Plumen Lighting featured Microsoft Malvern on their instagram page on 4/1//18!
On Thursday 24th August I attended the IIDA Gala - Composing Great Design 2017 Awards on behalf of Hastings Architecture Associates. Four of our projects were nominated and we collected two awards.
WME: Large Corporate
Asurion Orlando recently opened their doors and features a look inside on their blog.
Microsoft Nashville was featured on Office Snapshots! This was our primary office for the Tech Company and the Design Team here at Hastings did an incredible job.
See link below:
I recently attended the Nashville sector of Ladies, Wine and Design with my colleague Lindsay.
Here is a little blurb from their website to give you some context:
Ladies, Wine Design was started by Jessica Walsh after writing this article as an initiative to foster female creativity. Only a tiny percent of creative directors are women, and LW&D wants to help change this through mentorship circles, portfolio reviews, and creative meet-ups. In less than a year of launching, we've spread to chapters in over 75 cities all over the world. In New York, LW&D is a monthly salon night limited to a small group of creative women. We’ll wine, dine, and have casual conversations on a wide variety of topics relating to creativity, business, and life."
"A salon night held monthly with a mix of large and small groups. We'll have drinks and casual conversations on a wide variety of topics relating to creativity, business, and life. If you’re a female student or creative and would like to join, please RSVP with the EventBrite link to reserve a spot. It’s free and reservations are first come, first serve."
Hosted by the wonderful Lindsey Laseter of Perky Bros it provides a forum for women of different design backgrounds to discuss topics that branch across all creative sectors. The next one is on August 17th and the topic is Confidence.
I recently wrote a guest blog post about my favorite interior design spots around Nashville.
Follow this link to check it out: http://www.holleymaherblog.com/holley-maher-blog/2017/8/1/why-i-pick-what-i-eat-based-on-how-a-place-looks-a-guest-post-by-interior-designer-abi-spear
See below for the full article:
My first instinct isn't to look at a menu. It's to look through the window.
In my opinion, if a restaurant or bar pays attention to how it presents itself or takes the time to focus on the finer details of your dining experience, surely the food should follow suit -- or be even better, as that is its primary function, right?!
To me, a beautiful restaurant is usually the kind of restaurant that shows utmost respect to the customer. There is a psychology behind how people use spaces, and that's a large portion of what my job focuses on. From a business point of view, the longer a person spends in your space, the more they will consume -- and the more money will be spent. People will return in the knowledge that they will eat well, feel comfortable, and are not going to be moved on for the next round of diners. And that's why they'll return time and time again.
I spend a lot of my time looking into the design of restaurants and hotels. Even though I specialize in the design of commercial workplace, I find that there is a lot of cross over particularly for companies like Microsoft. They have a specific design language that ensures their brand is continuous, but that each site has its own identity. It encourages the movement away from the traditional workplace and closer to what you's expect to see in residential and hospitality design. So this leads me to study the influences, the design, and the psychology behind places of leisure much more closely.
As a preface: My husband and I eat out quite a lot, generally at the places I am going to talk about below. We are definitely narrow-minded in our food selections when we go to these places. We get the same thing every single time, because it's too good. My husband would call it refined taste. I, on the other hand am too scared to get anything else in case I order something I might regret. *shrug.*
Photos above via Kathryn Lager Design Studio
Henrietta Red ticks all of my personal design language boxes. Simple, warm, Scandinavian, muted color palette. It is not overkill, with pattern being added in the way of tile that doesn't over-complicate. The design fades into the background and makes you feel comfortable and at home in a way that 'hygge' would suggest. (That's an idea borrowed from Danish cultures, and the concept is, basically, the art of creating intimacy by designing your space for Optimal Coziness.)
Whether or not the design is intentionally meant to be Scandinavian, I am unsure. Maybe it's the seafood-heavy food selection or the ambiance with its wood burning oven, but I feel like I could be in Copenhagen every time I visit. In fact, the place is meant to embody Julia Sullivan's (owner and head chef) Grandparents "Carolina low-country hospitality" which doesn't feel like a dissimilar concept to hygge to me.
This place could so easily be pretentious, but it's somehow managed to avoid that. I also really like the idea of keeping the bar area and the dining area separate. It adds a journey to your eating experience, or a separation if you are not doing one or the other. The furniture is perfectly selected and the crockery is from Heath Ceramics. (That's enough to make my heart melt.) Kathryn Lager Design Studio did such a great job with this space!
- Any of the Crudo dishes
- Oysters (if your into them, they are shucked right in front of you)
- Braised Lamb
- Roasted Carrots
- The Chocolate Goat - if it ever returns to the menu!
Photos above via Design, Bitches
Entering the restaurant through a golden door, you flow into the blush pink glow of the interior. I prefer this place when the sun is setting and all the candles are lit. It's as though the design blends with the sunset. (Sorry, that was corny, But, seriously, visit at dusk and you will see.)
