The Chicago City Council recently approved the landmark designation for the Old Chicago Main Post Office. Built in phases from 1921 to 1932, the 2.3-million-square-foot structure is located on the western bank of the south branch of the Chicago River in Chicago’s Near West Side. The building’s brawny nine-and twelve-story art deco design is the work of Chicago architectural firm Graham, Anderson, Probst & White, a successor to D.H. Burnham and Company. The Old Chicago Main Post Office was constructed with a 40-foot-wide rectangular hole running through the center of the building, intended to accommodate a provision of the 1909 Plan of Chicago for a Congress Street extension from the South Loop to Chicago’s West Side. While various plans were floated for the extension in the 1930s, the space wouldn’t come into full use until 1955, when the Congress (now Eisenhower) Expressway was completed, connecting the Loop to the western suburbs. The building’s main lobby sports lavish details like white marble and gold glass mosaics, but its original function was utilitarian in nature, with the majority of the spaces dedicated to feed conveyors, hoppers, mechanical tables, and chutes that supported a variety of mail sorting operations. The Old Chicago Main Post Office remained in operation until a modernized facility was completed in 1996, leaving the building vacant. While the Old Chicago Main Post Office was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001, providing it with the opportunity to capitalize on Federal Historic Tax Credits, it is the local designation that provides a measure of protection from demolition and insensitive alteration, as a National Register listing is primarily used for planning purposes and is honorary. Local designation of commercial, industrial, and income-producing non-for-profit buildings also provides building owners with the opportunity to capitalize on Chicago’s Class L Property Tax Incentive, which reduces property levels for a 12-year period provided that half of the value of the landmark building is invested in an approved rehabilitation project. According to the City of Chicago, the property’s owner, 601W Companies, is implementing a $292 million rehabilitation of the building as retail spaces and offices led by Gensler. The interior and exterior spaces will be comprehensively updated. The work will also repair existing rights-of-way for the Eisenhower Expressway as well as the Amtrak railroad facility located underneath the building.
Posts tagged with "Gensler":
Gensler has replaced New York firm SHoP Architects on the design for the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. SHoP had revealed its designs for the Cleveland Cavaliers' basketball stadium, known as "The Q," in December 2016. Work was scheduled to begin on the $140 million project the following year; however, work was delayed for a number of reasons. A spokesperson for Gensler confirmed to AN that Detroit-based stadia specialists Rossetti, who worked with SHoP on the original project, remain involved. Renderings given to AN by Gensler show the arena's overall design is mostly unchanged. Gensler's design team will come mostly from its Washington D.C. office and be spearheaded by Ryan Sickman, who holds the position of Firmwide Sports Practice Area Leader at the firm. Len Komoroski, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena CEO, commented that Gensler was "well-positioned" for the "extensive transformation" of the 24-year-old arena. "Their experience and global foot print are a great match for this project and the image of Cleveland that will be projected around the world from The Q" he continued in a statement, adding: "The project is off to a great start and we look forward to seeing this unique, impactful transformation come to life." Surprisingly, another collaboration between the two firms wasn't on the cards, despite Gensler and SHoP having previously worked together on the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Long Island, another stadium revamp. The former was completed almost exactly a year ago today. In 2013, SHoP's design for a New York City F.C. stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park was given the boot amid opposition. "I like the idea of a soccer venue in New York City… What I'm not crazy about is the fact that they want to take public park land in the process," said New York City Comptroller John Liu at the time regarding plans to plonk the 25,000-seat stadium on up to 13 acres in the park. After scouting the Bronx, Columbia University and Belmont Park in Nassau County, and failing to secure a stadium site, New York City F.C. is still on the hunt for a home. Despite only being 22 years old, the Quicken Loans Arena is one of the oldest facilities in use on the National Basketball Association circuit. SHoP's design featured a new glazed facade which stretches the stadium’s footprint closer to the street edge. This fenestration reveals an undulating arrangement of what appears to be wood panels which, given their location well inside the facade and north-facing orientation, don’t seem to serve any shading purpose. Aside from aesthetics, entrance and exit gangway areas will witness an increase in space, thus aiding circulation—a necessity considering The Q hosts more than 200 events every year.
