CityLights Finally Begin to See Daylight

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
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New York City's new street lights are making their debut downtown. (AN/Stoelker

New York City's new streetlights are making their debut downtown. (AN/Stoelker)

Approximately six years after Thomas Phifer and Partners, the Office for Visual Interaction, and Werner Sobek won the CityLights competition for a new standard streetlight, some of the first examples are popping up in Lower Manhattan. The design for LED streetlights was cutting edge at the time, and the technology was very expensive. Prices for energy efficient LED’s have fallen considerably since then, allowing the ultra slim fixtures to find their way onto city streets. Read More

Pictorial> Virgin goes Galactic

International, Newsletter
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
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The Virgin Galactic Spaceport by Foster + Partners. (Nigel Young / Foster+Partners)

The Virgin Galactic Spaceport by Foster + Partners. (Nigel Young / Foster+Partners)

A quick flashback: Back in 2005, Virgin Group’s latest venture, Virgin Galactic, and the State of New Mexico had announced that they had reached an “historic agreement”—that they would build a state-funded $200 million spaceport in New Mexico. Virgin planned to provide sub-orbital space flights to the paying public, along with sub-orbital space science missions and orbital launches of small satellites (and much later, even orbital human space-flights). The facility was to be designed by Foster + Partners, who won Virgin Galactic’s international architectural competition.

Now, the Virgin Galactic Spaceport America—the world’s first commercial spaceport—has officially launched. Aimed to “articulate the thrill of space travel for the first space tourists while making a minimal impact on the environment,” the spaceport is designed to resemble, when viewed from space, Virgin Galactic’s brand logo of the eye, with an elongated pupil–the elevated apron completes the iris. Check out the photos after the jump.

Gehry To The Rescue, With a Star-Studded Board

Newsletter, West
Thursday, October 20, 2011
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Gehry Technologies' BIM Model for the New World Symphony in Miami.

Frank Gehry is trying to save architecture, and it’s about time. His company Gehry Technologies, which provides technology and related services to design and construction firms, on Tuesday announced a plan to bring together “the world’s most distinguished architects” in a “strategic alliance” intended to transform the building and design industries through technology.

In other words they’ve put together a really impressive advisory board. The list of architects, designers, and business leaders includes: David Childs, Zaha Hadid, Greg Lynn, Laurie Olin, Wolf Prix, David Rockwell, Moshe Safdie, Patrik Schumacher, and Ben van Berkel. That’s no joke. Among other things, the group will strive to promote higher quality projects, greater efficiency, and more cost effective techniques.

Continue reading after the jump.

Dean’s List> ASLA Student Awards Reveal the Future of Landscape Architecture

Vegetation House by students from National Chiao Tung University. (Jheng-Ru Li and Chieh-Hsuan Hu)

Vegetation House by students from National Chiao Tung University. (Jheng-Ru Li and Chieh-Hsuan Hu)

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has announced the winners of its 2011 Student Awards. This year’s student honorees have developed concepts ranging from hillside habitats in Haiti, to vegetated houses in Taiwan, to a reclaimed airfield in Berlin. Entries demonstrate an idealistic and urgent approach to problem solving for today’s and tomorrow’s pressing social issues.

[ Also be sure to check out the winners of the ASLA 2011 Professional Awards. ]

Check out the winners after the jump.

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Neutra’s Kronish Saved at Last

Newsletter, West
Monday, October 17, 2011
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Kronish House (courtesy LA Conservancy/©J Paul Getty Trust)

After a lengthy battle Richard Neutra’s Kronish House in Beverly Hills has been saved. Completed in 1955, the house, considered one of Neutra’s finest (and largest), came very close to its demise this summer after its new owners refused preservationists’ pleas and began the demolition process. But after the outcry got louder, the owners placed the demolition on hold, and now a buyer with an interest in restoring the home has just closed on the house.

Continue reading after the jump.

City in China Disappears Overnight

International, Newsletter
Thursday, October 13, 2011
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Chaohu city is officially canceled. (Courtesy anhuinews.com)

Chaohu city in China has been canceled. It wasn’t a small city. In fact the population of more than 4 million is comparable to Los Angeles, the Phoenix metro area, and the whole of South Carolina, but that is now irrelevant data, since Chaohu’s official city status was annihilated on August 22. Although buildings and inhabitants remain as proof of a once-coherent city plan and living organism, the land has since been divided into three parts and absorbed by its neighbors, Hefei, Wuhu and Ma’anshan.

Continue reading after the jump.

