LA Union Station Shortlist Announced & The Notables That Missed The Cut

Newsletter, West
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
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LA's Union Station. (Martin Schall)

LA's Union Station. (Martin Schall)

It’s official: the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (METRO) has revealed the shortlist for its Union Station Master Plan RFIQ (Request For Information & Qualifications), which seeks a team to oversee the redevelopment of 42 acres of land and up to six million square feet of entitlements around the station. “In addition to creating a model for Transit Oriented Development in the region, it is now important that the property be planned with an eye to its role as the center of regional transportation,” said METRO in an official document released by its executive management committee.

Shortlisted teams include: EE&K, a Perkins Eastman Company; Gruen Associates/ Grimshaw Architects; IBI Group/ Foster + Partners; Moore Ruble Yudell and TEN Arquitectos; NBBJ/Ingenhoven Architects; and Renzo Piano Building Workshop/ Parsons Transportation Group.

An impressive list, but perhaps even more notable are those that didn’t make the cut.

Google Moves Into Gehry’s Binoculars Building

Newsletter, West
Thursday, November 3, 2011
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(©Darrell G)

In an effort to consolidate its efforts in LA Google has leased 100,000 square feet of office space in three buildings in Venice, including space inside Frank Gehry’s Chiat/Day Building, a.k.a. the Binoculars Building. Why is it called that? Because one entryway is shaped like a gigantic pair of binoculars, of course. Finished in 1991 on Main Street, the space is probably the most famous of Gehry’s forays into…shiver… Post Modernism. The binoculars themselves were designed by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. The new Venice Googleplex will hold many more employees than its present collection of buildings in Santa Monica, which contain about 300. Earlier this week Google announced that it would be adding 6,000 total employees this year. Recession? What recession? Not in Google’s world.

Video> Toshiko Mori on Poe Park

East, Newsletter
Thursday, November 3, 2011
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Poe House before restoration. (AN/Stoelker)

Poe Cottage before restoration. (AN/Stoelker)

On October 25 the New York Times reported on vandalism and closed bathrooms at the Toshiko Mori-designed Poe Park’s Visitor Center, but today a Parks Department spokesperson told AN that bathrooms were reopened and that the vandalism has been addressed. The late October report marred what had otherwise been a stellar week for the neighborhoods along the Grand Concourse nearby. Earlier in the week, a good chunk of the boulevard was landmarked and over the weekend, the Bronx Museum hosted Beyond the Super Square, a conference on mid-century Latin American and Caribbean architecture. However, the Poe Park Visitor Center itself still sits on shuttered while Parks and the Bronx County Historical society wrestle with how to staff the place. For now, a Parks’ video tour starring Toshiko Mori will have to suffice…

Watch the video after the jump…

Quick Clicks> Zombie Train, Chicago Scales, Tracking LA, Church Sales, and Booking Philly

Daily Clicks
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
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Photo of the Day: Rahm Emanuel takes public transit with zombies! (Courtesy Mayor's Office)

Photo of the Day: Rahm Emanuel takes public transit with zombies! (Courtesy Mayor's Office)

Calm like Rahm. Halloween might be over, but we couldn’t resist sharing this Facebook photo of Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel riding public transit with zombies! The photo was posted with the following caption: “In case of a zombie apocalypse, remember to stay calm like Rahm.” (h/t Transportation Nation)

S, M, L, XL, XXL. The AIA-Chicago has released their latest round of awards and the Chicago Tribune‘s Blair Kamin takes a look at the winners, lauding the range of project scales undertaken by Chicago architects, from a small pavilion to the world’s tallest building.

Tracking LA. While Chicago has zombies, LA County has some cold hard cash. Everything Long Beach reports that eight key transportation projects were awarded $448 million including a 6.7 light rail line that is expected to become one of the busiest lines in the U.S.

Sacred sale. Bankrupt mega-church Crystal Cathedral has found a buyer for their expansive, starchitect-studded Southern California campus (think Philip Johnson, Neutra, and Meier). The LA Times says Chapman University will pay $50 mil for the site, allowing the slimmed-down church to stay and eventually buy back their core building.

