AN has heard on good authority that three high level architects from AECOM have left that firm to open a Los Angeles office of SOM. SOM's major west coast presence has long been in its San Francisco office. This story has been updated, please click here to read the full story.
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Multiple factors helped the Cornell/Technion team win what is shaping up to be Mayor Bloomberg’s favorite super-scale legacy project. Stanford, the only real competition, withdrew; a windfall of a $350 million donation blew in; local Cornell alums pulled out the stops with petitions. High on that list is SOM’s preliminary design proposing a net-zero building and a permeable landscape, developed with Field Operations, woven in, over, and into multiple structures lending an interactive and public character to the entire campus. This wholly sustainable, radically accessible design plan has become a signature of the project as the city ambitiously strives to become an East Coast high tech start-up incubator bar none. And yet it is unclear if SOM will remain on the job. Amidst rumors that the same Cornell alumni who helped get the prize now want to see a Cornell architect get the job, Cornell administrators close to the project were vague when asked if the SOM team would be seeing the project through. “SOM has served us fantastically well,” said Kent Kleinman, the dean of Cornell’s College of Architecture, Art, and Planning (AAP). “The next phase will start immediately and proceed according to our standard RFP process. Our facilities department has to get its arms around the whole thing, but it’s fair to say, it’s wide open. The last word has not been spoken.” When asked about SOM’s response to news of the win, the dean said he had not spoken to the architects as of four days after the award was announced. There is no time to waste given that Cornell has made a commitment to have a completed design in hand by 2015 and the campus built by 2017. Last week, SOM partner Roger Duffy spoke of Cornell/Technion’s success as the result of strong ideas. The challenge for the architects, he said, was “to design high flexibility and remove all impediments to collaboration and the flow of information. We emphasized lateral connections, rather than stacked, in order to mimic how the tech industry likes to work. Facebook and Google have warehouse set-ups where everyone is on a single level, offices are open. We wanted to communicate that sense of open information exchange and make it instantly apparent in the design.” Such an approach implies huge floor plates that would have eaten up the site, eviscerated public space and blocked daylight. And so the design team came up with the idea of a multi-story plinth with few walls or barriers and with, as Duffy put it, “the landscape rolled up and over so it’s possible to actually walk the building.” The proposal to be one of the largest net-zero buildings in the country would require aggressive sustainable gestures, starting but not ending with the largest photovoltaic array in the city. “This will not be an object building,” Duffy said. Whether it will be an SOM building, at this point, remains to be seen.
With his hand essentially forced by a hasty withdraw of Stanford on Friday, and the hugely enticing carrot of a $350 million gift from Duty-Free billionaire and Cornell alum Charles Feeney, Mayor Bloomberg announced on Monday that the Cornell team will be building the NYC Tech Campus on Roosevelt Island. The terms "game changer" and "transformative" were bandied about with regularity throughout the mayor's midday press conference, which was streamed live on the net to the delight of Cornell's partnering campus, Technion—Israel Institute of Technology. The Israeli students' digitally lapsed cheering added a techy touch. The mayor said the plan was the boldest and most ambitious of the entries. Ultimately, the two million square foot campus will include housing for 2,500 students and 280 faculty members. A 150,000 square foot net-zero building just south of the Queensboro Bridge on the 10-acre site of Goldwater Hospital promises to be “the largest net-zero energy building in the eastern United States.” The effort was praised for its community inclusiveness with over a half a million square feet of open space to be designed by Field Operations, $150 million in start up capital for spin-off businesses, and public school programming for 10,000 students. SOM's green roofed net-zero building may have been the engineering coup de gras that put the other teams out of the running, but the waterfront access won over many. For now, inclusiveness may have to stand in for connectedness. The island has one subway stop on the F line and a somewhat recently upgraded air tram. The Queensboro bridge sweeps right over it. A 2009 report on Roosevelt Island's accessibility (AccessRI) commissioned by NY State Senator Jose Serrano and conducted by the Hunter College Department of Urban Affairs and Planning found that the existing infrastructure is in need of repair and already stretched to capacity. Infrastructure upgrades by the city to the tune of $100 million are part of the competition offerings. Noting that the current residents on the island "are struggling with a myriad of issues that range from problems caused by aging and neglected infrastructure to demographic and social changes" coupled with "perceptions of inadequate governance that result in the feeling that their concerns are ignored and will never be addressed," AccessRI called for legislation not only to improve the island's physical connections on and between the island and the city but also to restructure its governance. Currently, the island is owned by the city but operated by a state-chartered corporation, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC), a set-up that island residents complained lacked transparency and accessibility. At Monday's press conference, Mayor Bloomberg joked that he looked forward to seeing increased water taxi service on the East River and all around Roosevelt Island. But it will take more than water taxis to make Roosevelt Island and the NYTech Campus a tangible success story. With additional reporting by Tom Stoelker.
