Architecture People & Places


8 Spruce Street Wins Skyscraper Award

8 Spruce Street, by Frank Gehry, has received the 2011 Emporis Skyscraper Award. The building is located just a few blocks from the Woolworth Building (shown in backdrop) and the western end of the Brooklyn Bridge. Photo: Roberto Ventre
The 76-story luxury residential tower at 8 Spruce Street in New York City is the recipient of the 2011 Emporis Skyscraper Award. The first skyscraper designed by architect Frank Gehry, the 870-foot-tall (265-meter-tall) building's surface is clad in over 10,000 rippling stainless steel panels.

The slender T-plan tower, originally known as The Beekman, now being vigorously promoted by its owners as "New York by Gehry"or "New York by Gehry at 8 Spruce Street" stands atop an unremarkable, new-built five-story orange-brick base that occupies the full site footprint, with a generally indifferent street-level presence.

ArchitectureWeek contributing editor Michael Crosbie described 8 Spruce Street as "an arresting cliff of contorted stainless steel," and called the anomalous south facade "as smooth and somber as a parson's face on Sunday morning."  Photo: Michael J. Crosbie

MAD Architects in Mississauga, Ontario

MAD Architects designed the curvy Absolute World Towers, in Mississauga, Ontario. Photo: Tom Arban
The Absolute World Towers, a two-building residential high-rise project in Mississauga, Ontario, has been completed. These sinuous buildings, designed by Beijing, China-based MAD Architects, have an ovoid plan, with each successive floor rotated a few degrees with respect to the one below, resulting in a visual sense of the buildings twisting or dancing. The effect has earned the buildings the dubios nickname the "Marilyn Monroe" towers.
Tower A is 56 stories, while Tower B is 50. Photo: Iwan Baan

At each floor, the concrete slab cantilevers slightly beyond the building envelope to form a continuous balcony that is slightly deeper at the ends of the floor's longer axis. Between the slabs, a ribbon of floor-to-ceiling glazing encircles each level, forming the weather envelope.

Construction begins on Hudson Yards in New York City

Construction has begun on the South Tower (right) of the Hudson Yards development in New York City. Image: Courtesy visualhouse

Ground has broken on the first tower in the Hudson Yards project, on a 26-acre site near the Javits Convention Center on the western edge of Manhattan. The South Tower, one of two office towers designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF) will comprise 47 floors and 1.7 million square feet (158,000 square meters).

Located on the northwest corner of 10th Avenue and 30th Street, the building will house the headquarters of Coach, Inc. and will target LEED Gold certification upon its completion in 2015.

Overview of the eastern half of the Hudson Yards development. Image: Courtesy visualhouse

The South Tower will be joined to its North Tower counterpart by a low-rise retail structure, called the Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards, designed by Elkus Manfredi Architects, that will run along 10th avenue between 30th and 33rd Streets.

KSG in Ulm, Germany

Kister Scheithauer Gross Architects and Urban Planners (KSG) designed the new 1,980-square-meter (21,300-square-foot) Weinhof Synagogue in Ulm, Germany. Photo: © Christian Richters
After 20 months of construction, a new synagogue, located in the historic center of Ulm, Germany, has been completed. The orthogonal, four-story building measures 24 by 16 meters (78 by 52 feet) and 17 meters (56 feet) high and is clad in courses of regular stone panels with a minimum number of punched openings.

Cologne-based Kister Scheithauer Gross Architects and Urban Planners (KSG) designed the 4.6-million-Euro building, which stands in the middle of the Weinhof, a short distance from the site of the former synagogue, which was destroyed during World War II.
Inside the worship space of the Weinhof Synagogue. Photo: © Christian Richters

The Weinhof Synagogue's most visually dramatic feature is a two-story stone screen that wraps around one corner at the second and third floors, shading a tall glazed walls behind which the worship space is located. The screen is composed of a regular arrangement of hexagons and triangles that form a repeating Star of David pattern.

2013 AIA Gold Medal to Thom Mayne

Thom Mayne, founder of Morphosis, is the 2013 AIA Gold Medal recipient. Photo: Mark Hanauer
Santa Monica, California-based architect Thom Mayne will receive the AIA Gold Medal award for 2013.

