Snøhetta unveils design for El Paso Children's Museum
Construction has begun on a four-storey, 70,000 square foot Children’s Museum, designed by Norwegian architect Snøhetta in downtown El Paso, western Texas.
Snøhetta and the El Paso Children’s Museum leadership unveiled the final designs of the new light-filled, lofty and playful structure, during a ground-breaking ceremony held at the museum’s location at 201 W. Main in downtown El Paso.
The architect won the design for the museum after a two-year process, following meetings with the local community, multiple presentations and a public vote.
The building’s geometries immediately set it apart in the city’s skyline, with its rectilinear base wrapped in glass, providing interior views to entice pedestrians to stop inside the public lobby, and is topped by a rippling succession of barrel vaults which rise to a ‘cloud-like’ crown, the architect explains.
Furthermore, Snøhetta says that the spaces within the museum will act as a learning tool. These include a terraced ‘discovery garden’, a grove of trees, and a ‘cooling mist’ playground.
“The architecture reveals itself as a cloud, floating above the desert connecting all people in this important place, young and old alike,” the architect firm says.
Snøhetta’s design considers how the museum itself can become a learning tool. With spaces and exhibitions that inspire the imagination of both children and adults alike, the museum celebrates the unique culture and geography of El Paso while providing barrier-free access to educational opportunities, it emphasises.
Elaine Molinar, a native El Pasoan and Partner, and Nick Anderson, Director, revealed the design of the museum, while local children also took part in the ground-breaking immediately after the design reveal. El Paso Mayor Dee Margo, the Children’s Museum board Chair Josh Hunt, and El Paso Community Foundation President and CEO Eric Pearson also spoke at the ceremony.
The unveiling is the latest milestone for El Paso’s first purpose-built children’s museum, a special project of the El Paso Community Foundation, the City of El Paso and other community stakeholders. The museum aims to become a civic classroom and energy point for the region’s families, designed to maximise open-ended and imaginative play and exploration, Snøhetta adds. It has been designed to bring value to all youth in the surrounding region, and to complement the nearby children’s museum in the Mexican city of Juarez.
It is located within the heart of El Paso’s Downtown Arts district, close to the vibrant San Jacinto plaza, and less than one kilometre from El Paso del Norte, a major border-crossing station. To the north, the site is bounded by the Union Pacific Railroad, one of two major transcontinental freight lines in the western United States.
Snøhetta has partnered with local El Paso architects Exigo and is working with Gyroscope who is designing the exhibitions for the museum.
Skanska invests $225m in Houston office project
Skanska is investing US$225m in an office development project, 1550 on the Green in Houston, with construction expected to begin in June and scheduled to be completed in 2024.
The construction contract is worth US$125M, which will be included in the Q2 order bookings. International law firm Norton Rose Fulbright has signed a 15-year lease for about 30 percent of the building.
Located at 1550 Lamar Street, adjacent to Discovery Green, in downtown Houston, Skanska plans to develop and build a 28-floor, 34,800 square meter office tower.
1550 on the Green will be the first part of a three-block master plan by Skanska, which will transform the parcels into a distinguished district known as Discovery West and consist of 3.5 acres of mixed-use development full of restaurants, retail and lush green space. The project will target LEED and WiredScore Platinum certifications.
Since 2009, Skanska has invested a total of US$2.8 billion in commercial and multi-family projects, creating more than 1 million square meters of sustainable and community focused developments in select U.S. markets. Skanska USA had sales of SEK66 billion in 2020 with 7,600 employees in its operations.
Skanska’s flagship London office has set the standard in sustainable workspaces by becoming the first in the UK to achieve WELL Platinum under the new v2 pilot scheme.
The accreditation from the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) was awarded through the v2 pilot, the newest version of the WELL Building Standard. It looks at all building features and management processes – from air and water quality to lighting, acoustics, nutrition, thermal comfort and mental wellbeing. It’s widely recognised as the industry yardstick for measuring how workspaces can contribute to the wellbeing of occupants.
The offices – which span three floors of the newly developed 51 Moorgate – contain floor-to-ceiling windows for extensive natural light, dedicated wellbeing and quiet spaces, as well as stringent air and water quality monitoring, among a range of other features that have helped earn the standard.
The company has also been exploring drone flights for use in industrial environments.
Peter Cater, Development Manager, said it was invited to carry out trials because of its use and knowledge of drone capability. "The trials have benefited everyone involved: sees.ai get to test their equipment and remote use of the drones and we get access to accurate, real-time data on our construction activities which benefits us and our customer, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation."
“Projects like this – at the forefront of innovation – go to show what an exciting industry construction is to be involved in. We are always looking for innovative ways of working, ways to be more sustainable so we can find better solutions for our customers. These trials are just one small part of our digital transformation journey.”