Italian architect Renzo Piano, principal among our friends at Renzo Piano Building Workshop: RPBW Architects, has generously offered to design a replacement for the Ponte Morandi bridge in Genoa, which partially collapsed earlier this month killing 43 people, and resulting in the Italian government declaring a 12-month state of emergency in Genoa, and Italian prosecutors launching a criminal investigation into possible malpractice on the part of the bridge’s original contractors. Piano, who is a Genoese by birth, says it is too early to discuss the particulars of the design, but that it will stand as a memorial to victims of the tragedy, and will embody a “positive moment of unity and cooperation. One thing for sure is that it must be beautiful – not in the sense of cosmetics but in conveying a message of truth and pride. It must be a place where people can recognise the tragedy in some way, while also providing a great entrance to the city. All this must be done without any sign of rhetoric – that would be the worst trap. But I think we will stay away [from that] and instead try to express real pride and values. That is what Genoa deserves.” The bridge is an integral part of the A10, Italy’s main motorway, the collapsed bridge and its potential replacement being therefore a vital piece of infrastructure. Soon after learning of the disaster Piano offered his services to the Italian government. Since 2013, Renzo Piano has been a senator for life in the upper house of Italian parliament. In 2016 he lead reconstruction efforts after several towns in Central Italy were hit by a massive earthquake.
A sustainable maternity hospital in Uganda, built using both local materials and skilled labor, designed by our friends at HKS Architects, opened earlier this year. The ~3,K SqFt Kachumbala Maternity Unit can accommodate as many as six births per day, and vastly improves upon existing aftercare facilities in he town of Kachumbala; additionally the ward itself replaces one built in the 1950’s, comprising only two rooms, and in which midwives processed paperwork in the same room as babies were delivered, but which nonetheless served a population of 160,000 people in an area without a reliable source of water or electricity. Only 40% of mothers-to-be could access the facility, home births are exceedingly difficult in the region, and infant mortality rates there are high. In order to suit the hot, dry climate of Kachumbala, HKS created an entirely passive and self-sufficient facility able to generate its own power, collect water and cool rooms without the use of HVAC by using photovoltaic panels. The structure’s bricks were made by hand on site with a press block machine developed at a Ugandan university.
The Four Seasons Hotel & Private Residences at One Dalton Street in Boston, designed by our friends at Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, and which is slated to becomes that city’s tallest residential building, has topped out at 742′. Designed by Henry N. Cobb of that firm, in collaboration with CambridgeSeven, the 61-storey contains 160 residences, as well as a five-star hotel, and adjacent to it is a 5,000 SqFt park designed by our friends at Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates. Pei Cobb Freed, wanted a modern skyscraper “inspired by both Boston’s storied history as well as its progressive future.” The result is a triangular structure with bay window facades allowing for multidirectional views. The 160 residences are located at the tower’s highest floors to maximize views, and feature 11′ cove ceilings. A 215-key Four Seasons Hotel below will feature 20,K SqFt of amenity space accessible to residents. Under construction since 2015, the project is expected to be completed next year.
For the Serafina Beach Hotel, a 65,K SqFt hotel in the Condado district of San Juan, our friends at ICRAVE, working with local firm LA Architects, draws inspiration, as it is being constructed from the continued efforts of Puerto Rico to recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria, which occurred after the project was designed and underway, but most of the building materials had been delivered prior to the hurricane Had it not been, continued work on the Hotel would have been impossible, and in many respects the project has taken on a new meaning as a symbol of hope for the future of Puerto Rico. The Serafina Beach Hotel will comprise 96 guest rooms with interiors created with a palette colors inspired by local marine life, and floor-to-ceiling windows.
A 1,600 SqFt penthouse high above Christopher Street multi-level rooftop terrace with a *custom made private pool, done up by our friends at TBD Architecture + Design Studio, who also prosecuted a full renovation of the duplex; the terrace also features a hot tub, outdoor shower, and bar. (* Manufactured in Colorado by Diamond Spas, the pool was transported via flatbed and lifted onto the roof by a crane; according Josh Weiselberg, co-founder of TBD, the building, like many of the neighborhood, is a former industrial concern designed to bear heavy loads such as that of manufacturing equipment, which is how it was possible to execute this feat.) Heading downstairs the open plans of the rooms feature concrete floors, white surfaces, and a walnut-clad hallway with a hidden office accessible only when the doors of the master bedroom are secured. Features of the original interior left intact include vaulted concrete arches which are painted white.
Ace Hotel has opened a New Orleans outpost designed by our friends at Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, with interiors by our friends at Roman & Williams, in an historic building in the city’s Warehouse District to which has been added an extension for extra rooms. The 1928 building was designed by the architects of Louisiana’s State Capitol Weiss, Dreyfous and Seiferth; it formerly housed the largest furniture store in the South. The art deco interiors of the original were restored and renovated, and with the four-storey addition the hotel covers 184,K SqFt and includes 234 keys, as well as a bar and restaurant, meeting spaces, and retail. Design features of the project draw inspiration from the history of the city of New Orleans, including a carriageway and balcony gardens; this is also reflected in interior materials and furnishings. Dark brick cladding is found on the facade, and the original structure and new addition are connected by a three-storey glass bridge set back from the street.
The Transbay Transit Center in downtown San Francisco, designed by our friends at Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, was conceived as a state-of-the-art multimodal transit station. It links 11 transit systems and more broadly connects San Francisco to the broader Bay Area, California, and the rest of the United States, and features a 5.4-acre landscaped rooftop park, as well as vaulting light-filled interiors in the style of Grand Central Terminal and London’s Victoria Station. It is visibly characterized by an undulating wall which floats above the street on steel columns, and features, at street level, shops and cafes. But the centerpiece of the project is undoubtedly the park, which has over a dozen entry points, and, potentially, bridges linking it to surrounding buildings. Active programs include an amphitheater able to accommodate 1,000 people.
Mayor of New York Bill de Blasio has announced that financing has been secured for an extension of Hudson Park and Boulevard at the Hudson Yards megadevelopment. A $500M investment funds the extension which will include a three-acre park running over an Amtrak rail cut, running between 36th and 39th Streets and 10th and 11th Avenues, and expands parkland at Hudson Yards by 75%. Design of the park is led by our friends at Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA) in collaboration with Tishman Speyer. The extension will introduce a rich swathe of greenspace to a massive development of historical and civic importance that is, right now, mostly industrial. The design includes paved areas for public events, grassy areas designated for picnics and sports, &c, walking paths shaded by trees, and quiet areas with seating. Groundbreaking begins in late 2020; the park is scheduled to open in the winter of 2023.
Aarhus, Denmark’s second most populous city, will see the introduction of a new harbor bath designed by our friends at Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), who have designed other harbor baths in Denmark, which beggars the question of what that is: Copenhagen’s Harbour Baths, such as BIG’s Islands Brygge (2003), are recreational swimming facilities constructed along a waterfront, falling conceptually somewhere between a dock designated for people to hang out around and a man-made beach. In 2007, the International Olympic Committee recognized the first BIG harbor bath with an honorable mention for Best Public Recreational Facility. The Aarhus Harbor Bath opened last month and comprises three pools of varying depths for swimming and diving; these include a 164′ lap pool. A supplementary project, now under construction, is AARhus, designed by BIG in collaboration with another Danish firm, Gehl Architects: a mixed-use development adjacent to/associated with the Bath.