Posts tagged with "Leong Leong":

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In New York and L.A., Leong Leong is designing new platforms for marginalized communities

The Architectural League’s Emerging Voices award and lecture series spotlight individuals and firms with distinct design “voices” that have the potential to influence the discipline of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design. The jury, composed of Sunil Bald, Mario Gooden, Lisa Gray, Paul Lewis, Jing Liu, Thomas Phifer, Bradley Samuels, Billie Tsien, and Ian Volner, selected architects and designers who have significant bodies of realized work that creatively address larger issues in the built environment.

The Architect’s Newspaper featured the Emerging Voices firms in our February issue; stay tuned as we upload those articles to our website over the coming weeks. The firm featured below (New York City–based Leong Leongwill deliver their lecture on March 9, 2017, at The Architecture League in New York City. Click here to learn more!

“Our father was an architect and we grew up in a small town in Napa Valley. Architecture became a medium through which we explored the world,” Dominic Leong said. “It was a way to understand the city, and for us there was an inherent link between the cosmopolitan and architecture.”

Dominic and his brother Christopher founded their practice, Leong Leong, in 2009, and although they came from distinct architectural firms—Dominic worked at Bernard Tschumi Architects before founding PARA-Project, while Christopher worked at SHoP and Gluckman Mayner Architects—their shared upbringing equally influences their firm’s approach. “The practice is much more about an organization and a collective of people. Our interest in architecture is a way to embed ourselves in different contexts and to relate to who we are as individuals,” Christopher said.

As a result, Leong Leong has shifted from designing high-fashion boutiques for the likes of 3.1 Phillip Lim, to working at increasingly larger and dramatic architectural scales. They have two notable civic projects: the Anita May Rosenstein Campus for the Los Angeles LGBT Center in Hollywood with Killefer Flammang Architects, and the Center for Community and Entrepreneurship for the nonprofit organization Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) in Queens, New York, with JCJ Architecture. “Both the LGBT Center and AAFE are nonprofit organizations whose fundamental missions are to create a platform for marginalized communities,” Christopher said. Dominic continued: “There are new social organizations and social technologies that have yet to find a specific manifestation in architectural typologies. These communities already exist and have existed for a long time, so the projects are opportunities to translate these communities into new organizational typologies and places of exchange.”

Concurrently, Leong Leong continues to work on smaller objects, installations, and exhibitions. In 2016 they designed a collection of nine basic tools carved in pink Himalayan sea salt titled A Toolkit for a Newer Age, and an immersive sound bath installation called TOPO. “Toolkit and TOPO were explorations into the relationship between collectivity and form that emerged when we were designing the LGBT Center,” Dominic explained. “This eventually led us to investigate how social technologies, like self-care, might translate into architectural typologies.”

As the firm continues to take on increasingly ambitious projects, the brothers filter each one through what they refer to as “the triad”: the [architectural] discipline, the profession, and the broader culture. “Through this feedback loop, certain ideas become more relevant than others,” said Dominic. “It’s not just about large scales, it’s about things at the tactile level as well: A small project can have a huge impact—and that splash may be necessary in our current culture—and bigger projects can have a slower, different kind of impact, a lasting change to the city itself.”

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More details emerge for the new Center for Community and Entrepreneurship in Flushing, Queens

A New York nonprofit powerhouse has commissioned two local firms to build out its mission in Flushing, Queens.

Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE), an advocacy and community development agency based in Flushing, selected JCJ Architecture and Leong Leong to design the Center for Community and Entrepreneurship, a 90,000-square-foot business incubator and event space that will serve as a fulcrum for the neighborhood.

The announcement comes at a time of great growth for the neighborhood, a major commercial center for New York’s Asian-Americans. 70 percent of Flushing’s 72,000 residents are Asian, and the area is home to one of the world’s largest ethnic Chinese enclaves. “Vibrant,” that go-to good streets descriptor, doesn’t adequately capture the level of activity along Flushing’s main thoroughfares—Roosevelt Avenue, Main Street, and College Point Boulevard. Main Street is second only to Times Square in New York City foot traffic. Here, shoppers from all over the region access multi-story mini-malls through ground-level stores whose wares spill onto packed sidewalks that the city is spending nearly $8 million to widen.

