Taking the Long Road

Taking the Long Road

In an article published by the New York Times, Philip Nobel laments the time taken to construct architecture. As architects, we have the passion to shape space and craft environments. For most, that translates into physically constructing such visions, but the path from drawing board (or computer screen) to realization is often times a long and arduous path.

In the past few years, such difficult financial times have challenged architects to fight for their buildings; namely, asking the designer to find ways to make the buildings work – whether with a changed material palette, smaller footprint, or shortened height.  Yet, apart from finances, we’ve also reported dozens of projects which narrowly clear other obstacles, such as attaining community consent.  And, of course, we have seen scores of great awarded competition proposals that do not incur the same luck, and slowly dwindle to non-existence.

One of our favorite parts of ArchDaily is our InProgress section, where we keep track of the progression of the original architectural vision through actuality. After the break, we share a few projects that haven’t had the most direct route through completion. Let us know in the comments below your thoughts on which project you’ve been waiting to see complete.

Nobel’s article points to a few New York projects that will finally open…years overdue!  As the anniversary of September 11 approaches, New Yorkers need no reminder of the amazing 12+ years the new World Trade Center has taken to rise (on that note, stay tuned for our upcoming September coverage where we’ll be revisiting the progress of several downtown projects, from memorials to transportation hubs).

A project we cannot wait to see completed is Herzog and de Meuron’s Elbe Philharmonic - but the German music hall just can’t seem to catch a break. After financial trouble, construction of the 2,000 tons steel saddle roof has been halted. The last we reported, contractor Hochtief has halted construction as he believes it to be unsafe due to differences between its plans and those drawn up by architect Herzog & de Meuron. And, while the design has been certified by an independent safety engineer plus the building control authority of Hamburg, Hochteif is calling for a reorganization of the entire project team before moving forward (But, on the flip-side for H&dM, after redesigning their Tate Modern from a stacked volumetric glass ensemble, to a more energy-efficient and budget-friendly perforated brick cladding, the museum construction has progressed almost without a glitch).

Lest we forget the opposition to OMA’s Milstein Hall for Cornell, as non-architectural faculty members argued against the high budget, and the lowered LEED rating. Or, the alternative designs for Nouvel’s 53 West 53rd Street to maintain the neighborhood character around Central Park. And, then there’s Piano’s Satellite Whitney Museum - a project the museum’s expanding collection has needed for about 25 years. Situated in the Meat Packing District, the museum has fallen under harsh criticism, and an even tighter budget. Piano has had to cut corners by swapping the intended stone with enameled steel plates, and redesign the intended dramatic cantilever, leaving some to wonder what such trade-offs will do to the final experience.

And, finally, as testament to the incredible process architecture entails, a project that dates back decades will finally be gracing New York’s Roosevelt Island this Fall. Be sure to check out our previous coverage of the Four Freedoms Park – a vision that began back in the 1970s, and through a museum exhibition by the MoMA gained public attention years later.

Be sure to peruse our InProgress section to stay up-to-date with built projects, and let us know if there’s a project you can’t wait to see built in the comment below.

About this author
Cite: Karen Cilento. "Taking the Long Road" 07 Sep 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/271742/taking-the-long-road> ISSN 0719-8884

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