Posts tagged with "Snohetta":

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Exclusive: Demolition begins on AT&T Building lobby

Though it's up for landmarking, parts of the AT&T Building are being torn down this minute. The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) has approved demolition of the lobby at Philip Johnson and John Burgee's postmodern tower at 550 Madison Avenue. Though the 1984 tower is up for landmark consideration, the designation would only protect the facade, not the interior. Department of Buildings (DOB) records show demo plans received LPC staff approval on December 15 and permits were issued that same day. The move to sledgehammer the soaring granite-clad entrance comes even as project partners publicly support landmarking. David Laurie, Managing Director at Chelsfield America, issued a statement in support of 550 Madison's landmarking shortly after the LPC calendared the property. At that hearing, LPC commissioners debated whether to calendar the interior, too, but ultimately decided against it, as the commissioners claimed that renovations throughout the years—most notably Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman's 1993 revamp—had diminished the lobby and the atrium's integrity. A letter from the LPC to preservation advocate Thomas Collins explains the department's reasoning on the lobby. "In our evaluation the lobby does not hold the same level of broad significance," said LPC Director of Research Kate Lemos McHale. "[With] the removal of 'Golden Boy' as a focal point, alterations within the lobby itself, and its diminished relationship to the overall design of the base, we have determined that it does not rise to the level of an interior landmark." McHale's letter also stated that compared to the building's genre-defining top and base, the interiors received less attention from critics and the media, and the attention they did receive was often tepid at best. In reply, Collins, who filed the initial paperwork to landmark the AT&T Building, noted that the statue, Evelyn Beatrice Longman's Spirit of Communication, used to top AT&T's old headquarters before it was moved to the 550 Madison lobby. Even the best interiors, he explained, generally score less ink than easier-to-see exteriors. Collins also pointed out that other, older designated interiors were much altered from their original state—the Empire State Building's lobby, for example, was landmarked with a drop ceiling. On a walk by the building about a week ago, Collins saw workers had papered over the lobby and erected scaffolding inside. "It's not clear why they're rushing forward at this stage. I believe they are primarily gutting the lobby for aesthetic and marketing purposes," he said. The move to landmark the 37-story Midtown Manhattan tower (now known as the Sony Building) responds to a Snøhetta-designed plan to replace parts of the now-vacant building's monumental granite facade with a curving glass curtain wall—the Madison Avenue–facing facade was deemed "uninviting" in a press release. Among other changes, the New York– and Oslo-based firm's plan would reveal the tower's steel structure, and double the size of the public space around the building. Olayan America, the investment division of multinational The Olayan Group, and developer Chelsfield are behind the $300 million redesign. A representative for the development team promised a statement on the lobby work close to deadline (see update, below). Here's what the 550 Madison team had to say about the lobby demolition:

"All work being performed is in accordance with appropriate permits and approvals, and is being reviewed by the NYC Landmark Preservation Commission, which is not considering the interiors as part of the designation process. We support the designation of the building and are currently preparing a carefully revised design that respects 550 Madison’s importance, and we look forward to continued discussions with interested parties, including the LPC, to make that happen. We are committed to creating a rejuvenated 550 Madison that retains its important presence, works for modern office tenants, and dramatically improves public spaces and amenities available to the larger East Midtown community."

Unsurprisingly, the surprise demolition didn't please preservationists. "The LPC made this decision behind closed doors—they knew they were going to rip out the interior," said Liz Waytkus, executive director of Docomomo US. "I feel like it's a bait-and-switch." This would not be the first substantial change to the structure. In 1993, electronics giant Sony commissioned Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman to convert the loggias on either side of the main entrance into retail, and enclose the open arcade at the building's rear. Johnson served as a consultant on the project. The 550 Madison team promised extensive community outreach on the project, but aside from the Landmarks hearing, no public community meetings have been scheduled so far. When prompted, a spokesperson for the developers did not volunteer specifics on the forthcoming community outreach efforts.
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Snøhetta’s Norwegian campus building features seawater-durable aluminum panels

