As more and more states across the U.S. resort to shelter in place orders and close non-essential businesses to halt the spread of COVID-19, WeWork will reportedly remain open. That comes after seven of the coworking company’s Manhattan locations reported cases of the coronavirus last week. While many firms have shifted to working from home (or closed down, unfortunately), WeWork has, according to the Washington Post, kept their offices around the world open and refused to refund members. That disparity really stands out considering the Wing, Knotel, and other competitors have all closed. And in an ongoing pandemic, studies have shown that shared, open offices aren’t exactly the best place to avoid communicable diseases. Last week, as the NYPost reported, the coworking company was forced to close and clean floors across six Manhattan offices, including their Financial District location, 42nd Street offices, and SoHo offshoots, among others. They reopened shortly after, but this came two weeks after WeWork’s first case at their 51st Street and Lexington Avenue branch, where an employee self-isolated out of caution and later tested positive for coronavirus. In a March 18 statement, WeWork chairman Marcelo Claure put out a statement on Twitter explaining the company’s rationale. In it, he wrote that WeWork is a service provider and has “an obligation to keep our buildings open” and compared them to grocery stores or banks. As Forbes noted, this might be a gambit to secure the company the same kind of “essential” branding that has allowed drug stores and infrastructure such as power plants and subway lines to remain open. As Forbes also made clear, this may be in part because of a change of heart on the part of Japanese investing behemoth Softbank, which had earlier pledged to invest another $3 billion into WeWork but today found itself selling off billions in assets. Without that extra cash, WeWork could find itself in a precarious position. However, with U.S. cases of COVID-19 nearing 40,000, and over 20,000 confirmed in New York State alone, tenants tweeting their displeasure, and a petition noting coronavirus’s possible asymptotic transmission, that practice may soon change. As Claure recently started promoting, the company also offers helpful tips for working from home. AN will update this article accordingly if the situation changes.
Posts tagged with "Office Buildings":
Danish architecture firm 3XN has recently completed a mirrored-glass cuboid building in Washingtonplatz, one of the most prominent squares in Berlin. Originally a competition entry for Deutsche Bahn’s new headquarters, cube berlin was conceived as a ‘sculptural centerpiece’ with a more delicate balance of context and content than typically expected of an office building. “When we began the design process,” Torben Østergaard, 3XN Partner in Charge of the project, said in a press statement, “our ambition was to create a building that would contribute to the animation of the square. We wanted to engage by-passers while providing top-notch office spaces.” The triangulated facade of the 10-story building was designed to accomplish many of the firm’s goals using only 12 distinct glass elements. By pulling the facades inwards on the lower floors, the building provides partially-sheltered public spaces that enter into a dialogue with the recently-completed Main Railway Station Lehrter Bahnhof. The surroundings are reflected like a kaleidoscope in the building’s double-skin facade, which was engineered to yield substantial daylight, natural ventilation, and protection from solar heat gains. The multifaceted elevations are designed to provide additional outdoor spaces on the upper floors that promote interaction among its occupants. “The architectural body defines a soft - yet articulate - transition between inside and public space while allowing people to access outside platforms at every level and provide for a strong street-level interaction,” the firm’s website explains. The firm has billed cube berlin as the “smartest building in Europe” for its integration of data-collecting technology throughout the building that can be observed and managed using an app that occupants and visitors alike. The app is designed to encourage sustainable behavior, identify optimal workspaces based on its occupants’ unique preferences, and connect people to the overall square. Cube berlin is the second building 3XN has completed in the city, following the Royal Danish Embassy in 1999.
