New York Public Library Closes the Book on Foster + Partners Renovation Plan

The New Reading Room would have replaced the stacks.

The New Reading Room would have replaced the stacks. (Courtesy Foster + Partners / dbox)

The New York Public Library has canceled its controversial renovation plan by Foster + Partners, according to a report in the New York Times. The plan, which would have removed the historic book stacks and turned the non-lending research library into a circulating library, was widely opposed by scholars, writers, and architectural historians.

Continue reading after the jump.

New York City Calls For Free, Outdoor Wi-Fi Network With Reinvented Payphones

City Terrain, East, News, Urbanism
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
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NYFi proposal by Sage and Coomber Architects

NYFi proposal by Sage and Coombe Architects. (Courtesy Sage & Coombe)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has issued an RFP to create a network of free, outdoor Wi-Fi hotspots across all five boroughs. The network would become one of the largest in the country, and have a significant impact on the city’s streetscape. That’s because the plan transforms New York’s aging system of payphones—commonly known today as al fresco “toilets”—with what are being described by the city as public connection points.

Continue reading after the jump.

A New Gang In Lower Manhattan: Chicago’s Studio Gang Architects Opens New York City Office

An early version of the Solar Carve tower by Studio Gang

An early version of the Solar Carve tower by Studio Gang. (Courtesy Studio Gang)

Chicago‘s most famous architect has just acquired a New York City pied-à-terre. Studio Gang has opened an office on Water Street in Lower Manhattan, which will be led by Weston Walker, a design principal. “This is a natural next step for the firm,” said founding principal Jeanne Gang in a statement. “We have been working in New York for the past several years and are excited by the variety of work currently in design, along with potential engagements in the city and beyond.”

The firm is currently working on a Fire Rescue facility for the New York City Department of Design and Construction and on the “Solar Carve” tower adjacent to the High Line. That project met resistance from the community for its height. There is no word yet on how tall it will be or how it will be redesigned.

Developer scales back Clark & Belmont mid-rise for Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood

Midwest, News
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
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03b-clark-belmont-tower-chicago-archpaper03a-clark-belmont-tower-chicago-archpaper

Six months after its proposal for a mid-sized development on the site of Chicago’s one-time “punk rock donut shop” raised height concerns, developer BlitzLake Capital Partners has scaled back its plans. Now the mixed-use development at the corner of Belmont and Clark in the Lakeview neighborhood is hoping for eight stories instead of 11.

Continue reading after the jump.

Page Architects Transforming Basement Tunnels at Houston’s Niels Esperson Building

News, Preservation, Southwest
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
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Renderings of the lobby after the basement's reconstruction (Photo Courtesty of pagethink.com)

Renderings of the lobby after the basement’s reconstruction. (Courtesy Page)

The historic Niels Esperson Building has lit up the Houston skyline since 1927, but far below the tower’s neo-Classical cupola, a basement space connecting to a series of tunnels meandering underneath the city has remained out of the spotlight. Now, the building’s basement gets to play catch up in the fame game with a $2.5 million renovation spearheaded by architectural firm Page.

Continue reading after the jump.

Long Island College Hospital Could Get The Residential Tower Treatment [UPDATED]

Long Island College Hospital. (Flickr / Chris Morgan)

Long Island College Hospital. (Flickr / Chris Morgan)

After a long and heated fight to save Brooklyn’s Long Island College Hospital from demolition, the site’s future as a medical center has been cemented. But along with the full-service hospital could come two residential towers that are significantly taller than anything in the predominantly-brownstone Cobble Hill neighborhood.

Just how high could the towers rise?

Here’s Your Chance To Live in a Frank Lloyd Wright House For the Weekend

Frank Lloyd Wright's Emil Bach House, 7415 N. Sheridan Rd.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Emil Bach House, 7415 N. Sheridan Rd.

A recently restored Frank Lloyd Wright house on Chicago’s far North Side will be open for weekly tours this summer, starting May 7. The Emil Bach House, 7415 North Sheridan Road, is a Chicago Landmark and an entry on the National Register of Historic Places. As a vacation rental, the carefully crafted private dwelling invites Wright enthusiasts to stay a while.

Continue reading after the jump.

AIA “Surprised” Architecture Billings Index Dipped Down Again in March

National, News
Friday, April 25, 2014
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BILLINGS (BLUE) AND INQUIRIES (RED) FOR THE PAST 12 MONTHS. (THE ARCHITECT’S NEWSPAPER)

BILLINGS (BLUE) AND INQUIRIES (RED) FOR THE PAST 12 MONTHS. (THE ARCHITECT’S NEWSPAPER)

After starting the year on a positive trend, the Architectural Billings Index ticked down last month. The March ABI score dropped sharply from February’s score of 50.7 to 48.8. This moves the index into negative territory as any score below 50 signifies a decrease in design services. The new projects inquiry, though, did tick up from 56.8 to 57.9.

More metrics after the jump.

Amid Horse Carriage Debate, Nostalgic New Yorkers Ponder a 21st Century Horseless Carriage

Design, East, News, Transportation
Thursday, April 24, 2014
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The Horseless eCarriage. (Henry Melcher / AN)

The Horseless eCarriage. (Henry Melcher / AN)

In what sounds like a flashback to the turn of the 20th century, curious New Yorkers peered inquisitively at a new horseless carriage model on display at the New York International Auto Show. The old-timey vehicle is actually a high-tech electric vehicle at the center of the heated fight to ban horse carriages from Central Park in New York City.

Continue reading after the jump.

Rahm Emanuel looks to lure George Lucas museum to Chicago

Midwest, News
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
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With his wife Mellody Hobson, who heads a Chicago investment firm, film mogul George Lucas serves as Grand Marshall of the 2013 Modesto American Graffiti Car Show and Festival parade. (hharryus / Flickr)

With his wife Mellody Hobson, who heads a Chicago investment firm, film mogul George Lucas serves as Grand Marshall of the 2013 Modesto American Graffiti Car Show and Festival parade. (hharryus / Flickr)

A short time from now in a neighborhood not far, far away… filmmaker extraordinaire George Lucas may land his art and film museum in Chicago. The move comes after the filmmaker’s bid to build the museum in San Francisco fell through last year. Read More

Valerio Dewalt Train’s 13-Story Hyde Park Development Advances With Changes

An updated design for Vue53 in Chicago's Hyde Park. (Courtesy Valerio Dewalt Train Associates)

An updated design for Vue53 in Chicago’s Hyde Park. (Courtesy Valerio Dewalt Train Associates)

Last year, Mesa Development and the University of Chicago announced they’d planned a 13-story mixed-use development for the western end of Hyde Park’s 53rd Street commercial strip. The massive project drew opposition to its scale and a lawsuit delayed construction—until now.

See how the design has changed 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.

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