The utilitarian Manhattan loft formerly owned by rap mogul Kanye West bespeaks deep pockets and a distaste for cluttering decor. The 1,585 square foot bachelor pad, which West sold in 2013 for $4.5 million, is an ultra-minimalist expanse of French limestone and pear wood—and not much else.
The United States Department of Energy has named the 10 teams that will compete in the 2015 Solar Decathlon. The biennial program was launched in 2002 and “challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive.” The teams are then judged on affordability, consumer ability, and overall design excellence. The Decathlon will be held October 8–18 in Irvine, California, but you can preview all of the teams’ work right now.
The first project in LADOT’s People Street program has opened in a former alley near corner of Magnolia and Lankershim Boulevards in North Hollywood. The project, called NoHo Plaza, has been repurposed with cafe tables, chairs, umbrellas, a colorful surface treatment (which looks almost exactly like the dotted green and gold surface of Silverlake’s Sunset Triangle Plaza), and perimeter planters.
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Virginia Tech students demonstrate a light touch with glass and steel pavilion.
The undergraduate architecture students enrolled in Virginia Tech‘s design/buildLAB begin each academic year with an ambitious goal: to bring a community service project from concept through completion by the end of the spring semester. In addition to the usual budget and time constraints, the 15 students taking part in the course during the 2013-2014 school year faced an additional challenge. Their project, a public pavilion for Clifton Forge Little League in the tiny hamlet of Sharon, Virginia, was entirely lacking in contextual cues. “It was interesting because our previous design-build projects have been downtown, with lots of context,” said Keith Zawistowski, who co-founded and co-directs design/buildLAB with his wife, Marie. “Instead, we had a pristine, grassy field with a view of the mountains. We joke that this is our first group of minimalists.” The students’ understated solution—three geometric volumes unified by the consistent use of a vertical sunscreen—turns the focus back to the pavilion‘s surroundings with a restrained material palette of concrete, glass, and steel.
Jerde Partnership’s The Vermont, consisting of glassy 23 and 29-story mixed-use towers on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles’ Koreatown, opened last summer. But one of its most memorable features, LA’s Heart of Compassion, a sculpture by Cliff Garten covering the bulk of its above-ground parking structure, is only now officially open.
Last year, AN‘s Midwest Editor Chris Bentley reported on the advances being made in wood construction and how we were on the verge of seeing tall timber towers sprout up around the world. The AEC community has been talking about building high-rise structures with wood for years, but there obviously hasn’t been a major revolution with the building type just yet—the tallest modern wood building doesn’t even top 100 feet. Well, that record is about to be shattered by a new tower in Vienna that could usher in a new era of high-rise development.
Trust is earned. To be ensconced in the files of a design firm, products must pass professional muster on many fronts: performance, aesthetics, and value, prime among them. From high-tech building materials to hand-crafted finishes, architects and designers share their favorite resources with AN.
February’s over and that means Spring is a little, tiny bit closer. But while there’s still snow on the ground here in New York, let’s take a look back at the top stories from last month as voted by you, our readers. We saw a mix of topics hit the top posts, including high-tech transport, jewelry design, Frank Gehry’s funky architecture, and a heartwarming film about growing up with architects. Take a look at the top links below.