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.

QUICK CLICKS> Cemeteries, Conventions, Buyers, Oysters

Daily Clicks
Friday, March 18, 2011
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Full Bloom: Woodlawn Cemeter in the Bronx. (TS/The Architects Newspaper)

In Bloom. Spring has sprung! Time to go to the cemetery! There’s no place like Cambridge’s Mount Auburn, the Bronx’s Woodlawn, Brooklyn’s Greenwood, Philly’s Laurel Hill, or Chicago’s Graceland at the peak of spring. Check out great 19th and 20th century architecture alongside exquisite horticulture in full bloom. Need more convincing? read Rebecca Greenfield‘s interview with Keith Eggener in The Atlantic. Eggener, author of Cemeteries, describes these verdant grounds as America’s first parks .

A Shade of Green. The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Inga Saffron takes on the very notion of LEED certification with the completion of the city’s massive 20-acre Pennsylvania Convention Center right in the heart of the city. While she gives the Center props for trying, she ultimately finds the silver rating dubious.

Revolving Door. The endless parade of potential buyers that have been sweeping up and down the central stairs of the Chelsea Hotel continues to grow, though the NY Post says that the hotel may finally have found a buyer in the W Hotel magnate David Edelstein.

Shell Shucked. A charming article in The Dirt looks at the history of the humble East Coast oyster and the role it can play in cleaning up polluted waterways if reintroduced.

 

 

QUICK CLICKS> Support, Prefab, Wright, Genius

Daily Clicks
Thursday, March 17, 2011
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Temporary housing designed by the office of Shigeru Ban.

Shigeru Ban‘s Tokyo office is developing temporary housing structures for those displaced by the natural disaster in Japan, reports Archinect; click here to help support the project. Stateside, AIA president Clark Manus issues a statement encouraging U.S. architects to do all they can to support Japanese recovery efforts.

The New York Times covers Forest City Ratner‘s plan to use prefab building components for a 34-story apartment building at Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn. Engineered by Arup and designed by SHoP, the units should be pretty high-end as far as modular housing goes, but construction workers argue that the prefab approach will mean less jobs.

The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy trumpets the news that twelve of the master’s houses are currently on the market (starting at $800k for the Arnold and Lora Jackson House in Beaver Dam, WI), via Design Crave.

Acorn Media announces that the acclaimed BBC “Genius of Design” series is available on DVD. The five part documentary focuses on the highlights of industrial design throughout the twentieth century and beyond.

 

 

 

Quick Clicks> Shirtwaist, SoHo, School, Simpsons

Daily Clicks
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
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A mural by Ernest Fiene representing the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, at the High School of Fashion Industries NYC (Courtesy Triangle Fire Open Archive).

A mural by Ernest Fiene representing the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, at the High School of Fashion Industries NYC (Courtesy Triangle Fire Open Archive).

Triangle Fire Open Archive. This March marks the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, a 1911 catastrophe that killed 146 people, many of them poor immigrant women. That fire became a rallying cry for the labor movement in America and an impetus for the creation of the fire codes of today.  The Triangle Fire Open Archive commemorates the event in a very modern way, with user-generated contributions that allow the larger community to tell the story of the fire and critically reflect on its relevance today. (And today, March 16, the Brooklyn Historical Society give visitors a rare chance to view the archive in person from 3pm to 7pm.)

Slumming it in SoHo. Today’s SoHo may be home to glitzy galleries, high-end retail, and the east coast branch of the infamous Karadshian clan, but it wasn’t always so swanky. In fact, as Ephemeral New York tells us, it was sort of smelly, especially along a blighted stretch of West Broadway that was better known as “Rotten Row.”

History of Urban Design 101. Urban Omnibus dives into the history of urban design as an academic discipline and talks with Parsons prof Victoria Marshall about how schools are shaping urban designers of the future.

Chez Simpsons. Las Vegas is a study in architectural illusions, with its own versions of the NYC skyline, the Eiffel Tower and Venice’s Grand Canal. But nearby Henderson, NV has its own architecture fantasy bona fides: Curbed tells us that Henderson was once home to the house that the animated Simpsons family called home.

AN Mixed Media> The Furniture Debates

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
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Michael Graves discusses furniture design (BK / The Architect's Newspaper)

Michael Graves discusses furniture design (BK / The Architect's Newspaper)

“Drafted: the evolving role of architects in furniture design.” It was a MAD idea: To talk about why American manufacturers don’t do the job they once did in supporting American architects and designers at making furniture. Held March 10 at the Museum of Arts & Design’s own restored and midcentury soigné auditorium, the assembled panel really knew what they were talking about:

Michael Graves recalled his early days working for George Nelson in riveting detail and why Target has dropped independent designers; Jeffrey Bernett, one of the few American designers routinely designing for B&B, summed up Italy versus Herman Miller; Gisue Hariri of Hariri & Hariri eloquently addressed why architects feel compelled to make furniture, and what happened when her architecture firm tried to go there on a larger scale; and Granger Moorhead of Moorhead & Moorhead gave great reason for everyone to hope there is another golden age, especially for New York furniture designers, just ahead.

