Despite its collection of near-misses in California (LACMA, The Broad, Universal, etc.), OMA and Rem Koolhaas keep trying to land a headlining project in the Golden State. And it looks like they're about to design a high rise in San Francisco to accompany their (currently on hold) winning scheme for a mixed use project in Santa Monica. San Francisco’s Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure (the successor to the city’s Community Development Agency) has given the firm initial approval to design a 550-foot-tall residential tower on Folsom Street, between First and Fremont streets, in the city’s Transbay area. The project features OMA's tower on one end of the block with podium buildings and townhouses filling the remainder of the block. The tower, and the accompanying row of low rises designed by Fougeron Architects on Block 8, will be a mix of 4,400 condominiums and rental apartments, with at least 27 percent of them affordable. CMG will be the landscape architect, and the developer is Related California. OMA said that it could not yet release images of the design, although several press outlets have released a rendering (at top), including the San Francisco Chronicle. OMA becomes the second starchitect-firm in a matter of weeks to take on a skyscraper in the city, after Jeanne Gang recently signed on with Tishman Speyer to design a tower in the same neighborhood. Both towers will be located near Cesar Pelli's Transbay Tower, now underway. The 40-acre Transbay area has been witnessing major developments since the city and county of San Francisco adopted plans to redevelop the area in June 2005. Under the plan, the city divided the area into two sections. Zone One encompasses a ten-acre segment of vacant public land where a portion of the Embarcadero Freeway once stood and will include a mix of residential, retail, and public open space, as well as a one-acre park. Zone Two will include the new Transbay Transit Center and the 1,070-foot-tall tower by Pelli Clark Pelli Architects. The plan is set to expire in 2035. More planning details on Block 8 in a report by the Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure here. And more on the Transbay redevelopment project here.
Posts tagged with "skyscraper":
Chicago architect Jeanne Gang (pictured) isn't just preparing to design new towers in Chicago and (perhaps) New York. According to her office, Gang has been hired by Tishman Speyer to design a high rise tower in San Francisco's Transbay district. The building's site (and, likewise a design) has not yet been revealed, but according to a piece in the San Francisco Chronicle, it's near the now-rising Transbay Center. According to the Chronicle, Tishman is also developing the Lumina and Infinity towers in the area by Arquitectonica, and a 26-story office tower by Gensler and Thomas Phifer. (Photo: Courtesy Studio Gang Architects)
The Wilshire Grand, a 73-story tower under construction in downtown Los Angeles, hasn’t yet risen out of the ground, but it’s already in the Guinness Book of World Records. That’s thanks to a February 15–16 event promoters called the Grand Pour, in which construction crews poured 21,200 cubic yards (82 million pounds) of concrete in 18 hours—the largest continuous concrete pour in history. Why all the fuss? The idea for the event originated with AC Martin's design itself. Unlike most of Los Angeles’ other high rises, the Wilshire Grand will be built around a concrete core rather than a steel frame. “As we worked through all of those things,...[AC Martin CEO Christopher Martin] realized this was going to be an absolutely huge technical event. It involves a lot of coordination and almost theater in terms of getting [the trucks in and out],” said design principal David Martin. “Then everybody really got behind that [and said], ‘let’s get a marching band and have a parade with the concrete.’” “There was really a buzz downtown about the whole thing,” added project manager Tammy Jow. The parade included 100 members of the USC marching band, representatives of the building’s owners, Korean Airlines, and, of course, the concrete trucks. “Whenever you have the Trojan marching band there you can’t go wrong, they’re all about the party,” said Jow. “What was really incredible [was that] as it got dark there were these huge spotlights, and it almost looked like a stage set,” said Martin. “So we were all having this huge party in the plaza next door, and these big trucks would go through the background.” The Grand Pour was only the beginning of the Wilshire Grand story. “I think what comes next is even more exciting,” said Jow. “Now that the mat is successfully in place we’re going to start seeing vertical.” At 1,100 feet in height, the $1.1 billion building is projected to be the tallest skyscraper west of the Mississippi River. Its office and hotel floors will be covered in floor-to-ceiling glass, another feature that sets it apart from its granite-clad neighbors. For the skyscraper’s crowning sail, as well as on portions of the east and west facades, AC Martin will use an ultra-clear, low-reflectivity glass. On the north and south sides, a radiant coating will boost performance and give the facade a more mirror-like aspect. The designers experimented with new coating technologies to ensure that hotel guests will be able to see out at night without glare from interior lights. The building’s other highlights include its unusual roofline, which was made possible by negotiations with the fire department regarding helipad requirements. “That allowed this building to be different, and hopefully will leave a legacy so that buildings can get back to being more interesting,” said Martin. The designers also worked to maximize the connection to the outdoors, and to tailor the mechanical systems to Los Angeles’ hospitable environment. Finally, the Wilshire Grand prioritizes urban design. “The lower parts of the building reach out and really embrace the city,” said Martin. “There’s a lot of ballrooms and big windows and terraces that reach out to the city.” For Jow, one of the best parts of working on the Wilshire Grand has been the people involved. “We were able to create a team in our office of fresh talent out of school, with skills some of us older people couldn’t dream of.” She pointed to the design of the tower podium, which was generated parametrically using Rhino and Grasshopper. The younger architects’ digital prowess meshed well with the older designers’ experience in construction, said Jow. “We’re able to work together and rationalize forms to make it affordable and buildable.”
