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BILLINGS (BLUE) AND INQUIRIES (RED) FOR THE PAST 12 MONTHS. (THE ARCHITECT’S NEWSPAPER)
The Architecture Billings Index has reported a slight fluctuation in design activity over the past few months, recording a score of 51.9 for March, a 3 point decrease from February’s mark of 54.9. Any score above 50 indicates positive growth. All four regions were in positive territory with the Northeast leading at 54.6, the Midwest at 53.9, the South not far behind at 53.6, and the West finishing with a 51.9.
As Spring approaches, perhaps in the spirit of rejuvenation, the New York City Council has unanimously approved plans to revitalize Manhattan’s Pier 57, the historic pier located at 15th Street and the Hudson River. In 2009 architecture firm Young Woo & Associates set in motion a plan to transform the Pier into a multi-use cultural, retail, and restaurant hub, and, with the City Council’s approval in hand, the developers can finally begin the long-awaited redevelopment of the pier.
Pier 57 was built in 1952 by Emil Praeger. At the time of construction the engineer received great acclaim for his pioneering design—the Pier floats on three buoyant hollow concrete boxes that were flooded down the river. The new plan to restore the historic landmark conserves the original framing while renovating the 375,000 square feet of interior and rooftop space.
Federal Center South, Building 1202. (Benjamin Benschneider / Courtesy AIA)
Quite appropriate for Earth Day today, the American Institute of Architects and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) have selected the ten most outstanding examples of sustainable architecture and green design solutions. The projects, which protect and enhance the environment through sustainable design practices and reduced energy consumption, will be honored at the AIA 2013 National Convention and Design Exposition in Denver. Now in its 17th year, the COTE Top Ten Green Projects program is celebrated as the best program in recognizing sustainable design. The program acknowledges projects that succeed in this environmental endeavor via an integrated approach to architecture, natural systems, and technology and ones that benefit their communities by reducing environmental impact.
A new development in St. Louis has proposed using shipping containers to create a mixed-use building. The project, known as The Grove, is located at 4312 Manchester Avenue. It features a three-story structure of stacked steel boxes with retail on the first level and offices and residential above. The development, which already garnered the support of the Forest Park Southeast Development Committee, is set on the site of a former four-family brick home and is presently awaiting approval from the 17th Ward Alderman.
An upcoming exhibition at the Raimund Abraham-designed Austrian Cultural Forum in Midtown Manhattan, entitled The Vienna Model: Housing for the 21st Century City, presents 37 reasons why we should look towards the Austrian capital when it comes to public housing. Curated by AN’s William Menking and head of the Department of Housing Research for the City of Vienna, Wolfgang Förster, The Vienna Model will exhibit a collection of case studies of Viennese public housing spanning the past 95 years and representing the work of dozens of architects, from contemporary innovations to classics by Josef Hoffman, Adolf Loos, Richard Neutra, and Margarete Schütte Lihotzky.
With 60 percent of Viennese living in municipal housing, and the city continually topping the ranks of the world’s most livable (check here, here, and here), there is obviously something to learn from Vienna’s example. The show opens April 16th and will run until September 2, before heading off to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and finally back to the Imperial City.
Shimoda Design’s rendering of Alameda Square (Shimoda Design Group)
Last week, AN reported on the development of Alameda Square in Los Angeles, the 1.5-million-square-foot mixed use project being designed at the old American Apparel factory site on the southwest edge of LA’s Arts District. Movement on projects like this beg the question: Just how hot is LA’s Arts District? AN‘s West Coast Editor Sam Lubell sat down for a short chat with James Sattler, a Vice President of Acquisitions at JP Morgan Asset Management, to find out.
Arcosanti, left, and Paolo Soleri, right. (Doctress Neutopia / Flickr; Courtesy Cosanti Foundation)
The visionary architect and artist Paolo Soleri has died. He was best known as the mastermind behind Arcosanti, the ongoing experimental community outside of Phoenix, Arizona. Arcosanti, which has been under construction for more than 40 years, embodies Soleri’s idea of an architecture merged with the environment. More than 7,000 architecture students have worked on Arcosanti, and more than 50,000 people visit the site every year.
Though Soleri has been viewed as an almost mystical outlier in architecture, many of the design principles of Arcosanti mirror contemporary thinking in architecture and planning, including walkability, high density, diversity of uses, urban agriculture, and use of embodied energy. In addition to Arcosanti, Soleri designed buildings in Italy, New Mexico, and several sites across Arizona. According to the Cosanti Foundation, Soleri will be buried at Arcosanti following a private service. A public service will be held later this year.
DVD Dead Drop installation at the Museum of the Moving Image. (Courtesy Aram Bartholl)
A new permanent work by Berlin-based artist Aram Bartholl at the Thomas Leeser-designed Museum of The Moving Image in Queens, New York bridges the gap between digital and physical space, challenging the intangibly of today’s world of cloud computing and instant downloads by adding a sense of materiality to data-transfer. Engaging a medium that is quickly becoming as outdated as the Laser Disc, DVD Dead Drop, a slot-loading DVD burner embedded in the exterior wall of the museum is ready to burn you a hand-picked digital art exhibition, media collection, or another piece computerized content curated by Bartholl. Just insert a blank DVD-R and let the art begin.
Marking the end of a design competition for the new home of its College of Architecture & Environmental Design, Kent State University has chosenWeiss/Manfredi’s “Design Loft” over submissions from Bialosky & Partners of Cleveland with Architecture Research Office of New York; The Collaborative of Toledo with Miller Hull Partnership of Seattle; and Westlake Reed Leskosky of Cleveland.
The college is moving from three separate buildings including Taylor Hall, where it has been for decades, and which served as a gathering spot for the 1970 Vietnam War protest that would end in four deaths.
Rendering of the Transbay Tower, which will be SF’s tallest building. (Courtesy Pelli Clarke Pelli)
Last Wednesday, Pelli Clarke Pelli’s long-anticipated Transbay Transit Tower, at San Francisco’s First and Mission streets, finally broke ground, and architect Cesar Pelli was on hand to help turn dirt with ceremonial gold-plated shovels. At 1,070 feet and 61 stories, the tower would be the tallest on the West Coast—at least until AC Martin’s Wilshire Grand opens in Los Angeles—and seventh tallest in the nation, taking the title from New York’s Chrysler Building. At the ceremony, Pelli told the San Francisco Business Times the tower is “svelte but dynamic, elegant, and very gracious.”
Blue dots indicate the first phase of the bike-share rollout while gray dots denote stations that will be added to the service later in 2013. (Courtesy NYCDOT)
When Hurricane Sandy plundered the East Coast in late October,it didn’t spare New York City’s Bike Share system, then in storage at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, causing damage to electrical components in the docking stations. Due to damage and delays from the storm, the initial launch of the Citi Bike Bike Share System will be scaled back and thousands of bikes originally meant to be part of the second phase will be pushed back to a third. The first blue Citi Bikes are expected to hit New York City streets this May.