Eavesdrop> California’s Olympic Letdown: Los Angeles & San Francisco lose out to Boston

Eavesdroplet, West
Thursday, January 29, 2015
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(Photo by Alik Griffin / Flickr; Montage by AN)

(Photo by Alik Griffin / Flickr; Montage by AN)

 

Alas, despite being hailed as the favorite to represent the United States in the race for the 2024 Olympics, Los Angeles has lost out to its much older competitor, Boston. LA had pitched what Mayor Eric Garcetti hailed as the “most affordable” proposal, using mostly existing facilities, including the LA Memorial Coliseum, the Staples Center, and even Frank Gehry‘s Disney Hall, Griffith Observatory, and the Queen Mary.

Maybe the USOC isn’t as into a bargain as we thought? Or maybe after giving LA two games they’re just not that into us anymore. San Francisco, by the way, lost out on its bid, which also banked on affordability. Damn, the Olympic Village could have been the only cheap place to live there outside of Oakland!

Is this enormous mile-long land-art project in the Nevada desert a national monument?

Satellite image of Michael Heizer's "City" (Google Maps)

Satellite image of Michael Heizer’s “City” (Google Maps)

According to a report in Las Vegas Weekly, the  Conservation Lands Foundation is pushing to make a project by land artist Michael Heizer, of “Levitated Mass” fame, a national monument. The newly threatened City installation is a still-incomplete collection of giant abstract structures stretching for more than a mile into the Nevada Desert.

Continue reading after the jump.

Damien Hirst paints with butterflies at Soho House Chicago

Art, Midwest, On View
Thursday, January 29, 2015
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Damien Hirst's piece for Soho House Chicago.

Damien Hirst’s piece for Soho House Chicago.

In August the London creative club Soho House set up shop in Chicago, carving out a chic space for itself amid the city’s hotel, dining and cocktail scenes by retrofitting an industrial building in the West Loop neighborhood. Read More

Calatrava on the state of NYC architecture & his own controversial World Trade projects

The World Trade Center site. (Courtesy Port Authority)

The World Trade Center site. (Courtesy Port Authority)

The Real Deal recently scored an interview with Santiago Calatrava, the so-called “symphonist of steel” behind the upcoming (and wildly over budget) World Trade Center Transit Hub, and the nearby Saint Nicholas Church. In the interview, Calatrava explained how New York City’s building code impacted the two projects’ designs, offers his thoughts on the World Trade Center master plan, and comments on the construction quality of the Transit Hub. Overall, the controversial architect lavishes praise on just about everyone—from Daniel Libeskind to Larry Silverstein to the Port Authority.

Plan for a parametric townhouse of undulating brick “flames” is rekindled in Tribeca

Model of 187 Franklin. (Courtesy SYSTEMarchitects)

Model of 187 Franklin. (Courtesy SYSTEMarchitects)

Getting the blessing of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission can be a tricky thing. Typically, your best bet is to go contextual: stick with historic materials and keep the modern ornamentation to a minimum. That is clearly not the approach that SYSTEMarchitects‘ Jeremy Edmiston took for a parametrically designed Tribeca townhouse in search of facelift.

COntinue reading after the jump.

Frank Gehry Shuffle: University of St. Thomas to move Winton Guest House a second time

(University of St. Thomas)

Frank Gehry’s Winton House (University of St. Thomas)

An early Frank Gehry–designed house about an hour south of Minneapolis is on the move—again.

The Winton Guest House, which Gehry designed in the early 1980s for Penny and Mike Winton, sits on property in Owatonna, Minnesota recently sold by the building’s owner, the University of St. Thomas. They have until August 2016 to relocate the playful, postmodern cluster of forms.

Continue reading after the jump.

In first year of Vision Zero, NYPD steps up traffic enforcement

An NYPD officer telling a cab driver about New York City's new speed limit. (Courtesy NYC DOT)

An NYPD officer telling a cab driver about New York City’s new speed limit. (Courtesy NYC DOT)

Given the current state of relations between the NYPD and Mayor Bill de Blasio (spoiler: terrible, horrible, no good, very bad), the mayor has been quick to thank the police force for its strong support of Vision Zero—the mayor’s plan to entirely eliminate traffic fatalities in New York City. The effort is obviously an ambitious one, but a year after it went into effect, de Blasio is able to tout some big successes.

