Houston Voters to Astrodome: Drop Dead (But A Better Plan Is Coming!)

Southwest
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
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Inside the Houston Astrodome in 2005 when it houses Hurricane Katrina survivors. (Kelly Garbato / Flickr)

Inside the Houston Astrodome in 2005 when it houses Hurricane Katrina survivors. (Kelly Garbato / Flickr)

Yesterday, Houston voters killed a $200 million ballot initiative to renovate the unused Astrodome. Fifty-three percent opposed the measure and 47 percent supported it. The plan would have turned the stadium—the first domed and air-conditioned professional stadium—into a multi-use event and convention space. Houston’s professional sports teams now play in Reliant Stadium next door and Minute Made Park in downtown Houston. Without funding for renovation, the dome appears destined for demolition.

Tomorrow, AN will release the results of the “Re-imagine the Astrodome” competition, which includes both pragmatic and visionary ideas for re-using the Space Age structure. To celebrate, join us for coffee and refreshments at the Texas Society of Architects in the Grand Lobby of Fort Worth Convention Center from 10:00-11:00 a.m. We’ll also be launching the inaugural issue of the Southwest edition. Stop by meet AN‘s new Southwest Aaron Seward.

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.

Culture at Risk: World Monuments Fund Watch List Includes Palisades, FLW’s Taliesin

International, Newsletter
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
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According to the List, Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin Is in Danger of Disrepair. (Courtesy Casey Eisenrich / Flickr)

According to the List, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin Is in Danger of Disrepair. (Courtesy Casey Eisenrich / Flickr)

The World Monuments Fund has announced its 2014 Watch List for cultural sites at risk by changes in economy, society, and politics within their respective countries and disrepair due to natural forces. For 2014, the Monument Watch List, compiled and released every two years since 1996, has cited 67 heritage risks in 41 countries and territories around the world. These sites range from Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1911-built Taliesin home in Wisconsin, submissive to elements of weathering, to the tree-lined Palisades cliffs in New York and New Jersey, jeopardized by corporate construction plans, to all of the cultural sites of Syria, risked by current war conflict.

View the gallery of highlights after the jump.

PAC Formed to Save The Houston Astrodome

Southwest
Friday, September 13, 2013
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The Astrodome had the world's first animated electronic scoreboard. Here it is circa 1986. (Courtesy Gary Hunt/flickr)

The Astrodome had the world’s first animated electronic scoreboard. Here it is circa 1986. (Courtesy Gary Hunt/flickr)

With less then 8 weeks remaining before Harris County voters cast their ballots to decide the fate of the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” a group of prominent Houstonians has established a political action committee with which they hope to raise public support for the ailing Astrodome. Launched at a press conference on Thursday, The New Dome PAC has begun efforts to raise upwards of $200,000 for a media campaign intended to persuade the public to vote in favor of Proposition 2, the $217 million project that aims to preserve, repurpose, and modernize the historic stadium. While no opposing organization has yet been formed, some worry that many donors may be tapped out at this point in the political season, and polls conducted by local stations KHOU 11 News and KUHF Houston Public Radio show that the public is still split, with younger voters who may have never attended an event at the Astrodome showing less enthusiasm for putting down the cash to save it. Meanwhile, don’t forget that the Architect’s Newspaper and YKK AP are hosting an Astrodome Reuse Design Ideas Competition: Reimagine The Astrodome. The registration deadline is September 17, so sign up today!

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Ten Case Study Houses Listed on National Register

West
Thursday, August 22, 2013
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Case Study House #22 (Tim Street-Porter)

Case Study House #22 (Tim Street-Porter)

Thanks to the efforts of the Los Angeles Conservancy‘s Modern Committee, ten homes from Southern California’s Case Study House program have been added to the National Register of Historic Places. Launched by Arts + Architecture magazine in 1945, the Case Study program emphasized experiment and affordability, and produced some of the most famous houses in U.S. history, including the Eames House (Case Study #8), and Pierre Koenig’s Stahl House (Case Study #22).

