Take a tour inside the under-construction Empire Stores in Dumbo, Brooklyn

The Empire Stores' facade. (Henry Melcher / AN)

The Empire Stores’ facade. (Henry Melcher / AN)

Over the weekend,  AN joined an Open House New York on a tour of the under-construction Empire Stores warehouse in Dumbo, Brooklyn. The old coffee bean warehouse was built in the 1870s, but has been sitting empty along the East River for decades. By next fall, though, the Empire Stores will have been transformed with all the Brooklyn-type fixings you’d expect. Yes, there is an artisanal Brooklyn market featuring local purveyors. And office space for tech and creative companies. And cafes, restaurants, and beer gardens. Included in the mix is also a rooftop public park and a museum focused on New York City‘s waterfront.

Continue reading after the jump.

Peek Inside Ellis Island’s abandoned hospital before it opens for tours next week

East, Pictorial, Preservation
Friday, September 26, 2014
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Ellis Island's South Side Hospital Complex. (Henry Melcher / AN)

Ellis Island’s South Side Hospital Complex. (Henry Melcher / AN)

In the early 20th Century, the sprawling, 29-building Public Health Service hospital on the south shore of Ellis Island was the biggest federal hospital in the country—and possibly its most state-of-the-art. The comprehensive medical institution treated over one million newly-arrived immigrants ill with diseases like tuberculosis, measles, trachoma, and scarlet fever.

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Detroit’s infamous theater-turned-parking garage sold at auction

Detroit's crumbling Michigan Theatre has fallen into disrepair since its 1926 construction. (Hermann Schleicher-Roevenstrunck via Flickr)

Detroit’s Michigan Theatre has fallen into disrepair since its 1926 construction. (Hermann Schleicher-Roevenstrunck via Flickr)

Detroit’s Michigan Theatre remains iconic, but not for the reasons that made it so during its early 20th century heyday. Now the opulent 1926 concert hall holds parked cars instead of theater-goers. Will it remain a symbol of Detroit’s struggle to recover from long-term disinvestment, or could it become emblematic of the city’s resilience?

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Philly’s Divine Lorraine Hotel Coming Back to Life

The decaying Divine Lorraine. (Flickr / Vandalog)

The decaying Divine Lorraine. (Flickr / Vandalog)

One of Philadelphia’s most impressive old ruins might be coming back to life. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that a New Jersey real estate lender is providing  $31.5 million to convert the decaying Divine Lorraine hotel into luxury apartments and commercial space. This is not the first attempt to transform the Lorraine, but it just might be its best.

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Pictorial> Kara Walker Creates a Sugar Sphinx for Domino Sugar factory

The Sphinx. (Henry Melcher / AN)

The Sphinx. (Henry Melcher / AN)

Before the old Domino Sugar factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is razed to make way for the massive SHoP-designed mixed-use complex, it has been transformed into a gallery for famed artist, Kara Walker. Inside the 30,000-square-foot space, which stills smells of molasses, she has created a 75-foot-long, 35-foot-high, sugar-coated sphinx (on view through July 6th). The work, which was created in collaboration with Creative Time, is called A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby, and according to Walker’s artist statement, it is “an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Squandered Land: An Update From Architects & Urbanists Biking Across the Country

City Terrain, National
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
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(Courtesy Peter Murray)

(Courtesy Peter Murray)

[ Editor's Note: Peter Murray, of the New London Architecture center, together with a dozen architects and planners, is biking from Portland, Oregon to Portland Place in London, studying how cities are responding to the demand for better cycling infrastructure. He reports from the start of his ride. The Architect’s Newspaper is USA media sponsor of the trip and will post periodic updates of these architects on bicycles. ]

When the author Bill Bryson moved back to the US from England he wrote a goodbye book entitled Notes from a Small Island. I was frequently reminded of Bryson’s analysis as I rode through Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. By comparison to these great open spaces England is neat and manicured, with everything in its place.

Continue reading after the jump.

Road Builders in Belize Bulldoze 2,300 Year Old Mayan Pyramid for Gravel

International
Monday, May 20, 2013
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The small tourist hotspot of Belize, with its pristine Caribbean coastlines, lush rainforest, and ancient Mayan ruins, suffered a dramatic loss recently when one 2,300-year-old ruin was razed. The 100-foot-tall Nohmul Mayan Pyramid was bulldozed to create gravel fill for a road-building project, its hand-cut limestone construction visible as excavators tore into the structure. According to CNN, authorities in Belize will be conducting an investigation and, even though the ruin was on a privately owned sugar-cane field, criminal charges are likely.

Continue reading after the jump.

