The Times Square Alliance has partnered with Spanish collaborative mmmm… as part of an experiment in urban furniture design. The result, Meeting Bowls, is a series of three over-sized semi-spherical capsules that provide seating for up to eight people. Over the course of the next month, these exaggerated forms will invite engaging social interactions along Broadway Boulevard in Times Square. Inside the bowls, there is a feature which allows one to record and share their dialogue via smartphones or laptops. Meeting Bowls will be open from 8:00 a.m. to midnight daily through September 16th.
Aban-dam-ment. Atlas Obscura posted several images of the abandoned 1906 Pinawa Dam in Manitoba, Canada on the Winnipeg River. After its decommission in the 1950s, the dam was later used for military training. Quite literally bombed out, the dam stands as a scarred relic and reminder of the once highly functional hydro-electric generating station.
Campus Tour. Architectural Digest compiled a list of top colleges with the best architecture, spotlighting both old and new including UVA’s World Heritage-listed campus, Harvard and Yale’s 18th century history mixed with modern architecture, and Frank Llyod Wright’s presence at Florida Southern College.
International Green. International landscape designers Gillespies developed three “rooftop sanctuaries” that take their visitors around the world. With inspiration drawn from Indonesian, Japanese, and Moroccan traditional gardens, the result was “a series of posh but welcoming spaces ranging from the intimate and serene to the open and flourishing.” Inhabitat has a virtual tour.
Moshe’s Fall. Architect Moshe Safdie is expecting to open four projects to the public in the next few months. ArtDaily profiled of each of them, including the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City (September 16), United States Institute of Peace, Washington (Fall 2011), Khalsa Heritage Centre, Anandpur Sahib, India (Fall 2011), and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas (November 11).
In collaboration with New York-based common room architects, students at Barnard + Columbia Undergraduate Architecture (b+c a) designed a temporary installation to transform student space at the school’s Altschul Atrium.
The Altschul building, a modernist structure built in 1969, sits on the northwest corner of Barnard’s campus facing east towards the Weiss/Manfredi-designed Diana Center, which opened in January 2011. The new center houses undergraduate architecture, studio art, and art history departments and has brought increased movement to the center of campus, including students looking for space to sit, read and socialize between class. This addition to the campus has also brought attention to the unused atrium space at Altschul, which houses faculty offices and labs. The the idea behind the atrium installation is to encourage a more interactive relationship with the Altschul space as well as with other neighboring buildings on campus. Students and faculty of b+c a have envisioned an installation that accommodates multi-use programming and one that focuses on the importance of flexibility and function.
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.
Etch-a-Desert. In the Peruvian desert, you will find artist Rodrigo Derteano’s robot scraping away at the dirt to create massive drawings. In an interview with Derteano, We Make Money Not Art explained, “Guided by its sensors, the robot quietly traced the founding lines of a new city that looks like a collage of existing cities from Latin America.” The drawing was completed over the course of five days, most of which the robot spent tracing alone. Have a closer look at the video above. (via BldgBlog.)
The future is dead. National Geographic reported that the most recent algae bloom in Qingdao, China has clogged 7,700 square miles of the Yellow Sea. The insurgence of green goop, however, has not stopped children and families from taking a dip while at the beach, but as the algae dies and decomposes, a dead zone and fish kill is expected as oxygen is depleted from the water.
Off to Jupiter. NASA sent three little LEGO figurines atop space probe Juno to visit Jupiter. Each LEGO person models a particular character: Galileo Galilei, the Roman god Jupiter, and the Roman goddess Juno. The figurines are made of aluminum and are expected to reach Jupiter by July of 2016. More at Design Boom.
Resources at RISD. The Rhode Island School of Design just opened its Materials Library, a long-term student project focusing on design process and material interaction, according to Core77. It’s hoped that designers will find a deeper appreciation of material through the tactile experience of holding them in their hands.
Last week, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) announced that two U.S. projects have been shortlisted for the RIBA Lubetikin Prize. The distinction honors building projects outside the European Union that set a standard for international excellence. The American projects chosen as finalists are The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston by Foster + Partners and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia by Rick Mather Architects.
“This year’s shortlist is unusual in that they are all big budget projects—each with a contract value over $100 million,” RIBA president Ruth Reed said in a statement. “The list mixes some of world architecture’s most famous names, with a younger practice so it will be interesting to see who the judges choose as a winner.” The prize will be announced on October 1 followed by a feature on the winners on BBC 2’s The Culture Show.
Other finalist projects from around the world: Zaha Hadid’s Guangzhou Opera House (Guangzhou, China), Foster’s Masdar Institute (Masdar City, Abu Dhabi) and the Met by WOHA (Bangkok, Thailand).
Bordeaux Dynamo. Herzog & de Meuron designed a new stadium, the Stade Bordeaux Atlantique for the UEFA Euro 2016 in France. According the the architects, the “diaphanous volume looks out onto the grand landscape, its transparency revealing all the energy and activities which will fill this new symbol of the city of Bordeaux’s dynamism.” Via Dezeen.
