Richard Meier’s First Bridge

The namesake of our friends at Richard Meier & Partners Architects has completed his first bridge in Alessandria, Italy, a 607-foot-long bowstring arch bridge replacing a Napoleonic-era structure deemed unfit for long-term use after it experienced flooding on its road deck in 1994, and because it was too narrow to accommodate 21 century volumes of traffic. The bridge connects the city of Alessandria to the Cittadella of Alessandria, an 18th-century citadel across the Tanaro River; it is constructed of precast-concrete and steel (painted white, like much of Meier’s work), and characterized by its creator as “a bridge between the past and the future:” to this end, one arch of the old bridge is preserved, in place, on each bank of the river. The new bridge has two spans that hold each other in check; the new road deck is counterbalanced by a separate pedestrian deck, and a south-tilting, 100-foot-tall arch that supports them both. The pedestrian deck, which has a walkway of ipé decking, has become a popular public space: the traffic issues of the old bridge made it unsafe for pedestrian use.

Foster + Partners Win Phase 2 of NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge

In the second and latest stage of NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge, our friends at Foster + Partners, in collaboration with Branch Technology, have been awarded first prize ($250,000). The Habitat Challenge is a $2.5M competition to generate ideas which advance technology for sustainable housing solutions “for Earth and beyond:” the beyond in question is Mars. Foster + Partners, with Branch, and competing teams were asked to design and print a 1.5-meter dome using Martian soil and recyclable materials. The team won the prize for a concrete dome capable of bearing a maximum load of 3700 Lbs, and maximizing the use of locally sourced materials (Mars being the locale in question). The winning project utilized 70% simulated Martian regolith.

OMA’s Lab City, CentraleSupélec

Lab City, designed for the CentraleSupélec research institute, in Paris Saclay, is now complete. It is the international A+D firm’s first foray into a scientific building: housing, as it does, an engineering school, whose laboratories our friends at OMA have reconfigured so as to render them more flexible. Characteristic of its name, Lab City is laid out like an urban grid made up of independent blocks of varying heights which house either labs or classrooms. A translucent roof covers the building’s public areas creating a continuity of natural light. Rooftop terraces will also be utilized as workspaces, and a main street, which diagonally intersects Lab City, will serve as a public pathway connecting it to the surrounding campus.

Zaha Hadid Architects Wins Contract for Port of Tallinn in Estonia

For their dazzling, sprawling, and characteristically curvaceous reimagining of the city’s maritime gateway, our friends at Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) have been officially awarded the contract to masterplan the revitalization of the Old City Harbour in Tallinn, Estonia. According to Valdo Kalm, chairman of the management board of the Port, ZHA “has very skillfully created a balanced connection between the urban space and the port area with…considered access roads and traffic solutions.” Details of note here include the partial raising up of pedestrian walkways, and plans for an urban square with extensive greenery. This project has been undertaken in an attempt to reconnect the city to the port while welcoming new development and creating a diverse and memorable city space.

What’s your StoneArt Design Style?

Cote d’Azur. This subtle yet unexpected limestone draws the eye in and always makes an impression. Gaze deeply and then try to turn away… we dare you.

Opus White. Cool, confident, and chic, this quartzite has nothing to prove. She stands her ground and speaks her mind. (Metaphorically, of course…)

Jasper Shellflint. The name says it all… rife with a sense of spirited spontaneity, semi-precious Jasper Shellflint demands a second (and third and fourth) look.

Burlesque. As its name implies, Burlesque quartzite is a beautifully bawdy twist on its simpler, more neutral siblings. Not for those hoping to blend into the background.

Azul Imperial. This delightfully prismatic quartzite is for lovers and dreamers… soft in appearance yet mightily durable, Azul Imperial is no shrinking violet.

Photo Archivist by day, Artist and Design Maven always: ABC’s Sueey Gutierrez

An artist in our midst. Here at ABC Stone we work every day with a wide variety of design professionals whom we assist in the specification and meaningful application of our materials. We collaborate with them on a substantial array of projects of diverse types and sizes, so it is a great boon to us in this pursuit that we harbor in our ranks personnel who are, in their own right, practitioners of the fine arts. We had a chance to sit down with our Materials Photographer + Archivist Sueey Gutierrez, a visual artist with an upcoming Art Show whose closing will be celebrated at Treme in Islip, NY, to discuss her artistic proclivities and origins.

ABC Stone: When did you first become interested in art?

Sueey Gutierrez: At age three, which is also when I began to create art! I received a scholarship to study at the Brooklyn Museum at the age of six. I would also regularly visit the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens at that time.

ABC: What do you think gravitated you towards art, and sustained your interest in it?

SG: I didn’t really grow up in the greatest neighborhood in the world, and my parents wanted me to stay away from that environment, so they would take every opportunity to enroll me in arts classes. I found a highly valuable outlet in the freedom of expression afforded me by art. I was an only child, and surrounded by adult all the time, so as I had to entertain myself, creative expression became a means for me to do so.

ABC: What is your favorite genre or medium of art in which to work?