This place was conducted by Design, Bitches -- which are without a doubt the coolest female-led design company to come out of LA.
I love the design of Little Octopus not just as a whole, but because of all the intricate and well-thought-out design details that complete it. As Holley pointed out when we were last there, even the light fixtures look like the suckers on an octopus' tentacle. A well-executed but un-obvious design concept is the best kind.
A little more obvious is the giant gold Octopus mural painted on the back wall. We recently had the artist Chris Zidek into Hastings for a Design Lab discussion that we host once a week. He is awesome and claims that if you find matching patterns on the octopus, he'll buy you a free meal there. Again, the kitchen is open so it appears we are running into a theme here.
- Fingerling Potatoes (Holley seconds this, very, very much.)
- Melon salad
Most photos above via Mas Taco's Facebook Page or Pinterest. The rest are from Abi's wedding.
MAS TACOS, POR FAVOR
Mas Tacos, Por Favor (commonly referred to as just "Mas Tacos") could be seen as a giant contrast to the two expensively designed establishments that I mentioned above, particularly as it started out as a food truck. This doesn't, however, mean that it is any less thought-out.
The place might not look like much from the outside, but you'll be pleasantly surprised upon entering. The charm of Mas Tacos lies in its eclectic collection of Mexican themed accessories and a hand drawn menu wall. This place has character, done in the most tasteful of ways. Every wonky chair, every old portrait feels like it has a story and a feeling of authenticity. I believe that the owner and head chef traveled to Mexico to study the local cuisine, which is evident in her fresh and delicious cooking. (A note from Holley: This place is incredible. I dare you to find a better taco anywhere. Yeah, I said it.) A bar area is a recent addition to the restaurant, and my husband and I actually had our post-wedding meal here. The atmosphere was perfect for celebrating.
I adore this place, and for $3 a taco, we just keep coming back. (It's cash only, so heads up! Have your ATM card ready.)
- The Cast-Iron Chicken Tacos
- Chicken Tortilla Soup
- The Fried Fish Taco
- Literally Any Taco, Tho
- All The Margaritas!
Photos via Nashville Guru
It doesn't seem like Old Glory is trying to "make its mark." Instead, it feels like it's fitting into or even taking a backseat to the cavernous old building in which it is situated. Heritage refurbishment (that's the careful and historically-conscious refurbishment of older building) holds a special place in my heart, and I was fortunate to work on a major rejuvenation project in London. (See: Coals Drops, Kings Cross.)
There are so many fantastic old buildings in Nashville that have the opportunity to leak their character into the next bar/restaurant/housing project, and it is such a shame when these are torn down to accommodate for the dreaded Tall-And-Skinny housing complex. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate that there is an additional cost associated with refurbishment, but history is so cherished here in the USA, and these buildings should be rescued whenever possible.
I like that the entrance way to this 1920's boiler room is so inconspicuous. The lack of wayfinding (that's the use of signage or other methods of communicating direction to travelers) makes simply finding Old Glory an adventure in itself. When you do manage to enter, you walk into what is essentially one gigantic room. The height of the open, three-story space is vast, which makes you feel particularly tiny on the ground level. Here's a link to some history about the building and neighborhood in which Old Glory resides, called Edgehill Village.
Anyway, I could ramble on about Old Glory, but what I love most is that it feels untouched and unintrusive. The respect for the original building is still there, and I think there is nothing better than when a building can be used for a multitude of functions over its (hopefully very long) lifespan.
- I'm British, so anything with gin.
Abi Spear representing Hastings Architecture Associates
For 29 years, the Tractor Supply Company's Music Country Grand Prix — benefiting Saddle Up, an equine-assisted program for children and adults with disabilities — was described as the best kept secret in Nashville. Now, over 1,000 attendees of all ages make their way to Sissie Anderton's beautiful Brownland Farm to partake in one of the premier show-jumping events in the nation. "This event features the type of riveting competition seen at the Olympics as participants contend for the $40,000 purse," explained co-chairs Sarah Ingram and Jennifer Pennington.
In addition to the breathtaking match-up and a significant silent auction, featuring one-of-a-kind trips and unique items, the Grand Prix includes a patrons tent with a scrumptious summer supper and a Jack Daniel's sponsored bar as well as a specially created People Prix — in which children can test their jumping abilities over custom-made jumps. Over 500 patrons sitting at rectangular tables covered in bright DayGlo cloths enjoyed a magnificent view of the tournament course while sipping on the signature drink — the Up and Over — made of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey, sweet and sour mix and Sprite. To the delight of volunteers and supporters alike, the bountiful buffet was again presented by Puckett's and Wild Iris.