The second lives of observation towers built for the Olympics run the gamut from rock ‘n’ roll museums to rappelling venues to rather straightforward radio and television transmitters. Yet Montreal’s Olympic Tower, perhaps the most famous of these soaring edifices even though it wasn't finally completed until a full decade after the 1976 Summer Olympics, hasn’t really had a productive afterlife—until now. Thanks to Quebecois financial services giant Desjardins, a new purpose has at long last been bestowed on the precast-concrete landmark that looms precariously over Parc Olympique. Working closely with Desjardins, the multidisciplinary Montreal-based Provencher_Roy painstakingly converted seven of the tower’s 12 unoccupied floors into new office space that will serve as call and administrative centers for the bank over the next 15 years. In total, the renovation, which kicked off in 2018, encompasses 150,000 square feet, roughly 80 percent of the tower’s rentable space. It includes an auditorium, a trio of lounges, a 400-seat dining room, a wellness center, 25 “collaborative living rooms,” a half-dozen coffee bars, and enough open workspace to accommodate 1,400 employees. The top of the tallest inclined tower in the world, at 541 feet, has long been home to a popular observatory that’s accessible to the public via a glass-encased funicular; however, the rest of the interior space within the tilting, Roger Taillibert-designed structure has remained mostly empty. Desjardins is now the first (and only) major tenant to occupy it in over 30 years. That’s big news when considering that the stadium complex at Parc Olympique—tower included—is regarded by many as a particularly egregious white elephant despite its architectural significance. Often referred to as the “Big O” (or more commonly among locals as the “Big Owe” in reference to its exorbitant cost of over $1.1 billion), Montreal’s doughnut-shaped Olympic Stadium is the largest stadium in Canada by seating capacity with room for 56,000 patrons but has experienced woefully little post-Olympics activity. Lacking a full-time tenant since the Expos decamped in 2004, the venue has been plagued by a long list of structural issues and costly setbacks. While most criticism has been lobbed at the roof-cursed coliseum, the fact that its adjacent tower has sat unoccupied since 1987 has only soured the view of this somewhat damaging Olympics leftover. The renovation of the Olympic Tower, recently rechristened as the Montreal Tower, is a major step in a positive new direction. The most significant aspect of the overhaul involved removing a bulk of the tower’s prefabricated concrete panels and been replacing them with an all-glass curtain wall that encases 60 percent of the building’s facade. Per a press release, this dramatic undertaking was the single “biggest challenge” in transforming the “mythical” structure, and was essential in “creating a pleasant work environment.” Antiquated mechanical systems were also replaced and brought up to code as part of the renovation. Throughout the process, Provencher_Roy was mindful not to erase the tower’s important place in Montreal history. Tributes to the building's Olympic legacy are distributed throughout the light-strewn interior, most in the form of sporty murals. “It was a privilege to work on such an exceptional site that represents so much in the collective imagination,” said Julien-Pierre Laurendeau, an interior designer at Provencher_Roy. “Our design strategy has been to showcase the spectacular architectural character of the Montreal Tower, still imbued with the Olympic spirit. Interior design encourages collaboration and sharing of knowledge in a healthy environment, as well as drawing a parallel with the values of Desjardins.” Montreal’s Olympic Stadium will likely never live down its reputation as one of North America’s most notorious white elephants. But the tower that bends directly over it can now bask in its newfound status as an example of smart, site-sensitive reinvention and reuse.
On January 21, the City Council of Glendale, California, unanimously approved the construction of a daringly-designed office building from the Los Angeles-based architecture firm P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S and Santa Monica-based Sharif, Lynch: Architecture. When complete, the Janoian Building will be the new home of All For Health, Health For All, a local community health center began in 1999 by Dr. Noobar Janoian, and will include rentable office space, ground-floor retail, and a small amenity space in the terrace. As approved, Glendale residents can expect to see a 5-story, 70-foot-tall complex rise on the site. The five-story building’s shifting character on the corner of Broadway and Isabel Street is designed to visually connect the urban promenade of the stylistically-diverse Glendale Civic Center. “Responding to the brief of providing a commercial office building in a very formal context,” the architects explained, “the project aims to construct an authentic dichotomic image: one that can be confused for a strange civic building, too mute to be publicly engaged, but yet too eccentrically unusual to be privately used.” The building's irregularly-striated brise-soleil system and exterior voids along Isabel Street contrast the smooth, unbroken glass facade to break up the structure's otherwise imposing presence. A series of exterior soffits and cantilevers unify the building’s envelope while adding continuous open balconies accessible via the medical office spaces. The health center will be set back along Isabel Street to make room for a small pocket park, for which Armenian artist Zadik Zadikian was commissioned to create a public mural as a backdrop that reflects the community’s diverse citizenship. Construction on the Janoian Building will begin this summer and is expected to be completed by late next year.
Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) has unveiled its competition-winning vision for OPPO’s new headquarters in Shenzhen, China—a bulbous set of interconnected towers straight out of the space age. The Chine smartphone manufacturing giant selected ZHA’s enormous proposal after sifting through a shortlist that included Bjarke Ingels Group, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, and Henning Larsen Architects. Slated for construction in downtown Shenzhen, ZHA’s civic-centric master plan features four glass buildings split into varying heights across a total of 1.9 million square feet. The tallest tower will house 42 floors full of open-plan office space that connects with another tower via a 20-story vertical lobby. Another pair of external towers, smaller in height, will provide circulation for the main structures. Set near the Shenzhen Bay, the globular buildings will provide ample access to daylight and views of the city with their translucent facades for employees and the visitors. As the fifth largest communication technology company in the world, OPPO experienced rapid global growth since introducing its first smartphone in 2008 and has set out to establish a new space in Shenzhen to house a fraction of its over 40,000 global employees. While the building will be designed to cater largely to its work in tech innovation, OPPO is also aiming to make its new HQ open to the public. To achieve this, ZHA incorporated several levels of public space within the structures, including a Sky Plaza on its 10th floor and a rooftop sky lab with a bar and observation lounge. An outdoor public plaza will also cut through the base of the site, which curves in at the bottom, and gives access to the various shops, galleries, and restaurants located one the first levels of the buildings. The project is expected to be LEED Gold certified upon completion in 2025 and construction is anticipated to start later this year. The headquarters is just one of the many monumental projects announced for Shenzhen recently, including what will be the tallest tower in China by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill.
A look around Toronto’s seemingly innumerable construction sites tends to reveal building materials common to many North American cities: brick and stone, steel and glass, and of course, concrete. But a new mass timber office building in the Liberty Village neighborhood points in a different direction. Designed by Canadian firm Quadrangle for Hullmark Developments, with partner BentallGreenOak on behalf of Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, the five-story, 90,000-square-foot 80 Atlantic debuted this past fall as Toronto’s first wood-frame office building in over a century. Part of a larger commercial development near the King Street corridor a few blocks north of the Gardiner Expressway, 80 Atlantic’s underground parking garage, first floor, and core were built using conventional cast-in-place concrete. The upper four stories, including an uppermost mechanical level, were built with glue-laminated timber (GLT) columns and beams that support nail-laminated timber floors. The rectangular building’s street-fronting east and west facades feature an irregular grid pattern in stone and glass, while its longer north and south aspects are fully glazed to reveal and highlight the internal timber structure. This is the second Liberty Village building designed by Quadrangle for Hullmark, following the firm’s conversion of an adjacent historic warehouse structure, 60 Atlantic, into office and retail space. According to the designers, uncovering the original post-and-beam structure at 60 Atlantic inspired the idea for a mass timber neighbor, now newly legal thanks to a 2015 change in regional building codes that allows for mass timber structures of up to six stories. “We started to imagine a modern wood office building that took all of the best parts of the old post and beam building that we uncovered at 60 Atlantic and combine it with all the modern comforts of a 21st-century office building and started referring to that concept as post and beam 2.0,” Quadrangle’s Wayne McMillan said at Toronto’s recent Building Show. According to the development team, using mass timber for 80 Atlantic also offered an important point of aesthetic differentiation as well as environmental benefit. Made from layers of treated and glued wood, GLT is fire resistant and durable and is considered more sustainable than concrete or steel. As the building industry increasingly searched for ways to to reduce both embodied and emitted carbon, advocates of mass timber forms such as GLT and its closely-related cross-laminated timber point to environmental benefits including wood’s ability to sequester carbon while growing, and to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide generated in the construction process. While mass timber has garnered significant interest abroad, including for the U.K.’s recently approved, fully timber Eco Park Stadium by Zaha Hadid Architects, its adoption for large-scale buildings in North America has been slower. 80 Atlantic is only the second mass timber building to be approved in Toronto, following 728 Yonge Street. This may soon change, as Sidewalk Labs recently proposed an entirely timber smart city on the Toronto waterfront.
