Posts tagged with "OMA":

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Faena Forum by OMA opens in Miami Beach

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Editor's Note: Our Facades+ Miami conference will take place January 26th and 27th at the Faena Forum. OMA partner and designer of the building Shohei Shigematsu will be the keynote speaker. Space is still available, register here Rotterdam-based OMA has designed three buildings nestled within a narrow plot of land between Miami Beach's famous Collins Avenue and Indian Creek Drive in Mid-Beach. The project is a significant contribution to the Faena District, a $1.2 billion project covering six blocks and integrating dynamic cultural, residential, hotel, retail, culinary, and public environments. OMA's structures are all governed by independent programs: a Forum with flexible theater uses, a Bazaar that retrofits a historic hotel with curated retail and event programming, and a state-of-the-art car park. The project responds urbanistically to two frontages: the luxurious private residential character of Indian Creek to the west, and the active public cityscape of Collins Avenue and public beaches to the east. Shohei Shigematsu, partner at OMA and the director of their New York office, led design efforts on the project. He commented: “Our creative partnership with Faena began with identity research and has evolved into urban design, programming, building-making, and scenography. These diverse investigations had a profound impact on the Forum's ability to accommodate the programmatic demands of functioning as a new typology for interaction."
  • Facade Manufacturer Giovanni Monti & Partners (GMP)
  • Architects OMA, Revuelta Architecture International, PA (Architect of Record)
  • Facade Installer Giovanni Monti & Partners (GMP)
  • Facade Consultants IBA Consultants, Inc. (Exterior Building Envelope); Reginald Hough Associates (Architectural Concrete Consultant); DeSimone Consulting Engineers (Structural Engineer)
  • Location Miami, FL
  • Date of Completion 2016
  • System reinforced concrete structural facade (Faena Forum); precast concrete (Faena Park)
  • Products Limestone plaster ultra-high-performance cladding with finish by Thermochromex; Steel facade system and Special System for Fixed Windows by Schuco
A central focus of the new district is Faena Forum, which opened to the public this week. The building is composed of two volumes—a cylinder and a cube— that are similar in size and can be combined or subdivided to support any type of production, from projects and commissions to performances, exhibitions, and events. The main entrance is denoted by a circular stair that descends from an impressive 46-foot cantilever. This leads up into the lobby of the building, which the architects elevated in response to concerns over rising sea levels. The design move freed up ground floor space for loading functions and helped to provide a canopy along Collins Avenue. The architects say this extended the public domain into and under the building. Shigematsu said the formal strategy of the Forum's radiused cantilevered facade was inspired by the firm's research into urban planning principles. “The Forum’s circular plan enables the public domain to expand, activating pedestrian movement within the district. A 45-foot cantilever allows the landscaped plaza to slip under the Forum along Collins, providing a dramatic sense of arrival.” The Forum's cantilever and the flexible interior programming are achieved through the structural system of the building, which is essentially a reinforced concrete structural skin. Shigematsu said the unique geometry of the facade is the resultant of arches and catenary curves along stress lines generated by the main entryway cantilever: "There is a logical force movement across the facade." This curvilinear geometry was overlaid with an orthogonal lateral load bracing grid in response to hurricane-strength design loads. The resulting performative patterning of the facade yielded 360 uniquely shaped voids that were infilled with custom glazed units. This system extends onto the cube volume where diagonal bracing picked up on structural forces generated from the cylinder's volume. "There are many ways to structurally achieve a cantilever through grids but we thought these arches looked more organic like sea shells and palm trees, so we thought this was quite fitting to Miami Beach's lush nature,” said Shigematsu. Set at the opposite end of the development site, Faena Park is OMA's other new construction addition to the district. The building is a state-of-the-art parking structure with a capacity for 81 cars, as well as retail spaces at the street and top level. The 28,000 square foot structure features a mechanical system with parking lifts that stacks cars two per space for maximum efficiency. An exposed glass shaftway on 35th street reveals the vehicular and passenger movement within the building’s structure. Shigematsu said the unique automated system of car parking interested the design team: "We are quite interested in the performance of a building, so we love this kind of mechanical building." The precast concrete facade features angled perforations allowing for ventilation and controlled views, subtlety reflecting the color of cars parked within. The panels were specified in three patterning configurations—opaque, inset, and outset—and are distributed onto the facade in correlation to programmatic activity. Due to Miami's high water table, a specialized "bathtub construction" allows for continuous parking underground to support valet parking, increasing parking capacity by over 150 cars. Bookended between Faena Forum and Faena Park is a historic Atlantic Beach Hotel, which was built in 1939 and designed by prominent Miami Beach architect Roy France, whose work includes the Saxony and Versailles. Scheduled to open in Spring 2017, OMA’s design preserves the building’s original facade details, while inserting a new intimate central courtyard, unified by privacy screen and a penthouse terrace with views to the Atlantic Ocean. The privacy screen doubles as a brise-soleil and is assembled from simple aluminum channel extrusions. The architects say this assembly helps to define the new courtyard as a negative volume within the existing building. Shigematsu said OMA's contribution to the Faena District was inspired by the urbanism of the Miami Beach site: "As a firm, we always like to have a sense of urbanism reflected in the building. So actually, making three buildings next to each other with three different programs was very easy, in a way, because you can actually produce a dialogue you have full control over. The historical structure that we preserved added authenticity to the project. It looks like an organic growth of the neighborhood." Also in the Faena District, across the street, is a new tower by Foster and Partners. OMA's project was designed roughly concurrently with the tower, and Shigematsu said that responding directly to Foster's building was not a priority, although there was an interest in unifying the buildings of the neighborhood though landscape design, paving and public art. "I think the dialog between our Forum, Foster's tower, and the hotel is actually quite interesting. In the end, Foster's balconies have a round profile, and our building [the Forum] is round, and the historic hotel has a curvature on the main facade."
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Studio Gang and OMA among architects competing to redesign Tour Montparnasse in Paris