Mayne's work, through his firm Morphosis, deliberately seems to eschew the trappings of conventional architectural styles and forms. However, a consistent industrial material palette connects most of his buildings to each other.

Virtually all of Mayne's buildings present angular metal surfaces — often steel, either in the form of cladding or a screen — as their chief public-facing surface. Glass and concrete are also used extensively in Mayne's buildings.
Perforated metal screens shade the western facade of 41 Cooper Square, in New York City. Photo: Iwan Baan
And while his designs are undeniably attention-grabbing spectacles — Christopher Haworth of the Los Angeles Times described one building as "aggressive" — some of Mayne's work has seemed to suffer from technical shortcomings including a spectacularly failed attempt at LEED Platinum certification.

Renowned architect Oscar Niemeyer has died at age 104

Renowned, beloved Brazilian master architect Oscar Niemeyer has died at age 104.

He lived boldly, true to his principles, with great beauty.

Thank you for the gifts, Oscar.

News story: ... wanted=all

On his works: ... er-01.html

This photo is of his iconic but less-well-known "Eye Museum" (2002) in Curitiba: ... meyer.html

Photo: Kevin Matthews

Herzog and de Meuron in Water Mill, New York

Herzog & de Meuron designed the new Parrish Art Museum, in Water Mill, New York. Photo: © Matthu Placek
The Parrish Art Museum recently opened on a rural site in Water Mill, New York, a community in the East End area of Long Island. The 34,400-square-foot (3,200-square-meter) barn-like building was designed by Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron, and is said to take some of its design inspiration from local vernacular architecture.

And indeed, its form is simple and clean, its profile a pair of adjoined gables running along the building's 615-foot (187-meter) length. Narrowly spaced wood rafters support the roof, which rests on cast-in-place exterior concrete walls in most places, and on steel columns and beams everywhere else.

A skylit gallery inside the Parrish Art Museum. Photo: © Matthu Placek
Inside, regular skylight placement near the roof peak admit diffuse daylight between the rafters. Outside, the roof's deep eaves shelter a patio area intended for use by museum patrons. Seating under the eaves takes the form of a concrete bench that is integral with the building's walls.

At one end of the building, the roof extends beyond the weather envelope, covering a larger outdoor event space.

Looking along the side wall of the museum, with built-in concrete benches. Photo: © Matthu Placek
With its regular structural system, honest use of materials, and simple vernacular forms, the quietly expressive Parrish Art Museum seems more likely to be the work of Australian architect Glenn Murcutt than of the radical Swiss duo who brought us the 2008 Beijing National Stadium (with Chinese artist Ai Weiwei), and a host of other avant-garde buildings.

EPA National Awards for Smart Growth Achievement

by Kaid Benfield

BLVD Transformation, Lancaster, CA (courtesy of San Diego chapter, American Planning Assn)

The US Environmental Protection Agency announced seven winners of its 2012 National Awards for Smart Growth Achievement.  As I have noted in the past, the smart growth awards are given for creative, outstanding initiatives that protect the health and the environment of our communities while also strengthening local economies.  One of this year’s winners is a personal favorite, Denver’s Mariposa (South Lincoln) revitalization.

The 2012 award winners are being recognized in four categories, below:

 BLVD Transformation, Lancaster, CA (courtesy of Sargent Town Planning)

Overall Excellence
BLVD Transformation Project, Lancaster, California
The redesign of Lancaster Boulevard helped transform downtown Lancaster into a thriving residential and commercial district through investments in new streetscape design, public facilities, affordable homes, and local businesses.  Completed after eight months of construction, the project demonstrates how redesigning a corridor guided by a strategic vision can spark new life in a community.  The project has generated almost $300 million in economic output and nearly 2,000 jobs.

