When outgoing executive editor Aaron Seward handed me the reins to the Southwest edition of The Architect’s Newspaper, it was an exciting moment. I have always had an affinity for the southwest: Its specificity of place has a different kind of attraction than the over-run, predictable architecture of larger cities. Some of this is the freedom and experimentation that open space offers, but there is also a local and environmental sensitivity that runs deep. The architecture of the southwest has its own agenda, often very linked to the natural environment. Fort Worth’s Kimbell Art Museum by Louis Kahn with its new pavilion by Renzo Piano derives much of its form through a response to the searing (and art-illuminating) Texas sun. New Age constructions of places like Crestone, Colorado, and Taos, New Mexico, embody the mystique of the desert in their Zen centers and Buddhist temples, while the passive solar technologies and houses made of tires take on their environments with a radical respect for nature. These aspirations are not particular to the southwest, but the southwest does them very well. Which is why two recent projects piqued my interest. The first is the recently opened Inde/Jacobs gallery by Swedish architects Claesson Koivisto Rune (CKR) in Marfa, Texas. The building takes cues from its context, which is the legacy of minimalist art. The solution is a smart and elegantly detailed series of galleries and outdoor spaces that produce effects inspired by the likes of Donald Judd. Gallery walls float above a concrete floor, while on the exterior, windows and door shrink, making the building appear smaller. To some, CKR’s approach might seem slightly fetishized and lacking the profundity of Judd et al., but the nuance of such a strategy at least partially captures the unique spirit of the place and delivers a narrative through effects, just like the minimal works that are displayed in its gallery. Across the West Texas border, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a different story is unfolding. Another world-class institution, SITE Santa Fe, recently unveiled a new building that includes additional galleries, a 250-seat auditorium and event space, educational facilities, and a “SITElab.” The design architects are New York’s prolific SHoP Architects. It is a peculiar choice, given that ShoP’s best building is the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn and its specialty is developer-driven condominium towers. Of course there are two philosophies to hiring architects: Some prefer locals, while others bring in fresh blood. In places that don’t have tons of high-profile architecture, either choice can produce interesting architecture. The SHoP design, however, does not do its incredible context justice. The building is essentially the fourth and fifth floors of a Midtown Manhattan super-tall luxury building, cropped on the corner to look like L.A.’s Broad Museum, and cloaked in a perforated metal skin that would be more at home in Manhattan than even the most industrial parts of Santa Fe. While it is hard to refute the designers’ preconstruction claim about how the skin will filter light, it is not hard to see the vapid metaphor that they have tried to incorporate in the facade. According to a press release, it is derived from “Navajo weaving patterns,” which translates to triangles. Of course, this is what we could have expected from SHoP, which hasn’t really completed a high-profile cultural project at this level since the early 2000s. Perhaps it is a product of scaling up and scaling back down, or maybe it is an attempt to bring New York to Santa Fe. But with a place that has a natural and cultural environment so rich for architectural intervention, the new SITE Santa Fe leaves a lot to be desired. It has none of the desert weirdness or phenomenological respect for nature that other great southwest architecture has. Richard Gluckman’s original SITE building renovation kept a tastefully low profile, deferring to the remote locale. Greg Lynn’s bubble entrance was part alien, part trailer—a bizarre desert object. As for the new SITE, perhaps it is just SHoP being SHoP, and bringing a little slice of glitzy, New York-caliber, totalizing gentrification to the sublime desert landscape. Paradoxically, that might be super interesting, but I doubt it.
Posts tagged with "SHoP Architects":
This past Tuesday, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) unanimously approved developer Howard Hughes’ plan to convert the landmarked South Street Seaport Tin Building—which most recently housed the Fulton Fish Market until 2005—into a seafood market headed by chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. The developer, who hired New York City-based SHoP Architects, is expected to move the building approximately 18 feet south and restore damage sustained during the 2012 Hurricane Sandy and a fire in 1995. “The move is being carried out for several reasons, according to the developer. First, it will allow them to make the building more flood resilient,” says Curbed New York. “Second it will be moved slightly away from the FDR Drive. This will no longer obstruct the view of the building, and the increased plaza space in front will make it more appealing to customers.” Last spring, Crain’s New York Business reported that emails sent between city officials revealed talk of demolishing the Tin Building and the nearby New Market Building due to deteriorating piles. Controversy continues to surround South Street Seaport: construction is well underway on the 250,00-square-foot Pier 17 retail and rooftop park project, also developed by Hughes, designed by SHoP, but the subject of Landmark Commission modifications. As cities face growing populations and neighborhoods hold increasing quantities of older building stock, preservationists and developers will continue to butt heads over oftentimes differing definitions of value. Some cities favor the revived practice of façadism as a happy medium that preserves the shells of lower story buildings while allowing for new, larger developments above. Yet others see this trend as an inauthentic compromise that inadequately speaks to the nature and scale of these historic structures.
