More Time with Norman, Please: Foster + Partners’ New Manhattan Tower Fails To Impress

East, Unveiled
Thursday, September 26, 2013
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Rendering showing facade detail of Norman Foster's 551 West 21 Street. (Hayes Davidson /  Courtesy Foster + Partners)

Rendering showing facade detail of Norman Foster’s 551 West 21 Street. (Hayes Davidson / Courtesy Foster + Partners)

Foster + Partners likes to think of itself as a high-design firm with glamorous projects all over the world. But the banal rendering accompanying this week’s announcement of a new 19-story, “luxury” residential tower, 551 West 21 Street, belies their design skills. Could it be that they have a two-tier design strategy in their office where glamorous cultural institutions get “Sir Norman” and commercial towers get, well, something less?

Continue reading after the jump.

Comcast Expansion Could Bring Norman Foster to Downtown Philly

East
Friday, September 13, 2013
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(Courtesy Bing Maps)

(Courtesy Bing Maps)

Norman Foster is expected to design a new skyscraper in downtown Philadelphia, according to sources cited by the Philly Inquirer. Media company Comcast has outgrown its current home in the city’s tallest building—Robert A.M. Stern‘s 975-foot-tall Comcast Center. Details of the planned tower are being guarded, but architecture critic Inga Saffron reported that Comcast is exploring plans to build a “vertical campus” including several new towers, potentially beginning with a new structure on a 1.5-acre vacant lot at the corner of 18th and Arch streets (indicated above). The site was previously approved for a 1,500-foot-tall tower in 2008 but Saffron said the new tower would likely be shorter. Developer John Gattuso of Liberty Property Trust told the Inquirer, “The tower will be as big as it needs to be.”

Norman Foster Resigns from Pushkin Museum Expansion Before Russian Ultimatum

International, Newsletter
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
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Pushkin Museum Expansion Project Rendering (Courtesy Foster + Partners)

Pushkin Museum Expansion Project Rendering (Courtesy Foster + Partners)

Moscow’s Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts expansion project, one of Russia’s most prominent and contentious building schemes, has spiraled into disarray. Since Foster + Partners’ winning plans to expand and modernize the 101-year-old institution were originally approved in 2009, the development has been confronted with a series of delays including disputes between officials and preservationists. Now, to cap it off, the firm has officially resigned from the project.

Continue reading after the jump.

New York Public Library to Review Figures on Foster-Designed Renovation

East
Monday, July 8, 2013
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Rendering of Gottesman Exhibition Hall, New York Public Library (DBOX for Foster + Partners)

Rendering of Gottesman Exhibition Hall, New York Public Library (DBOX for Foster + Partners)

New York Public Library (NYPL) president Anthony Marx has commissioned a third-party review of the projected $300 million cost to implement Norman Foster’s redesign of its central branch. To pay for this costly renovation, dubbed The Central Library Plan, the library will use $150 million allocated by the city for this specific project and raise an additional $200 million from the sale of the Mid-Manhattan and the Science, Industry, and Business Libraries. NYPL says consolidation will save it $7.5 million a year. Critics of the plan advocate preserving the central branch’s stacks and renovating the Mid-Manhattan Library instead.

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Plans Unveiled for Foster + Partners-designed Einstein Museum

International
Thursday, June 13, 2013
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(Foster+Partners)

(Foster+Partners)

Foster + Partners has released concept renderings for the proposed Albert Einstein Museum in Jerusalem. Part of Hebrew University’s Mount Scopus Campus, the museum will serve as a motivational learning center that reflects Einstein’s scientific and cultural impact on the world. The design concept is open and airy and emphasizes light at every bend, including an amphitheater covered in mirrors to illuminate the space. The idea behind the Museum is to “shine a light” on Einstein’s accomplishments.

Continue reading after the jump.

Apple Makes Adjustments To Silicon Valley Campus Proposal

West
Friday, April 26, 2013
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Newly released pedestrian improvements planned for Apple's Silicon Valley headquarters. (Courtesy Apple)

Newly released pedestrian improvements planned for Apple’s Silicon Valley headquarters. (Courtesy Apple)

Apple’s spaceship-like campus plans, designed by Foster and Partners, have been criticized for—among other other things— a lack of pedestrian friendly design. It appears the company has listened. New documents presented to the city of Cupertino show extended bike paths, winding walkways and private roads both circling the grounds and running through the center of the campus.  The bike lanes would have buffer lanes to protect them from cars, pedestrian walkways would have increased lighting, a transit center would be the focal point for buses, and the plans also make room for public art projects.

Not all the changes are eco/pedestrian friendly. The new design calls for an increase in parking spaces from 10,500 to 10,980. Slated for completion in 2016, the campus has also been in the news for budget overruns and delays, with Bloomberg Businessweek reporting its cost ballooning from $3 billion to $5 billion. The first phase of the campus is scheduled to be complete by 2016.The original date was 2015.

More new renderings of Apple’s campus after the jump.

