Posts tagged with "Orlando":

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Florida’s Brightline makes private, high-speed transit a reality

The United States, let alone Florida, is not known for its widely accessible and comprehensive regional mass transit networks. Bucking this trend, on January 15, the state inaugurated Brightline, a private passenger rail between the cities of West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale that shaves 30 minutes off the time required by car. While the distance between the two cities is not great, with the train journey taking just 40 minutes, the Brightline has reintroduced private commuter rail to the United States for the first time in decades. Although Brightline currently only operates between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, it is slated to expand to Miami and Orlando by 2020, utilizing 240 miles of track carving through densely populated Southeastern Florida. While not part of the current proposal, All Aboard Florida has suggested that Tampa and Jacksonville could be linked to the Brightline network. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Zyscovich Architects are designing the stations located in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach. All of the stations share a material palette and design aesthetic, while conforming to their individual environments. At the cost of $3.1 billion, Brightline promises to transform commuting between Miami and Orlando to a relatively minimal 3 hours, taking an hour off the drive time. According to Next City, the new rail service could take upwards of 3 million cars off of South Florida roads, with the potential to capture up to 20 percent of travel between the two cities, two of the most visited cities in the United States. The introductory fare between West Palm and Fort Lauderdale is $10, a bargain considering the amenities aboard the train, which include leather seats, free WiFi, power outlets and bike racks. As reported by USA Today, the Brightline will prove operationally profitable if it captures just 2 percent of the 100 million annual trips between Miami and Orlando. Fortress Investment Group, the parent company of the Brightline, is hedging that its investment in new transit hubs will increase property values surrounding stations as well as revenue generated by real estate development. Forrest Investment Group is already building more than 800 high-priced rentals at its Miami station and close to 300 in West Palm, in tandem with new skyscrapers dedicated to commercial and retail functions. While Brightline is based in Florida, its model of privately-funded and operated high-speed rail is replicable across the country. According to Modern Cities, Brightline is considering implementing its concept in similar urban corridors to those in Southeastern Florida, with the possibility of new links between Atlanta and Charlotte or Houston and Dallas. With the Trump administration’s recently leaked draft infrastructure plan emphasizing financially independent public transport systems, Brightline could prove to be a successful model for expanding rail service to millions of Americans while spurring high-density development in sprawl-ridden metropolitan areas.
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2017 Best of Design Awards for Digital Fabrication

2017 Best of Design Award for Digital Fabrication: Under Magnitude Designer: Marc Fornes / THEVERYMANY Location: Orlando, Florida Depending on the perspective of its visitors, the whimsical Under Magnitude calls upon different references from the known world; but any of its likenesses is pushed beyond its familiar scale. The two-story installation suspended in the atrium of Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center borrows and mismatches elements from biology, achieving a familiar yet mysterious quality—at once friendly and alien. The piece is in fact the sum of many constituent parts: A network of bulbous and bone-like branches comes together in a Y-shaped plan and reaches upward to form a shape reminiscent of a vault or a suction cup. The intricate, continuous surfaces of the 1-millimeter aluminum stripes are also structural. Knit into a unified system of columns and beams, a three-dimensional subspace comes together as a “shell from shells.” “The networked organic structure is fascinating in that it exemplifies the beauty and strength of non-linear design. It’s incredible that the aluminum panels interlock to become a massive suspended shell-structure. Fascinating exploration of the possibility of biophillic design.” —Emily Bauer, Landscape Architect, Bjarke Ingels Group (juror) Commissioned by: Orange County Convention Center   Honorable Mention Project: Flotsam & Jetsam Architect: SHoP Architects Location: Miami Flotsam & Jetsam, the gateway to Design Miami 2016’s fair, found a permanent, public home in Miami’s Design District. The pavilions were 3-D printed in less than eight weeks by two project partners. The first used a proprietary method called Cellular Fabrication to print large-scale panels. The second harnessed polymer and bio-derived composites to print components—breaking new manufacturing ground.   Honorable Mention  Project: As We Are Designer: Matthew Mohr Studios Location: Columbus, Ohio As We Are addresses the relationship between self and representation of self. The 14-foot human head, made from ribbons of ultra-bright LED screens, includes a photo booth capable of taking 3-D pictures. Once a visitor has his or her picture taken, that person’s head is displayed on the visage.
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Orlando approves permanent Pulse nightclub memorial

