Posts tagged with "skyscraper":

Pyongyang’s giant pyramid puts on a massive light show

A video released by Facebook page North Korea Girls 북조선녀성 reveals that an enormous LED light wall that has been added to the massive pyramidal Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea. In the minute-long video posted Monday, seemingly taken from a car passing by the hotel, the facade of the hotel was lit with flashing animations of lotus flowers, ornate landscapes, spinning lights, and ending with a political statue standing in front of a backdrop of colorful fireworks. The social media page North Korea Girls is a community in Pyongyang, Korea. Affiliated with the website, the page delivers anonymous pictures, videos, and news from North Korea with English-language narratives. Reports from various sources earlier this year say that the LED display was only added to a portion of the structure. The North Korean government is not readily open to foreign journalists, and whatever video has been made publicly available has likely passed through government censors, presumably for boosterism purposes. The 105-floor Pyongyang skyscraper has been empty since its groundbreaking more than 30 years ago in 1986. As Huffington Post reported, it is “the world’s tallest unoccupied building," and has been, “plagued by engineering problems (including crooked elevator shafts) and a lack of funding.” The post-modern, pyramidal structure was supposed to host “restaurants, offices, and hotel rooms.” It remains unclear whether or not the North Korean government is determined to complete its construction in the near future.

Mexico City’s tallest skyscraper by Foster + Partners to begin construction after delays

Construction is set to begin on Reforma 432, a Foster + Partners-designed skyscraper in the heart of Mexico City that’s been snared by setbacks since 2011. According to a 2014 Foster + Partners description that pegged the tower at 866 feet tall, the Reforma 432 will dwarf the city’s current tallest building, the 807-foot-tall Torre Reforma. As first reported by Mexico News Daily, Mexican developer Abilia recently released a statement revealing that construction on Reforma 432 would begin soon and that the mixed-use tower would be split between luxury office space and commercial use. It’s certainly not an even split, with nearly 280,000 square feet set aside for offices and the remaining 20,000 square feet dedicated towards retail. Abilia’s owner, the billionaire businesswoman María Asunción Aramburuzabala, also announced that the updated scheme would be 57 stories tall, three more than Foster + Partners had originally described. Reforma 432 was first proposed in 2011 as the Sky Tower under developer Grupo Elipse, but seemed to have stalled out indefinitely until Aramburuzabala stepped in to take over the project. Located at the intersections between Paseo de La Reforma and Avenida Sevilla, Reforma 432 will sit on an L-shaped site directly opposite La Diana fountain, a city monument. Foster’s design for the tower is heavily striated, and two central vertical bands will run up the western and eastern sides of the facade. The building’s core will be set back towards the smaller portion of the L shaped-site, increasing the size of the floor plates in the larger section of the site. From the renderings, it also appears that the tower will carve out a story for communal outdoor space in the middle of the office floors. Covered, cantilevering terraces jutting from Reforma 432’s first four stories will hold retail components, restaurants, and cafes, while a bank, drop-off area, and entrances to both the offices and the commercial areas will be on the ground floor. This area will be intentionally left open as a publicly accessible plaza that bleeds into the surrounding streetscape. Foster + Partners is no stranger to building in Mexico City, as the British firm has teamed up with Mexican architect Fernando Romero to tackle the city’s new $9.2 billion airport, currently under construction. No start or completion dates for Reforma 432 have been announced as of yet.

Oakland’s tallest tower is on the way

A new project under development by Oakland, California–based Lowney Architecture and developer Pinnacle RED aims to bring the East Bay its newest—and tallest—mixed-use tower. The forthcoming 36-story tower will be located at 1261 Harrison Street and will bring 185 apartment units, 120,000 square feet of Class A office space, and 12,000 square feet of commercial uses to downtown Oakland, potentially transforming that city’s downtown Chinatown neighborhood. The 440-foot tower is billed as the city’s only mixed-use tower under development that combines commercial functions with affordable and market-rate housing under one roof. The arrangement is a by-product of the development’s utilization of a density bonus, which allows the developer to build taller and more densely in exchange for providing affordable housing units on-site.  The complex will be anchored on the ground floor by a market hall–style food court with a “locavore” focus. The tower is designed along the street to match the massing and “neighborhood rhythm” of surrounding commercial storefronts, according to Ken Lowney, principal at Lowney Architecture. The 11 floors above street level will be occupied by office spaces with the uppermost levels containing condominiums and maisonettes. Lowney told The Architect’s Newspaper that the lower level will house community-serving establishments that could potentially include current retail tenants occupying an existing commercial structure on the site that will give way to the development. Under the potential plan, a local bicycle shop will return to manage the building’s 185-stall bicycle parking facilities, for example. The project provides an automated 185-stall underground garage, though parking is not required for the site. The gridded glass tower complex grows from its contextual base in a canted fashion, splitting into two alternating masses as it rises up. The tower’s bifurcated facades are wrapped in a gridded frame that extends the depth of the building’s curtain walls out from each facade. The non-structural application of these gridded frames is a leftover from earlier design iterations that called for an externally-structured tower. Instead, the building is held up by internal beams and columns, a shear core, and moment frames. The glass panels that infill these frames are decorated with multicolored metal panels that are designed to reference surrounding conditions, with warmer, brick-like tones coloring lower levels and clear-blue panels populating the uppermost sections of the tower. In a statement, Mark Donahue of Lowney Architecture said,“We strove for a distinctive design by breaking up the building’s mass so that it appears as two towers, but is really one structure,” adding that the tower was designed to “match the façades of nearby, character-rich buildings.” The development is currently undergoing planning approval. 1261 Harrison Street is expected to take roughly two years to complete once plans are approved.

