New York City Mayor de Blasio announces latest round of picks for agency heads

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio. (NYC Mayor's Office)

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio. (NYC Mayor’s Office)

There’s a game of musical chairs and commissioners happening in New York City politics right now. With former Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) chair Meenakshi Srinivasan now heading the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), Mayor de Blasio has nominated Margery Perlmutter to fill the vacant role. Perlmutterwho would go to the BSA from the LPC where she is a commissioneris a registered architect and a lawyer who focuses on land-use issues. The mayor also announced two new picks for LPC commissioners including Adi Shamir Baron, the former executive director of the Van Alen Institute, and John Gustafsson, chairman of the Board of the Historic House Trust of New York City.

And Another: SOM Unveils Third Trussed Station Design for Florida’s Commuter Rail

All Aboard Florida's West Palm Beach station. (Courtesy SOM)

All Aboard Florida’s West Palm Beach station. (Courtesy SOM)

With another set of renderings revealed for Florida‘s upcoming commuter rail service, it’s clear that SOM hopes to give the system a highly recognizable visual brand. After the firm unveiled plans for All Aboard Florida’s Miami Station, which floats the rails 50-feet above grade on trusses, SOM and Zyscovich Architects revealed its design for the smaller Ft. Lauderdale station, which clearly borrowed heavily from the first. The 27,500-square-foot hub is also defined by reinforced concrete trusses. And today, with images released for the West Palm Beach station, we know those trusses aren’t going anywhere.

Continue reading after the jump.

Deborah Berke, SHoP, Tod Williams Billie Tsien to compete for new Cummins’ Indianapolis headquarters

(Jay Denney via Flickr)

(Jay Denney via Flickr)

Engine manufacturer Cummins Corporation announced plans for a new regional headquarters in Indianapolis Monday, but the Columbus, Indiana–based Fortune 500 company won’t look to local design talent to lead the project. Instead, three of the country’s leading names—all based in New York City—will compete for the project.

Continue reading after the jump.

Charge Your Phone On Boston’s New Smart Benches

A waterside Soofar. (Courtesy Soofa.co)

A waterside Soofar. (Courtesy Soofa.co)

Thanks to a new park bench design equipped with solar-powered docking stations, it’s easier than ever for Bostonians to enjoy the great outdoors by staring directly into their phones. The benches, which are known as “Soofas“, include two charging docks and have begun popping up in city parks as part of a pilot program.

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From fireworks to kayaks, step inside the well-produced world of renderings

Some more birds and some more kayaks. (Courtesy SCAPE)

Lots of birds and lots of kayaks. (Courtesy SCAPE)

In the idealized world of architectural renderings, everything is absolutely perfect. There are no dirty windows, no rust, no clutter, no dead leaves, no mud, no rain. There are crowds, but nothing is crowded. There are cars, but there is no traffic. The scalies dropped into these polished scenes are as happy  as can be—why wouldn’t they be? Every day is spent walking hand-in-hand down a boardwalk with a loved-one giggling about a Jeff Koons sculpture over there. Life is good, they think, as fireworks explode behind them. Life is good.

When you spend as much time as we do here at AN sifting through these highly-planned digital worlds, some trends start to appear over and over. Here’s a sample of what we see again and again.

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Herman Miller Goes Shopping: Buys Design Within Reach

The new Design Within Reach store in Manhattan (photo: Michael Biondo)

The new Design Within Reach store in Manhattan (photo: Michael Biondo)

Two of the biggest names in American design are joining forces. Famed furniture manufacturer Herman Miller has bought a controlling stake in Design Within Reach (DWR), the modern furniture retailer. According to a release, Herman Miller has purchased an 84 percent stake in DWR for a price of $154 million. DWR’s CEO John Edelman and president John McPhee will continue to lead the retailer, which currently has 38 locations in North America, as well as e-commerce and the popular catalogue. DWR has recently been upgrading their stores and refocusing on architects and interior designers as well as consumers. A new Manhattan flagship store opened this spring.

