Bestor Unleashes Disco Silencio at SCI-Arc

Dean's List, Newsletter, West
Monday, April 4, 2011
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Architectural exhibition openings are hardly known for their cool vibe, but that’s apparently because they’re not usually put on by LA-based Barbara Bestor Architecture. On April 1 SCI-Arc opened Bestor’s Disco Silencio to a crowd very eager to party. The installation at the SCI-Arc gallery is a demi-dodecahedron formed in plywood meant to be a silent retreat for frazzled SCI-Arc architecture students (at least when the DJ isn’t spinning and disco lights are whirling).

Continue reading after the jump.

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Zumthor′s Secret Garden: First Look at 2011 Serpentine Pavilion

International, Newsletter
Monday, April 4, 2011
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Peter & Piet: Landscape architect Piet Oudolf will collaborate with Peter Zumthor on the 2011 Serpentine Pavilion (Courtesy Serpentine Gallery).

Today the Serpentine Gallery released the first renderings of Swiss architect Peter Zumthor‘s plans for its annual 2011 pavilion. Zumthor has recruited Piet Oudolf, the Dutch landscape designer who helped transform the High Line in New York, to work with him on the concept of a “hortus conclusus” (in case you skipped Latin class, that’s a secret garden within a garden).

Continue reading after the jump.

Developer vs. Architect/Developer

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
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Tim McDonald of Onionflats showed neighborhood designs based on Philly's classic trinity row home.

The night was called “Different by Design,” though it could have been subtitled “Designing Differences.” Developer Abby Hamlin moderated an amusing exchange between developers and architect/developers at Columbia University’s GSAPP Real Estate Development program on Tuesday. The original intent was to present the merits of good design to real estate development and architecture students, but a developer vs. architect rivalry emerged pretty early on. New York developer Jane Gladstein joined the Chicago based developers Karen and Robert Ranquist, while New York-based Jared Della Valle, San Diego-based Jonathan Segal, and Tim McDonald of Philadelphia represented the contingent of architects who act as their own developers.

Read more after the jump.

Eduardo Souto de Moura Wins 2011 Pritzker Prize (Updated)

Apartment Building in Maia, Portugal (Courtesy El Croquis)

Apartment Building in Maia, Portugal (Courtesy El Croquis)

Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura has won the 2011 Pritzker Prize, according to several reports. The Porto-based architect worked for the country’s other Pritzker winner, Alvaro Siza, but has had a prolific career on his own since opening his office in 1980. Not widely known outside Portugal, Souto de Moura designed the new stadium in Braga in 2004, which, like much of his work, has strong, highly legible forms. There he blasted granite from the site that was later crushed to make concrete for the building.

Check out some of De Moura’s work after the jump.

Visionary Update in Inglewood

Newsletter, West
Friday, March 25, 2011
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Last fall we reported on (fer) Studio’s proposed designs for Inglewood’s once-bustling but now down-on-its-luck Market Street; a strategy to anchor the street, enliven its storefronts, and integrate it with the coming Expo Light Rail line. Those preliminary designs have come a long way. Their latest iteration again focuses on Market Street’s re-zoning, but fleshes out a wider system of  urban agriculture; wind, photovoltaic, bio fuel, and geothermal energy; a green belt, and a self-contained water reservoir. Not to mention some gigantic planted towers, canopies, and  walls—”vertical public spaces giving Inglewood an identity,” says (fer)’s Chris Mercier, over transit and mixed-use. Despite losing their staunchest ally, Mayor Daniel Tabor (who recently resigned) they’ve submitted the plans to Cascadia’s Living City Competition, and are still trying to push them to what is a fairly conservative city council.  To get a closer look at these and other visionary plans from (fer), join our friends at deLAB as they visit their studios in Inglewood tomorrow. More pix of (fer)’s schemes below. Read More

Hudson Yards Update

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
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Hudson Yards retail hub by German engineer Werner Sobek (Courtesy Related)

Related and its confrere Oxford Properties today launched a new website for Hudson Yards, with some surprises. Followers of the down & dirty rail yard turned 12 million square foot urban Elysium may be forgiven if they have forgotten some of the details of the winning scheme—we sure did. And besides that was yesterday and a master plan. Still, of all the names dropped and found, bandied about and sprinkled on for good measure, we sure do not remember Werner Sobek as a major player.

Read more after the jump.

BIG’s First Step into the Final Frontier

International, Newsletter
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
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Courtesy BIG

A reflective sphere floats above a highway outside Stockholm in BIG's winning "Energy Valley" master plan (Courtesy BIG).

