Endangered Monuments Update: Preservation Efforts for the 510 Fifth Avenue Manufactures Trust Company Bank Branch

Manufacturers Trust Company by © Landmarks Preservation Commission

ArchDaily previously ran an article about the Manufacturers Trust Company Bank Branch at 510 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan designed by of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and interior designer Eleanor H. Le Maire, a building designated as protected under the Landmarks Preservation Commission with first the exterior in 1997 and later the interior in early 2011.  But as recently as October 2011, the building was already listed under the 2012 World Monuments Fund  in the 2012 World Monuments Watch as the current owners, Vornado Realty Trust, began compromising the landmarked conditions of the interior of the building as it was being adapted for reuse.  With preservationists in an uproar, support for the protection of the building was enough to bring Vornado Realty Trust to New York State Supreme Court where a settlement was reached.

Read on for more details on the settlement and continuing efforts to protect endangered monuments.

SOM Wins Master Plan Competition for Beijing Bohai Innovation City

© SOM

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) has been selected as winner of an international design competition with its Bohai Innovation City master plan that illustrates a new model of compact, environmentally enhanced urban design.

The winning proposal centers a new environmentally friendly district along the high-speed rail line, linking the national capital to the port city of Tianjin while leveraging the economic and lifestyle assets of the Beijing-Tianjin corridor. The city expansion will bring 17.6 million square meters of mixed-use development, with a focus on providing a premier headquarters location for advanced industries in the dynamically growing Bohai Rim, a region that already accounts for more than a quarter of ’s GDP.

Continue reading for more.

SOM Chicago wins competition to design the Wujiang Greenland Tower

© | MIR

The Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) has announced their victory in an international competition to design the Greenland Group Suzhou Center in Wujiang, . The 358-meter tower’s efficient split-core configuration demands a double-take, as the “curved, tapered form unifies the office, hotel and residential uses within a single volume.”

Continue reading for more!

 

SOM launches Los Angeles Design Studio

The Partners of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) have announced their plans for a new design studio in to join their West Coast practice. With a commitment to urban, environmental and social sustainability in Southern , the studio will be lead by three former SOM architects – Michael Mann, FAIA; Paul Danna, AIA; and Jose Luis Palacios, AIA.

Craig Hartman, FAIA, the Design Partner in SOM’s San Francisco office, stated, “We want to be part of the dialogue in LA – a tremendously important cultural and talent hub and a diverse design-centric city. With Michael, Paul and Jose leading our studio,” Hartman continued, “we will be part of the conversation and be able to collaborate meaningfully with colleagues and institutions that we’ve known for years.

New commissions include UCLA’s new Medical Education Building that will become a entry point for the campus and the Medical School, a new mix-use project at UC Santa Barbara and a new courthouse for the Superior Court of California in San Diego, which will be the largest in the state. Find more information here.


Al Hamra Firdous Tower / SOM

Courtesy Turner Construction Co.

Named One of the Best Inventions of 2011 by Time Magazine, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s () Al Hamra Firdous Tower will be the tallest building in Kuwait. The iconic structure appears to fold into itself, creating an efficient form designed to maximize views and minimize solar heat gain. The commercial complex will be complete early this year and is comprised of offices, a health club and a high-end shopping mall with theaters and a food court. Continue reading for the architect’s project description.

Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Client / Developer: Al Hamra Real Estate and Entertainment Co., Mr. Abdulaziz Alhumaidhi
Location: Kuwait City, Kuwait
Site Area: 10,000 m2
Size: 195,000 m2
Height: 412 m (74 stories)
Completion Year: 2011

Cornell’s NYC Tech Campus Wins Competition

Copyright Cornell University

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is set to announce Cornell University and its partner, the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, winner of the intense, yearlong competition to build a New York City Tech Campus on Roosevelt Island. The announcement follows Stanford University’s unexpected withdraw from the competition after tense negotiations with the Bloomberg administration. Meanwhile, last Friday Cornell received a $350 million donation in support of their proposal, being the largest gift the University has ever received.

