Welcome to The Architect's Newspaper Blog! It looks like you're new here, so you may want to consider joining the discussion on our Facebook page or on Twitter. Stay up to date with the latest blog stories by subscribing to the AN Blog RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!
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.
What is a Super-Furniture? According to Chicago architect Jimenez Lai of Bureau Spectacular, it is “a building that is kind of too small, or a couch that is kind of too big.” Whichever way you prefer to think of it, Lai’s plan to live in one of the his installation-scale Super-Furniture, in this case called the Hefner/Beuys House, for a month inside a London gallery is a provocative project where “suddenly architecture becomes performance art.”
The city's plans for Willets Point took a giant step forward with federal approval of highway ramps (Courtesy NYCEDC).
In Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby the billboard eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg kept watch over the ash heaps near Willets Point. For the past four years Mayor Bloomberg has had his eyes steadfastly fixed on the site and it looks as though he may realize his vision of the area as a mixed use development. Today Crain’s reports that a key part of the redevelopment plan, ramps connecting to the Van Wyck Expressway, was approved by the Federal Highway Administration.
The courthouse site in Los Angeles. (Courtesy Bing)
The biggest new architecture project in Los Angeles just got a much smaller list of candidates. The General Services Administration (GSA) has released the shortlist for the new U.S. Courthouse in LA, a design-build project where architects are partnered with builders. When completed, the building, located on a 3.7 acre lot at 107 South Broadway, will measure 600,000 square feet. It’s projected to cost $322 million and be completed by 2016.
Urban Remediation and Civic Infrastructure Hub, São Paulo, Brazil
The Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction in Zurich, Switzerland has announced the winners of its 2012 Global Holcim Awards and the Holcim Innovation Prizes. Regional prize winners (15 for Global Awards and 53 for Innovation Prizes) were examined, and from them 3 Global Awards and 3 Innovation Prizes were handed out to projects that address environmental performance, social responsibility, and economic efficiency.
Each of the winning projects are innovative, future-oriented, and usually have a social or cultural component as a key part of their program. This year’s jury for the Global Awards was headed by TEN Arquitectos’ Enrique Norton and included critic Aaron Betsky and architect Mario Botta. The Innovation Prize Jury was led by architect Harry Gugger and included economists and engineers.
The city's plans for a new $11 million entrance to Coney Island beach (Courtesy NYC EDC via Gothamist)
The New York Post says the city’s plans for the new entrance to Coney Island are just “beachy” and “spectacular” while Gothamist tells readers to “behold …a grand beachfront entrance fit for pharaohs.” The plan replaces the sixty-year-old Eighth Street Bridge with a sweeping new plaza at Tenth Street. The change may be welcome compared to the decayed structure that greets visitors now, but does it have anything to do with the Coney of ‘ol New York? Read More
An early conception of the campus created by the city of Mountain View.
You can’t even, well, Google it yet, but we’ve picked some meaty news from the grapevine: Google has fired German firm Ingenhoven Architects as the designers of its new headquarters in Mountain View, California. The building, to be located on 18.6 acres next to the current “Googleplex,” off of North Shoreline Boulevard, would measure a maximum of 595,000 square feet and house 2,500 to 3,000 employees, including executives, engineers, and scientists.
In our recent story about architectural manufacturing in Southern California we alluded to LA-based curtain wall specialists Enclos‘ dream of manufacturing on-site through semi trailers that contain mini-factories inside. The assembly line trailers, known as “Cassette Wall Assembly Mobile Facilities,” would pull into the site and open up via hinges, rollers or adjustable panels. They could solve the problem of shipping glass curtain wall pieces long distances by putting all production onsite. “Auto-assemble robotic technology,” along with conveyer belts, suction cups (to move the glass), silicone pumps (for glazing), and of course human elbow grease could produce units quickly, accurately and, in many cases, in custom fashion. Here’s a video of that process. Welcome to the future, people.
It appears that AIA/LA is serious about opening a new architecture center, a storefront, multi-use space similar to that of the Center for Architecture in New York (above). According to a now expired post on Idealist.org, they’re looking for (and rumored to have already hired) a new fulltime “Campaign Director” for an $8 to 15 million capital campaign to “support the acquisition and renovation of an existing building for the new Center for Architecture and Urban Design Los Angeles,” and “create an endowment to maintain this new property.”
According to the post the center will be “a highly collaborative organization that builds strong relationships with other organizations to carry out its mission.” The center is rumored to contain not just AIA offices and exhibition and event spaces, but perhaps spaces for the A+D Architecture and Design Museum and the Urban Land Institute’s Los Angeles chapter.