Take a tour inside the under-construction Empire Stores in Dumbo, Brooklyn

The Empire Stores' facade. (Henry Melcher / AN)

The Empire Stores’ facade. (Henry Melcher / AN)

Over the weekend,  AN joined an Open House New York on a tour of the under-construction Empire Stores warehouse in Dumbo, Brooklyn. The old coffee bean warehouse was built in the 1870s, but has been sitting empty along the East River for decades. By next fall, though, the Empire Stores will have been transformed with all the Brooklyn-type fixings you’d expect. Yes, there is an artisanal Brooklyn market featuring local purveyors. And office space for tech and creative companies. And cafes, restaurants, and beer gardens. Included in the mix is also a rooftop public park and a museum focused on New York City‘s waterfront.

Continue reading after the jump.

Tour 150 of Chicago’s architectural gems this weekend for free at Open House Chicago

The 190 South LaSalle building was designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee in 1968 as an homage to Burnham & Root’s demolished 1892 Masonic Temple Building. (Eric Allix Rogers)

The 190 South LaSalle building was designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee in 1968 as an homage to Burnham & Root’s demolished 1892 Masonic Temple Building. (Eric Allix Rogers)

Open House Chicago is this weekend, October 18 and 19, when 150 of the city’s architectural gems—both new and old, well-known and obscure, public year-round and off-limits but for now—open their doors to enthusiasts of the built environment, free of charge. Read More

Long-vacant grain silos in Chicago up for auction, future uncertain

One of Chicago‘s most visible rust-belt remnants is up for sale, just in time for its cameo in the Transformers 4 movie. The derelict Santa Fe grain elevator has been a favorite hangout for squatters, graffiti artists and ruin-porn enthusiasts since 1977, when a fire and explosion ended 70 years of industrial history there.

Continue reading after the jump.

Philip Johnson’s Farney House in Sagaponack, New York has been demolished

Architecture, East, Newsletter, Preservation
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
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The Farney House. (© Ezra Stoller/Esto)

The Farney House. (Ezra Stoller/Esto)

The village of Sagaponack, New York has confirmed to AN that Philip Johnson’s Farney House has been demolished. A Robert A.M. Stern–designed home is expected to rise in its place. Johnson completed the home in 1946, just three years before his world-famous Glass House in New Canaan. The now-disappeared Hamptons home is believed to have inspired that later work.

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Cambridge Architectural’s Steel-Wrapped Embassy

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Cambridge Architectural's wire mesh facade screens the new glass atrium at the South African Embassy in Washington, DC. (Eric Taylor)

Cambridge Architectural’s wire mesh facade screens the new glass atrium at the South African Embassy in Washington, DC. (Eric Taylor)

Metal mesh bridges old and new in Davis Brody Bond renovation.

For their renovation and expansion of the South African Embassy in Washington, DC, Davis Brody Bond faced an unusual aesthetic challenge. Besides updating the two historic buildings housing the embassy’s offices and residence, they were tasked with building a new atrium for public welcoming, public events, and conference rooms—right in between the two older buildings. The architects turned to Cambridge Architectural, a Maryland manufacturer of wire mesh architectural systems. “Davis Brody Bond wanted to have this new building as a very contemporary element between the two limestone buildings,” said Cambridge Architectural’s Ann Smith. A wire mesh facade seemed a perfect solution to the problem of combining old and new, seamlessly bridging the two masonry structures, and providing crucial sun shading for the glass atrium.

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Archtober Building of the Day #9> Kickstarter’s Greenpoint Headquarters

Architecture, East, Preservation
Friday, October 10, 2014
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(Inbal Newman)

Archtober Building of the Day #9
Kickstarter
58 Kent Street, Brooklyn
Ole Sondresen Architect

“Nothing is better than doing nothing.” While this may be the maxim that many of us live by on lazy Sunday afternoons, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn it applies to the design philosophy of Norwegian carpenter-turned-architect Ole Sondresen. During today’s tour of the Kickstarter headquarters, Sondresen demonstrated how this sustainable principle guided his design process.

Continue reading after the jump.

Cook County mulls options for long-abandoned, beaux-arts hospital in Chicago

(Courtesy Chicago Architecture Foundation)

(Courtesy Chicago Architecture Foundation)

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle briefly took the lectern at the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) Tuesday night to welcome presentations on the future of an infamous white elephant structure on the city’s near West Side: the old Cook County Hospital building. “We believe that this building has inherent value,” Preckwinkle said, “and that a thoughtful process like this can help unlock that value.” Read More

Eavesdrop> MVRDV Booted from Moscow Project, But Maybe So What?

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MVRDV’s proposal repurposed the original factory building. (Courtesy MVRDV)

The Architect’s Journal reported, somewhat melodramatically, that a “row” has broken about between MVRDV and the British firm LDA over the redevelopment of the Hammer and Sickle Factory in Moscow. MVRDV’s competition winning scheme, which respected the existing historic factory buildings, has been dumped in favor of LDA’s swoopier Shanghai/Dubai/Where-am-I scheme. Hurt feelings aside, MVRDV might have dodged a dictatorial bullet. Russia isn’t exactly the most stable or desirable or reputation-burnishing place to work these days.

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Minnesota state fair redesign goes beyond the corn dog

Architecture, Midwest, Preservation
Monday, September 29, 2014
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The Blue Barn restaurant (Cunincgham Grou)

The Blue Barn restaurant (Wheelock Photography)

Almost 2 million Minnesotans poured through the gates of St. Paul‘s state fair grounds this year, and many are attributing that record-breaking attendance number to a redesigned West End Market. Local designers at Cuningham Group Architecture led the largest Fair expansion since the 1930s, replacing an array of nondescript vendor booths with 15 new buildings.  Read More

Another Brutalist Wonder Bites the Dust: Johansen’s Mechanic Theatre

Mechanic Theatre in Baltimore (photo: Edward Gunts)

Despite pleas for preservation from some of the nation’s top architects, demolition work has begun on  a nationally significant example of “Brutalist” architecture in north America, the 1967 Morris A. Mechanic Theatre in Baltimore, Maryland, designed by the late John M. Johansen.

A  yellow backhoe with a spike-like attachment began chipping into the theater’s concrete exterior earlier this month, ending any chance that the building could be saved. One local preservationist was able to salvage the original letters from the  building, but nothing else. Read More

Peek Inside Ellis Island’s abandoned hospital before it opens for tours next week

East, Pictorial, Preservation
Friday, September 26, 2014
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Ellis Island's South Side Hospital Complex. (Henry Melcher / AN)

Ellis Island’s South Side Hospital Complex. (Henry Melcher / AN)

In the early 20th Century, the sprawling, 29-building Public Health Service hospital on the south shore of Ellis Island was the biggest federal hospital in the country—and possibly its most state-of-the-art. The comprehensive medical institution treated over one million newly-arrived immigrants ill with diseases like tuberculosis, measles, trachoma, and scarlet fever.

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Iconic works by Paul Rudolph to be celebrated in Sarasota, Florida

Architecture, East, On View, Preservation
Thursday, September 25, 2014
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Umbrella House after restoration. (Bill Miller)

Umbrella House after restoration. (Bill Miller)

In 1948, Paul Rudolph was residing at the American Academy in Rome. He had traveled there to study classical architecture, but was instead spending his days designing modern houses for Sarasota, Florida. In fact, Sarasota, according to Timothy Rohan who has recently published a monograph on Rudolph, made a huge impression on the architect and defined his work for the rest of his career. He had moved there to apprentice and work for the local architect Ralph Twitchell, who in the 1940s helped create a style of modern house that eventually became known as the Sarasota school.

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