Archive for ‘LArchitects’

January 22, 2012

8 Washington Development | SOM Architects + PWP Landscape Architecture

 Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and PWP Landscape Architecture shared with us their proposal for the 8 Washington development in downtown . The plans will continue the revitalization and support enjoyment of the historically under-utilized northeast waterfront by reconnecting the City with the Bay and providing housing and community amenities which include: dynamic pedestrian corridors linking Pacific Avenue and Jackson Street with The Embarcadero; a children’s play area featuring interactive sculptural gardens; an expanded health and aquatics center; cafés, restaurants and retail; and centralized underground public parking for the Ferry Building Waterfront Area. In total, the project will create 30,000 square feet of public open space and parks and an additional 40,000 square feet of private recreation space within a new fitness and outdoor aquatic center. With past projects including the redevelopment and rehabilitation of the historic Piers 1 ½, 3 and 5 just north of the Ferry Building as well as the transformation of Pier 24 into the country’s largest photography museum, San Francisco Waterfront Partners, and local development partner Pacific Waterfront Partners, possess a demonstrated commitment to excellence and a long-standing passion for the waterfront dating back 65 years.

Pacific Park, Children’s Play Area and Café

8 Washington will maximize the amount of family-oriented public recreational space available by converting the land area occupied by the current surface parking lot, a triangular piece of land on The Embarcadero at the corner of Washington Street, into a public park at the northern most end of the site which reconnects Pacific Avenue to The Embarcadero.

Addressing the neighborhood’s evolving demographics and need for active, programmed space for children, Pacific Park will feature a 4,500-square-foot play garden featuring climbable art sculptures and interactive water features. Three separate areas will target various age groups with design-savvy play spaces that reference materials from the nearby waterfront and the Coastal region. Public art will be interwoven throughout the site.

Designed by PWP Landscape Architecture, the topography of the new Pacific Park complements neighboring Sydney G. Walton Square Park which was designed by Peter Walker with SWA Group in 1968. Rolling lawns provide vistas out to the water and can be used for adults to lounge and kids to play. The park will be further activated by an adjacent café with outdoor seating which spills into the park, as well as additional café seating on the rooftop overlooking the Bay.

Dynamic New Pedestrian Corridors Enable Waterfront Access

The park wraps around the fitness and aquatic center via a newly expanded and improved Drumm Street Garden Walk and connects south to the proposed Jackson Commons, a dynamic pedestrian corridor which will link Jackson Street with The Embarcadero. In the redesign, Jackson Commons has been widened to strengthen the connection and views to the waterfront. The landscaped 6,650-square-foot space will be flanked to the north and south by cafes, restaurants, and retail.

A block north, Pacific Avenue will link Sydney G. Walton Square Park to the new 16,740-square-foot Pacific Park, and for the first time connect Pacific Avenue to The Embarcadero with both views and pedestrian access. Bolstered by open and airy landscaping and an overall wider space, the Drumm Street Garden Walk will serve as a north-south axis connecting Pacific Park to Sue Bierman Park.

Increased public access to and from The Embarcadero will allow San Franciscans to embrace the Bay in a manner that will radically transform the relationship between the adjacent city neighborhoods and the waterfront. A new system of parks and pathways will create a unified green network by linking multiple existing open spaces together and providing much needed connections to The Embarcadero, which were previously cut off.

Wider sidewalks, bicycle amenities, car share programs, and centralized underground public parking will improve both vehicular and pedestrian traffic in the surrounding area. An active community of residents, restaurants, and retail will add to the safety and viability of the neighborhood by bringing more stakeholders and business to the neighborhood.

Community Recreation & Aquatics Health Center

The proposed plan replaces the existing private health facility with an enlarged and improved $12 million community recreation and aquatics club. As part of the proposed plans, the Health Center’s indoor fitness area will expand to 16,350 square feet from an existing 7,500 square feet. The new state-of-the art aquatics center will feature a 50 yard, 6,300-square foot outdoor pool that increases the existing pool area by more than 50 percent.