With the real estate market drifting through a relative recovery, one prominent Chicago developer seems to be saying, "Come back in, the water's fine." The team behind Chicago’s Aqua Tower is gearing up for another high-rise nearby. Chicago-based Magellan Development Group hired Studio Gang Architects for another tower in the 28-acre master-planned neighborhood of Lakeshore East. Gang’s 82-story Aqua Tower, 225 North Columbus Drive, opened in 2009 to international acclaim. Its organically rippled balconies suggest the movement of wind across water. The undulating balconies are functional, too, providing sun shading and eliminating the need for a tuned mass damper. Design details for the new tower are forthcoming, but the developers said it could work on either of two sites in the Lakeshore East area. Five years after the mixed-use tower opened, Aqua saw its last unit sold February 21. Dennis Rodkin reported the 3,200-square-foot town home at the building's base sold for $1.7 million. Aqua’s 262 condominiums, 474 apartments, nine town homes and 334-room hotel are a landmark for the Lakeshore East neighborhood, which is now home to more than 5,000 residents. Development there has taken off since Millennium Park’s 2004 completion. Magellan’s master-planned community include a Dubai-based private school's first U.S. location, a six-acre park, and towers from the likes of SOM, DeStefano + Partners, Solomon Cordwell Buenz, and Steinberg Architects.
PBS's four-part TV series, Super Skyscrapers, deals with uber-high buildings around the world. It is rare to follow the process of constructing a building, let alone a monster-sized one. Yet here, a special characteristic of each of the four skyscrapers is highlighted within the context of maximum height: One World Trade Center's safety measures, Leadenhall's prefabrication, One57's high luxury, and Shanghai Tower's vertical city aspirations. Interestingly, the architects’ roles in the buildings is downplayed. We do meet SOM's David Childs, who tells us about the shape of One World Trade; glimpse Graham Stirk of Rogers Stirk Harbour who tells us Leadenhall's triangular form solved a mandate of not blocking the view of St. Paul’s Cathedral; and we see some of the Gensler team behind the Shanghai Tower. However, the name Christian de Portzamparc is not once uttered in the One57 episode. One World Trade Center, New York The series begins with One World Trade Center during the final year of construction as it climbs to its 1,776 foot height. There are breathtaking shots from the very top of the structure looking down the building to the streets below, the water’s edge, and New York City traffic. Another view catapults up a very long elevator shaft. The history of the design process is bypassed except for mention of a global competition that produced some “wild ideas” (over a shot of Daniel Libeskind)—“but then a real plan evolved.” The program emphasized that after 9/11, the new World Trade Center had to be “the safest and strongest in the world,” protected from explosions, storms, earthquakes, and any other catastrophe, natural or man-made. The building’s concrete core is much tougher than pre-9/11 buildings, with the life support systems embedded in “the world’s tallest bunker.” Safety features include wider stairs so people could rush both up and down simultaneously, filters to purify air in stairwells to protect against biological or chemical attack, pressurized stairwells to keep smoke from entering when doors open, and luminous tape in stairwells (like in an airplane) to show the way without lights. A highlight of this episode is seeing the “spire” erected (it’s called a spire instead of an antenna so that the top counts towards the building’s measured height). Made in Quebec, the spire's 18 pieces—weighing 40 tons—are first seen on a barge sailing in New York Harbor past the Statue of Liberty. Once ashore, they travel by night through city streets in a slow processional before being hoisting by a 1,400-foot-tall vertical crane-lift, the tallest in the United States. Footage from the top of the tower is thrilling. The lighting will be like an old-fashioned lighthouse with 288 LEDs for a horizontal beam of light visible for 15 miles. Hundreds more LEDs on the exterior of the spire can change colors and create vivid patterns. The construction is also a contradiction