MBA student Rhys Rutherford opened the concours with an emotional rendition of our national anthem, and Abbie Clark presented the flag as well as the 2017 honorees. There was a lovely light breeze, and families frolicked in the bucolic setting. "This year, despite the improvement of moving to the middle of the farm to expand the venue, community support and attendance has grown, so we over-sold our patron tables, filled our six cabanas, and our grandstands are brimming over," exclaimed Jennifer. "Next year, we will put in more cabanas, tables and bleachers so that we are ready; we have plenty of room here to grow!"
Article from Nfocus. Original article can be viewed here:
Abi Spear attended on behalf of Hastings Architecture Associates.
The Nashville Business Journal was honored to recognized our 2017 class of Power Leaders in Commercial Real Estate during a cocktail reception this week at the Noah Liff Opera Center.
For more on this year’s honorees, including our interview with Turner, be sure to check out the upcoming weekly edition of the Nashville Business Journal. You can also check out this slideshow, in which this year’s honorees discuss the projects they would most like Music City to land next.
Article from the Nashville Business Journal. See below for original article:
William Hastings has wanted new downtown Nashville office space for a couple of years now, needing more room for a workforce that has quadrupled since landing in SoBro a dozen years ago. But his wasn't exactly the typical office search.
"We wanted space with character, history and architectural significance. If that's your criteria, it's hard to find," Hastings said.
Perhaps that makes Hastings Architecture Associates, the Nashville area's third-largest architecture firm, the ideal and logical buyer to emerge for Metro's former Ben West Library. The building on Polk Street has sat vacant for roughly a decade, but Hastings now is under contract to pay $4 million to buy it — with plans to spend another $6 million to $8 million on renovations.
"We're out of space. It's that simple. Our desire is to stay downtown and do something reinvigorating that has some meaning," Hastings said in an interview. The firm his father started more than 30 years ago now employs 61 people. That's up from a head count of 16 when offices moved from West End to SoBro in 2002.
Metro has attempted to sell the site multiple times in recent years. Most recently, the Tennessee Education Association was set to buy the building for the same price Hastings is paying. That move was contingent upon the teachers' union selling its Germantown-area building to Dallas developer Provident Realty Advisors — a deal that fell apart in fall 2016, which meant the teachers' union did not follow through with its purchase of the Ben West Library.
Metro owns part of the site, and heirs of the McLanahan family, which originally donated the property to Metro, own the remaining portion. Hastings has separate purchase contracts in place with both entities. Metro Council must vote to allow Metro to sell its land. Legislation enabling that land sale is set to debut at a council meeting on March 7. If it progresses smoothly, Metro Council could approve the bill in early April.
“I am thrilled with the opportunity presented by Hastings Architecture to renovate and reuse this property while maintaining the historic features of the building," Mayor Megan Barry said in a statement. "While it is unfortunate that the agreement with the Tennessee Education Association was not able to be completed, I am confident that Hastings Architecture will put the Old Ben West Library to great use in a way that respects the history of the building."
Hastings said the building offers about 40,000 square feet of space for offices. After renovations, the architecture firm will occupy about half of that space and seek tenants to lease the other half, Hastings said.
"This site and building holds special meaning and promise for us," said David Bailey, a principal at Hastings Architecture. Bailey noted that the site is where downtown's original Carneige Library opened in 1906. Metro tore down that library to build the Ben West Library in the mid-1960s.
Hastings said he expects to move-in around the start of 2018.
Hastings has 13,500 square feet of space at its current building on Third Avenue South, which the company owns. After moving out, Hastings plans to retain ownership and lease that building to new tenants.
Article from the Nashville Business Journal. See original article below:
Franklin, Tenn.—Highwoods Properties Inc. will develop the new U.S. headquarters for Mars Petcare in the Cool Springs district of Franklin, Tenn.
The 224,000-square-foot property, which will consist of two connected LEED Gold certified office buildings, will be part of the Ovation development. The 145-acre Ovation will be a high-density, mixed-use development with 56 acres of perpetually dedicated preserved green space.
Highwoods will serve as the owner and developer of the office portion of Ovation, which is planned for up to 1.4 million square feet. Thomas Land & Development is the developer of the non-office portions of Ovation.
“The development is part of a dynamic mixed-use Ovation project, which will ultimately feature 480,000 square feet of retail, two hotels and 950 residential units in addition to Highwoods’1.4-million square feet of office space,” Brian Reames, Highwoods Properties’ senior vice president, told Commercial Property Executive.
The estimated cost of the pre-leased development project with structured parking is $96 million, including the value of Highwoods-owned land.
“Ovation is the heartbeat of the heart of Williamson County, an area where Mars Petcare has become a significant part of a wonderful community,” Reames said. “To be able to office within a walkable environment that includes retail, entertainment, residential units and a significant portion of preserved green space checks a lot of boxes.”
According to Reames, working with Mars Petcare means that Highwoods has earned the opportunity to work with one of the most widely respected, internationally recognized and admired companies in the world.
