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Right on trend, the oldest mall in America is reborn as micro-apartments

Search Twitter for #mallmonday and see a hilariously bleak photo series that profiles different malls, some dead, some impossibly sad, each week. Why are these depressing spaces so popular with architects? By giving new life to these huge, redundant spaces, architects tap into ruinophilia to feed a culturally ingrained desire for dramatic transformation and also temper the excesses of capitalism, maybe. In the Texas capital, Austin Community College annexed semi-vacant Highland Mall for a new campus, while NBBJ is reviving a dead mall in downtown Columbus. In Providence, Rhode Island, Northeast Collaborative Architects (NCA) handily combined dead mall revivification with micro-apartments, for an timely transformation of downtown's Arcade Providence, the oldest shopping mall in the United States. The 1828 Greek Revival–style mall was closed for the last three years. Designed by Russell Warren and James Bucklin, the three-story mall was America's first enclosed shopping arcade. In a $7 million renovation, Providence-based NCA turned the mall, a National Historic Landmark, into a mixed-use development with 17 retail stores on the ground floor and 48 micro-apartments on top. Apartments open out onto a shared walkway, an arrangement that would be penitentiary-chic if not for a skylit atrium. Unlike micro-apartments in New York, where market-rate rents at Carmel Place range from $2,540 to $2,910 per month, rents at Arcade Providence begin at $550 per month for a 225 to 450 square-foot one-bedroom, My Modern Met reports. (Two- and three-bedroom units are also available.) Those units come with a full bathroom, kitchenette, and a built-in bed with storage. Tenants have access to shared laundry, TV room, and game room, as well as bike storage, and parking. Right now, the only catch for prospective tenants is the 4,000 person waiting list.
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Bjarke Ingels brings the park up to the tower in a new skyscraper at Hudson Yards

In a new Manhattan skyscraper, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) reinterprets the tower-in-the-park by bringing the park up into the tower. https://vimeo.com/154626810 Today, the New York–based firm unveiled The Spiral, a 65-story skyscraper at Hudson Yards. The tower, programmed for offices and 27,000 square feet of retail, is located along the High Line, with a front entrance facing under-construction Hudson Park and Hudson Boulevard East. For those tracking the recent explosion of supertalls, The Spiral, at 1,005 feet, is eye-level with 1,004-foot One57. The prevailing visual element is a stepped group of terraces and hanging gardens, connected to double height atria, that wrap around the side of the building. For tenants renting out multiple floors, the atria can be programmed to connect to other floors, a tweak that could reduce reliance on elevators. Storytelling plays a strong role BIG's practice. The firm has a knack for delivering chronicles that distill the complexity of urban space and the ambiguities of history into a straightforward narrative that situates a project in time and place just so. “The Spiral will punctuate the northern end of the High Line, and the linear park will appear to carry through into the tower, forming an ascending ribbon of lively green spaces, extending the High Line to the skyline," asserted BIG founding principal Bjarke Ingels, in a statement. "The Spiral combines the classic Ziggurat silhouette of the premodern skyscraper with the slender proportions and efficient layouts of the modern high-rise. Designed for the people that occupy it, The Spiral ensures that every floor of the tower opens up to the outdoors creating hanging gardens and cascading atria that connect the open floor plates from the ground floor to the summit into a single uninterrupted work space. The string of terraces wrapping around the building expand the daily life of the tenants to the outside air and light.” In a video accompanying today's announcement, Ingels nails down the appeal of the swirl with pretty motifs from science and nature: "The spiral's immaculate geometry, and its suggestion of the infinite, that has mesmerized us in all cultures, and across time and place." The Spiral, he posits, will be "a new tower that stands out among its neighbors, yet feels completely at home." As buildings should? With BIG's unveil, Phase 1 development is continuing apace at Hudson Yards. When complete, the new neighborhood will allow for 26 million square feet of office space, 20,000 units of new housing, three million square feet for hotels, and two million square feet of retail. Hudson Yards first skyscraper, KPF's 10 Hudson Yards, topped out last October, with construction on 15, 30, 35, 50, and 55 Hudson Yards well underway.
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Six design firms team up for this crazy parking garage facade in the Miami Design District

