QUICK CLICKS> Model Cities, Food Deserts, McMansion Decline, Green Infill

Daily Clicks
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
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(Image via www.azcentral.com)

 

Toy Cities. Our friends at Planetizen tell us that Avondale, AZ had urban planner James Rojas over for a playdate of sorts. Citizens who took part in this re-visioning session got to use pipecleaners, Legos, blocks, and other assorted toys to build their ideal version of the city. According to Rojas, this bottom-up community planning method breaks down barriers and allows people to exercise a degree of creativity not often found at the typical charrette.

Food Oases. Streetsblog questions the much hyped notion of the “food desert”:  is it media myth or reality?  It seems that urban areas aren’t always as lacking in food stores as they seem, at least depending on your definition of supermarket. Even the USDA, who recently debuted their new food desert locator, might be a bit confused about what constitutes a food desert. (In fact, the web application says that a part of Dedham, MA is a food desert. Maybe they don’t count the Star Market that’s right near that Census tract…)

Suburban Swan Song. Slate’s architecture columnist Witold Rybczynski has penned an obit of sorts to that symbol of suburban sprawl, the McMansion. He posits that when the recession is over people will be in the mood to buy homes again, but that they may be hesitant to purchase a behemoth of a building that costs a lot to heat and cool.

Green Alert. Inhabitat takes a look at the latest in the green roof trend in the form of sloping roofs on townhomes in the City of Brotherly Love. It seems that the historic Center City has a new (and almost LEED certified) infill development called Bancroft Green. The high-end homes here sport some nifty plant covered roofs as well as geothermal heating and herb gardens that capture storm runoff and spaces designed specifically for bicycle storage.

 

Quick Clicks> IKEA Life, Gensler′s Mil, Graceland II, and a Green Empire

Daily Clicks, East Coast
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
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(image by Christian Gideon)

Hem Sweet Hem. We love this quirky story from our friends at Curbed. The Swedish-based IKEA is well on itsway to worldwide domination of the budget-furniture market — and who doesn’t love wandering through the cavernous stores and imagining life in the mini habitats arranged throughout the store? Photographer Christian Gideon sure did. His latest project documents what life might look like if you lived in one.

Subsidy Switch. LA’s Mayor Villaraigosa promised not to spend any taxpayer money to a proposed football stadium in the city, but the project’s lead architect is another matter entirely. According to LA Weekly, the mayor is sending $1 million slated for the city’s poor to lead-architect Gensler as they prepare to move their offices from Santa Monica to downtown LA.

Elvis Goes Danish. Think living at IKEA was strange enough? Well, the Historic Sites Blog hopes to top that. Apparently there is now a replica of Graceland in Denmark. Yes, Denmark. If those photos weren’t enough, the BBC has a brief video of the Danish dupe.

Empire Example. According to gbNYC, the Empire State Building plans to be in the LEED when it comes to retrefotting historic buildings. Though owner Anthony Malkin, the man behind the green curtain, didn’t set out to achieve the green label for one of the city’s highest profile building, he’s apparently changed his tune.

Quick Clicks> Urban Ruins, Desert Canvas, Public Architecture, Suburban Solutions

Daily Clicks
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
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(Paul Grilli via Rustwire)

Urban Archaeology. Our friends at Rustwire show us that there can be a kind of mournful beauty in industrial decay, as seen in a photo essay of defunct Ohio steel mills by Paul Grilli. The amazing images are part of a series by the Youngstown-based photographer, who is working to document every steel mill in the area.

Hot Chile. Inhabitat tells us that, aside from the Fenix capsule used to rescue trapped miners in October 2010, Chile can now boast of another design innovation that will benefit mine workers. In an effort to shield them from the relentless heat and sun of the Atacama Desert region, AATA Architects has come up with a motel-like residence made of shipping containers. And that’s not even the coolest part – they plan to cover the entire complex with a huge canvas roof to protect the men from the harsh environment.

Who’s the Boss? Design Observer ponders who architects are really working for. The potential for tension between designers, financiers and sometimes communities is nothing new.  But adding a tyrannical dictator to the equation makes the question all the more compelling, especially when that dictatorial regime might misuse the involvement of a name-brand starchitect  to purchase a “commodity of cultural acumen.”

