Posts tagged with "Leong Leong":
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 Leong) will 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.”
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.”
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.