Mariposa equitable planning process (courtesy of Mithun)

Equitable Development
Mariposa District, Denver, Colorado

It’s hard for me to overstate how much I love this project.  In particular, the redevelopment of Denver’s historic and ethnically diverse South Lincoln neighborhood is turning an economically challenged area into a lively and transit-accessible community enthusiastically supported by current residents.  The community’s master plan preserves affordable housing while adding energy-efficient middle-income and market-rate homes.  Influenced by extensive community engagement, the newly named Mariposa development will include actions to improve the health of residents, reduce pollution, and control stormwater runoff.

Lord, Aeck & Sargent in Dahlonega, Georgia

Single-pane floor-to-ceiling lobby windows were replaced with more energy-efficient glazing as part of the remodel of Gaillard Hall designed by Lord, Aeck & Sargent. Photo: © 2012 Jonathan Hillyer
Atlanta-based Lord, Aeck & Sargent (LAS) recently completed a renovation of Gaillard Hall, a 1950s military barracks building on the campus of North Georgia College & State University in Dahlonega, Georgia. The architects worked to preserve as much of the International-style building's character as possible, while meeting the modern needs of a college dormitory.

So, while changes to the exterior were fairly minimal, the concrete-and-brick building's interior underwent extensive remodeling and modernization. One result of the reconfiguration is that the building now includes accommodation for 166, compared with the original bed count of 280.

The firm chose to largely preserve the building's dramatic split-level lobby, which helps to mediate the building's interaction with a significant site slope.

Inside the split-level lobby of Gaillard Hall. Photo: © 2012 Jonathan Hillyer

Another preservation decision made by the LAS team was to keep the building's exisiting glazed-terra-cotta hallway walls. This was accomplished in part by converting one in three double-occupancy dorm rooms into a bathroom that serves the two adjoining spaces, along with a separate mechanical room. This allowed the updated configuration to work with the existing doorway placements. Each semi-suite has its own entry and the middle door provide hallway access to the mechanical room.

THA Architecture in Eugene, Oregon

The new Lewis Integrative Science Building, in Eugene, Oregon, designed by THA Architecture with HDR. Photo: Lara Swimmer
The University of Oregon, in Eugene, Oregon, has opened a new $65 million, science facility that brings together researchers from a range of different disciplines including Neuroscience, Life Science, Material Science, Physical Science, and Computer Science.

Designed by THA Architecture with HDR, Inc, the Robert and Beverly Lewis Integrative Science Building (LISB) is a 103,000-square-foot (9,570-square-meter) addition to the university's science complex. And although the building is clad in brick, like many older projects in the complex, it is a stylistic departure from its 1990s predecessors, in whose designs the influence of Charles Moore can be seen.

The LISB atrium. Photo: Lara Swimmer

In keeping with a long-standing science-complex tradition, the building is connected to its neighbors. In one case, a glazed atrium connects it with an adjacent building. And in another case, enclosed bridges link it to another structure.

Foster + Partners in New York City

The 44-story luxury apartment building at 50 United Nations Plaza was designed by Foster + Partners. Image: dbox/ Foster+ Partners

Construction has begun on 50 United Nations Plaza, a 44-story residential office tower designed by Foster + Partners. Developed by Zeckendorf Development with Global Holdings, the luxury apartment building occupies a prominent location within United Nations Plaza, with views of the celebrated UN Headquarters building, the East River, and the Manhattan skyline.

According to the firm, "The tower's massing respects the height and scale of its neighbours. Its three slender volumes appear faceted in elevation, visually reducing the building's scale, while emphasising its vertical form."

Each of those three volumes becomes a vertical series of bay windows, which help to increase views and increase the size of living spaces within the building.  Stainless steel bands provide horizontal punctuation of the bay windows. The firm indicated that this detailing is particularly meant to recall the iconic Art Deco styling of nearby buildings.

Zaha Hadid Wins Tokyo National Stadium Competition

Zaha Hadid Architects won the competition to design the Tokyo National Stadium. Image: Zaha Hadid Architects

News sources are reporting that Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) has won the international competition for the new Tokyo National Stadium, an 80,000-seat stadium planned for a site in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo, Japan.

The new 290,000-square-meter (3.12-million-square-foot) stadium will be built on a site, adjacent to Fumihiko Maki's Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium (1990), and will replace an existing open-air stadium that was used for the 1964 Summer Olympic Games. A 2019 completion date for the project is anticipated.

