In an effort to “unlock people’s imaginations” about Penn Station and Madison Square Garden, the Municipal Art Society (MAS) of New York has challenged Santiago Calatrava, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, SHoP Architects and SOM to propose four new visions that exemplify the potential of the highly disregarded area.
The challenge comes amidst a heated debate on whether or not the city should restrict Madison Square’s recently expired special permit to 10 years, rather than in perpetuity as the arena’s owners – the Dolan family – has requested. This would allow time for the city to “get it right” and come up with a viable solution for the arena and station that, as NYTimes critic Michael Kimmelman states, would not only “improve the safety and quality of life for millions of people but also benefit the economy”. Think Kings Cross in London. With a thoughtful mix of public and private investments, the crime-ridden station was transformed into a thriving cultural destination that benefited all parties.
More after the break…
Downtown Houston has exploded over the past few years with development targeted specifically toward attracting citizens into its downtown center beyond work hours. Some of these efforts have been a huge success; others have yet to justify themselves. But none so far have reached the architectural caliber that Houston’s latest competition has. The current light rail system in Houston is looking to expand rapidly in the near future to keep up with growing downtown attractions, most notably of which being the new and much anticipated Houston Dynamo Stadium by Populous.
The original scheme called for two new separate stations on Main Street – one at the 600 block, and one at the 800 block. The resolution was then made to create a larger, combined light rail hub in between the two at the 700 block of Main Street, and hold a competition led by Dean Patricia Oliver of the University of Houston Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Dean Sarah Whiting of the Rice University School of Architecture. A short list was created composed of internationally renowned architecture firms, and the competition winner is to be announced in the upcoming weeks. More to come once the finalist is announced.
Vishaan Chakrabarti, Director of Columbia Center for Urban Real Estate, will join SHoP Architects as its seventh partner – and only the second partner not related to the firm’s founders by blood or marriage. Chakrabarti’s expertise with large scale urban development projects will allow the firm to expand their urban reach, invigorating their “think-tank” approach to confront larger architectural problems that respond to global issues. “We are thrilled to have Vishaan join the firm. His background and depth of experience allow SHoP to add expertise to our bench while continuing our firm-wide focus on both planning and building,” said William Sharples, SHoP Partner. “Our interests extend beyond building beautiful skyscrapers, museums, university buildings and airport terminals. We want to build in such a way that our buildings give back to our cities and to our clients through use of public space, density, sustainability, and innovative construction methods.”
More about SHoP’s new partner after the break.
SHoP Architects has shared with us the B2 Bklyn building which will be the first of the residential developments for Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, New York to break ground, scheduled for 2012. Standing at 32 storeys, it will be the world’s tallest pre-fab building, saving both on cost and waste.
More after the break.
Architect Magazine‘s third-annual ranking of American architecture firms takes a look at three factors: profitability, sustainability, and design quality. This whole picture approach provides an opportunity for small and large firms to go head to head, with a result of the best architecture firms, not necessarily the biggest.
Take a look at the complete rankings after the break.