Congressmen Attack New LA Courthouse Proposal

West
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
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One of Downtown LA’s two existing courthouses, on Spring Street. (fark.com)

Two congressmen really seem to have it in for the planned new U.S. courthouse and federal building in downtown Los Angeles, for which several prominent LA firms have been shortlisted.

According to the LA Times, California Representative Jeff Denham earlier this month called the proposal a “sham,” insisting that the judiciary should be able to share courtrooms more efficiently at their current spaces (there are currently two federal courthouses downtown).

Continue reading after the jump.

Will Maltzan’s “Lens” in St. Petersburg Be Too Murky?

East, West
Monday, August 20, 2012
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Visitors to The Lens probably won’t be able to see all these cool creatures. (Michael Maltzan Architecture)

Last January, Florida welcomed Michael Maltzan Architecture’s stunning proposal for the St.Petersburg Pier, featuring a new tidal reef, a civic green, raised walking paths, a waterpark and many other attractions. Recently however, local marine scientists have concluded that the tidal reef element of the design is simply too good to be true, according to a report in the Tampa Bay Times. Named “The Lens,” Maltzan’s scheme calls for a figure-8 spatial organization, in which a loop provides a view into the clear water below. But Tampa Bay’s estuary waters are murky—not because of pollution but simply because of sediment—making the water too foggy for any kind of tidal viewing. Maltzan’s ideal emerald waters are expected to remain a fantasy, but scientist and architects are still trying to find others ways to provide an underwater view in the Lens.

Continue reading after the jump.

Back to the Future in Los Angeles: Giant Waterwheel to Irrigate State Park

Newsletter, West
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
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(Courtesy Zev Yaroslavsky)

Courtesy Zev Yaroslavsky

Los Angeles is putting a new spin on an old technology, returning to one of the oldest forms of irrigation: the water wheel. Aqueducts have played a significant role in Los Angeles’ history, such as a waterwheel placed on the Zanja Madre—the Mother Ditch—in the 1860s that brought water from Rio Porciuncula to the Los Angeles River. As a dedication for the 100th anniversary of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, a new waterwheel designed by Metabolic Studio‘s Lauren Bon, will be installed near the same site by November 5th, 2013. Bon, an Annenberg heiress, artist, and philanthropist, gained notoriety for her Not a Cornfield installation that involved transforming 32 acres of brownfields into a fertile planting ground.

Continue reading after the jump.

Festival Floats Hundreds of Umbrellas over the Streets of a Portuguese Town

International
Thursday, August 2, 2012
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(Patricia Almeida/Flickr)

Umbrellas float above Rua Luís de Camões in Águeda, Portugal. (Patricia Almeida/Flickr)

On any typical day, the pedestrianized Rua Luís de Camões in the small Portuguese town of Águeda is a charming place to experience the city, but this July, a cultural festival called AgitÁgueda (Stir Agueda) rolled out the green carpet, suspended hundreds of colorful umbrellas overhead, and invited residents to see the city in a whole new light.

More photos after the jump.

Bjarke Ingels Offers A Surreal Reflection of War at a Danish Bunker Museum

International, Newsletter
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
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(Courtesy BIG)

(Courtesy BIG)

Denmark has chosen one of their own, the Copenhagen and New York-based Bjark Ingels Group (BIG) to design the Blåvand Bunker Museum, a structure to be located—or more specifically embedded—in a historic seaside site where German forces occupied Denmark during World War II. Ingels slices into the landscape and builds lightly out of glass atop the ruin of a massive concrete bunker, all of which will be recreated to serve a completely different purpose.

Continue reading after the jump.

Six Firms Competing for 2012 Stirling Prize

International
Monday, July 23, 2012
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London Olympic Stadium by Populous.

London Olympic Stadium by Populous.

The shortlist for the coveted annual Stirling Prize from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has been announced! With six contesting projects to choose from, judges will begin visiting all six sites and will convene for a final vote on October 13, 2012. Among the six shortlisted projects are Maggie’s Cancer Centre and New Court Rothschild Bank, both by the OMA, London’s new Olympic Stadium by Populous, and David Chipperfield’s Wakefield, the Barbara Hepworth sculpture gallery in Yorkshire.

View all the shortlisted projects after the jump.

