This beautiful photo of Lower Manhattan won SOM’s World Trade Center photo contest

Architecture, Awards, East, Skyscrapers
Thursday, December 11, 2014
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(Gerry Padden / Courtesy SOM)

(Gerry Padden / Courtesy SOM)

While the critics sure don’t like it, many other casual observers are big fans of Lower Manhattan‘s World Trade Center. This morning, SOM announced the winner its #WelcomeOneWTC photography contest it held to mark the grand opening of New York City’s latest controversy-laden skyscraper.

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Kimmelman says “flawed” One World Trade is a “cautionary tale”

One World Trade. (Flickr/ gigi_nyc)

One World Trade. (Flickr/ gigi_nyc)

New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman has weighed-in on 1 World TradeNew York‘s tallest,most superlative, open-but-not-yet-completed skyscraper. And, spoiler, he is no fan. Kimmelman’s piece is so chock-full of quotable critiques, it’s hard to decide where exactly to begin. But let’s start with the politics.

COntinue reading after the jump.

Pictorial> One World Trade Center officially opens its doors

photo 3 (13)

One World Trade. (Henry Melcher / AN)

After years of delays and nearly $4 billion in costs, One World Trade Center is officially open. Earlier today, about 175 Condé Nast employees walked past a scrum of reporters and into the SOM-designed tower where the media company has leased 24 floors. By early next year, Condé Nast is expected to have all of its 3,400 employees within the building. Still, less than 60 percent of the 1,776-foot-tall tower has been leased.

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Archtober Building of the Day #3> The New School University Center

Architecture, East, Interiors
Friday, October 3, 2014
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(Eve Dilworth Rosen)

(Eve Dilworth Rosen)

Archtober Building of the Day #3
The New School University Center
65 5th Avenue, New York, NY
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), the five-story academic building topped with student housing on the southeast corner of Fifth Avenue and 14th Street aggressively embraces its urban setting wearing a vivid zig zag expression of vertical circulation on its sleeve. The AIA New York Chapter held the most recent FitCity conference in its 800-seat auditorium last May. The site was selected for this annual event that brings public health and design professionals together, partly because stairs are the defining element of the structure.

Continue reading after the jump.

Eavesdrop> West Coast Odds and Ends

Eavesdroplet, West
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
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SOM's massive Park Merced development in San Francisco. (Courtesy SOM)

SOM’s massive Park Merced development in San Francisco. (Courtesy SOM)

In one of the few towns where the AIA has serious pull, the AIA San Francisco has named Jennifer Jones as its new Executive Director. Longtime HMC principal Kate Diamond has left her position and is looking for a new job. While it pales in comparison to the news that AECOM has merged with URS, forming the biggest firm in the galaxy, WSP has bought “global design giant” Parsons Brinckerhoff for $1.35 billion. That’s no joke either. Finally, after more than six years of waiting, SOM has begun work on its massive redevelopment of the WWII-era housing development, Park Merced. In San Francisco that’s like waiting for fifteen minutes.

And Another: SOM Unveils Third Trussed Station Design for Florida’s Commuter Rail

All Aboard Florida's West Palm Beach station. (Courtesy SOM)

All Aboard Florida’s West Palm Beach station. (Courtesy SOM)

With another set of renderings revealed for Florida‘s upcoming commuter rail service, it’s clear that SOM hopes to give the system a highly recognizable visual brand. After the firm unveiled plans for All Aboard Florida’s Miami Station, which floats the rails 50-feet above grade on trusses, SOM and Zyscovich Architects revealed its design for the smaller Ft. Lauderdale station, which clearly borrowed heavily from the first. The 27,500-square-foot hub is also defined by reinforced concrete trusses. And today, with images released for the West Palm Beach station, we know those trusses aren’t going anywhere.

Continue reading after the jump.

