About Face: Nina Libeskind Favors American Folk Art Museum Preservation

East, Eavesdroplet, Preservation
Thursday, March 6, 2014
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Nina and Daniel Libeskind (Photo by TK) and the American Folk Art Museum (Photo by Dan Nguyen / Flickr; Montage by AN)

Nina and Daniel Libeskind (Photo by Mark Forte / Courtesy University of New Mexico) and the American Folk Art Museum (Photo by Dan Nguyen / Flickr; Montage by AN)

Just a week before MoMA made its somewhat ambiguous announcement that the folded bronze facade of the American Folk Art Museum building would be removed and stored—rather than tossed in a dumpster—Nina Libeskind excitedly announced over a lunch in Milan, “I’m going to get some architects together and save the facade!” Nina is known for her powers of persuasion, and Eavesdrop doesn’t know if she actually put her plan into action. If so, it might be the quickest reversal in New York preservation history. While Eavesdrop is glad that at least the facade is being saved, we doubt it will quell the ire directed at MoMA and Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

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Boston Valley Brings a 100-Year-Old Dome into the Digital Age

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BOSTON VALLEY FABRICATED 18,841 INDIVIDUAL TERRA COTTA COMPONENTS FOR THE RESTORATION PROJECT (BOSTON VALLEY TERRA COTTA)

BOSTON VALLEY FABRICATED 18,841 INDIVIDUAL TERRA COTTA COMPONENTS FOR THE RESTORATION PROJECT (BOSTON VALLEY TERRA COTTA)

Boston Valley Terra Cotta restored the Alberta Legislature Building’s century-old dome using a combination of digital and traditional techniques.

Restoring a century-old terra cotta dome without blueprints would be a painstaking process in any conditions. Add long snowy winters and an aggressive freeze/thaw cycle, and things start to get really interesting. For their reconstruction of the Alberta Legislature Building dome, the craftsmen at Boston Valley Terra Cotta had a lot to think about, from developing a formula for a clay that would stand up to Edmonton’s swings in temperatures, to organizing just-in-time delivery of 18,841 components. Their answer? Technology. Thanks to an ongoing partnership with Omar Khan at the University at Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning, the Orchard Park, New York, firm’s employees are as comfortable with computers as they are with hand tools.

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Explore Grand Central’s History With Fun, New Website

Grand Central's Main Concourse in 1914. (New York Transit Museum)

Grand Central’s Main Concourse in 1914. (New York Transit Museum)

Grand Central has always been more than a train station. It’s an architectural and cultural touchstone for New York City. Even the most hurried commuter will stop to admire the building’s impressive scale and immaculate detail, before making their next transfer or stepping onto the crowded Midtown streets.

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Bronze on Your Hands: Diller Scofidio + Renfro Faces Folk Museum Backlash

The doomed Folk Art Museum. (Photo by Dan Nguyen / Flickr; Montage by AN)

The doomed Folk Art Museum. (Photo by Dan Nguyen / Flickr; Montage by AN)

Liz Diller faced down a hostile crowd at the recent “MoMA Expansion Conversation,” hosted by the Architectural League, the Municipal Art Society, and AIA New York. Apparently she’s had some practice.

One elder statesman of the New York architecture community reports that Diller made a series of phone calls to prominent architects prior to the public release of MoMA’s plans asking for their advice and support. This gray eminence apparently told her the firm should resign from the commission. At which point Ric Scofidio apparently chimed in, saying, succinctly, “Never!”

An editor from another publication reports rumors of dissent within Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Apparently some associates in the firm have asked not to work on the project, fearing a Scarlet Letter on their resumes.

Restoring Wright: A Preservation Master Plan for Taliesin West

Preservation, West
Friday, February 7, 2014
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TALIESIN WEST WAS FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT'S WINTER HOME, STUDIO, AND ARCHITECTURE SCHOOL (FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT FOUNDATION, PHOTO BY ANDREW PIELAGE)

TALIESIN WEST WAS FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT’S WINTER HOME, STUDIO, AND ARCHITECTURE SCHOOL (FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT FOUNDATION, PHOTO BY ANDREW PIELAGE)

After almost eight decades of constant use, Taliesin West is ready for a makeover. The Scottsdale, Arizona site was Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home, studio, and architecture school. Today, the campus houses the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture and is also a popular tourist destination, with over 100,000 visitors annually. Now, time, climate, and footsteps have taken their toll on the landmark.

Continue reading after the jump.

Photographer Makes Push to Preserve House in Dominican Republic

International, Preservation
Friday, January 31, 2014
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(Courtesy Giovanni Savino)

(Courtesy Giovanni Savino)

I met Giovanni Savino at a breakfast meeting, and he asked if I could help him save an enormous house in the Dominican Republic. Savino is a photographer interested in documenting and preserving cultural oral history. He is so passionate about this house that he has self-published a photo-book called Thirty Three Doors: La Casa Del Sol.

