Two global urbanistic powerhouses, San Francisco–based Rebar and Copenhagen-based Gehl Architects, have joined forces to create Gehl Studio. The practices will keep their offices in their respective cities and start a new one in New York. Gehl didn’t purchase Rebar, but hired most of Rebar’s staff, including two of the three founding partners, according to a report in Landscape Architecture Magazine.
Elizabeth K. Meyer has been appointed as the dean for the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture. Her two-year term starts July 15th. Meyer received both her bachelor’s and master’s degree in landscape architecture from UVA before going on to teach at Harvard for four years. In 2012, President Obama selected her to serve on the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. Meyers was the only landscape architect on the panel of seven.
Of her new position, Meyers said in a statement that she is “optimistic that the next two years will be a period of tremendous innovation as we form new creative habits and collaborative relationships amongst ourselves, and with colleagues across the University and beyond.”
As the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum gears up for its reopening later this year, the museum announced today it has hired Brooke Hodge, a widely respected curator and museum administrator, as its new deputy director.
Hodge is currently the director of exhibitions and publications at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. She was previously the architecture and design curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles, where she organized shows on Frank Gehry, the automobile designer J Mays, and Skin + Bones: Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture. She was let go from MOCA amid financial and organizational disruptions at that museum, which lead to several changes in leadership and the near closure of the museum. Hodge is currently working on an exhibition of Thomas Heatherwick, which will open at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas in September.
“Brooke will be diving into preparations for our opening later this fall, while partnering with me and museum teams on the exciting, future plans for the nation’s design museum,” Caroline Baumann, director of the Cooper-Hewitt, said in a statement.
In the second significant departure this week from the Syracuse University School of Architecture, professor Jonathan Massey has been named the Director of Architecture at California College of the Arts (CCA). Massey, who chaired the Bachelor of Architecture program at Syracuse from 2007 to 2011, succeeds Ila Berman in the position.
Chicago’s top art school announced big changes in its design department this morning.
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago Thursday announced their selection of Jonathan Solomon as the new Director of the Department of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects (AIADO). Solomon, who comes from his position as associate professor and associate dean at the School of Architecture at Syracuse University, assumes the job officially on August 1.
Architecture critic and one-time eavesdropper Philip Nobel has a fancy new title: Editorial Director for SHoP Architects. Though he has long been known for throwing critical barbs, Nobel has always been cozy with the firm, having contributed an introduction to their monograph, Out of Practice, and a written glowing profile of Vishaan Chakrabarti for Metropolis (the piece had the oh-so subtle title, “Vishaansanity”). You might say it was a very long audition that clearly paid off in the end.
President Obama will reportedly nominate San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development. If confirmed by the senate, Castro will succeed Shaun Donovan, a trained architect, who has been at the agency since 2009. Donovan is expected to head the Office of Management and Budget.
Chicago‘s most famous architect has just acquired a New York City pied-à-terre. Studio Gang has opened an office on Water Street in Lower Manhattan, which will be led by Weston Walker, a design principal. “This is a natural next step for the firm,” said founding principal Jeanne Gang in a statement. “We have been working in New York for the past several years and are excited by the variety of work currently in design, along with potential engagements in the city and beyond.”
The firm is currently working on a Fire Rescue facility for the New York City Department of Design and Construction and on the “Solar Carve” tower adjacent to the High Line. That project met resistance from the community for its height. There is no word yet on how tall it will be or how it will be redesigned.
The Congress for the New Urbanism has announced that Lynn Richards will serve as the organization’s new president and CEO. Richards joins the Congress from the EPA, where she worked in the Office of Sustainable Communities. She has organized with environmental groups in former Soviet Republics and holds a Loeb Fellowship from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She will assume her new role on July 1.
“We want to see more great places built. We want to build neighborhoods where more people can walk and bike,” said the incoming president in a statement. “We want to create more vibrant and prosperous places that celebrate great design and development approaches.” To make this happen, Richards wants to “road-test innovative design and polices.”
Richards succeeds John Norquist, who was appointed CNU’s president in 2002. In his previous position as the mayor of Milwaukee, he led the charge to demolish a major highway in the city. And under his leadership at CNU, the organization called on other cities to do the same, with their biennial “Freeways Without Futures” list.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has tapped civil engineer Dr. Feniosky Peña-Mora as Department of Design and Construction Commissioner. Peña-More comes to the DDC from Columbia University, where he teaches civil engineering, environmental engineering, engineering mechanics, and computer science. According to a press release from the mayor’s office, “Dr. Peña-Mora will be charged with building public works big and small, ranging from making streets safer as part of the Vision Zero initiative, to renovating and constructing municipal facilities.”
At the announcement, the incoming commissioner said, “Our standards will continue to be high. We will strengthen resiliency, efficiency, and safety in every project we oversee. We hope to build a new generation of streets, public works, and buildings that weave our diverse communities closer together and enrich the fabric of this city.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has selected Tom Finkelpearl, the Queens Museum president and executive director, as the city’s next cultural affairs commissioner. De Blasio made the announcement at the museum, which recently underwent a significant renovation led by Grimshaw Architects.