Justin Davidson Warns of Looming Shadows at St. John the Divine Development. 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)
2014–2015 Rome Prize Winners Announced. The American Academy in Rome has announced the 30 winners of their 118th annual Rome Prize Competition. According to a statement, ”Rome Prize recipients are provided with a fellowship, which includes a stipend and live/working space, and are invited to live in Rome for six months to two years to immerse themselves in the Academy community.” The winners in architecture were Firat Erdim and Vincent L. Snyder; and Kim Karlsrud & Daniel Phillips, and Adam Kuby won in landscape design. The full list of winners can be found here.
Jeanne Gang To Design Tower in San Francisco. Chicago architect Jeanne Gang (pictured) isn’t just preparing to design new towers in Chicago and (perhaps) New York. According to her office, Gang has been hired by Tishman Speyer to design a high rise tower in San Francisco‘s Transbay district. The building’s site (and, likewise a design) has not yet been revealed, but according to a piece in the San Francisco Chronicle, it’s near the now-rising Transbay Center. According to the Chronicle, Tishman is also developing the Lumina and Infinity towers in the area by Arquitectonica, and a 26-story office tower by Gensler and Thomas Phifer. (Photo: Courtesy Studio Gang Architects)
Peter Eisenman Wins Prestigious Italian Award. Peter Eisenman. (Chris Wiley) Peter Eisenman has been awarded with the 2014 Piranesi Prix de Rome for Career Achievement by the Accademia Adrianea di Architettura e Archeologia and the Ordine degli Architetti della Provincia di Roma. At the official ceremony to be held in Rome next month, Eisenman will give a lecture that “will concentrate on his theoretical work, with particular reference to the concept of ‘archaeology’ – understood as a design technique based on stratigraphic layering – and on the recent work entitled Piranesi Variations.”
Santiago’s Savior? Graphene Paint Considered for Valencia. As AN reported earlier, Santiago Calatrava‘s legal battles with a number of his former clients are ongoing. The Spanish architect is embroiled in a number of disputes regarding issues of budget, maintenance, and functionality the costliest of which concerns the rapid deterioration of the facade of an opera house Calatrava designed in his hometown of Valencia, Spain. Now Graphenano, a Spanish manufacturer of graphene paint is offering a possible solution for the beleaguered architect. The company claims that a coating of their product would be enough to save building’s problematic mosaic exterior. Graphenstone is a paint from a mixture of limestone powder and graphene and has already been used to protect the facades of older buildings in other parts of Spain. (Image: Courtesy Graphenano)
Michael Bloomberg Appointed UN Climate & Cities Envoy. Just one month after leaving office, Michael Bloomberg (pictured) has been appointed a United Nations special envoy for cities and climate change. According to Reuters, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Bloomberg will help “raise political will and mobilize action among cities as part of his long-term strategy to advance efforts on climate change.” The former mayor is Johannesburg, South Africa this week for the fifth biennial C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group Mayors Summit. Bloomberg is the President of C40’s board, which is a “a network of the world’s megacities taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” This year’s conference is focused on creating liveable and sustainable cities. (Photo: Spencer T. Tucker )
AECOM Surprise: Zellner Named Head of Southern California Architecture. Our friends at one of the largest firms in world, AECOM, have made a move we never anticipated: signing Peter Zellner, known as a maverick architect of galleries and houses, to be their new head of design in Southern California. Zellner said it best: “I think my hire suggests they want to move things in a different direction.” Indeed it appears with the hire of Zellner and former SOM principal Ross Wimer that the firm is ready to further embrace design. (Photo: Courtesy Peter Zellner)
Architect Andrew Wolfram Joins TEF in San Francisco. Up in Northern California, Andrew Wolfram has bolted Perkins + Will’s San Francisco office to become a principal at TEF (Tom Eliot Fisch). Wolfram was project architect for the SF Ferry Building, and also worked on the renovation of 140 New Montgomery, Timothy Pflueger’s art deco skyscraper for Pacific Telephone. (Photo: Courtesy Andrew Wolfram)
O’Driscoll Leaving AIA San Francisco. After 12 years at the helm of AIA San Francisco, Margie O’Driscoll announced Monday that she is stepping down as its Executive Director. Under O’Driscoll the chapter initiated several significant programs, tapping into the city’s passion for architecture, design, and social conscience. These include its home tours (the first of its kind in the Bay Area); the hugely popular Architecture and the City Festival; measures and collaborations to address issues like licensure, intern development, and pro bono work; and, with local radio station KALW, the successful show 99 percent invisible. The chapter also undertook a renovation of its offices inside the historic Hallidie Building. “The more we tried the more enthusiastic and even insatiable the public became about the programs we did,” said O’Driscoll. (Photo: Courtesy Margie O’Driscoll)
HOK to Restore London’s Palace of Westminister. The renewal project of one of Britain’s most monumental buildings, and home to its two houses of parliament, has been entrusted to the team at HOK. The restoration of the Palace of Westminster will involve the short and long term repair and replacement strategies of existing building fabric and systems, as well as the scheduling of works while parliamentary activities are temporarily relocated. HOK will provide architecture and heritage conservation advice, in conjunction with Deloitte Real Estate and AECOM for real estate and engineering services respectively. ( Photo: Jeremy McKnight / Flickr)
James Beard Deadline Approaching. If you’ve designed a beautiful restaurant in the last few years, the James Beard Foundation Restaurant Design Awards want you. But you better hurry: the deadline for their annual awards, known as the “Oscars of the food world,” is January 20. Among the previous winners is New York’s Le Bernardin by Bentel & Bentel Architects & Planners in 2012 (pictured). This year’s notable jury includes Kristina O’Neal of New York firm AvroKO, interior design legend Adam Tihany, and Marion Weiss of WEISS/MANFREDI. Visit here to submit. Winners will be announced at a Lincoln Center Gala on May 5. (Photo: Courtesy Le Bernardin).
LEGO Adds Eiffel To Its Architecture Series Roster. The Eiffel Tower is the latest piece of iconic architecture now easily replicated in miniature. Gustave Eiffel’s creation joins The Leaning Tower of Pisa and Big Ben as famous European towers incorporated into LEGO‘s Architecture series. This is not the Danish company’s first crack at the building. They also offer a 1:300 scale model of the tower requiring 3,248 pieces to reach a finished height of 3 1/2 feet. The giant size of the toy is matched by that of its price tag, which towers over over the $34.99 being charged for their newest version of the Parisian landmark.