Read More

Wrecking Ball To Swing On Johansen’s Mummers Theater

Southwest
Friday, July 26, 2013
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okc_mummers_theater_01-550x366

Known as Stage Center following a renovation, Johansen’s groundbreaking Mummers Theater is Oklahoma City’s only internationally acclaimed piece of architecture (Courtesy Elliott+ Associates Architects)

Oklahoma City investment company Kestrel Investments has purchased recently deceased architect John Johansen‘s Mummers Theater for $4.275 million and plans to demolish the revolutionary building to construct a 20-plus story mixed use tower in its place. The news came as a blow to local and national preservation groups who worked unsuccessfully to save the groundbreaking architectural work by finding a new tenant and use for the idiosyncratic structure.

Continue reading after the jump.

Doomed to Demolition, Northwestern Names Three Firms to Design Prentice Successor

Midwest
Friday, June 28, 2013
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Bertrand Goldberg's Prentice Women's Hospital in Chicago. (ChicagoGeek/Flickr)

Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago. (ChicagoGeek/Flickr)

Perkins + Will, Goettsch Partners, and Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill will compete to design a successor to Bertrand Goldberg’s celebrated Prentice Women’s Hospital, which Northwestern University will soon demolish.

Booth Hansen will serve as the local architect of record. Northwestern, whose politically expedited approval from the Landmarks commission angered preservationists, selected the three firms from a larger pool based on their responses to a Request for Qualifications.

The winning firm will be chosen by December, according to their written timeline, but no construction work is planned until March 2017, according to Curbed.

Goettsch also designed Northwestern’s lake front Bienen School of Music, which is currently under construction.

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.

Modern House by Romaldo Giurgola Poised for Teardown in the Twin Cities

Midwest
Monday, June 17, 2013
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Wayzata, Minnesota home designed by Romaldo Giurgola (Courtesy NeighborCity.com)

Wayzata, Minnesota home designed by Romaldo Giurgola (Courtesy NeighborCity.com)

The fate of an 8,500-square-foot house designed in 1970 by architect Romaldo Giurgola in Wayzata, Minnesota hangs in the balance following  what the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported as 2012’s priciest single-family housing deal in the Twin Cities. Just months after paying $10 million for the lakefront property, the new owner, Cargill heir Donald C. MacMillan, has presented plans that could include the building’s demolition.

Continue reading after the jump.

Boston Public Library’s Philip Johnson Branch To Be Renovated

East
Thursday, May 2, 2013
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Boston Public Library Johnson Building (Courtesy Boston Public Library)

Boston Public Library Johnson Building. (Courtesy Boston Public Library)

Library officials and developers hope to give Boston Public Library’s Philip Johnson-designed branch a facelift, but as the Boston Herald reported, local residents question who these proposed changes will really benefit. Standing besides Charles Follen McKim’s 1895 Beaux Arts masterwork on Copley Square, and across the street from the site of the recent marathon bombings, the mid-century monolith, which was completed in 1971, has been likened by many to a bunker or mausoleum and derided for its “greyness” and “bleakness.” With nearly half of Boston’s library users regularly visiting this branch, some think it’s about time for an upgrade.

Continue reading after the jump.

Petitions and Design Ideas Sprout to Save Folk Art Museum Building.

East
Friday, April 19, 2013
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(Courtesy FolkMoMA)

(Courtesy FolkMoMA)

As the chorus of criticism swells against MoMA’s plan to demolish the former home of the American Folk Art Museum, designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, a pair of petitions have been posted urging the Modern to reconsider its demolition plans. Also, a crowd-sourced tumblr, #FolkMoMA, is soliciting ideas for reuse of Williams and Tsien’s building. With all the action online, will anyone be taking to the streets for some old fashioned picketing? Will anyone chain themselves to the bronze facade? Has all this worry actually left the bubble of the architecture community?

View some of the FolkMoMA proposals after the jump.

Preservationists Warn Russia’s Melnikov House at Risk

International
Thursday, April 18, 2013
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(Courtesy Docomomo)

(Courtesy Docomomo)

One of Moscow’s most iconic pieces of architecture, the cylindrical home of avant-garde architect Konstantin Melnikov built in the 1920s, is reportedly showing signs of structural damage caused by rumbling from neighboring construction projects and is in danger of being demolished. The New York Times reports that preservationists including Docomomo have sounded the alarm that cracks have been forming in the structure and its foundation. Russian preservation group Archnadzor has filed an appeal to President Vladimir Putin in an effort to save the structure from potential collapse.

Continue reading after the jump.

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