Mexico City Shortlists Seven Architects for Major Airport Expansion

Zagreb Airport Competition Proposal / ZHA © Zaha Hadid Architects

Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster and Richard Rogers are among seven international practices listed to compete for a 5,000 hectare expansion that hopes to “alleviate severe congestion” at the airport. With each team led by Mexican firms, the shortlisted architects, which also include SOM, Gensler, Pascall+Watson and Teodoro González de León with Taller de Arquitectura X, have been asked to envision a 70-gate, phased expansion capable of hosting 40-million passengers per year. A schematic masterplan has been provided by . Completion of the first phases is tentatively planned for 2018. 

‘Hacked’ Offices: The Future of Workplace Design?

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What does the workplace of the future look like? Shawn Gehle, of Gensler, explains in this Talk that with over 10 billion square feet of existing office space in North America, we may not even need to envision new buildings. Rather, by “hacking” existing buildings, architects can transform them into something completely new. For more on ’s “hacker” philosophy, read our article here.

Which Architects Are Most Admired By Other Architects?

Foster + Partner’s Apple Campus II. Image © City of Cupertino

As part of their annual research for the World Architecture Top 100, Building Design (BD) has compiled a list of which architects are most admired by their colleagues from across the globe. Last year’s results were somewhat predictable, with Foster + Partners leading and Renzo Piano’s Building Workshop and Herzog + de Meuron close behind. According to BD, “this year saw a trend towards more commercial names.”

This year’s “most admired” list includes:

Gensler, LOT-EK to Design Google’s Showroom of Floating Shipping Containers

© James Martin/CNET

UPDATE: The SF Gate reports that the architects of the Barge have now been revealed to be San Francisco-based firm Gensler and -based LOT-EK, a firm with experience adapting shipping containers for retail design. 

A mysterious construction project in the San Francisco Bay has been making waves for the past couple of weeks. Moored off Treasure Island, locals apparently refer to it as ‘the secret project’ – and, until now, that’s about as much as was known about it.

Despite months of rumors and complete radio silence from Google, spokespeople have finally released a statement on the project, stating: “Google Barge … A floating data center? A wild party boat? A barge housing the last remaining dinosaur? Sadly, none of the above. Although it’s still early days and things may change, we’re exploring using the barge as an interactive space where people can learn about new technology.”

While it’s a shame about the dinosaur, Google’s expansion into technology retail is possibly even more intriguing, as it’s entirely new turf for the company: retail design.

More info and an artist’s rendering of what the barge could look like, after the break…

White Arkitekter Wins FAR ROC Design Competition

View from Pier. Image © White Arkitekter

Stockholm-based White Arkitekter, along with partners  and Gensler, has been announced as the winner of the two-phase “For a Resilient Rockaway” (FAR ROC) competition in New York. Selected from a shortlist of four and an international pool of 117, White Arkitekter’s “untraditional” proposal aims to transform an 80-acre shoreline site in the Rockaways into a resilient and affordable community through a series of small interventions that can be tested, adjusted, or redesigned overtime during the development process.

Incheon International Airport – Terminal 2 / Gensler

Courtesy of Gensler

A few days ago, Korea‘s Incheon International Airport broke ground on its latest addition, Terminal 2. Gensler, in collaboration with the HGMY Consortium, designed the $2.5 billion project that will double the size of the country’s busiest airport with its 72 gates and 7.4 million square feet of space. The project includes a second airport control tower, train station, parking facilities and an airside Intra Airport Transit (IAT).

Keep reading for the architects’ description.

Successful Workplaces Balance Focus and Collaboration, Gensler Study Finds

One Workplace by Blitz. Image © Bruce Damonte

Gensler, who recently topped out on the world’s second tallest skyscraper in Shanghai, have just released a report outlining the keys to designing a successful workplace. Using their custom ‘Workplace Performance Index’ they surveyed 2035 office workers in the US to find out what makes employees happy and productive in their workplace.

One surprising result which they uncovered is that, in opposition to the trend of workplaces being designed to encourage collaboration, workers are actually spending more time on focused, individual tasks than they were 5 years ago. Consequently, over 50% of respondents said that they were distracted by others when they needed to focus. What’s more, the survey found that when employees could not focus individually, collaborative work was also less productive.