Big Bunker Castle. According to Curbed, Steven Huff, chairman of TF Concrete Forming Systems, is building a 72,000-square-foot personal concrete manse called Pensmore. Located on 500 acres in Missouri, the reinforced concrete chateau is built to resist the regions rough weather. “The whole house is in essence a storm shelter,” said the Pensmore web site.
Humble Abode. If 72,000 square feet is a little too big for your tastes, Treehugger found a slightly smaller abode proposed by TATA, the same company that launched the $2500 car in India. For 32,000 rupees, or about $720, you can have your own house, clocking in at just over 200 square feet. The company hopes the new dwellings, along with an ultra-affordable $7,800 apartment, will help ameliorate India’s growing housing problems in poor communities.
The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce recently hosted the 11th annual Building Brooklyn Awards, recognizing 13 buildings for innovation in expanding and preserving Brooklyn’s built environment. Awards covered a variety of categories including adaptive re-use and historic preservation, mixed-use, education, interior renovation, mixed-use, open space, and affordable housing. In addition to the building awards, the Chamber of Commerce honored Deb Howard, Executive Director of the Pratt Area Community Council and Jed Walentas, Principal of Two Trees Management for their work in restoring and revitalizing neighborhoods Bedford-Stuyvesant and DUMBO respectively.
Christina Ciardullo and Naomi Ocko
Superfront Public Summer
2nd Avenue between 35th and 36th Streets
Industry City / Sunset Park, Brooklyn
Through August 28
Christina Ciardullo and Naomi Ocko‘s (CO) winning design Weightless Pull for Superfront Public Summer opened Sunday, July 17th and will be on view through August 28th. Christina Ciardullo and Naomi Ocko designed the space with a focus on geometry, mechanics, and materials. With a particularly specific method of installation, the collaborative studio observed the conditions of the space and calculated needs for the project based upon the presence of wind between two industrial buildings.
Weightless Pull, constructed much like a series of slender sails, creates a vertical wind field composed of plastic wrap, nylon rope, and 600 different knotting systems. The resulting movement emphasizes the scale of the location. As the architects noted, “a volume is created by the blowing out of long horizontal lengths of plastic rising from the ground to 80 feet above at the height of the surrounding buildings.”
Ando’s Silence. According to Dezeen, UK developer Grosvenor has partnered with the Westminster City Council on a project to open public space in Mayfair, London. The project aims to reduce unnecessary visual elements like signage and expand pedestrian areas. Architect Tadao Ando collaborated with firm Blair Associates to design Silence, an installation that intermittently produces fiber-optically illuminated vapor rising from the bases of trees.
Power Plant Printer. MIT News has revealed an exciting new technology: printable solar cells. According to MIT: “The basic process is essentially the same as the one used to make the silvery lining in your bag of potato chips: a vapor-deposition process that can be carried out inexpensively on a vast commercial scale.” So, not quite as easy as, say, printing out a power station on your inkjet, but still able to revolutionize the future of solar installations.
Building for Birds. The City of San Francisco is making an example of a new California Academy of Science building. It’s design for the birds. The San Francisco Chronicle notes the building’s innovative fabric screen deterring bird-on-building collisions could be applied to other structures in the city. “Bird-safe design” is a growing part of the conversation, but the question remains: will altering the transparency of urban glass structures detract from the design intent?
Déjà vu Design. Does that new building look strangely familiar? A new website called Post Post bills itself as the “comparative architecture index.” By juxtaposing projects of similar design languages or forms, the site hopes to “to illuminate the interwoven and complex relationships of congruous trajectories within contemporary architectural practice.” Have a look!
Stop Work. After a late-breaking Supreme Court mandate, all renovations at the Manufacturers Trust landmark office building have been put on hold. The judge ruled in favor of preservationists who want to protect the structure as a “model of modernism,” according to the New York Times. It appears that demolition inside the structure has already taken place, marring the structure’s International Style. Renovation opponents want to see the building restored to its original condition.
Stop Work Again. Robert Scarano Jr. is officially banned from submitting construction plans in New York City. The Brooklyn-based architect had appealed an initial ban handed down in March of 2010, but the New York Supreme Court upheld the order. According to the court, the Department of Buildings “can no longer rely on him to submit honest paperwork.” As Crain’s reports, Scarano has made a practice of violating regulations and zoning laws, criticized primarily for his rampant overbuilding.
Shifting Gears. Research by Peter Newman and Jeff Kenworthy of the Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute shows that car use in major U.S. cities has been slowing down. The researchers offer 6 reasons for the shift, all predicting change with respect to the way cities will be designed without the automobile in mind.
Parking Patterns. Architects Michielli + Wyetzner recently won the 2011 NYC Design Commission Awards for a renovation of the Municipal Parking Garage on Delancey and Essex. The rehabilitation, as ArchDaily reports, includes several improvements to accompany a fully patterned weaving cable facade. Composed of three layers, the facade allows for the structure to remain open while the patterning mimicks the “aerodynamic flow of moving cars.”