After 11 months of high-flying construction more than 500 feet above Seattle, a team led by Olson Kundig has completed construction on renovations to the historic Space Needle. The so-called “Century Project” nearly doubles the amount of glass coverage on the structure’s flying saucer-shaped Top House, as part of the firm’s efforts to use “subtraction as a guiding design principle,” according to Olson Kundig’s Alan Maskin, the design principal for the renovation. With this goal in mind, the designers worked to remove the uncoordinated detritus left over from previous designs, including the obtrusive aluminum pony walls separating the indoor observation deck from the open-air viewing area. The effort is geared not only toward opening up the Top House to pristine, 360-degree views, but also toward adding elements that were originally intended for the structure but ultimately were not realized. The Space Needle debuted in 1962 with one of the world’s first revolving-floor restaurants, ushering in what would become a global trend in mid-20th-century design. The original opaque revolving floor has been replaced with sheets of tempered structural glass fabricated in Germany by Thiele Glas, an upgrade that provides views straight down to the ground below. The glass floor also allows visitors to peer into the inner workings of the Space Needle itself by highlighting the moving gears and pulleys—something akin to a “huge Swiss watch,” according to Maskin—that bring the rotating floor and elevators to life. Engineering services provided by Arup, Fives Lund, and Magnusson Klemencic Associates were instrumental in the design’s precision-driven focus, which included seismic retrofitting and other tricky structural upgrades. Front Inc. acted as the glazing consultant to Olson Kundig For the duration of the project and collaborated with MKA to engineer the structural glass assemblies for Hoffman Construction, the project’s general contractor. Achieving Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance was another key concern for the renovations. The Seattle Space Needle opened 28 years before ADA regulations took effect and contained areas that were only partially accessible to disabled visitors. With the Century Project, the design team brings full accessibility to the Top House by adding a new central “Oculus Stair” that features dynamic treads that collapse into a platform that can carry individuals between levels as needed. In the observation areas, non-continuous glass benches leave ample room for someone who uses a wheelchair to get right up to the outwardly canted glass barriers that wrap the space. Here, the architects have restored visitors’ ability to peer down over the edge of the saucer, an aspect that was lost with the addition of cumbersome safety gear many years before. The 11-by-7-foot, 2.5-inch-thick glass panels that wrap the observation platform were installed by specially designed robots created by Breedt Production Tooling & Design. The installation, like many other aspects of the renovation, involved navigating “wickedly complex logistics” and a nearly ’round-the-clock schedule. Hurdles for the project included accounting for significant wind deflection in the design and fabrication specifications for many components and designing nearly all components so that they could be transported up the Space Needle’s passenger elevators. Several feats of design and engineering later, the Space Needle’s new views are crystal clear and fully on display for all to see.
Posts tagged with "Olson Kundig":
Olson Kundig has completed work on the Century Project, a $100 million renovation effort aimed at upgrading and retrofitting the Seattle Space Needle’s iconic Top House. The project comprises the most extensive set of renovations undertaken in the 55-year history of the Space Needle. Changes to the structure include replacing metal panel cladding with floor-to-ceiling glass, replacing the motor for the Top Houses’s rotating restaurant, and reconfiguring the exterior wrap-around observation areas to be more open and transparent. The observation deck platforms have been reconfigured to include integrated benches along exterior partitions made from tempered glass. Here, metallic “caging” barricades have been removed and replaced with tempered glass. The effect is one of sheer transparency, with the Top House now providing unobstructed, 360-degreeds views of the city, which in recent weeks has been choked with smoke that has wafted into the area from nearby wildfires burning in Siberia and Northern California. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=FL-JmdNnd9Y&app=desktop&persist_app=1 Perhaps the most eye-popping change is that the floors within the Top House have been converted to glass, giving visitors to the rotating restaurant 520-foot high views of the sprawling Emerald City below. The new flooring is made of 10 layers of glass, including a so-called “scuff layer” that can be removed and replaced without compromising the floor’s structural integrity. The spinning floor can rotate at variable speeds and is capable of completing a rotation in anywhere between 20 and 90 minutes, depending on the setting. The project also brings extensive ADA-related upgrades to the pinnacle. New York-based Tihany Design has provided interior design services throughout the project, including for the restaurant. The 600-foot tall structure was originally designed by Edward E. Carlson, architect John Graham, and Victor Steinbrueck for the 1962 World's Fair. When completed, the Space Needle was the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River. The Space Needle is now open to the public.
