SHFT+ALT+DLT: December 23

Shft+Alt+Del
Friday, December 23, 2011
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SHFT+ALT+DLT

SHFT+ALT+DLT

Portuguese architect, curator, and writer Pedro Gadanho will join the Museum of Modern Art’s Department of Architecture and Design as a curator of contemporary architecture effective January 11. In addition to organizing exhibitions, Gadanho will supervise the annual Young Architect’s Program, which has recently expanded from New York to Rome and Chile. Read more details in AN‘s breaking news story.

In other museum news, James Cuno, the President and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust, has taken on yet another Getty role: acting director of the Getty Museum. In addition to supervising all of the Getty’s various holdings, Cuno, the former director of the Art Institute of Chicago, will now be back in familiar territory, overseeing the museum following the resignation of acting director David Bomford.

Other West Coast shifts: Behnisch Architekten closes their Venice, CA office, while Oakland, California-based VDK Architects, which specializes in the Science & Technology market sector, has merged with the architecture and engineering practice Harley Ellis Devereaux.

More mergers back East:Electric Lighting Agencies and O’Blaney Rinker Associates are joining forces and combining their lighting and control system specification businesses in New York City.

Dwell magazine regrouped this fall following the departure of editor-in-chief Sam Grawe and also established a New York editorial outpost; executive editor Amanda Dameron was promoted to editor-in-chief and Alejandro Chavetta was bumped up from art director to creative director. Kelsey Keith departed Curbed NY to join Dwell as a New York-based senior editor.

Upward March: Billings Index Regains Positive Territory

National
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
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Billings (blue) and inquiries (red) for the past 12 months. (The Architect's Newspaper)

Billings (blue) and inquiries (red) for the past 12 months. (The Architect's Newspaper)

The Architecture Billings Index is up, hitting 52.0 in November, the first positive ground since touching 51 in August (anything over 50 indicates an increase in billings). The roller-coaster volatility of the past few months—we held our breath and skipped reporting September’s down and October’s up—suggests cautious optimism that the index which tracks the approximate nine-month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending is finally in a solid swing upwards.

Continue reading after the jump.

MAXXI & PS 1 announce shortlist for 2012 Young Architects Program in Rome.  WHATAMI by stARTT. (Cecilia Fiorenza / Courtesy MAXXI)The Italian website Tafter reports that the finalists are 6mu6 (Turin, Italy), Rural Boxx (Sacile, Italy), Urban Movement (New York, USA / Rome, Italy), and Yellow Office Yellow Office (Milan, Italy),  and a team composed of John A. Salvator Liotta, Matteo Belfiore with Taichi Kuma and Yuta Ito (Naples, Italy / Tokyo, Japan). The winner will be announced early in 2012, with the installation opening at the MAXXI in June simultaneously with New York’s YAP installation at MoMA PS 1. In bocca al lupo!

 

Stanford Withdraws Roosevelt Island Bid

East
Friday, December 16, 2011
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Ennead's proposal for Stanford.

Ennead's proposal for Stanford.

In a surprise move Stanford University announced today that they are withdrawing their bid to build a tech campus on Roosevelt Island. In a statement, the university said that several weeks’ worth of negotiations prompted the Board of Trustees to determine that the East Coast expansion was not in their best interest. “We are sorry that together we could not find a way to realize our mutual goals,” wrote Stanford president John Hennessy.

The $200 million proposal with a master plan by Ennead was largely considered a front runner until this afternoon. The campus developed in a partnership with City College was to build more than 1.9 million square feet on the site now occupied by the Goldwater Hospital that would have brought housing for 200 profs and 2,000 students. While president Hennessy promised an accelerated launch—and a pledge of $1.5 bllion from a ten-year capital campaign—back in October, the plan seems to have fizzeled under pressure from students.

“I applaud the mayor’s bold vision for this transformative project and wish the city well in turning that vision into a reality,” said Hennessy. “Stanford was very excited to participate in the competition, and we were honored to be selected as a finalist. We were looking forward to an innovative partnership with the city of New York.” The San Jose Mercury News noted that “Hennessy had cautioned that unless Stanford could get guarantees that it could build what it needs to build, plans will be abandoned.”

In a flurry of statements that followed, both the city and City College looked for the silver lining. City College noted that the two institutions established a “strong on-going relationship during this process.” And Julie Wood from the mayor’s office essentially added that the show must go on. “We are in serious negotiations with several of the other applicants, each of whom has a game-changing project queued up. We look forward to announcing a winner soon.” That leaves the Cornell proposal with a team led by SOM as the only other contender for the Roosevelt Island site.

