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Emeco’s Navy Chair. (Courtesy Emeco, Montage by AN)
During World War II, the U.S. Government asked Wilton Carlyle Dinges, founder of the Hanover, PA-based Electrical Machine and Equipment Company (now Emeco) to design a lightweight chair rugged enough to “withstand water, salt air and sailors.” That design became known as the Navy Chair (or the Model 1006 for purists) and today has become a staple of industrial-chic design. Now you can add “copycats” to that list after a legal dispute, involving a nearly-identical chair from Restoration Hardware called the “Naval Chair,” has been settled.
BILLINGS (BLUE) AND INQUIRIES (RED) FOR THE PAST 12 MONTHS. (THE ARCHITECT’S NEWSPAPER)
The AIA’s Architectural Billings Index (ABI) stayed in positive territory for the fifth straight month in December with a score of 52.0 (any score above 50 indicates growth). The level of growth edged down slightly from November’s mark of 53.2. By region, the Midwest is currently performing the best (55.7), followed by the Northeast (53.1), and the South (51.2). The West remains in negative territory (49.6). “While it’s not an across the board recovery, we are hearing a much more positive outlook in terms of demand for design services,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, in a statement.
Solar Roofpod to be installed atop CCNY’s Spitzer School of Architecture. (Courtesy CCNY)
Beginning this summer, City College of New York’s Spitzer School of Architecture will welcome home its 2011 entry to the U.S. Solar Decathlon, a biennial student competition to design ultra-sustainable homes sponsored by the Department of Energy. The solar-panel-topped house, dubbed the Solar Roofpod, will be perched atop the architecture school and flanked by rooftop gardens and even a windmill. The house will be used as a meeting space and teaching device to show the benefits of environmentally-friendly design and materials.
Solar Roofpod was designed as a prototype structure that could easily attach to the roofs of buildings in high-density neighborhoods in cities like New York. A team of more than 100 students at the Spitzer School of Architecture and the Grove School of Engineering along with Architecture Professor Christian Volkmann designed and built the structure that was eventually displayed on the National Mall. The Solar Roofpod is expected to be fully reassembled in its new home in time for the fall semester.
Glenwood Power Plant in Yonkers. (June Marie / Flickr)
It has been nearly five decades since the Glenwood Power Plant in Yonkers, New York closed its doors, but developer Ron Shemesh has plans to transform this four-building complex on the Hudson into a hotel and convention center. The Wall Street Journal reported that Mr. Shemesh, a plastics manufacturer from the area, bought the property from investor Ken Capolino for $3 million. The project will be costly, however. Mr. Shemesh will need to raise around $155 million to redevelop the plant. In December, the Mid-Hudson Economic Development Council gave Mr. Shemesh a small economic boost with a $1 million grant to preserve the sprawling complex.
The firm has gained recognition for developing futuristic forms through new technologies and prototyping, and for “Framed: Interfaces, Narratives, and the Convergence of Architectural and Internet Technologies” The Living’s David Benjamin, who also directs the Living Architecture Lab at Columbia’s GSAPP, will sit down with Jonathan Lee, a designer at Google UXI, that company’s design think tank. Following what promises to be a lively presentation and conversation, a reception will celebrate the conclusion of the New Practices series.
The January 24 event, which is co-hosted by The Architect’s Newspaper, will be held at Axor’s NYC showroom. Free of charge with AIA CES credits provided. RSVP here.
The Menil Collection in Houston, Texas, has been honored with the 2013 AIA Twenty-Five Year Award. Renzo Piano designed the museum to house Dominique de Menil’s impressive collection of primitive African art and modern surrealist art in the heart of a residential neighborhood. The design respected Ms. de Menil’s wish to make the museum appear “large from the inside and small from the outside” and to ensure the works could be viewed under natural lighting.
Perkins+Will is designing one cool corporate headquarters for bike components manufacturer, SRAM, in Chicago’s Fulton Market District. Located inside the 1K Fulton development by the Sterling Bay Companies, an adaptive reuse of a ten-story cold storage warehouse, two floors of offices will include bleacher seating for group meetings, a product development shop, and even an interior cycling test track. But before construction could begin, there was one small problem most architects rarely encounter: the construction site needed to be defrosted after essentially serving as a building-size refrigerator since 1923.
Rendering of Heartwalk in Times Square. (Courtesy Situ Studio)
The fifth annual Times Square Valentine Heart Design has been awarded to Situ Studio. The Brooklyn-based architecture firm presented a design that features “boardwalk boards salvaged during Sandy’s aftermath—from Long Beach, New York; Sea Girt, New Jersey; and Atlantic City, New Jersey. ”
The project titled Heartwalk is described “as two ribbons of wooden planks that fluidly lift from the ground to form a heart shaped enclosure in the middle of Duffy Square.” The competition was cosponsored by Times Square Arts, the public art program of the Times Square Alliance, collaborated with Design Trust for Public Space. The installation opens on Tuesday, February 12, and remain on view until March 8, 2013.
New courtyard at Samsung’s new San Jose Campus. (Courtesy NBBJ)
As Apple and Facebook have proven, corporate complexes are all the rage these days in Silicon Valley. Samsung (Apple’s phone nemesis) is the latest tech titan to add to the roster of architectural Bay Area campuses, rivaling Apple’s planned circular headquarters and Facebook’s Gehry-designed West Campus. The company plans to build a 1.1 million square foot sales and R&D headquarters on its current North San Jose site. Designed NBBJ, it will include a 10-story tower, an amenity pavilion, and a parking garage.
The Villard Houses on Madison Avenue were one of Lenore Norman’s first projects at the Landmarks Preservation Commission. (Andrea Puggioni/Flickr)
Lenore Norman, a pioneer of historic preservation, died at 83 years old in her home on the Upper West Side on December 21st. She spent over 4 decades working tirelessly to preserve some of New York’s most iconic buildings and historic districts. Ms. Norman first stepped into her role as the executive director of the Landmarks Preservation Commission in the mid-1970s—a time when the idea of landmark preservation was fairly new and unpopular among some New Yorkers.
“The whole idea of preservation was not something that people really understood, and of course, all of the larger institutions and buildings, for the most part, fought it,” said Ms. Norman in an interview for The New York Preservation Archive Project.
The team is now promoting the park armed with a new economic impact summary, claiming that it will add value to the adjacent Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA). Specifically, Ramsey and Barasch argue that building the park would boost SPURA land values by $10 to $20 million and generate up to $10 million in taxes over the next 30 years. The Lowline also revealed its estimated budget, clocking in somewhere between $44 and $72 million to be paid for by a combination of fundraising, donations, and tax credits. If all goes according to plan, the Lowline could be financially self-sufficient, with a $2 to $4 million operating budget paid for by special events and commercial space. Uncertainty still looms over project, however, as the MTA hasn’t agreed that the space will be allowed to be converted into a park.