Continue reading after the jump.

Senators, Congresswoman Back National Park Status for Chicago’s Pullman Neighborhood

THE 12000 BLOCK OF SOUTH CHAMPLAIN AVENUE AND THE 11200 BLOCK OF SOUTH FORESTVILLE AVENUE FEATURE SOME OF PULLMAN'S HISTORIC HOMES AND HOTELS. (HPF / ROBERT SHYMANSKI)

THE 12000 BLOCK OF SOUTH CHAMPLAIN AVENUE AND THE 11200 BLOCK OF SOUTH FORESTVILLE AVENUE FEATURE SOME OF PULLMAN’S HISTORIC HOMES AND HOTELS. (HPF / ROBERT SHYMANSKI)

Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk, and Congresswoman Robin Kelly today announced their intention to introduce legislation that would make the Pullman Historic District Chicago’s first national park.

Since last year, a movement to designate the South Side Pullman neighborhood a national park has gained momentum. Its historic building stock—full of Romanesque and Victorian Queen Anne style buildings by architect Solon Spencer Beman and landscape architect Nathan F. Barrett — was lauded by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Continue reading after the jump.

Chicago Issues Demolition Permit for Cuneo Memorial Hospital

Development, Midwest, News, Preservation
Thursday, January 23, 2014
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cuneo memorial hospital, a 1957 Edo Belli building, is slated for demolition. (devin hunter via flickr)

cuneo memorial hospital, a 1957 Edo Belli building, is slated for demolition. (devin hunter via flickr)

Chicago officials issued a demolition permit for Cuneo Memorial Hospital this week, dealing a blow to neighborhood activists and preservationists who have been fighting to save the curvy Uptown structure. Cuneo had made Preservation Chicago’s list of seven most endangered buildings in 2012.

Continue reading after the jump.

Shigeru Ban’s Modern Penthouse Addition Unites Indoor and Outdoor Spaces in Manhattan

Architecture, East, Newsletter, Preservation
Thursday, January 23, 2014
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Ban addition archpaper1

(Renderings Courtesy Hayes Davidson)

Renderings for Shigeru Ban‘s rooftop addition to a landmark Tribeca building have been revealed. Newly recast as a luxury residential space, the 132-year old cast-iron building located at 67 Franklin Street at Broadway is set to receive a new metal-and-glass-clad cap. This twin duplex penthouse will be joined by a revamped interior also designed by the Japanese architect. The existing structure will be filled by 11 duplex apartments.

Continue reading after the jump.

Record Breaking Debut For Inglewood Forum

Newsletter, Preservation, West
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
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Aerial view of the Forum's giant record. (Los Angeles Forum)

Aerial view of the Forum’s giant record. (Courtesy Los Angeles Forum)

After a long hiatus, Inglewood’s Great Western Forum—now called the Forum Presented by Chase—is back with a $100 million renovation by BBB Architects and Clark Construction.  To celebrate the moment, the venue’s owner, MSG, has ordered up one of the more unusual promotions we’ve ever seen: the world’s largest vinyl record topping its roof, by New York company Pop2Life.

Continue reading after the jump.

Quest to Save A Mysterious Hudson River Castle

East, Preservation
Thursday, January 16, 2014
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bannerman_archpaper1

(Dan Dvorscak/Flickr)

Preservationists are at work attempting to salvage what remains of a New York architectural oddity. The strange medieval-looking structure known as Bannerman’s Castle is located on Pollepel Island, a small stretch of land about 60 miles north of Manhattan on the Hudson River. Scottish-American Arms mogul Francis Bannerman IV built the series of buildings in the early 20th century to act as a personal residence and home to his extensive arsenal. Since the 1920s, however, the castle has suffered from neglect and a series of devastating storms and fires that contribute to its current dilapidated state.

Continue reading after the jump.

Michael Graves’ Portland Building Could Be In Jeopardy

News, Newsletter, Preservation, West
Monday, January 13, 2014
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Portland Building (Flickr/Camknows)

Portland Building (Flickr/Camknows)

If several Portland city commissioners have their way Michael Graves‘ alternately loved and hated Portland Building (1982), now facing a $95 million renovation, will be torn down. One of the most famous examples of postmodern architecture in the United States, the 15-story, 31-year-old structure is known for its small square windows, exaggerated historical motifs, playful, varied materials, gaudy colors, and, of course, its cameo on the opening to the show Portlandia (also the name of the larger-than-life statue over the building’s front door).

Continue reading after the jump.

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