Oy, Tannenbaum! Modern Christmas Tree Causes A Stir in Belgium

International
Friday, November 30, 2012
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ABIES-Electronicus, a modern XMAS tree. (Courtesy 1024 Architecture)

ABIES-Electronicus, a modern XMAS tree. (Courtesy 1024 Architecture)

A modern interpretation of a Christmas tree designed by French firm 1024 Architecture lighting Grand Place, the main public square in Brussels, Belgium has some locals seeing stars. Standing 82 feet tall, ABIES-Electronicus, as the modern tree installation is named, is billed as an eco-friendly equivalent of chopping down a living tree, but some politicians in the city say it represents a “war on Christmas” as the symbols of the holiday are abstracted away from tradition. The mayor dismissed the charges, noting this year’s holiday theme was about light, and noting that a nativity scene is set up nearby.

Continue reading after the jump.

Another Brick in the Wall: Pink Floyd Drummer Awarded Honorary Architecture Degree

International
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
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Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason awarded an honorary architecture degree.

Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason awarded an honorary architecture degree.

British rock band Pink Floyd famously opined, “We don’t need no education,” and maybe they were right. The band was founded by a group of architecture students—Nick Mason, Roger Waters, and Richard Wright—at the Regent Street Polytechnic, now the University of Westminster, which served as the band’s first rehearsal space and performance venue in the early 1960s. As the band gained popularity, the architecture students left school to focus on their music.

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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Ousted from Office.  Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Ousted from Office Today, contentious Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was removed from office following a court ruling in a years-old conflict of interest case. The mayor has made enemies of many urbanists over the years, including Creative Class author Richard Florida, who called him “the worst mayor in the modern history of cities.” More recently, Ford drew the ire of Toronto’s bike community after making good on a promise to remove bike lanes from city streets. The mayor has vowed to appeal the decision and has the option to run for office again in an upcoming election.

 

Extreme Commutes: Architects Build “Fast Track” Trampoline Sidewalk in Russia

International
Monday, November 26, 2012
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Salto Architects' "Fast Track trampoline sidewalk. (Courtesy Salto Architects)

Salto Architects’ “Fast Track trampoline sidewalk. (Nikita Šohov & Karli Luik/Courtesy Salto Architects)

There are countless ways to get around cities these days—on foot, bike, or skateboard, by transit or car—but Estonian firm Salto Architects has imagined what could be the next dedicated lane to hit a street near you: the Fast Track trampoline sidewalk. The 170-foot-long trampoline was built earlier this year in Russia for the Archstoyanie Festival, sending leaping pedestrians through Nikola-Lenivets Park, about 120 miles southwest of Moscow.

Continue reading after the jump.

Photo of the Day> A Miniature City Made of Flowers

International
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
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A parade float of a cityscape made of flowers. (Courtesy Zendert Flower Foundation)

A parade float of a cityscape made of flowers. (Courtesy Zendert Flower Foundation)

The Dutch are known to love their flowers. They’re even building an entire city dedicated to them for a horticultural expo in 2022. On a smaller scale, the Bloemencorso flower parade covers imaginative and incredibly detailed floats in thousands of colorful blooms, and this year it featured a miniature flower city of its own.

MVRDV Proposes A Tower of Life-Size Stacked “Building” Blocks

International
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
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Lower base of structure from the ground (Courtesy MVRDV)

Lower base of structure from the ground (Courtesy MVRDV)

Dutch architecture office MVRDV has placed a bid to create a 1,300-foot-tall skyscraper in Jakarta, Indonesia called Peruri 88. The complex arrangement of edifices, which resembles a city’s worth of buildings stacked atop one another along the lines of a massive assembly of life-size “building” blocks covered with greenery, is MVRDV’s answer to Jakarta’s need for densification and green space.

Continue reading after the jump.

Doctors Say Famed 104-Year-Old Architect Oscar Niemeyer’s Condition Is Getting Worse

International
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
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104-Year-Old Architect Oscar Niemeyer in Hospital

104-Year-Old Architect Oscar Niemeyer in Hospital.

The health of Oscar Niemeyer is deteriorating according to a recent statement released by the hospital treating the 104-year-old architect in Rio de Janeiro. The world-renowned architect—known for his design of civic buildings in the capital city of Brasilia—landed in the hospital on November 2nd after he caught a cold that resulted in kidney failure.