SG: The media I prefer are usually dry media, so I like to use colored pencils, markers, oil pastels, acrylic markers, charcoal, graphite dust, and graphite pencil. I’ll occasionally do paintings. The genre that I like the most—it runs the gamut. I’m into pinup art. Alberto Vargas is one of my favorite artists. Dali is as well. Frida Kahlo is one of my greatest inspirations. I’m also into neo-classicism, some Dadaist art. I’m also very much into Pre-Columbian art because my family comes from El Salvador and I’m of Mayan descent. And of course, that genre of art is very stone-based.

ABC: What is your favorite time-period?

SG: Oh wow, that’s a really hard question to answer. I would have to say between the nineteen-twenties and the fifties. I feel that fashion was amazing then, and women were so elegant, and I think all over the world fashion was at its prime.

ABC: What’s your favorite design aesthetic?

SG: I would have to say an eclectic one. I don’t have a particular style, I create my own. I’m definitely into a bohemian look, as far as interior design goes. I like art deco and art nouveau architecture, gothic architecture,—the idea of mixing elements of these aesthetics together. I also like bright colors. My own apartment is designed in this way. It’s very retro-inspired. Much of my furniture is antique, from the 1800s or early twentieth century, but I also bring back textiles and fabrics when I go to visit family in El Salvador.

ABC: What are some of your favorite stones and stone applications?

SG: I love all of the semi-precious stones that ABC has to offer: especially the Amethyst, Pyrite, Tiger Eye, and Malachite. The Blue Agate is beautiful. Then we have a granite that’s really stunning, Lemurian, which has elements of labradorite. And we also have Amazonite which has a turquoise appearance to it which I love. I’m very much into earthy, rich jewel-tones. My favorite applications include functional art, for example, we had a tub done in Lilac marble which I thought was stunning. I like book-matched marble, especially on walls, but not so much in commercial spaces, more residences; I think it’s beautiful, an art piece in itself, it needs no additional adornment, it becomes the focus of attention in whatever room it’s in.

Sueey Gutierrez’s Art Show Closing on Sunday, August 27th from 2PM—5PM, will be hosted by Treme Islip | 533 Main St | Islip, NY | 11751.

Perkins Eastman’s and Thomas Balsley Associates’ Flushing Commons Phase I nears completion

Three years into ground-breaking of Flushing, Queens’ $1BM megaproject Flushing Commons, the development now welcomes its first residents, with closings underway for a few months now at the project’s 17-storey condo at 138-35 39th Avenue. The overall 1.8M SqFt development is a collaboration between the F&T Group, AECOM Capital, and the Rockefeller Group; the building’s architects, and landscape architects, our good friends and longtime collaborators Perkins Eastman, and Thomas Balsley Associates, respectively. Amenities for residents will include a landscaped garden, fitness center, residents lounge (with fireplace), a playground, and a dog park. In keeping with the project’s aim of community-building, Phase II of the project will comprise three additional mixed-use structures comprising commercial, retail, residential, and community space, surrounded by 1.5 acres of public space.

Studio Gang’s 21,K SqFt Brooklyn FDNY training facility

The precast concrete firehouse and training center for FDNY’s Brooklyn Rescue Company 2 sits at 1815 Sterling Place, on the border of Crown Heights and Brownsville. The 21,K SqFt structure, designed by our friends at Studio Gang, will allow firefighters to simulate rescue scenarios for training purposes, – such as those in which they have to deal with the obstacles of balconies, stairs, and ladders. The facility itself is energy efficient, with a green roof, and geothermal system 500 feet belowground. Though the building is largely in place, having topped out, one year into construction, it is awaiting the red glazed tiling that will frame its windows and other openings, and is about a year away from the completion. This $32M project is being constructed through NYC’s Department of Design and Construction.

Wolf-Gordon Showroom by Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis

Wolf-Gordon is a textiles and coatings concern who in celebration of their 50th anniversary have relocated to a smaller office; for this assignment their CCO Marybeth Shaw enlisted our good friends at Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis Architects to transform the 8,K SqFt space into a contemporary interactive workplace and vehicle for showcasing Wolf-Gordon’s products. The design is based around an 80-foot-long armature of blackened steel that dividing open workstations from the rest of the office; over 40 movable steel-frame panels are suspended from it, each displaying a Wolf-Gordon material. The panels can also be rearranged into various combinations to allow for varying degrees of enclosure and communication between working and gathering areas, for informal collaborations, public events, training sessions, talks, &c.

Arquitectonica’s Design Orlando Hotel as New Social Hub

Plans have been rolled out for the 16-storey Town Center Hotel in the planned Lake Nona community of Orlando, FL, to be designed by our friends at Arquitectonica. The hotel, – sufficiently close to the airport to make it a point of entrance to the community and city, – will feature a motor court entrance, a ballroom able to accommodate 200 guests, as well as a rooftop pool with a lounge and accommodations for private events. The tower will be characterized by an undulating, uniquely structured, terraced facade, which the firm, in its own words, hopes will “[represent] the aspirations of this new town: fresh, vibrant, memorable and of its place.” The hotel’s 215 rooms will feature ergonomically designed furniture and spaces. Town Center Hotel is intended to act a social hub, abutting as it will large open air green space in the center of the town called “The Lawn” and extensive retail volumes at grade level.