Look inside Alvar Aalto’s celebrated works with Google Street View

Alvar Aalto Museum. (Flickr / pntphoto)

Alvar Aalto Museum. (Flickr / pntphoto)

Google Street View has been snooping way beyond the curb. The see-all service has spread into museums, inside businesses, onto hiking trails, and even leads curated street art tours in cities around the world. Now, the service has expanded into architecture. The newest feature allows curious internet explorers to step inside some of Alvar Aalto’s most celebrated buildings without booking a flight or even looking away from the ever-present glow of their computer screen.

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Video> NIKE opens a motion-tracking, LED basketball court in China

The House of Mamba. (Courtesy NIKE)

The House of Mamba. (Courtesy NIKE)

Nike has covered a basketball court in Shanghai with LED sensors and the result looks like a live-action video game. The court is called the “House of Mamba”—not to be confused with the new “House of Vans” in London—and it’s topped with reactive sensors that track players’ every move.

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Video> How the Bayonne Bridge’s roadway will be lifted 64 feet

East, Transportation, Urbanism
Thursday, August 28, 2014
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The Bayonne Bridge. (Flickr / wallyg)

The Bayonne Bridge. (Flickr / wallyg)

The 82-year-old Bayonne Bridge is getting some work done. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has begun the $1.3 billion process to raise the bridge’s roadway by 64 feet. Why, exactly? Well, to keep up with the times of course.

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Look inside London’s subterranean funhouse, The House of Vans

Architecture, International
Thursday, August 28, 2014
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The skate park. (Courtesy House of Vans.)

The skate park. (Courtesy House of Vans.)

The house that Vans built is 30,000 square feet, cavernous, and deep underneath London. The iconic shoe and clothes retailer recently transformed the Old Vic Tunnels beneath Waterloo Station into “The House of Vans”—a multi-level, subterranean cultural venue complete with galleries, artist studios, a café, two bars, an 85-person music venue, a 160-person cinema, and, of course, a skate park.

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How concrete floors can save thousands of lives in Bangladesh

Architecture, International
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
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A concrete floor being installed as part of ARCHIVE’s pilot project in February. (Courtesy ARCHIVE Global)

Concrete floor being installed during ARCHIVE’s pilot project in February. (Courtesy ARCHIVE Global)

With so many starchitect-designed, headline-grabbing skyscrapers rising around the world, it’s easy to overlook the more modest projects in the shadows of those glass towers—the projects designed for those stuck on the other end of the economic spectrum. These homes, schools, community centers, and clinics—often designed by lesser-known architects—may not be as stunning as new high-rises, but they prove that design can do more than improve lives, it can save them too. And that is exactly what the non-profit ARCHIVE (Architecture for Health in Vulnerable Environments) hopes to prove with a new project in Savar, Bangladesh.

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International Union of Architects pledges to eliminate carbon emissions in the built environment

Aerial view of New York City. (Flickr / Katy Silberger)

Aerial view of New York City. (Flickr / Katy Silberger)

The International Union of Architects (UIA) has made a major commitment to do its part in the fight against climate change. At its recent World Congress in Durban, South Africa, the Union—which represents 1.3 million architects from 124 countries—universally pledged to eliminate carbon emissions from the built environment by 2050. The “2050 Imperative” was created by the non-profit Architecture 2030 and approved by the UIA on August 8th.

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Rockefeller Foundation opens its “100 Resilient Cities Challenge”

100 Resilient Cities Challenge is now open to applicants. (Courtesy 100 Resilient Cities Challenge)

100 Resilient Cities Challenge is now open to applicants. (Courtesy 100 Resilient Cities Challenge)

The Rockefeller Foundation is now accepting applications for its “100 Resilient Cities Challenge,” which will fund $100 million worth of resiliency projects in cities around the world.

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Bjarke Ingels gets rejected in Utah…again

Architecture, News, Newsletter, West
Monday, August 25, 2014
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BIG's second proposal. (Courtesy Bjarke Ingels Group)

BIG’s second, and rejected, proposal. (Courtesy Bjarke Ingels Group)

It’s strike two for Danish design in Utah. Bjarke Ingels’ second proposed expansion of the Kimball Art Center in Park City, Utah did not fare any better than his first. The Park City News is reporting that the local City Hall rejected the firm’s updated design because it failed to meet the “municipal government’s strict Old Town guidelines.” Or, to put it simply, it just didn’t fit in. That’s essentially what the Park City community said about BIG’s first design—a dramatic, twisting, log cabin-like structure.

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How the “Climate Penalty” will make air pollution in cities even worse

Smog over Los Angeles. (Flickr / Ben Amstutz)

Smog over Los Angeles. (Flickr / Ben Amstutz)

Scientists’ dire warnings about climate change have become as routine as they are shocking. As global temperatures shatter records and extreme weather events rip across the planet, climatologists have continued to issue study after study about how bad things are and how much worse they will get. For years, we’ve known that coastal cities are threatened by rising sea levels, but now there is even more bad news for those living in populated urban centers—whether they’re near the sea or not. It’s called the “climate penalty” and it could transform urban living.

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Thomas Gluck designs a glassy, modern retreat in the trees of Upstate, New York

Architecture, East, Interiors
Friday, August 22, 2014
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The Tower House. (Courtesy GLUCK+)

The Tower House. (CourtesyPaul Warchol)

Thomas Gluck, of GLUCK+, has built himself one heck of a vacation home in upstate New York. The glassy residence, known as the Tower House, is separated into two main volumes: a transparent, three-story vertical column that is defined by a bright, yellow stairwell, and a horizontal living space that cantilevers 30 feet above the ground. The firm described the project as “a stairway to the treetops.”

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Bjarke Ingels Lays The First Brick at LEGO House in Denmark

Ingels and the LEGO team at the recent groundbreaking. (Courtesy LEGO Group)

Ingels and the LEGO team at the recent groundbreaking. (Courtesy Edith Kirk Kristiansen)

The Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has begun assembling the pieces of its life-size LEGO House in Billund, Denmark. The wunderkind, himself, recently joined the LEGO Group’s brass (er, plastic?) for the ceremonial groundbreaking, which was really more of a brick-laying as six LEGO-shaped foundation stones were unveiled at the site. Imprinted on those stones were the words: “imagination, creativity, fun, learning, caring, and quality.”

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Refined Peter Gluck–designed tower to break ground in Philly early next year

205 Race Street. (Courtesy Gluck+)

205 Race Street. (Courtesy Gluck+)

Plans for a 17-story tower at 205 Race Street in Philadelphia are back on track, but what will rise at the vacant site appears to be significantly more restrained than what was first envisioned. In 2012, Peter Gluck, then of Peter Gluck and Partners, unveiled dramatic renderings for a tower that had a facade clad in panels that seemed to disappear as they rose up an increasingly glassy exterior skin. The building, which sits adjacent to the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, had ground-floor retail and was separated into two distinct volumes by a two-story cutout that opened up about fifty feet above the street. That plan was almost unanimously rejected by the Old City Civic Association.

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