Fourteen acres next to Philadelphia’s 30th Street train station will be transformed into a $3.5 billion “innovation neighborhood” designed to mix education, housing and entrepreneurship, under plans unveiled this week. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Schuylkill Yards is the name of the mixed-use project, which will add up to eight million square feet of offices, labs, and housing in new and recycled buildings next to the third busiest passenger rail station in the country. Drexel University, which assembled the land and envisioned the project, announced this week that it has selected Brandywine Realty Trust of Philadelphia to be the master developer and its joint venture partner in the project. SHoP Architects and the Dutch firm West 8 are working on the master plan. SHoP will handle the district planning and development of the architectural standards, and West 8 will be responsible for creating the public realm and development of the landscape standards. Renderings unveiled this week show a combination of high-rise and low-rise buildings on a 10-acre site next to Drexel’s main campus, Amtrak’s 30th Street Station, and Brandywine’s Cira Centre development. “Schuylkill Yards will undeniably transform Philadelphia’s skyline as new towers rise on the west side of the Schuylkill River,” said Gerard H. Sweeney, president and CEO of Brandywine Realty Trust. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Proposed uses in this “collaborative neighborhood” include entrepreneurial spaces, educational facilities and research laboratories, corporate offices, residential and retail spaces, hospitality and cultural venues, and public open spaces. While the community is being designed for a wide range of users, from educational and medical institutions to residents and businesses, developers say the common theme will be the pursuit of innovation “Drexel has always believed there’s a superior use for this unique location — essentially the 50 yard line of the Eastern Seaboard — as a neighborhood built around collaboration and innovation. That’s why the University assembled these parcels, and the time is right to put this vision into action,” said Drexel President John A. Fry. “Schuylkill Yards is more than a large-scale development; it will be the heart of America’s next great urban innovation district.” The developers say this is a long-term investment in Philadelphia and its University City neighborhood, and it’s aimed at people who want to live or work in the area and have easy access to the train station. Besides its proximity to 30th Street Station, Schuylkill Yards will have connections to Philadelphia’s international airport. The master plan calls for a new gateway to Drexel and University City, a real estate submarket with a high concentration of education and medical institutions. Construction of Schuylkill Yards will take place in multiple phases over the course of approximately 20 years. As master developer, Brandywine, will oversee a team that includes Gotham Organization leading the residential development, and Longfellow Real Estate Partners leading the life sciences component. When completed, developers say, the site will contain a mix of repurposed existing buildings and new towers connected by a “diverse network of public spaces.” The development will begin with the creation of Drexel Square, a 1.3 acre park at 30th and Market streets, directly across from Amtrak’s 30th Street Station. In addition, they say, the historic former Bulletin Building will be reimagined by transforming its east facade with “inside/out viewports and a dynamic front screen.” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said the project represents “one of the most valuable assemblages of real estate” in the nation. “Schuylkill Yards is a big step forward in University City’s transition to a next-generation business district,” he said. “It will provide our region’s current and future innovators with a central hub for collaboration and signal to the world that Philadelphia is ready for business in the 21st century’s new economy.” Schuylkill Yards “will bring new, innovative businesses and residents to Pennsylvania, and the potential economic impact is tremendous,” said Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, “Those who choose to make Schuylkill Yards their home will have access to many of the most innovative companies, organizations and educational institutions in our state.”
