Going global: Crosstown Concourse design among world's best
USA TODAY NETWORK
Crosstown Concourse hit the world stage on Monday by making the short list for a design honor given by an international architecture publication.
LRK architect firm's adaptive re-use plan for what had been the long-vacant Sears mail-order warehouse is one of 15 projects making the short list for the "New into Old" awards by London-based The Architectural Review.
The $250 million Memphis renovation is the only project from the United States making the cut. Others are five from the United Kingdom, two from Sweden, and one each from Australia, the Netherlands, Qatar, China, India, Turkey, and Belgium.
Those others on the short list include a community center in Burford, England, an early learning center in Sydney, Australia, a museum in Qatar, an art commune in China, a cultural center in Turkey, and a port house in Belgium.
"It really is about the extension of the life of a building by inserting new uses rather than tearing down and replacing it,'' said Frank Ricks, principal with LRK.
Crosstown Concourse developers have described the 1.1 million-square-foot building as a "vertical urban village'' of 265 apartments, offices, retail, a high school, nonprofit organizations and artists. The grand opening occurred in August.
Developers said "let's make this a mixture of uses and a mixture of people,'' Ricks recalled.
Among the biggest decisions was to remove about 400,000 square feet in the interior to create some large open spaces, or atriums.
"But also creating public spaces both inside and outside the building that allow the inhabitants of the building to actually have a place to interface with one another,'' Ricks said.
"We want people to experience being together in a way they might not otherwise,'' he said of the students, artists, teachers, physicians, entrpreneurs, apartment residents, health patients and others.
"We've never been involved in anything quite like it,'' Ricks said of LRK and Crosstown Concourse. "It's an extraordinary thing to be a part of and certainly we're delighted that (Architectural Review) has started this brand new award for this.''
A panel of British architects judged the projects.
"The Architectural Review has long championed creative reuse, and the subject has become of significant new interest because of the carbon implications of retrofit rather than replacement,'' publication officials said in announcing the short list on Monday.
"This new award celebrates the successful adaptation of original architecture to contemporary functions as well as the varied remodelling strategies, such as innovative insertions, that make imaginative reuse possible.''
The winning project and any other highly commended projects and finalists will be revealed at the end of the year with Architectural Review's December/January issue.
"The Architectural Review is at the heart of global architecture and this exciting awards programme seeks out transformative, leading-edge projects from around the world,'' the 121-year-old publication states.