Posts tagged with "Renzo Piano Building Workshop":

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Renzo Piano design for Academy Museum of Motion Pictures exhibition spaces revealed

This morning, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures released new renderings by the Renzo Piano Building Workshop for its proposed museum space in Miracle Mile, Los Angeles. The design for the complex extends out of the historic May Company Building on Wilshire Boulevard into an adjacent, 140-foot-tall orb. The top section of the globe will be an open terrace and project space housed under a huge arcing glass dome, and the bottom section will be a crimson-walled, steel-encased theater. This theater will feature a state-of-the-art projection facility able to screen 35mm, 70mm, and nitrate prints for an audience of up to one thousand people. All told, the project will cost $388 million to build. The May Company Building, a 1939 structure that epitomizes the Streamline Moderne style, will be home to three stories of exhibition space (two permanent, one temporary). One of these spaces will be an entire floor dedicated to the "Oscars Experience," an exhibit commemorating the annual film ceremony for which the organization is best known. The building was previously home to a satellite space for the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, once referred to as "LACMA West," but the Academy inked a long-term lease on the structure and an adjacent parcel in 2014 for $36.1 million. The new renderings show that most of the iconic features of the building will be preserved, including the giant golden cylinder at its Wilshire Boulevard entrance. An additional, smaller theater and a flexible education space will be constructed underground between the older building and Piano's orb. The two above-ground structures will be connected on three levels by glass-encased catwalks. An outdoor seating area will also be build at the ground level of the orb, extending into the central lobby area of the May Company Building. As Kerry Brougher, director of the Academy, told Architectural Record, the museum was designed primarily from a filmmaker's perspective. “I think the fact that the Academy is part of the project makes it take on a different characterization than it might if it were a film museum in Milan or Paris," he said. With completion projected for 2019, the Academy Museum hopes to join the ranks of other movie museums around here and abroad, from the National Cinema Museum in Turin, Italy, to the controversial Lucas Museum, or New York's own Museum of the Moving Image, which Leeser Architecture revamped in 2011.
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In new book, Victoria Newhouse details the saga of Renzo Piano’s Athens cultural center

The incredible challenges inherent in today’s mega-architectural undertakings triggered my interest in just how such projects are built. More than four years ago I began to track the design, construction, and completion of one of the most ambitious of these, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) in Athens. I could not have anticipated in those early days how the global economic crisis and subsequent political upheaval in Greece would affect the story of the $842 million building complex and 40-acre park. Even under these circumstances, the building was completed on time and on budget and is already inundated with visitors, both local and foreign; the new national opera house and national library will open officially this fall.

Almost as soon as I started to research the SNFCC, I was struck by the number of people, companies, and even cultures involved, the largest team I’ve ever seen on a cultural project. Project meetings were a veritable Tower of Babel, with Greek (construction workers) and Italian (the RPBW architects and one of the joint-venture contractors) foremost, and a good deal of English thrown in (many of the special consultants). Most of the time the group worked harmoniously. There were a few disagreements at the outset, but the site remained markedly congenial throughout the five years of construction.

A major reason for this coordination was the universal respect for Renzo Piano. The Italian architect was likened by one member of the Greek teams to “an orchestra conductor for his ability to work with all manner of collaborators.” His visits to the site were like the public appearance of a pop star, with admirers vying to get selfies with him. But there was also the fact that the SNFCC was the only important construction job in a city paralyzed by economic austerity. Seen as a symbol of hope for the nation’s recovery, it provided thousands of jobs in a nation wracked by unemployment. One of the Greek project managers expressed the general feeling on-site: “It’s a first, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Victoria Newhouse’s new book, Chaos and Culture: Renzo Piano Building Workshop and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens was published by the Monacelli Press in May 2017

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New book tells the story of the Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center, but can a building this wasteful really be called “green”?