The Miami Design District is renowned for its novel architectural and art scene, including many novel parking garages by top architects. In a sort of game of architectural one-upmanship, another parking garage is about to add a jolt of art by transforming its facade into a larger-than-life canvas. The so-called Museum Garage will be clad with six radically different facades, all designed by different practices. Due for completion by the end of this year, the garage's display was curated by Terence Riley of K/R Architects and will feature an eclectic mix of facade designs ranging from a wall of used cars, human-scale ant farm-esque cut-outs, and partially tessellating oversized corner detail. The teams working on the designs include Sagmeister & Walsh; Work Architecture Company (WORKac); K/R Keenen Riley Architects; Clavel Arquitectos; J. Mayer H.; and Nicolas Buffe. Together, these facades will be part of a seven story floor and retail space, with a garage (hence the name) being able to accommodate for 800 cars. Clavel Arquitectos, based in Murcia and Miami, drew on the vicinity's urban growth with the facade being named Urban Jam. Subsequently the design will feature 45 reused cars, all of which have been painted silver and gold. New York–based WORKac incorporated what appears to be an enormous cut-out "ant farm" or a stylized "Rorschach Test" facade into the design for its program that includes a library, playground, and a pop-up art space. Serious Play comes from Paris and Tokyo-based Nicolas Buffe. Taking inspiration from retro video games, cartoons fill the facade in juxtaposition with baroque decoration detailing. From Berlin, J. Mayer H. introduced XOX, featuring an embedded lighting system. While sounding like a Miami club it is anything but and will probably be the only car part with tessellating corner components painted with car stripes in the area. Also from New York are Sagmeister & WalshBut I Only Want You is a mural with burning candles at each ends implying that, despite being at at extremes, love can find a way. Finally, curators K/R Architects, from New York and Miami, use mockup traffic barriers for the facade. Dispersed among the "barricades" are light fittings which will draw attention to the barriers at night, being able to spin with the wind.
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Facades+AM DC to focus on environmental concerns and the building envelope

On March 10, Facades+AM, the half-day spin-off of the popular Facades+ conference series, returns to the nation's capital. The symposium is co-chaired by FXFOWLE senior partner Mark Strauss and FXFOWLE principal Kevin Cannon. "One of the things we noticed over the last year is that there's a lot of emphasis on expanding the envelope not just in terms of ideas in Washington, but also responding to environmental concerns," said Strauss. "There's an interest in sustainability from the public side, but also from the development side." Facades+AM DC will comprise one keynote address and two closely-related panel discussions. After registration, breakfast, and opening remarks from Strauss and Cannon, Handel Architects president Gary Handel will deliver a talk on his firm's new residential tower for Cornell University's New York City Tech Campus. The tower's facade is a key contributor to its status as the world's largest and tallest building designed to Passive House standards. "One aspect we haven't seen very much in Washington, but thought we could use this even to push, is to explore the idea of Passive House and its impact," said Strauss. "It will be interesting to hear about the challenges" Handel has encountered in scaling up, added Cannon. Handel's keynote address sets the stage for the morning's first panel, "Facades and the Environment." Presenters include Roger Frechette III (Interface Engineering), Robert Moje (VMDO Architects), and Nora Wang (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory). The discussion will center on how changes in environmental design, including the rise of net zero, have influenced architecture and building performance. In addition to hearing from Moje, whose firm actively explores the intersection between sustainability theory and practice in school design, "We're going to talk to engineers who are looking at how you begin to quantify and measure these things," said Cannon. The final panel, on "The Future of the Office Building," brings together Akridge's Bob Schofield, Duncan Lyons (Gensler), and Marc Simmons, of Front, Inc. "There's been a revolution around office buildings," observed Strauss. "We're re-thinking the face of the office building, but the panel is also going to explore how the work environment is changing, and how that influences facades." In reference to FXFOWLE's own portfolio, including a contemporary project in Turkey and the New York Times building (Renzo Piano), Cannon said, "We've been doing a lot of work lately on seeing how the inside of the building influences the facade. We want to see how those influences will land in DC." Join Strauss, Cannon, and other movers and shakers in the world of building envelope design and fabrication March 10 at Facades+AM DC. Learn more and register today on the conference website.
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Florida’s Seminole tribe unveils guitar-shaped hotel as part of $1.8 billion project in the Sunshine State

