Mixed-Use
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Compounded by global issues such as resource scarcity, the migration to cities is placing great responsibility on urban buildings to do many things, and do them well.  Mixed-use development, the physically integrated combination of residential, commercial, cultural, and transportation functions, consolidates activity within a structure or neighborhood.  In our densifying cities, the adoption and thoughtful execution of mixed-use development is a necessity. 

The mixed-use typology is not new; one of the first examples is Trajan’s Market (110 AD) of ancient Rome with both shops and apartments built in a multi-level structure.  Historians believe that the building’s arcades were administrative offices of Emperor Trajan and the remains of a library have been excavated.  The 20th Century, with the rise of the automobile and telecommunication technologies, meant dispersion.  Sprawl prevailed.  However, as the population has increasingly migrated into cities over the past thirty years, the mixed-use building has experienced a prolific period of experimentation and rebirth. 

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Trajan's Market, 110 AD
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The completion of KPF’s 1989 900 North Michigan Avenue was one of the first buildings on Magnificent Mile with a vertical, varied program.  The building combines five major uses: a shopping mall with Bloomingdales as an anchor tenant; a Four Seasons Hotel; office space in the tower’s lower section; condominiums on the higher floors; and one of the city’s largest parking garages. With four ‘lanterns’ forming a crown at 260 meters, the tower punctuates Chicago’s skyline with a sophisticated, unified expression.  900 North Michigan was the first of its kind for KPF, and remains the 8th tallest building in the city today.

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900 North Michigan
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The value of each floor benefitted from the common desire among tenants and residents alike for a streetfront that invited the city in.  It offered proof to the development industry that different uses, like architectural elements themselves, could be brought together to form a new kind of synergy, with a combined effect greater than the sum of its parts.

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From 900 North Michigan’s success, KPF was commissioned to design the Japan Rail Central Towers and Station, completed in 2005 in Nagoya, Japan that includes 1.1 million square feet of office space, a 700 + room hotel, 10 restaurants, and a 50,000-square-foot convention center.   What made the JR Central Towers extraordinary was the fact that it was built over the largest train station in the world, Nagoya station. The station comprises two national and two private railway lines, four subway lines, Japan Rail and city bus lines, as well as the bullet train Tokaido Shinkansen.  This project physically connects the subterranean to sweeping views of the city of Nagoya, with places to work, eat, sleep, and meet in between.  It took the commercial synergies of 900 North Michigan and merged them seamlessly with an entire nation’s transportation infrastructure.

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Plaza 66

The expertise gained at Nagoya spurred an onslaught of mixed-use projects in Asia, resulting in the most important phase of the mixed-use building evolution. In the 2000s, KPF designed some of the most frequently cited mixed-use projects, including Roppongi Hills, completed 2003 in Tokyo, which remains the largest private-sector urban redevelopment in Japan’s history.  Several projects in China followed, such as Plaza 66 of 2006, a premier shopping and office address in Shanghai.  In Hong Kong, The Landmark, also completed in 2006, included the renovation and extension of a retail development, and addition of a boutique hotel; the International Commerce Centre was completed in 2010, with offices, the world’s highest hotel, and a new transportation hub beneath; and Hysan Place followed in 2012 with 32 floors and of offices and retail outlets, and a direct link to the Causeway Bay Station.

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Roppongi
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It was during this period that the Shanghai World Financial Center, the tallest tower in Shanghai and second tallest in the world upon its completion, was completed in 2008.  A virtual city within a city, the 380,000 gross-square-meter structure tower houses a mix of office and retail uses, and the Park Hyatt Shanghai.  The form, two arcing curves that gesture to the heavens with a trapezoidal aperture at the 97th floor, offers a graceful moment of serenity amidst the frenetic environment of Pudong, Shanghai’s Central Business District.  At the supertall scale, the responsibility of the architect extends beyond the boundaries of building envelop and project site.  Similar to 900 North Michigan, the mixed-use typology took a visual and important place in the skyline. It became an instant symbol of the culture and commerce of the city.  With the completion of the Shanghai World Financial Center, the mixed-use typology was at the forefront of international architecture. 

