Posts tagged with "Memphis":

The Ballet Memphis building shines behind a corrugated copper curtain

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The new home for Ballet Memphis, designed by archimania, reveals itself in layers. It is an upgrade from their previous facility which the company had outgrown and was located outside of an urban context. The new Ballet Memphis building is designed to engage the public through movement, culture, and connection to the community. It houses rehearsal space for the professional dance company, a dance school for over 200 children, and community dance and pilates classes. The largest rehearsal studio also doubles as a performance venue.
 
  • Facade Manufacturer Ralph Jones Sheet Metal (corrugated copper panels), Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope (glazing), PAC-CLAD (metapanels)
  • Architects archimania
  • Facade Installer Ralph Jones Sheet Metal (metals), Cooper Glass company (glazing)
  • Facade Consultants Smith Seckman Reid. Inc (structural engineer)
  • Location Memphis, Tennessee
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System Corrugated copper screen, metal rainscreen, curtain wall
  • Products Natural copper metal panels corrugated and perforated to specifications, PPG solarban 70XL glazing units, PAC-CLAD weathered zinc metal panels
The facade consists of a corrugated copper screen fronting the sidewalk and a series of courtyards, a glass curtain wall at ground level, and a weathered zinc rainscreen above. From the beginning, the project team at archimania wanted the building to extend the historic street promenade but current setback codes required the building to sit further from the sidewalk. The copper screen brings the building's presence to the sidewalk and ties back into the rest of the structure. The corrugated copper screen wraps around the entirety of the building. The portions of the facade facing the street are perforated to allow visibility and light into the building while also acting as a brise soleil and shading the building from direct solar radiation. Facing the parking lot at the back of the building, the copper consists of solid panels with punched windows. Although the copper screen is mostly freestanding, it is tied back to the primary structure through a robust steel frame. Structural members had to be larger than usual due to the building’s location in a seismic zone. However, the design of the screen reduces the visual profile of the structure through flush detailing and a copper trim that surrounds every edge. One of the challenges the architects faced with the screen was its length. When detailing an uninterrupted four-hundred-foot wall, they wanted to break up the scale so that it wouldn’t overpower the street. The design of the screen responds to the meandering path of pedestrians through specific cuts into the elevation. These apertures create unique urban spaces that exist between the ballet’s street presence and the primary mass of the building. A glass curtain wall clads the majority of the building’s ground level at a height of either twelve feet or twenty feet dependent on the size of the studio behind it. This creates a visual connection between pedestrians passing the ballet and allows for views of the performances and practice happening within the studios. The facade transitions to an opaque weathered zinc panel as the building rises in height. For the largest ballet studio, there is a layer of perforated zinc over the top half of the curtain wall that controls the amount of daylight permeating the space. Additionally, on the interior of the curtain wall, archimania included an operable shading system for another layer of both daylight and privacy control. At the moment where the zinc facade meets the sky, Ballet Memphis wanted a unique formal move to signify its presence. The largest studio space rises up to five stories and creates a swooping parapet inspired by the movement of dancers. This allowed the building to have a signature cap and redefined the scale of the largest studio as it rises on each corner.  

Memphis looks to its river for a new cultural space and aquarium

Like so many cities, Memphis, Tennessee, is imagining the future of one of its largest natural assets, its waterfront. The Home of the Blues marks the approximate midpoint of the Mississippi River, and until recently, it has mainly utilized it for industrial purposes, like many other American waterfront cities. While the river has been home to casino riverboats, and a riverfront park does exist, plans are now underway to turn the area into a full-fledged cultural destination. Memphis-based archimania, in collab­oration with Peter Chermayeff and BWS&C have put forward a plan called the Mud Is­land River Park + Cultural Center, which aims to bring the public closer to the wa­ter and provide educational opportuni­ties. The scheme calls for cultural facilities linked by a pedestrian path that would also connect Mud Island (a peninsula edging the city and the river) and the city’s riverfront to the adjacent redeveloped Fourth Bluff Civ­ic Commons. The centerpiece of the project is the Aquarium Museum, a complex on Mud Is­land that will show off aquatic species and focus on the city’s long history with the river as well as contemporary water studies. On the other side of the river, the complex will likely include a reimagined Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. The Brooks is currently lo­cated outside of the downtown area. The past few years have seen a number of proposals for Memphis’s downtown and waterfront, with an eye on the city’s bicen­tennial in 2019. Just northeast of the pro­posed Mud Island project, a building and development moratorium for the downtown Pinch District is being reassessed through a planning and architecture study led by the Division of Housing and Community Devel­opment and the Memphis office of Looney Ricks Kiss. Chicago-based Studio Gang Ar­chitects have also produced a Riverfront study for the city, which was released in mid-2017. The Mud Island proposal was in­formed by the Studio Gang research, which called for any projects along the river to fos­ter, restore, and connect the city, the river, and the larger ecology of the area. Considering the numerous proposals, it is likely that we will see multiple develop­ments and amenities coming to Memphis’s extensive riverfront in the coming years. To get the wheel turning, fundraising is set to begin for the Mud Island River Park + Cul­tural Center in 2018, with construction start­ing within the next four years.

