Architectural Record has released the latest edition of its annual list of the “Top 300 Architecture Firms” in the United States, based on architectural revenue from the previous year (2015). Gensler, which became the first firm to surpass $1 billion in revenue in 2014, held on to the top spot with earnings of $1,181,030,000 in 2015. Los Angeles-based AECOM maintained its number 2 position after a revenue increase of more than 30 percent, making it the largest publicly traded company in the LA area. Perkins+Will continued their steady climb up the list, finishing at number 3.
Found in places as diverse as the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon, Willis Tower, and Tokyo Skytree, glass bottom observation decks have become the favorite engineering marvel of thrill seekers looking for a new perspective on the world. Now, the U.S. Bank Tower in downtown Los Angeles has upped the ante for adrenaline-spiking structures – affixing a glass side to the building’s facade. Spanning from a window on the 70th story to a terrace on the 69th, the 45-foot-long chute opened to the public on Saturday, providing those brave enough to ride it with unprecedented views of the city.
The visual identity of West Hollywood’s Sunset Strip has been synonymous with billboard advertising since the 1960s. Over time, different eras have been displayed through the advertising; from the rock bands and cigarette brands of the 60s and 70s, to the highly commercialised signage of today. As part of an initiative to probe the value of this signage as both an identifier and a valuable public asset, The City of West Hollywood (WeHo) launched The Sunset Strip Spectacular Pilot Creative Off-Site Advertising Sign Competition.
The competition sought a multi-dimensional, kinetic billboard “spectacular,” and attracted firms from advertising, marketing, design, architecture and engineering backgrounds. A pool of nine entrants has been narrowed down to four finalists: JCDecaux/Zaha Hadid Project Management Limited; Orange Barrel Media/Tom Wiscombe Architecture/MoC; Outfront Media/Gensler/MAK; and TAIT Towers Inc. Following public presentations in May, the proposals are now visible to the public before the jury make their recommendation later this month.
Gensler’s “Gateway Tower” is a 2000-foot (610 meter) conceptual proposal for the Chicago Spire site. The project is the winning entry for a company-wide internal competition to generate a new megatall structure for the 2.2 acre plot at 400 N. Lake Shore Drive. The mixed-use proposal throws out the residential luxury model that drove Santiago Calatrava’s design, with a concept inspired by tourism and public engagement. Gateway Tower’s volume is still largely devoted to residential functions, but now condos and apartments are coupled with a hotel and public attractions that connect to the riverwalk, lakefront, and city. The building would include four unique experiences including riverfront public access at DuSable Park, a Funicular ride of pods ascending the building’s structural “leg” over Lake Shore Drive, a Skylobby with hotel and retail amenities, and a Skydeck with a restaurant and sky-garden at the building’s pinnacle.
Gensler has revealed their design for the new AltaSea Campus at the Port of Los Angeles. The 35-acre project is dedicated to the scientific study of the ocean and will integrate historic buildings with new research centers and public areas. AltaSea’s existing partnerships make them a key connector within the community, and the new project will “expand scientific-based understanding of the ocean, incubate and sustain ocean-related business and pioneer new ocean-related education programs.” Read more after the break.
The West Coast's tallest building, Los Angeles' US Bank Tower is going to be outfitted with a terrifying glass slide designed by engineering firm M.Ludvik & Co. Set to hang 1000-feet above the street, the project will be part of the building's Gensler-designed OUE Skyspace LA attraction - soon to be California's tallest open-air observation deck.
"With the support of the Architectural Society of China and the Architectural Society of China Shanghai, the first year of this regionally focused awards program was very successful, with numerous high-quality projects entering into the running under six categories of recognition," said CITAB and CTBUH.
American actress Gwyneth Paltrow has commissioned Gensler to design a new branch of London's exclusive Arts Club in West Hollywood. The eight-story members-only club will feature a number of luxury amenities, including a spa, gym, art gallery and rooftop pool. Paltrow is collaborating with business partner Gary Landesberg to complete the 132,000-square-foot facility, which will also include a restaurant and dining terrace, screening rooms, 15 guest rooms, and helicopter pad.
The Ford Foundation is about to undergo a massive $190 million renovation. Led by Gensler, the project will "modernize" the landmark building and expand its spaces "for convening and creating a global center for philanthropy and civil society."
