Five finalists have been selected in the competition to design the new $8.7 billion expansion of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, narrowing the field from the longlist of 12 released in September. The shortlist features a mix of local names and international studios: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), Santiago Calatrava, Foster + Partners, Chicago’s own Studio Gang, and Colorado’s Fentress Architects. The expansion, part of a modernization initiative dubbed O’Hare 21 by outgoing mayor Rahm Emanuel, will totally replace the V-shaped Terminal 2, a holdover from the airport’s opening in 1944. O’Hare is one of the busiest airports in the world and currently services nearly 80 million passengers a year, and O’Hare 21 will expand the airport’s footprint from 5.5 million square feet to 8.9 million square feet. Such a large project means that these teams likely won’t be going it alone. Fentress is joined by Brook Architecture, Garza Architects, and engineering and architecture firm EXP, Calatrava will be working with local firm HKS, while Foster + Partners has teamed up with local firms Epstein and JGMA, and Studio Gang has partnered with Corgan Associates, Solomon Cordwell Buenz, and STL Architects. SOM will also be joined by Ross Barney Architects and Arup in their bid. After a review by the Department of Aviation, one team will be chosen to design the Terminal 2–replacing O’Hare Global Terminal, while a second will be tapped to design the airport’s two new satellite concourses. Perhaps what’s most interesting is who didn’t make the cut. BIG was knocked out, as were HOK and Gensler. Even Helmut Jahn, a Chicago wunderkind who designed O’Hare’s Terminal 1 in 1986, wasn’t chosen. Now that the shortlist has been chosen, an official selection committee of business, civic, and transportation leaders from Chicago will choose who ultimately gets to design the new facilities (with local architecture firms and cultural institutions providing technical support). Mayor Emanuel is pushing the city to choose before he leaves in May of 2019, and if all goes as planned, the multi-phase O’Hare 21 should be complete by 2026.
Posts tagged with "Studio Gang":
Frank Lloyd Wright’s design for the Guggenheim Museum’s open, spiral atrium is fitting for an institution that’s wrapped up in democratizing art for the world. The space exudes an air of transparency and collaboration that’s translated across the museum's various exhibitions, big and small. What’s not on display are the behind-the-scenes spaces where the Guggenheim Foundation employees dream up the exhibitions seen on the white walls of the iconic mid-century building. For decades, the 200 people employed by the Foundation have sat confined to compact working quarters in a downtown Manhattan office building that inconveniently forced employees to waste time traveling to the Upper East Side museum by train. Now, thanks to an interior by Studio Gang, the Foundation’s new offices match the architectural efficiency of the museum and provide better accessibility all around. Located high up within the former US Steel Building, known today as One Liberty Plaza, the 30,000-square-foot headquarters features a bright, open office-plan that brings together the Foundation’s 18 departments and hundreds of staff members for the first time in the institution’s existence. To create as much room as possible, Studio Gang gut-renovated an entire floor plate in the column-free tower. The design team then integrated various types of workspaces into the design, including single-use cubicles, conference rooms, lounge areas, a reading room, and a canteen, to encourage new modes of formal and casual collaboration. They also outfitted the interior with a muted color palette and chose sustainable materials to regulate noise and heat, creating an overall atmosphere of calm and focus. “One of the biggest problems the Foundation previously faced was that the departments couldn’t interact easily; they physically couldn’t see each other,” said Margaret Cavenagh, principal of interior architecture at Studio Gang. “So we decided to think about the new design as a series of city blocks with anchoring spaces.” Studio Gang placed individual workstations up against the windows or walls, giving employees ample opportunity for daylight, while collaborative spaces and private offices backed up against the core. A main circulation route, going east to west, was placed to serve as a laneway between the two ends and features the Foundation’s massive library and archival collection along its walls. “Once we had this urban-scale street running through the space, corners became plazas, and the open areas and collaborative spaces became easier to get to as well,” she said. Office design is an often overlooked form of architecture, but Studio Gang gave careful planning to each and every detail and kept some of the building's original elements. The original polished concrete gave the floors a clear and clean appearance, which helped maintain the modernist, industrial aesthetic of the structure. The exposed ceiling was amplified in style by integrating ceiling fins made of recycled water bottles from Turf Design. This helped create a unified look above and improve the acoustics. Upon entering the Foundation, Studio Gang displayed a massive model room, Cavenagh’s favorite spot. It features splayed-out models of the Guggenheim Museum itself, where curators and designers create mini mock-ups and layouts for exhibits. This sets the tone for an active, but manageable mood within the spacious environment. In the old office, employees used to be stepping over each other and there wasn’t room for quiet work or loud collaboration; the new office gives employees the best of both worlds. “We’re always doing interiors work thinking holistically about the space as an extension of architecture,” said Cavenagh. “We’re passionate about how we build for the future. The Guggenheim is stepping into a new chapter of growth and we hope this office will help them work smarter and feel better about their daily environment.”