There’s a new development that’s aiming to replace the Washington Monument as the tallest building in the Washington, D. C. area. A group headed by Clemente Development Company and a Saudi partner is acquiring land in northern Virginia to build a 2.8-million-square-foot mixed-use project called The View at Tysons. As part of its plans, the team has proposed a 48-story tower that would be 615 feet tall, making it 60 feet higher than the 555-foot-high Washington Monument on the National Mall. Gensler is the designer of the tower, which will contain two levels of retail space, topped by 13 floors of hotel space and luxury condominiums above that. Other elements of The View at Tysons include two rental apartment buildings, two office towers, a performing arts center and a public plaza. The land is at the intersection of Leesburg Pike and Tyco Road, near the Spring Hill Metro Station, and the team needs zoning approval before it can begin construction. When complete, the Tysons tower would be the second tallest building in Virginia, after the Westin Virginia Beach Town Center hotel in Virginia Beach.
What will happen to gas stations once drivers switch over to electric vehicles? Reebok and Gensler are trying to find out, and have teamed up for a “Get Pumped” partnership that imagines repurposing the gas stations of 2030 as community fitness hubs. First announced by Reebok, the initiative imagines a future where automobiles are all electric, and 71 million of the 260 million cars on the road are autonomously driven. Gas stations are usually centrally located and easily accessible, and Get Pumped proposes adapting them into community fitness centers. “This design work with Gensler allows us to imagine a future where there is zero barrier to entry for an opportunity to work out and be healthy,” said Austin Malleolo, head of Reebok fitness facilities. “Consumers may not need gas stations anymore, but instead of wasting them, we’re recycling them, and maximizing the space so that they become places of community.” Gensler and Reebok focused on three station typologies for adaptive reuse: The Network would transform the interstate rest stop into gyms where travelers can recharge their cars as well as their spirits. Described as the “power grid of the future” by Reebok, these charging stations would feature boxing, spinning, Crossfit, running trails and Les Mils. The Oasis model would turn the larger gas stations typically found on local highways into nutrition hubs, offering farm to table restaurants, juice bars, and yoga and meditation hubs. Outside, passerbys could visit the fresh herb garden or run on a rooftop track. The Community Center scheme proposes repurposing the local community gas stations into healthier living stations, where guests can work out, take a quick nutrition class, or shop for healthy food as their car charges. Because these stations are typically smaller but more densely clustered, each converted community center would work in tandem and form a greater network. While Get Pumped is the first step in laying out a potential framework for changing what the “gas station of the future” might look like, it’s worth remembering the challenges involved. Any gas station conversion would be precluded by an intensive amount of soil remediation, as toxic petroleum often soaks into the underlying dirt. Although this type of adaptive reuse project has certainly been done before, the feasibility of doing so on a nation-wide scale would be unprecedented, especially as more and more stations close and are simply torn down. Still, it wouldn’t be the first time that a big-name architect has tried their hand at designing filling stations.
The Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has been on an expansion tear in recent years. Following the announcement of a rail connection from Los Angeles to the airport, an accompanying transit hub, and a super jumbo airplane-oriented concourse expansion, a $336 million contract has been awarded to build three new terminal cores for the airport’s forthcoming people mover. As part of the terminal extension plan, Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), the body responsible for overseeing LAX and the Van Nuys Airports, gave their final approval for a $336 million funding package on January 19th. That money will go to Dallas, Texas-based Austin Commercial Inc., who have a five-year design-build contract with LAWA to build out three new terminal cores for the Automated People Mover (APM), as well as the surrounding elevators, escalators and walkways. All three cores are shooting for LEED Silver Certification. The new Terminal Core Project will see the construction of two cores between the existing Terminals 5 and 6 and the Tom Bradley International Terminal, and one at Terminal 7. According to LAWA, the three new cores will join another four being built privately, by American Airlines for Terminals 4 and 5, Delta Air Lines for Terminals 2 and 3, and Southwest Airlines for Terminal 1. Phase one of the Terminal Core Project will begin in the second half of 2018 and involve preliminary design. Construction will begin in phase two, which is expected to run from 2019 to 2021. The $2.7-billion people mover project is just one part of the greater $5.5-billion Landside Access Modernization Program (LAMP), a modernization initiative meant to improve connectivity across the LAX. Besides pushing guests around the airport in a loop, the people mover will eventually connect with the forthcoming Crenshaw and Green lines once the $600 million Airport Metro Connector 96th Street Station is complete. The people mover is expected to run every two minutes, all day every day, for free, and eventually hit six stations around the LAX. LAX is the fourth busiest airport in the world and second in the United States, and the upgrades are long overdue. Corgan and Gensler have teamed up to design the $1.6-billion concourse expansion, which will hold an additional 12 gates and an 85,000-square-foot baggage area when it’s finished. Once LAMP is complete in 2023, the LAX should seamlessly connect with the satellite gates and the city proper through mass transit.
