Design Submission. David Hecht of San Francisco firm Tannerhecht recently presented the plans for a mid-rise condo in the city’s SoMa district in a community meeting held on site at an S&M Club. No, the architects are not into bondage. In fact Hecht had originally been told the site was vacant, but it turned out that the longstanding club was still around, so instead of presenting in a community hall the plans were displayed, we hear, among leather costumes and lots of Purell bottles.
Mies Blocks on the Block in Detroit. Mies van der Rohe’s Lafayette Towers are up for sale. It’s a striking reminder of the symbiosis between cities and iconic architecture—one which speaks to the mercurial nature of Detroit’s real estate market since World War II. The twin high-rises were foreclosed in February, and will go up for auction later this month. All 584 apartment units will go to the highest bidder July 18, but this is no ordinary sale. The Department of Housing and Urban Development will require the lucky winner to spend more than $10 million on an 80-page list of renovations to the historic buildings, and invest $2.5 million in an escrow account for HUD to hedge their risk.
Trump Channels Moses at Jones Beach. Following a lengthy battle over design issues, Donald Trump and New York State reached a deal over his proposed $23 million catering hall to replace a destroyed Robert Moses-era restaurant at Jones Beach, the Wall Street Journal reported. The new restaurant and catering facility will be called Trump on the Ocean (shown here as a rendering). Officials at Trump told the paper that the developer has fond memories of the beach and has long been an admirer of The Power Broker.
Get ‘Em While You Can Afford ‘Em. Local hot-shot designer, Craighton Berman, has left the firm gravitytank to go solo. He’s keeping himself busy with all kinds of stuff—from illustration to design workshops. Craig, whose illustrations regularly don the pages of Dwell, designed the Coil Lamp, which graced the pages of this paper and many others. The Coil Lamp was recently added to the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. Better get one before they become pricey collectibles.
The Gift that Keeps on Giving. He’s back, y’all! Without a doubt, he’ll once again spread his Nouveau Beaux Arts buildings across Chicago. Wait, what? Who are we talking about? Who else? Lucien Lagrange. After a strong decade or two spreading an upscale Disney-esque version of Paris-on-Steroids across Chicago’s skyline (see: the Waldorf Astoria, 65 East Goethe, Lincoln Park 2520), a public divorce from designer Jessica Lagrange, his namesake firm’s bankruptcy (which we’re sure had nothing to do with the divorce), his retirement, his joining VOA (just joking about retirement!), his bitter divorce from VOA, and now the recent announcement of HKS Lucien Lagrange Studio, a boutique practice within the HKS. Think of this next installment as the architecture version of a pop-up store. The question is, how long will it last?
De Portzamparc Tops Out in Manhattan. Curbed New York snapped some pictures of New York’s tallest residential tower, One57, designed by Christian de Portzamparc, which topped out today. At 1004 feet, One57 surpassed New York by Gehry, but it won’t be alone at the top for long. There’s a whole new crop of super tall residential towers planned around Manhattan.
Chicago’s Merchandise Mart to Get Tech Boost. Known to architects for the dozens of design showrooms it houses and the annual NeoCon tradeshow it hosts, Chicago’s Merchandise Mart may also become a major center for the city’s tech industry. Crain’s is reporting that Google is planning to lease half a million square feet in the mammoth building, and will add a large roof deck offering city, river, and lake views. The deck will, no doubt, help compensate for the massive floorplates that will leave most employees far from natural light. Google will also bring 3000 jobs–from a Motorola division they acquired–from the suburbs to downtown.
Going Local. We hear that the mighty Pritzker family from Chicago (namely Anthony Pritzker) has built an ultra-large estate in Beverly Hills. A 49,000 square foot chateau, to be exact. We haven’t been able to identify who the architect is, but it’s apparently a firm “from Paris.” What ever happened to hiring locally? The compound brings new meaning to the concept of mega-mansion, but plans for an even larger house of 70,000 square feet for a Saudi prince are taking shape nearby. But maybe this means a sop to a West Coast architect for the next Pritzker?
Renaissance Critic. It’s common knowledge that before Michael Kimmelman became the New York Times’ architecture critic he used to be one of the paper’s art critics. But did you know that before delving into the visual arts, Kimmelman had a passion for the lively arts? He even considered a professional career as a concert pianist. In fact, on his days off you can still find Kimmelman performing, most recently on May 19 and 20 with Bargemusic, a chamber music group that holds concerts on a barge near the Brooklyn Bridge. The pianist in a quartet, Kimmelman was down for a little Hayden, Beethoven, and Mozart. “Hoping people will come to my concerts at Bargemusic,” the critic tweeted beforehand, in what may count as one his few reviews of an actual, if nautical, structure. “Nice program, cool place.”
Keeping Busy at ArchPaper West. We’ve got our plates full this month at Dwell on Design/LA Design Festival/AIA LA Design Conference. On Thursday, June 21 we’re hosting a studio tour at our new West coast offices, the American Cement Building, featuring eight architecture firms in one building. Next, on June 22-24 we’re hosting architect consultations at Dwell, connecting more than 20 of the city’s top architects to potential clients. Finally on June 24, West Coast Editor Sam Lubell is moderating an expert panel at the AIA Design Conference examining how architecture can contribute to the public realm.
Zaha Considers Buying a Museum in London. With the London Design Museum gearing up to move in to their new Pawson designed-Pad in Knightsbridge, BD Online reports that Zaha Hadid is a front runner to purchase the old digs in the Southwark section of the city. The buzz is that she plans to turn it into an architecture museum.
To Russia, With Love. Is Russia the new China? Probably nyet, but there are a couple of projects to watch in Putinland. Rem Koolhaas has locked up the commission to transform a crumbling Soviet-era building into a hip new home for the Garage (pictured), the contemporary art center in Moscow run by Dasha Zhukova. Bankrolling the creation of a 58,000-square-foot kunsthalle, complete with the obligatory café, shop, and “learning center,” is billionaire Roman Abramovich, Zhukova’s longtime boyfriend.