Video> Urbanized Continues It’s Tour Around North America

National
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
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Tonight in New York, Gary Hustwit’s new film Urbanized will make its U.S. premiere in front of a sold out crowd at the Sunshine Theater. Hustwit has just released this trailer for the the final segment of his design-inspired trilogy which previously included Helvetica and Objectified. After New York, Urbanized heads out west to San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and more before moving back across the country in October. Check out a full listing here and don’t miss our interview with Gary Hustwit where we ask him about his film.

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West Coast Park(ing) Day Diary

Standard's park on Sunset Blvd in LA's Silver Lake neighborhood. (Carren Jao)

What if we could transform part of the massive space we dedicate to urban parking into public parks, and what would it look like? On Friday, over 100 cities worldwide participated in the sixth annual PARK(ing) Day, where citizens and designers temporarily converted metered parking spots into open public space. While we couldn’t jet set around the world, a couple of our reporters checked out the happenings in California, where the concept was born.

Before you check out the parks, we should mention that these grassroots efforts are slowly influencing permanent change. In San Francisco, a City Planning Department collaboration with design firm Rebar, which helped begin PARK(ing) Day, has led to the creation of the “Parklets” program, where parking spots around the city are being converted into permanent plazas and outdoor seating.  And on Friday, LA City Council members Jan Perry and Jose Huizar announced a partnership with local neighborhood groups in downtown LA and Eagle Rock to begin a Parklets pilot program in Los Angeles.   Read More

Congratulations Mr. Adjaye, DesignMiami’s Designer of the Year

National
Friday, September 9, 2011
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(Courtesy DesignMiami)

David Adjaye's installation for Miami Beach. (Courtesy DesignMiami)

Sometimes it seems like our world is peopled entirely by yesterday’s and tomorrow’s Designers of the Year. But at least DesignMiami’s Global Forum for Design’s Designer of the Year Award comes with a nifty commission. This year the honor goes to David Adjaye and he will be designing a site specific installation for the entrance to the fair’s temporary structure on Miami Beach, open from November 29 through December 4.

Continue reading after the jump.

Billings Bummer Yet Again in July

National
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
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Billings (blue) and inquiries (red) for the past 12 months. (The Architect's Newspaper)

Billings (blue) and inquiries (red) for the past 12 months. (The Architect's Newspaper)

For the fifth straight month the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has posted negative figures, with the only positive number on the chart coming from billing inquiries.

The overall number dropped from 46.3 in June to 45.1 in July (any ABI number below 50 is considered negative). AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker once again pointed to the larger economy as the source of industry woes. “The stuff that’s going on with the national level is consistent with what we’re experiencing,” said Baker, adding that given the current political situation he didn’t think another stimulus package would make it through Congress. “The politics of that is going to be tough; there’s a problem with increased spending,” he said. Even if it did, the last package didn’t really trickle down to the industry. “I have a hunch if there’s a chance it would go through, it would look a lot like the last stimulus and architects didn’t get a lot from that,” he said.

Continue reading after the jump.

Pictorial> A Nature-Dominated Office in Denver

National
Monday, August 15, 2011
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"Natural Systems Domination" in Denver. (Courtesy Tres Birds Workshop)

"Natural Systems Domination" in Denver. (Courtesy Tres Birds Workshop)

It might be the latest trend in creative modern eco-office design or, more likely, it’s a tongue-in-cheek reminder to avoid letting work take over your life. In the typical modern office with row upon row of geometric cubicles, the closest a worker might get to nature is a small potted plant, a faraway glimpse out a window, or a rainforest background on his or her computer. But a new installation in downtown Denver quite literally breaks down this man-made environment in an effort to promote outdoor activity and a connection to nature during the workday.

Continue reading after the jump. (+slideshow)

Dwell Editor, Design Director Both Leaving

National, Shft+Alt+Del
Thursday, August 11, 2011
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In case you missed the news, Dwell magazine editor-in-chief Sam Grawe (pictured) is stepping down. He had been EIC for five years and with the magazine for eleven. No word yet on why he decided to leave, but we did get this (below) statement from Dwell marketing director Nancy Alonzo, which mentions that Grawe turned down an offer to stay with the magazine as editor at large.

Continue reading after the jump.

