What the Puck?! Brooklyn & Barclays Add Another Team.  What the Puck?! Brooklyn & Barclays Add Another Team There was ice under the court all along! Or so visitors learned on the opening day of the SHoP/AECOM-designed Barclays Center. Reviews of the arena, with its distinctive weathered steel facade, have generally been positive. Now Ratner and company, and the borough they are trying to win over, can claim another major success. The New York Islanders hockey team will relocate to the Barclays Center in 2015. They currently play at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale in Nassau County.

 

Another Laurel for Peter Zumthor, the RIBA Gold Medal

International
Thursday, September 27, 2012
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Peter Zumthor. (Helene Binet / Courtesy Pritzker Prize)

Peter Zumthor. (Helene Binet / Courtesy Pritzker Prize)

Pritzker winner Peter Zumthor will be awarded the 2013 Royal Institute of British Architects Gold Medal, according to Building Design. Known for his meticulously-wrought projects like the thermal baths in Vals, Switzerland, the Brother Klaus Field Chapel in Eifel, Germany, the Bregenz Kunsthall in Austria, and the witch trial memorial in Norway, Zumthor is now designing a major expansion at LACMA. “We debate each of the six shortlisted candidates in turn then look at their writing and their influence in acadaemia, but there wasn’t one clear person who stood out,” RIBA president Angela Brady told BD.

More after the jump.

Golden Lions Awarded Amid Divisive Venice Biennale

International
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
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Torre David / Gran Horizonte, 2012, Urban-Think Tank (Alfredo Brillembourg, Hubert Klumpner), Justin McGuirk. (Francesco Galli/Courtesy la Biennale di Venezia)

Torre David / Gran Horizonte, 2012, Urban-Think Tank (Alfredo Brillembourg, Hubert Klumpner), Justin McGuirk. (Francesco Galli/Courtesy la Biennale di Venezia)

It’s been a hot and highly stimulating few days at the Venice Biennale. David Chipperfield’s theme, “Common Ground,” which sought to establish connections across architecture culture, has proven surprising divisive. Some loved the elegant progression of projects in the Arsenale, which included everything from expressionist displays by Zaha Hadid, to neo-postmodern confections by FAT, to a hand built house by Anupama Kundoo, all of which managed to mingle thanks to Chipperfield’s tasteful curation.

Some formalists griped that the show was regressive, while more socially engaged architects thought it too estheticizing. Still, every Biennale must crown its winners. This year’s Golden Lion for the international exhibition went to Torre David/Gran Horizante by Urban-Think Tank (Alfredo Brillembourg and Herbert Klumpner) and Justin McGuirk, an investigation, featuring photography by Iwan Baan, of an informal community built in an abandoned, unfinished skyscraper in Caracas. The team created an bar inside the Arsenale which featured food, music, drinks, and neon lights to showcase their work and transform the atmosphere of the overall exhibition.

Continue reading after the jump.

SPURA Redevelopment Sails Through City Planning.  SPURA Redevelopment Sails Through City Planning The planned 1.65 million square foot redevelopment of two blocks of the Lower East Side was approved by the Department of City Planning with no requests for changes, according to DNAinfo. The Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA) is a Moses-era slum clearance project that has stood vacant since the 1960s. The redevelopment would include 900 apartments, 500 of which would be designated as permanently affordable housing, as well as retail, community, and green spaces. The plan now needs approval from City Council to proceed.

 

Billings Index Still In The Red, But The Decline “Moderated”

National
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
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BILLINGS (BLUE) AND INQUIRIES (RED) FOR THE PAST 12 MONTHS. (THE ARCHITECT'S NEWSPAPER)

BILLINGS (BLUE) AND INQUIRIES (RED) FOR THE PAST 12 MONTHS. (THE ARCHITECT’S NEWSPAPER)

The AIA’s monthly Architecture Billings Index (ABI) for July came in with a disappointing 48.7 (any score below 50 indicates a decline in billings for design activity). The news was not all bad though. The ABI was up significantly from last month’s score of 45.9. “Even though architecture firm billings nationally were down again in July, the downturn moderated substantially,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker. “As long as overall economic conditions continue to show improvement, modest declines should shift over to growth in design activity over the coming months.”

