Page N1.1 . 16 September 2009                     
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People and Places
                                                    . . . THIS WEEK

The 555VYR condominiums, designed by Kwan Henmi with KTGY as project architect, are nearing completion in downtown Walnut Creek, California. Photo: Christopher Mayer Photography Extra Large Image

Portland · 2009.0915
Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Oregon, has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. The 1960 arena designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill — and the ongoing effort to preserve it — were recently featured in ArchitectureWeek No. 434.

San Diego · 2009.0915
Smith Consulting Architects of San Diego and Palm Desert has revealed its design for a senior wellness center in downtown San Diego, California. An existing 60-year-building is being rehabilitated to accommodate the two-story, 17,000-square-foot (1,600-square-meter) center for low-income seniors. Construction for the $3.4 million LEED Gold-targeted tenant improvement project began in August.

The first floor of the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center will include a spacious main lobby, a variety of activity rooms, an internet cafe, and a kitchen and dining room. The second floor will accommodate the Center for Healthy Aging. Sustainable features include daylighting, high-efficiency air-conditioning units, automatic lighting control systems, and low-flow plumbing fixtures. Abundant daylight in the main dining room will eliminate the need for electrical lighting during daylight hours.

Scott Cairns, LEED AP, is serving as lead architect for Smith Consulting Architects. The San Diego office of Ledcor is the general contractor. Senior Community Centers is developing the project in partnership with HomeAid San Diego, with completion targeted for early 2010.

Los Angeles · 2009.0914
A new public high school, the Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez Learning Center, has been completed in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. Designed by Nadel Architects in a joint venture with Barrio Planners Incorporated, both based in Los Angeles, the 114,000-square-foot (10,600-square-meter) school is vertically integrated to fit onto a tight, six-acre (2.4-hectare) site.

The design reflects the influences of Mexican architects Luis Barragán and Ricardo Legorreta, according to Michael Walden, director of design for Nadel Architects. The buildings feature bold colors and geometric shapes, deeply recessed windows, and the extensive use of colonnades.

The Los Angeles Unified School District facility consists of two 500-student "learning communities," with courtyards that open into a central plaza, and shared cafeteria and gymnasium. The auditorium was designed to be accessible to community members after school hours through a separate entrance. Gregory Serrao, AIA, of Nadel Architects served as principal-in-charge. The construction cost for the campus was $75 million.

New York · 2009.0911
The View at Queens West condominium building has been completed in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens, New York City. The New York office of Handel Architects designed the 184-unit building for Rockrose Development Corporation. Located on the East River, adjacent to a new section of Gantry Plaza State Park, the building offers views of Manhattan and provides a variety of outdoor spaces, including yards, terraces, and balconies. Gary Handel, AIA, served as managing partner for Handel Architects.

La Porte · 2009.0911
Construction of a new municipal court building for the City of La Porte, Texas, has been completed. Dallas-based architecture and engineering firm Huitt-Zollars served as the project architect for the 11,300-square-foot (1,050-square-meter) facility, which will also be used as an emergency control center during extreme weather. Constructed with concrete tilt walls and a structural steel frame, it is designed to withstand a Category 3 hurricane.

The building includes a 4,000-square-foot (370-square-meter) courtroom finished in wood veneers, as well as administrative offices and a landscaped courtyard. Sustainable features include recycled glass and tile, dual-flush toilets, native and drought-tolerant landscaping, and a roof with high solar reflectance. The Houston office of Turner Construction Company completed the construction.

London · 2009.0911
A new home for the Jewish Community Centre for London, designed by London architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, has received planning approval from Camden Council planning committee. The 30,000-square-foot (2,800-square-meter) center will be built on the site of a former auto dealer facility.

The design features an elegant three-story linear pavilion set back from the road, creating a new landscaped plaza and relating to the Camden Arts Centre's gardens across the street. An off-center footbridge will deliver visitors to the JCC at mezzanine level. The facility will include a library, cafe, auditorium and screening room, classrooms, dance and rehearsal studios, nursery, and offices, arranged vertically, with privacy increasing with each floor.

The main facade will be fully glazed, with rooms that are screened or open onto galleries according to function. A "campanile" of 14 apartments on the northeastern corner replaces the existing residential accommodation on the site.

Union City · 2009.0910
The new Union City High School has opened in Union City, New Jersey. The 360,000-square-foot (33,000-square-meter) facility was designed by a joint venture of RSC Architects of Cliffside Park, New Jersey, and the New York City office of HOK. The educational spaces are housed in a four-story, L-shaped classroom wing, with two stories of shared activity spaces located at the core of the school. The facility includes a parking garage intended for shared use by residents and businesses in the immediate area.

An unusual feature is the rooftop athletic facility, located on the two-story section of the school. Over three acres (1.2 hectares) of artificial turf provides for a regulation-sized high school baseball field, a soccer and football field, and a grandstand area that can accommodate 2,100 spectators. The architecture of the athletic complex is a tribute to the 1937 Roosevelt Stadium, which was demolished to make way for the school.

La Verne · 2009.0910
The new Sara & Michael Abraham Campus Center has opened at the University of La Verne in La Verne, California. Gonzalez Goodale Architects of Pasadena designed the 40,000-square-foot (3,700-square-meter) facility.

London · 2009.0910
Work is now complete on a new office building in London, United Kingdom, designed by Amanda Levete Architects of London. The building, 10 Hills Place, has a sculptural facade designed to maximize daylighting on a narrow street. Inspired by the artwork of Lucio Fontana, the architects designed an aluminum skin with large glazed areas orientated upwards to channel daylight into the office space.

The facade was fabricated using curved aluminum profiles assembled on site. Self-cleaning glass and hidden gutters within the eyelids ensure the facade remains low-maintenance. The fine faceting of the aluminum strips creates complex reflections of sky and street. At ground level, a custom installment of glass, mesh, and dichromatic film is animated with fiber optics to create a dynamic moiré pattern on an otherwise blank facade.

Walnut Creek · 2009.0909
The 555YVR condominiums (pictured above) in downtown Walnut Creek, California, are nearing completion. Kwan Henmi Architecture/ Planning, Inc. of San Francisco is the design architect for the project, and the Oakland office of KTGY Group, Inc. is the project architect.

The four-story, 87-unit building includes six live-work units, each of which has a separate entrance to a commercial storefront on Ygnacio Valley Road. The facility features a courtyard, private fitness center, media room, 170-space underground parking garage, and a rooftop terrace with an outdoor kitchen, fireplace, and panoramic views of the San Ramon Valley and Mount Diablo. The building is located near a BART transit station, on the former site of the JFK University.

Expansive low-E floor-to-ceiling windows provide daylighting while limiting heat gain. Other sustainable features include bicycle storage and bike racks available to residents; water-efficient plumbing fixtures; and light pollution reduction. The interior design is by Kimberlee Colvin Interiors of Mill Valley, and the landscape design is by Cliff Lowe Associates of San Francisco. Thompson/ Dorfman Partners, LLC of Mill Valley is the developer. Initial occupancy is slated for October.

New York · 2009.0909
Construction continues on an Element by Westin hotel in Manhattan. Gene Kaufman, Architect, P.C. of New York City is serving as architect and HVAC engineer for the $70 million project, developed by Starwood Hotels and Resorts. The 39-story, 411-room, 177,000-square-foot (16,400-square-meter) hotel is expected to open in late summer 2010. Other project team members include Axis Design Group International, structural engineer, and George Wong Design, interior designer. CNY Builders of New York City is managing construction on behalf of Tritel Construction and owner's agent ABI Design & Construction.

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