Memphis Cook Convention Center is about to receive a major facelift

The city of Memphis, Tennessee, will be 200 years old in 2019. In anticipation of that milestone, the city is investing in improvements throughout the downtown and along the Mississippi. Along with redeveloping the Mississippi Riverfront, Mud Island, and the Pinch District, the Memphis Cook Convention Center renovation is part of the much larger citywide Bicentennial Gateway Project. Led by the Memphis office of Looney Ricks Kiss (LRK) and Atlanta-based tvsdesign, the overhaul will affect the entire complex, including the neighboring Cannon Center for the Performing Arts. In the first week of the year, the City of Memphis filed for the project’s first construction permit, which lists the budget at $175 million. That money will be drawn from a 1.8 percent hotel tax and Tourism Development Zone (TDZ) funds gathered from the convention center’s surrounding neighborhood. The most dramatic changes to the convention center will come in the form of an expanded footprint and outdoor terraces with views to the river and downtown skyline. New glazed concourses and meeting rooms will increase breakout space while providing more views of the city. In the 125,000-square-foot main exhibition hall, new retractable ceiling lights and additional material upgrades will allow for a 40,000-square-foot secondary hall to be carved out from the west end. The number of breakout rooms will also be expanded from the current 30 to 52. Access to the building will be updated with the addition of a new grand entrance and a new sky bridge. The new grand entrance will open to the Main Street Trolley station and neighboring Sheraton Memphis Downtown Hotel. The sky bridge will connect the convention center to the Sheraton. Back-ofhouse access will also be improved with a redesign of the loading docks. The neighboring 2,100-seat Cannon Center for the Performing Arts will undergo a complete cosmetic update, as well as backstage improvements. Along with the performing arts, more public art will be brought to the complex through a partnership with ArtsMemphis and the Urban Art Commission, as well as private contributions. In order to establish these goals, the Memphis Meeting Planners Advisory Board met with convention and event planners from around the country. Along with this research, feasibility studies conducted in 2010 and 2011 found that redeveloping rather than moving or rebuilding the convention center would be more cost effective while achieving the same goals. Another advantage of not moving the complex is that through careful phasing, both the Convention Center and the Cannon Center will be able to host events throughout construction. Other portions of the city are set to be transformed through major infrastructural improvements in multiple neighborhoods, and TIF districts will be expanded to help pay for the improvements. With work beginning in earnest this year, Memphis will be a changed city by 2019.

National Black Theater Museum proposed for Memphis

It has only been a few short months since the Memphis, Tennessee, Brooks Museum of Art announced it was considering a move from its current home to the proposed Mississippi riverfront cultural center. The city is now listening to ideas to fill the historic 1916 building, and the proposal is for the National Black Theater Museum. Spearheaded by the local Hattiloo Theater, the museum hopes to bring together at least four other theater programs from across the country. The building the Brooks Museum is currently housed in, located in Overton Park, is in need of extensive renovation, including environmental updates to preserve the art inside. It has been estimated that it would cost upwards of $80 million for necessary fixes, and the building would still not address additional space needs for the museum's growing collection. The proposed National Black Theater Museum would take the building in a new direction by focusing on interactive digital installations rather than displaying fine art. The basis for the museum is a mobile gallery formed by Hattiloo in 2010, yet the proposed institution will take on a much grander presence. Four black theater organizations have pledged support, and have expressed interest in moving their institutions to the new Memphis museum. These include the Baltimore-based Black Theatre Commons, Washington, D.C.–based August Wilson Society, St. Paul, Minnesota–based Black Theatre Association, as well as the Lorton, Virginia–based Black Theatre Network. Memphis’s own Rhodes College is also getting involved, with the possibility of expanding its Africana Studies and Performing Arts departments. Additionally, a private donor has committed to a gift of $350,000 help establish the museum. While the museum is the first proposal to be presented, the city will be hearing other ideas for the Brooks Museum building for the next 90 days. If the National Black Theater Museum proposal is accepted, Memphians will have access to 500 years of digitized manuscripts and archives, from African dance through Academy Award–winning films.