A list of seven firms (three French and four international) have been selected by the Ensemble Immobilier Tour Maine-Montparnasse (EITMM) as part of the second round of a competition to redesign the much-maligned Montparnasse Tower in Paris. Built in 1973, the 690-foot (59 story) high-rise has been the regular subject of scorn from Parisians and architects alike. Now Dutch studio OMA; British practice, PLP; French architect Dominique Perrault, and Chicago firm Studio Gang among others are in the running to take on the tower's redesign. Known as the Tour Montparnasse, the building changed city planning policy after its completion 33 years ago. Buildings in the French capital were banned from rising above seven stories two years after it was constructed, a policy that has allowed the skyscraper to remain as Paris's tallest building. The full list of firms vying to re-imagine the tower can be found below: The list of seven came from a list of more than 700 firms that entered the first phase of EITMM's competition. In a press release, one stakeholder said the seven agencies were selected for their "reliability, expertise, audacity and their understanding of the challenges we face." Now the competition has briefed the chosen seven with submitting a proposal that will supply a "powerful, innovative, dynamic and ambitious new identity to the famous Parisian landmark, whilst integrating the challenges of usage, comfort and energy performance to the highest levels." These proposals are due in March 2017. The competition's third stage will see this list whittled down to two finalists from which a winner will be announced in July next year. The project is due to cost $326 million with one-third of this being privately financed by Tour Montparnasse's co-owners. Construction is set to start in 2019, being completed by 2023. Jean-Louis Missika, deputy to the Mayor of Paris, in charge of urban planning, architecture and economic development for the Greater Paris project, said: "We are delighted with this varied and audacious selection of architects which promises a great diversity of ideas, approaches, and innovations for the transformation of the Montparnasse Tower, the initial stage in the renovation of the whole area."
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Potential clients reportedly fear BIG is too BIG, pick smaller firms instead

This post is part of our years-long running Eavesdrop series (think page 6 for the architectural field). It's your best source for gossip, insider stories, and more. Have an eavesdrop of your own? Send it to: eavesdrop[at]archpaper.com.

