Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been attacking Barack Obama lately for trying to bring European Social Democracy to this country. A new book on 44 urban transformation projects in European Union makes us wish “if only!”
The book details some well known projects—the Novartis campus in Basel, the new Bilbao Metro, and Strasbourg’s car park by Zaha Hadid architects—but it also features many lesser known projects that make Europe seem like the most interesting testing ground for transforming aging cities into new livable ones. Developed from a 2010 exhibition by Architecture Workroom Brussels, the book does not have a distributor in this country, so we are loathe to review, but it turns out that the book is designed by New York City-based Project Projects, and they are hosting a launch of the book on Sunday, March 11 from 4-6pm at their office at 161 Bowery on the second floor.
Forget for a moment that President Obama bumped the New York Times’ Jill Abramson from the dais to deliver this year’s commencement address at Barnard and not his alma mater, Columbia College. Tonight, the Times’ architecture critic Michael Kimmelman will be delivering a lecture at Barnard’s Diana Center, titled Public Space and Public Consciousness. However, a busy Kimmelman also appeared last night at GSAPP, for a conversation with Columbia Professor Gwendolyn Wright.
The Storefront for Art and Architecture launched Ingredients of Reality: Dismantling of New York City last Tuesday night. The show features work by Lan Tuazon, whose bio reads that she was born in the Philippine Islands and “lives and works in New York whether she likes it or not.” It would seem from the show, that she likes it–but with reservations. Through a series of seemingly disparate works, Tuazon calls attention to how real estate decisions have the ability to divide the New Yorkers economically and socially.
The 12th annual IESNYC Student Lighting Competition, “Fraction/Refraction”, was held Wednesday night at the appropriately well-lit Helen Mills Event Space in Chelsea. The competition was open to all interested students in New York City and included entries from designers at Pratt Institute, Parsons/New School, Fashion Institute of Technology, Fordham, and New York School of Interior Design. Over 100 entries created a luminous one-night exhibition of over 100 light-sourced objects, each with a different take on this year’s theme of “how light plays with textures, flows through materials and creates layers of contrast.”
Vishaan Chakrabarti, director of the Columbia Center for Urban Real Estate since 2009, has been appointed a partner at SHoP Architects effective immediately. The seventh partner (and only the second not related to the firm’s founders by blood or marriage), Chakrabarti will focus on large-scale urban projects, drawing on his years of expertise through such on-going endeavors as Related Companies’ involvement with the Moynihan Station project and development at Hudson Yards. (While he will remain director of the Columbia real estate program, he will forgo his consultancy with Related.)
When the attention of real estate speculators diverts, sometimes old neighborhoods have time to acquire a majestic patina. The Washington Heights section of northern Manhattan has been neglected for some time, but is now getting a fair share of spillover interest from Columbia’s Manhattanville project and the university’s nearby hospital campus. In 2009, the Audubon Park Historic District was created to protect the area just behind Audubon Terrace, home to the Hispanic Society and the Academy of Arts and Letters. But just north of the district, years of landlord neglect has unwittingly preserved row after row of early 20th century apartment buildings festooned with ornate cornices. But the cornices are now in danger of disappearing.
Who wouldn’t want buy into an eco-conscious, sustainable, and affordable apartment building whose Grimshaw/Dattner-designed architecture received rave reviews on the front page of the New York Times? With more than 40 of the 75 co-ops still available at Via Verde, the gang at developer Jonathan Rose Co. and Dattner are giving the project the full media push. Jonathan Rose’s Ari Goldstein and Dattner’s Bill Stein were on New York 1 this morning promoting the design and high living standards. The 151 rental units of this muli-income complex were snapped up right away. But while the co-ops sales aren’t exactly flagging, they’re not exactly flying off the shelves in this economy.
Manhattan Community Board 2 unanimously voted against the NYU expansion plan in Greenwich Village last night citing the impact its scale would have on the neighborhood. Grimshaw with Toshiko Mori designed four of the proposed towers and Michael Van Valkenburgh designed the landscape for the 2.4 million square foot expansion. The plans were set within two superblocks that sprang from Robert Moses-era urban renewal projects that featured buildings by I.M. Pei, Paul Lester Weiner, and a garden by Hideo Sasaki.
This Monday, February 27 at 6:30p.m., the Van Alen Institute and the Austrian Cultural Forum are hosting a panel discussion on urban mapping and participatory public discourse in the city at the Austrian Cultural Forum of New York. The event celebrates the publishing of Sophie Hochhäusl’s new book Otto Neurath – City Planning: Proposing a Socio-Political Map for Modern Urbanism (Innsbruck University Press, 2011) and Otto Neurath, an Austrian philosopher and economist who studied maps in search of “humanizing knowledge.”
**2/27 Breaking news: The New Yorker‘s Paul Goldberger will be joining the panel discussion. Critical mass!
Monday, February 27
Architecture Criticism Today
Center for Architecture
536 LaGuardia Place
Who is best served by criticism? Who is the proper audience? Can it simultaneously serve the profession and the wider public, or are they mutually exclusive? How has role of general-interest media critics evolved? As a project comes to life, at what point(s) should critics weigh in?
The first of a four-part series on Architecture and the Media will address some of these questions, when architecture critics discuss the role of criticism in the field of architecture today and how it informs the general public’s understanding of design.
AN‘s executive editor Julie Iovine will moderate a panel discussion among architecture critics at consumer, business and trade publications: Justin Davidson (New York Magazine), Cathleen McGuigan (Architectural Record), and James Russell (Bloomberg), with audience Q&A to follow.
1.5 CEUs; $10 for members and students; $20 non-members. TICKETS
Organized by the Oculus Committee, the AIANY Marketing & PR Committee, and The Architect’s Newspaper.