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Nostalgia (nóstos), meaning “homecoming”, a Homeric word, and (álgos), meaning “pain, ache”, and was coined by a 17th-century medical student to describe the anxieties displayed by Swiss mercenaries fighting away from home. Ruth Ammon, set designer for the AMC television series, Low Winter Sun, used this word to describe the series in its most honorable sense. This tale of morality uses the architecture of Detroit’s heyday, to embody the pride of the city which elevated middle working class life.
It is poignant that the city’s decline is also apparent in every frame, rather than pimping these noble structures like urban porn. Whether featuring Albert Kahn’s Packard Automotive Plant, 1903-11 (the production offices were next door to this location, one of the largest parcels of unoccupied real estate in the Western hemisphere); Kahn’s Detroit Police Headquarters at 1300 Beaubien St., 1923 (given the same role in the series, but now under threat since the PDP moved out); the art deco David Stott Building of 1929 by Donaldson and Meier; St. Hyacinth Roman Catholic Church, 1924 by Donaldson and Meier; or the Venetian Gothic Ransom Gillis House, 1876-78 (documented extensively by photographer Camilo Jose Vergara), these were deliberate choices.
SANAA’s winning Taichung Cultural Center entry. (Courtesy SANAA)
SANAA, together with Taiwanese studio Ricky Liu & Associates Architects + Planners, have won a competition to design the Taichung City Cultural Center. The competition, which was announced last May, asked participants to design a complex that would not only include a new public library and fine arts museum, but would form a dramatic entryway to the the city’s Gateway Park.
One of the finalists, ArtCloud. (Courtesy Figment)
Take a ferry over to Governors Island in New York Harbor before September 22 and you’ll stumble across a massive white cloud made up of thousands of reused milk jugs. Venture inside that cloud, and you’ll be mesmerized by thousands more plastic soda bottles partially filled with blue liquid that creates an otherworldly gradient of filtered light overhead. The so-called Head in the Clouds pavilion, plopped in a grassy field on the island, is part of the annual FIGMENT festival, a celebration of arts and culture that brings a series of imaginative installations, including an unorthodox miniature golf course.
In partnership with AIANY’s Emerging New York Architect (ENYA) committee and the Structural Engineers Association of New York, the “City of Dreams” competition selects a pavilion designed by a young designer or practice to be built the following summer, and this year’s shortlist has just been announced.
Philip Johnson’s Crystal Cathedral (left), Richard Neutra’s Tower of Hope (center), and Richard Meier’s Center for Possibility Thinking (right). (Courtesy Diocese of Orange)
Anaheim’s Crystal Cathedral, designed by Philip Johnson in 1980, and containing more than 10,000 panes of mirrored glass, is one of Orange County’s rare architectural treasures. Today the Roman Catholic Diocese, which purchased the church last year, announced that Johnson Fain and Rios Clementi Hale will be leading its $29 million renovation. The exterior of the building will be essentially unchanged outside of cleaning and replacing damaged glass, but the interior will be heavily remodeled to upgrade access, sight lines, finishes, and environmental comfort. The renovation will also add significant new elements to adapt to the church’s new Catholic focus (it had once been an evangelical church), including a new altar, a baptismal font, and new cathedral doors. “It’s an open palette inside,” said Diocese spokesperson Ryan Lilyengren, who likened the iconic exterior to a shell.
Renzo Piano is again in architectural relationship with Louis Kahn. Early in his career, Piano worked briefly with the Louis I. Kahn office. This time, his architecture is separate but complementary.
Set to open on November 27th, the Renzo Piano Pavilion at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, TX will expand the exhibition space of the historic 1972 Louis Kahn-designed museum, creating an art complex on the site. A new video preview of the building has been released, in which Kimbell Director Eric Lee explores the exterior features and promotes excitement for its opening.
The TWA terminal at JFK airport in New York may soon change prevailing opinions that sleeping at the airport is strictly a last-resort decision. Reports have recently circulated that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has named André Balazs—the hotelier behind the Standard hotels in New York, Miami, and Los Angeles—to develop the iconic TWA terminal in Jamaica, Queens.
Former Commonwealth Institute building and new home for the Design Museum (courtesy pixelhut, Flickr)
The Design Museum of London has welcomed over five million visitors since it opened in 1989, and now for the first time on September 22nd, it will open it’s doors virtually, via an online platform called Stickyworld. The web-based platform allows people to digitally navigate their way through the museum from the comfort of their own home. This is achieved by means of 360 degree renders, panoramic images and plans. The new location for the design museum is the former landmark Commonwealth Institute building in Kensington, which will provide three times the space of the current museum.
Santa Fe, New Mexico–based architecture firm WAMO Studio recently moved into a cool new office—a former walk-in ice cream freezer. The repurposed space, formerly used by Taos Cow Ice Cream to store frozen treats. The 550-square-foot freezer offers a sleek and industrial space with sheet metal walls and industrial-strength insulation. After a few adjustments, WAMO has transformed it from a frigid container to a viable workspace. Partner and architect, Vahid Mojarrab, described the space to the Santa Fe New Mexican as “a perfect fit” for the husband-and-wife architecture company, which specializes in energy-efficient and high-performance design.
New York City’s Van Alen Institute (VAI) is turning 120 next year, and to celebrate, the institute is taking its message of inspired architecture and urbanism to the street. The storefront space on West 22nd Street has been home to the institute’s popular LOT-EK–designed bookstore and event space, organized around a stack of bleachers made from reclaimed wooden doors painted highlighter yellow. VAI’s new director, David van der Leer, is tackling the redesign and expansion of the sidewalk space to maximize the organization’s public visibility as it evolves its mission into the 21st century.
Rendering of The Plaza at Santa Monica (OMA/ Metropolitan Pacific Capital)
Back in July it looked like Rem Koolhaas was about to land his first large-scale commission in Los Angeles with The Plaza at Santa Monica, a mega-mixed-use complex that would have graced a city-owned parcel at Fourth and Arizona streets. City officials seemed genuinely wowed by OMA’s theatrically-terraced design and a city selection committee recommended to Santa Monica City Council that they enter formal contract negotiations with the project’s developer, Metropolitan Pacific Capital.
But last week, the city council issued a resounding, “Not so fast,” voting almost unanimously against the recommendation, citing concerns over a lack of affordable housing.