Portland State University Launches Center for Public Interest Design. A research center for public interest design—the first in the nation—has launched in Portland, Oregon. Helmed by Professor Sergio Palleroni at Portland State University, the Center for Public Interest Design examines and proposes affordable design projects for both emerging and established communities in need around the world. The center chiefly studies ways to improve global living conditions—addressing basic necessities such as shelter, water, and education—through a hands-on approach. Five inaugural projects range from modular classrooms to the Montesinos Orphanage and Environmental Technical School school in Haiti. More details here.
Friday> Cocktails & Conversations at the Center for Architecture. Tomorrow night join architect Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works and curator David can der Leer of the Van Alen Institute as the pair kick off the weekend with a tasty cocktail prepared by author and bar tender Toby Cecchini. The custom drink will be inspired by the architect’s work, crafted by Cecchini specially for the occasion. The event will take place tomorrow night at the Center for Architecture at 6:30 p.m. One drink is included with admission: $12.50 for AIA members; $15 for non-members.
HOK Not In The SF Spirit? While most things appear to be going gangbusters in San Francisco, it appears the fun hasn’t spread to HOK’s office there. The rumor mill says the firm has let go of a couple of its most revered staff, including Vice President Louis Schump. Schump, whose partner Todd Hosfelt owns the respected Hosfelt Gallery, headed some of the firm’s best workspace designs. Schump is in fact no longer with the firm. Other rumors are flying about people being put on “standby status,” but we won’t report them until they’re confirmed. We’re learning here at Eavesdrop, aren’t we?
After Two Decades, Boston’s Mayor Menino Moves On. Boston’s longest serving Mayor, Thomas Menino, will not be seeking a sixth term. Throughout his two decades in office, Menino has ushered in a number of major development projects, most notably the growth of the area around Fenway and the transformation of the once abandoned Seaport into a vibrant mixed-use waterfront neighborhood with offices, residential towers, and retail. This announcement comes on the heels of Menino’s new proposal, the Housing Boston 2020 Plan, aimed at creating 30,000 new units of housing by 2020. (Photo: Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, courtesy Wikipedia)
Fifteen-Year MSG Permit Extension Recommended. At a New York City Planning Commission review session this week, the staff at New York City Department of City Planning recommended a 15-year limit on the permit extension for Madison Square Garden (MSG), which would be an “aggressive but realistic” time frame to reach an agreement on the future of the arena. This gives MSG a few more years to come up with a plan for relocation or extensive improvements than the proposed 10-year renewal recommended by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. Look for an extended story on the fate of Madison Square Garden in the next print issue of AN. (Photo: Wally Gobetz / Flickr)
Get AIA CES Credits At Designx/Francis Bitoni Workshop. Join us for four days of hands-on digital design and fabrication workshops and at DesignX, hosted by the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, and earn your AIA CES credits! From May 18-21, you can join the industry’s leading experts at the Jacob Javits Center to get your hands dirty with the latest in web-based design apps, parametric design, and interactive modeling services. Stop by Saturday to get the lowdown on 3D printed fabrics from Francis Bitoni, the man behind Dita Von Teese’s miraculously printed gown. Learn how 3D printing is transforming the textile and fashion industries, and get started with the fundamentals of Rhino3D—the world’s leading modeling software. The workshop will cover the basics for creating your design, manipulating geometries, and preparing your textile model for 3D printing. Visit deisgnX.is to reserve your space now, and for more information of the workshops and events.
UConn Establishes Transportation Safety Research Center. The University of Connecticut is now home to a recently established Transportation Safety Research Center that will operate as a vital resource for law enforcement and state residents, among others. Developed in collaboration with the Connecticut Department of Transportation, the center has already improved the compilation and processing of car crash data through performing studies to further understand factors that lead to car crashes on state roadways. Statistics concerning distracted driving, seatbelt use, and pedestrian safety will be available to the public online in an effort to build an electronic repository of statewide crash information. (Photo: Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announces the new program; Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)
Nominations Sought for Jane Jacobs Medal. After announcing the winners of the 2012 Jane Jacobs Medal last month at Frank Gehry’s IAC Building in west Manhattan, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Municipal Art Society are in search of nominees for this year’s prize (the awards ceremony was pushed back due to Hurricane Sandy). The groups are accepting online nominations on the Rockefeller Foundation’s website through April 30. Among the qualities of a Jacobs Medal winner are that they “Open our eyes to new ways of seeing and understanding our city” and “Challenge traditional assumptions and conventional thinking.” Winners will be announced this September.
Snøhetta to Take Philly by Storm. Norwegian/American firm Snøhetta has been enlisted by Temple University to design a new 350,000-square-foot library on the main campus in the northern section of Philadelphia. Craig Dykers, co-founder of the Oslo-based firm, will speak at the University during the 2013 Temple Architecture Week. Next City reported that Snøhetta has yet to release renderings, but they scored an interview with Dykers following his lecture at Temple, where he said “increasingly, universities are realizing that libraries can also be windows, gateways into the campus and immediately connected to the academic life of the place.” (Photo: Courtesy Wikipedia.)
Crain’s: “Is it finally a good time to be an architect?”. Crain’s Chicago Business asks a good question: “Is it finally a good time to be an architect?” The story, by Micah Maidenberg, picks up on an encouraging trend in the architecture billings index. Both nationally and in the Midwest, architecture billings are back above 50, the threshold that denotes growth. In 2008, both tanked to about 35. Read the full post
Affordable Housing Projects in Philly Receive a Financial Boost. Four new affordable housing projects in Philadelphia will receive almost $1 million in grant money. Congressman Chaka Fattah announced last month that the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh’s Affordable Housing Program will provide grants of over $200,000 to sponsors of projects that are dedicated to housing veterans, homeless families, and the mentally ill. According to The Daily Pennsylvanian, FHL Bank will take new applicants for its grant program starting July 8th, and announce the winning sponsors for 2013 on December 19th. (Photo: Courtesy People’s Emergency Center)
Dan Gilbert Adds Two Towers to Detroit Real Estate Portfolio. Dan Gilbert, Quicken Loans founder and perennial champion of Detroit’s downtown real estate market, recently added two skyscrapers to his collection. The two towers are on Detroit’s Woodward Avenue. He acquired the 1916 Albert Kahn-designed Vinton Building (left) in December and scooper up the 1001 Woodward tower (right), built in 1965, this month. For more insight on the company’s real estate enterprise, which now totals 2.8 million square feet of commercial and residential space in Detroit, read our Q&A with Gilbert’s real estate partner Jim Ketai here.