After 200 Years, London’s Old Vic Theatre Considers a Facelift With Help From Kevin Spacey

International
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
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The Historic Old Vic Theatre in London is Set for Necessary Restoration. (Courtesy Jim Lonwood / Flickr)

London’s Historic Old Vic is Set for Necessary Restoration. (Courtesy Jim Lonwood / Flickr)

Venerable old institutions in England are looking for a fresh look these days. The nearly 200-year-old Old Vic Theatre in London is the latest to make plans for a much-needed facelift. The institutions artistic director, actor Kevin Spacey, is committed to bringing the structure into the 21st century through refurbishment of the current building and expansion into a newly acquired adjacent space.

Continue reading after the jump.

I. M. Pei’s Sunning Plaza in Hong Kong to be Demolished by End of 2013

International
Thursday, October 17, 2013
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Courtesy Trevor Patt / Flickr

Sunning Plaza and surrounding structures as viewed from its public courtyard. (Courtesy Trevor Patt / Flickr)

In architecturally crowded Hong Kong, plazas are a rare breath of open air. The luxurious Causeway Bay district, whose retail rental rates surpassed New York City’s Fifth Avenue in 2012, is home to one of these sparse open spaces, Sunning Plaza. I.M. Pei’s 27-story edifice faces a large public courtyard, a hardscape relief within the densely built area devoted to commercial shops and restaurants.

But, such a luxury is always in threat of expansion. Artinfo reported that developer Hysan will soon be converting the space into additional commercial stores and offices. Pei’s 1982 building is to be demolished by the end of this year and the plaza is going with it.

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Public Votes University of North Carolina Solar Home as Decathlon Choice

West
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
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Courtesy DOE Solar Decathlon

UrbanEden, the Solar Decathlon Entry by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Courtesy DOE Solar Decathlon

This past weekend, a jury of architects, engineers, and market experts scored Team Austria’s home entry as the winner of the United States Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, a student design competition aimed at educating and encouraging thought about the affordability and efficiency of solar homes. As AN reported, the Team Austria private residential design is environmentally sensitive and easily adaptable, chosen for its overall energy efficiency, attractiveness of design, cost, and comfortable living conditions.

However, of the 19 designs by collegiate teams from the United States, Canada, the Czech Republic, and Austria presented in Irvine, California, the public had a dissenting opinion about the Decathlon winner. The People’s Choice Award vote went to UrbanEden from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte; this concrete and glass-based modern structure was the majority’s favorite home entry. Continue Reading After the Jump

Jean Nouvel’s National Art Museum of China Design Inspired by Calligraphy

International, Newsletter
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
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Jean Nouvel's Design for new National Art Museum of China. (Courtesy Jean Nouvel)

Jean Nouvel’s Design for new National Art Museum of China. (Courtesy Atelier Jean Nouvel)

Over a star-studded semi-finalist list of Western architects, Pritztker-Prize winning French architect Jean Nouvel has been awarded the commission to design the world’s largest art museum: the new National Art Museum of China in Beijing. The 130,000 square meters NAMOC building is intended to exhibit works by 20th-century and traditional artists from worldwide. The Financial Times reported earlier this year that Jean Nouvel’s design idea as that of a single ink brushstroke, a concept of traditional Chinese art and calligraphy. With sweeping glass and a reflective facade, the museum’s exterior takes obvious inspiration from the art visitors will encounter within its walls.

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Student Winners Design for Sustainability and Strength in ACSA Steel Competition

Dean's List
Friday, October 11, 2013
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Stream_Line, the first place design in the Building to Bridge Program of ACSA's Steel Competition. (Courtesy ACSA)

Stream_Line, by three University of Philadelphia students, wins first place in the Building to Bridge Program of ACSA’s 2012-2013 Steel Competition. (Courtesy ACSA)

Proving the beauty and sustainable capability of steel construction, the winning projects of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) 2012-2013 Steel Design Student Competition have been announced. The competition, launched last spring, called for comprehensive and environmentally thoughtful steel designs in two categories. The first, Building to Bridge, sought a plan for a long-span pedestrian bridge whose location would be enriched by the connection it created. And the second, Open, allowed for full flexibility in student design ideas of steel construction.

The ACSA chose winners whose projects represented “creative and innovative use of structural steel in the design solution, successful response of the design to its surrounding context, and successful response to basic architectural concepts.”

View the winners after the jump.

Starchitects Go Miniature: 20 UK Architects Design Unique Dollhouses for Charity

International
Thursday, October 10, 2013
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Electra House by David Adjaye and Associates and Chris Ofili (Courtesy

Electra House by David Adjaye and Associates and Artist Chris Ofili Has a Continuous Ground Floor for Indoor/Outdoor Accessibility. (Courtesy A Doll’s House)

Children are the focus of twenty new designs by some of the United Kingdom’s top architects. A Dolls’ House, launched by UK property redevelopment firm Cathedral Group, invited architects like Zaha Hadid, David Adjaye, and Alford Hall Monaghan Morris to scale down their architectural feats to a miniature size, each creating a dollhouse of innovative design for auction at Bonhams next month.

View all the dollhouse designs after the jump.

