Posts tagged with "groundbreakings":

Norman Foster breaks ground on his expansion for Florida’s Norton Museum of Art

Commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Norton Museum of Art in Palm Beach, British architect Norman Foster was on site to see his expansion break ground. The new development, called "The New Norton," will see further galleries added along with visitor facilities all within the "original axial layout of the Museum." In what will be his third project in Florida, Foster has laid the foundations at West Palm Beach for further growth, with the aim of the museum to become a leading cultural institution in the Sunshine State. "The new extension of the museum represents an exciting opportunity to place the reinvigorated Norton at the heart of Florida’s cultural life and to establish its international presence, allowing more people to enjoy the museum’s very special collection," said Foster in a press release. A simple, all-white stone facade and minimalist form stays true to the aesthetic of the 1941 original by New York's Marion Sims Wyeth, where a subtle Art Deco style creates a central courtyard. Later developments meant this original axial configuration, on which the building was based, was lost. Foster's master plan dutifully restores Wyeth's symmetry, adding a sense of clarity to the site. In the process, Foster has explored varying topological arrangements to provide a flexible space able that will now be able to attract a much wider local and international audience. Room for further expansion can be seen via the provision of infrastructure that will facilitate of two more exhibition wings being built on the eastern end of the building. "Creating new event and visitor spaces that will transform the museum into the social heart of the community; as well as increasing the gallery and exhibition spaces, to engage with a wider audience," Foster added. Three double height pavilions will now act as the museum's entrance, countering the low-rise galleries and while merging with the three-storey Nessel Wing. Within these pavilions will be a "state-of-the-art auditorium," Grand Hall, which "will be the new social heart for the local community." Also included is a shop, event space, education center, and restaurant that can operate independently from the museum. These spaces will all be coalesced underneath a canopy. Within the vicinity will be an open public space that will be used as a live performance space and venue for "Art After Dark," an evening show hosted by the museum. Spencer de Grey, co-head of design at Foster + Partners, said, “this groundbreaking ceremony marks the moment where the process that began five years ago with the masterplan finally comes to realisation. Our approach at the Norton has been to make art more accessible by dissolving boundaries – whether that is between the building and landscape or art and the viewer.”

Virgin Hotels breaks ground on a new glass tower in New York City’s burgeoning NoMad neighborhood

LAM Group and Virgin Hotels in collaboration with interior designer and architects at VOA, have broken ground on their 39-story tower on the southwest corner of 30th Street and Broadway in the NoMad neighborhood of Manhattan. Responding to Virgin's demand of a "lifestyle" hotel product, VOA has topped a 90,000-square-foot retail podium with a 500,000-square-foot glass tower containing 465 rooms. Included in the tower is 30,000 square feet for amenity space such as banquet halls, meeting and conference centers, and a sky lobby club room with a private roof deck and pool. A vertical arrangement of embossed stainless steel panels breaking up the predominantly glass facade. “The design of the tower was conceived from the inside out, taking cues from the hotel room guest floors," Brian McFarland, VOA principal and lead architectural designer on the hotel, said in a statement. "Efficiently cellular in nature, the tower originally dictated a simple building form. Deconstruction of this otherwise simple tower was achieved through selective massing being removed and reapplied to create a more interesting form and offer more corner rooms and greater views.” The neighborhood north of Madison Square Park, hence its acronym, has witnessed an explosion of growth in the past decade, with several prominent hotels already in place, among them the Ace Hotel and NoMad Hotel, also on Broadway. ”The Virgin Hotel New York’s distinctive look is sure to play a key role in the NOMAD neighborhood’s transformation process,” VOA Principal Len Cerame said in a statement.

