Getty Foundation Announces its 2015 Keeping it Modern Grant Recipients

Saint John’s Abbey and University Church, Marcel Breuer, 1961, Collegeville, Minnesota. (Courtesy Fr. Geoffrey Fecht, OSB)

Saint John’s Abbey and University Church, Marcel Breuer, 1961, Collegeville, Minnesota. (Courtesy Fr. Geoffrey Fecht, OSB)

Funding shortages, insufficient knowledge of materials and technology, and conflicting interests are often the hurdles that preservationists face in the fight to save 20th century modernist landmarks. In recent years we’ve lost Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago and Neutra’s Cyclorama at Gettysburg to demolition, and soon Paul Rudolph’s Government Center in Goshen will likely meet the same sad fate. The Getty Foundation, however, is taking steps to protect other significant buildings of this period through its second annual Keeping it Modern grant initiative, totaling $1.75 million.

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Renzo Piano’s globe gets go-ahead from LA City Council

Architecture, West
Friday, June 26, 2015
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Los Angeles City Council Approves Academy Museum of Motion Pictures Project. (Courtesy Renzo Piano Building Workshop/ Studio Pali Fekete architects/A.M.P.A.S.)

Los Angeles City Council Approves Academy Museum of Motion Pictures Project. (Courtesy Renzo Piano Building Workshop/ Studio Pali Fekete architects/A.M.P.A.S.)

And… action. In a unanimous vote the LA City Council approved Renzo Piano’s plans for the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. The design, which includes a renovation of the AC Martin’s May Company Building on Wilshire and Fairfax avenues and the eye-popping addition of a 140-foot-diameter glass and steel globe sited behind the existing 1939 building, comes with at $300 million estimated construction cost and hopes to open in 2017. Read More

Think you can design a high-speed mass transit Hyperloop prototype for Elon Musk?

(Courtesy Hyperloop Transport Technologies)

(Courtesy Hyperloop Transport Technologies)

Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk generated brouhaha in 2013 when he proposed a high-speed mass transit system that could travel at just under the speed of sound.

“It’s a cross between a Concorde, a railgun, and an air hockey table,” Musk wrote in a white paper on the so-called Hyperloop, in which he conjectured a reduced-pressure tube design for transporting humans and freight between San Francisco and Los Angeles in just 35 minutes.

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VernerJohnson Sets Museum Ablaze with Dichroic Glass

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VernerJohnson's Museum at Prairiefire features a multi-colored envelope in dichroic glass, iridescent steel, and Kansas limestone. (Sam Fentress)

VernerJohnson’s Museum at Prairiefire features a multi-colored envelope in dichroic glass, iridescent steel, and Kansas limestone. (Sam Fentress)

Faceted facade evokes regenerative prairie burns.

For most projects, admits VernerJohnson‘s Jonathan Kharfen, architects steer clear of evoking a potentially destructive force like fire. But Museum at Prairiefire, the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) outpost in Overland Park, Kansas, proved an exception to the rule. Read More

AN West Editor Mimi Zeiger wins Landscape Architecture Magazine’s Williams Medal

(Courtesy Brett Van Ort)

(Courtesy Brett Van Ort)

Landscape Architecture Magazine has given its annual Williams Medal to AN West Editor Mimi Zeiger for her article “Fresno v. Eckbo.” Featured in LAM‘s December 2014 issue, Zeiger’s piece centers on a redevelopment proposal for the Garrett Eckbo–designed Fulton Mall in downtown Fresno, California. The city government plans to run streets through the pedestrian-friendly landscape in an effort to revitalize this now struggling, once well-known city center. Zeiger’s article draws attention to how the plan would jeopardize the preservation of the historically designed area.

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Shipping container wunderkind SG Blocks teams up with Farm Stores to create drive-thru outlets

(Courtesy SG Blocks)

(Courtesy SG Blocks)

Self-contained, prefabricated, and already an architectural craze, shipping containers could be the key to cost-efficient franchising. SG Blocks has partnered with Farm Stores, the nation’s largest drive-thru chain, to design and engineer a prototype for fast-assembling new Farm Stores.