Originally designed by Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo, the Ford Foundation is considered to be one of modern architecture's most iconic buildings. "That rarity, a building aware of its world," New York Times architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable once described, following the building's opening in 1967.
Humanity has become obsessed with breaking its limits, creating new records only to break them again and again. In fact, our cities’ skylines have always been defined by those in power during every period in history. At one point churches left their mark, followed by public institutions and in the last few decades, it's commercial skyscrapers that continue to stretch taller and taller.
But when it comes to defining which buildings are the tallest it can get complicated. Do antennas and other gadgets on top of the building count as extra meters? What happens if the last floor is uninhabitable? The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has developed their own system for classifying tall buildings, measuring from the “level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the architectural top of the building, including spires, but not including antennae, signage, flag poles or other functional-technical equipment.” Using this system more than 3,400 buildings have been categorized as over 150 meters tall.
Developed by FilzFelt and Gensler’s LA office, “Link” modular felt panels can be used for a variety of applications, from room partitioning, to shading, to acoustical dampening, to adding textural interest to a wall surface. The panels were designed to tackle a particular design problem at Gensler’s LA office, where red glazed panels acting as an architectural statement to be viewed from the street had been casting a harsh light into the interior conference room space behind. Searching for a flexible, free-form solution, and a soft material to contrast with the hard glass, Gensler designers discovered wool felt. Enter “Link.”
FC Barcelona has announced 14 teams in the running for two planned overhauls of their facilities at the Camp Nou in Barcelona, including alterations to their main stadium and the rebuilding of the Palau Blaugrana, the nearby arena owned by the club and used primarily for basketball and handball. The alterations to the two buildings are part of a larger €600 million project, known officially as "Nou Espai Barça," which seeks to improve the club's entire campus, also adding an ice skating rink, new offices, 5,000 parking spaces and improving the outdoor space surrounding the facilities. The Nou Espai Barça project was approved by the club's fanbase last April after a 72% vote in favor of the proposal.
The list names eight teams - including BIG, Populous, HKS and Arup Sport - in the running for the overhaul of the stadium itself, which will involve the addition of almost 6,000 seats to bring the stadium's total capacity to 105,000, increasing the stadium's lead as the largest football stadium in Europe. It will also include a complete redesign of the lowest seating tier to offer improved views, and the addition of a roof over the terraces. Also named are the six teams in the running to rebuild the Palau Blaugrana.
Architectural Record has named the "Top 300 Architecture Firms" in the United States, ranking the nation's most successful practices based on their architectural revenue from 2014. Gensler, whose annual revenue surpassed one billion USD, maintained the lead for the fourth consecutive year. The firm's recent commissions, such as Los Angeles' Metropolis, help them set new records for revenue. AECOM, who came in second, also recorded significant growth - both internationally and domestically.
Last night, international design firm Gensler received the London Planning Award for Best Conceptual Project for its latest vision: London Underline. The proposal explores the potential of an underground bicycle and pedestrian park beneath the streets of London. Not only does this public interest design utilize existing abandoned space, but also generates the electricity to support itself simply by being used.
A global survey conducted by BD has deemed Foster + Partners to be world’s “most admired architect" for the ninth consecutive year. The London-based practice, led by Norman Foster, is the 16th largest practice in the world. Foster + Partners’ ranking was undeniable, as the survey revealed a significant seven percent lead over runner-up contender, Herzog & de Meuron.
“To be voted most admired practice by our peers is a great honor,” said Norman Foster. “It is a huge tribute to our talented and hard-working teams with their myriad skills and disciplines, both in our many studios around the world and our base in London, all working towards the common goal of bringing innovative design solutions to create a better built environment.”
See who else topped the list as the world’s “most admired,” after the break.
The Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering has selected three teams for the next phase of the competition to redevelop and expand the Los Angeles Convention Center. The teams, consisting of AC Martin + LMN; Gensler + Lehrer Architects; and HMC + Populous, will now receive $200,000 to develop detailed proposals to be submitted on December 8th.
However, according to The Architect's Newspaper, the redevelopment of the Convention Center outlined by the brief is not yet guaranteed to happen; with the city under contract with AEG to build a football stadium on a portion of the site until October 18th, the Convention Center's Executive Director Bud Ovrum confirmed that, if the city can secure an NFL team by then, the stadium is still the city's first choice.