Posts tagged with "Handel Architects":

Placeholder Alt Text

San Francisco threatens to block access to Millennium Tower over sinking problems

The saga of San Francisco’s slipping Millennium Tower continues, as a window on the 36th floor of the Handel Architects–designed residential tower cracked over Labor Day weekend. Engineers were dispatched by building management to examine the crack from the exterior but in a streak of continuing bad luck, the drone lost its GPS connection, careened into the neighboring Salesforce Tower, and crashed to the ground. If building managers are unable to determine why the glass cracked by the end of this week, San Francisco's Department of Building Inspection has threatened to "yellow tag" the tower, restricting access until the area is proven safe. The 58-story, 645-foot-tall tower has already tilted 18 inches west towards Mission Street since its completion in 2009, which has unleashed a string of problems for residents and the building’s owners. Condo owners have written off their units as having zero value, cracks have appeared in the basement, tenants have reported awful smells in their units, and the building’s movement may have created a fire safety hazard by causing a void to form between the building’s structure and curtain wall. The problem is that the 60-to-90-foot-long friction piles underpinning the building were driven into sandy soils rather than bedrock at 200 feet down. While no concrete explanation has been given for continued sinkage, developer Millennium Partners has blamed construction of the neighboring Salesforce Tower for pumping out too much groundwater and causing the soil to settle. While the engineering firm Allana Buick & Bers collects more information on whether the crack was an isolated incident or a symptom of the tower’s 18-inch tilt, a new, cheaper alternative has been proposed to halt up the building’s continued slippage. It’s expected that the tower will sink another inch per year if nothing is done, but engineer Ron Hamburger, hired by Millennium Partners, recently proposed an expedited fix. As NBC Bay Area reports, the $400-to-500 million cost to drill 150 new piles through the building’s foundation has caused a massive legal fight between the tower’s homeowners’ association and developers. Hamburger’s solution to install 52 piles–26 on either side of the corner of the block at Mission Street and Fremont–would stop the building from tilting further and would only cost $80 million. However, as NBC notes, the tower’s seismic performance may have already been compromised by its movement and propping up the worst-affected area might not stop the building from sinking or leaning elsewhere. No solution has been accepted by all of the parties involved in the legal battle as of yet, but AN will follow up if plans to stabilize the building move forward. More information on why the window broke should be forthcoming; the Department Of Building Inspection has ordered Millennium management to fix the window-washing rig on the roof to allow in-person inspection of the window by 3:00 p.m. this Friday. Engineers must also conduct a survey of all of the tower's windows, other units, and potential damage to the facade by Friday afternoon, and install an overhead safety barrier to prevent debris from falling on the sidewalk by later today if they wish to avoid having the building yellow tagged. A full forensic report is expected to be submitted to the city as well.
Placeholder Alt Text

