President Obama’s second-term White House is still in transition, with Ray LaHood out and rumors of an NTSB replacement, Sally Jewell likely in as Secretary of Interior. Among the non-Cabinet-level appointments, the President appointed Michael Graves to a member of the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, an agency “devoted to accessibility for people with disabilities.” Graves, who uses a wheelchair after an illness-induced partial paralysis, has been a leader in promoting accessibility in architecture, recently designing prototype houses for wounded and disabled veterans.
This month, Graves will also be launching a new line of more than 300 products at retailer J.C. Penney, including kitchen appliances, candlesticks, and a toaster shaped like a piece of toast. The Indianapolis-born architect will return to his hometown on March 28 to give a lecture at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and he recently spoke with the Indy Star about delivering papers for the publication as a child, architecture, and the new product line. An exhibition of Graves’ work, From Towers to Teakettles, is also on display at the Virginia Center for Architecture through March 31.
The Architecture Billings Index showed renewed strength in January, with a jump to 54.2 from 51.2 in December (any score above 50 indicates positive growth). All four regions were in positive territory with the Midwest leading at 54.4, the long struggling West showing strength at 53.4, the South came in at 51.7, and the Northeast at 50.3. The Index posted the strongest gains since November 2007.
Pharrell Williams recently sat down to interview architect Alexander Gorlin and artist/designer Daniel Arsham of Snarkitecture. They discussed their influences and creative processes. The conversation took place in Gorlin’s apartment in his eponymous building in Miami. As Pharrell noted, “We’re sitting in your idea right now… That’s deep.”
The 2013 SCUP Excellence Awards for Architecture, Planning, or Landscape Architecture deadline is February 22. These awards recognize and honor institutions and consulting firms whose success and best practices demonstrate achievements through plans, buildings, additions, renovations, restorations, and landscapes. This is a juried program.
The Society for College and University Planning (SCUP), which was established in 1965, is a community of senior, higher education leaders who are responsible for, or are involved in, the integration of planning on their campuses and for the professionals who support them.Award categories include:
• SCUP Excellence in Planning for a New Campus; Existing Campus; District or Campus Component
• SCUP Excellence in Landscape Architecture for General Design; Open Space Planning and Design
• SCUP/AIA-CAE Excellence in Architecture for a New Building; Building Additions, Renovation or Adaptive Reuse; Restoration or Preservation.
Cooper Union’s John Q. Hejduk Award for Architecture has been given to Michael Morris and Yoshiko Sato at the schools Founder’s Day ceremony. The two architect’s both attended Cooper Union graduating in 1989. In addition to teaching at Cooper, Columbia, Harvard and Parsons, the pair were well known for their design, lectures, and research for Dupont’s Corian products (including the design for Corian’s New York showroom) and collaboration with NASA’s Johnson Space Center on human habitability projects for future missions and life beyond earth. Morris accepted the award for himself and Sato who died last year and was given the award posthumously.
Last month, Ray LaHood made an off-the-cuff remark at a post-inaugural party that he would be “sticking around for a while” as President Obama’s Secretary of Transportation, but last week LaHood made his final decision to step down from the position after four years on the job. The Republican made a name for himself in urbanist circles for his support of High Speed Rail, efficient urban transportation policies, and safety pushes, most notably his efforts to curb distracted driving. Reflecting on his tenure at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), LaHood remarked in a letter to DOT employees across the country,
“Our achievements are significant. We have put safety front and center with the Distracted Driving Initiative and a rule to combat pilot fatigue that was decades in the making. We have made great progress in improving the safety of our transit systems, pipelines, and highways, and in reducing roadway fatalities to historic lows. We have strengthened consumer protections with new regulations on buses, trucks, and airlines.”
In an exit interview with the Huffington Post, LaHood said, “We are behind on high-speed rail,” but remained optimistic that the topic will still maintain a top spot his successor’s agenda: “As long as President Obama is in the White House, whoever sits in this chair will have high-speed rail as one of their top priorities.” LaHood will continue in his role as Secretary until his successor is found.
President Obama is expected to nominate Sally Jewell, the President and Chief Executive Officer of national outdoor retailer REI, to succeed Secretary Ken Salazar as the head of the Interior Department.
Jewell, a former engineer for Mobil Oil and commercial banker, has run the $1.8 billion company for over a decade and has established herself as a strong advocate for land conservation. The Washington Post reported reported that she is one of the founding board members of Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, and serves on the board of the National Parks Conservation Association.
The Department of the Interior manages and protects the country’s lands, water, wildlife, and energy resources, along with relations with tribal nations. As extreme weather patterns put climate change front and center of the policy debates in Washington DC, the Secretary of the Interior will take on an increasingly critical role this term.
Modern art as we know it has run its course. The visual giants of the last century such as painting, sculpture, and movies have greatly diminished in cultural importance. For the sake of my argument and to aid a simpler perspective and understanding, I’m combining modern art and contemporary art as one. I’m defining the modern art movement as starting somewhere around 1890. I believe the movement ended around 1990, and interestingly enough, this incidentally coincides with the ascent of architecture and the new digital technologies that are propelling it forward.
Among U.S. prizes for architecture and urban planning, the Rudy Bruner Award is unique in providing funds for programming and development of projects that support placemaking and social health. This year’s finalists range from housing and rehabilitation facilities to job training initiatives to new public spaces from across the country. The Gold Medal winner will receive $50,000, while Silver Medals winners each receive $10,000. Read More