The Orlando, Florida city council has unanimously approved a permanent memorial to the victims of the June 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting. The just-approved labyrinthine memorial builds on a design in Colonialtown Square Park that was already in-progress at the time of the massacre. Forty-nine pavers, one for each of the victims, will coalesce around a shattered heart that shares a rainbow color palette with the #OrlandoUnited symbol. Plans on file with the city list local firm KZF Design (also known as KMF Architects) as the architect. Installation will be complete by next week, and the city plans to hold a dedication on December 20. In October, city officials approved benches, a fence, and new landscaping on Pulse's property, the first step towards another permanent commemoration. Pulse owner Barbara Poma's onePULSE Foundation is behind that project.
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Orlando is installing a temporary memorial at the Pulse nightclub

On June 12, 2016, 49 lives were lost on Latinx night at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida when gunman Omar Mateen targeted LGBT club-goers out for a night of dancing. Now, the city and a private foundation are making steps toward honoring them in a public memorial. This Monday, plans for an interim memorial were approved at Orlando's town hall meeting. The plans are spearheaded by the onePULSE Foundation, a nonprofit incorporated by the owners of Pulse to honor the victims of the shooting and provide support to survivors and the families of the deceased. The Foundation has created a fund to support scholarships in each of the victims' names. They are also planning a museum that will showcase the narratives of those affected as well as a permanent memorial for the site. The temporary memorial is meant to make the site more welcoming while the Foundation develops the permanent memorial. The approved measures include a rainbow-painted crosswalk, illuminated benches, a new fence painted with murals, landscaping features on the otherwise concrete curbside, and areas for reflection and walking around the site, which has been closed off to the public for over a year now. https://twitter.com/eric_adelson/status/918084055417151488 The City has already completed the crosswalk painting portion of the memorial on Esther Street leading up to the nightclub, much like the rainbow flag being permanently installed today in front of New York's Stonewall National Monument as an homage to early LGBT and HIV/AIDS activists. Both installations have been timed to coincide with National Coming Out Day, held yearly on October 11. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer praised the plan for the temporary memorial, which he said would be "much more friendly ... to the public that are coming there." Since the shooting, the site has attracted visitors from around the world who pay their respects to the souls lost that night, leaving behind flowers, balloons, photographs, advocacy posters, and other personal tributes. At the Orlando town hall meeting, a panel of experts also discussed the site's eventual fate. One panelist, the vice president of New York's National September 11th Memorial, argued that some or all of the original structure should be kept intact rather than demolished, preserving the survivors' and families' connection to the space where their loved ones experienced their last moments. At the meeting, an audience member remarked on the lack of diversity of the all-white panel, which she felt was not representative of the community most impacted by the tragic event, which was largely Latinx, Black, and queer. "There were nine black, African-American," the audience member continued. "There were single mothers, low-wage workers … you have to be inclusive.”
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Adjaye Associates to design new library in suburb of Orlando, Florida

Adjaye Associates, the London-based firm of Sir David Adjaye, will be designing a new 50,000-square-foot library in the Orlando suburb of Winter Park, Florida. The $30 million project will sit on the northwest corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Park and will also house 8,500 square feet of civic center space and a parking deck. “Winter Park’s vision for this project truly embraces the continued evolution of the library in the 21st century,” said Adjaye in a press release. “With a diverse program that recognizes it as a critical piece of cultural infrastructure, this will be a dynamic space for shared education, recreation, and interaction.” Orlando-based firm Hunton-Brady Architects will be the executive architects on the project with Adjaye Associates serving as the design architects. Adjaye Associates is likwly best known in the U.S. for being on the team that designed the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opened in September of 2016 on the National Mall. The firm is also known for having a principal who has was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and named among the 100 most influential people of 2017 by TIME Magazine. Design work for the new library is expected to begin next month.
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4,672 ultrathin aluminum strips compose THEVERYMANY’s Orlando convention center installation

This article appears in The Architect’s Newspaper’s April 2017 issue, which takes a deep dive into Florida to coincide with the upcoming AIA Conference on Architecture in Orlando (April 27 to 29). We’re publishing the issue online as the Conference approaches—click here to see the latest articles to be uploaded.

