This four part series (originally published on Aggregate’s website) examines the Gherkin, the London office tower designed by Foster + Partners, showing how the urban icon engaged and leveraged perceptions of risk. In part one, author Jonathan Massey introduced the concept of “risk design” to describe how the Gherkin’s design managed the risks posed by climate change, terrorism, and globalization. In parts two and three, Massey examined the building’s treatment of risks associated with climate change and terrorism. In this final installment, Massey concludes by addressing the building’s engagement with risks posed to the City of London by globalization.
Unlike New York and other cities in which zoning codes entitle landowners to some kinds of development “as of right,” the City of London regulates property development through case-by-case review by planning officers, who judge how well the proposed construction conforms to City-wide plans and guidelines regarding factors such as building height, development density, access to transit, and impact on views and the visual character of the area. In order to develop the Gherkin, the property owners and Swiss Re had to secure planning consent from the City Corporation through its chief planning officer, Peter Wynne Rees. The review and permitting process that culminated in the granting of planning consent in August 2000 spanned the planning office as well as the market, the courts, and the press. Rees brokered a multilateral negotiation so intensive that we could almost say the building was designed by bureaucracy. Part of that negotiation entailed imagining and staging risk: climate risk, terrorism risk, and, especially, the financial risks associated with globalization.
This four part series (originally published on Aggregate’s website) examines the Gherkin, the London office tower designed by Foster + Partners, showing how the urban icon engaged and leveraged perceptions of risk. In part one, author Jonathan Massey introduced the concept of “risk design” to describe how the Gherkin’s design managed the risks posed by climate change, terrorism, and globalization. In part two, Massey examined the building’s treatment of climate risk. In part three, below, he explains how the Gherkin redesigned the risk imaginary associated with terrorism.
Mornings the Zamboni scrubs the plaza. Moving across the pavement in parallel lines connected by tight turns, the sweeper cleans the stone of cigarette butts and spilled food and beer left the night before by the underwriters and bankers who patronize the bar and shops in the building’s perimeter arcade as well as the adjacent restaurant that in fair weather sets up outdoor tables and chairs.
By pulling away from its irregular property lines, the tower achieves almost perfect formal autonomy from its context. The gap between the circular tower base and trapezoidal site boundaries forms a privately owned public space, a civic and commercial amenity in this densely built part of the City.
This four part series (originally published on Aggregate’s website) examines The Gherkin, the London office tower designed by Foster + Partners, showing how the urban icon engaged and leveraged perceptions of risk. In part one, author Jonathan Massey introduced the concept of “risk design” to describe how the Gherkin’s design managed the risks posed by climate change, terrorism, and globalization. In part two, below, Massey examines the Gherkin’s enclosure and ventilation systems in detail to explain how the building negotiated climate risk.
In a poster promoting London’s bid to host the Olympic Games, the Gherkin supported gymnast Ben Brown as he vaulted over the building’s conical peak. The image associated British athleticism and architecture as complementary manifestations of daring and skill, enlisting the Gherkin as evidence that London possessed the expertise and panache to handle the risk involved in hosting an Olympic Games.
But a poster created three years later offered a very different image. Created by activists from the Camp for Climate Action to publicize a mass protest at Heathrow Airport against the environmental degradation caused by air travel, this poster shows the Gherkin affording only precarious footing to a giant polar bear that swats at passing jets as its claws grasp at the slight relief offered by spiraling mullions and fins.
It has been a long road for Foster + Partners‘s team since first taking on the design for Apple’s new campus in 2009. Four years later, despite the criticism and budget concerns, plans for Apple’s corporate headquarters have been approved by Cupertino’s planning commission. A recent video from the Cupertino City Council reveals some insight into the design decisions, including statements by Sir Norman Foster. As Foster states in the video, CEO Steve Jobs called him “out of the blue” in 2009 and said, “It’s Steve: Hi Norman, I need some help.”
Four post-war buildings, including the Spectrum Building by Norman Foster and Capel Manor House by Michael Manser, have been elevated to the Heritage List by the UK’s Architecture and Heritage Minister Ed Vaizey. Upon announcing the news, the Minister commented that in spite of England’s ”fine and wonderful built heritage it’s sometimes forgotten that we have many outstanding modern buildings too.” His listings show that “architecture in this country is very much alive and well in the modern world.”
Read more about the buildings after the break…
“Architecture is too complex to be solved by any one person.”