The striking triangulated design of the Health Center building includes a living green roof and living walls along The Embarcadero. Green roofs also top the majority of the proposed residential buildings, such that 35,000 square feet of green roofs are provided within the 8 Washington project. In addition to a positive impact on the LEED-certified project’s sustainability, the living roofs create a stunning view from neighboring buildings and enforce the network of green space created by 8 Washington. San Francisco Waterfront Partners’ commitment to the recreation facility – combined with the addition of public open space, which currently doesn’t exist on the site – dedicates over half of the land to recreation and park space and is one of the key community benefits of the 8 Washington proposal.

November 27, 2011

Landscape Design for Brockman Hall for Physics at Rice University | The Office of James Burnett

Landscape Architect: The Office of James Burnett (OJB)
Location: Houston, , USA
Architect: KieranTimberlake
Photographs: Hester + Hardaway

Project Statement: The Brockman Hall for Physics is a 111,000 SF facility housing classrooms, laboratory space, lecture halls and administrative offices for the Physics Department as well as physicists from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Driven by Rice University’s belief that some of the most important moments on campus are moments of informal discussion and debate outside of the classroom, the design of the building and landscape seeks to provide a multitude of spaces for lively and inspiring conversation. Sheltered from the sun by the building overhead, a ground-floor courtyard features reflecting pool, raised Ipe terrace and enhanced plaza with movable furniture. As the design developed, the Office of James Burnett was also asked to redesign the “Courtyard of Science”, an interstitial space between the wings of Brown Hall to the south. A grove of Honey Mesquites organizes the space and intimate decomposed granite courtyards with movable furniture create a number of social spaces.

Project Narrative: The Brockman Hall for Physics is a new 111,000 square foot facility at Rice University. Gathering faculty and researchers that were formerly located in several building across campus, Brockman Hall is the new home for physics research at Rice. The building and landscape aid this research by providing both a home for the laboratories, classrooms, and offices; and by supplying informal gathering spaces to foster conversation, debate, and cross pollination of ideas.

The tightly bound site lies between six existing buildings. The former open space was at the heart of the precinct of campus known as the Courtyard of Science. In an effort to minimize the impact of the building on the existing campus fabric, the building was split into two “bars” that were then allowed to separate and shift apart from one another. The southern bar sits firmly on the ground and mimics the long thin rectangular floor plates of the first science buildings on campus. The northern bar pulls away from the southern bar and lifts itself up off the ground plane, connecting to the southern bar with bridges at the second and third levels. This separation creates space for a landscape that flows continuously from existing courtyards to the east and west under the building. A sallyport to the south connects this landscape to a courtyard formed by the u-shaped plan of the neighboring George R. Brown building. Much of this new landscape sits atop a 31,000 square foot basement full of shielded laboratories.

The site itself is on a major cross axis of campus. The sallyport at the south bar aligns with this axis and allows it to continue to its former termination, Hamman Hall, built in 1958. The forecourt plaza at Hamman Hall was removed to allow for the construction of Brockman Hall. Hamman Hall now sits on a plinth of granite stairs that descend into grass to the east and west, and a decomposed granite court along the axis. The lifting of the north bar allows Hamman Hall room to breathe. The strongly symmetrical façade of Hamman continues to terminate the campus cross-axis and provides the Brockman landscape with a backdrop and sense of enclosure. While reinforcing the strong axial organization of campus in the north south direction, the landscape creates a counter flow to the east and west. By extending a walk that runs parallel to the long dimensions of the buildings in the campus precinct, three formerly separate courts are strongly linked.

The space below the north bar of Brockman Hall becomes the centerpiece of this composition. Special pavers in the sallyport flow out to the north and then along the major east west linking path. The decomposed granite court provides a central gathering space. A fountain is introduced asymmetrically to the east to provide both a cooling effect and a reflecting surface to allow natural light to play off of the underside of the north bar. Linked to the fountain is an Ipe deck. The deck is raised up one foot to provide a quiet space just off the path for more private gathering. The ground plane below the north bar is planted with a field of Ophiopogon japonicus’Nana’ (Dwarf Mondo Grass). The planting becomes an abstract plain that reflects the elevated structure above and hints at the laboratories underneath. Beyond the building site, the landscape responds to the existing campus fabric and brings these materials into the composition allowing for a seamless flow between old and new.

