Facade Alterations by Bruner/Cott Turn Steam Plant Inside Out

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Bruner/Cott renovated a 1925 McKim, Mead & White steam plant to create a new student event space for Amherst College. (David Lamb)

Bruner/Cott renovated a 1925 McKim, Mead & White steam plant to create a new student event space for Amherst College. (David Lamb)

Renovation transforms decommissioned McKim Mead & White building into campus event space.

When Amherst College decided to convert a former steam plant into a student event space, the choice likely struck some observers as odd. Designed in 1925 by McKim, Mead & White, the coal-burning plant was decommissioned in the 1960s; since the 1980s, it had been used as a makeshift garage for ground equipment.  The facade of the neglected building needed to be opened up to reveal its potential while respecting its good bones. “It wasn’t in great shape, but it wasn’t in terrible shape,” said Bruner/Cott‘s Dana Kelly. “Impressively enough, the school recognized that it had qualities that could be harnessed for a new student space.” The brick building’s industrial aesthetic was a particular draw, said Kelly, whose firm has spearheaded renovations at the nearby MASS MoCA (itself a former industrial complex) since the museum opened in 1999. For Amherst College, Bruner/Cott took a similar approach, balancing preservation and alteration to support the new program without disrupting the historic building’s essential character.

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Frei Otto Wins the 2015 Pritzker Architecture Prize

1972 Munich Olympic Stadium

1972 Munich Olympic Stadium. (Martina Oefelein / Flickr)

Frei Otto has been given the 2015 Pritzker Architecture Prize. The 89 year old architect and engineer known for his daring glass and steel superstructures including the 1972 Munich Olympic Stadium. Often compared to Buckminster Fuller, Otto experimented with tensile structures, new materials, and inflatable architecture, and went on the build major buildings including the German Pavilion at Expo ’67 and the roof for the Multihalle in Manheim, Germany.

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This year’s architecturally inspired films at the 2015 Slamdance and Sundance film festivals

Still from Concrete Love. (Courtesy respective directors)

Still from Concrete Love. (Maurizius Staerkle Drux)

This year’s Park City offerings at the Sundance and Slamdance film festivals ranged from portraits of architects, a mayor with architectural dreams, a victim of the foreclosure crisis, those trapped in physical and dreamed spaces, and individuals exploring the cultural landscape. Always a harbinger of what is coming up, look out for these films and media projects coming to a screen near you.

Continue reading after the jump.

Brooklyn protestors use “light graffiti” to urge Bill de Blasio to fund long-promised park

(Courtesy Gothamist)

(Courtesy Gothamist)

As AN recently reported, a fire that destroyed a warehouse in Williamsburg, Brooklyn has rekindled questions about a long-promised waterfront park. Back in 2005, Michael Bloomberg rezoned much of Williamsburg and Greenpoint leading to a surge in glassy towers. With those towers was supposed to come Bushwick Inlet Park, a 28-acre green space along the East River. But in the decade since, only parts of the park have been completed.

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Product> Star Lights: Six Shining Luminaires

Lighting, National, Spec Sheet
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
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Spec Sheet  
LEAD-STRING-LIGHTS_design-MICHAEL-ANASTASSIADES3

(Courtesy Flos)

While a well-designed light fixture never overshadows its function, there’s always a case to be made for pieces that break new ground. Anything but conventional, these dramatic luminaires form a compelling physical counterpoint to the ethereal quality of light they emit.

String Lights
Flos

Suspended overhead, the cord adjusts to play with interior space, while conical or spherical luminaires mark points in the air. LED lamps. Designed by Michael Anastassiades.

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Bar-Hopping in Secret: Shanghai’s Latest Speakeasy Disguised as Sandwich Shop

Interiors, International
Monday, March 9, 2015
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(Courtesy Shen Zhonghai)

(Courtesy Shen Zhonghai)

These days, the illicit thrill of sneaking into a hidden bar from the back of a video store is a mere blip on our adrenaline threshold. But a new speakeasy in Shanghai aims to reinvent the game with a sleek underground bar concealed behind the innocent facade of a sandwich shop.

Continue reading after the jump.

This mall looks like it should be built in Dubai, but it’s actually planned in Miami as the nation’s largest

Americana Dream Miami. (Courtesy The Triple 5 Group via the Miami Herald)

Americana Dream Miami. (Courtesy The Triple 5 Group via the Miami Herald)

The slew of stories on the death of the American shopping mall has not deterred one real estate company from submitting plans to build the largest shopping and entertainment center in the country. The Miami Herald reported that the ambitious plan comes from the Triple 5 Group, a company that knows a thing or two about big malls—it owns and runs the Mall of America in Minnesota. Apparently not satisfied with letting that mall remain the nation’s largest, the developer has unveiled designs for something even larger in Miami-Dade County.

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Deborah Berke uses modern design, modern art to revive Indianapolis’ Old City Hall

A rendering of the proposed 21c Museum Hotel with the old City Hall (left), which will be come an art museum and housing for arts-related professionals. (Courtesy 21c Museum Hotels)

A rendering of the proposed 21c Museum Hotel with the old City Hall (left), which will be come an art museum and housing for arts-related professionals. (Courtesy 21c Museum Hotels)

A white elephant in Indiana’s capital city may see new life after decades of decay—with a little help from modern art. Read More

Talking SHoP with facades expert Gregg Pasquarelli

SHoP Architects' 626 First Avenue, currently under construction. (Courtesy SHoP)

SHoP Architects’ 626 First Avenue, currently under construction. (Courtesy SHoP)

Since its founding in 1996, SHoP Architects has been committed to fostering architectural innovation despite on-the-ground constraints. In New York, those constraints often take the form of municipal regulations. “From day one SHoP was always a firm that was interested in pushing the limits of design, really getting into materials and craftsmanship,” said principal Gregg Pasquarelli. “But we were also building in the pressure tank of New York, where a lot of the innovation has to occur in the skins of the buildings, because zoning is so prescriptive.” Pasquarelli will outline his firm’s approach to cutting-edge facade design in the context of New York’s regulatory environment in the afternoon keynote address at next month’s Facades+ NYC conference.

Continue reading after the jump.

Father of Catalan Modernism, Antoni Gaudi, to Build His First Cathedral Outside Spain

(Courtesy Corporacion Gaudi de Triana)

(Courtesy Corporacion Gaudi de Triana)

Ninety years after the illustrious architect’s death, Chilean president Michelle Bachelet has given the go-ahead for construction of the “Our Lady of the Angels” chapel designed by Antoni Gaudí in 1922.

Continue reading after the jump.

Towering over Queens: Central Long Island City site to make way for another high rise

Development, East, Skyscrapers
Friday, March 6, 2015
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The site is marked in blue. (Courtesy Bing)

The site is marked in blue. (Courtesy Bing)

Yet another tower could rise in Long Island City, Queens. Citigroup is expected to sell a prime development site next to its SOM-designed, 51-story turquoise office tower that dominates the neighborhood’s skyline.

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Sandhogs continue to make progress on New York City’s enormous $11 billion East Side train tunnel

(MTA Capital Construction / Rehema Trimiew)

(MTA Capital Construction / Rehema Trimiew)

New York City’s MTA has posted another collection of East Side Access construction photos to remind New Yorkers that its majorly delayed and hugely over budget project is still actually chugging along. When East Side Access is ultimately completed, at the cost of nearly $11 billion, it will connect Long Island Rail Road trains to Grand Central making life easier for about 80,000 commuters. But that’s a long ways off—last we heard, the project will not be completed until 2023.

Check out construction progress after the jump.

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