New Practices Grows Up

Event: New Practices New York Showcase Series
Location: Häfele Showroom
Speakers: Winners of the 2006 New Practices New York competition
Organizer: AIANY New Practices Committee; The Architect’s Newspaper
Sponsor: Häfele America Co.

Zakrzewski Hyde Architects

Travelogue, an installation by Zakrzewski Hyde Architects, is currently on view at the Häfele Showroom. It is the final installation of the New Practices Showcase series.

Zakrzewski Hyde Architects

This month marked the end of the 2006/7 New Practices Showcase Series and the beginning of a new series of programs organized by the AIA New York Chapter’s youngest committee, the New Practices Committee. The program germinated two years ago at a new members reception at the Center for Architecture, when Nino Hewitt, AIA approached Susan Chin, FAIA, (2005 AIANY President) and myself and asked, “What kind of support does the AIA provide for new practices? I just started an architectural firm (LEVEL Architecture), and I need some help.”

Susan and I looked at each other and quickly realized that, although the Chapter has a professional practice committee, an emerging architect committee, and offers numerous forums for young professionals, we did not provide many programs that were specifically aimed at the needs of recently-developed practices. We decided to remedy the situation by partnering with The Architect’s Newspaper and launching “The New Practices Roundtable,” a series of programs reaching out to young practices offering resources in areas of business practice, technology, and marketing. At the roundtables, new practitioners shared ideas, discussed best practices, and vented frustrations. It was “group therapy for emerging practices.” The series was a major success and attracted over 500 attendees in four sessions.

One year later, we expanded the program to showcase emerging practices entitled “New Practices New York.” To launch the program, we announced a mini-portfolio review for practices founded after January 1, 2000. More than 50 practices submitted, and six architectural firms were selected: Architecture In Formation; G Tects; Gage/Clemenceau Architects; Interboro Partners; WORK AC; and Zakrzewski Hyde Architects.

The showcase highlighted the firms’ achievements in a group exhibition at the Center for Architecture last summer. (The show was re-exhibited at a gallery during the AIA Convention in San Antonio this past May, and is traveling to London this fall.) Following the initial showing, a bimonthly exhibit and reception was held for each of the practices at the Häfele Showroom. The final showcase, featuring Zakrzewski Hyde Architects, is on display through the end of August.

A new generation of young architects is now gaining recognition and becoming leaders in the professional community, thanks to the showcase program. In fact, a number of the participants have taken the reins and are turning the roundtables into a full-fledged committee at the chapter. The new committee’s first program, “Super-Models, MEGA_100+, Large-Scale Firms Revised,” was held at the Center on July 11, and examined how large practices are redefining themselves to emulate the passion and agility of young practices (See “Large Firms Struggle to Outbid Small Firms,” by Jessica Sheridan, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, in this issue of e-Oculus). In the next issue of e-Oculus, Matthew Bremer, AIA, principal of Architecture In Formation, and Marc Clemenceau Bailly, AIA, principal of Gage/Clemenceau, will write about the objectives of this new committee. If you are interested in joining and/or participating in the committee, please contact Amanda Jones, AIANY Program Committee Coordinator.

In closing, I want to thank Susan Chin, FAIA, Joan Blumenfeld, FAIA, IIDA, AIANY President, James McCullar, FAIA, Rick Bell, FAIA, and the staff at the AIA NY Chapter, The Architect’s Newspaper, Häfele America, and all our program sponsors and participants. It’s been a great run, and we look forward to the next generation of programs for young practices.

