Letter to the Editor> Health Food and Historic Preservation

The Coignet Building in Gowanus, Brooklyn is believed to be the first concrete building in New York City. (David Gallagher / Flickr)

The Coignet Building in Gowanus, Brooklyn is believed to be the first concrete building in New York City. (David Gallagher / Flickr)

[Editor's Note: The following are reader-submitted responses to a pair of articles about the opening of an urban Whole Foods in Gowanus, Brooklyn, “Suburbs Meet City” (AN 03_03.05.2014), and the pending redevelopment of the Coignet Building on the site, “Set in Stone” (AN 03_03.05.2014). Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com]

Thanks for the article (“Suburbs Meet CityAN 03_03.05.2014). About the note at the end referring to the project’s intent—is it possible that what could be a corporate marketing ploy on the front end positively contributes to a vibrant local culture? If consumers keep demanding this type of sensitive response from national corporations, I hope with time this business strategy evolves and matures from just local products and signs that say “Brooklyn” all the way to careful stewardship of a community, i.e. good use of the Coignet Building, etc. Thanks again.

Chris Hoal
Intern Architect
Gresham Smith & Partners

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Boom or Bust for Phoenix’s Warehouse District?

Phoenix developer Michael Levine won a 2007 Arizona Governor's Heritage Preservation Award for his adaptive re-use of the warehouse at 605 E. Grant Streets. (Courtesy Michael Levine)

Phoenix developer Michael Levine won a 2007 Arizona Governor’s Heritage Preservation Award for his adaptive reuse of the warehouse at 605 E. Grant Streets. (Courtesy Michael Levine)

According to a recent article on azcentral.com, Phoenix’s Warehouse District is in the midst of a renaissance. Or is it? The man behind several adaptive reuse projects in the neighborhood says not so fast. “It’s like every five years someone gets excited about it and writes the same article,” said developer Michael Levine. While he admits there’s been an uptick in interest in the mid-century industrial buildings, he doubts his fellow landowners’ motives. “If you give them enough money…they’d have the [buildings] demolished,” he said.

Continue reading after the jump.

Despite Preservation Push, Rice University’s Martel Center Demolished After All

News, Preservation, Southwest
Monday, April 21, 2014
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(COURTESY GLASSCOCK SCHOOL OF CONTINUING STUDIES)

Never mind! After all that fuss to preserve the iconic Texas tin structure, Rice University’s Art Barn met the Grim Reaper on Wednesday, April 16. While a group was able to salvage the building’s corrugated metal siding, wrecking crews tore away at the Martel Center’s structure, marking a definitive end to efforts of preservationists to move the building to another site in Houston. Andy Warhol’s famous oak tree planted in front of the former structure will remain intact, but once the dust clears only a grass lawn will serve as tombstone. A rogue power line temporarily stalled the demolition, thereby buying a commemorative moment for the Art Barn’s historical and cultural import. The building’s spirit will live on through the Menil Collection it once housed, as well as its legacy with other tin houses.

Justin Davidson Warns of Looming Shadows at St. John the Divine Development.  Rendering for the site. (Courtesy DNA Info / Emily Frost) New York Magazine’s Justin Davidson has called on Mayor De Blasio to protect the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine from being overshadowed by new apartment towers (massing diagram pictured). The site adjacent to the Cathedral has been cleared and construction seems imminent, but Davidson believes the mayor can get involved to stop the current Handel-designed plans. Instead of two towers, Davidson proposes one taller and more slender tower that’s sited farther from the street, more affordable units, and landmark status for the rest of the property. (Image: Courtesy DNA Info / Emily Frost)

 

Updating Washington, D.C.’s Mies van der Rohe Library

The Great Hall. (Courtesy Martinez and Johnson + Mecanoo)

The Great Hall. (Courtesy Martinez and Johnson + Mecanoo)

Earlier this year, the Washington, D.C. Public Library announced that Martinez+Johnson and Mecanoo had won their competition to design  the next phase of the city’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.  Check out AN‘s coverage of the winning design here. The firm beat out two other finalists to revamp van der Rohe‘s iconic work. Here’s AN’s guide to the competition and the runners-up.

More after the jump.

House in Cambridge by Armando and di Robilant

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Armando and di Robilant updated an historic Cambridge home with a layered facade and oversize windows. (Paolo Rosselli)

Armando and di Robilant updated an historic Cambridge home with a layered facade and oversize windows. (Paolo Rosselli)

A translucent polycarbonate skin transforms an early-19th century Massachusetts home.