The Center for Community and Entrepreneurship addresses a dark side of this prosperity: International real estate investment and a growing population have raised property values and commercial rents, making it tough for new enterprises to get off the ground. The center will sustain AAFE’s holistic development approach and build on its legacy of community investment. Since its founding 42 years ago, the organization has created more than 800 units of affordable housing and given $44 million in loans to 1,000-plus small businesses.

For design inspiration, the two firms looked both at AAFE’s mission and the surrounding area. “In Flushing, there are already a lot of pre-existing hybrid typologies,” said Dominic Leong, cofounding principal of Leong Leong. “It’s an interesting urban context—because of the history and the influx of immigrants from Asia, there are mixed-use typologies that just don’t exist anywhere else in the city. This project falls in line with that DNA, and takes it to an institutional level.”

The building’s seven-story gradient of public-to-private use beckons residents inside, while the program—a twist on the Flushing commercial typology of stacked retail—tackles challenges posed by the neighborhood’s rapid growth. A public plaza at 39th Avenue and College Point Boulevard, the architects explained, anchors the building to the neighborhood by drawing people in from the street, while private offices occupy the upper levels.

The space is organized as four connected volumes, each joined to an outdoor terrace. At ground level, the plaza’s 5,000-square-foot marketplace connects to Flushing’s street life, while upstairs, a flexible event space opens onto an adjacent terrace. A three-story open staircase, wide enough at its base for seating, connects the space through the third level. “From the plaza up to the stairs, you are metaphorically tracking the mission of AAFE,” said JCJ principal Peter Bachmann.

A third-floor incubator will provide co-working space, where emerging businesses will get assistance from the AAFE-affiliated Renaissance Economic Development Corporation. “The center is not only about providing affordable space,” said Christopher Kui, AAFE’s executive director. “It’s about networking opportunities and resources.” The nonprofit, whose offices will occupy the fourth floor, will lead entrepreneurship classes geared specifically to small businesses. As they grow, firms can rent space on floors five through seven.

A reflection of the hybrid program, the facade is most transparent at the two lowest and most public floors. The glass increases in opacity as the eye ascends to the upper, non-public floors, explained Chris Leong, Dominic’s brother and cofounder of the firm. The lot line wall is clad in metal panels and roughly mirrors the glass walls’ spacing.

Overall, the building respects its lot line, but, unlike a “jewel on the block,” it’s not trying to define itself against its context, Dominic said. It has a slight curvature in plan that brings it up the lot line, while the corner lot ensures that adjacent developments will respect the building’s profile.

AAFE awarded the project to the firms last fall, and the center is expected to be complete in 2018. Leong Leong and JCJ have mutual respect for each other’s desire to work with mission-driven organizations, and the architects stressed the strengths they bring to the project. JCJ has seven offices and a deep portfolio of community-minded projects, while Leong Leong is known for bringing its impossibly cool aesthetic to projects like the U.S. Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale and the Anita May Rosenstein Center, a new campus for the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

In Flushing, both firms see architecture as a platform for community. “We are in a post-icon paradigm. This generation is trying to understand a different way to relate to context.” Dominic said. “Here, we interface with the community on the urban level of the plaza, then create building forms that respond to those criteria.”

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KFA and Leong Leong-designed LGBT center approved by Los Angeles City Planning Commission

