In this issue:
· Moynihan Station Gets Green Light for Phase 1
· Neo-Moorish Mecca for Performing Arts Gets Modernized
· MLB Slides into New Home Base
· Grand Canal Theatre Debuts in Dublin
· Diagonal Mesh Bridges Past and Future
· Extreme Eco
Moynihan Station Gets Green Light for Phase 1
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) has been given the green light by the Moynihan Station Development Corporation to start design work on Phase 1 of the transformation of the McKim, Mead & White-designed Farley Post Office into a new Moynihan Station. The initial phase is limited to underground infrastructure and platform expansion, thanks in part to an $83.3 million federal stimulus grant announced in February. The scope of work includes constructing two new entrances to Penn Station through the corners of the Farley Post Office Building. It will double the length and width of the West End Concourse, provide 13 new vertical access points to the platforms, and double the width of the 33rd Street Connector between Penn Station and the West End Concourse. Other critical infrastructure improvements include platform ventilation and catenary work. The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan began advocating for the Penn Station expansion in the early 1990s. SOM has been involved almost as long, designing variations of the train hall in 2001 and again in 2007.
Neo-Moorish Mecca for Performing Arts Gets Modernized
Polshek Partnership Architects
New York City Center has unveiled plans by Polshek Partnership Architects to modernize the organization’s neo-Moorish Midtown building, a 1923 NYC landmark. Pending NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission approval, a new exterior canopy with lighting and signage on the façade is intended to create more street visibly and dramatically define the building within its urban context. The original box office and mezzanine lobbies will be faithfully restored and several new spaces will be introduced, including an expanded and redesigned street level lobby and patrons’ lounge that capitalizes on an existing alley space. The re-sloping of the auditorium floors will improve sightlines, and the reconfiguration and resizing of theater seating will improve comfort and accessibility. The renovation respects the original theater’s design motifs and the new design insertions are a result of a careful study and reinterpretation of the underlying geometric Islamic motifs. The performing arts complex contains a main stage, two smaller theaters, four studios, and 12-story office tower. The grand re-opening of the complex will take place in October 2011.
MLB Slides into New Home Base
Butler Rogers Baskett in collaboration with C&G Partners has completed the redesign of Major League Baseball’s Midtown headquarters. The project includes a new 24,000-square-foot executive conference center; a 1,500-square-foot sub-dividable multi-purpose room with advanced audio-visual and teleconferencing capabilities; and eight meeting rooms. Multiple references to baseball — its history and the experience of being at a game — are part of the design. Carpet-and-terrazzo flooring reference a grass and dirt baseball diamond; conference tables are made from ash, the favored wood for baseball bats; and baseball headlines appear on LED tickers throughout the facility. A glass screen depicting a monumental Jackie Robinson stealing home in the first game of the 1955 World Series defines the lounge/breakout area.
Grand Canal Theatre Debuts in Dublin
Designed by Studio Daniel Libeskind (SDL), the 2,000-seat Grand Canal Theatre in Dublin recently celebrated its grand opening. Located in the city’s Dockland’s section, the theater is sited prominently at the head of Grand Canal Dock in a large public piazza that has a five star hotel and residences on one side and an office building on the other. The concept for the angular glass-and-steel building is based on stages — the stage of the theater, the piazza, and the multiple-level lobby above the piazza. The theater becomes the main façade of the piazza, which will also serve as a stage for civic gatherings and as a grand outdoor lobby for the theater. SDL is also designing two galleria buildings for retail and commercial office space with courtyards that comprise the Grand Canal Square Theatre and Commercial Development project, expected to be complete in 2011.
Diagonal Mesh Bridges Past and Future
A new 67-meter footbridge designed by Bernard Tschumi Architects and Paris-based Hugh Dutton Associates was recently opened above high-speed TGV railway tracks in La Roche-sur-Yon, France. The diagonal mesh design is reminiscent of the circa 1890s bridge it replaced, but in a tubular form to create a cylindrical volume through which pedestrians pass. The basic design objective was to find a geometric composition that expresses the natural passage of forces. The volume provides a single solution that both spans between the available support points and provides structure for the required protective screens and canopy cover. The bridge design is an homage to the city’s native son Robert Le Ricolais, an innovator in architectural and engineering design known for research in the development of three-dimensional structures.
Following a concept design competition, The Ministry of Environment in South Korea selected Grimshaw Architects, in association Seoul-based Samoo Architects & Engineers, to realize their scheme for the “Ecorium Project,” a 33,000-square-meter nature reserve and educational center. The proposal features arched biome enclosures optimized to maintain tropical plants during the winter by capturing as much low-angle sunlight as possible. A cable-supported glass envelope is suspended from parabolic steel compression arches, and the structures mimic a meandering river. Visitors will move through exhibitions, a 3-D theater, and restaurants, and re-emerge by way of a rooftop garden. The building and outdoor eco-park is intended to showcase global climate change and its impacts on ecosystems.