On the Rise: Projects To Watch in 2016

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SOM Projects to Watch in 2016

From the new NATO headquarters in Brussels to the adaptive reuse of a warehouse in Los Angeles, a number of distinctive SOM projects are underway—many to be complete in 2016. Click through to discover the notable aspects of each building, and how SOM's commitment to design excellence and innovation is improving cities and communities around the world.

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350 Mission Street

A new home for Salesforce in San Francisco, 350 Mission Street is a 27-story office tower adjacent to the future site of the city’s primary intermodal transportation center—the Transbay Tower and Terminal. 350 Mission's signature cladding, arranged in a woven pattern, utilizes high performance, insulated glass units that reflect sky brightness and reduce solar heat gain while maximizing visibility. Opening in the summer, the tower meets meets the ground with a 50-foot-tall public lobby, featuring an enormous display for digital artwork that engages the urban realm.

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Agile Corporation Headquarters Tower

Located at the heart of a mixed-use development area, the 190-meter-tall Agile Corporation Headquarters Tower makes a commanding presence in Guangzhou's new central business district. Despite the tower's colossal stature, its design is highly attuned to the human scale. Its elliptical geometry creates a continuous street frontage, while a curved, two-level pedestrian bridge connects to adjacent buildings. Among the building's distinctive features is its energy-saving facade design: composed of metal fins, fritted glass, and corrugated metal spandrel panels, this highly dimensional facade reflects shifting qualities of light throughout the day.

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Baltimore Tower

Opening later this year, the 45-story Baltimore Tower will serve as a highly visible landmark at the Isle of Dogs in London. The gracefully twisting building incorporates a cylindrical core, with additional expression achieved through curved glass balconies that appear as a floating, reflective ribbon. The tower will offer 330 residential units and a three-story penthouse restaurant with panoramic views. Two adjoining buildings will contain an additional 100 apartments. The distinctive tower is part of the new Baltimore Wharf mixed-use development, master planned by SOM.

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The Desmond

SOM has transformed the Desmond—a vacant warehouse in downtown Los Angeles—into a modern, loft-style office for AEG, a leading sports and entertainment company. The adaptive reuse of the historic, five-story brick building capitalizes on its high ceilings, large windows, and exposed concrete structure. The design added a sixth floor in the form of a glass pavilion, which will provide additional space with stunning views of the city. Meanwhile, a new concrete frame was inserted into the building, bringing the 100-year-old structure up to code. When AEG completes its move in February, the revived Desmond will offer 87,950 gross square feet of space for the company's creative professionals.

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International Center of Photography

SOM has designed the new home of the International Center of Photography (ICP) on the Bowery in New York City, due to open this summer. Occupying the ground and basement levels of a residential building, the ICP contains a number of galleries, an education space, as well as a bookstore and cafe. Key features of the design allow for work to be exhibited in many ways, while the minimalist sensibility and material expression channels the sense of experimentation already present on the Bowery's emerging arts scene. Exposed ceiling ductwork, concrete-finished structural columns, raw unstained wood, and stainless steel-framed windows all reinforce the elemental experience of the new ICP.

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Rising alongside City Road Basin, a canal in the London borough of Islington, this mixed-use project signals the waterfront's regeneration with a 36-story tower, now the tallest in the area. Comprised of three connected buildings, the Lexicon contains more than 300 residences, a third of which are designated as affordable units. When it opens later this year, the project will enliven the neighborhood with a public courtyard, street-level retail, and a restaurant at the water's edge. The tower's glass curtain wall features an innovative ventilation system that maximizes energy efficiency while providing sweeping views across the city.

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Manhattan West Development

Built upon a 2.6-acre platform above active train tracks, this 5-million-square-foot development forms a vital link between Manhattan's Midtown business district, the Penn Station complex, the Hudson Yards district, and Chelsea. SOM's master plan for these two full city blocks is organized around a series of public open spaces, which provide areas for repose and contribute to a dynamic pedestrian streetscape. Targeting LEED® Gold certification, two elegantly inflected office towers form the gateway to Manhattan West's central open space. A third, residential tower on the southwest end of the site will serve as a 24-hour anchor for the neighborhood.

