Fulton Center, Manhattan


Construction of the Fulton Center includes the restoration of the 125-year-old Corbin Building. Located in the Lower Manhattan Financial District, the 180,000-sf Fulton Center integrates five stations served by nine subway lines in a light-flooded space that includes retail and offices. The facility’s defining visual features are its 53-foot-diameter glass oculus that streams light into a grand atrium, and the accompanying “Sky Reflector Net” art installation that utilizes aluminum panels to transmit sunlight 110 feet down into the center’s lowest levels. The project’s design team, led by Grimshaw Architects and Arup, situated the retail spaces in a two-level, glass-clad structure that matches the curve of the oculus. To achieve the look of the retail structure, the team worked with glazing contractor Enclos and Technical Glass Products (TGP) to develop custom-captured horizontal steel mullions that fit the distinctive shape, for a flush and plumb surface appearance. The solution also involved a mix of fire-rated curtain wall in the upper level and elevator core and non-fire-rated curtain wall in the lower level. The interior spaces are flooded with light, a crucial part of the design aesthetic was glazed curtain walls with clean sightlines. This new transit hub will go a long way toward enhancing the travel experience of hundreds of thousands of customers. They will finally benefit from a thoughtful design that vastly improves passenger flow throughout the station, minimizes congestion and makes transferring far easier than ever before told New York City Transit President Carmen Bianco. Fulton Center also features advertising, retail and commercial space. MTA Arts & Design will also showcase the work of artists.

Fulton Center represents the future of the MTA, so we looked to technology that also would move Arts & Design into the future. A digital arts program gives us the opportunity to offer temporary art, to work with new digital artists and to produce art that engages our customers in a more immediate way. Large-scale electronic displays like the one in Fulton Center open up a world of possibility for new media artists to connect with our customers, whether it’s through a piece that makes them pause and smile or inspires a thought that stays with them on their journey.The new Fulton Center complex is another example of how we are rebuilding Lower Manhattan which will spur a resurgence throughout the area This new station makes traveling easier for subway riders, and is a beautiful public space for visitors and commuters to enjoy.

Surly Destination Brewery, Minneapolis


Surly Brewing MSP is designed as a destination brewery that combines varied public gathering areas and brewery production in Minneapolis’s Prospect Park neighborhood. The 8.3-acres project is located on a brownfield site and comprises of 7 separate parcels of land divided by the municipalities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Planning for the project focused on both the brewery operations’ initial and future needs – the facility is designed to account for upwards of 200 per cent expansion on the site.

In the design, the building features streamlined massing tailored to fit the program and culminating at the gardens. Corrugated metal siding complimented with red cedar accents that reflects the industrial character of the neighborhood and importantly, the Surly brand. The design concept, based on transparency throughout, was developed to put the brewing process on display to ensure the patron is immersed in the brewery experience from multiple touch points within the building and garden.

Visitors arriving by car, mass transit, bike or foot are channeled to a central entrance plaza anchored by a fire cauldron on one end and fountains at the other. The plaza choreographs an entrance experience leading to the front door of the facility. From there, visitors are introduced to part of the brewing process in the entrance ‘chamber’ with dramatic floor-to-ceiling glass walls framing views of the fermentation cellar. Further into the space, an open beer hall with long drinking and eating table’s features window walls that look into the brew house (the heart of the building) at one end and out to a beer deck and gardens at the other. On the west side of the beer hall, an operable glass wall lifts and slides, allowing a free flow of space 10 feet high by 40 feet wide from interior to exterior as visitors wander out to the deck, beer garden and amphitheater.

At the upper level, the space is divided into a more formal restaurant and an event center, named Scheid Hall in honor of the late State Senator Linda Scheid who helped author the “Surly Bill” that allowed brewers to sell their product on their premises. The event center includes a pre-function area and bar overlooking the beer hall and brew house. The restaurant and event space additionally have exterior deck space on the second level overlooking the amphitheater and gardens below. Throughout the building and site, strategic connections link people to one another and the brewery. With a carefully choreographed tour route and curated graphics, visitors are immersed in the Surly Destination Brewery Experience—a brand in and of itself.

Birmingham’s Rebuilt New Street Station


Like any epic journey, turning Birmingham’s 1960s reinforced concrete railway station into a futuristic transport hub, would be full of twists and turns. “We were running four design programmes in parallel, all at different stages and each affecting the building and that was quite complex,” says Stephen Ashton, Atkins’ engineering director on the £750 million project.

