As SHoP Architects and the Howard Hughes Corporation continue to put the finishing touches on Pier 17, AN took a behind-the-scenes look at the Manhattan seaport’s reinterpretation of the big-box mall and the massive rooftop gathering space above. The 300,000-square-foot mall and public space has been under construction since 2013 and has undergone several design tweaks since its original presentation before the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). The proposed glass pergola on the roof has been cut, as has the lawn shown in earlier renderings. The roof is now covered in pavers and designed for flexibility; the planters are modular and can be moved to accommodate larger crowds, and a freight elevator allows food trucks onto the roof directly from the adjacent FDR parkway. According to Howard Hughes, the roof can accommodate up to 3,400 (standing) guests. SHoP took suggestions from the LPC and surrounding community into account when linking Pier 17 with the surrounding waterfront and in their decision to wrap the East River Esplanade around the building. The Esplanade extends into the interior of the first floor, as the building’s base is wrapped in double-height glass doors that can be fully raised if weather permits. The restaurant and retail sections have been reimagined as two-story 'buildings', separate from but still attached to the main structure and aligned on a grid that preserves views of the Brooklyn Bridge and surrounding skyline. SHoP has clad each building-within-a-building in materials that correspond to the area’s nautical heritage, including sustainably harvested tropical hardwood, corrugated zinc sheets, and overlapping zinc tiles. Howard Hughes has already locked down several big-name anchor tenants for Pier 17, including a two-floor restaurant from David Chang and upper-floor office space and a green room for ESPN. Outside, SHoP has collaborated with James Corner Field Operations for the landscaping and furniture, and global firm Woods Bagot has designed the Heineken pavilions. Visitors looking to soak in views of Brooklyn will also find a bar and lounge on the eastern side of the building in the shadows of artist Geronimo’s massive multicolored balloon sculpture. Her creative process is documented in the video below: The top half of Pier 17 has been clad in vertical panes of foggy green-gray channel glass, which rises and falls as it wraps around, in reference to the passing East River below. Some of the crazier renderings have shown the building’s upper floors lit up in technicolor at night, and internet-connected color-changing lights have been embedded in the facade. The public can experience Pier 17’s rooftop when it opens to the public on July 28, complete with an accompanying concert series.
Posts tagged with "James Corner Field Operations":
As the waterfront park bounding the massive Domino Sugar Factory development readies for its opening to the public this Sunday, developer Two Trees Management has released photos of the finished esplanade. AN previously toured the site back in April, but the James Corner Field Operations-designed (JCFO) park has finally received its greenery, closed the holes in the pier, and installed the waterworks. As previously reported, the park runs directly in front of the circular, SHoP Architects-designed 325 Kent as well as the string of residential and office buildings master planned by SHoP (and PAU’s forthcoming conversion of the sugar refinery). JFCO's take on the Williamsburg waterfront programmatically orders the park so that the more active space is located near the Williamsburg Bridge, and the passive spaces further away. At its most energetic section, the park holds two bocce ball courts, a dog run, a 6,300-square-foot flexible playing field, and a volleyball court, as well as an existing skate park. The vibe mellows as visitors walk further from the bridge, with the Danny Meyer-run Tacocina in front of the picnic area; the taco stand’s patio has been decked out with appropriately technicolor outdoor furniture. An elevated walkway hangs over Tacocina, and park-goers can take in views of the waterfront on a catwalk made from beams scavenged from inside of the nearby refinery. The design is a reference to the site’s industrial past and resembles a gantry–an effect made more realistic by the long-dormant cranes lingering nearby, now painted seafoam green. In fact, industrial artifacts from the Sugar Factory dot the park. Along the five-block-long Artifact Walk, screw conveyors have been installed vertically, mooring bollards, signage, and four 36-foot-tall syrup tanks have all been turned into public sculptures. Even the children’s playground, while new, has been shaped like refining machinery. While the park is owned by Two Trees, it’s been opened to the public and subject to the New York City Parks Department’s maintenance standards. Interested visitors can walk the waterfront, run through the misting sprinklers, or eat tacos on the newly-elevated pier come June 10.