Last year, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, a 1.28 million-square-foot complex built into an artificial hill in Athens, was inaugurated to great fanfare. The building will provide two institutions, the National Library of Greece and the Greek National Opera, pristine new homes, and it is a significant addition to the Athens cultural landscape. This year saw a related achievement: the publication of Victoria Newhouse’s Chaos and Culture: Renzo Piano Building Workshop and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens, a richly detailed account of the creation of the $800 million complex. The book could have been a dud; after all, as Newhouse herself notes, the realization of the Athens project was “nearly trouble-free.” But Newhouse lucked out, in part because Greece didn’t: The country was in dire financial and political straits for most of the time the complex was in the works, providing the “chaos” of the title. Only the commitment of the deep-pocketed Stavros Niarchos Foundation kept the project on track. But the plan was always that the complex, once completed, would be turned over to the Greek government, which would operate it with taxpayer funds—a result that now seems unrealistic. (Worse, the agreement between the foundation and the government stipulates that if the government fails to meet its obligation to operate the Center, it will refund the foundation’s entire investment in the project—money the government doesn’t appear to have.) So the book became as much a tale of politics and economics as of architecture. And right now, that tale is a cliffhanger: neither the library nor the opera house has fully moved into the building. True, there is some architectural intrigue, usually involving firms other than the always-dependable Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW): Newhouse details the master-planning work of the New York firm Cooper Robertson that preceded the selection of RPBW to design the complex. She then reports that almost nothing of the master plan can be seen in the RPBW design. And she delves into the hiring, in 2013, of the Dutch firm Mecanoo, to rethink RPBW’s library design. Newhouse writes:
The idea that work by Renzo Piano—winner of a Pritzker Prize, among numerous other awards—could be corrected by anyone, let alone a far less known firm, would be surprising under any circumstances. What made it especially so is the stark disparity of styles between the two offices.
But Piano prevailed: “Having initially greeted [Mecanoo founder Francine] Houben with his usual charm, the Italian architect barely glanced at the Mecanoo proposal in late 2013 before rejecting it out of hand.” In the course of writing the book, Newhouse developed expertise on subjects as diverse as the history of philanthropy in the Ottoman world and the acoustical preferences of Southern Europeans. The book is a kind of encyclopedia. But there is one significant lacuna:  Newhouse calls the building “a triumph of environmental sensitivity.” In fact, the building, despite incorporating enough “green” features to achieve LEED platinum status, is inherently wasteful.  First, it’s not clear it was needed in the first place. The Greek National Opera, though lacking a purpose-built home, has performed “with great success” at the Megaron Concert Hall in the center of Athens, Newhouse reports. As for the library, its existing building, also in the center of the city, could handle far more visitors than it received. Consequently, Newhouse writes, “no one was able to realistically define the new library’s purpose.” Neither organization had a director at the time the planning for the cultural center began. And with the country in economic crisis, the entire enterprise, Newhouse observes, “defied logic.” But the Niarchos Foundation was determined to build something important, and its resolve only strengthened when the Greek economy collapsed. True, Piano’s best buildings, including New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art, exhibit an inherent modesty (as does Piano himself). But the Niarchos Foundation encouraged Piano to think big. After visiting the Athens site, he decided to give the library and opera separate buildings, facing a modern agora (through a pair of enormous glass facades) and set them into a manmade hill, more than 100 feet high at its peak. “It was an almost childish idea:  I simply lifted the ground’s surface to make way for the architecture,” Piano told the author. Creating the hill would involve building vast retaining walls, moving some 654,000 cubic feet of earth, and protecting all of it against seismic activity. That was accomplished by filling steel tubes with rocks, then hammering the tubes into the earth at 10-foot intervals, creating some 3,500 “gravel piles” in the process. Those processes required vast amounts of energy. Then came the planting of the center’s 40-acre garden, much of it on raised ground, and the extensive irrigation required to keep it alive in arid Athens—a process that involves both pumping water uphill and passing it through a reverse osmosis desalinization plant. The hill, that “childish idea,” is a grown-up energy consumer. Overall, operating the cultural center will require 14 gigawatt-hours of electricity each year, Newhouse reports. Producing that much power through the burning of coal—the predominant source of electricity in Greece—will create some 30 million pounds of CO2 or its equivalents, according to the best available figures. That’s about as much 1,500 average Greeks produce each year. True, setting the building in a hill could reduce the cooling load by as much as 7%, Newhouse reports. But counting that as an environmental victory is like counting gambling winnings while ignoring losses. And, true, the vast building has a substantial photovoltaic system. In fact, after the artificial hill, its most prominent feature is the canopy atop the opera house, a kind of flying carpet supporting 87,000 square feet (about two acres) of photovoltaic panels. That certainly sounds green. But the panels, even with the latest technology, will produce just 2 gigawatt-hours of electricity each year, or about 15% of the building’s needs. (And that’s if all goes well.) And even that power isn’t “free,” environmentally speaking. Thirty steel columns, braced by diagonal cable ties, support the p.v. panel-covered canopy, which is estimated to weigh 4,700 tons. The carbon footprint of structural steel is enormous. And solar panels themselves require energy to fabricate, transport, and install. There is no free lunch, energy-wise. Making matters worse, the Center is two miles from the nearest subway stop. Hard to reach by public transit, it contains 1,000 parking spaces, evidence of its reliance on private cars. LEED doesn't take any of that into account. It is essentially a checklist system, conferring points for “moves” like providing bicycle racks and using recycled building materials.  Whether the building should have been built in the first place; whether it could have been built closer to public transportation; or could have been significantly smaller than it is—the big-ticket items, environmentally—are the very issues LEED ignores. Of course, I understand the need for symbols, which can help uplift societies (especially societies as troubled as 21st-century Greece). And I believe that the Niarchos Foundation had the best intentions when it vowed to make the building green.  But the building it built is anything but green, and LEED is its enabler. With its “platinum” imprimatur, LEED sends a message that even unnecessary buildings, on sites ill-served by public transportation, and requiring vast amounts of energy to build and maintain, are good for the environment. Which, at this time of climate crisis, triggered by energy consumption, is a dangerous message to send. Chaos and Culture: Renzo Piano Building Workshop and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens is available from Monacelli Press.
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Renzo Piano is designing a 36-story hotel in San Francisco’s Transbay neighborhood