Architect falls to his death from Midtown tower

Architect Bruno Travalja, of Ridgewood, New Jersey, died on Thursday afternoon after falling from the 48th floor of a Midtown Manhattan skyscraper at 6th Avenue and 52nd St. According to the New York Daily News, he bent down to take a measurement and got dizzy when he stood up. He was wearing a safety harness but it wasn't attached to anything, so the co-owner of Crowne Architectural Systems tumbled over the 18-inch security barrier. The Department of Buildings has launched an ongoing investigation. The residential tower was located at 135 52nd Street, between 7th and 6th Avenues.

Queens’s first supertall skyscraper set to break ground in 2017

Queens looks to be in line for it's first supertall skyscraper, situated on 23-15 44th Drive in Long Island City. Rising to 984 feet, the building will house 774 luxury apartment units inside 78 stories, as well as just under 20,000 square feet of retail and commercial space and 225 parking spots, located between the basement and second floor. New York practice Goldstein, Hill & West Architects are behind the project, which totals 969,000 square feet. With Midtown Manhattan less than five minutes away (by car/subway), the tower, known by its official name as "City View Tower," is in a prime location. Neighboring upmarket restaurants, the building is also joined by nearby Gantry State Park (which features a riverside esplanade, a fishing pier, and a playgrounds), and a host of art galleries, notably the MoMA PS1 and Sculpture Center. Other transportation links include walkable access to the East River Ferry and the Long Island Rail Road. Originally, development firm United Construction and Development had planned for a 963-foot tower, however, a 21 foot increase allows the skyscraper to be classified as a "supertall" due it being 300 meters (984 feet) or over. Due to a site elevation of 16 feet, the building will reach a height of 1,000 feet above sea level, and the project has to submit a request to the Federal Aviation Administration for approval to build. According to New York Yimby, plans are also progressing through the Department of Buildings with few alterations being made over the past couple of months. That said, they report a supposed increase of 114 from the planned 660 housing units listed on the developer's page. Ground is set to break on the project at some point next year with completion penned for 2019. Goldstein, Hill & West Architects also have another luxury tower in the making for the area. Located on 42-12 on 28th Street in Long Island City, the tower will be smaller than their "City View Tower" accommodating only 477 units, reaching 634 foot. Amenities are set to include a resident lounge, pool house, full spa and observation deck.