SHoP, Snøhetta, and Adjaye named finalists for the National Veterans Resource Complex at Syracuse University
London-based Adjaye Associates, New York–based SHoP, and Oslo/New York–based Snøhetta have been announced as design finalists for Syracuse University’s new National Veterans Resource Complex (NVRC). Selected out of 28 other firms, the three finalists will now visit and engage with the university and veteran community to develop proposals for the multi-use facility. The NVRC will be home to the University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) as well as the school's Regional Student Veteran Resource Center, the Army Reserve Officers Training Corps, the Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps, the National Center of Excellence for Veteran Business Ownership, Veterans Business Outreach Center and Accelerator, as well as the University’s Office of Veteran and Military Affairs. The building will be programmed with classrooms, a conference center, gallery space, and a 1,000 seat auditorium to facilitate local and national veteran-focused events. The site of the project is tentatively set for the western end of the Waverly block, which will be visited by each office in the coming weeks. Their visits will also include meeting with the campus community to discuss the possibilities of the project in preparation for the presentation of their final design proposals in April. Also planned for March, the Syracuse University School of Architecture will facilitate lectures by each of the firms. In a statement David Adjaye discussed the relation of his practice to the goals of the University and the NVRC, “Syracuse University’s ambition to make the NVRC a combined educational and community centre as well as a national hub for America’s 22.8 million veterans and their families resonates deeply with my own commitment to architecture that empowers communities and has global resonance.” Both SHoP and Snøhetta remarked on the honor of working on a project for the veteran community. William Sharples, principle at SHoP, noted, "The NVRC at Syracuse University will occupy a special place in the life of the city, the campus, and the community of veterans nationwide it is intended to serve. Everyone at SHoP is honored to be a part of this process." Craig Dykers, founding partner of Snøhetta echoed Sharples, “The poet RJ Heller once wrote, ‘In the aftermath we are because they were.’ Courage is contagious and being a part of this process at Syracuse to benefit our veterans in a groundbreaking new facility is exciting and humbling for all of us at Snøhetta. This is more than a handshake: we are doing something revolutionary for those whose origins are from the same stuff.” Along with competing to design the NVRC, each of these three offices is also contending to design the Obama Presidential Library in Chicago.
Thanks to high rents, New York City is losing one of its longtime modular construction companies at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. And the news could send ripples through the city's prefab construction scene. Capsys, a pre-fab builder founded in 1996, was paying $4 per square foot for its space in the Navy Yard, far below what other tenants were paying. The going rent, $20 per square foot, for manufacturing space at the Navy Yard is already set below market to retain firms that would otherwise not be able to afford to do business in the city. Upon learning in 2010 that their longterm lease was not being renewed, Capsys went hunting for new space. The advantage of local prefab construction is cost and quality control. Building are constructed at the factory by (usually) nonunion workers. Architects can check in on the projects, correcting any flaws before the pieces are shipped. Although rents are lower in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, being based locally cuts down on expensive overland shipping costs. Recently, though, new regulations require modular units to have an (expensive) police escort when the units are ferried to construction sites. For almost ten years, Capsys was the only modular builder in the Navy Yard until Forest City Ratner moved its operations there. With new owners of Forest City's Pacific Park, it looks like Forest City's modular building operations may close, though this could be due less to rising rents and more to design issues that incur costs. The shortcomings of Pacific Park's B2, the SHoP Architects–designed world's tallest modular tower, have been widely documented. Capsys has designed 55 micro-apartments for Carmel Place (the building formerly known as adAPT NYC), and Alexander Gorlin's Nehemiah townhouses, among other projects. When the company closes shop, Capsys will sell its intellectual property to a Pennsylvania company.
While everyone was distracted by Monday's BIG news on the High Line, SHoP unveiled a three-tower complex on the waterfront in Long Island City, Queens. The tallest tower, at 45-40 Vernon Boulevard, will be 28 stories, with 296 residential units. The three towers will ring the Anable Basin, a human-made inlet off of the East river. The towers will sit ten blocks northeast of SHoP's Hunters Point South, a two-building, 900-unit development with 20,000 square feet of retail, where tenants love Airbnb-ing their taxpayer-subsidized pads. The development is part of a master plan to revive the Anable Basin (also known at the Eleventh Street Basin), site of the former Pepsi-Cola bottling plant, with public waterfront access and a refurbished pier. The towers, real estate blog 6sqft reports, will mostly replace the current building on site, 69,550 square foot Paragon Paint Factory, now defunct. The site, currently zoned for manufacturing, will require a zoning variance to build residential. There will also need to be environmental remediation performed on the land. The tallest, central tower partially cannibalizes the rear of the factory, rising into a decidedly non-industrial 300-foot-tall glass wall. Future residents will have expansive views of Manhattan and the East River. The two smaller towers, at 45-24 Vernon Boulevard and along 45th Road, will be copper clad at the base with angled windows on the upper stories to maximize views of the cityscape. The towers will rise 14 stories and eight stories, respectively. No word yet on the project's groundbreaking or expected completion date.
