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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9/11 Memorial Plaza: How It Works

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
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(all images courtesy Peter Walker Partners)

A decade after the 9/11 attacks, the public will soon be able to visit the site, much of which has been fully transformed into the 9/11 Memorial Plaza. While many were dispirited by the years of revisions to and deviations from the Libeskind master plan (which itself had many detractors), AN‘s recent visit to the plaza, crowded with workers laboring toward the anniversary opening, revealed a vast, contemplative space that we predict will function well as both a memorial and a public space. Next week AN will take a look at the design and offer a preview of the what the public can expect from the space, but, first, a look at how the highly engineered plaza works.

Continue reading after the jump.

Touring LA Architecture By… Bike?

Newsletter, West
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
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Bikers visiting Pierre Koenig's Case Study House 22

Los Angeles is a great city for architecture. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to breeze past landmarks inside our cars with barely a moment’s notice. A group of young designers and cyclists in LA are looking to slow you down and up your appreciation level by setting up regular free bicycle tours to some of the city’s most iconic architectural sights.

Continue reading after the jump.

Pictorial> Loew’s King Theater in Brooklyn, Before

East, Newsletter
Thursday, August 11, 2011
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An old curtain falls within the proscenium. (AN/Stoelker)

There’s an old expression that perfectly describes the current condition of the Loew’s King movie palace on Flatbush Avenue: “regal rot.” There’s beauty in the decay, yet no one wants to see the the rot take the upper hand. At the moment the dank smell foretells the considerable work that lies ahead for the Houston-based ACE Theatrical Group, the developer selected by NYCEDC and Borough President Marty Markowitz to restore and operate the 1929 building.

Check out the gallery (and a video) after the jump.

Inverted Adjmi

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
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Looking down Lafayette at Adjmi's designs for the southwest corner of Great Jones Street. (Courtesy Morris Adjmi Architects)

Morris Adjmi seems to be on something of an inversion kick as of late. His design proposal for a building on Walker Street, which was approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) in June, used an inverted bas relief effect that made the concrete facade seem as though a cast iron building was pressed into a large piece of clay. The new proposal for the southwest corner of Lafayette and Great Jones Street uses a similar technique, but in aluminum sections. But at a public hearing on Tuesday LPC put the breaks on the Lafayette proposal, saying the architect needed more depth and detail. “In general, they asked for the addition of more variety, depth and articulation of the facade, particularly the long facade,” Landmarks spokesperson Elisabeth de Bourbon wrote in an email.

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Will Google’s new campus outdo Apple’s?

Newsletter, West
Monday, August 8, 2011
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After Apple unveiled its plans for a spaceship-like new headquarters by (we think) Norman Foster at a recent Cupertino city council meeting, it appears that their chief rival Google is now looking, as usual, to outdo the Apple-ites. We hear from our sources that edgy—and super green—German architect Christoph Ingenhoven is set to design the Google HQ addition, supplementing the massive GooglePlex in Mountainview (which already contains more than 65 buildings).

According to the San Jose Mercury News the company has already leased an additional 9.4 acres from Mountain View at a price of $30 million and is planning to build the new office space there, accommodating new recruits, among others. Perhaps the offices will do a better job of engaging their Silicon Valley environs? Stay tuned. Or just keep Googling it. And check out some Ingenhoven designs below:

Continue reading after the jump.

Video> Lithuanian Mayor Goes on Bike Lane Offensive

International, Newsletter
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
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Mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania crushing a car in the bike lane. (Video still)

Mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania crushing a car in the bike lane. (Video still)

A few days ago on July 30, Arturas Zuokas, the mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania, became fed up with cars illegally parked in the city’s bike lanes. To prove his point, he ordered in a tank and proceeded to crush a Mercedes-Benz stopped not only in a bike lane but partially in a crosswalk. The mayor then takes all scofflaw motorists to task, declaring, “That’s what will happen if you park your car illegally!” Perhaps, best of all, the Zuokas swept the broken glass from the bike lane and hopped on an electric bike and rode off into the horizon. Can you imagine such a thing happening in America? (Via Urban Velo.)

Watch the amazing video after the jump.

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Rethink/LA Imagines The Future Los Angeles

Newsletter, West
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
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Architects Taalman Koch reimagine LA's Hyperion Sewage Treatment Plant as a recreation area and animal habitat. 

Architects Taalman Koch reimagine LA's Hyperion Sewage Treatment Plant as a recreation area and animal habitat.

Los Angeles is a shifty creature, ever-changing and re-inventing itself. As memories of the perfect weekend (aka Carmageddon)  fade into memory, a collaboration of creative professionals is looking to re-focus our collective consciousness on Los Angeles’ past, present, and what it might look like in fifty years. Opening this Thursday at the A+D Museum on Wilshire Boulevard, Rethink/LA’s Perspectives on a Future City captures the voices of local Angelenos—writers, city planners, policymakers, and artists—through sound installations, collages, and videos.

Continue reading after the jump.

Museum Plaza Developers Scrap Plans for Tower

Midwest, Newsletter
Monday, August 1, 2011
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Museum Plaza would have extended Louisville's skyline. (Courtesy REX)

Museum Plaza would have extended Louisville's skyline. (Courtesy REX)

The first line of a press statement sent out by developers of the REX-designed Museum Plaza tower in Louisville, Kentucky put it bluntly: “Museum Plaza will not be built.” The 62-story hyper-rational tower—part kunsthalle museum, part residential and commercial hub, part art school—was hoped to signal the rejuvenation of the city’s urban core, but like so many iconic buildings proposed in the days leading up to the great recession, the vision succumbed to the realities of the financial markets.

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On View> Light Pavilion by Lebbeus Woods & Christoph A. Kumpusch

Newsletter, West
Thursday, July 28, 2011
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Rendering of Woods & Kumpusch's Light Pavilion. (Courtesy MAK)

Rendering of Woods & Kumpusch's Light Pavilion. (Courtesy MAK)

Light Pavilion by Lebbeus Woods and
Christoph A. Kumpusch: Construction
Drawings & In-Process Photographs at the
Mackey Garage Top
MAK Center at the Schindler House
835 North Kings Road
West Hollywood
Through August 6

The Light Pavilion by Lebbeus Woods and Christoph A. Kumpusch was created for Steven Holl’s Sliced Porosity Block project now under construction in Chengdu, China, and will be Lebbeus Woods’ first built work of architecture. A physical intervention into Holl’s rectilinear structure, the pavilion consists of a series of columns and stairs that are illuminated from with and change color, and the luminous effect will be amplified by the pavilion’s mirrored interior walls. The MAK exhibition includes construction drawings and process photographs of the installation, as well as conceptual renderings of this project, above, and other work of Woods and Kumpusch.

See more after the jump.

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