Despite Controversy, Michael Maltzan Architecture’s “Lens” Will Go On

Courtesy of Michael Maltzan Architecture

Despite petitions and pending lawsuits, the St. Petersburg City Council declared last night that Michael Maltzan Architecture‘s $50 million re-design of the city pier will go on.

The project, known as “The Lens,” has hit speed-bumps due to local dissidents, who have been vocally wary of the new Pier’s price-tag/design and have called for a voter referendum. However, the architects have been sensitive to the process; since first winning the competition in January (beating out BIG and West 8), the firm has taken part in local workshops to get community input, making some significant changes to the original design.

After receiving local criticism that the Pier include more things “to do” and more shading, the firm has adjusted the design to include two restaurants, shaded balconies, and – in order to improve access – a road that can support service vehicles and a tram. Most noticeably, the plan for an underwater reef garden, the signature feature which gave the project its name, has had to be scratched: scientists have determined that a reef garden would be unrealistic with Tampa Bay’s dark water.

Last night’s 7-1 vote determined that the project will now receive funding in smaller, pre-approved increments in order to safeguard against potential legal complications. However, no mater the outcome, the closure and the demolition of the current Pier will take place between May and August 2013; if all goes to plan for Michael Maltzan Architecture, “The Lens” will open in summer 2015.

See updated Renderings for “The Lens,” and a really cool video, after the break…

HNTB’s winning concept for LA’s 6th Street Viaduct Replacement Project

winning proposal via Sixth Street Viaduct Replacement Project

In April, Mayor Villaraigosa and City Council Member Huizar announced an international design competition to redesign the historic, 80-year-old Sixth Street Bridge in . The decision to launch the competition came after engineers warned that the bridge was at risk of failing during a major earthquake due to a degenerative structural problem known as “concrete cancer”. After careful consideration and entertaining the idea of constructing a replica of the 1932 icon, the city committed to moving forward with a major redesign. In mid-October, the national infrastructure firm HNTB, along with team members Michael Maltzan Architecture and AC Martin Partners, were announced as winners of the international competition.

Continue reading to learn more…

2012 Architecture Awards / American Academy of Arts and Letters

St Nicholas Church / Marlon Blackwell Architect

Beginning in 1955, the American Academy of Arts and Letters have awarded architectural accolades to those who made a significant contribution to architecture as an art.  Recently, the organization began giving such awards, formerly called Academy Awards, to honor  American architects whose work is characterized by a strong personal direction or explores architectural ideas through any medium of expression.   This year’s winners include  (Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize in Architecture), Hilary Ballon (Arts and Letters Award for medium expression), Marlon Blackwell,  & Alan Organschi and Michael Maltzan (Arts and Letters Awards for personal direction)a mixture of architectural academics and practitioners, landscape designers and fabricators.

More about the winners after the break. 

National Mall Finalists Exhibit Designs

Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architect &

The ten finalists competing in the final phase of the Design Competition are dreaming big. Proposals to restore the include flourishing lakeside gardens, contemporary cafés hovering over water, grassy new amphitheaters and underground pavilions exposed at the foot of the Washington Monument. Since the announcement of the finalists, the teams have been refining there proposals behind closed doors.

Now, the Trust for the National Mall has released the highly anticipated proposals to the public. From now until Sunday, at the Smithsonian Castle and the National Museum of American History, you can view each proposal in its entirety. If you don’t live in the D.C. area, no need to worry. Continue after the break to catch a glimpse of each submission and learn how you can help the jury decided who will revamp America’s “front yard”.

Update: The Lens wins the St. Petersburg Pier Competition

The Lens ©

The Lens, designed by Michael Maltzan Architecture, has been selected as winner of the international competition to redesign the St. Petersburg in Florida. After over a month of debate, a jury of three architects and two elected officials selected the proposal, believing it to be the most practical and cost-effective design. The jury’s decision was consistent with the public’s opinion, as 68% of the public comments supported The Lens, 42% liked The Wave, while only 17% backed the Eye. Next, the St. Petersburg City Council will vote on February 2nd to decide whether or not they will approve the design. If the concept is accepted, the next year will be dedicated to involve the public in the creation of the final design.

Follow this link to watch the pier jury ranking. Find more information on the final proposal here.

