Report: Hundreds of Historic Properties at Risk Due to VA Negligence

National
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
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Old Main at The Milwaukee National Soldiers Home (Courtesy Milwaukee Preservation Alliance)

Old Main at The Milwaukee National Soldiers Home (Courtesy Milwaukee Preservation Alliance)

Hundreds of historic buildings and landscapes under the administration of the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are at risk of being abandoned or demolished, claims a study from the National Trust for Historic Preservation released earlier this month. According to the report, entitled “Honoring Our Veterans: Saving Their Places of Health Care and Healing,” the VA has failed to comply with federal preservation requirements and maintain their historic properties, some dating back to the Civil War. The agency has instead favored the expensive construction of new facilities.

Continue reading after the jump.

“Urban Fold” Paper City Creator Set Puts Twist on Traditional Building Blocks

City Terrain, National
Friday, November 22, 2013
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(Courtesy Urban Fold)

Urban Fold caters to builders of all ages with an city planning toy entirely of paper. (Courtesy Urban Fold)

In a hybrid of LEGO and origami, Paper Punk has created their first boxed set of punch-and-fold, customizable paper building blocks. Urban Fold is the California-based company’s newest creation by founder Grace Hawthorne, a designer, author, and artist from San Francisco who currently teaches at Stanford University’s d.school (Institute of Design). The set gives builders the opportunity to create a paper city in punchy colors and patterns, inspired by Berlin graffiti and the photography of Matthias Heiderich.

Continue Reading After the Jump.

October Architecture Billings Slow After Months of Strong Figures

National
Friday, November 22, 2013
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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)

After a three-month streak of positive growth, the Architecture Billings Index revealed a small dip in the demand for design services. The ABI score slid down from 54.3 in September to 51.6 in October (any score above 50 indicates an increase). AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker said that the tumultous political climate—read Government Shutdown—contributed to the drop in activity last month.

Continue reading after the jump.

Serenity now! Studies question trend toward open offices

National
Friday, November 22, 2013
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Open offices, like the Toronto office of Bruce Mau Design, have come under fire in several recent studies. (Courtesy SparkCBC via Flickr)

Open offices, like the Toronto office of Bruce Mau Design, have come under fire in several recent studies. (Courtesy SparkCBC via Flickr)

The open office trend is rooted in some good ideas: encourage communication by breaking down barriers; give workers more space to breathe without confining cubicles. But a wave of new research is questioning the efficacy of the open strategy.

Continue reading after the jump.

New Film, Reaching for the Moon, Traces Life of Poet Elizabeth Bishop and Architect Lota de Macedo Soares

National
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
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MIRANDA OTTO as Elizabeth Bishop and GLÓRIA PIRES as Lota de Macedo Soaresin the movie “Reaching for the Moon“ (Lisa Graham / Courtesy L.C. Barreto)

MIRANDA OTTO as Elizabeth Bishop and GLÓRIA PIRES as Lota de Macedo Soares in the movie “Reaching for the Moon“ (Lisa Graham / Courtesy L.C. Barreto)

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.*

At this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, Reaching for the Moon by Bruno Barreto, one of the most celebrated filmmakers from Brazil (Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands) was originally titled “The Art of Losing.” That is the refrain of Elizabeth Bishop’s poem, “One Art” which chronicles ever-increasing losses—keys, names and places; then personal mementos; escalating to homes, cities and continents; and finally love. The love and then loss of this film is Bishop’s affair with self-taught architect Lota de Macedo Soares, the woman behind Flamengo Park in Rio de Janeiro.

Continue reading after the jump.

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One World Trade Center unseats Willis Tower as western hemisphere’s tallest building

East, Midwest, National
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
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Left: 1 World Trade Center; Right: Willis Tower. (Pat Hawks and gigi_nyc via Flickr; composite by A|N)

Left: 1 World Trade Center; Right: Willis Tower. (Pat Hawks and gigi_nyc via Flickr; composite by AN)

Move over, Willis Tower. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) issued its official ruling Tuesday: New York’s One World Trade Center unseats the Chicago skyscraper as the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. Read More

Bike Share Round-up> Chicago Surges, New York’s Safety Record Shines, Los Angeles Lags

East, Midwest, National, West
Monday, November 11, 2013
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Citibikes like this one hit New York streets in May 2013. (Jesse Chan-Norris/Flickr)

Citibikes like this one hit New York streets in May 2013. (Jesse Chan-Norris/Flickr)

We hope you’ve stretched your hamstrings—there have been a lot of developments in U.S. bike sharing programs lately, and we’re taking another whirl through them now.