OMA-Designed Shenzhen Stock Exchange Building Soars Into Hong Kong Sky

International
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
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OMA's Shenzhen Stock Exchange Building. (Philippe Ruault / Courtesy OMA)

OMA’s Shenzhen Stock Exchange Building. (Philippe Ruault / Courtesy OMA)

Next Tuesday, the nearly 850-foot-tall Shenzhen Stock Exchange Building will be inaugurated as the new head of capitalist trading in Hong Kong. OMA, Rem Koolhaas’ architectural firm, was commissioned to design and construct the soaring structure in 2006. After nearly $500 million in expenditures, according to reports by the Wall Street Journal blog, the square-form skyscraper with a surprising floating base, is complete.

Continue reading after the jump.

Zaha Hadid Tapped for Her First Wholly Designed Hotel: ME by Meliá Dubai

International, Newsletter
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
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Courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects

Courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects

In 2007, Zaha Hadid received commission from Omniyat Properties to design the 312-feet-tall Opus Office Building in Dubai. Now, she has been given opportunity to continue this structure’s development beyond solely its architectural exterior. Spain-based Meliá Hotels International announced Hadid as designer for their second hotel in the United Arab Emirates (their first is in Bar Dubai). The internationally renowned architect will be given full creative design of the interior and exterior of the ME by Meliá Dubai Hotel, to be located in her Opus Building. Set to open in 2016, the project will be Hadid’s first hotel designed in entirety. Continue Reading After the Jump

Culture at Risk: World Monuments Fund Watch List Includes Palisades, FLW’s Taliesin

International, Newsletter
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
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According to the List, Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin Is in Danger of Disrepair. (Courtesy Casey Eisenrich / Flickr)

According to the List, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin Is in Danger of Disrepair. (Courtesy Casey Eisenrich / Flickr)

The World Monuments Fund has announced its 2014 Watch List for cultural sites at risk by changes in economy, society, and politics within their respective countries and disrepair due to natural forces. For 2014, the Monument Watch List, compiled and released every two years since 1996, has cited 67 heritage risks in 41 countries and territories around the world. These sites range from Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1911-built Taliesin home in Wisconsin, submissive to elements of weathering, to the tree-lined Palisades cliffs in New York and New Jersey, jeopardized by corporate construction plans, to all of the cultural sites of Syria, risked by current war conflict.

View the gallery of highlights after the jump.

London’s Crystal Palace Reconstruction Effort Receives $800 Million in Funding

International
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
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(Courtesy The Crystal Palace / The ZhongRong Group)

(Courtesy The Crystal Palace / The ZhongRong Group)

Plans have been revealed for the reconstruction of London’s famed Crystal Palace and its surrounding 180-acre public park after London’s Mayor Boris Johnson, accepted an $800 million investment promise from Shanghai-based investors ZhongRong Group. Constructed in 1851 for the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park, a fire ravaged Joseph Paxton’s glass and cast iron structural innovation in 1936. Since then, the area has been mostly abandoned with even the sizable public green space around it largely unused except for temporary events. At the launch event last week, ZhongRong Group announced its funding plans and independent engineering firm, ARUP, revealed their renovation renderings and park design plans.

Continue reading after the jump.

Artists and City Government Collaborate for Urban Improvement in St. Paul

City Terrain, Midwest
Thursday, October 3, 2013
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(Courtesy Teresa Board / Flickr)

Skygate, by R. M. Fisher, in the public plaza in front of the Ecolab World Headquarters, was funded by Public Art St. Paul. (Courtesy Teresa Boardman / Flickr)

In St. Paul, Minnesota, public art is valued as more than just decoration. Susannah Schouweiler of Walker Magazine reported that the city has been proactive in the encouragement of artist-city government collaboration for nearly three decades, long before initiatives like ArtPlace became popular. City Artist in Residence positions exist on the government council, City Art Collaboratory puts artists in conversation with scientists to embed themselves in the “ecology” of the city, and art start-ups are encouraging business growth on “Central Corridor.” This cross-disciplinary relationship is only expanding in what Schouweiler calls St. Paul’s “quiet revolution in public art” and the city is reaping the benefits.

Continue Reading After the Jump

Restored Ruins of Astley Castle Win UK’s Most Prestigious 2013 RIBA Stirling Prize

International
Thursday, October 3, 2013
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Restored Ruins of Astley Castle Win 2013 Riba Stirling Prize (Courtesy Bruce Stokes / Flickr)

Restored Ruins of Astley Castle in Warwickshire, England Win 2013 RIBA Stirling Prize as Best Building of the Year (Courtesy Bruce Stokes / Flickr)

A few years ago, 12th-century-built Astley Castle was no more than a fire-ravaged, crumbling medieval structure in the English countryside.

Now, since its clever restoration by Witherford Watson Mann Architects in 2012, the Landmark Trust-sponsored residence in Warwickshire has been deemed “building of the year” as the winner of the most prestigious architectural prize in the United Kingdom, the Royal Institute of British Architects’ 2013 Stirling Prize. With its fortified ruins artfully incorporated into contemporary construction as a luxury vacation home, RIBA President Stephen Hodder praised the Astley Castle restoration as “an exceptional example of how modern architecture can revive an ancient monument.”

However, this year RIBA was unable to secure a sponsor to provide the £20,000 given to winners of the past, BD Online reported. This is the first year that the Stirling Prize comes with no cash value.

Continue Reading After the Jump.

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