Brockman Hall, located north of George R. Brown Hall, is remarkable in a number of ways: It was designed, constructed and occupied in just 33 months; it brings together faculty and students who formerly worked in five separate buildings scattered broadly across the campus; it is both a carefully refined 21st-century research facility and one of the most environmentally sustainable buildings at Rice; and it maintains much of the outdoor space that previously existed on Rice’s Science Quadrangle.

The building is composed of two parallel, rectilinear, spatial “bars” that are oriented east to west and connected by glass-enclosed bridges across an open passage that admits natural light and outdoor breezes. The larger south bar houses laboratories, faculty and research offices, a 150-seat lecture hall and a rooftop astronomical observatory. The elevated two-story north bar houses faculty, student and departmental offices and meeting spaces.

The open space beneath the north bar is framed by a “loggia” of tapered concrete columns that form an outdoor room, with shaded areas for class meetings, casual gathering and circulation. Beneath this serene outdoor oasis lies a sensitive and sophisticated complex of laboratories. Designed for vibration-sensitive atomic, molecular and optical physics and condensed-matter research, the hermetically controlled basement laboratories are stabilized on a two-foot-deep concrete slab and isolated from all the building’s mechanical systems.

Text provided by The Office of James Burnett.


November 20, 2011

Lørenskog, central square | Østengen & Bergo AS

Landscape architect: Østengen & Bergo AS landscape architects MNLA
Location: Lørenskog, Norway
Architect: L2 architects AS
Design: Collaboration between architect and landscape architect
Budget: 1,630,000 Euro
Project Area: 1,8 daa
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Østengen & Bergo landscape architects AS

Space design
The project includes the detailed design and construction of a central square in connection with the forming of a new center in Lørenskog, a suburb to Oslo.  have designed the building that surrounds an enclosed urban space. The surrounding building houses cinema, performance halls and entertainment venues. The central square is designed as a comfortable and pleasant gathering place for the local residents. The square accommodates seating, fountains, plantings and is beautifully lit at night.

The square, as well as the building, are designed to be universally accessible, following the principles for universal design. The principles are included in the overall space design as distinct, formal design elements. Detectable warning paver, tactile pavers and accessible routes are integrated as circular arches in the surface texture of the flooring. Detailing of the steps emphasize the curved lines that unfold in the space. Water elements form curved arches that are displayed in the design.

Materials and vegetation
The materials and colors used in the space design are carefully tuned and adapted to the site. The main material for the flooring in the square is light grey granite, with parts of dark stone. A maple tree (Acer tataricum ssp ginnala) is placed in a specially designed metal urn. The urn is disc shaped, about 5m in diameter, set in a warm, earthy red tone. Ground cover planting fills the urn.

A fountain of 18 water jets springs up directly out of the flooring. During the summer season the water feature will give the space a fresh and playful atmosphere with its constantly changing water and soft sound. Stairs along the long glass façade creates a connection between inside of the building and the square itself. As well as freestanding chairs and benches, will the stairs along the building serve as seating. This gives the square an altogether wide variety of informal seating options. Green walls are formed with climbing plants on trellises placed on the façade.

The square is widely used in the evenings and lighting is an important feature in the design at night. LED-lights are inlayed in steps and contribute to define the curved lines of the square. The façade of the building and the maple tree are lit up in with lighting in warm tones.

Text provided by Østengen & Bergo landscape architects AS.


August 29, 2011

One Island East | Hargreaves Associates

The Hargreaves Associates design for One Island East in  creates an urban plaza that bridges the competing open space and circulation needs of a commercial office tower with 15,000 workers with adjacent high density residential housing of 50,000 residents. Hargreaves Associates created a flexible program that provides a range of open space within the landscape. A plaza with artesian fountain at the base of the new office tower serves the business needs of the commercial tower, and a park-like setting with cascade fountains provides for the residents of the towers. Large terraces create connections between the commercial and residential towers.

