Developer vs. Architect/Developer

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
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Tim McDonald of Onionflats showed neighborhood designs based on Philly's classic trinity row home.

The night was called “Different by Design,” though it could have been subtitled “Designing Differences.” Developer Abby Hamlin moderated an amusing exchange between developers and architect/developers at Columbia University’s GSAPP Real Estate Development program on Tuesday. The original intent was to present the merits of good design to real estate development and architecture students, but a developer vs. architect rivalry emerged pretty early on. New York developer Jane Gladstein joined the Chicago based developers Karen and Robert Ranquist, while New York-based Jared Della Valle, San Diego-based Jonathan Segal, and Tim McDonald of Philadelphia represented the contingent of architects who act as their own developers.

Read more after the jump.

Quick Clicks> Cabrini Lights Up, Earth Powers Down, Calming Queens, and Starchitect Houses

Daily Clicks, East Coast
Monday, March 28, 2011
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Chicago's last Cabrini Green high rise will be lit up before demolition (Courtesy Project Cabrini Green)

Chicago's last Cabrini Green high rise will be lit up before demolition (Courtesy Project Cabrini Green)

Cabrini Green Kablooey. This Wednesday, the last high rise tower at Chicago’s Cabrini Green site will be demolished, marking the end of the famous housing project. Polis reminds us that artist Jan Tichy and social worker Efrat Appel plan to mark the occasion with an art installation. Project Cabrini Green translates 134 poems into light and will begin display at 7:00pm tonight. (Also catch a live internet feed here.)

Earth Hour. This past weekend, people, companies, and cities all over the globe celebrated Earth Hour by switching off the lights to spotlight issues of energy consumption. The Boston Globe‘s Big Picture is running a photo essay of some dramatic skylines with and without lights.

Parking lanes planned along 48th Avenue (Courtesy NYCDOT via StreetsBlog)

Parking lanes planned along 48th Avenue (Courtesy NYCDOT via StreetsBlog)

Calming Queens. StreetsBlog brings news of New York’s latest traffic calming measure proposed for 48th Avenue and 44th Drive in Queens. The block shown above in Long Island City would initially be painted for affordability and eventually transformed into a greenway.

Cribs. Inspired by Philip Johnson’s Glass House, Curbed goes in search of the homes of famous architects. Represented in the list are Alvar Aalto, Frank Gehry, Norman Foster, and Robert A.M. Stern.

Eduardo Souto de Moura Wins 2011 Pritzker Prize (Updated)

Apartment Building in Maia, Portugal (Courtesy El Croquis)

Apartment Building in Maia, Portugal (Courtesy El Croquis)

Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura has won the 2011 Pritzker Prize, according to several reports. The Porto-based architect worked for the country’s other Pritzker winner, Alvaro Siza, but has had a prolific career on his own since opening his office in 1980. Not widely known outside Portugal, Souto de Moura designed the new stadium in Braga in 2004, which, like much of his work, has strong, highly legible forms. There he blasted granite from the site that was later crushed to make concrete for the building.

Check out some of De Moura’s work after the jump.

QUICK CLICKS> Maps, Lots, Pavilion, Theater, Unplugged

Daily Clicks
Friday, March 25, 2011
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One of the deconstructed maps in photographer John Mann's work.

Aspirational Geographic. A recent trip to Appalachia didn’t satiate photographer John Mann‘s wanderlust. He continued his travels via cutting and sculpting maps into three dimensional forms then photographing them through a narrow depth of field. Design Observer runs the nifty slide show.

Priority Parking. Developers of Philly’s 1 million square foot Pennsylvania Convention Center touted their greenness by providing minimal  parking; the argument was it would encourage the use of public transportation. Now PlanPhilly says the city council has approved a 530-space garage to rise across the street. So much for synergy. Just north in Newark, they’re having the opposite problem: they want to lose parking lots. Newark’s Star-Ledger reports that March Madness at the Prudential Center won’t hide downtown’s glum outlook: nine parking lots surrounding the arena are still awaiting development.

D.C. Detail. WSJ Magazine explores the oft-overlooked Philip Johnson Pavilion at Dumbarton Oaks where the curvaceous facade slinks knowingly beside the Beatrix Farrand-designed gardens.

Parisian Pulse. Théâtre de la Gaîté Lyrique ain’t your everyday gallery-cum-theater space. The Guardian writes that this “theater for the digital arts” has given its stately old facade a swank makeover aimed at the 15 to 35-year old theater goer.