Sales have officially begun for 11 Hoyt Street, Downtown Brooklyn’s upcoming 770,000-square-foot residential tower designed by Studio Gang Architects. The 480-unit curvilinear skyscraper is impressive by virtue of its unique shape and gigantic size; its 57 stories occupy a full city block. Studio Gang founder Jeanne Gang is leading the project, with plans to transform the site of a once-dismal parking garage into one of the tallest and most luxurious skyscrapers in Brooklyn—a modern work of art. The proposed building is noteworthy for its beveled and undulating facade, which differs drastically from the ubiquitous glass skyscrapers that currently populate the area. Each window on 11 Hoyt will be individually framed by the building's precast concrete skeleton, with multiple sections extruding outward to form a diagonal, rippling wave pattern across the height of the tower. When the sun shines down on the facade, it will create a unique play of shadows that will accentuate the building’s animated and flexible appearance, while highlighting its glass and concrete sculptural elements. The project site, bordered on four sides by Hoyt Street, Elm Place, Fulton Street, and Livingston Street, is conveniently situated just blocks away from multiple subway lines. Residents who choose to approach the building by car can enter through the outdoor-landscaped porte-cochere, which connects directly to the main lobby. There are a total of 480 units in the building, with interiors designed by London-based Michaelis Boyd Associates. The smallest studios start at $600,000, and the largest four-bedroom unit is priced at $3,400,000. While the floor plans come in nearly 200 different variations, each unit has ten-foot ceilings and eight-foot-tall windows with spectacular views of the Lower Manhattan skyline, Brooklyn, and Queens. Over 55,000 square feet of indoor amenities can be found at the base of the skyscraper, including a lavish cinema, cocktail lounge, library, performance space, private dining area, study lounge, and virtual game room equipped with a golf simulator. A separate Sky Lounge can be found on the 32nd floor. Perhaps 11 Hoyt’s most notable amenity is its 27,000-square-foot private elevated park located atop the second floor, which will become the largest in all of New York City for any residential building. The landscape, designed by Edmund Hollander Design, will hold a sun deck, fitness area, hot tub, children’s play area, and multiple lounge areas. Next to the private residential park will be the “Park Club,” a massive space that will house a 75-foot saltwater swimming pool and a private fitness center designed by The Wright Fit. “From the world-class design and extraordinary, unique amenity offering to the vast, elevated private park, 11 Hoyt raises the bar in the Downtown Brooklyn residential marketplace,” Erik Rose, managing director of Tishman Speyer, the building's developer, told Yimby. “We are incredibly proud to be launching sales for this unmatched residential product and we know it presents a tremendous opportunity for discerning buyers." The project is expected to be complete sometime in 2020.
Chicago-based Studio Gang has unveiled new renderings for a 40-story housing tower slated for San Francisco’s Transbay neighborhood. Designs for the so-called Mira Tower are inspired by the city’s classic bay windows, which the firm has reinterpreted, stacked, and arrayed around the edges of the faceted tower. In a statement supporting the project, Studio Gang principal Jeanne Gang said, "Reinterpreting the classic bay windows of San Francisco, our design amplifies the dynamic quality of the neighborhood.” The project is among several high-rise towers coming to the neighborhood that is taking shape around the recently-opened Salesforce Terminal and Salesforce Tower complex. The project renderings, first published by Dezeen, show a twisting column of projecting window bays that stagger across each facade of the tower. The window walls are interspersed with glazed balconies along certain areas and are framed by what appears to be white metal panel cladding. Each major surface of the building undulates in a wave-like fashion, with projecting bays oriented generally toward specific vistas. Despite the undulating walls, a crisp corner line is carried up the height of the tower at some of the building’s corners. Gang added, “Spiraling all the way up this 400-foot tower, bay windows create unique spaces in every residence that offer fresh air, expansive views, and changing qualities of light throughout the day." Studio Gang has been steadily increasing the number of projects it is undertaking in California over the last few years. The firm is currently working on a campus expansion for the California College of the Arts campus in San Francisco and a new housing complex that will update the Charles Moore-designed Kresge College at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The firm also recently unveiled plans for a curvy apartment tower that will be located in Los Angeles’s Chinatown neighborhood. Mira Tower is currently under construction with sales efforts to begin in earnest this fall. Tishman Speyer is the developer behind the project.
