Mexican group turns Tequila byproduct into construction materials stronger than wood

The fibrous material of the  agave plant is used as a biofuel (Courtesy Stan Shebs)

The agave plant is used to make tequila and doubles as a biofuel (Courtesy Stan Shebs)

Stigma and foreseeable jokes aside, the tequila industry may be one of the keys to sustainable development of the future. Mexican recycling startup Plastinova has created a wood substitute that is not only renewable but allegedly stronger than what nature bequeathed.

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The view from this South Dakota TV Tower is as grand & dizzying as any Manhattan skyscraper

National, Skyscrapers
Monday, February 16, 2015
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04-tower-vid

While here in New York City, the antennas we cover tend to sit atop skyscrapers like the World Trade Center, for much of the American landscape, the tallest fixtures are spindle-thin television towers that keep watch over an agrarian landscape. But the view from atop those towers can be just as beautiful as the view from a $100 million Manhattan penthouse, as this drone video proves.

Watch the video after the jump.

A quirky Googie bowling alley finds new life as a Community Center in Los Angeles

Former bowling alley, now the Foundation Center (Cuningham Group)

Former bowling alley, now the Foundation Center (Cuningham Group)

Googie—the futuristic style born in mid-century Los Angeles coffee houses (like the recently threatened Norms), gas stations, and motels—has found a revival in Cuningham Group‘s renovation of the “Southwest Bowl” in South LA’s West Athens district.

Continue reading after the jump.

New York City is losing the Aluminaire House

The Aluminaire House, designed in 1931 by Kocher and Frey. (Jenosale/Flickr)

The Aluminaire House, designed in 1931 by Kocher and Frey. (Jenosale/Flickr)

New York City is losing the 1931 Aluminaire House and its relocating to Palm Spring, California. The aluminum alloy and steel structure was created by the architect Albert Frey and A. Lawrence Kocher, managing editor of Architecture Record, and was commissioned by the Architecture League for the Allied Arts and Industry exhibition.

Continue reading after the jump.

Richard Neutra gets the star treatment in Palm Springs

Architecture, West
Friday, February 13, 2015
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Richard Neutra is now a "Star"-chitect. (William Menking / AN)

Richard Neutra is now a “Star”-chitect. (William Menking / AN)

 

Architects may not get much respect in most American cities, but in Palm Spring, California they’re stars!

Today Richard Neutra who designed the city’s famous Miller House in 1937 and, ten years later, the Kaufmann House will have a star dedicated in his honor on the sidewalk of Palm Canyon Drive just in front of the Palm Springs Architecture Museum.

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Video> Optical illusions come to life in Stanford designer’s mesmerizing 3D-printed zoetrope sculptures

Design, Technology
Friday, February 13, 2015
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The petals appear to seethe up and down (Courtesy Instructables)

The petals appear to seethe up and down (Courtesy Instructables)

Nature’s algorithms reign supreme in a series of revolving 3D printed sculptures by designer-cum-artist John Edmark, also an adjunct lecturer at Stanford’s Department of Art & Art History. The sculpture sits on a rotating base and animates when it is placed under a strobe light or filmed using a camera with extremely slow shutter speeds.

Watch the video after the jump.

It’s a Wrap: Highlights from AN’s first Los Angeles Facades+ Conference

West
Friday, February 13, 2015
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The symposium at Facades+ covers the latest topics in the field.

The symposium at Facades+ covers the latest topics in the field.

 

The first-ever Los Angeles Facades + conference, organized by The Architect’s Newspaper and Enclos, held in the shadow of Bunker Hill’s glassy towers, showcased the city’s technical and creative talent while introducing participants to the building envelope field’s latest technologies and trends.

Keynote speaker James Carpenter set a sophisticated tone, showing off richly complex work that explores both the “cinematic” and “volumetric qualities of light.” His World Trade Center 7 base, he pointed out, uses a subtle shift in plane to create an ethereal glow, while another project for Gucci in Tokyo uses prismatic light to recreate the qualities of a Japanese lantern. Other highlights included his louvered Israel Museum and his new exploration of optical aluminum, thin glasses, and computer etched glass.

Continue reading after the jump.

The Principals Make Music with Mylar

Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
Ancient Chaos, a sound reactive installation designed by The Principals with musician Dev Hynes, debuted at Neuehouse last fall. (Bryan Derballa)

Ancient Chaos, a sound reactive installation designed by The Principals with musician Dev Hynes, debuted at Neuehouse last fall. (Bryan Derballa)

Collaborative installation translates sound into motion.

When Brooklyn-based design and fabrication studio The Principals began collaborating with musician Dev Hynes on Ancient Chaos, a sound reactive installation commissioned by speaker company Sonos, they had only a vague sense of the project’s goals. “The general concept was that we wanted to create an architecture that was fluid like sound, and to create sounds that were architectural,” said co-founder Seskunas. “We wanted to have an installation that was both of those things but neither—a very ephemeral, nebulous concept of what sound and architecture could be.” Then Seskunas went surfing with a friend, and, in between sets, found himself mesmerized by the ever-changing play of sunlight on the ocean. “Could we create an architecture that had this quality to it?” he questioned. Constructed from 6,000 individual pieces of Mylar set in motion by high-powered stepper motors, Ancient Chaos answers Seskunas’ question in the affirmative. The installation, which debuted at New York’s Neuehouse last year, is a moving meditation on the relationship between sound and space.
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Chicago releases first year of data under energy benchmarking ordinance

Midwest, News, Sustainability
Thursday, February 12, 2015
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Adler & Sullivan's Auditorium Theatre, built in 1890, is trying to reduce consumption by 20 percent within 5 years.

Adler & Sullivan’s Auditorium Theatre, built in 1890, is trying to reduce consumption
by 20 percent within 5 years.

Chicago’s biggest buildings cut their energy use 13 to 23 percent since a new city program to publicize consumption data went into effect, according to a city report released Tuesday.

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Iowa City picks Cecil Balmond for downtown art project

Art, City Terrain, Midwest, News, Urbanism
Thursday, February 12, 2015
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(Iowa City)

(Genus Landscape Architects / Iowa City)

Iowa City this week picked engineer-turned-artist Cecil Balmond to anchor an overhaul of the city’s downtown pedestrian plaza. His sculpture will be the focal point of Iowa City’s Black Hawk Mini Park Art Project, the first phase of an $11 million streetscape redevelopment project that officials hope to start next year. Read More

David Chipperfield designs a luxe showroom in Milan for Italian furniture brand Driade

Driade's new showroom in Milan (Courtesy Santi Caleca)

Driade’s new showroom in Milan (Courtesy Santi Caleca)

In a rising-from-the-ashes revival, prominent Italian furniture brand Driade will debut a new showroom in Milan under the creative direction of British architect David Chipperfield, the company’s newly appointed artistic director.

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