Another Brutalist Wonder Bites the Dust: Johansen’s Mechanic Theatre

Mechanic Theatre in Baltimore (photo: Edward Gunts)

Despite pleas for preservation from some of the nation’s top architects, demolition work has begun on  a nationally significant example of “Brutalist” architecture in north America, the 1967 Morris A. Mechanic Theatre in Baltimore, Maryland, designed by the late John M. Johansen.

A  yellow backhoe with a spike-like attachment began chipping into the theater’s concrete exterior earlier this month, ending any chance that the building could be saved. One local preservationist was able to salvage the original letters from the  building, but nothing else. Read More

Relive the summer with the Architecture Billings Index’s August report

Other
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
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BILLINGS (BLUE), INQUIRIES (RED), AND DESIGN CONTRACTS (GREEN) FOR THE PAST 12 MONTHS. (THE ARCHITECT’S NEWSPAPER)

BILLINGS (BLUE), INQUIRIES (RED), AND DESIGN CONTRACTS (GREEN) FOR THE PAST 12 MONTHS. (THE ARCHITECT’S NEWSPAPER)

As the summer turns to fall, it’s easy to look back and remember the season that was. There was that outdoor concert, that weekend trip to Montreal, that margarita served in a mason jar, and that time you and your neighbor Karl tried to repave the deck. Hey there, chin up, no need to get so nostalgic just yet, that’s what the winter is for. There is one last way to relive that glorious summer right now. How? Through the Architecture Billings Index (ABI), of course. With the newly-released August-time data it’s like the Autumnal Equinox never even happened at all.

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Bjarke Ingels returns to Denmark with “Aarhus Island”

Aarhus Island at night. (Courtesy BIG via Design Boom)

Aarhus Island at night. (Courtesy BIG via Design Boom)

With Bjarke Ingels’ pyramid-like tower—dubbed the “courtscraper”—rising quickly on Manhattan’s West Side, the globe-trotting architect has unveiled plans for his latest sloping project. And this one has the Dane back in Denmark. In his home country, in the city of Aarhus, Bjarke has created “Aarhus Island,” a mixed-use development along the water.

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On View> Roxy Paine’s “Denuded Lens” at New York’s Marianne Boesky Gallery

Art, East, Newsletter, On View
Monday, September 22, 2014
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(Courtesy Marianne Boesky Gallery)

(Courtesy Marianne Boesky Gallery)

Roxy Paine: Denuded Lens
Marianne Boesky Gallery
509 West 24th Street, New York
Through October 18

The artist Roxy Paine has long been interested in exploring combinations of the natural with the mechanical or manmade. In his latest exhibition, his first at the Marianne Boesky Gallery, called Denuded Lens, he has created a large-scale diorama of one of the more mundane but intrusive spaces of contemporary life: the airport security screening area.

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Marlon Blackwell on the Power of Everyday Design

Marlon Blackwell Architects' Vol Walker Hall and Steven L. Anderson Design Center. (Timothy Hursley)

Marlon Blackwell Architects’ Vol Walker Hall and Steven L. Anderson Design Center. (Timothy Hursley)

Marlon Blackwell, principal of Marlon Blackwell Architects and distinguished professor and department head at the Fay Jones School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas, practices in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where the temptation to design according to a derivative vernacular—and the risk of descending into quaintness—is great. Blackwell seeks instead to operate in the space between the vernacular and the universal, to create buildings that are simultaneously both and neither. “What emerges is something that I like to call the strangely familiar,” he said. “We’re working with forms in a cultural context that have a first reading of being familiar, but on a second, third, or fourth reading are clearly transgressive to either the local typology or the vernacular. What we try to do is kind of de-typify things—it’s really about trying to find or develop an idea about performative surfaces.” Read More

VIDEO> Repairing and Replacing Two New York City Region Bridges

The New Tappan Zee Bridge. (COURTESY TAPAN ZEE CONTRACTORS)

The New Tappan Zee Bridge. (COURTESY TAPAN ZEE CONTRACTORS)

Bridges. They can be grand and majestic, awe-inspiring symbols of engineering ingenuity, city-defining pieces of infrastructure, and, as you may have heard by now, at serious risk of collapsing. To stop that from happening, engineers basically have two options: repair or replace. Both of those strategies are currently pursued in the New York City region.

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Manhattan’s Rizzoli Bookstore to Reopen in the Flatiron District

East, News, Newsletter
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
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The new home of the Rizzoli Bookstore. (Courtesy Google)

The new home of the Rizzoli Bookstore. (Courtesy Google)

New York’s iconic Rizzoli Bookstore has found a new home. After its former location on 57th Street was demolished to make way for the thoroughfare’s latest super-tall luxury building, it seemed that it was end days for the beloved institution. At the time, Rizzoli’s owners said the store would open up shop elsewhere in the city, but given the current state of affairs for old-school bookstores, that seemed highly unlikely.

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Bright public art installation to light up New York City’s cold, dark winter

Art, City Terrain, Design, East, Lighting, Newsletter
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
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New York Light and the Flatiron Building. (Courtesy INABA)

New York Light and the Flatiron Building. (Courtesy INABA)

The summer is officially over, folks. The beaches are closed, the sun is switching to its seasonal, part-time schedule, and your coworkers are drinking Pumpkin Spice Lattes again. There is no ignoring an inevitable truth: winter is coming and there is nothing you can do about it. Well, if you live up north that is. You could move to Florida, but beyond that, there is nothing you can do about it. For those of us stuck in New York City this holiday season, it’s not all bad news. We will soon be able to feast our frostbitten eyes on a new public art installation in front of the Flatiron Building.

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Product> Street Seen: Top 12 Landscape Furnishings

LAB23_ZHD_Serac-bench-Photography-by-JACOPO-SPILIMBERGO---(5)

(Courtesy Lab 23)

Whether used to enhance the identity of an entire community or an individual institution, street furnishings present a primary opportunity to engage the public with design.  Here’s our pick of products—created by Zaha Hadid, Yves Behar, Antonio Citterio, and others—for seating, lighting, and other outdoor accoutrements that have exceptional architectural appeal.

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Sou Fujimoto’s Marcus Prize Pavilion transforms brick into a playfully light material

Architecture, National, Newsletter
Monday, September 15, 2014
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(Courtesy University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee)

(Courtesy University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee)

The Marcus Prize is awarded bi-annually to an emerging architect in the early stages of his or her career. Hosted by the the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee School of Architecture & Urban Planning and supported by the Milwaukee-based Marcus Foundation, it has a record of supporting talented young practices before they become well know including: Winy Maas (2005), Frank Barkow (2007), Alejandro Aravena (2010), and Diebedo Francis Kere (2011).

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Swedish professor creates a playable 3-D printed saxophone

International, Newsletter, Technology
Friday, September 12, 2014
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3D Printed Saxophone (Courtesy Lund University)

3D Printed Saxophone (Courtesy Lund University)

As the world of 3-D printing advances, it’s becoming possible to create more and more complex shapes and systems. Now, the technology is making waves in the music world. Olaf Diegel, a professor of product development at Lund University in Sweden, recently produced the first ever 3-D printed saxophone.

Read More

Product> Exterior Glass: Eight options with special functions built in

National, Newsletter, Product
Friday, September 12, 2014
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view_Conner_Exterior

(Courtesy View Glass)

The role of glass continues to expand in architecture as new performance properties and aesthetic qualities come to market in a steady flow. From photovoltaic glazing to printing technologies that address the issue of avian impacts, the material has become an active, dynamic force in buildings.

More after the jump.

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