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Pictorial> Step inside Selgascano’s psychedelic Serpentine Pavilion

(Iwan Baan)

(Iwan Baan)

The 2015 Serpentine Pavilion has opened to the public in London‘s Kensington Gardens. The psychedelic, worm-like structure was designed by SelgasCano, a husband-and-wife team based in Madrid, and features translucent ETFE panels that are wrapped and woven like webbing. The architects said the pavilion’s design is partially inspired by the chaos of passing through the London Underground.

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Next up in a series of demolitions in the historic Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital campus: the Kirkbride

Architecture, East, Preservation
Thursday, June 25, 2015
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(Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

(Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

The New Jersey Treasury Department has levied the wrecking ball on the iconic Kirkbride building of the historic Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital. Demolition began on April 6, with heavy-equipment operators from Northstar Contracting targeting 26 structures on the campus as part of a $34.4 million contract from the state of New Jersey. The latest to go is the 673,000-square-foot, 19th-century landmark which, like most of the buildings in the complex, had dangerously deteriorated.

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Atlanta may be getting a nine-acre highway capping park

(Courtesy Jacobs)

(Courtesy Jacobs)

Atlanta, Georgia’s Buckhead Community Improvement District is forging ahead with a proposal to cap the GA 400 highway with a nine-acre park that could potentially double or triple the value of surrounding neighborhoods. Spanning one third of a mile, the floating park will connect Lenox and Peachtree roads, two arterial roadways, and cap the highway and MARTA line while providing access to the Buckhead Station. Currently in the feasibility stage, the park is being designed by local firm GreenRock Partnership and global engineering giant Jacobs.

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Developers tap Perkins + Will principal to help redevelop site adjacent to Bertrand Goldberg’s River City

Bertrand Goldberg's River City, in Chicago. (S. N. Johnson-Roehr via Flickr)

Bertrand Goldberg’s River City, in Chicago. (S. N. Johnson-Roehr via Flickr)

Plans for 2,700 new homes along the Chicago River have some neighbors and realtors calling a long-vacant lot near the Willis Tower by a new name. “River South” refers to a few sites, among them: a 7.3-acre riverside parcel between Harrison Street and the River City condo complex designed by Bertrand Goldberg. Read More

Endgame: An Open Letter to the Guggenheim Helsinki Finalists

1,715 Entries and One Winner. (Courtesy Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation)

1,715 Entries and One Winner. (Courtesy Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation)

The following is an abridged version of an open letter by Chicago architect and urban planner Marshall Brown, which was originally presented at the The Design Competition Conference by the GSD and the Van Alen Institute. It follows a previous comment by the author for AN about the state of design competitions in the 21st century. It is in direct response to the Guggenheim Helsinki Competition, which attracted 1,715 submissions before the winner was announced yesterday

My Dear Colleagues,

I would like to extend sincere congratulations for your recent achievements and the recognition it has brought to your practices. I suppose you may be wondering about the cause for this letter since, at least that I can recall, we have never formally met. One year ago I wrote an essay for AN that criticized the current state of architectural competitions. It concluded with the melodramatic, yet also sincere invitation for likeminded architects to join me in “early, complete, and permanent retirement” from such contests. In the meantime I have mostly managed to follow through on my retreat from the design competition industry, despite several invitations from colleagues to collaborate.

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Thomas Balsley unveils design for 8-acre green space at Pacific Park Brooklyn

Thomas Balsley's Pacific Park. ( COURTESY  VUW STUDIOS)

Thomas Balsley’s Pacific Park. ( COURTESY VUW STUDIOS)

After countless delays, plenty of controversy, and a few lawsuits, Brooklyn’s Pacific Park mega-development (formerly Atlantic Yards) is starting to take shape. The Barclays Center’s green roof is showing progress, SHoP’s long-delayed modular tower is rising again next door, and a pair of COOKFOX-designed residential buildings are underway at the development’s eastern edge. And now, the project’s new namesake, the 8-acre Pacific Park, has finally been unveiled.

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