Michael Arad unveils design for Charleston shooting memorial

Yesterday Michael Arad unveiled a design for a permanent memorial dedicated to the victims of the Emanuel Nine massacre at the historic Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston. Arad, a partner at New York-based firm Handel Architects, is the mind behind the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center. He was chosen last June to imagine a space honoring the lives who were lost and the five survivors of the June 15, 2015 tragedy, which made worldwide headlines after a 21-year-old white supremacist shot and killed nine African American church members and clergy during a Wednesday night Bible study. The memorial was revealed on Sunday after a service and celebration marking the church’s 200th anniversary.    The concept for the Emanuel Nine Memorial breaks down into two parts: a Memorial Courtyard and a Survivors’ Garden. Before beginning work, Arad was asked to write an essay on forgiveness and his design approach. Arad told The Architect’s Newspaper that his task was to not only relate what had happened that fateful day, but to showcase how the Charleston community and members of the congregation came together in a way that no one expected—with grace and forgiveness. “To be asked to participate in this project and be part of their incredible response was something I felt was an obligation and a huge honor,” he said. “The hard work has already been done by the families of the Emanuel Nine and as an architect, it was my responsibility to find a way to convey this to the visitors of the site.” The Memorial Courtyard, which opens up to Calhoun Street, features two fellowship benches facing each other with high backs that arc up and around. Meant to symbolize sheltering wings, the benches are reminiscent of the circular shape the Emanuel Nine probably sat in the evening they were killed. At the center of the courtyard is a marble fountain with the victims’ names etched into the edge. Water flows from a cross-shaped opening at its core while another cross placed atop a simple altar hovers over the space in the back of the courtyard. A stone pathway connects the courtyard to the Survivors' Garden to the east, which features a green open space surrounded by six stone benches and five trees, each symbolizing the five survivors and the church itself. The garden’s design takes cues from local landscape architecture precedents with fig ivy-covered walls, brick, live oaks, and stone displayed throughout. Arad said both spaces were integral to the sincerity of the memorial. “It would have been wrong to do one without the other,” he said. “The Memorial Courtyard has a quiet, contemplative mood to it dedicated to prayer and memory. In some ways, it’s an analog of the church itself. You can imagine a service being held here. The Survivors’ Garden is about joy as well, but it’s more tucked away.” In order to realize the design for the two-part memorial, Arad’s proposal called for reorganizing the church’s grounds and opening certain areas up to the public and the world. One of the biggest challenges, he said, was that there wasn’t any space for a memorial when the design process began. The design had to feel public, though it is situated in a private space. “I do think it’s a tremendously generous act for this church to do this,” Arad said. “This is the church’s home and yet they're inviting the public in. The vast majority of people who visit this memorial are going to be strangers from away so I believe it will be a pilgrimage site of sorts. As part of our national collective memory, all that happened here has to resonate with and answer the needs of strangers.” A timeline to start construction on the Emanuel Nine Memorial has not been announced yet, but the church has set up a nonprofit to begin fundraising for the estimated $10 million project. Learn more about the design process and what the members of the design committee, clergy, and church congregation have to say about it in a video here.  
Placeholder Alt Text

New passive ‘house’ guide includes high rises and projects by Handel and FXCollaborative

While sometimes controversial, passive house design techniques have become a standard reference point for some small-scale projects. A new publication by Low Carbon Production from New York titled From Small to Extra Large: Passive House Rising to New Heights expands that scope by presenting 51 new passive projects of a wide range of scales, including high-rise towers. Sendero Verde, a mixed-income development in East Harlem, and The House at Cornell Tech, both designed by Handel Architects, are among the projects published. The Cornell Tech building on Roosevelt Island offers housing for the new academic campus, and the 26-story complex featuring a double height lobby space and ceiling-high windows was once the world’s tallest passive building. The tower made use of specially designed vapor barriers and refrigerant flow systems. Many of the technological solutions are used in Sendero Verde, including a “floor-by-floor” strategy, where each floor has its own condensing unit that is housed in the balconies, creating flexibility in energy use. Sendero Verde incorporates “660 affordable passive house rental units,” community, and retail spaces.  A forest cabin, a country farm, and a panelized home by Barry Price Architecture are also featured in the publication. The 1994-founded design firm has developed standards for comfort, durability, and energy efficiency in their buildings. In a Bearsville, New York cabin, Price used prefabricated roof and wall elements, locally sourced exterior cladding and interior flooring to reduce the building's environmental footprint. Pollution to the rural site was minimized as building elements were manufactured off-site. Three projects by Paul A. Castrucci Architect are described in the publication, including ABC No Rio’s new headquarters in the Lower East Side, which is one of the first passive commercial buildings in the city. The building is included because of its careful attention to air sealing. According to the publication, “the concrete masonry shell was coated with an air sealer on the inside,” and a polyisocyanurate and mineral wool-made secondary air-sealing layer was introduced on the outside. The thermal breaks are essential for reducing energy consumed in regulating the interior temperatures throughout the seasons, according to the passive building philosophy. The report also presents other sustainable buildings by FXCollaborative, Jane Sanders Architect, and CO Adaptive Architecture. Check out this link for the full report.
Placeholder Alt Text