The year-long Resilient By Design | Bay Area Challenge ideas competition has sought to utilize community-led ecological design to “develop innovative solutions that will strengthen [the Bay Area’s] resilience to sea level rise, severe storms, flooding, and earthquakes.” Last week, the nine teams working with local communities and organizations on the competition unveiled final proposals for a collection of sites scattered around the San Francisco Bay. The nine sites represent a collection of some of the most ecologically fragile areas in the region, places that may see dramatic change in coming decades as climate change takes hold. The initiative seeks to begin to reposition these areas—some are densely-populated while others host vital regional infrastructure—for a climate change-addled future. For the competition, design teams led by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), James Corner Field Operations (JCFO), Tom Leader Studio (TLS) and others pursue efforts to restore regional wetlands and riparian floodplains while reorienting infrastructural investments and development to suit these new landscapes. The proposals were developed with an eye toward being implementable strategies. Next, communities and designers will work together with regional, state, and federal agencies to fully implement their plans. All nine proposals are broken down below: The Grand Bayway The Common Ground team led by TLS Landscape Architecture proposes to extend Highway 37 across San Pablo Bay by designing an elevated scenic causeway that would allow riparian landscapes to flow beneath the new multi-modal artery. The team proposes to deploy the causeway with flair by breaking out various lanes of travel into whispy overpasses that thread through the landscape including a grand, “mobility loop” encircling rich recreational areas. The design team is made up of Exploratorium, Guy Nordenson & Assoc., Michael Maltzan Architecture, HR&A Advisors, Sitelab Urban Studio, Lotus Water, Rana Creek, Dr. John Oliver, Richard Hindle, UC Berkeley, and Fehr & Peers Transportation Consultants. ouR-HOME The ouR-HOME project proposes to deploy a package of land-use reforms to incentivize small lot housing, community land trusts, social impact bonds, and new community infrastructure to prepare the community of North Richmond for climate change. The proposal calls for the construction of a new “horizontal levee” around the city that will protect it from potentially toxic runoff that could emanate from a nearby gasoline refinery during a flood. The vision also calls for planting 20,000 new trees to help “bring the marsh to Main Street,” an effort that aims to preserve and build upon existing community wealth in the majority African American and Latino enclave. The team is led by San Francisco-based architecture firm Mithun and includes the Chinatown Community Development Center, ISEEED/Streetwyze, BioHabitats, Integral Group, HR&A Advisors, Moffat & Nichol, ALTA Planning, Urban Biofilter, and Resilient Design Institute. Estuary Commons The Estuary Commons plan creates a new network of ecologically-focused public spaces along areas surrounding the estuaries of San Leandro Bay in Alameda County. The proposal calls for investments in bicycle greenways, secondary housing units, and inclusionary zoning reforms in order to “build resiliency within the community.” The social and environmental justice-focused bid also calls for burying a stretch of Interstate-880 running through Downtown Oakland in order to remedy past planning errors. The All Bay Collective—made up of AECOM, CMG Landscape Architecture, University of California, Berkeley- College of Environmental Design, Berkeley Center for New Media, The Terner Center, California College of the Arts, IDEO, Silvestrum, SKEO, modem, and David Baker Architects— is behind the scheme. Public Sediment for Alameda Creek The Public Sediment for Alameda Creek plan calls for reconnecting sediment flows between Alameda Creek and the bay’s wetlands in order to create a natural and ecologically-rich defense against floodwaters. The scheme revisions the currently-static flood control channels that criss-cross the southwestern edge of the Bay into redesigned estuaries, sediment traps, and berms that facilitate the build up of sediment while still allowing for public use and natural habitats. The team is led by SCAPE Landscape Architecture and also includes Arcadis, Dredge Research Collaborative, TS Studio, UC Davis Department of Human Ecology and Design, UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences, and Buoyant Ecologies Lab. South Bay Sponge The South Bay Sponge proposal aims to use a mix of cut-and-fill excavations and zoning swaps to build densely on high ground along the southern edge of the Bay in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. The plan would create networks of “sponge” landscapes that absorb tidal flows and run off, efforts that would involve reorganizing urban fabric in these areas into dense nodes of habitation