Chavasse Park (Unbuilt), Liverpool, England

The idea of urban intervention has been a central part of several recent designs by Philip Johnson/Alan Ritchie Architects. In these they have explored how to place large-scale structures within existing urban fabric to create extraordinary architectural effects. Their design for Chavasse Park in Liverpool, England is a clear example of this urban intervention, which at once stands out as a civic monument, yet acts to unite various elements of the city to form a recognizable urban district. Its distinctly warped form is very much due to the firm’s collaboration with engineer, Cecil Balmond of Ove Arup Partners. When asked about the use of glass to enclose the two-story shopping mall, Johnson explains, “This is reminiscent of traditional shopping arcades such as London’s famous Burlington arcade and similar arcades found in France and Germany.”

Philip Johnson/Alan Ritchie Architects is concerned greatly with what will makes this project so special to the city of Liverpool. Johnson asserts, “It will offer retail and entertainment activities and all that, but more important it will provide pedestrian access to and from Liverpool’s Old dock, the city’s salient feature. The design emanates directly from the need to reintegrate the waterfront into the city.”


Lancy Office Center, Geneva, Switzerland

This office building in Geneva will house an international financial institution, providing high-end office interiors with a totally transparent building skin. The building consists of an eight story tower and a six story elongated block intercepted by an atrium that rises from 15 to 25 meters in height. There are two full-service lobbies, a paved plaza with outdoor seating areas, and a landscaped plaza surrounding the building.

Other amenities include two 200-seat auditoriums, a conference center, a fitness center, and three levels of underground parking. The glass curtain walls of the building provide an elegant drama to each of the facades via the use of an automated shading system. The shading devices are integrated into the glazing system, and when lowered will display an attractive palette of colors inside and out. This innovative curtain wall together with custom lighting features will set the building in motion and create a soothingly colorful play of light and shadow.


Chrysler Center Addition and Renovation, New York, New York

Philip Johnson/Alan Ritchie Architects have provided a three-part solution for Tishman Speyer Properties extraordinary development at one of New York’s best-known buildings — the Chrysler building. First, the firm designed new cladding for the former, “Kent Building”, now Chrysler East. Vertical “super mullions” encase prefabricated wall panels, which enforces the verticality of the new façade. An added bay to the West creates 130,000 sq. ft. of new space. The advantage here is the transformation of the formerly blank West façade into one with floor-to-ceiling glass windows that provide spectacular views of the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings beyond.

Second, Philip Johnson/Alan Ritchie Architects has remade Chrysler East’s lobby. Using four-foot diameter stainless steel-clad columns, and walls and flooring in a rich granite, the firm has produced a temple-like interior. This area extends into the corridor leading to a new space, the Link.

The firm’s third move at Chrysler Center is a remarkable piece of glass and steel sculpture at the Link, the Trylons at Chrysler Center. These pyramid-like forms collide in strange angles and produce a remarkable image on 42nd Street. Rising 60 to 70 feet in height, they enclose a very special space, which is expected to house a top-level restaurant.


First Union Plaza, Boca Raton, Florida

Located in the center of the Boca Raton business district, this 4.1 acre master plan for a mixed-use development uses materials and colors reminiscent of Mediterranean building design. Consisting of both commercial and residential components, the project is united by a lively play of complementary colors and textures of stucco. The custom hues, selected by Philip Johnson, give homage to the tradition of 1920s Florida architect Addison Mizner, while providing a contemporary vision appropriate for the 21st century.

On the commercial end of the project, there are two main office buildings which include a seven story office tower of 90,000 square feet, a two story bank building of 14,500 square feet, a parking garage for approximately 350 cars and a connecting arcade that links the garage with the office building. In addition, there is a landscaped courtyard at the ground level that separates the garage from the office buildings. The central design concept here revolves around the creation of a distinctively landscaped pedestrian space that sits at the corner of Federal and Camino. now known as ‘First Union Plaza’.

The design of the buildings is the result of a reexamination of traditional geometry – here the cube – and skillfully removing a curved section of that cube to make a dramatic and novel form.