It’s official: A new 1,020-foot tower is coming to Downtown Los Angeles

The developers behind a recently-proposed project that would bring a 1,020-foot-tall, Handel Architects-designed skyscraper complex to Downtown Los Angeles have officially submitted their project plans with the City of L.A. Urbanize.la reports that developers MacFarlane Partners, Peebles Corporation, and Claridge Partners submitted updated plans for a 1.26 million-square-foot proposal last week that would bring 120 condominiums, 450 apartments, 480 hotel rooms, and 50,000-square-feet of commercial uses to the hillside site formerly known as Angels Knoll park.  The $1.2 billion project will also include a 45,000-square-foot charter school and is being designed to hug the rugged terrain via a complex of porous edges that connect to the adjacent Angels Flight funicular and an associated staircase. Site and landscape design for the project is being performed by OLIN and will feature a complex set of outdoor terraces, amphitheaters, and gardens. At least 50 percent of the project site will be left open under the current scheme, with a pair of towers and a stepped podium occupying improved areas.  Glenn Rescalvo, partner at Handel Architects, told The Los Angeles Times, “We want to make the site as permeable as possible. You could enter from different points and reach all the other locations." Renderings for the project depict a tapered 88-story tower filled with condominiums, apartments, and 192 hotel rooms. A second, 27-story tower will house the remaining hotel rooms and the charter school.  Don Peebles of Peebles Corporation told The Los Angeles Times, "It's basically a neighborhood within a building," adding, “It's the wave of the future for urban living." The Handel Architects proposal was selected by the city’s Chief Legislative Analyst earlier this year from among three other bids that included proposals by Natoma Architects and Gensler. The development site was originally envisioned as the location for a third tower planned for the California Plaza complex in the 1980s and 1990s, but the plan never materialized. Instead, disused site eventually became Angels Knoll park in early 2000s and was immortalized in the 2009 film 500 Days of Summer. The park closed in 2013 and its grounds have sat fenced-off and vacant ever since.  The project will soon be joining the long-stalled, Frank Gehry-designed Grand Avenue Project, which is slated to contain 436 housing units, a 314-room hotel and 209,000 square feet of commercial space in a pair of 20- and 39-story towers. The Handel Architects project is estimated to take at least 41 months to build; the development team behind the project has announced a projected completion date of December 31, 2024.
Placeholder Alt Text