Gensler’s Downtown Dealings Revealed

Newsletter, West
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
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Rendering of Gensler's new HQ inside the Downtown LA "Jewel Box".

We heard back in April that architecture giant Gensler’s move to Downtown LA was spurred largely by a million dollar enticement arranged with the city. But it’s only now that we get to see the details behind the move. The LA Times‘ Steve Lopez was able to dig up the emails that set the process in motion, and they include corporate requests to pave the way for federal community development block grants (usually reserved for low income communities) to go to Gensler. The emails were sent from big-time developer Thomas Property Group to an aide in councilperson Jan Perry’s office. This seamless connection between business and government, we all know, is how things work in LA. But it’s rare to “look inside the sausage factory,” as Lopez puts it.

Rahmbo to City Workers: Take the Train!

Midwest, Newsletter
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
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Emanuel at a CTA station (Courtesy National Journal)

Emanuel at a CTA station (Courtesy National Journal)

Mayor Emanuel has made transit, biking, and sustainability some of the top priorities of his young administration. The same goes for fiscal restraint and transparency (something notably lacking in the administration of his predecessor). Drawing on his experience as White House Chief of Staff, his most recent edict combines these two sets of goals. Emanuel is mandating that city employees use public transit when on the job. Read More

Steve Jobs, 1955-2011: A Tribute from Norman Foster

International, Newsletter
Thursday, October 6, 2011
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Steve Jobs, 1955 - 2011.

Steve Jobs, 1955 - 2011.

The world learned last night of the untimely death of Apple mastermind Steve Jobs, who succumbed to a rare cancer he had been fighting for some time. Jobs’ architect, Norman Foster, was slow to acknowledge the commission of Apple’s new Cupertino, CA headquarters, but he was appropriately quick to offer his condolences. Below, read Foster’s tribute to the innovator who helped push the boundaries of both technology and industrial design.

Read Foster’s tribute after the jump.

Herzog & de Meuron Peel Layers Off Park Ave. Armory

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
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erzog & de Meuron's rendering of the slightly altered, vastly improved Drill Hall. (Courtesy Herzog & de Meuron).

Herzog & de Meuron's rendering of the slightly altered, vastly improved Drill Hall. (Courtesy Herzog & de Meuron).

At first, the choice of avant-garde architects Herzog & de Meuron to renovate and restore the fabled Park Avenue Armory seems far-fetched. Even at second glance: “I hate preservation,” said Jacques Herzog at a press event to unveil what the firm is doing at the 1880s fortress and popular event space that contains unparalleled gems from the history of American decorative arts, including rooms and furnishings by Stanford White, Louis Comfort Tiffany, the Herter Brothers and others.

Read More

Pushing for a New Park in Chicago’s Lakeview Neighborhood

Midwest, Newsletter
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
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(images courtesy Moss Design)

The designers behind the Lakeview Area Masterplan, Moss Design, are pushing ahead with a plan for a new park on a vacant lot  on North Paulina Street adjacent to the Brown Line tracks. According to their research there are five vacant lots within a one block area, so there is ample land available for development. This argument has yet to sway Alderman Scott Waguespack, who has opposed a plan for the Special Services Area to acquire the land with the help of the non-profit Openlands. Read More

An Honest Look at Architecture

National, Newsletter
Thursday, September 29, 2011
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Architecture Studio at Harvard University. (Cesar Harada / Flickr)

Architecture studio at Harvard University GSD. (Cesar Harada / Flickr)

After years of grueling through studios, crits, and all-nighters, there comes a time soon after entering the real world where it hits you: You’re lost. You didn’t learn any of this architect-business in school!

While we can’t help with the shock of the realization, we did stumble across a new humorous book by SCI-Arc-trained architecture writers Guy Horton (an AN contributor) and Sherin Wing called The Real Architect’s Handbook: Things I Didn’t Learn in Architecture School. The project is a hilarious and often sobering look at the realities of the architecture profession, including its low pay, inflated egos, and many misperceptions. “Most of the books we were seeing skewed toward an idealized vision of the architect. There was a definite disconnect between this romanticized Architecture and what we were seeing and hearing,” explained Horton, who added, “We annoyed a few people, but that tells us we were hitting the right chords.”

Here are some of our favorite words of wisdom:

#1 It’s architecture, not medicine. You can take a break and no one will die.

#10 Once you leave architecture school not everybody cares about architecture or wants to talk about it.

#35 The “privilege” of working for a firm is not compensation in itself. You cannot live on, buy food with, or pay the rent with, a firm’s “reputation.”

Continue reading after the jump.

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