of advanced technology and the archaic—some of the fastest elevators in the world running up to 2,000 feet per minute, alongside metalworkers welding, hammering, and screwing bolts like in a Lewis Hine photograph from the 1930s. Leadenhall Building, London Like a giant Lego set, the Leadenhall Building in the heart of the City of London is a pre-fabricated skyscraper with a perimeter-braced diagrid exoskeleton put up by 1/3 the standard-sized crew. This 48-story structure nicknamed the “Cheese Grater” is appetizingly close to Foster’s Gherkin. A two-year construction period is lightening speed for a building in the heart of a major capital. The tower's tapering triangular shape together with the placement of all core functions—elevator, bathrooms, mechanical, and electrical systems—in a separate but connected, stand-alone tower on the north side permit unobstructed views of St. Paul’s Cathedral. The majority of construction took place in the north of England and northern Ireland, including the 90-foot-long, steel mega-columns—all 11,000 of them—which are simply bolted into place on arrival. On each floor are three modular structures called “tables” (four columns joined by the floor structure) which are fully loaded with guts inside (plumbing, electrical, HVAC) and will be visible since they are sprayed a bright yellow. Only 24 bolts are used to secure the modules—no welding, no concrete required. Pre-cast concrete floors are fixed to the “tables” and installed by six workers and one crane driver (pouring on site would have taken three times as long and used double the manpower). The pre-fab installation process was enabled by 3D computer models made by “digital engineers” who plotted out the sequences in 15-minute intervals in advance. One57 This episode is all about money and time. One57 will be the tallest residential tower in the western hemisphere with a 30-story hotel and 94 residential condos including two 10,000-square-foot penthouses. The Central Park views are its calling card, and there is much time spent on the interiors—the just-right Carrara marble for the bathrooms, custom wood kitchens made in Wiltshire, England, and advertising photographs of the aerial views taken from miniature drone helicopters. We meet former diamond dealer, Gary Barnett, President of Extell Development, but not the tower's architect, Christian de Portzamparc. The Skyscraper Museum’s Carol Willis quoted Cass Gilbert: “A skyscraper is a machine that makes the land pay.” Shanghai Tower Set in Pudong, Shanghai, where the near-future was depicted in the movie Her, the newest addition to cluster of the nearby super-towers, Shanghai World Financial Center and Jin Mao Tower, Shanghai Tower will be the second tallest building in the world at 2,073 feet (second only to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai). In fact, Pudong now has double the number of skyscrapers as New York. Understanding that there has been overdevelopment with resulting pollution and congestion, Gensler counters by saying Shanghai Tower will be an island, a vertical city. The skyscraper will house 30,000 people on 121 floors split into 9 “districts.” To demonstrate the city concept, a model of the tower is shown on its side, making an analogy with city blocks (although one city block in Pudong is the equivalent of six in lower Manhattan). There are actually two curtain walls with an “atrium” or “sky garden” in between, much like a thermos. These perimeter gardens have internal air currents which will actually power wind turbines at the very top. These two curtain walls are hung around the same core, like a skyscraper wrapped around another skyscraper. The building was constructed from the top down using a ring-beam structure nicknamed the "Flying Saucer," rather than the bottom up, so it’s like a hanging garden. To minimize effects of severe winds, the corners were rounded, and torqued to shift to 120 degrees as the building rises -- the more it twists, the more the reduction of wind. Super Skyscrapers “One World Trade Center” “Building the Future” Leadenhall “The Vertical City” Shanghai Tower, airdate 2/19/14 “The Billionaire Building” One57, airdate 2/26/14 Super Skyscrapers is broadcast on Wednesdays on PBS. The series is half-way through the broadcast run on PBS, however all episodes can be viewed in their entirety online.
