Detroit city council asks, graffiti: art or vandalism?

Detroit graffiti art by Four Eyes, via 4731 Gallery and Studios.

Detroit graffiti art by Four Eyes, via 4731 Gallery and Studios.

Graffiti: art or vandalism? For some there’s an absolute answer to that question, but for most there’s room for debate. In New York City, police chief Bill Bratton calls graffiti “the first sign of urban decay,” while work from Banksy (and sometimes lesser-known street artists) fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars at New York auctions.

Detroit became the latest city to grapple with this question in an official capacity, with city council members previewing ordinances designed to cut back on blight that have brought a somewhat philosophical question into sharp legal focus: How do you distinguish between blight and art in a city renowned (or reviled) for both?

Continue reading after the jump.

SHoP Architects’ first tower at Brooklyn’s Domino Sugar site breaks ground with a refined design

"Site E." (Courtesy SHoP via Two Trees)

“Site E.” (Courtesy SHoP)

As AN has been reporting for a while now, it’s all systems go for the long-stalled Domino Sugar Factory redevelopment on the Brooklyn waterfront. Crews have been demolishing old structures on the site for months, and today we got word that the developer, Two Trees, is breaking ground on the massive project’s first residential building: a 16-story, 500-unit rental building designed by SHoP, which is designing the entire project.

Continue reading after the jump.

LEGO Architecture honors the Great Emancipator with a miniature of the Lincoln Memorial

(Courtesy LEGO)

(Courtesy LEGO)

A miniature LEGO model of the Lincoln Memorial has just launched under the LEGO Architecture brand, a “Lego for grownups” product line that celebrates architecture and the chameleon capabilities of the LEGO brick.

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London to invest $140 million to boost cycling in the ‘burbs

A proposed "cycle hub" in Kingston. (Transport for London)

A proposed “cycle hub” in Kingston. (Transport for London)

As we’ve been reporting, there are some pretty big urbanism proposals being pushed in London right now. Next month, the city is expected to break ground on a massive cycle superhighway that will give cyclists about 20 miles of new protected bike lanes. Mayor Johnson is also supporting a plan to bury parts of major thoroughfares to boost walkability and development. But now, something even bigger is brewing in the London suburbs.

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This prefab steel cabin from Copenhagen takes glamping to a whole new level

Other
Friday, February 27, 2015
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(Courtesy Vipp)

(Courtesy Vipp)

Danish design studio Vipp recently debuted a fully-furnished, prefabricated shelter touted as a “plug and play getaway” and “all-inclusive nature retreat.” This ready-to-use, minimalist cabin is just 592 square feet and is designed to reunite man with nature by integrating into its surroundings with a steel facade and predominantly dark tones that defer to the surrounding scenery.

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St. Louis is the latest to pursue a bike share system

Potential stations for a bike sharing system in St. Louis. (Alta /  Great Rivers Greenway)

Potential stations for a bike sharing system in St. Louis. (Alta / Great Rivers Greenway)

St. Louis could become the latest city to join the wave of bike sharing programs already prevalent in cities from Washington, D.C. to Portland, Oregon.

Great Rivers Greenway—a special taxing district created in 2000, when St. Louisans devoted a tenth-of-a-cent sales tax premium to for the creation of trails and parks—issued a request for qualifications in December. Now a feasibility study from bike sharing firm Alta Planning + Design says the city’s ready for a two-year roll out of 60 stations with 540 bikes, with 30 additional stations and 250 bikes to follow. Read More

Animated film shows how growing up with modernist architect parents comes with its own challenges

Architecture, Art, International
Friday, February 27, 2015
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modern-arch-parents-01

Still from Me and My Moulton.

A short film called Me and My Moulton by director Torill Kove takes a humorous look at growing up with parents who are “modernist architects”—and it’s been nominated for an Academy Award under “Best Animated Short Film.” Told from the perspective of of a seven-year-old middle child, the challenges of growing up with architect parents include three-legged dinner table chairs and a house that your friends think is a bit odd.

Watch the trailer after the jump.

Filed Under: ,

Breaking! Renderings and video of Bjarke Ingels’ and Heatherwick’s Google headquarters unveiled

(Courtesy BIG & Heatherwick Studio)

(Courtesy BIG & Heatherwick Studio)

Just two days ago, AN brought you word that Copenhagen- and New York–based Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and London-based Heatherwick Studio were teaming up to design the new headquarters for Google in Mountain View, California. At the time, it was only being reported that the complex would comprise “a series of canopylike buildings.” Well, now we know what those canopylike buildings will look like and a whole lot more.

Continue reading after the jump.

Clive Wilkinson Architects Makes a Superdesk

Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
Clive Wilkinson Architects designed a continuous work surface dubbed the Superdesk for New York advertisers the Barbarian Group. (Michael Moran)

Clive Wilkinson Architects designed a continuous work surface dubbed the Superdesk for New York advertisers the Barbarian Group. (Michael Moran)

Endless table materializes intra-office connectivity in plywood, MDF, and epoxy.

When Culver City-based Clive Wilkinson Architects (CWA) sat down with representatives of the Barbarian Group to discuss renovating the advertising agency’s new 20,000-square-foot office, one word kept coming up: connection. “Before, they were all in offices designed for one person, but crammed five in each, and scattered,” recalled associate principal Chester Nielsen. “It was a pain. Bringing everyone into the open, and having them feel like they were all connected was super important.” The architects elected to “surgically gut” the leased New York Garment District loft to create a central workspace for between 125-175 employees. To materialize the theme of connection, they zeroed in on the idea of a single work surface, an endless table later christened the Superdesk. With 4,400 square feet of epoxy-coated surface atop a support structure comprising 870 unique laser-cut plywood panels, the Superdesk is a triumph of programmatic creativity. “Building a big table was not an obvious solution,” said Nielsen, “but it’s a simple one.”
Read More

Watch the last person in Los Angeles skateboard through abandoned highways and streets

City Terrain, Transportation, Urbanism, West
Thursday, February 26, 2015
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abandoned-la-01

While Los Angeles is trying to shake its image as a city of cars, it sure has a lot of roads and highways. And unless you’re behind the wheel, you probably won’t be able to play in the middle of them (unless you’re headed to CicLAvia). Then comes along filmmaker Russell Houghten, who captured an eerily abandoned LA in his short film, Urban Isolation.

Watch the video after the jump.

Filed Under: , ,

Minneapolis takes a cue from the Netherlands with city’s first woonerf shared street

A woonerf street in Jimbocho, Tokyo. (Rob Ketcherside via Flickr)

A woonerf street in Jimbocho, Tokyo. (Rob Ketcherside via Flickr)

A residential development in downtown Minneapolis is set to give the city its first woonerf, a road type developed in the Netherlands that integrates vehicle traffic and parking with pedestrians, bicyclists and public amenities. Read More

Check out these five finalists named in the Mies van der Rohe Awards

Architecture, Awards, International
Thursday, February 26, 2015
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Philarmonic Hall Szczecin. (Simon Menges)

Philarmonic Hall Szczecin. (Simon Menges)

Five projects have been short-listed in the 2015 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture—Mies van der Rohe Award. Over the next few weeks, jury members will visit each of the five buildings and a winner will be announced on May 8th at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona. You can take a look at the five finalists below.

View the finalists after the jump.

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