Manhattan West’s Railyard-Spanning Platform Breaks Ground

East
Monday, January 21, 2013
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Manhattan West. (Courtesy Brookfield)

Manhattan West. (Courtesy Brookfield)

Manhattan’s far west side is about to become one of the busiest construction sites in the country. Last Tuesday morning, officials gathered at the corner of 9th Avenue and West 33rd Street to celebrate the second major groundbreaking in the Hudson Yards District, Brookfield Properties’ trio of new SOM-designed towers comprising the Manhattan West development to be built over a large rail yard serving Penn Station. The $4.5 billion project’s first phase, construction of the north portion of the railroad-spanning platform that will eventually support development, is now underway, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg speculated that the second half of the platform could be underway in coming months. Excavation has been ongoing since the fall of 2012.

Continue reading after the jump.

SOM’s Roger Duffy Adds Another Skyscraper to Manhattan’s 57th Street

East
Friday, January 4, 2013
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Rendering of 250 East 57th Street by SOM's Roger Duffy.

Rendering of 250 East 57th Street by SOM’s Roger Duffy.

A proposed 57-story residential tower designed by SOM’s Roger Duffy at the corner of Manhattan’s East 57th Street and 2nd Avenue is seeing new life after laying low through the recession. The Observer reported today that the 250 East 57th project, announced in 2006, will begin construction this year now that developer World Wide Group has filed new construction papers with the city and began clearing the site.

AN previously reported how the project is a partnership with the New York City School Construction Authority to extract the air-rights value beneath the city’s school properties. In this case, developers of 250 East 57th paid the Department of Education $325 million for a site lease and agreed to rebuild P.S. 59 adjacent to the tower’s site, including roof terraces and a large astroturf play area. Roger Duffy told AN at the time, “A lot of school sites in New York remain underdeveloped in terms of FAR (floor-area ratio).” The school opened in September 2012.

Continue reading after the jump.

Unveiled> SOM’s Los Angeles Courthouse Is a Shimmering White Cube

Newsletter, West
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
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The courthouse will take the form of a faceted white cube. (Courtesy Office of Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard)

The courthouse will take the form of a faceted white cube. (Courtesy Office of Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard)

Last month AN reported that SOM had won the commission to design the new $400 million federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. Today, designs for the new facility were unveiled (via our friends at LA Downtown News and Curbed LA), showing a cube-shaped structure with a porous white surface. So far only two renderings have hit the web, but SOM has promised to share more with us soon.

More information after the jump.

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SOM Rumored to Have Been Chosen for Los Angeles Courthouse

Eavesdroplet, West
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
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AN has been anxiously awaiting official news of an architect for Los Angeles’ long-awaited Downtown Federal Courthouse, and we’ve picked up the scent of a promising rumor. Brigham Young’s DTLA Rising blog has heard from a “source at a large architectural and design firm in Downtown LA” that SOM has won the commission, beating out a short list of teams including Yazdani Studio and Gruen Associates, Brooks + Scarpa and HMC Architects, and NBBJ Architects.

The new $322 million courthouse will be located on a 3.7-acre lot in Downtown LA at 107 South Broadway and will contain 600,000 square feet incuding 24 court rooms. The General Services Administration (GSA), the federal agency in charge of building the new courthouse, hopes to have the project completed by 2016. The former art-deco courthouse  at 312 North Spring Street will be sold to help pay for the new structure, drawing criticism from some politicians.

The GSA is expected to make an official announcement soon, and we’ll be sure to keep you updated as news comes in.

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.

Event> Oct 11-12: AN’s Facades & Fabrication Conference…And Look Who’s Coming!

Midwest
Monday, October 8, 2012
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Evolute, a Collaboration conference workshop leader, consulted on Dongdaemun Design Plaza and Park designed by Zaha Hadid, to open in Seoul in 2013.

Evolute, a Collaboration conference workshop leader, consulted on Dongdaemun Design Plaza and Park designed by Zaha Hadid, to open in Seoul in 2013.

Chicago’s collective IQ, no doubt already impressive, may rise a few points even higher this Thursday and Friday. The city is hosting a gathering of international thinkers and innovators who specialize in the tools that enable the creation of some of the world’s most high-tech and visually arresting building skins. The conference, Collaboration: The Art and Science of Building Facades, is sponsored by The Architect’s Newspaper and Enclos.

On Thursday, the conference features a high-powered line-up of speakers on Thursday, including Fernando Romero of FREE as the keynote. Then on Friday, the conference turns practical with a series of hands-on workshops that will lead participants through the very latest tools, programs, and applications. For example, Florin Isvoranu of Austria-based firm Evolute, which has collaborating with Zaha Hadid, Asymptote and others, will host a workshop on parametrically driven optimization of freeform facades, a topic that even has industry experts signing up to learn something new.

