Spiraling Out of Control. Salt Lake Tribune reported that the New York-based Dia Foundation‘s failure to pay the annual land fees for Robert Smithson‘s Spiral Jetty has resulted in the state of Utah’s appropriation of the artist’s famous “earthwork masterpiece.” Dia subsequently released a statement explaining that they were not aware of the pressing payment and are in negotiations with the state to ensure the water sculpture’s preservation. Artinfo digs deeper to find that the problem could have been caused by a computer or clerical error and says the Dia Foundation hopes to have the matter resolved by the end of the week.
Bad Chemistry. According to DNA, Lower Chelsea residents are fighting to stop Alchemy Construction‘s development of a 30-story tower at 31 W. 15th Street. The development firm bypassed standard zoning regulations after securing air rights from the Xavier High School, which will utilize the lower floors as new classrooms and event space. The Lower Chelsea Alliance maintains that construction of the 300-foot tall building is already causing noise and odor pollution and insist the tower will ruin the neighborhood’s aesthetic character.
Good Mixing. Further uptown, the Wall Street Journal exposes the first gourmet food truck with a one-year liquor license. The city has permitted the Turkish Taco Truck in Central Park to serve beer, wine, and cocktails as long as it provides seating and remains parked. Now introducing: better lunch breaks.
Toxicology. The New York Times reveals the National Toxicology Program‘s recent report identifying formaldehyde and styrene as carcinogens. While consumers are at minimal risk due to the low quantities in wood construction materials and plastics, respectively, the chemicals pose a serious threat to factory workers. The industry is attempting to dispute these results, but some manufacturers have already sought alternative production.
Prepared Motors. Included in recent news from BLDGBLOG, Swiss artist Zimoun installs a series of sound sculptures. Each cardboard piece, comprised of micro-mechanisms, projects subtle sound upon interaction. Watch the following video for the installation plus movement.
Renovation Take-over. The New York Times reveals that the Randhurst Mall, just outside Chicago in Mt. Prospect, plans to undergo serious renovation. The indoor mid-century shopping center will take on a new look with a $190 million renovation. Expect commercial transformation as the mall goes outdoors, for which it will destroy most original elements in favor of an open air shopping experience.
Highline 2.0. If you haven’t heard, the second phase of everyone’s favorite park, the Highline, opened this week, stretching from 20th to 30th streets through New York’s Chelsea neighborhood. The NYC Economic Development Corporation snuck onto the elevated railway before the official opening and has put together a fascinating before-and-after display.
The Design Sector. Archinect features a report from the Center for an Urban Future that specifies the capacity of New York City’s architecture and design sector and encourages its continued growth. The report reviews the “untapped potential” despite a remarkable 40,470 designers currently based in the Metropolitan area.
AOL’s New Offices Are Snazzy: Fast Company has a slideshow of interior shots of AOL’s new offices in Palo Alto. The space was designed to be bright and collaborative. “This being a tech company, naturally, it’s got a game room, too,” writes Suzanne LaBarre. The interiors are the work of Studio O+A, which has designed offices for other Internet companies like Yelp, Facebook and PayPal.
Philly Set For a Makeover: Sometimes it seems like Philly is the East Coast city people love to hate on for its small size, poor public transit and high crime rates. That may change soon with a new comprehensive plan for the city that could include: “more open space, bike lanes and preservation efforts, as well as specific goals including an extension of the Broad Street subway to the Navy Yard, an east Market Street that can really be Philly’s ‘Main Street’, a waterfront lined with parks.”
NYC’s Lesson for LA: New York Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan blogs on how Los Angeles can learn from New York City’s Plaza program. It’s the quintessential showdown of cities: New York, a dense metropolis where most native-born teens don’t even have their driver’s licenses, and LA, a sprawling auto-centric city. There’s even a book called “New York and Los Angeles” that says so. Sadik-Khan’s piece is part of Streetsblog’s new series on how the best transportation practices in other cities can be adapted for LA.
Brownwashing Republicans: Grist has a list of 10 Republican politicians who are backtracking on pro-environment statements they’ve made in the past. The #1 offender is presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, who called for climate action in a 2008 ad for Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection. Earlier this year, he said, “”I would not adopt massively expensive plans over a theory.”
Lahood Bikes to Work: The Transportation Secretary biked to work with other DOT commuters yesterday morning, as seen in this video. He wrote, “The route was safe and well-marked; we enjoyed some exercise; and we didn’t burn a drop of gas–which saved us some money.” Since taking office in 2009, the former Republican congressman has prioritized light rail development and overseen $600 million in TIGER II grants to projects that promote livability. John Norquist, president of the Congress for New Urbanism, tells us Lahood is the best Transportation Secretary this country has seen since Secretary Coleman under President Ford.
