Repurposing! West Philly

East
Friday, August 28, 2009
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Participants hangs out under the canopy. (All photos by Matt Cianfrani)

Participants hangs out under the canopy.

Friend of AN and Slought Foundation executive director Aaron Levy sends the following dispatch from his “Repurpose!” event from last weekend:

When the Into the Open exhibition moved in to the National Constitution Center and the Slought Foundation in Philadelphia in July after stints in New York and before that Venice, where it was last year’s Biennale entry (curated by myself, Andrew Sturm, and AN founding editor William Menking), we decided we wanted to do some community outreach in the spirit of the civic activism promoted by the architects and designers in the exhibition. And so, with the help of the National Constitution Center, the Slought Foundation, and the Community Design Collaborative, we presented “Repurpose!,” a one-day community workshop and design competition highlighting the creative possibilities of urban revitalization in the Mantua neighborhood in West Philadelphia. Read More

Welcome Home Winka

Eavesdroplet
Thursday, August 27, 2009
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Dubbeldam

Dubbeldam

We were surprised and delighted Monday upon reading in Page Six (okay, on Curbed, since we only read the Post when we’re feeling kinky) that one of our favorite designers, Winka Dubbeldam of Archi-Tectonics, will be designing a new club in Amsterdam (you know what that means!) for her fellow Dutchwoman Amy Sacco of Bugnalow 8 fame. Not only is this not the best time for clubbing, but now our dear Winka was cooler than ever, even that nifty condo of hers (aren’t they all?) down on Greenwich Street. We wrote Winka with a whole list of queries about renderings, locations, and lurid nightlife tails. Sadly, all we got back was this, presumably in reference to our dreams of a cool, crazy, possibly tropical design: “Not yet :-)” For now, then, we’re left with our bated breath to keep us warm on those cold MePa nights. Do save us a spot on the guest list, won’t you Winka?

Good Old New York

East, East Coast
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
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Making the streets—and buildings—safer for New Yorks seniors. (Courtesy Streetfilms)

Making the streets—and buildings—safer for New York's seniors. (Courtesy Streetfilms)

Yesterday, the city released a report, “Age Friendly New York,” [PDF] about creating a place that is more appealing to seniors. After all, New York can be hard enough as it is without a bum hip and fifth-floor walk-up. (Why else do so many of us flee for Florida in our autumn years?) The report contains the expected investments in senior centers and “social inclusion,” but roughly 40 percent of the 59 initiatives deal directly or indirectly with issues of equal concern to architects and planners, like more seats at those fancy Cemusa bus shelters, more affordable housing dedicated to seniors, and improved elevator and escalator access. “The initiatives we’re launching will go a long way towards helping older New Yorkers live more connected, vibrant, and meaningful lives,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a press release. The best part is, it might even mean a nicer city for the rest of us, not to mention some much need work for the city’s designers. See all 23 initiatives after the jump. Read More

Gehry Shines in Court

West
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
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The goods. (Courtesy Hello Designers)

The goods. (Courtesy Hello Designers)

He may have lost Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn and Grand Avenue in Downtown LA, but at least Frank Gehry won’t have to forfeit half the proceeds from his jewelry line designed for Tiffany & Co. Yesterday, a judge threw out a case from Culver City-based Circa charging it was owed a fee for a 2003 agreement it struck with the Santa Monica designer for half the profits from any jewelry deal, though it was apparently rescinded a year later, though the two sides differ on this point. Gehry later entered into a direct deal with Tiffany, excluding Circa and its proprietors, Fred and Anthony Nicholas, though people at the company claim to have introduced the architect to New York jeweler. “I couldn’t understand why he wanted so much money for doing nothing,” Gehry told NBC LA outside the courthouse following LA Superior Court judge Jane Johnson’s decision not to hear the case. Maybe this explains the tagline for Gehry’s Tiffany line: “Beauty Without Rules.”

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Whose Bad? Hoyt Schermerhorn

East
Monday, August 24, 2009
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Whos Bad? (Courtesy Gothamist)

Who's Bad? (Courtesy Gothamist)

If you’ve ever left the C or G trains at Hoyt Schermerhorn Station and gotten the urge to dance, we now think we know why. Turns out, that’s the very same station Martin Scorsese chose to shoot MIchael Jackson’s music video for his 1987 hit “Bad.” Well, to honor the deceased pop star (who has gotten a lot of play locally despite few real connections), local City Council rep Letitia James has proposed either installing a plaque or perhaps appending Jackson’s name to the station in some way, reports NYPolitics. But the Post says the MTA has told James “to ‘beat it.’” Undetered—she’s one of the people responsible for holding Atlantic Yards at bay—James is collecting petitions to see MJ through. And if that’s not enough Jackson action, Archinect has extended the deadline for its memorial competition through Wednesday.

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Oy, Danny, What a Mezuzah!