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Snøhetta’s design for the Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design (KMD) consolidates six previously scattered academic buildings into one multi-use cross-disciplinary building. The cultural landmark offers new public space and symbolic connectivity between the university and its Norwegian town. The architects sought to produce a facility that offered an “ideal and malleable space for artistic expression." They utilized robust, durable materials to withstand harsh workshop-like interior environments and a climate that is notoriously rainy. “The objective is to free students and staff from limitations by surfaces and materials,” said Snøhetta in a recent press release.
  • Facade Manufacturer Metha (aluminum); Schuco (glazing)
  • Architects Snøhetta
  • Facade Installer Bolseth Glass
  • Facade Consultants Rambøll (structural engineering); Bolseth Glass (facade consultant)
  • Location Bergen, Norway
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System Rainscreen wall assembly composed of approximately aluminum-clad 10-inch Rockwool sandwich panel, and 2-inch drywall cavity on interior side for electric infrastructure
  • Products Schuco glazing system delivered by Bolseth Glass; custom aluminum panels by Metha
KMD pairs two axes: an internal corridor dedicated to students and staff, and an external corridor open to the public. The two spaces intersect each other, forming what the architects call one of the most prominent features of the building: a 14,000-square-foot project hall. “It is here, in the transition zone between the public and the private sphere of the school, that the building offers exciting opportunities for students, professors, and visitors to connect, discover, and learn from one another.”  The building’s entrance is connected to a large outdoor public plaza, which together with the large glass wall of the project hall, makes KMD an inviting and open building in dialogue with the city center of Bergen. The building envelope features over 900 panels of pre-fabricated raw aluminum panels, specifically designed in variable dimensions and depths to produce a dynamic composition. The panels feature a custom patterning developed by Snøhetta and custom-made by local manufacturer Metha, based in the city of Røros just south of Trondheim.
The aluminum-folded rainscreen cladding panels offset approximately four, six, and eight inches from the insulation line. Each set folds at the same angle, creating variations in the sizing of the shadow gap between the cassettes. By varying the depth of the facade, the building offers unexpected shadows cast by dynamic atmospheric conditions along Norway’s west coast. The architects say durability and robustness were “keywords” that helped guide all decisions made throughout the facade design process. “The rainy and sometimes stormy coastal climate demands all exterior materials to not only withstand harsh conditions but to weather in a way that highlights their unique qualities over time. The crude aluminum surfaces will gradually age and naturally oxidize, heightening the variations in colors and textures.” This robust and playful expression gives great flexibility when planning for windows and lighting conditions. The windows of the building are set at different heights, slipping into Snøhetta’s intentionally varied compositional scheme. This seemingly haphazard positioning allows for opportunistic interior moments where usable wall space and daylighting considerations can be maximized based on programmatic necessities. Large delicately-detailed cantilevered glass volumes, the result of a successful collaboration with Bolseth Glass, interrupt the syncopation of aluminum at key moments in the building layout. Furthermore, a large glass roof aids in the distribution of daylight into the building. The building is currently in its inaugural academic year, having opened this past October 2017.
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El Paso Children’s Museum reveals finalist designs, now up for a public vote