Sacramento’s Crocker Art Museum announced today that Olson Kundig will lead the design and development of their new, three-acre civic space in collaboration with landscape architecture firm SURFACEDESIGN INC. Set north of the museum’s O Street entrance, the new Crocker Park will be built over an underutilized, empty space adjacent to the main building and is expected to create a cohesive campus for the cultural institution. The Seattle-based firm aims to transform the existing unimproved land into an outdoor gathering area and add a multi-level parking structure across N Street that will double as gallery, and event and program space. Olson Kundig and SURFACEDESIGN INC. were selected out of 50 design submissions from around the world. While the architects' initial design has not been unveiled yet, according to a press release, it shows the new building as a porous structure that allows a seamless transition from the garage to the park to the main gallery. The team was inspired by the agricultural richness of the Central California region and the tapestry of trees that cover the city. “The park project fascinated me the moment I read about it,” said Alan Maskin, Lead Architect and Principal/Owner of Olson Kundig. “It is a chance to create a beautiful and much-needed amenity, while at the same time reimagining the ubiquitous yet often overlooked urban typology of a parking garage. We are excited about the opportunity to establish a new icon for Sacramento, creating a place that merges art, architecture and nature.” The Crocker Art Museum is the longest continuously operating art museum in the Western United States. Established in 1885, it first opened as a public museum inside a historic mansion and adjacent gallery owned by prominent judge and art collector Edwin B. Crocker and designed by architect Seth Babson. In 2000, the Crocker hired Gwathmey Siegel & Associates to design a masterplan and expansion of the museum, which opened in 2010. Olson Kundig and SURFACEDESIGN INC.’s $40-million development is expected to break ground in fall 2020.
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"How does a little building for decorative arts hold its own next to big icons?" asked Jim Olson, Partner at Olson Kundig. This was the challenge that the Seattle-based architects were tasked with when they took on a project to design a new space for Denver's Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art. The project site sits in the shadows of two major civic projects from Daniel Libeskind and Michael Graves: the Denver Art Museum, and Denver Central Library respectively.
Olson said that when starting the project, he had been experimenting with wood detailing in his personal cabin and looking at various combinations of glossy and matte finishes. This spirit of experimentation rubbed off on the Kirkland Museum, which brings together a variety of glazed terracotta baguettes and decorative glass backed with gold leaf. "While the layout and elevations of the building are calm and simple, the materials cladding the exterior are full of energy," wrote Olson in a letter to the museum explaining the vision. "At the entry, hand-crafted amber glass fins will further enliven the facade. My hope is that the building itself will be considered a ‘piece’ in the collection." The project started with a desire to create a controlled gallery-style lighting environment and a protective space for the art objects housed within the museum, with the building envelope assuming an opaque character. The architects pulled from a range of yellow and gold hues inspired by the environmental conditions of Denver, which receives three hundred days of sunshine per year, and "energizing" color palettes pulled from Vance Kirkland paintings. The facade is a relatively conventional rainscreen system composed of wall connections, girts, and clips from NBK Terracotta. The system was customized by the architects and collaborator John Lewis Glass, who developed custom decorative glass inserts. Introducing custom material into NBK's rainscreen assembly was a collaborative process, requiring coordination between suppliers, manufacturers, installers, and contractors. The facade's composition achieves a randomized effect through the deft manipulation of patterns. Two approximately four-foot-wide modules were first developed to achieve a seemingly random order. These units were distributed across the facade and overlaid with two additional patterning effects that were applied in a mirrored fashion. Ultimately this produced a variable arrangement across baguette widths, depths, heights, and colors to produce a dynamic texture. Bryan Berkas, an architect at Olson Kundig, said the compositional system provided a useful way to document and communicate the facade components for the shop drawing process, and for overall quality control. "We could look at the four foot, nine inch module closely to make sure we were getting an even distribution of color, [and] a range of joint lines to ensure there wasn't too much alignment." The facade is capped by large roof overhangs, producing deep soffits. The soffits, almost always in shadow, are clad in deep bronze anodized metal panels that allow the roof to visually recede from the vibrant facade. The cladding is arranged in a unique herringbone pattern at the corners, developed by the metal panel manufacturer and installer through a series of mockups. A key feature in the project is a sculpture by artist Bob Vangold acquired by the museum during construction. The architects scanned the artwork and positioned the object onto the facade, bridging a continuous horizontal roof edge. The piece is anchored to the facade with base plates. Water collection and durability were carefully evaluated by the owner, structural engineer, and architect. "Terracotta hasn't necessarily been on the radar in our office, so learning about new facade materials has been a great outcome of this project. It's a very intriguing material," said Crystal Coleman, Associate at Olson Kundig. "For us, it's a very vibrant and durable material."
