Scotch on the Rocks.  Scotch on the Rocks RMJM may have been pushed into a corner financially over the last few years, but the firm is coming out swinging, with talking points that channel the British Bulldog himself, Winston Churchill. In a recent interview with Forbes.com, RMJM CEO Peter Morrison counts Churchill’s famous “We shall never surrender” speech as a source of inspiration and has taken to referring to the firm’s offices as “the War Rooms.” When asked about his goals, Morrison said, “Success, at all costs. We have sacrificed much, invested heavily, and we now find ourselves in a strong position post-recession with a global platform poised to support clients in all corners of the Earth.” If the RMJM outlook doesn’t improve, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Scottish management takes it up a notch by donning blue and white face paint, Braveheart-style.

 

Philly says Yes: Planning Commission Approves Major Projects.  Philly says Yes: Planning Commission Approves Major Projects Philadelphia Planning Commissioners have approved several major projects for development on or near the Central Delaware Waterfront. 205 Race Street, designed by Peter Gluck, was granted several zoning variances despite mixed reactions from Old City community members. Plans to develop mixed-use residential buildings and new public space on Piers 34 and 35 were also approved.

 

Fondant Foundations: Brooklyn’s Barclays Center Transformed into a Cake

East, Eavesdroplet
Friday, October 12, 2012
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(Courtesy B Caked NY)

(Courtesy B Cake NY)

It’s probably best to eat before you get to the to the new Barclays Center—a can of Red Bull and a bag of chips will set you back almost $12. But at a recent sneak peek of the arena guests were treated to complimentary hors d’oeuvres, an open bar, and an up-close look at the intricate and oddly sweet-smelling building model—wait, that’s no model, that’s a cake! The confection was a tour de force by Brooklyn-based BCakeNY, who carefully rendered the delicious-looking Core-ten exterior in chocolate and cinnamon, “Your cake looks better than the actual building!” wrote one of BCakeNY’s Facebook fans. Take note architects—a model of devil’s food rather than foam core might be just the thing for your next community board meeting.

Rahm’s Security Loves Art, Passes On Booze

Eavesdroplet, Midwest
Friday, October 12, 2012
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It’s been (another) terrible year for Jeanne Gang! From being awarded the MacArthur Genius Grant to starring in the just opened solo exhibition, Building: Inside Studio Gang Architects, at the Art Institute, there appears to be no slowdown in Studio Gang momentum. Of course, Eavesdrop stopped by the opening and we have a few things to say. The first has little to do with Jeanne and more with the Art Institute. Their openings are always so snoozy! Get more of the students and younger folks in there, in addition to your stodgy museum patrons! We probably wouldn’t have stuck around long, accept a little bird told us that Mayor Rahm Emanuel would be making an appearance and we wanted to see how short he is in real life.

Zoë Ryan, the museum’s chair of the department of architecture and design, looked nervous awaiting Rahm’s arrival, while Jeanne looked quite at ease, milling about in a really cute dress. One of the hottest architects in the world is certainly in the same power echelon as the mayor of the Second City.

Moody Rating: App Tracks New York Neighborhoods’ Feelings

East, Eavesdroplet
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
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(Courtesy Wyst)

(Courtesy Wyst)

Wyst, the social media app that allows users to tag locations in New York City with an emoticon, has published a mood map of New York City. Wyst’s tagline: “a new kind of message in a bottle.” The app launched in August 2011, and now has a year’s worth of data to analyze.

It’s predictable that the angriest nabe is the high-testosterone Financial District. More unexpected is Hasidic-hipster South Williamsburg’s status as the flirtiest. Cheers, East Village, you’re the drunkest. Roosevelt Island? The most surprised (“You can only drive here from Queens?” “There’s a Louis Kahn-designed park?”). Poor Clinton Hill ranks as the absolute saddest—chin up, Pratt students! Cross the river and get some liquid courage with your NYU friends.

Click through for the full neighborhood breakdown.

Filed Under: 

Eavesdrop> Keep In Touch, BK!.  Blair Kamin. We’ve poked fun at Blair Kamin numerous times, from his nerdy-sexy picture next to his byline to our disparate views on PoMo design. Despite all that, his contribution as an architectural critic and historian is quite profound and very important for the Midwest. Kamin’s announcement that he’s taking a leave of absence from the Chicago Tribune for a fellowship at Harvard made us panicky. Newspapers are trimming staff faster than design firms during the recession. We just hope that with or without Kamin, the Tribune recognizes the value of his work and keeps that legacy alive.