Watch the highlight reel after the jump.

Video> Subterranean City of Ants Unearthed

International, Newsletter
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
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Unearthing a giant ant colony (Still from video)

Unearthing a giant ant colony (Still from video)

Architecture built by other species can be just as fascinating as our own. Take this excavation of a giant ant colony covering 50 square meters and descending 8 meters into the ground. Researchers filled the (hopefully abandoned) insect city with ten tons of cement and proceeded to excavate the surrounding dirt, revealing hidden tunnels and fungi farms. According to the film, the ant colony was also designed with good ventilation in mind. In all, it’s estimated that the ants moved some 40 tons of earth to create their metropolis. (Via Swiss Miss.)

Watch the video after the jump.

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Quick Clicks> Coops, Help Japan, Sidewalk Dining, and Rooftops

Daily Clicks, East Coast
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
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Chicken Circus by Studio H via Jetson Green.

Chicken Circus by Studio H via Jetson Green.

Coop Moderne. Urban agriculture is all the rage lately, and with the backyard gardens come the chickens. Jetson Green offers a few examples of high-design chicken coops made of reclaimed materials by Studio H, a design-build program for high-school students in North Carolina.

Aid. Architecture for Humanity is working on plans to provide relief to victims of the Sendai earthquake and tsunami. The post-disaster reconstruction group is asking for donations now to they can build later. If you would like to support Japan more immediately, the Japanese Red Cross Society is also a good choice.

Al Fresco Forward. As the weather begins to warm, the New York DOT has announced that it’s pop-up cafe program is moving forward. Modeled after pop-up sidewalk cafes in San Francisco and other cities, New York tried out its first model in the Financial District last year. The planter-lined sidewalk extensions project six feet into the street and are paid for by sponsoring businesses. The Post has the list of DOT-approved restaurants in Soho, the Village, and elsewhere.

Rooftop Remix. Web Urbanist put together a collection modern rooftop additions from around the world by the likes of MVRDV, Coop Himmelb(l)au, and others. As Web Urbanist points out, the juxtapositions of the additions against their host structures is quite striking. (Via Planetizen.)

Quick Clicks> Maritime, Match, Igloo, Rogue

Daily Clicks
Friday, March 11, 2011
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The new complex at St. Vincent's O'Toole building includes plans to preserve the facade and incorporate an emergency room.

Building Saved, Hospital Lost. A few out there blame the preservation of the Maritime Union Building on 7th Avenue (formerly St. Vincent’s O’Toole building) as the reason for closing the Village’s only hospital. The multi-tiered structure got in the way of St. Vincent’s expansion plans, which involved partnering with the Rudin Organization to demolish the building and build luxury condos. Now, with St. Vincent’s essentially out of the way, the Wall Street Journal reports that the Rudins will forge ahead. They plan to preserve the facade while keeping part of the building as an emergency room run by North Shore Long Island Jewish Hospital. However, all Level One trauma patients (like severe car accidents) must travel further. The new “emergency” room provides daily service to all of Downtown Manhattan, including tens of thousands of tourists and workers from the new World Trade Center.

Match, Game. The Washington Post says that in addition to the Southwest Waterfront Project, another boon will soon come to the Southwest D.C neighborhood when the temporary stadium for The Washington Kastles tennis league moves in. The 35-year-old league–which compares to minor league baseball with its smaller stadium and occasional star turnout, including Venus Williams and Andy Roddick–has signed a two-year lease for a site.

Spring Thaw. The New York Times reports that since the Pittsburgh Penguins have moved, their igloo will melt. With the Penguins migrating to the Consol Energy Center, their old abode, affectionately referred to as “the igloo,” now faces the wrecking ball. The domed structure, designed by Mitchell & Richey, is set to become the all to familiar multi-use retail slash apartment slash office slash parking space.

Rogue Contests. The folks from Unbeige note that several competitions have taken on a life of their own, with the contests’ offspring criticizing their parentage–as children often do. Archinect now has their PS1 People’s Choice Awards, which expands on the MoMA PS1 annual challenge, and a new Eisenhower Memorial Competition responds to perceived failings of Frank Gehry’s proposed design for the monument.

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