Those who frequent Hard Rock Casinos will have become accustomed to the larger-than-life guitars that have become a trademark feature. However, none will be quite used to the scale of the Florida Seminole tribe's latest endeavor, part of a $1.8 billion project on U.S. 441, north of Stirling Road, in Hollywood, Florida.   Rising 34 stories high, 800 rooms will be encased in the form of a cut-away guitar's body. While some may argue that this duck is a potentially cliché aesthetic, tribe leaders were eager to emphasize their desire to make an architectural statement. Seminole Gaming CEO Jim Allen spoke of tribes aims to create an icon. "We could have easily just built some rectangular building...but the tribe is once again trying to create something that is iconic, that creates international tourism coming to Florida," he said to the Sun Sentinel. "We truly believe that design alone will create additional tourism." The expansion to the pre-existing complex will see room capacity boosted to 1,273 with the introduction of a nightclub and five new restaurants. $100 million will also be spent on a swimming pool (the second in the vicinity). As part of a deal between the Seminoles and the local governor, the development is set to see bring a influx of employment to the area as well. The tribe estimates that 19,452 jobs, including 4,867 full-time positions and 14,585 construction jobs, will be created due to the development. https://twitter.com/Chabelih/status/694191104854458370 Seminole plans are pointed skywards as they claim to rival Las Vegas and other major global gambling destinations. "We truly think this will rival not only anything in Florida, but Atlantis and anything in the world," said Allen.
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Enrique Peñalosa plans to give Bogotá the best transit system in the developing world

An economist who once advised Colombian President Virgilio Barco, Enrique Peñalosa is now a revered urban planner in the city of Bogotá. Having once served as Bogotá mayor from 1997 to 2001, Peñalosa is now back for his second stint and pledges to provide his city with the best public transportation system in the developing world. In his first term as mayor, Peñalosa was responsible for widespread changes in infrastructure and public space in Bogotá. These included a 40 percent reduction in vehicle usage within the city; replacing parking spaces with green sidewalks and street furniture; developing the TransMilenio bus rapid transit systems; building a major public library alongside two others in low-income areas; and creating expansive green spaces. Peñalosa also pioneered regulation on social housing that included a minimum square footage on new builds. Dario Hidalgo of CityFix sings the new mayors praises, citing how the bus rapid transit system (BRT) is "one of the world’s most heavily used", with over 2 million passengers a day using the service. Like any good economist, Peñalosa is a strong supporter of efficiency and growth. Now, with his self-laid foundations,Bogotá can begin to move forward again. Not dwelling on the past, he has plans to upgrade the BRT system, merging it with the rail network as well implementing more bus lanes. On top of this, Peñalosa plans on doubling bicycle usage in Bogotá. Naturally, when a such changes are proposed, the issue of financing these changes surfaces. An estimated $13-20 billion is required with the state being left to cough up $7.1 billion after accounting for all government revenue streams. The solution? Peñalosa is seeking to implement fees for personal automobile travel into the city, similar to the congestion charge in London (which has generated $1.42 billion since 2003). Despite these possible methods of financing, it is very possible that the new Mayor will turn to the private sector to secure further funding in order to secure the implementation of the new services.
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AN’s 2016 Facades+ conference series kicks off in Los Angeles

“We don’t need walls anymore.  We need living, breathing systems that provide so much more to the urban realm than keeping in conditioned air and keeping out noise and pollutants.” - Will Wright, AIA|LA

