Seattle’s monorail was unveiled in 1962 and it now carries 7,000 passengers per day on a one-mile track between the Space Needle just north of downtown and the center of the city. While plans were first proposed in 1997 to extend the monorail, they were scratched. But now another way to travel and see Seattle from the sky is being offered by Kyle Griffith, the owner and developer of the Seattle Great Wheel (that rests on Pier 57 on the waterfront): an urban gondola. Cities like Rio de Janeiro and Singapore have installed gondolas to great success, providing a more exciting way to commute and an unusual way to view the urban landscape below.
As the economy continues to roll we’re again awash in shortlists and competition wins. The Santa Monica City Services Building has a shortlist that includes SOM and Frederick Fisher. Teams shortlisted for the Herald Examiner Building include Christof Jantzen and Brenda Levin. LA’s Wildwood School shortlist includes Gensler, Koning Eizenberg, and one unknown team. The UC San Diego Biological Building has gone to CO Architects (recent winners of the AIACC Firm of the Year award). EHDD has won the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific, and Harley Ellis Devereaux has won the Long Beach Belmont Plaza Pool.
The shortlist to design UC Santa Cruz’s new Institute of Arts and Sciences has been narrowed from seven to three teams: Allied Works Architecture, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, and Patkau Architects / Fong & Chan Architects. Notable drop-offs include Steven Holl Architects and wHY. Finalists presentations will take place on April 3. The $32-to-40-million, 30,000-square-foot institute will include exhibition galleries, seminar rooms, events spaces, offices, a cafe and public gathering areas. The winner will be named by April 30.
One of our favorite duos, Oyler Wu, recently completed its biggest installation to date: The Cube, a twisting, glowing steel and wire concoction for the 2013 Beijing Biennale. The dramatic project is now touring China, but when pressed for the latest news the firm admitted that it is not sure where it is. So if you spot a giant cube somewhere in the country, please give them a ring, will you?
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Capped by a protective steel mesh screen, tresARCA house is built for indoor/outdoor living.
There are two ways to live with Las Vegas’ harsh climate. The first, epitomized by the hermetically-sealed tract houses ringing the Strip, rejects the reality of the desert in favor of air conditioning and architecture evoking far-off places. The second strategy embraces the environment for what it is, and looks to the natural world for cues about how to adapt. In their tresARCA house, assemblageSTUDIO took the latter approach. Glass and granite punctuated by a folded steel screen surrounding the second-floor bedrooms, tresARCA’s facade is a meditation on the resilience of the desert landscape. Read More
For those of you who missed On The Road 4, the fourth iteration of the successful art/architecture series that invaded Palm Springs last weekend, you can now buy a piece of it on Craigslist. As part of the event, which took place at the newly-opened Amado, architect David Freeland produced a gigantic beach ball, made of interlocked styrafoam pool noodles, measuring 12 feet in diameter. He called the scaled up creation “a literal take on fun.”
Now the giant art piece can be purchased for $500, or the best offer. (This isn’t the first time the architect has sent his creations to market, either.) Freeland says one party has made an offer, and that the Ace Hotel in Downtown LA is considering it.
Yet another port in Taiwan is set to become an architectural icon. In 2012 Neil M. Denari Architects won the competition to design the Keelung Harbor Service Project. Before that Reiser Umemoto won a competition to design the Kaohsiung Port Terminal (pictured), which is set to open later this year.
Now the Port of Kinmen Passenger Service Center has shortlisted another stellar group of designers. They are: Josep Mias Gifre, Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects, Junya Ishigami + Associates, Tom Wiscombe Architecture, and Miralles Tagliabue EMBT. A winner is expected to be chosen next month.