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.
Posts tagged with "Renzo Piano":
With 2014 quickly receding into history, here's a look at what blog posts AN's readers clicked on most last month. Big international stories, many with starchitects attached, abounded in New York, London, Los Angeles, Helsinki, and Rio de Janeiro. All of December's top stories point toward the future, with many under-construction projects that will be sure to dominate additional headlines this year. Here's a glimpse at what was in the news. 1. Here’s how Santiago Calatrava’s New York City transit hub got its enormous $4 billion price tag. With the final rafter installed on Santiago Calatrava’s World Trade Center Transit Hub the New York Times has done a deep-dive on how, exactly, the long-delayed structure ended up costing close to $4 billion. Read more. 2. Bjarke Ingels joins Foster and Gehry for Battersea Power Station redevelopment. Bjarke Ingels is slated to join elder architectural statesmen Norman Foster and Frank Gehry at the Battersea Power Station in London. The multi-billion dollar, mixed-use redevelopment was originally master planned by, yes, another starchitect, Rafael Viñoly. Read more. 3. LA’s Westside Urban Forum hands Renzo Piano, Peter Zumthor Darth Vader Awards. It’s good to see some good old-fashioned roasting, and that’s what the Westside Urban Forum’s WUFFIES awards are all about. Read more. 4. One of these six firms will design the new Guggenheim Helsinki. Over 1,700 proposals were submitted in the Guggenheim Foundation’s open-call competition to design a new museum in Helsinki—and now, just six teams remain. Read more. 5. Zaha Hadid’s first Brazilian project ups the level of luxury on Rio’s beachfront. Zaha Hadid will lend her futuristic style to the strip along the Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, with an 11-story luxury condo building, dubbed Casa Atlântica—the first project in Brazil for the London-based architect. Read more.
It’s good to see some good old-fashioned roasting, and that’s what the Westside Urban Forum’s WUFFIES awards are all about. This year’s event, held earlier this month at the Los Angeles Times of all places, was full of the usual snipes on botched RFPs and difficult County Supervisors. But it also got in some good jibes at architecture’s expense. Our favorite: the Darth Vader Award, which went both to Peter Zumthor’s foreboding, jet black LACMA expansion and to Renzo Piano’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Museum with its helmet-looking theater bulging out of the old May Company Building.
Just six miles north of Renzo Piano’s highly-anticipated, High Line–adjacent, Whitney Museum, two other projects birthed from the same Italian brain are moving forward: Columbia University’s Jerome L. Greene Science Center and the Lenfest Center for the Arts. Speaking of brains, the nine-story, glass-encased Science Center is the future home of the Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Initiative. Construction-watcher Field Condition recently visited the building which is now almost entirely wrapped in glass. Behind that nearly-completed glass curtain wall, Field Condition reported that framing, piping, ductwork, and sheetrock installation are ongoing. Next to that Piano-designed glass box is the new Center for the Arts, another glassy Piano creation that has recently topped out. Both the Science Center and Center for the Arts are slated to open in 2016, making them two of the first buildings in Columbia's bourgeoning Manhattanville campus.
It’s such a shame that we live in areas so full of secrecy. Why won’t Hollywood stars in Los Angeles or tech moguls in San Francisco let architects spread the word about their million dollar houses? Sure we hear dribs and drabs. For instance that Sergei Brin and a major executive at Yahoo! have both commissioned San Francisco architect Olle Lundberg to design their new abodes. But these tidbits are far too infrequent. So we at Eavesdrop are making a plea for you to share gossip on who is designing for the most famous people you can think of. We promise, we won’t divulge our sources. And we won’t partner with Us Weekly. Probably. And speaking of secrets, we hear that there’s a secret service facility a few floors above the new offices of Gensler at City National Plaza. How did we find out? They were protecting Vice President Joe Biden when he came to town… And Renzo Piano seemed to divulge his own secret feelings about his Academy Museum in Los Angeles to the LA Times recently: “I don’t think it will be that bad… Actually, I’m struggling to do something good.” Faint praise for himself, don’t you think?
With his 1,016-foot-tall glassy skyscraper, aptly dubbed "The Shard", towering above London, and his 17-story office tower, nicknamed the "baby Shard" open nearby, it's only fitting that Renzo Piano wants to complete the Shardian Trilogy. This week, he came one step closer to accomplishing that with unanimous approval for a 26-story residential tower called "The Shardette." No, that is not at all the real name. For the record, it is called the Fielden House project. The UK-based Building magazine reported that the project was given the go-ahead after Piano's team updated its design. According to the publication, planners had flagged issues with cladding materials, rooftop design, public space components, and sightlines to the historic Southwark Cathedral. New renderings show that behind the tower's glassy, very Piano-style exterior, is masonry cladding which differentiates the structure from the superlative tower next door. At the street level is a public plaza and a two-story glass and steel podium that contains space for retail. “The proposed new public spaces and landscaping to be delivered by this mixed use development, were strongly supported and praised by the councillors in the meeting,” Renzo Piano Building Workshop said in a statement. “The public realm improvements will have a significant contribution to the area and when completed in 2018, together with the new London Bridge station, will complete the regeneration of London Bridge.” Construction is slated to start on the project by the end of next year with completion in 2018.