Aerial rendering of the new National Stadium, which will dwarf the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium. Image: Zaha Hadid Architects
The firm described the building's design with these words:
"The building volume sits gently within the urban landscape and is articulated as an assembly of stadium bowl, structural skeleton, cladding membranes and the museum, together forming an intricate structural composition that is both light and cohesive. The perimeter of the bowl structure becomes a new inhabited bridge, a continuous exhibition space that creates a new type of journey for visitors flowing along the project’s North-South axis."

AIA 2030 Commitment Program - Case Studies in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Seattle...

The Miller Hull Partnership designed a LEED Platinum-certified four-story office and education building (2009) for the LOTT Clean Water Alliance in Olympia, Washington. Photo: Nic Lehoux
The AIA has released a series of case studies about five firms in the institute's 2030 Commitment Program. Firms in the program work toward a goal of carbon-neutral building design by 2030.

HOK, The Miller Hull PartnershipHigh Plains ArchitectsHMC Architects, and Serena Sturm Architects are highlighted in the 30-page document, which was prepared by Megan Turner, the 2012 AIA/COTE COTE Research Scholar.

Download the case study PDF at:

The AIA's plan for a deep energy retrofit of its headquarters building (1973), in Washington, D.C., originally scheduled for completion in 2012, has reportedly been delayed because of funding issues. Photo: Kevin Matthews/ Artifice Images
The AIA's announcement reads:
"In order to examine the benefits and lessons learned from firms participating in the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2030 Commitment Program, five participating firms were interviewed and case studies documenting their experiences were developed.  The program began in 2009 and is a voluntary initiative for AIA member firms and other entities in the built environment that asks these organizations to make a pledge, develop multi-year action plans, and implement steps that can advance AIA’s goal of carbon neutral buildings by the year 2030.

John Portman & Associates in Nanning, China

John Portman & Associates has won the design competition for the Tianlong Fortune center. 
Image: Courtesy Portman
John Portman & Associates (Portman) has been selected to design Tianlong Fortune Center, a 108-story skyscraper in Nanning, China.  The architectural design competition was led by developer Guangxi Wei Zhuang Real Estate Co., Ltd., and the Nanning Planning Bureau. As a finance and trade center, the building will be home to banks and financial consultants.

As the image provided shows, the building should look great from a helicopter.

The upper portion of the 1,312-foot-tall (400-meter-tall) tower includes a five-star hotel, while floors immediately above the hotel provide an exclusive executive club and destination restaurant. The level below the hotel lobby will feature a hotel's fitness center, pool, restaurant, business center and other amenities. The remainder of the tower is office space.

Zaha Hadid in East Lansing, Michigan

The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University, in East Lansing, Michigan, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects. Photo: Paul Warchol
The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University, in East Lansing, Michigan, opened on Saturday, November 10. The 46,000-square-foot (-square-meter) project was designed by Zaha Hadid Architects and features a facade of pleated stainless steel and glass.

Dedicated to exploring global contemporary culture and ideas through art, the Broad Art Museum at MSU will serve as both an educational resource for the campus community and a cultural hub for the Mid-Michigan region. The museum will present contemporary works within a historical context through access to a study collection of more than 7,500 objects, ranging from the Greek and Roman periods to modern art.
A gallery space of the Broad Museum. Photo: Paul Warchol

The two-story building features galleries for special exhibitions, modern and contemporary art, new media, photography, and works on paper. The facility also includes an education wing, a works-on-paper study center, a gift shop, and a café. Adjacent to the museum is an outdoor sculpture garden and a large pedestrian plaza.

Broad Museum site plan drawing. Image: Zaha Hadid Architects

Maggie's Centre Gartnavel wins 2012 Doolan Prize

Maggie's Centre Gartnavel, designed by OMA, received the 2012 Andrew Doolan Prize. Photo: Philippe Ruault
Glasgow, Scotland's new Maggie's Centre Gartnavel – like its sister projects – sets out to provide space where people can feel welcome, at home and cared for: a haven. The architects – the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) – has sited the building on a slight rise, but cut it into the slope so that on two sides it looks at banked landscape.