Continue reading after the jump.

Obit> Randall Stout, 1958–2014

Stout examines a model of the Hunter Museum of Art (RSA)

Stout examines a model of the Hunter Museum of Art. (RSA)

Noted Los Angeles architect Randall Stout has died of cancer. He was 56. Stout served long tenures at SOM in Houston and at Gehry Partners in Los Angeles, then went on to found Randall Stout Architects in 1997. The office, which gained large commissions in the United States and Europe, became known for contortions of polished steel and raw stone, and for large, luminous interior spaces intimately connected to their surroundings. Despite these unusual forms, Stout’s buildings were regarded as people friendly and practical.

“Randall was a true architect,” Richard Keating, who worked with Stout at SOM from 1978 to 1986, said. “He understood materials and budgets and made excellent buildings.” Keating attributed this combination to his extended time with SOM and Gehry. “His approach to buildings was to be artful as well as responsible.”  Read More

Steven Holl Wins Japan’s Praemium Imperiale

Steven Holl (courtesy Mark)

Steven Holl. (courtesy Mark)

Steven Holl has been awarded the 2014 Praemium Imperiale, the annual award of the Japan Arts Association and one of the world’s most important cultural prizes. The New York–based architect is known for his formally inventive buildings with sophisticated use of natural light and careful consideration of site and context. Among his many notable projects are the Campbell Sports Center at Columbia University, the expansion of the Nelson- Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, the Linked Hybrid in Beijing, and the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki. Read More

Antoni Gaudi Could Become Patron Saint of Architects

Antoni Guadi, the soon-to-be patron saint of architects?

Antoni Guadi, the soon-to-be patron saint of architects?

For years, the Pritzker Prize has been the gold-standard in architectural recognition. It’s like the Super Bowl ring, or the Oscar for Best Picture, or whatever Joey Chestnut wins for downing 60-some hot dogs at Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. (It’s gotta be a sash, right? It’s probably a sash.) This is the hallowed ground where the Pritzker lives. But it could soon be trumped in a big way. In a big enough way that even knighthood can’t quite compare. Hear that, Sir Norman Foster?

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2014 European Solar Decathlon Announces Winners

Rhome-for-Dencity-house (Courtesy Solar Decathlon Europe/jflakes.com)

Rhome-for-Dencity-house (Courtesy Solar Decathlon Europe/jflakes.com)

The 2014 European Solar Decathlon has come to an end, and the international student competition to design cutting edge solar houses has produced a winner: Team Rhome of Universitá Degli Studi di Roma TRE. Their house, called Rhome for denCity, received a mark of 840.63 out of 1,000 maximum points, edging out the runner-up proposals by a slim margin.

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Navy Pier redesign gets $20 million private donation

The $20 million donation helps fund the redesign of Gateway Park, which Mayor Rahm Emanuel called Chicago's new "front door." (James Corner Field Operations)

The $20 million donation helps fund the redesign of Gateway Park, which Mayor Rahm Emanuel called Chicago’s new “front door.” (James Corner Field Operations)

Chicago’s Navy Pier is currently undergoing major changes courtesy of a design team led by James Corner Field Operations. That work got an infusion of cash Thursday, as local benefactors from the Polk Bros. department store chain announced a donation of $20 million. It’s the single largest private gift ever made to Navy Pier, Illinois’ most-visited tourist attraction. Read More

Sustainability Expert Juan Betancur Talks Integrated Facades

Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture's Federation of Korean Industries office tower. (©Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture/Namgoong Sun)

Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture’s Federation of Korean Industries office tower. (©Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture/Namgoong Sun)

In a high-performance building, argues Juan Betancur, director at Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, the envelope must never be an afterthought. Rather, it should be a material expression of the overall environmental strategy. “The key to what we’re doing with energy and sustainability is: how do the systems become the facades themselves?” he said. “If we make it part of the building, it’s an integrated systems solution.” Read More

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