New York City–based Renzo Piano Building Workshop and developer Pacific Eagle have revealed renderings for 555 Howard, a new, mixed-use hotel project slated for San Francisco's Transbay neighborhood. The project, if completed as planned, would become the fourth tallest structure in the city. According to documentation submitted to the city’s Planning Department, the project is slated to contain 69 dwelling units and 255 hotel rooms. Of the 69 dwelling units, 15 percent would be set aside at affordable rates. The rectangular tower, clad in transparent glass and rising to an overall height of 385 feet, would be built on the site of a collection of low-slung masonry buildings dating to the early 1900s. Those structures were analyzed by the Transit Center District Historic Resource Survey in 2012 and were not found to be “Contributory or Significant Buildings” for the neighborhood. Renderings released for the project showcase a glassy, boxy tower that steps back slightly roughly halfway up its height. According to the report, the residential portion of the building would be located between the 20th and 36th levels, with the hotel program sitting below. The 21st floor, where the building steps back, will include an outdoor terrace meant for use by building residents. The structure also features a triple-height ground floor lobby area with what looks like retail uses. The lobby is lifted on slender, pencil-tipped columns similar to those the architect used in the firm’s Modern Wing addition to the Art Institute of Chicago building. The lobby also features a pair of intervening mezzanine levels. The project proposes creating an “under ramp” park spanning one full side of the structure, underneath an adjacent elevated highway onramp. The building’s massing is split at roughly the centerline along that expanse, creating a wide reveal in the facade that, according to the planning documents, is meant to minimize the massing of the structure.
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Renzo Piano aims to revitalize a suburban shopping mall in Northern California

  For the last several years, Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) has been quietly working in the Northern California city of San Ramon on a scheme that aims to reinvent the suburban shopping mall as a new kind urban typology. The project, City Center Bishop Ranch, would create a new interpretation of the shopping mall in an affluent suburb located a 35-mile drive away from San Francisco by transforming it into a cultural and entertainment destination. The resulting 15-acre, 300,000-square foot shopping, dining, and entertainment district aims to become a new locus of intergenerational public interaction that, according to RPBW, is inherently missing from many suburban areas. The scheme attempts to subvert normative and typically linear New Urbanist-inspired main street revitalization approaches—streets that go “from nowhere to nowhere,” according to the project’s website—by creating a loop of porous commercial and social spaces on a large, planted site. RPBW argues that “main street” schemes typically push the functional aspects of commercial corridors like loading docks and parking structures away from storefront-activated street fronts, creating an impenetrable wall around these developments that stifles their integration into surrounding areas. RPBW’s response is a porous, pedestrianized mixed-use area with “no back doors” bounded by a porous perimeter that absorbs surrounding traffic, concealing automobiles into overhead parking garages. As such, renderings for the project depict a complex of three-story structures surrounded by leafy open space. The mall, carved into a cluster of buildings surrounding a central, open square, features glass-clad facades along ground floor areas, while second floor and third floor uses are wrapped in sheets of folded metal panels designed to deflect rays of the sun at specific angles. The project is currently under construction and to be completed in 2018. For more information on City Center Bishop Ranch, see the project website.
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Renzo Piano’s Jerome L. Greene Science Center of Columbia University edges closer to completion