The building received the 2012 Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award, given by the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).
Overview of Maggie's Centre Gartnavel. Photo: Charlie Koolhaas

AIA Columbus Awards 2012

DesignGroup designed the Franklin County Common Pleas Courthouse, Columbus, Ohio. Photo: Brad Feinknopf
An aquatics center on a wetlands site, and a university student services building received top marks from the AIA Columbus 2012 design awards program. Other winning projects include a new-built courthouse, vetrenary office, and two adaptive reuse arts buildings – a city arts facility in a former school building and a design school in a renovated auto dealership.

Highlands Park Family Aquatic Center, Westerville, Ohio
Photo: Matt Carbone
Instead of following a traditional municipal pool design approach, the design team sought to blend the project with the surrounding wetlands. In order to minimize the project's impact on the existing natural habitat, a rainwater collection system was installed using green roofs, rain gardens, retention ponds, bioswales, and pervious concrete.

Zaha Hadid Architects in Montpellier, France

Zaha Hadid designed the new pierresvives building. Photo: Hélne Binet
The pierresvives building, in Montpellier, France, is the new home of three institutions for the department de l'Herault: the archive, the library, and the sports office. Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, the four-story building is clad in concrete and glass, with horizontal gold-colored fins highlighting portions of the glazing.
pierresvives section drawing looking east. Image: Zaha Hadid Architects

The 35,000-square-meter (376,000-square-foot) building is clearly perceived from a distance as a single structure, and from close up, three parts can be discerned in the facade. Dynamic ribbons of glazing, detailed with Hadid's iconic branching-lines motif, serve to separate portions of the facade, which is predominantly finished in concrete. This glazing is expressive of major circulation elements, including corridors and atriums, and plays some role in suggesting boundaries between the three major pieces.

An upper-floor lobby inside the pierresvives building, near the auditorium volume. Photo: Iwan Baan
Hadid uses the metaphor of a tree laying on its side to describe how the facade expresses the building's programmatic disposition, and this is where the branching lines in the glazing help to reinforce the comparison.

Safdie Architects in Melbourne, Australia

Safdie Architects has designed the new home of the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music in Melbourne, Australia. Image: Courtesy Safdie Architects

Safdie Architects has revealed its design for a new Music Conservatorium building at Monash University, in Melbourne, Australia. The four-story building, home to the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, will include a 500-seat recital hall, a multipurpose hall, amphitheater, a recording studio, 40 individual practice rooms, a jazz club with cafe and restaurant services, and music department offices and support spaces.

Composed of glass, precast concrete, and stainless steel, Moshe Safdie's design for the building is composed of two major building elements. The Conservatorium's more staid, rectangular portion, with a skylit central atrium, contains the building's office and classroom spaces. The second component is a large performance wing that contains the recital hall. This wing splits, culminating in two performance spaces whose end walls are a series of stepped, curved-shell light scoops that will wash diffuse daylight into the rooms.

Two-minute virtual walkthrough of the Music Conservatorium. Video: Courtesy Monash University

Moriko Kira Architect in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Inside an upper-floor node of the newly renovated Tripolis building,  originally designed by Aldo van Eyck and remodeled by Moriko Kira Architect. Photo: Christian Richters
Moriko Kira Architect has redesigned the interior of Aldo van Eyck's Tripolis building in Amsterdam-South. Built in 1991, Tripolis is now the headquarters of Nikon Europe, a regional division of the Japanese electronics company.

The five-story building's original plan is a series of four interconnected volumes whose form is based on an octagon, although alternating facets of the octagon are expressed as large protruding bays. The volumes are linked together in a T-shaped plan and at the lower level, two curving wings help to enclose a pair of octagonal courtyards on either side of the central axis.

One of the newly opened office areas in the Tripolis building. Photo: Christian Richters

UNStudio in Stuttgart, Germany

The Haus am Weinberg, in Stuttgart, Germany, was designed by UNStudio. Photo: Iwan Baan/ Courtesy UNStudio
Built on the site of an ancient hillside vineyard east of Stuttgart, Germany, the Haus am Weinberg is a large, white modernist composition poised on its site. Designed by UNStudio, the 618-square-meter (6,650-square-foot) four-story home overlooks river-valley farmland and stands in stark contrast to the brick and wood buildings that surround it.