This week, the Los Angeles City Planning Commission voted to unanimously approve plans for the Killefer Flammang Architects (KFA) and Leong Leong—designed Los Angeles LGBT Center (LALGBTC), Anita May Rosenstein Campus in Hollywood. The new healthcare and housing campus will include 100 units of affordable housing for seniors, 100 beds for homeless youth, new senior and youth centers, and up to 35 units of permanent supportive housing for young people. The mixed-use complex will also contain ground floor retail spaces. The project aims to expand the footprint and offerings of an adjacent complex, The Village at Ed Gould Plaza, which contains movie theaters, art galleries, offices, and meeting spaces. According to the only officially-released rendering for the project, the new and old facilities will be connected via interior and exterior courtyards and plazas, with the new building located at the corner of the block. The new three-story structure is composed as a series of stacked and curved curtain wall-clad volumes with the third floor extending beyond the perimeter of the lower levels along one side. The structure also features large, circular, and semi-transparent cut-outs that span multiple floors along these facades. In a press release for the project, KFA Principal and co-founder Barbara Flammang celebrated the commission’s unanimous approval, stating “We are delighted and excited that the Planning Commission recognizes the tremendous importance of the Center’s new campus,” she added, “KFA is proud to be helping increase the number of affordable housing units in a city that greatly needs them.” Because LGBT-identifying young adults make up a large portion of the overall homeless youth population, the project aims to fill a crucial void in services for members of that community in Los Angeles. LALGBTC CEO Lorri L. Jean told KPCC radio, “The new complex aims to help the two most vulnerable parts of our community, young people, and seniors who might face discrimination in other care facilities. Demand has skyrocketed in recent years and the need for affordable housing is particularly dire. The Center and our new campus are part of the solution to the growing problem of homelessness in our city.” For more information on LALGBTC’s services, see the center’s website.
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Renderings revealed for Queens entrepreneurship center designed by Leong Leong and JCJ

Leong Leong is bringing its design talents to Queens at the behest of a local nonprofit.

Nonprofit Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) selected the New York and Los Angeles–based firm to design the Center for Community and Entrepreneurship, a 90,000-square-foot business incubator, retail, and community space complex on a busy Flushing corner.

The building seeks a fluid interface between public and private space. "How do you take a conventional office typology, with staked uses and different tenants, but find a way to pull a public space through those different layers and create an interface between the different users?" said Chis Leong, founding principal of Leong Leong. "We wanted to create synergy and collaboration between the users of the building."

In collaboration with JCJ Architecture, the firm's seven-story building is a "vertically-integrated campus" expressed as four connected volumes, each with an outdoor terrace programmed for different uses. A three-story open staircase, wide enough for terraced seating at the ground floor, opens up the space—and encourages walking.

On the ground floor, a plaza hosting a 5,000-square-foot marketplace connects the building to the neighborhood's vibrant street life, while upstairs, a flexible event space beckons people inside or onto an adjacent terrace. Floors three through seven are offices: A third-floor business incubator provides co-working space, where firms may seek assistance from Renaissance Economic Development Corporation, an AAFE affiliate. AAFE's offices occupy the fourth floor, with the remaining above-ground floors are available to rent. Two levels of below-ground parking round out the program.

The facade's transparency is greatest at the two lowest and most public floors, but the glass increases in opacity as the eye ascends to the upper, more private floors. The lot line wall is clad in metal panels and roughly mirrors same spacing as the glass walls.

The firms were awarded the project last fall, and the center is expected to be complete in 2018.

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What to see at Sight Unseen OFFSITE

The third annual Sight Unseen OFFSITE—curated by Monica Khemsurov and Jill Singer, founders of design magazine (and online shop) Sight Unseen—features a slew of unique international designers hailing from Vancouver to Moscow, as well as a room-sized installation from New York City-based architects Leong Leong. Located at the 15th floor of The Grace Building (1114 Avenue of the Americas, May 13-16), Khemsurov and Singer's collection is impressive array. Highlights included the slender, sculptural, steel furniture of Moscow-based architecture firm Crosby Studios (their pieces are actually fabricated in Brooklyn). The young firm was founded by Harry Nuriev and Dmitry Vorontsov in 2014. In pieces that reminded me of early experimental Bauhaus (think Oskar Schlemmer costumes, plus a dash of László Moholy-Nagy and Eames coat hanger), Montreal-based Jean-Pascal Gauthier blends a playful mixture of lines, materials, and functions. 10 of his unique hand-made creations, crafted from wood, marble, brass, and steel, are on display. These dichroic lights, which come in modular components for easy customization, are from Toronto-based Shelter Bay. Sight Unseen organized this collaboration among five New York- and Norwegian-based designers ("Norway x New York"). In addition to textiles, furniture, lighting, and decor, this installation from Leong Leong (dubbed TOPO) graces the entrance of the fair. The space is a multi-sensory experience: soft foam cylinders have been carved into a gently curving landscape that eerily feels like a computer-modeled landscape directly translated to physical form. Mirrors make the space seem endless while a sound system, designed in conjunction with Arup, listens, processes, and amplifies ambient sounds to produce an otherworldly digital humming.
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Los Angeles LGBT Center reveals Leong Leong–designed campus