Landscape Architect: Hargreaves Associates, Inc.
Location: Hong Kong, China
Photographs: John Gollings Photography, Hargreaves Associates

The design implements a formal language of subtly shifting rhomboids to provide structure to the site and negotiate a significant grade change from one end of the terraces to the far end of the plaza. The irregular form of the rhomboids shape the overall form and the subtleties of the site, adeptly transitioning the grades through the stepped structures. As the grade moves irregularly through the plaza, sloping away on one side and remaining constant on the other, the rhomboid unifies the spatial experience of the site. At each of the rhomboid forms cascade fountains pool water at the top of the plaza and send the flowing water over a series of illuminated granite knife edges into basins at the base of the forms. Step terraces border the cascades and create seating, which complements a wide range of built-in seating across the site. The lower part of the plaza provides the garden like setting with lush tropical vegetation and water elements, creating a passive recreation space for the residents at the plaza.

The design incorporates complex details within the plaza, including curving hardwood benches that are illuminated with internal LED lights, and a cantilevered granite bench that peels off from the groundplane. The design also incorporates a series of fountains that integrate the landform structures and plaza with the movement of water. At the entrance of the new office tower, Hargreaves designed an artesian interactive fountain that can be programmed to create different water and lighting effects. Another fountain takes the form of an egg with large, black granite bars spaced apart. Between the bars, white water spray completes the overall form. This entry area of the new commercial tower can be used for exhibitions of all kinds for the towers. Hargreaves Associates successfully designed a plaza space in Hong Kong that is flexible, allowing the needs of a commercial tower with the more intimate scale of a residential urban landscape.

These discrete landscapes present rarified, cogent ideas at the scale of the garden and small urban plaza. With specific programs and a finer grain of detail, these smaller projects are not laboratories for larger projects, but a distinct part of the firm’s practice. Programs on these sites are less far-reaching than large parks, but are still complex, and typically require several types of spaces within the design. Plazas of display are integrated with more passive, contemplative areas for shaded sitting while vibrant fountains coexist with horticultural gardens. In each of the projects the local conditions inform the overall narrative of the design as well as the materiality of the landscape features and plantings. Custom details of fountains and benches further define the identity of these places, creating strong designs with distinct design language. Smaller projects offer immersive landscape experiences with finely tuned choreographies of movement and perception.

July 31, 2011

Xi’an Expo 2011 Officially Opens

aerial2 Plasma Studio and Huashang Newspaper

guangyun-entrance1 Plasma Studio and Huashang Newspaper

greenhouse-night1 Plasma Studio and Huashang Newspaper

greenhouse-birdview Plasma Studio and Huashang Newspaper

flowing-gardens-overview2 Plasma Studio and Huashang Newspaper

creativity-pavilion4 Plasma Studio and Huashang Newspaper

creativity-pavilion3 Plasma Studio and Huashang Newspaper

creativity-pavilion1 Plasma Studio and Huashang Newspaper

The Xi’an Expo 2011 has officially opened and, as expected, the international horticultural event has attracted a staggering 200,000 in just the first weekend! We’ve been covering the Expo beginning with Plasma Studio + GroundLab’s conceptual design, and we have been featuringupdates about the project over the course of the last few months.  The Expo embodies the idea of transformation as the site was formerly a sandpit where the water was severely degraded during the 1980s.   Efforts over the past two decades have restored the ecosystem and now the Expo is able to demonstrate what can be accomplished through the use of the most advanced technology, ideas, and materials.  As we reported earlier, the 37 ha complex includes three buildings that are interconnected with a dynamic landscape of unfolding paths and networks of water, circulation and foliage.

More images after the break.

“By leaving behind the obvious typological and historical references to Xi’an’s past, this project is seeking a contemporary authentic expression of China’s current and future ambitions, adding an entirely new layer to the Millenial tapestry of Xi’an. By the same token, Flowing Gardens explores a new syncretic balance between urbanism and landscape with universal relevance. The traditional subordination of ground and landscape by buildings has been reversed to offer a unique symbiotic experience,” explained the architects.

International Competition: 1. Prize, 2009
Project: 2009-2011
Opening: April 28th 2011
Completion: March 2011

Client: Chan-Ba Ecological District
Architecture: Plasma Studio, BIAD
Landscape Design: GroundLab, LAUR Studio, Beijing Forestry University
Engineers: John Martin and Associates, Arup

July 31, 2011

Xi’an World Horticultural Expo | Plasmastudio + Groundlab