On a well-traveled street in Cambridge, Massachusetts, about halfway between Harvard University and MIT, sits a house not like its neighbors. Its simple massing and pitched roof indicate old bones. But its skin is all 21st century. The house, recently renovated by Alessandro Armando and Manfredo di Robilant, is clad in translucent polycarbonate panels that reveal the structural and insulating layers beneath. For the architects, the project was an experiment in applying a cladding system designed for large-scale projects to a single-family home. “We thought this could be a possible test-bed for something more standard, something that could at least be thought of as a standard way of renovating and improving a typical American detached house,” said di Robilant. “This house is very small, but we’re now trying to fit it toward possible standardization of this approach.” Read More

These are the ten most threatened buildings in Illinois

Midwest, News, Preservation
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
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Uptown Theatre, 4816 N. Broadway, Chicago. (Bob Nick, Friends of the Uptown Theatre)

Uptown Theatre, 4816 N. Broadway, Chicago. (Bob Nick, Friends of the Uptown Theatre)

Preservation group Landmarks Illinois identified its ten most endangered historic places in the state Tuesday, a list which includes the embattled Uptown Theatre, a Jens Jensen landscape, and Chicago’s Central Manufacturing District on the Southwest Side. Read More

Grocery Store Tycoon John Catsimatidis Wants to Save Philip Johnson’s New York State Pavilion

Development, East, Preservation
Monday, March 31, 2014
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John Catsimatidis wants to save the NY State Pavilion. ( David Tan / Flickr)

John Catsimatidis wants to save the NY State Pavilion. ( David Tan / Flickr)

John Catsimatidis, the billionaire-grocery-store-tycoon-turned-failed-mayoral-candidate said he will write a check to save Philip Johnson’s iconic New York State Pavilion in Queens, New York. That is, if someone presents him with the right “visionary” plan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pier Carlo Bontempi and Ruan Yisan accept Driehaus awards for classicist architecture and preservation

Place Toscane in Val D'Europe, France by Bontempi.

Place Toscane in Val D’Europe, France by Bontempi.

Italian architect Pier Carlo Bontempi and Chinese preservationist Ruan Yisan last weekend received the highest honors in the world of classicist design—a school of though that AN previously examined alongside the more widely known Pritzker Prize.

The 2014 Richard H. Driehaus Prize went to Bontempi, an architect from Parma, Italy whose work includes a block recovery plan for that city’s historic center, as well as the Place de Toscane and the “Quartier du Lac” resort in Val d’Europe near Paris.

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Revive two Detroit viaducts in this Michigander-only contest

Two viaducts in Detroit will host public art interventions. (Ash Arder)

Two viaducts in Detroit will host public art interventions. (Ash Arder)

A nonprofit in Detroit is calling on artists and designers “to breathe new life into the historical viaducts at Second and Cass Avenue in Midtown.” In partnership with the New Economy Initiative, Midtown Detroit, Inc. will sponsor public art and light installations in the TechTown District of Midtown Detroit. Read More

Rizzoli Bookstore to Likely Lose Their Manhattan Home

Development, East, Preservation
Friday, March 28, 2014
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Rizzoli Bookstore. (Garrett Ziegler / Flickr)

Rizzoli Bookstore. (Garrett Ziegler / Flickr)

New York City will soon lose another one of its bookstores—at least temporarily. The Landmarks Preservation Commission has denied landmark status for 31 West 57th Street, the century old building that houses the truly iconic Rizolli Bookstore. This clears the way for the building’s owners to demolish the current structure and put up what is expected to be a commercial or residential tower— this is 57th Street, after all. The owners of the building are reportedly trying to find a new home for Rizolli.

 

Frank Lloyd Wright’s SC Johnson Research Tower Opening to Public Tours For First Time

Frank Lloyd Wright's SC Johnson Research Tower will open for tours in May. (PRNewsFoto/SC Johnson)

Frank Lloyd Wright’s SC Johnson Research Tower will open for tours in May. (PRNewsFoto/SC Johnson)

An unusually vertical Frank Lloyd Wright building in Wisconsin will open its doors to the public for the first time since its construction in 1950. The Research Tower in Racine, Wisconsin has housed SC Johnson for 32 years, anchoring its 153-foot tall mass with a distinctive “taproot” foundation.

More information after the jump.

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