Last August, AN reported the Los Angeles LGBT Center, along with developer Thomas Safran & Associates, tapped Leong Leong to design their new campus in Hollywood, the Anita May Rosenstein Campus. This week, new renderings of the center were revealed.  “The firm is known for using common materials in uncommon ways, with results that belie humble beginnings: a sleek facade composed of mirrored louver blinds, sound insulation foam transforms into a chic wallcovering,” wrote former AN west editor Mimi Zeiger. New York– and L.A.–based Leong Leong was selected from a shortlist of five firms. Founded in 2009 by brothers Cris and Dominic Leong, the firm is known for projects like the 3.1 Phillip Lim store in Seoul, Korea. Also part of the new campus design team is L.A.–based executive architect Killefer Flammang Architects and Pamela Burton, in charge of landscape architecture. The campus will hold centers for seniors and youth, 100 beds for homeless youth, 100 affordable housing units for seniors, and 35 units of supportive housing. They are building a kitchen, retail space at ground level, as well as underground parking for 350 cars. The Center will also move it administrative offices from the McDonald/Wright building to the new campus, converting McDonald/Wright into a health-services center dedicated to physical and mental wellness. The Center has raised $25 million in pledges needed for phase one construction, and $3 million so far of the $15 million for phase two. The new campus is expected to open early 2019. On the topic of LGBT services, if you are further north on the west coast, in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood more specifically, there is an LGBT visitor’s center that opened in 2013, the second of its kind in any U.S. city (Miami was the first).
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Thinking Outside the Box: Leong Leong, Steven Holl, Levenbetts show off new collection of objects

New York– and Los Angeles–based architecture firm Leong Leong's "A Toolkit for a Newer Age" is part of an exhibition at Chamber Gallery titled Unpacking the Cube which also includes work by Steven Holl and Levenbetts. Fabricated out of Himalayan pink salt, the collection of nine objects are designed to satisfy basic human needs, which "can be configured into a series of distinct constellations, alluding to ritualistic events that provide individual and communal opportunities for reflection and socialization" according to the designers. The shapes of the tools are milled by robots, which creates a juxtaposition between the ancient organic matter from which they are made and the advanced technology used to create them. Eventually the salt objects will begin to degrade, which emphasizes the nature of human tools and how quickly essential items become obsolete. The objects include a tiffin, mortar and pestle, seats, vessel, censer, salt block, candle, horn, and headrests, all of which are placed on an insulated mat. Additionally, Holl contributed three cubic sculptures made of concrete, aluminum, and walnut. Levenbetts, comprised of David Leven and Stella Betts, included a collection of hollow wedge shaped pieces that can be combined to create a cube, as well as seating and shelving units. The exhibition is curated by Andrew Zuckerman and runs through March 5, 2016.
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Leong Leong selected to design Los Angeles LGBT Center in Hollywood

Leong Leong was selected to design the master plan and new buildings for the Los Angeles LGBT Center in Hollywood. The pair's resume includes fashion house Philip Lim as well as the design of the United States Pavilion of the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. The firm is known for using common materials in uncommon ways, with results that belie humble beginnings: a sleek facade composed of mirrored louver blinds, sound insulation foam transforms into a chic wallcovering. The new project is their biggest commission to date and includes a 183,700-square-foot facility and a campus plan that, with the existing building, covers more than a city block and includes 140 units of affordable housing for seniors and young adults, 100 beds for homeless youth, a new senior center, retail space, a center for homeless youth, and an administrative headquarters. The scheme will be centered on a series of courtyard spaces and plazas. The Los Angeles LGBT Center and housing developer Thomas Safran & Associates chose Leong Leong from a shortlist of five firms, which included Michael Maltzan, Frederick Fisher, Predock Frane, and MAD. The commission is a collaboration between the firm, executive architect Killefer Flammang Architects and landscape architect Pamela Burton. “The design concept is to create a mosaic of unique spaces and programs that—together with The Village at Ed Gould Plaza—will form a cohesive campus along McCadden Place. We hope the project will become an urban catalyst for the neighborhood, connecting residents, clients, staff, and neighbors alike,” says Chris Leong.
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Extended! Past Futures, Present, Futures Lengthens its Stay at Storefront for Art & Architecture