 

Eavesdrop> Bilbao of the Midwest?

Eavesdroplet, Midwest
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
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RENDERING OF MOCA CLEVELAND NEARS COMPLETION. (COURTESY FARSHID MOUSSAVI ARCHITECTURE)

RENDERING OF MOCA CLEVELAND NEARS COMPLETION. (COURTESY FARSHID MOUSSAVI ARCHITECTURE)

If you read this column, you know Eaves loves a party. You also know we self-deprecatingly speak of mediocre Midwestern cities (we’re from Louisville). Even with summer winding down, there’s no need to stick out that lower lip. A slew of—well, ok, three–high profile openings will tickle even the slightest art and architecture enthusiast as Cleveland, East Lansing, and Cincinnati compete for the title of Bilbao of the Midwest. First up, the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, designed by Farshid Moussavi Architecture, opens on October 6. Will the Mistake-on-the-Lake become the Rust Belt Riviera? On MOCA’s heels comes the Eli and Edythe Broad Museum on November 9. OK, we don’t know anything about East Lansing other than a school’s there, but—hey!—now they have a Zaha Hadid.

And finally, Cincinnati, home to America’s first Hadid, will welcome 21c Museum Hotel by Deborah Berke & Partners. Their website says it will open late 2012. Which project will be an urban game-changer? We could be swayed by opening night invites, but right now my money’s on Cincy.

GENSLER’S GROWING PAINS.  GENSLER’S GROWING PAINS We’re big fans of Gensler’s new downtown LA offices, which open up to a central atrium, keeping employees visually and physically connected. But the firm’s growth has forced it to partially abandon that model, moving extra employees to the decidedly-less-airy upper floors of their building, City National Plaza. Even in the most democratic offices, you can’t escape hierarchy!

 

EAT MY DUST.  Nicolai Ouroussoff. (Courtesy Charlie Rose) Former New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff reemerged recently in an unexpected location: the pages of Smithsonian magazine, where Ouroussoff profiled Rem Koolhaas for the venerable publication. Those who read the piece online may not realize that Ouroussoff is one of the writers featured in Smithsonian’s September issue, which marks the debut of the magazine’s sleek redesign initiated by editor-in-chief Michael Caruso. “The main idea was to rev it up,” Caruso told Adweek of his changes to the staid cover, layout, and contribitor’s list. Smithsonian’s monthly print circulation has already risen under Caruso—it currently sits at 2.1 million, giving Ouroussoff’s feature almost twice the reach that it would have had in the Sunday Times.

 

Dan Meis on the Move… Again

Eavesdroplet, Newsletter, West
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
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Meis’s planned Sports City Stadium in Qatar

Big-time sports architect Dan Meis, who has designed, among other projects, LA’s Staples Center and Seattle’s Safeco Field, is on the move yet again. In the span of just a few years he has shuffled from his own practice to Aedas, then back to his own firm to Populous, to his own firm again, and now he is joining Australian firm Woods Bagot Sport to become its global director. Exciting opportunties? Commitment issues? “I’m not crazy about having been with a couple of different firms in a short time period,” admitted Meis. But he sees it differently: “For me it feels like I’ve been in the same practice all along. It just feels like I’ve been associated with a lot of firms.”

Continue reading after the jump.

LYNN PROJECT SINKS.  LYNN PROJECT SINKS Bummer. SFMOMA, soon closing for several months for its Snøhetta-designed expansion, was hoping to keep things interesting by hiring Greg Lynn to design a floating exhibition in the San Francisco Bay. The project, coordinated with sail maker North Sails, would have included 200 sculptural chairs (made out of carbon fiber—the same material used in America’s Cup boats’ sails) under a large canopy on a large barge, providing clear views of the America’s Cup, which will soon be held in San Francisco. According to North Sails, Lynn may now produce some of the chairs for Vitra instead.

 

Political Overreach? Lehrer’s Community Center Scrapped

Eavesdroplet, West
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
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Lehrer Architect's San Angelo Community Center. (Courtesy Lehrer Architects)

Lehrer Architect’s San Angelo Community Center. (Courtesy Lehrer Architects)

Despite the recent opening of LA County’s Grand Park, County Supervisor Gloria Molina generally seems to have it in for contemporary design. Add to her list of architect victims Lehrer Architects, whose striking San Angelo Community Center north of Los Angeles was set to move forward, receiving community reviews and preliminary local sign off. In stepped Molina, who apparently didn’t like the modern look of the project. She killed it immediately. Now that’s power.

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