The Arts District may soon be known as the most rapidly developing section of Los Angeles. The newest proposed addition is Produce L.A., a boldly-designed mixed-use building on the corner of Santa Fe Avenue and Jesse Street, within throwing distance of the Los Angeles River and Michael Maltzan Architecture's Sixth Street Viaduct. The building will replace a cold storage facility currently on the site, thereby contributing to the transition the Arts District has been undergoing from an industrial area to a creative hub. When complete, Produce L.A. will be one of many office complexes in the immediate area, including OFFICEUNTITLED's AVA Los Angeles and the adaptively-reused Santa Fe Business Center. Designed by local firm EYRC Architects (formerly Ehrlich Architects), the four-story building will include over 100,000 square feet of office space, 15,000 square feet of commercial space, a restaurant on its ground floor, extensive landscaping along Santa Fe Avenue, parking for over 200 cars, and an activated rooftop with views from the Downtown skyline to the Los Angeles River. The distinct patterning of the facade is designed to protect the building's interior from excess solar radiation while decreasing the necessary amount of glazing. In a nod to the area's industrial history, the panels will be primarily comprised of corrugated steel. The owners of the Produce L.A. building, Denver-based Continuum Partners and Beverly Hills-based Platinum Equity, are putting aside an estimated $100 million towards the new office building (the project received a much-need boost when the group received a $54 million loan from an undisclosed lender). Construction has already begun, and the project is slated to be completed by late 2020.
San Francisco is readying itself to house the largest mass timber office building in the United States as part of a 28-acre development on its historic Pier 70. Spearheaded by Brookfield Properties, the six-story, 310,000-square-foot structure will be among the first new buildings, completed over a 10- to- 15-year timeline, to anchor the city's newest waterfront destination. Designed by Hacker Architects, the 85-foot-tall office building will feature cross-laminated timber (CLT) floor slabs, glulam columns and beams, steel lateral seismic framing, and metal cladding. The Portland-based studio, with its extensive experience in designing wood-heavy projects, is helping Brookfield bring Pier 70 into the 21st century of eco-friendly architecture. “The Pier 70 office building will make a statement about how mass timber technologies are pushing design and construction towards environmentally sustainable design solutions that better connect the workplace to the natural environment,” said Hacker principal Corey Martin in a statement. Located along the city’s southern waterfront in the neighborhood of Potrero Point, Pier 70 was once bustling with industrial innovation, serving as home to several steel and ironworks companies, a shipbuilding group, and a small boat builder over its 100-year history. The area was slated for redevelopment over five years ago, and the core historic structures that have long sat on the pier were recently rehabilitated. Last year, Brookfield started work to clean up the site and prep for new construction, hiring Hacker first to envision the timber office space. One of the integral parts of its design, according to Hacker, will be the structure’s airy interior. By mixing up the ceiling heights, adding windows ranging from 14- to 28-feet high, and using 27-inch exposed wood beams, tenants will have access to ample sunlight and feel the warmth of the all-wood construction throughout the day. The exterior of the project is meant to be much darker in tone than what’s found on the inside and will feature metal paneling that mimics raw weathering steel in reference to Pier 70’s shipbuilding past. Hacker will chamfer the panels and arrange them in alternating directions on each floor, allowing light to reflect off of them in various ways and create a sense of movement across the facade. Above the lobby level, the architecture will cantilever slightly at the corners, adding further motion to the space while living green walls will add to the sense of connection with nature. So far, the office structure is the only project on the Pier 70 site that’s been publicly projected to include mass timber. Little is known about the other upcoming buildings, except that Hacker and Brookfield will again partner to build it out and that sustainable construction is a top priority. “Our decision to use mass timber is inspired by the neighborhood’s culture of creativity, sustainability, and strong opinions,” said Cutter MacLeod, the senior manager of development at Brookfield Properties. “By applying emerging technologies and innovative designs to the structures we’re building here, we are reinforcing that Pier 70 will be a thriving place for creative industries in San Francisco.” Over 2,000 residential units (including affordable housing) and 1.75-million-square-feet of commercial space will be built out in the $3.5 billion megaproject, along with nine acres of parks, playgrounds, and public space. Up to 90,000 square feet is slated to house arts-related nonprofits, while 60,000 square feet of the site will be used for local production and small-scale manufacturing. San Francisco as a whole seems to be headed toward integrating more all-wood buildings. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that 1 De Haro, by Perkins + Will and Pfau Long Architecture and set to open in 2020, will be the city’s first mass timber project. At the nearby California College of the Arts, Studio Gang is designing a trio of CLT pavilions as well. Design approvals for the Pier 70 timber office building are currently underway. Construction is expected to start this spring and phase 1 of the entire site is expected to open in 2022.