Large Firms Struggle to Outbid Small Firms

Event: Super-Models, MEGA_100+, Large-Scale Firms Revised
Location: Center for Architecture, 07.11.07
Speakers: Aaron Schwarz, FAIA — Principal, Perkins Eastman; Christopher McCready, AIA — Associate Principal, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; Christopher Lee — Principal, HOK Sport
Moderator: Julie Iovine — Executive Editor, The Architect’s Newspaper
Organizer: AIANY New Practices Roundtable Committee
Sponsors: The Architect’s Newspaper; Häfele America Co.; Skyy 90; Severud Associates; Fountainhead Construction; MG & Company; Microsol Resources

In the U.S., many large firms are beginning to compete with — and lose to — small firms for innovative projects. To remedy the situation, large firms are using the small firm model to shift the balance in their favor. By establishing smaller companies within the larger organization, big firms are finding they are able to take advantage of the flexibility and collaborative work environment offered by small firms while maintaining the vast resources and funds offered by the parent firm.

SOM Education Lab and HOK Sport are smaller, specialized firms operating within the large firms of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and HOK, respectively. Since the profitability of small projects is the biggest issue for small firms, according to Christopher McCready, AIA, associate principal of SOM Education Lab, working as a firm within SOM helps alleviate monetary pressures. Focusing on campus planning and design, the firm can comfortably work on lower-budge projects in a small studio environment.

Although HOK Sport receives funding and office space from HOK, the independent practice struggled, as many small firms do at its start — entering competitions until it was able to build up a small client base. Christopher Lee, principal of HOK Sport, argues that the firm-within-a-firm model is successful because it creates long-term loyalty and employee satisfaction. Every employee is important to the continuing design process, and therefore, each project improves with his or her growing experience.

Perkins Eastman has not founded a small firm within its firm, but even though it has 700 international employees, principal Aaron Schwarz, FAIA, claims it is really “a small firm on steroids.” Large firms often have quality control problems and rely on bureaucracy to organize inevitable chaos. In doing this, firm structure can get in the way of the work. Large firms also tend to be run by individuals who are farther away from school, and forget the contributive nature of architecture school studios. Perkins Eastman avoids these pitfalls by breaking into smaller studios and encouraging principals to pick up teaching jobs on the side. The firm retains its flexibility and employees learn from their peers in an open environment.

Resources, money, security, and confidence are benefits of large firms; however, small firms are able to better maintain agility, a collaborative environment, and employee satisfaction. Although the two seem to be incompatible, large firms are starting to adapt and use small firm models to reinvigorate their work. By having the best of both worlds, large firms could become forces with which no other firm can compete. However, will the additive drawbacks smother their efforts? At this point, HOK Sport, SOM Education Lab, and Perkins Eastman do not think so.

Why Dubai?

Events: Burj Dubai Lecture Series: “Extreme Building: The Challenges of Constructing Burj Dubai” and “Why Dubai?”
Location: New York Academy of Sciences, 06.13.07 (“Extreme Building”), 07.18.07 (“Why Dubai?”)
Speakers: “Extreme Building”: Ahmad Abdelrazaq — Executive Director, highrise building and structural engineering divisions, Samsung Corporation. “Why Dubai?”: Robert Booth — Executive Director, Emaar North America; John Braley — Business Development Manager, Turner International; George Efstathiou, AIA, RIBA — Managing Partner, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Chicago; Jordan Gruzen, FAIA — Partner, Gruzen Samton; John Mills — Project Director, Hyder Consulting Middle East
Moderator: Robert Ivy, FAIA — Editor-In-Chief, Architectural Record
Organizers: Skyscraper Museum; New York Academy of Sciences

Burj Dubai

Burj Dubai, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

Model photo by Steinkamp-Ballogg Photography, courtesy Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

No city in history has grown as quickly as Dubai; it’s the world’s third-ranked development city, after Shanghai and Moscow, observed John Braley, business development manager at Turner International. But the others have long histories as urban centers, while Dubai has morphed from backwater to metropolis almost overnight. Presentations often show paired before-and-after photos documenting the phenomenal growth of towers along Sheikh Zayed Road since 1990. With an economy more reliant on tourism, finance, and real-estate speculation than on oil, and with $45 billion in current construction for a population of 1.4 million in a space the size of Rhode Island, Dubai has become a laboratory for hyper-accelerated development.

