Punch List: Projects To Watch in 2017

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Take the Tour

Coming in 2017, these 18 new projects show the collaborative strength of SOM's interdisciplinary practice. Some will become sites for innovation, from university research labs to creative workspaces. Landmark towers will reshape skylines from Gothenburg to Shenzhen, while planning and infrastructure projects envision the future of American cities. Click through to see what's on the horizon.

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All Aboard Florida

All Aboard Florida's Brightline rail service is the only privately owned, operated, and financed project of its kind being developed in the United States today. With a 235-mile route linking Central and South Florida, it will eliminate more than three million car trips from the region’s roadways each year. Designed by SOM in association with Zsycovich Architects, the three stations—located in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach—will be key portals within the system. Envisioned as iconic gateways to their respective cities and also as destinations for shopping, dining, and entertainment, the terminals are poised to become hubs of activity. Trains will begin running this year with service between West Palm Beach and Miami.

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Manhattan Loft Gardens

Rising near London's Stratford International Railway Station, and set to open later this year, Manhattan Loft Gardens comprises nearly 250 residences above a 150-room world-class hotel. SOM's design for the 42-story tower interweaves single and loft-style apartments, which can be customized to maximize space, daylight, and views. Shared amenities, including sky gardens and a triple-height lobby, will foster interaction among neighbors. The facade, designed to minimize solar heat gain, is composed of glass and terracotta panels, changing in appearance as one walks around the building.

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Ningbo Bank of China Headquarters

Soon to be completed, the Ningbo Bank of China Headquarters is the newest landmark in the financial district of Ningbo, a city in China's Zhejiang province. The 50-story tower will serve as the regional headquarters of one of the nation’s fastest growing banks, allowing the company to consolidate its operations in the region. Surrounded by a landscaped public plaza, the tower serves as a focal point and gathering place for its neighborhood. The tower twists as it rises, clad in a sweeping glass curtain. Closer to the ground, a sinuous canopy shelters the adjacent walkways, and integrates the tower and podium into a single composition.

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The Drawing Room at The Arts Club of Chicago

For more than a century, the Arts Club of Chicago has played a vital role in the advancement of contemporary art and arts education in the city. This year, the institution is opening an intimate new venue and gathering space. The Arts Club engaged Vinci Hamp Architects and SOM to shape a flexible meeting room and bar—named the Drawing Room—inside its Mies van der Rohe and Vinci Hamp-designed building. A refined, luminous space, the modernist-inspired interior creates an interplay between light and dark with soaring ceilings, built-in bookshelves, black terrazzo floors and carpets, frosted glass tables flanked with bespoke upholstered bench seating, and classic Hannes Wettstein Hola chairs.

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San Diego Central Courthouse

In downtown San Diego, a new high-rise courthouse will bring together the county's criminal, trial, family, and civil courts into a single building. As an example of civic architecture with a strong but accommodating presence, SOM's design is characterized as much by its robust massing as its safe and welcoming interior. The limestone-faced, precast concrete tower and podium rises at the intersection of Union and C Streets, fronting an adjacent lot that will be transformed into a new public park. Together, the courthouse and park contribute to an enhanced pedestrian landscape, complete with generous sidewalks, planter boxes, and trees.

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Cornell Tech Campus Framework Plan

In collaboration with Cornell University, Technion Israel Institute of Technology, and the City of New York, SOM is master planning and building Cornell Tech, a new applied science university. Knit into new promenades and green spaces on Roosevelt Island, the campus buildings will support collaboration between designers, engineers, entrepreneurs, and scientists who are blurring the boundary of academia and commerce. SOM completed the master plan in 2012, and also designed the Central Utility Plant, which is due to be completed this year. The first phase of the campus development will be finished by the end of 2017.

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China World Trade Center Phase 3B

Scheduled to open in spring 2017, Tower 3B is the most recent addition to the China World Trade Center (CWTC) campus in Beijing. It sits adjacent to the CWTC Tower 3A, also designed by SOM. Positioned at one of the district’s busiest intersections, the new 58-story tower integrates seamlessly into the fabric of the street. It combines office space, hotel, and a five-story podium containing a shopping center and spa. Inspired by Chinese vernacular architecture and driven by pragmatism, its pagoda-like facade features horizontal bands of self-cleaning canted glass, which decreases the building's environmental footprint.

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Bio-Esfera is the first parcel to be developed within the Distrito La Perla Master Plan, which transforms the site of a former manufacturing facility in Guadalajara into a vibrant destination. Set to open in December, the office complex comprises two building blocks with multi-tenant spaces oriented toward technology and creative companies. The scheme is organized around a central courtyard, evocative of the plazas throughout Guadalajara, with a series of varied communal open spaces including gardens, balconies, terraces, roof decks, and an outdoor amphitheater. The facade is composed of precast concrete fins that filter light into the interior office space, while reducing solar glare and heat gain.

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Breaking ground this year in Gothenburg, Sweden, this 240-meter skyscraper will be the tallest in the country. The Karlatornet project anchors a sustainable vision for the entire area, catalyzing the development of the surrounding post-industrial neighborhood into a mixed-use business district. SOM's design for the building supports community and social engagement: it includes a shared residents’ lounge, a restaurant, a gym, a podium roof deck, and an observation deck, which invites the public to take in the view from the city's highest vantage point.

