No More Nicolai: Critic Leaving NY Times

Nicolai Ourossoff appeared on Charlie Rose (Screen Capture)

Nicolai Ouroussoff appeared on Charlie Rose (Screen Capture)

According to an in-house memo, New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff is “moving on” at the end of this month.

The sweet but short memo about the critic—who this year submitted his own Pulitzer nomination package—was sent around this morning from culture editor Jonathan Landman. Ouroussoff’s plan, the memo said, is:

to write a book about the architectural and cultural history of the last 100 years, “from Adolf Loos’s Vienna and the utopian social experiments of post-revolutionary Russia to postwar Los Angeles and the closing years of the 20th century,” as Nicolai describes it.

Continue reading after the jump.

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Scaling Sculptures on Governors Island

East, Newsletter
Friday, June 3, 2011
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Several kids test the sturdiness of a di Suvero

Kids get it. While the adults stand around discussing the merits and aspirations of a large sculpture or installation, kids climb all over it. A few years back, when Richard Serra‘s Intersections II was installed in MoMA’s sculpture garden, toddlers raced between the tilted arcs in a game of hide and seek. More recently, kids playing around Situ Studio‘s reOrder installation have turned the Great Hall of the Brooklyn Museum into Romper Room. Now, with Storm King bringing in Mark di Suvero sculptures and Figment in town to install their annual golf course and sculpture garden, Governors Island is getting its workout.

Read More

Video> The Guggenheim′s Mute Button Dials Down the Urban Din

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
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The Guggenheim teams up with Improv Everywhere in Prospect Park. (Video still)

The Guggenheim teams up with Improv Everywhere in Prospect Park. (Video still)

The Guggenheim has been blurring the boundaries of what makes a traditional museum lately, and among their latest forays into the streets of New York is stillspotting nyc, a series investigating urban life (a previous program, Sanitorium, explored what keeps city dwellers sane as they rush about their hectic lives). Now, The Mute Button, a collaboration between the Guggenheim and Improv Everywhere, continues this trend by staging 23 under-cover actors and two dogs at the entrance to Prospect Park at Grand Army Plaza. The troup is a noisy bunch, until–presto!–the din of the city turns silent. A camera was on hand to catch the reactions of befuddled passers by. (Via Gothamist.)

Watch the video after the jump.

Sculptures by Sol LeWitt Stand Tall In Lower Manhattan

Detail of Splotch 15 (Branden Klayko/AN)

Detail of Splotch 15 (Branden Klayko/AN)

Last week, Mayor Bloomberg and a cadre of arts enthusiasts from the Public Art Fund gathered at City Hall Park to officially open a retrospective on conceptual artist Sol LeWitt titled Structures, 1965-2006. Comprised primarily of sleek white cubes and forms and one colorful Splotch, the installation of 27 sculptures represents the first outdoor retrospective of LeWitt’s work as well as the largest public art display at City Hall Park, billed by Nicholas Baume, chief curator for the Public Art Fund, as New York’s “museum without walls.”

Check out the sculptures after the jump.

Video> A Cry for Modernism in NOLA

A shot of Phillis Wheatley from A Plea For Modernism

Filmmaker Evan Mather, one of the country’s few architectural filmmakers, makes a viral appeal for Charles R. Colbert’s Phillis Wheatley Elementary School in New Orleans, which is set for demolition this summer. Appropriately titled A Plea for Modernism, the 12 minute short makes the case that buildings like Phillis Wheatley are disappearing throughout the Crescent City (watch the video after the jump).

The school–owned by the Recovery School District and located in the historic neighborhood of Tremé–is one 30 schools in the city from the postwar Modernist Movement of the 1950s and 60s (only four of those schools still stand). New Orleans is also home to Moisant Airport, the Greater New Orleans Bridge, and other works by the likes of Goldstein, Parham & Labouisse, Modjeski & Masters, and Curtis & Davis.

Watch the video after the jump.

Johnson′s Glass House: the Anti-McMansion?

East, National, Newsletter
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
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Courtesy Philip Johnson Glass House

Courtesy Philip Johnson Glass House

Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan, CT clocks in at under 2,000 square feet–tiny compared to the McMansions being built just a stone’s throw away. The transparent house is widely known as one of the earliest and most influential modernist homes in the United States, but its size is also a lesson in sustainable living.

Continue reading after the jump.

Fly Denari Airlines

Having worked there on and off for the last 25 years Neil Denari is huge in Japan. His latest achievement in the country was just unveiled yesterday: the complete design for Japan’s first ever low-cost regional airline, called Peach. Read More

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Infrastructure Blues: ULI Report Assesses National & Global Policy

Once again, the results of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) /Ernst & Young annual global infrastructure report don’t look good for America. According to the document, “The United States notably continues to lag its global competition—laboring without a national infrastructure plan, lacking political consensus, and contending with severe federal, state, and local budget deficits that limit options.” The end of the federal stimulus package in 2013 makes the picture even bleaker. “The stimulus helped, but it was only a down payment on what’s needed,” said Ernst & Young Global Real Estate Leader Howard Roth at a recent ULI meeting in Phoenix.

Continue reading after the jump.

Billings> Index Tumbles to Lowest Point in 6 Months

National, Newsletter
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
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Billings (blue) and inquiries (red) for the past 12 months. (The Architect's Newspaper)

Billings (blue) and inquiries (red) for the past 12 months. (The Architect's Newspaper)

In what can only be described as an about face, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) took a bit of a tumble into negative territory last month. The April ABI fell to 47.6 from 50.6, beating even October’s low of 48.7. At the end of 2010, words like “rebound” were cautiously bandied about, but for the past three months the ABI skated along the edge of positive territory hovering around 50.

Continue reading after the jump.

Video> Thomas Heatherwick′s Seed Cathedral

Seed Cathedral by Thomas Heatherwick (Photo by Eugene Regis/Flickr)

Seed Cathedral by Thomas Heatherwick (Photo by Eugene Regis/Flickr)

British architect Thomas Heatherwick was recently featured on a Ted Talk where he presented five projects including his Seed Cathedral from Shanghai’s Expo 2010. The pavilion incorporated thousands of seed-encapsulating plastic rods that transmit light into and out of the building. Taken as a whole, the strands resemble one giant occupiable seed puff. Check out Heatherwick’s talk about the Seed Cathedral and his firm’s design philosophy after the jump.

Watch the video after the jump.

Guggenheim′s Newest Exhibit to Offer Therapy

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
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Pedro Reyes's rendering of the Sanatorium

The stereotypes of New Yorkers are that they’re rude, they only wear black, and they all have therapists. Sanitorium, the first installation of Guggenheim’s new program, stillspotting nyc, explores the smorgasborg of therapies that help the city’s neurotic residents keep their lives together.

Continue reading after the jump.

Eight Celebs Who Take High Speed Rail

Courtesy John H. Gray/flickr and Michele Asselin/Arrive

Courtesy John H. Gray/flickr and Michele Asselin/Arrive

The current state of rail is nowhere near its heyday in the 20th century, when train travel was luxurious and serviced most parts of the country. But high speed rail is making a comeback, championed by planners, environmentalists, and the Obama administration.

The mode of transport still has to contend with car and air travel (along with a reputation for inconsistency and irrelevance), but it got some help in March, when a commercial featured Mad Men‘s Pete Campbell and Harry Crane building a campaign for high speed rail. And Amtrak still has an surprising roster of famous passengers, which includes Angelina Jolie, Jesse Jackson and John Travolta, according to forums on Flyertalk.com and Trainorders.com. Check out these celebrities who take high speed rail:

8 famous Amtrak passengers

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