Los Angeles’ 2016 Facades+ Conference, presented by The Architect’s Newspaper, is the 18th event in an ongoing series of conferences and forums that have unfolded in cities across the nation, including New York City, Miami, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Seattle, D.C., and Chicago. Held at the L.A. Hotel Downtown, the conference incorporated architects, engineers, fabricators, and innovative material manufacturers into a multidisciplinary two-day event covering the state of building envelope design thinking today. The daylong symposium kicked off with spirited remarks by Will Wright, Director of Government & Public Affairs at AIA L.A., where he set forth a plea for stronger emphasis on localism and craftsmanship. Co-chaired by Kevin Kavanagh and Alex Korter of CO Architects, the event included AIA LA, four local architecture schools – UCLA, USC, Woodbury, and Cal Poly Pomona – and a robust collection of Los Angeles-based architecture firms. Four panel discussions throughout the day covered the influence of building envelopes on business, education, structural design, and data analysis. The conversations engaged audience participation through an interactive, web-based tool called Sli.do. In a morning panel discussion titled “Money Well Spent? An Owner’s Perspective on the Value of Facades,” moderator Kevin Kavanagh spoke with representatives from Kaiser Permanente, Kitchell, and The Ratkovich Company on finding the right balance between aesthetics, energy performance, fiscal responsibility, and efficient project scheduling. During breaks, conference attendees attended a “Methods+Materials” gallery that highlighted innovative building envelope materials such as electrochromic glass, metal mesh fabric with integrated media display, and ultra-compact surfacing products. The symposium was highlighted by keynote addresses from Enrique Norten and Eric Owen Moss.
  • Presented by The Architect's Newspaper
  • 2016 Conference Chair YKK AP America
  • Gold Sponsors GKD Metal Fabrics View Dynamic Glass
  • Methods+Materials Gallery 3M, Agnora, Akzo Nobel, Boston Valley Terra Cotta, Cambridge Architectural, CE|Strong, Consolidated Glass Holdings, Cosentino, CRL-U.S. Aluminum, Elward, Giroux Glass, Glasswerks, Guardian, Kawneer, Nichiha, Ollin Stone, POHL Group, Porcelanosa, PPG IdeaScapes, Prodema, Rigidized Metals, Roxul, Sapa, Schüco, Sedak, Sika, STI, Terracore, Tremco, UL, UltraGlas, Vitrocsa, and Walter P Moore
Norten’s opening keynote set forth an argument for a socially responsible architecture integrated into the city via infrastructural, landscape, and public space projects. He cited works of his firm, TEN Arquitectos, which incorporate topographical manipulations of the landscape to establish social spaces of public engagement. His work intentionally camouflages the building envelope into a contextual landscape—be it an adjacent park or cityscape—to dissolve the separation between public and private. Eric Owen Moss spoke in the afternoon, questioning at what point the conceptual content of a project becomes lost amidst constructional realities. Through recent work of his firm, Eric Owen Moss Architects, he focused on building envelope details that strayed from original design intent, transforming in concept and tectonics as engineers, fabricators, and contractors participated in the process. In a panel discussion titled “Bytes, Dollars, EUI: Data Streams and Envelopes,” Moderator William Menking, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Architect’s Newspaper, spoke with Atelier 10, Gehry Technologies, and CPG regarding tools and processes facilitating facade analysis and optimization. Sameer Kashyap (Gehry Technologies) shared perhaps the most bewildering stat of the day—that GT was able to script processes which allowed two people to produce over 1200 shop drawings per day for 33 weeks in the coordination of a highly complex facade system. Paul Zajfen of CO Architects rounded out the day with a presentation titled “Facades: A Manifestation of Client, Culture, Climate,” where he argued for contextually specific design producing a facade that “would not be possible at any other time—and in no other place.” The symposium was followed on day two with a series of “dialog” and “lab” workshops covering net-zero facade systems, digital fabrication processes, curtain wall design, and advanced facade analysis. A full roster of organizers and sponsors can be found on the conference website. The Los Angeles event was the first in 2016 of a seven-city lineup, and will be followed by a Facades+AM morning forum in Washington, D.C., on March 10th. The next two-day conference will take place in New York City April 21st and 22nd.
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The Architectural League New York announces 2016 Emerging Voices winners