Richard Rogers is an architect who understands the significance of collaboration. As a man with an intense social mind and a thirst for fairness in architectural and urban design, Rogers’ substantial portfolio of completed and proposed buildings is driven by the Athenian citizen’s oath of “I shall leave this city not less but more beautiful than I found it.”
In honor of his success, London’s Royal Academy (RA) is currently playing host to a vast retrospective of Richard Rogers’ work, from his collaborations with Norman Foster and Renzo Piano, to the large-scale projects that define Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) today. The RA’s extensive exhibition has been condensed into a series of motifs that have defined his architectural work, punctuated by memorabilia which offer personal insights into how Rogers’ career has been shaped by the people he’s worked with and the projects that he has worked on.
Continue after the break for a selection of highlights from the exhibition.
Sir Norman Foster, arguably the leader of a generation of British architects, turns 78 today. Foster gained recognition as early as the 1970s as a key architect in the high-tech movement, which continues to have a profound impact on architecture as we know it today.
Foster’s architecture is remarkably diverse; he has designed skyscrapers, offices, galleries, airports, stadiums, parliament buildings, city masterplans and even a spaceport. Yet his work is unified by one theme, identified in the jury citation for his 1999 Pritzker Prize: “from his very first projects, it was evident that he would embrace the most advanced technology appropriate to the task”. It is this devotion to the latest architectural technology that earned him his place in the high-tech movement, with buildings such as the Willis Faber & Dumas headquarters and the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts.
Since these early successes, his practice Foster + Partners has been prolific, earning Foster two Stirling Prizes, an RIBA Gold Medal, an AIA Gold Medal and a knighthood in addition to his Pritzker Prize. Designs such as the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, The Gherkin in London, The Hearst Tower in New York and Masdar City have ensured that Foster has secured his place as one of the greatest architects of the 21st century.
On the occasion of Sir Norman Foster’s birthday, we invite you to look at some of the outstanding projects from his exceptional career:
When applying “major surgery” to a beloved, 20th century “masterpiece”, you’re going to face some harsh criticism. Such is the case for Norman Foster, as the legendary British architect has been receiving intense backlash from New York’s toughest critics for his proposed renovation to the New York Public Library. First, the late Ada Louise Huxtable exclaimed, “You don’t “update” a masterpiece.” Now, the New York Time’s architecture critic Michael Kimmelman claims the design is “not worthy” of Foster and believes the rising budget to be suspect.
More on Kimmelman’s critique and Foster’s response after the break…
On the advice of English Heritage, architecture minister Ed Vaizey has listed Norman Foster’s first major public building: the 1977 Sainsbury Centre at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, in the United Kingdom. According to BDOnline, the popular public art museum, which houses the collection of Lord and Lady Sainsbury, was granted grade II* protection for its innovative engineering, fine design, historic association, flexibility and group value. Its revolutionary design features an innovative, prefabricated modular structure that is cleverly designed to allow for subsequent extension.
Vaizey described: “Norman Foster’s design for the Sainsbury Centre is recognized around the world as a high point of the British ‘high-tech’ movement and, by any standards, a modern classic.”
Read Foster’s response after the break.
The New York Public Library (NYPL) has unveiled the details of their controversial plan to renovate the 20th century, Carrère and Hastings “masterpiece” on 5th Avenue. Designed Foster + Partners, the $300 million dollar proposal is a response to the cultural shift from traditional stacks to online resources, as the library has experienced a 41% decrease in the use of collections over the last 15 years.
Sensitive to concerned critics, the renovation promises to preserve the building’s legacy as it integrates a new, state-of-the-art Circulating Library into its flagship Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 42nd Street. Foster’s “library within a library” will transform seven floors of stacks, currently occupying the back of the building, into an aesthetically, technologically and environmentally advanced public space that meets the needs of our 21st century society.
“We need to be respectful of the beloved, iconic building and to create a new inspiring space,” Anthony W. Marx, the library’s president, said in an interview with the New York Times. “At a time when people wonder about the future of libraries, we’re going to create the greatest library the world has ever seen.”
Learn all the details and see the renderings after the break…
I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Oscar Niemeyer. He was an inspiration to me – and to a generation of architects. Few people get to meet their heroes and I am grateful to have had the chance to spend time with him in Rio last year.
