Legislative Update> Transit, Biking, Walkability, Preservation & the Environment at Risk

National
Thursday, February 9, 2012
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(Courtesy U.S. House of Representatives)

(Courtesy U.S. House of Representatives)

It’s becoming clear how Congress’ approval ratings keep dropping to new historic lows—the latest Gallup Poll released yesterday puts it at a squat ten percent—when the legislative body continues to threaten policies not just architects but also the general public hold near and dear. Now, as key transportation bills that set funding for all national infrastructure–including roads, transit, shipping, pipelines, and even sidewalks–prepare for a votes in the House of Representatives and Senate as soon as the coming week, we’re seeing transit, biking, walkability, the environment, and historic preservation all at risk.

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Deborah Berke’s Yale Studio Exploring Urban Manufacturing (and Bourbon)

Dean's List, Midwest, National
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
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A stack of whiskey barrels. (Project 404 / Flickr)

A stack of whiskey barrels. (Project 404 / Flickr)

American manufacturing may be on the rocks, but Deborah Berke, principal at Deborah Berke & Partners, believes that by adding a little bourbon, one Kentucky city can make an industrial comeback. Berke is leading a graduate studio at Yale exploring the future of boutique manufacturing in the United States and using an urban distillery in Louisville as a case study.

Continue reading after the jump.

Green Monsters.  Green Monsters Isn’t it annoying when you’re trying to do your part to go green and then things catch on fire? In what some are calling a case of “green on green crime,” a low-e glass window has been accused of melting the side-view mirror of a nearby Toyota Prius in Southern California. The Prius owner noticed a concentrated beam of sunlight reflecting off her neighbor’s windows, which had been treated with a highly reflective energy efficient coating, after being told by her Toyota dealership that nothing was wrong with her car. It wouldn’t be the first time good windows turned bad: Las Vegas’ Vdara hotel made headlines when its “death ray” reflected super-hot beams of light onto its pool deck, allegedly burning some sunbathers. Following reports of melted vinyl siding, pool covers, and car parts across the country, the National Association of Home Builders has launched a study about the amount of concentrated sunlight reflected from energy efficient windows. [DailyTech, image via CBS]

 

Eight Emerging Voices Honored by the Architectural League

International, National
Friday, January 27, 2012
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Anemone, Taipei, TW. (Courtesy Oyler Wu Collaborative)

Anemone, Taipei, TW. (Courtesy Oyler Wu Collaborative)

Eight up-and-coming architecture firms from across North America have been distinguished as Emerging Voices by the Architectural League. The prestigious award is bestowed annually on a group of firms that have established a distinct design voice in their work and have “the potential to influence the disciplines of architecture, landscape design, and urbanism.” This year’s winners are INABA, 5468796 architecture, SCAPE Landscape Architecture, Studio NMinusOne, Oyler Wu Collaborative, SsD, Arquitectura 911sc, and Atelier TAG. A jury comprised of Henry Cobb, Geoff Manaugh, Paul Lewis, Jamie Maslyn Larson, Annabelle Selldorf, Claire Weisz, and Dan Wood selected the firms based on a review of their portfolios. Past Emerging Voices have included many of today’s top-name architects including Morphosis, Enrique Norten, Deborah Berke, Michael Maltzan, SHoP Architects, Jeanne Gang, and Steven Holl.

Each year, the winning firms present their work at a lecture series presented by the League in New York. Beginning on March 2, will take place at the Rose Auditorium in the new Morphosis-designed building at The Cooper Union. Also watch for an upcoming issue of The Architect’s Newspaper where we feature a profile of each Emerging Voices winner.

Check out the lecture schedule after the jump.