The Architectural League of New York announced the eight winners of its annual Emerging Voices program. “The 2016 ‘Voices,’ each responding to distinct geographic sites and typologies, all compellingly address the relationship between architecture and place by resourcefully synthesizing programmatic invention with computational production and the craft of building,” Anne Rieselbach, program director, said in a statement. This year, the jury panel was composed of Sunil Bald, Henry N. Cobb, Susannah Drake, Mario Gooden, Karrie Jacobs, Anna Kats, Thomas Phifer, and Billie Tsien. Lectures with the winners will be held throughout March and April at The Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Center for Thought and Culture, 18 Bleecker Street, New York, NY at 7:00 p.m. Please verify all program information with The Architectural League before listing. The 2016 winners are... Alex Anmahian and Nick Winton, principals and cofounders of Anmahian Winton Architects A Cambridge, Massachusetts, architecture firm with works as far away as Turkey and close to home in Boston that views “the synthesis of place, program, and community as an opportunity to enhance the rituals of everyday life, foster a sense of wellbeing, and to inspire the imagination.” Omar Gandhi, principal at Omar Gandhi Architect Based in Halifax and Toronto, Gandhi’s projects are site-specific and material forward, keeping to a “modest, formal lineage that makes for architecture that is accessible to all types of people.” Cesar Guerrero, Ana Cecilia Garza, Carlos Flores, and Maria Sevilla of S-AR The Monterrey, Mexico–based firm focuses on “the design and development of architectural projects of several scales and typologies from private, experimental, and social structures to architectural installations, educational buildings as well as furniture and book design.” Frank Jacobus and Marc Manack, principals at SILO AR+D Splitting their time between Cleveland and Fayetteville, Arkansas, Jacobus and Manack have worked on a spectrum of projects from a church in Cleveland, a “Super Sukkah” pavilion in St. Louis, and a home in Fayetteville. Jon Lott, principal at PARA Project and cofounding member of Collective-LOK New York’s Jon Lott has most recently crafted a series of sleek, monolithic structures in Syracuse, New York, including the Haffenden House residence, the Crawford Attic Writing Room, and La Casita. E.B. Min and Jeffrey L. Day, principals, Min | Day Founded on the belief that “architecture is a spatial and material practice in the service of human habitation,” the studio is located in San Francisco and Omaha, with projects ranging from a home to a public transportation station. Rozana Montiel founder, Rozana Montiel | Estudio de Arquitectura Montiel’s work focuses on the public domain with projects that include the City Out of Line Park in Mexico City, Common-Unity, a public space rehabilitation project in Mexico City, and Court, a sports field in Veracruz, Mexico. Heather Roberge principal, Murmur Roberge’s most recent projects include an installation at SCI-Arc Gallery and two residences in Los Angeles, where the architect is based.
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Harvard GSD material processes students build an intricate ceramic wall at Cevisama

Cevisama is the largest annual ceramic and terracotta exhibition in the world. Architects and designers from the whole world are here, but there is almost no North American representation—either displaying products, media reporting on building advances with the material, or architects looking for new products. Thus it was surprising to run across this Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) project from their Material Processes and Systems Group student studio. It is one of the most advanced and exciting projects in the entire fair. Have a closer look below.
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Wheeler Kearns’ renovation of a Chicago nonprofit arts center wins 2016 SEED Award