Philly reads. In this economy, small book stores—especially architecture book stores—are struggling to keep their doors open. Philly is bucking this trend as the AIA Philadelphia opens up a new shop working with the Charter High School for Architecture and Design in Washington Square.

Meet Williamsburgh Savings Bank’s Lofty New Neighbor

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
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Chad Oppenheim's design for Williamsburghotel. (Courtesy Oppenheim)

Chad Oppenheim's design for Williamsburghotel. (Courtesy Oppenheim)

Miami-based Oppenheim Architecture+Design has won an international design competition for a hotel in Brooklyn at the Williamsburg Bridge. The proposed 86,000 square foot, 440-foot-tall tower is comprised of three 16-foot deep vertical slabs and joins a recently announced 40-story rental tower designed by FX Fowle nearby on the waterfront as the latest high-rise planned for the neighborhood. Oppenheim declined to name the competition sponsor, citing a confidential development team, but the site adjacent to the landmarked, 1870s-era Williamsburgh Savings Bank is currently under renovation by a group intending to build a hotel and event space on the corner of Broadway and Driggs Avenue.

More renderings after the jump.

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Quick Clicks> Domed City, Guggenheim on hold, Google’s Secret Project, No-bin experiment

Daily Clicks
Monday, October 31, 2011
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An architectural rendering of Umka (Via the Daily Mail)

An architectural rendering of Umka (Via the Daily Mail)

City of Scientists. Russian Prime Minister Putin has recently reviewed plans for a potential $6.4 billion project that could build a 5,000-person—scientists and researchers, specifically—domed village in the Arctic called Umka, about 1,000 miles from the North Pole. Plans call for an isolated artificial climate inspired by “an imaginary Moon city or a completely isolated space station.” More on the Daily Mail and Foreign Policy Blogs.

Abu Dhabi Adjourned. The new 450,000-square-foot Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim museum planned in Abu Dhabi has been put on hold pending contract review. A similar fate awaits Jean Nouvel’s Louvre satellite previously scheduled to open near Gehry’s site next year. More at Mediabistro.

Sergey’s Secret. Due to his prolific work ethic, the insider joke at Google is that co-founder Sergey Brin is really Batman. More believable, the latest Google rumor is that one of Brin’s secret pet-projects may very well be architectural, with blueprints and all. Business Insider has details.

No bin, no trash. The NY Times reports on the MTA’s seemingly counter-intuitive enviro-social experiment to remove trash cans from subway platforms. The idea: no garbage bin might be the way to achieve no litter. A trial run in Queens and Greenwich Village left some people very unhappy.

Stage 1 Finalists Announced for National Mall Design Competition

East, National, Newsletter
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
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The National Mall. (Vlasta Juricek / Flickr)

The National Mall. (Vlasta Juricek / Flickr)

The Trust for the National Mall has announced the finalists for the first round of its National Mall Design Competition. The 700-acres of parkland have been worn down over the years thanks hoards of visitors (25 million a year), marches, and certain bi-annual decathalons. The scope of the competition includes three distinct areas of the mall: Union Square, the Washington Monument Grounds at Sylvan Theater, and Constitution Gardens. Finalists were selected for each area, and will move on to stage two of the competition (team interviews), and then—finally—a selected few will be asked to envision a design for one of the three designated area.

Check out the finalists after the jump.

CityLights Finally Begin to See Daylight

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
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New York City's new street lights are making their debut downtown. (AN/Stoelker

New York City's new streetlights are making their debut downtown. (AN/Stoelker)

Approximately six years after Thomas Phifer and Partners, the Office for Visual Interaction, and Werner Sobek won the CityLights competition for a new standard streetlight, some of the first examples are popping up in Lower Manhattan. The design for LED streetlights was cutting edge at the time, and the technology was very expensive. Prices for energy efficient LED’s have fallen considerably since then, allowing the ultra slim fixtures to find their way onto city streets. Read More

Pictorial> Virgin goes Galactic

International, Newsletter
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
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The Virgin Galactic Spaceport by Foster + Partners. (Nigel Young / Foster+Partners)

The Virgin Galactic Spaceport by Foster + Partners. (Nigel Young / Foster+Partners)

A quick flashback: Back in 2005, Virgin Group’s latest venture, Virgin Galactic, and the State of New Mexico had announced that they had reached an “historic agreement”—that they would build a state-funded $200 million spaceport in New Mexico. Virgin planned to provide sub-orbital space flights to the paying public, along with sub-orbital space science missions and orbital launches of small satellites (and much later, even orbital human space-flights). The facility was to be designed by Foster + Partners, who won Virgin Galactic’s international architectural competition.

