In collaboration with landscape architecture firm DTAH, our friends at Perkins+Will redesigned the building which houses the Bank of Canada in Ottawa. The structure, originally designed by the Canadian architect Arthur Erickson in the 1930’s, later updated by the same in the 1970’s, required a number of important upgrades to meet today’s building standards and the perceived needs of contemporary workplaces; the stated goal of the creative team was to re-energize the offices, drawing inspiration from Erickson, many of whose works carefully integrated architecture and landscape design. DTAH and Perkins+Will introduced sculptural structures in crystalline glass to the building’s public plaza, which also serve as seating, and in the same space, took up the English slate which originally abounded there and replaced it with a locally sourced granite more resilient to cold weather. For the interiors, they transformed what was originally a program clearly delineated into private work areas into a more open work environment conducive to collaboration.
Memorials for mass shootings and other acts of terrorism have proved subjects of controversy in the past, with the reasonable calling into question of the specific means by which the victims of a tragedy are paid tribute, or the mere fact of there being a tribute paid at all: for example, the status quo response of Norwegians to a proposed memorial for the 2011 Norway Attacks was, essentially, that the horrible thing should be forgotten and moved on from. For this reason, of which a firm of the caliber of our friends at Handel Architects are undoubtedly acutely aware, such projects must be undertaken with thoughtful sensitivity. Survivors and family members of survivors of the Charleston church shooting engaged in close dialogues with the creative team as regarding how best to pay tribute to their fallen friends and family members. The design of the memorial, informed by a wish for unity and repair in the face of blind hatred, takes the form of two fellowship benches facing each other; an opening between them widens towards the entrance, welcoming strangers to enter and join in an intimate commune. The benches high backs arc up and around like wings, providing a sense of enclosure and comforting enveloping.
On June 25th, our friends at Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB) held a public meeting during which were revealed their plans for a seven-storey glassy addition to the Union Station train station (1925) in the West Loop district of Chicago, a structure originally designed by Graham, Anderson, Probst & White. Developed by Riverside Investment & Development and Convexity Properties, the proposed addition will comprise a hotel, apartments, an office complex, and retail space; if accepted, it would cause an increase in the height of Union Station from 150 to 245′ with 404 apartments to be housed within a glassy rectangular volume on top of the original structure, which would, in turn, house 330 hotel rooms. In addition to submission for review by Chicago’s landmark preservation committee,—Union Station has been a Landmark since 2002—the first phase of the development will also require zoning approval and aldermanic (city council) approval. If that’s approved, the second phase will see the construction of an apartment tower above an existing train platform in the immediate proximity of the station.
In keeping with a slew of recent articles in the A+D presses about houses, buildings, and developments in the New York Metropolitan area designed with a view towards offsetting possible damages in the event of another natural disaster on the scale of Hurricane Sandy, this Fire Island, NY house, designed by our friends at Delson OR Sherman Architects, was able to withstand the effects of Sandy, despite being located on an exposed beachfront, thanks to the invention of the designers, who completed their updates to house just before the storm struck. Barrier islands along the south of Long Island like Fire Island were among the worst hit by the storm, resulting in $70B work of damages. But this home was protected by features like vertical cement siding, metal roofs, and impact-resistant windows, giving it a strong exoskeleton.
Financed by the Howard Hughes Corporation and designed by our friends at SHoP Architects, with landscape architecture (including outdoor furniture) by our friends at James Corner Field Operations, the Pier 17 revitalization is nearing completion after 4 years of planning and construction. A 300,K SqFt mall and public space, the plan has experienced a number of revisions since it was originally presented to the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). The roof of the mall is now covered in pavers and designed with a view towards flexibility; the design features planters which can be moved to accommodate larger crowds, as well as a freight elevator which allows food trucks onto the roof directly from the adjacent FDR parkway; the roof can accommodate 3,400 standing guests. The mall is structured as a series of buildings within building, which in their design and implementation utilized materials paying homage to the pier’s natural heritage: sustainably harvested tropical hardwood, corrugated zinc sheets and tiles.
The Crescent Park project in New Orleans, by our friends at Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, is part of a larger master plan conceived with a view towards making the city of New Orleans and its riverfront greener; the park was designed to reestablish a connection between New Orleanians and the Mississippi River. As is often the case with waterfront communities, that of New Orleans has an industrial and maritime past, which is well in the past and so the project transforms the remnants of those industries into assets for the present-day community. The park maximizes physical and visual access to the river, creating environments to promote an active and healthy lifestyle for members of the community, as well as excellent views of the city skyline and the famous Crescent City Connection Bridge. The 1.4 mile park features 20 acres of indigenous landscaping and a network of paths for walking, jogging and biking; two industrial wharves have been repurposed as spaces for public gatherings, festivals and art exhibitions.
A 67-storey condo tower designed by our friends at Hill West Architects to be built at Court Square in Long Island City was shrunk, again, this time from 984′ to 778′. Developer Chris Xu, who has secured a $502M loan for the project, proposed a 964′ tower at 23-13 44th Dr in 2016; the tower was then increased to 984′ (making it a small supertall), and now will move forward with its current height—but even at ~780′, it will, upon completion, be the tallest building in Queens, which is really less trivia than it is a sign of a serious effort on the part of developers to transform the neighborhood, a 15 minute train ride from Times Square, into an important urban hub in its own right. “Court Square City View Tower”, as it is currently called, will be characterized by an enormous glass curtain wall, and will comprise 802 condos; 15,K+ SqFt of commercial space, 760,K+ SqFt of residential space. Amenities will include a fitness center and multiple lounges.
The Asbury Ocean Club will consist of a combination of residences and a 54-room, 17-floor boutique hotel. The latest destination for the rapidly redeveloping Asbury Park, it is designed by Anda Andrei, and our friends at Handel Architects and Bonetti/Kozerski. Behind the historic seaside town’s recent large-scale revitalization is Jay Sugarman, CEO of iStar, whose other recent developments in the area include the Asbury Hotel, The Monroe, and the reinvention of Asbury Lanes, open as of last month. Asbury Ocean Club will feature a double-height lobby in polished custom concrete with walls of slatted oak; the influence of beach houses permeates the interiors, with simple material palettes and what Gary Handel describes as “open, light, and airy” spaces. Residences, running up to 3BM’s, offer panoramic views of the shore; amenities include walk-in rain showers.