Norman Foster Turns the World on Its Head With Mirrored Pavilion in France

International
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
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(Nigel Young / Courtesy Foster+Partners)

(Nigel Young / Courtesy Foster+Partners)

Norman Foster has hoisted a slender sheet of mirror-polished stainless steel above a plaza on the edge of Marseille’s historic harbor, creating a new pavilion that reflects the activity of the bustling public space overhead. Foster + Partners’ “Vieux Port” pavilion officially opened over the weekend in the French city. The pavilion roof measures 150 feet by 72 feet, tapering at its perimeter to create the illusion of impossible thinness and is is supported by eight thin stainless steel columns inset from the pavilion’s edge.

Continue reading after the jump.

Foster’s Exterior Changes Green-Lighted at the New York Public Library

East
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
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Rendering of Foster + Partners' proposed renovation of the New York Public Library. (Courtesy Foster+Partners / dbox)

Rendering of Foster + Partners’ proposed renovation of the New York Public Library. (Courtesy Foster+Partners / dbox)

Preservationists who have waged a battle against Foster + Partners’ planned renovations of the New York Public Library received bad news Tuesday: The Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the library’s application for changes to its Beaux-Arts exterior, mostly on the side facing Bryant Park, in a six-to-two vote.

The $300 million renovation calls for removing seven floors of stacks beneath the famous Rose Main Reading Room to accommodate a large workspace and the collections from the Mid-Manhattan and the Innovative Science, Industry, and Business Libraries. This might be a major step forward for the library, but the approval process is not yet over. The Wall Street Journal reported that the Landmarks Commission can only vote on changes proposed to the landmarked exterior—the decision about the stacks is out of their hands.

Video> Fly Through Norman Foster’s Proposed Changes To the New York Public Library

East
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
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Last week, AN reported on Norman Foster’s newly-rendered plans to transform the landmark New York Public Library at Bryant Park. Foster’s $300 million plan will, most dramatically, gut the off-limits-to-the-public book stacks and replace them with a light-filled atrium and reading space. The NYPL has now released a video fly-through of the project, above. Enjoy!

A New Chapter for the New York Public Library: Foster + Partners Reveal Renovation Plans

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
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Rendering of Foster + Partners' proposed renovation of the New York Public Library. (Courtesy Foster+Partners / dbox)

Rendering of Foster + Partners’ proposed renovation of the New York Public Library. (Courtesy Foster+Partners / dbox)

New Yorkers, not to mention architecture critics, have been waiting with bated breath to see the plans for the controversial $300 million overhaul of the New York Public Library’s historic flagship branch on Fifth Avenue. And today, the designs by Foster + Partners, were finally unveiled. The renovation of the Beaux Arts-style library, completed in 1911 by Carrère and Hastings, will remove seven floors of stacks under the grand Rose Main Reading Room to make way for a 300-person workspace with an expansive atrium, balconies, floor-to-ceiling windows, bookshelves, and new areas devoted to classrooms and computer labs. As of now, interior finishes will include a combination of bronze, wood, and stone.

More after the jump.

Videos> The 425 Park visions of Foster, Koolhaas, Rogers, and Zaha Hadid

East
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
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Norman Foster's winning design. (Courtesy Foster + Partners)

Norman Foster’s winning design for 425 Park. (Courtesy Foster + Partners)

After today’s announcement of Norman Fosters next project in New York, a luxury condo tower at the United Nations, we just can’t get enough of the British starchitect. Luckily, a stash of video renderings and presentations from the firms behind the planned 425 Park tower can provide just the fix. It wasn’t too long ago that the starchitect-filled competition for the new Park Avenue tower selected Foster + Partners as its winner. Now after the design presentations at the recent MAS Summit and the release of photo renderings from all players—including runners up Richard Rogers, Rem Koolhaas, and Zaha Hadid—we can indulge in the virtual demonstrations of their designs.

Click through to view the videos.

Foster, SOM and WXY Explore Grand Ideas for the Next 100 Years at Grand Central Terminal

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
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(Courtesy SOM)

(Courtesy SOM)

The neighborhood around Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal is about to undergo monumental change as the Bloomberg administration pushes to upzone areas around Park and Madison avenues. Already, Norman Foster recently unveiled his plans for a new 425 Park tower, viewed as a precursor to what’s bound to be a taller neighborhood and the NYC Department of Transportation announced intentions to close Vanderbilt Avenue to automobile traffic to help with already-overflowing sidewalks.

But in anticipation of Warren and Wetmore‘s Grand Central celebrating its centennial next year, the Municipal Art Society (MAS) asked three firms—SOM, WXY, and Foster+Partners—to re-envision the Beaux-Arts masterpiece and its surrounding midtown neighborhood with an eye toward the train station’s next 100 years. The results of the Grand Central…The Next 100 project were unveiled at this year’s MAS Summit for New York City, which wrapped up on Friday and included both down-to-earth and fanciful visions for the future of Manhattan.

Continue reading after the jump.

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