Brilliant Bamboo

Other
Friday, January 9, 2009
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Morigami Jin’s Reclining II

It’s hard enough to see all the gallery exhibitions devoted to architecture in any given New York City week, but if I also try to visit design shows, it takes every waking moment. (I missed the top floor of MoMA’s Home Delivery show, for god’s sake, even though I caught the prefabs on West 54th Street.) New Bamboo: Contemporary Japanese Masters at the Japan Society is a show I read about in the A/N diary and kept thinking: “I should run up and see this.” Well, it closes on Sunday, Read More

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Pop Art

Other
Friday, January 9, 2009
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George Michael and Kenny Goss enjoy the limelight. (Courtesy Dallas Observer)

George Michael and Kenny Goss enjoy the limelight. (Courtesy Dallas Observer)

While pop singer George Michael spent 2008 loitering in public restrooms, making cameo appearances on British television, and touring the world, he somehow found time to join his boyfriend, Kenny Goss, in planning a foray into architecture. The Art Newspaper reported in December that the couple announced that they will be building a 10,000-square-foot gallery in Dallas, Texas, in which to display their extensive collection of contemporary British art. Read More

Bus Stopped

Other
Thursday, January 8, 2009
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Future Systems proposal for the new London Routemaster Double Decker Bus was quite the departure.

Future Systems' proposal for the new London Routemaster Double Decker Bus was quite the departure. (Courtesy BD)

Architects don’t have a great track record designing vehicles that make it to the marketplace. LeCorbusier, Gropius, Zaha, and, of course, Buckminster Fuller have all tried “streamlining” their buildings and putting wheels on them but their efforts never made it past the prototype stage. Now you can add Future Systems to the list of those who have tried and failed. Read More

Obama Goes Home

Other
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
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President-elect Barack Obama spoke to CNBC about the housing challenges facing the nation.

President-elect Barack Obama spoke to CNBC about the housing challenges facing the nation.

President-elect Barack Obama gave a half-hour interview to CNBC tonight (full interview here, transcript here) that was impressively policy heavy–a real treat for the wonks out there, though who isn’t these days–in advance of the unveiling of his nearly $800 billion stimulus package tomorrow. One of the issues he necessarily touched upon was the housing crisis (video), given its place at the center of the current meltdown. Read More

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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.”

Read More

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.

Read More

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

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