Super Bowl shuffle: Stadiums of the future will feature interactive and civic spaces

Now that Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos have won Super Bowl 50 in Levi’s Stadium, we wanted to take a moment to consider what the stadium that hosts Super Bowl 100 might look like.  

To say that the differences between Sunday’s Super Bowl and the first Super Bowl played 49 years ago were dramatic is clearly understated.

The 200-foot-by-48-foot 13HD LED video board high above the action was a stark contrast to Super Bowl I’s electronic scoreboard at the Los Angeles Coliseum. The halftime show featuring Coldplay, Beyoncé and Bruno Mars obviously had a ridiculously higher production value than trumpeter Al Hirt performing with marching bands from the University of Arizona and Grambling College. And Sunday’s four-hour game was so much longer than the first Super Bowl thanks to countless commercial breaks and instant replays. 

Otherwise, most fans at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. essentially observed the “Big Game” the same way their parents and grandparents might have in 1967: from a static seat.

But that paradigm between a seated spectator and the playing field is shifting. And that shift will only become more dramatic during the course of the next 50 Super Bowls as new innovations begin to challenge the way we spectate sports. So in the afterglow of historic Super Bowl 50, we are exploring what the “fan experience” might look like in the stadiums of the future. Continue Reading ›

New York’s tallest modular, micro-apartment building meets Manhattan’s housing needs

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Carmel Place is located at 335 East 25th Street in the Kips Bay neighborhood of New York City.

Modular construction is by no means new to New York City. Neither are small apartment units (see: 90-square foot apartment)But Carmel Place is proof that modular and micro-unit construction can be successfully rolled into one building in the middle of Manhattan.

The $17 million, nine-story structure slated to open in February will be the city’s tallest modular building and first apartment complex comprised entirely of micro unitsBut unlike older buildings with funky apartment layouts wrapped around airshafts and dumbwaitersthe Monadnock Development project maximizes the efficiency of its tiny quarters by being the first micro building in the city built with modern design in mind.

“And by modern design I mean having simple things like an adequate amount of electrical outlets in the room,” Tobias Oriwol of Monadnock Construction told us, “or big, clean walls to put a TV on and space for a queen-size bed or dining room table. Our units are small but comfortable and easily furnishable, which is something that is unique in the city.”

The 55-unit project formally known as My Micro NY will offer market-rate rents ranging from $2,650 to $3,150 for apartments with an average of 304-square-feet.

A 750-square-foot one-bedroom apartment in New York City currently rents for approximately $3,400.

Courtesy nARCHITECTS/Ledaean

Micro units in Carmel Place feature a living space, kitchen and bathroom. Twenty-five of the units come furnished, complete with a Murphy bed. (Photo courtesy nARCHITECTS/Ledaean)

Designed by nARCHITECTS, the building has several common areas such as a gym, small lounge, community room, shared roof terrace, bicycle and tenant storage and an outdoor garden. Most of the floor plans in Carmel Place feature about 240-square-feet of open living space as well as a 30-square-foot bathroom and 30-square-foot vestibule. Twenty-five units come furnished complete with the Murphy bed-sofa combo seen below.

“Much of the project focuses on livability of a space despite size limitations,” nARCHITECTS Designer Tony Saba-Shiber told us via email, “and maximizing usable area through intelligent and efficient design.”

Continue Reading ›

Lean like Duggan

With the 17th Annual Lean Construction Institute Congress wrapping up last week in Boston, we’ve had Lean on our minds. The following post highlights how Lean was successfully implemented at E.M. Duggan’s prefabrication warehouse in Canton, Mass.

Working for one of the oldest family-run plumbing contractors in the country in the early 1980s, Mike Eakins was brought up in the industry the old school way.

Eakins and his E.M. Duggan colleagues did a lot of housing jobs where equipment and materials were stored in trailers on the jobsite and the last thing loaded into the trailer at the end of the day had to be the first thing unloaded the next morning. Back then, many plumbing systems were assembled on the site before being installed.

“It was a lot of unnecessary work,” Eakins, who is now Duggan’s facilities manager, told us. “That’s just the way that jobs went.”

Continue Reading ›

Watch: 3D printed bridge in Amsterdam

It’s not yet feasible or cost effective to erect a 20-story building with a 3D printer, but printing a bridge is certainly a good start.

A Dutch startup is close to completing that exact feat.

MX3D will use its specialized printer to build a steel footbridge across an Amsterdam canal. Robotic arms will essentially draw 3D metal in midair to create a steel structure. If you can’t wrap your head around that right now, check out this video: 

Mounted with specially developed welding heads, the robots could be positioned in one of two ways on the bridge. One scenario would place two robots on the same side of the bridge but on opposite sides of the footpath. Alternatively, the robots could be placed at opposite banks and meet in the middle like the kiss scene in The Lady and the Tramp. The robots could print their own support structures as they move along or they could be mounted on moored barges in the canal.

