Stop Work. After a late-breaking Supreme Court mandate, all renovations at the Manufacturers Trust landmark office building have been put on hold. The judge ruled in favor of preservationists who want to protect the structure as a “model of modernism,” according to the New York Times. It appears that demolition inside the structure has already taken place, marring the structure’s International Style. Renovation opponents want to see the building restored to its original condition.
Stop Work Again. Robert Scarano Jr. is officially banned from submitting construction plans in New York City. The Brooklyn-based architect had appealed an initial ban handed down in March of 2010, but the New York Supreme Court upheld the order. According to the court, the Department of Buildings “can no longer rely on him to submit honest paperwork.” As Crain’s reports, Scarano has made a practice of violating regulations and zoning laws, criticized primarily for his rampant overbuilding.
Shifting Gears. Research by Peter Newman and Jeff Kenworthy of the Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute shows that car use in major U.S. cities has been slowing down. The researchers offer 6 reasons for the shift, all predicting change with respect to the way cities will be designed without the automobile in mind.
Parking Patterns. Architects Michielli + Wyetzner recently won the 2011 NYC Design Commission Awards for a renovation of the Municipal Parking Garage on Delancey and Essex. The rehabilitation, as ArchDaily reports, includes several improvements to accompany a fully patterned weaving cable facade. Composed of three layers, the facade allows for the structure to remain open while the patterning mimicks the “aerodynamic flow of moving cars.”
Empty Spaces. Searching for a place to exhibit her work as an art student in 2003, an artist from the rural mining town Malmberget, Sweden, organized a program titled Tomma Rum (Empty Spaces) that converts empty lots into artist studios and gallery spaces. As described in an interview with Polis, the program has morphed into a traveling summer artist-in-residence, where global artists have displayed their pieces on fences to streets in various towns.
Town and Country. Is city life or country life better for your health? The Wall Street Journal reports on the ongoing debate between the quality of life in urban versus rural areas. Each have their benefits and drawbacks. Studies indicate that in urban areas, there are less obese children but also higher crime rates. In the country, there are larger numbers of fatal driving accidents but lower incidences of allergies.
Big Box Redux. In Seattle, empty malls are attracting new tenants. A fitness center owner is converting empty mall space into a new climbing gym, while grocery stores such as Whole Foods and Trader Joes, and sporting goods stores such as Sports Authority are taking over retail vacancies, The Seattle Times reports.
Taxing Gas. A study conducted by the multi-partisan Leadership Initiative on Transportation Solvency, part of the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace, may have found a better way to increase funds for transportation infrastructure through a more effective gas tax system. In their report, DC Streets Blog highlights, that taxing gas when the price lowers and a more efficient program with a focus on design with economic performance are key.
Safer at night. Two design students at Carnegie Mellon University created a functional and graceful lighting system for bikers that enhances side visibility at night. The LED lights that line the wheel rims, are powered by pedaling and change colors depending on speed. Bloggers at Greater Greater Washington have posted a video of the lights in action.
Convenient Cities. What makes a city “convenient”? According to a study published by The Street, factors include walkability, public transportation, and amenity proximity. Their city ranking, using data from Walk Score, Zillow and APTA, put Boston, New York, Denver, Portland, and Chicago at the top.
Olympic Pollution. A documentary by filmmaker Faisal Abdu’Allah, Double Pendulum, examines the harmful effects of pollution on East London residents and athletes, The Guardian says. Abdu’Allah cautions that poor air quality in East London may threaten athletes’ performances in the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Designer Chocolates. PSFK reports that researchers in a joint program between the University of Exeter, the University of Brunel, and Delam, a software developer, have created a printer that turns 3D CAD designs into ready-made chocolates. An upcoming retail site will allow the public to upload original designs.
Youth Space. Pharell Williams speaks to Wallpaper* about his plans for a new youth center in partnership with architect Chad Oppenheim. Both Keihl’s and Williams’ charity From One Hand to Another will support the creative vision in raising funds for the Virginia Beach project. The design draws conceptually from the construction of a treehouse with plans to be a uniquely green project and a safe place for children to learn and grow.
Telly Transformations. Caroline Quentin presents a new BBC Two series entitled Restoration Home, a program that follows renovation of old buildings as they transform into sleek homes. Look forward to documentation of behind the scenes “nostalgia, architecture, and murder” as Olly Grant of the Telegraph details.
Bad Air. If riding with speeding traffic weren’t enough to worry about when cycling through the city, Scientific American reports on just how dirty street air really is from car and truck exhaust. In short, city air is a toxic cocktail of pollution that can pose a heart risk to urban cyclists. Time to clean up our streets?
Chelsea Touch-ups. The new owner of Hotel Chelsea, Joseph Chetrit, hired architect Gene Kaufman to work on plans for expansion and renovation of the historic New York property according to the Wall Street Journal. Residents have little to worry about, though, as the hotel is a registered landmark which brings extra oversight. That being said, as the project begins, expect significant upgrades to the lobby and infrastructural repairs along with a potential additional restaurant.
It’s Parametric. ArchDaily posts an intriguing project from Bucharest, Romania: the Hexigloo pavilion designed by architecture students. Under the supervision of instructors Tudor Cosmatu, Irina Bogdan, and Andrei Radacanu, 55 students learned basic parametric design principles and over the course of one week built a striking honeycomb structure of cardboard funnels.
Spantastic. The Guardian reports the opening of the world’s longest sea-crossing bridge that spans the Jiaozhou Bay in China. After four years and roughly £1.4 billion, the bridge makes possible commuting between cities Qingdao and Huangdao in a region southeast of Beijing. Look forward to another, even longer, bridge opening in 2015 that will connect the Guangdong province to Hong Kong and Macau.
Supertallest. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat awarded Adrian Smith an honor of lifetime achievement for his work in the realm of the supertall. Bustler highlights Smith’s work on some of the world’s tallest completed buildings: Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, Nanjing’s Zifeng Tower at Nanjing Greenland Financial Center, Chicago’s Trump International Hotel & Tower, and Shanghai’s Jin Mao Tower while at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.
Swiss Watch. Treehugger shares news from Zurich: the city is developing a project called OpenSense that will allow buses and other infrastructure systems, including mobile phone networks, to monitor air quality.