Sustainable Sound. WBUR spotlights a Boston band that found a way to make music that’s off-the-charts and off-the-grid. Generators hooked up to human-propelled bike peddles provide energy for electric guitars, plus a very John Cage-ish backdrop to the music making.

Visionary Update in Inglewood

Newsletter, West
Friday, March 25, 2011
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Last fall we reported on (fer) Studio’s proposed designs for Inglewood’s once-bustling but now down-on-its-luck Market Street; a strategy to anchor the street, enliven its storefronts, and integrate it with the coming Expo Light Rail line. Those preliminary designs have come a long way. Their latest iteration again focuses on Market Street’s re-zoning, but fleshes out a wider system of  urban agriculture; wind, photovoltaic, bio fuel, and geothermal energy; a green belt, and a self-contained water reservoir. Not to mention some gigantic planted towers, canopies, and  walls—”vertical public spaces giving Inglewood an identity,” says (fer)’s Chris Mercier, over transit and mixed-use. Despite losing their staunchest ally, Mayor Daniel Tabor (who recently resigned) they’ve submitted the plans to Cascadia’s Living City Competition, and are still trying to push them to what is a fairly conservative city council.  To get a closer look at these and other visionary plans from (fer), join our friends at deLAB as they visit their studios in Inglewood tomorrow. More pix of (fer)’s schemes below. Read More

Quick Clicks> Icelandic Sculptures, Painted Trees, Carnegie, and Parklets

Daily Clicks
Thursday, March 24, 2011
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A sectional view of the BORDERS exhibition (courtesy New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, artist Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir, and photographer James Ewing)

Icelandic Borders. Today at 5PM, “the largest temporary public art exhibition… in New York City Parks history,” titled BORDERS, will be unveiled at Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza. The UN-conscious installation is a collaboration between the Parks Commissioner, an Icelandic Ambassador, and Icelandic artist Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir, consisting of 26 androgynous, life-size sculptures.

Painted Trees. Gerry Mak of Lost at E Minor adoringly shares the curious images of the vibrantly painted trees around Colorado by artist Curtis Killorn. Because of the unexpected colorings, these trees do not look like they came from land, but from the sea.

Green Carnegie. We were worried when gbNYC reported that the good ol’ Carnegie Hall is planning to undergo a massively ambitious, full-spectrum retrofit this year. But don’t worry, the architecture firm Iu + Bibliowicz, which is in charge of all this, swears to preserve “the building’s distinctive 19th-century architectural grace notes” while making dramatic green building improvements.

Parking to parkletting. The SF Examiner reports that more temporary public spaces, called
‘parklets,’ are exploding throughout San Francisco parking spots. The public battle between those who want to park cars and those who want to seat customers out on the sidewalk seems to have a clear winner– the Department of Public Works is stamping out countless approvals for businesses to have their own parklets despite complaints.

Quick Clicks> Gondolas, Landmarks, Main Streets, Paris

Daily Clicks
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
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Rendering for a gondola to connect Olympic venues in London (courtesy Expedition Engineering).

Shifting Skyline. London’s famed skyline may be getting an addition, and it’s not a new building. The Architect’s Journal tells us that Mayor Boris Johnson recently approved a plan by architects Wilkinson Eyre and Expedition Engineering for a proposed cable car system designed to link two key 2012 Olympic venues, the O2 Stadium and the Excel Exhibition Hall.

NYC’s Youngest Landmark. The New York Times City Room blog reports that NYC has four new landmarks: the Engineer’s Club, the Neighborhood Playhouse, Greyston Gatehouse and the Japan Society, which having been completed in 1971, makes it the youngest of the city’s historic landmarked structures.

Red Hook North. Meanwhile NYT Magazine reports that Red Hook developer Greg O’Connell hopes to do for tiny Mt. Morris, NY what he did for a slice of once-decrepit Brooklyn waterfront. Will the former NYPD detective’s progressive form of gentrification and downtown revitalization work in an ailing upstate town?

Onion domes in Paris. Inhabitat shares the news that the Russians are coming to Paris, in the form of a new domed church and cultural center. Situated near the Eiffel Tower, this new structure is the result of bi-national collaboration from the architects at Arch-Group and Sade Sa.

 

Hudson Yards Update

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
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Hudson Yards retail hub by German engineer Werner Sobek (Courtesy Related)

Related and its confrere Oxford Properties today launched a new website for Hudson Yards, with some surprises. Followers of the down & dirty rail yard turned 12 million square foot urban Elysium may be forgiven if they have forgotten some of the details of the winning scheme—we sure did. And besides that was yesterday and a master plan. Still, of all the names dropped and found, bandied about and sprinkled on for good measure, we sure do not remember Werner Sobek as a major player.