This is the first article in a three part series documenting the 2018 AIA Institute Honor Awards. This lists the winners of the architecture category, while additional segments contain the winners in the interior architecture and regional & urban design categories. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has announced the 2018 winners of the AIA Institute Honor Awards. The list contains projects from all around the world, and of varying programs and uses, and honors firms both large and small. From a girls’ school in Afghanistan to a municipal salt shed, this year’s widely diverse group of winning projects will be recognized at the AIA Conference on Architecture 2018 in New York City, in late June. This year's eight member jury panel included:
- Lee Becker, FAIA (Chair), Hartman-Cox Architects
- Anne Marie Decker, FAIA, Duvall Decker Architects
- Susan Johnson, AIA, Strata; Anna Jones, Assoc. AIA, MOD Design
- Caitlin Kessler, AIAS Student Representative, University of Arizona
- Merilee Meacock, AIA, KSS Architects
- Robert Miller, FAIA, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
- Sharon Prince, Grace Farms Foundation
- Rob Rogers, FAIA, Rogers Partners.
Architects Gensler and Legendary Development have revealed renderings for a long-anticipated 11-story development on an existing L-shaped parking lot surrounding the A+D Museum in Downtown Los Angeles. The proposed tower will be located at 4th and Hewitt Streets in L.A.’s booming Arts District and will contain up to 255,000 square feet of office spaces, 15,000 square feet of ground floor retail uses, 11,000 square feet of common areas, and 538 parking stalls. The 8,950-square-foot A+D Museum is to remain, though it will shrink to 7,800 square feet, according to a preliminary Environmental Impact Report (EIR). Rios Clementi Hale is performing landscape architecture services for the project, Urbanize.LA reports. The renderings were first published by Curbed LA. The development, according to the renderings, is designed to approximate the Arts District’s industrial vernacular aesthetic and will feature four lower levels designed to look like surrounding late nineteenth century factory buildings. These levels come complete with divided light, factory-style windows and exposed concrete frame elements. The lower portion of the building will be topped by a seven-story glass curtain wall–clad building mass that is highlighted on various corners by bump-out volumes and inset balcony spaces. The complex will overlook the existing A+D Museum and will be accessed from a courtyard currently adjacent to the museum. The project comes as the areas around the A+D Museum and adjacent Southern California Institute of Architecture campus see an increase in office-containing projects. Several former industrial complexes—including an old Coca Cola syrup factory and a defunct Maxwell House Coffee roastery—are being adapted and expanded as developers work to meet growing demand for office space in the district. Other areas of the neighborhood are seeing a boom in residential and mixed-use development, as well. The Draft EIR indicates that the project team expects to break ground on the project in 2019, with completion scheduled for 2021.