Renderings for the final three designs for the new El Paso Children’s Museum have been revealed, and residents of El Paso, Texas, can vote on their favorite until Friday, December 15th. All of the options, which include designs by Santa Monica-based Koning Eizenberg Architecture, Oslo-based Snøhetta, and Mexico-city based TEN Arquitectos, are designed around a master plan with specific installation requirements. The $30 million Children’s Museum, officially named Spark, is the result of a $473.2 million “Quality of Life” bond program that began in 2012. Because Spark is meant to educate people of all ages, the master plan by Gyroscope Inc., a museum design firm, have included nine themed interactive zones, maker spaces, art studios, classrooms and rotating exhibition space. Those themed zones include everything from a climbing-centric room that draws inspiration from the nearby Franklin Mountains, to a rooftop water engineering center in the shadow of a full-scale model airplane. Each of the competing studios chose to integrate these requirements differently. The proposal by Koning Eizenberg is relatively understated, wrapping a boxy glass form in a masonry sun-screen that references local architecture. A canopy of “sky canoes” seem to float over the act the building’s roof, trapping water and redirecting it to a learning garden on the ground floor, while the sunlight filtered through the façade is used to teach children about the movement of the sun. Overall, the firm wanted their design for the museum to integrate science into the building’s every function. Snøhetta’s proposal goes vertical, lifting the exhibition spaces off the ground and utilizing the space underneath for a series of interactive gardens. That verticality is repeated throughout Spark, with a set of floor-to-ceiling windows pointed towards the soaring Franklin Mountains, and the placement of a model jet at the museum’s “prow.” Visitors enter at the ground level and ascend into the stone-clad main body of the museum through an elevator inside of a central glass atrium, and are deposited onto a winding, spiral-shaped ramp. Their design also calls for a large number of interactive exhibits, including a seesaw linked through the internet to a counterpart at the Children’s Museum in Juárez; as one side goes up or down, the sibling seesaw moves accordingly. TEN Arquitectos’ design makes full use of the museum’s plot, turning Spark into a miniature campus with individual buildings all unified under a large scaffolding and solar panel roof. Each of the buildings would house a different program and look down on the public ground-level garden plaza. By allowing foot traffic to flow through the space unimpeded, and by hosting events at night in the plaza, TEN Arquitectos is hoping to better integrate the museum into the fabric of the surrounding city. The El Paso Community Foundation and other philanthropic groups involved with the museum expect to break ground in early 2018, and complete construction in the fall of 2020.
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Oakland A’s new stadium up in the air after community pushback

After news broke last month that the Oakland A’s had finally settled on a site for their new ballpark at Oakland’s Peralta Community College District, their plans have been derailed after the school decided to cancel negotiations with the team. With plans for the stadium, previously to have been designed by SasakiSnøhettaStudio T-Square, and HOK, now potentially derailed, it also remains to be seen if the A’s will remain in Oakland. Sasaki, Snøhetta, and Oakland-based Studio T-Square would have led master planning and urban design efforts, alongside building out a community engagement process. HOK and Snøhetta were to collaborate on the design of the new ballpark, and to make sure that it wouldn’t remain an “insular” experience. So-called “stadium districts” are becoming fairly common around the country, as team owners and designers have been seeking to jumpstart investment around areas that already experience a high amount of foot traffic. Though no renderings had been released, construction was expected to have finished by 2023. While the Peralta Community College site was chosen after a years-long search by the A’s, nothing had been finalized by their decision to put the new stadium there. Besides needing to finalize land negotiations with Peralta, the team had been facing ardent pushback from Chinatown locals worried about gentrification, from the Audubon society over the impact that development would have on bird migration patterns at the nearby Lake Merritt, and from politicians raising other concerns from their constituents. Compounding the problems the A’s were facing, much of the 15-acre site has been contaminated with an unknown amount of gasoline and other toxic substances and would have needed costly remediation. Although business leaders in Oakland had rallied in support of the investments the new stadium would generate, Peralta’s board of trustees chose to discontinue conversations with the A’s on Tuesday. “We are shocked by Peralta’s decision to not move forward,” the A’s said in a statement released this morning. “All we wanted to do was enter into a conversation about how to make this work for all of Oakland, Laney, and the Peralta Community College District. We are disappointed that we will not have that opportunity.” The A’s had already pledged to pay for development out of their own pockets, but this promise was dependent on revenue projections from a new ballpark, not the redevelopment of their existing Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. As the only remaining professional sports team in Oakland, the pressure was on for the A’s to choose a site in the city, but with their top pick off the table, the Athletics could be enticed to leave. As A’s President Dave Kaval recently told the San Francisco Chronicle, there was no “plan B” if Peralta didn’t work out.
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Philip Johnson’s AT&T Building clears first hurdle in landmarking process