The George Kaiser Family Foundation has just announced Seattle-based design practice Olson Kundig as the lead architect and exhibit designer for The Bob Dylan Center, a new exhibition space dedicated to the works of renowned singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. It will be located on Martin Luther King Boulevard southeast of the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The center will be the public venue for The Bob Dylan Archive, and is expected to break ground in 2019 and open in 2021. According to the center’s website, it will be home to a collection of more than 100,000 objects such as “handwritten manuscripts, notebooks and correspondence; films, videos, photographs and artwork; memorabilia and ephemera; personal documents and effects; unreleased studio and concert recordings; musical instruments and many other elements.” Olson Kundig won first place in the international competition for the job. In a rendering of the entrance released by the Foundation, an exuberantly colored painting by Dylan named The Beaten Path is printed on the wall. Curtain walls on the side introduce ample daylight to the seating area. In a rendering of the semi-outdoor exhibition space, one of Dylan’s quotes from Chronicles, Volume One is printed on the ceiling. People can slide into wall indentations and read, text, or quietly indulge in Dylan’s music. In an interior rendering, light boxes containing Dylan’s personal items float above the ground. Olson Kundig is partnering with Tulsa-based Lilly Architects, the architect of record for the project. Plains of Yonder will be the partner for audio and multimedia experiences for the building.
Big ideas start with small changes. This is definitely the case for the 11 outstanding projects that were just honored for their design excellence in small project design as the American Institute of Architects (AIA) just announced its 2018 Small Project Awards winners. The awards are given in three categories: architectural objects or environmental art that cost up to 150,000 in construction (Category 1), small project constructions that cost up to 1,500,000 in construction (Category 2), and projects under 5,000 square feet (Category 3). The theme this year is “Renewal.” Here are a few of the Small Projects award winners: Howeler + Yoon Architecture designed Shadow Play, a hovering canopy formed from triangulated modules. Located in downtown Phoenix, Arizona, Shadow Play is a cluster of shade structures that casts geometric shadows that transform the streetscape and how pedestrians congregate in the public space. The canopy’s design maximizes the shaded area but also allows for apertures that bring breezes underneath, making it an ideal space to sit and relax. substance architecture designed the Principal Riverwalk Pump Station in Iowa, which also received the award. The design includes two objects–a Pump House that responds to the neighboring Café Pavilion with similar materials of black zinc and steel, and a Gate Valve Platform that combines translucent glass atop and a solid concrete base. According to the AIA, “The creation of this facility has literally led to the renewal of Des Moines' Historic District and, in concert with the Café Pavilion, it frames a popular public space along the river.“ Kevin Daly Architects was recognized for a low-cost, low-impact prototype backyard home. The 500 square foot parcel dubbed BI(h)OME has an innovative facade made of a paper honeycomb inside layers of ETFE, making a lightweight but sturdy structure that creates a pleasing aesthetic. The prototype is recyclable and customizable, and aims to serve as a housing option for 500,000 single families in Los Angeles, a city that struggles with a “shelter crisis.” Sawmill, designed by Olson Kundig, is a family retreat standing in the high desert of California. In response to the harsh climate and the remote location, the net-zero home utilizes recycled but durable materials and employs strategies to reduce environmental impact and minimize operating costs. Cutler Anderson Architects’ design of Studio / Bunkhouse blends in with the wooded site in Washington. The 80 square feet compact, multi-purpose toolbox is set at the top of a waterfront bluff and complemented by the jury for the ability to work with limited power-tools within the challenging site. Other winners include Allford Hall Monaghan Morris for The Grand Lake Poolhouse, FXCollaborative for their Chapel at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, and Edward Ogosta Architecture’s design of Rear Window House. For the past 15 years, the AIA Small Project Awards program sets out to promote value and design quality in buildings, no matter their size. The complete list of the awarded projects can be seen in the link.