It’s time to go north of the border as The Architect’s Newspaper checks out some of the highest-profile projects that have been announced across Canada this year. A strong economy has driven construction across the country, and Toronto, in particular, has an abundance of notable buildings breaking ground. From subdued civic structures to prismatic rental towers, 2018 has brought a surfeit of high-profile projects to America’s northern neighbor. One Delisle Studio Gang Toronto, Ontario Studio Gang could end up making a major mark on Toronto’s skyline with its first Canadian project, a 48-story multifaceted tower. The rental building has been designed with 16 sides made up of overlapping eight-story hexagonal modules, and each segment will contain enclosed balconies and be topped with garden terraces for residents. The overlap of the modules resembles scales or the natural spiraling of growing plants, and the effect creates a different view of the tower depending on the angle of approach. An existing 1929 Art Deco facade will be moved over to the base of a neighboring tower, and the base of One Delisle will relate to the historic facade to maintain a cogent street wall. Toronto Courthouse Renzo Piano Building Workshop and NORR Architects & Engineers Toronto, Ontario Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW)’s first project in Canada will consolidate many of Toronto’s smaller courts into a centrally-located municipal building next to the city’s Superior Court of Justice. The building is reminiscent of Piano’s work on the Jerome L. Greene Science Center for Columbia University, both in its boxy massing and in its open ground level, created by raising the base of the building several stories. Despite the courthouse’s wide-open atrium space, the building has been designed with security in mind, and cameras, baggage checkpoints, and internal security corridors will be deployed throughout. The first museum in Ontario to focus on the history of the indigenous justice system will also be located inside. Construction is on track to finish in 2022. The HUB/30 Bay Street Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) Toronto, Ontario The recently-revealed design for The HUB, a 1.4 million-square-foot tower proposed for Toronto’s South Core neighborhood, is the result of an international design competition for a building that would have a major impact on Toronto’s skyline. The HUB will float over the adjacent Toronto Harbour Commission Building courtesy of a cantilevering base, and create what Senior Partner Graham Stirk describes as 'a harmony' between the two buildings. The use of external structural steel lends the tower a more industrial feeling, and RSHP is promising that the tower will contain column-free office space and a multi-story atrium as a result. Toronto’s Spadina Line expansion stations The Spadina Group Associates and All Design Toronto, Ontario Construction in Toronto is not limited to new towers. Humbler additions to public infrastructure have also been taking shape. Toronto’s largest subway extension in decades opened late last year with six new stations, including two colorful facilities from the late Will Alsop’s All Design. The boxy, zebra-striped second story of the Finch West Station cantilevers over the building's main entrance and is capped with an enormous red window at one end. A concrete 'skirt' floats around the station’s base and offers shelter to riders who are waiting for a bus outside. Inside, Alsop uses touches of color to lighten up the polished concrete interiors. For Pioneer Village, Alsop wrapped the cantilevering station in Corten steel. This station is much rounder than Finch West and uses a red band around the base of the building’s front to direct riders to the main entrance. A geometric canopy rises from the station’s back and creates a covered waiting area for the two regional bus lines that service the station. The same polished concrete seen at Finch West was used inside. Barclay Village Büro Ole Scheeren Vancouver, British Columbia Vancouver has also seen significant growth recently, including the Shigeru Ban-designed hybrid timber tower. Ole Scheeren’s recently-revealed twin towers sit in Vancouver’s West End neighborhood, and according to Scheeren, they use balconies, setbacks, and offsets to create a more welcoming face in contrast to the typical monolithic glass tower typology. All of the terraces are planted, and a rooftop plaza sits on top of the base that links the two towers. Scheeren claims that the driving concept for Barclay Village was to elevate the concept of the village skyward to match Vancouver’s overall verticality. The Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Inuit Art Centre (IAC) Michael Maltzan Architecture Winnipeg, Manitoba This curvilinear four-story museum from Michael Maltzan broke ground in Winnipeg last month, and when complete in 2020, the building will become the largest Inuit art gallery in the world. A double-height glazed atrium at the museum’s base will be anchored by a central 'vault' protected by curved glass, and visitors can freely examine Inuit artifacts as they walk around the ground level. An 8,500-square-foot gallery on the third floor will display Inuit art. The sculptural facade of the building’s stone portion was reportedly inspired by the “immense, geographical features that form the background of many Inuit towns and inlets.” The IAC is an extension of the neighboring Winnipeg Art Gallery, and every floor with connect with the original building.