In his June solo talk, engineer Ahmad Abdelrazaq conveyed his expertise and enthusiasm for the Skidmore, Owings & Merrill-designed Burj Dubai’s unique challenges: stabilizing its long and light frame, maximizing both daylight exposure and privacy in the tower’s residential section, pumping the high-performance concrete to unprecedented heights despite searing local temperatures (pouring at night helps), and monitoring stresses and deformations throughout the tower (the building’s information systems include a proliferation of strain gauges and a GPS base station/rover arrangement). At such a scale, even as routine an operation as positioning the cranes requires precision and caution.

The July panelists offered many solid reasons for Dubai’s record-setting growth. It has favorable geographic position as a trading port, waterside resort, and financial hub. Wealth was transferred there out of the U.S. by nervous regional investors after 9/11. The South Asian labor force is available at low wages. Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum encourages fast, unregulated development. And, perhaps foremost, Dubai’s political stability and relative cultural openness is what Jordan Gruzen, FAIA, partner at Gruzen Samton, calls “the safe haven in a very disturbed area of the world.”

After presentations by representatives of five firms involved with the Burj and other local projects, moderator Robert Ivy, FAIA, did his best to guide panelists’ attention toward controversies such as migrant-worker abuse (a topic on which a scathing Human Rights Watch report — citing hazards, deaths, and wages unpaid for months of labor in the 120-degree heat — recently got Sheikh Mohammed’s attention). With nary a contrarian to be heard, some of the responses to the event’s critical title question were more witty and succinct than penetrating: in Braley’s words, “Why not Dubai?” or as project director at Hyder Consulting Middle East John Mills said simply, “because we can.”

Dubai has amassed the resources and expertise to accomplish amazing things, the Burj among them. Gruzen cited one waterfront plan where $3.4 billion worth of land was sold in three days. Beyond the Burj, Dubai’s developers are out-Vegasing Vegas, building not just theme parks but “theme cities” like the Falcon City of Wonders, a bird-shaped recreational/residential district featuring life-sized replicas of the seven wonders of the world. The Palm Jumeira is slated to get the Trump hotel, this one tulipoid. The indoor Ski Dubai resort is a magnet for oxymorons, being something of a contradiction-in-terms itself; Mills relayed contrasting descriptions as both “infamous” and “fantastic.”

Many of the residences going up (and rapidly selling out) are unoccupied and may stay that way; they’re merely investment properties, second homes, or emergency residences for Middle Easterners contemplating future refugee status in the event of revolution or national collapse. Questions arise about the long-range soundness of an economy grounded in condo-flipping, or the forms of ecological blowback that ensue when growth outstrips infrastructure.

Dubai’s transportation is heavily auto-dependent, the muggy climate makes extensive air conditioning mandatory, and rendering Gulf water potable requires massive desalinization (returning ever more saline water to the source); building roads in a desert climate is always easier in the short term than managing natural resources. A metro rail line is planned, but car traffic is already nightmarish, and “the only use of solar energy,” Mills drolly reported, “is for a parking meter.” There’s a lot to admire about Dubai’s building boom; there’s also plenty that one can find unnerving.

NYIT Students Make a Solar Difference

Event: 2007 Solar Decathlon
Location: National Mall, Washington D.C., 10.12-20.07
Organizers: U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

OPEN House

NYIT architecture students Matthew Mathosian, architecture team leader (left); Matthew Vecchione, student project manager (roof); and Ryan Knippenberg work on constructing OPEN House, NYIT’s entry in to the 2007 Solar Decathlon.

Angela Marshall, courtesy NYIT

“A majority of students participate in the Solar Decathlon because they truly want to make a difference in the world by reducing traditional energy consumption or to acquaint themselves with solar power and energy-efficient technologies,” says Daniel Rapka, an engineering graduate student and engineering team leader of the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) Solar Decathlon 2007 team. This fall, NYIT students will transport their solar home to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to compete against 19 international colleges and universities in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Solar Decathlon 2007. NYIT is the only college selected from the NY metropolitan area to compete.

