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29 September 2010
Architecture People and Places

Designed by Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture, the new Salameno Spiritual Center at Ramapo College in Mahwah, New Jersey, is scheduled to open October 5. Photo: © Norman McGrath Extra Large Image

New York · 2010.0927
A renovation has been completed at New York City's historic Seventh Regiment Armory, now a nonprofit arts center known as the Park Avenue Armory. The $68 million project — the first phase of a larger transformation — was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects Herzog and de Meuron of Basel, Switzerland, with Platt Byard Dovell White as executive architect and Fisher Dachs Associates as theatrical consultant, and was built by Tishman Construction.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the armory was built between 1877 and 1881 in what is now the Upper East Side Historic District. The building features an array of intact 19th-century interiors, with rooms designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany, Stanford White, Herter Brothers, and other prominent designers of the period. The armory's other signature feature is the Wade Thompson Drill Hall, a column-free 55,000-square-foot (5,100-square-meter) space with an 85-foot- (26-meter-) high barrel-vault ceiling.

The comprehensive upgrade and renovation project focused on installing new infrastructure and stabilizing the building, which had fallen into such disrepair that it had been named one of the "100 Most Endangered Historic Sites in the World" by the World Monuments Fund in 2000. Systems were also installed in the drill hall to facilitate its current function as a large-scale venue for performing and visual arts.

Mahwah · 2010.0924
The new Salameno Spiritual Center (pictured above) at Ramapo College in Mahwah, New Jersey, is scheduled to open on October 5. Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture of New York City designed the $1.5 million, 1,530-square-foot (142-square-meter) facility, conceived as a nondenominational sanctuary for meditation, reflection, and celebration. Located on a half-acre (0.2-hectare) site on the south shore of Kameron Pond, the center comprises four single-story structures, two outdoor gathering places, and six small woodland gardens.

An entry pavilion, barely ten feet (three meters) tall, contains utilitarian support functions. Beyond it, the largest structure is the Padovano Peace Pavilion, a 25-foot- (7.6-meter-) high, 800-square-foot (74-square-meter) building formed by sloping triangular and trapezoidal planes. Visitors enter through an all-glass entryway into a room sheathed in pine boards, acoustic panels, and timber structure. A north-facing clerestory at the apex of the structure transmits daylight and provides sky views. Two three-foot- (0.9-meter-) high bands of translucent and transparent glass wrap diagonally around four faceted sides of the room, framing views of the landscape.

Two smaller pavilions, the McBride and Marino Meditation Spaces, are spartan, podlike units that accommodate up to three people.

The 2 Cooper apartment building in New York City, designed by Gerner Kronick + Valcarcel Architects, PC, has been completed. Image: GKV Architects Extra Large Image

New York · 2010.0923
The 2 Cooper apartment building (pictured above) in New York City has been completed. New York firm Gerner Kronick + Valcarcel Architects, PC designed the high-end, 15-story, 145,000-square-foot (13,500-square-meter) residential building, located on Manhattan's Cooper Square, in the City-designated Noho Historic District. GKV Architects also designed a renovation of the historic Samuel Tredwell Skidmore House, another residential building on the square, restoring the exterior and modernizing the interior.

Large windows punctuate 2 Cooper's muscular red brick facades, echoing patterns in the adjacent facades. The six-story base recalls the historic streetwall condition of its site, with its simplified profiles and patterns, expressed pilasters, and larger window openings at the corners. Floors 7 through 15 are set back from both East 4th Street and Cooper Square, creating terraces and helping to modulate the building's scale and street presence. The building contains 135 apartments, with amenities on the lower level and a landscaped rooftop with an outdoor pool.

The renovated Tredwell Skidmore House features wood trim accents, vintage light fixtures, panelized apartment entry doors, and intricate interior stone flooring on its new public hall stair. The apartments provide a sleek, modern counterpoint to the historic facade and public interiors.