Columbia University's building surge at its new Manhattanville campus appears to be on course as Renzo Piano's Jerome L. Greene Science Center edges closer to completion. The Italian architect with his firm, Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW), started design on the building in 2010. Piano was on hand to give a talk at the building yesterday, while Antoine Chaaya, a partner at RPBW, showed The Architect's Newspaper (AN) around. Despite iterating his distaste and "suspicion" for metaphors, Piano described the Jerome L. Greene Science Center as a "palace" and a "factory." "If it is a palace, then it is a palace of light—it is not obscure," he said at the event. "And if it is a factory ... then it is a factory exploring the secret of the mind, the brain, and behavior." Rising to nine stories, the 450,000-square-foot building will be home to Columbia's Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute. Approximately 900 scientists will occupy the facility making use of the flexible teaching facilities available. The ground floor, meanwhile, delves more into the public realm. In what Piano describes as an "urban layer," the design gives the public full access to the street level concourse. Here visitors will find a community Wellness Center (offering blood pressure and cholesterol screenings as well mental health and stroke prevention training), an Education Lab (offering public programs on brain science), shops, and restaurants. These public areas are accessible via a main walkway that allows volumetric divisions from within the building's massing to be seen. Also along this wide-birthing corridor, interactive installations—part of what they've called "The Synapse"—will showcase the research that is being carried out within the building. Amid community opposition to Columbia moving to the site, Piano said, “a well-crafted building is a good thing to do, it's a promise of something good. It's not just aesthetics—making things well is more than aesthetics—it's ethics.” Transparency and legibility then were important aspects of RPBW's design. Zoning for the "Special Manhattanville Mixed Use District", which RPBW worked with, Skidmore Owings & Merrill,  the city and Vice President of Manhattanville Development at Columbia University Marcelo Velez to develop, meant that public accessibility was a priority at ground level. "The transparency requirement for the district [stipulated] that at least 70 percent of the surface of the street wall (i.e. ground wall/urban layer) required glazing and at least 50 percent of the surface of the street wall requires the glazing to be transparent," Velez told AN. "This was so the public can be reassured that nothing sinister is going on within the scientific research building and act as a form of community engagement." The result of this saw RPBW's design, from a tectonic angle, respond to its environment in multiple ways. On all four sides, the facade sees extensive glass fenestration encased by an arrangement of exterior bracing and steel beams that run up through the structure. In doing so, the building makes a nod to the tectonics of the subway line (#1 train) and Riverside Drive highway that can be seen on the east and west sides respectively, while providing vistas all around and allowing the public to peer into the center. However, while the subway line and highway can be seen, they cannot be heard. The curtain walling system, found on the northeast and southeast sides, uses a 16-inch-thick cavity between layers of glass the exterior of which has been coated to minimize solar gain. Inside, blinds—part of an automated building management system—can be dropped down to counter glare issues. Echoing Piano's "factory" sentiment, Antoine Chaaya described the building as a "machine to show science" as he pointed out a silent #1 train passing by. The sense of openness is conveyed inside, too. Interior spaces are segmented by floor to ceiling windows (that offer blinds for privacy if needed). In these working, teaching, and meeting areas, indirect light (through uplighting in some cases) is used to illuminate the spaces, with direct daylight only being used for circulatory areas. Pedestrian interconnectivity was also a key area of focus said Velez, who worked on the master planning of the site. The Jerome L. Greene Science Center is due to open in spring next year, as is RPBW's Lenfest Center for the Arts which sits next to it. Other builds are also in the pipeline in the vicinity. The Columbia Business School—two buildings, one from Diller Scofidio + Renfro and the other from FXFowle—are set to open in 2021. Three others: The University Forum and Academic Conference Center; The Studebaker Building, and The Nash Building should be open by 2018. Saying how trees will line the pathways and walkways in the area, Velez thinks that the design parameters (such as zoning) and continuous pedestrian scale will result in the creation of a cohesive architectural language for the site.
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New images of Renzo Piano’s luxury Soho residential tower released