BIG won’t let its ambitions be impeded by the laws of physics–namely, gravity. For a competition to plan and design the area around the Hjulsta Intersection, a massive highway infrastructure project just north of Stockholm, BIG teamed up with firms Grontji and Spacescape to create “Energy Valley,” and their winning master plan addresses not only the area around the highway interchange but also above it. The plan’s surreal defining feature is “a reflective, self‐sustaining hovering sphere mirroring Stockholm as it is, new and old, creating a 180 degree view of the area for the drivers on their way in or out of the city.”

Covered with photovoltaic film and tethered to the ground, this mysterious giant orb would supposedly generate enough solar and wind power to keep itself aloft while also providing power for over 200 surrounding houses. Read More

Columbia Boathouse Marsh Hullabaloo

East, Newsletter
Monday, March 21, 2011
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New renderings shown at the community meeting include a few details that won't make it into the final picture. Instead of galvanized steel and cables the rails will be executed in bent wood.

Columbia University looks as though it’s in the final stretch of the public review process for the proposed Boathouse Marsh designed by James Corner Field Operations and the Steven Holl-designed Campbell Sports Center. On Friday night and Sunday afternoon, Columbia University Executive VP Joseph Ienuso made presentations to neighborhood residents. A few media outlets dubbed the gatherings “dueling meetings,” due to some political infighting between council members Robert Jackson and Ydanis Rodriguez, which erupted during a subcommittee meeting before the city council last week. The background political drama only heightened already-tense negotiations between the neighbors and the university.

Continue reading after the jump.

AN Mixed Media> The Furniture Debates

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
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Michael Graves discusses furniture design (BK / The Architect's Newspaper)

Michael Graves discusses furniture design (BK / The Architect's Newspaper)

“Drafted: the evolving role of architects in furniture design.” It was a MAD idea: To talk about why American manufacturers don’t do the job they once did in supporting American architects and designers at making furniture. Held March 10 at the Museum of Arts & Design’s own restored and midcentury soigné auditorium, the assembled panel really knew what they were talking about:

Michael Graves recalled his early days working for George Nelson in riveting detail and why Target has dropped independent designers; Jeffrey Bernett, one of the few American designers routinely designing for B&B, summed up Italy versus Herman Miller; Gisue Hariri of Hariri & Hariri eloquently addressed why architects feel compelled to make furniture, and what happened when her architecture firm tried to go there on a larger scale; and Granger Moorhead of Moorhead & Moorhead gave great reason for everyone to hope there is another golden age, especially for New York furniture designers, just ahead.

Watch the highlight reel after the jump.

Video> Subterranean City of Ants Unearthed

International, Newsletter
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
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Unearthing a giant ant colony (Still from video)

Unearthing a giant ant colony (Still from video)

Architecture built by other species can be just as fascinating as our own. Take this excavation of a giant ant colony covering 50 square meters and descending 8 meters into the ground. Researchers filled the (hopefully abandoned) insect city with ten tons of cement and proceeded to excavate the surrounding dirt, revealing hidden tunnels and fungi farms. According to the film, the ant colony was also designed with good ventilation in mind. In all, it’s estimated that the ants moved some 40 tons of earth to create their metropolis. (Via Swiss Miss.)

Watch the video after the jump.

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Green in Queens: Private Solar Array Goes Live

East, Newsletter
Friday, March 11, 2011
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Panels were installed by National Grid Energy Management working with Solar Energy Systems. (Courtesy Davis & Warshow)

One of the city’s largest private solar power installations promises to produce 270,000 kWh of clean energy annually, eliminating about 235,000 pounds of carbon dioxide pollution each year. The new solar array is part of an initiative by employee-owned kitchen and bath distributor Davis & Warshow to green its Queens headquarters. The installation includes 1,038 panels affixed to the rooftops of three buildings in the company’s 250,000-square-foot complex on Maspeth Creek. Read More

Facebook Charrette Offers Big Ideas for Menlo Park

Newsletter, West
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
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Residential towers with green roofs overlook a nature trail and bicycle path along wetlands. (Courtesy Paul Jamtgaard of Group 4 Architecture.)

Last Saturday, architecture took a cue from Project Runway. The assignment: In one fast-paced day, redesign a less-than-inspiring edge of a California town as a glamorous new transit-oriented development—starting with site analysis and ending in a formal presentation of conceptual designs. Among the days visions to sashay onto the stage were mixed-use high-rises, a light-rail station, green roofs and solar collectors, and an alluring gateway arch.

Read more after the jump.

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