surrounded by water-friendly landscapes. The design team behind the proposal includes JCFO, Moffatt & Nichol, Magnusson Klemencic Associates, SF BAY National Estuarine Research Reserve, Romberg-Tiburon Center, SFSF, Andrea Baker Consulting, James Lima Planning + Development, The Bay Institute, SeArc / ECOncrete, HT Harvey and Associates, Playhou.se, and Adventure Pictures. Resilient South City The Hassell+ team proposes to create additional public green space and a continuous public access route along South San Francisco’s Colma Creek that would double as storm surge-absorbing infrastructure. The plan aims to reduce the impacts of flooding by utilizing a network of greenways and municipal parks to restore native ecologies. These areas would manage runoff from existing neighborhoods, creating new public open spaces along the way. The plan would revamp the city’s urban waterfront and make restorative alterations to Orange Memorial Park. The project team includes Lotus Water, Civic Edge, HATCH, Brown & Caldwell, Idyllist, and Page & Turnbull. Islais Hyper Creek The BIG, ONE, and Sherwood have teamed up for the Islais Hyper Creek Vision, a plan that aims to restore native landscapes around the creek while creating new nodes of waterborne urbanism. The team envisions transforming vast swaths along the creek into natural habitats and parks, with new clustered technology and industrial hubs scattered around the city. The proposal is dubbed as “an opportunity to bring the existing industrial ecosystem into the next economy.” The design team also includes Moffat & Nichol, Nelson Nygaard, Strategic Economics, The Dutra Group, and Stanford University. Designing our Own Solutions The Permaculture and Social Equity Team is proposing to utilize social design as a way of building a vision for Marin City, a diverse working class enclave located just north of San Francisco. The team’s social design project involved extensive community engagement and is focused on equity, placemaking, and public ownership. The team is made up of Pandora Thomas, Antonio Roman-Alcala , the Urban Permaculture Institute, Ross Martin Design, Alexander J. Felson, and Yale School of Architecture. Elevate San Rafael The Elevate San Rafael plan put forth by the Bionic team that proposes to reorganize the small city of San Rafael, pulling in its edges from flood-prone shorelines while building up higher elevations with dense housing and public infrastructure. The proposal would repurpose underutilized lots into flood planes flanked with housing, add floating recreational islands within the bay, and build up artificial reefs along the bay floor. The plan proposes to pair “time-tested approaches to coastal adaptation with a moral, financial, and infrastructural agenda” as a way of adequately planning for the city’s future. The team is made up of landscape architects Bionic, WXY, PennDesign, Michael Yarne, Enterprise, Moffatt & Nichol, WRA, RMA, SF State, Baycat, Studio for Urban Projects, RAD Urban, and KMA. For more information on the proposals, see the Resilient By Design Bay Area Challenge website.
The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach might be some of the world’s busiest shipping facilities, but just beyond the stacks of shipping containers and bustling cranes sit densely populated neighborhoods that have struggled for decades to maintain a vital hold on the nearby waterfront. That dynamic is about to change, as a slew of transformative waterfront-adjacent projects aim to reclaim and transform the shore for nearby communities. Following a new master plan issued in 2014, the waterfront areas along the Port of L.A.–adjacent neighborhood of Wilmington have been in a continual state of restoration and redevelopment. There, Boston-based Sasaki built out the first phase of the Wilmington Waterfront Park in 2012, a 10-acre installation packed with natural berms, playing fields, and trees. The plans—developed with Studio-MLA—would create a “buffer against port operations” and a “window to waterfront,” according to Zach Chrisco, partner in charge of the project at Sasaki. The latest phase of the waterfront redevelopment project aims to recast the existing waterfront areas with more widely accessible leisure and shopping spaces connected by public amenities like a giant lawn, stepped landings that meet the water, a small floating harbor, and a fishing pier. “Our goal with the project is to diversify the way the community can engage with the water,” Kate Tooke, landscape architect at Sasaki, explained, describing the metallic shade structures and an open-floor leisure pier with hammocks that dangle directly over the water. The waterfront will connect to the Wilmington community via the Avalon Promenade and Gateway, a new promenade and pedestrian bridge sequence designed by T.Y. Lin International that will feature underground restrooms on one end and a public plaza on the other. Both projects are slated to break ground this year with an anticipated 2019 opening. In the nearby neighborhood