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Audrey Wachs

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Florida's Forthcoming Hard Rock Hotel is Shaped Like a Giant Guitar

This article was originally published by The Architect's Newspaper as "Rockin’ guitar-shaped Florida hotel celebrates construction milestone."

Hoteliers and musicians smashed guitars in Hollywood, Florida to celebrate a construction milestone at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, a $1.5 billion entertainment complex featuring a mega guitar-shaped hotel.

The 450-foot-tall hotel will boast more than 600 rooms, around half of the complex’s total, plus a 41,000-square-foot spa and a few restaurants. At the tower’s base, guests can swim underneath waterfalls in plunge pools, relax in private cabanas, and partake in water sports in a giant artificial lake. Right now, the existing Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood hotel has almost 500 rooms, as well as a casino, meeting space, restaurants, and a lagoon pool.

PAU's Plans for the Domino Sugar Refinery Sent Back for Revisions Despite Popular Support

This article was originally published by The Architect's Newspaper as "Landmarks sends PAU’s Domino Sugar Refinery design back for revisions."

The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) has asked PAU to take its plans for the Domino Sugar Refinery back to the drawing board. While reactions from the public and commissioners were warm on the whole, commissioners debated whether the building, which has sat vacant for more than a decade, is a ruin or “armature” as Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) claimed, or whether the structure could—or should—be treated like an adaptable building.

Essentially, PAU intended to use the facade as a mask for a glass office building. Instead of sitting right up against the old brick, the new building would be set back ten feet from the old, and workers could get outside and up close to the original walls via metal latticework terraces poking through the glass envelope. The approach, explained founding principal Vishaan Chakrabarti, would preserve the bricks by equalizing the temperature and humidity on both sides while allowing the architects flexibility within a challenging original structure. A round-arched glass roof would dialogue with the American Round Arch windows that define the facade, while on the ground floor, the designers proposed a through-access from the Kent Avenue smokestack to the park and water that would be open to the public.

What Will Thomas Heatherwick's "Vessel" At Hudson Yards Really Add to New York?

This article was originally published by The Architect's Newspaper as "What do New Yorkers get when privately-funded public art goes big?"

When Thomas Heatherwick—the nimble London-based designer known for work that defies easy categorization—unveiled his design for a new public landmark called Vessel at Hudson Yards to a crowd of reporters and New York City power players in September, questions abounded. What is it? What will it do to the neighborhood? And what does it say that Stephen Ross, the president and CEO of Related Companies, the primary developer of Hudson Yards, is financing the entire $250 million piece by himself?

It’s natural that Ross chose Heatherwick Studio to design his centerpiece, because the office’s creations stun. For the UK Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai Expo, it extruded 60,000 clear acrylic tubes from a center space to create a fuzzy, crystalline object whose apparent fragility is as mesmerizing as it is clever. As the studio moves toward ever-larger and ever-more-public commissions, the people who will live with its work will need to seriously consider what it will mean for their neighborhoods and cities.