Sources close to the juries for two recent invited competitions tell The Architect's Newspaper that in both cases, smaller firms—SHoP and OMA—were chosen over Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) because the jurors believed that the firm's top dog, Mr. Ingels himself, might be more focused on the WTC 2, the Google headquarters, the project formerly known as the Big U, and the Hyperloop. They are concerned that he might not have time to pay much attention to other, smaller projects. The suspicions may come as a surprise to Rem Koolhaas, for whom Ingels worked in his early career. 

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OMA releases render of its first full-scale NYC project

Rem Koolhaas's Delirious New York may the architect's most famous work, but despite decades of practice, his international firm OMA hasn't designed a newly-built structure in the Big Apple (the firm has designed many interiors and unrealized projects). That's changing with 121 East 22nd St., a residential project designed by OMA's New York office and its principal Shohei Shigematsu. “The design of the 133-unit residential block was driven by the duality of its context," said Shigematsu in a press release. "Punched windows echoing the façade of its pre-war neighbors seamlessly transition to contemporary, floor-to-ceiling glazed windows towards the corner, forming a gradient from historic to modern.” The building will rise 18 stories, contain 133 residential units, and feature ground floor retail. Toll Brothers City Living is the developer while SLCE Architects is the architects-of-record.  
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OMA and Taryn Simon design striking concrete installation for Park Avenue Armory

There is a new architectural landmark in New York City but you need to rush and see it before September 25th. That's when it will be taken down and moved to London. The landmark is not a building but a temporary installation of eleven concrete silos by artist Taryn Simon dubbed An Occupation of Loss and located in the Park Avenue Armory. Designed in collaboration with OMA and its lead New York partner Shohei Shigematsu, the silos (or soundproof “inverted wells”) are made of pre-cast concrete. The wells are not simply backdrops to Simon’s theatrical installation—which features a number of professional mourners—but integral elements to the performance and unique architectural objects. They are 45 feet in height and create a sensation of being at the bottom of a well. In total, the eleven towers weigh 165,000 pounds. The odd number of wells was regulated by the artist's preference to have a center point; they are arranged into an ellipse with a 44-foot radius. Each silo is composed of 8 stacked concrete rings that are 8 feet 10 inches in diameter. The wells, which have the appearance of massive Aldo Rossi memory towers, act as acoustic tunnels that echo sound upward and through the massive drill hall during a performance. According to a press release, OMA conceptualized the structures as a collective that resembles an organ: each pipe is intended to be occupied by 1 to 3 performers and produce its own distinct sound (which ranges from purely oral to instrumental to distinct mourning rituals). A singular plinth/platform raises the concrete pipes 9 inches off the ground to distribute their structural load. Furthermore, each well has a ramp for attendees to enter as performances are taking place. A seating ledge for the performers—who are professional mourners—occupies a portion of each space. The silos were manufactured by Coastal Pipeline in Long Island and, while similar industrial pipes would be made of a 9-inch thick concrete, these are only 5 inches thick. An Occupation of Loss is on view at the Park Avenue Armory through September 25, 2016. Mourners activate the installation each evening from Tuesday through Sunday for a series of 50-minute performances. During the daytime, visitors are free to wander and activate the sculpture to produce a cacophony of sound.
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This new app from OMA and Bengler wants to disrupt the sharing economy

