Design Dust-Up

Other
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
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Hella Jongeriuss now infamous Holder Sofa. (Courtesy Moss)

Hella Jongerius's five-figure Polder Sofa. (Courtesy Moss)

Over the weekend, the NYT’s Week in Review ran a scattershot call–”Design Loves a Depression” by Michael Cannell, former editor of the paper’s House & Home section–for design to “come down a notch or two.” Enter the Grand Poobah of contemporary design, Murray Moss, who savagely rebutted Cannell’s claims in a guest column for Design Observer cleverly titled “Design Hates a Depression.”

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Is Your Emmenthaler Loadbearing?

Other
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
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Pearls Before Swine by Stephen Pastis

Pearls Before Swine by Stephen Pastis (Courtesy Comics.com)

Even in the funny pages, architects are pretentious and engineers are bores.

No One Buying New Housing Marketplace

East Coast, Other
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
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Courtesy HPD

(Courtesy HPD)

There has been a lot of talk lately about how it is now up to the government to spend stimulate our way out of the current economic doldrums, and how much of that will come through infrastructure spending. One place where such investment is critically important is affordable housing, especially in light of all the foreclosures. While New York has fared better than other areas on that front, it is still unwelcome news that the city has rolled back the timeline for its New Housing Marketplace Plan. Read More

Talk Around the Clock

Other
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
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Philippe Parreno, Marquee Guggeneim, NY, 2008. Photo: Kristopher McKay/Guggenheim Foundation

Listen up insomniacs and coffee snobs, the Guggenheim is hosting a 24-hour talk, appropriately on the theme of time, as a companion to the exhibition theanyspacewhatever. The event starts at 6:00 pm tonight and runs through 6:00 pm on Wednesday, and includes artists, designers, curators, social scientists, philosophers, and others. Read More

The Downturn of the McMansion?

Other
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
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 <bobs>/flickr

Amid the anxiety, speculation, and real hardship caused by the ongoing economic downturn, the provocative thesis of this Washington Post article stands out, which, if correct, could hold a silver lining for architects. Reporter Elizabeth Razzi interviews housing historian Virginia McAlester about how previous periods of economic declines shaped consumer demand for housing. The answer is simple and somewhat obvious: the demand for small houses rises. Her predictions for this cycle are less so. Read More

Not So Fast, Seaport Edition

East Coast, Other
Friday, December 19, 2008
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GGPs Seaport plans far from sunk. (Courtesy SHOP Architects)

SHoP's Seaport plans far from sunk. (Courtesy GGP)

The news that General Growth Properties–which is on the verge of bankruptcy due to a massive debt-load related to its acquisition of the Rouse Company in 2004–put three historic properties up for sale has led some observers to speculate that development plans for one of them–New York’s South Street Seaport–have hit the dustbin. Not so, AN has learned.

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London Sees Red

Other
Friday, December 19, 2008
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Lord Fosters Bus. 

Lord Foster's Bus.

Two blue chippers Aston Martin and Foster + Partners raked in a not-much-needed  $38,000 (£25,000) and a first-prize award along with Capoco Design for re-jiggering London’s famous double decker bus, the Routemaster. Read More

Strike Two? Not So Fast

Other
Thursday, December 18, 2008
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The Vanderbillt Yards await transformation. (Courtesy threecee/Flickr)

The Vanderbilt Yards await transformation. (Courtesy threecee/Flickr)

First Laurie Olin, now Frank Gehry. That was the news earlier this week when the Wall Street Journal reported that the Santa Monica-based architect had laid off “more than two dozen” staffers involved with Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project. What followed was a string of cheers predicting the troubled Brooklyn mega-development’s demise. After all, how could it go on without its signature architect?

While considering this question, I kept thinking of a comment made by Kermit Baker yesterday, during an interview about the abysmal November billings index. Given what’s going on elsewhere in the industry, the termination of a handful of architects may not signal the doomsday scenario the project’s critics would like, and instead may be one more credit-related payroll pause like many others around the nation: Read More

Green ’70s Flashback with Smiles and Shades of Blue

Other
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
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Craig Hodgetts’ 1978 vision for the cult novel “Ecotopia” includes balloon generators over San Francisco Bay, with a maintenance gondola in the foreground.

A recent New York Times article piqued not only a literary memory of the cult classic Ecotopia, but also a visual memory from an early work by the exemplary West Coast practitioner Craig Hodgetts.

Writing from what used to be called “Berserkley,” California, Scott Timberg begins his article with these observations:

“Sometimes a book, or an idea, can be obscure and widely influential at the same time. That’s the case with Ecotopia, a 1970s cult novel, originally self-published by its author, Ernest Callenbach, that has seeped into the American groundwater without becoming well known. Read More

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The Scarlet Letter

Other
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
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The board of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) today made a formal proposal to merge with the financially struggling Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). According to a press release (top portion, above) issued today by LACMA, the goal of the move would be to to “preserve the independence and integrity of both institutions while combining their operations and infrastructure.” To save money MOCA has already shut down its Geffen Contemporary for six months, and is said to be pondering the sale of some of its artworks.
According to the release if a merger were to occur MOCA’s collections would not only be exhibited at LACMA’s Grand Avenue location and at the Geffen, but also at the Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM), and at LACMA’s planned Stewart Resnick Pavilion. LACMA’s $68.2 million budget is more than three times that of MOCA’s $20 million. According to the L.A. Times, MOCA’s trustees met today to discus proposals, including a $30-million bailout offer from Eli Broad. According to Curbed LA, LA City Council President Eric Garcetti and Councilwoman Jan Perry introduced a motion to allocate $2.8 million in Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) funds to the struggling MOCA, provided the museum adheres to its stipulations. Stay tuned….

Voluntary Prisoners of Downtown Miami

Other
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
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CIFO's urban jungle mosaic facade, garden, and entry patio.

Contemporary art curator and AN colleague Leanne Mella has organized a potent and compelling exhibition entitled The Prisoner’s Dilemma for the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, known as CIFO, in downtown Miami.

With noble intentions, given the socio-political climate of the recent past, the work in Mella’s exhibition showcases the ways in which artists respond to the exercise of power in contemporary life. The politics of the show are highly nuanced, visually stunning, and often quite poetic. Read More

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Hope for Housing (Update: And Carrión)

Other
Sunday, December 14, 2008
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President-elect Barack Obama named Shaun Donovan, chair of the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD bio), to serve as his Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. The announcement came during his weekly web-address:

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