SOM Chicago has won a competition to design a mixed-use tower in the new Chinese city of Suzhou. Located along a lake front, the tower includes a distinctive void carved out the upper portion of the tower, splitting the floorplates in half to better serve hotel uses. Offices will fill the lower, larger floorplates. “We’ve been doing these kinds of mixed-use towers since Hancock,” said Ross Wimer, a partner at SOM Chicago. “Instead of tapering the tower, we’ve carved away a slot to bring fresh air and light into the building.”
The view from LaGuardia Place includes the symphony of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s 7 World Trade Center at 250 Greenwich Street and its ever-rising companion, One World Trade Center, beyond. I see the buildings every day from the Center for Architecture, and have become a fan of 7 WTC’c magical properties, both geometric and optical. It is a building made out of reflections, refractions, inflections, and colors, expressed in glass and stainless steel.
The landmarked Standard Oil Building at 26 Broadway continues to undergo its transformation from the oil giant’s Carrère and Hastings-designed New York headquarters into a bustling school building. Last week, AN got a sneak peek at the third academic institution to be completed there, a 104,000-square-foot space occupying the building’s first, mezzanine, and second levels. It will add 677 high school seats to the Broadway Education Campus, which currently includes The Urban Assembly School of Business for Young Women (on the 4th and 5th floors) and Lower Manhattan Community Middle School (on the 6th and 7th floors).
All three schools have been designed by John Ciardullo Associates Architects, who have worked extensively with the SCA over the past several decades. Perhaps that relationship is why Ciardullo was allowed to have a bit of fun with the campus.
Towering Ambition. An amazing exhibition that recreates some of the world’s most iconic buildings in miniature is ongoing at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C through September 5th. Design Quarterly has more info on the Lego structures by Adam Reed Tucker (via Notcot) and the NBM has an interview. (There’s also a lecture on architectural toys planned this Thursday.)
Fox News featured Ed Wood and Leszek Stefanski of Radii Inc. last night, giving viewers a behind the scenes glance at a craft little known outside of architectural circles. Wood explained the relevance of architectural models in the face of advances in computer animation. He noted that there is, perhaps, a kind of dishonesty to the flat screen. “The physical model allows freedom,” he said. It was a sound bite that no doubt gelled with Fox producers, who promptly posted the video to their “Rise of Freedom” website under the subtitle “Designing Freedom.”
One day earlier than expected, the Philadelphia City Council voted unanimously to amend the zoning lot at 19th Street and Arch Street, site of the proposed American Commerce Center. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the council’s Committee on Rules voted 9-0 in favor of the rezoning.
As we wrote last month, this does not grant approval of the KPF-designed project. Instead, it simply changes the zoning of the lot from medium density commercial site with a 125-foot height limit to a super-dense site with no height limits, making way for the 1,500-foot tower, which would far surpass its neighbors. With zoning in hand, it is believed financing and tenants should begin to follow.
Still, the project must return to the Philadelphia City Planning Commission and the council for final approval within the year, lest the rezoning expire.