Wishful Blinking

Other
Monday, April 20, 2009
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A Bird's Eye View of Amsterdam, Jan Micker (1652 or after). (All images courtesy the National Gallery of Art.)

In the 17th century, the Dutch republic was booming, and the public clamored for paintings celebrating the iconic forms of their cities. The art world’s response to that demand is on display in the National Gallery of Art’s Pride of Place: Dutch Cityscapes of the Golden Age , a captivating collection of paintings that is less like a window on cities of the past, and more like a lens, distorting and idealizing its subject in fascinating ways. Read More

Ritorniamo

Other
Monday, April 20, 2009
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The good life.The good life. (Courtesy Riva) 

Last fall, the editors of The Architect’s Newspaper spent a week in Venice reporting on the architecture biennale. One of our fondest Venetian memories—the few times we could afford them—was moving around La Serenissima in water taxis.  As we’ve noted before, the Venetian water taxi is the world’s most elegant form of public transportation: hand-made wooden motor boats with tuck-and-rolled leather seating, customized canvas hoods, and spit-shined wooden hulls and decks. Well, the editors are headed back to Italy, this time for Milan’s Saloni di Mobile.

Read More

Thai Food At The Kaufmann House

Other
Monday, April 20, 2009
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The Kaufmann House on Friday

The Kaufmann House on Friday

It’s rare that journalists get to live the fabulous life. So when we do, we have to share it with you. Myself and AN contributor Greg Goldin took part in a great media panel on Friday in Palm Springs for the California Preservation Foundation Conference, with co-participants including author Alan Hess, Christopher Hawthorne (LA Times), Martha Groves (LA Times) and Kimberli Meyer (MAK Center). But what we really want to brag about was our dinner that night at Richard Neutra’s Kaufmann House; one of the most famous homes in America. Read More

If You Build It, We Will Post (and then re-post)

Other
Saturday, April 18, 2009
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Sorry, this post was accidentally erased last week.

Participants build their own transit systems

Participants build their own transit systems

Finally, the public events for AN’s New Infrastructure competition have ended! (there’s one more at the AIA/Mobius Conference in June, but that’s not exactly public..) The final event- also one of the last at GOOD magazine’s space at 6824 Melrose Avenue, which is moving down the street in the coming months (more details to come as they emerge)-  included a workshop led by Metro planner James Rojas, in which the audience was asked to build their own transit systems out of found materials like beads, legos, wooden and foam blocks, plastic figures, chess pieces, and much more. The ideas, concocted in just minutes, were stunning in their beauty and creativity, revealing a public desire to make LA’s transit systems more efficient, user-friendly, and most of all fun. Read More

Beautiful Day for a Bike Rack

Other
Friday, April 17, 2009
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A/N Associate Editor Aaron Seward and his lady friend Joan enjoy the sun on Grimshaw's fancy new loveseat/bike-rack/subway-grate combo.

Last September, the LMDC began installing these fancy Grimshaw-designed contraptions on West Broadway. Their main purpose is to keep storm water from running into subway grates, which is achieved simply enough by raising them 6 inches. To keep people from tripping on them, Grimshaw included a set of benchs and bike racks, so they would be more obvious to even the most hurried or oblivious of New York pedestrians.

According to the LMDC, the last of the 16 Grimshaw gizmos have now been installed, and just in time. While they were plenty quaint during the fall and winter, can you really beat a nice bike ride on a sunny April day? And don’t those two look so adorable. Finally, we think, it’s safe to say that Spring is here.

Stimulating High-Speed Rail

Other
Thursday, April 16, 2009
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A map of possible high speed rail corridors unveiled by the White House and the Department of Transportation. (courtesy whitehouse.gov)

This afternoon, President Obama and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood unveiled a map of possible high-speed rail corridors, with clusters on both coasts, in the North and the South. Read More

Really, Toll Brothers? Really!

Other
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
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Would you really want this as your backyard? (emptysquare/Flickr via Brownstoner)

Would you really want this as your backyard? (emptysquare/Flickr via Brownstoner)

When developers began proposing sizable developments for the shores of the Gowanus Canal a few years ago, at best it was viewed as yet another gonzo deal conceived of those frothy boom years. At worst, it was a bad joke. After all, this is the same body of water known to carry STDs. And so, when the federal EPA agreed to consider the contaminated body of water for Superfund status, that could only be a good thing, right? Read More

Back on the Map

Other
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
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Two versions of the MTA subway map found on the authority's website. One represents the Cortlandt Street R/W as closed with a gray dot. In another version, it appears to be in operation. (Courtesy MTA).

It may not have a marquee name attached to it, but work on the Cortlandt Street R/W subway station is another sign of the slow but increasingly steady progress at the World Trade Center site. Closed since 9/11, the heavily damaged station has stood as an eerie reminder of that day, visible to the thousands of riders that pass by it everyday as the trains creak and twist toward Rector Street. Read More

Shovels in the Ground

Other
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
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Aint She a Beaut: The $68 million reconstruction of an Interstate Overpass outside Portage, Michigan, was named the 2,000th stimulus project yesterday by President Obama.

Ain't She a Beaut: The $68 million reconstruction of an Interstate Overpass outside Portage, Michigan, was named the 2,000th stimulus project yesterday by President Obama.

Yesterday, President Obama made a visit to the Department of Transportation to applaud them and the rest of the nation for their work spending those stimulus dollars, marking the occasion of the 2,000th infrastructure project to be approved for Federal stimulus money. In his speech, the president joked that something unusual had happened at DOT and throughout the land: “We can utter a sentence rarely heard in recent years: This government effort is coming in ahead of schedule and under budget.” Read More

Koolhaas Flames Out, Shantytowns Inform

Other
Thursday, April 9, 2009
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(photo: Alicia Nijdam/flickr)

The announcement that Rem Koolhaas would be the keynote speaker for the “Ecological Urbanism” conference at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), which took place over three days last weekend, raised eyebrows, especially among sustainability-minded architects, landscape architects, and planners. Koolhaas had never shown any particular interest in the subject, and the fire at his TVCC Tower in Beijing was interpreted by many as a symbol of an era that had come to an end, ushering in more sustainable and responsible practices. Read More

Beyond Pruitt-Igoe

Other
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
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Jeff Hou, Stephanie Bailey, D.K. O-Assere, Nisha Botchwey, and Malo Andre Hutson served as panelist at the "Unspoken Borders" conference. (photos courtesy of PennDesign)

The University of Pennsylvania School of Design sought to bring social equity back into architectural discourse last weekend with a conference called “Unspoken Borders: The Ecologies of Inequality,” hosted by the Black Student Alliance. Architects have been skittish about addressing large-scale social issues ever since the profession’s notorious Pruitt-Igoe-style failures in the 1960’s, said presenter Craig Wilkins. Since then, he added, the predominant attitude among architects has been, “‘We’re not doing that again. They got mad at us the last time we did that!’” Read More

P!LA: SynthE-sizing Dinner

Other
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
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On Saturday, before we headed over to the Standard for my star turn on the media panel, Sam Lubell and I first swung by the Flat, home to celebrated LA restaurant Blue Velvet. We were there for an event hosted by colleague and co-panelist Alyssa Walker, part of her de Lab (design east of LaBrea) series. SCI-arc professor and hunk Alexis Rochas had installed easily the coolest green roof we’ve ever seen on top of the condo, and two dozen or so people had shown up for a tour, followed by a most-interesting lunch. Read More

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