Garden City, Mega City at the Skyscraper Museum

On view until Sept. 4 at the Skyscraper Museum, GARDEN CITY | MEGA CITY showcases the built and unbuilt works of Singapore-based WOHA, an architecture firm that specializes in designing for the world's tropical urban areas. The exhibition begins by contextualizing WOHA's projects with what might be architects' and urbanists' greatest 21st century challenge: the rapidly (and sometimes haphazardly) growing cities of the developing world. 7 of the world's 20 megacities are in tropical areas. So what valuable lessons do WOHA's skyscrapers—designed for density, verticality, heat, and humidity—bring to the table? The exhibition—which consists of ~10 large-scale models shown alongside renderings—argues that it's time to leave the hermetically-sealed modernist tower behind in favor of a more nuanced approach to the building envelope. One built project in particular, a Singaporean public housing project called SkyVille@Dawson (2007-2015), stands out as an exemplar. Its 500-foot-tall towers are diamond-shaped in plan but only one apartment thick at their edges. This leaves a large hollow interior the runs the entire height of each tower; these capacious vertical voids channel cooling breezes and shelter communal green spaces located every 12 floors. Shared spaces, greenery, and passive ventilation are work harmoniously. The Met, a 755-foot-tall tower in Bangkok, makes similarly smart use of natural cooling with a hollow interior open to breezes. Other WOHA projects are verdant, though in a far more luxurious sense. The PARKROYAL on Pickering, for instance, is a hotel and office building in Singapore's Central Business district. Its sculptural concrete forms are brimming with lush vegetation. The other projects fill a similar pattern: large, open, green spaces punctuate the skyscrapers' height. Sometimes massive volumes are removed from the tower to create multiple courtyards in the sky; it's almost as if several medium-height towers with a street-level plaza were stacked atop each other (see the Oasia Downtown, at far bottom). While it's doubtful these latter-day Babylonian gardens are open to the public in most instances, and the proliferation of greenery recalls a broader fad of trees-on-towers, there's no pretension that this architecture is shovel-ready to replace the informal settlements or slums of the world's growing cities. In the words of the exhibition text, "WOHA thinks of their prototypes as components for a fully sustainable future city....Cities must now be made of, by and for people..." and not just "vast agglomerations of inanimate stand-along financial equation." The firm even rated each of its projects in terms of a "Civic Generosity Index," with some projects earning lower marks than others. With luck, projects like Skyville@Dawson will stand as inspiration for when we start designing and planning tropical megalopolises in earnest. It makes perfect sense that Singapore would be the locus for this urban innovation—the tiny island already supplies its own water even as the rest of the world prepares for a coming freshwater crises. With over 80% of Singaporeans living in public housing, the Singaporean government has long been committed to smartly designing for density: necessity is the mother of invention when 5.5 million people need to comfortably live on 277 square miles of land. If anything, after seeing these projects, the Buckminster Fuller in me wanted more (as Bucky would say) "synergy": skyscrapers that not only channel cooling breezes, but also capture rainwater for their residents or even use vegetation and gravity to filter gray water. With greater luck, firms like WOHA will continue to capitalize on the unique circumstances of Singapore to experiment, then transport that knowledge to other cities in the tropics (and perhaps beyond). While this exhibition doesn't show how these towers work in relation to their cities—this is a show for architects, less for urbanists, though design at this scale is practically urban—perhaps WOHA will elaborate on that issue during their next exhibition: Fragments of an Urban Future, which will be at the Palazza Bembo of the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale. The exhibit will, according to a press release, respond to "the most pressing issues facing megacities today— unprecedented urbanization, accelerating climate change, and the need for preservation of tropical biodiversity." For those interested, you can explore the GARDEN CITY | MEGA CITY  exhibition here on the Skyscraper Museum's website.

Timber skyscraper imagined at the heart of London’s brutalist Barbican

Designed by architects Chamberlin, Powell and Bon after the Blitz destroyed most of the site, the Barbican estate is now Grade II listed (part of a statutory list of buildings of special Architectural or historic interest). As a result, the area has become synonymous with concrete, being a famed brutalist site. PLP Architecture and the University of Cambridge, however, have different ideas. They're proposing a 984-foot wooden skyscraper, the city's first, at the center of the estate. The skyscraper, according to PLP, is merely for "research." Despite this, the firm said that they had presented the idea to current London Mayor Boris Johnson and said that his response was "positive." The Mayor also commented that natural materials like wood are currently “vastly underused.” Already, the timber tower has been dubbed the "Toothpick" by The Architect's Journal, such is the way of nicknaming skyscrapers in London, already home to the "Walkie-talkie," the "Gherkin," and the "Cheesegrater." Despite its radical change in materiality, the Toothpick aligns with the Barbican's original plan of providing housing at the center of the city, overseeing the creation of 1,000 new living units. Despite being slimmer than the iconic 42 story (404 feet) Cromwell, Shakespeare, and Lauderdale Towers, the wooden skyscraper would almost be double their height at 80 stories high. This would make it the city's second tallest building, second only to Renzo Piano's Shard. As for the towers environmental impact, the Toothpick would "lock-in 50,000 tonnes of CO2 in the building timber frame, equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions of 5,000 Londoners." The project is in collaboration with the University of Cambridge and Smith and Wallwork Engineers. Dr Michael Ramage, Director of Cambridges Centre for Natural Material Innovation, said: "The Barbican was designed in the middle of the last century to bring residential living into the city of London—and it was successful. We've put our proposals on the Barbican as a way to imagine what the future of construction could look like in the 21st century." "We now live predominantly in cities and so the proposals have been designed to improve our wellbeing in an urban context," added Kevin Flanagan, Partner at PLP Architecture. "Timber buildings have the potential architecturally to create a more pleasing, relaxed, sociable and creative urban experience. Our firm is currently designing many of Londons tall buildings, and the use of timber could transform the way we build in this city." When asked if PLP would be presenting the "research" to the next Mayor of London, their response was: "it depends who the mayor is!"