Read more after the jump.

BIG’s First Step into the Final Frontier

International, Newsletter
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
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Courtesy BIG

A reflective sphere floats above a highway outside Stockholm in BIG's winning "Energy Valley" master plan (Courtesy BIG).

BIG won’t let its ambitions be impeded by the laws of physics–namely, gravity. For a competition to plan and design the area around the Hjulsta Intersection, a massive highway infrastructure project just north of Stockholm, BIG teamed up with firms Grontji and Spacescape to create “Energy Valley,” and their winning master plan addresses not only the area around the highway interchange but also above it. The plan’s surreal defining feature is “a reflective, self‐sustaining hovering sphere mirroring Stockholm as it is, new and old, creating a 180 degree view of the area for the drivers on their way in or out of the city.”

Covered with photovoltaic film and tethered to the ground, this mysterious giant orb would supposedly generate enough solar and wind power to keep itself aloft while also providing power for over 200 surrounding houses. Read More

Quick Clicks> Vital Arts, Freeway Down, Arguing Art, and Metro Card Art

Daily Clicks, East Coast
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
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Dallas Arts District (Photo by Iwan Baan via Cityscapes)

Dallas Arts District (Photo by Iwan Baan via Cityscapes)

District Review. Blair Kamin reports on the Dallas Arts District – the nation’s largest contiguous urban arts district – and finds the architecture inspiring but the street life a bore. In an area where Pritzker-winning architecture abounds, can a new park and residential development create urban vitality?

Freeway Down. NPR reports on the mainstreaming of highway teardowns across the country. With skyrocketing infrastructure costs, many cities find removing a mega-road is more affordable while preserving neighborhood character and spurring new business.

Public Art Confidential. WNYC takes a look at the story of public art in New York and the controversy that can follow as times and values change. Dueling sides argue the benefits of provoking thought on difficult subjects versus giving artwork an appropriate stage to do so. Among the eight most contested statues in New York is the long-toppled King George III once located in Bowling Green.

Multi-Use Metro Cards. Subway Art Blog has a pair of recent galleries showing how you can reuse your old Metro Cards, either by adding to your wardrobe or creating collage artwork.

Columbia Boathouse Marsh Hullabaloo

East, Newsletter
Monday, March 21, 2011
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New renderings shown at the community meeting include a few details that won't make it into the final picture. Instead of galvanized steel and cables the rails will be executed in bent wood.

Columbia University looks as though it’s in the final stretch of the public review process for the proposed Boathouse Marsh designed by James Corner Field Operations and the Steven Holl-designed Campbell Sports Center. On Friday night and Sunday afternoon, Columbia University Executive VP Joseph Ienuso made presentations to neighborhood residents. A few media outlets dubbed the gatherings “dueling meetings,” due to some political infighting between council members Robert Jackson and Ydanis Rodriguez, which erupted during a subcommittee meeting before the city council last week. The background political drama only heightened already-tense negotiations between the neighbors and the university.

Continue reading after the jump.

Quick Clicks> Frank′s Party, Little Cooper, Gaudi′s Church, and Carnegie Saved

Daily Clicks, East Coast
Monday, March 21, 2011
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Frank Gehry with his birthday cake.

Frank Gehry with his birthday cake.

Happy Birthday, Frank! Over the weekend, Frank Gehry celebrated his 82nd birthday on top of New York. New York by Gehry, that is. The penthouse unit on the 76th floor of 8 Spruce Street, Gehry’s first skyscraper, was filled with celebrities (think Bono) and starchitects (Robert A.M. Stern and more). Check out a gallery after the jump.

Little House on the Bowery. Fred Bernstein writes for Design Observer about a little brick house at the center of a giant preservation fight along New York’s Bowery. The demolition has been stopped for now, but Bernstein argues that the building’s real value is in the present, not in its history.

All in the Familia. Oscar Tusquets Blanca writes for Domus about Antoni Gaudí’s under construction Segrada Família in Barcelona. Blanca recalls, interspersed with some amazing photography, when he once advocated abandoning the project decades ago but points out how is opinion has changed today.

Carnegie Wrecking Ball. Ephemeral New York reminds us of a one-time plan to raze the famed Carnegie Hall for a bright red skyscraper set behind a sunken plaza. The March 31, 1960 wrecking date was averted at the last minute by the efforts of the Committee to Save Carnegie Hall.

Check out Gehry’s birthday party after the jump.

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