 

On View> Mobilier National at Demisch Danant

East
Thursday, December 15, 2011
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President's Desk by Henri Lesêtre, 1968. (Courtesy Demisch Danant)

President's Desk by Henri Lesêtre, 1968. (Courtesy Demisch Danant)

MOBILIER NATIONAL
Demisch Danant
542 West 22nd St.
Through February 11, 2012

Dating back to the 17th century, Mobilier National is the institution specifically dedicated to decorating the French Republic’s official palaces and residences, at home and abroad. For the first time in America, Demisch Danant presents more than 20 rare commissions realized in the 1960s by the Atelier de Recherche et Création (ARC), a program launched by Mobilier National to promote a distinctly French contemporary style in decorative arts and design. With research and design development subsidized, these pieces were meant to be commercially produced in limited quantities. Many of the ARC creations have become icons of modernity, including Pierre Paulin’s famous designs for President Georges Pompidou’s private apartments at the Palais de l’Elysée and the President’s Desk (1968) by Henri Lesêtre (above).

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Gehry Goes to the Grammys With New Poster Design

West
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
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Frank Gehry's poster design for the Grammy Awards. (Courtesy Grammys)

Frank Gehry's poster design for the Grammy Awards. (Courtesy Grammys)

Adding to his pop culture resume (appearing on the Simpsons, designing a hat for Lady Gaga, starring in a documentary) Frank Gehry has designed the official poster for the 54th Grammy Awards, which takes place in February. It appears that Gehry simply placed the Grammy trophy in front of a collection of models at his office, leaving the question, can you spot any specific projects? If so leave a comment. We’d like to see Gehry’s interpretation of the iconic gramophone made of his signature curving titanium forms. Neil Portnow, president of the Recording Academy, said in a statement, “Frank’s exemplary creative accomplishments through a variety of artistic platforms have been inspirational. We are honored to work with such a well-respected talent who has served as an influential figure within the arts on a global scale.”

Coincidentally, Gehry will be designing sets for the LA Philharmonic’s production of Don Giovanni at Disney Hall this May. The Philharmonic is nominated for a Grammy this year for its performance of Brahms Symphony Number Four.

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MVRDV Responds to Cloud Tower Imagery

International
Monday, December 12, 2011
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An early concept rendering of the Cloud tower and a rendering of the final design released last week. (Courtesy MVRDV)

An early concept rendering of the Cloud tower and a rendering of the final design released last week. (Courtesy MVRDV)

It must have been a rough day at MVRDV’s Rotterdam offices after their newly unveiled Cloud tower set to be built in Seoul, South Korea went viral in a bad way. MVRDV envisioned two towers shrouded in pixelated mist, but others saw the image of a plane hitting the World Trade Center in New York, half a world away. MVRDV released the following statement on their Facebook page along with an early conceptual drawing showing the inspiration for the tower, in a much more literal cloud:

A real media storm has started and we receive threatening emails and calls of angry people calling us Al Qaeda lovers or worse.

MVRDV regrets deeply any connotations The Cloud projects evokes regarding 9/11, it was not our intention.

The Cloud was designed based on parameters such as sunlight, outside spaces, living quality for inhabitants and the city. It is one of many projects in which MVRDV experiments with a raised city level to reinvent the often solitary typology of the skyscraper. It was not our intention to create an image resembling the attacks nor did we see the resemblance during the design process. We sincerely apologize to anyone whose feelings we have hurt, the design was not meant to provoke this.

Check out all of the renderings over here. What do you think? Is this too reminiscent of the Twin Towers? Do you see a cloud or an explosion frozen in time?

Ice Cube Pays a Visit to the Eames House

West
Thursday, December 8, 2011
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Ice Cube reflects on the Eames for Pacific Standard Time.

Ice Cube reflects on the Eames in a video for Pacific Standard Time.

Earlier this fall the rapper Ice Cube pleasantly surprised us by turning up in posters promoting the Getty’s exhibition series Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980, a sweeping SoCal round-up that also covers the work of architects and designers.  It turns out that before founding the group N.W.A., Ice Cube studied architectural drafting, and in the process he became a fan of Ray and Charles Eames.

In a video just released by the Getty, Ice Cube communes with the designer couple’s famous Case Study #8 house in Pacific Palisades, walking around the exterior to admire the “off-the-shelf factory windows, prefabricated walls” and then kicking back in a 670 lounge chair inside to hold forth on the Eames’ approach of mixing the new with the old, comparing it to sampling in music: ” They was doing mash-ups before mash-ups even existed.”  But the most instructive part of the video may be Ice Cube’s decoding of the traffic specific to L.A. freeways…watch for it here:

For more on Ice Cube’s take on design, read his interview with the New York Times.

