Grow-Life: A Metabolist Science Fair, or, Cross-Contamination

Dean's List, East
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
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Jesse Reiser's "SUPERJURY" (Feng Shen)

Jesse Reiser's "SUPERJURY" (Feng Shen)

After an earthquake and tsunami devastated the Sendai region of Japan on March 11, 2011, a lengthy recovery and rebuilding is underway. This is the basis for Nanako Umemoto and Jesse Reiser’s “SUPERJURY,” a collaboration between Princeton University, Tokyo University, Osaka Sangyo University, California College of the Arts, Tsinghua University, and Nagoya Institute of Technology. It explores large-scale reconstruction solutions which mediate between occasionally conflicting political interests of infrastructure construction, economic redevelopment, and memorialization of the site. Serving as inspiration was the utopian planning of Japanese Metabolism that addressed the destruction of WWII Japan, a situation similar to the devastation of the Sendai region. All parties convened at Princeton’s School of Architecture on Tuesday, May 15 for a “science fair” of their research findings and proposals.

Continue reading after the jump.

GSA Seeks Patrons for Candles on the Water

National
Thursday, May 24, 2012
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Maine's Halfway Rock Light (Flickr/Random Factor)

Maine's Halfway Rock Light (Flickr/Random Factor)

As part of ongoing subtle austerity measures, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) announced Monday that as part of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000, they will transfer ownership of 12 lighthouses to willing non-federal-government organizations.  Eligible state or local governments, non-profit corporations, historic preservation groups, or community development organizations have 60 days to file a letter expressing interest in the properties. If no suitable taker is found, then a public auction will take place. The measure is part of President Obama’s initiative to save $1.5 billion in federal money by reducing overhead costs of maintaining federal real estate, and the GSA claims that they are on track to save $3.5 billion by the end of the year. Read More

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Who Builds Your Architecture?

Dean's List, East
Monday, May 21, 2012
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Moderator Reinhold Martin, Andrew Ross, Fred Levrat, Bill Van Esveld, Peggy Deamer (Courtesy Vera List Center)

Moderator Reinhold Martin, Andrew Ross, Fred Levrat, Bill Van Esveld, Peggy Deamer (Courtesy Vera List Center)

Who builds your architecture? “Not architects,” said Reinhold Martin. “By definition, architects do not build; they make drawings, write contracts, and do all these other things.” At New School’s Vera List Center on May 3, a roundtable facilitated debate and speculation on the rights of the lesser-discussed “workers” that make architecture happen.

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The Architectural League’s Folly

East
Thursday, May 17, 2012
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“Curtain,” a project by Jerome Haferd and K. Brandt Knapp

“Curtain,” a project by Jerome Haferd and K. Brandt Knapp

The word “folly” is derived from the French folie, or “foolishness.” Also known as an “eyecatcher,” a folly was traditionally an extravagant, non-functional building, which was meant to enhance the landscape. Rooted in Romantic ideals of the picturesque, a folly often acted as an ornate small-scale intervention which transformed and visually dramatized the landscape around it. The winners of this year’s Folly Competition sponsored by The Architectural League of New York and Socrates Sculpture Park, competition winners Jerome Haferd and K. Brandt Knapp proposed a new interpretation of the folly, “Curtain.”  Read More

Breaking Out & Breaking In: Designers, Critics, and FBI Agents

East
Thursday, May 17, 2012
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Yale SoA's Jimmy Stamp, Filmmaker Magazine's Scott Macauley, and Retired Special Agent Thomas McShane and Studio-X's Geoff Manaugh

Yale SoA's Jimmy Stamp, Filmmaker Magazine's Scott Macauley, and Retired Special Agent Thomas McShane and Studio-X's Geoff Manaugh. (Courtesy Studio-X)

Bringin’ it back to the old school, to the days of 3D online meet-up spots and avatars, when chat rooms were actual digitally-modelled rooms, “Breaking Out and Breaking In” was a “distributed film fest,” where users watched movies at home and came together in the comments section of BLDGBLOG to discuss the films. It was a blurring of the real and the digital. In partnership with Filmmaker magazine, the series focused on films which were either about bank heists (breaking in) or prison escapes (breaking out), positing them as “the use and misuse of space.” Films were watched during a period of four months, and the festival culminated with a panel discussion at Columbia’s GSAPP featuring two FBI agents alongside designers and critics.

