It’s okay, Zaha, building is a tricky game: Starchitecture that has struggled to keep it together

HADID’S LIBRARY AND LEARNING CENTRE AT THE VIENNA UNIVERSITY OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS. (FLICKR / POV_STEVE)

HADID’S LIBRARY AND LEARNING CENTRE AT THE VIENNA UNIVERSITY OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS. (FLICKR / POV_STEVE)

When a huge piece of a starchitect-designed building comes crashing to the ground, the architectural world tends to notice. We are of course talking about the recent reaction to the 176-pound piece of concrete that fell off Zaha Hadid’s Library and Learning Centre at Vienna University of Economics and Business. Making matters worse for Hadid, this is the second time the building has shed a piece of its skin. But Zaha is not alone; shed(-ding) happens.

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Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House re-opening in Los Angeles after immaculate restoration

Architecture, Preservation, West
Friday, January 23, 2015
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Hollyhock House, post-renovation (Joshua White)

Hollyhock House, post-renovation (Joshua White)

The lengthy renovation of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House—his first residence in Los Angeles—is finally over. On February 13 Mayor Eric Garcetti and other local luminaries will cut the ribbon on the landmark’s re-opening.

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Wrecking Keck & Keck? Chicago preservationists target North Shore landmark ordinance

Architecture, Midwest, News, Preservation
Thursday, January 22, 2015
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Keck & Keck's Blair House in Lake Bluff, Illinois. (Griffith, Grant and Lackie Realtors)

Keck & Keck’s Blair House in Lake Bluff, Illinois. (Griffith, Grant and Lackie Realtors)

One of the Chicago area’s last remaining homes by brothers and modernist architects George Frederick and William Keck faces likely demolition later this year, despite a long-running preservation campaign to save it.

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With some help from Gensler, ASLA to turn its headquarters into the Center for Landscape Architecture

The new facade. (Courtesy Gensler via ASLA)

The new facade. (Courtesy Gensler via ASLA)

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has tapped Gensler and landscape architecture firm Oehme van Sweden to turn its Washington, D.C. headquarters into the state-of-the-art Center for Landscape Architecture. ASLA bought its 12,000-square-foot home in 1997 for $2.4 million and watched as its value increased to $6.9 million. Since the building was about ready for some fixing up, the society decided it was a good time to go ahead and truly transform it at a cost of $4 million.

Continue reading after the jump.

Riverfront Revival by Shalom Baranes

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Shalom Baranes' renovation of a 1984 office building transformed a waterfront eyesore into a sleek condominium complex. (Thomas Arledge Photography)

Shalom Baranes’ renovation of a 1984 office building transformed a waterfront eyesore into a sleek condominium complex. (Thomas Arledge Photography)

Brick and metal transform a tired office block into a residential building worthy of its site.

Located on a slice of land adjacent to the Potomac River in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, the 1984 Sheet Metal Workers Union National Pension Fund building failed to live up to the site’s potential. “I’ve used this in a couple of lectures,” said Shalom Baranes Associates principal Patrick Burkhart. “I show ‘before’ photos and ask the audience, ‘What is this building?’ The answers include: ‘It looks like an urban jail.'” When the property came on the market, Maryland-based developer EYA seized the opportunity to transform the waterfront eyesore into a contemporary condominium complex. Clad in brick and metal paneling, with high performance glazing emphasizing views along the Potomac, the Oronoco balances a sleek urban aesthetic with sensitivity to Old Town’s historic fabric.

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Product> Above the Ordinary: Best Bath Fixtures and Fittings

National, Product, Spec Sheet
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
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Spec Sheet  
LEAD-duravit_02_Starck

(Courtesy Duravit)

Including an architect-designed element in the bath can elevate the look of the room without breaking the client’s budget. Whether a suite of fixtures or a single item, it’s an added-value investment.

Starck 1 Washbasin
Duravit

This modern washbasin features a unique faucet hole that is nearly impossible to machine fabricate. The faucet surround of the sink is hand-sanded to create an entirely flat surface on the top and sides of the hole, resulting in a unique appearance.

