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James Corner Field Operations: The Latest Architecture and News

LA's Millennium Hollywood Project

Millennium Hollywood Project via Millennium Partners
Millennium Hollywood Project via Millennium Partners

Millennium Partners and Argent Ventures are moving forward with their plan to transform 4.47 acres of vacant parking lots surrounding Hollywood’s iconic, mid-century Capitol Records Building into a transit-oriented, mixed-use development. Located on the famous intersection of Hollywood and Vine, the Millennium Hollywood Project will feature two residential buildings reaching heights up to 585 feet, designed by Handel Architects, that are grounded by a High Line-inspired public space by James Corner Field Operations.

With the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) currently on public review, the New York-based developers are hoping to get city approvals underway in early 2013.

Continue reading to learn more…

How (Not) to Host The Olympics (Part III)

The Olympic Agora, designed by Santiago Calatrava, in Athens. Photo via Flickr User CC John & Mel Kots. . Used under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>Creative Commons</a>
The Olympic Agora, designed by Santiago Calatrava, in Athens. Photo via Flickr User CC John & Mel Kots. . Used under Creative Commons

Welcome back and congratulations for having made it to the final installation of the Olympic City Guide.

So far, in parts I and II, we’ve learned how to design for your post-Games legacy (No White Elephants please) and to revitalize -not demolish- your city’s most deprived “eye-sores” (Don’t Hate, Rejuvenate).

So what’s left? Well, in this post-Recession era of austerity, a huge part of your Olympic Strategy will be justifying the spending – the colossal spending – to your more than skeptical constituents. As I said in the last post, a good starting point is targeting urban renewal and being as transparent as possible, but another big element is how you market the Games – not just to the International Olympics Committee (IOC), but to your own city-dwellers.

So how can you get them both on your side? Simple - Go Green.

Top Architects invited to reimagine San Francisco’s Fort Mason Center

© Sean Munson
© Sean Munson

A mix of twenty local and internationally renowned firms have been invited to participate in a design competition seeking “creative and practical design concepts” on thirteen acres of prime waterfront real estate at the historic Fort Mason Center in San Francisco. Although mostly comprised of parking lots and former military buildings, the site attracts nearly one million annual visitors with its stellar views, cultural events, historic background and well-respected restaurant.

Depending on who accepts the challenge, local firms may compete with big names such as James Corner Field Operations, SANAA, Studio Gang Architects and BIG.

Continue reading after the break for more.

Journey to the Center of New York: Can Design "Cure" Our Cities?

Courtesy of James Ramsey and Dan Barasch
Courtesy of James Ramsey and Dan Barasch

Walk into the cafeteria at the Googleplex and you are nudged into the “right” choice. Sweets? Color-coded red and placed on the bottom shelf to make them just a bit harder to reach. “Instead of that chocolate bar, sir, wouldn’t you much rather consume this oh-so-conveniently-located apple? It’s good for you! Look, we labelled it green!”

Like the Google cafeteria guides you to take responsibility of your health, Google wants to transform the construction industry to take responsibility of the “health” of its buildings. They have been leveraging for transparency in the content of building materials, so that, like consumers who read what’s in a Snickers bar before eating it, they’ll know the “ingredients” of materials to choose the greenest, what they call “healthiest,” options.[2]

These examples illustrate the trend of “medicalization” in our increasingly health-obsessed society: when ordinary problems (such as construction, productivity, etc.) are defined and understood in medical terms. In their book Imperfect Health, Borasi and Zardini argue that through this process, architecture and design has been mistakenly burdened with the normalizing, moralistic function of “curing” the human body. [3]

While I find the idea that design should “force” healthiness somewhat paternalistic and ultimately limited, I don’t think this “medicalized” language is all bad – especially if we can use it in new and revitalizing ways. Allow me to prescribe two examples: the most popular and the (potentially) most ambitious urban renewal projects in New York City today, the High Line and the Delancey Underground (or the Low Line).

More on “curative” spaces after the break. (Trust me, it’s good for you.)

Fast Company 50 Most Innovative Companies: James Corner Field Operations

Landscape architect, James Corner, has a way of not only designing captivating landscapes, but making places where people want to be. While thousands have experienced his transformation of New York’s industrial rail line, Corner’s impact is also evident in major metropolises on an international level as his competition entries and built work inspire a sense of urban renewal and restore confidence in their settings. In fact, Fast Company has recently named James Corner Field Operations as one of 50 most innovative companies of the world for “creating intimate green spaces out of industrial urban blight.”

More about JCFO after the break.

Update: Navy Pier design teams present to the public

Existing Image of the Navy Pier © Stephen Hanafin via flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/shanafin/. Used under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>Creative Commons</a>
Existing Image of the Navy Pier © Stephen Hanafin via flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/shanafin/. Used under Creative Commons

Starting tomorrow, the five design teams selected to redesign the outdoor spaces of Chicago’s Navy Pier will begin to reveal their schemes to the public. Lead by AECOM, Aedas Architects, James Corner Field Operations, !melk and the Xavier Vendrell Studio, each team will be given thirty minutes to present their ideas, followed by a ten minute question and answer session. The presentations will take place on January 31st and February 1st at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Continue reading for the presentation schedules and more information on the competition.