The residential portion of the project, designed by the firm of Looney Ricks Kiss, consists of a 200-unit, mid-rise luxury building that is set adjacent to the garage. The apartment complex is designed around two interior courtyards, containing pools and fountains.

Client: Songy Partners Limited
Completion Date: 2000
Area: 150,000 square feet
Associate Architects: Retzsch Lanao Caycedo Architects


Millennia Retail Galleria, Singapore

Located in the center of the new business district in Singapore, this retail mall is designed to link several new buildings through a common circulation that passes through its central entrance space. The main entrance is the “Great Court”, composed of a 22 meter cube topped by a pyramidal roof that extends 22 meters above the court itself. From this court extends a 16 meter wide shopping arcade extending north to south, along which are 14 bays of smaller pyramidal roof structures, the ceilings of which are painted in a variety of colors.

The exterior is clad in dark red granite set as ashlars and the roof has a lead-coated copper finish reminiscent of fish scales. The interior of the main volume is also clad in red granite and is articulated with an apple-green metal column and beam structure. Natural light is provided throughout with skylights, clerestory windows and a series arched windows with gold-leaf covered, angular jams.

Client: Pontiac Marina, PTE, Ltd.
Completion Date: 1996
Area: 500,000 sq. ft.


International Place, Boston, Massachusetts

International Place is a large project even by modern standards. It has two million square feet of office and retail space with over 500,000 square feet of below grade garage and ancillary space. The site plan for the complex has a carefully imposed geometry that assures efficiency for tenant use. The mass of the buildings has been broken down into simple circles, rectangles, and squares. Arranged in an irregular manner the buildings appear as an urban village. With pink granite facades providing visual unity for the two towers, there is nonetheless a distinct form for each tower. The design follows the irregular streets that surround the perimeter of the site. The spaces at the interior of the block are used as a covered pedestrian court that provides access to the office lobbies and the retail space.

A notable design element at International Place is the decoration of the façades. The fenestration is based on “Palladian” windows, an arch flanked by two smaller rectangular forms. The Palladian window is a classic design detail, but was rare for a modern commercial project. Johnson not only used it, he multiplied it so that the form would seem, “like a wallpaper pattern”. The replication is extremely modern, although the original form is classic. International Place is considered a postmodern landmark on the Boston skyline.

Client: Chiofaro Company
Completion Date: 1987 (first phase), 1992 (second phase)
Area: 1,977,500 sq. ft.



Marquee Night Club, New York, New York.

The firm was commissioned to design certain key elements to what has become a hugely successful night club, located in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. The center-piece of the interior is the unique arched stairway leading up to the VIP lounge and creating a gateway into the bar area below. It also serves as an impromptu dance stage, and for making dramatic entrances and speeches during special events. The exterior of the club is rendered in clean cement panels with a heated marquee to keep revelers dry and warm while queuing in the hope of gaining admission. The firm also designed the glass wall of the VIP lounge.



Domus Design Collection Showroom, Ney York City, New York

To strengthen Domus Design Collection’s identity as sellers of high-end furniture, the owners of DDC commissioned a new showroom for the location near the Empire State building. The client wanted something different than traditional display windows. These are separated from the selling floor, which limits access and uses up valuable Manhattan retail space. PJ/AR’s solution was to integrate the window display into the space of the showroom. The result is an energetic, vibrant space to showcase the company’s line of furniture.

The showroom’s walls are arranged as a series of facets, each at angles to the next, with each facet subtly warping in three dimensions – the effect is expressive and dynamic. The shapes turn an ordinary plaster wall into sculpted form. A subdued silver paint accentuates the form of the walls and takes on different hues as the walls curve away from the viewer.

Two portals lead up into the light-soaked, glazed North side of the showroom. From outside, the presence of the shoppers examining furniture animates the window, creating a living frieze. Interior walls, warped at different angles, form niches for furniture groupings. Visible from the street, they help to communicate the store’s progressive identity to passersby.

Client: Domus Design Collection, Inc.
Completion Date: 2000
Area: 20,000 square feet