As a fitting kickoff to Earth Day weekend, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on the Environment (COTE) has announced the 2018 recipients of its COTE Top Ten Awards. Honoring ten projects that have surpassed rigorous thresholds in integration, energy use, water conservation, and wellness benchmarks, the award showcases cutting-edge buildings that are not only sustainable, but that contribute to the surrounding neighborhood. This year’s jury included:
- Michelle Addington, Dean, School of Architecture, The University of Texas Austin Austin, Texas
- Jennifer Devlin-Herbert, FAIA, EHDD. San Francisco
- Kevin Schorn, AIA, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, New York
- Julie V. Snow, FAIA, Snow Kreilich, Minneapolis
- Susan Ubbelohde, LOISOS + UBBELOHDE, Alameda, California
The new Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art opens tomorrow, March 10, in Denver’s growing museum district. “I wanted Kirkland Museum to play off its neighbors–international icons like the Denver Art Museum building by Daniel Libeskind and the Clyfford Still Museum by Allied Works–while continuing my larger architectural philosophy of always trying to create a greater unified whole. For example, the vertical grooves of the Clyfford Still Museum influenced the vertical random character of the facade tiles on Kirkland Museum,” said architect Jim Olson of Olson Kundig. However, Olson saw the neighboring buildings’ neutral facades as an opportunity to make the Kirkland shine, quite literally. Clad in striking yellow terra-cotta bars by NBK and gold painted glass tiles by John Lewis Glass, the 38,500-square-foot museum truly lives up to the museum district’s moniker, the Golden Triangle. The Kirkland Museum contains approximately 30,000 works from Colorado artists, as well as the International Decorative Art Collection, which is comprised of over 20,0000 objects. It is named for Vance Kirkland, a seminal 20th century Denver-based painter known for his surreal and abstract works. The collections were originally housed in Kirkland’s former educational space and studio. Part of the construction challenge involved relocating the Vance Kirkland Studio, built in 1911, from its location downtown on Pearl Street to the new building about one mile away. “It was the soul of the whole project,” Olson said. “Rather than trying to blend the new, modern building with the old, we decided to let them just stand side by side, each its unique self. I thought of the buildings as two artifacts in the decorative arts collection. We broke down the scale of the new building into smaller segments, which helped bring the old building into the total composition.” This layout approach also helped Olson achieve the client’s directive of making museum visitors feel as though “they are visiting a grand residence filled with art and beautiful objects;” more like a salon and less like a formal museum. Olson maintained the density and scale of the original Kirkland studio throughout the new space, but created an easy-to-navigate floor plan with a central promenade and color-coded wayfinding throughout the galleries. He extended this inviting ambiance to the street through a series of windows and art-filled vitrines on the building’s exterior, allowing pedestrians to get a glimpse of the collections inside, as well as the outdoor sculptures. “The horizontal overhangs on the building help to create a more human, residential scale,” Olson explained. “The glass facade tiles are handmade, and the colored glass fins near the entry are also crafted by hand. The bronze-colored entry door has a steel and wood handle. We tried to relate to craft and human touch wherever we could. We wanted the building to feel personal and finely crafted, like the collections it contains.” For more information on the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art, visit the museum’s website.
Welcome to AN Interior's inaugural top 50 interior architect and designer list, featuring emerging and established firms across the U.S. While these architects' and designers' talents certainly go beyond interior work, they are deftly pushing the boundaries of residential, retail, workplace, and hospitality spaces and cleverly reimagining the spaces we inhabit. Ensamble Studio Boston, Madrid With a distinct focus on the process of making, Ensamble Studio leverages material technologies to produce dramatic spaces and forms. 64North Los Angeles Multidisciplinary studio 64North provides branding, interiors, website, and product design services. Architecture is Fun Chicago
As the name implies, Architecture Is Fun produces playful designs, frequently working with children’s museums; it won AIA Chicago’s 2017 Firm of the Year award. UrbanLab Chicago, Los Angeles
UrbanLab’s highly graphic design sensibility brings together smart solutions and visual identity in projects ranging from small storefronts to urban infrastructures. Design, Bitches Chicago, Los Angeles
The irreverent work of Design, Bitches employs layers of color, light, and material to build engaging interior spaces across Southern California. LADG Los Angeles
LADG produces uncanny forms and clever spaces by leveraging common construction materials.
