Designer Halloween Costumes

National
Thursday, October 29, 2009
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Were looking to Rem Koolhaas for inspiration.

We're looking to Rem Koolhaas for inspiration for this year

WIth Halloween just a day-and-a-half away, there’s not much time to come up with a costume if you haven’t already. Our pal Nate Berg over at Planetizen has a rather amusing listing of planning-themed costumes, including LEED certified—”don’t get your platinum certification mistaken for a silver”—and our personal favorite, FAR—”This costume illustrates the concept of floor area ratio over the course of the night. At first the ratio is low, as you’ll likely be standing and dispersing yourself over a relatively small land area. But by the end of the night when you’re passed out on the floor after the party, you’ll be taking up much more land area and will therefore represent a much higher FAR.” Still, everybody knows architects are more clever than planners, so we’ve come up with five of our own costumes, and we’d also love to hear yours, so leave suggestions in the comments. Read More

Beyond the Quotidian Landscape

National
Thursday, October 29, 2009
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The natural landscaping at Sea Ranch is the work of Laurence Halprin.

The naturalistic landscape at Sea Ranch is the work of the late Lawrence Halprin. (Image courtesy of the Cultural Landscape Foundation)

The Cultural Landscape Foundation has just launched What’s Out There,a database of landscapes with some sort of historical significance: parks big and small, and various important modern landscapes. Because these public spaces are often part of our quotidian routines, it’s easy to be completely oblivious to the designer or how the space participates in the history of landscape design. Have a look at  “What’s Out There”–a wonderful title that positively invites browsing–and learn more about what is just around the corner from where you are. Read More

Senate Seeks Sustainability

National
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
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Barbara Boxer and John Kerry introduced climate legislation in the Senate today that does much to promote green building standards. (SenatorMarkUdall/Flickr)

Barbara Boxer and John Kerry introduced climate legislation in the Senate today that does much to promote green building standards. (SenatorMarkUdall/Flickr)

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee released its energy bill today. The main talking point is that the bill sponsored by Barbara Boxer and John Kerry takes a tougher stance on emission reductions than the House bill, shooting for 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, as opposed to 17 percent. But the bills share some comforting similarities, at least for architects. Just like the house bill, which we wrote about in July, the Boxer-Kerry bill includes important measures targeted at buildings, among them stricter building codes and retroactive efficiency standards for retrofitted buildings. Along with the bill passed by the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee in June, which called for other efficiency standards, Andrew Goldberg, the senior director for federal relations at the AIA, said the Senate stands to create strong, architecturally intensive standards Read More

Emile Norman, 1918-2009

National
Monday, September 28, 2009
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Emile Norman

Emile Norman in his element.

California designer, spirited artist, and inventive mosaicist and sculptor, Emile Norman died in Monterey on September 24. Norman, who lived in a house of his own design in Big Sur, was an inspiration to artists of all kinds. His large-scale public work was known for being integrated with its architecture, an approach seen most vividly in the recently restored mural at the California Masonic Temple on Nob Hill in San Francisco. Read More

High Speed Ahead

National
Thursday, September 17, 2009
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Someday, high-speed rail will criss-cross the map. (Courtesy America 2050)

Someday, high-speed rail could criss-cross the map. (Courtesy America 2050)

We’ve been paying an awful lot of attention to high-speed rail of late. That’s partly because it’s a pet project of the president, as well as the various regions we cover. Well, bids were due last month for the $8 billion to be doled out in stimulus funds for high-speed rail development (after all, that kinda money isn’t going to go very far toward building any one system, let alone the dozen or so needed to begin supplanting planes or cars), and while the money will likely get split up amongst different states and localities so as not to anger any constituency, the infrastructure-oriented, RPA-affiliated group America 2050 released a report today recommending where best to spend that money, and we’ve got bad news for our colleagues on the West Coast and Great Lakes—it should go right here in the Northeast Corridor. (It should be noted the RPA, like AN is headquartered here in New York, so maybe it’s just bias at play.)

