The AEC industry is notoriously slow to adopt new technologies. Cumbersome organizational structures and high financial stakes make it difficult for AEC professionals to experiment. Due to the limited role of architects in the project development process, innovative design solutions and experimentation with new manufacturing techniques are still confined to academic circles and research institutions.
However, some architecture firms are utilizing their high profiles, international success and the influx of talented, young designers to establish in-house research divisions and incubators that support the development of new ideas in the AEC industry. The following five companies are consistent in pushing the envelope and helping architecture adopt some of the latest technologies:
http://www.archdaily.com/798252/these-are-the-worlds-most-innovative-architecture-firmsLidija Grozdanic for Archipreneur.com
A new video by JDS Development Group, Building Knowhow: Skybridge, begins with an anecdote of a day when the firemen showed up at the site. “We got a call – the buildings are falling down!” the chief fireman told Michael Jones, director of JDS. Jones responded with a chuckle, "they're supposed to be like that!"
Located on the East Side of Manhattan, the American Copper Buildings, designed by New York-based SHoP Architects, test the boundaries of engineering. In an informative video, JDS Development Group documents the building of a skybridge between the towers, outlining their detail-oriented, step-by-step approach. Located 300 feet in the air, it is New York's first major skybridge in 80 years.
SHoP Architects has just broken ground on their first project in Mexico, a mixed-use development in Tijuana. The complex, which will be know as BAJALTA, explores new ideas about open-space and mixed-use developments, yielding a better quality of life for residents and visitors.
Working with Drexel University and master developer Brandywine Realty Trust, SHoP and West 8 will transform 14-acres of existing underutilized land with 6.5-acres of public open space to create a collaborative mixed-use neighborhood in Philadelphia’s University City submarket. Schuylkill Yards will feature a mix of 24/7 entrepreneurial spaces, educational facilities and research laboratories, corporate offices, residential and retail spaces, hospitality and cultural venues, as well as a robust public realm network that connects the existing neighborhoods with the adjacent Amtrak 30th Street Station.
Situated next to the third-busiest passenger rail station in the country, Schuylkill Yards will be connected to Philadelphia’s international airport and major cities along the Northeast corridor, making it a major innovation hub on the East Coast.
“The three finalist firms and their teams are outstanding,” says Thorne. “I have no doubt they will propose ideas that go beyond traditional academic buildings and make the NVRC a pioneering facility that will contribute to the University, as well as the broader community.”
“These finalists offer a variety of backgrounds and styles, and any one of them would be an excellent choice,” Obama Foundation chairman Martin Nesbitt, according to CBS Chicago. “We are excited to see this process moving forward because the Obama Presidential Center will be so much more than a library – this facility will seek to inspire citizens across the globe to better their communities, their countries, and their world.”
"340 Flatbush," as it's known, is being developed by JDS. Upon its (tentative) completion in early 2019, the building will offer 466,000-square-feet of residential space, forming 550 units, and 140,000-square feet of commercial space.
SHoP Architects have unveiled plans to expand SITE Santa Fe, a contemporary arts venue in the city of Santa Fe. With a mission to serve as a "dynamic cultural hub" within the heart of Santa Fe Railyard (one of America's six Great Public Spaces according to the American Planning Association), the new design "draws inspiration from traditional Navajo patternmaking" and will be anchored in the "distinctive material qualities" of its historic site.
Former SHoP partner, scholar, author and urbanist Vishaan Chakrabarti has announced the creation of Partnership for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU), a new practice focused on the "advancement of cities through cosmopolitan architecture and strategically innovative urban planning." As founder and CEO, Chakrabarti will lead the New York City-based firm with a mission "to create an ecological network of empowered citizens, generous buildings, discursive public space, strong infrastructure and a thriving urban environment."
PAU's first client will be Sidewalk Labs, a new urban innovation company funded by Google that seeks to solve urban issues through the application of technology.
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 and West 8 have teamed up with developer Michael Simkins to propose a new 10-acre "Innovation District" in Miami's Park West neighborhood. If approved, the four-block area would foster the "growth of creative technology industries" within the city and provide "world-class urban amenities" to the surrounding communities.
"True innovation today requires the very thing that cities, at their best, have always provided: creative proximity. Even as it continues its rapid development, the city of Miami does not currently offer significant urban environments that meet the necessary criteria," said SHoP in a press release.
As part of their series of "Panorama" exhibits being presented this year, Friends Of The High Line have announced that they will host Olafur Eliasson's installation, "The Collectivity Project" from May 29th until September 30th this year on the High Line at West 30th Street. The installation, which has previously traveled to Tirana, Oslo, and Copenhagen, features an interactive imaginary cityscape made of over two tons of white LEGO bricks, with visitors invited to design, build and rebuild new structures as they see fit.
Construction is underway on SHoP Architects' newest addition to the New York skyline - 626 First Avenue. The conjoined residential towers, slated for completion in early 2016, aims to stimulate development on the city's East River. Once complete, they will add 800 residential units to the area connected via a sky bridge. Featured amenities will include an indoor lap pool, communal lounge areas, rooftop deck, fitness center, and film screening room. In addition to the cooper structures, SHoP will also design all the buildings' interiors and furniture, making the development a true gesamtkunstwerk.
Read on for more images of the project and a fly-through around the structure.
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.
SHoP Architects have revealed a mixed use proposal to pedestrianize New York City’s historic Seaport District. Extending the Manhattan grid out into the waterfront, the scheme seeks to harmonize pedestrian infrastructure and increase access to the shoreline, while proposing a 500-foot luxury residential tower by developer Howard Hughes Corporation that would jut out into the harbor. More about the proposal, after the break.