“Unsitely” explores how design can improve construction barricades

(Courtesy Unsitely)

(Courtesy Unsitely)

An upcoming Montreal colloquium, Unsitely: Leveraging Design to Improve Urban Construction Sites, will take on a seemingly small urban problem that, in fact, has a profound effect on the daily life of the city: the temporary barriers surrounding construction sites. The event will explore existing innovative design solutions and how these can revitalize streets, districts, or entire neighborhoods.

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“Breaking New Ground” Competition Tackles Affordable Housing in the Coachella Valley

Architecture, West
Monday, September 22, 2014
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Resort communities and and shanty towns exist side by side in California's Coachella Valley. (Orin Zebest / Flickr)

Resort communities and and shanty towns exist side by side in California’s Coachella Valley. (Orin Zebest / Flickr)

Architectural competitions with substantial cash prizes tend to focus on monuments, museums, and other high-brow concerns. Such is not the case for Breaking New Ground: Designing Affordable Housing for the Coachella Valley Workforce. Sponsored by The California Endowment, a Los Angeles–based private health organization, Breaking New Ground targets the gap between the people who come to the Eastern Coachella Valley to play and those who keep its $4 billion agriculture and tourism industries running.

Continue reading after the jump.

Marlon Blackwell on the Power of Everyday Design

Architecture, Southwest
Friday, September 19, 2014
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Marlon Blackwell Architects' Vol Walker Hall and Steven L. Anderson Design Center. (Timothy Hursley)

Marlon Blackwell Architects’ Vol Walker Hall and Steven L. Anderson Design Center. (Timothy Hursley)

Marlon Blackwell, principal of Marlon Blackwell Architects and distinguished professor and department head at the Fay Jones School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas, practices in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where the temptation to design according to a derivative vernacular—and the risk of descending into quaintness—is great. Blackwell seeks instead to operate in the space between the vernacular and the universal, to create buildings that are simultaneously both and neither. “What emerges is something that I like to call the strangely familiar,” he said. “We’re working with forms in a cultural context that have a first reading of being familiar, but on a second, third, or fourth reading are clearly transgressive to either the local typology or the vernacular. What we try to do is kind of de-typify things—it’s really about trying to find or develop an idea about performative surfaces.” Read More

Eavesdrop> This Bridge Ain’t Made for Walkin’

Architecture, East, Eavesdroplet
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
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Squibb Park Bridge. (Branden Klayko / AN)

Squibb Park Bridge. (Branden Klayko / AN)

Brooklyn Bridge Park is one of New York’s most loved and successful new public spaces—just be careful how you get there! The spindly Squibb Park Bridge, which connects Columbia Heights to the park, has been temporarily closed “due to construction,” according to the park’s website. But some say that design flaws are the real culprit. One reader told us the bridge’s wooden planks are visibly warped, while others have said the bouncy structure is, well, just too bouncy. No word yet when the span will reopen.

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Old-School Meets New in Stantec’s Pew Library

Architecture, Envelope, Midwest
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
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Pew Library's multi-hued stone facade nods to the campus's historic brick and limestone architecture. (Courtesy SHW Group, now Stantec)

Pew Library’s multi-hued stone facade nods to the campus’s historic brick and limestone architecture. (Courtesy SHW Group, now Stantec)

Contemporary stone envelope asserts the continued relevance of book learning at GVSU.

For the new Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons at Grand Valley State University, SHW Group, now Stantec, considered a brick skin to tie it to the surrounding edifices. “But at the end of the day, the library, we believe, is one of the most important buildings on campus,” said senior design architect Tod Stevens. “That’s where we started to have a conversation about the library as it moves into the 21st century. We wanted to signal the continued importance of the library to university life.” To do so, the architects designed a quartzite envelope whose random pattern of stones sits in tension with an interlaid stainless steel grid. On the building’s north facade, a 40-foot-tall glass curtain wall creates an indoor/outdoor living room on the campus’s main pedestrian axis, and reveals Pew Library’s state-of-the-art interior to passersby.
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Sou Fujimoto’s Marcus Prize Pavilion transforms brick into a playfully light material

Architecture, National, Newsletter
Monday, September 15, 2014
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(Courtesy University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee)

(Courtesy University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee)

The Marcus Prize is awarded bi-annually to an emerging architect in the early stages of his or her career. Hosted by the the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee School of Architecture & Urban Planning and supported by the Milwaukee-based Marcus Foundation, it has a record of supporting talented young practices before they become well know including: Winy Maas (2005), Frank Barkow (2007), Alejandro Aravena (2010), and Diebedo Francis Kere (2011).

