he question haunts me every time someone says it to me and unfortunately, that’s all too often. It’s kind of like saying “well, I’ll get car insurance after I’ve had an accident or home insurance after the hurricane. That just doesn’t make any sense at all. And I believe it’s because of a fundamental issue. Most folks don’t understand how security works. Back in the medieval ages, security meant build a big castle wall with a moat (some people still think this is effective [wink, wink, nudge, nudge]); then after the hordes changed tactics and instead of advancing would lay siege.
The transformation of traditional office space through open-plan workspaces has been heralded as the next great frontier in office productivity and culture, encouraging open communication, collaboration, and efficient use of space. Many recent open-plan offices have embraced contemporary design with aesthetically pleasing decor and dynamic lifestyle elements such as coffee bars, full-service café, lounge areas, and treadmill desks. In the past year, however, open office design has come under some scrutiny. A recent Harvard study found that while open office workspaces can lead to increased communication, they also can inhibit productivity. According to the study, the lack of privacy and the abundance of distractions and noise have limited employees’ ability to focus.
New York, NY Shawmut Design and Construction has completed the Alumni Auditorium renovation at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC). Shawmut, along with design-partner MdeAS Architects, reimagined the auditorium to deliver a bright, welcoming, and modern learning environment and assembly space where employees, students, and visitors can gather, share ideas, and innovate. Other project team members included: MEP engineer - WSP Group; structural engineer - Leslie E. Robertson Associates, RLLP; and LEED consultant - Vidaris, Inc.
Brooklyn, NY According to DXA studio, a New York based architecture and design firm, 280 St. Marks Ave., a condominium building in Prospect Heights has been completed. 280 St. Marks Ave. is a 80,000 s/f, 31-unit condominium building in Prospect Heights. Located in a neighborhood celebrated for its brownstones and brick townhouses, DXA maintained the cadence and quality of the surrounding neighborhood in the faceted façade of the building. The angles also correspond to the Flatbush Tpke. which ran near the site, whose early grid was superimposed by the city grid in the 1800’s resulting in angled neighboring buildings and irregular property lines.
Jersey City, NJ Friends of BelovED Community Charter School 2, Inc. (Friends 2) and the project team of Urbahn Architects and construction manager Hollister Construction Services have reached the construction milestone of “topping out” – or completing the structural steel frame – for the new BelovED Community Charter School’s Middle School building. The new school will be situated on a half-acre parcel of land located at 535 Grand St. New Jersey Community Capital and Provident Bank have provided construction financing of $12.5 million for the project.
Manhattan, NY In Greenwich Village, a new rooftop expansion and athletic center for the Grace Church School shows how urban institutions can make every inch count. Designed by Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architect (MBB) to accommodate growth at the independent preparatory high school’s campus, this 14,000 s/f, double-height addition delivers highly flexible spaces full of sunlight for varied physical activities, academic uses, and events. Centered on a large, multipurpose gymnasium and new gathering areas, the expansion also adds offices, classrooms, locker rooms and storage facilities, as well as a new fitness center and golf simulator room.
Manhattan, NY A $50 million program of capital improvements at New York City’s Paramount Building has brought extensive upgrades and a lobby relocation designed to better accommodate modern tenant needs at the Times Sq. office tower. Commercial real estate services firm Levin Management Corp. (LMC) oversaw the renovation as owner’s construction representative. Fifield Piaker Elman Architects PC. served as the architect.
Rochester, NY Attendees celebrated the grand opening of the SWBR-designed RIT MAGIC Spell Studios, a new 52,000 s/f facility to converge strategic components of the university’s creative arts & media programs under one roof. The builder for the $17.2 million project was Welliver. Janson Tsai Design Associates was responsible for technical and acoustic design. “MAGIC Spell Studios is a landmark facility that uniquely embraces innovation, collaboration and entrepreneurship,” said SWBR principal Mark Maddalina. “It supports the convergence of computer game design, film, animation and digital media education in an inspiring, professional environment.”
Manhattan, NY CNY’s interiors division has completed the $3.2 million interior renovation of the 6,000 s/f lobby at The Chelsea Mercantile Building, a 354-unit condominium located at 252 Seventh Ave. Scott Yarmus, CNY interiors project executive, said, “Our work at Chelsea Mercantile was challenging due to an extensive demolition and reconstruction of existing lobby spaces in multiple phases, while maintaining a 24/7 active public entrance and egress for residents. All MEP and life safety systems remained operational during construction, and were then upgraded. We were pleased to collaborate with ODA Architecture and property manager RoseTerra Management LLC throughout the project.”
New York, NY WSP has acquired Louis Berger, a U.S.-headquartered leading international professional services firm. Louis Berger is mainly active in the transportation & infrastructure and environmental & water sectors, as well as in master planning; sectors and services that WSP has targeted for growth. The addition of Louis Berger will also reinforce WSP’s presence in the federal U.S. market as it has developed expertise and built experience in governmental contracts (including federal military and economic and institutional development).