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25 May 2011
Architecture People and Places

Renzo Piano with Cooper, Robertson & Partners in New York, New YorkGensler in Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaSam Marshall and NSW Government Architect in Sydney, AustraliaEwingCole in Edgewater, MarylandInteractive Design in Chicago, Illinois  


The Whitney Museum of American Art and the City of New York have broken ground adjacent to Manhattan's High Line park for the Whitney's new museum building, designed by Renzo Piano in collaboration with Cooper, Robertson & Partners. Courtesy Renzo Piano Building Workshop and Cooper, Robertson & Partners Extra Large Image

New York · 2011.0524
The Whitney Museum of American Art and the City of New York have broken ground for the Whitney's new museum building in the Meatpacking District of Manhattan. Designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano in collaboration with Cooper, Robertson & Partners of New York City, the building will be located on a site acquired from the City of New York at the southern end of the High Line, a park recently created atop a defunct elevated rail line. Creating an asymmetrical form, the upper stories of the building will stretch toward the Hudson River on the west side and step back from the High Line on the east side. A dramatic cantilevered entrance will shelter an 8,500-square-foot (790-square-meter) plaza.

The new building will include more than 50,000 square feet (4,600 square meters) of indoor galleries, including ground-floor exhibit space that will be accessible free of charge, an expansive column-free gallery for temporary exhibitions, and other spaces. The building will also feature an education center, two theaters, and a ground-level retail shop, along with outdoor exhibition space on a series of rooftops facing the High Line. Targeting LEED Silver certification, the Whitney building is scheduled to open in 2015. Some demolition of existing buildings on the site has already occurred, and more will be performed in summer 2011.

A special exhibit on the architectural design of the new building, "Designing the Whitney of the Future," runs through early 2012 at the Whitney's current uptown building by Marcel Breuer.

The Whitney recently announced a multiyear agreement, in principle, with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in which the Met will present exhibitions and educational programming at the Whitney's Breuer-designed building beginning in 2015.  


PNC Financial Services Group has revealed its plans to construct a new Gensler-designed, LEED Platinum-surpassing office tower in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Image: Courtesy PNC Extra Large Image

Pittsburgh · 2011.0523
PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. has revealed its plans to construct an environmentally friendly skyscraper to house its executive offices in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Tower at PNC Plaza is slated for the southeast corner of the same intersection where the company has been headquartered for more than 150 years. PNC plans to own the building and occupy all of the office space, with tenants in street-level retail spaces. Being designed by Gensler, the tower is slated to be 35 to 40 stories tall, with a floor area of about 800,000 square feet (74,000 square meters).

PNC intends for the new tower to exceed the requirements of LEED Platinum certification. Planned sustainable design features include daylighting, a high-efficiency heating and cooling system, a rainwater collection system including vegetated rooftops, and a double glass facade to reduce cooling costs and allow natural airflow. The design team is also currently exploring fuel cells, solar panels, geothermal systems, and other alternative power-generation sources.

The project team includes Pittsburgh-based P.J. Dick as construction manager; the New York City office of Buro Happold as engineer; and Paladino & Company of Seattle as green building consultant. Christine Davis Consultants of Verona, Pennsylvania, will conduct a cultural survey of the site, including archeological excavation.

Subsidiaries of PNC have acquired six properties on the site, and the company will seek to acquire three others from the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh. Deconstruction of buildings on the site is expected to begin in late 2011, with construction scheduled to begin in the spring of 2012. PNC anticipates completion of the new tower in summer 2015. PNC's current headquarters building, One PNC Plaza, will continue to house company offices.  


At the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, Australia, construction continues on a renovation and expansion project designed by Sam Marshall in partnership with the New South Wales Government Architect. Image: Architect Marshall Extra Large Image

Sydney · 2011.0520
Construction continues on a renovation and expansion project at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, Australia. Designed by Sydney architect Sam Marshall in partnership with the New South Wales Government Architect, the AUD$53 million project will add 4,500 square meters (48,000 square feet) of space, increasing the museum's total size by almost 50 percent. In addition to creating three new galleries, the project includes a complete refurbishment of existing facilities.

The National Centre for Creative Learning is one of the highlights of the upgrade, featuring a multimedia room and digital classroom, two practical studios, and a 120-seat lecture hall. Also, new venue spaces are being added atop the museum's existing building to take advantage of spectacular views over Sydney Harbour to the Sydney Opera House. The rooftop cafe and sculpture terrace are scheduled to open in October 2011, and the expanded museum is slated to open in March 2012.  


At the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, Maryland, ground was recently broken for the new Mathias Lab designed by EwingCole. Image: EwingCole Extra Large Image

Edgewater · 2011.0519
Ground was recently broken for a new two-story laboratory building at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, Maryland, on Chesapeake Bay. Architecture and engineering firm EwingCole, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, designed the $45 million Mathias Lab, which is targeting LEED Gold certification. New lab, office, and support space totaling 69,000 square feet (6,400 square meters) will be added to 21,000 feet (2,000 square meters) of existing lab space, which will undergo major remodeling. A two-story atrium will connect the old and new sections, which together will be used by over 180 researchers, technicians, and students. Completion is expected in late 2013.

Energy modeling was used during planning, and the architects also used Laboratories for the 21st Century (Labs21) design guidelines for project development. Sustainable design features will include heat recovery from laboratory exhaust air (total enthalpy wheel), demand-control ventilation in lab spaces, an HVAC system supplied by geothermal wells, and reconstructed wetlands for stormwater management.  


A facade replacement and interior renovation by Interactive Design Eight Architects was recently completed at Chicago's Anti-Cruelty Society building, designed by Stanley Tigerman. Photo: Charles Young Extra Large Image

Chicago · 2011.0516
A facade replacement and interior renovation project designed by Interactive Design Eight Architects (IDEA) of Chicago, Illinois, was recently completed at the Anti-Cruelty Society building in Chicago. Originally designed by Stanley Tigerman and built in 1980, the postmodern building is concrete block with aluminum siding, and features a front facade suggestive of a bloodhound face. But the aluminum siding had deteriorated; the original windows had begun to fail, some becoming almost opaque from air and water filtration; the pull-down shades being used to limit heat gain were interfering with showcasing of animals up for adoption; and the banners used to advertise the organization's events further blocked views of the animals.

IDEA replaced the aluminum with a terra cotta rainscreen that echoes the original siding's horizontality. Integral sunshades now shield the large storefront windows, allowing passersby unobstructed views of the animals. New banner locations were established along the sides of the building exterior and flanking the front entrance.

In addition, a decorative mesh screen supporting foliage was designed to help hide rooftop mechanical equipment, and the facility's second-floor dog kennels were reconfigured and updated to provide improved animal holding.

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