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Los Angeles Convention Center releases competition shortlist

Aerial View of LA's Convention Center and Staples Center (LA Convention Center)

Aerial View of LA’s Convention Center and Staples Center (LA Convention Center)

The Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering’s competition for a $350 million expansion and renovation of the LA Convention Center has been narrowed down to three final teams. And they are: AC Martin/LMN, Gensler/Lehrer Architects, and HMC/Populous. According to the project’s Task Order Solicitation (PDF), the teams will each receive $200,000 to “develop and present conceptual designs,” including models, renderings, plans, cost estimates, phasing plans, etc. Designs are due on December 8.

Continue reading after the jump.

Zaha Hadid to design mathematics wing at London’s Science Museum

The Mathematics gallery. (Courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects)

The Mathematics gallery. (Courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects)

In an effort to make math appear exciting, London‘s Science Museum has tapped Zaha Hadid to design its new mathematics gallery. According to the museum, the new multi-million dollar, Hadid-ian space will “tell stories that place mathematics at the heart of our lives, exploring how mathematicians, their tools and ideas have helped to shape the world from the turn of the 17th century to the present.” If that doesn’t sound absolutely riveting to you, well maybe some math-themed architecture can help.

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AECOM’s Merger Mania: Los Angeles–based firm doubles in size

Architecture, National, News, West
Thursday, September 11, 2014
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Both AECOM and URS have been active on the World Trade Center site in New York (AECOM)

Both AECOM and URS have been active on the World Trade Center site in New York (AECOM)

As the economy continues to hum along, it’s time once again for merger mania. By far the most significant example is Los Angeles–based construction giant, AECOM, which in the span of just a couple of months has more than doubled its size. In past years the company has bought firms like DMJM, EDAW, Ellerbe Becket, and Tishman, but it’s been nothing like this year’s spree.

Continue reading after the jump.

From 67 floors above the World Trade Center, a progress report

Architecture, Development, East, News, Skyscrapers
Thursday, September 11, 2014
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Aerial view of the site. (Courtesy Silverstein Properties)

Aerial view of the site. (Courtesy Silverstein Properties)

Earlier this week, AN went up to the 67th floor of the recently-opened 4 World Trade Center to get a progress report on the 16-acre redevelopment taking shape below. Inside the wide-open and raw space, Larry Silverstein, the site’s developer, told reporters that his vision for a new World Trade Center had finally become a reality. “I’ve gotten a bit of a reputation as a wild-eyed optimist,” he said in front of a wall of windows. “But even I have to admit that I didn’t see all this coming.” Noting that it had been 13 years since the attacks, he went on to refer to the anniversary as the site’s “bar mitzvah.”

Continue reading after the jump.

October 30–31: Facades+ Makes its Dallas Debut

Facades+, the premier conference on high-performance building envelopes, is coming to Dallas this October. (Bart Fields / Flickr)

Facades+, the premier conference on high-performance building envelopes, is coming to Dallas this October. (Bart Fields / Flickr)

Home to MorphosisPerot Museum of Nature and Science, the Santiago Calatrava–designed Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, and a starchitecture-studded cultural district, Dallas is increasingly an architectural destination in its own right. This fall, AEC industry professionals have one more reason to visit: the inaugural Facades+ Dallas conference, taking place October 30–31 at CityPlace Events. Read More

Gehry unveils latest design for controversial Eisenhower Memorial in Washington D.C.

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Frank Gehry has offered up another design for his remarkably controversial Eisenhower Memorial in Washington D.C. The revised approach comes a few months after the National Capital Planning Commission shot down Team Gehry’s last design which included massive metal tapestries and columns that obstructed views of the capitol dome.

Continue reading after the jump.

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