Studio Gang envisions the future of Memphis’s Mississippi riverfront

Chicago-based Studio Gang Architects has released an extensive outline envisioning the future of Memphis, Tennessee's Mississippi riverfront. Studio Gang’s Memphis Riverfront Concept is a broad framework spanning six miles of the east bank of the river. Divided into five zones—Fourth Bluff, Mud Island, Tom Lee Park, M.L.K. Park, and Greenbelt Park—the Riverfront Concept is designed to re-link the city’s downtown to the underutilized waterfront. The plan calls for changes, large and small, ranging from new park buildings to major ecological remediation. Many of the changes proposed are meant to build on the things people in Memphis already enjoy about the river. Throughout the design process, Studio Gang worked with the public and the Mayor’s Riverfront Task Force to gauge interest and gain insights into the future role of the river in the city. Based on community suggestions, the plan calls for enhancing views across the river, year-round attractions, additional family spaces, and various bike and pedestrian paths. Picturesque sunsets, barbecue, and the blues—just a few of Memphis's favorite pastimes—were all considered in the plan. For example, Tom Lee Park's new adventure playground and waterfront pavilions aim to be catalysts for the generally quiet park. Currently, the park is primarily programmed for a month-long fair each year. Studio Gang hopes that the Riverfront Concept will make it a year-round destination. The namesake of the park, Tom Lee, is a local African-American hero. Along with the Memphis-based National Civil Rights Museum, the plan proposes a “Civil Rights History Loop.” The riverfront has always been of historical significance to the city. Not only was the riverfront the site of the settlement which eventually became the city, trade along the river was the driving economic force for most of the Memphis's history. The Riverfront Concept hopes to reignite interest in the Mississippi River while reflecting back on its past importance. Among other areas that will see major changes is Mud Island—a peninsula in the river—which has been re-imagined as an Eco Hub. Currently, the area is a cultural center in the city and includes portions of the University of Memphis, as well as the Mississippi River Museum and an outdoor amphitheater. The Riverfront Concept includes learning and research areas, as well as ideas about institutional collaboration. Considering the Mississippi River watershed constitutes nearly 40 percent of the United States surface freshwater, Studio Gang argues that Memphis is an ideal location for freshwater studies. The Memphis Riverfront Concept is meant to be a starting point for much larger changes for the city. Over the past 60 years, Memphis's population has moved further and further east, away from the river. The Riverfront Concept aims to re-center the focus of the city on its historic starting point along the bluffs of the river and provide an expansive shared amenity. To do so, Studio Gang developed three design principles: foster, restore, connect. Each of these principals was constructed through discourse with the public and city officials. The "foster" principle focuses on bringing the public together and encouraging civic pride and appreciation for the river. "Restore" focuses on bringing back native ecological conditions and allowing the public to better understand the river system. The "connect" principle sets goals for bridging the divide between the city and the river, physically and culturally. The entire 140-page Memphis Riverfront Concept is available online for the public to view.