Groundbreaking at the hulking Divine Lorraine marks the end of blight at Philly’s towering landmark

Groundbreaking on the Divine Lorraine, Philadelphia's luxury hotel turned graffiti artist playground, begins this afternoon. Completed in 1894, Willis G. Hale's 10 story Lorraine Apartments featured state-of-the-art technology (electric lights), and bourgeois amenities (a kitchen staff that cooked for the tenants, eliminating the need for household servants).  At the beginning of the 20th century, the apartments were converted into a hotel. The Reverend Jealous Divine bought the structure in 1948, and opened the country's first integrated hotel. Abandoned in 1999, the structure steadily decayed, battered by urban explorers, graffiti artists, and sixteen Philadelphia winters. Last year, The Architect's Newspaper explored the property from the ground up with developer Eric Blumenfeld. Blumenfeld plans to turn the $44 million property into a hotel. If the hotel's capsule collection on Instagram is any indication, the Divine Lorraine should receive an extensive aesthetic makeover from the redevelopment team. Philadelphia firm Wallace Roberts & Todd (WRT) is spearheading the renovation.

Bernheimer and Dattner start work on BAM building as construction in Brooklyn’s art district kicks up a notch

As Downtown Brooklyn's skyline grows taller, denser, and a bit more interesting, construction is whirring along in the BAM Cultural District just across Flatbush Avenue. The latest project to break ground within the area is bringing the borough new cultural institutions, affordable housing, and well, architecture. It's the Brooklyn Cultural District Apartments. The 115,000-square-foot structure was designed by Bernheimer Architecture and Dattner Architects with some landscaping accoutrement by SCAPE. The mixed-use building includes a restaurant along with the Center for Fiction and space for the Mark Morris Dance Group. Above the building's cultural podium are 109 apartments, 40 percent of which are below market-rate. "Extensive glazing at the lower floors highlights the cultural components and activates the pedestrian experience," Dattner explained on its website. "In-set balconies and double-height terraces articulate the upper base and tower." The Brooklyn Cultural District Apartments is intended to flow into the collection of high-design buildings and public spaces that are appearing one after the other on numerous sites around it. The building's restaurant, for instance, flows into Ken Smith's Arts Plaza which itself flows into the slightly cantilevering Theatre For a New Audience by Hugh Hardy of H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture. Between the new apartment building and the existing theater and plaza is yet another planned building—a 200-room hotel with a jagged facade by Leeser Architecture. There's one more big project to mention on the block: FXFOWLE's 52-story mixed-income residential tower that is quickly ascending into Brooklyn's skyline. On the other side of Fulton Street from the tower is the BRIC Arts Media House, another Leeser project. Adjacent to all of this is the site of Francis Cauffman's very artsy and wavy medical center that is currently under-construction. And across Lafayette Avenue is TEN Arquitectos' 32-story, mixed-use residential tower that is beginning to make its ascent.

Norman Foster breaks ground on Maggie’s cancer center in the UK

Maggie’s, a UK-based charitable organization providing assistance programs to patients with cancer, is building a new center within the grounds of the Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester. Eschewing the antiseptic reek and impersonality of a traditional hospital, the center strives to provide a homey atmosphere and support programs for cancer patients and their families in an uplifting, non-clinical environment. Designed by Norman Foster and Foster + Partners, the building sports a 20-foot-high timber frame as its main structure, and will be bordered by extensive gardens. “Externally, this structure will be partially planted with vines, making the architecture appear to dissolve into the gardens,” said Foster in a statement, who cited his own brush with cancer diagnosis as a major galvanizer. The timber structure will be configured around a wide, central spine with a roof rising in the center to create a mezzanine level illuminated with natural light. Foster cited this in addition to “greenery and views” as the focus for the architecture in recognition of the therapeutic qualities of nature and the great outdoors. “I believe in the power of architecture to lift the spirits and help in the process of therapy,” Foster added. “Great architecture is vital to the care Maggie’s offers, creating environments that are both calm and uplifting,” concurred Maggie’s Chief Executive, Laura Lee. The single-story structure will be the charity’s largest center, and is expected to receive around 60,000 visits per year from across Greater Manchester. Lightweight and simple are emphasized above imposing and spartan, with exposed beams and a timber lattice supporting the roof and partitioning various spaces. The interior palette, meanwhile, guns for a homey feel with warm, natural wood and tactile fabrics. “Visitors can gather around a big kitchen table, find a peaceful place to think, or they can work with their hands in the greenhouse,” Foster explained. A time capsule will be buried onsite containing personal mementos from donors and supporters of the center, as well as a sketch from Foster + Partners, the details of which are undisclosed. Maggie’s relies on charitable donations to fund the inception and maintenance of its current network of 17 centers across the United Kingdom, each one designed by a different architect based on the same brief. The centers provide free practical and emotional support for cancer sufferers including nutrition workshops, psychological support, tai chi and yoga, relaxation and stress management, and art therapy.