Chicago’s stalled supertall Spire could rise again, according to the Irish developer who went into foreclosure in 2010 after a protracted legal battle over the project. Garrett Kelleher’s lawyers on Thursday filed papers in U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeking court approval to move ahead with the Chicago Spire, which remains a hole in the ground at 400 North Lake Shore Drive. Kelleher said a $135 million investment from Atlas Apartment Holdings would allow him to settle bankruptcy claims in full but, as reported in the Chicago Tribune, the court filings don’t say how much more money would be needed to fund the construction of the 2,000-foot-tall condo skyscraper. The twisting tower would have been the largest in the western hemisphere, but the project fell apart in the aftermath of the financial crisis. Skyward-looking Chicagoans, however, never went long without some speculation of the Spire’s resurrection. In June last year, Related Cos. of New York signed on to buy the project's debt. But an affiliate of Related later sued Kelleher for more than $95 million in guarantees involved with the project. According to the plan proposed Thursday, Kelleher’s firm Shelbourne North Water Street would put forward a reorganization plan by August 31 to bring the project out of bankruptcy, potentially transferring the property to Atlas. "We have been working with Garrett Kelleher over the past several months and now share his belief and vision in the Chicago Spire," said Steven Ivankovich, CEO of Northbrook-based Atlas, in a statement. Kelleher seemed optimistic as ever about the project’s sky-high ambitions. "Given the ongoing recovery in the Chicago property market, the timing is better now than when this project commenced," Kelleher said in a statement. "I am delighted to have found a partner who believes in the project as passionately as I do."
In the same futuristic spirit of its design, One Thousand Museum, the proposed Zaha Hadid-designed condominium building in Miami, Florida, has recently been rendered in hologram form. As anticipation builds about what will be the Pritzker Prize–winning architect’s first residential building in the United States, Zaha Hadid Architects continued the hype with a Miami party and holographic unveiling of the 705-foot condo tower. According to the South Florida Business Journal, the new digital rendering underscores Hadid’s commitment to curvilinear forms, especially prevalent in this sculptural tower that will soon join the Magic City skyline. Curving exoskeletal ribs over a glazed glass facade define areas of private terraces and balconies, simultaneously creating a space age schematic on the exterior of One Thousand Museum. The facade also gives volume; windows sculpt themselves into three-dimension, a crystalline pattern under the curving web. The condo is designed with luxurious amenities for its residents, including a rooftop spa and wellness center on the wide podium base. Situated in the center of the Miami skyline in Bicentennial Park, a downtown area to be renamed “Museum Park” after the December 4th opening of Herzog & de Meuron’s Perez Art Museum Miami, the tower’s double height glass crown will offer spectacular panoramic views of Museum Park, Biscayne Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean. At the recent Miami gathering, hosted by local celebrity architects Gregg Covin and Louis Birdman in the Covin-designed residential building next door to the One Thousand Museum site, architects from Hadid’s firm were present for questions and mingling with privately invited guests, said the Business Journal. Project director Chris Lepine, lead architect Stephan Wurster, and lead designer Michael Powers represented the company and presented the 3D rendering.
One World Trade may officially be the tallest building in the West, but according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), the honor of the Best Tall Building in the World goes to OMA’s CCTV Headquarters in Beijing–a fitting birthday gift to the architect who previously declared war on the skyscraper (Happy 69th Rem!). Back in July, the CTBUH revealed its four regional finalists for the annual Best Tall Buildings competition, which included Foster + Partners’ The Bow (Calgary, Canada) for the Americas, Renzo Piano’s The Shard (London) for Europe, and Goettsch Partners Sowwah Square complex (Abu Dhabi) for the Middle East and Africa. The CCTV building was chosen as the worldwide champ after senior representatives from each of the winning firms presented their projects to a jury at the Illinois Institute of Technology campus in Chicago on November 7. The CTBUH praised Rem Koolhaas’ iconic building for challenging the definition and typology of the skyscraper with its groundbreaking form, pushing the limits of possibility with its cutting-edge structural engineering, and serving as a catalyst for the recent transformation of skyscrapers from the high-reaching towers of old to the dynamic urban centerpieces that are rising across the world today. In usual Koolhaas form, the architect accepted his award by expressing his distaste for traditional tall buildings. “When I published my last book, Content, in 2003, one chapter was called 'Kill the Skyscraper,'" Koolhaas said at the ceremony. “Basically it was an expression of disappointment at the way skyscraper typology was used and applied. I didn’t think there was a lot of creative life left in skyscrapers. Therefore, I tried to launch a campaign against the skyscraper in its more uninspired form.” “The fact that I am standing on this stage now, in this position, meant that my declaration of war went completely unnoted, and that my campaign was unsuccessful,” Koolhaas continued jokingly before concluding. “Being here, its is quite moving—to be part of a community that is trying to make skyscrapers more interesting. I am deeply grateful, and thank all my partners.”