Three finalist teams have released hotly-anticipated designs for a new tower complex at Angels Knoll, a former Los Angeles park now known as Angels Landing. The finalists were selected based on their submissions to a Request for Proposals (RFP) issued by the City of Los Angeles back in January to develop a parcel at 4th and Hill Streets, which was once home to Angels Knoll, a park that closed in 2013. The RFP asked architects to include affordable housing on the one-acre lot, which bridges the neighborhoods of the Historic Core, Civic Center, and Bunker Hill. Urbanize.LA reports that the development will also offer pedestrian access to California Plaza, the Pershing Square Metro Station, and Angels Flight, a historic railway. One design team, Angels Landing Development Partners (ALDP), is led by local developer Lowe Enterprises in collaboration with Cisneros Miramontes, Gensler, and Relm Studio. ALDP's tower design, pictured first in the gallery above, stretches to 883 feet (1.27 million square feet in all). Its building is proposed as a part of the UCLA campus. The tower would include 655 residences targeting university faculty, and it would host ample academic, office, and adaptable program space. The renderings depict an irregularly stepped tower of terra-cotta and glass with publicly-accessible terraced landscaping and green roofs on a few of the setbacks. Another team is comprised of Onni Group, a Vancouver-based developer, and Stanley Saitowitz of San Francisco–based Natoma Architects. In the renderings, two unevenly stacked steel-and-glass massings stand at respective heights of 840 and 410 feet tall. The shorter structure would include condos and a hotel, while the taller tower would include apartments, commercial space, and an elementary school. Two acres of open space are incorporated into the plan at ground level and at California Plaza. Angels Landings Partners (ALP), the final team, is a partnership between MacFarlane Partners, the Peebles Corporation, and Claridge Properties, as well as Handel Architects and Olin. ALP has also proposed two towers for the site, one at 24 stories and another at a lofty 88 stories. These structures would incorporate 400 rental units (20 of those affordable), 250 condos, and 500 hotel rooms. The buildings, with 57,000 square feet of open space, would also include extensive retail space and a charter school. If ALP's design were to move forward, the towers would become the largest minority-owned development in L.A. The city plans to select a developer for the project in November.
On October 19th and 20th, the Facades+ conference held by The Architect’s Newspaper will head to the L.A. Hotel Downtown in Los Angeles, bringing with it a series of insightful panel discussions centered around the west coast’s most innovative buildings and projects. The conference panels will convene design leaders representing several of the region’s boundary-pushing practices and projects. Project types under consideration will include civic buildings, social housing complexes, architectural skins, and sports stadiums. The conference’s first panel will focus on the recently-completed Los Angeles Federal Courthouse building by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. The energy-efficient project is designed with a ruffled perimeter glass curtain wall assembly outfitted with special baffles that dramatically cut heating and cooling loads for the structure. José Luis Palacios, Design Director of SOM’s L.A. office, and Keith Boswell, technical partner at SOM, will come together in a panel to discuss how the courthouse project came together. See AN’s review of the courthouse here. Many of the region’s most successful practices are socially- and culturally-driven, a dynamic that has resulted in a growing number of design-forward social housing projects across the region. Local efforts to address California’s homelessness crisis are spearheaded by the Los Angeles-based Skid Row Housing Trust, a non-profit supportive housing developer that focuses on design quality as an integral component of the re-housing process. The organization is helmed by executive director Mike Alvidrez, who will come together for a panel with architects Angela Brooks of Los Angeles-based Brooks + Scarpa and Nathan Bishop of Santa Monica-based Koning Eizenberg Architects to discuss attractive residential and community spaces that challenge the perception of supportive housing in L.A. AN recently reviewed Brooks + Scarpa’s The Six, a 56-unit supportive housing project developed by SRHT. The region is also home to a critical mass of young, digitally-driven design and architecture practices that are utilizing computer generated forms to push the limits of fabrication and construction. A third panel will bring together Doris Sung, principal of DOSU Studio Architecture, Alvin Huang, founder of Synthesis Design + Architecture (SDA), and Satoru Sugihara, principal of ATLV, to discuss the relationship between architectural research and highly-specific skin assemblies. SDA recently completed work on the IBM Watson Experience Center in San Francisco, a project that utilized a CNC-milled aluminum panel system manufactured by Arktura to depict an abstracted "data narrative." The conference’s final panel will showcase California’s growing collection of contemporary sporting facilities, many of which are wrapped with provocative enclosures made from building components that highlight some of the advances in building envelope design and construction. The conversation will bring together Ron Turner, sports practice area leader and principal at Gensler, Sanjeev Tankha, principal at engineering firm Walter P Moore, and Lance Evans, senior designer at HKS, to discuss HKS’s City of Champions development for the Los Angeles Rams and Gensler’s Banc of California Stadium for the Los Angeles Football Club, among other projects. For more information on Facades+, see the conference website.
