Laurie Olin Ties it Up

National
Thursday, March 29, 2012
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Laurie Olin expounds on the virtues of the bow tie.

Laurie Olin expounds on the virtues of the bow tie.

In an amusing aside, landscape architect Laurie Olin discussed his bow ties on the firm’s blog today. Olin briefly described the style of landscape architects. “Well, there are probably as many styles of dress for landscape architects as there are regions of the world for them to practice in,” he said. And he argued that there is a time and a place for the bow tie. “There are of course clients for whom you wear blue jeans, and events where that’s completely inappropriate.”

Ties in general, he added, are one of the last frontiers in attire for masculine elan. “I think that because there are so few details in men’s clothing and so little ornament, that ties have become uniquely important. It’s one of the last gasps of flair and color for men. Humans respond to color, and it signals various things. It signals that, ‘I’m a wild and crazy guy’ or ‘I’m alive’ or ‘I’m sensible.'”

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Gustafson Awarded Brunner Memorial Prize.  Kathryn Gustafson Kathryn Gustafson, founding partner of Seattle-based landscape architecture firm Gustafson Guthrie Nichol has been awarded the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize in Architecture by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, an annual award honoring an architect who has made significant contributions to architecture as an art. Jury member James Polshek noted in a statement, “The power of her imagination and the precision of her execution have enriched the many natural and man-made places she has touched with her magic.” The Academy also awarded five Arts & Letters Awards to Hilary Ballon, Marlon Blackwell, Elizabeth Gray, Alan Organschi, and Michael Maltzan. The awards will be presented this May in New York City.

 

Billings Remains in the Black Four Months in a Row

National
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
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BILLINGS (BLUE) AND INQUIRIES (RED) FOR THE PAST 12 MONTHS.

BILLINGS (BLUE) AND INQUIRIES (RED) FOR THE PAST 12 MONTHS.

With the moody Architectural Billings Index landing in positive territory for the fourth straight month in February, the architectural community might begin to exhale a sigh of relief. Project inquiries alone saw its highest spike since 2007, up from 61.2 to 63.4 (anything over 50 indicates an increase in billings).

Continue reading after the jump.

Calatrava’s First U.S. Vehicular Bridge To Open

National, Newsletter
Thursday, March 1, 2012
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Dallas' Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. (Marco Becerra)

Dallas' Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. (Marco Becerra)

The latest bridge from Spanish tension-element guru Santiago Calatrava, renowned architect behind the Milwaukee Art Museum, Puente del Alamillo, and the upcoming World Trade Center Transportation Hub, will be his first vehicular bridge in the United States. Construction has been completed on the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, the first in a series of Calatrava-designed crossings over Dallas’ Trinity River. It will act as a literal and metaphorical gateway to the city.

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One of largest U.S. glass companies ceases operations..  One of largest U.S. glass companies ceases operations. Glass Magazine reports that Trainor Glass, one of the three biggest contract glaziers in the U.S., notified employees on February 21 that the company was ceasing operations, effective immediately. At the time of its shut down Trainor employed over 600 staff and had several active projects, including the Museum Tower in downtown Dallas. Katy Devlin of Glass spoke with several industry players, including Jeff Haber, the managing partner of W&W Glass, who noted the ripple effect the Trainor closure was likely to cause:”Every bonding company is going to start tightening the leash. They are going to start raising the capital requirements, and general contractors are going to be more selective as to who gets work…This will be painful in the short term. … It might expose a few more [contract glaziers] that are in bad shape.”

 

Michael Graves Designs Dignity for Wounded Veterans

National, Newsletter
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
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Front facade of the Patriot Home in Fort Belvoir. (Courtesy Michael Graves & Associates)

Front facade of the Patriot Home in Fort Belvoir. (Courtesy Michael Graves & Associates)

In speaking to wounded veterans and their families, the Wounded Warrior Home Project found that soldiers returning home face a cumbersome and costly adaptation to their environment. A private-public partnership, including Michael Graves and Associates, global design firm IDEO, and Clark Realty Capital, has unveiled two universally-accessible prototype houses at Fort Belvoir in Virginia where every element is designed for ease of use. Sinks and stovetops are on motorized lifts, halls and doorways accommodate a wide turning radius for navigating wheelchairs, sliding doors open with a light touch.

Continue reading after the jump.

Legislative Update> Transit, Biking, Walkability, Preservation & the Environment at Risk

National
Thursday, February 9, 2012
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(Courtesy U.S. House of Representatives)

(Courtesy U.S. House of Representatives)

It’s becoming clear how Congress’ approval ratings keep dropping to new historic lows—the latest Gallup Poll released yesterday puts it at a squat ten percent—when the legislative body continues to threaten policies not just architects but also the general public hold near and dear. Now, as key transportation bills that set funding for all national infrastructure–including roads, transit, shipping, pipelines, and even sidewalks–prepare for a votes in the House of Representatives and Senate as soon as the coming week, we’re seeing transit, biking, walkability, the environment, and historic preservation all at risk.