At the 2016 Oslo Architecture Triennale, Rotterdam-based firm OMA and Oslo-based interaction designers Bengler debuted PANDA, a startup that addresses the social and political implications of digital sharing platforms such as Uber and Airbnb, as well as their impact on the built environment. They explain that while Silicon Valley optimism sells itself as democratic and empowering—an alternative to centralized commercial and social structures—they are actually detrimental to the working classes that support these networks with their labor. The Silicon Valley approach fragments and atomizes the labor force by leveraging workers' private property while keeping them in a constant state of freelance contract work. For example, while Uber sells itself to drivers by offering them the opportunity to "own the moment," featuring a model in a suit getting out of a luxury car. However, we all know that this is not the reality for most drivers. Uber has a clause in their terms of use that states that drivers can only resolve disputes with the company as "individuals." As a result of maneuvers like this, many workers have almost no power to negotiate or bargain with the "new Rome," located somewhere near San Francisco. PANDA would locate and organize people into groups that have shared interests and resources to organize counteractions against these empires of Silicon Valley, or "algocrats," as the creators, OMA’s Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli and Bengler’s Even Westwang and Simen Svale Skogsrud, explained. For example, Airbnb is trying to get into China. PANDA would identify people with "shared leverage" like potential drivers. Then, these people may be able to organize and effectively challenge them to get better conditions. Or, perhaps these groups could pool their money to buy a lawyer. PANDA creates webs of temporary alignment where discontent and leverage turn into action potential. For architecture, "Unrest is staged against app-based, short-term accommodation platforms and the conversion of entire buildings into de facto hotels," they explained. PANDA is a for-profit corporation and the owners claim that as it grows, it will become more powerful but will not overextend itself. By linking like-minded people together, the app would actively use the framework of sharing technology against itself. PANDA's language emerges from combining activism with the hyper-domestic offices of Airbnb, etc., as well as brainstorming culture and personal performance metrics.
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OMA’s Taipei Performing Arts Center comes into view

Scaffolding on OMA's Performing Arts Center in Taipei has begun to come down, unveiling the building's bulbous facade. Made from aluminum, the facade encases the Proscenium Playhouse and Multiform Theater. An auditorium, the spherical Proscenium Playhouse caters for an audience of 800. Regarding its relationship to the main building, OMA said it "resembles a suspended planet docking with the cube." Audiences will circulate between an "inner and outer shell" to enter the space, meanwhile inside, "the intersection of the inner shell and the cube forms a unique proscenium that creates any frame imaginable." Also seating 800—and located within the sphere—is the Multiform Theater. A "flexible" space, the theater will play host to a range of experimental performances. It sits opposite the building's focal point: The Grand Theater. According to OMA, it will be "contemporary evolution of the large theater spaces of the 20th century." The Grand theater can be merged with its opposite partner to form the "Super Theater." Here, the "experimental, factory-like environment" will be able to accommodate productions that demand exceptionally large stage settings such as B.A. Zimmermann's opera Die Soldaten (1958), which requires a 100-meter-long stage. The Super Theater will also offer the chance for existing productions to be scaled up. According to the firm, the project aims to address the following questions: "Why have the most exciting theatrical events of the past 100 years taken place outside the spaces formally designed for them? Can architecture transcend its own dirty secret, the inevitability of imposing limits on what is possible?" Discussing their approach further, OMA added:
In recent years, the world has seen a proliferation of performance centers that, according to a mysterious consensus, consist of more or less an identical combination: a 2,000-seat auditorium, a 1,500-seat theatre, and a black box. Overtly iconic external forms disguise conservative internal workings based on 19th century practice (and symbolism: balconies as evidence of social stratification). Although the essential elements of theatre- stage, proscenium, and auditorium- are more than 3,000 years old, there is no excuse for contemporary stagnation. TPAC takes the opposite approach: experimentation in the internal workings of the theatre, producing (without being conceived as such) the external presence of an icon.
Construction on the project has so far taken four years and the Performing Arts Center is due to officially open in 2017. OMA won the commission to design the center in 2009. Rem Koolhaas and David Gianotten are the two partners working on the project.
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OMA’s Shohei Shigematsu spreads his wings in Québec City

As with much of OMA’s recent work, the firm’s latest building is exemplary for what it lacks. Instead of the complex structural flourishes of the CCTV Headquarters and many of the firm’s other mid-aughts projects, the Pierre Lassonde Pavilion at the Musee National des Beaux Arts du Québec (MNBAQ) is a lesson in more subtle design maneuvers: Its stacked massing, articulated in three varieties of glass, contains contemporary Québécois art and design galleries connected by a curvilinear glass balustrade and a predominantly white palette. Yet the most notable absence at the June 24 inauguration was that of OMA founder Rem Koolhaas. Instead, Shohei Shigematsu, who heads the firm’s New York office and served as partner-in-charge on the MNBAQ addition, spoke on behalf of the firm and explained that changes are indeed underway inside OMA as he led press and visitors through the new building.

