Photo of the Day> Snap, Rattle, and Roll

International
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
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An earthquake interrupts a photo shoot. (Adrian Wilson)

An earthquake interrupts a photo shoot. (Adrian Wilson)

Architectural photographer, Adrian Wilson, shared this photo with AN that he snapped during a photo shoot in Mexico City today. The routine work day, this time at Casa Palacio for Jeffrey Hutchison & Associates, was abruptly interrupted by a magnitude 6.1 earthquake epicentered some 250 miles outside the Mexican capital. It was once instance, the usually-steady Wilson said, when he “couldn’t avoid camera shake…” According to news reports there was no major damage or injuries reported from the tremor.

Pisa Going Plumb? Leaning Tower—Very Slowly—Straightening Up Its Act

International, Newsletter
Friday, August 16, 2013
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Leaning Tower of Pisa. (Eric Meyer / Flickr)

Leaning Tower of Pisa. (Eric Meyer / Flickr)

The Torre di Pisa is straightening up its act, according to scientists who monitor the famous tower’s tilt. There’s no need to worry, though, the Tower of Pisa won’t be standing completely vertical any time soon. The Huffington Post reported this week that the tower has shifted about an inch (2.5 cm) back toward being upright since 2001, when the structure was reopened to the public.

This gravity-defying maneuver was brought about by a restoration to the tower’s foundation that began in 1992 when the building’s foundation were secured, moving the entire structure a whopping 15 feet. Structural interventions included temporarily installing steel cables as an emergency measure followed by excavating stones beneath the tower and replacing them with steel and concrete. The overall effect, according to HuffPo, was to sink the tower slightly into the ground and thereby make it more vertical. Scientists said these restorative measures will make the Leaning Tower safe for two- to three-centuries.

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Not Merely Child’s Play: LEGO Architecture Kit Allows Creative Freedom to Adult Builders

International
Thursday, August 15, 2013
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Courtesy Michael Monello / Flickr

On August 1st, LEGO released a new kit in its series of building block design sets marketed specifically to architecture enthusiasts. LEGO’s Architecture Studio Kit, from its Architecture Series of adult-catered building sets, consists of 1,200 all white and translucent plastic bricks but no instructions. The free-for-all kit is endorsed by MAD Architects of Beijing and comes with a guidebook of architecture building exercises. Michael Bleby of Business Review Weekly writes that this set “is the first in the range to focus on creativity and architectural principles, rather than a specific architectural icon.” A modernist’s dream that costs significantly less than others within the series, LEGO may possibly have caught onto a new niche market. Especially when reviews thus far of the landmark-specific Architecture Series have been mixed from architects and enthusiasts alike.

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Jean Nouvel–Designed Louvre Abu Dhabi Begins Construction

International
Thursday, August 15, 2013
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(Courtesy Atelier Jean Nouvel)

(Courtesy Atelier Jean Nouvel)

French Pritzker Prize–winning architect Jean Nouvel‘s design for Louvre Abu Dhabi has begun construction after a series of delays. The building’s most prominent feature is a 180-meter-diameter  dome. The design of the dome is culturally relevant as well as utilitarian. The shape is prominent in traditional Arabian architecture. As the Louvre Abu Dhabi website describes, it is “an emblematic feature…evoking the mosque, the mausoleum, and the madrasa.” The dome’s expanse also protects the building and its visitors from the sun. Carefully formulated geometric apertures in the all-white structure allow diffused and dappled daylight inside the museum, while mitigating heat gain. Nouvel designed the dappled pattern to emulate interlaced palm fronds, which are traditionally used in Arabic countries for thatch roofs.

Continue reading after the jump.

Shigeru Ban Reinvents Earthquake-Damaged Christchurch With Temporary Cardboard Cathedral

International, Newsletter
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
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Cardboard Cathedral, Exterior (Courtesy Shigeru Ban Architects)

Cardboard Cathedral, Exterior (Courtesy Shigeru Ban Architects)

As a result of a devastating earthquake in February 2011, New Zealand’s Christchurch Cathedral was left critically damaged. After an inconclusive debate about whether to completely tear down, restore, or remodel the original Neo-Gothic cathedral, the people of Christchurch were struck with what might be divine inspiration in the form of a temporary home, the world’s only cathedral constructed extensively of cardboard.  Tourism New Zealand announced the inauguration of Cardboard Cathedral, a replica of the original church constructed of cardboard tubes, timber joints, steel, and concrete.

Continue reading after the jump.

Herzog & de Meuron Chosen To Redevelop Historic Melbourne Train Station

International, Newsletter
Monday, August 12, 2013
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Flinders St. Station (Courtesy Herzog & de Meuron)

Flinders St. Station (Courtesy Herzog & de Meuron)

A team led by Herzog & de Meuron has been unanimously selected for the redevelopment of Melbourne’s historic Flinders Street Station after beating out a star-studded shortlist that that included Zaha Hadid and Grimshaw. The team will be awarded a $1 million prize. The winning design aims to transform the iconic 1909 train station into a 21st century civic center and transportation hub, preserving the most beloved features of the landmark building while integrating it into a contemporary urban context. The proposal also incorporates cultural, retail, and civic programs within an adjacent 500,000 square foot site along the Yarra River, including a public art gallery, plaza, amphitheater, marketplace, and permanent space for arts and cultural festivals.

