Pier Carlo Bontempi and Ruan Yisan accept Driehaus awards for classicist architecture and preservation

Place Toscane in Val D'Europe, France by Bontempi.

Place Toscane in Val D’Europe, France by Bontempi.

Italian architect Pier Carlo Bontempi and Chinese preservationist Ruan Yisan last weekend received the highest honors in the world of classicist design—a school of though that AN previously examined alongside the more widely known Pritzker Prize.

The 2014 Richard H. Driehaus Prize went to Bontempi, an architect from Parma, Italy whose work includes a block recovery plan for that city’s historic center, as well as the Place de Toscane and the “Quartier du Lac” resort in Val d’Europe near Paris.

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Organization Rescues Cape Cod Modernist Homes

East
Monday, December 9, 2013
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Designed by prolific local architect Charles Zehnder, the Kugel Gips house was built on Cape Cod in 1970 (Courtesy CCMT)

Designed by prolific local architect Charles Zehnder, the Kugel Gips house was built on Cape Cod in 1970 (Courtesy CCMT)(Courtesy CCMT)

Built in 1970 by prolific Cape Cod–based architect Charles Zehnder, the Frank Lloyd Wright–inspired Kugel Gips house spent nearly a decade unoccupied and in disrepair while under ownership of the National Park Service (NPS). Abandoned and rotting, the compact Modernist home was nearly lost to the idyllic peninsula’s salty winds, and worse yet, the wrecking ball, until Wellfleet, Massachusetts–based architect Peter McMahon and the Cape Cod Modernist Trust (CCMT) stepped in.

Continue reading after the jump.

Report: Hundreds of Historic Properties at Risk Due to VA Negligence

National
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
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Old Main at The Milwaukee National Soldiers Home (Courtesy Milwaukee Preservation Alliance)

Old Main at The Milwaukee National Soldiers Home (Courtesy Milwaukee Preservation Alliance)

Hundreds of historic buildings and landscapes under the administration of the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are at risk of being abandoned or demolished, claims a study from the National Trust for Historic Preservation released earlier this month. According to the report, entitled “Honoring Our Veterans: Saving Their Places of Health Care and Healing,” the VA has failed to comply with federal preservation requirements and maintain their historic properties, some dating back to the Civil War. The agency has instead favored the expensive construction of new facilities.

Continue reading after the jump.

Five Paul Rudolph Buildings Under Threat in Buffalo

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
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Paul Rudolph's Shoreline Apartments in Buffalo, New York (Kelvin Dickinson / Flickr)

Paul Rudolph’s Shoreline Apartments in Buffalo, New York (Kelvin Dickinson / Flickr)

2013 has proven to be a difficult year for post-war concrete architecture. While some iconic structures have managed to emerge from the maelstrom of demolition attempts unharmed, including M. Paul Friedberg’s Peavy Plaza in Minneapolis and (tentatively) the Paul Rudolph–designed Orange County Government Center in Goshen, New York (the fate of which still remains uncertain), others have been less lucky.

John Johansen’s daring Mummers Theater in Oklahoma City, Richard Neutra’s Gettysburg Cyclorama and, more recently, Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Woman’s Hospital in Chicago have all been doomed to the wrecking ball. Despite architectural historian Michael R. Allen’s claim that the demolition of the Prentice’ Woman’s Hospital would be Modernism’s “Penn Station Moment,” the trend still pushes on.

The next in line to fight for its survival is a set of Paul Rudolph buildings in Buffalo, New York. Tomorrow, November 6, at 8:15 a.m., the Buffalo City Planning Board will convene to decide the fate of five buildings included in Rudolph’s 9.5-acre Shoreline Apartment complex.

Continue reading after the jump.

Artists in Flint, Michigan Revive an Abandoned Funeral Home as a Haven for Designers

Midwest
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
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(Spencer's Art House)

(Spencer’s Art House)

Artists in Flint, Michigan are used to morbid analogies, but Spencer’s Art House is literally using a funeral home to “demonstrate Flint’s potential for rebirth.”

The project turned a 120-year-old mortuary in Flint’s historic Carriage Town neighborhood into an alternative space for artists, designers, and engineers. It’s a gut rehab and then some, but the project has attracted the full force of Flint’s artistic community.

Continue reading after the jump.

A River of Light Flows Through Detroit’s Renovated First National Building

Midwest, Newsletter
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
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(Courtesy Chris & Michelle Gerard)

(Courtesy Chris & Michelle Gerard)

Curbed Detroit drew our attention to that city’s Fist National Building and its year-long renovation. The Albert Kahn-designed building opened in 1930. Its interiors have fallen into disrepair, including the original plaster ceiling.