Gensler released the plans for its renovation and restoration of the famed Graham, Anderson, Probst & White Post Office in Chicago. The 1932 structure, out of commission since 1997, will be used for office space, retail space, a conference center, tenant amenities, a food hall, a roof deck, parking, and a river-facing lawn. Renovations will cost over $600 million to overhaul the building that, at 2.5 million square feet, can hold an impressive 2,000 people per floor. It is currently the largest redevelopment in the United States. Officially dubbed “The Post Office,” the project features a spiffy new logo that evokes wings in flight, a motif that appears throughout the initial renderings as light fixtures and design elements. While certain original features are restored, such as the postmaster’s office, lobby, mail chutes and scales (the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001), interiors are pointedly geared toward millennials (lest you think this is too presumptuous, the fitness center is depicted with the slogan, “Sweat is just fat crying.”). Throughout the space, exposed ceilings are juxtaposed with warm wood, cozy leather, and midcentury modern furnishings, with large expanses of glass revealing views of Chicago and that iconic limestone facade. The exterior is largely untouched, albeit with a four-acre roof deck on top that will hold an impressive amount of amenities, including park space, cafes, a quarter-mile running trail, and sports courts. “We fully recognize the historical significance of this building,” Brian Whiting, president of the Telos Group, which will oversee parts of the project, said in a statement. “When the Post Office was built, Chicago was the center of catalog retail sales and the building was designed to handle fulfillment for the largest operators, including Sears, Roebuck & Company and Montgomery Ward. Fittingly, The Post Office will once again serve to promote the commerce industry, including the e-commerce companies that have replaced catalog houses, but this time with cutting-edge office space.” According to the project's representation, The Post Office's anticipated new tenants have already spurred the development of nearby residential projects in anticipation of the new-old hub roaring back to life.
Steinberg Architects, Gensler, and developer Shenzhen Hazens Real Estate Group have released a new batch of renderings depicting a slew of design changes for their $700 million L.A. City Center project, a two-tower luxury development planned for Downtown Los Angeles that was recently approved by L.A.’s City Planning Commission. The new renderings depict the latest iteration of a continually-changing project that has morphed from a three-tower complex into one containing only two spires. Previous schemes showed a collection of 32-, 34-, and 38-story towers clustered over an eight-story parking podium. The new images depict a pair of towers, one 29 stories tall, the other rising 49 floors. The 29-story tower, which sits on the southern corner of the site, will contain a 300-key hotel operated by W Hotels and will be designed by Gensler. The 49-story edifice, designed by Steinberg, will contain 435 condominium units. The scheme has also jettisoned the parking podium connecting the towers. Parking will now be located underground and a shorter podium structure filled with hotel public amenities, commercial spaces, and a hotel spa will ground the towers instead. Like several other developments in the quickly-changing area, the L.A. City Center’s base will be wrapped with massive LED displays. Both towers have grown significantly more conservative in their massing and articulation throughout the design review process. Gone are the towers’ soaring pitched roofs, angled articulated massing, and vertically-oriented patterning. Instead, the towers now feature minimally-broken curtain wall facades, vertically-oriented setbacks, and expressed floorplates. AHBE Landscape Architects is designing the project’s open spaces along the parking podium and at street level, as well as each of the tower’s rooftop amenity deck areas. The complex will contain 5,000 square feet of retail functions along the ground level organized along a public shopping plaza fronting Figueroa Street. When compared with previous iterations of the project, the plaza space appears to have been enlarged and deepened, with less LED screen coverage than previously designed. The plaza’s central area will be dotted with trees that extend along the sidewalk in paired sets. According to Urbanize.LA, the first phase of the multi-phase project will construct the hotel tower, with the residential component following after an existing hotel structure on the site is cleared. The complex will add to the ever-growing set of construction cranes in the area. Construction crews are currently wrapping up work on the Harley Ellis Devereaux-designed Circa Towers located nearby and partway through construction on the Oceanwide Center complex by Gensler. A final timeline for the L.A. City Center project has not been announced.