The High Line: “Economic Dynamo.” The New York Times reports “preserving the High Line as a public park revitalized a swath of the city and generated $2 billion in private investment surrounding the park.” The development of the High Line (the second section of which opens tomorrow) has spurred the construction of hundreds of deluxe apartments, art galleries, restaurants and boutiques nearby and the addition of 12,000 jobs, which more than make up for the $115 million the city spent on the park.
Can Detroit Come Back? With a dwindling population, low literacy rates and vacant housing, Detroit is one of America’s biggest underdogs. But the city’s woes also make it the perfect laboratory for experiments like Hantz Farms plan to create the world’s largest urban farm. OnEarth takes a look at the different ideas percolating in Detroit.
Anthony Weiner on Bike Lanes: Anthony Weiner’s getting some serious flack, but let’s not forget: he also hates bike lanes, says Transportation Nation. At a Gracie Mansion dinner for New York’s Congressional Delegation last June, Weiner told Mayor Bloomberg: “When I become mayor, you know what I’m going to spend my first year doing? I’m going to have a bunch of ribbon-cuttings tearing out your [expletive] bike lanes.”
At Lake Mohave, Nevada, the Cottonwood Cove Marina & Resort takes one step further toward ecological sustainability as the first-ever floating building to seek LEED certification. Designed by Carlson Studio Architecture, the structure’s custom fabricated dock will support a houseboat rental business and an engine repair shop. The marina will house the Lake Mead National Recreation Area resort’s office of operations and provide dry storage for its clientele’s boats.
The Florida-based architecture firm hopes that the marina will receive Gold level LEED certification. Committed to ecological sustainability and innovation, Carlson Studio Architecture implemented an energy-efficient design. The structure’s SIPS walls and roof protects the interior from direct sunlight and are lined with Photovoltaic panels. The building’s insulated shell and general orientation optimize its energy consumption and costs. Its stucco exterior is composed of reused tires; the decking of rice hulls and recycled plastic. The marina celebrated its LEED registration status at a public event on Monday, June 6th.
Guy Maunsell’s Sea Forts. Standing above the sea, these Maunsell fortifications were originally built as British defenses during World War II. They remain lifted as a symbol of protection. As industrial creatures, the towers take expressive portraits.
Oh, Pentagram. New York City paired with Paula Scher of Pentagram to create a new symbol for the iconic NYC Parks Department leaf. Although excellent in traditional green, the paired down logo can also be used as an elegant silhouette for programming and public events. Or perhaps wrapping paper.
Parasol Unit in red, in public. New York-based performance artist Kate Gilmore and the Parasol unit foundation collaborated to start a new program entitled parasol public. Gilmore’s red structure is the centerpiece of Walk the Line, a small two story space designed upstairs for pacing and downstairs as a passageway within Exchange Square, London.
Downtown to Santa Monica. The new Los Angeles county Expo Line light rail system expects to bring a bit of green speed to transportation across the city. With a plan to partially open in the fall and to unveil completely in 2015, the rail line is already underway. Just about everybody is looking forward to the new light rail, especially those who will benefit directly as part of their commute to work.
Solar Butterflies. Engadget spotted Dutch designer Jeroen Verhoeven’s chandelier made of 500 butterflies cut from photovoltaic cells. Called the “Virtue of Blue,” the light glows softly at night. (Via Psfk.)
Capitol Green. New York isn’t the only city replacing asphalt with greener, more pedestrian friendly streetscapes. According to DC Mud, a block of C Street in Washington, D.C. between two federal office buildings is set for a makeover. Plans call for creating a park on what’s currently a large parking lot.
Killer Commutes. Slate writer Annie Lowrey tells us what we already know: commuting isn’t fun. She goes on to explain the consequences of many-an-American’s daily burden: “Long commutes cause obesity, neck pain, loneliness, divorce, stress, and insomnia.”
Nearly NeoCon. Haworth Partners announced that they have partnered with Crate & Barrel. The table and two chairs will be available beginning in July and August. More at otto.
After attending the recent Alt Build Expo in Santa Monica it became clear to us at AN that the aging Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, a Decorative Modernist structure designed by Welton Becket back in 1958, was in serious need of an update. (Becket, by the way, designed the Capitol Records Building, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and a good deal more of mid-Century Los Angeles.)
Well it looks like our wish is coming true: On May 26 the Santa Monica City Council voted to approve a $47 million remodel and seismic retrofit of the auditorium, using Santa Monica Redevelopment Agency funds (the vote to allocate funds was sped up because such monies may soon be frozen once the state budget is passed).
No firm has been chosen, but we will keep our eyes peeled on the RFP, which was posted here last month. ”They anticipate a design build contract,” said Santa Monica spokesperson Carol Lemlein, who noted that perspective teams will be made up of architects, contractors, engineers, and preservation experts. Read More