Continue reading after the jump.

Köhler Goes with the Flow in Hamburg

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Köhler Architekten designed and built a new row house in a protected area of Hamburg's Ottensen quarter. (Courtesy HI-MACS)

Köhler Architekten designed and built a new row house in a protected area of Hamburg’s Ottensen quarter. (Courtesy HI-MACS)

Composite facade brings new row house into harmony with its historic neighbors.

Florian Köhler, whose firm, Köhler Architekten, recently designed and built a new row house in Hamburg’s Ottensen quarter, observes a disheartening trend among his fellow architects. When designing for a site rich in historic context, they tend to shy away from all allusions to the past, opting instead for an antiseptic modernism. “Many architects only build cubic forms without reference to their environment, and cityscapes are becoming increasingly similar,” he said. “We deliberately wanted to go a different route.” Ice Loft, which is surrounded by protected properties dating to the mid-19th century, features a tripartite facade that translates familiar historic forms into smooth curves and planes. “Our unusual approach to the transformation of classical qualities into flowing forms seems to be a suitable alternative, at least at this point, in this urban district in Hamburg,” said Köhler.
Read More

Hof’s Hut, another famed California mid-century diner, in trouble after back-to-back fires

Architecture, Preservation, West
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
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Hoff's Hutt in its prime (Marvin Rand)

Hoff’s Hutt in its prime (Marvin Rand)

While it appears that Los Angeles’ famed Norms restaurant is safe, at least for the moment, another local dining landmark is in trouble: Hof’s Hut, in Long Beach, which recently suffered “significant damage” due to multiple fires, according to the LA Times.

Continue reading after the jump.

Net Zero and the Future of Facade Design

Next week, leaders in the fields of facades design and fabrication will gather in LA to discuss pressing issues, including sustainability. (Neil Kremer/Flickr)

Next week, leaders in the fields of facades design and fabrication will gather in LA to discuss pressing issues, including sustainability. (Neil Kremer/Flickr)

Though sustainability remains a primary goal for many AEC industry professionals, its definition is increasingly up for debate. Tried-and-true energy efficiency standards such as LEED and Energy Star are facing competition from other rubrics, including net zero. “LEED was the sustainability measure,” said CO Architects‘ Alex Korter. “It’s good, but people looked at it more as a certification. With net zero, you’re setting hard performance goals.” With his colleague Kevin Kavanagh, Korter will lead a panel on “Net Zero and the Future Facade” at Facades+ LA next week. Korter, Kavanagh, and the panelists—who include ARUP‘s Russell Fortmeyer, Atelier 10‘s Emilie Hagen, and Stephane Hoffman from Morrison Hershfield—will dig in to the what and why of net zero, and ask how facade designers and builders can push the envelope on environmental performance.

Continue reading after the jump.

How the Koch brothers helped stop Nashville’s plan for Bus Rapid Transit

East, Transportation, Urbanism
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
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An amp bus. (COURTESY TRANSIT ALLIANCE OF MIDDLE TENNESSEE)

An amp bus. (COURTESY TRANSIT ALLIANCE OF MIDDLE TENNESSEE)

The plan to build Nashville’s first-ever bus rapid transit (BRT) system is dead and the billionaire Koch Brothers helped kill it. The Tennessean is reporting that after months of controversy, the city has ceased all planning efforts for the Amp, a 7-mile BRT system that would have connected Nashville’s neighborhoods and given the city one of its first major pieces of smart mass-transit policy.

Continue reading after the jump.

Zaha Hadid settles lawsuit, donates proceeds to laborers’ rights charity

Hadid's Al Wakrah Stadium. (Courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects)

Hadid’s Al Wakrah Stadium. (Courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects)

One of the biggest architectural head-to-head matches of 2014 has come to an amicable end. As AN reported last fall, Zaha Hadid sued New York Review of Books critic Martin Filler for defamation for comments he made about her in a review of Rowan Moore’s Why We Build: Power and Desire in Architecture.

Continue reading after the jump.

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