American Academy of Arts and Letters announces 2015 architecture awards

O'Donnell + Tuomey's Lewis Glucksman Gallery. (John Lord / Flickr)

O’Donnell + Tuomey’s Lewis Glucksman Gallery. (John Lord / Flickr)

A star-studded jury has selected the winners of the American Academy of Arts and Letters‘ 2015 architecture prizes. Elizabeth Diller (chairman), Henry N. Cobb, Peter Eisenman, Kenneth Frampton, Michael Graves, Richard Meier, Laurie Olin, Cesar Pelli, Billie Tsien, and Tod Williams chose the awardees from among 41 nominations.

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Henry Urbach Leaves Directorship of Philip Johnson’s Glass House

Henry Urbach at The Glass House. (Courtesy Paul Laster)

Henry Urbach at The Glass House. (Courtesy Paul Laster)

Henry Urbach, Director of the Philip Johnson Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut, since 2012, has left the National Trust Historic site. Urbach came to the house from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He departed that job in 2011, in part to pursue a research project on the Johnson house, which he classified as “as a laboratory for curatorial experimentation.”

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Giant Escalator Soon to Improve the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Famed Rocky Stairs

East, Other
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
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Famous Rocky Stairs (Courtesy F. Aprile for VISIT PHILADELPHIA)

A new quick ascent for famous Rocky stairs (Courtesy F. Aprile for VISIT PHILADELPHIA)

The infamous “Rocky” steps leading up to the Philadelphia Museum of Art will soon be revamped with a new 72-foot escalator beginning in spring 2016. The climb to the museum, which was most notably featured in the iconic movie scene with Sly Stallone, is being transformed to enhance accessibility in time for the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia next July. And more importantly, this overhaul will be completed in preparation for the next Rocky sequel, ensuring that the action hero, at the ripe age of 68, with his creaky knees, can gracefully scale the stairs once again.

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Sustainable development plan for Northeast Ohio takes top honors in 2015 National Planning Awards

Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium

Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium

A plan to steer northeast Ohio toward sustainable growth won a top planning award this week, joining schemes and firms from Austin to Los Angeles on a list of the year’s best urban planning work.

More after the jump.

Gowanus developers shoot down ziggurat-themed proposal from ODA

ODA's proposal is a castle in the sky, according to the site's developers. (ODA)

ODA’s proposal is a castle in the sky, according to the site’s developers. (ODA)

Last week, ODA: Architecture unveiled a dramatic rendering of a megaproject for Gowanus, Brooklyn, featuring a cluster of semi-transparent stepped pyramids. But almost as soon as the design was released, the site’s owners stepped in as buzzkills, disavowing any connection with the ODA proposal.

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Back in Green: Jean Prouvé furnishings reissued and retooled with a little help from Rem Koolhaas

Design, International, Product
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
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g-star-raw-vitra-furniture-collection-02-960x640

(Courtesy G-Star)

More than seventy years after their creation, a collection of classic office furniture by Jean Prouvé is being updated and released to the market. Dutch fashion purveyor G-Star, in conjunction with Swiss furniture manufacturer Vitra, have developed “Prouvé Raw,” a collection of ten pieces that include chairs, desk and wall lighting, conference tables, and writing desks.

And Rem Koolhaas also plays a role in this revival.

Continue reading after the jump.

Google Maps turns any city into the eight-bit world of Pacman

City Terrain, Design, International
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
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pacman-maps-01

In what appears to be an April Fools’ prank launched a day early, Google has added an eight-bit video game, ahem, Easter Egg feature to Google Maps. While browsing around the city of your choice, look for the Pacman box in the lower left-hand corner right next to the aerial photography button. Click it, and you’re transported into a dot-filled, ghost-infested city street grid in search of cherries. Take a look!

As Westweek wraps up in West Hollywood’s Pacific Design Center, developer floats an unlikely expansion scheme

Architecture, West
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
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(PDC)

Cesar Pelli’s Pacific Design Center. (Courtesy PDC)

The Pacific Design Center (PDC), designed by Cesar Pelli, is celebrating its 40th year, and last week it wrapped its biggest yearly event, Westweek, which featured panels, lectures, and the debuts of furnishings and interior resources from over fifty companies.

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Urban culture ‘consulates’, Miami ‘science barge’ among winners of first Knight cities challenge

The Knight Foundation awarded, among many others, an idea for a network of new “consulates” initially located in Detroit, Philadelphia and New Orleans that will offer an entrée into local culture. (Claire Nelson)

The Knight Foundation awarded, among many others, an idea for a network of new “consulates” initially located in Detroit, Philadelphia and New Orleans that will offer an entrée into local culture. (Claire Nelson)

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced Tuesday the winners of the first Knight Cities Challenge, awarding a total of $5 million to 32 projects that include “consulates” for local culture in Detroit, Philadelphia, and New Orleans, and “a social kitchen” in downtown Gary, Indiana.

Continue reading after the jump.

Unveiled> Columbus, Ohio redevelops site of dead downtown mall

(NBBJ)

(Courtesy NBBJ)

The future came into focus last week for the site of a defunct mall in downtown Columbus, Ohio. By the time City Center mall closed in 2009, only its parking structure remained a popular destination. Columbus Downtown Development Corporation replaced the dead mall with Columbus Commons, a nine-acre park slated for mixed-use development over the coming years.

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Above Average pokes fun at kale-fueled gentrification with “Settlers of Brooklyn”

Development, East, Urbanism
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
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    In "Settlers of Brooklyn," players compete to "colonize" the outer boroughs. (Above Average)

In “Settlers of Brooklyn,” players compete to “colonize” the outer boroughs. (Above Average)

The comedy geniuses at digital network Above Average have released a glorious sendup of gentrification in New York City’s outer boroughs. “Settlers of Brooklyn” (pronounced Brook-LAWN) promises hours of good old-fashioned board-game fun for the next generation of power brokers: millennials.

Continue reading after the jump.

Product> Outdoor Lighting with an Architectural Bent

Spec Sheet  
LEAD-ERCO_Gecko_0001-copy

(Courtesy Erco)

Balancing safety, aesthetics, and performance, these innovative exterior luminaires also address issues of light pollution and trespass.

Gecko
Erco

Offering powerful digital light with excellent glare control in a compact, minimalist design, the system features exceptional levels of luminous flux from a virtually invisible, fully shielded light source.

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