Holl Gets AIA Gold, VJAA Wins Firm Award

National, Newsletter
Thursday, December 8, 2011
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Holl's Vanke Center (photo: Iwan Baan)

Steven Holl has been awarded the AIA Gold Medal, the institute’s highest honor and among the most significant in the profession. Holl is known for his formally inventive, richly detailed buildings in the US and around the world, including the Linked Hybrid in Beijing, the Vanke Center in Shenzen, the Bloc Building at the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City, MO, and Simmons Hall at MIT among many other notable projects.

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Slideshow> Apple Takes Bite of Grand Central

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
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Apple moves into the Lexington Avenue balcony overlooking Grand Central (Stoelker/AN).

Apple staff await customers on the balcony overlooking Grand Central (Stoelker/AN).

This morning Apple held a press preview of their new Grand Central store, which is set to open this Friday. The first impression of this glassless emporium, an anomaly for the company, is the respectful handling of the hallowed space. The store fills the space vacated by Metrazur restaurant, which wrapped around the Lexington Avenue side balcony. Apple’s showroom takes up half of the northern balcony as well. For Mac fans, the cleaned lined furnishings will be familiar, as are the various stations spread throughout the 23,000-square-foot space. The Genius Bar is still there, as are the iPad and iPod stations, laptops, accessories, and a professional yet casual staff of more than 300. Apple, aided by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, took sight lines into consideration, as the only real hint that the store is there from the concourse are small strips of table lighting, and, of course, the company’s ubiquitous apple which hangs from a grand arch centered on the balcony. It could be argued that logo competes a bit with the world famous clock at the center of the terminal. But otherwise, the interventions appear considerate and reversible.

View the sideshow after the jump

Detroit Still Awaiting Its Very Own RoboCop

Midwest, Newsletter
Monday, December 5, 2011
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Earlier this year, over 2,700 people ponied up cash through the online crowd-funding platform Kickstarter to erect a statue of the 1980s icon RoboCop in Detroit, Michigan. Plenty has been said—both good and bad—about this quest to “uphold the awesome,” whether the statue will be a good or bad thing for the city struggling to regain a solid footing. Curbed Detroit recently checked in with Brandon Walley of Detroit Needs RoboCop and learned the statue could be ready to install as early as the summer of 2012. While a site for the statue must still be secured, organizers are currently awaiting the original RoboCop model to be shipped from Hollywood before the statue can be dipped in bronze. Considering that the 1987 American sci-fi action film was literally set in a near-future (you could say present-day) Detroit, and given the themes of resurrection, memories, and conflicted policies with logical fallacies, the statue likely holds more than just a nugget of nostalgia to the supporters.

Activists Press On for AIDS Memorial at Triangle Park

East, Newsletter
Thursday, December 1, 2011
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A view looking east through the Triangle Park plan by M. Paul Friedberg (courtesy Westside Healthcare Coalition)

A view looking east through the Triangle Park plan by M. Paul Friedberg and Partners. (courtesy Westside Healthcare Coalition)

On the eve of World AIDS Day, dozens crammed into the City Planning building in downtown Manhattan where the Rudin Organization presented plans for the former St. Vincent’s Hospital site at a Universal Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) hearing.  The commission is set to vote on the plan on January 24, but over the last few months yet another issue has emerged at the long contested site. Activists from the Queer History Alliance continue to press for an AIDS Memorial to be placed at a proposed park across the street from the former hospital, which was considered ground zero during the height of the AIDS crisis.

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Unveiled> A BIG Glassy Box for Paris, Sort Of

International, Newsletter
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
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BIG's design for the University of Jussieu in Paris. (Courtesy BIG)

BIG's design for the University of Jussieu in Paris. (Courtesy BIG)

In Bjarke Ingels‘ traditional style, what started as a standard box of a building for Paris’ Université Pierre et Marie Curie has been lifted, bent, and deformed to maximize light, sight lines, and air flow for a cramped urban site. Ingels’ firm BIG and Paris-based OFF recently won won a competition to design the new multidisciplinary research center called Paris PARC to reunite the university’s campus with the surrounding city including Jean Nouvel’s adjacent Institut du Monde Arabe and the nearby Notre Dame Cathedral.

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Dreaming of Development at Brooklyn Bridge Park

East, Newsletter
Monday, November 28, 2011
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Proposal by FXFOWLE / Dermot.

Proposal by FXFOWLE / Dermot.

Last week, as New York was blindly transfixed on its impending Thanksgiving feast, the Brooklyn Bridge Park (BBP) released renderings of a proposed mixed-use development that has been floated to help fund the waterfront park. Seven proposals stacked, folded, and otherwise covered in plants a program calling for several hundred hotel rooms and residences on two park-side sites on Furman Street. The developer/architect breakdown was full of the regular big names and heavy hitters: Brooklyn’s Two Trees selected WASA/Studio AToll Brothers worked with Rogers Marvel; SDS worked with Leeser; Extell went with Beyer Blinder Belle; Dermot with FX Fowle; RAL with CDA; and Starwood teamed with Alloy Development, Bernheimer Architects, and n Architects.