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Mashreq Bank Headquarters

When it's completed this year, the 32-story-tall Mashreq Bank Headquarters—with its bold, cantilevered form and stone panels—will stand out amid the glass and steel towers of Dubai. Its L-shaped floor plate opens to the north, which allows the clear-glazed offices on both sides of the courtyard to be sheltered from the sun. The design mitigates glare without obscuring views including that of the Burj Khalifa. A sophisticated series of horizontal and vertical shading devices allow the glass facades to capture daylight and limit solar gain. These screen elements provide dynamic perspectives of the building when seen from different angles, making the building appear transparent or massive depending upon the vantage point.

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Moscone Center Expansion and Improvement

Construction will continue this year on the Moscone Center expansion and improvement project in San Francisco, which SOM has designed in association with Mark Cavagnero Associates. The 371,000-square-foot expansion includes new public open space, multiple outdoor terraces, and retail opportunities. With sustainability integral to the design, the Center—which is targeting LEED® Platinum certification—will create less carbon emissions per visitor than any major convention center in North America, saving water while generating clean energy with the largest rooftop solar installation in San Francisco. A composition of transparent and translucent materials will bring natural light into interior public spaces and reveal activity within the Center.

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Moynihan Train Hall

SOM is converting the landmark Farley Post Office Building into a 21st-century train station. The new Moynihan Train Hall will be a critical part of a redevelopment of the entire Penn Station complex, forming a grand civic space that celebrates the history of the Farley Building and evokes the vaulted concourse of the original Penn Station​. At the heart of SOM's design, the light-filled boarding concourse is enclosed by a monumental new skylight arching up from massive original steel trusses. Construction has already begun, with expanded Long Island Rail Road access via the new West End Concourse due for completion in September 2016, and the Moynihan Train Hall anticipated to be completed in 2018.

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Nanchang Greenland Expo Center

Inspired by forms found in nature, the spiral shape of the Nanchang Greenland Expo Center is truly grand in scale: sweeping across three parcels of land, it encloses 130,000 square meters of exhibition space on two levels. The building's immensity is further accentuated by its roof structure, which cantilevers 40 meters at each end. This high performance roof system is also the key to the building's sustainable design. Configured as a series of parallel scallops, it provides natural ventilation and daylighting, solar power generation, and rainwater collection. With completion targeted for February, the Expo Center will soon welcome its first visitors.

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NATO Headquarters

The new home of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Brussels is currently under construction. Scheduled for completion in July, the SOM-designed campus will stand as a symbol of unification and integration. The signature building comprises eight barrel-vaulted “fingers” that interlace in a symbolic clasp of unity between the 28 member countries and 19 partner nations. The building provides each NATO member with embassy-level security and privacy while offering spaces where delegates can convene. Sustainability was key to the design of the facility, with a number of innovative solutions such as photovoltaic cells, green roofs, chilled slabs, and natural ventilation employed throughout the complex.

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New United States Courthouse – Los Angeles

Nearing completion in downtown Los Angeles, this new 633,000-square-foot federal courthouse facility, containing 24 courtrooms and 32 judges’ chambers, has a strong civic presence rooted in classic principles. SOM’s design optimizes the court's program and workflow, and promotes efficient operations and maintenance. An innovative structural engineering concept allows the cubic volume to “float” over a stone base while being one of the nation’s safest buildings. Designed to achieve LEED® Platinum certification, the project's sustainable features include a serrated facade that maximizes views while reducing solar heat gain by nearly 50 percent.

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Ningbo Bank of China Headquarters

Due to open at the end of 2016, the Ningbo Bank of China Headquarters will provide a dynamic new landmark for Ningbo's financial district. The project combines a 50-story tower, the plan of which rotates as the building rises, and a four-story podium building. A large canopy connects the two elements, wrapping around the tower and forming the roof and facade of the podium, while a network of green spaces and pedestrian paths enlivens the street and strengthens connections to the surrounding area. The top of the tower features an open-air rooftop garden that offers sweeping views of the city.