Suburban Poor. Poverty isn’t just an inner-city problem. Planetizen brings news that the suburban city of Mississauga, Ontario is trying to come up with ways to best reach those populations that it deems underserved. Borrowing an idea from nearby Toronto, they want to identify ‘priority neighborhoods’ that are in need of access to services.

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Celebrating Coney Island′s Most Curious

East, East Coast
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
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(Courtesy Vivienne Gucwa/Flickr)

(Courtesy Vivienne Gucwa/Flickr)

The Congress of Curious Peoples has touched down in Brooklyn. Part symposium, part festival, and part freak show, the event celebrates Coney Island’s rich history as a vacation and amusement destination. Starting on April 8th, the 10 days of freaky fun begins with Coney Island USA’s annual Sideshow Hall of Fame Inductions and ends on the 17th with Alumni Weekend, where you can catch legendary sideshow performers from the Coney Island Circus Sideshow as well as a scholarly conference on the past, present, and future of this unique and historic part of NYC.

Check out a gallery after the jump.

Quick Clicks> Boardwalk, High-Speed, Archives 2.0, the Street

Daily Clicks, East Coast
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
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Wood is good, say residents of Coney Island of their historic boardwalk (Courtesy Intiaz/Flickr).

Boardwalk Empire. The Brooklyn Paper reports that Coney Island will not be getting a concrete boardwalk, at least not if Community Board 13 has a say in the matter. The board members recently voted down a proposal from the Parks Department that would cement over parts of the historic Riegelmann Boardwalk while covering some of the famed seaside path with recycled plastic lumber.

Express Train. The Van Alen Institute wants to know what you think of the future of high-speed rail in the United States. Check out its call for design ideas here.

Digital Architectural History. The Chicago Tribune’s Blair Kamen brings news that the good folks at the Ryerson and Burnham Archives at the Art Institute of Chicago have digitized 5,000 images from Archpaper’s late 19th century predecessor, the Inland Architect and News Record, offering up photos and drawings from a pivotal period in US architectural history.

Sharing is Caring. New York’s Municipal Art Society kicked off its second annual “Streets Month” with a program about the city’s new and innovative place-making efforts, including a presentation by DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. Check out a recap and analysis from MAS over here.

 

Quick Clicks> Gondolas, Landmarks, Main Streets, Paris

Daily Clicks
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
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Rendering for a gondola to connect Olympic venues in London (courtesy Expedition Engineering).

Shifting Skyline. London’s famed skyline may be getting an addition, and it’s not a new building. The Architect’s Journal tells us that Mayor Boris Johnson recently approved a plan by architects Wilkinson Eyre and Expedition Engineering for a proposed cable car system designed to link two key 2012 Olympic venues, the O2 Stadium and the Excel Exhibition Hall.

NYC’s Youngest Landmark. The New York Times City Room blog reports that NYC has four new landmarks: the Engineer’s Club, the Neighborhood Playhouse, Greyston Gatehouse and the Japan Society, which having been completed in 1971, makes it the youngest of the city’s historic landmarked structures.

Red Hook North. Meanwhile NYT Magazine reports that Red Hook developer Greg O’Connell hopes to do for tiny Mt. Morris, NY what he did for a slice of once-decrepit Brooklyn waterfront. Will the former NYPD detective’s progressive form of gentrification and downtown revitalization work in an ailing upstate town?

Onion domes in Paris. Inhabitat shares the news that the Russians are coming to Paris, in the form of a new domed church and cultural center. Situated near the Eiffel Tower, this new structure is the result of bi-national collaboration from the architects at Arch-Group and Sade Sa.

 

Event> Tobias Wong at SFMOMA

West
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
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Tobias Wong

Gold-plated objects of daily life and a brooch made of Kevlar by Tobias Wong.

  • Tobias Wong
  • SFMOMA
  • 151 3rd St.
  • San Francisco
  • Through June 19

Tobias Wong, the so-called “bad boy” of design, has his first solo show at SFMOMA. The honor comes posthumously, as Wong died in 2010 at the age of 35. Henry Urbach, SFMOMA’s Helen Hilton Raiser Curator of Architecture and Design, developed the exhibit, which features over 30 works by the late artist/designer.

Wong’s designs, which he commonly referred to as “postinteresting” and “paraconceptual,” often played with the subversion of today’s consumer culture and the obsession with wealth and the toys that often accompany it, as well as post-9/11 American anxiety and its material manifestations.

Continue reading after the jump.

