A tired strip along Collins Avenue in Miami, once populated by swanky hotels, will soon be returned to its former glory days. The Miami Herald reported that Argentinian developer Alan Faena is moving forward with his grand vision for this ghostly side of town, dubbed the "Faena District Miami Beach," which will consist of an elaborate mix of residential, hotels, retail, and cultural space. Modeled after his successful transformation of the Puerto Madero district in his hometown of Buenos Aires, this new plan aims to turn this washed up, beachfront stretch into a bustling cultural and residential neighborhood. And to accomplish this, Faena has enlisted the help of big name architects such as Norman Foster, Rem Koolhaas, and Roman & Williams. The developer just broke ground on the first phase: A lavish 18-story condo tower designed by Foster + Partners with apartments, ranging from 4,000 to 18,000-square feet in size, and costing up to $50 million. Across the street, Koolhaas' OMA will design a cultural center with a domed auditorium and an underground parking garage with shops on ground floor. The firm will also overhaul the understated Atlantic Beach Hotel and turn it into an open courtyard building for retail. The developer has also purchased the run down Saxony Hotel and asked Roman & Williams to renovate the interior of the historic landmark. And apparently designers aren't the only creatives coming on board this project. Filmmaker Baz Luhrmann—of the flashy, over-the-top productions, such as The Great Gatsby, Moulin Rouge, and Romeo and Juliette—will work in some currently-vague capacity, along with his wife Catherine Martin, in what the Herald has called a “creative role’’ at the hotel. Should we expect to find his visual spectacles projected on walls of suites playing to soundtracks by Jay-Z?
Posts tagged with "Norman Foster":
Foster + Partners likes to think of itself as a high-design firm with glamorous projects all over the world. But the banal rendering accompanying this week's announcement of a new 19-story, "luxury" residential tower, 551 West 21 Street, belies their design skills. Could it be that they have a two-tier design strategy in their office where glamorous cultural institutions get "Sir Norman" and commercial towers get, well, something less? The building's press release states that it "marries the timeless elegance… of classic Park Avenue apartment buildings with the excitement and energy of West Chelsea" and "has a robust, cast-concrete exterior that frames expansive windows with warm metal surrounds." It goes on about luxury finishes and unimaginable penthouse views, but really, the client, SR Capital, needs to spend some more time with Sir Norman. Only one rendering showing a facade detail has been released, but Foster + Partners is expected to reveal more soon. The building is expected to be complete in summer of 2015.
Norman Foster is expected to design a new skyscraper in downtown Philadelphia, according to sources cited by the Philly Inquirer. Media company Comcast has outgrown its current home in the city's tallest building—Robert A.M. Stern's 975-foot-tall Comcast Center. Details of the planned tower are being guarded, but architecture critic Inga Saffron reported that Comcast is exploring plans to build a "vertical campus" including several new towers, potentially beginning with a new structure on a 1.5-acre vacant lot at the corner of 18th and Arch streets (indicated above). The site was previously approved for a 1,500-foot-tall tower in 2008 but Saffron said the new tower would likely be shorter. Developer John Gattuso of Liberty Property Trust told the Inquirer, "The tower will be as big as it needs to be."
Moscow’s Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts expansion project, one of Russia's most prominent and contentious building schemes, has spiraled into disarray. Since Foster + Partners’ winning plans to expand and modernize the 101-year-old institution were originally approved in 2009, the development has been confronted with a series of delays including disputes between officials and preservationists. Now, to cap it off, the firm has officially resigned from the project. Recently, Pushkin's chief architect Sergei Kuznetsov publicly proposed that Norman Foster take a more hands-on role and demonstrate his commitment to the $670 million project by traveling to the Russian capital within a month. Kuznetsov’s ultimatum specified that “if Sir Foster, for one reason or another, refuses to participate further in the work, then, most likely, a competition will be held to choose another team, possibly of Western architects.” In response, Foster + Partners issued a statement revealing that the firm had already sent a resignation letter in June to former museum director Irina Antonova, who stepped down in July after running the museum for more than 50 years. The statement claimed that the museum has not involved the firm in the development of the project over the last three years, despite several attempts to continue working with the institution. In a statement sent to The Art Newspaper, the firm said that it had "formally resigned from the Pushkin Museum project and stipulated that their name could not be used in conjunction with the project.” Scheduled for completion in 2018, Foster’s design involved forming a museum complex encompassing the Pushkin Museum and overhauling twelve neighboring mansions. The “Museum Town,” first envisioned by Antonova in 2006, would incorporate a concert hall, a library, and underground facilities. Antonova had asked Foster to design a high quality, 21st century facility.
