Shanghai Talks> Christopher Drew, director of sustainability for Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill

AN's Midwest Editor (right) interviews Christopher Drew of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architects in Shanghai. (Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat)

AN’s Midwest Editor (right) interviews Christopher Drew of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architects in Shanghai. (Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat)

Last September, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat invited me to serve as the special media correspondent for its Shanghai symposium, entitled Future Cities: Towards Sustainable Vertical Urbanism.

I conducted video interviews with dozens of architects, developers, building managers, and others on topics relevant to tall building design and sustainable urbanism. Among the many designers, engineers and other tall building types I interviewed was Christopher Drew, director of sustainability for Chicago’s Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture.

Watch the video interview after the jump.

Architecture takes a front seet on this new film centered on Borromini’s architecture

Saint Yves at La Sapienza, Rome, Italy. (Courtesy Kino Lorber)

Saint Yves at La Sapienza, Rome, Italy. (Courtesy Kino Lorber)

The word “sapienza” means “wisdom” in Italian. It also refers to the Church of Saint Yves at La Sapienza, 1642–1660, designed by Baroque architect Francesco Borromini. In Eugene Green’s film, La Sapienza, Borromini is a hero of the protagonist, architect Alexandre Schmid (played by Fabrizio Rongione). Borromini incorporated the remains of a 14th century church, rather than razing it, a touchstone for Schmid. Geometry reigns throughout: the building is capped by a corkscrew lantern, and triangles and semi-circles are combined with figurative elements.

Continue reading after the jump.

Eavesdrop> Ferry Fiasco: Ice shuts down ferry service on New York City’s East River

A ferry struggles with ice on the East River. (Several seconds / Flickr)

A ferry struggles with ice on the East River. (Several seconds / Flickr)


As AN reported, it will be quite difficult for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to pull off his plan to launch a five-borough ferry system. There are, of course, the obvious issues surrounding subsidies, ridership, operators, and dock placement that could all cause major headaches down the road. While the mayor starts charting his path through these details, another potential problem came to the fore: winter weather.

Continue reading after the jump.

Washing your hands will never be the same with this award-winning faucet’s swirling lattice of water

(Courtesy Simin Qiu)

(Courtesy Simin Qiu)

If you’re trying to up your faucet game and new fixtures just aren’t doing the trick—we’ve got the perfect piece to impress your dinner guests when they visit the powder room. Simin Qiu, a student at the London Royal College of Art, has designed a faucet that releases water in an elegant latticework pattern. Finally, water from the tap won’t just lazily fall into your sink basin, resigned to its dreary passage into the sewers; it will do it with pizzaz!

Continue reading after the jump.

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.

This 400-foot-high hammock in the Moab Desert is a mid-air playground for climbers in Utah

City Terrain, National
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
(Courtesy Slackline Media)

(Courtesy Slackline Media)

A hammock suspended 400 feet above ground in Utah’s Moab Desert has become an aerial playground for the professional base jumpers and highliners who flock to the canyons every year.

Continue reading after the jump.

Animated film shows how growing up with modernist architect parents comes with its own challenges

Architecture, Art, International
Friday, February 27, 2015

Still from Me and My Moulton.

A short film called Me and My Moulton by director Torill Kove takes a humorous look at growing up with parents who are “modernist architects”—and it’s been nominated for an Academy Award under “Best Animated Short Film.” Told from the perspective of of a seven-year-old middle child, the challenges of growing up with architect parents include three-legged dinner table chairs and a house that your friends think is a bit odd.

Watch the trailer after the jump.

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Watch the last person in Los Angeles skateboard through abandoned highways and streets

City Terrain, Transportation, Urbanism, West
Thursday, February 26, 2015


While Los Angeles is trying to shake its image as a city of cars, it sure has a lot of roads and highways. And unless you’re behind the wheel, you probably won’t be able to play in the middle of them (unless you’re headed to CicLAvia). Then comes along filmmaker Russell Houghten, who captured an eerily abandoned LA in his short film, Urban Isolation.

Watch the video after the jump.

Filed Under: , ,

Watch Renzo Piano talk about reinventing the shopping mall in a San Francisco suburb

Architecture, West
Monday, February 23, 2015
Inside RPBW's Bishop's Ranch project. (RPBW)

Inside RPBW’s Bishop’s Ranch project. (RPBW)

Last summer, AN reported on Renzo Piano’s City Center at Bishop Ranch, the architect’s re-invention of the typical shopping center, mixing walkability, culture (including an integrated performance stage), community (including a public “piazza” space”) and commerce. In a new short film about the project, Piano spoke about keeping people outside, creating open and transparent storefronts, making a building that will “practically fly above the ground.”

Watch the video after the jump.

AN Video> Tour Philly’s future Reading Viaduct with the designers behind the visionary linear park

The Architect’s Newspaper is introducing a new video series focusing on the places, people, and processes behind news-making projects. We begin with a tour of Philadelphia’s Reading Viaduct, an abandoned rail line that advocates hope to transform into an elevated park, a grittier take on Manhattan’s celebrated High Line. With the city and state pledging millions toward the project, the Viaduct park is moving closer to reality. Come along with us for a first look.

Satellite captures the world’s largest street art GIF from 430 miles above Earth

Art, International
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Satellite view of the world's largest GIF. (Courtesy INSA)

Satellite view of the world’s largest GIF. (Courtesy INSA)


INSA, as the undercover street artist is cryptically known, is the net generation’s equivalent of the legendary graffiti artist Banksy. While INSA’s doodles also dapple the walls of buildings in London as well as around the world, the artist creates GIFs—or “GIF-ITIs” as he calls them—based on photographs of his own graffiti paintings.

Read More

Video> Watch Bjarke Ingels’ Manhattan “Dry Line” form before your eyes

The berm. (Courtesy BIG)

The berm. (Courtesy BIG)

The Bjarke Ingels Group’s plan to wrap Lower Manhattan in a landscape berm to keep floodwaters at bay was definitely one of the most architecturally interesting proposals to come from Rebuild By Design, the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s competition to boost resiliency in a post-Sandy world. Last June, the plan—known as “The BIG U” or “The Dry Line”—also became the competitions’s biggest winner.

Watch the video after the jump.

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