History of Andrea Steele Architecture (ASA)
Formerly the New York studio of TEN Arquitectos, ASA is the evolution of a rich collaboration between Enrique Norten and Andrea Steele, TEN’s North American principal for eight years. That relationship, which resulted in more than 20 built works, will continue as the two work on current projects and seek out future ones.
TEN Arquitectos [Taller de Enrique Norten Arquitectos] is dedicated to the creation and investigation of Architecture and Design. Founded in Mexico City by Enrique Norten in 1986, under his leadership and vision, the firm reached international stature when it opened a New York office in 2003. Since then, TEN Arquitectos has grown to over 70 members, working on a diverse array of award winning and acclaimed architectural projects.
Andrea Steele Architecture (ASA) is dedicated to accessing the humanity inherent in the design process. They see architecture as the medium through which we define our shared experience and our practice as a catalyst for cultural advancement. Every project they undertake, from a modest private residence to a massive civic complex, is rooted in the idea of building a global community.
Made up of advocates, strategists, interpreters, and educators from all over the globe, ASA approaches architecture as a way of creating connections and alignment: between a client’s culture and the public sphere, between the local and the universal, between thought and action.
Whether they are creating large-scale developments, vibrant civic centers, academic campuses, or cultural arenas, they know that to conceive of architecture as an isolated building is to miss the opportunities that design has to offer. Every project, regardless of site, scale, or program, is a chance to extend and enhance the public space. They strongly believe the scale of a project is measured by its impact on people, resources, and sense of place, not its physical size.
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Andrea Steele has more than two decades of experience overseeing a wide range of complex urban design projects throughout the U.S. With a focus on institutional, cultural, and community-oriented architecture.
Before establishing Andrea Steele Architecture, a firm which grew out of TEN Arquitectos’ New York office, where she served as partner and principal for more than 8 years, Steele practiced independently as Andrea Steele Architect. Steele received her Master of Architecture from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design; has taught several architecture studios, including at Cornell University; and is the recipient of numerous awards, most recently a New York AIA honor award for the New York Public Library project on Manhattan’s 53rd Street. She lectures widely throughout the United States, is a frequent participant in academic juries, and serves as an advisor to the Urban Design Forum and Pioneer Works.
Steele’s current projects include an innovative hub for NASA (part of the GSA Design Excellence Program) located on the Glenn Research campus in Cleveland, Ohio; a cultural heart for downtown Brooklyn that includes new cinemas and film archive for the Brooklyn Academy of Music; a production studio for the Brooklyn Public Library; galleries for the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts; and a variety of performing venues for 651 Arts in Brooklyn. In Queens, the firm has designed a community center for the immigrant-advocacy organization Make the Road New York.
She is currently completing the master plan for Pioneer Works, the experimental, interdisciplinary arts-and-science community center in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Phase 1 includes a new entry with reception, gift shop, and lounge; it will open in early 2021. Phase 2 will bring a public observatory and event and classroom spaces that, once constructed, will be the only observatory in New York City that is fully accessible to the general public.
In an interview with Madame Architect, Andrea is asked the following question:
What was the first spark of your interest in architecture?
The interest was a natural evolution of who I was. My parents met as Peace Corps volunteers in India, so I was raised, in New Jersey, with the understanding and the belief that you had a social responsibility. My father was the father who said, “There are starving people in Africa.” Then on the other side, my grandfather was a very strict Naval Chaplain – he believed so strongly in math and science. Every week when I would visit him, we’d play games – backgammon, chess, checkers – and he would quiz me on my knowledge of science and math.
I began my college studies in Biology with hopes of pursuing a career in Neuroscience. I believed that a deeper understanding of the brain – the mechanism with which we understand ourselves and the world around us – could help me identify methods to improve people’s experiences.
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Nuria holds a Master of Technology in Architecture with specialty in restoration and renovation from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia. She has studied and practiced architecture internationally in Barcelona, Germany, Morocco, France and Mexico. In Barcelona she oversaw the construction of the Blanes Sports Center by Arata Isozaki. In 2014 she joined TEN Arquitectos Mexico, where she led the design of the competition-winner National Museum of Energy and Technology (MUNET), an undulating active landscape enriched with cultural and educational program, that became the most challenging project up until today. She was also the driving force in the design and development of the Betel Synagogue and the intermodal train station from Toluca to Mexico City, both currently under construction.
