Video> Exhibition Recalls NY′s Lost Garden of Eden

East, East Coast, Newsletter
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
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Adam Purple's Garden of Eden in the Lower East Side (Photo by Harvey Wang)

Adam Purple's Garden of Eden in the Lower East Side (Photo by Harvey Wang)

As he watched his Manhattan neighborhood crumble and burn around him in the urban decay of the 1970s, Adam Purple decided to build a garden. For roughly a decade from the 1970s until 1985, Purple’s Garden of Eden earthwork expanded with concentric circles as more and more buildings were torn down. Photographer Harvey Wang is marking the 25th anniversary of the garden’s destruction with an exhibition at the Fusion Arts gallery running through February 20.

Click through for more info and a video about the exhibition.

Quick Clicks> Green, Trolley, Bike, and Soane Booms

Daily Clicks
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
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New York by Gehry nee 8 Spruce nee Beekman Tower (Courtesy dbox)

New York by Gehry neé 8 Spruce neé Beekman Tower (Courtesy dbox)

Green Boom. Blair Kamin takes a look at the sustainability of two billowing icons in Chicago and New York. Studio Gang’s Aqua Tower is going for LEED certification while Frank Gehry’s New York tower will not seek the USGBC’s approval but claims to be green nonetheless. Kamin notes the importance of such moves, saying of Gehry: “What he, in particular, does–or doesn’t do–can have enormous influence, not simply on architects but on developers.”

Trolley Boom. NPR has a piece on the explosion of streetcars across the country with planned or completed systems in over a dozen cities.

Bike Boom. Cycling advocate Elly Blue discusses a new study on Grist stating that bikes deserve their own infrastructure independent from autos. And not just a striped bike lane, Blue notes, but separated lanes called “cycle tracks” like one installed along Brooklyn’s Prospect Park West.

Soane Boom. The Independent reports on a planned renovation to the Sir John Soane Museum in London, that architect’s treasure trove of antiquities and architectural memorabilia from across the world. Plans include opening up a new floor that hasn’t been open to the public since Soane died in 1837.

Quick Clicks> Mega Watts, Luck, Mattise, Like Jane

Daily Clicks
Monday, February 14, 2011
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Watts Towers (Courtesy Robert Garcia / Flickr)

Watts Towers (Courtesy Robert Garcia / Flickr)

Mega Watts. The Los Angeles Times reports that the James Irvine Foundation has granted $500,000 toward the preservation of LA’s Watt’s Towers, declaring the folk-art stalagmites “an important cultural icon.” (Photo courtesy Robert Garcia/Flickr)

Luck in School. The NY Times relays the story of Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck who has chosen to pursue a degree in architectural design at Stanford’s School of Engineering rather than head off to the NFL draft. We wish Mr. Luck, well, all the best in his endeavors, but life as an architect can make the NFL seem like a walk in the park.

Al Matisse? Variety brings us news that Al Pacino has been selected to play Henri Matisse in an upcoming film called Masterpiece detailing the French painter’s relationship with his nurse, model, and muse Monique Bourgeois. Producers will soon be looking for female leads.

Like Jane. The Rockefeller Foundation is accepting nominations for this year’s Jane Jacobs Medal honoring two living individuals who have improved the vitality of NYC and, among other things, “open our eyes to new ways of seeing and understanding our city.”

Minneapolis Riverfront Redesign Team Selected

Midwest, Newsletter
Friday, February 11, 2011
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(Courtesy TLS/KVA)

(Courtesy TLS/KVA)

The Berkeley, California and Boston-based team of Tom Leader Studio and Kennedy & Violich Architecture has won a competition for the potential redevelopment 5.5 miles of the Minneapolis Riverfront. Their proposal, called RiverFIRST bested those by rivals Ken Smith, Stoss Landscape Urbanism, and Turenscape, and includes constructed wetlands for stormwater management, manmade islands for habitat, new districts for green industry among other features.

While no specific segment of the plan has yet been identified for development, the team will be given a commission by the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board.

A project video and gallery await after the jump.

Quick Click> Islands, Dykes, Riverside, Stateside

Daily Clicks
Friday, February 11, 2011
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View of New York Harbor, 1999, from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, courtesy Design Observer.

Double Dutch. First Manhattan, now Governor’s Island–the Dutch just can’t get enough of New York Harbor. Adriaan Geuze of West 8 talks with author Brian Davis about West 8′s proposal for a new public park on “the island next to the island at the center of the world,” via Design Observer.

No more Jersey Shore? Speaking of the Dutch, oceanography professor Malcolm Brown told WYNC that residents of the New York-New Jersey area should brush up on their dyke-building skills, warning that higher sea levels may come sooner than we think, via Transportation Nation

City Center. Planetizen pointed us to a fascinating post on Per Square Mile about Cahokia, a pre-Columbian settlement on the Mississippi, which, until Philadelphia surpassed it ca. 1800, was the largest city in North America.

Start Spreading the News. New York: If you can make there…well, it doesn’t guarantee you’ll make it in Moscow. For whatever it’s worth, New York now ranks as the most affordable of the four cities that the world’s wealthiest citizens are likely to call home. New York beats out Moscow–yes, Moscow–as well as Hong Kong and London. The Real Deal quotes a study conducted by Savills PLC, an affiliate of Stribling.

Quick Clicks> Barrios, Shopping Atlantic, Blah, Egypt

Daily Clicks
Thursday, February 10, 2011
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A section of the barrios in Bogata from Harry Murzyn and David Varon.

Barrios with Altitude. A poetic study of the organically evolving perimeter of Bogotá, via Lebbeus Woods.

Atlantic Aspirations. Forest City Ratner is still on the hunt for Atlantic Yards funding, but has sweetened the deal by tapping SHoP–who is already spiffing up the stadium and public plaza–to design B2, the first apartment building in the complex, says The Observer.

