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John Liu, New York’s City Controller, is set to reject the much hyped “taxi of tomorrow” because it is not 100% handicap accessible. In rejecting the new design Liu claims that it if adopted as the standard taxi for the city it would become “a symbol of exclusion by telling wheelchair users ‘find another ride.’ That’s not what New York City is about.” I guess Liu is not talking about the present taxi standard the ubiquitous Crown Victoria which has become an iconic symbol of the city for the past decade but is barely accessible by the public.
Lulu Chow Wang Campus Center and Davis Garage at Wellesley College. (Timothy Hursley)
And the winners of what wants to be the Academy Awards of design are as follows!
The Cooper-Hewitt’s ’s 2012 National Design Award in Architecture goes to Mack Scogin and Merrill Elam in Atlanta. We love the factory for Herman Miller and the Lulu Chow Wang Campus Center for Wellesley College is very cool, too. The Landscape Design award goes to Boston-based Stoss Landscape Urbanism whose interest in infrastructure at such projects as Erie Street Plaza in Milwaukee—part-civic, part-storm-water drainage—is so on message. Totally groovy LA architect Clive Wilkinson Architects wins for his interiors; his clients—Google, Nokia, 20th Century Fox, Disney—are running the world of infotainment!
Washington Monument grounds. (Courtesy OLIN & Weiss/Manfredi)
Following a design competition that dramatically reimagined the landscape of the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the Trust for the National Mall has announced three winning teams to update various segments of the iconic public space. Union Square, near the foot of the Capitol, will be redesigned by Gustafson Guthrie Nichol and Davis Brody Bond, Constitution Gardens, near the Lincoln Memorial and reflecting pool, will be redone by Rogers Marvel Architects and Peter Walker & Partners, and the grounds surrounding the Washington Monument will be reimagined by OLIN and Weiss/Manfredi.
West-facing facade at night (Courtesy Steven Holl Architects)
Located on the eastern edge of the Virginia Commonwealth University campus at the corner of Belvidere and Broad Streets, Steven Holl’s Institute for Contemporary Art will act as threshold to the university and the city. The core of the building is a double-height “forum” cased in a twisting facade to the north and intersected by a performance space jutting southward. These frame the glass facade of the east-facing entrance—a visual gateway leading from the city to the university that allows for transparency and natural light while activating the weathered zinc facade at night. Radiating from the forum are a series of long rectangular galleries stacked atop one another at varying angles towards the east, framing the sculpture garden and funneling visitors to the secondary entrance facing the university. Glass facades at the ends of the stacked galleries can be projected onto from within to animate the sculpture garden. Read More
Rendering of the proposed streetcar (LA Streetcar Inc)
The dream of again riding a streetcar in Downtown LA is one step closer to reality. Blogdowntown reports that an environmental review is now underway for two potential routes. The two paths, each four-miles long, were selected as part of the federally-required Alternatives Analysis (AA) process and were recently sent to METRO’s Planning & Programming Committee and Construction Committee.
Yesterday's committee vote approved replacing Orange County Government Center. (AN/Stoelker)
Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center moved a tentative step closer to demolition yesterday after a subcommittee of the county legislature approved $14.6 million to finance the design of a new $75 million complex. With the subcommittee vote cleared, a full vote by the legislature is expected on May 3. But committee chair Michael Pilmeier’s vote breaking a four to four split hints that the plan may not have the two-third majority of the legislature needed to proceed.
The video shows the bad old days before the Thompson plan for the seaport was complete.
While combing the web for info on the early days of the South Street Seaport‘s Pier 17, AN came across a Youtube video of Ben & Jane Thompson discussing plans for redeveloping the upland and the piers near Fulton Fish Market. The short video, circa 1981, certainly puts the current debate on SHoP’s new design into historical focus, particularly when Ben Thompson speaks of retaining the now long gone market.
Detail of the Pier 17 model presented by SHoP at yesterday's Landmarks hearing. (AN/Stoelker)
The PoMo aficionados were out in force at yesterday’s Landmarks Preservation hearing for the new proposal for South Street Seaport’s Pier 17. It would seem that just as debate on the value of 1970s Brutalism shifts into high gear, the 1980s PoMo crowd is revving its engines. As preservationists and developers whacked it out, some larger questions about context and neighborhood integration arose.
But masses of people taking to the streets wasn’t the big news out of LA. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa made a surprise announcement that the city is the latest to join the bike share craze that’s been pedaling across the nation. When it opens later this year, LA’s bike share system will be among the largest in the country, so AN decided to take stock of where some of the biggest initiatives stand today.
Constitutional Gardens proposal by Nelson Byrd Woltz and Paul Murdoch.
The Trust for the National Mall, a nonprofit devoted to restoring the heavily used park in the core of Washington, D.C., has released the shortlisted design concepts in its National Mall Design Competition. The 10 teams in the contest’s final stage were asked to reimagine three sites on the Mall most in need of repair or improvement: Constitution Gardens, near the Lincoln Memorial and the Reflecting Pool; the Washington Monument grounds; and the area around the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial facing the U.S. Capitol’s west face.
The NYU expansion master plan as seen from above will not change drastically. (Courtesy NYU)
As was largely expected following comments from Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer‘s office leaked to the press last month, officials from NYU announced that the university has agreed to shave off 370,000 square feet from their 2,275,000 square foot expansion plan,The New York Times reported.
In a telephone interview with AN,Andrew Berman, of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, said that even with those changes the project is still out of scale for the neighborhood. Berman added that he was disappointed that the Borough President (BP) didn’t hold public meetings for the ULURP, as was done for the Columbia University expansion in Morningside Heights. “If there was ever a ULURP to hold a public hearing for, it was this,” he said.
The torquing towers. (Courtesy Grove at Grand Bay)
After a loss in Chicago, Bjarke Ingel’s North American tour continues unimpeded as the design for his latest project, a set of twisting towers in Coconut Grove, Miami, was revealed at an invitation-only party in late March. Called the Grove at Grand Bay, the set of 20-story towers will contain a combined 96 luxury residences, 59 units in one tower and 37 in the other, on the three-acre site currently occupied by the once-hip-but-now-shuttered Grand Bay Hotel that once entertained the likes of Michael Jackson, Prince, and Pavarotti. Tenants of the new towers, however, are likely to be just as rich and possibly as famous.