On View> Jürgen Mayer H. at the Art Institute of Chicago

Midwest
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
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Court of Justice in Hasselt, Belgium. (Courtesy AIC)

Court of Justice in Hasselt, Belgium. (Courtesy AIC)

Jürgen Mayer H.: Wirrwarr
The Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago
Through January 22, 2012

While the Berlin-based architect Jürgen Mayer H. is known for his highly sculptural, honeycomb-like buildings, such as the Metropol Parasol in Seville or the the Court of Justice in Hasselt, Belgium (above), one of his quirky obsessions is not as widely known: a fascination with secret codes and numbers encrypted into patterns. Used by institutions such as banks to ensure that sensitive information such as PINs and passwords are only visible to the recipient, these intricately patterned data sheets are largely unexamined. To Jürgen Mayer H., however, this visual expression of our fear of exposure and desire for protection is fascinating and relevant to architecture.

Continue reading after the jump.

Dreaming of Development at Brooklyn Bridge Park

East, Newsletter
Monday, November 28, 2011
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Proposal by FXFOWLE / Dermot.

Proposal by FXFOWLE / Dermot.

Last week, as New York was blindly transfixed on its impending Thanksgiving feast, the Brooklyn Bridge Park (BBP) released renderings of a proposed mixed-use development that has been floated to help fund the waterfront park. Seven proposals stacked, folded, and otherwise covered in plants a program calling for several hundred hotel rooms and residences on two park-side sites on Furman Street. The developer/architect breakdown was full of the regular big names and heavy hitters: Brooklyn’s Two Trees selected WASA/Studio AToll Brothers worked with Rogers Marvel; SDS worked with Leeser; Extell went with Beyer Blinder Belle; Dermot with FX Fowle; RAL with CDA; and Starwood teamed with Alloy Development, Bernheimer Architects, and n Architects.

Check out all the proposals after the jump.

Quick Clicks> Edible High Line, Urban Glaciers, Remembering Lutyens, Accidental Batteries

Daily Clicks
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
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DIY Edible High Line (Courtesy Inhabitat)

DIY Edible High Line (Via Inhabitat)

High Bento. For this year’s Thanksgiving dinner, Inhabitat thought up quite a creative centerpiece: an edible miniature High Line? It’s ingredients include, among others, good old mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. For an additional garnish, simply add enoki mushroom people.

Valuing Education. The Center for an Urban Future is conducting a study on the economic and entrepreneurial importance of New York City’s design and architecture schools. They have set up a survey for practicing NYC architects to share their interactions with these schools, but hurry, the survey only runs through the end of the week. Take the survey here.

Ice Conditioned. Ulan Bator, the Mongolian capital, decided to adopt an ambitious, city-wide air conditioner: an artificial glacier. The $700,000 geoengineering project is expected to cool down the city during the summer while also supplying residents with water. More on The Guardian and The Atlantic.

Building New Delhi.  Jane Ridley, professor of history at the University of Buckingham and the great granddaughter of Edwin Lutyens, illuminates some of the personal struggles the celebrated architect faced while undertaking his greatest achievement, designing and building New Delhi. Read at the WSJ.

Geothermal + Batteries. Although lithium isn’t exactly rare—it’s the 25th most abundant element—society still faces challenges keeping up with the demand. According to Treehugger, we might have inadvertently stumbled on a solution.

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Quick Clicks> Postal Nostalgia, Storing & Riding Bikes, Pocket Parks, & Zaha

Daily Clicks
Friday, November 18, 2011
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A mural in the Venice Post Office. (Laurie Avocado / Flickr)

A mural in the Venice Post Office. (Laurie Avocado / Flickr)

Postal nostalgia. During the Great Depression, the WPA built a post office with a tile roof, marble steps, and an intricate mural in Venice, CA.  The LA Times noted that the historic post office may now close down due to USPS budget cuts, much to the chagrin of Venice residents.

A place for bikes.  The number of indoor bicycle storage rooms at offices is slowly increasing throughout New York City.  Though expensive to maintain and space consuming, the NY Times asserted the presence of a bike room benefits the real estate industry (by increasing interest) as well as residents.

Biking Memphis.  StreetsBlog reports Memphis Mayor AC Wharton has proposed 55 miles of bike lanes to be inserted into existing streets.  Local businesses are subsequently concerned about slower traffic.

Parking in LA.  The LA Times reported LA Mayor Villaraigosa has announced he wants to build 50 “pocket parks” in the next two years.  First on the agenda, is the construction of several parks ranging from 5,000 to 20,000 square feet in Southern Los Angeles that begins next month.

Hadid no diva.  Zaha Hadid sat down with Newsweek and Daily Beast editor Tina Brown to discuss her life, her career, and her reputation.

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