On Tuesday, the LIC Post reported that some residents who received units through the affordable housing lottery in a (SHoP-designed) Hunters Point South high-rise are renting out their units on Airbnb. Market rate tenants expressed righteous indignation, and poor-shamed their neighbors for "gaming the system." In New York City, renting out your rented place on Airbnb is illegal, but is it really wrong? A Hunters Point South Commons tenant named Nathalye listed her two bedroom apartment on the site for $50o per night, plus a service and cleaning fee. Two other units in the development's two buildings were listed for rent, as well. Designated affordable units in the Related Companies development range from $494 to $1,997 for a studio, and $743 to $4,346 for a three-bedroom, depending on household earnings. The New York Post asked building resident Chris Dyer for his take on tenants renting out their affordable units: “they should be super grateful because so many people applied to try to get in, and they should not be taking advantage of the situation. I think those people should be held accountable and kicked out of their lease.” Proponents of sites like Airbnb claim that the site fills an unmet need for less expensive accommodations in a city where the average hotel room costs $297 per night. Opponents note that Airbnb inflates housing costs in the long run and displaces lower-income residents. It's easy to invoke tropes of the "worthy poor" to shame affordable housing tenants who earn extra income through Airbnb. In May, Gothamist outlined the subsidies and incentives that this (mostly market rate) development received: "While Related is not receiving 421-a subsidies for the Hunter's Point South apartments, [the developer] told us that his company is benefiting from a 'one-off' deal, which includes a 40-year tax break agreement (details were not disclosed). As an affordable housing project, the project also got $185 million in tax-exempt bonds from Cuomo, $236 million in said bonds from the Housing Development Corporation, and $68 million in subsidies from Housing Preservation and Development." A full discussion of ethics and affordability is outside the scope of this short post. But, in a city that's increasingly unaffordable for all but the very rich, it's worth asking: are tenants in affordable units so very different from market rate neighbors units or homeowners using Airbnb to make a buck?
It's a big week for big Brooklyn skyscrapers. Yesterday, SHoP Architects and Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates unveiled plans for towers within a block of each other, in the Brooklyn Tech Triangle. KPF is developing the 400,000 square foot office and retail project at 420 Albee Square in partnership with JEMB Realty and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC). At 600 feet tall, the tower will be 400 feet shorter than SHoP's, but it will still reign as Brooklyn's second tallest building. Plans for tall towers in Brooklyn are years in the making. In 2004, the Downtown Brooklyn Development Plan rezoned the district bounded by Flatbush Avenue, Fulton Mall, and Willoughby Avenue to spur the development of office space and academic facilities (the area includes parts of the Brooklyn Tech Triangle). Blocks adjacent to this commercial core were rezoned to accommodate denser residential development and ground floor retail. The city has invested $300 million in open space and infrastructure improvements in the Tech Triangle. In a statement, KPF claims that 420 Albee Square is the "first ground-up construction of commercial space since the re-zoning." The effects of the zoning changes in the city's third largest commercial district are especially noticeable on Fulton Mall, where longtime businesses catering to low- and middle-income shoppers are being replaced (homogenized, some say) by upscale national chains. The NYCEDC claims that, to remain competitive, the city needs 60 million square feet of office space built by 2025. How the additional office space catalyzes change in downtown Brooklyn remains to be seen.
In August, AN speculated that a super skinny, supertall tower was coming to Brooklyn. Now, real estate watchblog YIMBY has uncovered a design by SHoP Architects for the 90-story, 1,000-foot-tall tower slated for Downtown Brooklyn. The tower, at 340 Flatbush Avenue Extension, will have 550 residential units and 140,000 square feet of commercial space. A representative from SHoP, however, stated that the "current rendering circulating is preliminary and outdated. We cannot provide additional material at this moment." The project's tentative completion date is set for early 2019. JDS Development is financing the project. Sound familiar? SHoP and JDS partnership are currently collaborating on the 1,428-foot-tall condominium tower rising at 111 West 57th Street. Two important structures share the same block. The (landmarked) Dime Savings Bank, at 9 Dekalb Avenue, was purchased for $90 million from JP Morgan Chase as part of the development package. The bank will be incorporated into the scheme of the structure, though SHoP has not revealed how this will happen. The other structure, Junior's restaurant, sits at the prow of Flatbush and Dekalb, but cheesecake fans can relax: after turning down a $45 million offer from an unnamed developer last year, the owners are unlikely to accept a buyout.
