Designer Pleads No Contest To Manslaughter In Los Angeles

West
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
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The home, repaired after the fire, sits in the Hollywood Hills (MLS)

The home, repaired after the fire, sits in the Hollywood Hills (MLS)

In a case being watched closely by architects, German designer Gerhard Becker last week pleaded no contest to a charge of involuntary manslaughter for his “disregard for public safety and building codes” in the construction of a Hollywood Hills mansion whose ceiling collapsed in a 2011 fire, killing one fireman.

Continue reading after the jump.

Oscar Niemeyer’s Latin American Memorial Consumed by Flames

International, Newsletter
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
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Smoke and Flames pour out of Oscare Niemeyer's Latin America Memorial in São Paulo, Brazil (joviannysierascky / Instagram)

Smoke and Flames pour out of Oscare Niemeyer’s Latin America Memorial in São Paulo, Brazil (joviannysierascky / Instagram)

While Americans trampled over each-other for the latest consumer electronics, flames tore through the late Oscar Neimeyer’s landmark Latin America Memorial complex (1987) in São Paulo, Brazil on Friday. Inaugurated in 1989, the complex was built to promote the social, cultural, political and economic integration of Latin America. Eighty-eight firefighters were reportedly dispatched to contain the blaze that consumed portions of the 909,000 square foot complex for up to five hours.

Continue reading after the jump.

Painted Fire Hydrants on Display Throughout Chicago

Midwest
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
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the wintrust hydrant by anna celander (the Great Chicago Fire Hydrants)

the wintrust hydrant by anna celander (the Great Chicago Fire Hydrants)

Chicago area artists age 12 to 87 have painted larger-than-life fire hydrants for a public art project on display throughout the city until November 11. The project, called the Great Chicago Fire Hydrants, aims to decorate 101 five-foot-tall fire hydrants (one for each Chicago firehouse) before November 11, when a public auction of the hydrants will raise money to benefit the 100 Club of Chicago and “other fire-related charities.”

Find the hydrants on this map. Most are downtown, but Mt. Greenwood’s Funkie Fashions, Gordon Tech High School, and Swedish Covenant Hospital are among the neighborhood spots. Check out the website’s gallery of completed fire hydrants if you can’t hoof it to all the locations.

And if you’d like to decorate one, reach out here to the organizers here.

Slow Boil.  Slow Boil The designers at New York-based Atopia Innovation, must have been stewing over the past year. Although the gag order imposed on all participating architects and designers by London’s Olympic Organizing Committee (a.k.a. LOCOG) was lifted in January, Atopia only stepped forward in late June to say that the Olympic Cauldron designed by Thomas Heatherwick and used in the 2012 opening ceremonies seems to have been directly inspired by studies Atopia delivered to LOCOG between 2006 and 2008. Check out the sketchbook that seems to prove the point at atopiainnovation.com. (Photo: Courtesy Thomas Heatherwick)

 

Massive Fire Engulfs 34-Story Dubai Condo Tower

International
Monday, November 19, 2012
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Early Saturday morning, a 34-story residential tower in Dubai burst into flames running its entire height. The 160-unit Tamweel Tower, located in a complex of towers known as the Jumeirah Lakes Towers, caught fire at 2:30a.m. local time, sending hundreds of residents into the streets to seek refuge in a nearby park. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, but The National reported that some believe the fire may have started near the roof and propelled down the tower by the building’s flammable cladding material, a similar phenomenon as what happened to Rem Koolhaas’ CCTV tower in China a few years ago when fireworks sparked a major blaze on the under-construction tower and the nearby 40-story Al Tayer Tower that caught fire earlier this year.

Continue reading after the jump.

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Corb’s Unité d’Habitation Damaged By Fire.  Corb's Unité d'Habitation Damaged By Fire The Guardian is reporting that one of Le Corbusier’s most famous works, the Unité d’Habitation in Marseille, France, has been damaged in a fire. Three apartments were gutted and many other units were damaged by the fire, which took 12 hours to contain. Five people were being treated for injuries. Originally built as low-income housing between 1947 and 1951, the Unité is now a protected landmark in France and home to approximately 1600 residents in 334 apartments.

 

Slideshow> Organic Architecture Catches Fire in Coachella Valley

Newsletter, West
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
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Ken Kellogg's GG's Island restaurant before the fire. (Keith Daly / Flickr)

Ken Kellogg's GG's Island restaurant before the fire. (Keith Daly / Flickr)

Southern California critic Alan Hess tells us more about Ken Kellogg’s GG’s Island Restaurant (formerly the Chart House), which was ravaged by fire on Tuesday morning. The extent of the damage and the potential for repair have not yet been determined.

Palm Springs may be best known for sleek steel and glass Modern architecture, but the 1978 Chart House by San Diego architect Ken Kellogg (one of a series he designed for the restaurant chain) makes it impossible to ignore the fact that Organic Modernism is just as much a part of the Coachella Valley heritage. Set along Highway 111 in Rancho Mirage, Chart House’s low-slung, serpentine shape hugs the contours of a small, rocky butte.

