Just weeks after LA City Planning Commission President Jane Usher resigned, Southern California is down another major planner: The LA Times has reported that LA County’s chief planner Bruce McClendon (pictured) was just fired by County Chief Executive Officer William T. Fujioka.
McClendon told the Times that he believed the firing was likely in retaliation for becoming a whistle-blower against the Board of Supervisors. He said he had told Fujioka that supervisors’ aides often tried influencing hearing officers’ decisions on whether to permit development plans. “It was illegal, and they can go to jail for doing it,” McClendon told the Times. Read More
Buried deep in a New York Times article on Fiat’s proposed alliance with sad old Chrysler is a detail that will make many architects happy. As part of the deal, Chrysler will build small cars for the American market, like the Cinquecento-styled Fiat 500. But more to the design point, Chrysler will also start building Alfa Romeos for the domestic market. As it has long been the favorite of architects—from the Italian Futurists to Craig Hodgetts—let’s hope the design of the new Alfas remains in Italy with Bertone and Pininfarina. And not in Detroit.
In addition to the news about further delays at the World Trade Center site, this week’s issue of Downtown Express also reported on a deal brokered by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer that guaranteed public access to the “Great Hall” on the second floor of the Battery Maritime Building, and thus Stringer’s ULURP blessing. That this was billed as a victory took me by surprise, because, from what I remember about the project when I was writing about its review and subsequent passage by the LPC, this had always been the plan. Read More
Downtown Express has a lengthy and informative interview with PA executive director Chris Ward about the pace of development at Ground Zero, which, unsurprisingly, may be delayed in some capacity by the current recession. The interview is worth a gander, but really, Curbed says it all with one of its signature red arrow-laden graphics.
Few of mankind’s feats have inspired more awe than the Apollo moon missions of the late 1960s and early 70s. Well we’re going for it again, and this time we’re bringing a cooler car! NASA, which plans to put its boots back on earth’s lone natural satellite in 2020, recently unveiled it’s updated moon buggy—a 12-wheeled, electric-powered, fully-pressurized extraterrestrial vehicle that can house two astronauts for up to 14 days of no-holds-barred lunar exploration. Architects take note: With the way the economy is going, your next commissions may be anywhere, even on the moon. (Just check the video after the break.) Read More
Touchstone Architecture/Columbia River Crossing
Everyone seems to be talking about infrastructure and green jobs, which are expected to be a big part of any Federal stimulus package. One tension, however, is that a lot of infrastructure projects, especially highways, are anything but green. Here’s one plan that attempts to reconcile this discrepancy, a wind turbine-equipped bridge planned for Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington. Read More
So it comes to this. Later tonight–6:30 to be exact–the Municipal Art Society will hold its final meeting on Coney Island, where it will take comments from the community, present the work of its charrette team, and, finally, present their recommendations to the city, a copy of which AN has received. The group’s timing couldn’t be better because we have also learned that the city is to certify its own long-simmering plans for Coney on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the entire neighborhood has gone (further) to pot. Read More
courtesy Royal Mail
These days, postage stamps of modern design icons are not much of a surprise. As you might recall, this past June the USPS issued a commemorative sheet of stamps featuring 16 of Charles and Ray Eames’ designs, including furniture, architecture, film, and exhibition designs. Newly released British stamps of design classics are said to convey quintessential modern British design, according to Jonathan Glancey, the Guardian’s architecture critic. Read More
It’s hard to imagine an industry by which humans could have changed the natural landscape more so than through the business of getting crude out of the ground, refining it, and shipping it around the globe. Which makes the oil industry a perfect subject for the Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI), a Culver City, California-based research organization that conducts studies into the nature and extent of human interaction with the earth’s surface. And where better to examine what oil hath wrought than in Texas? Beginning on January 16th and running through March 29th, the CLUI will exhibit just what it has learned in the Lone Star State with Texas Oil: Landscape of an Industry at the Blaffer Gallery, The Art Museum of the University of Houston. Read More
The National September 11 Memorial and Museum has just announced that it has been given Minoru Yamasaki’s final presentation model (he built 108 different prototypes) of the World Trade Center Tower Project. It has been donated by the American Architectural Foundation in Washington, D.C., where the model is currently on view until January 15. Read More