Read on after the break to find out more results from the survey

Gensler Tops Out on World’s Second Tallest Skyscraper: Shanghai Tower

Courtesy of Gensler

On schedule to be ’s tallest and the world’s second tallest skyscraper, the Gensler -designed Shanghai Tower has topped out at 632 meters (2,074 feet). Upon completion in 2014, the spiraling megastructure will complete a trio of towers – including the adjacent Jin Mao Tower and Shanghai World Financial Center – to become the centerpiece of the city’s Lujiazui commercial district – one of Asia’s leading financial centers which developed from farmland in just over 20 years.

Defined by series of distinctive sky gardens, the state-of-the-art tower will house Class-A office and retail space, along with a luxury hotel and cultural venues.

Continue reading to learn how the Shanghai Tower’s structure saved millions and why it will achieve LEED Gold.

Defining Gensler’s Secret to Success

When completed, the Tower, in Pudong, will feature an array of innovative engineering and energy-saving systems. Courtesy of Gensler, via Metropolis Magazine.

This article, by Ben Ikenson, originally appeared in Metropolis Magazine as “Gensler’s Secret Sauce.”

When the $1.9-billion project is completed next year, the 2,073-foot Shanghai Tower will become the world’s second-tallest building. The state-of-the-art, spiraling form, which is engineered to help it withstand typhoons, pays tribute to the city’s dynamic rise as a leading commercial center.

The super-tower also symbolizes the ascension—and resilience—of the firm that designed it. With 3,500 employees, Gensler operates 43 offices in 14 countries. Last year, the company worked on some 6,700 projects for about 2,200 different clients, reporting a record-breaking $751 million in revenue. This year, the company projects its revenues will be closer to $800 million—astounding figures considering the industry is emerging from one of worst economies since the Great Depression. “It’s been a serious downturn and a slow recovery,” says Kermit Baker, chief economist of the AIA. “From 2008 to 2011, firms’ gross firm billings dropped 41 percent. Now, most firms are inching back, but very slowly.”

In a landscape still riddled with fallout, Gensler has managed to weather the recent economic storms. After cutting about 30 percent of its workforce in a nine-month period between 2008 and early 2009, the firm has rapidly rebuilt and now employs more staff and generates more revenue than ever before. Many in the industry today are scratching their heads: What’s Gensler’s secret?

CAPACITY: Gensler Los Angeles Academic Studio

CAPACITY, the Gensler led academic studio at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, was created with the intent to survey, understand and visualize the dynamic set of infrastructure constraints impacting and contributing to Downtown Los Angeles’ capacity to evolve. The video above highlights the documentation and synthesizing done by the SLO_GenLA ’13 Professional studio which shows the capacity of Los Angeles’ infrastructure and demonstrates how the limits of each system may physically impact the future built form of the city. Once these variables, which include building information and zoning, energy, waste management, and water were universally known and their units of measure understood, scenarios for the future were generated.

Gensler Designs New Silicon Valley Headquarters for Nvidia

Courtesy of Gensler and Kilograph

visual-computing pioneer has joined the expanding list of tech moguls seeking to transform their work environment into the physical manifestation of their innovative business model. Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has released the first schematic renderings – designed by Gensler - that depict a pair of 250,000 square foot triangular motherships centered around collaboration – a complete contrast to the typical, dated office building commonly found throughout Silicon Valley’s “oddly banal” landscape.

More after the break…

The 100 Largest Architecture Firms In the World

Building Design has released their annual ranking, The WA100, of the world’s largest architecture firms. Coming in the #1 spot (up from #2 last year) is Aecom, who, with 1,370 employees worldwide, narrowly outranked Gensler (with 1,346 employees). Completing the top three was IBI Group (1,129 employees). AecomGensler, and Japanese-based firm Nikken Sekkei (ranked #4) were the top 3 earners of 2012, each making over $400 million US Dollars in Fee Income.

Of the top 10 largest firms, 5 are based in North America, 3 in Asia, and 1 in the UK (Aedas, which ranked 5th, is dually based in both China and the UK). A similar trend is also evident in the list as a whole – as you can see from the graphic we compiled (after the break), US firms remain the biggest employers of architects and the highest-earners. Although the UK represents about half the number of employed architects as the US, UK firms earned almost as much in fee income.  