Studio Gang and California College of the Arts (CCA) have unveiled new renderings for a planned three-year expansion of the school’s San Francisco campus. The renderings offer the first glimpse into how the Chicago-based architects will rework the arts college as CCA moves to consolidate its San Francisco and East Bay campuses by taking over a parking lot adjacent to the original school site in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood. Renderings depict four rectangular buildings set on an elevated plinth behind the existing school, with a pair of sunken courtyards and lawn spaces populating the areas between the buildings. The concrete-wrapped podium steps down to meet the existing school, leaving a third, block-long courtyard space in between the two structures. The new buildings, according to the renderings, are designed with perimeter circulation wrapping enclosed classroom spaces and feature what looks like heavy timber construction. The buildings are shown with large-scale super truss elements along exterior walls and are topped by solar arrays. CCA’s expansion will also include a residential component by additional architects including Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects that seeks to add up to 1,000 additional beds to the campus’s residential accommodations by 2025. The campus expansion is being designed to house the college’s 2,000 students, 600 faculty members, 250 staff members, and 34 academic programs all one site, as outlined by the school’s “Framing the Future” visioning plan, a scheme developed in 2015 by Gensler and MKthink to guide the school’s next 85 years. Studio Gang beat out Michael Maltzan Architects and Allied Works for the commission in 2016 and the firm is expected to release more information on the expansion later this summer. The full campus is slated to open for the 2020–2021 academic year.
Chicago-based Studio Gang, French real estate investment company Compagnie de Phalsbourg, developer Creative Space, and European lifestyle brand MOB Hotel have unveiled plans for a towering hotel and apartment tower complex slated for Los Angeles’s Chinatown neighborhood. The sinuous, glass-wrapped tower will rise diagonally from a site currently occupied by a pair of commercial buildings and a parking lot, among other uses. A rendering released by the development team depicts a tower that grows wider as it rises from the site, revealing larger, cantilevered floor plates containing balcony spaces along its uppermost floors. The project is among the first high-profile developments in the neighborhood following recent new construction and the completion of the Los Angeles State Historic Park. The project will likely transform the neighborhood, replacing a modestly-scaled commercial area with plazas, a 149-key hotel, and 300 new residences. It does not contain an affordable housing component. “This project transforms a parking lot and commercial strip into an architecture that opens up the potential of the site to connect neighborhoods,” Studio Gang Founding Principal Jeanne Gang explained via press release. Gang added, “Responding to the growing needs of the city, we designed the footprint to enable new generous outdoor public space at ground level while simultaneously creating a curved upper volume to capture views, light, and air for the building’s inhabitants.” The project comes as development around the new state park heats up, with several other multi-phase, mixed-use developments currently in the pipeline. The project will be Studio Gang’s first project in L.A. and represents the changing tenor of development in the city’s urban core, which is becoming more star-studded and international in nature than has prefiously been the case. Nearby, Johnson Fain and SWA Group are working on the 355-unit La Plaza de Cultura development, while efforts are made to create a new master plan for the surrounding neighborhood and adjacent Civic Center areas. Studio Gang’s project will now head into the community review phase; a timeline for construction has not been announced.