of San Pedro, developers Ratkovich Company and Jericho are leading the Ports O’ Call Village redevelopment project aimed at bringing a new 180,000-square-foot San Pedro Public Market project to life. The development is led by Rapt Studio, a local design firm. Describing the lead-up to the project, Sam Farhang, Rapt Studio president and project lead said, “We went in immediately and said, ‘This is not a project that could be designed and delivered by single team.’” The designers got to work on assembling a “dream team” for the project that includes James Corner Field Operations and Adamson Associates as executive architects. Rapt is designing a series of new warehouse-like prefabricated steel moment frame structures flexible enough to hold new retail programs while remaining malleable over the developer’s 55-year ground lease over the site. Plans call for adding a new “town square” containing the aforementioned retail and plaza spaces, a new marketplace to hold the relocated San Pedro Fish Market, and an event lawn that connects to the waterfront directly so that “every type of person—whether it’s longshoremen on their lunch break or a Millennial mom and dad with a single child in a stroller—can find an aspect of this site that resonates with them.” The project will be delivered in phases through 2020 or 2021 as to not displace some of the larger tenants that will remain. Across one of the shipping channels, Gensler is working toward a long-term vision that would rework the area’s employment and economic demographics, as it builds out the multi-phase AltaSea development; a new 35-acre complex that will combine marine research, public education programs, and sustainable energy development. The $150 million complex will aim to redevelop a series of existing waterfront warehouses, replacing industrial shipping uses with high-tech research equipment and hordes of visiting tourists, school children, and researchers. Describing the goals of the project, Li Wen, design director at Gensler said, “We see the Port of L.A. becoming a place of education through experience,” adding that the project seeks to “re-introduce the ocean as a place to be preserved, revered, and studied.” Work on that project is currently underway and the first phase is expected to be completed in 2023.
The twisting, torquing towers of the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)-designed The Eleventh (The XI) have begun sprouting along the High Line, and developer HFZ Capital has released a new batch of renderings. Located between 10th and 11th Avenue and bounded by 17th and 18th Streets in Manhattan, The Eleventh takes up a full block directly south of the Frank Gehry-designed IAC building. As HFZ told the New York Times, the mixed-use project was designed less as a standalone complex and more as a “micro-neighborhood.” The sprawling development stretches underneath the High Line to the east, where James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro are designing a street-level extension of the park above. Moving west from the new park, the BIG-designed pavilions will rise under the High Line. The two travertine-clad towers will rise on the western half of the development next to the Hudson River. At the westernmost edge of the site will be the taller of the two towers, at 400 feet tall and 36 floors, with 149 condos units designed by New York’s Gabellini Sheppard. For the interiors, the team has chosen a lighter material palette that emphasizes natural materials, such as oak flooring and white quartzite countertops. The smaller tower to the east, connected at its base with its neighbor via a glass skybridge, will only be about 300 feet tall and 26 stories. Everything after floor 11 is slated for condos, while the lower floors will hold a Six Senses hotel; the Paris-based interiors firm Gilles & Boissier are designing the interiors for both the residential and hotel sections, and will reportedly use a similar palette and style for both. Both towers noticeably twist in opposite directions as they rise, and the turns are intended to preserve views for occupants inside both buildings. To further improve the views, the western tower will expand as it rises and the eastern tower will taper as it nears the top. To cap it off, both of the condo buildings share matching glass crowns. A shorter building is also planned for the site’s southwestern corner, with plans to turn it into an art space and Six Senses spa and club. Swiss landscape architect Enzo Enea will be designing a covered through-way for vehicles and a courtyard at the center between the two tower’s hemispheres. The amenities are consistent with the other luxury residential buildings going up along the High Line; future homeowners can expect access to a 75-foot-long pool, 4,000-square-foot fitness center, access to Six Senses, and a lounge and game room in the skybridge. Once completed at the end of 2019, the complex will be among the tallest in West Chelsea.
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.
