Billings> Index Tumbles to Lowest Point in 6 Months

National, Newsletter
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
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Billings (blue) and inquiries (red) for the past 12 months. (The Architect's Newspaper)

Billings (blue) and inquiries (red) for the past 12 months. (The Architect's Newspaper)

In what can only be described as an about face, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) took a bit of a tumble into negative territory last month. The April ABI fell to 47.6 from 50.6, beating even October’s low of 48.7. At the end of 2010, words like “rebound” were cautiously bandied about, but for the past three months the ABI skated along the edge of positive territory hovering around 50.

Continue reading after the jump.

Guggenheim′s Newest Exhibit to Offer Therapy

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
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Pedro Reyes's rendering of the Sanatorium

The stereotypes of New Yorkers are that they’re rude, they only wear black, and they all have therapists. Sanitorium, the first installation of Guggenheim’s new program, stillspotting nyc, explores the smorgasborg of therapies that help the city’s neurotic residents keep their lives together.

Continue reading after the jump.

ICFF Studio: Bernhardt Mentors The Design Stars of Tomorrow

East
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
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Clamp Chairs by Andreas Kowalewski (all images courtesy ICFF Studio)

ICFF wraps up today and, as usual, reviews of the fair seem mixed. Professional but boring! Too safe! Appropriately sober! Practical and market-friendly! Reheated Eames! Now in its sixth year, the ICFF Studio, sponsored by Bernhardt, offers a snap shot of where young designers are looking. Most skewed toward the market-ready, while one designer went in a conceptual direction. The young Dutch designer Andreas Kowalewski’s Clamp Chairs certainly look showroom bound (above).

Continue reading after the jump.

AN Walkabout: Festival of Ideas, UN Studio, and Armani

East, Shft+Alt+Del
Friday, May 13, 2011
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Rem Koolhaas at the Cronocaos exhibit (photo courtesy Dutch Art Events).

It’s time for ICFF and the fair’s associated festivities, but our heads are still spinning from all the architecture and design goings-on in New York City over the last ten days. Among our stops were the Festival of Ideas, sponsored by the New Museum, including a lecture by Rem Koolhaas, a stop by UN Studio’s new pavilion at downtown’s Peter Minuit Plaza, and drink at Armani Casa’s new location in the D&D Building. It all started with Rem…

Continue reading after the jump.

Notes From the AIA: New Orleans Master Plan

National
Friday, May 13, 2011
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Land use map for one of New Orleans' neighborhoods.

While our recent feature on New Orleans highlights some of the more high-profile architectural and development projects in the city, yesterday we were introduced to the other half of the rebuilding equation: the New Orleans Master Plan, which is being developed by Boston firm Goody Clancy and New Orleans-based Manning Architects.

At an afternoon panel, Goody Clancy principal David Dixon and Manning principal W. Raymond Manning shared their experiences creating a document that sets a new course for the city, from land use and transportation planning to environmental protection. “I haven’t had a single boring day here,” said Dixon, who dove head first into the city’s labyrinth of bureaucracy, inefficiency, and even racial divisions to create the gargantuan still-evolving document.

Continue reading after the jump.

Folks Weigh In On the Future of the Folk Art Museum

East
Friday, May 13, 2011
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American Folk Art Museum (Photo by Michael Moran)

American Folk Art Museum (Photo by Michael Moran)

Apparently the art world hates the American Folk Art Museum building! (Who knew?!) In the wake of the news that MoMA is buying the Todd Williams Billie Tsien-designed building, two of the art world’s more prominent voices both bashed the building and argued it hastened the Folk Art Museum’s decline. The esteemed Times critic Roberta Smith called it “unwelcoming” and argued that the museum’s fate was sealed by “lackluster, visionless leadership; the weak economy; and inappropriate architecture.” Smith’s husband happens to be Jerry Saltz, the pugnacious art critic for New York, who went much further in a piece titled, “Architecture Killed the American Folk Art Museum.” He called the building, “ugly and confining, it was also all but useless for showing art.”

Not everyone agrees!

Continue reading after the jump.

