Prouve RAW’s New York Preview

International, Newsletter
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
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For Prouvé RAW, a collaboration between Vitra and G-Star, Jean Prouvé's 1951 Direction Office Armchair No. 352 is reimagined

Jean Prouvé plus G-Star? The coupling at first seems an unlikely one, and not just because it is partially posthumous. But the fashion forward Dutch company, best known for its high-end jeans, counts the self-taught French architect and designer (1901-1984) among its inspirations. Two years ago G-Star called Vitra, who has owned the manufacturing rights to Prouvé’s furniture since 2001, and asked if the designer could come out to play. The result is Prouvé RAW, the latest edition in G-Star’s Crossover Series, design experiments that pair G-Star with designers outside the field of fashion. Prouvé classics like the 1951 Direction Office Armchair No. 352 (above) are reimagined as formal replicas in contemporary materials.

The collection was first unveiled on June 15 at Art Basel but makes its New York debut today, marking the start of a two-week preview (and pre-purchase) period before the line officially goes on sale in October. The launch was timed to coincide with the tail end of New York’s Fashion Week, with the idea that denizens of the runways might also be lured by a different kind of G-Star model, now posing in Vitra’s Meatpacking showroom.

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Mesmerizing SCI-Arc Graduation Pavilion

Newsletter, West
Monday, September 12, 2011
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Courtesy Oyler Wu Collaborative

SCI-Arc held its graduation ceremony on Sunday in the parking lot in front of its building in LA’s Arts District. And they did it in style: in front of a billowing 60 x 110 foot canopy designed by LA firm Oyler Wu Collaborative, whose principles Dwayne Oyler and Jenny Wu are both SCI-Arc professors.  Read More

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Burning Man Amazes Yet Again

Newsletter, West
Thursday, September 8, 2011
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Temple of Transition (Michael Holden)

Temple of Transition (Michael Holden)

For the second year in a row (check out last year’s report here) we’d like to share some of the most amazing, ridiculous, and inspiring architecture of Burning Man, which just wrapped up in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. And like last year the Playa’s temporary installations didn’t disappoint; displaying an aggressive level of imagination and ambition for Burning Man’s 25th anniversary (has it really been that long?).

The theme this year was Rites of Passage, although we’re not sure the artists here are interested in following any rules. Photographer Michael Holden was on the ground to document the event. Here are our favorites from Burning Man 2011:

Continue reading after the jump.

Video> World Trade Center Rendered Like Never Before

East, Newsletter
Thursday, September 8, 2011
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It’s blockbuster good. Silverstein Properties has produced a video of The New World Trade Center that shows where we’ve been and where we’ll be in coming years (provided the markets cooperate).  With music swelling, this time machine has production values on par with Inception, and like that thriller it might leave you wondering which dream level we’re on.

Spotlight> Copenhagen Design Week 2011

International, Newsletter
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
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Thicket Installation at Copenhagen Design Week.

This past week in Copenhagen has been filled with a series of design exhibitions, fairs, conferences, and guided tours throughout the Danish capital city as part of Copenhagen Design Week, hosted by the Danish Design Center. Scandinavian architects, interior designers, urban planners, and filmmakers submitted work under the theme of “Think Human” and ranged from urban installations to furniture and industrial design. One exhibition highlight organized by the Center for Information Technology and Architecture is the project, Thicket Installation (above), that examines how technology and architecture impact connections between public and private life. Read More

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Blast of Personal Truth from Port Authority’s Chris Ward

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
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From the roof of the Memorial Pavilion on August 29. (Courtesy Tami Hausman)

The memorial as we looked down from the roof of the Memorial Pavilion on August 29. (Tami Hausman)

Far from the expected pablum that these events usually generate, Chris Ward, executive director of the Port Authority, gave a speech opening the New York Building Congress yesterday loaded to bear with fight, a lot of Good Fight, demanding continued federal funding for infrastructure. Along the way, he recalls his own version of the tortured path from Ground Zero grind to the Memorial Moment of meditation to come.

It’s quite a version and well worth a close read as he “recalls” Libeskind’s master plan as “gardens in the sky” and how that was “replaced with another vision, as realities of the site, the market” set in. Then he talks about “Breaking Away from Monumentalism” and “The Assessment” thanks to the Port Authority, which may or may not be the stinking months of pissing match between PA and Silverstein as they wrangled about responsibility for building the first then the other towers.

Sit back—but fasten your seat belt—You’ll be amazed to read what you went through:

Read the speech after the jump.

A Terreformed Summer

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
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Terreform1's Papanek award winner "Urbaneering Brooklyn" (Courtesy Terreform1)

Terreform1's Papanek award winner "Urbaneering Brooklyn" (Courtesy Terreform1)

Last week at the Phaidon Bookstore in Soho, White Box held a benefit for their new sustainable art garden by organizing a panel discussion called “Sustainable Work Lab: new projects in art, architecture and urban design.” Ali Hossaini moderated the discussion between landscape designer Frances Levine, architect David Turnbull, and urban designer Maria Aiolova.

