Boston mayor wants ideas to overhaul the city’s windswept City Hall Plaza

Boston City Hall, built in the 1960s to resemble the Piazza del Campo in Sienna, Italy. (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Boston City Hall, built in the 1960s to resemble the Piazza del Campo in Sienna, Italy. (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

If Boston City Hall were a celebrity, it might be a fixture on tabloid “Worst Dressed” lists. The Brutalist building elicits strong sentiments from architectural observers and everyday citizens alike, but most agree the City Hall Plaza could use some sprucing up. In his inaugural State of the City address Mayor Marty Walsh called on residents to help him reimagine the barren, 11-acre brick expanse.

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Obama library as drone aviary? Chicago Prize winners speculate on president’s legacy

A hypothetical concept for the Barack Obama Presidential Library, straddling the Chicago River. The proposal was among the winners of the 2014 Chicago Prize. (Zhu Wenyi, Fu Junsheng, and Liang Yiang)

A hypothetical concept for the Barack Obama Presidential Library, straddling the Chicago River. The proposal was among the winners of the 2014 Chicago Prize. (Zhu Wenyi, Fu Junsheng, and Liang Yiang)

The Chicago Architectural Club announced the winners of its 2014 Chicago Prize Tuesday, awarding five honors to speculative proposals for Barack Obama’s Presidential Library. Peace signs, notions of community ownership, and even drones enlivened the conceptual debate swirling around a closely watched project already wrought with its own political complications.

Continue reading after the jump.

Shelter Subterfuge by ASK Studio

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Giovanettii Community Shelter's glass and cedar facade belies its function as a FEMA safe room. (Cameron Campbell, Integrated Studio)

Giovanettii Community Shelter’s glass and cedar facade belies its function as a FEMA safe room. (Cameron Campbell, Integrated Studio)

Architectural sleight of hand transforms a FEMA safe room from bunker to glass box.

Tasked with designing a community center on a shoestring budget, Des Moines–based ASK Studio was unsure how to fit the program to the project’s finances. Then an attendee at a community feedback session suggested applying for FEMA funds to build a combination community room and storm shelter. The FEMA tie-in solved the money problem, but it created an aesthetic challenge. The architects had originally diagrammed the community center, sited atop a central knoll in a large park in Urbandale, Iowa, as a connection point that would orient visitors without obstructing views. When the project was redefined as a safe room, said ASK’s Brent Schipper, “I just cringed, because how do you have a transparent node that’s also a tornado shelter? I thought, ‘We’re going to make a bunker, and pretend it works as the node of the centerpiece of the park.'” Luckily, Schipper’s gut reaction proved wrong. A triumph of architectural sleight of hand, ASK’s Giovannetti Community Shelter is built evidence that “welcoming safe room” is not an oxymoron.

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Video> Is open over? Talking office space design with Gensler, 1871, more

Architecture, Interiors, Midwest, News
Tuesday, February 3, 2015
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Open offices, like the Toronto office of Bruce Mau Design, have come under fire in several recent studies. (Courtesy SparkCBC via Flickr)

Open offices, like the Toronto office of Bruce Mau Design, have come under fire in recent years. (Courtesy SparkCBC via Flickr)

Open offices have gone from unavoidable interior design trend to the target of some serious backlash. I moderated a panel last week for DisruptCRE‘s annual conference that tried to suss out what’s driving office space design and culture today.

Watch the video after the jump.

The New Guard: The Architectural League of New York announces its 2015 Emerging Voices

Levering Trade by Mexico's Atelier ARS (photo: Daniel Maldonado)

Levering Trade by Mexico’s Atelier ARS. (Daniel Maldonado)

The Architectural League‘s Emerging Voices lecture series, now in its 30th year, has reliably identified important new talent through a juried selection process. This year’s group reflects a number of important currents in contemporary practice in North America.

Check out the winners after the jump.

This Florida mansion by Chad Oppenheim is more like a sumptuous resort in disguise

Driveway, home, and guest house. The backyard. (Courtesy Oppenheim Architecture + Design)

Driveway, home, and guest house. The backyard. (Courtesy Oppenheim Architecture + Design)

AN has an exclusive look at a new home in Golden Beach, Florida designed by Chad Oppenheim of Oppenheim Architecture + Design. If we’re being honest here, the 23,000-square-foot home is really more of a resort masquerading as a private residence. Or maybe it’s a private residence masquerading as a resort. Either way, the home is massive and packed with amenities.

Continue reading after the jump.

Electricity-generating Wind Trees will power Paris’ Place de la Concorde

Other
Monday, February 2, 2015
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Rendering of the wind tree, which is designed to integrate with an urban environment. (Courtesy New Wind)

Rendering of the wind tree, which is designed to integrate with an urban environment. (Courtesy New Wind)

The power grid of the future may consist entirely of trees—and we don’t mean biofuel. French R&D company New Wind recently pioneered the “wind tree,” a wind turbine that is both silent and soothing to behold.

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> Pittsburgh’s Heinz Architectural Center tackles architecture from “Sketch to Structure”

Architecture, East, On View, Review
Monday, February 2, 2015
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Presentation model of Lorcan O'Herlihy's Formosa1140, 2012. (Tom Little)

Presentation model of Lorcan O’Herlihy’s Formosa1140, 2012. (Tom Little)

Sketch to Structure
Heinz Architectural Center
Carnegie Museum of Art
Pittsburgh
Through May 20, 2015

The concept and visual for Sketch to Structure, an exhibition that has just opened at Pittsburg’s Heinz Architectural Center, is so cogent and well thought out it’s a wonder no other museum hasn’t already staged such a show. The exhibit is curated by Alyssum Skjeie of the Heinz Center and takes the architectural design process and divides it into four discrete sections—concept, collaboration, communication, case studies—each with drawings and renderings taken from the center’s own collection.

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Video> James Carpenter’s glassy Meatpacking office tower on the High Line gets newly rendered

860 Washington. (Courtesy James Carpenter Design Associates)

860 Washington. (Courtesy James Carpenter Design Associates)

Last week, AN took a walk along the High Line to check in on all the new development happening right alongside New York City’s popular park. One of the structures we saw steadily rising was 860 Washington Street, a 10-story glass office building by James Carpenter Design Associates.

Watch the video after the jump.

London expected to break ground on massive “cycle superhighway”

(Courtesy Greater London Authority)

(Courtesy Greater London Authority)

London is ready to one-up its bike-friendly European neighbors by building the longest, continuous protected cycleway on the continent. Mayor Boris Johnson has been emphatically endorsing the plan that would create two “superhighways” of bi-directional, curb protected bike lanes. The longer of the two paths would run 18 miles, past some of London’s most iconic sites.

Continue reading after the jump.

Reinventing the Face of Tragedy: Architects Plan a Revamp of the Dallas Holocaust Museum

Architecture, Southwest
Friday, January 30, 2015
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Front exterior. (Courtesy Dallas Holocaust Museum)

Front exterior. (Courtesy Dallas Holocaust Museum)

Commemorating history’s most infamous mass genocide, the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance in the West End of downtown Dallas is relocating to a new home directly across the street.

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Boston wants to build the most walkable Olympics ever if its selected to host the 2024 games

(Courtesy Boston 2024)

(Courtesy Boston 2024)

As you’ve probably heard by now, Boston blew past the likes of Los Angeles and San Francisco to be selected as the United States’ bid city for the 2024 Summer Olympics. With the announcement official, Boston 2024, the private nonprofit spearheading the bid, has publicly released the presentation it gave to the Olympic Committee back in December.

Continue reading after the jump.

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