Go West, Solar Decathalon: DOE Selects New SoCal Venue for 2013

National, Newsletter
Thursday, January 26, 2012
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The North Lawn at the Orange County Great Park. (Courtesy Orange County Great Park)

The North Lawn at the Orange County Great Park. (Courtesy Orange County Great Park)

We’ve known since early last year that the Solar Decathlon, the biennial event showcasing the best in energy producing, student-designed houses, was no longer welcome on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. due to concerns over wear and tear on the “nation’s front yard.” The 2011 Decathlon, won by the University of Maryland, was pushed to a far corner of the Mall between the Tidal Basin and the Potomac River midway through the design process, causing outcry from student teams who were finalizing their house designs. Officials later announced that future Decathlons might leave D.C. entirely, and today, Department of Energy Secretary Stephen Chu confirmed that it will be moving about as far away from the Mall as possible—to the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California between Los Angeles and San Diego.

Continue reading after the jump.

The New Stars of Landscape Architecture

National, Newsletter
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
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Novus International Headquarters receives 3 stars (image courtesy of ASLA)

Novus International Inc. Headquarters receives three stars. (Courtesy of ASLA)

Landscape projects now have the option to shoot for the stars. Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) has announced the first three projects to be certified by what is to-date the most comprehensive system for rating the sustainable design, construction, and maintenance of built landscapes. SITES is a collaborative effort by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and the United States Botanic Garden designed to fulfill a critical need for sustainable guidelines in this environmentally sensitive field.

Continue reading after the jump.

AIANY Names Seven Young Firms among 2012 New Practices

East, Newsletter
Monday, January 23, 2012
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Peaks & Valleys. (Courtesy Abruzzo Bodziak)

Peaks & Valleys. (Courtesy Abruzzo Bodziak)

Seven young and creative architecture firms were named as recipients of AIANY’s New Practices New York awards for 2012. Now in its fourth iteration, the biennial award established in 2006 and sponsored by Hansgrohe “honors firms that have utilized unique and innovative strategies, both for the projects they undertake and for the practices they have established.” This year’s New Practices honorees are SLO Architecture, Holler Architecture, Abruzzo Bodziak Architects, Marc Fornes and the Very Many, Formless, The Living, and Christian Wassmann. Winners will be featured in an exhibition opening June 14 at the Center for Architecture, participation in the AIA national convention, and, of course, a free subscription to The Architect’s Newspaper (the competion’s media sponsor).

Continue reading after the jump.

Upper West Side Mom & Pops Get Boost from Planning

East, Newsletter
Thursday, January 19, 2012
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(Montage based on photos by Ed Yourdon and Ken Fager / Flickr)

(Montage based on photos by Ed Yourdon and Ken Fager / Flickr)

While the city has kept Walmart at bay—for now—banks and/or drugstores continue to consume two, three, and sometimes four or five consecutive storefronts in many parts of the city. The Upper West Side has been particularly hard hit because most of its side streets are residential. The neighborhood primarily relies on the north/south corridors of Broadway, Amsterdam, and Columbus for its shopping needs. After hearing citywide complaints about the problem, City Planning has begun to address the issue through the West Side Neighborhood Retail Streets Initiative.

Continue reading after the jump.

PROFILE> Skylar Tibbits

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
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Skylar Tibbits

What can NURBS do for you?

Find out on February 17, when SKYLAR TIBBITS will lead Scripted Design, a workshop focused on exploring the potentials of RhinoScript, as part of DAY 2 of the upcoming COLLABORATION conference on fabrication and facades in NYC.

A trained architect, designer, and computer scientist, Tibbits’ research currently focuses on developing self-assembly technologies for large-scale structures in our physical environments. He was recently awarded a 2011 TED Fellowship, a 2012 TED Senior Fellowship, and was named a Revolutionary Mind in SEED Magazine’s 2008 Design Issue.

Tibbits currently resides in Boston and is the founder and principal of a multidisciplinary research-based practice, SJET LLC, and an instructor for MIT’s Architecture Department. Previously, he has worked at a number of design offices including: Zaha Hadid Architects, Asymptote Architecture, SKIII Space Variations, and Point b Design. He has designed, collaborated, and built large-scale installations around the world and his work has been exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum and the Beijing Biennale. He has lectured widely, including at MoMA and SEED Media Group’s MIND08 Conference.

Scripted Design, Tibbits’ COLLABORATION workshop, will provide an introduction to Python for Rhino. Topics covered will include: Running Scripts, Syntax, Data Types, Variables, Flow Control, Tuples/Lists/Dictionaries, Points/Vectors, Functions, Paneling and Recursion. The training will concentrate on IronPython within Rhino.

The workshop has a limited number of spots; register here!

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Meet Vernon Davis, NFL Player and Interior Designer

National, Newsletter, West
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
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Vernon Davis. (Montage with images by MCD and John Martinez Pavliga / Flickr)

Vernon Davis. (Montage with images by MCD and John Martinez Pavliga / Flickr)

Vernon Davis the San Francisco 49er tight end who caught a spectacular pass in the end zone in the final seconds of Saturday’s game with New Orleans is more than just a football player. Not only is he an avid curling fan and player (he was honorary captain of the Men’s U.S. Olympic Curling team for the for the U.S. team in the 2010 Olympics) but he is also an interior designer. Davis is the co-owner of MCD or Modern Class Design along with music industry executive Antone Barnes. MCD focuses on designing interior spaces for “athletes and other clients that are suited to the client’s taste, but still affordable.” He tells his athlete clients, “You don’t have to break your bank to live well and have style,” and “this moment won’t last forever, so plan for the future.”

