Projects to Watch in 2019

This year, architecture and urban design projects will transform skylines, create new civic destinations, and introduce innovative concepts for city living. Here are 13 works in progress that we’ll be celebrating in 2019.

WeBank Headquarters


Image © SOM | Bezier

Construction begins this year on a striking new tower in Shenzhen’s Qianhai and Shekou free-trade zone. The new headquarters for WeBank, the first privately-owned and digital-only bank in China, aims to weave the public spaces of the surrounding district into the building. The 31-story tower will feature planted terraces and gardens, indoor-outdoor spaces, and a range of high performance design strategies to create a healthy, collaborative, and amenity-rich workplace.

The terraces bring daylight as well as natural ventilation into the building. Inside, flexible workspaces will promote interaction and knowledge sharing between departments, while allowing for future adaptability. Merging digital enterprise with the natural environment, the project embodies the company’s vision of finance and technology in an increasingly connected world.

Moscone Center

San Francisco

Photo © César Rubio

This month, residents of San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood have something big to celebrate: the Moscone Convention Center expansion and improvement, four years in the making, will finally be complete. The project not only upgrades the city’s largest convention complex, but just as importantly, better integrates the facility into its neighborhood. Surface parking and vehicle ramps have been replaced by pedestrian-friendly spaces, while a new, transparent facade reveals the activity within the building. The renovated complex now offers more than 8,000 square feet of new public space, including open-air plazas and a children’s play area.

Sea-Tac Airport, International Arrivals Facility


Image © SOM

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is one of the fastest-growing airports in North America. In just five years, passenger traffic has nearly doubled — and with service to an expanding list of global destinations, Sea-Tac has increasingly become an international hub. To meet this demand and anticipate future growth, a major expansion project is underway. The new International Arrivals Facility will position the region as a leading gateway for tourism and business.

An iconic elevated walkway, spanning 800 feet, will connect the new facility to the airport’s South Satellite gates. To minimize impact on operations, the walkway will be fabricated offsite and installed in three sections. This summer, the 300-foot-long center section will be lifted into place, marking the next significant milestone toward the project’s scheduled completion in 2020.

Moynihan Train Hall

New York City

Images © Empire State Development, courtesy SOM | Methanoia

The project to convert McKim, Mead & White’s 1913 James A. Farley Post Office into a 21st-century train station has been decades in the making — and SOM has led the design vision every step of the way. Construction on Moynihan Train Hall has reached its midpoint, and the project is targeted for substantial completion by 2020. The new station will include expanded platforms and concourses linking the facility to Penn Station and will transform the travel experience for hundreds of thousands of commuters each day.

Glass panels are being installed in the building’s new mid-block skylight. Photo © SOM

One Manhattan West

New York City

The Manhattan West development comprises five million square feet, including two supertall towers. Image © ATCHAIN

Directly across from Moynihan Train Hall, a complete transformation of two underdeveloped city blocks is underway. The Manhattan West development will bring office, hotel, retail, dining, and two acres of open space to the burgeoning Far West Side. The development is poised to serve as a gateway to the new neighborhood, and its first tower is slated for completion in 2019.

One Manhattan West under construction. Photo © Field Condition

One Manhattan West, the first of the development’s three SOM-designed towers, has already topped out at 995 feet as the site’s tallest building. A new landmark on the skyline, the supertall tower was made possible by a bold structural engineering solution: it is built over a platform above active rail lines leading to Penn Station.

Wellesley College Science Center

Wellesley, Massachusetts

Wellesley’s new Science Center will turn the outdoors into a “living laboratory.” Image © SOM

Wellesley College, founded in 1870, was among the first institutions of higher education in the country to encourage women to study the sciences. Today, Wellesley alumnae are awarded more science and engineering doctorates than women graduates of any other liberal arts college in the country. Its Science Center was constructed in the 1920s, and was expanded twice in later decades to accommodate new research programs. Now, to sustain Wellesley’s position at the forefront of STEM education, SOM has envisioned a renovation and a new addition that will reinforce the college’s commitment to educating future generations of women in science.

Image © SOM

The design is conceived as a village of small, intuitively connected pavilions featuring a diverse range of programs. SOM’s plan draws upon one of the school’s most cherished assets — its bucolic landscape design by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. — to create a “living laboratory” connecting the interior to the environment. The renovation will be completed in 2019, while the addition is on pace for completion in 2021.

500 Folsom

San Francisco

Image © steelblue

For more than a decade, SOM has collaborated with the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency to create a master plan for the areas known as Transbay and Rincon Hill. Within the redevelopment — spurred by the creation of a major new transit center — a mixed-use building known as 500 Folsom will help to strengthen Folsom Street as the area’s main public and commercial thoroughfare.