Why can't every school be like the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB)? First it's located on a lush, sun-soaked site overlooking the Pacific Ocean. And then this: the school just named a team led by SOM and including Daly Genik, Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects, Kieran Timberlake and WRNS Studios to design the San Joaquin Apartments, a new student housing complex. The project will include two apartment buildings housing a total of 1,000 students; a 600 car mixed-use parking structure; a new dining commons and a renovated 78,000 square foot neighborhood center. Other big names on the shortlist had included Brooks+Scarpa, Machado and Silvetti, AC Martin, Stanley Saitowitz, Lake Flato, Moore Ruble Yudell, Frederick Fisher and Partners, and several more. Stay tuned for info and images in the coming months.
Today, SOM announced it has been selected by Beijing-based MCCC Real Estate to redesign the Nanjing waterfront. The redevelopment will extend two-kilometers from the Yangtze River levee to the old city wall. The plan calls for renovating existing rail bridges and an old power station into new cultural and commercial spaces, preserving existing trees, and adding a hotel and other amenities along a renovated shipping canal. The plan also calls for remediating waterways for public access and recreation. The district will cater to cyclists and pedestrians and, according to the renderings, it will also be cartoon-friendly. These exceptionally detailed renderings also include a surprise. Each image includes an appearance by a member of the cast of Kung Fu Panda. Do pandas eat maple leaves? Do cartoon raccoons carry rabies? Pandas love motorcycles.
The view from LaGuardia Place includes the symphony of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s 7 World Trade Center at 250 Greenwich Street and its ever-rising companion, One World Trade Center, beyond. I see the buildings every day from the Center for Architecture, and have become a fan of 7 WTC’c magical properties, both geometric and optical. It is a building made out of reflections, refractions, inflections, and colors, expressed in glass and stainless steel. The obtuse angle of the extruded parallelogram gestures to the southeast, while the north face is frontal to the West Broadway view, making two surfaces for the sky to paint its themes and variations, and impossible to imagine that the curtain walls are the same all around. We’ve covered the technics and subtleties of its curtain wall (“Good Connections,” Oculus, Fall 2005, by Carl Galioto, FAIA). It creates a continually transforming ephemeral glowing surface that merges with the sky, and we reject those detractors who call the building boring. That’s like saying the sky is boring. Tell that to JMW Turner! The building is a beauty, tall, slender, elegant, and sharp. It was the first LEED Gold skyscraper in the City. By Benjamin Kracauer Each “Building of the Day” has received a Design Award from the AIA New York Chapter. For the rest of the month—Archtober—we will write here a personal account about the architectural ideas, the urban contexts, programs, clients, technical innovations, and architects that make these buildings noteworthy. Daily posts will track highlights of New York’s new architecture. Read more at www.archtober.org/blog.
Solar-Powered Fun. New York City’s first solar merry-go-round just opened at the South Street Seaport, offering free rides to kids through September 7th. GE's Carousolar is powered by 100 solar panels made of ultra thin semiconductors able to withstand extreme humidity and UV ray exposure. The green fun isn't just for kids—GE also provided solar-powered cell phone charging stations for adults around the carousel, reported Inhabitat. Sun-Filled Fasting. According to Dubai’s top cleric Mohammed al-Qubaisi, residents of the Burj Khalifa, world’s tallest skyscraper, will have to wait a few extra minutes to break their fast during Ramadan. Muslims living above the tower's 80th floor should fast two additional minutes after dusk while those above the 150th floor wait an additional three minutes, The Guardian reported. Al-Qubaisi explained that just like early Muslims living in the mountains, the residents of the highest floors must adjust their fast due to the extended visibility of sunlight. #ThingsNotToDoOnPublicTransportation. Public Transportation is trending on Twitter and the end result is a humorous user guide to transit etiquette. Transportation Nation rounded up some of their family-friendly favorites. LEGO Gate. While not yet officially announced, European blogs have been abuzz that the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin will be the next in LEGO's Architecture line of miniature real buildings. Unbeige revealed the series’ designer Adam Reed Tucker developed the Brandenburg model, representing the 2nd building outside of the US (the first was SOM’s Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai).