Haus am Weinberg is generally rectangular in plan, and extensively glazed. From the outside, the three-level home's structure appears to be a series of counterweighted surfaces that cantilever to shade the glass walls that separate inside from out. At key points, the home's solid horizonal surfaces fluidly into transition walls, connecting each floor or roof plane with the one below and deftly balancing the building on its sloped site. At one corner, the second floor plane smoothly bends upward to join the roof.

Looking across the dining room of the Haus am Weinberg toward the living room. Photo: Iwan Baan/ Courtesy UNStudio

CTBUH Tall Building Awards in Sydney, Milan, Doha, and Mississauga

An upper floor view of the Doha Tower, in Doha, Qatar, designed by Jean Nouvel. Photo: Courtesy Ateliers Jean Nouvel 
The 238-meter-tall (781-foot-tall) Doha Tower, designed by Jean Nouvel, is shaded by an aluminum screen that recalls the mashrabiyya grillwork screens in traditional Islamic architecture. Located in Doha, Qatar, the tower's outline even seems to echo the shape of an Islamic pointed arch. The screen, together with a layer of reflective glazing and operable interior shading devices protects the tower's interior office space from the harsh desert sun.

The circular tower's diagrid reinforced concrete structural system is inset slightly from the perimeter, creating an open office floor plan. And rather than a traditional central placement, the building core services are offset from the tower's center and are stepped in plan, minimizing the sense of the core's size. A slender internal atrium also rises through the building's first 27 floors, exposing elevator mechanisms.
Doha Tower is 238 meters (781 feet) tall. Photo: Courtesy Ateliers Jean Nouvel

SOM in Colorado Springs, Colorado

The tapered glass-and-steel skylight of the Center for Character and Leadership Development (CCLD) is aligned with the star Polaris. Image: SOM
Ground has broken on a new facility on the campus of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The Center for Character and Leadership Development (CCLD) was designed by Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) and will serve a central role in the training of all of the academy's cadets.

The 46,5000-square-foot (4,320-square-meter) building, which was recognized in an unbuilt category of the 2012 AIA Education Awards earlier this year, will be largely subterranean. The central rectangular meeting space, called the Forum, will feature an angled steel-and-glass prismoid skylight, whose orientation is in line with the star Polaris. The Forum's skylight tapers as it rises to a height of 105 feet (32 meters),  and cantilevers at 39 degrees over the nothern portion of the building. According to the Air Force Academy the alignment with Polaris is intended to be a symbol of navigation to the cadets.
CCLD section drawing looking west. Image: SOM

C.F. Møller Architects in Haderslev, Denmark

C. F. Møller Architects designed the new Bestseller Logistics Center in Haderslev, Denmark. Photo: Adam Moerk
A new wood rainscreen-clad logistics center, located in Haderslev, Denmark, supplies all of the European boutiques of the clothing company Bestseller.

The Bestseller Logistics Center has been designed by C.F. Møller Architects in three parallel linear bands along a main avenue. One of the bands contains the main entrance, office and staff facilities, together with a truck-loading area, while the second contains an automated sorting facility, and the third, a fully-automated storage area. This layout provides a flexible arrangement, and allows for a possible future expansion of the logistics center to triple its present size – i.e. 150,000 square meters (1,600,000 square feet).
Overview of the Bestseller Logistics Center on its greenfield site. Photo: Adam Moerk

Foster + Partners in Shanghai, China

An overview of the Hongqiao Vantone SunnyWorld Centre, designed by Foster + Partners. Image: Courtesy Foster + Partners
Ground has been broken on the Hongqiao Vantone SunnyWorld Centre, a project in Shanghai, China, designed by London-based Foster + Partners. The project is a major new sustainable urban plan for a large-scale site in the Hongqiao central business district.
The buildings of the new center face into a park. Image: Courtesy Foster + Partners

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