Although not without hang-ups, New York’s Citi Bike has at least not killed anyone yet. People love to joke about clueless tourists riding on the sidewalk, or on heavy-traffic avenues, or “salmoning” the wrong way down one-way streets — that’s true in Chicago as well as New York — but the fact that no bikeshare has so far produced little to no traffic carnage should come as no surprise, writes Charles Komanoff for Streetsblog.

Continue reading after the jump.

A Look Back at the Toronto International and New York Film Festivals

National
Friday, November 8, 2013
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Still from the film Brimstone Line.

Still from the film Brimstone Line.

Film festivals are sneak previews of what to look for throughout the year, both on the big screen and through streaming services like Netflix. There are a surprising number of films circulating that are informed by architecture and design, including standouts like Twelve Years and Slave and Spike Jonze’s Her. In Stray Dogs (NYFF), a girl asks her mother why the walls of their apartment are so mottled. Her mother says houses are like people, with wrinkles on their face; their walls are so scarred because during a heavy rain the house cried tears. Not all tales are so sad, but It’s always a wonderful surprise when the physical space plays such a prominent role. Here is a selection you should be sure to catch that were previewed at the recent Toronto and New York Film Festivals (TIFF and NYFF).

Continue reading after the jump.

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Urban Land Institute’s 2014 outlook: ‘recovering from the recovery’

Midwest, National
Friday, November 8, 2013
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ULI

At its annual fall meeting (this year in Chicago), the real estate research non-profit Urban Land Institute released its 2014 trends report Thursday. The verdict of the 1,000 professionals surveyed? Next year we will continue “recovering from the recovery,” in the words of one respondent, following the depths of the 2008 recession.

Continue reading after the jump.

Heading to Boston for the ASLA Conference? So is AN!

City Terrain, National
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
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LAKEWOOD GARDEN MAUSOLEUM BY HALVORSON DESIGN PARTNERSHIP WON THE GENERAL DESIGN CATEGORY OF THIS YEAR'S ASLA PROFESSIONAL AWARDS. (COURTESY ASLA)

LAKEWOOD GARDEN MAUSOLEUM BY HALVORSON DESIGN PARTNERSHIP WON THE GENERAL DESIGN CATEGORY OF THIS YEAR’S ASLA PROFESSIONAL AWARDS. (COURTESY ASLA)

Calling all landscape architects and urban designers. Are you heading to Boston for the 2013 American Society of Landscape Architects Conference? I am. On Saturday, November 16, I’ll be reviewing projects and portfolios during a “Meet the Editors” event, alongside colleagues from a variety of shelter, design, and garden publications. There are still a few open spots, so sign-up or just drop by and introduce yourself. I hope to see you there. Also, check out this year’s ASLA award winners designed by students and professionals. Great work!

New SimCity “Green Utopias” Offer Futuristic Glimpse of Imagined Cities

National
Monday, November 4, 2013
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SimCity: Cities of Tomorrow Allows Players to Plan Virtual Futuristic Utopias. (Courtesy EA, Inc)

SimCity: Cities of Tomorrow Allows Players to Plan Virtual Future Utopias. (Courtesy EA)

In 50 to 75 years, SimCity, the virtual city-building game just about every architect or planner has played around with at some point, imagines an average metropolis taking two routes—a sustainability-based, green utopia or a money-driven, oil-dependent corruption—and gives players the tools to construct these futures.

Continue reading after the jump. (Video)

Facades+ PERFORMANCE It’s a Wrap!

National
Thursday, October 31, 2013
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Facades+ attendees take a break.

Facades+ attendees take a break.

We just wrapped up the latest installment of our Facades+ conference series. It was our most successful event yet! The response was overwhelmingly positive as hundreds of eager professionals converged on Chicago to discuss the most exciting breakthroughs in facade technologies. With sold-out workshops, standing-room-only panels, and sponsors already signing up for next year, Facades+ PERFORMANCE surpassed our greatest expectations!

“The Facades+ conference hits the sweet spot between design, engineering, the industry, and the academy, so there’s really something for everyone,” said AN executive editor Alan G. Brake. “The Chicago conference, at the beautiful IIT campus ablaze with fall color, was one of the most successful to date. It was two days full of inspiring, behind the scenes stories of how great buildings are made and the important technical knowledge that is advancing the profession.”

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