Starting in February 2008 Atkins’ original contract was for detailed design of the station redevelopment for client Network Rail. This would open up the dark and gloomy underground platform complex and increase passenger capacity in the station through the creation of a new concourse, improve vertical access to the platforms which sit below ground level, and deliver an enlarged station building. All of which was to be enveloped in an iconic futuristic roof structure.

The glass roof had been replaced with a transparent polymer called ETFE (Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene) which was to sit on a 30m long structural steel arched trusses. “We had this whole new loading system coming into the building with new roof structure and cladding along combined with the removal of the central part of the existing reinforced concrete frame. This means we are changing how the building moves, how loads were being applied and therefore we needed to analyse the building to ensure that the end product was stable,” says Ashton. From this the Global Stability Analysis (GSA) tool was born. This digital model enabled the team to mimic the impact of local design changes across the whole structure, running computational analysis as major changes were made.
Ashton says that throughout the project there were six key construction stages where the model was used as a construction tool to ensure stability through the build and advice on temporary works design. In the case of the new roof the team sought to ensure that loading was carried vertically through the existing reinforced concrete columns.

“As a result of all these loading changes we ended up strengthening 52 columns with concrete jackets of 100-200mm thick depending on the loads,” says Ashton.

Even more challenging was that as contractors started onsite it became apparent that the limited available as-built drawings did not accurately reflect the true condition of the building. “We had requested intrusive surveys for the start of the detailed design but the client was not able to undertake a significant number of these because it would mean closing parts of the station and Pallasades Shopping Centre which could not be done. So the decision was made to undertake those intrusive surveys during construction,” says Ashton.

This meant making a lot of design assumptions about existing building from the size of columns to percentage of reinforcement. Although the team made conservative estimates to be sure of the structural integrity they also assumed that the building was in relatively good condition which unfortunately turned out not to be the case. In some areas poor construction work on the 1960s building meant that the concrete contained a lot of voids, various concrete elements had deteriorated and rebar became exposed. Original movement joints for the building were not where the plans said they were.



The dragon-inspired pavilion at the Milan Expo by Daniel Libeskind features a sinuous body and a scaly red and gold skin. The Vanke Pavilion, for China’s largest property developer, is a spiralling structure with staircases wrapping around its perimeter and a “forest of bamboo” contained inside. Libeskind described the reptilian structure as a “handcrafted dragon”. Its exterior is clad with approximately 4,000 shimmering ceramic tiles that look like scales. These tiles feature a metallic surface, so they appear to change colour from red and pink to gold and white. The architect started this project thinking about Chinese landscape, and had a big collection of books on Chinese landscape art, which has these incredible mountains and formations. But, when he finished the project everybody saw this dragon. Then he discovered that the symbol of the dragon is underlining the mountain.

Libeskind said he is using the same cladding for a housing project in Berlin, so the pavilion provided a great opportunity to experiment with the material. Each tile is fixed to a steel supporting structure, and none of them appear to touch. Because of this, shadows form underneath each one. If one looks at the form of the pavilion, it is really to be seen in the round. The designer wanted it to be interesting from different perspectives, whether one came from one entrance or another, or whether one just stumble upon it, as it will always change in light. Two grey concrete staircases are slotted in behind the cladding – one forms the entrance and the other functions as the exit route. They wind up from the ground floor towards the two upper storeys and up to a terrace on the roof.

At the entrance, the staircase also widens to provide an informal seating area. Libeskind said he developed this form entirely through traditional drawing and modelling, instead of using the parametric modelling systems favored by architects including Zaha Hadid. The designer never used a computer to develop a form. The difference between this and parametric form is that this is not an aerodynamic form. It really is a handcrafted dragon.

Sky Pavilion, London


Tokyo-based architecture studio Nonscale Co designed the Sky Pavilion for a lawn in the Museum Gardens, a park neighboring the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. The studio won the annual Triumph Pavilion competition by ArchTriumph to highlight the work of an individual architect or design team. This year, applicants were asked to investigate how the sky changes the perception of architectural structures. Nonscale’s winning entry was a giant sundial that takes the form of a collection of “twinkling” stars on a mirrored platform. This London pavilion, designed to resemble a smattering of stars, casts reflections on a mirrored plate to operate like a giant sundial.

The pavilion is constructed from 17 twinkling stars, which point towards the North Star. The entire symbolic pavilion functions as a sundial. The architects designed the pavilion as a sundial, because they wanted to give the visitors a strong connection between the sky and the site, not only from its geometry, but, also from its function. People will experience and feel how we used to indicate time from the sky when there was less technology, and [when there was more] importance of astrology on our daily living.