500 Folsom consists of a 42-story tower, flanked by two attached lower podium buildings, which altogether provide 456 market rate units, 114 affordable units, and a variety of amenities, including elevated gardens, a green house, and community rooms. Ground-level retail spaces and a series of passageways are designed to enhance the public realm and bring activity to the neighborhood both day and night. SOM has led the project’s design, in collaboration with Fougeron Architecture. It is expected to be complete this summer.

Long Beach Civic Center

Long Beach, California

Image © SOM | Nephew LA

Downtown Long Beach, California is undergoing a historic transformation. The Civic Center, a 1970s government complex in dire need of revitalization, is being redeveloped as the heart of a vibrant, mixed-use district. As one of the largest public-private partnerships in California’s history, the project serves a model for other cities. This year will see the completion of the three major buildings that anchor the renewed Civic Center: Long Beach City Hall, the Port Headquarters, and the Main Library.

Image © SOM | Nephew LA

SOM’s master plan for the Civic Center emphasizes a strong public realm, with welcoming, walkable spaces. The new City Hall and Port Headquarters buildings, clad in glass, will front a new public plaza at the west end of the 22-acre site. At the northeast corner, the new Main Library will feature a porch-like entry overlooking Lincoln Park, a green space that is being redesigned to support public programming.

Manhattan Loft Gardens


Photo © SOM

How can urban living reach new heights? In London, this 42-story tower is making a mark with its unconventional design. SOM’s integrated team of architects and engineers aimed to create a vertical community — a building that would promote interaction among its residents. The double-cantilevered tower is designed to provide shared amenity spaces, including sky gardens and terraces with dramatic views across the city.

Photos courtesy MLC © Ed Reeve | SOM

The tower offers a range of residential options, from studio lofts to double-height penthouses — affirming the principle that one size does not fit all. A boutique hotel and restaurant at the tower’s base will add to the dynamic mix, while contributing to Stratford’s rise as a destination for arts and culture.

Nine Elms Square


Image © SOM

Elsewhere in London, the regeneration of New Covent Garden Market — replacing a sprawling 1970s market complex with a more compact, state-of-the-art facility — freed up several parcels for redevelopment. To make the most of the opportunity, SOM was asked to create a master plan for the area. This year, construction will begin on Nine Elms Square, a mixed-use project that will define the character of the revitalized riverfront district.

Image © SOM

Piling has already been laid for the development, which will be constructed in two phases. The first includes three residential towers of 38, 48, and 54 stories, providing almost 900 new homes. Phase 2 will comprise a range of low and mid-rise buildings enclosing new public gardens. The entire scheme connects with the Nine Elms Linear Park, an interconnected series of open spaces that will run along the South Bank of the Thames.

The Lincoln Common


Image © Smilodon CG

At the heart of Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, a major mixed-use development is on the rise. Due to open this fall, the 1.1-million-square-foot project, dubbed The Lincoln Common, will revitalize the site of the former Children’s Memorial Hospital.

Designed in collaboration with Antunovich Associates, The Lincoln Common combines a diverse mix of programming: a central plaza, landscaped gardens, a children’s play area, retail spaces, two 20-story residential towers, condominiums, and an office building. In addition to new construction, the project includes the adaptive reuse of a turn-of-the-century brick building original to the hospital campus.

A range of sustainable design strategies, including high performance exterior systems and landscaped roof terraces in both residential towers, will significantly reduce energy and water use — putting the project on track for LEED Silver certification.

100 Mount Street


Image © SOM

Rising in the heart of North Sydney, 100 Mount Street will be the latest addition to a growing business district when it opens in 2019. With an innovative cross-braced exoskeleton structure, the 35-story tower celebrates the city’s history of excellence in architecture and structural engineering. A soaring glass curtain wall maximizes daylight and offers panoramic views of the Opera House and Sydney Harbor Bridge.

The building sets a high mark for sustainability, as well: it’s designed to achieve 5-star ratings on the Australian Green Star and National Australian Built Environment Rating Systems.

Image © SOM

At ground level, the tower’s offset core makes way for a series of open-concept spaces, including a commercial lobby, café, and restaurant. A landscaped public plaza connects the building to the public realm. From cascading steps and pathways, visitors can reach new retail and public transit connections.

Istanbul Tower


Images © SOM

The thriving central business district in Istanbul’s Levant neighborhood will soon gain a new iconic destination. The 52-story Istanbul Tower, with a design inspired by the geometric intricacies characteristic of Turkish art and architecture, will offer panoramic views of the Bosphorus, the Black Sea, and the Golden Horn. The tower’s exterior wall will be completed this year.

The perimeter structure of the building provides open-plan, column-free office space that allows for multi-tenant configurations as well as maximum flexibility for interior layouts. At ground level, a pavilion rises from the public plaza to form a separate entrance for an underground museum, conference center, and retail complex.

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