“For the last 11 years, we have called Franklin home and we’re excited about our new U.S. headquarters at Ovation, one of the largest planned mixed-use projects in Williamson County,” Renee Peets, vice president and executive project sponsor of Mars Petcare, said. “It’s an exciting project, ideally situated in a vibrant location, and will bring the best of ‘work, rest and play’ to our nearly 1,000-area associates and their pets.”
Construction is scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2017, with a second quarter 2019 targeted completion date.
Image courtesy of Hastings Architecture Associates
Article from Commercial Property Executive. Original article below:
Pet food manufacturer Mars Petcare has picked the Ovation mixed-use development in Cool Springs for its $96 million new U.S. headquarters, which Raleigh, N.C.-based Highwood Properties will develop.
The business segment of McLean, Va.-based candy and consumer brands conglomerate Mars. Inc. will occupy up to 224,000 square feet of space in two connected buildings with structured parking.
Renee Peets, a vice president at Mars Petcare, referred to the planned move from leased space at two separate Cool Springs office buildings as an efficiency play by the company that employs roughly 1,000 people in Williamson County. "It allows for much more collaborative space — common areas where associates can gather," she said, adding that Mars Petcare's new headquarters will also be pet-friendly.
Construction should start in the third quarter on the pair of new buildings, which will kick off Highwoods' overall development of up to 1.4 million square feet of office space on part of its 68 acres at Ovation.
Completion is targeted for the second quarter of 2019 for the Mars Petcare buildings. They will be part of a four-or-five building creative office campus that will have up to 500,000 square feet of space overall on 12.5 acres at what's being called the East End at Ovation, just east of Ovation Parkway.
he pair of buildings will sit among some of the 56 acres of preserved green space planned at Ovation. The green space is planned for land owned by Highwoods and also Atlanta-based Thomas Land and Development, which separately has zoning approved for 480,000 square feet of retail space, 450 hotel rooms and 950 apartment on the bulk of its 77 acres at Ovation.
The overall 145-acre Ovation property is at the southeast corner of Carothers Parkway and McEwen Drive, adjacent to the 85-acre Liberty Park.
Currently, Mars Petcare has its headquarters in 120,000 square feet of space at the Aspen Grove Office Center II building at 315 Cool Springs Blvd. and occupies a floor and a half at The McEwen Building at 1550 W. McEwen Drive in Franklin. Expiration of those leases will coincide with the the company's move to Ovation.
Elsewhere in Middle Tennessee, Mars Petcare has manufacturing and distribution operations that employ roughly 100 people in Lebanon. The company also has its Global Innovation Center in Franklin, which employs about 150 people. Parent Mars Inc. has separate Wrigley candy and Mars chocolate plants in Chattanooga and Cleveland, Tenn.
Brian Reames, a senior vice president with Highwoods and regional manager for its Nashville division, recalled Mars a decade ago being a customer of the developer at Brentwood's Maryland Farms office park. "I'm excited about restarting the relationship," he said. "We're back working with each other again."
Mars Petcare's Peets said the company evaluated many property options across the Nashville region, but staying in Cool Springs emerged as the top priority.
"It was important for us to be within a 10-mile radius of our existing campuses to minimalize impact of commute," she said. "We wanted an environment engaging to our associates and we wanted a site that would deliver on the Cool Springs conveniences — proximity to Nashville and area airports and all of the shopping, restaurant, services and amenities."
Article from The Tennessean. Original article below:
One of the 10 largest employers in Williamson County, and one of that county's biggest corporate brand names, is hunting for a new headquarters.
Mars Petcare U.S. Inc. is pursuing about 200,000 square feet of office space, according to multiple real estate sources. Such a move would mark major growth for a company that already employs 1,000 people in what is this region's longtime corporate hub and the fastest-growing county in Tennessee. Expansion by Mars Petcare, known for pet brands such as Pedigree and Sheba, would be another jolt of economic development for Williamson County, which has been adding jobs faster than any other in the nation, according to the latest federal data.
Though it remains to be seen where the company will land, the prospects identified by several sources are all located within Williamson County, where Mars Petcare is currently headquartered. That county's private-sector growth has sapped almost all of its top-grade Class A office space. Just 0.9 percent of all the space in Franklin/Cool Springs, for example, is available to rent, according to market stats from real estate brokerage firm Cushman & Wakefield.
The upshot: Should Mars Petcare commit to this expansion, they'd be moving into a building that doesn't exist today, given the relatively large amount of space the company is seeking.
Messages for Mars Petcare officials were not immediately returned Wednesday.
A decade ago, the company relocated its headquarters to Franklin from the Los Angeles area. Two years ago this month, Mars Petcare opened a $110 million Global Innovation Center in the town of Thompson's Station. (A slideshow of that facility is included with this story.) That campus, where about 140 people work, is 15 minutes south of the Cool Springs headquarters.
Mars Petcare and its parent, the McLean, Va.-based candy conglomerate Mars Inc., employ about 1,700 people statewide — including at facilities in Lebanon, as well as those in Chattanooga and Cleveland.