Koolhaas’s absence at the inauguration by no means signals his retreat from design duties at the firm that, until recently, derived nearly all of its notoriety from the prestige associated with his own work and name. He continues to lead many of the firm’s most high-profile projects, last year’s Fondazione Prada in Milan and next year’s Taipei Performing Arts Center among them. Yet the pronounced emphasis at the recent inauguration on Shigematsu’s tenure as director of OMA New York bespeaks a new phase in OMA’s trajectory, one in which numerous of the firm’s seven partners work with greater autonomy from Koolhaas himself. “Me being recognized or other partners being recognized — not just Rem, actually reinforces the identity of the organization,” Shigematsu told The Architect's Newspaper at the Québec inauguration. He is by no means an outlier in this development. Rotterdam-based partners Reinier de Graaf and Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli have also grown prominent within the OMA cosmology in recent years, the former as a polemicist and the latter for his preservation work and leadership of the firm’s ongoing, manifold collaboration with Prada. The present devolution of design authority is markedly different from the firm’s operations a decade prior, when numerous of the leading architects at OMA, like Bjarke Ingels, Ole Scheeren, and Joshua Prince-Ramus, began leaving to open their own offices. “I’m basically, probably doing the same thing inside [the firm],” Shigematsu noted, “A lot of senior people have started to stay.”

On the Grande Allée in Québec City, the Pierre Lassonde Pavilion acts as an intermediary between traffic along one of the city’s main arteries and the National Battlefields Park where the museum’s three other buildings are situated. The new building also expands connections between the capital of Francophone Canada and the international art milieu, as it shares formal tropes with recent cultural institutions designed elsewhere by OMA (the MNBAQ’s gold elevator core shares a chromatic palette with Prada and Laparelli’s recently-completed Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venice, Italy). Shigematsu is quick to note that the shared color schemes across partners are part and parcel of an expanding practice: “Not just metallic, but the attention to detail and refinement that we can bring,” he mused. “We have the luxury to now build so much with a sense of maturity as an architecture firm.”

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What could have been: OMA’s proposal for Chicago’s Lucas Museum of Narrative Art

  International firm OMA submitted a design for the proposed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Chicago. Though the project has fallen through (Michael Sorkin wants to keep it in Chicago, but move it farther South), and the museum was to be designed by New York studio MAD Architects, the original OMA proposal has now been released. The Lucas Museum aimed to showcase the the art of storytelling though various collections including digital art, multi-media displays, and illustrations, all alongside educational programs. Opposition from public advocacy group Friends of the Parks stopped the museum's realization; now Lucas will try to bring his proposal back to California, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The Lucas Museum aimed to showcase the the art of storytelling though various collections including digital art, multi-media displays, and illustrations, all alongside educational programs. Opposition from public advocacy group Friends of the Parks stopped the museum's realization; now Lucas will try to bring his proposal back to California, according to the Chicago Tribune.
OMA's submission, led by New York-based partner Shohei Shigematsu, made use of an ETFE (Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) skin that formed pillows, wrapping around the building in a dome-like fashion. The fluorine-based polymer would aid the creation of an atrium and sky park that would make way for vertical gallery spaces. Light would permeate through the membrane while the structure would take on an easily identifiable form. In articulating the gallery space in such a way, space underneath could also be used for a new urban park that would amplify the building's blurring of open and closed spaces. In addition to this, the building would also house a theater and a series of lecture halls that would be accommodated at the base of the building. Aside from letting light in, the building's ETFE skin would also serve as a canvas for projections, turning the park below into an outdoor cinema.
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AMO designs Prada’s 2017 Spring/Summer set space

OMA's internationally-based research, branding, and publication studio AMO has designed the set of Italian fashion brand Prada's Spring Summer 2017 show.