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Geffen Hall, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Located at the southeastern boundary of the UCLA campus, Geffen Hall will serve as a gateway to the David Geffen School of Medicine and the campus as a whole. SOM designed the new learning facility to accommodate ever-changing technologies, innovative teaching styles, and greater connections between students, faculty, and the broader community. Set to open in early 2017, the building's sustainable design is closely aligned with the priority to create high-quality spaces for education, administration and interaction.

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Detroit East Riverfront Framework Plan

The Detroit East Riverfront Framework Plan envisions an economically, culturally, and environmentally vibrant district. It proposes human-scale future developments to connect the city and its residents with their greatest natural resource—the Detroit River—while reinvigorating the eastern riverfront district. The project establishes a series of small-scale urban interventions for the East Riverfront area. Key principles driving the plan include: expanding existing parklands and restoring ecological systems; improving connectivity through street-level improvements and enhancing mobility; and a strategic focus on near-term developments. The project was informed by a series of public consultations and will begin to take shape in 2017.

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Agile Corporation Headquarters Tower

This elliptical high-rise, a new headquarters for Agile Corporation, stands at a prominent gateway to Guangzhou’s city center. The tower's aesthetics are driven by environmental performance: its curtain wall system is layered with horizontal metal fins, fritted glass, and corrugated metal spandrel panels, creating the facade's unique, luminous appearance from different angles. Computer modeling was used to analyze heat gain on the building’s surface during Guangzhou's six-month-long summer season. The resulting solar radiation map was translated into an optimized array of horizontal sunscreen fins—a solution that stabilizes the building's cooling needs and reduces its overall energy consumption.

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Sunset La Cienega Residences

​Located at one of the most prominent intersections in Los Angeles, at the heart of the Sunset Strip, the Sunset La Cienega Residences is a transformative mixed-use residential redevelopment set to open in January. The design harnesses the complexity of the site and the cultural legacy of the neighborhood to create a hub of diverse activity. Two eight-story towers rise above a 30,000-square-foot retail podium that anchors the two-acre scheme. A strategic opening between the two buildings frames a pedestrian plaza, where sweeping views of the Los Angeles Basin connect the project with the adjacent streetscape and the city at large.

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Sunset La Cienega – The James Hotel

The Sunset La Cienega development features a two-tower boutique hotel, set to open in March. The James Hotel will include nearly 300 guest rooms, two restaurants, a private rooftop lounge, a lobby bar, meeting spaces, retail storefronts, and an underground parking facility. The design creates spaces where the interior and exterior blend together to showcase public amenities, such as a landscaped plaza that opens up views across the Los Angeles basin. SOM collaborated with artist Janet Echelman to integrate a public art installation titled "The Dream Catcher," a 65-foot-tall net sculpture held in tension and suspended approximately 100 feet between the two towers.

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707 Fifth – Manulife Place

Located in the heart of downtown Calgary, 707 Fifth – Manulife Place celebrates the city’s cosmopolitan atmosphere while serving the pragmatic needs of a challenging prairie climate. The 25-story tower is clad in sweeping curtains of triple-glazed glass and will house open-concept office space, an array of employee amenities, and a two-story winter garden. Located at a vital juncture in Calgary’s urban grid, the design prioritizes transit connections, provides bicycle and vehicle parking, and links directly to Calgary’s covered walkway system. Targeting LEED® Gold certification, the building is due to open in summer 2017.

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Pen Factory

Opening in September, this sustainable, adaptive reuse project will transform a long-abandoned assembly line manufacturing facility—a former Paper Mate pen factory—into a 210,000-square-foot, multi-tenant creative workplace. Inspired by its location in Santa Monica, the project will create an open and flexible work environment for innovative companies of all types. The East Building includes creative workplace design for AwesomenessTV, a global entertainment media brand with 600 employees. The design promotes an alternative to traditional corporate workspaces and will serve as a backdrop for filming and content production.

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Shen Ye Upperhills Development

A new destination in the center of Shenzhen, the Shen Ye Upperhills development combines architecture, engineering, and urban planning to provide a rich urban experience. Set to be completed in August 2017, the project includes two skyscrapers, containing office space and a hotel, and a variety of retail areas. The towers, collaboratively designed by SOM's architecture and engineering teams, will be free of interior columns and therefore entirely flexible. A new elevated pedestrian walkway will pass through the site to connect the existing Lotus Hill and Beacon Hill Parks, forming a continuous tapestry of green.

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University of Connecticut Innovation Partnership Building

​The Innovation Partnership Building (IPB) is the centerpiece of SOM’s master plan for the University of Connecticut Technology Park. Opening in 2017, the 115,000-square-foot facility will provide a place for discovery and innovation. Regional industry and businesses will collaborate with faculty and students on advanced product development, biomedical engineering, and advanced information systems. The IPB features tenant wet and dry labs, a high-bay manufacturing and additive materials wing, and an advanced characterization wing that will include the foremost microscopy facility in the United States.