Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid the Subject of Controversy for Middle East Projects

East, International
Thursday, March 6, 2014
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Protesters inside the Guggenheim. (Courtesy Gulf Ultra Luxury Faction)

Protesters inside the Guggenheim. (Courtesy Gulf Ultra Luxury Faction)

Nearly 50 activists recently took over the Guggenheim’s spiraling balconies to protest the museum’s planned branch in Abu Dhabi. The protesters, who are affiliated with Gulf Labor and Occupy Museums, dropped pamphlets, rolled out banners, and hung a manifesto to criticize Abu Dhabi’s poor record on workers’ rights.

Continue reading after the jump.

Letter to the Editor> Northern Liberties Ascendant

East, Letter to the Editor
Thursday, March 6, 2014
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The Piazza at Schmidt's by Erdy McHenry Architecture. (Courtesy Erdy McHenry Architecture)

The Piazza at Schmidt’s by Erdy McHenry Architecture. (Courtesy Erdy McHenry Architecture)

[ Editor's Note: The following is a reader-submitted response to a recent feature article, "City of Designerly Love." It appeared as a letter to the editor in a recent print edition, AN03_03.05.2014. Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com]

As president of Philadelphia’s Northern Liberties Neighbors Association, I was pleased to see William Menking review our city’s innovative architectural scene (“City of Designerly Love,” AN 14_12.04.2013).

Yet I was surprised to see my community dismissed as the “troubled surrounding neighborhood” of the Piazza, a large mixed-use development anchored by a central plaza.

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> The Contemporary Austin presents CATALIN through April 20

Art, On View, Southwest
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
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(Courtesy The Contemporary Austin)

(Courtesy The Contemporary Austin)

CATALIN
The Contemporary Austin
700 Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas
Through April 20th

Charles Long’s latest exhibition CATALIN—aptly named after a toxic plastic material fabricated in the 1930s—uses a multi-media approach to simulate a feeling of impending doom. In this Gesamtkunstwerk, Long combines sculpture, film, music, fragrance, theater, performance, and grand spectacle to create a mystical and magical Wagnerian world.

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On View> Doris Duke’s Shangri La: Architecture, Landscape, and Islamic Art at the University of Michigan Museum of Art

Art, Midwest, On View
Thursday, February 20, 2014
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(Courtesy University of Michigan Museum of Art)

(Courtesy University of Michigan Museum of Art)

Doris Duke’s Shangri La: Architecture, Landscape, and Islamic Art
University of Michigan Museum of Art
525 South State Street, Ann Arbor, MI
Through May 4

Following a 1935 honeymoon that brought her to Morocco, Syria, Iran, Pakistan, India, and Indonesia, enigmatic heiress Doris Duke began work on Shangri-La, her paean to Islamic art and architecture. The Hawaiian estate features rich 
tiling, carefully manicured grounds, and innumerable 
design flourishes all meant to evoke Duke’s own vision of the Islamic world. It also acted as the resting place for much of the heiress’s extensive art collection.

The University of Michigan Museum of Art has launched an exhibition featuring examples from this collection along with extensive documentation of the estate and Ms. Duke’s international travels. These photographs, films, art objects, and correspondences will be joined by work from eight contemporary artists of Islamic background.

Our Crisis: Engineer Considers Options for Houston’s Transportation Future

Eavesdroplet, Southwest, Transportation
Thursday, February 20, 2014
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Houston. (Paul Sableman / Flickr)

Houston. (Paul Sableman / Flickr)

It’s no secret that Houston is going through a growth spurt. The city currently has four central business districts that, if separated, would each be among the country’s top 15 employment centers. In the next 30 years, 3.5 million people are projected to move to the 8-county region, with two million of those concentrated in Harris County.

Continue reading after the jump.

Letter to the Editor> Reimagine the Astrodome Competition Sour Grapes

Letter to the Editor, Southwest
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
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(Courtesy HiWorks with Erica Goranson)

(Courtesy HiWorks with Erica Goranson)

[ Editor's Note: The following is a selection of reader-submitted comments from the online feature about AN's recent Reimagine the Astrodome competition. It appeared as a letter to the editor in a recent print edition, AN01_02.05.2014_SW. Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com]

Three of these are not serious, and the one with merit, the “sky dome” closely resembles a proposal I published over two years ago. Naturally we think that is a great concept, but the devil is in the details.

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Photo of the Day: Happy Presidents Day!

