Venice Biennale: HOK Celebrates 40 Years of International Work
OfficeUS—the United States’ pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale—features 11 international projects designed by HOK.
OfficeUS explores the last 100 years of United States architectural production abroad and the ways in which US-based firms have exported architecture around the globe. The Storefront for Art and Architecture is the commissioner of the US pavilion and exhibition, which highlights more than 700 international projects from 170 US-based firms. The exhibit curators invited HOK to contribute information about 11 significant international projects.
Designed by New York-based architects Leong Leong, graphic designer Natasha Jen/Pentagram and technology consultants at CASE, the design of the actual pavilion features a wall of project binders housing the documentation of each project surrounding a large, collective work-space in each room. Working with visiting experts and outpost offices around the world, eight architects will take up residence in these work spaces and will revisit the projects in the archive over the 25 weeks of the Biennale.
“OfficeUS looks simultaneously backward and forward, rethinking both historical material and office protocols from the archive, while using the US pavilion-based office, OfficeUS, to develop new work and as a portal to host discussions and workshops,” according to the curators.
Since HOK’s first international project nearly 40 years ago, the firm has expanded into a truly global firm with nine international office locations, in addition to 14 domestic offices. Out of more than 1,000 global building projects in HOK’s portfolio, the OfficeUS curators chose to focus on the following 11 projects, which they believed best contribute to the historic or geographic narratives that the US Pavilion exhibition will attempt to address.
1. King Saud University
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
King Saud University occupies a 3.5-square-mile site in the Saudi Arabian desert just northwest of the capital city of Riyadh. The university was planned for an initial enrollment of approximately 21,000 students, with phased expansion capable of accommodating twice that number. HOK was the lead firm of the HOK+4 Consortium, which was assembled for the complete design, engineering and construction administration of the university.
2. King Khalid International Airport
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Nearly four decades ago, HOK’s clients in the Saudi Arabian government guided the design of King Khalid International Airport (KKIA) to become one of the world’s best airports. When it opened in 1983, the complex created a world-class image for the Saudi capital and a new standard of excellence for international airport architecture. Forty years after designing King Khalid International Airport (KKIA), HOK is now the design team leader for the expansion of Terminals 3 and 4.
3. Tokyo Telecom Center
As the centerpiece and gateway of Teleport Town, an information hub located on reclaimed land in Tokyo Bay, the Tokyo Telecom Center’s design is symbolic of technology.
The two 24-story towers are constructed of glass curtain wall with exposed tubular steel structure. The curtain wall is composed of nested grids. Inside, a cylindrical skylight supported by latticework draws daylight into the cubic atrium. These themes are integrated throughout the building: cube within cube, squares within squares and circles within squares.
The towers that house the offices and state-of-the-art telecommunications equipment are grounded by a five-story atrium and bridged at the top by a functional satellite and antenna platform and an observation deck. The first four floors of the building and the connecting atrium, which feature a slanted circular glass roof, house public areas including exhibit spaces, public television studios and health club facilities.
4. The Darwin Centre, Natural History Museum
The Darwin Centre at The Natural History Museum is the most significant development since the museum opened in 1881. The Darwin Centre offers visitors rare, behind-the-scenes access to the work and people of the museum. The building provides a new home for more than 22 million zoological specimens and laboratories for 100 scientists. The design responds to a highly demanding practical and technical brief but was also a celebration of the huge body of research carried out by the museum.
5. U.S. Department of State Nairobi Embassy Compound
This US Department of State Nairobi Embassy Compound incorporates highly secure, traditional architecture and locally sensitive materials while conveying a sense of openness and welcome to the people of Kenya. The design draws inspiration from many of the classic archetypes of open, welcoming American architecture, including the White House and George Washington’s mansion at Mount Vernon. A porch element ties into a monolithic stone wall, focusing attention to the main entrance. The L-shaped main office building neatly wraps around a courtyard and effectively encloses the space. The design clearly conveys the key values of the US: strength, dignity, freedom and democracy.
6. Dubai Marina
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
As the world’s largest planned waterfront community and the first lifestyle development of its kind in the Middle East, Dubai Marina includes 10 distinct communities that can accommodate a total of 100,000 residents. This residential and resort development shifted the perceived center of Dubai further west along the shore of the Arabian Gulf. It also helped advance the city’s transformation into a commercial, entertainment and resort hub.
7. Abu Dhabi National Oil Company Headquarters
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
The new headquarters for Abu Dhabi National Oil Company symbolizes the company’s importance in the development of the United Arab Emirates. Located on one of Abu Dhabi’s most prominent urban sites, the tower will create a new city landmark while articulating ADNOC’s role as one of the world’s most dynamic, influential petroleum companies. The structure’s design maximizes views of the Arabian Gulf and takes advantage of the site’s prime location through careful massing of the tower and placement of the surrounding courts, plazas and landscape.
8. Capital Market Authority Tower
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Soaring 1,260 feet above the surrounding cityscape, the CMA Tower is the tallest of the five structures that make up the financial plaza of the King Abdullah Financial District. The team designed the iconic tower as the centerpiece of this new office district. It symbolizes the beginning of a new era of global financial leadership within Saudi Arabia’s capital city. The Capital Market Authority will occupy 300,000 square feet of space in the top floors of the 76-story office tower. Representing timelessness and openness, the tower’s transparency relates to the cultural value of the crystals found along the wadis in the Saudi Arabian desert.
9. US Embassy Office Annex
Neighboring the Chancery building designed by HOK, the New Office Annex in Moscow will be one of the first embassies built under the new Department of State Design Excellence Program. The seven-story addition includes a new consular section, 300 desks for State Department and US federal agency personnel, public diplomacy spaces including a new auditorium and two floors of residential apartments.
HOK’s initial project on this embassy compound was to redesign the Moscow Chancery. The design concept broke apart the previously designed inward-facing, solid cube and replaced it with a glassy building that opens toward the Russian White House. Scheduled for completion in 2016, the new annex will extend this message. While the chancery’s design reflected the embassy’s official business functions, the design of the annex strengthens the relationship between the American and Russian people.
10. Baku Flame Towers
Located on a hill overlooking Baku Bay and the old city center, the Baku Flame Towers transform the city’s skyline and promote its historic identity. Baku’s history of fire worship provided the inspiration for the design, which consists of three flame-shaped towers, each with a different function, set in a triangular shape.
The 39-story residential tower — the tallest of the three — sits to the south, accommodating 130 luxury apartments with stunning views. The hotel, operated by Fairmont Hotels, is located on the northern corner of the site and consists of 318 rooms over 36 floors. Located on the west side of the complex, the office tower provides more than 355,200 square feet of flexible, Class A commercial office space. The retail podium acts as the anchor for the project, providing leisure and retail facilities for the three towers’ residents and visitors.
11. Kempegowda International Airport
The striking expansion to Kempegowda International Airport’s Terminal 1 strengthens Bangalore’s position as the international gateway to Southern India. The 23-gate addition doubles the size of the airport and allows it to accommodate 20 million passengers annually and new, wide-bodied aircraft such as the Airbus A380. Though the airport is bigger, the experience for passengers is much simpler. The design improves the passenger experience, starting with one of the 83 check-in desks and ending at one of 13 baggage carousels.
See the Flickr set of featured projects.