Megastructures Reload

Other
Monday, October 20, 2008
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La Villa Spatiale by Yona Friedman & Eckhard Schulze-Fielitz

La Villa Spatiale by Yona Friedman & Eckhard Schulze-Fielitz

A derelict old German mint in Berlin has been taken over until November 2 by Megastructure Reloaded an exhibit of  1960′s visionary architecture drawings, models, and films. Descending into the mint’s basement/bunker Archigrammer Dennis Crompton has created an installation that includes Yona Friedman’s la Ville Spatiale, a film of the Archigram guys walking around The Centre Pompidou with Cedric Price, and a toy-like model of a Constant Nieuwenhuijs skyscraper. The dilapidated ground floor has series of interpretations of the themes by young megatsructuralists like New Yorkers Tobias Putrih and Katrin Sigurdardottir. Read More

Another one bites the dust

Other
Monday, October 20, 2008
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The Los Angeles Business Journal reports that Jean Nouvel’s 45-story tower in LA’s Century City, 10000 Santa Monica Blvd. (pictured above), has been put on hold. The “Green Blade,” as it had been  nicknamed, was to have an extremely thin 50-foot floorplate, permitting north and south glazing for all of its 177 units. Each unit was also to be wrapped outside with plants, resting on projecting podiums.

“We have been unable to obtain assurances of continued funding that would allow us to move forward with confidence at this point in time,” the building’s developer, SunCal, said in a statement.

According to the Journal’s story, vacancy rates have doubled in parts of Los Angeles, Class A office buildings are opening without tenants, and high-profile marquee projects are “being all but abandoned.” Yikes.

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Red Stair

Other
Friday, October 17, 2008
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The opening yesterday in Father Duffy Square of the new TKTS booth—conceived 35 years before the current trend in pop-up venues—was attended by Mayor Bloomberg, Bernadette Peters, and loyal members of the 69th, if not the naked cowboy. Even the original designers of the red steps, Australians Tai Ropiha and John Choi, were on hand, although organizers were quick to call their competition winning design (best of 683 entries from 31 countries) of January 2000, just a concept.

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A Most Architectural Trailer

Other
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
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Over the weekend, I caught a screening of Burn After Reading, which turned out to be better than the reviews would have you believe. But the biggest surprise was the trailer for The International. Watching the opening scene, you’re probably thinking the same thing I did: The financial crisis, coming to a theater near you. But beyond the (once?) absurd plot of a the world’s largest bank funding murders and coups, the movie looks like it could be the most architecturally savvy since The Fountainhead. To wit:

Read More

Diane Keaton Mourns the Ambassador

Other
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
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Diane Keatons crusade

Diane Keaton, tireless preservationist

We’ve followed the slow, sad demise of LA’s Ambassador Hotel until it came down to the final, last-ditch effort to save just the Cocoanut Grove. Of course that didn’t work out either, so look for a story in this month’s issue about the park planned for the space, which will reference the Ambassador’s history through an audio installation. Overall, though, it was an unhappy ending. But there was some solace knowing that, the whole time, Annie Hall was right there sobbing with us. Read More

Artecnica’s Showroom Opens in LA

Other
Saturday, October 11, 2008
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A shiny new showroom on San Vicente

A shiny new showroom on San Vicente

The socially-reponsible design squad at Artecnica opened their first showroom in Los Angeles last night and designers, architects and artists thronged the simple white storefront in appreciation. Well, and for a glimpse of flower-power designer Tord Boontje during his second-ever visit to LA (even though he’s been working with Artecnica for ages). Gracious hostess Tahmineh Javanbakht greeted guests near the bar, her neck layered with chains, charms, beads and bangles to glamorous effect, while Rose Apodaca presided over a pop-up version of boutique A+R in the back. Read More

Columntrava

Other
Friday, October 10, 2008
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courtesy Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

courtesy Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

This week, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PA) and Santiago Calatrava released renderings of the scaled back World Trade Center Transportation Hub. Read More

Nature Boy

Other
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
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all images courtesy Johnson Trading Gallery

all images courtesy Johnson Trading Gallery

The young British designer Max Lamb, the subject of a solo show at Johnson Trading Gallery in Hudson Square that opens today, creates furniture with rugged natural materials—blocks of stone, molten metals, beach sand—and various methods of hand-working. The results reflect a distinctive and surprisingly contemporary sensibility. Read More

Landscapers Short On Green, Too

Other
Monday, October 6, 2008
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stella.errante/Courtesy Flickr

stella.errante/Courtesy Flickr

We’ve been tracking the AIA Architecture Billings Index ever since it took a dive last spring. But what about the rest of the design industry? Well, the American Society of Landscape Architects released its quarterly survey of member firms, and the numbers are no better than their brick-and-mortar friends.

In fact, the numbers are even worse, with only 16 percent of firms experiencing growth in their billings and 43 percent having stable or rising inquiries. Read More

After the flood

Other
Monday, October 6, 2008
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On September 14, the Farnsworth House was engulfed by the Fox River, sustaining significant damage to its interiors and furnishings. The house, designed by Mies van der Rohe and now a National Trust Historic Site, is reopen for tours through October 29 to benefit the restoration. According to a new blog covering the effort, estimates for repairs are still being tallied.

While restoration work is proceeding, some suggest that the house should be moved to a more secure location.

Jitters? AIA to the Rescue

Other
Friday, October 3, 2008
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As the economic crisis continues to reverberate across the globe, everyone is feeling uneasy. Architects are particularly susceptible because the downturn stems from the housing collapse, which has crept into most ever sector of the construction industry.

Not to worry (too much). Last week, the AIA launched Navigating the Economy, a special webpage aimed at, well, helping architects navigate the economy during this time of uncertainty. Read More

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Welcome to the MAD House

East Coast, Other
Thursday, October 2, 2008
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Everybody dance now. The lobby of the new MAD.

Everybody dance now. The lobby of the new MAD.

The Museum of Art and Design held its reception for architects and designers last Friday, and while the tchotke-lined galleries were packed with fancypants and fancy glasses, AN did not spot too many boldfaces–perhaps everyone was home warming up their popcorn for the debate. We did see Barry Bergdoll, Matilda McQuade, and Karen Stein and even asked a few people what they thought of Brad Cloepfil‘s resplendent new digs. Read More

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