On View> The Louvre opens major restoration of its Decorative Arts Galleries

Preliminary sketch for the Bas de Montargis and Oudry galleries by Jacques Garcia.

Preliminary sketch for the Bas de Montargis and Oudry galleries by Jacques Garcia.

If you like French decorative arts you should make your way this summer to the Louvre’s newly restored and reinstalled 18th century Decorative Arts Galleries. The collection is housed in 35 galleries spanning 23,000 square feet. Over 2,000 design pieces “in object-focused galleries and period-room settings” are on display.

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Brooklyn’s Kentile Floors Sign to Be Disassembled And Relocated

Design, East, News, Preservation
Friday, June 13, 2014
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The Kentile Floors sign in 2004. (Ranjit / Flickr)

The Kentile Floors sign in 2004. (Ranjit / Flickr)

A compromise has been reached in the heated battle over the fate of Brooklyn’s iconic Kentile Floors sign. The New York Times reported that the sign’s owner will dismantle the structure and donate its red letters to the Gowanus Alliance, a local group which plans to reinstall the sign nearby. For that to happen, though, the eight-story, 50-year-old sign must first be removed from its current rooftop home without breaking. “There are some hurdles to clear,” reported the Times. “The permits require that the 20-foot-high letters be reduced to four-by-four-foot sections and sent down a debris chute off the roof.” City Councilman Brad Lander, who recently launched a petition to save the sign, told the paper he hopes the letters can be removed with a pulley and not “crammed down a chute.”

 

 

Kentile Floors Sign in Gowanus Brooklyn is (Likely) Doomed

Art, Design, Development, East, Preservation
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
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The Kentile Sign in Gowanus. (Flickr /

The Kentile Sign in Gowanus. (Flickr / ekonon)

The industrial past of Gowanus, Brooklyn is rapidly disappearing as the neighborhood transitions into a more mixed-use future. As the low-slung factories and warehouses continue to disappear, the iconic, eight-story, Kentile Floors sign could go with it.

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Washington Monument Re-Opens to the Public: Celebrate With These 22 Beautiful Photos

The Washington Monument stands tall over Washington, D.C. at sunset. (Victoria Pickering / Flickr)

The Washington Monument stands tall over Washington, D.C. at sunset. (Victoria Pickering / Flickr)

After two-and-a-half years of repairs, the Washington Monument is officially back open to the public. The District’s tallest structure had been closed since 2011, when a 5.8 magnitude earthquake sent more than 150 cracks shooting through the 555-feet of marble.

Continue reading after the jump.

With Foster Out, New York Public Library Announces Revised Plans for its Main Branch

Architecture, East, News, Preservation
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
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The New York Public Library branch in Midtown Manhattan. (Wikimedia Commons)

The New York Public Library in Midtown Manhattan. (Wikimedia Commons)

After the New York Public Library scrapped Foster + Partners’ controversial redesign of its main branch—which would have removed the famous book stacks to create an atrium-like research library—the institution has announced a more modest path forward. The cost of Foster’s plan was originally slated to cost $300 million, but, according to independent estimates, the final tab could have topped $500 million. Now, the project has been scaled back.

Continue reading after the jump.

Put It Back: A Call to Rebuild Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art

(Ross Cowan / Flickr)

(Ross Cowan / Flickr)

[Editor's Note: Following a devastating fire at the Glasgow School of Art on Friday, May 23, the university has launched a fundraising campaign to assist with restoration and rebuilding efforts. To support the fund, donate online here. Work has been ongoing to assess the damage and salvage what remains. This article originally appeared on Witold Rybczynski's blog, On Culture and Architecture. It appears here with permission of the author. ]

The tragic fire at the Glasgow School of Art, Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s masterpiece, raises anew the question: How to rebuild? In a thoughtful blog, George Cairns of Melbourne’s RMIT, who has studied the building in detail, points out that many undocumented changes were made during the building’s construction, so it will be impossible to recreate what was there. In addition, the inevitable demands of modern fire security will likely alter the original design. Rather than try to rebuild Mackintosh’s design, Cairns argues for “great architects to be invited to design a worthy intervention that will breathe new life into the school.”