Glass Coating Cracks At Willis Tower’s 103rd Floor Observation Deck

The cracked platform. (Alejandro Garibay via NBC 5 Chicago)

The cracked platform. (Alejandro Garibay via NBC 5 Chicago)

At first glance, the glass-observation boxes that jut out of the Willis Tower’s 103rd floor don’t look all that safe—and that is exactly the point. The SOM-designed attraction, known as the Ledge, opened in 2009 and offers “thrill seekers,” “death defiers,” and “people who can wait in  a really long line” the chance to step outside of the iconic skyscraper and look straight down at the streets of Chicago, 1,353-feet below. The floor of the suspended structure is comprised of 1.5-inch laminated glass panels, which can hold 10,000 pounds and withstand four tons of pressure. So, the danger is all imagined, right? Well, it certainly didn’t feel that way for a California family who visited last night.

COntinue reading after the jump.

Seven Firms Short-Listed for Mexico City Airport Expansion

Inside the current structure. (Branden Klayko / AN)

Inside the current terminal. (Branden Klayko / AN)

It’s a battle of the starchitects in Mexico City—and the Brits are leading the pack. Out of the seven finalists short-listed to design an expansion for the capital city’s airport, Benito Juarez International, four hail from the UK: Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, and Pascall+Watson.

Continue reading after the jump.

Designed in Chicago, Made in China: Blair Kamin, Chicago designers mull Chinese urbanization

Chinese new year flags and lanterns in Shenzhen, the poster-city for rapid urbanization in China. (Flickr / dcmaster)

Chinese new year flags and lanterns in Shenzhen, the poster-city for rapid urbanization in China. (Flickr / dcmaster)

Blair Kamin convened a panel of designers at the Chicago Architecture Foundation last Wednesday for a discussion around themes explored in his recent series “Designed in Chicago, Made in China,” in which the Chicago Tribune architecture critic assessed the effects of that country’s rapid development on urbanism and design. Read More

Shortlist Specials: West Coast Projects Name Names

Development, Eavesdroplet, West
Friday, March 28, 2014
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The Herald Examiner Building in Los Angeles. (Atomic Hot Links / Flickr)

The Herald Examiner Building in Los Angeles. (Atomic Hot Links / Flickr)

As the economy continues to roll we’re again awash in shortlists and competition wins. The Santa Monica City Services Building has a shortlist that includes SOM and Frederick Fisher. Teams shortlisted for the Herald Examiner Building include Christof Jantzen and Brenda Levin. LA’s Wildwood School shortlist includes Gensler, Koning Eizenberg, and one unknown team. The UC San Diego Biological Building has gone to CO Architects (recent winners of the AIACC Firm of the Year award). EHDD has won the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific, and Harley Ellis Devereaux has won the Long Beach Belmont Plaza Pool.

Construction Underway at Norman Foster’s 610 Lexington Avenue Tower

(Courtesy Foster + Partners)

(Courtesy Foster + Partners)

Norman Foster has broken ground on a skinny residential tower in Midtown Manhattan. Situated adjacent to the 1958 Seagram Building on the site of a former YWCA, Foster + Partners‘ 61-story white luxury tower at 610 Lexington Avenue will dwarf Mies van der Rohe’s 38-story bronze-clad landmark.

“It’s not simply about our new building, but about the composition it creates together with one of the 20th century’s greatest,” said Foster + Partners’ Chris Connell in a statement. “In contrast to Seagram’s dark bronze, our tower will have a pure white, undulating skin. Its proportions are almost impossibly slim and the views will be just incredible.”

Aqua Tower team dives back in for new Chicago project by Studio Gang

studio gang architects' aqua tower (joevare via flickr)

Detail of the rippling facade of Studio Gang Architects’ Aqua Tower. (joevare / Flickr)

With the real estate market drifting through a relative recovery, one prominent Chicago developer seems to be saying, “Come back in, the water’s fine.” The team behind Chicago’s Aqua Tower is gearing up for another high-rise nearby. Chicago-based Magellan Development Group hired Studio Gang Architects for another tower in the 28-acre master-planned neighborhood of Lakeshore East.

Continue reading after the jump.

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