The international contest challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate the most energy-efficient solar-powered home. NYIT’s entry, OPEN House, features two main components: a 480-square-foot open space and a manifold (or core). The open floor plan creates flexible zones to accommodate multiple functions, allowing the occupant to customize their living space. The south-side glass wall visually connects inhabitants to the outside world and fills the living space with natural sunlight throughout the day. The core contains the kitchen, bathroom, and the electrical and mechanical systems.

Smart House technology will provide the dweller with additional flexibility, convenience, and comfort. The home’s automation and control system allows efficient control and the scheduling or maintenance of household functions, such as air temperature, lighting, and appliances. Since the team is unable to dig into the ground on the National Mall, a roof pond above the home’s core will serve as a model of what a geothermal source would be doing on a logistical level. The pond will be a hybrid feature of the solar house — it models a geothermal system by providing a source or sink for thermal energy and also acts as a passive collector or radiator depending on the season. If the home needs heating, energy can be pulled from the pond to heat the home and if the home needs cooling, the excess energy from the house will be stored in the pond.

NYIT’s interdisciplinary, multi-campus team is composed of more than 75 undergraduate and graduate students studying architecture, engineering, interior design, communication arts, marketing, and culinary arts. Faculty members from each department serve as project advisors. “Students participating in the Solar Decathlon have a unique opportunity to gain real-world experience through hands-on learning and interdisciplinary education,” says Matthew Vecchione, a fifth-year architecture student and student project manager of NYIT’s Solar Decathlon 2007 team.

Competition guidelines require that all homes be a maximum of 800 square feet. An overall winner is determined based on the teams’ scores in 10 categories: architecture; engineering; market viability; communications; comfort zone; appliances; hot water; lighting; energy balance; and getting around (track mileage of electric car). The DOE provides all 20 teams with an electric car to help transport the house, and $100,000 to support the project. To raise additional funds and encourage public support and sponsorship, the team has appeared at conventions and sustainable conferences, and has invited green-friendly businesses to attend team presentations.

Solar Decathlon 2007 will be on view to the public October 12-20. More information about NYIT’s Solar Decathlon entry can be found online. The entry is also included in the arch schools: r(each)ing out exhibition at the Center for Architecture through October 19 (See On View: At the Center for Architecture).

NYC Looks to Pop a Wheelie

Event: Lecture, part of the New York Bike Share Project symposium and charrette
Location: Storefront for Art and Architecture, 07.09.07
Speaker: Richard Grasso — Clear Channel Adshel
Organizers: Storefront for Art and Architecture; Forum for Urban Design

Bike Wheel

Courtesy Storefront for Art and Architecture

While the majority of attendees at a conference on bike sharing endorsed the concept for NYC, the most hotly debated element of the initiative was the idea of using advertising on the bikes and their docking stations to help underwrite the program. Clear Channel Adshel became a supporter of similar shares in Barcelona, Stockholm, and Oslo as an extension of their advertising program, which uses street furniture as a medium. David Haskell, executive director of Forum for Urban Design, said the symposium was planned to educate the public about the potential benefits of bike share, not to determine “what the ratio of advertising to public financing might be.”

For those familiar with the idea of point-to-point, subscription-driven car rental operations (like Zipcar), bike share is its two-wheeled equivalent. But unlike the Zipcar concept — a convenience service for daytrips and errands — bike share is focused on providing everyday transportation options. Commuters sign up online to participate and swipe a membership card to sign out each bike, which may be used for as low as $.50 per trip. The bicycles, which will be available at strategically located docking stations, are not high performance cycles. Each bike is constructed for stability. “It’s not a Porsche; it’s been tested for ease of use,” said Clear Channel Adshel executive Richard Grasso.