Video: James Corner / TIME Magazine Game Changers

Check out this great video on one of our favorite landscape architects, James Corner. Named one of Time Magazine’s Game Changers - “innovators and problem-solvers that are inspiring change in America” – thousands have enjoyed Corner’s work on the High Line, and we are excited to monitor the progress of Corner’s recent joint win with SOM on Cornell’s NYC Tech Campus. The video sheds light upon Corner’s philosophy on landscape and how public spaces are a defining component of urban spaces. “…As designers, you bring an incredible sense of optimism and faith….and the capacity of good design to transform what may be perceived as negative to something very positive,” explained Corner. Overall, we found the video inspiring and we hope you enjoy it!

Cornell’s NYC Tech Campus Wins Competition

Copyright Cornell University
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.

Design Teams Announced to create New Public Spaces for London's Olympic Park

South Plaza Proposal via Olympic Park Legacy Company
South Plaza Proposal via Olympic Park Legacy Company

Olympic Park Legacy Company has announced the winners of two competitions that will transform the north park and south plaza at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. New York-based James Corner Field Operations’ proposal for a 50 acre urban landscape consisting of a tree-lined promenade connecting flexible event and cultural spaces was selected as the winning entry for the south plaza.

The north park winning proposal by London-based firm erect architecture consists of an imaginative community hub building that is integrated within the parkland and river valley. Along with community hub, the design proposes an interactive playground that inspires children to “climb trees, build dens and have everyday adventures in nature.”

Continue reading for the complete team list and their design proposal boards.

St. Petersburg Pier Design Competition Announces Semi-finalists

Photo by Matthew Paulson
Photo by Matthew Paulson

The St. Petersburg Pier, a long-adored and long-outdated West Florida cultural attraction, has unveiled the semi-finalists in its international redesign competition. Of the twenty-three qualified inquiries received, nine were chosen to move forward in the contest. The competition attracted big names in the architecture world; BIG, West 8 Urban Design, James Corner Field Operations, and HOK Architects were among the participants.

More on the St. Petersburg Pier after the break.

Part Two of the High Line Opens / Field Operations + DS+R

Philip A. and Lisa Maria Falcone Flyover, the pathway rises eight feet above the High Line, winding through a canopy of trees, between West 25th and West 27th Street, looking South. ©Iwan Baan
Philip A. and Lisa Maria Falcone Flyover, the pathway rises eight feet above the High Line, winding through a canopy of trees, between West 25th and West 27th Street, looking South. ©Iwan Baan

New Yorkers can’t get enough of James Corner Field Operations with Diller Scofidio + Renfro‘s High Line as millions meandered along the refurbished rail tracks enjoying spectacular views of the skyline. And yet, the opening of the High Line in 2009 offered a mere preview of the project’s total grandeur as parts two and three of the 1.45 mile project were still to come. Today, the second phase of the High Line has opened to the public – a section which stretches from West 20th up to West 28th Street. This segment includes a hovering frame that will display people’s silhouettes against the evening sky, an elevated pathway which brings visitors to the level of the trees’ canopy, and a Great Lawn which will be perfect for sun-bathing and a summer time picnic.

After the break you can find a great set of photos from Iwan Baan, via the High Line Facebook Page, and some more information about the project.

James Corner Field Operations to design Qianhai

First Hand on the Highline

Karen Cilento
Karen Cilento

The New York Highline, a project by James Corner Field Operations with the collaboration of Diller Scofidio + Renfro has been open to the public for a few weeks (as we reported previously on AD) and as a New Yorker who has waited patiently for the project to finish, I was anxious to stroll along the latest addition in Manhattan. The visit was a completely new way to experience the city. Just the idea of observing Manhattan by walking above (and through) it, rather than being an actual part of it, made the Highline a project one must encounter to feel what the space can offer.

More about some impressions after a visit to the Highline and more pictures after the break.  

The New York High Line officially open

© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

Photos Iwan Baan

In May 2003, James Corner Field Operations with Diller Scofidio + Renfro competed against 720 teams from 36 countries to win the infrastructure conversion project of the New York City High Line. More than half a decade later, the High Line’s transition to a public park is almost complete. On June 8th, architects, elected officials, and advocates watched as Mayor Michael Bloomberg cut the ceremonial red ribbon, officially announcing the opening of the first of three sections. The new park offers an alluring break from the chaotic city streets as users have an opportunity to experience an elevated space with uninterrupted views of the Hudson River and the city skyline.

More info about the park, including an incredible set of photos by architecture photographer Iwan Baan and a video by Brooklyn Foundry after the break.

UPDATE: We corrected some credits of this project. You can see the full list here.