I first encountered a Futuro house in a lavish palazzo during Milan Design Week in 2016. It was part of Louis Vuitton’s exhibition Objets Nomades. Fifty years, ago, a futuristic prefab house hit the market in the U.S.A. Originally designed in the 1960s by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen, the portable houses featured built-in furniture, a full bedroom and bathroom, heating and air conditioning, as well as a living room and dining room. The fiber-reinforced fiberglass shell was punctuated by oval windows—an iconic shape now associated with futuristic design (and UFOs). But despite its place in design history, very few Futuro houses remain. There are around 60 of the houses left, which have become a mix of residences, tourist-draws on Airbnb, and museum pieces, among other quirky uses. The most exciting might be in Tampa Bay, Florida. Suuronen's company stopped production in 1975, partly due to rising production costs in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis. One house, a display model used in Clearwater, ended up in the hands of local Futuro dealership manager Jerry DeLong, who also happened to also own “2001 Odyssey"—a local strip club. The spaceship first appeared in ads in 1971, according to the Tampa Bay Times. The club was making big money until the mob pressured DeLong to sell, and, according to the Tampa Bay Times, fell under the ownership of “the Trafficantes,” or the crew led by Santo Trafficante Jr. Several years later, in 1974, Pasquale “Pat” Matassini bought the club, but Matassini was later convicted of distributing $1 million in counterfeit cash, and in 1992, was accused of having ties to the Tampa crime family because he owned a bar called Godfather’s on Trafficante-owned land. These days, according to the Tampa Bay Times, "the spaceship is entered via a carpeted staircase from the first floor of the club. There’s a curved bar in the center, serving soft drinks and water. Black lace curtains hang over leather booths that wrap around the mirrored walls. The ceiling is adorned with glow-in-the-dark constellations and a disco ball." the Futuro house has become 2001 Odyssey's VIP room." Well, this is one possible “future,” but probably not the one Suuronen imagined for his visionary design. For more on where the other remaining Futuro houses have landed, check out thefuturohouse.com.
Posts tagged with "Tampa":
From a distance, the twisted, green sculpture set along the Hillsborough River in Tampa, Florida, looks like an inappropriately planted tree. It sits on a pier that juts out over the river, calling attention to itself. But the massive permanent installation, designed by Marc Fornes of the New York-based computational and digital fabrication studio THEVERYMANY, is actually a winding collection of aluminum plates assembled to resemble the native mangroves that take root along Florida’s shorelines. Form of Wander, as the structure is called, features seven trunk-like columns that stretch the entire pier and connect via a mess of branches. Standing 21-feet-tall, the green-tinted structure is made up of thin, aluminum metal plates with a double layer core. Overall, it has 3,123 parts. The exterior layers, which include six different gradients of green, reflect light and take on a brighter color in the sun. According to Fornes, the tangled network of branches and its cantilevered edges were designed to look as if the form had been swept up by the wind. The site-specific project was created to complement the landscape of the Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park near downtown Tampa. The 25-acre park opened last May and includes an array of amenities for sports, leisure activities, art-viewing, and more. One of its greatest natural resources, however, is the collection of beautiful mangrove trees that line the parkland. These mangroves, which evolved over time into dense thickets to prevent storm surge, are part of the land’s resilient ecology. Much like the real thing, Form of Wander can withstand severe weather, too. It held up when Hurricane Michael ripped through Florida’s Gulf Coast earlier last month. While the striking sculpture has both striking visual and resilient qualities, its purpose is simple. Fornes designed Form of Wander to enhance a leisurely walk in the park. Based on the tradition of 17th-century French gardening, the project creates an allée, or promenade on the pier, lined with manicured trees (or in this case metal structures) that frames views of the sky and leads to a point on the horizon. While Form of Wander is a contemporary twist on this idea, it’s a destination for Floridians in its own right.