Tuesday evening's John Soane's Museum gala was a great evening for the assembled supporters of the London museum on Lincoln's Inn Fields. It started when Soane Board President Thomas Klingerman asked the audience "How many of you read The Architect's Newspaper?" You probably saw the Eavesdrop column on Jay Z and Beyonce visiting Cuba on a Soane architecture tour (their itinerary included landmarks by architect Miguel Coylua, among others). Things are really changing at Soane! After the irrepressible Suzanne Stephens opened the program awards, inscribed Soane Foundation medallions were given to Carole Fabian, director of Avery Architecture & Arts Library at Columbia, and Barry Bergdoll for their joint acquisition of the Frank Lloyd Wright Archives. The award was presented by the architectural theorist Catherine Ingraham, who talked about her maternal grandfather Frank LLoyd Wright and his meaning to her family and architectural culture. In accepting the award, Fabian talked about the enormous organizing challenge of the huge archive and Bergdoll told the story of Wright introducing Mies van Der Rohe to a Chicago audience. In front of the crowd, Bergdoll said "I want to introduce you to Frank Lloyd Wright without whom there would be no Mies Van der Rohe!" A second award was given to Lord Norman Foster of Thames Bank by Paul Goldberger, who is finishing a book on Foster and compared his career as an architect and collector to Soane, though one with his own private airplane! Foster, for his part, woke up yesterday in London, visited the Soane Museum, then lunched with the Queen and piloted his plane to New York.
The Storefront for Art and Architecture and the New Museum in New York City have announced the winners of the StreetFest Tenting Competition for their upcoming IDEAS CITY Festival, arriving Saturday in front of the New Museum on the Bowery. The international competition asked architects to re-imagine the typical street fair tent with a more compelling and sustainable form. Winner Davidson Rafailidis—lead by Georg Rafailidis and Stephanie Davidson of Buffalo—were chosen for their entry, MirrorMirror, which will premiere at 6:00pm on Saturday May 4th. Like Sir Norman Foster’s recent “Vieux Port” pavilion in Marseilles, MirrorMirror features a reflective ceiling that mirrors street level activity to create a more dynamic urban experience. Meanwhile, the pavilion’s gable roof reflects the surrounding skylines, allowing passersby to engage with nearby architecture without craning their necks. The simple design, constructed from aluminum frames and Mylar mirror foil, suggests the overarching objectives of the IDEAS CITY Festival: raising consciousness about the untapped capital of the urban environment. Last year’s winner, The Worms by New York based Family and PlayLab, will be on view once again. The other submissions for this year’s competition, over 80 in all, can be seen in an online exhibition hosted by the Storefront starting May 1st. The biennial IDEAS CITY Festival will run from May 1-4, featuring conferences and workshops, and culminating in a street festival on Saturday along Bowery, Rivington, Chrystie, and Stanton.
Apple's spaceship-like campus plans, designed by Foster and Partners, have been criticized for—among other other things— a lack of pedestrian friendly design. It appears the company has listened. New documents presented to the city of Cupertino show extended bike paths, winding walkways and private roads both circling the grounds and running through the center of the campus. The bike lanes would have buffer lanes to protect them from cars, pedestrian walkways would have increased lighting, a transit center would be the focal point for buses, and the plans also make room for public art projects. Not all the changes are eco/pedestrian friendly. The new design calls for an increase in parking spaces from 10,500 to 10,980. Slated for completion in 2016, the campus has also been in the news for budget overruns and delays, with Bloomberg Businessweek reporting its cost ballooning from $3 billion to $5 billion. The first phase of the campus is scheduled to be complete by 2016.The original date was 2015.