West
Friday, August 21, 2009
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Daniel Liebeskind has designed a mezuzah for the Contemporary Jewish Museum. It could be mistaken for a massing model. (All images courtesy CJM)

Daniel Liebeskind has designed a mezuzah for the Contemporary Jewish Museum. It could be mistaken for a massing model. (All images courtesy CJM)

Some of the greatest architects happen to be Jewish, such as Frank Gehry, Louis Kahn, and Robert A.M. Stern. Some are unabashedly so, and none more than Daniel Libeskind. The Polish-born accordion prodigy of two Holocaust survivors, Libeskind made his name designing for the Chosen People, beginning with his first and arguably best work, the Jewish Museum Berlin. Others have followed, such as the Felix Nussbaum Haus, the Danish Jewish Museum, the Wohl Center at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, and, most recently, the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. As if that weren’t enough, Liebeskind has now designed a mezuzah for that same museum. Read More

NYU Destroys Again

East
Thursday, August 20, 2009
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The damage down: At least two holes can be seen in the shell of the old theater. (Courtesy GVSHP)

The damage down: At least two holes can be seen in the "shell" of the old theater from this August 3rd picture. Click to enlarge. (Courtesy GVSHP)

Curbed directed us to a travesty in the Village today, albeit an unsurprising one. It appears NYU, in constructing a new building for the law school, damaged the shell of the Provincetown Playhouse, which it had promised to preserve. We say this is unsurprising because, as we recall and Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation again confirmed, this is precisely what preservationists feared would happen. Read More

Never Surrender Admirals Row

East
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
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The timber shed, the one building—out of 10—to be saved at Admirals Row under current plans. But not if the MAS has anything to say about it. (Courtesy Brownstoner

The timber shed, the one building—out of 10—to be saved at Admiral's Row under current plans. But not if the MAS has anything to say about it. (Courtesy Brownstoner)

Having lost its political fight to preserve most of Admiral’s Row in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the Municipal Art Society has hit upon a novel idea and is now focusing its energy on the developers who are vying to redevelop the old naval officers’ houses into a grocery store. The RFP was recently released for the project, and through that process, MAS is hoping to persuade prospective builders where the Army National Guard and the city were not. “We hope that our experience and information will be helpful to responders looking to create an exciting new development at Admiral’s Row that combines both new construction and the preservation of the incredibly-significant historic buildings,” Melissa Baldock, a preservation fellow at the MAS, recently wrote on the group’s blog. The effort seems like fighting a nuclear submarine with cannon balls, but who knows. In these cash-strapped times, a developer might look favorably upon some pro-bono design work and the imprimatur of one of the city’s leading civic groups.

The Future Is Video

West
Monday, August 10, 2009
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When CAD rose up in the ’80s and began replacing hand-drawing as the preferred means of rendering architecture-to-be, practitioners began decrying the death of the field. Obviously that was not the case, but in our increasingly digitized age/culture/lives, where sexy renderings predominate (to the cost of real architectural discourse, some might say, and probably rightly) on blogs and, uh, architectural websites and beyond, videos are becoming an increasingly important component of the process of placemaking. Or at least competitionwinning, as the above video by SPF:architects shows. Read More

ANY Gwathmey

East, East Coast
Monday, August 10, 2009
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Gwathmey enjoys his parents Hamptons home—of his own design—during brighter days. (Courtesy Dans Hamptons)

Gwathmey enjoys his parent's Hamptons home—of his own design—during brighter days. (Courtesy Dan's Hamptons)

Back before the bubble—be that real estate or dotcom—there was a rather significant architectural rag known as ANY Magazine, meaning exactly that, or, if you’re the nitpicking sort, Architecture New York. If you’re reading this blog post, or writing it for that matter, it probably predates your architectural conscience. That said, it was a very Important and Influential publication, one with such luminaries contributing as Stan Alan, Peggy Deamer, Tony Vidler, Greg Lynn, and the rest of the gang. Well, the mag has a modest but earnest web presence, along with its younger sibling publication, the equally venerable log. Among the people involved with the former was the recently deceased Charles Gwathmey. On the occasion of the architect’s passing, ANY has posted an interview the architect did for Issue 11, way back in 1995, with Cynthia Davidson. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did. It’s so nice it makes us wish we’d been around to read the thing first-hand.

Brad Pitt Thinks This Is A Game

Eavesdroplet
Monday, August 10, 2009
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The $70 million Pitt-Jolie estate in the south of France which doubles as a stress reliever for the hunky actor. (Courtesy sawf.org)

The $70 million Pitt-Jolie estate in the south of France, which doubles as a stress reliever for the hunky actor. (Courtesy sawf.org)

Or a puzzle. At least that’s what New York mag said the would-be-architect said to Parade mag this weekend. To be more precise:

Architecture is like play to me. As a boy, you play with Tinkertoys, Lincoln Logs, Legos, and you get interested in how things are made, like cars and drills and all that. Years later you come back around to what interested you as a boy. Now, if I have something that I’m dealing with that’s causing me a lot of stress, my mind goes to architecture. I walk around the yard and start thinking about what I need to do to the house structurally. It’s similar to puzzles in that way, like a crossword puzzle or anything else I can put my mind into. It’s a relief for me.

Read More

Alsop Retires (For Now)

International
Thursday, August 6, 2009
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Alsop (Courtesy Alsop Architects)

Alsop (Courtesy Alsop Architects)

Our compatriots across the Pond report today that Will Alsop, “British architecture’s most colourful personality,” is leaving his eponymous firm.

Following 30 years of running a private practice, the 61-year-old has told BD that he will shortly hand over day-to-day management of Battersea-based Alsop to others, in order to devote more time to painting and teaching.

The paper goes on to say that it’s an amicable departure, with Alsop staying on as a consultant to the Archial-overseen firm (for an American referent, think WSP or Aedes), though there are also hints of a falling out, and even the suggestion the fanciful designer could start up his own independent firm should he so desire. Read More

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