Design for Business 2001
Rockefeller University wanted a dynamic design solution that would contribute a distinctive landmark to the urban environment and express the university's commitment to the neighborhood and cityscape along the East River. But initial cost estimates for a bridge were prohibitive, and the project was abandoned.
A conversation between the university president and Wendy Evans Joseph, FAIA, revived the idea and led to Joseph's firm developing a design for a distinctive bridge at a fraction of the cost of the abandoned proposal. By cantilevering the structure across the street instead of putting structural support inside the residential tower, the architects economized on materials, time, and disruption of university life.
The bridge accommodates a new steam line, connecting university living quarters to campus-generated heat and eliminating the need to buy expensive steam from the city. The bridge also carries telecommunication lines between residences and laboratories.
"An attractive piece of architecture and design," said BW/AR Awards jurors. "Here's a case where the solution is so elegant and so effective that it's hard to imagine what was there before this bridge, or how the university functioned without it. It's a pedestrian bridge that's anything but pedestrian."
A Small Skyscraper
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. That's the adage informing the creation of the LVMH tower, Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy's New York headquarters. Executives of the luxury products company felt the new facility should express their corporate image of creativity, beauty, and charm.
Zoning ordinances and a cramped site imposed strict limits on the project, challenging the architect, Christian de Portzamparc, Hon. FAIA, to find unexpected ways to achieve his client's goals.
The solution is an elevated, glass-surfaced tower set slightly away from the street, with a faceted surface area that diminishes with height. Custom-made translucent white glass addresses concerns about snow and sun glare while providing diffuse daylight for a pleasant work environment. The nonreflective glass has the additional advantage of offering no reflection of a dark, towering building directly across the street.
BW/AR jurors describe the new building as a very stylish presence. "A crowning jewel for this company," they said. "It's a small, almost sweet, skyscraper with the benefits of that intimacy when you occupy it." The clients are delighted: "It announces our priorities loud and clear," says an LMVH director, "innovation and the sense of excellence."
An Upgradable Facility
In consolidating its global marketing activities in a single location, SAP Global Marketing, a business software supplier, wanted a work setting that would attract and retain the best possible workforce, as well as serve as a marketing events venue.
According to SAP, the ideal facility ought to embrace their vision of a distinctive, marketing-oriented workplace reflecting a caring attitude toward its employees.
The award-winning design, HLW International's renovation of a historic Greenwich Village loft, is organized around a central multiuse space, "the plaza", which is reached by following a translucent dividing wall from the loft's exposed brick perimeter. This central area can host informal team meetings, press conferences, and board meetings, as well as large-scale product launches.
Small groups of flexible work areas surround the plaza. Each area contains workspaces equipped with cylindrical, mobile partitions. These partitions enable employees to create collaborative or private workspaces, position themselves toward the light, and enjoy an outside view of the city.
"This is an infrastructure that you could upgrade with the next business cycle or with the next product development," noted the BW/AR jury. "It has the flexibility and possibility of transforming over time — an interesting idea and a pleasant place, with a good connection to a clear business purpose."
Shortly after the client relocated, the new headquarters served as the venue for a press conference. SAP saved nearly $250,000 in venue expenses on that event alone.
The Dulwich Picture Gallery, designed by Sir John Soane and founded in 1811, is regarded as one of England's architectural masterpieces. As such, and as the only repository in South London of Old Master paintings, one would expect this museum to enjoy considerable popularity.