Water Street Tampa, a massive new mixed-use waterfront neighborhood, will receive two new high-tech office buildings courtesy of New York's COOKFOX Architects and Gensler. The two towers will be the first to rise in the development and will be Tampa, Florida’s, first ground-up office towers in 25 years. Combined, both buildings will bring nearly one million square feet of office space to Water Street Tampa, the first WELL-certified neighborhood in the world according to developer Strategic Property Partners (SPP). COOKFOX’s design for 1001 Water Street is reminiscent in form of New York’s classic cast-iron buildings, complete with a crowning cornice. The 20-story, mixed-use tower will hold 380,000 square feet of offices, and from the renderings, it looks like COOKFOX has integrated its signature biophilic touch. Nine planted, double-height terraces will wrap around the exterior of 1001 Water Street, and the building will be capped by a landscaped rooftop terrace. Inside, tenants and the general community will be able to make use of the Water Street Tampa wellness community center. No square footage has been given as of yet for the non-office components. 1001 Water Street will be connected to the University of South Florida’s Morsani College of Medicine courtesy of a Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects–designed plaza. Gensler has taken a decidedly glassier approach at 400 Channelside, offsetting glass-clad volumes to create a 500,000-square-foot, 19-story office tower. The building, much like COOKFOX’s, was designed with a focus on connecting tents with the outdoors and will include a 30,000-square-foot, landscaped “sky garden” on the fourth floor. Much like 1001 Water Street, 400 Channelside will also include floor-to-ceiling windows. Both buildings will be WELL and LEED certified, though to what level hasn’t been revealed yet, and are expected to open sometime in 2020 or 2021. Once the new neighborhood is fully built out, Water Street Tampa will feature 2 million square feet of office space and is expected to serve up to 23,000 residents and visitors daily.
Move over Jacksonville Jaguars, the Tampa Bay Rays are the latest Floridian sports franchise to build big. The baseball team announced last week that it would be pursuing plans for an ambitious, $892 million ballpark in Tampa designed by Populous, but details of how the team would pay for the project are still scarce. Tropicana Field, the Rays’ current home in neighboring St. Petersburg, is the MLB’s smallest and the Rays frequently measure dead last in average home field attendance rates. The Rays have conceded a new stadium isn’t technically necessary, but they want to use the new scheme to drum up attendance and enthusiasm. The stadium has been proposed for downtown Tampa’s nationally landmarked Ybor City district, about 20 miles from Tropicana Field. Despite the price tag, the new ballpark would remain the smallest in the league and only seat approximately 30,000, about the same as the Rays’ current home. Capacity isn’t the potential ball park’s draw; that lies in the location and more exciting design. The proposed ballpark’s most distinctive features are the dramatic tilt and swoop of the roofline and the non-retractable glass dome that would enclose the field, reminiscent of Buckminster Fuller’s Dodger Dome. The structural cross-bracing on the underside of the translucent dome would resemble a coffered ceiling when seen from below. Clear glass panels would rise closer to the outfield and meet the lip of the dome as it wrapped around the building. A massive sunshade has been proposed for the backside of the roof, where most of the seating would be. The glass ceiling alone is projected to cost around 30 percent of the project’s nearly $900 million budget. The Rays would also create a multi-level retail podium around the ballpark’s base, with the field itself sitting in the middle and anchoring the development. The buildings at ground level would feature sliding glass walls capable of retracting during nicer weather. The principal owner of the Rays, Stuart Sternberg, explained to the Chicago Tribune that the move was part of the team’s attempt at leaving a legacy in Tampa, which is why the new plan bucks what might be expected of a stadium proposal. The team has admitted that the renderings are, in part, designed to drum up public and private investment in the new stadium. The team will reportedly contribute anywhere from $150 to $400 million to the project depending on whether they can secure a naming rights purchase, but taxpayers could ultimately be responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in bond debt depending on how a deal shapes up. The Rays are aiming to open the field in time for the 2023 season.