Now, the Virgin Galactic Spaceport America—the world’s first commercial spaceport—has officially launched. Aimed to “articulate the thrill of space travel for the first space tourists while making a minimal impact on the environment,” the spaceport is designed to resemble, when viewed from space, Virgin Galactic’s brand logo of the eye, with an elongated pupil–the elevated apron completes the iris. Check out the photos after the jump.

Quick Clicks> Brooklyn Bucket, Rebuilding Libya, House Cycle, Abandoned City

Daily Clicks
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
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Courtesy Civic Center and Caroline Oh

Courtesy Civic Center and Caroline Oh

Brooklyn’s Bucket. An unsightly construction fence along Brooklyn’s Fulton Street has recently been transformed into NYC’s own giant chalkboard installation “Before I Die…,” a public participation project originally started in New Orleans by artist and TED fellow Candy Chang. Locals have been writing up their bucket lists, some as simple as “get paid,” some as serious as “to forget.” More on Artlog and Candy Chang’s blog.

G-oahead-afi. Gaddafi’s death last week was a historic event for Libya, but it also ushers in an era of uncertainty. Among the challenges that the new Libya must face is development, or rather the potential for uncontrolled overdevelopment. Concerned British architects are warning Libyans not to give way to “untrammelled development” during this “dangerous moment,” reported bdonline.

Cyclical Home. A new Philips’ design project called “the Microbial Home” is all about cycles, specifically how one function’s output can be another’s input. For instance, a bio-digestor island converts waste into methane gas that in turn powers a light made of bio-luminescent bacteria fed with methane. Check out the images on psfk.

Modern Ruins. Strange Harvest featured images of the abandoned architectural ruins of Pruit Igoe in St. Louis, which has now become a forest that “grows out of all that socio-political debris.” One image of a lone lamp post protruding from a complete forest is a surreal reminder of the relationship between architecture, politics, and time.

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Gehry To The Rescue, With a Star-Studded Board

Newsletter, West
Thursday, October 20, 2011
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Gehry Technologies' BIM Model for the New World Symphony in Miami.

Frank Gehry is trying to save architecture, and it’s about time. His company Gehry Technologies, which provides technology and related services to design and construction firms, on Tuesday announced a plan to bring together “the world’s most distinguished architects” in a “strategic alliance” intended to transform the building and design industries through technology.

In other words they’ve put together a really impressive advisory board. The list of architects, designers, and business leaders includes: David Childs, Zaha Hadid, Greg Lynn, Laurie Olin, Wolf Prix, David Rockwell, Moshe Safdie, Patrik Schumacher, and Ben van Berkel. That’s no joke. Among other things, the group will strive to promote higher quality projects, greater efficiency, and more cost effective techniques.

Continue reading after the jump.

Dean’s List> ASLA Student Awards Reveal the Future of Landscape Architecture

Vegetation House by students from National Chiao Tung University. (Jheng-Ru Li and Chieh-Hsuan Hu)

Vegetation House by students from National Chiao Tung University. (Jheng-Ru Li and Chieh-Hsuan Hu)

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has announced the winners of its 2011 Student Awards. This year’s student honorees have developed concepts ranging from hillside habitats in Haiti, to vegetated houses in Taiwan, to a reclaimed airfield in Berlin. Entries demonstrate an idealistic and urgent approach to problem solving for today’s and tomorrow’s pressing social issues.

[ Also be sure to check out the winners of the ASLA 2011 Professional Awards. ]

Check out the winners after the jump.

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