Formed in 1999, 24 years after Rem Koolhaas founded the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), AMO is the architecture practice's research think-tank. Directed by Reinier de Graaf, a partner at OMA, AMO addresses issues surrounding architectural production and other mediums such as fashion, print, online media. Past projects include a redesign of the EU flag and being a leader in the production of Volume magazine.

In 2011, the group worked with Prada on the confusingly titled OMA*AMO for/with Prada, an exhibition in Venice. This year, OMA's Shohei Shigematsu designed the exhibition space for Manus x Machina at the Met.

This year's project for Prada, however, is on a much larger scale. The design features a catwalk runway divided into three zigzagging segments that slope down to the audience seating. The upper-most level, the entry gangway, is located behind a mesh-crafted colonnade.

Made from metal, the mesh dominates the interior space and allows an array of colored lighting to permeate through and illuminate the space. "Generating an abstract layer, composed of meshes with different patterns and dimensions...overlap to recreate a total space. The transparency of the cladding material unveils the underlying framework with Cartesian precision," the firm said in a press release.

Subsequently the resultant glow from the lights aims to de-humanize the space, "[dematerializing] all the surfaces, coloring the room, now reminiscent of a post-human scenario."

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OMA looks to break new ground with the Faena Car Park in Miami

Shohei Shigematsu, partner at OMA and the director of its New York office, had never designed a parking garage until Alan Faena requested one. The Argentine real estate developer and arts patron hired the New York branch of a firm based in Rotterdam, Netherlands, to design Faena Arts Center, a forthcoming arts and luxury retail complex in Miami Beach, which will open to the public in late October. Upon completion, the complex will be the anchor for the Faena Arts District—a sliver of land on Collins Avenue sandwiched between Indian Creek and the Atlantic Ocean—which Faena and his partner, Ximena Caminos, plan to turn into a hub for multidisciplinary cultural activity.

OMA is designing all three of the buildings slated to open in Miami Beach come fall: The Faena Forum, a two-volume space that imitates a superimposed cylinder and cube, will contain exhibition spaces and hotel and meeting facilities; the Faena Bazaar, a luxury retail complex located in the former Atlantic Beach Hotel, which was built in 1939 and that the firm is partially preserving; and the Faena Car Park, a mechanical valet parking garage with a perforated precast concrete facade, ground-level retail, and a rooftop pavilion with panoramic ocean views.

The car park proved to be an unexpected challenge, due in part to the building’s straightforward program. The firm has experimented with various facets of parking design since the early 1990s: a 1993 proposal for the second of two libraries at Jussieu, a university in Paris, features interior ramps typical of a self-park garage, and the firm incorporated parking facilities in its 2004 Souterrain Tram Tunnel project in The Hague. However, in each case, parking was only a relatively minor consideration in projects otherwise defined by their programmatic hybridity.

The Faena Car Park is OMA’s first freestanding car garage, and the sheer absence of complex activity that stood to transpire inside the building gave Shigematsu and his design team pause when they began working on the building in 2012. “We were crippled by not having enough context or content of program,” he reflected. As they scrambled for programmatic constraints from which to begin generating a scheme for the garage, they realized the project was in fact fertile ground to set aside their usual working methods. Instead of analyzing the program, they began by developing the facade in response to code regulations stipulating that half its area should be porous to facilitate ventilation.

Parking is, famously, a prime commodity in Miami. Indeed, both the forum, which will serve as the district’s locus for arts programming, and the car park are being built on the sites of former grade-level parking lots that flanked the Atlantic Beach Hotel. Upon its completion, OMA’s car park will become part of a constellation of architect-designed parking garages that are now architectural calling cards for the city. Among these, the best known is Herzog & de Meuron’s 1111 Lincoln Road, an open-air, multistory garage completed in 2010 that doubles as a mixed-use development with luxury retail, fine dining, and yoga facilities located next to parking spots. Frank Gehry completed a parking facility adjacent to his New World Center in 2011—the same year that Perkins+Will finished its Miami Beach City Hall Annex garage. Enrique Norten’s Mexico City–based firm, TEN Arquitectos, completed the Park@420 car garage in 2010, and until mid-April, when municipal commissioners rejected the late architect’s designs for a garage in Miami’s Collins Park neighborhood, Zaha Hadid was also slated to build a parking structure.