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From Avatar to Architects: New SpeedTree vegetation modeler launched today

National
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
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A scene from Avatar created with SpeedTree (Industrial Light & Magic)

Since Avatar’s release in 2009 architects have coveted the lush vegetation of the habitable moon Pandora for their own digital models, and today their calls have been answered. Interactive Data Visualization, the South Carolina-based developer of SpeedTree Cinema and SpeedTree for Games—used to create Avatar’s abundant flora as well as landscaping in your kids’ favorite video games—has released a new architect-friendly format.

Read More

NEA Our Town Grants Could Spur a New Economy

National, Newsletter
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
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MOS Architects-designed arts Drive-In in Marfa, Texas. (Courtesy NEA)

MOS Architects-designed arts Drive-In in Marfa, Texas. (Courtesy NEA)

Rocco Landesman, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), believes that art can play a major role in improving the economy and our quality of life. A new program of grants called Our Town seeks to spur such economic and civic development by investing more than $6.5 million in 51 projects covering 34 states.

Landesman said the goal is to foster creative placemaking through public space design, cultural planning, festivals, public art, and more. “Creative placemaking is a strategy for making places vibrant,” said Jason Schupbach, the NEA’s Director of Design. “Arts and design are essential parts of the complex work of building a livable, sustainable community.”

Check out the winners after the jump.

Competition Winners Imagine Life at the Speed of Rail

National
Friday, June 24, 2011
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ANIMAL FARMATURES (Courtesy Van Alen)

ANIMAL FARMATURES (Courtesy Van Alen)

Sooner or later, aerodynamic trains will be zipping across the farm fields of the heartland and the Van Alen Institute wondered what cultural, environmental, and economic implications such a novel technology would bring. After revealing ten winners of its Life at the Speed of Rail ideas competition, it appears that high speed rail could one day mean larger-than-life mechanical farm animals roaming around the countryside. At least that’s the vision of Stewart Hicks and Allison Newmeyer of Urbana, IL whose project, Animal Farmatures, reimagines farm implements as entertainment for passing riders.

Winners were announced today at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. and soon, the Van Alen will be taking Life at the Speed of Rail on the road (although unfortunately not yet by train). Stops include St. Louis’ Museum of Contemporary Art at 7:00p.m. on June 28, Houston’s James Baker III Institute at Rice University at 6:00p.m. on July 7, and Los Angeles’ Caltrans District 7 Headquarters at 4:00p.m. on July 12.

Check out the winners after the jump.

NeoCon Preview> Diamond Mesh by Vitra

National
Friday, June 10, 2011
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(Courtesy Vitra)

(Courtesy Vitra)

Diamond Mesh
Vitra

Vitra’s new ID Chair Concept by Antonio Citterio will include a mesh backrest option called Diamond Mesh, a 3-D pleated textile that allows for the air circulation of a standard mesh seat but with the comfort of an upholstered chair. Backrests are available in several heights, with optional head or lumbar supports. A complementary Silk Mesh seat upholstery is also available.

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NeoCon Preview> Ink by KnollTextiles

National
Friday, June 10, 2011
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(Courtesy KnollTextiles)

(Courtesy KnollTextiles)

Ink
KnollTextiles

KnollTextiles recently introduced its new Ink collection, a collaboration with Pentagram partner Abbott Miller. The collection is a study in ink on paper and features three patterns: Drip, a series of interconnected letters; Drop (pictured), a striped ink-dot pattern; and Run, a “modern toile” created by guiding small ink drops across a page. All three patterns are 52 inches wide and made with 70 percent vinyl and 30 percent recycled polyester (backing).

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NeoCon Preview> Red Carpet Collection by InterfaceFLOR

National
Thursday, June 9, 2011
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(Courtesy InterfaceFLOR)

(Courtesy InterfaceFLOR)

Red Carpet Collection
InterfaceFLOR

InterfaceFLOR’s new Red Carpet Collection includes three floor patterns designed for a range of corporate interiors. The Reduce pattern (pictured) is a linear design, while the Redesign and Redeliver have sheared and carved motifs that add dimension. Each is available in 32 neutrals in addition to bold red. Tiles contain up to 38 percent post-consumer recycled content and are installed with glue-less TacTile connectors, which prevent tile movement and curling.

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