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BIG’s proposed observation tower in Phoenix. (Courtesy BIG)
Phoenix-based developer Novawest wanted a new signature project for the city’s downtown, an observation tower from which to admire the far-off mountain ranges and dramatic Southwestern sunsets, so Bjarke Ingels proposed to scoop out the spiraled negative-space of New York’s Guggenheim Museum rotunda and plant it 420 feet above downtown Phoenix. Ingels’ “Pin,” a 70,000 square foot observation tower is elegant in its simple form, a ball on a stick, indeed evoking some far away Gulliver on a real-life version of Google maps finding his way to the Sun Belt. In another light, Phoenicians could ostensibly see a larger-than-life Chupa Chup or an upended mascara brush, but that’s the beauty of pure form, right?
Rendering of Foster + Partners’ proposed renovation of the New York Public Library. (Courtesy Foster+Partners / dbox)
New Yorkers, not to mention architecture critics, have been waiting with bated breath to see the plans for the controversial $300 million overhaul of the New York Public Library’s historic flagship branch on Fifth Avenue. And today, the designs by Foster + Partners, were finally unveiled. The renovation of the Beaux Arts-style library, completed in 1911 by Carrère and Hastings, will remove seven floors of stacks under the grand Rose Main Reading Room to make way for a 300-person workspace with an expansive atrium, balconies, floor-to-ceiling windows, bookshelves, and new areas devoted to classrooms and computer labs. As of now, interior finishes will include a combination of bronze, wood, and stone.
BILLINGS (BLUE) AND INQUIRIES (RED) FOR THE PAST 12 MONTHS. (THE ARCHITECT’S NEWSPAPER)
A fourth straight month of increased billings by AIA members signals the architectural economy may finally have turned the corner. The Architectural Billings Index (ABI) ticked up to 53.2 from last month’s 52.8 (any score above 50 indicates an increase in demand for design services). Project inquiries also rose slightly to 59.6 from 59.4. “These are the strongest business conditions we have seen since the end of 2007 before the construction market collapse,” said AIA chief economist, Kermit Baker.
Antenna segments lifted to the top of One World Trade. (Courtesy Governor Cuomo)
After a 1,500-nautical-mile voyage from Canada, half of the World Trade Center‘s antenna has arrived in New York, and, this morning, the first segments were hoisted 104 stories—over 1,300 feet above the streets of Lower Manhattan—for installation. During AN’s site tour in September, the “roots” of the antenna were clearly visible, ready to accept the structure. Building this antenna is no small effort, either. Like the scale of everything at the World Trade site, the structure is gigantic, measuring in at 408-feet tall, higher than most skyscrapers in the rest of the country. Once finished, the antenna will bring the building’s overall height to 1,776 feet.
There remains some contention on how to describe the antenna structure—as simply an antenna or, more poetically, a spire—and despite what seems a semantic argument, the results could have tall repercussions. The Port Authority and the Durst Organization—both who use the term spire—opted to remove an architectural cladding designed by SOM and artist Kenneth Snelson from the antenna earlier this year, trimming millions from the building’s price tag. Without that sculptural finish, however, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), the organization charged with ranking building heights, could opt to exclude the antenna from the overall building height, where an integrated spire would count. That would mean One World Trade won’t clock in as the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, or even the tallest in New York City.
The courthouse will take the form of a faceted white cube. (Courtesy Office of Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard)
Last month AN reported that SOM had won the commission to design the new $400 million federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. Today, designs for the new facility were unveiled (via our friends at LA Downtown News and Curbed LA), showing a cube-shaped structure with a porous white surface. So far only two renderings have hit the web, but SOM has promised to share more with us soon.
For Bostonians, cranes and scaffolding have become a common fixture in the city’s landscape. In recent years, there’s been a slew of new developments cropping up everywhere from Roxbury to Fenway, with the bulk of construction concentrated in South Boston’s waterfront, and more specifically in a sub-section that Mayor Thomas M. Menino has dubbed the “Innovation District.” AN has compiled a list of some of the most high profile projects happening in the city.
Tuesday morning, New York’s top power brokers gathered in a muddy lot on Manhattan’s west side to mark the official groundbreaking of the 26-acre Hudson Yards mega-development. The dramatic addition to the New York skyline will comprise a completely new neighborhood of glass skyscrapers at the northern terminus of the High Line. The South Tower, the first structure to be built and the future headquarters of fashion-label Coach, will rise on the site’s southeast corner at 30th Street and 10th Avenue, where Related CEO Stephen Ross, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and others celebrated the first turning of dirt as a large caisson machine bored into the ground.
Today the United States Artists (USA), a national grant-making and advocacy organization, named fifty artists to receive the USA Fellowships, which includes six in design and architecture whose accomplishments, in everything from landscape architecture to digital technology, have distinguished them in their field. These fellows—hailing from New York, Los Angeles, and Arkansas—will receive unrestricted grants of $50,000 each. Among the winners are two architecture firms, a landscape architect, and an academic.
Until Hurricane Sandy. The New York Times reports that the statue itself suffered no major damage during the storm (despite any fake Twitter photos you may have seen), but the grounds surrounding the “Mother of Exiles” suffered quite a bit of damage. Among the problems is damage to the large dock where ferries would unload visitors. Additionally, the promenade surrounding the island lost more than half of its brick pavers during the storm. There’s also some worry that the new mechanicals just installed might have suffered damage when the statue’s basement flooded. No timeline has been given as to when the monument will reopen.
Matter’s “Peace & Quiet” installation in Times Square. (Ka-Man Tse / Courtesy Times Square Alliance)
Opening today for Veterans Day, a new pavilion designed by Brooklyn-based Matter Architecture Practice aims to bring a little Peace and Quiet to the hectic liveliness of Times Square. The new temporary pavilion, built yesterday and set to remain standing through November 16 is described as a “dialogue station” by its architects. “It is a tranquil place to meet, share stories, leave a note, shake hands, or meet a veteran in person,” Matter continues on its website. Times Square “seemed the ideal circumstance (or mad challenge) to initiate and inform a poignant exchange of ideas, to will intimacy in an instance of its opposite.”
When it comes to waterfront development in New York City, there’s always a battle to be waged, and this time, it is over 22 acres near Newtown Creek in north Greenpoint, Brooklyn where developers, Park Tower Group, plan to break ground in the summer of 2013 to build Greenpoint Landing. Curbed reported on Election Day last week that someone circulated a flyer protesting the development’s ten 30-to-40-story luxury residential towers to be designed by Handel Architects. This protester’s main gripe is the scale and density of the project, which the flyers state is much larger than “most of the buildings average 5 stories” and doesn’t allow for much “green space.” But the plans for Greenpoint Landing are well on its way, and could include a pedestrian bridge by Santiago Calatrava.