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Deborah Berke’s Yale Studio Exploring Urban Manufacturing (and Bourbon)

Dean's List, Midwest, National
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
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A stack of whiskey barrels. (Project 404 / Flickr)

A stack of whiskey barrels. (Project 404 / Flickr)

American manufacturing may be on the rocks, but Deborah Berke, principal at Deborah Berke & Partners, believes that by adding a little bourbon, one Kentucky city can make an industrial comeback. Berke is leading a graduate studio at Yale exploring the future of boutique manufacturing in the United States and using an urban distillery in Louisville as a case study.

Continue reading after the jump.

Green Monsters.  Green Monsters Isn’t it annoying when you’re trying to do your part to go green and then things catch on fire? In what some are calling a case of “green on green crime,” a low-e glass window has been accused of melting the side-view mirror of a nearby Toyota Prius in Southern California. The Prius owner noticed a concentrated beam of sunlight reflecting off her neighbor’s windows, which had been treated with a highly reflective energy efficient coating, after being told by her Toyota dealership that nothing was wrong with her car. It wouldn’t be the first time good windows turned bad: Las Vegas’ Vdara hotel made headlines when its “death ray” reflected super-hot beams of light onto its pool deck, allegedly burning some sunbathers. Following reports of melted vinyl siding, pool covers, and car parts across the country, the National Association of Home Builders has launched a study about the amount of concentrated sunlight reflected from energy efficient windows. [DailyTech, image via CBS]

 

Eight Emerging Voices Honored by the Architectural League

International, National
Friday, January 27, 2012
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Anemone, Taipei, TW. (Courtesy Oyler Wu Collaborative)

Anemone, Taipei, TW. (Courtesy Oyler Wu Collaborative)

Eight up-and-coming architecture firms from across North America have been distinguished as Emerging Voices by the Architectural League. The prestigious award is bestowed annually on a group of firms that have established a distinct design voice in their work and have “the potential to influence the disciplines of architecture, landscape design, and urbanism.” This year’s winners are INABA, 5468796 architecture, SCAPE Landscape Architecture, Studio NMinusOne, Oyler Wu Collaborative, SsD, Arquitectura 911sc, and Atelier TAG. A jury comprised of Henry Cobb, Geoff Manaugh, Paul Lewis, Jamie Maslyn Larson, Annabelle Selldorf, Claire Weisz, and Dan Wood selected the firms based on a review of their portfolios. Past Emerging Voices have included many of today’s top-name architects including Morphosis, Enrique Norten, Deborah Berke, Michael Maltzan, SHoP Architects, Jeanne Gang, and Steven Holl.

Each year, the winning firms present their work at a lecture series presented by the League in New York. Beginning on March 2, will take place at the Rose Auditorium in the new Morphosis-designed building at The Cooper Union. Also watch for an upcoming issue of The Architect’s Newspaper where we feature a profile of each Emerging Voices winner.

Check out the lecture schedule after the jump.

Go West, Solar Decathalon: DOE Selects New SoCal Venue for 2013

National, Newsletter
Thursday, January 26, 2012
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The North Lawn at the Orange County Great Park. (Courtesy Orange County Great Park)

The North Lawn at the Orange County Great Park. (Courtesy Orange County Great Park)

We’ve known since early last year that the Solar Decathlon, the biennial event showcasing the best in energy producing, student-designed houses, was no longer welcome on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. due to concerns over wear and tear on the “nation’s front yard.” The 2011 Decathlon, won by the University of Maryland, was pushed to a far corner of the Mall between the Tidal Basin and the Potomac River midway through the design process, causing outcry from student teams who were finalizing their house designs. Officials later announced that future Decathlons might leave D.C. entirely, and today, Department of Energy Secretary Stephen Chu confirmed that it will be moving about as far away from the Mall as possible—to the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California between Los Angeles and San Diego.

Continue reading after the jump.

The New Stars of Landscape Architecture

National, Newsletter
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
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Novus International Headquarters receives 3 stars (image courtesy of ASLA)

Novus International Inc. Headquarters receives three stars. (Courtesy of ASLA)

Landscape projects now have the option to shoot for the stars. Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) has announced the first three projects to be certified by what is to-date the most comprehensive system for rating the sustainable design, construction, and maintenance of built landscapes. SITES is a collaborative effort by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and the United States Botanic Garden designed to fulfill a critical need for sustainable guidelines in this environmentally sensitive field.

Continue reading after the jump.

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