Vlad Tenu′s Minimal Complexity: Tex-Fab

Fabrikator
Friday, May 13, 2011
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Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
Fabrikator Brought to you by: 

The Tex-Fab Repeat Competition winner: Minimal Complexity (Vlad Tenu)

The winner of the second annual Tex-Fab competition explores ideas of modular assembly and material efficiency.

Earlier this year, design practitioners from across the world converged on Houston to attend Tex-Fab 2.0, a two-day conference featuring experts, lectures, and workshops. Tex-Fab is a non-profit initiative founded by Brad Bell (Brad Bell Studio), Kevin Patrick McClellan (Architecturebureau), and Andrew Vrana (METALAB) to create a network of Texas designers focused on exploring issues of parametric design and digital fabrication. The organization hopes to serve as a bridge between academia, professional design offices, and industrial fabricators throughout the country.

Continue reading after the jump.

Eight Celebs Who Take High Speed Rail

Courtesy John H. Gray/flickr and Michele Asselin/Arrive

Courtesy John H. Gray/flickr and Michele Asselin/Arrive

The current state of rail is nowhere near its heyday in the 20th century, when train travel was luxurious and serviced most parts of the country. But high speed rail is making a comeback, championed by planners, environmentalists, and the Obama administration.

The mode of transport still has to contend with car and air travel (along with a reputation for inconsistency and irrelevance), but it got some help in March, when a commercial featured Mad Men‘s Pete Campbell and Harry Crane building a campaign for high speed rail. And Amtrak still has an surprising roster of famous passengers, which includes Angelina Jolie, Jesse Jackson and John Travolta, according to forums on Flyertalk.com and Trainorders.com. Check out these celebrities who take high speed rail:

8 famous Amtrak passengers

A Dieter Rams Design, Stays Designed

Dieter Rams and his 606 Universal Shelving System at the Vitsoe Showroom.

When Dieter Rams enters a new country, he doesn’t like to call himself a designer. Instead, the world famous German industrial designer writes “architect” on his passport entry card. In fact, it was as an architect in the early 1950s that Rams got his start building additions and installations for a little known German manufacturer just starting up, named Braun.

Continue reading after the jump.

Pictorial> Steven Holl′s New Oceanic Museum in Biarritz

International, Newsletter
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
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(Photo: Iwan Baan)

Steven Holl’s new Cité de l’Océan et du Surf in Biarritz, France is at once rugged and ethereal. Designed in collaboration with the Brazilian artist Solange Fabiao, the building includes an accessible concave plaza roof covered in cobblestones, pierced by two milky “glass boulders,” or pavilions housing a restaurant and a “surfer’s kiosk.” The boulders offer views out to the ocean, while the plaza directs the eye to the sky above. The museum “explores both surf and sea and their role upon leisure, science, and ecology,” according to a statement from the firm.

The landscape beyond is scooped out to reflect the building’s concave form and create a new gathering place for the city. The museum opens to the public on June 25.

Check out a photo gallery after the jump.

Inside Osama bin Laden’s Compound

International, National
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
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Where was the world’s most wanted terrorist hiding all these years? Osama bin Laden’s final hiding place was a mansion in Abbottamad, an hour north of the capital Islamabad, according to the New York Times. The paper reports:

It was hardly the spartan cave in the mountains that many had envisioned as Bin Laden’s hiding place. Rather, it was a mansion on the outskirts of the town’s center, set on an imposing hilltop and ringed by 12-foot-high concrete walls topped with barbed wire.

The property was valued at $1 million, but it had neither a telephone nor an Internet connection. Its residents were so concerned about security that they burned their trash rather putting it on the street for collection the way their neighbors did.

Read More

Gensler First Moving Downtown Via Video

Shft+Alt+Del, West
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
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An "elevated" vision for Downtown LA, circa 2030

As we’ve noted, architecture giant Gensler is moving from Santa Monica to Downtown LA (a move that has seen its share of  controversy lately thanks to the firm’s city-provided subsidy). With the help of three talented  students from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s Professional Studio program, the firm has put together a video about their new ‘hood.  It documents Downtown’s dramatic growth and change over the years, and offers predictions and suggestions for its future. Read More

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