Implementing a transportation system that would improve public health at the same time seems like a natural fit for this city. And discussions about bike share’s feasibility in NYC are especially timely, given recent debate about congestion pricing and potential subway overcrowding. But residents, like myself, who have tried the bike share systems available in European cities, may be left wondering how the concept will translate to New York. In particular, where will bike share docking stations be located, given existing scarcity of excess sidewalk and parking space? Will riders face problems in a city already troubled by unruly drivers and a lack of dedicated bike lanes? Though the reality of bike sharing in NYC may be in the far future, Washington, D.C. should be able to provide answers and inspiration — they will be the first Big 10 U.S. city to implement the system, effective within the next few months.

More information on the bike sharing program can be found at The New York Bike-Share Project website. David Haskell contributed an opinion piece on July 18 to the New York Times about the program. Click “The Path of Least Congestion” to read the full article.

Eldridge Street Restores Jewish History

Eldridge Street Synagogue

Finials are being restored on the Eldridge Street Synagogue.

Courtesy Eldridge Street Project

Just a few paces south of the storefront Puchao Buddhist Temple, is the Eldridge Street Synagogue. Built in 1887, the synagogue is also buzzing with activity — not of worshippers, but of architects, engineers, construction workers and craftspeople, in the last stages of restoring the building to what it once was in time for its 120th birthday. The building will soon reopen as a cultural and educational center.

The Moorish-style synagogue was the first great house of worship for Jews from Eastern Europe and remains a significant marker of the large Jewish community that lived on the Lower East Side from the 1850s to the 1940s. After most of the congregation migrated to the suburbs, a small core of worshippers continued to use the synagogue for services, but were unable to afford the upkeep. Death by nature and neglect — most notably by a leaky ceiling — were imminent by the time the Friends of the Eldridge Street Synagogue secured funds to make the most crucial repairs. The Friends secured emergency funds from public and private sources, began the process to secure landmark designations, and organized emergency stabilization of the building’s exterior, which was completed in 1984. Once it became clear that the restoration would be a complex, multi-million-dollar endeavor, the Eldridge Street Project was established to see it through.

Implementing and overseeing the restoration of the Eldridge Street Synagogue, and aiming to stay true to its history, stories, and aesthetics, Jill Gotthelf, AIA, and Walter Sedovic, AIA, LEED AP, joined the project. Both architects are still scurrying up scaffolding that engulfs the building’s interior, reaching up to its 70-foot-high, decorative painted ceiling. The project is based on plans and specifications prepared by Walter Sedovic Architects. The master plan, which has guided restoration over the last 17 years, was prepared under Gotthelf’s supervision in 1990, when she was employed at Robert E. Meadows Architects. The plan calls for the restoration of the Synagogue to it original grandeur and evidence of a time when the skilled manual labor of craftspeople was cheaper than materials, while leaving intact elements and areas that evidence the building’s history.

A list of some of the work that began in the 1990s includes the excavation (mostly by man power), reinforcement, and stabilization of the building’s foundation. New multi-purpose rooms were carved for the building’s future use as a cultural center, with a space dedicated for Sabbath services. Layers of paint were peeled back to reveal the original coral-colored walls. The slate roof was restored and a skylight system was opened and refurbished. The exterior was re-pointed and made watertight. Rotted and insect-infested structural members were removed and replaced.

In keeping with contemporary thinking, the architectural team has also strived to turn the building into a green environment, something made easier since the original builders used time-enduring materials, local labor, and architecture that made the most of natural light and ventilation.

A comment on Bill Millard’s article (“We’ll Hopefully Never Know How Well This Place Works,” e-Oculus, 07.10.07) about the new NYC OEM: It is unfortunate they didn’t put it on higher ground than the old Red Cross building at Cadman Plaza. If a big hurricane hits NYC, that new location will be under water at just the time it is needed.

Oh well!