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Students in Buffalo Reimagine the Structural Potential of Paper

Dean's List, East
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
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Troy Barnes, Stephen Olson, Scott Selin, and Adrian Solecki stand on the Paper Lever over the Buffalo River. (Courtesy Buffalo Rising)

Troy Barnes, Stephen Olson, Scott Selin, and Adrian Solecki stand on the Paper Lever over the Buffalo River. (Courtesy Buffalo Rising)

For most architecture students, a model malfunction won’t land you in the middle of a river, but one group of Buffalonian risk takers at the University of Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning, under the direction of Associate Professor Jean La Marche were up for the challenge. Students Troy Barnes, Stephen Olson, Scott Selin, and Adrian Solecki designed and installed half of a bridge—made of cardboard—cantilevered over the Buffalo River, and invited people to step out over the water. The frightening experiment worked, challenging conventional notions of material constraints.

Continue reading after the jump.

Unveiled> SOM’s Latest Supertall Building in China

(Courtesy SOM)

(Courtesy SOM)

A “supertall” building is one which tops out at over 1,250 feet. Right now, there are 18 completed supertall buildings and 21 under construction. Chicago-based architects Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill (SOM) will break ground on Tuesday on the 1,740-foot-tall CTF Tower in Tianjin, China. It will be the tenth supertall building to begin construction for SOM, the most of any firm in the world. The building is a carefully-crafted design which deliberately merges structural challenges with program and form.

Continue reading after the jump.

Inside the MOMA PS1 Performance Dome

Other
Thursday, May 10, 2012
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Walking into the large, egg-like structure of the MoMA Ps1 Performance Dome, the German electronic band Kraftwerk’s song “Man-Machine” was the perfect accompaniment to the architecture.  Their music represents the kind of progressive attitude towards materials (instruments) and aesthetics (sounds) that is captured perfectly in the temporary structure.  A shiny, white, geodesic dome reminiscent of fellow early techno-fetishist Buckminster Fuller, the space features a super-high-fidelity sound system, 8 screens projecting various computer art, and not much else. It is the ideal pairing of minimalism and technology with Kraftwerk’s slick electronic melodies. Read More

Surveying the Landscape Landscape.  (Courtesy Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates) Good news for landscape designers, and really for everyone.  According to the Business Quarterly survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), the landscape profession showed improvements in key metrics which indicate the industry’s economic state of affairs. Hiring, billable hours, and new business inquiries all increased in the first quarter of 2012, showing marked improvement over the last quarter of 2011.  FQ 2012 saw 71.3 percent of firms reporting stable or improved billable hours, and 76.2 percent reported stable or improved inquiries for new work.  It’s not just good news for our parks and for our campuses, but it’s also good news for the economy overall.

 

Unveiled> An Acoustic Renewal in Brooklyn by Bureau V

East
Monday, April 30, 2012
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Original Music Workshop Performance Space (Courtesy Bureau V)

Original Music Workshop Performance Space (Courtesy Bureau V)

Brooklyn-based architecture practice Bureau V unleashed a spectacular design for the Original Music Workshop, a new non-profit arts organization which will open in 2013 with a wide range of musical programming, from classical to jazz to experimental sound. Located in the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the performance center was designed in collaboration with engineering gurus Arup and features state of the art acoustical technologies.

Continue reading after the jump.

Archizines Live: A Little Symposium about Little Magazines

Other
Monday, April 23, 2012
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Panelists and pamphlets (photos courtesy Storefront)

Archizines, an exhibition of contemporary, small architectural magazines from around the world, is on view at Storefront for Art and Architecture through June 9.  The traveling show includes a range of small, ‘experiemental’ publications, from the always entertaining Evil People in Modernist Homes In Popular Films and Fresh Meat, to the more ephemeral New City Reader and Another Pamphlet, and even some hi-fi productions such as CLOG, Beyond, and Volume. In conjunction with the exhibition was a two day symposium April 20 and 21, addressing this unique sliver of the publishing industry and surveying its present and future relevance. Read More

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Is Brooklyn Becoming Farm Country?

East
Thursday, April 12, 2012
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Inside the rooftop greenhouses. (Courtesy Bright Farms)

Inside the rooftop greenhouses. (Courtesy Bright Farms)

A massive new urban farming project in Sunset Park, Brooklyn was announced last week by New York City-based Bright Farms, a company dedicated to building hydroponic farms close to supermarkets. The Sunset Park project will be the largest rooftop farm in the city, and possibly the world. At 100,000 square feet, it could potentially yield 1 million pounds of produce a year and joins several other agricultural projects in Brooklyn. Brooklyn Grange, another rooftop farming operation located in Queens, is planning to open a 45,000 square foot urban farm at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and farm-developers Gotham Greens will be opening a new location in the borough as well.

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