Outside, it’s the image of protective desert shelter: the taut vaulted roof stretches down, like the fabric of an umbrella or the shell of a crab, almost to touch the landscape berms rising to meet it. Inside, however, the heavy timber columns, curving glu-lam roof ribs, and rubble stone walls wind their way through the restaurant like a well-designed forest. They create layers of space, naturally lighted by a skylight curving along the spine, with an appealing complexity. Kellogg’s fifty-five year career, including residences, churches, and commercial and institutional buildings, continues to show the vitality of organic design.

View a slideshow of the restaurant before and after the fire.

Landmark SoCal Restaurant Up In Flames.  Landmark SoCal Restaurant Up In FlamesArchitect Kendrick Kellogg’s landmark GG’s Island Restaurant in Rancho Mirage, CA burst into flames this morning. The 3,000 square foot eatery, once home to the Chart House, is famed for its twisting, seashell-like design. Kellogg’s organic designs can be found throughout Southern California, particularly around San Diego and in the Mojave Desert. According to Cal Fire, more than 50 firefighters and 12 engines from the Riverside County Fire Department and the Palm Springs Fire Department were on scene at the peak of the blaze. [Mercury News]

 

Quick Clicks> Libeskind Collapse, Rahm′s DOT Pick, Gaudi Attacked, and Bamboo in Wyoming

Daily Clicks
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
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A pool in Daniel Libeskind's Westside retail center collapsed (Mike Bischoff/Flickr)

A pool in Daniel Libeskind's Westside retail center collapsed (Mike Bischoff/Flickr)

Watch for Falling Libeskinds. The breaking news of the day from Building Design: Daniel Libeskind’s $555 million Westside retail center in Bern, Switzerland has collapsed for a second time in three years. An elevated swimming pool fell into the building injuring two people. An investigation is pending. In 2008, shortly after the building was completed, the roof of a fast food restaurant inside the center collapsed, injuring two children.

Transporting Chicago. Transportation Nation reports today that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has tapped Gabe Klein to head up the city’s DOT. Widely viewed as a pro-bike kind of guy in his former role as head of Washington D.C.’s DOT, Klein helped launch a bike-share program, expand bike lanes, and install electric car charging stations across the city. Could more alternative transportation be in store for the Windy City?

Gaudi Burns. An arsonist set fire to Antoni Gaudí’s Segrada Familia in Barcelona said the Guardian. The cathedral’s sacristy was destroyed and the crypt heavily damaged during the attack. Some 1,500 tourists were evacuated and four treated for smoke inhalation.

Wisconsin Bamboo. Sarah F. Cox talks with NYC-based architecture firm Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis for Curbed about a recently completed student center at the University of Wyoming which includes a stunningly intricate bamboo-lattice screen.

Smoke Clears from TVCC

International
Thursday, October 29, 2009
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The burned out TVCC tower, photographed earlier this month. (Anders V/Flickr)

The burned out TVCC tower, photographed earlier this month. (Anders V/Flickr)

Shortly after the dramatic fire consumed much of the TVCC tower in Beijing earlier this year, we speculated on the building’s fate. Well, it’s taken eight months, but Archinect directed us to an AP story in which OMA’s Ole Scheeren finally addresses the rampant concerns that have been plaguing the burned out building, and the prognosis is good. Scheeren said that the building is indeed intact and will be replaced—at what cost, who knows, though this being state-run television, does it even really matter? The AP adds that construction scaffolding is already up on the site, and Scheeren goes to great lengths to dispel apparently rampant and, as far as we can understand, ridiculous rumors that were the TVCC building to be dismantled, it would drag down the better known CCTV building because the two shared a structural system. Read More

Fire On The Mountain

West
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
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It’s not every day that a scary fire burns within a few miles of a major cultural institution. Well in LA it sort of is, but that’s beside the point. A recent drive on the 405 Freeway revealed to us what all the news reports are saying: There is a biggish blaze burning just one hill over from the Getty Center on LA’s west side. The smoke is thick and brown, and on first look bulged out at the top, not unlike a mushroom cloud. Yikes. Helicopters are running regular passes over the thing, which is spreading in thin lines along the mountains facing the Getty, moving southward down the Sepulveda Pass. But fortunately it appears that firefighters have it under control (in California terms a 10-acre fire is only a mini conflagration), despite a forced evacuation of the Getty and nearby Mount St. Mary’s College. Stay tuned… We hope we don’t have to see if all that marble and granite will hold up to a good ol’ California disaster. And for now, the biggest concern of drivers on the 405 is the threat of imminent traffic. Now that’s scary.

CCTV Day 2: We’re Sorry

Other
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
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The remains of yesterdays tragic fire. (drea_beijing/Flickr)

The remains of yesterday's tragic fire. (drea_beijing/Flickr)

As images of a surprisingly intact TVCC building emerge after yesterday’s inferno, the China Central Television network (CCTV) was forced to admit that a fireworks display put on by its employees caused the fire to its iconic new headquarters complex in Beijing, designed by OMA’s Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren.

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