Toshiko Mori Architect New York
Tacklebox’s interiors are filled with “ordinary” materials deployed in unexpected ways, recontextualizing the quotidian.
Michael K Chen Architecture New York
MKCA’s puzzle-like built-ins make the most of tiny living spaces. NADAAA New York, Boston
NADAAA’s work engages with high-tech material investigations and form finding. LOT New York, Athens
The influence of LOT’s Greek office is clear in its mellow, refined interiors and the firm’s furniture line, Objects of Common Interest. MOS Architects New York
The highly intellectual work of MOS plays on contemporary and historical architectural philosophies. Norman Kelley Chicago, New York
A self-described superficial practice, Carrie Norman and Thomas Kelley explore the concepts of play, illusion, and flatness, all within an often tongue-in-cheek understanding of historical precedent. Snarkitecture New York
Part think tank and part design firm, every INABA Williams project is rooted in an in-depth research process.
Elliott + Associates Architects Oklahoma City
Rand Elliott has been focusing the country’s attention on Oklahoman design for the past 40 years. SPAN Architecture New York
SPAN creates high-finish spaces full of carefully chosen materials and details. Home Studios New York
Home Studios produces polished, finely detailed commercial and hospitality interiors filled with fine wood, stone, and metal detailing. Architecture in Formation New York
AiF brings together eclectic styles for a wide range of projects, from large hospitality to urban lofts.
Only If— New York
Only If— fuses smart geometries with clever materials for striking interiors.
Ezequiel Farca + Cristina Grappin Los Angeles, Mexico City, Milan
Ezequiel Farca and Cristina Grappin draw from their collaborations with Mexican artisans and use local materials to create contextual works for high-end clients. Bureau Spectacular Los Angeles
The comic book sensibility of Bureau Spectacular delves beyond the superficial with spaces that encourage the occupants to live a less ordinary life. Barbara Bestor Los Angeles
Between her many residential and commercial projects across L.A. and her book, Bohemian Modern: Living in Silver Lake, Barbara Bestor is an influential force on Southern Californian design.
Johnsen Schmaling Architects Milwaukee
Johnsen Schmaling translates the beauty of the rural upper Midwest into site-specific residential projects.
Morris Adjmi Architects New York
Carefully proportioned spaces and forms—and a sensitivity to history— define Morris Adjmi’s elegant work.
Neil M. Denari Architects Los Angeles
Teaching at UCLA in addition to running his practice, Neil Denari is a perennial thought leader in the space where technology and architectural form meet. WORKac New York
With clever twists on typical programs, WORKac’s interiors are unexpected and playful. archimania Memphis
The progressive Memphis-based firm is taking a leading role in redefining what architecture can be in the Southeast through its numerous projects and help in redeveloping its city’s waterfront.
Shulman + Associates Miami
Shulman + Associates draw on the history, materials, and culture of South Florida to formulate vibrant, innovative commercial and residential interiors. Clive Wilkinson Architects Los Angeles
Focusing on workplace and educational facilities, Clive Wilkinson has helped define the aesthetics of contemporary creative professional and learning spaces.
The workspaces designed by Studio O+A express its clients’ stories and personalities, pushing the envelope of the modern office.
New Affiliates New York
New Affiliates works in “loose forms and rough materials” to create elegant spaces.
Biber Architects New York
James Biber approaches every project with a fresh vision, letting design and function guide the form.
Olson Kundig SeattleOFFICIAL Dallas
With a dedicated interiors studio, Olson Kundig has redefined the Pacific Northwest architectural typology.
OFFICIAL designs bright interiors with pops of color and custom furnishings. The two-person studio also has its own furniture line.
Aidlin Darling Design San Francisco
Materials are at the forefront of and celebrated in each project by Aidlin Darling Design. Leong Leong New York
Brothers Christopher and Dominic Leong use broad, decisive formal moves to organize space into crisp, refined interiors. Alexander Gorlin Architects New York
For the past two decades, even when minimalism reigned, Alexander Gorlin has been layering colors and patterns with great success. Craig Steely Architecture San Francisco
Craig Steely celebrates the tropical locales of his projects with interiors that reflect and embrace the native flora.