This roadway in New York City’s Washington Heights is being replaced by a pedestrian plaza with playfully meandering paving

New York City recently broke ground on a 14,000-square-foot public plaza in Washington Heights with a very wavy paving design. The Plaza de Las Americas  is intended to reference town squares found in the Caribbean, Central and South America. It was designed for the city by the RBA Group, a landscape architecture and engineering consulting firm. The plaza's design does feel reminiscent of the monochromatic wavy designs of the Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx like the 1970 Copacabana Promenade, itself influenced by the Portuguese paving patterns of the 1930s. In more modern times, the design also reminds us of Bjarke Ingels' Superkilen park in Copenhagen. Plaza de Las Americas will replace a block of roadway between a grocery store and an old theatre. The city says the plaza is designed to enhance the local markets that currently operate on the site by offering water and electrical system to vendors' booths. The plaza will also include new trees, benches, "pedestrian scale lighting," cafe seating, an information kiosk, and an artsy fountain by Ester Partegás. When completed early next year, the space will host public events including concerts, dance shows, art and craft fairs, performances, and poetry readings. [Correction: An earlier version of this story did not give proper credit to the RBA Group which designed the plaza. We regret the error.]

SHoP Architects’ first tower at Brooklyn’s Domino Sugar site breaks ground with a refined design

As AN has been reporting for a while now, it's all systems go for the long-stalled Domino Sugar Factory redevelopment on the Brooklyn waterfront. Crews have been demolishing old structures on the site for months, and today we got word that the developer, Two Trees, is breaking ground on the massive project's first residential building: a 16-story, 500-unit rental building designed by SHoP, which is designing the entire project. In a press release, the developer noted that "approximately 105" of the 500 units will be designated as affordable. With news of the groundbreaking also comes a new rendering of the building that gives us a better sense of its design. While its overall form appears to be roughly the same, with terraces that create a cascading effect, its materials have clearly changed. Atop a masonry podium, SHoP said the building will be clad in industrial materials like zinc and copper. The building is slated to be completed in 2017. Two Trees also announced that it's starting to repair the site's waterfront pier to accommodate an upcoming 5-plus acre public park designed by James Corner Field Operations. This prep work is expected to take between 12 and 18 months.

Soft Landing: New Balance Breaks Ground on Boston Headquarters

Construction has commenced on a new $500 million Elkus Manfredi–designed headquarters for New Balance Athletic Shoes, called New Brighton Landing, located on 14 acres in the Allston Brighton neighborhood of Boston. Besides the 250,000-square-foot world headquarters, the campus will also include additional office space, a sports complex, 175-room hotel, three office buildings, retail space, parking, and a new stop on the Worcester Line commuter rail. The new station will be fully subsidized by the athletics brand. Overall, the new facility will encompass nearly 1.5 million square feet.

Chicago Breaks Ground On Elevated Bloomingdale Trail and Park System

The City of Chicago broke ground Tuesday on the Bloomingdale Trail, or the 606 to use the combined name for the elevated trail and its five access parks, fulfilling a promise and long-term planning process that dates back years. Walsh Construction Company won the $53.7 million contract, which city officials told the Sun-Times was $5.2 million lower than the closest competition. The city plans to use $50 million in federal money to pay for construction. Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office said the trail is being built in phases, and “will be open end-to-end in Fall 2014, with additional construction phases continuing to embellish landscaping and other amenities.” The 2.7-mile abandoned freight rail viaduct runs through several West Side neighborhoods, many of which have brought together community groups to help plan for the project. Meanwhile Chicago Magazine’s Dennis Rodkin answers a question in his column about investing in real estate along The 606. The neighborhoods—Noble Square, Bucktown, Humboldt Park, Wicker Park, and Logan Square—have always been good places to invest, and the 606’s route is “icing on the cake,” he says. “Also, you may be coming at this late. Real estate developers have had their eye on the potential of the Bloomingdale Trail for several years.”