For its current headquarters, Mars Petcare leases the office building at 315 Cool Springs Blvd., which contains about 126,000 square feet of space. It was not immediately clear whether Mars Petcare would vacate that building or keep some or all of that space as it pursues this potential new headquarters. When Mars Petcare opened the Thompson's Station building in 2014, company officials said publicly that they had a few years remaining on their Cool Springs lease.
For more on the projects that may be in play to land Mars, our subscribers can check out this analysis.
Article from Nashville Business Journal. Original article below:
Nashville-based tech support company Asurion is launching its first office in Orlando with a job fair on Tuesday, Aug. 16, to hire support technicians to handle incoming calls.
It plans to hire 350 this year, and another 200 for the facility next year.
Asurion provides call center support for major clients such as AT&T and Verizon. The Orlando facility will be focused on its Soluto product, which provides remote access to multiple mobile devices.
The company said it intends to open by Oct. 1 in Orlando, at 4000 Millenia Blvd. Asurion says it is seeking "technology enthusiasts.”
The company asks that job applicants bring their resumes to the event, as interviews will be conducted on site. The hiring event will be at Hyatt Place Orlando-Universal, 5895 Caravan Court, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m on Aug. 16.
According to a news release, the jobs start at $15.25 per hour, above Florida's current minimum wage of $8.05, and there are performance-based pay incentives, training, overtime opportunities and tuition reimbursement, and medical, dental and vision benefits.
Currently the company has several tech support jobs in Orlando posted on its website, along with human resources and supervisor openings.
Orlando and the Central Florida region have many call centers, especially related to travel, pharmacy and personal finance. In July, a call center company that supports online retail, Radial, was gearing up to hire 3,200 workers for its Brevard County call centers in Melbourne and Merritt Island.
Asurion says it has 17,000 employees globally.
Article from the Orlando Sentinel. See original article below:
A global technology firm plans to open its first Orlando office on Oct. 1, creating hundreds of jobs in the process.
Nashville-based Asurion LLC will hire 350 customer support technicians by end of year to support Soluto, the company's fastest-growing business division.
The firm will open a new 50,000 square-foot office at 4000 Millenia Blvd., Asurion spokesman Hamlet Fort told Orlando Business Journal. Check out the images for that new project.
Asurion is expected to create 550 new jobs paying an average annual salary of $32,000 in the next three years.
Asurion will host a job fair Aug. 16 from 1 to 5 p.m. at Hyatt Place Orlando Universal, 5895 Caravan Court in southwest Orlando. Job applicants are asked to bring their resumés.
Asurion, a private company with more than 17,000 employees worldwide, provides technology protection and support services for mobile devices, televisions, tablets, laptops and more. Soluto provides Asurion's more than 290 million customers with tech problem solving and device repairs.
Article from Orlando Business Journal. See original article below:
Architect Magazine has unveiled the latest edition of the “Architect 50,” their list of the 50 best architecture firms in the United States. The 2016 rankings are based on scores from three categories: business, design and sustainability; the last of which was calculated using a new methodology this year. Topping the list this year was ZGF Architects, who also were given the distinction of top sustainable firm, while William Rawn Associates and Marlon Blackwell Architects finished number 1 in business and design, respectively.
See the top 10 from each category after the break.
- ZGF Architects
- Westlake Reed Leskosky
- Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
- Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture
- William Rawn Associates
- WRNS Studio
- Hastings Architecture Associates
- Brooks + Scarpa
Article from Archdaily. See original article below:
ZGF Architects has always ranked high in the Architect 50, but this is the year the Portland, Ore.–based firm finally broke through, wresting the number one spot away from last year’s winner, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture. ZGF was also the top firm in the sustainability category; read a review of the firm’s big year. William Rawn Associates, a mainstay on the list, was number one in the business category. Discover how the firm had such a profitable year. And Marlon Blackwell Architects topped the design category; read more about why the judges loved the firm’s portfolio.
Proving that smaller firms can compete with the multinationals, Hastings Architecture Associates and Brooks + Scarpa Architects both cracked the Top 10 overall.
Discover who else had a banner 2015: Check out the top 50 firms in business, sustainability, and design. Review our refined methodology (we made the most significant changes to the sustainability category). And review some of the key data submitted by the top 50 firms.
Article from Architect Magazine. See original article below:
The ‘kissing links’ structure that will make up the roof of a new shopping centre at King’s Cross Coal Drops Yard is certainly striking.
Bam’s redevelopment of the King’s Cross Coal Drops Yard is a big job, with the contractor having started work in the general King’s Cross area in 2008. Work began on the 100,000 sq ft Coal Drops Yard scheme in early 2016 and work is due for completion late next year.
The Open Doors tour takes my group to the north side of the development, looking down towards the ‘kissing whales’, two steel structure links, bandied together ahead, that will make up the roof of the new Heatherwick-designed shopping centre.
