St. Louis’ Flying Saucer Saved.  Del Taco in St. Louis (Courtesy Modern STL) Preserving mid-century modern architecture has become a hot-button issue around the country as aging icons are becoming old enough to be called historic. Last year a citizen-led preservation effort to save the unlikely icon in St. Louis, a threatened gas-station-turned-fast-food-restaurant with a distinctive concrete saucer, was launched. Now, it looks like the building will once again become a burrito stand as the developer has confirmed the building will house a Starbucks and a Chipotle. NextSTL has the details.

 

Kamin: Humana Resurrecta.  Michael Graves Humana building, Louisville, 1986 (Courtesy AIAArchiblog). Blair Kamin seems to have joined the reconsider PoMo chorus, stating in his Sunday column that the movement “deserves a more sophisticated reappraisal.” The focus of the Tribune tribute was Michael Graves’s Humana building in Louisville, Kentucky.  By drawing comparisons to Johnson’s AT&T building in its unabashed commercialism and to Kohn Pedersen Fox’s 333 Waker Drive for its national significance, Kamin writes that “Graves crafted a tower that could only have been built in Louisville.” The reassessment comes on the heel of Graves receiving the Richard H. Driehaus Prize for classical and traditional architecture in Chicago last month, which in turn came after last fall’s PoMo Conference at New York’s Institute for Classical Architecture and Art. Seems that the classicists are going gaga for PoMo.

 

Chicago Architect Attempting to Kickstart A “Super-Furniture”

International, Midwest, Newsletter
Thursday, April 5, 2012
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Beuys/Hefner House (Courtesy Bureau Spectacular)

Beuys/Hefner House (Courtesy Bureau Spectacular)

What is a Super-Furniture? According to Chicago architect Jimenez Lai of Bureau Spectacular, it is “a building that is kind of too small, or a couch that is kind of too big.” Whichever way you prefer to think of it, Lai’s plan to live in one of the his installation-scale Super-Furniture, in this case called the Hefner/Beuys House, for a month inside a London gallery is a provocative project where “suddenly architecture becomes performance art.”

Building? Couch? Check it out!

On View> Urban Visions: American Works on Paper, 1900-1950

Midwest
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
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(Courtesy IMA)

Night Shadows by Edward Hopper, 1921. (Courtesy IMA)

Urban Visions: American Works on Paper, 1900-1950
Indianapolis Museum of Art
4000 Michigan Road
Indianapolis, IN
Through September 30

An upcoming exhibition at The Indianapolis Museum of Art’s Alliance Gallery will explore the ways in which artists dealt with the rise of industrial modernization and urbanity. In the first half of the 20th century, rapidly changing cities served as inspiration for new portrayals of human expression within these new environments. “The spectacle of metropolitan life” is presented through 25 works from IMA’s print collection, including lithographs, etchings, and engravings from well-known artists such as George Bellows, Childe Hassam, Edward Hopper, Reginald Marsh, and Isabel Bishop. The exhibition will display the art alongside vintage construction photos from the Chicago and New York skyscraper boom, providing context for these early interpretations of the city. Pieces from lesser-known artist and architect Gerald Kenneth Geerlings, whose aquatinted technical drawings of the emerging cityscape highlight the juxtaposition of emotional romanticism and technological progress, will be on display at IMA for the first time since 1970.

Parking Increasingly Passé in Downtown Chicago Towers.  Parking Increasingly Passé in Downtown Chicago Towers Crain’s has an encouraging report on the drop in demand for parking spaces in Chicago’s downtown residential buildings. At Lakeshore East, which includes Studio Gang’s Aqua tower, only 40% of renters are leasing parking spaces. The developers had forecast a 55% demand. As a result many buildings are dropping the price for spaces. Other factors including buildings with on-site car sharing and secure bicycle storage areas are also likely cutting demand for parking spaces. As a result, some developers are rethinking how much parking to include in new projects, which would mean smaller podiums and more active street life, something any city would want.

 

Minnesotans Driving Less, Taking Transit a lot More.  Minnesotans Driving Less, Taking Transit a lot More Nationally the number of Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) has been declining in recent years. Transit ridership has also held steady or been climbing slightly. Minnesota seems to be a dramatic example of this new transportation reality, according to figures from the Minnesota Department of Transportation as reported on Minnpost.com. They cite a 40% increase in transit ridership from 2004 to 2011, and a small but significant decline in VMTs 2011 from their 2007 peak. Road congestion has also been easing slightly. High gas prices, an increasing preference for walkable neighborhoods, and teenagers postponing getting their licenses are all cited as contributing factors. It all adds up to further evidence that political rhetoric around gas prices, transportation, and energy policy needs to catch up to the reality on the ground.

