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.

Continue reading after the jump.

The Architecture Billings Index Is Crushing It

National
Thursday, August 21, 2014
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01-july2014-architecture-billings-index-aia-archpaper

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

You should probably be sitting down for this because there is some big news regarding the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) that is not for the faint of heart. With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s proceed. So everyone knows that the ABI has really been flexing its muscle this summer—it posted a 52.6 in May and then a 53.5 in June. Those are pretty solid scores given that anything above a 50 indicates an increase in billings, but then July happened—and it happened in a big way. Last month, the ABI posted a 55.8. That’s important news considering the index hasn’t been that high since 2007—since before the whole global financial meltdown.

Continue reading after the jump.

How the bankrupt $2.4 billion Revel Casino lost another $21,000

Architecture, East, Eavesdroplet
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
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THE REVEL CASINO. (COURTESY REVEL)

THE REVEL CASINO. (COURTESY REVEL)

News recently broke that the $2.4 billion Revel Casino in Atlantic city would be closing just two-and-a-half years after it opened. It’s been a rough week for the casino and a new report from the Press of Atlantic City manages to make things even worse. According to the publication, earlier this month, when armored cars were removing cash from the casino, a bag containing $21,000 in currency was left on top of one of the vehicles. When the car drove off, the bag (obviously) fell off, and nobody has seen it since. Crunching the numbers, that puts Revel back approximately $2,400,021,000—which equals a ton of money.

Al Jazeera launches “Rebel Architecture” documentary on architectural activism

Architecture, International, Media
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
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The "Guerilla Architect." (Courtesy Al Jazeera via Screengrab)

The “Guerilla Architect.” (Courtesy Al Jazeera via Screengrab)

Al Jazeera has launched Rebel Architecture, a six-part documentary that profiles lesser-known architects who are using their design skills “as a form of activism resistance to tackle the world’s urban, environmental and social crises.” These designers aren’t building glass towers for the global elite, but schools, cultural spaces, and homes for everyone else. And they’re often doing it in legal gray area. Read More

Moscow’s Shukhov Tower won’t be dismantled after all

THE SHUKHOV TOWER. (COURTESY RICHARD PARE)

THE SHUKHOV TOWER. (COURTESY RICHARD PARE)

One of Russia’s most distinctive pieces of architecture—the 1920s-era Shukhov Radio and Television tower in Moscow—has skirted what appeared to be its imminent death.

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Was The Revel Casino’s Design Its Fatal Flaw?

Development, East, News, Newsletter
Monday, August 18, 2014
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The Revel Casino. (Courtesy Revel)

The Revel Casino. (Courtesy Revel)

Two years ago, AN visited the newly-opened Revel Casino in Atlantic City. At the time, the glassy $2.4 billion complex, designed by Arquitectonica and BLT Architects, was expected to be a transformative property for the iconic boardwalk that offered gambling, convention space, and entertainment. “It’s more of an urban development plan than a typical casino plan,” Revel CEO Kevin DeSanctis told AN. “I am really hoping that we are successful.” In mid-August, we learned that they were not. In its short two-and-a-half year lifespan, the casino never turned a profit.

Continue reading after the jump.

New Queens Public Plaza Shows Public Space Doesn’t Take All That Much

Bliss Plaza. (Courtesy NYC DOT)

Bliss Plaza. (Courtesy NYC DOT)

A new public plaza in Sunnyside, Queens proves that creating inviting public space doesn’t require lots of money and a lengthy design process – especially in a crowded city like New York. That’s certainly the case with Bliss Plaza, a recently-opened plaza tucked underneath the tracks of the 7 train. Frankly, there’s not all that much to it – save for a new sidewalk, some planters, and a handful of bright bistro tables and chairs. But here’s what Bliss Plaza does have: People. And that’s the key.

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Arquitectonica to replace OMA at Miami Convention Center redevelopment

Architecture, East, News, Newsletter
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
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What could have been - OMA's plan for Miami Convention Center. (Courtesy OMA)

What could have been – OMA’s plan for Miami Convention Center. (Courtesy OMA)

Some of the most exciting renderings of the past few years came out of the epic face-off between teacher and student for Miami’s convention center. We’re of course referring to bids by Rem Koolhaas’ OMA and the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) to radically expand and  transform the facility. While it looked like a pretty evenly-matched fight, Rem ultimately won-out with a dramatic transformation of the site. But it was only a matter of time until project accountants and fiscally conservative politicians made it clear that Rem’s billion dollar plans were not going to be realized.

Continue reading after the jump.

Governor Cuomo Signs Bill Allowing NYC to Lower Speed Limit to 25MPH

Cuomo signing the legislation. (Courtesy New York Governor's Office)

Cuomo signing the legislation. (Courtesy New York Governor’s Office)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill that allows New York City to lower its default speed limit from 30 miles per hour to 25. The legislation, which is expected to go into effect within 90 days, is part of the city’s ongoing effort to reduce traffic fatalities. Specifically, reducing the city’s speed limit has been one of the central pieces of Mayor de Blasio‘s Vision Zero agenda. “This is another vital step toward making New York City streets safer for every family,” Mayor de Blasio said in a statement. “Our Vision Zero initiative’s mission is to save lives, and that is precisely what this legislation accomplishes.” 

 

 

 

 

Marks Barfield Architects building 530-foot-tall observation tower in Brighton, England

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 4.41.44 PM

i360 Brighton. (Courtesy Marks Barfield Architects)

The husband-and-wife team behind the London Eye observation wheel plans to one-up themselves with an observation tower in Brighton, UK that’s about 100 feet taller. For the seaside town, David Marks and Julia Barfield of Marks Barfield Architects have created Brighton i360, a 531-foot-tall, futuristic-structure that lifts visitors up high above the English Channel.

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