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.

Kammetal Tops Off SOM’s 1 World Trade Center

Fabrikator
Friday, November 15, 2013
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Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
Kammetal fabricated 48 triangular panels for the beacon of 1 World Trade Center in Manahattan. (courtesy DCM Erectors)

Kammetal fabricated 48 triangular panels for the beacon of 1 World Trade Center. (courtesy DCM Erectors)

Seven tons of glass and steel clad a structural stainless frame on the Western Hemisphere’s tallest building.

Brooklyn-based metal fabrication company Kammetal and DCM Erectors of New Jersey were selected to fabricate and install the crowning beacon atop the spire on 1 World Trade Center. The fabrication team executed SOM’s design for a dynamic and complex adornment to one of the country’s most anticipated buildings, along with the help of engineers at Buro Happold to ensure safety at 1,776 feet.

To craft a 15-ton, 50-foot beacon that accounted for thermal expansion and movement, Kammetal modeled and drew their designs in SolidWorks. The company’s team laser cut 48 triangular 316 stainless steel panels with ¼-inch thickness in a nondirectional finish to clad DCM’s square tubular steel frame. “Before we started the project, we had the structural frame 3D scanned to generate a point cloud,” explained Sam Kusack, president at Kammetal. “Because the structure was so dynamic—it contains zero right angles or reference points—we had to verify the conditions.” Read More

One World Trade Center unseats Willis Tower as western hemisphere’s tallest building

East, Midwest, National
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
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Left: 1 World Trade Center; Right: Willis Tower. (Pat Hawks and gigi_nyc via Flickr; composite by A|N)

Left: 1 World Trade Center; Right: Willis Tower. (Pat Hawks and gigi_nyc via Flickr; composite by AN)

Move over, Willis Tower. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) issued its official ruling Tuesday: New York’s One World Trade Center unseats the Chicago skyscraper as the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. Read More

Ross Wimer to Lead AECOM Architecture

Shft+Alt+Del, West
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
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Ross Wimer (AECOM)

Ross Wimer (AECOM)

Architecture and Engineering giant AECOM  has taken a big step to bolster its architecture offerings with the appointment of  Ross Wimer, former  partner and design director at SOM Chicago, as the leader of its architecture practice in the Americas. Wimer was known for fighting for design at SOM, and he plans to do the same thing at AECOM, where architecture can be overshadowed by much larger, and more profitable work.

Continue reading after the jump.

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Register for Exclusive Educational Opportunities at Facades+PERFORMANCE Chicago

National
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
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(Courtesy Enclos)

(Courtesy Enclos)

In an environment of escalating demands and expectations for high-performance building envelopes, the need for innovative responses from AEC professionals is ever increasing. But as new building materials, fabrication techniques, and design technologies ceaselessly emerge into the marketplace, the architectural possibilities become dizzying.

At Facades+ PERFORMANCE, the nation’s premiere conference for high-performance facades, we strive to keep you up to date with the latest strategies and tools that are revolutionizing the built environment. Join us for two days of cutting edge workshops, panels, and symposia presented by the industry’s leading innovators, and become part of the movement that is transforming the built environment.

Be there as Mic Patterson of Enclos is joined by Keith Boswell and Anwar Hakim of SOM to discuss the process of innovation and the application of emerging building technologies in their afternoon dialog-workshop, “Innovation and The Building Skin.” Space is limited, so reserve your seat today to take part in this and other exciting programs at AN and Enclos’ Facades+ PERFORMANCE, coming to Chicago, October 24th-25th!

Continue reading after the jump.

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