Pictorial> Tour FIRST by Kohn Pedersen Fox

International
Monday, June 20, 2011
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(Courtesy KPF)

(Courtesy KPF)

Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) shared a few images of their newly complete Tour FIRST tower in Paris, France, now the city’s tallest building. Standing 760 feet tall in the city’s La Défense district, the glass tower isn’t completely new. It’s actually a major addition on top of a 1970s structure designed by Pierre Dufau—a move the firm said makes the building more sustainable than new construction. New windows were punctured in the old structure’s concrete skin and the building was opened up to surrounding public space. With Tour FIRST, New York-based KPF continues its skyscraper spree, having designed what are currently the tallest buildings in Hong Kong and London.

More photos after the jump.

Paris’ Lost Cafe from Hell

International, Newsletter
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
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Le Café de L’Enfer (Via How to be a Retronaut)

Le Café de L’Enfer (Via How to be a Retronaut)

Tucked away in in the bohemian enclave of Montmartre in Paris, Le Café de L’Enfer—the Cafe of Hell—welcomed all who dared pass through the mouth of a giant ghoul and a doorman dressed as the devil proclaiming, “Enter and be damned!” The exterior facade appears to be molten rock surrounding misshapen windows and dripping off the building while inside, caldrons of fire and ghostly bodies of humans and beasts covered the walls and ceiling. From an account published in Morrow and Cucuel‘s Bohemian Paris of Today (1899):

Red-hot bars and gratings through which flaming coals gleamed appeared in the walls within the red mouth. A placard announced that should the temperature of this inferno make one thirsty, innumerable bocks might be had at sixty-five centimes each. A little red imp guarded the throat of the monster into whose mouth we had walked; he was cutting extraordinary capers, and made a great show of stirring the fires. The red imp opened the imitation heavy metal door for our passage to the interior, crying, – “Ah, ah, ah! still they come! Oh, how they will roast!”

Quite a site! (In an epic battle of good and evil, another entrepreneur opened Le Ciel—”Heaven”—next door that was filled with clouds, angels, and harps.) The Café de L’Enfer operated from the late 19th through the middle of the 20th century. (Via How to be a Retronaut.)

A few more photos after the jump.

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TEN Arquitectos’ Hot Plan For Tabasco, Mexico

International, Newsletter
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
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The boomerang bridge as seen from above. (Courtesy Enrique Norten/TEN Arquitectos)

If opponents of New York’s bike lanes think bikers get the upper hand, then they’d be stunned to see what TEN Arquitectos has planned for the main drag of Villahermosa, the capital of Tabasco, Mexico. Of course, accommodating bikes is only a small part of what is intended to overhaul the city’s spine including an eye catching pedestrian bridge anchoring the project.

The perforated, metal-clad boomerang of a bridge links two lakeside parks, the Tomas Garrido Park and Lake of Illusions. At street level the illusion takes hold as the bridge morphs into the shape of a giant alligator.  A large amphitheater sits at its base with the park serving as backdrop. The project is set for dedication next week.

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Blue Ventures Takes Buckminster Fuller Prize

Blue Ventures' conservation efforts on the coastal towns of Madagascar helped it take home the prize. Courtesy Buckminster Fuller Challenge.

The conservation group Blue Ventures won the Buckminster Fuller Challenge in a ceremony at the CUNY Graduate Center on Friday night. The group took home the $100,000 prize, edging out FrontlineSMS, Rainforest Foundation UK, and TARA Ashkar+. The project caught the attention of the judges for its work with impoverished communities along the coast of Madagascar. To solve the problem of overfishing and biodiversity, the group delved into the root causes on land, such as overpopulation and a lack of birth control (an increase in population exacerbates overfishing).  The strategy was to stabilize the population and shift toward alternative economic resources. Conservation in the water depends heavily on human behavior on land.

Watch a video after the jump.

Video> Bourges’ Unbreakable Cobblestone

International
Friday, June 10, 2011
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(Courtesy Atelier Raum Architects)

(Courtesy Atelier Raum Architects)

A sidewalk in France adds a bounce to your step. Atelier Raum Architects recently released their streetscape intervention La Ville Molle in Bourges, France, part of the city’s 5th annual Biennale of Contemporary Art. During their 2010 artist residency at the École Nationale Supérieure d’Art de Bourges (ENSA), the architecture firm developed the urban design project in conjunction with La Box, the ENSA student gallery, and the FRAC Centre (Fonds Regional d’Art Contemporain).