A few months ago we informed you about a competition to re develop the massive “wedding-cake” style building at 425 Park Ave in NY, near Mies’ Seagram Building and SOM’s Lever House. The objective of the developer, L&L Holding, was to turn this project into the next iconic building of the city, and for that they invited a group of eleven renowned practices, including ten Pritzker laureates.
The shortlist was announced in October, and included OMA, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Zaha Hadid Architects and Foster + Partners, which was later announced as the winner of the competition a few weeks ago.
Over the last days, the presentations of the architects to the clients appeared on YouTube, and now we have the opportunity to see these interesting group of architects doing a fundamental part of their work. In the videos we see each architect using their own presentation style, either a PPT, video or just physical boards, connecting it to the practice’s research and discourse, projecting their passion about certain features of their projects and engaging with the client around their main objective: to turn this into an iconic project.
Four videos that take us further into how we understand projects, showing insights that we often don’t have access to, turning the competition into a particular moment of architecture this year.
Zaha Hadid Architects, OMA and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners presentations after the break:
As we announced in early October, British powerhouse Foster + Partners have been declared as winner of the six-month long, all-star competition to design the next “landmark” high rise on the prime site of 425 Park Avenue in New York City. The tapered, steel-frame office tower is planned to rise 687 feet to claim a spot on the New York City skyline by 2017. Upon competition, the world-class high rise is expected to achieve LEED Gold status and serve as an exemplar for sustainable office design.
Foster’s concept succeeded visions from Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid and Richard Rogers (view all the proposals here). Construction is expected to begin in 2015, shortly after the completion of Foster’s first U.S. residential high rise, which broke ground this week in New York.
Details of 425 Park Avenue after the break…
The newly constructed Astrup Fearnley Museet, designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop in collaboration with Narud-Stokke-Wiig, has opened on a stunning waterfront site in the Tjuvholmen neighborhood of Oslo. The €90 million, 7000 square meter structure provides space for the museum’s collection, temporary exhibitions, a gift shop and cafe. Slender steel columns support the sail-form, glass roof that provides shelter to the weathered timber cladding, while illuminating the interior’s extensive collection of contemporary art with a soft, natural light.
The museum has launched with To Be With Art Is All We Ask, an exhibition of selected works from the Astrup Fearnley Collection by some of the world’s most innovative contemporary artists. Continue after the break to learn more.
Norman Foster is undoubtedly one of the most influential architects of our time. Since establishing his award-winning practice in 1967 – originally titled Foster Associates – the Pritzker Prize laureate has grown Foster + Partners into an international powerhouse, with project offices in more than twenty countries.
The Manchester native has become known for contributing well-designed, imaginative solutions to complex design problems, while remaining sensitive to the environment and embracing the highest technological standards. His diverse portfolio ranges from urban masterplans, public infrastructure, airports, civic and cultural buildings, offices and workplaces to private houses and product design.
As stated in the 1999 Pritzker Jury Citation, “Sir Norman Foster’s pursuit of the art and science of architecture has resulted in one building triumph after another, each one in its own way, unique.”
Foster + Partners has received nearly 500 awards and citations for excellence and has won more than 86 national and international competitions. Some of Foster’s greatest achievements include receiving the 21st Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1999, the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal for Architecture (1994), the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture (1983), and the Gold Medal of the French Academy of Architecture (1991). In 1990 he was granted a Knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honors, and in 1999 was honored with a Life Peerage, becoming The Lord Foster of Thames Bank.
Check out the latest projects and news from Foster + Partners here on ArchDaily.
For the 13th Venice Biennale, Norman Foster was invited to create two exhibitions. On the one hand, there’s Central Pavilion, “Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank HQ”, specifically commissioned by David Chipperfield, which presents how a public space, created by physically lifting a tower to make a space at its base, has been used by people over time.
On the other hand, we find“Gateway.” Located at the beginning of the Arsenale, it is one of the first spaces the public encounters at the Biennale. In this installation, viewers are presented with an intense dose of images and words, representing different types of buildings and spaces, criss-crossed with the names of the architects, designers and planners that have influenced our built environment over the years.
We had the chance to interview Norman Foster, who tells us more about “Gateway” in this video. Full interview coming tomorrow!
More about this exhibit after the break:
The Challenge: Convert Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu Stadium into “an architectural icon for Madrid and an internationally-recognized exemplar of sports infrastructure.”
The Contenders: Three teams, each made up of two all-star firms (one Spanish, one not).
Find out which other famous Architects are the competition, after the break.