Renderings for the new Studio Gang-designed 11 Hoyt condo development in downtown Brooklyn have been released. It will be the Chicago-based firm’s first residential project in New York City and located next to the downtown Brooklyn Macy’s building. Topping out at 51 stories at 664 feet, 11 Hoyt will be among the tallest buildings in Brooklyn—taller than any existing structure and only beat by the yet-to-be-completed City Point Tower III and the under-construction 1,066-foot skyscraper at 9 Dekalb Avenue designed by SHoP Architects. Built on the site of a former parking garage demolished for the project, 11 Hoyt is part of a broader set of changes and high-rise construction happening in downtown Brooklyn. The foundation is already laid with construction of the concrete superstructure to begin soon for an anticipated 2020 completion. The tower is distinguished by its rippling facade and punctuated by square windows, adding a textural quality to Brooklyn’s growing skyline.The luxury building will have 480 residences with interiors by Michaelis Boyd Associates, as well as 50,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor amenities. Landscape design of the significant outdoor space will be overseen by Hollander Design. The site is being developed by Tishman Speyer, who is also behind the major changes to the adjacent Macy’s building, which includes the addition of a ten-story office tower designed by Shimoda Design Group.
More details were announced Monday about the upcoming U.S. Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. The exhibition will be titled Dimensions of Citizenship and curated by Niall Atkinson, associate professor of architectural history at the University of Chicago; Ann Lui, assistant professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC); Mimi Zeiger, an independent critic, editor, curator, and educator; and associate curator Iker Gil, lecturer at SAIC. Dimensions of Citizenship will feature the work of seven architecture practices to “explore how citizenship may be defined, constructed, enacted, contested, or expressed in the built environment at seven different spatial scales. Expanding from the body and city to the network and the heavens, the seven installations raise questions about issues including belonging, sovereignty, and ecology,” according to the curatorial statement. The seven spatial scales are used as an organizing principle to examine the ways citizenship affects and is affected by the built environment. Each studio is assigned a scale as the prompt. Scale: Citizen / Amanda Williams + Andres L. Hernandez, in collaboration with Shani Crowe From the project description: “Dimensions of Citizenship begins at the scale of the citizen with the project Thrival Geographies (In My Mind I See a Line), which will consider how race shapes notions of identity, shelter, and public space in historically African-American communities. For their installation in the courtyard of the U.S. Pavilion, Williams (a recently named 2018 USA Ford Fellow) and Hernandez, who is an associate professor of art education at SAIC, will partner with Chicago-based artist Shani Crowe, whose intricate braided hair sculptures have been worn by celebrities such as Solange. While the specter of slavery and continued racial injustice will be at the core of the installation, the piece will ultimately strive for a possible architecture of freedom that might allow all citizens to thrive and participate in the democratic ideal. Scale: Civitas / Studio Gang From the project description: “Led by 2011 MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang, Studio Gang uses design as a medium to help strengthen communities. Stone Stories builds on the Studio’s ongoing work in Memphis, Tennessee, to investigate how redesigning cities’ public space can be an exercise of citizenship and empowerment. Inspired by Memphis’s recent removal of two Confederate statues, Stone Storiesoffers an inclusive urban vision for Cobblestone Landing, an overlooked yet historically important site along the Mississippi River. Hundreds of Memphis cobblestones will be shipped to Venice and used as a platform to share the stories of Memphians past and present, offering visitors a visceral and material interaction with a distant public space and the citizens who are actively building its shared urban future.” Scale: Region / SCAPE From the project description: “SCAPE, under the leadership of 2017 MacArthur Fellow Kate Orff, will demonstrate that landscape architecture can be a critical tool for re-envisioning the response of citizens to climate change. SCAPE’s project, Ecological Citizens, understands the region as an area defined by the shifting relationships of ecology, infrastructure, and climate. It takes the Venetian Lagoon as a globally significant case study of a tidal region under ecological threat. Partnering with Università di Bologna and the Italian Institute of Marine Sciences, SCAPE will present possible solutions or interventions to aid the environmentally sensitive La Certosa island in the lagoon. Scale: Nation / Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman From the project description: “Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman challenges the way we think about national boundaries. Their project, MEXUS: A Geography of Interdependence, reveals a transnational zone comprised of eight watershed systems shared by Mexico