 

On View> Sarah Morris: Points on a Line

Midwest
Thursday, March 15, 2012
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Philip Johnson’s Glass House in Connecticut. (Sarah Morris)

Philip Johnson’s Glass House in Connecticut. (Sarah Morris)

Sarah Morris: Points on a Line
The Wexner Center
1871 North High Street
Columbus, OH
Through April 15

Points On A Line, a 2010 film by artist Sarah Morris, takes two iconic buildings as its central characters, Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House in Illinois and Philip Johnson’s Glass House in Connecticut (above). Commissioned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which owns both properties, the film is a meditation on the relationship between the buildings—Johnson, an acolyte of Mies and inspired by Farnsworth drawings, happened to complete his New Canaan house first—and the structures as they exist today. But it is the relationship of the architects themselves that becomes Morris’ narrative thread, serving as a springboard to explore their other architectural overlap: Johnson’s glamorized corporate interiors for the Four Seasons, the power-broker restaurant in the base of the Mies-designed Seagram building in Manhattan. Points on A Line underscores how our perception of a space is affected not just by its design but also its mythology.

Chicago Picks Bike-Sharing Vendor.  Chicago Picks Bike-Sharing Vendor Big changes are coming to Chicago’s streets, as AN has reported. One of the most visible, the city’s planned bike-sharing system, just took a major step forward with the selection of a vendor, Portland, Oregon-based Alta Bicycle Share and Public Bike System. The vendor will supply 3000 bikes and 300 solar powered charging stations this summer, according to the Chicago Tribune. The number will be upped to 5000 bikes and 500 stations by 2014. The Alta/Public partnership operates bike-sharing systems in London, Melbourne, Boston, Minneapolis, Toronto, Washington, D.C. and Montreal among other cities.

 

Another $9 Million Banked for Chicago’s Newest Linear Park.  Another $9 Million Banked for Chicago's Newest Linear Park Today, Mayor Emanuel announced an additional $9 million in pledges for the Bloomingdale Trail, completing funding for the first phase of the elevated rails to trails project, according to the Sun-Times. The funds include a $5 million gift from Excelon, $1 million each from Boeing and CNA, and a $2 million commitment from the city, which, combined with $37 million in federal funds, will cover the $46 million cost of the first phase. The city and park advocates hope to raise an additional $36 million to complete the project, mostly through private, corporate, and foundation sources.

 

Tracking Progress on the Bloomingdale Trail

Midwest
Friday, March 9, 2012
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(all images courtesy Ross Barney Architects)

The community planning process for the conversion of the elevated rail line known as the Bloomingdale Trail into a public park and recreational path is underway. The three mile embankment, twice the length of New York’s High Line, will feature 8 access points from adjacent pocket parks, and a mile and a half of the line will have separated pedestrian and multi-use paths (for bike riders and roller-blades). The trail winds through Chicago’s Logan Square, Wicker Park, Humboldt Park, and Bucktown neighborhoods.  Read More

New York does a David Double-Take

East, Midwest
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
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The face of David (inspired by Michelangelo) by Serkan Ozkaya. (Branden Klayko)

The face of David (inspired by Michelangelo) by Serkan Ozkaya. (Branden Klayko)

In the hustle and bustle of city life, sometimes it’s hard to find the time to visit a museum. Luckily for time-strapped New Yorkers, a massive copy of Michelangelo’s David was trucked around Manhattan on Tuesday, stopping off at the Storefront for Art and Architecture for a manifesto series called “Double” exploring the implications of creating copies, fakes, and replicas before heading to its new home at the 21c Museum Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. This David, by conceptual artist Serkan Ozkaya is a copy of a copy of the original Florentine model, reimagined twice as tall and painted gold, making it the perfect centerpiece for the evening.

Continue reading after the jump.

Vikings Commit to Minneapolis…If They Get A New Stadium

Midwest
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
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It’s a story that’s been told in city after city. If you build it, they won’t leave. Professional sports teams hold cities hostage, playing on the loyalty of fans to get expensive, taxpayer-funded facilities, while displaying little civic loyalty of their own. Anyway! In Minneapolis, the Vikings have said they won’t decamp for Los Angeles if the city and state agree to help build a new $975 million stadium on the site of the Metrodome, according to the Star-Tribune.

Read More

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