Regional and Sector breakdowns after the jump.

Rail Picking Up Steam in the East and Midwest.  (Bruce Fingerhood/Flickr) According to the New York Times, Amtrak is gaining riders in the northeast corridor thanks in part to arduous airport security procedures and frequent airline delays. Amtrak also beats airline shuttles in on-time arrivals and proximity to major business centers. In Chicago, the Chicago Transit Authority is counting 16 months of ridership increases for both rail and bus lines. The rail system has seen 51 consecutive months of ridership growth, including a 6.2 percent jump over the last six months. Last year the CTA carried 523 million riders. [Photo: Bruce Fingerhood/Flickr]

 

City Makes High Line Phase Three Official, Signs on the Dotted Line.  City Makes High Line Phase Three Official, Signs on the Dotted Line Today the City and Friends of the High Line announced the acquisition of the third and final portion of the abandoned rail line from CSX, securing once and for all its future as a linear park. The section, which extends into what will become Hudson Yards, will add another half mile to the leafy line. CSX donated the line to the city. Final design work for the third phase is underway. Construction is set to begin later this year.

 

D.C. Bikeshare Encouraging Individual Bike Ownership.  D.C. Bikeshare Encouraging Individual Bike Ownership Counter to what one might expect, bike-sharing programs might actually help fuel bike sales, according to bike shop owners in Washington, D.C. Since it launched with 1500 bikes, Capital Bikeshare has encouraged people to try cycling, made roads safer and more bike friendly, and, ultimately, encouraged people to get their own set of wheels. The shortage of shared bikes and docking spaces–due to so much demand–is one thing encouraging individual ownership. “When I started riding Bikeshare, there was a phase when I’d see another person and we’d say hey, Bikeshare! This is awesome!” said on bikeshare member. “Now I see them and I feel like I need to pedal faster to get to the dock before them.”

 

And Then There Were Four at 425 Park.  And Then There Were Four at 425 Park The Times is reporting that four finalists are competing to build a new tower at 425 Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan: Norman Foster, Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid, and Richard Rogers. AN previously reported an international roster of 11 firms were in the running. The new tower could be the first of many in the area, if the Department of City Planning’s proposal to up-zone the area is approved.

 

De Portzamparc Tops Out in Manhattan.  De Portzamparc Tops Out in Manhattan Curbed New York snapped some pictures of New York’s tallest residential tower, One57, designed by Christian de Portzamparc, which topped out today. At 1004 feet,  One57 surpassed New York by Gehry, but it won’t be alone at the top for long. There’s a whole new crop of super tall residential towers planned around Manhattan.

 

Chicago’s Merchandise Mart to Get Tech Boost.  Chicago's Merchandise Mart to Get Tech Boost Known to architects for the dozens of design showrooms it houses and the annual NeoCon tradeshow it hosts, Chicago’s Merchandise Mart may also become a major center for the city’s tech industry. Crain’s is reporting that Google is planning to lease half a million square feet in the mammoth building, and will add a large roof deck offering city, river, and lake views. The deck will, no doubt, help compensate for the massive floorplates that will leave most employees far from natural light. Google will also bring 3000 jobs–from a Motorola division they acquired–from the suburbs to downtown.

 

Jay-Z Named a Director (and Designer) at Barclay’s Center.  (courtesy Barclay's Center) The exterior of the SHoP-designed Barclay’s Center is rapidly taking shape, and developer Forest City Ratner has been announcing the upcoming acts that will perform in the arena with equal speed (plans for affordable housing at the site, however, have been delayed almost indefinitely). The Post reports that rapper Jay-Z has been named a director for the highly controversial Center, and also noted that Mr. Beyoncé has also been involved in the design of the arena’s 11 luxury suites. Jay-Z is also part owner of the Nets, the arena’s resident sports tenant. Ratner, meanwhile, is working to secure a liquor license for the Center, which many neighbors oppose.

 

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