Project manager David Packham says developer Argent is already in talks with a number of prospective tenants.
The scheme was approved by Camden Council in December 2015, with Bam appointed as main contractor to convert the former coal drop buildings into shops and restaurants.
Speaking following the approval, Argent senior projects director Morwenna Hall said: “Coal Drops Yard has been designed to be a shopping experience unlike any other.
“The design by Heatherwick Studio is a considered response to the important Victorian industrial buildings from the 1850s; in fact, the ability for future visitors to the Coal Drops Yard to appreciate the history and various functions of these buildings has been fundamental to the design process.”
The second part of the tour is a smaller development across the square, but no less impressive. The R1 site, which will form new education facilities for the Aga Khan Development Network. Last year, CN reported the new building was understood to have a construction value of around £50m.
Once complete, it will be home to the AKDN’s Institute of Ismaili Studies and the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations.
Before I leave, I speak to one of my fellow tour members, a local resident who’s interested in seeing how the projects are coming along. On Open Doors, she says: “The community engagement has been very good… I’m interested in seeing how all these big projects come together.”
Article from Construction News. Original article below:
Located next to Regent's Canal, Coal Drops Yard will include approximately 65 shops, including five large stores as well as restaurants, galleries, music venues and a new public square.
The London-based Heatherwick Studio will renovate two existing buildings next door to the Central Saint Martins school campus, which were built in 1850 and used for storing coal arriving from the north of England.
But the designer also plans to adapt the pair of structures so that their traditional gabled roofs will curve up towards each other and meet.
"These two historic structures were never originally designed for people to circulate through and by themselves would have never made a successful retail destination if we did nothing more than clean them and fill them with shops," said Heatherwick.
"The distance between them being too great to have any social chemistry with each other and only two stories of activity would not create enough busy-ness and vitality."
"So rather than adding an entirely foreign new structure to connect the old buildings, we chose simply to bend and stitch the two roofs together, forming another level of activity underneath, and framing and weather-protecting a dynamic new public space for the city," he added.
The 9,300-square-metre project was commissioned by property developer Argent and is being led by King's Cross Central Limited Partnership (KCCLP), which is overseeing the wider redevelopment of the area.
"Coal Drops Yard has been designed to be a shopping experience unlike any other," said Morwenna Hall, senior projects director for Argent.
"The design by Heatherwick Studio is a considered response to the important Victorian industrial buildings from the 1850s; in fact, the ability for future visitors to the Coal Drops Yard to appreciate the history and various functions of these buildings has been fundamental to the design process."
Heatherwick Studio is also believed to be working on the latest designs for Google's new London headquarters, which is part of the same development.
Camden Council granted planning permission for Coal Drops Yard in a meeting last night. Construction is due to start in early 2016 and complete in autumn 2018.
A teaser image of the proposal was revealed by the studio in October, showing the original cobbled streets and brick arches accompanied by a new bridge link. The latest pictures reveal more details about the bended roof design.
Heatherwick is currently working on several other architecture projects, including a plant-covered Maggie's Centre and the controversial Garden Bridge. He is one of several designers to make the jump to architecture, with others including Dror Benshtrit and Maarten Baas.
Article from Dezeen. See original article below:
What have the developers ever done for us? Nothing, except the two schools, the university, the 2,000 new homes, of which 50% are affordable, the swimming pool, jobs, the cookery school, the community garden grown in skips, so it can be moved around, the floodlit sports pitch, the 20 restored historic buildings, the not-bad architecture, the creation of 26 acres of open space, with fountains and trees, in what were partly inaccessible backlands. Apart from that, nothing.
The development of King’s Cross in London, now about half complete, is the most substantial fulfilment yet of an idea that the best way to transform an urban area, and to improve the lives around it with facilities and investment, is for commercial development to take the lead, while working closely with local authorities and local communities. It requires property companies to act like de facto municipalities, while making a profit for their backers. The idea is a manifestation of what Tony Blair called the “third way”, and David Cameron the “big society”, without achieving that much by way of tangible results.
The alternative, as was achieved in Covent Garden in the 1970s, and in the Coin Street area near Waterloo since the 1980s, would be for local communities to form their own development groups, which would change sites incrementally. This is championed by Michael Edwards, a lecturer in planning at University College London, who has been campaigning on King’s Cross for more than two decades. What we get now, he says, “is a very upmarket kind of development, whose services and facilities are for educated, sophisticated people with money in their pockets”.
The modern tycoons in this area are certainly different from their Victorian predecessors, the railway companies who built the great stations of King’s Cross and St Pancras, with their associated tracks, marshalling yards and coal drops, which still define the area. Then, when they needed more space for their operations, they ejected the 2,000 residents of what is now the site of the British Library, greatly exacerbating the overcrowding in the surrounding slums, without so much as a multicoloured consultation leaflet in sight.