SOM receives 2011 Firm of the Year Award

The AIA Chicago chapter has awarded the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) the 2011 Firm of the Year Award for 75 years of global design excellence. The chapter recognized the outstanding achievements and excellence in the firm’s body of work and their contribution to the advancement of the architectural profession in areas of design, research, planning, technology and architectural practice. This is the highest AIA award a firm can receive.

The Firm Award Jury stated, is the jury’s unanimous choice for ’s 2011 Firm of the Year. It is evident in the submission that SOM has a distinct culture that is collaborative and team-oriented with a history of high aspirations for design excellence. For the professional community, SOM’s innovation continues to impact and inform tall building design around the world, while it is also evident that SOM is an involved and active citizen of Chicago, reaching outside of itself to positively impact the community and its organizations.”

A celebration will take place at the AIA Chicago annual meeting and awards presentation on Friday, December 9th, 2011 at ReBuilding Exchange in Chicago, Illinois.

Here are a few SOM projects featured on ArchDaily:

Cornell’s NYC Tech Campus drives towards “Net-Zero Energy” / SOM

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Cornell University’s proposed City Tech Campus on Roosevelt Island plans to become a sustainable landmark. Oriented by the sun, the 10-acre campus encompasses the largest solar array in City, four acres of geothermal wells, and 500,000 square-feet of open green space dedicated to the public. If built today, the campus’s 150,000 square-foot main academic building would be the largest net-zero energy building in the eastern United States.

The proposed campus is designed by Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill (SOM). Landscape will be designed by James Corner Field Operations. Cornell teamed up with alumnus and managing director of Distributed Sun, Jeff Weiss, to help build a comprehensive energy solution. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the NYS Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) also participated in the conceptualization of the proposed renewable energy and energy efficient aspects.

Continue reading for more images and detailed information.

   

9/11 Memorial and Museum / Handel Architects with Peter Walker, Davis Brody Bond

VIsualization by Squared Design Lab – http://www.911memorial.org/

Ten years since the attacks on the World Trade Center in , the National September 11 Memorial was dedicated in a private ceremony with the victims’ families. It was officially opened to the public as of today, September 12th. The opening of the 9/11 Memorial is a first step towards the closing of a long chapter of construction at the World Trade Center site.

SOM Announces the 2011 SOM Prize Winner

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The SOM Foundation has announced the 2011 SOM Prize Winner and Runner-up.   Brandon Clifford, a recent graduate of the Master of Architecture’s program at Princeton University, was selected as the winner of the prestigious SOM Prize, a $50,000 Research and Travel Fellowship.  Clifford will visit multiple countries on four continents in carrying out his research topic, “Volume: Researching Past Methods of Stereotomy.”

SOM, one of the first major modern American architectural firms to promote a corporate face, has continued to be a ‘massive and dynamically creative commercial force’ designing the world’s tallest building Burj Khalifa in Dubai, their commission for a new green district, Green Tech City, in Hanoi, Vietnam, and SOM was selected to design City’s (and the State’s) first Net Zero Energy school building, PS 62 located in Staten Island.

In 2009 SOM was recognized for just that when they were included in Fast Company’s annual list of “The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies” ranked #32 (the only AEC company on the ranking), amongst companies such as Google and Apple.  And they were also rated (by Fast Company) as number one on its list of the 10 most innovative architecture firms.

In this 30th year of Foundation Awards, the Fellowships continue to offer recent graduates the rare opportunity to travel in connection with carrying out in-depth research, collaborate with other professionals and pursue independent study outside the realm of established patterns. To date, the Foundation has awarded more than $1,000,000 to architecture, design and engineering students who have gone on to distinguish themselves in professional and academic careers.  It has been said that,”the SOM Prize is one of the primary tools that our profession has to bridge the gap between the academy and the real world.”

The official press release from SOM following the break.

