A modern interpretation of a Christmas tree designed by French firm 1024 Architecture lighting Grand Place, the main public square in Brussels, Belgium has some locals seeing stars. Standing 82 feet tall, ABIES-Electronicus, as the modern tree installation is named, is billed as an eco-friendly equivalent of chopping down a living tree, but some politicians in the city say it represents a “war on Christmas” as the symbols of the holiday are abstracted away from tradition. The mayor dismissed the charges, noting this year’s holiday theme was about light, and noting that a nativity scene is set up nearby.
On Wednesday, Forest City Ratner made it official: the world’s tallest prefabricated building will be coming to Brooklyn with a groundbreaking date set for December 18. As AN outlined in our recent feature on Atlantic Yards, the SHoP Architects-designed B2 Tower will climb, modular unit by modular unit, 32 stories on a slender wedge-shaped parcel adjacent to the new Barclays Center on the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Dean Street.
Renderings released with the groundbreaking announcement also revealed design revisions to the B2 Tower since it was unveiled in November 2011, and Chris Sharples, principal at SHoP, told AN what’s new.
British rock band Pink Floyd famously opined, “We don’t need no education,” and maybe they were right. The band was founded by a group of architecture students—Nick Mason, Roger Waters, and Richard Wright—at the Regent Street Polytechnic, now the University of Westminster, which served as the band’s first rehearsal space and performance venue in the early 1960s. As the band gained popularity, the architecture students left school to focus on their music.
There are countless ways to get around cities these days—on foot, bike, or skateboard, by transit or car—but Estonian firm Salto Architects has imagined what could be the next dedicated lane to hit a street near you: the Fast Track trampoline sidewalk. The 170-foot-long trampoline was built earlier this year in Russia for the Archstoyanie Festival, sending leaping pedestrians through Nikola-Lenivets Park, about 120 miles southwest of Moscow.
Move over Woolworth Building. Another iconic Lower Manhattan skyscraper is slated for a residential conversion, this time by Deborah Berke Partners and architects of record Steven B. Jacobs Group. The 66-story art deco landmark at 70 Pine Street was built in 1932 as the Cities Service Company, and more recently served as the headquarters of American International Group (AIG), and now developer Rose Associates plans to transform the tower into 700 luxury apartments above a 300-room hotel.
Each year, the AIANY’s Emerging New York Architect (ENYA) committee and the Structural Engineers Association of New York bring a whimsical, wondrous, and often absurd pavilion to New York’s Governors Island as part of the FIGMENT Festival. This year, FIGMENT held a design competition and 200 designers submitted proposals. The newly announced City of Dreams Competition winner for 2013 is Brooklyn-based Studio Klimoski Chang Architects and their sustainably-minded Head in the Clouds pavilion, comprised of metal rods, and thousands of plastic milk jugs and water bottles.
Staten Island’s Old Orchard Shoals Lighthouse stood as a protective beacon in Sandy Hook Bat for 119 years, but has now been reduced to rubble atop its rocky outcropping after being slammed by Hurricane Sandy. Built in 1893, the cast-iron lighthouse once stood 51 feet tall and had been listed on the National Park Service’s Maritime Heritage Program, but had been declared obsolete by the General Service Administration and sold at auction in 2008 for $235,000. The US Coast Guard confirmed this week that the stout structure succumbed to the storm. Light House Friends has more history on the Old Orchard Shoals Lighthouse:
In the late 1800s when winter ice closed down Staten Island Sound, the waterway separating New Jersey from Staten Island, an estimated 15,000 tons of shipping were forced to use the narrow channel that ran along the eastern shore of Staten Island. In doing so, the vessels passed dangerously close to Old Orchard Shoal. A bell buoy and a lighted buoy initially marked this shallow area, but mariners considered these navigational aids grossly inadequate…After $60,000 was approved, construction of the lighthouse was completed in 1893. The new fifty-one-foot, cast-iron tower was cone-shaped, built in the “spark plug” style common among offshore lights in that region.
White Cube, Green Maze: New Art Landscapes
Carnegie Museum of Art
4400 Forbes Avenue
Through January 13, 2013
With the exhibition White Cube Green Maze at the Heinz Architectural Center in the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, curator Raymund Ryan moved beyond the predictable white enclosed gallery, creating a maze, which forces viewers to navigate museum space and interact with art in new ways. The exhibition presents a series of six innovative designs from around the world that blend landscape design, modern architecture, art, and environment. The sites are shown with photos, presentation models, sketches by various artists and historical designs and redesigns of the sites, offering an understanding of how collaborative the design processes were. Visitors can wander through the exhibition’s different pavilions that open to beautiful outdoor spaces. The sites in the exhibition include the Olympic Sculpture Park (USA), Stiftung Insel Hombroich (Germany), Benesse Art Site Naoshima (Japan), Instituto Inhotim (Brazil), Jardín Botánico de Culiacán (Mexico), and Grand Traiano Art Complex (Italy), all captured in architectural photographs by Iwan Baan.
Planning and transportation wonks from around the country gathered at NYU’s Kimmel Center this morning to mark the beginning of three-days of the NACTO Designing Cities conference, emphasizing new and innovative ideas for designing streets and public spaces. To jumpstart the event, the National Association of City Transportation Officials released the Urban Street Design Guide, collecting design principles, strategies, and case studies from across the country on how to best design and implement everything from cycletracks to bus rapid transit.
Today, thousands of tourists and New Yorkers make a loop on the Staten Island Ferry between the borough and Manhattan, but as soon as 2016, they will also be able to make a vertical loop on the world’s tallest Ferris wheel, anchoring a new mixed-use project on the North Shore waterfront in St. George. Mayor Bloomberg today unveiled plans for Harbor Commons, which includes 350,000 square feet of retail space for 100 outlet mall stores, a 200-room, 120,000 square foot hotel, and a massive green-roofed parking structure, but all eyes were on the project’s neighbor; the 625-foot-tall New York Wheel will offer stunning views of New York City and its Harbor to an estimated 4.5 million people per year.
Compared to its neighbors, the Fuhimiko Maki-designed Four World Trade offers a more somber, reflective aesthetic at the World Trade Center site. Reflective quite literally, as the tower’s curtain wall mullions nearly disappear at street level. Inside the 977-foot-tall building, Maki’s stunningly-precise detailing is made evident, along with the breathtaking views of the surrounding New York region.
After climbing to death-defying heights yesterday at One World Trade yesterday, AN stopped by Tower Four’s construction floor 51 (or what will eventually be renamed the 60th floor when the building opens). While the interior office spaces are still shells, the clarity of Maki’s trapezoidal form shows through. Project Architect Osamu Sassa said columns at the tower’s perimeter—four on each side—were pushed to the edge, providing 80-foot spans of uninterrupted floor-to-ceiling glass. Column-free corners, many forming acute angles that proved to be a challenge in designing the curtain wall, make the views even more brilliant. Take a look for yourself in the slideshow below.