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This week, the first building added in 60 years to New England Conservatory’s (NEC) historic Boston campus will open. The new Student Life and Performance Center (SLPC) is a ten-story mixed-use structure offering over 250 residential units, along with space for dining and music-related preparatory work with a focus on collaborative research and experimentation. Ann Beha Architects (ABA) and Gensler designed and realized the building as a collaborative and integrated team—the two firms’ fourth collaboration. Both the design team and the Conservatory wanted the project to have a unique identity and distinctive expression. Sited in a historic context, the design team sought a traditional cladding material that expressed craft, sustainability, and durability. They prioritized a “handmade” aesthetic, ruling out the machine-like qualities of colored concrete panels, composite materials, and costly glass curtain wall systems. The exterior envelope ultimately featured a refined composition of variegated terra-cotta tiles, applied in mixed patterns, with broad glass expanses at street levels, and stainless steel screen cladding. Offset operable windows animate the upper floors, and north-facing open lounges offer expansive views of Boston. ABA turned to Ludowici, a terra-cotta manufacturer known for 19th century historic tile roof renovations. Its subsidiary, Terreal North America, engaged with the architecture team during the design process and produced samples for full-scale on-site studio mock-ups. The mock-ups became an integral part of the design process due to the custom nature of the tiles, their assembly system, and finish options, and helped to facilitate collaboration between the design team, client, and city oversight groups. “The idea of implementing this innovative facade was exciting for the Conservancy,” said Ann Beha, owner of ABA. “The fact that you couldn’t just go see something like this elsewhere meant that mockups were an essential part of the process.” The architecture team worked closely with Terreal North America to develop a gradient range of tiles that animate and anchor the building. Deep tones located at the base of the tower give way to lighter hues as the height increases. The challenge became how to achieve this effect within technical and budgetary constraints. The team worked with three glazes, each with a wide variety of coloration. Percentages of these mixes were then varied. The architects developed a “paint by number” style document to specify the final distribution across the facade, which the installer referenced on site. The unique color blends were created by a proprietary glazing process designed by Ludowici, referred to as their “Impressionist Series.” The process features a random multi-spray matte glaze application that creates a unique finish patterning on every tile. The colors chosen included Terra Cotta, Dark Terra Cotta, and a custom color. Distinguished from and responding to the terra-cotta tile, the facade of the performance center is marked by a 40-foot-tall metal screen mounted in front of the orchestra rehearsal room’s double-height facade. The installed Centria metal panels have a ridged profile that improves their structural capacity, and vertical shadow lines. The material clads a radiused steel frame, reading as a vertical curtain that peels away from the building envelope to reveal the school's performance spaces.AN spoke to ABA about the composition and detailing of the facade, which is organized around variable window spacing that relates to the width of student dormitories. “We liked the idea of an inscribed horizontal line that acts visually as a datum that all of these shifting panels could relate to,” said Steve Gerrard, principal at ABA. “It becomes especially important where the windows increase in their frequency. The line is an important compositional tool to relate to each of the floors.” Beyond compositional refinement, the envelope's energy performance allowed for a reduction in HVAC system sizing. Beha said the durability and aesthetic quality of the tile rainscreen cladding was particularly successful. “We see concrete panel structures built all over Boston, and they seem to lose their color, and their quality, so fast. This will not.” Beha concluded, “For me, the painterly aspects of the result are consistent with the issue of urban identity and urban contribution. We wanted a facade worth looking at and considering, and one that brought NEC distinction, dissimilar from others, and enduring, simple, distinguished, in its own way.” ABA said the facade composition reflects the New England Conservatory’s own ambitions: creative, contemporary exploration that combines tradition and innovation. The project was dedicated in a ceremony on September 14th, 2017, and will open to the public the following week with a full day of programming involving performances and talks.