Past Futures, Present Futures Storefront for Art and Architecture 97 Kenmare Street Gallery open Tuesday to Saturday, 11:00pm-6:00pm Through January 12, 2013 Lucky you! The Storefront for Art & Architecture has extended the run of one of their most ambitious exhibitions to date, Past Futures, Present, Futures. Thanks to a spectacular design by LEONG LEONG, the modest proportions of the gallery seem to expand through both space and time. Visitors enter a pleasantly disorienting limbo by stepping from the street through a shimmering wall of silver vertical blinds. The exhibition, which has been extended through January 12, 2013, is divided into several "rooms" where part one of the show—101 unrealized past visions for New York, i.e."past futures"—is broken down and re-presented in a highly experiential way, through collections of images, of sound, and of contextual details (just flip over one of the blinds to reveal a dense info panel). Layered on top of these are past futures are visions for "present futures" by 101 invited architects and designers, including many young New York firms, making it entirely possible to find a Buckminster Fulller scheme next to one by SO-IL. The non-chronological, non-linear show curated by Storefront director Eva Franch with fellows Chialin Chou and Greg Barton is completely open to interpretation. In fact, visitors are even invited to add their own urban visions to the mix (just fill out one of the forms designed by Project Projects and stick it to a swaying blind). The show will continue to evolve as it enters other media, including an interactive website and a publication.
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Foamly Footed

More cave-itecture under the High Line.  Architecture firm Leong Leong and fashion designer Siki Im have teamed up for the fifth and final installation in the Building Fashion series of pop-up collaborations beneath Chelsea’s High Line Park.  Picking up where Snarkitecture and Richard Chai left off, Leong Leong has turned the former Sales Tin for Neil Denari’s HL23 condos into another amorphous cave-like interior—only now you’ll have to take off your shoes before entering.  “We wanted to radically transform the interior,” explained principal Chris Leong.  “We wanted to breakdown the traditional pop-up experience.”  To do this, the firm oriented the store around a parabolic, foam-covered ramp and hung clothes seemingly at random from the walls and ceiling, which were sculpted with the same soy-based spray-foam. Leong Leong, a winner of the AIA’s 2010 New Practices New York Competition, is no stranger to the fashion world.  The New York firm has designed stores for Phillip Lim and Opening Ceremony in New York, Los Angeles and Seoul.  The Siki Im pop-up is located at 504 West 24th Street and will remain open through November 15. More photos available from BOFFO.
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New Practices on the Block

The New Practices New York juried portfolio competition took place on Wednesday. This biennial competition, sponsored by the AIA New York chapter and now in its third iteration, has quickly become one of New York City’s most important launching pads for architects who have been in practice for less than five years. The winners are featured in an exhibition at the Center for Architecture, which usually travels to the national AIA convention and other architectural societies (this year’s winners will be featured in Sao Paulo, Brazil) plus a one-year free membership in the AIA and visibility as a firm on the rise in this highly competitive city. This year’s jury included Toshiko Mori as lead juror, Joe MacDonald (a New Practices winner in 2008), Guy Nordenson, Galia Solomonoff, and yours truly. After reviewing nearly 70 portfolios and much wrangling about what makes a good presentation—debating the value of portfolios with only theoretical and unbuilt work versus those with completed projects, and whether work done in earlier offices of employment for young architects should be included—we selected seven winners. The winning 2010 firms are: Easton+Combs, which earned the highest honor, and whose entry for the P.S.1 Young Architects program is pictured above, along with: Archipelagos Leong Leong Manifold SOFTlab SO-IL Tacklebox Congratulations to the winners!