Jean Nouvel–Designed Louvre Abu Dhabi Begins Construction

French Pritzker Prize–winning architect Jean Nouvel's design for Louvre Abu Dhabi has begun construction after a series of delays. The building's most prominent feature is a 180-meter-diameter  dome. The design of the dome is culturally relevant as well as utilitarian. The shape is prominent in traditional Arabian architecture. As the Louvre Abu Dhabi website describes, it is “an emblematic feature...evoking the mosque, the mausoleum, and the madrasa.” The dome's expanse also protects the building and its visitors from the sun. Carefully formulated geometric apertures in the all-white structure allow diffused and dappled daylight inside the museum, while mitigating heat gain. Nouvel designed the dappled pattern to emulate interlaced palm fronds, which are traditionally used in Arabic countries for thatch roofs. Nouvel described his vision for the 64,000 square meter site thus:

"A microclimate is created by drawing on sensations that have been explored countless times in great Arab architecture, which is based on the mastery of light and geometry . . . a structure made up of shadows, of movement and discovery."

Nouvel was awarded the design commission for the Louvre Abu Dhabi in 2010. It was originally meant to be completed in 2012. However, in January of that year, the Financial Times reported that after a "the conclusion of a government spending review led by Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, vice-chairman of the executive council," the Tourism Development & Investment Company in Abu Dhabi set the museum back 3 years to 2015. Set on Saadiyat Island, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is the first of three art museum branches meant to shore up the area as a cultural hub within the United Arab Emirates. However, all have faced major delays and completion dates pushed years into the future. All renderings courtesy Atelier Jean Nouvel.

Reiser + Umemoto Break Ground on Taipei Pop Music Center

Internationally recognized Reiser + Umemoto (RUR Architecture) has announced the groundbreaking of the 675,000-square-foot Taipei Pop Music Center (TPMC) at its new site in Taiwan, which took place on Wednesday. The urban complex confronts the confines of conventional performance spaces, consisting of various multifunctional spaces within a cohesive, vibrant venue that represents evolving pop culture. RUR Architecture, along with Fei & Cheng Associates, received first prize at the Taipei Pop Music Center Competition in 2010 for the versatile design. TPMC operates as a global center for the music industry, and the new center connects theater to public space and commerce. Functioning as a hub dedicated to the celebration, production, and reception of pop music in Taiwan and East Asia, the center is expected to become a powerful symbol of the area's international pop music industry. The project makes gestures to integrate itself into the surrounding city and attempts to respect the framework of Taipei street life, but the structure maintains a distinctive architectural identity beyond the existing city. An elevated public overpass will link complex over a major road. The facility will contain three monumental venues: the Main Hall, Hall of Fame, and Industry Shell. The Main Hall, the largest of the venues, will have a seating capacity of 5,000, another outdoor space cal accommodate 3,000 people and a cubic volume will house the Hall of Fame. The project is expected to be complete in 2015.

Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects Breaks Ground in Shanghai

On May 30, Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects, the East China Architecture and Design Institute (ECADI), and the Shanghai Expo Construction Development Company announced the start of construction for a new 164,000-square-foot mixed-use development on the 2010 Shanghai Expo site. The project, known as Green Valley, will transform the former industrial dockyard into a commercial district of shops, restaurants, and offices. The design features two main buildings positioned on either side of a central courtyard. Each incorporates hanging gardens in glass-enclosed atria that will be visible from the street. The buildings will offer high standards of finish and sustainability, both in terms of environmental performance as well as low operating costs. The design focuses on openness and convenience so those working in the buildings will have superb views of the hanging gardens and the city. The expo site itself will maintain the ample green space, walking paths, and cultural attractions left after the Expo concluded and the pavilions were demolished. Green Valley is the start of new permanent development on the site. Green Valley is one of four projects by Danish studio Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects transpiring within Shanghai. Each is a redevelopment of the once industrial area along the waterfront. Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects won the competition to design the project last year. It is located next to the iconic Chinese pavilion. Completion is expected in 2015.