and the United States. MEXUS provokes us to rethink citizenship beyond the limits of the nation, mobilizing a more inclusive, interdependent idea based on co-existence, shared assets, and cooperative opportunities between divided communities. Cruz is the winner of the 2018 Vilcek Prize in Architecture, which is presented to immigrants who are champions of the arts and sciences. Scale: Globe / Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Laura Kurgan, Robert Gerard Pietrusko with Columbia Center for Spatial Research From the project description: “When we zoom out to the scale of the globe, the primacy of the individual, the city, and even the nation drops away and is replaced by data: electricity, trade routes, migratory shifts, and the flow of capital, goods, and people. In Plain Sight—a collaboration among Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Laura Kurgan, and Robert Gerard Pietrusko with Columbia Center for Spatial Research—uses data drawn from images created by the Soumi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite to visualize where people live on earth. Two contrasting NASA images of the Earth taken at 1:30 pm and 1:30 amshow us the gaps in the network: the places with many people and no lights, and those with bright lights and no people. This information maps out a political geography of belonging and exclusion. Scale: Network / Keller Easterling with MANY From the project description: “Keller Easterling’s writings and projects regularly investigate the emergent territory where the state meets the digital network. With MANY, an online platform designed to facilitate migration through an exchange of needs, Easterling and team propose that we use the network to rethink possibly outdated notions of citizenship. With a nod to the pervasive and familiar share economies that define online life, MANY envisions a global form of matchmaking between the sidelined talents of migrating populations and the multitude of opportunities around the world. Favoring cosmopolitan mobility over national identity, MANY looks to short-term visas as a tool to foster an exchange of needs. Scale: Cosmos / Design Earth From the project description: “The space above Earth, as a site of existing human occupation and potential belonging, has become a territory that both captures the imagination and serves as a theater for existing conflicts or conditions. In looking to the cosmos, Design Earth’s speculative designs suggest possible off-world architectural responses. Design Earth’s El Hadi Jazairy and Rania Ghosn (recipient of the 2017 Boghossian Foundation Prize) present three “geo-stories,” which speculate on the legal geography of citizenship when extended to “the province of all mankind.” Together the stories in Cosmorama—Mining the Sky, Planetary Ark, and Pacific Cemetery—ask how we should reckon with the epic and frontier narratives that have fueled space exploration, at a time when prospects of instability and extinction have become normal on Earth.
Like so many cities, Memphis, Tennessee, is imagining the future of one of its largest natural assets, its waterfront. The Home of the Blues marks the approximate midpoint of the Mississippi River, and until recently, it has mainly utilized it for industrial purposes, like many other American waterfront cities. While the river has been home to casino riverboats, and a riverfront park does exist, plans are now underway to turn the area into a full-fledged cultural destination. Memphis-based archimania, in collaboration with Peter Chermayeff and BWS&C have put forward a plan called the Mud Island River Park + Cultural Center, which aims to bring the public closer to the water and provide educational opportunities. The scheme calls for cultural facilities linked by a pedestrian path that would also connect Mud Island (a peninsula edging the city and the river) and the city’s riverfront to the adjacent redeveloped Fourth Bluff Civic Commons. The centerpiece of the project is the Aquarium Museum, a complex on Mud Island that will show off aquatic species and focus on the city’s long history with the river as well as contemporary water studies. On the other side of the river, the complex will likely include a reimagined Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. The Brooks is currently located outside of the downtown area. The past few years have seen a number of proposals for Memphis’s downtown and waterfront, with an eye on the city’s bicentennial in 2019. Just northeast of the proposed Mud Island project, a building and development moratorium for the downtown Pinch District is being reassessed through a planning and architecture study led by the Division of Housing and Community Development and the Memphis office of Looney Ricks Kiss. Chicago-based Studio Gang Architects have also produced a Riverfront study for the city, which was released in mid-2017. The Mud Island proposal was informed by the Studio Gang research, which called for any projects along the river to foster, restore, and connect the city, the river, and the larger ecology of the area. Considering the numerous proposals, it is likely that we will see multiple developments and amenities coming to Memphis’s extensive riverfront in the coming years. To get the wheel turning, fundraising is set to begin for the Mud Island River Park + Cultural Center in 2018, with construction starting within the next four years.