Situated in a medieval town square, the raised patch of cobblestone vacillates under spectators’ shifting weight. The installation is intended to alter the pedestrians’ urban experience and sense of gravity while the buoyant surface juxtaposes the apparent strength of a cobblestone plaza with the instability of walking on a balloon. Thus, the design demands contemplation on whether the traditional French city should embrace contemporary design as its modernization. (Via noquedanblogs.)

More photos and a video after the jump.

Video> Moving Beyond a Gas-Powered World

International
Friday, May 27, 2011
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A gas-powered shaving device. (Still from video)

A gas-powered shaving device. (Still from video)

French automaker Renault has launched a new line of electric cars, their Z.E. line, and as part of its marketing promotions asks why we’re still using gas to power autos if we don’t for other everyday objects. Imagine a world where all your electric gadgets released a steady stream of exhaust. The result is surreal and at times hilarious. Take a look for yourself after the jump. (Via PSFK.)

Watch the video after the jump.

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Modernism Retires

International
Friday, May 27, 2011
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Modernism Reaches Retirement Age (Fueled by Coffee via Core 77)

Modernism Reaches Retirement Age (Fueled by Coffee via Core 77)

We spotted this amazing cartoon by fueledbycoffee over at Core 77 this week and think it’s pretty amazing. Don’t miss the rest of the cartoon over at Core77 showing adaptations of Noguchi and Nelson. We’ll be out on Monday, but right back in the game come Tuesday morning. Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

Video> Venice in Venice

International
Friday, May 27, 2011
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"Untitled" by Nan Goldin

The Venice architecture biennale is still over a year away but the longer running art biennale will open next week. If you are of the architecture bent there is always a great deal to see and visit at the art biennale. Here is a sampling including images from Real Venice: International Artists help to Save Venice in the abbey of  San Giorgio Maggiore to remind you just how special is la Serrininisma. But perhaps the most exciting exhibit at this years biennale is Venice in Venice organized and curated by the irrepressible Jacqueline Miro and Tim Nye (with help from Tibby Rothman) about our Venice! If you are not making it to the Venice Biennale, here are some images to savor!

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Fly Denari Airlines

Having worked there on and off for the last 25 years Neil Denari is huge in Japan. His latest achievement in the country was just unveiled yesterday: the complete design for Japan’s first ever low-cost regional airline, called Peach. Read More

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TEN Arquitectos Revamps Amparo Museum

International
Friday, May 20, 2011
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The new renovations are to float above existing courtyards. Courtesy Enrique Norten/TEN Arquitectos

TEN Arquitectos have shared renderings of a museum project that Enrique Norten is working on in the historic center of Puebla, Mexico. The Amparo Museum sits in the heart a colonial quarter and though building envelope will retain its old world charm, a very new world facility will emerge inside.

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Video> Thomas Heatherwick′s Seed Cathedral

Seed Cathedral by Thomas Heatherwick (Photo by Eugene Regis/Flickr)

Seed Cathedral by Thomas Heatherwick (Photo by Eugene Regis/Flickr)

British architect Thomas Heatherwick was recently featured on a Ted Talk where he presented five projects including his Seed Cathedral from Shanghai’s Expo 2010. The pavilion incorporated thousands of seed-encapsulating plastic rods that transmit light into and out of the building. Taken as a whole, the strands resemble one giant occupiable seed puff. Check out Heatherwick’s talk about the Seed Cathedral and his firm’s design philosophy after the jump.

Watch the video after the jump.

After Five Years, Could Venice Get its Doge’s Palace Back?

International
Friday, May 13, 2011
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Photo by Aaron Levy

Photo by Aaron Levy

The 17th-century Sospiri Bridge (Bridge of Signs) in Venice connects an ancient prison with interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace. The bridge crosses the Rio de Palazzo that itself slices through the palace and makes a spectacular vista as one crosses the canal bridge on the Grand Canal. This vista has been rudely emblazed for at least the past five years by a giant advertising sign the wraps the palace walls and over and under the beautiful Sospiri bridge.

Continue reading after the jump.

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