Austin Considers Building A Light Rail-Streetcar Hybrid

(Courtesy Project Connect)

(Courtesy Project Connect)

As part of continuing efforts in the Southwest to develop and improve transit systems, the City of Austin has announced its intention to build an urban rail system known as UltraRail that will run through the city’s eastern downtown.

Continue reading after the jump.

Enormous Tower Built of LEGOs in Budapest Is Tallest in the World

International, Skyscrapers
Friday, June 13, 2014
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LEGO Tower (Courtesy So Bad So Good)

LEGO Tower (Courtesy So Bad So Good)

The LEGO tower in Budapest, Hungary has broken the world record for “tallest structure built with interlocking plastic blocks.” The tower was completed and registered with the Guinness Book of World Records on May 25th at a height of 114 feet. The previous record was 112.9 feet and was set through the combined efforts of students from the red clay consolidated school district in Delaware. According to the blog So Bad So Good, the new tower was erected by LEGO architects, who received some help from local primary school children. The tower was topped with a Rubik’s cube: a Hungarian invention.

See more of the tower after the jump.

Constructivist Playground by Warren Techentin Architecture

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Warren Techentin Architecture's La Cage Aux Folles is on display at Materials & Applications in Los Angeles through August. (Nick Cope)

Warren Techentin Architecture’s La Cage Aux Folles is on display at Materials & Applications in Los Angeles through August. (Nick Cope)

An interactive installation reconsiders the definitions of enclosure and openness.

Warren Techentin Architecture’s digitally-designed La Cage Aux Folles, on display at Materials & Applications in Los Angeles through August, was inspired by a decidedly analog precedent: the yurt. “Yurts are circular,” explained Techentin, who studied the building type as part of his thesis work at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. “That began the idea of using small-diameter rods and taking software and configuring sweeps with some special scripts that we found online.” But while the yurt’s primary function is shelter, Techentin’s open-air installation, built of 6,409 linear feet of steel pipe, is a literal and intellectual playground, its form an investigation of the dualities of inside and out, enclosure and openness. Read More

Garrison Architects Debuts Post-Disaster Housing for New York City

Architecture, East, News
Thursday, June 12, 2014
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The structure's exterior. (Gothamist / Jake Dobkin)

The structure’s exterior. (Gothamist / Jake Dobkin)

New York City’s Office of Emergency Management has opened a full-scale prototype of its temporary housing units that would shelter those displaced from the next Sandy-like storm. The OEM describes “The Urban Post-Disaster Housing Prototype Program,” as a “multi-story, multi-family interim housing solution that will work in urban areas across the country.” The prefabricated structures are designed by Garrison Architects and intended to be dispatched quickly after an emergency and assembled on-site.

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French Artist Turns Iconic Architecture into Quirky Animated GIF’s

Memory Museum by Estudio America. (Courtesy Axel de Stampa)

Mirador Building by MVRDV. (Courtesy Axel de Stampa)

The French “GIF artist”—welcome to the 21st century, everybody—Axel de Stampa has officially made time-lapse videos look like child’s play. In his new project, Animated Architecture, de Stampa spins, shifts, tops, and deconstructs some of the most visually distinctive contemporary buildings—all in endlessly entertaining GIF format.

Check out more after the jump.

Cleveland approves neighborhood plans to bring new life to first ring suburbs

City Terrain, Midwest, News, Urbanism
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
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draft_duckisland_nabe-plan-cleveland

Aerial rendering from the Duck Island neighborhood plan.

The Cleveland neighborhoods of Kinsman, Duck Island, and West 65th Street could eventually get major updates now that three new plans have won unanimous approval from the city’s planning commission. All three neighborhoods were built when Cleveland’s industrial heyday propelled a boom of real estate development that has long since given way to depopulation. In Kinsman, on the city’s far East Side, the plan proposed creating an arts and entertainment district. The Duck Island plan focused on multi-modal transportation hubs, and the plan focusing on the West 65th Street neighborhood called for a two-mile multi-purpose trail. Funding for most of the work is still undetermined, but the city has committed some money for bike lanes, curb extensions, and other local improvements already called for in the three plans.