Reference: WTSP 10 News, City of St. Petersburg

Update: St. Petersburg Pier Design Competition Finalists Present to Public

© BIG

The three finalists of the St. Petersburg Pier competition presented their proposals to a panel of jurors and nearly 200 people, as the presentation was open to the public. BIG started the day off with the Wave and was followed by Michael Maltzan Architecture’s presentation of the Lens. The day concluded with West 8’s proposal, the People’s Pier. Concerns of cost and shade dominated the conversation, as well as materiality, permitting, storm ratings and boating. According to the Tampa Bay online report, the Lens and the Wave generated the most positive attention, stating the People’s Pier received “a more restrained response.” The panel will announce their decision on January 20th.

Click here to check out the final three design proposals featured on ArchDaily.

Watch the presentations online and provide your feedback here on the official city website of St. Petersburg.

Update: National Mall Design Competition Stage II Results

Trust for the National Mall has announced the Stage II results, naming the ten design teams selected to continue in the third and final stage of the National Mall Design Competition. The will undergo an approximate $700 million restoration in three selected areas – Union Square including the Reflecting Pool and the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial, Sylvan Theater on the Washington Monument Grounds, and the Constitution Gardens between the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial.

“We are excited about the teams selected to advance to Stage III and have no doubt each of them will create beautiful, useful and sustainable designs for the National Mall,” said Caroline Cunningham, President of the Trust for the National Mall. “We are eager to share their final designs with the public in April.”

Continue reading for more information and the complete list of finalists.

Final Design Proposals for the St. Petersburg Pier Design Competition

The Lens ©

The final entries are in for the international redesign competition of the St. Petersburg Pier in Florida. The competition seeks to generate a new identity and iconic landmark that will honor the history and relevance of the Pier for the next generation. Michael Maltzan Architecture, BIG and West 8 Urbaban Design and Landscape Architecture are the three architectural firms selected from the list of nine semi finalists. Continue reading after the break to view the radically different design proposals.

National Mall Competition Finalists Announced

Over 1,200 entires from 30 states and 10 countries submitted applications for the National Mall competition. Late last month fifteen design teams were chosen as finalists to advance to the second stage of this prestigious contest.

Hosting 25 million visitors annually, the National Mall will undergo an estimated $700 million restoration beginning in 2012. The competition has been broken down into three areas of restoration: Union Square including the Reflecting Pool and the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial, Sylvan Theater on the Washington Monument Grounds, and the Constitution Gardens between the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial.

Among the finalists to move on to stage two of the competition, Diller Scofidio Renfro, Weiss/Manfredi, and who are shortlisted for two out of the three areas of restoration, as well as Snohetta, , Ten Arquitectos, and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson who are finalists for one area of restoration.

“Entrants were evaluated on past design performance, philosophy, design intent, thoughtfulness, creativity and overall resume,” according to a release from the Trust of the National Mall. The jury, compiled of architects, professors and other members of the architecture community, included Michael Gericke of Pentagram NYC and Pritzker Prize Laureate Thom Mayne founder of Morphosis.

The second stage of the competition includes interviews of the teams conducted by the Trust for the National Mall and the National Park Service, and the last stage will include proposed plans for the restoration. The competition will culminate in May 2012 and the proposed designs from stage three of the competition will be available to the public prior to the winning design being selected.

Follow the break for a complete list of design finalists for the National Mall Competition.

Mashouf Performing Arts Center at San Francisco State University / Michael Maltzan Architecture

Courtesy of

The recently unveiled renderings for the Mashouf Performing Arts Center at San Francisco State University (SFSU), feature not just one new building but five performance spaces linked through a series of transparent hallways and classrooms. Michael Maltzan Architecture, the designers behind the new Arts Center garnered the commission ahead of six shortlisted firms including .

“The building is almost like a city. It is meant to act like a small campus with those spaces and connective elements,” said Maltzan. “There’s one continuous horizontal layer, which connects across the entire project and many different disciplines. With informal as well as formal spots, in the choreography of that mix, you create the culture of the college.”

The architects were inspired by the triangular site and its slanted lines, which they chose to repeat throughout the overall design and details of the buildings. This repetition can be seen in a series of sloping balconies within the primary performance space and the triangular shaped courtyards that are exterior connections between the buildings.

More details about this newly unveiled design and renderings following the break.