Paul Andersen’s new space for makers, entrepreneurs, and retailers is now complete in Frederick, Colorado, and provides a new take on what it means to design industrial office space. Responding to the changing landscape of retail, work, and the city, Emerald Workshops was designed to establish a new typology of workspaces focused on engaging the community as much as it engages the economy. The development consists of eight buildings with a total of 56 customizable units. With 26-foot-high ceilings that can accommodate large equipment or even a mezzanine level, the space is suitable for a variety of purposes and tenants throughout. So far an architecture firm, mobility retailer, cross-fit gym, and textile artisans have quickly taken up residence on the campus. The spaces themselves feature large windows and operable glass garage doors to reflect the values of transparency and social interaction. The parking lot, a large, planar design element often bogged down by a single use, has been filled with planters, seating, and lighting to encourage outdoor work as well. Located twenty minutes from Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins, one goal of the complex was to “bridge the gap between urban main street and spacious rural landscape,” according to a press release. “The buildings are a new take on Colorado’s historic architecture. They combine the false front commercial architecture of the Old West with industrial construction that has been common since the 1960s,” explained Andersen. The exterior features a graphic, contemporary shingling that brings to mind Playskool toy homes almost as much as the Old West vernacular, especially when contrasted with the grey brick "outlining" present across each building and undulating roof lines. “We selected materials for their timelessness, durability, and clean details—in the buildings and the surrounding landscape,” Andersen explained, “The effect of our design approach is to strike a balance between familiar and new architecture, to make a place that is deeply connected to our region and, in its own subtle way, unlike any other commercial project.” Phase one of the campus is now complete, and all of the units have been leased. Phase two is currently under construction with the expected completion of the entire project scheduled for May 2020.
On November 20, multinational technology company Apple announced that it had broken ground on its new 133-acre office park in Austin, Texas, that will cost an estimated $1 billion to construct, and released a first look at the project. The campus, which will contain over three million square feet of usable interior space across 10 buildings once complete, will initially house 5,000 employees, with plans to eventually make room for over 15,000. Apple currently employs around 7,000 people throughout Austin, more than twice as many as it had just five years ago, and the company shows little signs of slowing down growth in the area. A production facility near the city has recently taken on the important task of building the latest fleet of Mac Pros and shipping them out to customers in December. “With the construction of our new campus in Austin now underway,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook in a press release, “Apple is deepening our close bond with the city and the talented and diverse workforce that calls it home. Responsible for 2.4 million American jobs and counting, Apple is eager to write our next chapter here and to keep contributing to America’s innovation story.” The company has partnered with Bartlett Tree Experts, an Austin-based tree and shrub care company, to ensure that the diversity of native trees on the property are responsibly preserved while increasing their numbers to stock the 50-acre nature and wildlife preserve planned for the site. In addition, the new campus will run entirely on renewable energy from locally-sourced solar power. The construction of the new campus reflects the company’s commitment to contributing $350 billion to the US economy between 2018 and 2023, during which time it also plans to create 20,000 jobs. Like other buildings in Apple's portfolio, the new campus will be awash in crisp white surfaces contrasted against floor-to-ceiling glass to reflect the company’s minimalist identity. The new Apple campus is expected to be completed by 2022. While Apple's UFO-like headquarters building in Cupertino, California, was designed by Foster + Partners, the company has not as of yet released information on who designed their Austin offshoot.