Helmut Jahn’s latest Chicago skyscraper loses 200 feet in height

Dubbed “1000M” for its 1000 South Michigan Avenue address, New York developers Time Equities (who also partnered with Jahn on a New York City tower bearing close resemblance) and JK Equities lopped nearly 200 feet off the plan, bringing the height to 832 feet with 73 stories. It conforms to new height guidelines that govern the south portion of the Historic Michigan Boulevard District, which runs from Randolph Street to 11th Street, and assuages residents’ concerns over the appropriateness of dropping a supertall on an iconic streetwall. The amendment from the Commission on Chicago Landmarks allows for new towers up to 900 feet on Michigan and Wabash Avenues between 8th and 11th Streets.

In the process, a staggered stacked cube concept was scrapped, replaced by sinuous curves and triangular planes. Project text attributes the “hard sloping north edge, the soft and natural southeast corner, and curved east and west faces” to the textures of city, lake, and park, respectively. A decidedly rectangular base transitions to parallelogram from the 24 through 72 floors, allowing the tower’s top-heavy dimensions to develop slowly and gracefully. An enclosed omni-directional top houses mechanicals and a 5,300-square-foot roof terrace. Among Chicago’s tallest towers, Jahn said at the community presentation, this “is the only building to get bigger toward the top." The shift from rectilinear base to more curvaceous top also delineates the change from apartments to condos in the tower. One hundred and forty rental units would fill the base, providing an aesthetic screen for ten floors of parking. An amenity level divides these lower rental units from the 366 condos planned for the upper floors, while external load bearing “super columns” also signal this break on the tower’s facade. Architecture critic Blair Kamin noted in the Chicago Tribune that the historic district’s tallest structure is the 430-foot-tall Metropolitan Tower several blocks north. Immediate Michigan Avenue neighbors are 100- and 272-feet-tall, the shorter of which was acquired by the developers. Clearly, the pose struck by Jahn’s tower will be instrumental to its contextual success or failure. To that end, the tower’s shape is derived largely from its relationship to adjoining buildings. The taller north neighbor’s setback is matched and a 20-foot gap exceeds the 12 feet required by code, preserving greater sunlight and airflow for that building’s south-facing tenants. A sloping 17-foot outcrop hovers over the southern neighbor, in a way cradling it (the outcropping and expansion of floor plates also helps with the economics of a shortened proposal). In material terms, a metal facade system transitions to a greater ratio of glass once the tower clears its neighbors. Community reaction to the new concept has been overwhelmingly positive, but a lingering concern is whether equal care will be given to the less prominent west facade. Relative stature may be diminished, but Jahn’s redesign still sets out to create a visual counterpoint to the wall of skyscrapers rounding Michigan onto Randolph. Together with Rafael Viñoly’s twin 76-story tower designs at Michigan Avenue and Roosevelt Road and Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture’s rendering of a 585-foot-tall apartment building two blocks north of 1000M, a bolder definition of Grant Park’s south rim is on the way. Developers hope to break ground in 12 to 15 months.

The Skyscrapers of the Future: Sunken Central Park, Drones, and Data Centers

Last week, architecture and design journal eVolo Magazine released the winning projects and renderings for its annual Skyscraper Competition. The proposals are all purely conceptual and idea-based; the competition is designed to “challenge the way we understand vertical architecture and its relationship with the natural and built environments,” writes eVolo. First place goes to Yitan Sun and Jianshi Wu (United States) whose New York Horizon envisiones a skyscraper in Manhattan running along a sunken Central Park. “Is there a way to make Central Park available to more people? Our proposal is a hybrid multi-functional mega structure,” the team wrote in their brief. “Not by building up, but by digging down, it reveals the bedrock (mountain) that was hidden under Central Park, and creates space along the new cliff.” In second place: Hadeel Ayed Mohammed, Yifeng Zhao, and Chengda Zhu (United States) for The Hive, a Manhattan skyscraper with drone docking stations. “The modules on the façade are designed to fit nine different types of drones, categorized by the shape and scale of their landing fixtures (point, bar or ring),” the team explained in their entry. And third place was awarded to Valeria Mercuri and Marco Merletti (Italy). Their design, Data Tower, is a skyscraper for data centers in Iceland. “A data center is often a large industrial building without a significant architectural connotation, a big anonymous container," they discussed in their submission. "The main issue of our project is to investigate a new morphological solution that could represent both the complexity and the importance of the building into which we keep our data.” There were also 21 honorable mentions. In many of the submissions, designs addressed technology and environmental concerns. The magazine is also compiling the best entries from the past three years into a limited edition book.

