In this issue:

· African Burial Ground Interpretive Center Opens
· Historic Theater Goes From Ruins to Royalty
· LEED Platinum for Syracuse University’s Center of Excellence
· Holl Returns to Iowa
· Tower Will Rise Out of the BLU
· Blue Is the Word at Marc by Marc Jacobs in Milan

African Burial Ground Interpretive Center Opens


Visitor’s Interpretive Center for New York’s African Burial Ground.

Photograph by Lourdes Pena/John Samuels

The Visitor’s Interpretive Center for New York’s African Burial Ground, designed by Roberta Washington Architects, with exhibitions designed by Boston-based Amaze, opens this week in Lower Manhattan. Located on the ground floor of the Ted Weiss Federal Building, adjacent to African Burial Ground memorial designed by ARRIS Architects, the center is designed to give visitors a deeper understanding of the historical, archeological, and cultural background of the site, its history, and the science related to the re-internment of the remains of those buried there. The spaces feature rough, textured granite floors with muted “black liberation” colors. The curved entrance to the theater is decorated with African symbols. The ranger’s station evokes drums that were used to disseminate information during the Colonial era. The African Burial Ground National Monument is a multi-agency effort, combining the General Services Administration and the National Park Service. In 1993, the site was designated as a National Historic Landmark.

Historic Theater Goes From Ruins to Royalty


Loew’s Kings Theatre.

Jim Henderson

The 3,000-seat Loew’s Kings Theatre in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, which has been vacant since 1978, will be rehabilitated, restored, and reopened as a premier performing arts venue by Houston-based ACE Theatrical Group. Designed by Rapp & Rapp in 1929, its architecture was influenced by the Palace of Versailles and the Paris Opera House, featuring high curved ceilings, ornate plaster walls, wood paneling, pink marble, and a glazed terra-cotta ornamental façade. The theater also features a stage that is approximately 70 feet wide by 30 feet deep, a fly gallery about 90 feet high, and a proscenium opening 60 feet wide by 50 feet high. Construction is expected to begin in two to three years and take approximately two years to complete.

LEED Platinum for Syracuse University’s Center of Excellence


Syracuse Center of Excellence.

Courtesy of Toshiko Mori Architect

The Syracuse Center of Excellence recently moved into its new headquarters, a five-story, metal-and-glass-clad building designed by Toshiko Mori Architect. The center is a joint effort by local colleges, businesses, and economic agencies led by Syracuse University with a mission to support research, development, and job creation in the fields of indoor environmental quality, renewable energy, and water resource management. The 60,000-square-foot, LEED Platinum building was designed as a green urban intervention anchoring the connective corridor between downtown Syracuse and the university. The project features a vegetative roof among other green features, including a geothermal heating and cooling system and a rainwater collection system. In addition, the Total Indoor Environmental Quality (TIEQ) lab factors, such as temperature, humidity, and air quality, can be manipulated in each workstation to increase productivity. The design team includes Ashley McGraw Architects, Arup for MEP and structural engineering, and landscape architects Hargreaves Associates. A dedication ceremony will take place on 03.05.10.

Holl Returns to Iowa


University of Iowa (UI) Arts campus.

Steven Holl Architects

Steven Holl Architects (SHA), in collaboration with Midwest-based BNIM Architects, has won the commission for a new art studio facility for the University of Iowa (UI) Arts campus, to be located near the SHA-designed Art Building West (completed in 2006). The new building is to replace an original 1936 arts building heavily damaged during flooding of the Iowa River in June 2008. The flood left more than 20 buildings damaged, including the Art Building West. The selection process, which was to find an architect-led team and not to select a specific design, was organized by UI. The SHA/BNIM team was selected for its unique connection to the site, its sensitivity to an adjacent residential neighborhood, and an understanding of challenges related to FEMA-supported projects, among other reasons.

Tower Will Rise Out of the BLU



Photo by Bruce Damonte

Handel Architects has completed a 205,000-square-foot residential tower situated at the gateway of the planned Folsom Street Corridor in San Francisco. Officially known as 631 Folsom Street, but dubbed BLU, the 21-story tower rises over a single-story podium with retail and a residential lobby along Folsom Street that is setback to align with the existing street wall. The tall, slender building was designed to maintain view corridors and provide sunlight and air for residents as well as pedestrians. The light-bluish colored glass and metal curtain wall is intended to create transparency. The tower contains six residences per floor, each with open spaces and floor-to-ceiling windows. Sky BLU, as the penthouses are called, feature three floors of living space plus a solarium and roof deck.

Blue Is the Word at Marc by Marc Jacobs in Milan


Marc by Marc Jacobs in Milan.

Stephan Jaklitsch Architects

A new Marc by Marc Jacobs store with an accompanying café and bar, designed by Stephan Jaklitsch Architects (SJA), will open in early April in Milan’s historic Brera district. The 290-square-meter boutique was inserted into the ground floor of a 16th-century residential building. SJA’s design highlights the 12 arched bays. New frameless windows were inserted into each bay drawing attention to the existing architecture and allowing clear views into the store. From the interior, the arches create a deep cavity between the sales floor and façade, visually dissolving the interior and exterior. The store uses the brand’s signature “Marc” blue steel shelving; clear, blue, and mirrored glass; navy blue concrete floors; neon signage; and custom hanging and display fixtures. The café will connect to the store through a sliding blue glass door, and the aesthetics will be consistent with the Marc by Marc Jacobs brand using the same palate of colors and materials as the store.