Spreading the Placemaking, 80 Projects Funded by National Endowment for the Arts

National, Newsletter
Monday, July 23, 2012
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A yarnbombed statue, Bombshells Flea. (Courtesy of ArtWorks)

A yarn-bombed statue, Bombshells Flea. (Courtesy ArtWorks)

The National Endowments for the Arts (NEA) announced the recipients for this year’s round of Our Town grants—a $5 million investment in creative placemaking all over the United States. Combining grants from 2011, the program has invested over $10 million in projects in all 50 states and Washington D.C.

This year, 80 applicants were chosen from a pool of 317 entries, which were all assigned to one of three panels: Arts Engagement-projects mainly focused on artistic production, Cultural Planning and Design-projects to build local support systems and spaces necessary for creative placemaking, and Non-metro and Tribal Communities-projects based in small communities not adjacent to metropolitan areas.

Continue reading after the jump.

Victoria & Albert Gets Permission to Dig In on Underground Expansion

International
Monday, July 16, 2012
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(Courtesy AL_A)

(Courtesy AL_A)

When Libeskind’s radical spiral proposal for Victoria and Albert Museum (V+A) extension went under after eight years, the V+A has literally gone underground. The newest proposal for V+A by British architect Amanda Levete and her practice AL_A, won in 2011 after a design competition, calls for an extension project that includes a 16,200 square foot underground gallery space for temporary exhibitions. The addition will feature a public courtyard with an entrance into the museum from the adjacent Exhibition Road. Last week, the project was awarded planning permission allowing the project to move forward.

Continue reading after the jump.

Michael Graves, Steven Holl Named Academicians of the National Academy

East, National, Shft+Alt+Del
Thursday, June 28, 2012
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The National Academy on 5th Avenue in New York. (Courtesy National Academy)

The National Academy on 5th Avenue in New York. (Courtesy National Academy)

On June 28th, the academicians of the National Academy welcomed 23 newly elected members, recognized for their contribution to American art and architecture. This year, the nominees included artists working in video, photography, and installation, further reinforcing the National Academy’s mission of promoting art across America.  The roster of over 2,000 academicians includes famous pioneers of early American art such as Thomas Cole and seminal architects such as Philip Johnson.

Fukuoka hotel by Michael Graves. (courtesy National Academy)

This year’s inductees include visual artists such as Cindy Sherman and Bruce Nauman and architects Steven Holl and Michael Graves. Chosen annually by their peers, the elected members contributed representative work to the Academy’s permanent collection of over 7,000 artworks, architectural drawings, photographs, and models.

A Spinning Piper Seneca Lands in Central Park

East
Monday, June 25, 2012
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(Courtesy Public Art Fund)

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s actually a plane. On the corner of 60th Street and 5th Avenue in Manhattan, a six-seat, twin-engine Piper Seneca aircraft balances on two vertical steel posts positioned at the end of its wings, playfully rotating on its own axis and likely confusing visitors to Central Park. After doing a double take on the surreal scene, find a plaque located nearby and you’ll learn that this mysterious aircraft is actually an installation by artist Paola Pivi, whose portfolio includes scenes of zebras on snowy mountaintops and arenas of screaming people. Working with the Public Art Fund, an organization dedicated to present artists’ work throughout New York City, Paola Pivi opened her newest installation featuring the Piper Seneca, How I Roll last Wednesday, June 20th.

Watch a video after the jump.

Dlandstudio Proposes Plastics Recycling Center at the Brooklyn Navy Yard

East
Friday, June 22, 2012
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(Courtesy dlandstudio)

(Courtesy dlandstudio)

Mission: Small Business, Chase bank’s new program to promote new small businesses allows residents to vote for their local small businesses to be considered for a hefty $250,000 grant. Among the countless entries for the program, Brooklyn-based dlandstudio’s proposal for a new plastics recycling center at the Brooklyn Navy Yard has already received 200 votes.

Continue reading after the jump.

Tracking the Health of New York’s Rivers One Raindrop at a Time

East
Thursday, June 21, 2012
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Courtesy Riverkeeper

In May 2011, a shocking 80 percent of the 59 water samples taken from various sites in the Hudson River were determined to be unacceptable by the Riverkeeper, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving water quality on the Hudson River. What makes water “unacceptable”? Sampled sites are tested for enterococcus, a human pathogen often found in sewage that can potentially cause health problems like Meningitis and urinary tract infection.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Enterococcus count standards vary for different sites (for beaches, state governments discourage swimming if the count is over 35 colony forming units per 100ml). As for the part of Hudson River bordering New York City, an enterococcus count greater than 104 units per 100mL is considered “unacceptable.” And, quite frankly, gross.

Continue reading after the jump.

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