The UNStudio Tower, an office building designed by UNStudio, was recently completed in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Photo: Christian Richters Extra Large Image

Amsterdam · 2010.0922
The UNStudio Tower (pictured above) was recently completed in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Named for its architect, UNStudio of Amsterdam, the 21-story building is part of the Mahler 4 urban complex, a cluster of six buildings in the South Axis connecting Schiphol Airport to the major business areas of Amsterdam South. The tower contains a ground floor with a mezzanine and 20 floors of office space, nine of which are occupied by the Royal Bank of Scotland.

The facade juxtaposes horizontal and vertical articulation. White aluminum bands wrap the tower horizontally, with varying size, depth, and transparency to balance sun screening and light transmission. Voids recessed into each face of the building form vertical accents, spanning differing numbers of floors, and facilitating daylight penetration into the 40-by-40-meter (131-by-131-foot) floors. Placement of the voids at the perimeter rather than the center of the building helps maximize usable floor space.

A high priority was designing for flexibility with respect to future changes in use, in particular to allow conversion of the building to housing. A grid system helps achieve that, and the vertical voids in the facade could easily be transformed into individual balconies on each floor.

Sustainability was also integral to the design. The tower features durable materials and equipment to reduce replacement frequency, and its lightweight frame minimizes the amount construction material used in the foundation. Thermal glazing allows for daylighting while reducing direct sunlight. An underground energy storage system reduces energy usage by 30 percent or more, and energy-efficient fixtures with motion sensors control lighting.

In Chengdu, China, ground has been broken for the first phase of the RTKL-designed Pearl River New Town, which will include a shopping mall. Image: © Extra Large Image

Chengdu · 2010.0915
In Chengdu, China, ground has been broken for the first phase of Pearl River New Town, an 80-acre (32-hectare) district. The centerpiece of the plan is a four-level, 110,000-square-meter (1,180-square-foot) shopping mall (rendered above), designed to be open and airy, with daylighting, a central court, and green roof that will connect to a 35-story Class A office tower. Outside, a pedestrian-friendly "Silk Walk" will be lined with restaurants and shops. A comprehensive brand identity will be integrated into all aspects of the environment.

The Shanghai office of RTKL, a wholly owned subsidiary of ARCADIS, is overseeing the master planning, architecture, branding, and landscape architecture for the project. Located in Chengdu's Wenjiang District, along the banks of the Jiang'an River, the Pearl River New Town is conceived as a fabric woven together by public streets, pedestrian paths, and bridge connections, inspired by the brocade cloth historically produced in Chengdu.

Chicago · 2010.0914
The Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) has moved into a new office in a landmark 1920s building in downtown Chicago, Illinois. Designed by Farr Associates of Chicago, the office is located in the 35 East Wacker building, also known as the North American Life Insurance Building, a contributing property in the Michigan-Wacker Historic District.

LEED Platinum certification is expected for the office. An efficient lighting system uses half the power of a conventional system, and interior windows and frosted glass help distribute daylight throughout the space. Lighting, electrical outlets, and heating and cooling are all controlled with sensors that use power only where needed. Other sustainable features include locally sourced, recycled-content, and recyclable materials; low-VOC finishes; and a private shower to encourage bicycle commuting. During construction, more than 75 percent of waste was diverted from landfills.

Fort Myers · 2010.0914
Academic Building 7 (AB7) at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Florida, was recently certified LEED Platinum (LEED-NC 2.2) by the USGBC. International multidisciplinary firm Leo A Daly provided full architectural services for the project.

The four-story, 62,000 square-foot (5,800-square-meter) building houses labs for physics, biology, and chemistry as well as math labs, specialized research labs and a GIS computer lab. The facility also includes offices, conference rooms, and a 160-seat lecture hall.

Sustainable features include electronic systems that adjust air conditioning based on indoor humidity levels; high-efficiency lighting fixtures, windows, and insulation; a high-performance reflective metal roof; shade overhangs; water-conserving plumbing fixtures; drought-resistant landscaping; and recycled-content and regionally manufactured materials.

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