Sterile Street. Blair Kamin calls out developer Joe Sitt for obliterating “bracing history” in exchange for “bland consistency” on State Street, in The Chicago Times.

Impromptu Planning. In Egypt, protesters have organized a mini-city in Tahir Square, complete with urban planners. Listen to an NPR audio clip or read the related transcript.

Jugaad Urbanism: More Than Just Making Do

East, East Coast, Newsletter
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
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The window at the Center for Architecture, projecting street fair festivity.

There is no direct English translation for the Indian word ‘jugaad,’ but the gist of it is to “make do.” But simply “making do” does not aptly describe the clever and resourceful strategies on display in Jugaad Urbanism: Resourceful Strategies for Indian Cities, a new exhibit at the Center for Architecture that opens tomorrow night. For the most part the exhibit shirks high design in favor of “design by the people, for the people.”

Read More

Quick Clicks> Related, Tickets, Comics, Rogue Signs

Daily Clicks
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
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Hunters Point South Concept Plan (Courtesy NYC EDC)

Hunters Point South Concept Plan (Courtesy NYC EDC)

Relating. Mayor Bloomberg announced today that the Related Companies has been selected to lead the first phase of Hunters Point South on the Queens waterfront. City Room has more on the project which will initially include two new buildings with 900 apartments.

Glass Tickets. The Philip Johnson Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut will begin selling tickets for 2011 tours on February 15. A variety of tours running from May through November explore the art, architecture, and landscapes at the house. You may also want to check out their weekly curated Glass House Conversations.

Comic Architecture. BldgBlog is running an interview with comic artist Mike Mignola, discussing the intriguing buildings, landscapes, and spaces that fill his graphic novels and create distinct moods for his stories.

Rogue Signs. Cranston, RI realized last year that 587 “undocumented stop signs” had been installed on its streets by a mysterious, unknown party. Lowering the Bar says the town has finally come up with a solution: legalize them.

AAF Says Brava to Burden with Keystone Award

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
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Last weekend in Washington, D.C. the American Architecture Foundation (AAF) presented New York City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden with its 2011 Keystone Award. The annual accolade is bestowed upon an individual or organization from outside the architectural discipline for exemplary leadership in design, specifically design efforts focused on improving lives and transforming communities.

Burden, who has served as chair of the City Planning Commission and director of the Department of City Planning since 2002, recently returned from travels abroad, and AN caught up with her just before the awards ceremony to hear what she thinks New York can learn from cities like Barcelona and other street smarts.

Read More

Quick Clicks> Microbes, XLVI, ARC Jr., Ben van Bistro

Daily Clicks
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
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Thomas Kosbau & Andrew Wetzler's proposal for sandstone roads (via Yanko Design)

Thomas Kosbau & Andrew Wetzler's proposal for sandstone roads (via Yanko Design)

Microbe Road. Designers Thomas Kosbau & Andrew Wetzler have proposed scrapping asphalt in favor of a more eco-friendly sandstone paving surface created with locally harvested sand and cemented together by a common microbe. Yanko Design points out that the Incheon International Design Awards entry would save oil and help relieve the urban heat island effect.

Super-circle XLVI. While the buzz surrounding this year’s Superbowl has yet to subside, Indianapolis has focused its eyes to next year’s big game. Urban Indy reports that the city’s iconic Monument Circle will be pedestrianized during the week-long festivities, which could bode well for future car-free endeavors.

ARC Resurrected. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie may have derailed the proposed ARC train tunnel connecting Manhattan and NJ last year, but a new plan floated by Amtrak could provide a new tunnel opportunity. The Transport Politic has details on the so-called Gateway Project.

Ben van Bistro. Just in time for spring, the New Amsterdam Pavilion designed by UN Studio principal Ben van Berkel in Manhattan’s Battery Park will offer eco-friendly food, craft beer, and organic wine. DNAinfo says the pinwheel-shaped restaurant will be called Battery Bistro.

Video> Amazingly BIG Fly-By at 57th Street Tower

East, Newsletter
Monday, February 7, 2011
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(Courtesy BIG)

(Courtesy BIG)

We told you this morning about new details surrounding the Durst Fetner Residential’s Bjarke Ingels-designed West 57th Street tower, but now there so much more to share. BIG’s Danish office has released additional renderings, detailing Manhattan’s surf-and-turf hybrid tower in all it’s mountainous glory. And you won’t want to miss the fly-by video, either!

Much, much more after the jump.

Quick Clicks> Winded, Juiced, Stripped, TOD-IMBY

Daily Clicks
Monday, February 7, 2011
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Rendering of an Italian viaduct with wind turbines (Via Popular Science)

Rendering of an Italian viaduct with wind turbines (Via Popular Science)

Winded. Popular Science has the story of a bridge concept in Italy called Solar Wind featuring an array of wind turbines capable of generating 40 million kilowatt hours annually. If that weren’t enough, the proposal also incorporates a solar roadway for an added green boost.

Juiced. The Times of Trenton reports that Princeton University is converting 27 acres in West Windsor, New Jersey into a field 16,500 photovoltaic panels able to generate 8 million kilo-watt hours of clean, green energy every year. The project will begin in 2012 and is expected to generate 5.5% of electricity for the university.

Stripped. Citiwire considers the downfall of the suburban commercial strip and it doesn’t look good for sprawl. As shopping trends evolve and consumer taste retreats from the generic strip landscape, hybrid shopping centers resembling main streets could be the future.

TOD or not TOD. Residents of an award-winning transit-oriented development in Maryland featuring a wide median where a light rail line was planned have turned their backs to their neighborhoods original lofty goals. StreetsBlog sums up the latest high-profile case of NIMBY-ism.

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