Fly-through animation reveals Memphis International Airport remodel

New animations and renderings have been released for the multi-phase modernization of the Memphis International Airport (MEM). The new images focus on revitalizing the airport's B Concourse, where eventually all airlines, retail, and food businesses will be consolidated. The initial plans for renovation, which were initiated in 2014, called for the partial modernization and reuse of the existing B Concourse. The latest involves a nearly complete redesign of the entire wing of the airport. A handful of amenities will be added to the concourse, including wider corridors, moving walkways, enlarged and updated boarding areas, and higher ceilings with more natural light. The modernization will also include a much-needed seismic update. The overhaul of the airport also involves altering and removing sections of the A and C concourses to allow for easier aircraft access to the B Concourse. “This is a lengthy, complex process, and it’s crucial that we do it right in order to deliver the best possible airport experience for Memphis travelers,” said Pace Cooper, chairman of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority Board of Commissioners in a press release. “We’ve made progress thus far, and more significant changes are on the horizon. These changes are all part of a project that will result in a modern, convenient, state-of-the-art airport for our passengers, airlines, concessionaires, and other partners.” The announcement also included the expansion of the project to a handful of related projects around the airport, including jet bridge construction and electrical upgrades to other concourses to facilitate additional airline operations. The $214 million project is being realized without tapping local public tax funds, though much of the project will be funded by state and federal grants. The remainder of the funding will come from the airport's operating budget and the issuance of revenue bonds. Once complete, most airport operations in the A and C Concourses will be slowly moved into the newly renovated B Concourse. Construction is expected to begin by early 2018 and continue through early 2021. By mid-2021, consolidation will be complete and the end portion of the C Concourse will be removed. The video below flies through the future new and improved B Concourse.

Memphis moves closer to rejuvenating one of its oldest neighborhoods

In anticipation of its bicentennial in 2019, Memphis, Tennessee is taking big steps to revitalize one of its oldest neighborhoods. The downtown Pinch District was part of the city’s original plan, but for much of the last 40 years it has seen very little development. In fact, since July 2015 there has been a moratorium on new building permits and additional construction to existing buildings in the area. The Pinch District Concept Study has been put together by the city’s Division of Housing and Community Development, the Memphis/Shelby County Office of Planning and Development, and the Downtown Memphis Commission, with architecture and planning being handled by the Memphis office of Looney Ricks Kiss. With a recent unanimous approval by the Land Use Control Board (LUCB), the study is on its way to the Memphis City Council. While in front of the LUCB, a resolution was added to the study to ensure that the master plan would act as an outline for future development rather than a true set of building regulations. If the study is approved by the City Council, the moratorium will likely be lifted, much to the pleasure of current Pinch land owners. The study covers a nine-block area and calls for a diverse set of programs integrated into a mixed-use neighborhood. The proposed neighborhood is based on four main principles: "history/character," "connected," "mixed-use," and "walkable neighborhood." Pedestrian friendly streets, intersections, and green spaces are an important part of the plan. Additional connections to the Mississippi River, which runs just west of the site, and to the rest of the downtown under the I-40 expressway are also highlighted in the study. While the neighborhood is decidedly underdeveloped, considering its location's history, one major recent development looms over the Pinch. The Pyramid Arena, built in 1991, sits between the neighborhood and the water. When it was built, it was imagined that the area would be transformed into an entertainment district. After multiple attempts and failed plans through the late 1990s, the push was mostly abandoned. Originally it was used as a 20,142-seat sporting venue for the University of Memphis men’s basketball, as well as the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies. Eventually, a new stadium built on the south side of the downtown left the Pyramid vacant. In 2015 the Pyramid reopened as a Bass Pro Shops megastore and hotel. It should be noted that Memphis is the second Memphis, after the ancient Egyptian city, so the pyramid sort of makes sense. The Pinch itself was one of the first landing places for numerous immigrant populations including Irish, Italian, Russian, Greek, and Jewish communities. The name Pinch comes from the nickname of "Pinch-Gut" given to the area as a derogatory reference to the starving emaciated Irish immigrants escaping the potato famine of the mid-1800s. While the new vision of the Pinch still has a long way to go before being realized, it would seem the area may be entering a new era in its long history.

Midcentury modern bank building in Memphis to become boutique hotel

Historic urban buildings across the country are being converted into boutique hotels, and Memphis, Tennessee, is seeing its own set of downtown makeovers. The latest is the forthcoming hotel at 158 Madison Avenue in the 1962 Leader Federal Savings and Loan building with a new nine-story neighboring addition. Seattle-based Chris Pardo Design: Elemental Architecture is transforming the five-story midcentury modern building into a 70-room hotel and the planned addition would take the room count up to 150. Along with the hotel, Pardo is also designing a ground-floor restaurant, Teller, and a rooftop bar, Errors & Omissions, names that pay homage to the building’s original program. The building will retain its distinctive precast facade. “We will be restoring the entire exterior of the building, adding back the fifth-floor planters, repairing the windows, and adding architectural facade lighting. The building is a real jewel and speaks for itself; we intend to honor its originality,” Chris Pardo said.