From students to seasoned veterans, those currently attending include staffers from firms like Sapa, Thornton Tomasetti, Interface, Cannon Design, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architcture, Perkins + Will, NBBJ, SOM, and KieranTimberlake, with roles ranging from engineer to BIM manager, market analyst to company president. PhD candidates, MArchs, and undergrads are flocking in from area universities and colleges including The School of the Art Institute, IIT, and Cranbrook Academy, as well as a hefty contingent of 12 students and three profs from the University of South Dakota State University‘s new Department of Architecture (DoArch).

Collaboration is the industry conference you can’t afford to miss. There’s still time to sign up! Registration details here.

Crooked Columns Raising Eyebrows at The New School

East
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
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South West View (Courtesy afinecompany.blogspot.com)

Southwest View (Courtesy afinecompany.blogspot.com)

If you walk down Fifth Avenue and 14th Street toward Union Square and notice a building under construction with crooked columns, don’t worry—it is not about to collapse. According to NBC New York, the SOM-designed New School University Center, previously detailed by AN, is raising eyebrows from the local community because some of its columns are slightly skewed.

But it’s no mistake. “It’s the most efficient way to carry all of the different structural loads of the building from the top of the foundation, ” Joel Towers, Parsons The New School for Design dean told NBC. The New York City Department of Buildings has confirmed there are no safety issues with the project.

 

MAS Takes on Grand Central.  Grand Central Terminal from Park Avenue. (Tom Stoelker/AN) The Municipal Arts Society is celebrating Grand Central‘s upcoming centenial, by holding a design challenge to reimagine the grand dame for the next 100 years. Foster & Partners, SOM, and WXY have each been invited to revamp public spaces inside and outside the terminal. More DOT pedestrian plazas anyone? The results of will be shown at the society’s third annual Summit for New York City on October 18. (Photo: Tom Stoelker/AN)

 

National Building Museum Redefines “Green” Architecture

East
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
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Confluence (Courtesy National Building Museum/Alison Dunn Photography)

Confluence (Courtesy National Building Museum/Alison Dunn Photography)

The National Building Museum‘s latest exhibit presents a new way to beat the summer heat—12 holes of mini-golf designed by prominent local architects, landscape architects, and developers. But if it’s windmills and castles you’re after, tee off elsewhere.  While the course is a challenge, it offers an intriguing (and very engaging) look at Washington’s architectural history and future.

Continue reading after the jump.

Shortlist to Replace Los Angeles’ Iconic Sixth Street Bridge Revealed

West
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
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Sixth Street Viaduct (John Humble)

We learn from our friends at Curbed that Los Angeles’ Sixth Street Viaduct Competition, replacing one of the most famous—and fragile—landmarks in LA, has a shortlist. The 3,500-foot-long, art deco span was recently deemed beyond repair, and the winner will build a $401 million, cable-stayed bridge in its place. The teams, all present at an LA Bureau of Engineering meeting last night, are AECOM, ARUP, HNTB, Parsons, Parsons Brinckerhoff, and SOM. Three of those teams will present their plans in September, with a winner chosen in October.

Unveiled> SOM’s Hilltop Hospital in Cincinnati Brings Light into the Healing Process

Midwest
Monday, July 2, 2012
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THE HOSPITAL'S SOUTH LOBBY. (IMAGE COURTESY SOM)

THE HOSPITAL'S SOUTH LOBBY. (COURTESY SOM)

While the myriad instruments lining hospital walls are revised constantly to promote patient wellness, the building is there to stay. So if design can help heal or comfort the afflicted, hospital architecture is critical.

A Skidmore Owings & Merrill masterplan for Cincinnati’s Christ Hospital is meant to have a calming influence on both patients and staff. SOM’s 1.4-million-square-foot project broke ground Thursday, with completion expected by mid-2015. Demolition of a parking garage on the south end of the site will clear way for a new Orthopaedic and Spine Center, whose downtown-facing south side will serve as the new face for the hilltop hospital.

Continue reading after the jump.

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SOM and Virginia Tech’s Hanging Garden Automatically Responds to Weather

Fabrikator
Friday, June 29, 2012
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Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
Fabrikator Brought to you by:

Hanging Garden

A motorized green wall that reads the weather and adjusts automatically

Two years ago six students and three faculty from Virginia Tech’s School of Architecture + Design spent three weeks at SOM‘s Chicago office applying industrial fabrication solutions to the problem of high density housing for Southworks, a housing development that’s currently being planned for a large vacant section south of the city. The result was LumenHAUS, an aggressively energy efficient home that won the international Solar Decathlon Competition that June for sustainable solutions to high density construction. LumenHAUS is not only net zero, it actually creates more energy than it uses by implementing, among other innovations, a modular system that autonomously responds to external weather information and internal environmental conditions to optimize energy use. This Fall Virginia Tech’s Center for Design Research will begin construction on a full scale prototype of six housing modules, including a working prototype of Hanging Garden, a dynamic plant wall that reads the weather and responds by sliding along the walls and windows to either block or allow sunlight into the living unit.

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