Check out all the proposals after the jump.

Wings Sprouting Again in San Diego

Newsletter, West
Thursday, November 17, 2011
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Tucker Sadler & Associates

It looks like wings are hot in San Diego (and apparently LA, too). Recently we reported that Zaha Hadid was building a wing-like house in La Jolla, and now we learn via the San Diego Union-Tribune that the Midway aircraft carrier museum has proposed “Wings of Freedom,” a 500-foot-tall  sculpture consisting of two wings (they’ve also been described as sails, a tribute to maritime activity on San Diego Bay) on the south end of the city’s Navy Pier. The structures, designed by Tucker Sadler & Associates, would be made of titanium shaped around a steel frame.

Continue reading after the jump.

Unveiled> Angkasa Raya Tower in Kuala Lumpur

International, Newsletter
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
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The Angkasa Raya tower proposed for Kuala Lumpur. (Courtesy Buro OS)

The Angkasa Raya tower proposed for Kuala Lumpur. (Courtesy Buro OS)

Ole Scheeren, a former partner at Rem Koolhaas’ OMA who broke away to start his own firm (Buro OS) in March 2010, has unveiled his latest project in Kuala Lumpur: an 880-foot-tall mixed-use tower called the Angkasa Raya. Adjacent to Cesar Pelli’s Petronas Twin Towers, once the world’s tallest, Scheeren’s new 65-story project progresses a skyscraper typology of stacked volumes made popular at OMA.

Continue reading after the jump.

Postmodernism Post-Denial

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
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Montage based on Stanley Tigerman's "Titanic" with Philip Johnson's AT&T Building and text drawn by Seth Weine/ICAA

Montage based on Stanley Tigerman's "Titanic" with Philip Johnson's AT&T Building and text drawn by Seth Weine/ICAA

Postmodernism, the exuberant, eclectic, and ironic style born out of the death of the modernist dream in the 1960s and 70s, was the subject of the two-day-long “Reconsidering Postmodernism” conference last weekend, presented by the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York. The two marathon days of lectures, panels, and videos was filled with the original rock stars of the postmodernist world, including architects Robert A. M. Stern and Michael Graves, theorists Charles Jencks and Tom Wolfe, urbanists Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and a small but passionate younger crowd who couldn’t help but revel in the rambunctiousness of their vaunted forebearers.

Continue reading after the jump.

The World’s Best Tall Building Doesn’t Have to be the Tallest

International, Midwest, Newsletter
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
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KfW Westarkade in Frankfurt, Germany. (Spiegelneuronen / Flickr)

KfW Westarkade in Frankfurt, Germany. (Spiegelneuronen / Flickr)

The Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) sought out a deep understanding of sustainability and contextualization in selecting the Best Tall Building of 2011. This year’s worldwide winner, while hardly as tall as last year’s winning Burj Khalifa, went to the KfW Westarkade tower in Frankfurt Germany. The 184-foot-tall tower is projected to use half as much energy as a typical European office building and only a third the energy of a standard U.S. building. The 10th-annual awards ceremony took place November 3 at a distinctly horizontal building in Chicago, Mies van der Rohe’s Crown Hall.

Check out the winners after the jump.

LA Union Station Shortlist Announced & The Notables That Missed The Cut

Newsletter, West
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
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LA's Union Station. (Martin Schall)

LA's Union Station. (Martin Schall)

It’s official: the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (METRO) has revealed the shortlist for its Union Station Master Plan RFIQ (Request For Information & Qualifications), which seeks a team to oversee the redevelopment of 42 acres of land and up to six million square feet of entitlements around the station. “In addition to creating a model for Transit Oriented Development in the region, it is now important that the property be planned with an eye to its role as the center of regional transportation,” said METRO in an official document released by its executive management committee.

Shortlisted teams include: EE&K, a Perkins Eastman Company; Gruen Associates/ Grimshaw Architects; IBI Group/ Foster + Partners; Moore Ruble Yudell and TEN Arquitectos; NBBJ/Ingenhoven Architects; and Renzo Piano Building Workshop/ Parsons Transportation Group.

An impressive list, but perhaps even more notable are those that didn’t make the cut.

Google Moves Into Gehry’s Binoculars Building

Newsletter, West
Thursday, November 3, 2011
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(©Darrell G)

In an effort to consolidate its efforts in LA Google has leased 100,000 square feet of office space in three buildings in Venice, including space inside Frank Gehry’s Chiat/Day Building, a.k.a. the Binoculars Building. Why is it called that? Because one entryway is shaped like a gigantic pair of binoculars, of course. Finished in 1991 on Main Street, the space is probably the most famous of Gehry’s forays into…shiver… Post Modernism. The binoculars themselves were designed by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. The new Venice Googleplex will hold many more employees than its present collection of buildings in Santa Monica, which contain about 300. Earlier this week Google announced that it would be adding 6,000 total employees this year. Recession? What recession? Not in Google’s world.

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