Continue reading after the jump.

Zoë Ryan to Curate 2014 Istanbul Design Biennial.  Zoë Ryan to Curate 2014 Istanbul Design Biennial Zoë Ryan, curator of architecture and design at the Art Institute of Chicago, has been selected to curate the second Istanbul Design Biennial, taking place from October 18 through December 14, 2014. Read AN’s report from the previous Istanbul Design Biennial here. Ryan has been working to expand the Art Institute’s architecture and design holdings and teaches at the School of the Art Institute and at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Previously, she worked at New York’s Van Alen Institute and the Museum of Modern Art. (Photo: Courtesy Art Institute of Chicago)

 

Is That a Steven Holl in Downtown Los Angeles? No, It’s Medallion 2.0

International, Newsletter, West
Monday, August 5, 2013
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Medallion 2.0 (Kevin Tsai Architecture)

Medallion 2.0 (Kevin Tsai Architecture)

While it’s been well-documented that China has been “borrowing from” U.S. designs for some time, it appears that relationship is starting to go both ways. Downtown Los Angeles is ready to get a new residential project that bears a striking resemblance to Steven Holl’s Linked Hybrid apartment complex in Beijing. Note the porous, gridded facade and the glassy skybridges, to name just a couple of  similarities. The mixed-use Medallion 2.0, designed by Kevin Tsai Architecture, would be located off the corner of Third and Main Streets, reported downtown blogger Brigham Yen. It’s scheduled to break ground in 2015 and include 400 rental units, a theater,  retail, and over half an acre of green space. We’ll keep you posted on more Asian imports as they no doubt continue to arrive.

(Steven Holl's Linked Hybrid. (Wojtek Gurak / Flickr)

(Steven Holl’s Linked Hybrid. (Wojtek Gurak / Flickr)

Unveiled> NADAAA Designs An Architecture School for the University of Toronto

International, Newsletter
Monday, August 5, 2013
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(Courtesy NADAAA)

(Courtesy NADAAA)

The University of Toronto recently revealed ambitious plans for One Spadina Crescent, a historic property with a 19th century Gothic Revival building positioned in the center of a roundabout. By next year, the site will be the University’s John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design. NADAAA, in collaboration with E.R.A. Architects, will restore the historic building and add a new wing with lecture and studio space, a library and a digital fabrication workshop. The project will supply state-of-the-art accommodations for architecture, art, landscape, and urban design students and professors.

Continue reading after the jump.

ground breaking: chinese “ghost mall” city gets another mega-mall

International
Friday, August 2, 2013
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Dongguan International Trade Center (Courtesy 5+Design)

Dongguan International Trade Center (Courtesy 5+Design)

In 2005, the doors to the New South China Mall first opened, promising a new age of Chinese consumerism and signaling the rise of the middle class. Located outside Dongguan, an industrial city located in the rapidly-growing Pearl River Delta with a population comparable to New York’s, the nearly 10 million-square-foot mall was the largest in the world in terms of leasable space. The developer, Chinese instant noodle tycoon Alex Hu, expected 100,000 daily shoppers, but the crash-strapped factory workers who populate the nearby metropolis never bothered to make the  2.5-hour trek to the overgrown shopping center, and so 8 years later 99 percent of the mall’s 2,350 retail outlets are still vacant. In the wake of this failure, a new developer, the Dongguan Minying Real Estate Development Company, has hired California-based architecture firms 5+Design and SWA to design yet another mega-sized mall in the rapidly growing city, this time with a few important adjustments that the team hopes will make their project a success.

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France’s FRAC Centre to Open New Tubular Prefabricated Center

(Nicolas Borel  / Courtesy Jakob + MacFarlane)

(Nicolas Borel / Courtesy Jakob + MacFarlane)

The Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain, known as the FRAC, will open its fourth location at the former Subsistances military site in the Centre Region on September 14th. The Orleans-based center dubbed “The Turbulences” is the brainchild of architecture duo, Jakob + MacFarlane, who have renovated the original U-shaped military base and created a bold prefabricated  structure in the middle of the courtyard to house the public reception area, cafeteria, bookshop, and auditorium.

Continue reading after the jump.

Unveiled> Grimshaw to Design New Istanbul Art Museum

International, Newsletter
Friday, July 26, 2013
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(Courtesy Grimshaw Architects)

(Courtesy Grimshaw Architects)

Grimshaw Architects has been selected by the Vehbi Koç Foundation to design Koç Contemporary, a new art museum that supports cultural and social life in Istanbul and greater Turkey. Selected from a list of 20 globally renowned submissions, Grimshaw’s winning design calls for a stone-colored mosaic tile facade, a rooftop terrace offering sweeping views of the city, an education area, and an open layout.

Continue reading after the jump.

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