It may be the single most important architectural detail of the last fifty years. Emerging bravely from the glassy sea of Madison Avenue skyscrapers in midtown Manhattan, the open pediment atop Philip Johnson and John Burgee’s 1984 AT&T Building (now the Sony Tower) singlehandedly turned the architectural world on its head. This playful deployment of historical quotation explicitly contradicted modernist imperatives and heralded the mainstream arrival of an approach to design defined instead by a search for architectural meaning. The AT&T Building wasn’t the first of its type, but it was certainly the most high-profile, proudly announcing that architecture was experiencing the maturation of a new evolutionary phase: Postmodernism had officially arrived to the world scene.
This article was originally published on December 5, 2016. To read the stories behind other celebrated architecture projects, visit our AD Classics section.
Even in Manhattan—a sea of skyscrapers—the Empire State Building towers over its neighbours. Since its completion in 1931 it has been one of the most iconic architectural landmarks in the United States, standing as the tallest structure in the world until the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center were constructed in Downtown Manhattan four decades later. Its construction in the early years of the Great Depression, employing thousands of workers and requiring vast material resources, was driven by more than commercial interest: the Empire State Building was to be a monument to the audacity of the United States of America, “a land which reached for the sky with its feet on the ground.”
A New York City icon that once rivaled structures such as the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building, the World Trade Center, colloquially known as the Twin Towers, was one of the most recognized structures in history. Designed by Japanese-American architect Minoru Yamasaki, it held the title of Tallest Building in the World from 1972–1974. Up until its unfortunate demise, the WTC site was a major destination, accommodating 500,000 working people and 80,000 visitors on a typical weekday.
Facebook is moving into new offices in London’s King’s Cross. The announcement from King’s Cross details the social media giant’s commitment to take over 600,000 square feet (55,000 square meters) of office space across three buildings, namely 11 and 21 Canal Reach by Bennetts Associates, and P2 by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris.
The July 23rd deal between Facebook and King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership (KCCLP) represents one of the most significant such commitments in London in the last decade, encompassing around 15% of King’s Cross’ 4-million-square-foot (370,000 square meters) commercial portfolio.
Offices and cultural buildings both offer the perfect opportunity to design the atrium of your dreams. These central spaces, designed to allow serendipitous meetings of users or to help with orientation in the building, are spacious and offer a lot of design freedom. Imposing scales, sculptural stairs, eccentric materials, and indoor vegetation are just some of the resources used to give life to these spaces. To help you with your design ideas, below we have gathered a selection of 15 notable atriums and their section drawings.
C.F. Møller Architects, Kristin Jarmund Architects and Rodeo Architects Propose Urban Realm in the Center of Oslo
C.F. Møller Architects have collaborated with Kristin Jarmund Architects and Rodeo Architects in the design of a new urban realm at Oslo Central Station in Norway, comprising a square, hotel, and high-rise building. The scheme seeks to create an attractive recreational area around the transport hub, connecting different areas and terrain differences in an organized, efficient flow.
Bloomberg’s new European HQ, which is located in the heart of the City of London, has been rated the world’s most sustainable office building. Designed by Foster + Partners, the office complex has been awarded an Outstanding BREEAM rating, attaining a 98.5% score – the highest design-stage score ever achieved by any major office development.
Amongst the rapid materializing of telecoms, media and tech companies within the Blackfriar’s Southbank region, PLP Architecture has been chosen for the design of a new office building with the challenge of successfully integrating into the ever-changing local fabric.
“Our proposal speculates on the nature of the contemporary office tower,” explained the firm. “What is the architectural expression of today’s high-density workplace? How does the building acquire an identity specific to its media/tech occupiers and how is that identity conveyed to the city?”
Novotown is China’s latest cultural and creative incubator, designed by Aedas as an iconic destination on Hengqin Island in Zhuhai, China. Located just five minutes from Macau, the 120,000-square meter cultural and entertainment complex aims to straddle the roles of tourist destination and local icon.
BIG has completed their second building on U.S. soil, a 92,000-square-foot office building at 1200 Intrepid Avenue in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that also marks the firm’s first realized office building design. Located within the revitalized Philadelphia Navy Yard master plan (designed by Robert Stern), the four-story building features a bowing, double-curved facade and a supersized “periscope” inspired by the historic battleships docked a few blocks away.
OMA has released new images of their design for Axel Springer’s business and digital division, in Berlin, Germany. One of the largest digital publishing houses in Europe, Axel Springer officially launched the project to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the company’s publishing building.
OMA’s proposal was selected in a 2014 international design competition, beating out finalist entries from BIG and Büro Ole Scheeren. The brief called for a new modern work environment to house Axel Springer’s growing business and digital divisions.
Aedas has released new renderings and photos of Lè Architecture as the 18-story building approaches completion. Inspired by the form and striations of river pebbles, the office building will provide a unique work environment along the Jilong River and will mark an important milestone in the revitalization of the Nangang District of Taipei.
Foster + Partners' Apple 2 Campus is racing towards its December 2016 completion date. As seen in this drone video captured by aerial videographer Matthew Roberts, the exterior of the spaceship-like main building is nearly finished, with many of the campus' other buildings, such as the auditorium, the research & development center and the 100,000 square foot corporate fitness center, also approaching full realization.
Richard Meier & Partners has completed their first project in South America, a 7-story, sustainable office building in the Rio de Janeiro neighborhood of Leblon. The building will feature concrete, glass and vertical gardens, and will serve as the new international headquarters for top Brazilian investment firm VINCI Partners. The structure consists of open office spaces looking out onto several private interior courtyards and a series of terraces that create a connection with the main urban thoroughfare of Bartolomeu Mitre Avenue.
The “Googleplex” is back on. After the Mountain View City Council announced last year that they would be awarding the majority of the land needed to construct the futurist masterplan designed for Google by BIG and Thomas Heatherwick to fellow tech giant LinkedIn, the future of the ambitious glass-canopied corporate campus seemed to be dead in the water, with the architects even releasing images of a pared down design that would occupy a much smaller footprint. But all of that has now changed thanks to a surprising property swap between the two companies that will see over three million square feet of real estate switch hands.
This past February, BIG and Heatherwick Studio unveiled their designs for Google’s new Mountain View Headquarters in California. The project, which will be built by robots, faced sizeable critique, as well as site complications—that have since been resolved—over the past year. Now, as a part of Esquire’s 2015 Breakouts, Bjarke Ingels—founder of BIG—is speaking out about how the firm won the Google bid, and why the headquarters could create a new mold for Silicon Valley urbanism. Ingels goes on to discuss other major BIG projects, like 2 World Trade Center, and an upcoming NFL stadium. Read the full Esquire interview, here.
Plans for Apple's newest California "spaceship" has been unveiled. Named after its bordering streets, Central & Wolfe hopes to transform a 1970s office park in Sunnyvale into a "futuristic office campus." The 19 acre site, located just five miles from Apple's main Cupertino campus (currently underway), was designed by HOK and is currently under review.
If built, it will replace nine aging buildings with a clover-like design comprised of three interconnected structures - each rising six stories.
Zaha Hadid Architects has proposed an office tower in Beijing that is said to have the "world's tallest atrium." As the Architects' Journal reports, the Leeza SOHO project features a 200-meter-high atrium that extends the building's full height, visually splitting the cylindrical structure in two. If built, it will be anchored by an underground promenade that connects to a subway station below and public park to the west.