On October 20, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) approved the Howard Hughes Corporation and SHoP Architects' re-visioning of the South Street Seaport's Pier 17—with one crucial change. The developers will comply with the LPC's request to remove a glass pergola shading the rooftop lawn. The 250,000-square-foot, $200 million Pier 17 retail mall and public space is the anchor of the Seaport makeover. Though the LPC approved the design in 2013 (and construction has begun), the LPC review last week was precipitated by the addition of the pergola and the demolition of the adjacent Link Building, two unapproved aspects of the initial development plan. When the pier plan was introduced in August, the LPC raised concerns about the pergola. Neighbors' fears were classic NIMBY: residents worried that covering the lawn would draw bigger crowds to the Seaport's popular concerts and events. Though the LPC can't regulate city vistas, neighbors also voiced concerns that the pergola would block views of the Brooklyn Bridge. Now, residents will enjoy unobstructed—or at least less obstructed—views of the bridge, as well the last coup from the LPC meeting: modified paving on the site's access road. The road is an extension of Fulton Street that will encircle the front of the pier. Instead of asphalt, visitors will tread on precast concrete pavers. Though the Pier 17 deal seems like a relatively utopian public-private compromise, controversy over the overall development looms. Neighbors and preservationists have greeted SHoP's planned, 42 story, 500 tower with vociferous opposition. While the tower is not in a historic district, and thus outside the LPC's purview, the community continues to debate the project. Another major (and potentially contentious) project in the area is the S. Russell Groves–designed, 60 story skyscraper at 151 Maiden Lane, announced in September. The typology of the South Street Seaport reflects its status as one of New York's oldest districts. Like all historic neighborhoods, it must contend with the priorities of a densifying city. It remains to be seen how SHoP's plan, and other nearby redevelopments, impact the district's function and character.
Vishaan Chakrabarti departs SHoP to begin his own practice, the Partnership for Architecture and Urbanism
Architect and planner Vishaan Chakrabarti has had some crazy ideas over the years. In the past he has worked to convert an old Post Office adjacent to Penn Station into the monumental Moynihan Station and helped shape a loopy scheme to transform the former Domino Sugar Factory on Brooklyn's Williamsburg Waterfront. In 2013, he even spearheaded a proposal to extend Manhattan island to connect it with Governors Island and project a new plot of land into New York Harbor. It's fair to say that Chakrabarti thinks big. Today, Chakrabarti announced his latest big idea: his own architecture firm called the Partnership for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU). "All architects have something in them says they want to start their own firm," Chakrabarti told AN on Thursday. "I certainly thought about it in the past. I realized if I didn’t do this now I wouldn’t do it." He hopes PAU can return relevance to a profession that the public has relegated to "navel gazing." Rather than viewing buildings as shiny objects, PAU will look at how they interact with cities and across disciplines, accounting for the building user's experience and that of passers by. Chakrabarti has assembled a diverse and prestigious resume, working at top posts in the public and private sector. He started his career at SOM. Six years later he was named head at the Manhattan office of the Department of City Planning under Dan Doctoroff where he worked on projects like the High Line. Later he joined development firm the Related Companies, where he was named Executive Vice President of Design and Planning. The list goes on. Chakrabarti served as Director of the Columbia Center for Urban Real Estate in 2009 and is an Associate Professor of Professional Practice at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (GSAPP). In 2012, he joined up with the skyrocketing firm SHoP Architects in the midst of several mega-projects including a number of skyscrapers and Essex Crossing. He published his book, A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for Urban America, in 2014, expounding a manifesto of urban living. "For me, PAU is really an opportunity to synthesize all of that experience into one direction," Chakrabarti said. "To bring to bear all I have learned—it’s a great chance to bring all that experience together." He plans to draw on both his planning and architecture background to create a more holistic firm. "I think this is a healthy and important thing for the future of architecture, to understand the context in which we practice," he said. "It’s about speaking multiple languages." In his work, teachings, and writing, Chakrabarti has been a staunch supporter of cities and the urban density that makes them tick. PAU, set to be based in New York City, will focus on those cities. "You’ll see a very strong focus on cosmopolitan architecture and strategic urbanism—how we’ll have an impact that’s very directly associated with cities," he said. "That division—architecture and planning—is what makes cities work," he continued. "It used to be that the professions were joined at the hip. You could think of architecture as an outcome of innovative planning. That’s no longer the case." PAU will concentrate on architecture and strategic planning, including master planning, advocacy, and urban design. The firm's first clients include Google's Sidewalk Labs, a new project with Two Trees Management, and a new cultural building in Manhattan. Chakrabarti said he couldn't disclose concrete details about those projects and noted that his firm would begin unveiling them in coming months. Describing his work with Sidewalk Labs, Chakrabarti said his work will prioritize "the future of the city and technology and how technology can create innovation and make our lives better by elevating quality of life. It thinks about everything from changes to the automobile to changes in how we use services in the city." PAU's cultural commission "will talk about the future of how culture interacts with the city and integrates with the urban experience." He added, "It's not just another black box." PAU will initially focus on metropolitan areas in North America. "I’m very interested in the betterment of the American city," he said. "Mayor’s around the country have really caught on to this—that design is a critical piece of attracting human capital and making cities better places." Chakrabarti said the firm may eventually work internationally, but with strong caveats against working in nations that abuse labor or are not transparent and accountable.