A 48-by-35-by-26-foot public artwork has been installed in the main concourse of the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. The work, titled Under Magnitude, is designed by New York architect Marc Fornes and his firm THEVERYMANY as a “curious signal and a place for visual wandering” meant to activate one of the convention center’s main social spaces.

The two-story sculpture—made up of 4,672 ultrathin aluminum strips and 103,723 rivets—is suspended above the concourse floor via steel wires and can be seen at eye level from the mezzanine. The structure follows the laws of what Fornes described as “tangential continuities,” a geometric phenomenon describing how micro-level linear components are utilized to describe macro-scaled, nonlinear geometries. The model dates back to the work of 20th century artist Frei Otto, whose Soap Bubble Model theory postulates the so-called “extensive curvatures” at the foundation of Fornes’ work. Frei was interested in the geometric and structural tension that occurs in surfaces that transfer stresses along their length. Fornes inverts that theory via his notion of “intensive curvatures,” in which digital modeling is used to “maximize double curvature across the project,” rendering dynamic and fully self-supporting forms. The result is a holistic structural system that is defined by a tightly curved and constantly changing surface that is also incredibly strong and composed of thin materials.

The project, developed using Rhino digital modeling software, opened in March 2017. In a video, Fornes said: “Some people start to project their own background onto it. If you come from the sea, some people will read coral. Some people will read flowers. It doesn’t matter [how the viewer interprets the form], but it matters that they engage and that they start to wonder about the structure.”

Under Magnitude Orange County Convention Center Orlando, Florida Tel: 407-685-9800 Architects: THEVERYMANY
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A Planet Hollywood becomes a Victorian observatory in Orlando’s Disney Springs

This article appears in The Architect’s Newspaper’s April 2017 issue, which takes a deep dive into Florida to coincide with the upcoming AIA Conference on Architecture in Orlando (April 27 to 29). We’re publishing the issue online as the Conference approaches—click here to see the latest articles to be uploaded.

When it comes to theatrical architecture, Disney rarely disappoints. So when it came time to remodel the spherical Planet Hollywood in the Disney Springs Development, it turned to Boston-based Elkus Manfredi Architects to double down on the theme “Dine Amongst the Stars.”

Disney Springs is located near Disney’s collection of theme parks in Orlando, Florida. The recently expanded district is home to retail, dining, and entertainment, all modeled after a centuries-old American town that evolved along an alternate timeline to our own. The remodeled Planet Hollywood was envisioned as a stand-alone destination while still fitting into this fantastical setting.

Leveraging the existing iconic dome of the Planet Hollywood, Elkus Manfredi reimagined the building as an epic late-19th-century observatory. A new brick base, complete with arched windows and truss details, adds 5,000 square feet to the project. A tensile Teflon-coated silver fabric resurfaces the dome, referencing the metal domes of vintage observatories, and completes the thematic exterior transformation. Outdoor seating and an exterior stair, encased in a radio-tower-esque structure with another exterior bar, give guests a whole new set of dining options.

The interior of the spherical building has four levels. At the heart of the space, a mock vintage telescope rises through all three of the main dining and entertainment stories. Throughout the whole project, planetary and stellar motifs adorn everything from the custom carpet to the multimedia screens, but each floor has its own character. The main dining level is large and open, connected to the outdoor terrace overlooking Disney Springs. The second level is more intimate, with a smaller dining area and a lounge area geared toward adults. The top dining level on the fourth floor is the most intimate space in the restaurant. Guests here are closest to the dome and the projected stars on its inner surface.

While the restaurant will no longer sport the familiar 1990s Planet Hollywood branding, that does not mean that everything will be replaced. Multiple displays of Hollywood memorabilia are still part of the project’s experience.

The timing of this transformation seems only appropriate. As NASA continuously announces the finding of exoplanets in neighboring star systems, perhaps this new observatory will help Disney discover its own planet… Hollywood.