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Hysan
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While the firm has continued to design high-rise buildings and supertalls, KPF’s formula for the pronounced vertical stacked tower influenced the firm’s work at the neighborhood level.  How can the density of a skyscraper work within a communal town square?  This answer is scale.  An example is the Jing An Kerry Centre in Shanghai, the multi-use complex features two towers, podium retail, a 508-key hotel, an event center and office amenities arranged around the preserved house where Mao Zedong lived.  Fusing the neighborhood’s historic character with modern Shanghai, Jing An Kerry Centre combines high density living with of the city street experience.  Open-air walkways lined with shops welcome pedestrian activity.  Careful integration on the ground level using architectural elements in proportion to the human body – lighting, colors, and materials - connect the soaring towers to the street.  Meanwhile, the tall buildings visually mend the skyline by connecting two existing office clusters in the city.  

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Jing An

The largest and most notable mixed-use development today is the Related Companies’ Hudson Yards on the far west side of Manhattan.  The largest private real estate development in the history of the United States, the first phase of Hudson Yards will see 11,340,000 square feet of construction. Drawing on the experience gained over 20 years in complex, mixed-use construction, KPF is leading the development.  Hudson Yards’ defining characteristic is an engineering feat.  To complete Related’s ambitious master plan, two platforms will bridge 30 active Long Island Rail Road train tracks.  Two towers, at 52 stories and 90 stories respectively, are under construction atop of the rail yards.  Finished buildings will extend through the platform and rise above, with caissons drilled deep into the bedrock between rail lines to support the structures.  The combination of the public and private interests, transportation, retail, commerce, residences and education makes Hudson Yards the most complex mixed-use project since Rockefeller Center.

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Covent Garden

The popularity of the mixed-use typology has traveled where needed. In Chicago, 900 North Michigan set a precedent from which Magnificent Mile grew.  In Japan, Roppongi Hills and JR Central towers provided transportation infrastructure and tight-knit urban community in the country’s most populous cities.  Spreading to China, projects like the Shanghai World Financial Center and International Commerce Centre, implemented much-needed vertical density and cultural symbolism in Shanghai and Hong Kong.  Now, upon return to the States, New York development is benefitting from KPF’s worldly experience in mixed-use architecture.  The mixed-use building, refined, tested, and enhanced, has come home.

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Hudson Yards

The largest private real estate development in the history of the United States, the first phase of Hudson Yards will see 11,340,000 square feet of construction. Drawing on the experience gained over 20 years in complex, mixed-use construction, KPF is leading the design of the development.  Hudson Yards’ defining characteristic is the humanistic design approach to seamlessly blending infrastructure with architectural designs.  To complete Related’s ambitious master plan, two platforms will bridge 30 active Long Island Rail Road train tracks.  Two towers, at 52 stories and 90 stories respectively, are now under construction atop of the rail yards.  Finished buildings will extend through the platform and rise above, with caissons drilled deep into the bedrock between rail lines to support the structures.  The combination of the public and private interests, transportation, retail, commerce, residences and education makes Hudson Yards the most complex mixed-use project in New York since Rockefeller Center.  

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The popularity of the mixed-use typology has traveled where it is needed. In Chicago, 900 North Michigan set a precedent from which Magnificent Mile grew.  In Japan, Roppongi Hills and JR Central towers provided transportation infrastructure and tight-knit urban community in the country’s most populous cities.  Spreading to China, projects like the Shanghai World Financial Center and International Commerce Centre, implemented much-needed vertical density and cultural symbolism in Shanghai and Hong Kong.  Now, in New York and throughout the USA, development is benefitting from KPF’s global experience in mixed-use architecture.  As cities continue to grow, the mixed-use building will serve as an important tool to densify a humanizing manner, and will be critical to the success of the city in the future.


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