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Four towers by SHoP, Dattner, Handel, and Beyer Blinder Belle to break ground at Essex Crossing

Site 2 by Handel Architects includes rental housing, Essex Street Market, Regal Cinema, rooftop urban farm, and retail. (Courtesy Handel Architects)

Site 2 by Handel Architects includes rental housing, Essex Street Market, Regal Cinema, rooftop urban farm, and retail. (Courtesy Handel Architects)

Essex Crossing has been over four decades in the making, and now the plan to turn the six-acre swath of land in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, known as the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA), is gaining traction. The development team, Delancey Street Associations, along with the four participating architecture firms—Handel Architects, Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners, Dattner Architects, and SHoP Architects—just revealed the latest renderings for the project’s first phase.

Continue reading after the jump.

After 15 years, Architecture for Humanity abruptly closes

Mitazono Wakaba Kindergarten was part of Architecture for Humanity's Tohoku Earthquake Tsunami Rebuilding . (Courtesy Arch for Humanity)

Mitazono Wakaba Kindergarten was part of Architecture for Humanity’s Tohoku Earthquake Tsunami Rebuilding . (Courtesy Arch for Humanity)

Late in the day on Friday, December 16, Cameron Sinclair, the co-founder of Architecture for Humanity, sent a letter that stunned the world of public interest architecture. According to Sinclair, Architecture for Humanity is closing its doors. John King of the San Francisco Chronicle confirmed that the San Francisco–based staff had been laid off at the beginning of the month.

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An unlikely shipping container pop-up plaza is the brainchild of the San Francisco Giants and Gehl Studio

Architecture, City Terrain, Urbanism, West
Friday, January 16, 2015
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The Yard would consist of retail-centered shipping containers just outside the stadium. (Steelblue)

The Yard would consist of retail-centered shipping containers just outside the stadium. (Steelblue)

San Francisco’s baseball team, the Giants, and Gehl Studio are planning a pop-up shipping container village on a waterfront parking lot just across McCovey Cove from AT&T Park in Mission Bay. The Yard, as the project is being called, will consist of a beer garden, coffee shop, retail stores and a waterfront deck, all on land intended for a 1.7 million square foot mixed-use development called Mission Rock.

Continue reading after the jump.

Snøhetta continues San Francisco streak with downtown highrise, and the town is talking

(Courtesy Snøhetta/ SCB)

(Courtesy Snøhetta/ SCB)

The momentum continues in San Francisco for the Norwegian firm Snøhetta with a recently-unveiled tower at the corner of the city’s Market Street and Van Ness Avenue. And the project has been garnering some fairly untraditional responses from citizens.

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Goetz Brings Bucky Back

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Goetz Composites designed and fabricated a reproduction of R. Buckminster Fuller's Fly's Eye Dome in cooperation with the Buckminster Fuller Institute. (Lala Periera)

Goetz Composites designed and fabricated a reproduction of R. Buckminster Fuller’s Fly’s Eye Dome in cooperation with the Buckminster Fuller Institute. (Lala Periera)

Fly’s Eye Dome reproduction applies contemporary tools and materials to 1970s concept.

Thirty years after R. Buckminster Fuller‘s death, the visionary inventor and architect’s Fly’s Eye Dome has been reborn in Miami. Unveiled during Art Basel Miami Beach 2014, the replica dome, designed and fabricated by Goetz Composites in cooperation with the Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI), pays tribute to Fuller both aesthetically and technologically. Constructed using contemporary materials and digital design tools, the new 24-foot Fly’s Eye Dome (which serves as the pedestrian entrance to a parking garage in the Miami Design District) is yet further evidence that the creator of the geodesic dome was ahead of his time.

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Delicious by Design: Nendo builds a “molten-chocolate wave” lounge in Paris

Awards, Design, International
Thursday, January 15, 2015
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chocolate1-nendo

(Akhiro Yoshida / Courtesy Nendo)

Named M&O Designer of the Year, Nendo is contributing a Chocolatexture Lounge to the Maison et Object exposition in Paris later this month. Dubbed “a deliciously regressive space,” it houses a selection of chairs created by Oki Sato (aka Nendo) for such manufacturers as Moroso, Emeco, and Cappellini—all upholstered in cocoa brown textiles. They will be set among an array of 2,000 aluminum pipes, which, the designer said, will be painted and installed to evoke “a rippling, large molten-chocolate wave.”

But there is more to the lounge than confectionary allusions: There’s an actual chocolate creation that will be available.

Continue reading after the jump.

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