The spatial remnants of their casual infrastructural brutality made up the site of the current development, pieces of land left over by the radii of tracks, exploited for subsidiary uses, and occupied by sometimes magnificent structures such as the cast-iron gas holders that used to crown this bit of skyline, and the 1851 Granary Building, where goods were transferred between rail, canal barge and horse-drawn traffic. A canal, sunk into the land, added to the drama. Bits of inhabitation – a row of workers’ houses, an early example of philanthropic housing – attached themselves to the site’s surfaces and crevices. In time film-makers came to like it: see, for example, The Ladykillers.
By the 1980s, much of the industrial use had receded, leaving a part-wilderness with the unintended poetry that comes when mighty works recede, a Campo Vaccino of bricks, iron, weeds and mud. It was a place made of margins, but was near the centre of London. Not that it was all empty. As Mike Leigh’s High Hopesshowed, lives were lived here. People had homes, jobs. They did things. There was a nature reserve, formed out of wasteland. The area had a reputation, sometimes exaggerated but nonetheless based in reality, for prostitution and drugs.
The first attempt at comprehensive redevelopment, to plans by Norman Foster, was killed off by the recession of the early 1990s. The second, by the King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership, has been in progress since developers Argent were appointed in 2000 to lead the project. Argent’s stated idea was to understand the location and its issues before asking architects to design anything, to which end its chief executive Roger Madelin set about consulting the many interested parties. He went around by bicycle, talking to 7,500 different people, he says, in 353 different meetings.
Madelin also waxes eloquent about the site’s physical and other constraints: tunnels, tracks, service pipes, the canal, listed buildings, contaminated ground, a gas governor that, if wrongly housed, could explode. The site is restricted by viewing corridors, the rules that prevent new buildings interfering with views of St Paul’s Cathedral, in this case from Parliament Hill and Kenwood House. They mean that there can be no towers on the site, except on its northern end.
Argent had at least some time to deal with these complexities, as building the development couldn’t start until completion of the Eurostar line in 2007. Then came another recession, which nearly did for the whole thing. Now, however, it is growing rapidly. In 2012 it was announced that Google, the company that every large development in London wanted on its patch, would honour King’s Cross with its presence.
At its centre, in the Granary Building, is the University of the Arts, the fusion of six different colleges to make the largest school of its kind in Europe. In front is Granary Square, an open space comparable in size to Trafalgar Square, with fountains rising from its stone paving, clipped trees, and steps descending to the canal. Off to one side is the Camley Street nature reserve, retained and flourishing. The gas holders are to be re-erected nearby, three containing flats and a fourth left open, with a garden inside. Apartment buildings – sober, decent, brown-coloured, northern European in feel – are appearing, plus one shiny one by the architects de Rijke Marsh Morgan.
To the south of Granary Square, between King’s Cross and St Pancras Stations, there are office buildings by serious architects. They are oblong for the same reason that the gas holders were cylindrical – it’s the shape that does the job most efficiently – but, lest they be too boxy, some art has gone into their surfaces. David Chipperfield, in what by his standards is a skittish mood, has wrapped his in 396 cast-iron columns, with a sort of basketweave pattern moulded on to them, which are not actually performing columns’ traditional role of holding the building up. Allies and Morrison have lined the window embrasures of their largely white block with gold-coloured panels, so that they dazzle in the sunshine. These two buildings are subtle, intelligent and even sensuous ways of making generic office buildings.
Allies and Morrison were, with classicising architect Demetri Porphyrios, responsible for the masterplan of the whole development. Both they and Argent stress that the most important aspect is to get the spaces between the buildings right, more than the structures themselves. The main elements are a broad boulevard lined with the office blocks and the future Google, which leads to Granary Square, from where a straight leafy avenue is to run north through the brown housing to the furthest end of the site. Smaller streets and squares attach to this main armature.
It is a series of incidents, quite loosely linked, that tries to connect where it can with surrounding districts, using the traditional elements of European cities: streets, squares, avenues. Zaha Hadid has called the result boring. To which Professor Jeremy Till, of the University of the Arts, retorts: “These comments say much more about Zaha than they do about King’s Cross. Here the association of excitement with avant-garde form-making proves redundant.”
Till is right, in that the last things you need are extravagant shapes and mannerisms in the presence of structures as powerful as the great stations, the granary and the temporarily absent gas holders. But there is a tendency to normalise, to make a fundamentally extraordinary place too much resemble the received opinion as to what good quality urban space looks like. Take Granary Square, a bold and well-considered space, but paved in tasteful porphyry. Combined with planting and fountains – both nice things to have in themselves – it diminishes the industrial fabric, especially the Granary Building. If it were, say, paved in dark brick, the relief of the fountains would be all the more effective.