Ahead of its June 2018 opening date, Domino Sugar Factory developer Two Trees Management has released new renderings of the project’s forthcoming park, as well as opened the site up for a tour. AN had a chance to check out the James Corner Field Operations-designed Domino Park, as well as the completed 325 Kent Avenue and the ongoing interior demolition at the Domino Sugar Refinery. The SHoP Architects-designed 325 Kent, a doughnut-shaped rental building set back from the Williamsburg waterfront, was the first building to reach completion at the SHoP-master planned site. The 16-story, 500-unit rental building (105 of them affordable) began welcoming residents back in September of 2017. As the weather warms up, residents will get to make use of the rooftop amenities on display, such as curved concrete furniture, lounge chairs, and the central strip of courtyard that runs between the building’s central arch. Domino Park is taking shape at the foot of 325 Kent and is on track to open in only 8 weeks. The quarter-mile-long park breaks its programming into “active” and “passive” activity spaces, with the more active areas located closer to the thrum of the Williamsburg Bridge. The second Domino Sugar Factory tower, the mixed-use, COOKFOX-designed 260 Kent, is on track to open in 2019. A dog run, two bocce ball courts, a 6,300-square-foot “flexible playing field” and a volleyball court make up the more energetic half. At the other end, a Japanese Pine garden, 80-to-100 person picnic area, and the Danny Meyer-run taqueria, Tacocina, will sit at the quieter half of the park. A technicolored children’s play space designed by artist Mark Reigelman, with industrial pieces inspired by the sugar refining process, can be found at the passive end of the park, as can 585-linear-feet of elevated walkway. The walkway sits directly on top of Tacocina, and incorporates 21 steel columns from the former Raw Sugar Warehouse into its superstructure; the sight will be a familiar one to visitors familiar with Kara Walker’s The Sugar Sphinx. Linking each area along the waterfront will be the Artifact Walk, a five-block-long stretch that proudly displays historical refining artifacts salvaged from the site. Four 36-foot tall cylindrical syrup tanks embedded in the Syrup Tank Garden, mooring bollards, signage, and corkscrews have been installed across an elevated platform on the water’s edge. Damaged during Hurricane Sandy, the existing platform was raised to a uniform height above the river, and the new piles have been encased in concrete. To build a historical link to the pre-existing structure, a hole has been cut in the platform and visitors can view the existing wood posts and river below. Work on gutting the Domino Sugar Refinery is still ongoing, in anticipation of the PAU-designed glassy office space that will soon sit within. While the exterior of the factory has been landmarked, preserving the interiors would have been impossible due to the interconnected nature of the refining machinery. Even though the factory shut down in 2004, the thick smell of molasses is still hanging around the building at the time of writing. As for the park, although it’s technically private, Two Trees has opened the expanse to the public and is working closely with the New York City Parks Department. A representative from the development company has stated that James Corner Field had their designs reviewed and approved by Parks, that the stretch will operate on normal NYC park hours (dawn to dusk), and that they’ve given the city permission to claim the park if maintenance falls behind. AN will provide a final look at the finished Domino Sugar Park once the project is completed this summer. COOKFOX's 260 Kent will be featured in detail at the upcoming Facades+ workshop "K. Domino Site A: Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) & When and Why to Use It" on April 20.
Hudson Yards isn’t the only megaproject on Manhattan’s far west side. Developer Brookfield Properties has released a new set of renderings and a fly-through video of what the area will look like once its Manhattan West development is complete. Once complete, the seven-million-square-foot “neighborhood” will link Hudson Yards on the far west side with Penn Station’s renovated Moynihan Train Hall. Hemmed between Ninth and Tenth Avenues and 31st to 33rd Streets, Manhattan West will hold offices, retail, hotels, and residential units, with most of the buildings featuring sleek glass facades. REX’s recent retrofit of 5 Manhattan West; the rising 69 stories of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s (SOM) One Manhattan West office tower; SLCE’s recently completed The Eugene, a 62-story residential tower and the tallest of its type in Midtown Manhattan; SOM’s Two Manhattan West, a 59-story office tower which recently filed DOB permits and the 13-story “The Loft” are all on track to finish construction by either 2019 or 2020. Fewer details have been released about the more mysterious Four Manhattan West, which will be a 30-story boutique hotel with condo units. A 60,000-square-foot public plaza designed by James Corner Field Operations and 200,000 square feet of ground floor shops and restaurants will round out the public amenities. Now, Brookfield has released a flythrough of the project, starting at a revitalized Empire Station (the forthcoming rebrand of the new Penn Station complex) with stops along each of the campus’s towers. Watch the video below: Brookfield has also created a VR walkthrough of the entire development, including interior views from each of the office towers, as well as street-level shots. Construction on the $1.6 billion Moynihan Train Hall is ongoing, and it may be a number of years before the area comes into its own. That doesn’t seem to be a hurdle for Amazon (who are already renting space in 5 Manhattan West), and reps from the tech giant will soon visit New York to scout out prospective HQ2 office space on the far west side.