New images of Renzo Piano Building Workshop’s first residential building in New York City have surfaced, showing off the façade and a few of its amenities. The 30-story tower will be split into two spires, and will be located at 565 Broome Street in Soho. "565 Broome SoHo" will offer a total of 115 residences, including two duplex penthouses. The other units will range from studios to four-bedroom homes. The tower is being built with luxury in mind, and offers all the amenities one might expect from a top-tier residential building. In addition to a 55-foot-long indoor pool, sauna, and fitness center, tenants will be able to park their cars using a private driveway. All units will offer floor to ceiling windows and custom designed kitchen fixtures, and some will contain an outdoor living room and private pool. The building’s facade is being built with powder-coated aluminum and acoustic glass to keep out the noise of SoHo and the neighboring Financial District. Renzo Piano’s other buildings in New York include the Whitney Museum and the New York Times Building.
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Renzo Piano’s globe gets go-ahead from LA City Council

And… action. In a unanimous vote the LA City Council approved Renzo Piano’s plans for the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. The design, which includes a renovation of the AC Martin’s May Company Building on Wilshire and Fairfax avenues and the eye-popping addition of a 140-foot-diameter glass and steel globe sited behind the existing 1939 building, comes with at $300 million estimated construction cost and hopes to open in 2017. Located next to LACMA, the 290,000-square-foot museum is the third Piano project on the block. Its bold, spherical form (which will house a 1,000-seat theater) breaks character from the architect’s more low-key Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM) and the Resnick Pavilion on the LACMA campus. “I am thrilled that Los Angeles is gaining another architectural and cultural icon,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in a statement. “My office of economic development has worked directly with the museum’s development team to ensure that the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will create jobs, support tourism, and pay homage to the industry that helped define our identity as the creative capital of the world.” While the City Council’s 13-0 vote ensures that the building moves forward into permitting, the project has seen some bumps in the road. Last year, AN reported that Culver City firm SPF:a, which had been working with Piano on the project since 2012, was removed from the project. The question of traffic and parking in the neighborhood remains a hurdle. The Los Angeles Times reported that activist non-profit Fix the City, is “weighing legal action to stall development.” The organization cites an 860,000 visitor increase to the area as a burden on existing streets and parking lots. When constructed, the sure-to-be iconic Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will compete with the hot-rod facade of the Petersen Automotive Museum designed by KPF, now under construction across the street. Both designs will be trumped if and when Peter Zumthor’s Wilshire-crossing proposal for LACMA takes shape.
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Renzo Piano’s plans for a subterranean dinosaur park in England unchanged despite funding flop

Starchitect Renzo Piano has vowed to soldier on with mega-sized plans for a Jurassica Resort on England's island of Portland in the English Channel, despite being denied a $24.5 million bid for Heritage Lottery Funding (HLF). “The project is now continuing into development without an HLF development grant,” a spokesman for the project told Architect’s Journal. Jurassica’s backers said they will re-apply for the grant and are not acquiescing to appeals for a downsize. The brainchild of science journalist Mike Hanion, Jurassica Resort will be the world’s largest immersive prehistoric environment. Although designed with a museum’s vital organs, the facility itself is essentially a limestone quarry 132 feet-deep beneath a translucent glass roof supported by the quarry walls. The building itself is designed to be “more or less invisible.” Beneath the glass is a Jurassic-period coastal cove, where visitors will walk beneath towering cliffs, sea-stacks and arches covered in exotic trees, past a living reef festooned with corals and patrolled by sharks and stingray. Those with the tenacity can venture into a forested ravine where the “dinosaurs” rove. Animatronic dinosaur displays, an aquarium, and swimming plesiosaurs are just a few of the promised wonders. The subterranean dinosaur museum will be located on Dorset’s Jurassic coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site comprising a 95-mile stretch of cliff distilling 180 million years of geological history. “We will pick a specific period in prehistory and everything you see will be both realistic and an accurate representation of the plants and animals that were alive during that time,” said David Lazenby, Creative Director of Azureus Design, on board for the exhibit design. “The Jurassic Cove will not be a theme park display but a spectacular and precise snapshot in time that will bring the heritage of the Jurassic Coast to life.” Hanion believes the park could draw 800,000 visitors regularly and employ approximately 200 people. Yearly revenue of $30.3 million for the local economy has also been estimated. Project managers are intent on securing alternative funding, with the goal of opening Jurassica Resort by 2019 or 2020. “At £16 million ($24.5 million), public funds from HLF were always only part of our funding strategy for a project costing some £80 million (around $122.6 million),” said the spokesman. “We have applied to and will apply to scientific trusts and other grant-giving bodies both in the UK and overseas, and have already attracted financial support from business and HNWI based locally and nationally.”
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Renzo Piano designs a handbag replica of his new Whitney Museum of American Art

The new Whitney Museum of American Art is opening on Friday, May 1. (Get your sneak peek inside the museum over here!) But a whopping 28,000 ton museum isn't the only thing Renzo Piano has up his sleeve—he's also designed the must-have fashion accessory with which to be seen browsing art at Manhattan's newest Meatpacking District hotspot. Behold, the "Whitney Bag." The handbag was officially unveiled last week at a star-studded event atop the Standard hotel, which features sweeping views of the new Whitney. The limited edition bag is being launched in conjunction with the opening of the museum, and Renzo Piano collaborated on the bag's design with MaxMara creative director Ian Griffiths. Staying true to his design ethos, Piano's first handbag features clean lines and distinct detailing. In an interview with MaxMara, Piano said the purse design is directly linked to the building. "The initial idea was very clear right from the start: our aim was to apply one of the most characteristic elements of the museum project – the facade—to the bag: hence the idea of the modular strips enveloping the exterior," Piano said. Griffiths told NY Mag's The Cut blog at the launch, "I just hope that in 20 years' time, the bag is as much of an icon as this building." Piano added that the Whitney Bag would likely remain his only handbag design. "This is our first such experience, and I believe it will remain the only one," he said. "We decided to take up the proposal by Max Mara because it was closely connected to the Whitney Museum of American Art and its upcoming opening to the public, and also with the intention of dedicating the profits to the Renzo Piano Foundation to finance its cultural and educational projects." The Whitney Bag will be available in two sizes and four colors, but only 250 of the signature grey-blue bag inspired by the color of the museum are being made (and are reportedly sold out).
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Pictorial> Here’s your first glimpse inside Renzo Piano’s new Whitney Museum

On May 1, the southern terminus of the High Line will have a true anchor tenant. Renzo Piano's towering new Whitney Museum for American Art will throw open its glass doors—or at least unlock the revolving ones—as tourists and eager New Yorkers alike throng in for a look around the highly anticipated gallery spaces. Until then, here's a peek at the the museum, inside and out, from a press junket on Thursday. Inside, a lobby space clad on three sides in a crystal-clear glass curtain wall fills the museum with natural light. The museum's restaurant, Untitled, and its gift store flow seamlessly through the space. Elevators whisk visitors to the galleries above. At the top, a series of skylights diffuse light into gallery spaces and a large outdoor terrace extends from another cafe. A series of highly detailed catwalks provides views of the High Line, New York's skyline, and the museum itself. The overlapping outdoor spaces connected by stairways will surely be a highlight of many high-design soirees in years to come. Moving through the galleries, the museum's white walls and grey metal grids are contrasted with a light natural wood floor. An internal stairway featuring a waterfall of cascading light bulbs guides visitors down through the museum. Take a look at the gallery below for a look of AN's tour through the Whitney on Thursday. Watch for your next print issue of The Architect's Newspaper, where we'll publish our full critique of the museum and delve into its history. [All images by Branden Klayko / AN.]
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Eavesdrop> Renzo Piano to deliver high design with a low-minded name in Des Moines

Downtown Des Moines, Iowa, courted an all-star list of architecture firms for a new $92 million corporate headquarters that has the unfortunate baggage of being helmed by the world’s most cringe-inducingly named and spelled convenience store chain, Kum & Go. BIG, Morphosis, SOM, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, and Safdie Architects all competed for what CEO Kyle Krause is calling Des Moines’ next landmark. And that landmark is going to be designed by the Piano man himself. According to the Des Moines Register, the convenience store was attracted to Piano's "ability to emphasize collaboration, transparency and light." The new building will be located between 14th and 15th streets north of the Pappajohn Sculpture Park, and locals hope the new building will take a back seat to the art on display that includes works by the likes of Jaume Plensa. The headquarters will house 300 employees in some 120,000 square feet and is expected to be complete in 2017. "What we want to do is create the best environment for our associates," Krause told the Register. "Architecturally, sure, they'll do a great job, but it's really about that inside space and what you can create inside the building that is best for our people." He added that Piano is "a great down-to-earth guy who we think can create the space that creates the transparency, the collaboration, the openness for our people to have a nice work space." Eavesdrop can’t be the only one who feels uncomfortable gassing up at this midwestern roadside retailer—but maybe a work of starchitecture can change our minds.