There are also the Stanley Buildings, “improved industrial dwellings” of the 1860s, now awkwardly attached to a block of serviced offices, a use to which they have themselves been converted. There can be a mismatch between the architectural variegation and the uses contained: Camden council has located its headquarters here into an unobtrusive building, whereas Chipperfield’s block is the one that looks like a town hall.
The tendency to smooth over makes the not-yet-revealed final designs for the Google building crucial. The cute-and-creepy tech giant is not a normal company, and its site is not normal either – narrow, as long as the Shard is tall, with changes of level and interruptions by railway structures. The task for its architects, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, is to make its multiple unusualness manifest, without resort to tricksiness or funny colours. They need to design the project of their lives.
But if the worst thing that can be said about the architecture of the King’s Cross development is that it is a bit tame, there are many worse things that it could have been. Nor is it surprising, given the multiple complexities with which developers and architects dealt, if they were cautious in their design. Their priorities are hard to fault – making open spaces more important than individual buildings, giving prominence to historic buildings, making connections where possible to surrounding streets, creating a series of places with distinct characteristics.
The bigger question is how well it fulfils the goals set out by Peter Bishop, who when the director of environment at the London borough of Camden worked closely with Argent when it was drawing up the scheme. Bishop says that it has “to feel like a piece of London” to achieve “a social mix”, to have an influence beyond its boundaries and “to be a public bit of London”.
As far as making the place a “piece of London” goes, or at least a vital, not-sterile district, the urban and commercial masterstroke was to bring in the University of the Arts. The university was able to commit to moving there at a time when credit-crunched businesses were not, and its presence is now an attraction for (especially) Google. It also fills the location with instant activity, as thousands of lively students flow in and out.
As to making it “a public bit of London”, the development has gone to some lengths to make it different from Canary Wharf, whose well-defined boundaries are protected by conspicuous security measures. Granary Square is a publoid, rather than public space, publicly accessible but still privately owned and managed, but Bishop says that Camden has the right to take over other streets and spaces in the development. Given that much of the site was formerly closed off, this is far from being the sort of privatisation of the public domain for which other developments are rightly criticised.
As to “social mix”, Madelin points to the affordable housing in the rarely achieved proportion of 50%, to the various public facilities, the training programmes associated with the development, and the fact that children from surrounding estates run through Granary Square’s fountains unchecked by security guards. There will also, he happily says, be expensive housing, but their residents “will walk the streets and you won’t be able to see that they are very, very wealthy”.
Robert Milne, secretary of the King’s Cross Development Forum, also raises concern that a change of management policy could make the open spaces less inclusive. It is certainly essential that the future managers of the project maintain both this openness and its architectural quality. Milne also objects that the supermarket chain chosen for the site is middle-class Waitrose. Madelin says this was because they were most open to getting involved with community projects, and that the likes of Aldi or Lidl will come too.
Critics of the King’s Cross development say that “it is by no means the worst” (Michael Edwards). Argent’s claims for their good works mostly stand up to examination, and it is impossible to find the outrages of exclusion and bad design that happen in other works of “regeneration”. I’d go further – it is on the way to being a great achievement. Are there other ways of achieving its social objectives? Yes, although I don’t think anyone can confidently say that there would have been more affordable homes, communal facilities, or jobs, if it had been done any other way.
The bigger concern is rather this: there is too little sign of other large developments in London, or other British cities, pursuing social goals to this degree. In the stacked-up units of luxury housing now being waved through by Boris Johnson’s lieutenants, you see nothing of the richness of King’s Cross. An essential part of its success of has been the balance of power between developers and local authorities, in this case Camden, but councils are now so undermined and weakened that that balance no longer exists. King’s Cross is in danger of being the last of its kind.
Article from The Guardian. See original article below:
The Coal Drops Yard at King’s Cross includes the Eastern Coal Drops (ECD), Western Coal Drops (WCD) and the Western Wharf Road Arches. The grade-II listed Eastern Coal Drops dates from 1851. Wagons entered the ECD on tracks at the upper level and dropped coal into an hopper level and then down through chutes into either sacks or wagons below at yard level. To the west of the Coal Drops Yard site there was a canal basin. From there coal was transported in barges along the canal to the docks in the east.
Another set of coal drops were constructed to the west (WCD) by 1860, though advancements in coal drops technology left each building outdated within about 40 years. The coal drops were converted and used as warehouses for over a century. Thereafter the coal drops were left vacant and fell into a state of disrepair as a result.
MFA were appointed in 2014 as heritage consultants for the proposed new retail areas within the Coal Drops Yard site. Working closely with a design team led by Heatherwick Studio and BAM Design, MFA performed extensive condition surveying and repair scheduling to support the project’s conservation philosophy of minimal cleaning and repairs to balance the long-term health of the historic building with maintaining a substantial ‘patina of age’ (weathering, graffiti, signage, archaeology, historic paint finishes, etc.) This is to provide the strongest possible contrast against the substantial contemporary interventions that are proposed.
Article from MFA. See original article below: