2015 Best of Products Awards> Finishes + Surfaces and Interiors + Furnishings

Awards, National, Product
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
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(Montage by AN)

(Montage by AN)

On a hot day in June, a jury convened to review nearly 400 entries to The Architect’s Newspaper‘s first Best of Products competition. Submissions, divided over eight categories, abounded in new materials and exciting technologies, provoking a lively dialogue during the evaluation process.

Colin Brice of Mapos, Barry Goralnick of Barry Goralnick Architects, Harshad Pillai of Fogarty Finger Architecture, and architect Alison Spear generously contributed their considerable expertise and insight to the judging.

While the complete roster of winners can be found in our just-published print edition, AN will be publishing the results daily over the next week. Today’s categories, Finishes + Surfaces and Interiors + Furnishings, evidenced a trend toward dramatic design.

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This urban intervention in Chicago would let citizens control colorful lights under the “El” with their smartphones

City Terrain, Lighting, Midwest, Urbanism
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
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Wabash Lights, a site-specific installation under Chicago's L. (Courtesy Wabash Lights)

Wabash Lights, a site-specific installation under Chicago’s L. (Courtesy Wabash Lights)

Chicago is best known for Wrigley Field and the Sears Tower (yes, the Sears Tower), but one of its most prominent urban features is the elevated train tracks that form the “Loop,” or the downtown area bound by this snaking steel goliath. However poetic the idea of the “El” might be, it brute steel structure could, like most raised infrastructures, use some improvements.

More after the jump.

James Corner Field Operations unveils initial plans for The Underline, a 10-mile linear park in Miami

Dadeland Trail Connection. (Courtesy James Corner Field Operations)

Dadeland Trail Connection. (Courtesy James Corner Field Operations)

It has become common fair to refer to any and all rails-to-trails project as a certain city’s “High Line. ” (Yup, we’ve been guilty of that too.) The ubiquitous High Line comparison might be flattering, but it’s obviously too simplistic. It glosses over site-specific details and rings a bit too New York–centric.

More after the jump.

See how Bjarke Ingels’ Two World Trade will impact New York’s skyline from five different sites

Two World Trade. (Courtesy DBOX and BIG)

Two World Trade. (Courtesy DBOX and BIG)

For Two World Trade Center, Bjarke Ingels has created a tower with multiple personalities. From the 9/11 Memorial, the building, with its seamless glass facade, appears like a somber glass giant huddled around the hallowed site with its peers. But from pretty much anywhere else, the building is quite expressive with a stepped massing scheme that appears like a stack of boxes, a ziggurat sliced in half, or a staircase for King King.

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NYC DOT’s “Great Streets” vision for Atlantic Avenue lacks any bicycle infrastructure

New medians proposed for Atlantic Avenue. (Courtesy NYC DOT)

New medians proposed for Atlantic Avenue. (Courtesy NYC DOT)

As part of Mayor de Blasio’s mission to eliminate traffic deaths in New York City, his administration has committed $250 million toward its “Great Streets” initiative to redesign four of the city’s most dangerous arterial roadways: 4th Avenue in Brooklyn, Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn and Queens, Queens Boulevard, and  Grand Concourse in the Bronx.

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SOMA designs exclusive One at Palm on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah artificial island

(Courtesy SOMA)

(Courtesy SOMA)

The top-of-the-line new residences by New York-based firm SOMA boast the tagline: “crafted for the most privileged of the privileged few”—and it’s easy to see why. Rising at the entrance to the Palm Jumeirah, one of Dubai’s artificial islands, the One at Palm consists of 90 exclusive residences, the units arranged in alternately pulled-in and pulled-out configurations across each level so that each apartment is guaranteed 360-degree views.

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Rotterdam considers piloting environmentally-friendly roads made from recycled plastic bottles

(Courtesy VolkerWessels)

(Courtesy VolkerWessels)

Always an early adopter of innovative sustainability methods, the city of Rotterdam is considering piloting roads fabricated from recycled plastic. The creators of PlasticRoad wooed the city council with their proposal of an all-plastic road that is quicker to lay and requires less maintenance than asphalt.

Continue reading after the jump.

The Westin Hamburg to be housed within the Elbe Philharmonic Complex by Herzog & de Meuron

(Courtesy Herzog & De Meuron)

(Courtesy Herzog & De Meuron)

Starwood Hotels has announced that it will open The Westin Hamburg next year in the much-anticipated Elbe Philharmonic complex. The 10-story, 205-bedroom hotel by architects Herzog & de Meuron will be housed within a glass-fronted, wave-shaped building that sits atop a historic warehouse on the banks of the river Elbe. Boasting a pointed, wave-shaped roof, the complex will also feature three concert halls, 45 private apartments and a more than 43,000 square foot, publicly accessible plaza offering 360-degree city views.

Continue reading after the jump.

Here’s how Amsterdam built an archipelago to solve its housing crunch

(Courtesy Amsterdam)

The islands of Ijburg, with Center Island jutting out to the right (Courtesy Amsterdam)

Amsterdam’s overflow population will soon have a roof over its head—and artificial sand bars beneath its feet. Europe’s boldest engineering and housing program yet proposes a series of artificial islands built over Ijmeer Lake, with shoreline houses occupying sand bars made using a so-called “pancake method.”

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British architect Amanda Levete reveals weather-responsive “forest canopy” design for Melbourne’s MPavilion 2015

(Courtesy AL_A)

(Courtesy AL_A)

Seeking to recreate the audiovisual experience of a rainforest within urban environs, London-based architect Amanda Levete has unveiled a weather-responsive forest canopy for Melbourne’s 2015 MPavilion. The second-edition annual pavilion, set to open in October at the Queen Victoria Gardens, is Australia’s answer to London’s emblematic Serpentine Gallery Pavilion.

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Breaking: Alejandro Aravena Named Director of 2016 Venice Biennale of Architecture

Architecture, International, Urbanism
Saturday, July 18, 2015
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Alejandro Aravena. Image via holcimfoundation.org

Alejandro Aravena. Image via holcimfoundation.org

Its final. Alejandro Aravena has been named Director of the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale. The Chilean architect will have just 10 months to prepare the exhibition, which opens May 28. He follows David Chipperfield and Rem Koolhaas in directing the exhibition.

Continue reading after the jump.

After letter-writing campaign, Senate committee backs down on massive change to TIGER program

Light rail in Minneapolis. (MARK DANIELSON / FLICKR)

Light rail in Minneapolis. (MARK DANIELSON / FLICKR)

Since 2009, the United States Department of Transportation’s TIGER program has helped realize some of the country’s most innovative and overdue urban design and transportation initiatives. Launched as part of President Obama’s 2009 stimulus package, TIGER grants have since provided funding for projects like the Brooklyn Greenway, Kansas City streetcar, and new light rail in the Twin Cities.

Continue reading after the jump.

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