National
Monday, February 17, 2014
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The Washington Monument. (Courtesy Department of the Interior)

The Washington Monument. (Courtesy Department of the Interior)

By George, today is Presidents Day, the annual celebration of Presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and their successors. While Washington was born on February 22 and Lincoln on February 12, the holiday—dating back to the 1700s—is officially celebrated on on the third Monday in February. To mark the occasion, the U.S. Department of the Interior shared this rather untraditional view of the Washington Monument in the nation’s capital.

Alphabet Soup: Architecture Firm Acronyms Gone Wild

Eavesdroplet, Midwest
Monday, February 17, 2014
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(Beanbag Amerika / Flickr)

(Beanbag Amerika / Flickr)

What do architects, attorneys, and accountants have in common? Naming firms after themselves. Architecture firms are some of the worst offenders and Eavesdrop is constantly consulting Wiki to figure the names behind those initials. After decades of ego, leadership changes, and acquisitions, one would think that global design would be dominated by a firm called SOMHOKBKLMNOP.

So it should not come at any surprise that St. Louis–based HOK recently acquired the New York and Shanghai offices of hospitality firm BBG-BBGM. Eavesdrop refuses to do any research on the provenance of that cluster of initials, but, luckily, it appears the combined firm will just be HOK. BBG should add an impressive, high-end roster of clients—think St. Regis and Peninsula hotels—to HOK’s portfolio of marquee projects.

Letter to the Editor> Cornell Responds to Milstein Hall Rumors

East, Letter to the Editor, Newsletter
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
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Milstein Hall at Cornell University. (Philippe Ruault)

Milstein Hall at Cornell University. (Philippe Ruault)

[ Editor's Note: The following is a reader-submitted response to a recent Eavesdrop article, “OMA Gosh, What a Disaster!” It appeared as a letter to the editor in a recent print edition, AN02_02.12.2014. Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com. ]

The Architect’s Newspaper’s gossip column recently mentioned Cornell University’s Milstein Hall, quoting an online interview with Cornell Professor Jonathan Ochshorn. The column repeats a few shocking claims regarding our new addition, Milstein Hall.

Continue reading after the jump.

OMA Gosh, What a Disaster! Cornell Professor Pokes Koolhaas

East, Eavesdroplet
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
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Interior of Rem Koolhaas' Milstein Hall at Cornell. (Unexplained Bacon / Flickr)

Interior of Rem Koolhaas’ Milstein Hall at Cornell. (Unexplained Bacon / Flickr)

Cornell architecture professor Jonathan Oschorn has taken Rem Koolhaas’ Milstein Hall—an expansion of the university’s architecture school—to task in a critique, calling it “by virtually any conceivable objective criterion, a disaster.” While Oschorn admitted that the building possesses great aesthetic interest, his quibbles lie in the project’s functionality. He calls out no less than seven fire safety issues, including that the auditorium only has a single means of egress and that there are no fire walls separating it from the existing buildings that it connects—Sibley and Rand halls.

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> The Seattle Art Museum presents “Miró: The Experience of Seeing”

Art, On View, West
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
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(Courtesy Seattle Art Museum)

(Courtesy Seattle Art Museum)

Miró: The Experience of Seeing
Seattle Art Museum
1300 First Avenue, Seattle, WA
February 13 to May 25

The Seattle Art Museum will be offering a look—almost unprecedented in its breadth for this side of the Atlantic—at the later work of Spanish artist Joan Miró’s. The work on view has been culled entirely from Madrid’s Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía’s extensive Miró collection. Miró: The Experience of Seeing will feature more than fifty paintings, drawings, and sculptures created between 1963 and 1983. The work from this period is defined in part by increasingly simplified abstract compositions and sculpture that makes use of found objects.

Bronze on Your Hands: Diller Scofidio + Renfro Faces Folk Museum Backlash

The doomed Folk Art Museum. (Photo by Dan Nguyen / Flickr; Montage by AN)

The doomed Folk Art Museum. (Photo by Dan Nguyen / Flickr; Montage by AN)

Liz Diller faced down a hostile crowd at the recent “MoMA Expansion Conversation,” hosted by the Architectural League, the Municipal Art Society, and AIA New York. Apparently she’s had some practice.

One elder statesman of the New York architecture community reports that Diller made a series of phone calls to prominent architects prior to the public release of MoMA’s plans asking for their advice and support. This gray eminence apparently told her the firm should resign from the commission. At which point Ric Scofidio apparently chimed in, saying, succinctly, “Never!”

An editor from another publication reports rumors of dissent within Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Apparently some associates in the firm have asked not to work on the project, fearing a Scarlet Letter on their resumes.

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