He took a turn for the worse last week when he experienced bleeding in his digestive track. The hospital says that he is now breathing with the help of machines, and is lucid. Up until recently, Niemeyer, who is less than a month shy of his 105th birthday, has continued to work on projects.

Massive Fire Engulfs 34-Story Dubai Condo Tower

International
Monday, November 19, 2012
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Early Saturday morning, a 34-story residential tower in Dubai burst into flames running its entire height. The 160-unit Tamweel Tower, located in a complex of towers known as the Jumeirah Lakes Towers, caught fire at 2:30a.m. local time, sending hundreds of residents into the streets to seek refuge in a nearby park. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, but The National reported that some believe the fire may have started near the roof and propelled down the tower by the building’s flammable cladding material, a similar phenomenon as what happened to Rem Koolhaas’ CCTV tower in China a few years ago when fireworks sparked a major blaze on the under-construction tower and the nearby 40-story Al Tayer Tower that caught fire earlier this year.

Continue reading after the jump.

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Daniel Libeskind Adds Three Intersecting Cubes to the Jewish Museum Berlin

International
Friday, November 16, 2012
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(Courtesy Academy of the Jewish Museum Berlin)

(Courtesy Academy of the Jewish Museum Berlin)

Daniel Libeskind’s second contribution to the Jewish Museum Berlin since 2001, the Academy of the Jewish Museum Berlin, will open this Saturday, November 17. The 25,000 square foot Academy is located just across from the original museum and now houses the museum library, a growing archive, and will also house lectures, workshops, and seminars.

Continue reading after the jump.

Foxconn Said to Be Considering Investment in American Manufacturing

International
Thursday, November 15, 2012
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A Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, China. (yandulangzi在线/Google)

A Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, China. (yandulangzi在线/Google)

Much has been made of the decline of American industry and, more recently, the rise of small-scale urban industry, but one of the largest international manufacturers, Taiwan-based Foxconn, could change the industrial scene completely if it decides to build factories in the United States. The Guardian reports that Foxconn is considering Detroit and Los Angeles for potential outposts thanks to rising costs overseas, but the company infamous for manufacturing Apple products among others at its 800,000-worker-strong Chinese facilities would have to adapt to radically different American ways of working.

Continue reading after the jump.

Zaha Hadid Triumphs in New National Stadium Japan Competition

International
Thursday, November 15, 2012
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Zaha Hadid's winning stadium proposal. (Courtesy Japan Sport Council)

Zaha Hadid’s winning stadium proposal. (Courtesy Japan Sport Council)

Zaha Hadid wins again! Following a star-studded design competition, the Japanese Sports Council has announced Hadid as the winner of the New National Stadium in Japan, beating out Toyo Ito, SANAA, Populous, UN Studio among others and taking home a $250,000 prize. All-star designer of London’s 2012 Aquatics Center for the summer Olympics and the first female to ever win the Pritzker Architecture prize, Hadid continues her legacy with this new stadium in Tokyo. Estimated to cost around $1.6 billion, the venue will seat 80,000 visitors and sport a retractable roof.

Continue reading after the jump.

BMW Guggenheim Lab Packs Up in Berlin, Next Stop: Mumbai

International
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
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Mumbai Lab rendering. (Courtesy BMW Guggenheim Lab)

Mumbai Lab rendering. (Courtesy BMW Guggenheim Lab)

The BMW Guggenheim Lab is taking its show on the road one more time, after jaunts in Manhattan’s East Village and Berlin, Germany. This time to Mumbai, India, where starting in December, an international group of experts and innovators will lead six weeks of free programs, public discourse, and experiments exploring a range of topics related to contemporary urban life. Mumbai, a city of 20.5 million people—the fourth most populous city in the world—represents a unique challenge for the Mumbai Lab Team, who have created a series of projects, studies, and design proposals that respond to issues including transportation, infrastructure, governance, and housing. To get a sense of the types of discourse that will be going on, check out 100 Urban Trends, a glossary of 100 of the most talked about trends in urban thinking, compiled during the BMW Guggenheim Lab’s trip to Berlin in June.

A 36-column bamboo structure, designed by Tokyo-based Atelier Bow-Wow and inspired by a traditional Indian Mandapa—a pillared outdoor hall for events—will serve as a mobile pavilion and hub for the happenings. Atelier Bow-Wow designed all three BWM Guggemheim Lab pavilions, part of a collaboration between the museum and the car company. The pavilion will be built at the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum and will open on December 9, 2012. Pop-up sites are also planned throughout the city.

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