Following a recommendation from research staff, New York City’s Landmarks and Preservation Commission (LPC) has unanimously voted to put Philip Johnson’s contentious AT&T Building on the path towards becoming a protected landmark. The calendaring approved today, the first formal step in the designation process, is a promising sign, although 550 Madison Avenue must now face a public hearing sometime in the next few months and further deliberations from the commission before a full vote. The landmarking initiative was given a jumpstart this month after Snøhetta unveiled their plans to strip the 110-foot tall granite archway at the base of the tower and re-clad it with an undulating glass façade. The reaction was swift, with architects and critics from around the world weighing in both for and against the redevelopment, and eventually a protest broke out in front of the building on November 3rd. Commissioners at the Monday meeting took their time after the presentation to deliberate on the unique factors that they would need to take into consideration before making a decision. If landmarked, Johnson’s tower, completed in 1984, would beat out the former Citicorp Building at 601 Lexington Avenue to become the youngest landmarked building in the city. Citing the AT&T Building’s size, prominent Midtown location, impact on the history of postmodernism, and Johnson’s legacy as the first winner of the Pritzker Prize, commissioners spoke of the building’s importance to the history of New York City. Mentioning the heavy media attention that the building has received lately, in addition to the looming renovation, the commissioners acknowledged that with the history of unauthorized changes and the proposed renovation, the tower is “in play” and that this was an opportunity they likely wouldn’t have another chance at. An interior landmarking of the building’s lobby was also discussed but was ultimately dismissed, as there had been too much deviation from Johnson’s original design. The tower’s original base had allocated open, publicly accessible arcades and a lobby designed specifically to house the “Golden Boy” statue for AT&T, all of which was scrapped when Sony began making changes in 1992. David Laurie, Managing Director at Chelsfield America, a development partner for the 550 Madison Avenue renovation, reached out to AN with the following statement. "We support the calendaring decision by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission to protect the special architectural aspects of 550 Madison Avenue, which we are as committed to as ever following our conversations with community stakeholders. "We are committed to creating a rejuvenated 550 Madison that retains its important presence, works for future tenants, and realizes long-promised public amenities to the larger Midtown community. And we look forward to further collaborating with the LPC to make that happen." With the AT&T Building now potentially on its way towards reaching protected status, it remains to be seen how much of developer Olayan America and Snøhetta’s current scheme will actually be implemented. AN will be following this story as it develops.
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Snøhetta reveals tapered residential tower for Manhattan’s Upper West Side

Snøhetta has released the first renderings for a split, tapering tower set to rise between Lincoln Center and Central Park in New York City. Snøhetta hopes that this reimagined tower-on-a-base scheme for 50 West 66th will simultaneously engage pedestrians at street level, while also paying homage to the surrounding neighborhood through the use of a familiar material palette. At 775-feet tall, the 127-unit residential building will stick out from the traditionally lower-slung neighborhood surrounding it, but Snøhetta has carved away bulk from the tower’s upper floors to minimize 50 West 66th’s effect on the skyline. Referencing Manhattan’s long history of natural stone construction, the studio has described the tower as being sculpturally excavated, and the 16th-floor amenity terrace prominently cleaves the building into two volumes. Even at that height, residents will be able to see across Central Park to the east, as well as across Hudson River to the west. A two-story textured limestone, bronze and glass retail podium will also contain an entrance for an adjacent synagogue on 65th street and create an approachable neighborhood access point. More windows are introduced to the limestone facade as the bulk of the building rises above the podium’s setback, and the slender tower portion is clad in a bronze and glass curtain wall.  Other than the planted, multi-story terrace that anchors 50 West 66th, the tower portion has had its corners sliced away to expose balconies at its opposing corners and create a series of cascading loggias. Triangular, bronze-panel-clad cutaways taper the tower’s corners and join at the tip to form an angular crown. The warm materials, cutaways and slim top all serve to soften the building’s presence in what has been a historically low-to-mid-rise area. The project’s reveal has come amidst a particularly busy month for Snøhetta. Besides being tapped for the Oakland A’s new stadium and an underwater restaurant, the Norwegian studio has also faced criticism for its proposed glassing over of Philip Johnson’s postmodern AT&T Building. Construction is expected to begin in the first half of 2018.
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Snøhetta and Sasaki among four firms tapped for the Oakland A’s new stadium

