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Goettsch Partners Design 605-Foot "Park Tower" for San Francisco

Goettsch Partners (GP) has been commissioned to design a 605-foot-tall "Park Tower" for San Francisco. Planned to rise in the SOMA district, on the corner of Howard and Beale streets, across from the new Transbay Transit Center, the new building will feature a variety of office space, flanked by a series of outdoor terraces - "mini-parks in the sky," hence the tower's name. 

Competition Entry: AECOM Proposes Transport Center for Solana Beach

AECOM has designed a preliminary study for a mixed-use transportation development in Solana Beach, California, as part of a response for a RFP (Request for Proposal). Located near major roads and connected to railroads, the project proposal consists of a combination of retail stores and restaurants, providing transit users with leisure spaces on their travels, in addition to parking for the nearby AMTRAK train station. 

Courtesy of AECOM LA Design Studio Courtesy of AECOM LA Design Studio Courtesy of AECOM LA Design Studio Courtesy of AECOM LA Design Studio

New Site Revealed for BIG and Heatherwick-Designed Google HQ Expansion

Google has found another way to realize its futuristic Mountain View headquarter's expansion. As the San Jose Mercury News reports, the search engine giant revealed plans to utilize a vacant site just east of their existing Googleplex that was approved by the city almost a decade ago to host nearly 600,000 square-feet of office and commercial space. The approval occurred prior to the city implementing strict legislation that restricts office expansions in the North Bayshore district, therefore Google's entitlement is essentially "grandfathered in."

SHoP Unveils Plans for New Uber Headquarters in San Francisco

SHoP Architects and Studio O+A have unveiled designs for a new Uber headquarters in San Francisco. Planned to rise on a 14-acre vacant site in the city's Mission Bay neighborhood, the 423,000 square-foot scheme will consist of two towers: an 11‐story tower at 1455 Third Street and a 6‐story structure at 1515 Third Street.

© SHoP Architects © SHoP Architects © SHoP Architects © SHoP Architects

BIG and Heatherwick Trudge On with Googleplex Plans

"Google now has to convince its hometown that its intentions are non-evil," commented Bloomberg Businessweek's Brad Stone on "Building Planet Google." Referring to the City of Mountain View's decision to award land to LinkedIn over Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Heatherwick's proposed Googleplex in fear of becoming a "one-corporation town," Stone details the backstory of the futuristic plans and how the architects haven't given up yet. "Neither us or Heatherwick are in the business of producing a pretty painting,” Ingels said to Stone. Read the complete story here.  

Architecture at Zero Competition Challenges Teams to Design Zero Net Site Energy Housing for UCSF

The 2015 Architecture at Zero Competition has launched, challenging students and designers to develop 'family-style residential units' for the Mission Bay Campus of the University of California San Francisco. Now in its fifth year, the competition calls for designs that produce "at least as much energy as [they] use over a year," excluding the embodied energy of building materials and transportation of people and materials to and from the site. Entrants must be able to demonstrate that their designs can be reasonably expected to meet a zero net energy goal over a prolonged period of time. The competition is open to student and professional individuals and teams, with up to $25,000 in prize money to be won. Interested parties have until August 28 to register and submissions are due September 25 at 1PM PST. Read more about the competition at Architecture at Zero's website and check out the winners from last year here.

BIG and Heatherwick's Futuristic Google HQ Proposal Loses to LinkedIn

Google's ambitious plans to expand its California headquarters in Mountain View took a major blow last night when council members announced their decision to award LinkedIn three-quarters of the North Bayshore area site. With just 500,000 square-feet of area to work with, Google would only be able to construct one of its four proposed buildings.

Unveiled earlier this year, the company's futuristic "Googleplex," designed by BIG and Heatherwick Studio, gained international attention for its outlandish plans to build four Lego-like buildings beneath a cluster of translucent canopies.

As The New York Times reports, LinkedIn won the council over by promising to "preserve business diversity."

BIG and Heatherwick's Google HQ to be Built with Robots

Google's proposed California headquarters will be built with robots, according to the most recent planning documents received by the City of Mountain View Council. As the Architects' Journal reported first, the documents detail BIG and Heatherwick Studio's plan to construct the canopy-like structure's interiors with a team of robotic-crane hybrids known as "crabots."

These crabots would, in theory, establish a "'hackable' system for the building of the interior structures," says the documents, that would allow for limitless, easy, and affordable reconfiguration of space throughout the building's life. 

4 Shortlisted for Armenian American Museum in California

Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design, Alajajian Marcoosi Architects, Belzberg Architects Group and Frederick Fisher have been shortlisted to design an Armenian American Museum planned for Glendale, California. Announced on the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide this past Friday, the competition aims to "promote understanding and appreciation of America's ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Armenian experience" within a 30,000-square-foot museum that will be dedicated to research and education. Stay tuned for more information.

Vincent Laforet Photographs Los Angeles from 10,000 Feet

The latest in his high-altitude "AIR" series, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Vincent Laforet has captured the sprawling city of Los Angeles at night from a dizzying 10,000 feet. First starting this "dream project" in his hometown of New York then Las Vegas and San Francisco, AIR is taking Laforet worldwide with upcoming visits planned for London, Paris, Tokyo and more. 

Preview a stunning selection of Laforet's Los Angeles series, after the break. 

