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On October 25 the New York Times reported on vandalism and closed bathrooms at the Toshiko Mori-designed Poe Park’s Visitor Center, but today a Parks Department spokesperson told AN that bathrooms were reopened and that the vandalism has been addressed. The late October report marred what had otherwise been a stellar week for the neighborhoods along the Grand Concourse nearby. Earlier in the week, a good chunk of the boulevard was landmarked and over the weekend, the Bronx Museum hosted Beyond the Super Square, a conference on mid-century Latin American and Caribbean architecture. However, the Poe Park Visitor Center itself still sits on shuttered while Parks and the Bronx County Historical society wrestle with how to staff the place. For now, a Parks’ video tour starring Toshiko Mori will have to suffice…
Chad Oppenheim's design for Williamsburghotel. (Courtesy Oppenheim)
Miami-based Oppenheim Architecture+Design has won an international design competition for a hotel in Brooklyn at the Williamsburg Bridge. The proposed 86,000 square foot, 440-foot-tall tower is comprised of three 16-foot deep vertical slabs and joins a recently announced 40-story rental tower designed by FX Fowle nearby on the waterfront as the latest high-rise planned for the neighborhood. Oppenheim declined to name the competition sponsor, citing a confidential development team, but the site adjacent to the landmarked, 1870s-era Williamsburgh Savings Bank is currently under renovation by a group intending to build a hotel and event space on the corner of Broadway and Driggs Avenue.
The Trust for the National Mall has announced the finalists for the first round of its National Mall Design Competition. The 700-acres of parkland have been worn down over the years thanks hoards of visitors (25 million a year), marches, and certain bi-annualdecathalons. The scope of the competition includes three distinct areas of the mall: Union Square, the Washington Monument Grounds at Sylvan Theater, and Constitution Gardens. Finalists were selected for each area, and will move on to stage two of the competition (team interviews), and then—finally—a selected few will be asked to envision a design for one of the three designated area.
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
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.