Building on a long relationship, the 2016 SEED Award for Public Interest Design has been awarded to the arts education nonprofit Marwen’s new renovation and expansion, designed by Chicago-based Wheeler Kearns Architects. Founded in 1987 in a one-room studio, Marwen now serves from 200 to 300 students a year in part thanks to expansions and renovations done over the last 20 years by Wheeler Kearns. The newest of these projects renovated 30,000 square feet, expanding the organization’s space within its current building. New spaces in the building include a main student gallery, an alumni gallery, a library, administrative offices, nine state-of-the-art instructional studios, and a 950-square-foot glass loggia on the north side of the building. The loggia, an element Marwen and Wheeler Kearns have been discussing for since 1999, was finally able to be realized with the purchase of the neighboring parking lot. The space acts as an additional public exhibition and gathering space. Continuing with some of the elements and sensibility of earlier renovations for the organization, Wheeler Kearns worked with existing conditions in the former manufacturing building. Most walls were left as exposed brick and heavy timber douglas fir beams make up the structure and ceiling. The floors were replaced with poured, sound-deadening, tooled concrete. Gallery and studio spaces have limited color pallets to allow for exhibition flexibility, while informal support spaces are set in vibrant colors. The new and improved spaces will be used to expand Marwen’s programs and support its increased focus on college and career counseling for under-served 6–12 grade students from around Chicago. Along with that counseling the organization provides free classes in photography, graphic design, film, animation, textiles, and ceramics. Besides working with Marwen on its former spaces, Wheeler Kearns has also worked on other small cultural institutions in Chicago including the Old Town School of Folk Music and the Beverly Art Center. In a statement Dan Wheeler, founding partner at Wheeler Kearns explained the office's interest in designing for the youth and the arts, “In many minds, the arts are seen as an avocation; for a parent to come into a designed place and see that there are serious teachers and artists working with and instructing the students, and that their child’s work is considered and presented in a professional way, that gives them the confidence that this activity might actually be something to support and sustain their child.”
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Seattle’s Nordic Heritage Museum is getting a new home designed by Mithun

Operating out of a 1907 red brick schoolhouse on a leafy residential street in the northwest Seattle neighborhood of Ballard, the Nordic Heritage Museum has plans to move into a major new Mithun-designed home about a mile south, close to the waterfront and the Ballard Locks. The design team for the new museum is headed by architecture firm Mithun. The architecture, landscape, and interior design team also includes Finnish architect Juhani Pallasmaa, and museum exhibition designers, Ralph Appelbaum Associates, from New York. The project has been in development since 2003. The museum's current lease with the Seattle School District will end in the spring of 2017. While the museum, founded in 1980, hopes to extend the lease, the Seattle School District is reclaiming the space as a new school to better serve growing young families in Ballard. The museum bought property at 2655 NW Market Street in several phases. Currently on the site is the old Fenpro building, a warehouse that once produced glass for skyscrapers and currently serves as studio space for a variety of artists and businesses working in metal, glass, and other trades. These businesses are in the process of vacating, before the Fenpro building is demolished. This past December, local public radio station, KUOW, covered the controversy over the move. Design is still underway for the over three-story, roughly 58,000-square-foot museum. There is a planned ground-floor café, and an expected major feature is Fjord Hall, a large central atrium that would connect permanent and special exhibits with upper story bridges evoking the notion of crossing a river. The Nordic Heritage Museum declined to discuss architecture or interior updates or give Mithun permission to comment on the design, citing the timing was not right as the project is still under development. The $44.6 million capital campaign is almost complete, with $5 million left to go, said Jan Woldseth Colbrese, Deputy Director of External Affairs at the museum. The Nordic museum expects to break ground this spring, with construction starting this summer, and an opening at the end of 2017 or early 2018.
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Anything but boring: World’s largest tunnelling machine, Big Bertha, is stuck under Seattle, Tweets an interview

Big Bertha, Seattle's famous tunnel boring machine, is stuck underground again. Bertha was running for just under a month following a two year delay to fix a broken cutter head. And the machine has taken to Twitter, as we imagine it can get lonely so far beneath the city. A little over two weeks ago, a large sinkhole formed while Bertha was drilling the over-57-foot-diameter Highway 99 tunnel to replace the earthquake prone viaduct. No one knows exactly why it happened. Just earlier that day, a nearby Seattle Tunnel Partners (STP) barge tilted, offloading tunnel dirt into Elliot Bay and dismantling part of a dock. The 15-foot-deep, 20-feet-wide, and 35-foot-long sinkhole was quickly filled with 250 cubic yards of concrete and sand. But Bertha is still stuck. STP wants to start Bertha again, but the Washington State Department of Transportation (WDOT) hasn't given them the necessary written permission to move forward yet. SDOT says they need more information. But enough of the dismal facts and figures. And now, for something different: The nonprofit blog Strong Towns interviewed @StuckBertha, Bertha's unofficial Twitter account, in January. Enjoy some excerpts from their tongue-in-cheek conversation, below. Check out the full interview on the Strong Towns blog. We all hope Bertha gets unstuck very soon.