In 2017 she moved to New York City where she played a leading position in several invited competitions including the El Paso Children Museum, where the firm was selected as finalist against national and international architectural firms like Konig Einzenberg and Snøhetta. In the Make the Road community Center, Nuria raised its design to another level to become a symbol to the members and the city, this awarded design is currently under construction and will be finalized in 2022.
Nuria is a passionate of the relationship between the built environment and its surroundings conditions and defends that “there are still in our cities spaces of opportunity to improve the life quality and enhance social connectedness in every neighborhood. The wide-spread cities shouldn´t be the answer when there is so much already built and vacant “
To gain a better understanding of the design style and way that Nuria views architecture and design, please go to the website of her studio, called nu.he studio aka Nuria Heras Studio, where you could find not only her latest projects but also, the articles she publishes in different architectural magazines and the podcast named Punto de Fuga – Podcast de Arquitectura, developed since 2018 and advocate of hispanic architecture.
Nieves is an Architect that studied at the Higher Technical School of Architecture of Alcalá (ETSAUAH) who has previously lived, studied and worked in Madrid and Bordeaux. Nieves is passionate about the phenomenology in architecture and was granted a research fellowship to study the relationship between our memory and architecture. Great defender of the need for deep research into new ways of confronting the architectural profession, as well as rethinking the crucial role that animals should have in our society.
Nieves has been working at ASA since May 2019 and worked with us via the Job+J1 Visa Program. They have been able to work on many amazing projects such as the MRNY, Community Center in Queens, NY, RSQ, Residential Development in Newark, TLC Woodside, Taxi and Limousine Commission, NY (Awarded with excellence in Design 2017 by The New York City Design Commission). Just to name a few!
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As you scroll through the following three projects they have created, consider all of these design techniques and ideas they have implemented.
Andrea Steele Architecture (ASA) Projects
MANHATTAN, NY, US
Mercedes House, a mixed-use development on the western edge of midtown Manhattan, occupies more than half a city block and comprises a total of 1.3 million square feet of commercial and residential space.
The design, which slopes up and away from De Witt Clinton Park at a starting height of 86 feet along Eleventh Avenue and reaches 328 feet at its peak, is rooted in the unique conditions of the site. As a moment of transition, the building reconciles two distinctly different urban scales: the flat, horizontal plane of the Hudson River waterfront park to the west and the dense, predominantly vertical Manhattan grid to the east. The project shifts diagonally across the site in a unique orientation to the Manhattan grid, reducing the building’s mass adjacent to the neighboring buildings. Each floor steps up from the one below, allowing for unobstructed views to the park and the river and providing private roof terraces with green roofs on every floor. The curving central structure introduces two courtyards—a sun-bathed pool and garden to the south and a shaded activities court to the north. Semipublic exterior spaces are activated during both the day and night by amenities, including a gallery, a market, and a health club, at its perimeter.
Photos by Andrea Steele Architecture (ASA)
Photos by Andrea Steele Architecture (ASA)
GRAND CAYMAN, CAYMAN ISLANDS
This luxury resort, which includes a 200 room hotel and more than 90 residential units, as well as high-end retail, restaurants, spa, fitness center, and outdoor recreational pavilions dispersed throughout the site, is to be built in St. James Point, Grand Cayman. Set on a lush 16-acre property fronted by a 1,000-foot-long secluded and private natural beach, the complex has been designed as a Caribbean icon of environmental sensitivity that both contrasts and compliments the surrounding tropical environment.
The hotel’s undulating plan offers the guests unobstructed views of both sunrise and moonrise over the ocean’s stunning horizon and its stepped section provides expansive outdoor terraces which cascade from the uppermost club level amenities down to the beachfront pools and surrounding dining and lounge areas. Nestled between each of the building’s sinuous curves are lush gardens of diverse colors, textures, and fragrances that offer a sequence of immersive, secluded retreats at ground level and dynamic yet calming backdrops to the hotel’s outdoor circulation above.
The building’s overall shape and position on the site optimize the prevailing winds, which provide cross circulation through the gardens to the surrounding rooms, and insure all rooms receive natural daylighting. Its overhanging terraces protect the panoramic glazing to minimize heat gain.
A future phase will include a series of single family residences built into the nearby cliffs, with their own pools, spa, and landscape features as well as full access to all hotel amenities.
Photos by Andrea Steele Architecture (ASA)
Do not forget that we will be posting more work by Andrea Steele Architecture (ASA) in the coming weeks and months, so keep an eye out for more of their incredible work!! Every Friday we will be posting a new Featured Company, so join us again next week!