© Vincent Laforet © Vincent Laforet © Vincent Laforet © Vincent Laforet

George Lucas Unveils Plan for Bay Area's Largest Affordable Housing Project

What some believe to be an act of revenge, George Lucas has unveiled plans to build the San Francisco Bay Area's largest affordable housing project in the wealthy community of Marin County. As CBS reports, the news comes just three years after valley residents shot down Lucas' proposal to develop the land with a 265,000-square-foot production studio. The new plan aims to provide veterans, firefighters, teachers and other service-oriented working class people with 224 low-income homes. 

"We’ve got enough millionaires here. What we need is some houses for regular working people," said Lucas, according to his lawyer Gary Giacomini who also ensured that the plan was "not a form of retaliation."

Ball-Nogues Compostable "Pulp Pavilion" Brings Shade to Coachella

To demonstrate the structural potential of "pulp," Ball-Nogues Studio built an experimental reclaimed paper pavilion this year at Coachella. The lightweight, self-supported structure, known as the "Pulp Pavilion," was made from a low-cost blend of recycled paper, water and pigment sprayed onto lattices of organic rope. After its use as a place of refuge for festival goers, it will be either composted or recycled. See the pavilion illuminated at night, after the break.

Mark Zuckerberg Praises Frank Gehry: "He's Very Efficient"

After Facebook began its move into its new Frank Gehry-designed headquarters last week, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has praised his architect for his work. In a post on his personal Facebook page yesterday, Zuckerberg shares the story of how Gehry he initially turned down Gehry's request to design the project, saying that "even though we all loved his architecture... We figured he would be very expensive and that would send the wrong signal about our culture."

But Frank Gehry persisted, saying that he would match any bids the company received. As a result, Zuckerberg has now praised Gehry - in a somewhat uncharacteristic description of the architect - for being "very efficient."

Read Zuckerberg's full statement, after the break.

Video: RNT Architects' "New Gateway" to San Diego City College

Watch RNT Architects discuss The Quad, their new Business, Arts & Humanities building for San Diego City College in this short video from Breadtruck Films. The result of seven years of "doing the drawings...watching the construction... building the volumes and the spaces," The Quad brings together two faculties that are "different in purpose and function differently" to create a "place for learning and social interaction." 

Diller Scofidio + Renfro's Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive to Open in 2016

As construction continues on its new home across from the UC Berkeley campus, the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) is finalizing plans for its first exhibition - Architecture of Life - in this location. The curvilinear structure, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro with EHDD as executive architect, fuses old and new, outfitting what was the UC Berkeley printing plant with modern exhibition space, offices, and theaters to make it a focal point in Berkeley's downtown arts district.

More on the $112 million project after the break.

Courtesy of UC Regents. Rendering by Diller Scofidio + Renfro Courtesy of UC Regents. Rendering by Diller Scofidio + Renfro Courtesy of UC Regents. Rendering by Diller Scofidio + Renfro Courtesy of UC Regents. Rendering by Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Facebook Moves into New Headquarters with the "Largest Open Floor Plan in the World"

Earlier today, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted an announcement onto his own Facebook page that the company had moved into its brand new, 430,000-square foot Frank Gehry-designed headquarters. In the post, Zuckerberg offers a photo of the building from above, showing off its 9 acre green roof, with a promise of interior images - of what is essentially the building's giant, single room - "once we’re fully unpacked."

That interior, big enough for 2,800 of Facebook employees plus room for growth, also played host to some of Instagram's most popular photographers to preview the space - see a selection of their images after the break.

Frank Gehry to Redesign the “Gateway to Sunset Strip”

An overlooked strip mall at the corner of Sunset and Crescent Heights boulevards will soon be replaced by a mixed-use, walkable community designed by Frank Gehry. Known to be the “gateway to the Sunset Strip,” the West Hollywood site will be comprised of 249 apartments, restaurants, retail storefronts and a central plaza - all within "an environmentally sensitive building that complements and contributes to the historic architecture in the neighborhood.”

“Frank Gehry’s deep understanding of the property, its history and the context will elevate the project to the iconic and timeless status that it deserves,” said Townscape partner and project developer Tyler Siegel.

See BIG & Heatherwick's Design for Google's California Headquarters

Images have been unveiled of BIG and Heatherwick Studio’s design for Google’s Mountain View headquarters. The plan, submitted to city council today, proposes to redevelop and expand the company’s home office with a series of lightweight canopy-like structures organized within a flexible landscape of bicycle paths and commercial opportunities for local companies. 

"It's the first time we'll design and build offices from scratch and we hope these plans by Bjarke Ingels at BIG and Thomas Heatherwick at Heatherwick Studio will lead to a better way of working,” says Google. “The idea is simple. Instead of constructing immoveable concrete buildings, we’ll create lightweight block-like structures which can be moved around easily as we invest in new product areas… Large translucent canopies will cover each site, controlling the climate inside yet letting in light and air. With trees, landscaping, cafes, and bike paths weaving through these structures, we aim to blur the distinction between our buildings and nature.”

A video about the design and a statement from Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Heatherwick, after the break. 

© Google / BIG / Heatherwick Studio © Google / BIG / Heatherwick Studio © Google / BIG / Heatherwick Studio © Google / BIG / Heatherwick Studio