Daily digest: A scooter takes a damaging tumble down the Spanish Steps, Penn Station and LaGuardia overhaul updates, and more

Planes, Trains, and Electric Scooters

Daily digest: A scooter takes a damaging tumble down the Spanish Steps, Penn Station and LaGuardia overhaul updates, and more

The Spanish Steps in Rome. (Shai Pal/Unsplash)

Welcome to the top of another week! Here are just a few of the latest happenings and headlines in the world of architecture, urbanism, and design:

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners to open a New York studio

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) has announced it will open a New York office this fall. The London-headquartered firm already has a number of projects in the United States, including a recently completed residential tower in Manhattan, a mixed-use residential high-rise in Philadelphia that broke ground earlier this year, and an in-progress bourbon distillery in Kentucky.

The New York office will be led by RSHP associate partner Georgina Robledo. In its latest financial report the firm said the New York studio would “consolidate and expand our North American work.” Robledo joined the firm in 2003 and one of her first projects involved working on conceptual designs for 3 World Trade Center. She is currently overseeing the design of a 60-story office building in Toronto.

“The practice has been planning to have a presence in the Americas to expand our design services for some time due to the increase of work in the region. I plan to be in New York in the autumn 2022.” Robledo said.

H/t to Architects’ Journal

American tourist pushes electric scooter down Rome’s iconic Spanish Steps

Oops. A pair of American tourists were caught on tape dragging electric scooters down Rome’s fabled Trinita dei Monti, better known as the Spanish Steps. A passerby filmed the moment when one of the tourists, a 28-year-old woman, let go of her ride, catapulting it down the monumental marble stairway. The pair was located by the Italian police and each fined $430 (€400). The woman could face additional charges for intentionally defacing historical property, which according to Italian law is subject to up to one year behind bars and a fine of no less than €2,000.

This isn’t the first time as of late the 18th century Roman landmark, which underwent an extensive restoration in 2015 financed by luxury brand Bulgari, has been marred due to tourists behaving badly. Just last month, also in the wee hours of the morning, a Saudi tourist drove his rented Maserati down the steps, resulting in considerable damage. And in 2019, the public was banned from sitting on the steps because it detracts from the “historic and artistic decorum” of Rome’s UNESCO World Heritage Site-designated city center.

H/t to New York Times

Penn Station overhaul moves forward with Request for Proposals

On June 9, New York Governor Kathy Hochul joined a small army of elected officials and regional transportation leaders at Manhattan’s Pennsylvania Station to discuss plans for the next phase of the planned redevelopment of the aging transit hub. The controversial, neighborhood-altering $6 billion project has formally commenced a Request for Proposals (RFP) process for architecture and engineering firms to execute the design work. The winning firm will be chosen in the fall and will be responsible for realizing the design scheme outlined in the site’s reconstruction plan. The new design will include skylights and wide corridors—similar to the recently completed Moynihan Train Hall—a wide expanse of newly created public space, and an underground connection linking Herald Square and 34th Street with the station.

“The transformation of Penn Station into a world-class, commuter-focused transportation facility befitting the central hub of the greatest city in the world cannot come soon enough,” Hochul said in a press release. “We have shared a vision of a single-level unified station with soaring ceilings that welcome natural light, clear, intuitive sightlines, more circulation space and more connectivity to streets and platforms.”

Delta Air Lines upgrades its LaGuardia Airport terminal to first class

In other transportation news, LaGuardia Airport’s (LGA) dingy reputation is one step closer to being a thing of the past. Earlier this month, Delta Air Lines debuted its new Terminal C,  a $4 billion project spanning 1.3 million square feet, the largest-ever airport investment for the Atlanta-headquartered airline. The project–designed by a roster of architects and engineers including Gensler and Corgan–enhances efficiency and provides a state-of-the-art experience for travelers.

The new terminal includes 37 gates, 36 full-service check-in counters, 49 self-service kiosks, and modernized passenger lounges, among other facilities. The opening of Terminal C comes as a major milestone in the $8 billion dollar redevelopment of LGA, which also included a remodel of Terminal B, completed in 2020.

Architectural Record announces Top 300 U.S. Architecture Firms of 2022

Architectural Record has published the 2022 edition of its annual, revenue-based Top 300 U.S. Architecture Firms rankings. Gensler, Perkins&Will, and HRD are respectively ranked first, second, and third and have retained their position from last year (and the year before that). Firms that experienced notable increases in revenue include AECOM, which rose from eighth place in 2021 to fourth place in 2022, and IBI Group Inc., which leapt up the rankings from the 20th spot in 2021 to its current position at 13th place. On the other hand, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF) dropped five spots over the past year from 13th place to 18th.

H/t to Architectural Record