[ Quick Clicks> A hand-selected tour of links from around the world. ]
Ruination. Mayor Bloomberg received an angry letter in the mail last week from Zahi Hawass, the secretary general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities. According to the NY Times, Hawass is threatening to take back the circa-1500 B.C. monument if the city doesn’t properly care for the inscribed hieroglyphics. Heavily eroded, the obelisk was a gifted to the United States in 1869 to celebrate the completion of the Suez Canal.
The American Society of Landscape Architects has created a great step-by-step video demonstrating how to return a contaminated brownfield site into a real community asset. The video, appropriately titled From Industrial Wasteland to Community Park, traces an abandoned refinery on its way from bio-hazard to bio-helpful.
Failing schools. Fast Company isn’t pulling any punches with a title like “American Design Schools are a Mess, and Produce Weak Graduates.” Designer Gadi Amit laments in his lengthy critique, “I’m finding that the impressive academic credentials of most students don’t add up to the basic skills I require in a junior designer. Simply put, the design education system today is failing many aspiring young students.” [ Fast Company ]
Hangover. It’s difficult to imagine how such a thing could happen, but an architect working for the US government in Japan managed to rack up a tab of $36,890 at a Tokyo bar. (If you’re curious, that’s 3,011 shots!) The bill is the result of a drum-based bar-competition, and architect Kaz Miura now holds a title previously held by bankers and movie stars. [ The Australian via UnBeige ]
Booing Beekman. James Gardner delivers a scathing review of Frank Gehry’s yet-to-be-completed 8 Sprice Street née Beekman Tower in Lower Manhattan. Opening with a question, Gardner asks why the tower is “so thoroughly sad and unimpressive.” Ouch. And it doesn’t get much better further in. At the root of it, the problem seems to be that the tower is rather conventional despite its curvaceous titanium skin. [ The Real Deal ]
Grand Piano. Renzo Piano’s London skyscraper dubbed the Shard (rendered at top) has topped out, or at least its central concrete core. Standing over 1,000 feet tall, the Shard will be the tallest tower in the UK and the tallest commercial tower in Europe. (And, if you recall, Renzo Piano is pretty tall himself.) Construction started in early 2009 and the tower is expected to be complete by the summer of 2012. [ BD Online ]
We’re starting up a new regular feature here on the AN Blog we’re tentatively calling Daily Clicks. For your perusal, a quick selection of architecture and design stories from around the web.
The year’s best. The Chicago Tribune‘s Blair Kamin looks beyond the doom and gloom that was 2010 to find the top ten architectural bright spots. Among his picks? The opening of the Burj Khalifa and a pollution-eating park in Chicago, and [ City Scapes ]
Cincy Streetcar. Cincinnati is one step closer to a new streetcar system, after the Ohio Department of Transportation unanimously recommended $35 million for construction of the system’s first phase, which is expected to open in 2013. [ Urban Cincy ]
Don’t hit print! A new file format, the WWF (after the World Wildlife Fund, of course), aims at saving a few trees as we send around PDFs through e.mail. If you’d like to prohibit your PDFs from being printed, there’s a free software download. [ Core 77 ]
Office Exhibitionism. Artist Stephan Sagmeister has a new web site. Now, you can sit and stare at a live feed from a web cam inside his New York studio to make sure everyone’s working. On this late Friday afternoon, orange balloons were strewn across the floor, leaving us regretting we’d missed the party. [ Creative Review ]
Not many architects can boast being the subject of a pop song, but, then again, Frank Lloyd Wright was always something special. Back in 1969, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel eulogized the architect in the eponymous “So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright,” appearing on their Bridge Over Troubled Water album. Garfunkel took an interest in Wright while studying architecture at Columbia and later challenged Simon to write the song while living in California.
While some argue that the song is really a cryptic breakup poem between the two singers on the verge of splitting, I’m sticking with architecture going mainstream. As the song says, “Architects may come and/Architects may go and/Never change your point of view./ When I run dry/I stop awhile and think of you.”
Witold Rybczynski, smart writer, stupid article.
Last Thursday, Slate‘s respected architecture critic weighed in with the dubious notion that the shorter in height, the greater the architect. This silly notion has gone viral on the web, and we felt it was our job to rebut it with some tall figures. Here they are.
We were scouting cool party spaces recently and caught this view from the 9th floor of Neil Denari’s HL23 on the High Line. Lower floors of the 14-story condo, now nearing completion, are going to feel pretty vulnerable to nose-pressers strolling up the rail-bed park who will be just feet away from their living room glass walls. But on the upper floors, views of the length of High Line will unfurl as alluringly as the Yellow Brick Road. Right now, it’s possible to make out the stretch of emerald lawn section at 23rd Street, waiting for its sunbathers.
You won’t see German artist Tobias Rehberger‘s proposed Lighthouse installation at this year’s Art Basel exhibition in Miami Beach, but if the city approves the project next week, the towering beacon could be lighting up the night sky by the end of 2011. To be located in South Pointe Park at a cost of $500,000, the 55-foot tall Lighthouse is comprised of stacked cylinders and would represent Rehberger’s first public commission in the United States. [ Via The Art Newspaper. ]
Design Miami is all about furnishings as art, parties, being someplace warm in December, and more parties. It’s not so much about architecture, except that the most riveting eye-grabber is often an installation by an architect. In 2006, Zaha Hadid, named Designer of the Year, created a plasticene web of wonder that ensorcelled the interior atrium of the Moore Building in the Design District. More recently ArandaLasch created tents set up closer to the action and directly in front of the convention center where Art Basel Miami Beach is located.
Move over NY Times Holiday Guide… Our friends at Planetizen have come out with something wonkier: their annual top 10 list of books in urban planning, design and development. The winners were based on a combination of editorial reviews, popularity, reader nominations, sales figures, recommendations from experts and books’ potential impact. Some of our favorites include Los Angeles In Maps, a visual history of maps in LA that makes sense of the city’s crazy grids and charts development over the years; What We See: Advancing The Observations of Jane Jacobs, a collection of essays putting a fresh perspective on Jacobs’ views on topics like preservation and urban planning; and Reinventing the Automobile: Personal Urban Mobility for the 21st Century, which suggests shifting automobiles to “Ultra Small Vehicles,” which could mean far less gas use and even automated driving. Any of these would be a perfect gift for anyone who knows what FOR, CEQA, or TOD stand for..
Want a free trip to Europe? Tile of Spain has just the ticket, but you have to act fast. The tile manufacturer is offering four architects and interior designers a chance to taste the local cuisine, see a few of the local sites, take in a tile trade show, and probably learn quite a bit about the offerings of Tile of Spain. But hey, it’s a free trip right? You just have to answer a few questions, but, hurry, the deadline’s tomorrow.
The cult of decay is an enthralling topic. This inevitability of time serves as the inspiration of Italian artist Daniele Del Nero‘s new project “After Effects” consisting of a series of model houses in advanced states of decay. Del Nero covered the models in flour and mold which then grew to nearly consume the models. These eerie miniatures appear strangely similar to plant-strewn ruins of many ailing rustbelt cities that have captivated public imagination as cities continue to wrestle with abandonment and revitalization. [ Via designboom. ]