Sidney L. Delson, FAIA
Architect, East Hampton, NY

It Was a Pipe to Remember

The lights flickered and then a loud, thundering sound reverberated through the building. When the sound didn’t stop, my coworkers and I went to the window where we saw people running on Third Avenue and a smoke cloud behind the Chrysler Building. My office is located on the 17th floor of a building on 43rd Street; the floor was vibrating, the windows were rattling. When we decided to leave the premises, we came across a hysterical woman sitting on the floor of the lobby surrounded by security guards ushering us to move on. One guard said there had been an explosion. We left the building and joined the crowd moving away from the smoke. “The Steam Pipe Building exploded.” “Something happened at Grand Central.” No one knew what was happening, but we all knew we needed to get away from the growing cloud.

Although last Wednesday’s steam pipe explosion, thankfully, turned out not to be the next 9/11, my experience made me realize that its impact on my psyche has not subsided. Since 2001, the city has beefed up security, adding cameras and bollards on and near potential terrorist targets. The bag searches continue in the subways. The biggest, strongest buildings engineering can permit are filling the gap at Ground Zero. All to create a sense of stability.

What this infrastructural eruption brought to my awareness, though, was that these initiatives have not succeeded in making me feel safe. When my office building shook, I feared it would collapse. When I saw that there was a large crater in the street spewing steam (and who knows what else), I feared that a sink hole would expand possibly swallowing up surrounding buildings, including Grand Central and the Chrysler Building. Once I discovered the explosion was not a terrorist attack, I did not think that everything was going to be o.k.

I don’t have an answer for how to fix the problem, but I think that this is an issue pertinent to planners and architects working in the city. Barriers and blockades do not necessarily make someone feel safe. Buildings are supposed to provide shelter and protection. City infrastructure is supposed to run well enough that people do not question its reliability. The design profession may not be able to solve the socio-cultural and psychological issues that have yet to subside since 9/11. It is, however, the industry’s responsibility to at least consider integrating new measures into design.

In this issue:
·Grand Life Awaits Battery Maritime Building
·Doing the Wave in Flushing
·If You Dream It, Will They Come Swim?
·Art Museum Shades Festival Park
·Queens Necklace Gains Mixed-Used Tower
·Green Towers Get Green Light in D.C. Region
·City Recognizes Hip Hop
·The British are Coming and They’re Gambling on the U.S. Market

Grand Life Awaits Battery Maritime Building
With the NYC Economic Development Corporation’s selection of The Dermot Company and the Poulakakos family to develop the historic Battery Maritime Building (BMB), Rogers Marvel Architects will have the opportunity to design a new $110 million waterfront destination in lower Manhattan. The plan calls for preserving the historic building, and returning the second floor Grand Hall back to the public domain. During the day, the hall will feature a specialty foods market and education center, and at night it will transform into a premier event space. The existing non-historic addition to the building will be replaced with a modern addition featuring a 135-room boutique hotel and rooftop indoor/outdoor restaurant and bar.

The 99-year-old Beaux Arts-style BMB, originally designed by Walker & Morris, currently serves as the ferry terminal to Governors Island. Constructed of cast and wrought iron, Jad Hird Pokorny Associates was responsible for the building’s recent preservation and stabilization efforts including the addition of a new 2,800-square-foot skylight and the restoration of the Guastavino tile vault on the ceiling of the second-floor loggia deck at the front of the building. Future improvements include the creation of new first floor waiting rooms for ferry passengers.

Doing the Wave in Flushing

WaveLine pavilion

WaveLine pavilion.

Michael Moran, courtesy hanrahanMeyers

Construction has been completed for the WaveLine, a 5,000-square-foot steel and masonry pavilion for performance and sport at the Latimer Gardens Community Center in Flushing, Queens. Designed by hanrahanMeyers architects for the NYC Housing Authority, the pavilion is neighbor to a 20-story public housing project built in the 1950s. The project features a bent roof plane constructed using galvanized steel and aluminum, and its interior is a white, one-room volume. WaveLine, a term used in ship building and physics, refers to the shape most likely to glide through water without resistance, and the formal properties of the project were influenced by studies on non-resistant structures.

If You Dream It, Will They Come Swim?

Floating Pool

The Floating Pool.