Brooklyn’s East River waterfront is defining itself in unexpected ways

Taking shape along Greenpoint’s once-industrial waterfront district is a series of surprisingly contextual modern condo developments using red brick and exposed black steel to tactfully insert tens of thousands of new residents along this sleepy East River shoreline. The largest of them, a 30-story tower that is part of Handel Architects’ Greenpoint Landing, includes 5,500 units sprawled over 22 acres at the mouth of Newtown Creek, with 1,400 apartments renting for as little as $393 to $1,065. Initial renderings presented for public review surfaced as bland massing diagrams, but the subdued details of Handel’s build-out hold promise for communities becoming accustomed to glossy, glassy, boxy towers in districts where rezoning permits greater height and bulk. To the stakeholders’ credit, the developer showed them a selection of schemes to choose from, including designs by Renzo Piano Building Workshop. In contrast to Long Island City’s gleaming, generic masses and Williamsburg’s spotty, uneven edges, Greenpoint’s waterfront retains enough of its traditional shipping warehouses to sustain the contours of a characteristically industrial neighborhood along West and Commercial Streets, even if most of the industry is gone. Despite a major waterfront rezoning passed by the city council in 2005, until a few years ago, most of West Street continued to host storage for building material and scaffolding, a lumber manufacturer, and a crane and equipment rental company. After large portions of Greenpoint Terminal Market were lost to a ten-alarm fire in 2006, Pearl Realty Management adapted the remains into a studio-and-workspace rental complex, an extension of its Dumbo-based green desk co-working enterprise. Slowly, smaller firms like Daniel Goldner Architects, Karl Fischer Architect, STUDIOSC, and S9 Architecture populated the upland side of West and Commercial with renovated warehouses and upscale condos echoing the material palette of the existing low-rises. Much of the post-rezoning development along West and Commercial stalled due to the 2008 mortgage-backed securities crisis. In 2009, the former Eberhard Faber Pencil Company building became the Pencil Factory lofts, and Daniel Goldner Architects filled in the corner lot with a syncopated colored brick addition and perforated aluminum garage. The project struggled in the post-crash housing market. But in the past two years, a rush of new buildings began to rise up along West and Commercial with a distinct material selection: red and light-colored brick and exposed black-painted steel, with glazed entryways and antique fixtures. Karl Fischer Architect’s 26 West Street opened in 2016, its redbrick and black steel facade filling out the six-story street wall, its large overhang resembling a meat market loading dock. The warehouse modern–aesthetic even extends all the way around the mouth of the Newtown Creek, where a 105-unit building by S9 Architecture employs the same neotraditional style—red brick, exposed black steel, industrial awnings, antique fixtures. An upscale ground-floor grocery store warmed some nearby loft residents up to it after months of sound-based trauma from the drilling of pilings. With leases from $3,350 to $4,350, locals will never be at peace with the rent pressures that come with these buildings, but at least they have the virtue of not extravagantly showing off their residents’ income. Not everything conforms to this trend: The expansive 140-unit development under construction by Ismael Leyva Architects at 23 India Street more crudely fills in its zoning envelope with affordable housing ranging from $613 for studios to $1,230 for winners of the NYC Housing Connect lottery, capped by a 39-story, 500-unit condo tower that promises in every way to form a bland massing diagram in the sky. In any case, contextual exterior cladding is little consolation for a community that fought hard for its 197-a plan—completed in 1999 and adopted by the city council in 2002—which would have allowed significantly less bulk and height, aimed to retain more light-manufacturing jobs, and mandated more affordable housing along with waterfront access. Jane Jacobs, in one of her final written statements, penned a strong defense of the original community plan against the eventual zoning resolution. Of course, the trade-off forced by the city—an upzoned waterfront in exchange for publicly funded parks and developer-mandated walkways—has already helped reduce heavy-industrial pollution, killed a proposed Con Edison power plant, and reduced and eliminated waste-transfer facilities and truck fumes. Some residents are just waiting for the dust and noise of construction to subside, while others hope for another recession to slow down the accelerated activity. In 2009, Andrew Blum published “In Praise of Slowness," for the launch of Urban Omnibus that, in retrospect, should have a more durable life as a critique of fast development. For New York City neighborhoods, slowness provides a much-needed stability in the absence of state-level expansion of rent regulation to protect against predatory development. Yet if there had to be luxury condos facing the former industrial piers, the emerging Greenpoint warehouse modernism was a more subtle and site-specific solution than anyone expected or imagined.
Placeholder Alt Text