What does a cultural hub for the 21st century require? With their newly unveiled design for the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock, Studio Gang and SCAPE Landscape Architecture have a few ideas in mind: flexibility, inclusivity, community, and a nod to sustainability. The expansion and renovation, which is scheduled to break ground in 2019 and open in 2022, addresses a number of concerns from the existing 1937 structure and the work of eight subsequent additions. ("A very complicated puzzle," as museum director Todd Herman described the existing space.) In addition to selective demolition that will reveal the original facade, the first course of action involved uniting the spaces, which the architects plan to accomplish with the addition of a pleated covered walkway spine that links the city-facing north entrance with a new southern entrance connected to parkland. “Starting from the inside out, the design clarifies the organization of the building and extends its presence into MacArthur Park and out to Crescent Lawn,” Studio Gang Founding Principal Jeanne Gang said in a statement. “By doing so, the Center becomes a vibrant place for social interaction, education, and appreciation for the arts.” In addition to the central corridor, the expansion will also include an indoor-outdoor dining space and a multifunctional area called the Cultural Living Room that's designed to welcome visitors to engage and relax, while also offering space for large-scale events and performances. Specific attention will be paid to the sustainability of the materials and mechanical systems, underscoring the connection to nature that's at the core of the project, which has been described as a "museum in a forest." Critical to that concept is the SCAPE's new plan for the landscape, which increases parkland with more than 250 new tress and a variety of new paths and trails. SCAPE founder Kate Orff found inspiration for the design in Little Rock's unique ecology, which spans from the Mississippi Delta to the bluffs of Emerald Park. “This an exciting moment for the Arkansas Arts Center, central Arkansas, and the entire state,” Herman said of the $70 million project in a statement. “The reimagined Arts Center will be a welcoming place that encourages prolonged and meaningful interaction with the collection and programs at the Arts Center. It is intended to be a gathering place for the community that highlights the interplay between the AAC and the surrounding park.”
The Designing Material Innovation exhibition—co-presented by the California College of the Arts (CCA) and the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the CCA campus in San Francisco—aims to utilize contemporary architectural research in an effort to envision potential futures for the school’s backlot. The exhibition consists of five experimental architectural pavilions built to test new conceptual approaches in the realms of materiality, fabrication, and design. The pavilions, crafted with industry and academic partners, also attempt to articulate new ways of working outdoors in an effort to help guide designs for a forthcoming campus expansion by Studio Gang. Designs for the expansion are still in the works, but the scheme is expected to rely on a network of socially-driven outdoor workspaces and venues—Designing Material Innovation will act as a pop-up of sorts, testing the limits of what is possible outdoors at the CCA. The exhibition was curated by Jonathan Massey—the current dean at Taubman College and recent dean of architecture at CCA—who brought together APTUM Architecture, MATSYS, the CCA Digital Craft Lab, T+E+A+M, and Matter Design for the show. Exhibition design for the showcase came from Oakland, California–based Endemic Architecture, who created a “confetti urbanism” installation for the site that whimsically reworks existing furnishings into a playscape that hosts the experimental pavilions, as well as give students a place to fabricate their projects. “Designing Material Innovation shows how designers and industry leaders partner to achieve great things, whether that is making concrete structures light and delicate, promoting ecological diversity, or repurposing waste,” Massey said. APTUM Architecture collaborated with Mexican building materials company CEMEX to devise new methods of testing fiber-reinforced methods to pursue extremely thin concrete shell structures. The ten-foot-by-ten-foot pavilion is made of interlocking concrete arches that are only one-third of an inch thick. A second vaulted pavilion was made by Oakland-based MATSYS with help from the CCA Digital Craft Lab. The complexly curved shell structure was robotically milled from foam waste and is coated in synthetic resin. The Buoyant Ecologies Float Lab by the CCA Digital Craft Lab and Kreysler & Associates comprises a “floating composite shell structure” according to the exhibition website, and was fabricated using fiber-reinforced polymers. T+E+A+M and University of Michigan came together to generate a “new architectural order” made from “plasticglomerate,” an amalgamation of rocks and plastic waste cast into a grouped cluster of columns. The final team—Matter Design and Massachusetts Institute of Technology—fabricated a 16-foot-tall, 2,000-pound glass fiber reinforced concrete sculpture that pivots and moves freely despite its hefty appearance. Taken together, the installations offer not just a glimpse into the future of material experimentation, but pique interest in Studio Gang’s forthcoming additions, as well.