Ahoy! Chicago entrepreneur wants to park a floating pool in Lake Michigan

breakwater-chicago-01

(SPACE Architects + Planners)

Party boats are common in Lake Michigan off the shores of Chicago’s more well to do neighborhoods. But local entrepreneur Beau D’Arcy wants to corner that market with Breakwater Chicago—a floating club and leisure destination anchored in the city’s downtown harbor year-round. The 33-year-old engineer told the Chicago Tribune he’s hoping to create the city’s “next Bean,” referencing Millennium Park’s Cloud Gate sculpture.

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Denver’s Union Station Elevates Rail Travel in Colorado

(Courtesy Skidmore, Owings & Merrill)

(Courtesy Skidmore, Owings & Merrill)

Denver’s Union Station, a multi-modal transit hub built by architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, opened up last month. The ribbon cutting ceremony severed the notion that transportation hubs are drab, gray places that smell suspiciously of food products and cleaning chemicals. What does the Union Station Bus Concourse do differently? Everything, apparently. Its sweeping design acts as a converging point for local commuters, airport bound travelers, and out-of-city destinations.

COntinue reading after the jump.

Sands of Time: How an Architect Commemorates D-Day’s 70-Year Anniversary

(Courtesy donaldweber.com)

(Courtesy Circuit Gallery)

Donald Weber is a former architect turned visual media artist. His latest project, War Sand, is a series of microscopic photographs that depict pieces of shrapnel embedded in individual grains of sand along the beaches of Normandy. Each photograph—which takes over eight hours for Weber to produce—is a testimony to one of the most famous days in history, as well as to the relationship between art and science.

COntinue reading after the jump.

Beach-Topped Barge Proposed For Hudson River

City Beach. (Courtesy

City Beach. (Courtesy workshop/apd)

As New York City’s +Pool—the world’s first floating swimming pool—gets closer to the water, it was high-time for another river-based project to make itself known. The latest comes in the form of City Beach NYC, a beach-topped barge that would float in the Hudson River. The idea for the vessel comes from Blayne Ross, and it was designed and engineered by Matt Berman, and Andrew Kotchen from workshop/apd, and Nathaniel Stanton of Craft Engineering.

Continue reading after the jump.

Absorbing Modernity: Domesticity at the Venice Biennale

(Alan Brake / AN)

Jiminez Lai’s Biennale pavilion installation. (Alan Brake / AN)

At the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, Rem Koolhaas set the theme “Absorbing Modernity: 1914-2014″ for the national pavilions, and many countries took it up through the lens of domesticity. The Taiwanese American architect Jimenez Lai examined the spaces and rituals of Taiwanese life with his exhibition Township of Domestic Parts. Lai created “superfurniture,” overscaled, Memphis-inflected installations that interpreted ideas such as museum-like living rooms—part shrine, part show place, reserved only for guests. The result is a fantasy hangout space, which conjures up memories of childhood.

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Van Alen Institute Convenes International Council of Architects in Venice

The Van Alen Council meets in Venice. (Beppe Ferrari)

The Van Alen Council meets in Venice. (Beppe Ferrari)

This week in Venice, the New York–based Van Alen Institute convened a group of leaders at 13 top architecture firms to brainstorm ideas that will guide the non-profit institution with an increased international perspective. The group will meet twice a year “to identify and investigate issues facing cities internationally, and to guide the impact of the Institute’s public programming, research, and design competitions,” according to a press release from Van Alen. The goal is to find topics that the institute can explore more deeply in its ongoing efforts such as Elsewhere: Escape and the Urban Landscape exploring our relationship with urban life.

Continue reading after the jump.

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