Handel Architects to bring $1 billion twin tower development to Hollywood

Handel Architects and developer MP Los Angeles have unveiled renderings for a $1 billion twin tower complex slated for downtown Hollywood.  An earlier proposal for the site was dogged by concerns over the location of a possible earthquake fault underneath the site, an issue that has been since resolved after intensive geological and environmental review, including peer reviewed study by third party experts and extensive geological testing, according to the developers.  The project aims to bring two curving, glass-clad 46- and 35-story towers, a pair of mid-rise apartment structures, and a collection of pedestrian walkways and plazas to two adjacent sites surrounding the iconic, Louis Naidorf-designed Capitol Records building. The project sites are currently occupied by surface parking lots.  Urbanize.LA reports that the 1,005-unit development will also bring the largest number of affordable dwelling units of any development in the history of the city. The project’s 133 deed-restricted affordable housing units will housed within a pair of 11-story apartment blocks and will be targeted for low-income and very-low income seniors. The affordable housing component is a product of the city’s new inclusionary zoning ordinance and resulted from the developer’s lengthy environmental and community reviews, according to a project website.  Renderings for the so-called Hollywood Center project depict a sprawling complex punctuated by sculptural towers whose forms echo those of the Capitol Records building. The towers and gridded apartment buildings are depicted as being connected by broad pedestrian areas and terraced landscaped planters filled with trees in the renderings. James Corner Field Operations has been tapped to design the project’s outdoor areas.  The now-relieved seismic concerns at the Hollywood Center project preceded real structural problems for another Handel-designed tower complex located in San Francisco. There, the 58-story Millennium Tower as been listing increasingly to one side over the last few years to growing worry of residents and neighbors alike. Problems with the Millennium Tower are due, experts believe, to faulty design of the tower’s friction-bearing pile foundation systems.  The Hollywood Center towers join a growing cluster of high-rise developments slated for the Hollywood area, including the LARGE Architecture-designed 1755 Argyle apartments, the Crossroads Hollywood project by SOM and RCH Studios, the recently-completed Columbia Square development, also by RCH Studios, and the long-stalled Palladium Residences complex by Natoma Architects.  The Hollywood Center project is expected to begin construction in 2022. 
Placeholder Alt Text

First renderings revealed for what could be Queens’ tallest building

The first renderings for the Handel Architects-designed skyscraper developed by the Durst Organization at 29-37 41st Avenue in Queens have been revealed. While the tower falls short of its 915-foot-tall predecessor by SLCE, Handel’s 751-foot-tall building will still dwarf the clock tower at its base. The renderings, first obtained by CityRealty, show a massive concave tower, sheathed in a glass curtain wall, set back from the rear of the 90-year-old landmarked Clock Tower. Crowned Queens Plaza Park by prior developers Property Markets Group and the Hakim Organization (before Durst snatched up the site for $175 million in 2016), the 978,000-square-foot development will hold office space, retail, and 958 residential rental units. According to the project’s website, 300 of the units will be affordable, and Selldorf Architects will be handling the tower’s interiors and amenity spaces, complete with an outdoor pool, 20,000-square-foot gym, library, co-working spaces and a demonstration kitchen. A half-acre public park will also sit in front of the residential entrance. Construction on the 70-story skyscraper is already underway, and CityRealty recently visited the site to photograph the cleared area around the base of the Clock Tower. Additionally, the locations of the ground-floor retail and the sharp, almost bat symbol-like shape of the building’s crown have been released thanks to the axonometric zoning diagrams released by the New York City Department of Buildings. The project’s central concave curve, the tower’s defining feature, should span nearly 200 feet from end-to-end once completed. The 11-story, neo-gothic Clock Tower was built in 1927 and housed the former Bank of Manhattan, and Durst has promised to restore the building as part of the redevelopment. While the tower was previously a notable standout in an area increasingly inundated with glass facades, the Handel-designed addition should blend into the surrounding urban fabric a bit more, even if the Clock Tower itself will remain distinct from the tower. There’s also the concern that the skyscraper’s curved form could trigger a Walkie-Talkie-esque fiasco, in which the reflective properties of that building ignited fires, but hopefully Handel has learned from Rafael Viñoly’s mistakes. If finished before the 984-foot-tall City View Tower, also in Long Island City and slated for a 2019 completion, Queens Plaza Park would take the distinction of Queens' tallest building.
Placeholder Alt Text