What do you do if a building is slated for demolition? If you’re the artist Doug Aitken and the building is your gallery, you devise a “time-based destruction installation.” Which is precisely what Aitken, who is known for wrapping the facade of the Hirschhorn Museum in with a 360-degree video installation to the tune of “I Only Have Eyes For You,” installing a video "land art" installation on the Seattle Art Museum, and the video “Sleepwalkers” projected on the facades of MoMA, “a cinematic art experience that directly integrates with the architectural fabric of the city while simultaneously enhancing and challenging viewers’ perceptions of public space” did. Aitken’s latest exhibition, which wrapped up at the end of March, entitled 100 YRS at Gallery 303 on West 21st Street was filled with word-based artworks such Plexiglas letters spelling “Art” with chocolate milk-like slurry cascading over the letters, black textured rock spelling “Sunset” and “Magic” featuring rear-lit images of the blowing up of Pruitt-Igo on each letter. Visitors were greeted by “Sonic Fountain” which is a round hole jackhammered out of the galley floor (since it was going to be destroyed anyway), filled with water from dripping pipes on the ceiling, and equipped with underwater microphones to amplify the dribbling sounds. The gallery walls and floors were gradually being destroyed around these artworks over the last week, not by construction workers, but by musicians. Three percussionists gently deconstructed the space climbing onto drywall, hacking away at rubble, and rising on scissor-lifts, making a music of sorts as they worked. The one-story building has been sold, and word from the gallery director Cristian Alexa is that Norman Foster has been retained to build a tower on the site.
The London headquarters of insurance giant Swiss Re at 30 St Mary Axe, known locally as “the Gherkin,” was scheduled to take its true form, today—a giant green pickle—thanks to Jackpot Joy, a British online gambling site, which promised last month to light up Sir Norman Foster’s iconic skyscraper with a digital projection. The foodie facelift called for wrapping the 41-story tower in a special non-reflective film requiring a crew of ten and around 900 man-hours. With no news that the tower is actually glowing, the stunt appears to have been too large a gamble. The jokesters, however, last year successfully sent a 60-foot rubber duck down the Thames. It appears this is strike two for recladding the tower after a campaign to transform it into a penguin went nowhere as well.
Norman Foster has hoisted a slender sheet of mirror-polished stainless steel above a plaza on the edge of Marseille's historic harbor, creating a new pavilion that reflects the activity of the bustling public space overhead. Foster + Partners' "Vieux Port" pavilion officially opened over the weekend in the French city. The pavilion roof measures 150 feet by 72 feet, tapering at its perimeter to create the illusion of impossible thinness and is is supported by eight thin stainless steel columns inset from the pavilion's edge. The project also enlarged the pedestrian area around the harbor and calls for traffic reductions in the area to improve pedestrian safety and restore connections with the surrounding city. Foster worked with landscape architect Michel Desvigne to create the surrounding plaza, paved in a light-colored granite that match the site's original limestone cobbles. Small wooden pavilions are placed around the plaza's edge and can be used for special events or markets. "I know the harbour at Marseille well and it is a truly grand space. This project is a great opportunity to enhance it using very simple means, to improve it with a large pavilion for events, for markets, for special occasions," Foster said in a statement. "Our approach has been to work with the climate, to create shade, but at the same time to respect the space of the harbour – just making it better."
Last week, AN reported on Norman Foster's newly-rendered plans to transform the landmark New York Public Library at Bryant Park. Foster's $300 million plan will, most dramatically, gut the off-limits-to-the-public book stacks and replace them with a light-filled atrium and reading space. The NYPL has now released a video fly-through of the project, above. Enjoy!
New Yorkers, not to mention architecture critics, have been waiting with bated breath to see the plans for the controversial $300 million overhaul of the New York Public Library's historic flagship branch on Fifth Avenue. And today, the designs by Foster + Partners, were finally unveiled. The renovation of the Beaux Arts-style library, completed in 1911 by Carrère and Hastings, will remove seven floors of stacks under the grand Rose Main Reading Room to make way for a 300-person workspace with an expansive atrium, balconies, floor-to-ceiling windows, bookshelves, and new areas devoted to classrooms and computer labs. As of now, interior finishes will include a combination of bronze, wood, and stone. The plan is to transfer approximately 3 million books to new storage spaces beneath Bryant Park, and then send the remaining 1.2 million books to an off-site location in New Jersey. The newly renovated NYPL building on 42nd would then house the collections from the Mid-Manhattan Library and the Innovative Science, Industry, and Business Library. “We are reasserting the library’s main axis and its very special sequence of spaces, from the main Fifth Avenue entrance and the Astor Hall, through the Gottesman Hall, into the dramatic volume of the new circulating library, with views through to the park,” Foster said in a statement on the firm’s website. “Our design does not seek to alter the character of the building, which will remain unmistakably a library in its feel, in its details, materials, and lighting. It will remain a wonderful place to study. The parts that are currently inaccessible will be opened up, inviting the whole of the community—it is a strategy that reflects the principles of a free institution upon which the library was first founded.”