New images for Tampa’s largest mixed-use project were recently revealed, illustrating the city’s intense investment into its waterfront and downtown core. Water Street is a $3 billion, 50-acre mixed-use waterfront district covering 16 city blocks on Hillsborough Bay. The project is being developed by Strategic Property Partners (SPP), a joint venture from Jeffrey Vinik, owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team, and Cascade Investment, run by Microsoft founder Bill Gates. The design team includes Cambridge-based Reed Hilderbrand working in conjunction with Boston-based Elkus Manfredi Architects for the project’s landscape architecture and master plan, respectively. Engineering firm Stantec is responsible for infrastructure and roadway improvements. Like other U.S. cities in the post-industrial era, Tampa largely ignored its former industrial waterfront for the majority of the late 20th century, instead focusing on building highways, surface parking lots, and structures that ultimately cut off the water from city residents. Tampa’s lack of a cohesive downtown identity has been an issue that has plagued the city and is one of the main issues that SPP is aiming to resolve with Water Street. It’s an ambitious project. If successful, Water Street will become the world’s first WELL-certified community, which sets new standards for design as a means for well-being and health through elements like daylighting and air quality. A centralized district cooling facility will be built to serve all the buildings in Water Street, opening up rooftops to have more space for greenery and/or active amenity spaces. Water Street also intends to be LEED Neighborhood Development (ND) certified, which was created to shape more sustainable and well-connected neighborhoods. Once completed, there will be two million square feet of office space, 3,500 new residencies, one million square feet of new retail, cultural, educational, and entertainment space, and two new hotels. Two projects are already underway: a JW Marriott hotel and a $164.7 million University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute. Tampa is investing heavily into its waterfront edge in an effort to revitalize and reconnect its downtown. An estimated $13 billion will be spent on development in the Tampa Bay area, according to a Dodge Data & Analytics report, and the most ambitious project is Water Street. The massive investment is an indicator not only of the city’s push to attract companies and young people, but also of the city's desire to unite its neighborhoods, including the existing Central Business District and surrounding neighborhoods of Harbour Island and the Channel District. For the past two years, construction teams have been working to create walkable and bikeable streets that eschew the traditional city street grid, redefining Tampa’s downtown into a walkable, pedestrian-friendly area. “Our plan for Water Street Tampa builds on decades of insights into what makes city neighborhoods work, working within the context of a modern lifestyle in Tampa,” said James Nozar, CEO of SPP. By developing in an underdeveloped area that has no connection to the waterfront, “we’re filling the hole in the middle of the doughnut,” he said to The New York Times. Once completed, the developers estimate that more than 23,000 people will live, work, dine, and visit Water Street. The first phase is meant to open in 2021, but the expected completion date is still a ways off in 2027.
COOKFOX, Olson Kundig, Gensler, Kohn Pederson Fox Associates (KPF), and Morris Adjmi Architects, have all been named as some of the nine architects spearheading Water Street Tampa, the $3 billion project that will give the Florida city a skyline. Spread over nearly 50 acres, 18 buildings comprise the scheme which is being backed by Strategic Property Partners—a consortium between Jeff Vinik, who owns NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, and Bill Gates’s Cascade Investment. Though first announced in early July this year, more details, such as the architects involved, have been released. Four New York firms are in on the act. COOKFOX will be designing two buildings: an office and a residential block which will sit atop some retail. KPF has been commissioned for a series of apartments and condominiums which will reside above some retail and a grocery store. Morris Adjmi Architects has scooped arguably the largest commission: a 157-key five-star hotel, a range of luxury condos, more apartments, and retail. Gensler, meanwhile, will be behind two office over retail projects. Seattle firm Olson Kundig is also doing a similar project and Baker Barrios, from Orlando, are to design a central cooling facility. Greenery is coming via Tampa-based Alfonso Architects, who are fronting the redevelopment vision for the city's Channelside with a new public park, waterfront shops, and living units. Another Flordian firm, Nichols Brosch Wurst Wolfe & Associates from Coral Gables, are designing a 500-key hotel. Finally, New Haven, Connecticut practice Pickard Chilton are behind three projects that will office and residential over retail. When finished, Water Street Tampa will boast more than two million square feet of offices. In doing so, the scheme will bring the first new office towers Downtown Tampa has seen in almost 25 years. Located on the Garrison Channel and Hillsborough Bay, the project, according to a press release, intends to bridge the city's cultural landmarks, including the Tampa Convention Center, Amalie Arena (where the Tampa Bay Lightning play), Tampa Bay History Center, and Florida Aquarium. This will be achieved via an array of public parks and spaces that lead to the waterfront where the Tampa Riverwalk, and five-mile-long Bayshore path, can be found.