London’s new “Electric Boulevard”

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London, you will soon have a cool new spot to check-in on FourSquare.

This week, two giants in the architecture industry, Foster + Partners & Frank Gehry revealed their collaborative design for the “Electric Boulevard”. The catchy name represents the upcoming London street that will carve its niche into the top tier of London go-to spots. You can expect housing, retail, and restaurants at exorbitant numbers: 1,300 homes, over 350,000 square feet, a 160-room hotel and a medical center. This is phase 3 of the regeneration of the Battersea Power Station that will add 3,400 homes to the area.

“Electric Boulevard” is formed by Foster’s tower called “The Skyline” and to the east, Gehry’s five-building complex called “Prospect Place”. The former is seen in the gallery’s first image and in a bird’s eye view in one of the model photos. As you can see, the wavy structure amasses much of the area and will serve as a mixed-use space defined by retail on the first two floors and housing above. Also notable: the green roof of “The Skyline” that is over a quarter of a kilometer in length. What first jumped out to me though was the balconies that punctuate the wavy aesthetic as I couldn’t help but draw parallels to Jeanne Gang’s Aqua Tower here in Chicago.

Can you draw parallels between "The Skyline" and the "Aqua Tower" here in Chicago?
Can you draw parallels between “The Skyline” and the “Aqua Tower” in Chicago?

Gehry’s “Prospect Place” continues the mixed-use ideal with double-heighted retail spaces, half of phase 3’s new housing, and a communal park. From the farther perspective in the model, it looks like Gehry swiped his hand across the facade like it was a piano to determine how the balconies project outward. As polarizing as Gehry’s designs can be, I think the exterior of “Prospect Place” works really well in relations to “The Skyline”. And all in all, we just need to see more renderings and models to get a clearer idea of the “Electric Boulevard”. The potential is certainly there after this beautiful reveal for it to become London’s next hottest tourist attraction… that once again, is a regeneration of a power station!

So for their next trick, maybe Foster & Gehry can regenerate Springfield’s power station?

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New images of Frank Gehry’s Facebook Campus

Back in 2012, Mark Zuckerberg, had his choice of any architect on the planet to design Facebook’s new complex in Palo Alto (the former Sun Microsystems complex) and he went with perhaps today’s brightest starchitect: the polarizing Frank Gehry. In fact, I compared PFG (Polarizing Frank Gehry, stay with me here) to the polarizing Kobe Bryant a couple years ago when Zuckerberg made the announcement. Well, today, I get to see if my skepticism rises or falls after the first preview images are revealed of the Gehry-designed Facebook campus.

The verdict?

Skepticism, falling!

The reasoning?

Gehry has a larger canvas to work with here — 435,000 square feet, spread across 22 acres (or by my metric, 433,300 square feet more than the Gowhere office). Consequently, he’s not solely designing his signature deconstructivist facades and instead we see the vast rooftop greenery as one of the campuses’ first highlights. It is hard to really see the details otherwise, but I come away that Gehry is not duplicating the crude curves and angles after this first glimpse. I also hope he stays away from titanium. Been there, done that, amirite?

My favorite of the new pictures?

This one below, that I pulled out of the gallery above, just so you can see how grand this model is. Wow. Nothing short of amazing.

Design of Facebook Campus by Frank Gehry. Image Courtesy of Facebook Corporate Communications
Design of Facebook Campus by Frank Gehry. Image Courtesy of Facebook Corporate Communications

My favorite detail?

“One building will be large enough to house 10,000 workers in a single room.” (ArchDaily)

My mistake. The post title should actually read: “New images of Frank Gehry’s Facebook City”.

When will Facebook Campus be completed?

Says SF Gate, Spring, 2015 — and that’s when we’ll get to see where Facebook Campus stands in PFG’s legacy.

h/t Business Insider

Architecture in The Simpsons

By now, even the most casual Gowhere reader knows my extreme Simpsons fandom. I have been splicing in Simpsons references and hilarious GIFs when appropriate throughout the daily music posts and the Design section.

But nothing as cool as this.

Urban Architecture Now compiled an amazing, detailed set of screencaps of Simpsons episodes over the years that have spotlighted some of the world’s most iconic built landmarks. The Simpsons even had Frank Gehry and Rem Koolhaas ‘Simpsonized’ as guest stars. Scroll through the gallery above and see the various fun instances of everything from the Guggenheim, to the High Line, to the world’s next star architect: Maggie Simpson.

h/t to my dad, Papa Tibs, for e-mailing me this link.

New Frank Gehry renderings for Toronto

For the design and architecture heads out there, a few new Frank Gehry renderings were released yesterday for a planned trio of residential towers in Toronto.

Via ArchDaily:

David Mirvish and Frank Gehry have released updated renderings of their massive, mixed-used project planned to transform Toronto’s downtown arts and entertainment district. The Mirvish+Gehry vision will include a triad of residential towers perched on top a six-story, wooden podium inspired by the site’s industrial past and covered in a ‘cloud-like’ sculptural skin. The towers, rising over 80 stories each, will house condos, a new OCADU campus, and a gallery space to house the Mirvish’s collection of modern art.

In the design world, there’s perhaps no architect today more polarizing than Frank Gehry. Call me a fan though of these transformative towers for Toronto (say that 3x fast) as I can imagine the abstract forms truly redefining Toronto’s skyline. I especially like the skin of the tower on the right (very Gehry-esque) and the context of the towers’ inspiration as a whole. Can’t wait to see the new Drake video atop one of the towers’ penthouse condos sometime circa 2018. A couple more looks below.

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Mark Zuckerberg enlists Frank Gehry for new Facebook HQ

Frank Gehry is as polarizing an architect to me as Kobe Bryant is to die-hard basketball fans. To put it simply, I have a love/hate relationship with his designs. I love his abstract shapes and use of materials (my favorites: the hometown’s Millennium Park and my 2nd hometown’s Weisman Art Museum), but ‘hate’ the relative box he stays in with both (albeit 8 Spruce Street was that step forward for me). Hate is too harsh of a word really; Gehry’s designs may not always spark my curiosity, but I appreciate the immense impact of his designs in architecture. And apparently, I’m not alone as 28-year-old Facebook CEO shares the same appreciation. He can better illustrate it with a check followed by multiple zeros that was most certainly given to Gehry to design the new addition to Facebook HQ in their Menlo Park, California dwelling.

The good folks at ArchDaily couldn’t have put it better:

Gone from the building will be Gehry’s flashy ways of manipulating sheets of metal, and the resulting superfluous sense of affluence often emitted from these grand structures. Rather, Gehry’s work for Facebook will offer an ”equalizier”, a massive one story warehouse measuring 420,000 sqf, to house the company’s future 2,800 engineers with the underlying intention of fostering a comfortable environment to allow Facebook to keep getting better.

More info and pics can be found via AD and we can expect to see construction begin in the spring of 2013. What do you think of the design given what you can see in the slideshow above?