Thirty-four months have gone by since the Scott Johnson–designed Museum Tower hove into view and the Nasher Sculpture Center is still, er, gnashing its teeth. Every afternoon at around three o’clock glaring sunlight reflects off of the condo’s mirror like glass curtain wall, invading the Renzo Piano–designed skylit galleries, burning holes in the lawn, defoliating the trees, and no doubt increasing the air conditioning bill. Thirty-four months and nothing has been done to make it right, until June. After a three-hour closed-door meeting, board members of the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System, which was a prime investor in Museum Tower, voted to oust top staffer Richard Tettamant, who is widely associated with the Fund’s reluctance to clean up its mess. Furthermore, according to Jill Magnuson, the Nasher’s director of external affairs, the Fund has convened a committee to explore a solution to the reflection problem.
The surprises keep coming at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). After learning that the museum plans to shift its proposed Peter Zumthor–designed building southward (partially bridging Wilshire Boulevard) to avoid damaging the La Brea Tar Pits, now comes news that the museum is hoping to partner with LA's transit agency, METRO, to build a tower across the street. LACMA Director Michael Govan's choice for an architect? Frank Gehry. "That's my dream," Govan told the LA Times' Christopher Hawthorne. "I'm jealous that New York has a Gehry tower and we don't." The tower would be located near Wilshire and Fairfax, near the site of the current A+D Architecture + Design Museum, which is being torn down to make way for a staging ground for Metro's Purple Line expansion. Ironically Govan said he hopes to build his own Architecture and Design wing there. No word on the tower's design or height, or on whether it will even happen. But Gehry has acknowledged discussing the plan with Govan. "I'm open to it," he told Hawthorne. So far Govan and Gehry have been unavailable for comment to AN. There are so many obstacles standing in the way of these grand schemes. But a post on LACMA's blog points out that if they go ahead, one block of LA's Miracle Mile will contain designs by three Pritzker Prize winners— Gehry, Zumthor, and Renzo Piano, who not only designed two new buildings for LACMA, but is designing (now solo) the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences museum.
Major museums are really expensive these days, and boy do we like to complain about it (actually we get into most museums for free with a press pass, but we still love to complain about it)! Well gather ‘round dear readers, because we’ve got a bit of nice news for once. The new Renzo Piano–designed Whitney Museum is offering free admission for a year to all the men and women who are building their new Meatpacking location. It’s a nice counter to all the bad news about labor conditions at major cultural and educational institutions in the Middle East (we’re looking at you, NYU).
Peeping Toms, bust out the kazoos. Your field day has arrived—and it comes equipped with party favors. The Shard, designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, is London’s tallest skyscraper and, as of last week, home to a new luxury hotel. The rooms include breathtaking views of the city—and, thanks to a design flaw, unscrupulous views of unsuspecting neighbors. Glass panels on the Shard’s exterior bestow the building with a crystalline front and its namesake. But at night, the city’s lights turn the glass into mirrors that fully reflect guest bedrooms into each other. Complementary binoculars (“for the view,” ahem) don’t help matters. Nor do puns about the naked eye. Masking a blush? Rest easy—susceptible rooms include shades for extra privacy.
[beforeafter] [/beforeafter] In sad but spectacular gossip news, we’ve been informed that Culver City firm SPF:a has been removed from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences' new museum project in Los Angeles. SPF:a principal Zoltan Pali had been working with Renzo Piano on the project since 2012. The design for what is now called the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures includes a renovation of AC Martin’s Streamline Moderne May Company Building (1939) on Wilshire and Fairfax avenues and a new 140-foot-diameter glass and steel globe sited behind the existing building, which would contain, among other things, a 1,000-seat theater. The Academy has declined to comment on the matter, and AN has so far been unable to reach SPF:a. After first receiving the commission, Pali told AN, “It is a full collaboration in every aspect. We work together very well. I love working with Renzo.”
Renzo Piano’s Nasher Sculpture Center was designed with natural sunlight in mind. A roof covered by pierced aluminum screens allows dappled light to enter its art galleries in subtle warmth. The outdoor sculpture garden is open to the elements and a specifically-planted landscape by Peter Walker reaps the benefits of the Texan sun. Since its construction in 2005, the museum has become an icon of the Dallas Arts District. In 2011, a 42-story condominium building went up across the street, banking on the popularity of Piano’s art haven. While the glazed curved glass facade of “Museum Tower” offers million dollar views of the museum below, it burns the artworks and plants with a directed glare. Now, a pair of New York–based architects might have a solution. A bitter debate between the buildings has ensued; but New York–based design studios REX and Front Studio Architects have been commissioned to propose a solution. Situated over the dividing street, Surya, a 400 foot tall light-responsive sunshade sculpture, will balance the Nasher’s need for shade and the Tower’s client promise of a clear view of Piano’s architecture. Tracking the movement of the sun on Museum Tower, the firms have determined when the glare on the art center is at its peak intensity. The Surya sculpture is a free-form thin aluminum ring, its shape determined by ability to block the most reflected light while being the least intrusive on views from the built environment. Spokes to the sculpture’s center support sun-reactive panels, which expand under harsh glare and retract in normal conditions. The sculpture will prevent continued sunlight damage to the works and gardens of the Nasher Sculpture Center, and is hoped to end museum-goers’ constant need for sunglasses. In the debate over which party should take action—the museum or the owners of the neighboring tower—it seems that Museum Tower has made a concrete step for resolve. The Dallas Police and Fire Pension Fund, the Tower’s developer, appointed REX and Front to invent the Surya design and to construct it in the physical middle ground between the two structures.