It's Parametric. ArchDaily posts an intriguing project from Bucharest, Romania: the Hexigloo pavilion designed by architecture students. Under the supervision of instructors Tudor Cosmatu, Irina Bogdan, and Andrei Radacanu, 55 students learned basic parametric design principles and over the course of one week built a striking honeycomb structure of cardboard funnels. Spantastic. The Guardian reports the opening of the world's longest sea-crossing bridge that spans the Jiaozhou Bay in China. After four years and roughly £1.4 billion, the bridge makes possible commuting between cities Qingdao and Huangdao in a region southeast of Beijing. Look forward to another, even longer, bridge opening in 2015 that will connect the Guangdong province to Hong Kong and Macau. Supertallest. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat awarded Adrian Smith an honor of lifetime achievement for his work in the realm of the supertall. Bustler highlights Smith's work on some of the world’s tallest completed buildings: Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, Nanjing’s Zifeng Tower at Nanjing Greenland Financial Center, Chicago’s Trump International Hotel & Tower, and Shanghai’s Jin Mao Tower while at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Swiss Watch. Treehugger shares news from Zurich: the city is developing a project called OpenSense that will allow buses and other infrastructure systems, including mobile phone networks, to monitor air quality.
As spring rolls around, deadlines loom for coveted summer internships. AN has collected a list of five prestigious firms that are looking for their 2011 class of interns. Good luck! 1. Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP Deadline: April 4, 2011 SOM has designed some of the most iconic buildings of our time, from the John Hancock Center and the Sears Tower to Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Send your cover letter, resume and 5-8 work samples (8.5” x 11”) to SOM’s Human Resources Department at 14 Wall Street, 24th Floor, New York, NY 10005. Only hard copy submissions will be considered. 2. Gensler Deadline: rolling Gensler is offering several internships in architecture, interior design, marketing, graphics and planning in Dallas, Newport Beach, San Diego, LA, Denver, Houston, and Morristown, NJ offices. Most of the internships listed online are accepting students enrolled in professional degree programs only, but check the qualifications on the company’s career website. 3. Perkins+Will Deadline: April 22 for architecture internships in Atlanta and NYC, but deadlines are specific to each types of internship. Perkins+Will’s portfolio includes Chase Tower in Chicago and Antilia in Mumbai, a 27-story structure that’s one of the most expensive personal homes in the world. The firm’s paid internship program currently has five openings in interiors, architecture and urban design+landscape architecture. The internships are based out of in their Atlanta and NYC offices. Submit one complete PDF with a cover letter, resume, and up to a total of three pages of design examples no larger than 4MB through the company’s website. 4. HOK Deadline: rolling HOK has openings for summer architectural interns in its St. Louis and Chicago offices. Interns will have to opportunity to 2D and 3D presentation/design drawings, and create models/project boards for client and project team review. According to the website, the full-time summer internships are generally paid. The firm also offers a sustainable design internship program. Apply online. 5. OMA Deadline: rolling Last week, OMA announced two new internship opportunities. The Dutch firm is looking for a business development intern and a model shop intern for their Rotterdam office. They also have model shop and architectural internships available in their New York office. Internships in both departments are paid.