Two 15-story affordable towers planned for Lower East Side

A nonprofit affiliated with the Archdiocese of New York has revealed plans to build a new, all-affordable apartment complex on the Lower East Side. The Grand Street Guild will build two 15-story towers, one specifically for seniors and the other for families and individuals. The group has hired New York's Handel Architects, the same firm behind San Francisco's sinking Millennium Tower, to design the project. Local blog The Lo-Down reported that District Leader and Grand Street Guild resident Paez said one of the towers will be built on the site of a parking garage at Broome and Clinton Streets, and the other will be replace a Broome Street daycare, one block over. Both sites are just a block south of the Williamsburg Bridge on-ramp. The complex is being built in collaboration with New York City's Housing Preservation and Development and the city's Housing Development Corporation, along with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Grand Street Guild has built and maintained affordable housing in the neighborhood for decades. In 1973, the organization build three towers with 600 units on the land surrounding St. Mary's Church on nearby Grand Street. This time, there will be 400-plus rental units total, and construction is slated to begin in the summer of 2019. The project will rise amid Essex Crossing, the massive mixed-use development at Essex and Delancey streets whose first phase will wrap in 2018.
Placeholder Alt Text

New report says sinking Millennium Tower is a fire hazard

San Francisco’s sinking Millennium Tower may be less safe than previously thought, according to a new report by NBC Bay Area. The Handel Architects–designed tower, already the center of several lawsuits, could be exposing residents to a widespread fire risk owing to newly-formed gaps between the building’s curtain wall and structure. As previously reported, the 58-story, 645-foot-tall residential tower has already unevenly sunk 17 inches since opening in 2009, due to a foundation of concrete friction piles that extend 60 to 90 feet into the sandy soils below. After condo owner Paula Pretlow hired Palo Alto, California–based consultants Allana Buick & Bers to locate the source of mysterious odors in her unit in December of 2016, they discovered that the smells were likely coming from gaps that had opened up due to the building’s settlement. More important than the odors, however, the newly enlarged voids under the curtain wall would allow fire and smoke to climb upwards via a “wind tunnel” effect, similar to what happened at London’s Grenfell Tower earlier this year. However, in the final version of the report given to Pretlow, Allana Buick & Bers had blacked out their fire-related findings. Although the building consultants’ analysis was confined only to Pretlow’s 31st-floor unit, they indicated that the issue could be present throughout Millennium Tower, according to the un-redacted version of documents obtained by NBC Bay Area. “This condition may be more widespread than these two test areas and may be present in the entire stack. We recommend further investigation of this issue. These openings represent a breach in the fire and smoke barrier … which is a life and fire safety hazard to the occupants.” Pretlow fought for a year with Allana Buick & Bers for the unedited version of the report, which was only recently obtained. Now, after Pretlow had filed a new complaint to the San Francisco Fire Department, the fire marshal is scheduled to make a fresh round of inspections at the tower this week. In light of the new findings, an attorney for the homeowner’s association has released a statement saying that several facade panels have been removed recently so that engineers could inspect the underlying structure. Larry Karp, a geotechnical expert, told NBC Bay Area that as the building tilts and continues to sink, curtain wall sections would continue to bear an increasing amount of stress and bend further out of place. “The fact that they are coming apart is inevitable, it’s just a matter of time. It’s going to get worse.”
Placeholder Alt Text