Yesterday, something remarkable happened. More than a decade after the destruction of the World Trade Center, the walls and fences surrounding a small corner of the site came down and the public was able to glimpse a new stretch of Greenwich Street—which will eventually bisect the site—as well as Fumihiko Maki's completed 72-story tower, Four World Trade. The minimalist tower is the first completed building on the site, though tenants will now begin building out their floors. “Today’s opening of 4 WTC is a truly momentous occasion in New York’s history,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement. “Twelve years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, this building stands tall as a symbol of our nation’s resilience and strength. It will also contribute to the revitalization of Lower Manhattan, connecting mass transit, business, government and tourism all on one site. As we move forward in building a new World Trade Center, the opening of this first tower is a significant milestone and illustrates that, even in the face of great adversity, New York rises.” Progress on the site is becoming more evident on the site, with the ribs of Calatrava's transit hub rising above the fence line, the base of Three World Trade now boasting Richard Rogers–designed trusses, and One World Trade just officially declared the tallest building in the US. The Memorial has attracted millions of visitors and the Memorial Museum will open to the public next spring.
A new condo tower designed by Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill was announced late last year, but details of the super-tall tower have been scant. The 88-story tower at 215 West 57th Street will be one of New York City's tallest buildings, reaching up to 1,550 feet. That means it will top the Empire State Building's measly 1,454 feet and come in second only to the 1,776-foot-tall One World Trade Center. (If you're paying attention to the spire / antenna semantics game ongoing at One World Trade, AS+GG's new tower would beat its midtown rival by a little over 200 feet.) Adrian Smith is no stranger to designing soaring skyscrapers—he designed Dubai's Burj Khalifa while working at SOM, still the tallest tower in the world. The architects declined to comment further about the tower.
Sky High & the Logic of Luxury The Skyscraper Museum 39 Battery Place New York, NY Through April 19, 2014 For Manhattan architecture, the sky has always been the limit. The current trend in super-slender, luxury high-rise residential buildings has excited a niche clientele and captured the attention of skyscraper architects. This October, The Skyscraper Museum explores these ultra slim constructions, from their contextual rise to the modern engineering technologies that have rendered them possible. Featuring projects from the “57th Street phenomenon” and downtown’s pencil-thin counterparts, Sky High & the Logic of Luxury surveys the multitudinous elements involved in the design, construction, and marketing of super-tall, super-luxurious residences. Penthouses in these spindly buildings sell for double-digit millions, but the exhibition claims there is a “simple math” in the logic of luxury behind them. Beginning with Manhattan’s history of slenderness, Sky High & the Logic of Luxury traces their growth. The exhibition reveals how New York City has the specific conditions, localities, and branding psychology that encourages these very tall, very thin, luxury skyscrapers and the subsequent market-demand that has shot their costs sky high.
Next Tuesday, the nearly 850-foot-tall Shenzhen Stock Exchange Building will be inaugurated as the new head of capitalist trading in Hong Kong. OMA, Rem Koolhaas’ architectural firm, was commissioned to design and construct the soaring structure in 2006. After nearly $500 million in expenditures, according to reports by the Wall Street Journal blog, the square-form skyscraper with a surprising floating base, is complete. Situated 118 feet above an outdoor, ground-level plaza, the Shenzhen Stock Exchange’s three-story cantilevered podium creates drama in the building’s form while satisfying practical needs. This floating base provides shade to pedestrians, a garden rooftop, and an outward indication of interior operations. OMA located the stock exchange’s main trading floors in the interior of this base, allowing maximum square footage for the computer servers. With a facade constructed of a gridded exoskeleton over a patterned glass curtain wall, the building reacts to changes in weather, muting to reflect grey days and brightening when the sun peeks out. The generic skyscraper design of the rest of the structure allows it to fit in with existing neighbors, but clever details like these set it apart from the typical.