Pictorial> Jim Kazanjian’s Victorian Apocalypse

International
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
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Untitled (house), 2006. (Jim Kazanjian)

Untitled (house), 2006. (Jim Kazanjian)

Jim Kazanjian doesn’t make photographs of buildings, he makes photographs into buildings. His assemblages of “found” structures create fantastic worlds that resemble the post-civilization wreckage of 19th century England.  Through the collapse of time and expansion of space, each collage tells an eerie story about making the familiar unfamiliar.

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On View> 1976: Movies, Photographs and Related Works on Paper

East
Monday, January 16, 2012
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Still from Pendulum, 1976. (Courtesy the Artist / Paul Kasmin Gallery)

Still from Pendulum, 1976. (Courtesy the Artist / Paul Kasmin Gallery)

1976: Movies, Photographs
and Related Works on Paper
Paul Kasmin Gallery
515 West 27th St.
Through February 11

British-born James Nares has lived in New York since the mid-1970s, when Lower Manhattan was “a beautiful ruin,” according to the artist. While most celebrated for his large, single-stroke kinetic paintings, the artist has a long track record of documenting his fascination with movement and bodies in motion dating back to the days when he delved into many other media such as films and chronophotographs. The exhibition features five films including Pendulum (1976), in which Nares clocks a large spherical mass swinging from a footbridge, against the industrial backdrop of downtown Manhattan—evocative of the foreboding, dreamlike qualities also seen in Giorgio de Chirico’s surreal paintings.

More photos after the jump.

On View> Detroit Disassembled, Photographs by Andrew Moore

East, Midwest
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
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Facade, Michigan Central Station, 2009. (Andrew Moore)

Facade, Michigan Central Station, 2009. (Andrew Moore)

Detroit Disassembled:
Photographs by Andrew Moore

Queens Museum of Art
Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Queens, NY
Through January15

The Queens Museum of Art (QMA) presents the powerful photography of Andrew Moore from his three-month visit to Detroit from 2008 to 2009. Moore’s photographs are a tragic yet beautiful glimpse into the decline of a city that was once the twentieth century industrial heart of America. Michigan Central Station (above) stands empty, the organ screen at the United Artists Theater is crumbling, and bright green moss covers the floor of the former Ford Motor Company Headquarters. “Moore’s exquisitely realized visions of architecture overtaken by vegetation remind contemporary viewers that our own familiar culture is subject to the forces of entropy and the eternal strength of nature,” says a statement from QMA.

More photos after the jump.

Quick Clicks> Broken Houses, Tree Mapping, AIA Matchmaker, & Tiny Parks

Daily Clicks
Monday, August 8, 2011
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Ofra Laprid's Broken Homes (Courtesy the artist)

Ofra Laprid's Broken Homes (Courtesy the artist)

Objects of Ruin. Israeli artist Ofra Lapid has taken society’s obsession with ruin to a whole new level. Inspired by amateur photographs from North Dakota’s urban and rural decay, Lapid’s Broken Houses series consists of small models of the dilapidated buildings that are re-photographed without their original context. Her work produces an eerie sense of reality set against a stark grey background. Check out more images after the jump.

Tree Time. A place for every tree, and every tree in its place. Two maps from New York and Philadelphia are pinpointing the exact location of trees in each city. The Dirt reported that Edward S. Bernard and Ken Chaya have produced an  illustrated map entitled Central Park Entire that seeks to honor the work of landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux by graphically representing all of the flora and fauna of Central Park. In Philadelphia, the PhillyTreeMap provides a similarly detailed online database that crowdsources each green public and private property.

Making Connections. According to the Daily Joural of Commerce Oregon, the AIA will launch an online matchmaking service in September for stalled development projects and their potential real-estate investors in hopes of giving life to long-stalled projects while compiling data that helps identify problem developments.

Parklet, PA. Philly is the latest city to jump off the bandwagon and set up a park, joining pavement-to-parks pioneers New York and San Francisco. The city will convert parking spots into miniature parks as a low-cost way to open up green space in University City. Additional parklets could be introduced the upcoming years pending the success of their pilot project.

More broken buildings after the jump.

Quick Clicks> Zigzag, Walking, Movies, Retro, Rail

Daily Clicks, East Coast
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
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VDOT's zigzag road striping (Mike Salmon/VDOT via Washington Post)

VDOT's zigzag road striping (Mike Salmon/VDOT via Washington Post)

[ Quick Clicks> AN's guided tour of links from across the web. And beyond. ]

Zigzag. In April 2009, the Virginia Department of Transportation installed a painted zigzag stripe where a road and a bike trail intersect. Wash Cycle reports that VDOT has since studied the effects of the experimental installation and determined the lines have improved safety and reduced speeds at the trail crossing. These zigzags common overseas, but could they be coming to a street corner near you?

More quick clicks just after the jump.

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