Aranda\Lasch New York, Tuscon
Truly experimental, Aranda\Lasch explores pattern and fabrications as easily as space and form.
Andre Kikoski Architect New York
Known for creating everything from architectural interiors to furniture and finishes, Andre Kikoski consistently delivers refined designs. SO-IL New York
Airy and ethereal, yet highly programmatic, the formal and material exercises by SO-IL are unmistakable. Peter Marino Architect New York
Leather-clad Peter Marino is the go-to for sumptuous interiors in high-end retail and hospitality around the world. Slade Architecture New York
Slade’s lighthearted approach brings together form, color, pattern, and material. Charlap Hyman & Herrero Los Angeles, New York
Bold interior forms with a refined material palette typify the work of RISD graduates Andre Herrero and Adam Charlap Hyman.
BarlisWedlick Architects New York
BarlisWedlick produces super-efficient, passive projects without neglecting aesthetics. Schiller Projects New York
Schiller Projects works through analytic research to design everything from architecture to branding.
The Architect’s Newspaper will be hosting its Facades+AM conference in Seattle on December 8th at the Motif Seattle Hotel. The latest installment in AN’s ongoing conference series, Facades+AM will bring a total of three sessions and nine speakers to Emerald City–based Architecture Engineering and Construction industry professionals. The conference is co-chaired by Stephen Van Dyck, partner at LMN Architects (LMN), and will feature a bevy of Seattle-specific discussions led by some of the region’s best-known architects, designers, and engineers, including Van Dyck, Maurya McClintock of McClintock Facade Consulting, and Jim Graham of Graham Baba Architects. The morning’s panel presentations will cover three topics: cross-industry innovation, facade design for the Washington State Convention Center Addition project, and the role of historic preservation in Seattle’s ongoing construction boom. The first panel will be moderated by Van Dyck, who explained to AN that the discussion will center around the way in which Seattle’s tech-heavy economy is resulting in a collection of emerging architecture industry–adjacent technologies. The discussion will include presentations from Dan Belcher, developer with McNeel, Andry Bridge, Director of R&D with Janicki, and Choong Ng, co-founder of Vertex.AI, and will delve into synergistic technological developments coming of out the city’s most fruitful architecture and technology partnerships, like new advances in digitally-guided tooling and fabrication methodologies. The morning’s second panel discussion will zero-in on the Washington State Convention Center Addition project, for which LMN is serving as associate architect. The 1.5 million-square-foot addition to the Washington State Convention Center will usher in one of the world's first vertically-organized convention centers. One of the major challenges for the design team on the project will be to integrate the sprawling 15-story structure into surrounding areas while also promoting energy efficiency and social incubation, according to Van Dyck, who will also moderate this discussion. He will be joined by various members of the project team discussing each speaker's respective role in the project. Panelists for the discussion will be Peter Alspach, principal at ARUP, Maurya McClintock, founder of McClintock Facade Consulting, and Kate Rufe, architect at LMN. The morning’s final discussion will highlight Seattle’s ongoing growth dilemma, which is pitting high-rise residential growth and the city’s urban renewal against historic preservation efforts, many of which are aimed toward adaptive reuse, like Olson Kundig's renovations to the Seattle Space Needle. From the ongoing issues over changes coming to Lawrence Halprin’s Freeway Park, to plans for reusing the city’s iconic Key Arena and LMN’s own renovation and expansion to the Asian Art Museum, Seattle is packed with controversial, inspiring, and thoughtful historic preservation approaches alike. The adaptive reuse-focused panel—moderated by Jessica Miller, principal at LMN—will feature presentations from Blair Payson, principal at Olson Kundig, Michael Aoki-Kramer, managing principal at RDH Building Science, Inc., and Jim Graham, co-founder of Graham Baba Architects who will discuss their own firms’ preservation-related projects. For more information on Seattle’s Facades+AM conference, see the conference website.