Architect: Chris Pardo Design: Elemental Architecture Client: Wessman Holdings Location: Memphis, TN Completion Date: Spring 2018

Pittsburgh, Washington, Buffalo lead nation in growth of bicycle commuters

Portland still dominates the American Community Survey ranking the 70 largest cities with the highest share of bike commuters, but the list shakes up some preconceptions when you count which cities had the largest growth in the share of bicycle commuters from 2000 to 2013. The League of American Bicyclists runs the numbers every year, pulling data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey. This year's bike culture report card, as it were, has Portland, Washington, San Francisco, Minneapolis, and New Orleans topping its list of bicycle commuters as a percentage of total population. In total 13 cities report more than 2 percent of their population biking to and from work. Growth in that number is more startling. They're small overall numbers, perhaps inflating the percent change figure, but the growth since 1990 for eight cities is over 100 percent. The following cities had the largest growth in the share of bicycle commuters from 2000 to 2013:

Quick Clicks> Top Transit Towns, HUD in Hot Water, Graceland Safe, & An Interior Award

Transit Surprise. The Atlantic has the 10 best and worst cities for public transportation based on a report on transit and access to jobs from the Brookings Institution. The think tank ranked cities by the area served and the share of city jobs accessible by public transit. The results might surprise you: none of the cities with the best public transit are on the East Coast. HUD in Hot Water. The Washington Post alleged that "HUD has lost hundreds of millions on delayed or defunct construction deals nationwide" in its new investigative series "Million-Dollar Wasteland." The paper explores, among deals in other cities, a failed project in D.C. where speculators profited at the cost of millions for the city government. Graceland Saved. The flooding along the Mississippi River has spared Memphis' key historic landmarks. According to NPR, Graceland, Sun Studio (where Elvis Presley recorded), and Stax Records (which launched Otis Redding's career) were unharmed. But some of Louisiana's most valuable farmland is expected to be inundated by rising waters. Interior Award. Bar Agricole in San Francisco won the 2011 James Beard Award for Best Restaurant Interior, reported Fast Company. The restaurant, which serves French-inspired food sourced from local farms, features billowing glass sculptures, walls lined with strips of oak from whiskey barrels, recycled oak seating, and concrete banquettes. Restauranteur Thad Vogler collaborated with Aidlin Darling Design, which received co-ownership for its work.

Memphis Exhibition Honors Paul Revere Williams, Architect to the Stars

Love Lucy? Lucille Ball, that is. Then you'll love her architect, too.  Opening on October 22, the Art Museum of the University of Memphis is hosting the first museum exhibition of African-American architect Paul Revere Williams whose work spans the 1920s through the 1960s. While Paul Revere Williams is best known for his work on the west coast, his career took him across the country and the globe.  Williams designed more than 3,000 structures on four continents including the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Los Angeles Airport (LAX), the Beverly Hills Saks Fifth Avenue, and, of course, the home of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. The exhibition features 200 new photographs capturing the breadth of Williams' work arranged by decade and offers insights into the barrier-breaking life of the first African-American member of the American Institute of Architects and one of the most esteemed architects of the 20th century. From a release:
Born and reared in Los Angeles, Williams came to define the high-style look of Hollywood in the mid-1900s, and he was well known as “architect to the stars,” but he always considered himself an expert in the design of small homes. Williams was also a leader in developing new types of buildings that were demanded by the post-WWII suburban economy. His buildings contributed significantly to the popular image of 20th century Los Angeles and to the California style, but his work didn’t stop at the state line or even the national boundary. Williams was also licensed in Washington, D.C., Nevada, New York, and Tennessee, where he designed the original building for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis and a master plan for Fisk University in Nashville. He also had a busy practice in Colombia, South America, and projects in Mexico, Europe, and Africa.
A public reception will take place on the evening of October 22 at 5:00 and the exhibit runs through January 8, 2011 at the Art Museum of the University of Memphis.