Check out his future plans after the jump.

Slideshow> Organic Architecture Catches Fire in Coachella Valley

Newsletter, West
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
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Ken Kellogg's GG's Island restaurant before the fire. (Keith Daly / Flickr)

Ken Kellogg's GG's Island restaurant before the fire. (Keith Daly / Flickr)

Southern California critic Alan Hess tells us more about Ken Kellogg’s GG’s Island Restaurant (formerly the Chart House), which was ravaged by fire on Tuesday morning. The extent of the damage and the potential for repair have not yet been determined.

Palm Springs may be best known for sleek steel and glass Modern architecture, but the 1978 Chart House by San Diego architect Ken Kellogg (one of a series he designed for the restaurant chain) makes it impossible to ignore the fact that Organic Modernism is just as much a part of the Coachella Valley heritage. Set along Highway 111 in Rancho Mirage, Chart House’s low-slung, serpentine shape hugs the contours of a small, rocky butte.

Outside, it’s the image of protective desert shelter: the taut vaulted roof stretches down, like the fabric of an umbrella or the shell of a crab, almost to touch the landscape berms rising to meet it. Inside, however, the heavy timber columns, curving glu-lam roof ribs, and rubble stone walls wind their way through the restaurant like a well-designed forest. They create layers of space, naturally lighted by a skylight curving along the spine, with an appealing complexity. Kellogg’s fifty-five year career, including residences, churches, and commercial and institutional buildings, continues to show the vitality of organic design.

View a slideshow of the restaurant before and after the fire.

SOM Opening LA Office.  SOM Opening LA OfficeAN has heard on good authority that three high level architects from AECOM have left that firm to open a Los Angeles office of SOM. SOM’s major west coast presence has long been in its San Francisco office. This story has been updated, please click here to read the full story.

 

FXFOWLE and CO Architects form Bi-Coastal Coalition

Newsletter, Shft+Alt+Del, West
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
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FXFOWLE'S SAP Americas Headquarters (David Sundberg/Esto)

FXFOWLE'S SAP Americas Headquarters (David Sundberg/Esto)

They seem hesitant to call it a merger, but architecture biggies FXFOWLE and CO Architects announced today that they are joining forces in a “joint venture.” The New York and Los Angeles firms made the move, they said in a release, “In order to expand each firm’s geographic and expertise reach.” The companies will maintain their individual identities, with the exception of joint projects, under which they’ll be called CO/FXFOWLE.

CO Architects, it should be noted, is known for its institutional and healthcare work, while FXFOWLE’s portfolio, marked by its focus on sustainability, is a little more wide-ranging, from architecture to interior design to planning.

The move actually took place in December, and the firms are emphatic that both will remain on equal footing. The deal, said the announcement, “represents a genuine collaboration between the two firms in all project services, rather than the customary design architect/associate architect relationship.”

Filed Under: , ,

Board Named for WTC Performing Arts Center

East, Newsletter
Thursday, January 5, 2012
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The site of the proposed performing arts center sits directly east of One World Trade Center.

Possible site of the proposed performing arts center sits directly east of One World Trade Center.

It had to happen before midnight December 31. And it did, although quietly. Downtown Express reports that five founding board members for the World Trade Center Performing Arts Center (PAC) were announced by National September 11 Memorial President Joe Daniels in the nick of time, in order not to forfeit access to $100 million in LMDC funds set aside in fall 2010 for the lone surviving cultural venue–apart from the September 11 museum–at the site, where once many were envisioned as the most sure-fire way to lift ground zero out of the psychological depths of mourning for the lost.

Continue reading after the jump.

New Projects: Chicago’s Newest Architecture Gallery

Midwest, Newsletter
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
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Located three blocks south of Crown Hall at IIT, New Projects, a new architecture research and exhibition space, aims to provide a venue for urban and artistic dialogue about the future of cities. Located in the 1920′s Overton Building, the 3400 square foot storefront space is to play host to lectures, workshops, and exhibitions “focusing specifically on urbanism,” according to co-organizer Marshall Brown. Read More

New Year Brings CRA Disaster in California

Newsletter, West
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
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The CRA's dissolution could be the final death knell for the $3 billion Grand Avenue Project (The Related Companies)

The CRA's dissolution could be the final death knell for the $3 billion Grand Avenue Project (The Related Companies)

Now that California’s Redevelopment Association (CRA) has doubled down and lost its bet with the California Supreme Court, leading to the scrapping of all the state’s CRAs, building projects across the state are in severe jeopardy. There are about 400 municipal redevelopment agencies in the state. Here are the projects in trouble for just one (albeit the largest): the Los Angeles CRA. They include nearly $100 million in grant funds to improve public infrastructure and create affordable housing and transit oriented development, the 126-unit Noho Senior Arts Colony in North Hollywood, the renovation of the historic Westlake Theater near downtown, the 35,000 square foot Wattstar Theater in Watts, the Cleantech Manufacturing Center south of downtown, and the biggest, the $3 billion Grand Avenue Project downtown. More than 20 projects in total are in danger. More to come on this huge news, including more lawsuits than you ever wanted to see.

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