The Oakland Athletics have finally settled on a site for their new ballpark, and have hired Sasaki, Snøhetta, Studio T-Square, and HOK to not only design the stadium, but to also better integrate it into the surrounding urban fabric. Ending years of contentious debate over where to build, the A’s have chosen the lakeside Peralta Community College District in downtown Oakland, California. Sasaki, Snøhetta, and Oakland-based Studio T-Square will lead master planning, urban design efforts, and build a community engagement process. HOK and Snøhetta will collaborate on the design of the new ballpark and how it interacts with the master plan. No images have been released as of yet, but the team and design firms involved are hoping that the new stadium will catalyze investment along Lake Merritt without alienating the community. “Our goal is to create the best ballpark experience for our fans, players, and community. It is critical for our ballpark to truly integrate into the fabric of Oakland,” said Oakland A’s President Dave Kaval, in a press release. Craig Dykers, founding partner at Snøhetta, also stressed that the project wouldn’t be an insular experience. “With its new home closer to downtown Oakland, the project will re-invigorate the relationship between the A’s and the city as a new kind of ballpark that acts as a center for sport, wellness and culture,” he said. Even with the promised outreach, community groups have been opposed to the plan owing to fears of displacement, gentrification, and potential environmental damage to the sensitive estuaries nearby. Another potential wrench in the plan is the presence of hazardous materials in the soil that would need to be remediated. An unknown amount of gasoline and other toxic substances have seeped into the ground and water at the site over the years, and no one knows how much the clean up will cost. Still, the new stadium will be a step up for the Athletics, set to become the only major league sports team in Oakland after the Raiders leave in 2019. The A's current Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum is a 51-year-old concrete eyesore that the team currently shares with the Raiders, and that regularly floods with sewage when the plumbing backs up. The team claims that the new stadium will be privately funded and put up to $3.05 billion into the local economy, and that construction should finish in 2023.
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What’s happening to the monumental murals at the AT&T building?

An already controversial plan by Saudi-backed developers Olayan America to renovate 550 Madison Avenue into a modern office building has hit another snag. Following on the heels of Snøhetta’s proposal to update the base of Philip Johnson’s postmodern skyscraper with a rolling glass facade, new questions have arisen over a pair of murals in the second floor lobby. Famed abstract artist Dorothea Rockburne, who came to prominence in the 1970s with her paintings inspired by minimalism and mathematical principles, is questioning what will happen to her site-specific installations commissioned in 1993 by former Sony executives. A pair of 30 by 30-foot murals slotted into viewing alcoves, “Northern Sky” and “Southern Sky” are contextual pieces designed specifically for what was once the Sony Building. The swooping spheres of red and yellow, overlaid with a pattern of shifting squiggles, are representative of the electromagnetic field in that part of the sky while also drawing on aspects of chaos theory. The Chetrit Group, 550 Madison’s former owners before selling the property in 2016, had been engaged with a game of cat-and-mouse with Rockburne for years over the fate of the murals. Only after Rockburne revealed their correspondences publicly did the Chetrit Group eventually promise to keep the murals in place and pay for their upkeep. With the building changing hands, the agreement evaporated. Prompted by the Snøhetta’s recent renderings, the issue has once again reared its head, but Rockburne seemed hopeful when asked about where the murals would ultimately end up. Rockburne said, “Michael Schulhof [former CEO of Sony America and the original commissioner of the work] has stayed in contact with the new owners of the building. They’re aware of the importance, and have planned to take care of them.” Rockburne is less certain about what the building’s new facade means for the interplay between the building itself and her work, and had strong feelings about the latest proposal. “I knew Phillip Johnson. I’ve had dinner with Phillip Johnson. This is like putting a glass curtain over a cathedral.”
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‘Hands off my Johnson’: Protestors rally against AT&T Building redesign