Sweeping East Harlem rezoning greenlights a wave of new development

After rounds of contentious public hearings and protests from those on both sides of the debate, the New York City Council unanimously approved a wide-ranging rezoning for the East Harlem neighborhood on November 30th, as well as the 750,000-square foot, mixed-use Sendero Verde development. The latest rezoning plan covers a 96-block area from East 106th Street to East 138th Street and is meant to address the looming affordable housing crisis facing the neighborhood. Proponents of the move have said that East Harlem, where half of all residents are rent-burdened, or spend more than one-third of their income on rent, will lose 200 to 500 units of affordable housing per year without intervention. Officials from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development have argued that, by allowing higher density development, mandatory inclusionary housing requirements will be triggered and necessitate that 20 to 25 percent of the units in new developments will be affordable. After Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Viverito formed a neighborhood plan in 2015 that laid out what the community wanted out of a potential rezoning, neighborhood groups and Community Board 11 later pushed back after they felt their recommendations had been ignored. A new deal, struck by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Mayor Bill de Blasio before the final vote, now caps building heights at a maximum of 325 feet along the neighborhood’s transit corridors, to limit density and address pushback from East Harlem residents. Other than the new development limits, city officials included a $222 million investment into improving the lives of current residents, including a $50 million concession for New York City Housing Authority’s (NYCHA) East Harlem buildings and $102 million for a new public park between East 125th Street and East 132nd Street. Still, some residents feel that the new deal doesn’t hew closely enough to the Neighborhood Plan, that the city should have taken rent-stabilized buildings out of the rezoning area, and that the definition of “affordable housing” will need to be more reflective of a neighborhood with a median income of $30,000 a year. Also on the City Council’s docket was the approval of the Handel Architects-designed Sendero Verde project, a 680-unit, fully affordable mixed-use development built to passive house standards. Anticipating that the rezoning would pass, Sendero Verde will occupy an entire block, from East 111th to 112th Street, between Park and Madison avenues. Although the development will replace four existing community gardens, it also includes a DREAM charter school, grocery store, YMCA, restaurant, and Mount Sinai-run health facility. East Harlem is already changing rapidly, with several new projects from well-known studios, such as Bjarke Ingels Group’s (BIG) Gotham East 126th Residential having broken ground in recent months. The full, finalized list of changes made to the East Harlem rezoning plan can be read here.
Placeholder Alt Text

Stanley Saitowitz, Gensler, and others reveal tower proposals for L.A.’s Angels Landing

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.
Placeholder Alt Text

San Francisco’s Millennium Tower is sinking and tilting

According to recent findings, San Francisco’s sinking condo tower just got a little bit more down to earth.

The 58-story Millennium Tower, designed by Handel Architects, has sunk nearly 17 inches since its opening in 2009. Last summer, controversy enveloped the failing monolith when the settling came to light, as residents posted videos online of objects rolling across their floors to demonstrate just how slanted the 419-unit building had become.

Recently, engineers with Arup—employed to work on the currently under-construction Salesforce Tower designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects next door—inspected the Millennium Tower’s rooftop height and found that the tower had sunk an additional 2 ½ inches beyond the initial 14 ½–inch drop recorded last year. Increasingly, the tower is tilting precariously toward the Salesforce Tower, as the muddy and sandy soils beneath it give way. It is built on a foundation of concrete friction piles, driven between 60 and 90 feet into the soil, that do not rest on bedrock. The method is employed by several other developments in the area, though the type of settling occurring at the Millennium Tower has not been seen in any of those projects.

Troublingly, the tower is not only sinking, but it is sinking unevenly, resulting in a measurable slant to the 645-foot-tall complex. As the muddy and sandy soils beneath it give way, it continues to tilt precariously toward the Salesforce Tower. As of 2016, according to court documents, the tower exhibited a 2-inch westward tilt at the base and listed a whopping 10 inches at its top. Recent projections put the potential maximum drift at 10 inches every two years unless something is done to rectify the issue.

As can be expected, the structural deficiencies have resulted in a flurry of lawsuits, including one from the building’s homeowners’ association. The association is seeking to force Millennium Partners, developers and owners of the tower, to perform $150 million worth of foundation upgrades that would add 150 new end-bearing piles in an effort to rest the building on bedrock.

“This accelerated movement highlights the need to retrofit the foundation as soon as possible,” Daniel Petrocelli, attorney for the Millennium Tower homeowners’ association told NBC Bay Area. “The Millennium Tower Association will request an early trial in its ongoing lawsuit to hold the responsible parties accountable.”