The Park Hotel / Skidmore Owings & Merrill

© Bharath Ramamrutham

Architects: Skidmore Owings & Merrill
Location: Hyderabad, India
Project Year: 2010
Project Area: 531,550 sqf
Photographs: Robert Polidori, Pallon Daruwala, Bharath Ramamrutham

2011 CAE Educational Facility Design Awards

© Eduard Hueber

recently made us aware of this year’s CAE Educational Facility Design Awards. The purpose of the design awards program is to identify trends and emerging ideas, honor excellence in planning and design, and disseminate knowledge about best practices in educational and community facilities. Check out the list of 13 after the break, including several of the firms we have previously featured.

Architecture City Guide: Indianapolis

This week, with the help of our readers, we visited for our Architecture City Guide. Our readers suggested a lot of really nice buildings and we greatly appreciate their help. ’s numerous sporting events and conventions continually draw crowds to this industrious state capital throughout the year. It is only fitting that there is an architecture city guide for its various contemporary buildings. As a seat of government and industry, also boasts a nice variety of historic architecture that is worth seeing. Take a look at the list our readers help put together and add your favorites to the comment section below.

The Architecture City Guide: Indianapolis list and corresponding map after the break.

Top 100 Architecture Firms

© Joe Pugliese

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.

Some of these practices have been featured on ArchDaily like , Skidmore Owings & Merrill, Cannon Design, and .

Take a look at the complete rankings after the break.

Architecture City Guide: Richmond

This week our Architecture City Guide heads to Richmond, Virginia. Admittedly, it was Richmond’s pair of Cinderellas in this year’s NCAA Tournament that first caught our attention. However, with our interest peaked, we spent the last week exploring its architecture and found much to be admired. Richmond is by far the smallest city we have featured; with only 200,000 residents, the next closest on our list is twice its size. Architecturally, this Cinderella city can compete in her own way with the architectural powerhouses we have previously featured. Richmond’s architectural appeal comes from the city’s ability to keep its rich historic fabric intact while experimenting with new modes of design. While the city strongly embraces the gritty manufacturing buildings of its past, Richmond has resisted the imitation trap and has promoted modern interpretations of the older forms and materials. The majority of the buildings we chose to feature are emblematic of Richmond architecture, rehab/addition projects. We couldn’t possibly fit all our favorites in our list of twelve, so please take a look and add ones that visitors should not miss in the comment section below.

The Architecture City Guide: Richmond list and corresponding map after the break!

AD Classics: McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope, Kitt Peak National Observatory / SOM

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Completed in 1962, the designed by SOM is a classic example of great architecture built for a very specific purpose. It was mainly designed for studying the physical and chemical features of the sun and is the world’s largest unobstructed aperture optical telescope.

More on the Robert McMath Solar Telescope by SOM after the break.

Architecture City Guide: Austin

For this week the Architecture City Guide series headed to the city of Austin, Texas. Already our third stop in the Lone State, it is easy to see why Texans take such pride in their state, even when the Cowboys go 6 and 10. Both the capital of Texas and Live Music, Austin is a vibrant city that takes pride in being far from ordinary. Austin also plays host to South By Southwest (SXSW) which is being held this week, March 11th – 20th.  Its eclectic and liberal lifestyle have led many Austinites to adopt the slogan “Keep Austin Weird.” In this context its architecture is as diverse as its people. This short exposé of a few contemporary and modern buildings hardly tells the story of Austin, so we ask you, the readers, to add to the list. Please share your favorites with us in the comment section below.

The Architecture City Guide: Austin list and corresponding map after the break!

SOM Awarded Commission for Green Tech City in Vietnam

Courtesy of

The commission for a Green Tech City in Hanoi, was recently awarded to Skidmore Owings & Merrill.  SOM’s preliminary master plan focuses on reducing demand for non-renewable resources while integrating local traditions and utilizing the existing green urban character of Hanoi.  At the heart of this new green district is a riverfront park.  A series of landscaped green spaces, formed from existing agricultural water channels, would connect into this linear riverfront park creating a well connected network of public parks.

More information on this news after the break.