Today New York’s architecture community came out in force to protest planned renovations to the base of the AT&T Building, Philip Johnson and John Burgee’s iconic postmodern tower. "We're on for a photo op, where I cradle a model like Philip Johnson did on the cover of Time Magazine," said Robert A.M. Stern, cradling a model of the AT&T Building that RAMSA crafted for the occasion. Stern was accompanied by a coterie of designers from his firm ("my young people!"), all carrying blow-ups of the cover or "Save the Stone" posters. Architects, curators, and members of nearly all the city's major historic preservation groups were in the streets snapping pictures of each others' signs and discussing the cheeky granite tower beneath scaffolding, a sign of renovations that have stirred the ire of preservationists and postmodernists alike. The protestors, about 20 strong, were responding to a Snøhetta design released this week that would modify the ground floor public spaces and glass over the building's arched stone entry. Renovations would add a larger garden connecting the building, now known as 550 Madison Avenue, to nearby 55th Street, while a multistory glass wall would make retail spaces visible from the street. After hearing the news, filmmaker and modern architecture lover Nathan Eddy organized a protest on Facebook and put out calls to action. Already, his change.org petition to the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) to save the building has garnered almost 800 signatures. (Although Landmarks considers public testimony submitted through its channels, this petition is not the first official step in the landmarking process.) A few days ago, however, preservation activist Thomas Collins took that first step by submitting a formal Request for Evaluation to the LPC to designate the AT&T Building an individual and interior landmark. Despite the provocation, Eddy said the group "is not shaming Snøhetta—but we want the building to remain as is." Nearby, Docomomo US, the modern architecture preservation organization, was handing out #SaveATT pamphlets that encouraged people to write to Landmarks to show support for preserving the building, inside and out. "Radical for its return to ornamentation and playfulness of design, the AT&T building is without question a New York City landmark with broad significance to the story of American architecture," Docomomo US said in a statement. "Long misunderstood, much like its Postmodern counterpart the Portland Building, the AT&T building is a door to the future of design." Johnson experts weighed in on the controversy, too. "The building is an extraordinarily important building for New York and for the history of postmodernism," said Hilary Lewis, the Glass House chief curator and creative director. "I would encourage the owners to take a close look at what they have and [find] a way to bring it back to its former glory. Snøhetta is a significant firm that could do something interesting, but in a way that treats the integrity of the facade with greater delicacy." Since it was commissioned by AT&T in the early 1980s, the building has churned through owners. The latest, Saudi Arabian investment group Olayan America, bought the 37-story property for $1.4 billion in June 2016 with plans to convert it into offices. (RAMSA was brought on board by previous owners to turn the vacant building into luxury apartments.) This is not the first time the building has undergone substantial renovations, either. In 1993, then-owner Sony commissioned Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman to enclose the 60-foot-high north and south arcades in glass to create two retail electronics stores for Sony products, a significant rework and reduction of the building’s privately owned but publicly accessible spaces. Today, scaffolding surrounds the building, and workers were painting sheetrock in the lobby, which is closed to the public. The protest was tight-knit but attracted the attention of a few passerbys, including Noel Robichaux, a worker at the old Four Seasons restaurant who followed the restaurant when it left its Johnson-designed home last year. Robichaux hadn't known about the protest in advance, only noticed because he was passing by and said that he thinks it's "interesting that Phillip Johnson's work is under attack across the city," with two iconic buildings being assailed in such a short time. Although it wasn't present at today's event, the Municipal Art Society (MAS) is in talks with Snøhetta about the design. “We have significant concerns about the proposal,” said Tara Kelley, MAS's vice president of policy and programs. In addition to concerns about the integrity of the building, the group is also worried about the accessibility of the POPS. The redesign project team presented its plans to MAS recently, and the group's planning and preservation committee is meeting with stakeholders again soon for further discussion. One little-discussed feature of the now-sealed-off second floor space is two murals by abstract artist Dorothea Rockburne. MAS doesn’t have details on the fate of the Rockburn murals, but AN is in touch with the artist's studio and will be printing a follow-up story shortly. (Update: We got the latest from the artist herself.)
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Snøhetta set to overhaul Philip Johnson’s iconic AT&T Building

In the latest twist and turn in the saga of Philip Johnson’s notorious AT&T Building, the team from Norwegian design firm Snøhetta has released their plans to overhaul the base of the tower with a massive undulating glass façade that will override the monumental postmodern composition of the tower. The 1980s tower, located at 550 Madison Avenue, is the first major project to be announced as part of the New York City’s East Midtown rezoning plan. The work will focus on the public spaces at the street level, including a larger garden that will connect Madison Avenue and 55th Street as well as open up the brick façade and the retail and office spaces behind it. The Sony Corporation had owned the building since 2002 but left almost 2 years ago. It was bought in 2013 by the Chetrit Group and Clipper Realty, who had planned to turn it into luxury condos designed by Robert A.M. Stern. The plan was scrapped, however, when the firm started to second-guess the high-end residential market. Saudi Arabian investment group Olayan America bought the building for $1.4 billion and along with development partner Chelsfield America plans to turn it into offices. Snøhetta aims to “highlight the multi-story arched entry while revealing the craftsmanship of the building’s existing steel structure.” The first two levels will be publicly accessible. The garden will feature seasonal plantings that will be transformed over the course of the year and the owners hope that birds and butterflies will flourish in the new urban greenscape. Founded in 1947, Olayan America has its main offices in Athens, London, Riyadh and New York, where it is based and where it has had a continuous presence for more than 45 years. Read our followup here to see how architecture critics and others in the architecture community are weighing in on the proposed design. 
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MVRDV’s stacked desires, Zaha Hadid’s latticework roofs, and other updates from the architects of Instagram