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Imagined Infrastructure

National
Friday, September 4, 2009
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Urban Algae: Speculation and Optimization, Mining Existing Infrastructure for Lost Efficiencies

Urban Algae proposes a park on a floating pontoon between Lower Manhattan and Red Hook that would harvest CO2 emissions from the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel.

cityLAB, an urban think-tank at UCLA’s Department of Architecture and Urban Design, has announced the six finalists of its WPA 2.0 competition. The competition, which stands for working public architecture, invited designers of all stripes to submit proposals for rebuilding our cities’ infrastructure as a sort of throwback to the Great Depression-era WPA. Juried by Stan Allen, Cecil Balmond, Elizabeth Diller, Walter Hood, Thom Mayne, and Marilyn Jordan Taylor, the top-six picks run the gamut from heading off an impending water crisis to creating a softer, gentler version of our infrastructure. One finalist, Urban Algae: Speculation and Optimization, Mining Existing Infrastructure for Lost Efficiencies, proposes to harvest CO2 emissions through photosynthesis. Submitted by PORT Architecture + Urbanism, the solution could be rolled out nationwide on coal-fired power plants and toll booths, but the designers also outlined a scheme for creating a public park on floating pontoons between Lower Manhattan and Red Hook, which would harvest emissions from the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. Read about the other finalists after the jump. Read More

Bayou Ball

National
Thursday, September 3, 2009
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Trahan clad the exterior of the museum in planks of sinker cypress, which comes from logs that have been submerged for years in the soft muddy bottoms of swamps and bayous. (Courtesy Trahan Architects)

Trahan clad the exterior of the museum in planks of sinker cypress, which comes from logs that have been submerged for years in the soft muddy bottoms of swamps and bayous. (Courtesy Trahan Architects)

Construction began last month in Natchitoches, Louisiana, on the Louisana State Sports Hall of Fame and Regional History Museum. “What do sports and regional history have in common?” you might ask. Trahan Architects certainly had to ponder this question when figuring out an elegant way to combine the disparate program elements under one roof. In the end they took inspiration from Louisiana’s geomorphology, basing their layout of interior spaces on “the fluid shapes of the braided corridors of river channels separated by interstitial masses of land.” See exactly what is meant by this in the images after the jump. Read More

Finally On Facebook

National
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
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Were part of the club!

We're part of the club!

You’re hopefully following us on Twitter, and you’re obviously reading our blog and maybe watching our videos on YouTube. Today, we’re happy to announce that AN has taken that final, belated step into the Internet age and launched a Facebook fan page. Do show your support and follow us there. We look forward to your comments, contributions, and, yes, criticism. Until then, safe surfing.

Reburbia Resolved

National
Thursday, August 20, 2009
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"FROG’S DREAM: McMansions Turned into Biofilter Water Treatment Plants," by Calvin Chiu

Judges of Dwell and inhabitat’s Reburbia competition split the difference between fantasy and pragmatism in picking winners out of last week’s 20 finalists.
Read More

Head of the Class

National
Monday, August 17, 2009
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Camino Nuevo High School, Los Angeles, California by Daly Genik (Photo: Tim Griffith)

Indian Community School, Milwaukee, Wisconsin by Antoine Predock Architect, PC (Photo: Timothy Hursley)

The AIA just announced the projects that received the highest marks in this year’s Educational Facility Design Awards, and they’re a diverse class – the 13 winners run the gamut from urban to rural, elementary to university, built to unbuilt.

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Art On The Gridiron

National
Friday, August 14, 2009
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Mel Bochners Win! will be painted directly onto the walls opposite the monumental staircase in the northeastern portion of Dallas Cowboys Stadium. (Courtesy Marc Selwyn Fine Art)

Mel Bochner's Win! will be painted directly onto the walls opposite the monumental staircase in the northeastern portion of Cowboys Stadium. (Courtesy Marc Selwyn Fine Art)

Thirty-five years ago in Austin, Texas, Willie Nelson forged an historic accord between the hippies and the rednecks. Today, some 200 miles to the north in Arlington, Texas, Gene and Jerry Jones, owners of the Dallas Cowboys, are forming a similar pact, this time between the artists and the jocks. The Jones family has kicked off an ongoing initiative to commission contemporary artists to create site-specific installations for the newly completed Cowboys Stadium. The initial blitz of 14 works includes pieces by such art world luminaries as Franz Ackermann, Annette Lawrence, and Oafur Eliasson. See more after the jump.

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Fill it In, Trick it Out

National
Thursday, August 13, 2009
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Alexandros Tsolakis and Irene Shamma's futuristic airships.

Dwell and inhabitat’s REBURBIA competition last month drew hundreds of schemes for making the suburbs more sustainable, and now they want your votes to pick a “readers’ choice” winner from the 20 finalists. (The official winners will be picked next week by a jury, and featured in Dwell’s December/January issue). Read More

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