Some might say adaptive reuse is for the birds—in which case, San Francisco–based Kuth Ranieri Architects might happen to agree. The office is currently working on an unexpected adaptive-reuse project in Suzhou, China—just outside Shanghai—with fellow Bay Area landscape architects TLS Landscape Architecture, with the aim of repurposing an aged amusement park at the foot of the iconic Lion Mountain into a central green for a new, technology-focused residential hub. For the Shishan Park project, TLS has designed a district-wide master plan focused on a new circular promenade surrounding the old central lake that once anchored the forgotten fun park. The development is carved into ten subdistricts, each anchored by iconic pavilions—also designed by Kuth Ranieri—and recreational spaces “capitalizing on the site’s natural and man-made lakes as well as the mountain’s historic significance and beauty,” according to the architects. Overall, TLS’s designs highlight 18 “poetic scenes” that visually connect occupants to the existing lake, nature zones, and views of the five distinct mountaintops that can be seen from the site. At the heart of the new urban area is the disused amusement park and its original metallic roller coaster, which Kuth Ranieri plans to convert into a new, 160,000-square-foot visual and functional center for the 182-acre development. Utilizing stainless steel mesh netting to create the outermost enclosure and wooden decking and steel platforms for new occupiable promenades, Kuth Ranieri reenvisions the dilapidated roller coaster as a superscaled aviary. The plan includes a circuitous “infinity walk” that takes occupants up and through the reused roller-coaster structure to perches above the treetops furnished with viewing platforms and an expansive sky deck. The complex can be entered from any one of three access points framed by glass-wrapped concrete parabolic arches that extend into the aviary as covered walkways. Within, the complex will also contain a ten-story circulation tower that can bring visitors up to the highest observation levels. Here, a wide staircase containing landings generous enough to host public programming will wrap the elevator core. The complex will also include a green roof–topped animal care facility. The metallic enclosure surrounding the aviary is inspired by traditional Chinese ink paintings and, more specifically, by representations of Lion Mountain in such artworks. The cascading, rounded geometries of the canopy are designed to evoke “a feeling of layered misty mountains,” according to Kuth Ranieri. The project is scheduled for completion in 2020.
Posts tagged with "Kuth Ranieri Architects":
The Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza and the American Institute of Architects San Francisco Chapter (AIASF) recently announced their selection of three competing proposals led by Groundworks Office, Kuth | Ranieri Architects, and Perkins Eastman to re-design Harvey Milk Plaza in San Francisco. The proposals were selected from responses to a public competition aimed at re-working the aging public space. According to a statement by the Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza, designs for the current plaza—a sunken brick- and concrete-lined stepped promenade with integrated seating sitting above the Castro Station subway stop—“fall short of being an inspiration for hope, change, and equality” in the neighborhood. Organizers of the competition seek to remake the plaza into an uplifting and accessible public gathering space by covering the below-ground portions with a new street-level plaza that can be used as a site of protest, celebration, and commemoration. The three finalist schemes posit various approaches for programming new ground-level areas as well as for how to integrate the plaza into the surrounding neighborhood. The existing plaza is punctuated by a large flag pole topped by a rainbow flag, which will remain after renovations. Kuth | Ranieri–led proposal Kuth | Ranieri’s proposal seeks to create a “living memorial and [neighborhood] destination” that functions as an “active and iconic space” symbolizing the national LGBT civil rights movement Milk ignited, according to a statement. The scheme utilizes brightly-colored glass-clad archways to highlight important nodes in the plaza, including the new subway entrance, a bus stop, and a new elevator. The glass panel structures are printed with scenes depicting scenes from Milk’s life in order to create an “integrated experiential memorial.” Down below the street level in the subway ticketing area, the glass panels frame a triangular skylight made from pink glass that will light the space from above. Kuth | Ranieri is joined on the team by RHAA Landscape Architecture and Planning and Catherine Wagner Studio. Perkins Eastman–led proposal The plaza was once used by Milk to give soapbox speeches—a fact the Perkins Eastman team interpreted in their scheme, which calls for topping the subway stop with a stepped-ramp amphitheater that can act as a“soapbox for many.” The structure would be punctuated by an elevator connecting the subway stop and the sidewalk. It would also be sandwiched between two bands of sidewalk that lead to a flat plaza at the corner. The southwestern end of the plaza would contain a grand entrance to the subway station capped by the highest end of the amphitheater. The scheme would also be populated by a multitude of street lights designed to symbolize the candlesticks used in the protest march commemorating Milk’s legacy that emanates from the plaza every year. The project team includes Arup as structural engineer, Propp + Guerin as graphic designer, Lightswitch SF, Inc. as lighting designer, and artist Cybele Lyle. Groundworks Office–led proposal Lastly, the Groundworks Office–led proposal calls for populating the new open plaza with a series of low, faceted masses containing integrated seating, a memorial wall, and a glass canopy for the subway entrance and bus stop along Market Street. The scheme is geared toward creating a “unified plaza that simplifies circulation to public transit” while also streamlining pedestrian routes between transit lines and along surrounding streets. The three proposals are undergoing a period of public comment until September 21st. To share input on the proposals, visit the competition website.
' Kuth Ranieri Architects’ pavilion made out of cardboard Sonotubes (prefabricated tubular formwork for casting concrete), created for this year’s Market Street Prototyping Festival in San Francisco, has earned the firm a People’s Choice award. Designed and built alongside three dozen other installations, the pavilion—dubbed SonoGROTTO—is made out of a bundle of cardboard Sonotubes varying between 6, 10, and 24 inches in width that are bolted together and carved into a sheltered seating area. Overall, the pavilion’s proportions are equal to those of a cube, with circular sections carved out from the overall mass. Certain Sonotubes extend all the way to the ground and support the structure while others are sliced up along curving profiles, creating the benches, thresholds, and openings that animate the pavilion. The pavilion, designed to be located on an active street, creates what the designers dub as an urban “grotto,” containing areas sheltered by a vaulted ceiling punctured by an oculus that offers views to the sky. In a press release explaining the project, the architects state, “Porous enough to retain a strong connection with its surroundings, yet enclosed enough to provide a safe haven, SonoGROTTO allows people to explore and rest simultaneously. SonoGROTTO offers a space for reflection, refuge, and a myriad of alternate uses for all ages.” The festival was sponsored by the San Francisco Department of City Planning and Yerba Buena Center for the Art. It's also the by-product of extensive community outreach by the department aimed at uncovering new, innovative ideas for enhancing the quality of life along Market Street in downtown San Francisco. As such, the festival organizers sought to engage at the community level through a design-oriented street festival. The three-day festival brought thousands out onto the Market Street corridor along three areas spanning from the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on one end to the Embarcadero on the other to display a myriad of pavilion ideas that spanned in concept from architectural follies and performance-oriented displays to even, a miniature forest. For more information on the other pavilions, see the festival website.