For the second time this year, Seattle-based Olson Kundig has released new, jaw-dropping renderings depicting the firm’s planned renovations for the Seattle Space Needle. The renderings come as construction on the $100 million Century Project gets underway, following the installation of a 44,650-square-foot scaffolding platform at the base of the Space Needle’s Tophouse. The platform, installed by scaffolding firm Safway, will act as a base for a temporary, weather-proof structure that will shield the project’s 25 construction workers from inclement weather at the top of the Space Needle, 400 feet up in the air. The temporary structure will contain construction activity to the exterior of the Tophouse, allowing for the facilities to remain open throughout the build-out. The new renderings showcase the breath-taking vistas Olson Kundig’s designs will lend to the Space Needle, including those from a panoramic dining room supported by a rotating, all-glass floor. The renovated restaurant space will occupy the 15-foot-long rotating ring at the circumference of the Space Needle’s Tophouse and will have wrap-around views of the city provided by a continuous band of thin-framed tempered glass windows. Below the glass slab floors, the Space Needle’s structure and the gear assemblies that keep the top spinning, will be visible, as well. Tihany Design is doing the restaurant's interiors, with interior architecture by Olson Kundig. The public observation platform above will receive new all-glass enclosures, including a glass railing and embedded glass benches. Safety fencing will also be replaced and exchanged for an all-glass envelope. ADA-compliant upgrades will also be made to the structure throughout.
Principals Alana Maskin and Blair Payson told The Architect’s Newspaper that “A key design goal for the project is to improve the breathtaking and awe-inspiring view from the observation deck for all visitors.” The designers plan on making the complex more responsive to the needs of differently-abled users by adding new accessibility ramps as well as a new platform lift for wheelchair accessibility will link the observation level and exterior observation deck. The lift is designed to function as a stair when not in use as wheelchair access and can transform automatically to fit each use. The designers will also boost accessibility features for all of the Space Needle’s bathrooms, enlarging and reconfiguring facilities to ensure ADA compliance.
Another goal of the project, Maskin and Payson explained, was to bring the new designs in line with original visions for the spire, which included floor-to-ceiling glass enclosures on the observation levels that were not entirely possible given existing technologies at the time of original construction. Maskin added, "If there is one material that defines this renovation, it is glass,” while explaining that the firm had partnered with glazing engineer Front to utilize “every typical glass type” in existence, from annealed, heat-
strengthened, heat-tempered, chemically-tempered, and laminated glass technologies.Construction is expected to be completed by summer 2018, and the Century Project website has more information. Blair Payson, Principal at Olson Kundig, will be speaking about the project at Facades+AM Seattle on December 8th.
COOKFOX, Olson Kundig, Gensler, Kohn Pederson Fox Associates (KPF), and Morris Adjmi Architects, have all been named as some of the nine architects spearheading Water Street Tampa, the $3 billion project that will give the Florida city a skyline. Spread over nearly 50 acres, 18 buildings comprise the scheme which is being backed by Strategic Property Partners—a consortium between Jeff Vinik, who owns NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, and Bill Gates’s Cascade Investment. Though first announced in early July this year, more details, such as the architects involved, have been released. Four New York firms are in on the act. COOKFOX will be designing two buildings: an office and a residential block which will sit atop some retail. KPF has been commissioned for a series of apartments and condominiums which will reside above some retail and a grocery store. Morris Adjmi Architects has scooped arguably the largest commission: a 157-key five-star hotel, a range of luxury condos, more apartments, and retail. Gensler, meanwhile, will be behind two office over retail projects. Seattle firm Olson Kundig is also doing a similar project and Baker Barrios, from Orlando, are to design a central cooling facility. Greenery is coming via Tampa-based Alfonso Architects, who are fronting the redevelopment vision for the city's Channelside with a new public park, waterfront shops, and living units. Another Flordian firm, Nichols Brosch Wurst Wolfe & Associates from Coral Gables, are designing a 500-key hotel. Finally, New Haven, Connecticut practice Pickard Chilton are behind three projects that will office and residential over retail. When finished, Water Street Tampa will boast more than two million square feet of offices. In doing so, the scheme will bring the first new office towers Downtown Tampa has seen in almost 25 years. Located on the Garrison Channel and Hillsborough Bay, the project, according to a press release, intends to bridge the city's cultural landmarks, including the Tampa Convention Center, Amalie Arena (where the Tampa Bay Lightning play), Tampa Bay History Center, and Florida Aquarium. This will be achieved via an array of public parks and spaces that lead to the waterfront where the Tampa Riverwalk, and five-mile-long Bayshore path, can be found.