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Poly International Plaza

Located in Beijing and opening this year, the 161-meter-tall Poly International Plaza tower will provide a spacious and light-filled work environment for occupants. Its long-span structural design strategically opens up interior spaces and employs a highly sustainable approach to addressing climatic and air quality issues. A faceted diagrid exoskeleton system forms an outer thermal envelope around offices enclosed within a second glazed interior envelope, creating daylit communal areas. These areas not only accommodate meetings and foster social interaction, but they also allow physical and visual connectivity between floors. The project also comprises two neighboring office buildings.

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Public Safety Answering Center II

When it opens later this year, Public Safety Answering Center II will augment existing 911 services in New York City by providing redundancy to a primary call center in case of a natural disaster or large-scale emergency. In order to minimize stress for operators, the 500,000-square-foot building offsets its own security features with aesthetic considerations wherever possible, including a serrated aluminum facade that envelops its blast-resistant walls, a protective berm of wild grasses that encircles the structure, and green walls installed throughout the interior that clean the air.

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Tanjong Pagar Centre

Due to open this year in Singapore’s central business district, the Tanjong Pagar Centre provides a mix of uses—office, residential, retail and hospitality. It features two towers, one combining office and residential, and the other a luxury business hotel. A six-story podium contains retail, restaurants, entertainment, and parking facilities along with the hotel, office, and residential lobby. A redesigned Tanjong Pagar City Park forms the centerpiece of this business and lifestyle hub, activating the development with outdoor public space. The Centre also features the "city room," a covered gathering area with art and performance areas, retail, and access to Singapore's Mass Rapid Transit system and underground pedestrian network.

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U.S. Air Force Academy – Center for Character & Leadership Development

Currently under construction at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, the Center for Character & Leadership Development is the latest addition to the SOM-designed campus. Prominently located on the plaza, the building symbolically serves as a navigation aid and as a reminder of the Academy’s core values. Shaped like an aircraft tailfin, the 105-foot-tall skylight aligns with the North Star and provides ample natural light for the Honor Board Room below. Classrooms and offices surround two adjacent courtyards, maximizing views and minimizing the need for artificial lighting. Scheduled for completion in the Spring, the building is on track to receive LEED® certification.

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University of California, Santa Barbara – San Joaquin Apartments and Precinct Improvements

For the master planning and architectural design of housing on the University of California, Santa Barbara campus, SOM is leading a combined design team that includes Daly Genik Architects, Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects, and Kieran Timberlake. Divided into three primary precincts, the site’s organization is based on a Cartesian grid of threaded circulation paths offering pedestrian and bicycle access to residences and amenities. Active plazas, recreational facilities, and courtyard gardens are key components of the campus plan. SOM has also designed the site's Gateway Towers, which will accommodate more than 1,000 students when the buildings open in August.

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White Magnolia Plaza

Across the river from the high-rise Pudong district, a new commercial core is taking shape in Shanghai. The centerpiece of this neighborhood redevelopment is White Magnolia Plaza, a mixed-use complex anchored by two sinuous towers—the taller of which, at 320 meters, will be a new landmark when completed this year. This signature skyscraper will contain offices, while the second, smaller tower will become Shanghai's first W Hotel. More than a new destination, White Magnolia Plaza is a model of environmentally responsible development: its sustainable features include advanced building control systems, daylighting, waste reduction principles, thermal storage, and climatically responsive planning.

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WKL Hotel and Tropicana The Residences

This 235-meter mixed-use tower will become a destination within Kuala Lumpur’s Golden Triangle district, widely considered to be the city’s commercial, retail, and entertainment hub. A 12-story podium houses a sky lobby, spa, main ballroom, signature restaurant, and other amenities for the W Hotel. The tower rises from this volume, with space for 150 guest rooms across 10 stories. Meanwhile, the top 28 floors accommodate 354 apartments, along with an open-air rooftop pool, gym, and a multipurpose recreation room. The project will be completed this year.