PLP reveals Nexus Tower, a high rise without a central core, in China’s Pearl River Delta

Only six years old, London-based architecture firm PLP formed as a break away from KPF. Despite its age, the firm already has some noteworthy projects under its belt including the award winning The Edge in Amsterdam. Principals David Leventhal and Andrei Martin have recently designed one more, the Nexus Tower in the Pearl River Delta in China. The skyscraper comprises three stacked volumes, all of which are oriented differently upon a central axis acting as an elevator shaft. Martin is quick to say that this is not the core of the building, explaining that each volume has it's own core, situated on its outer edge. Such a feature "challenges the central core [office] typology," explained Martin. The Nexus Tower boasts quadruple-height informal spaces, all clad in glass, so that incumbent offices can advertise (for free) to passers by how much "fun" their employees are having. Exterior elevator shafts on each volume's "core" also aid legibility. This allows the public to witness inter-floor circulation as elevators travel up and down the facade, giving the impression of activity within the building. Set to rise 1,968 feet, the Nexus Tower will be the tallest of the structures within PLP's larger master plan. Other structures include The Platform for Contemporary Arts, a performing arts complex; The LZ Park Tower, a 984-foot office tower; and The Concoursea large scale retail and leisure facility. Height and the lateral loads the tower must sustain were heavily influential in the design of the Nexus Tower. By fanning out the volumes, lateral loads could be divided up, reducing the overall impact. This also gave the building some visual diversity too, with each volume having a different view out over the city, mountains, and suburbs. The subsequent roof areas were adapted as terracing and green spaces. There is currently no construction timetable for the tower.

Renderings finally revealed for the base of the Western Hemisphere’s tallest tower

With all the attention focused on the impossible height of New York's new crop of supertalls, it's easy to forget that even skyscrapers have a tether to earth. Renderings were recently revealed for the base of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill's 1,550-foot-tower, which, when complete, will be the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. Most mere mortals will never ascend to Central Park Tower's 95th floor, let alone live in one of its 182 condominium units, but it will be possible to go shopping at its base. The anchor tenant, Seattle–based Nordstrom, will occupy 363,000 square feet over eight floors: Three below and five aboveground. James Carpenter Design Associates created the undulating glass facade that runs up seven stories from the sidewalk. The sprawling department store will be Nordstrom's first Manhattan flagship, but it won't be contained to 217 West 57th Street, The Seattle Times reports. As seen in the two renderings below, the retail footprint will blend new and old by extending into three adjacent prewar buildings. Nordstrom's, along with the rest of the building, is expected to open in 2019.

This 80-story kinetic skyscraper proposal for Dubai is back with a twist

Dubai, a city famed for its taste in extravagant grandeur has become a playground for architects of late. Already home to many world firsts and record breakers, a new phenomenon in the form of an old idea may be on the horizon in the form of “Dynamic Tower,” an 80-story rotating skyscraper. Originally proposed by architect David Fisher eight years ago in 2008, the structure could be completed by 2020 if everything goes according to a new plan, says Dynamic Group, the firm behind the concept. Usually, when a firm claims to have conceived something as audacious as a “rotating tower,” they often refer to a little rooftop windmill, or the fact that the structure moves 0.01 inches in the wind. However, with Dynamic Group, this is not the case. Dynamic Group's proposal comes complete with a video (with requisite dramatic music and a Ferrari) showing off its masterpiece. Concepts for Moscow and Paris also feature in what the firm describes as a “new era of architecture.” The tower aims to rise to a lofty 1,378 feet, which would make it the world's second tallest residential tower behind New York’s 432 Park. Designers claim as many as 80 floors will be able to fully rotate on a central column. It doesn’t stop there, either. According to What’s On, Dynamic Group said that floor rotation can be controlled via voice commands, providing, probably, the perfect way to wake that sleepy housemate up if all else fails. Unsurprisingly, the skyscraper will host some wealthy occupants, offering many luxury apartments. Some 79 wind turbines will be used generate energy for the tower along with solar panels that will be laid on the roof of each floor as well as the top roof itself. Fisher boldly claims that the tower would generate a surplus of power—enough "to power five other similarly sized buildings,” wrote What’s On. The designer also hopes to build 90 percent of the structure from prefabricated units. Dynamic Group claim the project will cost (a rather precise) $3,299,770,550 though whether the tower is realised, or simply spins out of control remains to be seen.