Hossaini yielded to Turnbull’s freewheeling conversation about Socratic love, i.e. the coupling of poverty and invention. Inspired by his fresh-off-the-plane-from-Kenya presentation, the crowd indulged in the philosophical debate. Turnbull balked at biennials and instead encouraged artists “to make artifacts that are useful and have that magical quality that keep them from being thrown away.”  “Sustainability should be the bare minimum,” concurred Aiolova. She should know. Her firm, Terreform1, held a sustainability love fest all summer long, which culminated in winning the Victor J. Papanek Social Design Award on August 17.

Continue reading after the jump.

Videos> Harmon’s Headaches Signal Thunder in the Vegas Sky

The Harmon Building in Las Vegas. (Courtesy vrysxy/flickr)

The Harmon Building (right) adjacent to the Crystals (left) in Las Vegas. (Courtesy vrysxy/flickr)

It’s official. Norman Foster’s unfinished and beleaguered Harmon Building at Las Vegas’ CityCenter is among the walking dead. Its owner MGM has announced its intention to implode the building, whose construction was plagued by incorrectly-installed rebar. These severe structural flaws led to a decision in 2009 to scrap the top half of the building, and it’s been sitting unoccupied ever since.

But what better way to send off what must be among the biggest buildings never occupied than a collection of the most spectacular implosions Las Vegas can muster? There are fireworks, spotlights, music, and lots of gawking onlookers. This stuff is fun, trust us.

Watch the videos after the jump.

Support Ball-Nogues Desert Drama

Newsletter, West
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
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Everyone’s favorite installation architects, Ball-Nogues Studio, are producing one of their most ambitious works to date: The Yucca Crater, a 24-foot-tall installation in the middle of the Mojave Desert near Joshua Tree. The project’s wavy wood shell will contain rock climbing holds on its interior, rising out of eight feet of water (the basin, the firm describes, is a nod to abandoned suburban swimming pools scattered across the Mojave).

The wood will come from the formwork of another Ball-Nogues project, Talus Dome, in Edmonton, Canada. It is being built for High Desert Test Sites (HDTS), an initiative that invites artists to create experimental projects scattered among towns near Joshua Tree National Park like Joshua Tree, Pioneertown, Wonder Valley, Yucca Valley, and 29 Palms.

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> Supertall! at The Skyscraper Museum

East, Newsletter
Monday, August 22, 2011
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Guangzhou West Tower Hotel Atrium, designed by Wilkinson Eyre. Courtesy Skyscraper Museum.

SUPERTALL!
WORLD TOWERS ABOVE 380 METERS
The Skyscraper Museum
39 Battery Place
New York
Through January 2012

The world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa is over twice the height of the Empire State Building—a grand total of 2,717 feet. The exhibition SUPERTALL! at the Skyscraper Museum explores the development of such architectural giants, presenting a survey of the world’s 48 tallest buildings completed since 2001 or expected for completion by 2016. The skyscrapers featured are at least 1,250 feet tall, with the majority from China, South Korea, and the Middle East, including Al-Hamara in Kuwait, above left. Organized chronologically as well as by region, the installation highlights the evolution of very tall buildings, opening with a 30-foot timeline of vertical constrution. Architectural models, computer renderings, as well as photographs and film, support a story focused on building technology, contemporary construction, and sustainable approaches. Nodding to the local as well as the global, the exhibition also includes a section on the original World Trade Center towers and the new construction rising on the site. images after the jump

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Open-Source Architecture: Download Your Own WikiHouse

Wikihouse prototypes. (Courtesy Wikihouse)

Wikihouse prototypes. (Courtesy Wikihouse)

Want to make your own home in 24 hours? Meet WikiHouse, a way to design and assemble a model structure within a single day. Wikihouse is designed to be easy to use with an online design community posting and editing open-source plans with Google Sketchup. Template plans can be downloaded and cut out with a CNC mill and then easily assembled with minimal skill.

From WikiHouse:

The first WikiHouse will be constructed in South Korea at the Gwangju Design Biennale 2011. We are now looking for architects, furniture designers, product designers, craftsmen, and makers from around the world who are interested in contributing to the WikiHouse process. If that’s you then please drop us an line on hello@wikihouse.cc!

Could downloaded design and “fabrication on the fly” be the future of architecture? How will open-source design impact the profession? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Check out the construction process after the jump.

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Video> Explore California’s “Accidental” Sea

Newsletter, West
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
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We just came across The Accidental Sea, a fascinating documentary about California’s bewildering Salton Sea, an artificial lake created by flooding the Colorado River southeast of Palm Springs. It quickly turned into a resort and then (after subsequent environmental degradation) into a ghost town. The film by Ransom Riggs explores the history of the site and looks at the eeriness there now, from rusted out cars to abandoned spas and homes. Makes you wonder about the tenuousness of our civilization and makes you want to explore California’s other modern ghost towns like California City, an 80,000 acre development once intended to be the third largest city in the state (it’s population is now just over 8,000 people).

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