Widely accepted as the greatest public radio station on the planet, KCRW is famous for its groundbreaking music played by DJs who are smarter, cooler and infinitely better dressers than you. But last week was a bitter one for LA as the station’s great Nic Harcourt hung up his headphones as music director. For those of you who are already missing Harcourt’s esoteric taste (sometimes a bit difficult to take at 9:03am even after a visit to Intelligensia), never fear: Thom Mayne has stepped into the booth.
One day earlier than expected, the Philadelphia City Council voted unanimously to amend the zoning lot at 19th Street and Arch Street, site of the proposed American Commerce Center. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the council’s Committee on Rules voted 9-0 in favor of the rezoning.
As we wrote last month, this does not grant approval of the KPF-designed project. Instead, it simply changes the zoning of the lot from medium density commercial site with a 125-foot height limit to a super-dense site with no height limits, making way for the 1,500-foot tower, which would far surpass its neighbors. With zoning in hand, it is believed financing and tenants should begin to follow.
Still, the project must return to the Philadelphia City Planning Commission and the council for final approval within the year, lest the rezoning expire.
Former AN editor and occasional China correspondent Andrew Yang sent us some pictures recently of what he describes as Beijing’s new, unavoidable landmark. Whether it’s on the scale of, say, the Empire State Building, we’re not sure, but it’s certainly looks as symbolic. He writes:
Whenever anyone visits Beijing, it is hard not to run into Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren’s CCTV building, which has clearly finished construction on the exterior, and is now undergoing a massive interior fitout. Read More
LA Times critic Christopher Hawthorne yesterday summed up the problems with L.A. Live!, the behemoth development in Downtown LA’s South Park district, whose second phase is now opening. Hawthorne decries its “placelessness,” its buildings that “have almost nothing to say to or about downtown Los Angeles,” and worst of all, its inability to help the rest of the area.
“When we trap the energy of an urban crowd inside this sort of self-contained world,” he writes, “and when we allow developers and their architects to heighten the differences between that world and the streets around it so dramatically, we help keep the rest of our blocks underused and, as pieces of the city, undernourished.”
Amen brother. While the development, with its mix of residences, hotels and entertainment venues, should certainly bring activity and money downtown in tough times, it is still a wasted opportunity.
Last Thursday AN California Editor Sam Lubell (author… ahem… of this post) moderated the first in a series of panels hosted by the AIA/LA called Design Dialogues. The discussion centered around educational design, and panelists included Hraztan Zeitlian of Leo A Daly Architects, John Enright of Griffin Enright Architects, and John Friedman of John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects. Read More
It’s been a busy day out at Coney Island. Not only did local City Council rep Dominic Recchia tell the Post that the city is trying to buy up developer Joe Sitt’s stake in the area, but now comes the Municipal Art Society’s zany plans for the famed amusement park.
The MAS spent a busy week talking to the community and then working to conceive fanciful designs with a world-renowned team of planners, designers, and amusement experts, the fruits of which were unveiled at a press conference today at Borough Hall. AN had a correspondent on the scene, but these renderings are just too nice to keep to ourselves. With the blustery weather outside, maybe they can give hope for a warmer future. More amusements after the jump. Read More