"Sometimes the best way to restore a historic structure is to reuse it." The comment came from Landmarks Preservation Commissioner Robert Tierney at the conclusion of Tuesday's landmarks hearing on revisions proposed by Vornado Realty for interiors of the recently landmarked Manufacturers Trust Building on Fifth Avenue. The statement summed up the mood of the commission with regard to changes in the space, originally designed by Gordon Bunschaft, which include dividing the first floor to make space for two retail tenants. Most of the commission picked apart the specifics while maintaining that the architects from SOM overseeing the renovation were generally on the right track. The crisp, well-paced presentation from SOM's Frank Mahan delved into several controversial changes, including destroying all of the black granite wall and interiors that sit behind the Henry Dreyfuss-designed safe door, shifting the escalators from north-south to east-west orientation, and losing the 43rd Street entrance, which would be replaced with two entrances on Fifth. The removal of the granite wall allows for the construction of a partition wall that will separate the space into two retail units. The partition wall will run east to west the length of the 9000-square foot space, dividing it into a 4000-square foot southern section, where the safe and granite wall once stood, and a 5000-square foot space in the northeast corner of the building. Only eleven feet tall, the partition wall is topped by seven-foot high glass panels that stretch to the ceiling. The famous paneled ceiling and its fluorescent glow spans most of the ground floor space and now will continue on through the area once occupied by the safe. In addition to moving the escalators, the retailer proposes to crisscross them. Instead of a twin sculptural mass (the double escalators were once clad in perforated bronze) two new glass-clad escalators split the traffic to go in different directions. From 43rd Street the profile will form a large "X" shape. No one on the commission responded favorably to the configuration and, needless to say, the preservationists didn't go for it either. One aspect that Meredith Kane, representing Vornado, said would not be negotiable was the positioning of the doors, stating that the new retail use necessitated a Fifth Avenue entrance. "The entrance on the side was sort of a discrete hiding of wealth, which is not appropriate for retail," she said, implying that without shifting the entrances, finding tenants would be difficult and put the project in jeopardy. "Without entrances on Fifth Avenue we won't be able to do any of the other [restoration] work," said Kane. The Canadian fashion retailer Joe Fresh will take the larger retail space at street level plus the entire 9000 square feet above. The smaller space does not have a tenant yet. The SOM proposal also includes a new screen inspired by the Bertoia screen that was removed by the building's former owner, Chase, when they vacated the building. A new screen made of anodized aluminum references its predecessor but cleans up its organic qualities with sharper lines and flat panels. Still, the proposed efforts to restore and revamp the space did not satisfy everyone. "Adaptive reuse is not a one way street. In some cases the user needs to adapt to the character of the landmark," said Christabel Gough, secretary for the Society for the Architecture of the City. "Moving the escalators and demolishing the vault would be equivalent, because of the [building's] transparency, to demolishing the Fifth Avenue facade of a traditionally composed building."
The rumors about Gordon Bunshaft's landmarked Manufacturer's Hanover Trust Bank building being transformed into a big-box retail store have been flying around for a while now. In March, Vornado Realty Trust reportedly entered talks to buy the five-story building at 510 Fifth Avenue. Now, we've turned up a rendering by 3-D illustration firm Neoscape showing the building as the type of landmark only your high school daughter could love: a Forever 21. But wait, it gets worse. Until this month the building has been occupied by Chase Bank, and while the changes made to the building for security reasons were lamentable, at least we could rest easy knowing that its site-specific Harry Bertoia sculpture—a 70-foot screen composed of 800 bronze plates—was safe. But not anymore. An AN tipster clued us in today: "Half of it is laying on the otherwise vacant 2nd floor. So far, all I've got from Chase is an assurance 'it's not going in the dumpster.'" We confirmed the awful truth: Formerly mounted near the west interior wall, the sculpture now lies on the floor and can be seen from 43rd Street. Though Bertoia's metal mobile sculpture still hangs in the Fifth Ave.-facing windows, some of the space's luminous ceiling tiles have been removed, and its fate seems uncertain at best. Chatting up a lobby security guard yielded an interesting hypothesis—the sculptures would be moved to Chase's new location on 44th Street. Chase hasn't been able to give us an answer yet, but we're banking on one soon.
Moynihan Station might not be welcoming its first passengers for years to come, but a heavy-hitting group of officials gathered at the James A. Farley Post Office to sledge-hammer a cinder block wall and declare Phase I ground officially broken. When complete, Moynihan Station will offer relief to the adjacent Penn Station (whose predecessor was regrettably demolished in the mid-1960s) and its 550,000 daily commuters. The brainchild of late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the project has been planned for almost two decades. Among the political celebrities gathered on the 100th anniversary of the original Penn Station were Mayor Bloomberg, Governor David Patterson, Senator Charles Schumer, and Secretary of Transportation Ray Lahood who brought tidings to the tune of $83 million in Recovery Act TIGER funding. The first phase is estimated to cost $267 million, jointly funded by State and Federal governments. Phase I construction will puncture two new entrances into the Farley Post Office to expand Penn Station and provide a larger West Concourse to accommodate Amtrak trains. It's slated to take about six years to complete the project as work is relegated to nights and weekends, a time span the NY Daily News points out is only two years shorter than the construction time for the original Penn Station and 5-miles of tunnels. Planning is currently underway for Phase II which includes a grand hall in the center of the Farley building.