Go West, Solar Decathalon: DOE Selects New SoCal Venue for 2013

National, Newsletter
Thursday, January 26, 2012
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The North Lawn at the Orange County Great Park. (Courtesy Orange County Great Park)

The North Lawn at the Orange County Great Park. (Courtesy Orange County Great Park)

We’ve known since early last year that the Solar Decathlon, the biennial event showcasing the best in energy producing, student-designed houses, was no longer welcome on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. due to concerns over wear and tear on the “nation’s front yard.” The 2011 Decathlon, won by the University of Maryland, was pushed to a far corner of the Mall between the Tidal Basin and the Potomac River midway through the design process, causing outcry from student teams who were finalizing their house designs. Officials later announced that future Decathlons might leave D.C. entirely, and today, Department of Energy Secretary Stephen Chu confirmed that it will be moving about as far away from the Mall as possible—to the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California between Los Angeles and San Diego.

Continue reading after the jump.

The New Stars of Landscape Architecture

National, Newsletter
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
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Novus International Headquarters receives 3 stars (image courtesy of ASLA)

Novus International Inc. Headquarters receives three stars. (Courtesy of ASLA)

Landscape projects now have the option to shoot for the stars. Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) has announced the first three projects to be certified by what is to-date the most comprehensive system for rating the sustainable design, construction, and maintenance of built landscapes. SITES is a collaborative effort by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and the United States Botanic Garden designed to fulfill a critical need for sustainable guidelines in this environmentally sensitive field.

Continue reading after the jump.

Profile> Kevin Patrick McClellan & Brad Bell

National
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
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Kevin Patrick McClellan (left) and Brad Bell (right).

Kevin Patrick McClellan (left) and Brad Bell (right).

On February 17, Kevin Patrick McClellan and Brad Bell will lead RHINO Design, a workshop focused on the digital design program Rhino, as part of DAY 2 of the upcoming COLLABORATION conference on fabrication and facades in NYC.

Kevin Patrick McClellan is a designer, artist, and founder of Architecturebureau, a design research office exploring complex systems and their material effects on form. After receiving his Masters in Architecture and Urbanism in the DRL from the Architectural Association School of Architecture with a Project Distinction in 2005, he subsequently worked in New York for Kevin Kennon and in London with Zaha Hadid Architects. There he led the development of two highly publicized temporary installations, one for the Serpentine Gallery titled Lilas and the second for Swarovski Crystal Palace exhibited in the 2008 Milan Furniture Fair. He teaches design studio at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Kevin is a founder and co-director of TEX-FAB *Digital Fabrication Alliance, a regional platform for the dissemination of issues related to computational fabrication.

Brad Bell is an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas Arlington where he researches and teaches on the integration of digital fabrication technologies into the architectural design process. He has lectured, taught, and written on the uses of such technologies for the past 10 years and has been an invited critic at schools of architecture throughout the United States. Brad is a founder and co-director of TEX-FAB *Digital Fabrication Alliance, a regional platform for the dissemination of issues related to computational fabrication. And as principal of brad bell studio, he has completed projects in Colorado, Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. His practice focuses on adapting contextual and regional construction methodologies with new digital fabrication techniques.

TEX-FAB co-founders Brad and Kevin will present the day-long workshop, Rhino Design, and will cover user interface navigation and provide a broad understanding of the different tool sets and workflow options within the software. Step-by-step design problems will address both Solids Modeling, NURBS Modeling and documentation methods. Advanced techniques for complex geometries and the use of the paneling tools plug-in will be covered in the afternoon session.

Pier Won: Michael Maltzan’s Lens Selected for St. Petersburg

East, National, West
Friday, January 20, 2012
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MALTZAN'S "LENS" WOULD BECOME THE ACTIVE CENTER OF ST. PETERSBURG AS WELL AS TRANSFORMING ITS IMAGE. (COURTESY CITY OF ST. PETERSBURG)

MALTZAN'S "LENS" WOULD BECOME THE ACTIVE CENTER OF ST. PETERSBURG AS WELL AS TRANSFORMING ITS IMAGE. (COURTESY CITY OF ST. PETERSBURG)

Michael Maltzan Architecture has won the competition to redesign St. Petersburg, Florida’s iconic pier. In a group of ambitious proposals from the likes of West 8 and BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group), Maltzan’s scheme was perhaps the most so, with a group of interconnected bridges and pathways arranged along a figure-8 plan leading to a large shell-structure at its end. Called “The Lens,” the gigantic project will frame the city through its structure and create a connection between downtown St. Petersburg and its waterfront. It will include a new tidal reef, a civic green, raised walking paths, an amphitheater, a water park and other leisure activities. More on this breaking story to come shortly.