“The final strategy has yet to be decided,” MX3D Co-founder and CTO Tim Geurtjens told us via email. “We will most likely reveal the final location of the bridge next month.”

The effort is a collaboration with Autodesk, the Dutch construction firm Heijmans and the Swiss robotics maker ABB.

Check out this story in The Economist for more information and see a collage of MX3D’s photos below.

Raising a king-sized roof in Queens

As Serena Williams‘ bid for her historic Grand Slam continues at 7 p.m. tonight at the U.S. Open, the super structure of Arthur Ashe Stadium’s new retractable dome will hang overhead. The lightweight-fabric roof won’t be complete until next year, but we wanted to take a moment to share the backstory of the innovative thinking behind this unique construction project.

The largest tennis stadium in the world is sinking into a mound of coal ash decomposing at a rate of about a half an inch per year. So putting a retractable roof on the 23,771-seat structure that can’t support more weight was a particularly gnawing conundrum that kept countless architects up at night.

In fact, the Detroit-based international architecture firm, ROSSETTI, felt compelled to continue working on the riddle of covering Arthur Ashe Stadium even after initially losing the bid for the $150 million dome in 2009. ROSSETTI couldn’t resist the challenge of solving what other firms and four architectural studies couldn’t — even at the risk of taking a loss on a design that wouldn’t see the light of day.

“This is probably the first and only time we have done something like this,” Jon Disbrow, ROSSETTI’s lead architect for the project told us. Continue Reading ›

Fast and furious: Girder-Slab erects Troy Boston at speedy pace

Located next to a major interstate, Troy Boston’s rapid rise hasn’t exactly been a Trojan horse. The luxury apartment complex along the Southeast Expressway in Boston’s trendy South End topped out with its final steel beam approximately four months after breaking ground last March.

So how exactly did the 19-story tower and 11-story midrise emerge so quickly and save $2 million in the process? The answer is simple: Girder-Slab Technologies.


Girder-Slab’s signature D-Beam Girders install flush with precast hollow core planks to hide steel beams that would otherwise hang below the concrete slabs. Grout is poured between the open webs in the beam and the precast planks to glue the two together. Image courtesy of Girder-Slab Technologies.

“It’s a fast system,” Girder-Slab Vice President of Business Development Dan Fisher, Jr. told us. “All projects are different but that type of speed is pretty typical.”

The prefabricated Girder-Slab system not only sends projects into hyper drive because it is easily erected onsite, but it also saves money because its thin concrete slabs allow more floors to be built with less wasted space and without raising the height of the building.

Continue Reading ›

Lowering the ceiling to raise the roof


An artist’s rendering of the Golden State Warriors’ new arena in San Francisco. Rendering courtesy of MANICA Architecture.

As the NBA Finals come to a close this week with Golden State potentially winning its first title since 1975, we were impressed by Steph Curry and the Warriors once again blowing the lid off the infamously noisy, but dated, Oracle Arena in Oakland on Sunday night. We are equally impressed by the architects and engineers recreating that rock-concert atmosphere in Golden State’s gleaming new arena set to break ground in San Francisco this January.

With its low-slung ceilings and sound-reverberant concrete surfaces, Oracle is known to reach 120 decibels — that’s as loud as a jet engine!

An artist's rendering of a new park that would be planted at the foot of the Golden State Warriors new arena in San Francisco. Courtesy of MANICA Architecture.

An artist’s rendering of a new park that would be planted at the foot of the Golden State Warriors’ new arena in San Francisco. Rendering courtesy of MANICA Architecture.

New arenas often disappoint fans yearning for the old-school flavor of their former ballparks, especially when it comes to the noise factor since sound loses steam the further it travels through air. So harnessing that energy inside a sleek modern arena that lacks concrete and is designed to be more open is a tall task that falls to the Machete Group and MANICA Architecture, whose owner, David Manica, worked on O2 Arena and the new Wembley Stadium in London as well as Beijing’s Olympic Stadium.

Two major ways architects are recreating Oracle’s fan experience from an acoustic standpoint are by limiting the new arena to 18,000 seats and by featuring only one level of suites in an effort to keep the ceiling low and the sound off the charts.

“We are working with world-renowned acousticians, and state-of-the-art acoustic simulators, to ensure that the new arena is just as loud and exciting as Oracle is,” Manica told us.

Game 6 of the NBA Finals is at 9 p.m. EST on Tuesday night on ABC. For more on the Oracle and the Warriors’ new arena check out Sports Illustrated. For more on the science of sound in stadiums click here.