Continue reading after the jump.

Affordable Artists’ Housing Transforming a Former School in East Harlem

East
Friday, October 25, 2013
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El Barrio's Artspace PS109 (Photo: HHL Architects)

El Barrio’s Artspace PS109 (Photo: HHL Architects)

After a thorough search to identify a live/work project site in New York City, Artspace selected the former Public School 109 in East Harlem, a distinctive five-story building with copper-clad cupolas and decorative terrace cotta designed by Charles B.J. Snyder in 1898. The newly renovated building will include 90 units of affordable housing for artists and their families and 10,000 square feet of non-residential space for non-profits and community organizations. Continue reading after the jump.

After 200 Years, London’s Old Vic Theatre Considers a Facelift With Help From Kevin Spacey

International
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
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The Historic Old Vic Theatre in London is Set for Necessary Restoration. (Courtesy Jim Lonwood / Flickr)

London’s Historic Old Vic is Set for Necessary Restoration. (Courtesy Jim Lonwood / Flickr)

Venerable old institutions in England are looking for a fresh look these days. The nearly 200-year-old Old Vic Theatre in London is the latest to make plans for a much-needed facelift. The institutions artistic director, actor Kevin Spacey, is committed to bringing the structure into the 21st century through refurbishment of the current building and expansion into a newly acquired adjacent space.

Continue reading after the jump.

Archaeological Survey in Angkor Reveals Intricacies of Pre-Industrial Urbanism

International
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
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Pre Rup temple at Angkor, Cambodia (Matt Werner / Flickr)

Pre Rup temple at Angkor, Cambodia. (Matt Werner / Flickr)

The US National Academy of Sciences has published the results of a survey performed in April 2012 of the forests of Cambodia, which uncovered a monumental, intricate landscape of low-density urban sprawl connected to ancient ruins of Angkor Wat that dates back to more than 700 years, invalidating archaeologists’ current understandings of pre-industrial urbanism.

Continue reading after the jump.

National Trust Announces 2013 List of America’s Most Endangered Historic Places

National
Thursday, June 20, 2013
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Gay Head Lighthouse in Aquinnah, Massachusetts (Courtesy of Martha’s Vineyard Museum)

Gay Head Lighthouse in Aquinnah, Massachusetts (Courtesy of Martha’s Vineyard Museum)

Wednesday, the National Trust for Historic Preservation released its 2013 list of “America’s Most Endangered Historic Places” made up of cultural landmarks, historic houses of worship, civic spaces, derelict industrial structures, and a significant waterway. For twenty-five years, the National Trust has launched campaigns to save historic structures and places in regions across the United States—many of which are vulnerable from years of neglect or the threat of demolition. In a press conference over Twitter, President and CEO Stephanie K. Meeks explained the impetus for including these specific sites: “It’s always a tough choice, but we evaluate on significance, urgency of threat, and possible solution.” The designation, Meeks said, is a tool for drawing attention to places “in a national context of significance” that might otherwise go unnoticed.

This year’s motley list includes the likes of Gay Head Lighthouse in Martha’s Vineyard and San Jose Church in Puerto Rico built in 1532.

View the endangered sites after the jump.

Road Builders in Belize Bulldoze 2,300 Year Old Mayan Pyramid for Gravel

International
Monday, May 20, 2013
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The small tourist hotspot of Belize, with its pristine Caribbean coastlines, lush rainforest, and ancient Mayan ruins, suffered a dramatic loss recently when one 2,300-year-old ruin was razed. The 100-foot-tall Nohmul Mayan Pyramid was bulldozed to create gravel fill for a road-building project, its hand-cut limestone construction visible as excavators tore into the structure. According to CNN, authorities in Belize will be conducting an investigation and, even though the ruin was on a privately owned sugar-cane field, criminal charges are likely.

Continue reading after the jump.

Four Firms Shortlisted To Rehab Gropius-Designed Embassy in Athens

International
Thursday, May 16, 2013
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Gropius-designed Athens Chancery. (Courtesy Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations)

Gropius-designed Athens Chancery. (Courtesy Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations)

The Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) announced yesterday its shortlist of design firms to rehabilitate the Walter Gropius-designed US Embassy building in Greece, known as the Athens Chancery. The four firms were selected out of an applicant pool of 56 submissions, and include: Ann Beha Architects, DesignLab Architects, Machado Silvetti / Baker, and Mark Cavagnero Associates.

Continue reading after the jump.

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