At The Architect’s Newspaper, we’re plain addicted to Instagram. Sure, we love seeing Brutalist concrete through “Inkwell” or “Ludwig” filters, but there’s also no better place to see where architects are getting their inspiration, how they’re documenting the built environment, and where they’ve traveled of late. Below, we bring you some of the best Instagrams of this past week! (Also, don’t forget to check out our Instagram account here.) Last Friday, Rotterdam-based firm MVRDV opened The Why Factory (W)ego: The Future City is Flexible, a bright new installation for Dutch Design Week 2017 in Eindhoven. According to MVRDV co-director Winy Maas, the project is "based on the hypothesis that the maximum density could be equal to the maximum of desires." https://www.instagram.com/p/BaguLgZBAbV/?taken-by=mvrdv AN contributor and designer Adam Nathaniel Furman shared an alarmingly value-engineered facade in the UK. Beneath the fake brick, a hollow duct–a compelling metaphor for our current newscape. In the comments, there is a bit of hope: Furman and friends list British architects who would never do such a thing, like Sergison Bates, FAT Architects, Outram, or Caruso St. John. https://www.instagram.com/p/Baqmp7ag80u/ Bloomberg is getting a new $1.3 billion, Foster+Partners-designed headquarters in London. The bronze fin-covered building boasts artwork and installations by Cristina Iglesias, Michael Craig-Martin, Olafur Eliasson, and Langlands & Bell. Eliasson's No future is possible without a past crowns a central room within the building, resembling the silvery surface of a pond inverted onto the ceiling. https://www.instagram.com/p/Ban9Gxvnt8u/?taken-by=studioolafureliasson Zaha Hadid Architects completed the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre (KAPSARC) in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. The 70,000-square-foot, five-building complex includes an auditorium, library, exhibit hall, and a prayer room sheathed in white latticework (pictured below).  https://www.instagram.com/p/Barov2bFJr6/?taken-by=zahahadidarchitects
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Snøhetta and Clark Nexsen to design new public library in Charlotte

Snøhetta and Clark Nexsen have been selected to design a new main branch for the Charlotte, North Carolina public library system. Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, the official name for the public library system serving Charlotte and adjacent municipalities, includes 20 locations across Mecklenburg County and serves about one million patrons.  Snøhetta, which is based in Oslo and New York, is the design architect, while Charlotte-based Clark Nexsen is the architect of record. The team also includes brightspot strategy, a consulting firm that will the community engagement effort. The same team previously collaborated on the James B. Hunt Jr. Library at North Carolina State University in 2013, pictured below. This is one of four North American libraries Snøhetta is designing right now.  The new structure is intended to be a "public commons" that will inform the library's future programming, partnerships, and overall vision. According to Snøhetta, the Main Library structure–originally constructed in 1903 and replaced by another structure in the 1950s–will be demolished and replaced once more by the new design. No renderings are available at this time. "Libraries are more popular today than they have ever been, serving a wider range of needs than access to books only,” said ays Craig Dykers, founding partner of Snøhetta, in a prepared statement. “The architecture of libraries is also changing and Charlotte’s new library will lead the way in showing how a city and its core of knowledge can be open, welcoming and intriguing for decades to come." The library has earmarked $65 million in public funding for the project through the 2019 Mecklenburg County Capital Improvement Program. Private fundraising through the community will occur on an ongoing basis, but as of now, there is no set timeline for demolition or construction.