Elongated spines that splay from the center of the stars are designed as gnomons – the triangular blade used to cast a shadow on the base of a sundial and indicate the time. The structure is pinned to a series of interlocking circular mirrors marked with radiating lines. As the position of the sun changes throughout the day, the reflections move across the markings to indicate the time. On each sundial platform, there are gnomons attached to the star units that point towards the North Star. These seven gnomons create shadows on the platform indicating the time from the sky.

In all, 17 small and large laser-cut stars join to form the structure, which is supported by a solid steel core and anchored to the ground. The four-metre-tall structure is made from a stainless steel composite and weighs over 2,000 kilograms. Colored floodlights illuminate the Sky Pavilion after dark when it can no longer operate as a sundial.

New Study Centre at Oxford University


Zaha Hadid has completed a new facility for the University of Oxford – a centre for studying Middle Eastern culture, conceived by the architect as a reflective tunnel suspended in space. The Investcorp Building expands the Middle East Centre at St Antony’s College – one of the seven graduate colleges that comprise the UK’s oldest university, providing a new lecture theatre, library and archive.

The building is designed not only to look contemporary, but, to also match the scale and massing of existing buildings on the historic campus, from the Victorian-era convent and library, to the 1970s Brutalist-style Hilda Besse building. This resulted in a smooth curving form that gradually changes in height, and also turns to avoid the trunk and roots of a century-old Sequoia tree. The project maintains the detached character of the college’s current buildings, allowing them to be read as separate elements, while introducing a contemporary building that conveys the past, present and future evolution of the college, university and city.

It’s design weaves through the restricted site at St Antony’s College to connect and incorporate the existing protected buildings and trees, while its stainless-steel facade softly reflects natural light to echo the building’s context. The Middle East Centre was established in 1957 as the university’s primary faculty for the study of humanities and social sciences in the modern Arab world. The new structure bridges the gap between 68 and 66 Woodstock Road, providing three above-ground storeys and an extra level in the basement. Overall, it offers 1,127 square metres of additional floor space for the centre. Mirrored stainless steel clads the majority of the building, allowing it to reflect its surroundings. There are also large expanses of glazing – some sections function as windows, while others have painted backs.

The 117-seat lecture theatre is housed in the basement, along with separate archives for photography and paper documents. Above this, the more public ground floor accommodates a multi-purpose gallery space that can be used for informal meetings and study. Glazing surrounds most of this storey. The first and second floors are contained behind the stainless-steel facade, housing the majority of the storage, reading rooms and offices that comprise the library. This includes a total of 26 desks and 2,200 square metres of linear book storage. Oak-veneer boards are combined with perforated acoustic panels to line the walls in several rooms. There are also 25 skylights across the roof that bring natural daylight into the facility. The plaza at the building’s entrance is paved with hexagonal granite tiles, while a new lawn doubles as a green roof above the auditorium.



A black box made from panels of moulded steel creates a rippling enclosure for the upper storeys of this Givenchy flagship store in Korea by Italian architects Piuarch. Milanese studio Piuarch collaborated with Givenchy art director Riccardo Tisci on the design for the new store, which stands on a corner plot in the heart of the Gangnam-Gu shopping district of Seoul, South Korea.

The textured facade is made up from undulating panels of steel with a highly polished surface that reflects the light and surrounding street. Each mirror-like panel was moulded into a shape featuring peaks and troughs and aligned to form the bumpy surface that creates a shifting hound stooth-like pattern when light reflects off the surface. Small perforations in the material allow light to penetrate into the upper floors.

According to the architects, the facade references the textures and patterns used in the work of Italian artists Enrico Castellani and Lucio Fontana in the 1960s, and the optical patterns used in the brand’s latest collections.

The metal cladding peels away along one corner of the building to reveal a tapered T-shaped slice of the golden brass wall beneath. Designed as a sort of enclosure – a second embossed skin is an expression of an urban identity, and the facade is meant to evoke the distinctive tailoring ‘T cut’ that characterizes the style of the French brand. The metal hood stops short of the grey basalt pavement, revealing the ground level of the shop behind a layer of glass.

The architects describe the design as a hyper-minimalist interior that reflects the themes and the allure of the brand. Black marble treads cantilever from a contrasting pale marble wall to create a staircase, which leads to the upper floors through a glazed well.