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AEC Cares seeking volunteers for its annual blitz build day just before the AIA Conference on Architecture

Non-profit AEC Cares will once again be putting on its annual blitz build in Orlando before the 2017 AIA Conference on Architecture. AEC Cares will work with their longtime partners, ConstructConnect, AIA, and Hanley Wood Media, to rejuvenate the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida’s (CFH) Center for Women and Families (CWF). CFH is the largest provider of homeless services in Central Florida and, on average, serves over 600 people a night, 63 percent of whom are women, children, and families. AEC Cares hopes to brighten up the Center and provide much-needed improvements to the facility to help CFH better serve its community. “With the help of 125+ volunteers, sponsors, architects, contractors and manufacturers, AEC Cares will perform a ‘facelift’ for the CFH, renovating the lobby, the living quarters and the TV room,” said Laura Marlow, ConstructConnect vice president of business development and AEC Cares executive director, in a press release. “Working together, we can leave Orlando better than we found it.” AEC Cares has been sponsoring this one-day blitz build for seven years now, utilizing the annual AIA Conference on Architecture to gather architects, engineers, contractors, and other industry professionals and volunteers to make a difference in the host city. When founded in 2011, AEC Cares helped rebuild five homes demolished or damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Since then, they have helped revitalize, refurbish and renovate homes for homeless teens, facilities for disabled veterans and homeless adults, and shelters for youths in crisis, among many other projects. During last year’s blitz build, AEC Cares, with the help of 150 volunteers, rehabilitated the Philadelphia Athletic Recreation Center in Sharswood, a renovation project valued at $330,000. The center provides children with after-school sports programs and was in need of an upgrade. The volunteers painted four rooms, overhauled the kitchen and arts and crafts room, replaced 3,000 square feet of vinyl, and repaired the auditorium. This year’s project (named projectOrlando) will once again take place the day before the AIA Conference on Architecture, April 26, and AEC Cares is currently seeking volunteers. If you are interested in participating, visit their website here.
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$1 billion agriculture-focused community approved outside Orlando

After Orlando County commissioners approved a new $1 billion development plan—dubbed “The Grow”—in a 4-2 vote last week, the project will move into its design and permitting phase, with construction scheduled to start next summer. The Grow follows a new development style trend, commonly known as an ‘agrihood,’ that champions farm-to-table living in a cooperative community. The Grow will be situated on 1,189 acres behind the University of Central Florida campus. It will feature 2,078 homes, a community garden, a 20-acre community park, an elementary school, 12 miles of bike trails, and 172,000 square feet of commercial development, including retail spaces and a restaurant that incorporates food grown in the community garden, according to Builder Magazine. Spearheaded by Project Finance & Development LLC (PFD), the project has been praised for its approach to sustainability and thoughtfulness in addressing the growth of east Orlando. However, critics of the project argue that it’s simply the next iteration of ‘urban sprawl’ slowly encroaching on the Econlockhatchee River and Lake Pickett, which have remained rural in the context of hyper-development, according to Orlando Business Journal. The development will require new roadwork, but PFD has agreed to foot the bill for a roundabout on South Tanner Road to ease the flow of traffic. According to the Urban Land Institute, there are about 200 agrihoods nationwide and in states such as California, Idaho, Virginia, Hawaii, Colorado, Texas, Illinois, and Vermont. Though the agrihood trend has been 20 years in the making, it’s beginning to gain traction with the growing interest in how food is being grown and produced. Senior resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute told the Associated Press that these spaces have “fundamentally changed the relationship” between residents and the land. “It’s a lot more than growing vegetables; it’s really about growing community.”
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Gimme Shelter: Orlando-area bus stops get theme park treatment

A series of sculptural bus stops will be installed throughout Orlando as part of an effort to bring art into the community. Entech Creative, a production engineering company, teamed up with Walter Geiger, of Walt Geiger Studios, to design and produce the “Cascade” series of shelter structures. Each bus stop has four to five uniquely shaped panels ranging from 15 to 16 feet high. Their form is suggestive of a waterfall, undulating to provide commuters with shade and shelter. Entech has extensive history in the theme park industry. In fact, Entech developed the technology that made these seamless panels possible for use in theme park installations. Each panel is coated with a fiber-reinforced polymer composite that gives strength and a finished appearance to a honeycomb structure underneath, a process that represents a breakthrough in composite engineering. The designers hope to the collaboration will bring art and architecture closer together.