Talking tall buildings in Shanghai

In September the Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) gathered high-minded designers, developers and engineers for a conference in Shanghai. CTBUH, which often partners with AN on conferences, including our own Facades+ events, invited me to serve as a special media correspondent for the conference, held September 16–19. I spent most of the time conducting video interviews with the symposium guests, which we’ll post here on the AN blog as they become available. For now, here’ a quick overview of the topics discussed.

Continue reading after the jump.

EPA picks 5 cities to join green infrastructure program

Austin, Texas (Ed Schipul via Flickr)

Austin, Texas—one of five cities added this week to EPA’s program to provide technical assistance in developing green infrastructure. (Ed Schipul via Flickr)

Five state capitals will get help from the Environmental Protection Agency to develop green infrastructure that could help mitigate the cost of natural disasters and climate change. Resiliency, whether it be in the context of global warming or natural and manmade catastrophes, has become a white-hot topic in the design world, especially since Superstorm Sandy battered New York City in 2012. Read More

[UPDATED] Longwood Gardens announces $90 million renovation plan

The Longwood Gardens revitalization project. (Courtesy Longwood Gardens)

The Longwood Gardens revitalization project. (Courtesy Longwood Gardens)

The picturesque Longwood Gardens outside of Wilmington, Delaware has announced a $90 million plan to revitalize its 83-year-old fountain garden. The expensive undertaking will include replacing the fountain’s aging electric and plumbing infrastructure, restoring limestone reliefs, installing new plantings and pathways, and improving guest access to the garden. The historic renovation is being led by Beyer Blinder Belle with West 8 overseeing the garden’s public space design.

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Deborah Berke designing interiors at Washington D.C.’s Wardman Tower

Architecture, East, Interiors, News
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
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Deborah Berke.

Deborah Berke.

The historic Wardman Tower in Washington D.C. is getting an interior update courtesy of Deborah Berke. The New York–based architect has been tapped by JBG Companies to update all of the building’s interior spaces and its 32 private residences. According to JBG Companies, the renovation “will pay tribute to the opulence of mid-century Paris while adding an open and contemporary feel to the spaces.” If it wasn’t obvious, that’s code for: Expensive. As in, these condos will be very expensive—priced between $2 million and $8 million. According to the Washington Post, that could make the Wardman condos “the most expensive units ever to hit Washington.”

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Cadillac to leave Detroit for New York City

Midwest, News
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
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Detroit's Renaissance Center, home to General Motors, will say goodbye to Cadillac. (Loren Sztajer via Flickr)

Detroit’s Renaissance Center, home to General Motors, will say goodbye to Cadillac. (Loren Sztajer via Flickr)

While its product development teams and manufacturing facilities will remain in Michigan, Cadillac will move its headquarters to downtown New York City from Detroit, parent company General Motors announced Tuesday. Read More

Architectural Record sold to West coast private equity group

Media, National, News
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
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arch-record-sold

Architectural Record along with its sister construction publication, Engineering News-Record, and other products, Dodge and Sweets, have been sold to Symphony Technology Group (STG), a “strategic private equity firm” in Palo Alto, California, for $320 million. McGraw Hill Construction, the current owner of these publications, announced in a market-jargon-filled press release today that, while there were multiple prospective buyers, they sold to STG because that company understands how to build on McGraw Hill’s “storied past of nimbly adapting to changing market conditions and pursuing new growth opportunities in the construction market.” STG has a global portfolio of 22 companies with a combined revenue of $2.7 billion and 17,000 employees. Will Cathleen Mcguigan and her editorial team be leaving their Pennsylvania Station tower for the green lawns of the Silicon Valley soon?

Manhattan’s Rizzoli Bookstore to Reopen in the Flatiron District

East, News, Newsletter
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
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The new home of the Rizzoli Bookstore. (Courtesy Google)

The new home of the Rizzoli Bookstore. (Courtesy Google)

New York’s iconic Rizzoli Bookstore has found a new home. After its former location on 57th Street was demolished to make way for the thoroughfare’s latest super-tall luxury building, it seemed that it was end days for the beloved institution. At the time, Rizzoli’s owners said the store would open up shop elsewhere in the city, but given the current state of affairs for old-school bookstores, that seemed highly unlikely.

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AECOM’s Merger Mania: Los Angeles–based firm doubles in size

Architecture, National, News, West
Thursday, September 11, 2014
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Both AECOM and URS have been active on the World Trade Center site in New York (AECOM)

Both AECOM and URS have been active on the World Trade Center site in New York (AECOM)

As the economy continues to hum along, it’s time once again for merger mania. By far the most significant example is Los Angeles–based construction giant, AECOM, which in the span of just a couple of months has more than doubled its size. In past years the company has bought firms like DMJM, EDAW, Ellerbe Becket, and Tishman, but it’s been nothing like this year’s spree.

Continue reading after the jump.

From 67 floors above the World Trade Center, a progress report

Architecture, Development, East, News, Skyscrapers
Thursday, September 11, 2014
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Aerial view of the site. (Courtesy Silverstein Properties)

Aerial view of the site. (Courtesy Silverstein Properties)

Earlier this week, AN went up to the 67th floor of the recently-opened 4 World Trade Center to get a progress report on the 16-acre redevelopment taking shape below. Inside the wide-open and raw space, Larry Silverstein, the site’s developer, told reporters that his vision for a new World Trade Center had finally become a reality. “I’ve gotten a bit of a reputation as a wild-eyed optimist,” he said in front of a wall of windows. “But even I have to admit that I didn’t see all this coming.” Noting that it had been 13 years since the attacks, he went on to refer to the anniversary as the site’s “bar mitzvah.”

Continue reading after the jump.

New plan unveiled for a more pedestrian-friendly Lower East Side

City Terrain, East, News, Urbanism
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
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The transformed Orchard Street. (Courtesy The Lower East Side Business Improvement District and PilotProjects)

The transformed Orchard Street. (Courtesy The Lower East Side Business Improvement District and PilotProjects)

One of Manhattan’s most historic streets could soon become one of its most pedestrian-friendly. That is, if a plan for a revamped Orchard Street from the Lower East Side’s Business Improvement District (BID) is approved by the city. The plan, which was unveiled at a community board meeting last week, calls for curb extensions, bike corals, planters, tree beds, and benches along a six-block stretch of the street. The plan also calls for a pedestrian plaza on adjacent Broome Street.

Continue reading after the jump.

Unveiled> Hartshorne Plunkard’s Goose Island office block along the Chicago River

A new office building on Goose Island would connect the manufacturing district with West Town. (Courtesy Hartshorne Plunkard Ltd.)

A new office building on Goose Island would connect the manufacturing district with West Town. (Courtesy Hartshorne Plunkard Ltd.)

A six-story office building could sail into the boat yard site of Chicago’s Goose Island in the near future, if plans from Hartshorne Plunkard and developer South Street Capital can navigate logistical and regulatory difficulties surrounding the industrial district on the city’s near north side. Read More

Preservationists taken by surprise as demolition begins on Wexler’s Palm Springs Spa Hotel

Architecture, News, Newsletter, Preservation, West
Thursday, September 4, 2014
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Palm Springs Spa Hotel (Julius Shulman)

Palm Springs Spa Hotel. (Julius Shulman)

As preservationists steam, demolition teams working in the desert heat have begun to tear down Donald Wexler’s famed Spa Hotel in downtown Palm Springs. The hotel was closed in early June by its owners, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians.  To add insult to injury, the demolition has begun with the hotel’s most famous element: it’s elegant, concrete-vaulted colonnade. Read More

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