The typology’s newfound prominence is a welcome change from the previously prevalent reputation of parking garages as dull, even dangerous, structures that have little in the way of architectural merit. “Whether you like the idea of cars or not, the reality is that parking as a structure is the first and last experience that is made,” explained Rand Elliott, founder and principal of Oklahoma City firm Elliott + Associates, which has designed five lauded car garages and published extensive research on the design of car parks. Elliott noted that institutions often underestimate the influence of their parking, treating its architecture as an afterthought: “They just don’t think it through well enough to realize how valuable [parking] is.”

On Collins Avenue, OMA leads the vanguard in Miami parking design by working both above and below the city’s surface. Approximately three dozen of the 235 parking spaces at Faena Car Park will be located below grade, a feat given the high groundwater level in the surrounding neighborhood. “When they started excavating the underground parking, there was a gigantic pool,” recalled Shigematsu. By way of resolution, the firm filled the entire cavity with a concrete lining that hermetically sealed the underground lot from liquid.

Above ground, the structure initially appears to be simple in front elevation: OMA’s facade responds to the tropical climate by imitating the brise-soleil common in Brazilian architecture. Yet the southern elevation exposes the building’s interior mechanics—an elevator that moves vehicles into place—to create a kinetic facade with relatively few elements. For all its functionalism, this feature is just as well conceptual: “The idea,” said Shigematsu, “is making the elevator itself a celebration of this building.”

The car garage emerged as a new typology, derived but distinct from storage warehouses and former horse stables in the 1920s. In 1925, Russian architect Konstantin Melnikov designed two never-built, but prescient, car parks for Paris. One was, in effect, a bridge over the Seine, with ramped decks that spanned the river and a dynamic curvilinear structure; the second was to be built on land, a cube pierced by four winding ramps that ran through its volume.

Though Melnikov’s Paris garage schemes will probably forever remain unrealized, their expressive geometries and implicit recognition of car parks as platforms for viewing the surrounding city foreshadowed the work recently completed by prominent international architects in Miami. Nearly a century later, the designer car park is just as well a destination in its own right: not merely a promontory, but itself a definitive feature of the city’s architectural landscape.

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OMA to design expansion of Buffalo’s Albright-Knox Art Gallery

This is OMA week. After unveiling the refurbished Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venice, the New York- and Rotterdam-based firm announced that they have received the commission to design an $80 million expansion to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, NY. This will be the firm's first art museum project in the United States: OMA beat out four other offices—Snøhetta, BIG, Allied Works, and wHY—for the job, dubbed AK360, which will expand exhibition space for Albright-Knox's modern and contemporary art collection. Firm principal Shohei Shigematsu will be leading the design team. The board of directors approved a development and expansion plan two years ago to accommodate a collection that's quadrupled in size since 1962, the year of the museum's last major (SOM–designed) expansion. Currently, Albright-Knox can only display 200 to 300 of the 8,000 works in its permanent collection. The expansion will double exhibition space, as well as add space for education facilities, dining, and events space while better integrating the museum with the Olmsted–designed park around it. The commission comes fresh off of the completion of the Pierre Lassonde Pavilion at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, another project that knits a city's landscape to a museum. It's fitting that OMA will be working in Buffalo, a city that capitalizes on its rich architectural heritage to spur tourism and investment. The museum, which is situated adjacent a local cultural district, hopes that the OMA project will have a spillover (uh, Guggenheim) effect on the ailing postindustrial city that's nevertheless experiencing a modest uptick in economic fortunes compared to neighboring cities. Shohei Shigematsu, along with artist Mark Bradford and Albright-Knox's director Janne Sirén, will give a talk at Art Basel next week on the role of art museums in social change. There's no date for construction as of yet, although the next phase of the "envisioning process" will begin this September.