Last week, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) announced that two U.S. projects have been shortlisted for the RIBA Lubetikin Prize. The distinction honors building projects outside the European Union that set a standard for international excellence. The American projects chosen as finalists are The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston by Foster + Partners and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia by Rick Mather Architects.
“This year’s shortlist is unusual in that they are all big budget projects—each with a contract value over $100 million,” RIBA president Ruth Reed said in a statement. “The list mixes some of world architecture’s most famous names, with a younger practice so it will be interesting to see who the judges choose as a winner.” The prize will be announced on October 1 followed by a feature on the winners on BBC 2’s The Culture Show.
Other finalist projects from around the world: Zaha Hadid’s Guangzhou Opera House (Guangzhou, China), Foster’s Masdar Institute (Masdar City, Abu Dhabi) and the Met by WOHA (Bangkok, Thailand).
With all the NYU real estate hubbub going on around LaGuardia Place in Greenwich Village, it’s refreshing to hear of a quiet transaction between two locals. This week, the AIANY signed the lease for 532 LaGuardia, an empty retail space owned by local lumber magnate Guy Apicella just one door south of the AIANY’s current home, the Center for Architecture at 536 LaGuardia.
It’s hard to avoid the advertisements for Mercedes House; they’re everywhere. The ads, with their renderings of a completed project, employ the recent trend of touting the building’s architectural credentials, in this case “designed by Enrique Norten” of TEN Arquitectos. One could be forgiven for thinking the project was finished a long time ago. But could real estate savvy New Yorkers not notice a huge serpentine-shaped building rising on Manhattan’s West Side? Not likely. In fact, the Two Trees development is only about one quarter complete. However, as the ads note, you can move in right now–if you want to rent. More than 220 rentals are done, and when we took our walk-through last month financing was in place to complete the remaining 665 units, which includes 170 condos.
Well, you can’t say we didn’t warn you. As AN reported back in May there would be a three month grace period before penalties would be slapped on non-compliers of the new energy and water use benchmarking laws for properties over 50,000 square feet. That means time’s almost up, folks–building owners must file reports by August 1. This may not effect the architecture profession directly (as much as the property owners), but by now architects should certainly be familar with the law and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Portfolio Manager Tool. Also, another clock is ticking for energy calculations on all architectural drawings. In September the State will start conducting hard audits to make sure the numbers are there to back up the reporting.
Lists: To-dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists’ Enumerations from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art
The Morgan Library
225 Madison Ave.
Through October 2
In partnership with the Smithsonian Archives of American Art, the Morgan Library presents a collection of lists. Works include drawings by 80 creative list-makers, including Alexander Calder, Pablo Picasso, and Elaine de Kooning. These to-dos, illustrated inventories, and collected thoughts reveal a certain intimacy, inviting viewers to find interest in selected biographical moments. Each list exposes process by creating a memory archive of sorting, narrowing, and sifting thoughts. Oscar Bluemner’s list of works of art, May 18, 1932, pictured above, is an illustrated inventory of the artist’s recent landscape paintings.
The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce recently hosted the 11th annual Building Brooklyn Awards, recognizing 13 buildings for innovation in expanding and preserving Brooklyn’s built environment. Awards covered a variety of categories including adaptive re-use and historic preservation, mixed-use, education, interior renovation, mixed-use, open space, and affordable housing. In addition to the building awards, the Chamber of Commerce honored Deb Howard, Executive Director of the Pratt Area Community Council and Jed Walentas, Principal of Two Trees Management for their work in restoring and revitalizing neighborhoods Bedford-Stuyvesant and DUMBO respectively.
Christina Ciardullo and Naomi Ocko
Superfront Public Summer
2nd Avenue between 35th and 36th Streets
Industry City / Sunset Park, Brooklyn
Through August 28
Christina Ciardullo and Naomi Ocko‘s (CO) winning design Weightless Pull for Superfront Public Summer opened Sunday, July 17th and will be on view through August 28th. Christina Ciardullo and Naomi Ocko designed the space with a focus on geometry, mechanics, and materials. With a particularly specific method of installation, the collaborative studio observed the conditions of the space and calculated needs for the project based upon the presence of wind between two industrial buildings.
Weightless Pull, constructed much like a series of slender sails, creates a vertical wind field composed of plastic wrap, nylon rope, and 600 different knotting systems. The resulting movement emphasizes the scale of the location. As the architects noted, “a volume is created by the blowing out of long horizontal lengths of plastic rising from the ground to 80 feet above at the height of the surrounding buildings.”
Hiroshima: Ground Zero 1945
International Center for Photography
1133 Ave. of the Americas at 43rd St.
Through August 28
An abandoned suitcase, a house fire, strange markings on old photographs. These were the key clues in a mystery that Adam Harrison Levy began to unravel almost ten years ago when researching a BBC documentary about the bombing of Hiroshima. Levy’s intriguing narrative now serves as the backdrop for the black-and-white photographs in Hiroshima: Ground Zero 1945, an exhibit running through August 28 at the International Center for Photography in New York. On July 20 at the Van Alen bookshop, Levy read from his essay in the exhibition catalogue while ICP curator Erin Barnett discussed her research for the show of 60 photographs, all drawn from an ICP collection of almost 700 images that once belonged to Robert L. Corsbie.
Though a bit more sedate then the previous night’s party, where copious amounts of caipirinhas were consumed, the New Practices Sao Paolo panel discussion on July 15 was not without its own fireworks. Toshiko Mori and José Armenio de Brito Cruz moderated the panel which was preceded by presentations from the ten winners. A strictly enforced ten-minute time limit made presentations feel like the Oscars when the orchestra music begins to swell. Though each presenter struck an distinct note, one could pick up on a few common threads. I certainly wouldn’t call it anti-green, but a few presenters markedly pointed out that there are other immediate matters in Brazil that compete with sustainability. “We didn’t want to create a green building,” said Triptyques’ Carolina Bueno, when describing her building, which, oddly enough, included “pores” in the facade for plants to grow. More to the point, Arkiz’s Rafael Brych questioned whether “green demagogical discourse” shaping the architectural discourse fully represented what was needed in Brazil.
Ready access to fresh fruits and vegetables is seen as a key factor in improving public health. In many low income communities grocery stores are scarce. The Bloomberg administration is addressing these “food deserts” with an innovative, small scale program called NYC Green Carts, issuing extra permits to fruit and vegetable vendors in targeted neighborhoods throughout the city. The program is the subject of a photography exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York, organized with the Aperture Foundation.
On Thursday, the East River Waterfront Esplanade officially opened to the public. Last week, while the paint on the new bike lanes was still drying, City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden took AN on a walk through of the first section. The commissioner barely contained her excitement while showing off design details by landscape architect Ken Smith and SHoP Architects. Follow the commissioner as she takes us through the dog run and points out clever details like the “Get-Downs,” the riverside bar stools, and “seat walls.”