There has been a pretty big shakeup at the Spitzer School of Architecture. Last week, City College of New York President Lisa S. Coico announced in an email to the school that George Ranalli, dean of the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture was on administrative leave effective immediately. Professor Gordon Gebert has been named the acting dean in the meantime. City College did not respond to AN‘s request for comment on the change.
Readers voted with their clicks in March to determine the top five articles published on the AN Blog. The roundup includes a canyon installation for thrill seekers, the beautifully organic architecture of the 2015 Pritzker Prize–laureate Frei Otto, an apartment designed for Kanye West, and more. Take a look at March’s top stories below.
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!
This black-and-white time-lapse video by Toby Harriman shows San Francisco at its most dramatic. The skyline emerges quietly from its famous fog as the city and its bridges twinkle in the distance—including Leo Villareal’s Bay Lights installation. As the music builds, Gotham City SF picks up pace, showing dramatic angles at high speeds completely appropriate for an action thriller. You’d have to watch to really understand.
Chicago’s skyline-defining Willis Tower had reportedly sold to Blackstone Group, a private equity real estate investor, for the blockbuster price of $1.3 billion. That’s a little less than early reports were speculating, but it’s still leaps and bounds above the previous record for a U.S. office tower outside New York City. And the deal includes naming rights. Will it become the Blackstone Tower? Call it what you will—Chicagoans still fondly refer to it as the Sears Tower.
When the Future had Fins: American Automotive Designs and Concepts, 1959-1973
Christopher West Mount Gallery, Pacific Design Center
8687 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood, CA
Through May 20
Once upon a time the American car industry was king. Nothing captures the prestige, aspirations, and mythology of Detroit’s heyday quite like the working sketches and drawings used to develop and promote the land boats we used to call automobiles.
Grand Prairie, Texas, has been spared what could have been the nation’s first indoor ski resort and Hard Rock Hotel. The project’s developer, The Grand Alps Group, pulled the $215 million proposal after a meeting with Grand Prairie’s mayor and city manager. They were not happy about losing the big fish. “We were a little surprised,” City Manager Tom Hart told the Dallas Morning News. “We thought we had a pretty good meeting.”
Eavesdrop is scratching its head. First, in January, Gensler released new renderings for the Hotel Alessandra in downtown Houston. Where before the firm had proposed a sleek modern glass tower for the site with strong, swooping vertical lines that accentuated the building’s height, the new iteration shows a collection of rectilinear facade treatments of varying levels of transparency arranged to express a podium, tower, and crown with cornice. Jonathan Brinsden, CEO of the project’s developer, Midway, described the new look as a “modern interpretation of European style.”
Many of the new condominiums erected in Brooklyn during the last building boom are not aging well. The New York Times reported that “[w]hen the housing market collapsed in 2007 and coffers ran dry, many developers were left scrambling to complete projects. Some cut corners or abandoned developments, leaving others to finish the work.” This led to poorly constructed buildings and angry residents who are stuck dealing with mold, cracking balconies, and flooding. One such building even saw part of its facade fall off. Now many of the developers behind the shoddy buildings are breaking ground on new projects, hopefully with more attention to quality.