Quick Clicks> Shirtwaist, SoHo, School, Simpsons

Daily Clicks
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
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A mural by Ernest Fiene representing the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, at the High School of Fashion Industries NYC (Courtesy Triangle Fire Open Archive).

A mural by Ernest Fiene representing the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, at the High School of Fashion Industries NYC (Courtesy Triangle Fire Open Archive).

Triangle Fire Open Archive. This March marks the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, a 1911 catastrophe that killed 146 people, many of them poor immigrant women. That fire became a rallying cry for the labor movement in America and an impetus for the creation of the fire codes of today.  The Triangle Fire Open Archive commemorates the event in a very modern way, with user-generated contributions that allow the larger community to tell the story of the fire and critically reflect on its relevance today. (And today, March 16, the Brooklyn Historical Society give visitors a rare chance to view the archive in person from 3pm to 7pm.)

Slumming it in SoHo. Today’s SoHo may be home to glitzy galleries, high-end retail, and the east coast branch of the infamous Karadshian clan, but it wasn’t always so swanky. In fact, as Ephemeral New York tells us, it was sort of smelly, especially along a blighted stretch of West Broadway that was better known as “Rotten Row.”

History of Urban Design 101. Urban Omnibus dives into the history of urban design as an academic discipline and talks with Parsons prof Victoria Marshall about how schools are shaping urban designers of the future.

Chez Simpsons. Las Vegas is a study in architectural illusions, with its own versions of the NYC skyline, the Eiffel Tower and Venice’s Grand Canal. But nearby Henderson, NV has its own architecture fantasy bona fides: Curbed tells us that Henderson was once home to the house that the animated Simpsons family called home.

Prospect Park West Bike Lane Target of Lawsuit

East, East Coast
Thursday, March 10, 2011
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Dedicated bike lane along Brooklyn's Prospect Park West (Courtesy Steven Vance)

Dedicated bike lane along Brooklyn's Prospect Park West (Courtesy Steven Vance)

That thin ribbon of green paint along Brooklyn’s Prospect Park West sure is a touchy subject for residents of the Park Slope neighborhood, and beyond–they’re even talking about it in London. Many love the new separated bike lane installed in June 2010–the “pro-laners”–but a vocal group packing some political power would rather see the lane removed–the “anti-laners.”

Read More

Video> Chef Preps Sustainable Culinary Campus

International
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
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Rendering of the whimsical elBulliFoundation campus

Rendering of the whimsical elBulliFoundation campus

Our friends at The Feast bring us news that molecular gastronomy guru Ferran Adria plans to build a campus for his elBulliFoundation that’s reminiscent of a Dr. Seuss fantasy. Adria aims for this complex to be ultra sustainable, with a goal of zero emissions.

Wondering what you might expect to find inside these whimsical, Wonka-esque structures? So were we. We hear that the current plan calls for an archive and brainstorming space (yes, brainstorming). Even more exciting, there will be “coral-like ceramic caverns” for the foundation’s chef-scholars to work in.

With a kitchen this crazy, we can’t wait to see what culinary creations are sure to follow.

Watch a fantastic video of the culinary campus after the jump.

The Art of Abandonment

East
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
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(image via WebUrbanist)

Buffalo-based architect Dennis Maher has devised his own version of adaptive reuse – he’s remaking abandoned buildings into sculptures. Inspired by the shrinking Rust Belt city where he lives and works, his sculptures “honor the former lives of these raw materials” in a way that is striking and thought-provoking. The large works of art in Undone-Redone City are complex, and offer us a new way of seeing buildings, or at least their elements. In Maher’s creations, a door and some flooring and a window frame might all mesh together to form a new shape and a new function that the original builders probably never imagined.
Click through for a slideshow of Maher’s sculptures.

New Whitney Museum Takes Flight Along the High Line

East, In Construction
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
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Whitney Museum rendering (Courtesy Renzo Piano Building Workshop in collaboration with Cooper, Robertson & Partners)

Whitney Museum rendering (Courtesy Renzo Piano Building Workshop in collaboration with Cooper, Robertson & Partners)

The Whitney Museum, set on an outpost far from Manhattan’s posh Upper East Side and in the midst of the hip yet historic Meatpacking District, is forging ahead with its grand plans to make a bold architectural statement with a new building by Renzo Piano, which will sit adjacent to Gansevoort Market Historic District and the post-industrial High Line park.

Read More

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