Foster and Partners & Grimshaw Architects “Sophisticated spiral Inspiration”

In my previous post I raised the possibility that Grimshaw’s architects Garibaldi Exhibition Building Is the inspiration source to Zaha Hadid‘s Burnham Pavilion

In this post it seems that Grimshaw’s architects switch roles….

Could it be that Grimshaw Architects took their inspiration from London City Hall designed by Foster,when planning the new Fulton Street Transit Center in New York?…….. For you to judge….


Foster & Partners

London City Hall 2002


Grimshaw Architects computer simulation

 of the Fulton Street Transit Center

New York, NY, USA – Completion Date scheduled: 2014

Notice the spiral element expression on the left side of the computer simulation above….

Eliinbar sketches 2012  Grimshaw Architects inspiration sources

Notice the formal imagination and the spiral element expression in both projects

More interesting information about Foster & Partners spiral pedestrian movement In London City Hall, see the Wikipedia



in my Facebook

 Spiral staircase in Foster’s New City Hall  London

You are invited to visit my recent and relevant posts:

Zaha Hadid & Grimshaw Architects, wrapped softly….

Steven Holl , El Lissitzky and the HORIZONTAL SKYSCRAPERS

O.M. Ungers & Iakov Chernikhov – Is This “Conscious Inspiration”?

“Conscious Inspiration” the ultimate inspiration methodology

 “Knowledge”:  as many said, and wrote before – Knowledge is the foundation for all designing processWe architects and designers are obliged to be informed about everything that was designed in the past and on a daily basis….

“Tools”:  develop tools to analyze buildings and “Understand” them,  tools that will cope with the abundance of architectural information

“Invention”:  with the methodology of “conscious Inspiration” we don’t need to be intimidated to get inspired from relevant buildings.  Once we develop our tools, it will lead us to high quality and creative architecture.

6 Responses to “Foster and Partners & Grimshaw Architects “Sophisticated spiral Inspiration””

  1. Daniel Peterson Says:

    While the Fulton Street Transit Center oculus, and in particular it’s curved form do seem inspired by Foster’s work, I can tell you that the plan for the station definitely was not.

    In my role as a Senior Transportation Engineer for Arup, I developed the plan for the station (5/1/2002). Grimshaw was hired by Arup about a year later and subsequently adopted the plan. The original plan was modified by MTA’s decision to retain the Corbin Building, but only by being made smaller. The circular elements (promenade ground floor and depressed “pod”), and the angled main staircases were retained. The upper floors were added later.

    GCT and its east and west staircases influenced my thinking regarding the FSTC design, including its vertical space and clearstory daylight above, and the actions of “descending into”, and “watching others”. While these GCT elements in no way resemble in plan the FSTC elements, in psychological intent, they do.

    The inbound pedestrian flows from the four corners of the station (originally extending to John St.) were drawn to a central area, which was then to lead to the 4/5 and other trains. This “central area,” which became known as the “pod” was depressed (-1) to lead directly into the uptown 4/5 platform. Once inside fare control, additional vertical circulation lead down to the (-2) large concourse area (the open pool like “basement”, which the pod overlooks). which provided through connectivity between Dey St. the A (and J/M/Z) line), and the downtown 4/5 platform. The ground floor and the pod were designed as circular spaces, to drive my expectation that there ought to be a dome above (I was thinking Pantheon, Monticello, not a hyperboloid). The circular plan also worked to bring the pedestrians into the pod at perpendicular angles. I felt this was a key design element (and had to fight to keep them from turning parallel and the circular promenade into an orthogonal box) because I wanted users to be able to naturally witness the movement of other travelers as each moved up and down the stairs and escalators. I also wanted users to emerge from the building into its corners, which is natural for circulation (direct to the street corner), but is also visually interesting through the perspectival changes encountered and from the greater light present in the open intersections beyond the doors and visible through the glass above them.

    There very much was an intent to bring light all the way into the building, down to the A platform if possible. There was also very much an intentional user experience of moving into, emerging into the light as one left the station and went to one’s job. The promenade was circular, and the pod below, naturally enough was as well as I felt the curved edges more approachable for looking over and watching people on the escalators, down below or across the opening as they move through the station. I also felt the circular overlooks more conducive to creating self-defined spaces for waiting for a rendezvous. Curved edges seem to have a different more approachable attraction for people than orthogonal square edges, and looking into a circle, a different experience from looking into a square.

    It is my sincere hope that users will enjoy a transformative experience as they leave and enter the station, an experience that keeps working for them, day after day, that fills them with a little bit of the energy and wonder of the city.

    Daniel Peterson, PE

  2. Daniel Peterson Says:

    Btw, Zaha Hadid was sharing office space with us at Arup in those first days of working on FSTC, and then the frenetic process of trying to win the actual design job. I got to know her and had several conversations about her design and her structural design methodologies. I don’t recall her actually working on FSTC, and the oculus didn’t show up until after Grimshaw was brought on, by which time I think she had set up her own office.

    My background was Sculpture at Pratt (BFA-Honors, ’85) before Civil Engineering at City College (BECE, ’91)

    • Nice to meet you Daniel,
      Additional comments are welcome,
      Feel free to share with us your experience,,,,

      Eli Inbar

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