Author Archive

OMA Redesigns Rijnstraat 8 (The Hague)

The Rijnstraat 8 is a transformed government office building in The Hague. Our friends at OMA‘s rejigging of the nearly 1M SqFt structure marks the first large-scale implementation of an initiative of the government of the Netherlands to consolidate and reduce the overall biofootprint of office space. Unsurprisingly, the Rijnstraat 8 is home to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, among others. Led by OMA partner Ellen van Loon, the design is based around flexible and minimal spaces: a gigantic walkway spans the entire building connecting an array of offices with open plans. It also incorporates a variety of sustainability measures, including triple-glazing, solar panels, LED’s, and heat and cold storage; and, while 20% of the original structure was demolished, 100% was repurposed by OMA for the project.

DDG Partners’ elongated brickwork tower (UES)

Our friends at DDG Partners have undertaken a bold and daring architectural experiment in this grey brick residential tower, which plays intelligently with the typologies of the Art Deco architectural style, to be assembled in Carnegie Hill, Upper East Side, Manhattan. In addition to eye-catching vaulted balconies with brass frames, the building will be made of nearly 600,000 uniquely textured, elongated Kolumba bricks. The building will stand 50-storeys and contain 48 residences, of which a key feature will be vaulted ceilings rising as high as 14 feet. The interiors will also reflect the predominating pre-war aesthetic, and the bathrooms will abound in silver travertine.

IA Interior Architects’ Toronto Offices for Scotiabank

IA Interior Architects‘ Toronto office, in collaboration with our friends at their New York office, have completed the new Toronto offices of Scotiabank, a Canadian multinational bank and financial services firm. Offices for “The Digital Factory” as it is now known were designed by IA with a view towards fomenting productivity among staff, and enticing tech-savvy professionals to join their ranks. After observing that the staff generally gathered in an unofficially designated central area to collaborate and present work, IA installed a rotunda 32’ in diameter, to function as a planned gathering space. Also notable here is the use of color and lights: a wall of LED panels stream live company metrics including customer feedback; bright colors distinguish six neighborhoods to help make the immense interior easier to navigate: “art,” “storytelling,” “architecture,” “gaming,” “music,” and “film.”

Dattner Architects brings 274-unit affordable building to East New York

The 274-unit Chestnut Commons built-community/development will be one of the first affordable housing complexes to rise in East New York, Brooklyn, following its recent rezoning; the location is a large vacant lot bounded by Dinsmore Place, Chestnut Street, and Atlantic Avenue. Brought to you by our friends at Dattner Architects, the Commons will be built to passive house standards and unlike most affordable housing developments covered in articles flagged up in this briefing, it will actually serve low-income New Yorkers with 29% of units set aside for families making up to $26K/y. The building will comprise studio apartments, 1-, 2-, and 3-bedrooms, and will also have space for community organizations: a satellite campus for CUNY Kingsborough Community College, a new performing arts center by ARTS East New York, a food manufacturing incubator, and a social services center.

Morris Adjmi Architects’ condo tower replaces Nomad parish-house

Two years since the parish house of the Madison Avenue Baptist Church was razed to make way for a Morris Adjmi-designed condo tower, extensive renderings of which have been made available to the New York Times and now your eyes. 30E31 will be the tallest building designed by our friends at Morris Adjmi Architects in the City of New York. Adjimi drew inspiration from both modernist skyscrapers of the city and the Gothic architecture of nearby churches: a minimalist design at the base of the façade which gives way to a zigzagging design closer to the top, where a duplex penthouse boasts zigzagging windows. Finishes and amenities worth mentioning: white oak flooring, and Calacatta marble bathrooms; a private communal dining room, and a communal garden.

Snøhetta Reveals Plans for Underwater Restaurant

Our friends at Snøhetta’s “Under” will actually be more than just a restaurant: when not in use, it will host scientists from Norwegian research centers devoted to behaviorally training wild fish with sound signals in order to create and maintain optimal conditions on the seabed for these animals to thrive in close proximity to the restaurant. Which is useful because there they will be eaten: the restaurant will offer locally sourced seafood prepared under the direction of Danish chef Nicolai Ellitsgaard Pedersen. “Under” will even provide a habitat for shellfish: the structure itself will be a concrete shell, coarse enough on its exterior to encourage mussels to lodge themselves in its surface. The interiors will feature a palette of concrete and dark oak evocative of the structure’s surrounding natural environment. “Under” will feature three levels; its entrance is adjacent to a tidepool; it descends sixteen feet under the North Sea. And boasts a 36’x13’ acrylic window with views of the seabed as it changes with the seasons.

Allied Works’ Renovation of Eleven Madison Park

Brad Cloepfil, and our friends at Allied Works Architecture, have undertaken a 2,900 SqFt revamp of the three Michelin star restaurant currently ranked the best in the world, Eleven Madison Park. The commission came from the historic restaurant’s new owners, Will Guidara and Daniel Humm, who sought a design that would serve as the best possible forum for presenting what Cloepfil calls “the chef’s art:” the team strove to leave intact the spirit of the original interior while adding elements drawn from art and nature (the design for the rugs draws inspiration from the imprint of wet leaves on the sidewalk.) The pervasive yellow of the room, due to its wood paneling, was replaced with a more earthy, neutral palette with light touches of wood. They installed large mirrors to reflect the natural light from Madison Park across the road; lamps and curved padded banquettes resembling sofas.

Adjaye Associates’ Interactive Spy Museum SPYSCAPE to Open in NYC

David Adjaye has revealed its plans for a new museum of the history of espionage, SPYSCAPE, which will feature significant interactive content. SPYSCAPE will cover 60,K SqFt, and will be located near Times Square. For the project, our friends at Adjaye Associates draw inspiration from spaces occupied by various spy organizations of the world; the interiors will resemble a small town with spaces unfolding beneath a vaulted canopy. SPYSCAPE will also be notable for its variously unique lighting strategies, and the use of materials such as smoked glass, fiber cement, acoustic paneling, and mirror-/weather-polished steel to foster a sense of wonder and observation. Says Lucy Tilley, Associate Director for Adjaye Associates, “We have been able to challenge the traditional museum typology with a design that creates a new model of visitor experience which straddles the physical and digital worlds.”

Foster + Partners’ (& Heatherwick Studio’s) Shanghai skyscraper duo

Thomas Heatherwick’s office has teamed up with our friends at Foster + Partners to create dueling skyscrapers which will stand at the intersection of Shanghai’s Old City and the (newer) Bund Finance Centre. The two studios have devised a 4.5M SqFt masterplan, of which the centerpiece, the Fosun Foundation, completed earlier this summer, is an arts and culture center with a bright curtain-like facade of bronze tubing. Influenced by the 19th-century buildings of the Bund, the glazed skyscrapers will feature textured frames of granite which will attenuate as the towers rise. This give the base a more solid appearance than the glass-encased tops. The towers feature bronze and granite detailing to link them aesthetically to the Fosun Foundation.