The third and final building defining Water’s Edge, a 6.5-acre office campus in Playa Vista, California, is nearly complete. Designed by Los Angeles-based firm SPF:architects, the four-story structure, named WE3, will provide a striking new building with over 183,000 square feet of creative workspace and two floors of underground parking to an area gradually being referred to as “Silicon Beach,” given its recent influx of top-level tech companies, including Google, Yahoo!, YouTube, BuzzFeed, Facebook, and AOL. Multinational corporation Nike has already agreed to rent two floors of the building. According to SPF, the main challenge of developing the design language for WE3 was creating “a plan fully integrated with existing conditions that both maximized the lot’s buildable area and maintained a compelling architectural standard.” To achieve this, the design team went beyond the client brief by creating a new public courtyard, planning for highly flexible office space, and relocating the preexisting soccer pitch, which will now be more central to the office campus to visually connect the site’s main amenities. To meet their goal of LEED Gold certification, the architects incorporated locally sourced and recycled concrete and metal in the construction process, while the large, insulated windows defining the exterior are designed to reduce energy use. The “floating” perforated aluminum skin wrapping the facade is not only the project’s most distinguishing feature, but it also functions as a solar shading device in conjunction with the building’s many deep-set balconies. And, because the building’s top floor was not legally allowed to exceed 20,000 square feet due to zoning restrictions, a “sky garden” was added to the middle of the building featuring drought-tolerant landscaping within a wind-shielded terrace. WE3 broke ground in April 2018, topped out this month, and is scheduled to be completed by May 2020.
Disney is coming to Lower Manhattan’s west side. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill has unveiled its vision for the media company’s new 1.2-million-square-foot headquarters in the burgeoning Hudson Square. Slated for the former City Winery site, the Silverstein Properties project will be located three blocks above the busy thoroughfare of Canal Street. 4 Hudson Square will take cues from the surrounding industrial-scale brick structures that populate the area. It will be comprised of three tower buildings—the largest standing 320-feet-tall—that will all emerge from a 10-story podium. Taking up an entire city block, it will be a massive project with a large floor plate featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and an exterior grid of green terra cotta tile and anodized aluminum panels. The project will mimic the punched windows and facade materials of the other local buildings nearby. A series of setbacks will also define the upper floors of each structure, creating various terraces over a total of 19 stories. Hudson Square, once the printing press capital of New York City, boasts tons of textured and aged buildings that each exude a strong presence—something the team at The Walt Disney Company wanted to embody in its contemporary office space. Set to hold up to 5,000 employees, 4 Hudson Square will be a major addition to the neighborhood when completed. Disney officials estimate its construction will wrap up in four years after the current building is demolished. The ground floor of the project will be outfitted with retail and restaurants and will serve not just Disney staff, but the public as well. Amenity-rich office buildings with ample communal public space are increasingly being pitched as attractive lures for the Manhattan neighborhood, which is undergoing a major corporate-led redevelopment. Many tech and media companies, including Squarespace, Horizon Media, and several design firms have claimed space in the neighborhood. Disney’s move to Hudson Square from their Upper West Side location seemingly cements the area's future as a corporate campus. The headquarters will be one of the first large-scale, ground-up projects in the neighborhood and will be built on track to receive LEED and WELL Standard certifications. Gensler is set to design the interiors for Disney while SCAPE will take on the exterior landscape.