More renderings of Maltzan’s pier after the jump.

AIA Billings Index Stays Positive.  Billings (blue) and inquiries (red) for the past 12 months. (The Architect's Newspaper)Today the AIA released the December results of its Architecture Billings Index (ABI), and we’re happy to report that the overall score is holding steady in positive territory for the second month in a row. Like November, December’s score came in at 52 (anything over 50 is positive). But AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker remains circumspect, noting “We saw nearly identical conditions in November and December of 2010 only to see momentum sputter and billings fall into negative territory as we moved through 2011, so it’s too early to be sure that we are in a full recovery mode.”

 

Meet Vernon Davis, NFL Player and Interior Designer

National, Newsletter, West
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
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Vernon Davis. (Montage with images by MCD and John Martinez Pavliga / Flickr)

Vernon Davis. (Montage with images by MCD and John Martinez Pavliga / Flickr)

Vernon Davis the San Francisco 49er tight end who caught a spectacular pass in the end zone in the final seconds of Saturday’s game with New Orleans is more than just a football player. Not only is he an avid curling fan and player (he was honorary captain of the Men’s U.S. Olympic Curling team for the for the U.S. team in the 2010 Olympics) but he is also an interior designer. Davis is the co-owner of MCD or Modern Class Design along with music industry executive Antone Barnes. MCD focuses on designing interior spaces for “athletes and other clients that are suited to the client’s taste, but still affordable.” He tells his athlete clients, “You don’t have to break your bank to live well and have style,” and “this moment won’t last forever, so plan for the future.”

Check out his future plans after the jump.

Giveaway> Pacific Standard Time’s Ice Cube + Eames Poster

National, West
Thursday, January 12, 2012
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Update: The giveaway contest has ended and we’re pleased to congratulate AN reader and commenter Lori for winning the poster!

At the end of last year, a video of the rapper Ice Cube waxing poetic about the Eames (“They was doing mash-ups before mash-ups even existed.”) made the internet rounds, warming the hearts of nerdy architects and designers everywhere. The homage was part of the high-octane promotion of Pacific Standard Time (PST), a series of exhibits and events in L.A. celebrating that city’s art and design from the years between 1945 and 1980. Promo materials also included a limited run series of posters featuring Ice Cube and other celebs.

Well, AN readers, your response to our previous blog posts on Mr. Cube was so enthusiastic that our friends from the PST team sent us the above hand-numbered poster (36 inches by 24 inches) to give to you! It’s in the office right now waiting to be shipped.

For a chance to win it, simply leave a comment below with a note about why you’re crazy about the Eames. We’ll randomly select a name from the commentors on Monday at noon (PST, natch) and contact the lucky winner via email.

Pacific Standard Time runs through April. Visit the PST site to see their line-up of programming, including the Performance and Public Art Festival January 19-29.

Prominent Shortlist for Park City’s Kimball Art Center

National
Thursday, January 12, 2012
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A stacked-timber design by BIG / Bjarke Ingels Group.

A stacked-timber design by BIG / Bjarke Ingels Group. (All images courtesy Kimball Art Center)

Five noted teams have been shortlisted from a pool of 18 to renovate and expand the Kimball Art Center (KAC) in Park City, Utah. The firms include BIG/Bjarke Ingels Group; Brooks + Scarpa Architects; Sparano + Mooney Architecture; Will Bruder + Parnets; and Todd Williams Billie Tsien Architects. The center offers exhibitions as well as art classes, workshops, and other educational programs. Plans call for renovating the interior of the existing KAC and constructing a new modern building next door. Each of the proposals will be displayed using augmented reality, photography, and video during the Sundance Film Festival from January 19 through the 29 and a jury will select a winner in February once the public has had a chance to weigh in on their favorites. Construction could begin as soon as mid-2013 with the new wing opening in 2015.

Check out all the proposals after the jump.

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