Jonathan Kirschenfeld Associates

The much-anticipated Floating Pool Lady, a long-time project of urban planner Ann Buttenwieser and her Neptune Foundation, has anchored and opened free to the public this summer at Brooklyn Bridge Beach Park. Though now considered a novel idea, at one time the city had 15 floating pools berthed along tenement districts. The foundation commissioned Jonathan Kirschenfeld Associates and naval architect Kent Merrill of C.R. Cushing & Co. to transform the former 80-by-260-foot cargo barge into a self-sustaining seven-lane, 25-meter-long swimming pool surrounded by a raised terrace with locker rooms, showers, and a children’s spray pool. The Empire State Development Corporation is the lead government agency on the project working in partnership with the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, the Neptune Foundation, and Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy.

Art Museum Shades Festival Park

Fayetteville Museum of Art

Fayetteville Museum of Art.

TEN Arquitectos

Enrique Norten, Hon. FAIA, of TEN Arquitectos unveiled his concept for a new Museum of Art to be sited in the new Festival Park in downtown Fayetteville, NC, which draws thousands for concerts and other events. Plans call for an elevated museum gallery that would extend into the park, creating shade below and a terrace above for dining and city views. Fayetteville plans to launch a capital campaign for the estimated $12-15 million cost, and has already designated the 2-acre tract in Festival Park for the museum.

Queens Necklace Gains Mixed-Used Tower

India Tower

India Tower.

FXFOWLE Architects

Construction has begun on India Tower, a new 60-story world-class hotel, retail, and residential tower designed by FXFOWLE Architects in the coastal Queens Necklace of South Mumbai, India. The tower’s rotated form, with off-white aluminum panels and insulated glass operable windows, emerges in response to the 3-acre site. The building’s functional requirements and mixed-use program change with each rotation of the tower. The circulation pattern separates retail, a residential-style Park Hyatt hotel and serviced apartments, and long-lease and duplex penthouse condominium apartments within a sustainable network of green roofs and hanging gardens. India Tower’s 3-story podium, with a granite, glass, and stainless steel façade, will include restaurants and cafés, luxury-brand retail stores, a health/fitness club with a swimming pool, and a nightclub/lounge. Sited under the podium are three levels of below-grade parking for 650 vehicles as well as designated retail and hotel service functions. The project, which is to be completed in 2010, is expected to achieve a LEED Gold rating.

Green Towers Get Green Light in D.C. Region

Rosslyn Central Place

Rosslyn Central Place.

Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners

Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners has received the go-ahead to build a 1,470,000-square-foot mixed-use development on a two-acre site. Composed of a pair of high-rise towers — one a 30-story residential and the other a 31-story office building — Rosslyn Central Place is envisioned as a catalyst for revitalizing urban character and downtown of Rosslyn, VA. It will feature a 10,000-square-foot observation deck with panoramic views of the national Capital Region, as well as a central, landscaped plaza linking the two buildings at the retail level. Both buildings are seeking LEED Silver ratings.

City Recognizes Hip Hop
1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx doesn’t have particularly good bones or an interesting architectural personality, but the building’s got soul and a lot of music fans. Senator Charles Schumer and Congressman Jose Serrano have joined tenants and musicians to celebrate New York State’s formal recognition of the building as the birthplace of Hip Hop. They also are advocating and to advocate for the property’s preservation as affordable Mitchell Lama housing, which would most likely displace tenants like DJ Kool Herc, a founder of Hip Hop in the 1970s, who have lived in the building for decades.

The British are Coming and They’re Gambling on the U.S. Market
caryjones interiors, an affiliate of London-based careyjones architects have jumped the pond and opened offices in NYC with plans to develop projects in the U.S. and the Caribbean. The company made its U.S. debut with the $170 million, 157,000-square-foot casino in Fort Lauderdale, Isle of Capri Casinos. The casino boasts a spectacular one-of-a-kind central water feature made of 4,000 sheets of stacked, hand-chipped glass.