Interestingly, the only firms to grace both the Top 10 list and Building ’s survey of the Top 5 Most Admired Firms of 2012, were (#2 Largest; #4 Most Admired) and Foster & Partners (#10 Largest; #1 Most Admired). Zaha Hadid Architects (who shared the number 5 Most Admired spot with Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners, ranked as the 45th largest firm). 

See our graphic and the full list of the world’s largest firms, after the break…

Gensler to Envision the Office Building of the Future

Courtesy of

Last year, Gensler‘s LA Office researched how they could turn an existing building into more useful and sustainable structures. By highlighting the architectural phrase of ‘hacking the planet’, they even envisioned a plan to hack the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington, DC (and LA’s Union Bank) by adding residences, box retailers and a rooftop soccer field. As part of the NAIOP (Commercial Real Estate Development Association) competition, their vision for the office building of the future focused on how offices could become obsolete unless we turn them into useful spaces that improve the overall urban fabric.

More images and architects’ description after the break.

AIA California Council’s 2012 Design Award Recipients

Surfhouse, Hermosa Beach / – Image courtesy of Art Gray.

The American Institute of Architects, California Council (AIACC) has announced the 2012 Design Award Recipients. Since 1982, AIACC has recognized excellence in and design through the AIACC Design Awards Program. An esteemed Design Awards jury has selected these award winners out of 300 submittals. Continue after the break to review the projects!

Diller Scofidio + Renfro Unveils New Columbia University Medical Building

Exterior View South – Courtesy of CUMC

Columbia University has been at the forefront of medical education for more than two centuries, as it was the first medical school in the to award the M.D. degree in 1770. Now, the Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) has announced plans for a new, state-of-the-art medical and graduate education building that reflects how they believe medicine is and should be taught, learned and practiced in the 21st century.

Located on the CUMC campus in the Washington Heights community of Northern Manhattan, the 14-story facility will aim to achieve LEED Gold certification and incorporate technologically advanced classrooms, collaboration spaces, and a modern simulation center. The is led by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, in collaboration with Gensler as executive architect.

Continue after the break for more details!

Data Space / CLOG

“Every second, 2.8 million emails are sent, 30,000 phrases are Googled, and 600 updates are tweeted. While being absorbed into this virtual world, most rarely consider the physical ramifications of this data. All over the world, data centers are becoming integral components of our twenty-first city infrastructure [...] As cloud storage and global Internet usage increase, it’s time to talk about the physical space of data.” - CLOG (5)

What does it look like to give the virtual, physical form? As every CLOG edition, Data Space explores “from multiple viewpoints and through a variety of means, a single subject particularly relevant to now” (5) and this subject, how to design “the infrastructure of invisible data” (103), could very well be the defining question of our age

Top 250 U.S. Architectural Firms

Tower / Gensler

Architectural Record has published their annual list of the “Top 250 Architecture Firms” in the . The companies are ranked according to architectural revenue from the prior year. Gensler claimed the number one spot, with a record high of $764 million in revenue, over the long-standing leader AECOM, whom brought in $445 million in 2011.

The firms classify themselves by:

  • A = Architect
  • AE = Architect-Engineer
  • AP = Architect Planner
  • EAL = Engineer Architect Landscape
  • AEC = Architect-Engineer-Contractor

Continue after the break to review the top 25.

In Progress: Shanghai Tower / Gensler

Courtesy of

Soon to be the tallest building in China, the 632-meter Shanghai Tower is beginning to take shape. Located in the center of the Pudong district, the tower will become the centerpiece of the city’s international financial district. The transparent, mixed-use building will work as a “self-contained city”, housing 550,000 square-meters of world-class office, hotel, entertainment, retail and cultural venues. It is designed to achieve both LEED Gold certification and a China Green Building Three Star rating.

Global powerhouse Gensler won the Shanghai Tower commission in an invited multi-stage competition among many other leading international architects. Upon completion, the Shanghai Tower will be the second tallest building in the world, behind the 828-meter Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

Continue after the break for more information and the latest construction images.