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> Palaces for the People: Guastavino and the Art of Structural Tile

08-guastavino-vault-exhibit-nyc-archpaper

Della Robbia Room Bar, Vanderbilt Hotel, 1912

Palaces for the People: Guastavino and the Art of Structural Tile
Museum of the City of New York
1220 5th Avenue, New York
Through September 7th

Coming to New York City from Washington, D.C., this exhibition illuminates the legacy of architect and builder Rafael Guastavino. A Catalan immigrant, Guastavino created the iconic (and aptly named) Guastavino tile. By interlocking terracotta tiles and layers of mortar to build his arches, Guastavino married old-world aesthetics with modern innovation. The resulting intersection of technology and design revolutionized New York City’s landscape, and is used in over 200 historic buildings including Grand Central Terminal, Carnegie Hall, The Bronx Zoo’s Elephant House, and Ellis Island.

View a slideshow of Guastavino vaults after the jump.

Exclusive> Take a Look Inside Philadelphia’s Divine Lorraine Hotel

(Henry Melcher / AN)

(Henry Melcher / AN)

For the past 15 years, the Divine Lorraine Hotel in Philadelphia has been sitting vacant at the corner of Broad and Fairmount. The 10-story building, which opened in 1894 as luxury apartments, was once a towering symbol of wealth. Today, it is a graffiti-covered shell of its former self—but that could soon change. A local developer is finalizing plans to bring the building back to life. Before that happens, AN was allowed insideand on top of—the Divine Lorraine to see the space in all its tagged and gutted glory.

Continue reading after the jump.

Mackintosh’s World Renowned Glasgow School of Art Destroyed by Fire

(images courtesy Glasgow School of Art)

(Courtesy Glasgow School of Art)

The Glasgow School of Art—considered Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s masterwork—has caught fire, and early reports indicate that a large section of the building has been destroyed. Considered a “total work of art,” Mackintosh fused arts and crafts elements with a robust, almost industrial structure, which, in many ways, presaged the development of modernism. Steven Holl Architects recently completed an addition to the building, which AN just reviewed. Holl and design partner Chris McVoy released the following statements.

Continue reading after the jump.

Another Lautner-Designed Building in Los Angeles Threatened With Demolition

AbilityFirst's Paul Weston Work Center, John Lautner's most recent endangered building (Los Angeles Conservancy)

AbilityFirst’s Paul Weston Work Center, John Lautner’s most recent endangered building. (Los Angeles Conservancy)

According to the Los Angeles Conservancy, yet another John Lautner building is in imminent danger. This time it’s the architect’s Crippled Children’s Society Rehabilitation Center, now known as the AbilityFirst Paul Weston Work Center, in Woodland Hills. Current owner AbilityFirst and Oakmont Senior Living, the potential buyer, submitted for a demolition and new construction permit in February, hoping to build a new Eldercare facility on the site, and the project was presented at a city Zoning Administration public hearing this week.

Continue reading after the jump.

With One Art Barn Down, Plans At Another Texas University Alarm Preservationists

UT Dallas Art Barn (Courtesy of Mark Lamster)

UT Dallas Art Barn. (Courtesy Mark Lamster)

It’s a bad year to be an Art Barn. Only two weeks after Rice University demolished its beloved structure, UT Dallas announced plans to close down its own Art Barn, with its exact fate remaining unclear. Architecture critic Mark Lamster, among others, voiced speculation over the building’s shutdown and possible removal from UT Dallas’ campus.

Continue reading after the jump.

One Small Step For Houston is One Giant Step Backward for Johnson Space Center

One of Johnson Space Center's control rooms (Photo Courtesy of NASA)

One of Johnson Space Center’s control rooms (Courtesy NASA)

AN recently profiled the emerging architectural typology of spaceports across the country, and now there’s news from the Houston site that helped launch the dream of space travel decades ago. Independence Shuttle, a full-scale replica of NASA’s iconic Space Shuttle, recently was moved from the Johnson Space Center (JSC) to its next-door neighbor, Space Center Houston.

To some people, the relocation was a matter of mere logistics. To others, however, the transfer symbolized not just a lessening of power and precedence associated with Johnson Space Center, but with NASA’s space program as a whole.

Continue reading after the jump.

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