with an accompanying mixed-use program, including a 40-acre medical park, 2,400 apartments, 300,000 square feet of retail, and 650 hotel rooms.

Meanwhile, The Gate, a 41-acre luxury development under the direction of Dubai’s Invest Group Overseas, continues to search for investment to partner in the $700 million project.

Wade Park, the largest development of the four, has seen some site work although construction has yet to take place. According to a November 2016 article by Dallas Morning News, the project’s first phase that would feature a large retail component was postponed with completion set for 2018. Its website lists signed tenants such as Whole Foods, iPic Theaters, and Pinstripes bowling.

Just off the Five Billion Dollar Mile, another project provides a contrast to the Mile’s predictable designs. One Legacy West will make a minimalist design statement amongst the horizon. “Given the context we, and our client, the Gaedeke Group, chose to differentiate One Legacy West through an architecture that is simple, ordered, and restrained,” said Mark Dilworth of Morrison Dilworth + Walls. From a 15- by 15-foot column grid, the firm developed a strict logic where the final outcome is a cube in and of itself. The move renders the architecture simultaneously iconic, as it is functional and flexible for the tenants. It is one of the rare, architecturally rich projects in the area based solely upon form. One Legacy West will be complete by mid-2017.