When it comes to plazas and parks, Los Angeles–area landscape architects and designers have big plans for the future. The region is slowly warming up to the possibility of a more pedestrian-oriented urbanism, and, as a result, public spaces old and new are being imagined to suit that potential future. And while the region is adding plenty of new parks—the new Los Angeles State Historic Park, the ever-expanding Grand Park by Rios Clementi Hale Studios (RCH Studios), and the now-iconic Tongva Park by James Corner Field Operations come to mind—attention is now beginning to shift toward redefining the public plaza as it is practiced in L.A. One experiment comes from RCH Studio’s renovations to the Music Center plaza, originally designed by landscape architects Cornell, Bridgers, and Troller in association with Welton Becket and Associates in 1967. The stepped concrete plaza currently contains a Jacques Lipchitz–designed sculpture at its center, the art object surrounded by a maze of sunken courtyards, large planter boxes, and interactive fountains. RCH Studios plans to revamp the plaza to make the space more ADA-compliant while also bringing pedestrian energy from bustling Grand Avenue up into the plaza. The complex is on the same street as the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Broad Museum and sits on axis with Grand Park and City Hall, relationships that the designers wanted to emphasize and perfect over the course of their renovations. Bob Hale, partner at RCH Studios, said, “Creating open space in L.A. is a very different thing than doing so in other places,” explaining that one of the goals of the renovations was to make the plaza hospitable enough to function as a “fifth venue” to complement the four existing concert halls and performance spaces on the site. The proposed 50,000-square-foot plaza—scheduled to reopen in 2019—will be completely flat, punctuated at its corners by pavilions containing a full-service restaurant, a cafe, a bar, permanent public restrooms, and a welcome kiosk. The project will also involve replacing existing—and over-pruned—ficus trees with new Agonis Flexuosa trees that will help create a more comfortable plaza as their canopies fill out. In Culver City, SWA Principal Gerdo Aquino and his team are working to create a new central square for the city on top of what was once a dusty parking lot. The firm’s Culver Steps project—created in partnership with EYRC architects and Hackman Capital Partners—is part of a podium-style development that will bring a new 55,000-square-foot stepped plaza with generously landscaped open spaces to the city’s core. The ascendant plaza will sit above a new underground parking garage and will share ground floor areas with a bevy of storefronts. A so-called “grand staircase” is to run up the slope, flanked by pockets of seating areas. The summit of the jaggedly stepped promenade will contain restaurants on one side and a four-story office structure on another. In all, the superblock- size project will unite a mix of squares and promenades served by the commercial and office spaces. “Many American cities are reimagining their city centers, sometimes in unconventional locations and ways,” Aquino explained. “The city and the major stakeholders have always considered the plaza as something that could be ‘out of the box’ and not tied down to any one precedent.” Landscaping for the plaza is inspired by the Sierra Nevada Mountains and will contain more conventional plantings along its lowest levels, with increasingly showy and diverse species of shade trees and evergreens up the steps and at the top of the structure. Ultimately, the steps will open in 2019 with the aim of creating a bustling and interactive plaza “filled with as many trees as possible.”
Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has unveiled a speculative design proposal that aims—among many aspects—to populate the San Francisco Bay with floating villages as part of an effort to buttress the region against climate change–induced flooding. The proposal is undertaken with One Architecture + Urbanism (ONE) and Sherwood Design Engineers and is among a slate of ten newly-announced schemes generated for the Resilient By Design Bay Area Challenge, a regional competition aimed toward generating ideas for how to best protect the Bay Area from rising sea levels. Projections for the region call for a minimum of four feet in sea level rise under moderate warming conditions by 2100. The changes would bring flooding to the area much more frequently than is currently the case, a development that would devastate coastal communities. Many of those communities are built atop landfills over former marsh areas and tidal zones. BIG’s proposal takes two routes in its effort to achieve its ambitious goals. First, the plan calls for restoring Islais Creek—a stubby inlet on the San Francisco side of the Bay sandwiched between the Dogpatch and Hunters Point neighborhoods—as part a larger plan for retrofitting the entire San Francisco Bay’s edge. BIG’s conceptual masterplan for the San Francisco Bay envisions restoring the wetlands along the water’s edge lost to development while redistributing new population centers into the bay to create an urban archipelago connected by public ferries. The plan also proposes relocating and expanding the existing network of industrial, port, and warehouse activities into more compact configurations surrounded by trails, marshes, and parkland. The scheme also calls for modernizing a stretch of Interstate-101 as a “machine for autonomous collective transit,” as explained by BIG founder Bjarke Ingels in a presentation video. The plan would create a Bus Rapid Transit loop in the south Bay that will anchor and connect new density nodes. The plan would extend to the southern edges of the Bay, as well, where existing salt palm and tidal marsh areas will be revisioned into experimental urban agriculture zones. The proposal is joined by schemes from James Corner Field Operations and Hassell+, among other multidisciplinary groups, and follows a year-long research period that brought together designers, landscape architects, planners, politicians, and community activists from across the region. For more information, see the Resilient by Design: Bay area Challenge website.
Kengo Kuma and Associates and Natoma Architects have been added to the project team for the recently-revealed 1111 Sunset Boulevard development slated for the former Metropolitan Water District (MWD) headquarters on the edge of Downtown Los Angeles. The announcement of the expanded team—which also includes SOM and James Corner Field Operations (JCFO)—came this week along with a fresh set of renderings for the 5.5-acre project. With the project, Los Angeles–based developer Palisades is looking to transform a derelict section of William Pereira’s MWD headquarters into a 778-unit mixed-use enclave containing retail, public open spaces, and a boutique hotel designed by Kuma. The development consists of three high-rise towers that sit atop a continuous and permeable podium spanning the sloped site. According to the renderings, the complex will contain a cluster of low-rise apartments at one corner surrounding underground parking for a pair of housing towers. As those apartments terrace up the hill, they will give way to a shared plaza at the base of the high-rise towers. Project renderings depict a pair of 30- to 40-story tall towers along this section of the site. Each of the towers rises from the podium on a gigantic pod containing a solid, monolithic core. Roughly five stories up, the tower’s typical floor plates begin to cantilever over the plaza, leaving an open viewshed several stories high from the plaza. The move is an attempt by the designers to minimize the heft of the project along its lower levels and an effort, as well, to preserve certain views for existing hillside residences located directly behind the development. The renderings also depict certain portions of the Pereira structure reused as ground floor amenity spaces. JCFO is developing the project’s more than two acres of landscaped areas. In terms of plantings, renderings depict clusters of palm trees, jacaranda trees along the street, and succulent-bordered lawn areas overlooking Downtown Los Angeles. The project will share the site with Linear City’s Elysian tower development, a portion of the existing Pereira-designed complex that David Lawrence Gray Architects repurposed in 2014. 111 Sunset is among several high-rise, high-density projects slated for the area. An official timeline for the project has not been released. See the project website for more information.
AIA|NYS has named Brooklyn-based nARCHITECTS as the 2017 Firm of the Year. Established in 2005, this yearly award highlights a firm in New York State that has made"notable achievements in design, community service, education and service to the profession and the AIA." nARCHITECTS, led by Principals Eric Bunge, AIA, and Mimi Hoang, AIA, was founded in 1999. The firm has been recognized for its work in pushing the boundaries of architecture through innovative concepts, awareness of social responsibility, and the successful incorporation of technology within their designs. AIA|NYS stated in their press release, “The team has proven through their innovative design approach that they are a leader in the profession, noted by their peers and capturing the attention of the design world.” The firm has completed several notable projects within and outside of New York City. Projects in New York include Carmel Palace, New York City‘s first entirely micro-unit apartment complex, and The Switch Building in Lower Manhattan, a mixed-use apartment and gallery space which displays a creative approach to the area's zoning regulations and features distinct angular facade elements in a modern interpretation of the classic New York bay window. Projects outside the state, such as the redesigns of Chicago’s Navy Pier, Seattle's Waterfront and Cleveland’s Public Square, in collaboration with James Corner Field Operations as design lead, highlight the firm's strengths in merging building and public space design within existing urban landscapes.