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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“Living” skin lands HOK designers first place in Chicago Living Building Challenge competition

Architecture, Awards, Midwest, News
Thursday, June 5, 2014
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HOK's design for an addition to Chicago's Eli Whitney Elementary School employs a "living" bimetallic skin. (Courtesy HOK)

HOK’s design for an addition to Chicago’s Eli Whitney Elementary School employs a “living” bimetallic skin. (Courtesy HOK)

With a “living” skin of bimetallic strips, four HOK architects have won a Chicago Living Building Challenge competition to design an addition for a school on Chicago’s Southwest Side.

The 2014 School Annex Design Competition, organized by the Living Building Challenge Collaborative: Chicago (LBCCC), asked entrants to design a new building for overcrowded Eli Whitney Elementary School while meeting the strict environmental standards of the Living Building Challenge, which include omitting a long list of banned building materials.

COntinue reading after the jump.

Broad Collection Sues Seele over Problematic Los Angeles Museum Facade

Mockup of The Broad's GFRC panels (Matt Construction)

Mockup of The Broad’s GFRC panels. (Courtesy Matt Construction)

In a recent interview, Diller Scofidio + Renfro Senior Associate Kevin Rice told AN that the “veil” at Los Angeles’ Broad Museum—a facade made of hundreds of molded Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete (GFRC) panels, had been delayed by over a year. “Some of the things took longer to make than they thought, but there aren’t really problems with it,” Rice said.

But now it looks like the issues with the museum’s facade are more severe than initially thought.

Continue reading after the jump.

Renderings Revealed for Kevin Roche and Kohn Pedersen Fox’s 55 Hudson Yards Tower

The metallic and glass facade. (Courtesy Related)

The metallic and glass facade. (Courtesy Related)

As with most new towers these days, the offices and apartments rising at Hudson Yards are unsurprisingly wrapped in glossy, glass skins. That is why revised renderings for the new kid on the block, 55 Hudson Yards, are so notable. The 51-story office tower has plenty of floor-to-ceiling windows, but those windows are framed by a metallic grid that encases the entire building. At certain points that metallic wrap disappears as if space has been carved out of the building’s exterior.

Continue reading after the jump.

Los Angeles Announces Makeover Candidates for Great Streets Program

Improvements are already planned on this stretch of Figueroa Street south of Downtown Los Angeles (above), but a new Great Streets plan brings improvements to additional portions of the street. (Courtesy MyFigueroa)

Improvements are already planned on this stretch of Figueroa Street south of Downtown Los Angeles (above), but a new Great Streets plan brings improvements to additional portions of the street. (Courtesy MyFigueroa)

As the United States’ prototypical car-oriented freeway town, Los Angeles continues to edge its way toward becoming a pedestrian-friendly metropolis. The city’s Great Streets Initiative, a program intended to redesign public space to be more pedestrian- and cyclist-friend, officially moved forward this week as Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the first 15 streets that will be targeted for improvement throughout the city.

Continue reading after the jump.

Aluminum Organic by J. MAYER H. Architects

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J. MAYER H. Architects designed a sculptural facade of anodized aluminum for an apartment building in Berlin. (Ludger Paffrath for Euroboden)

J. MAYER H. Architects designed a sculptural facade of anodized aluminum for an apartment building in Berlin. (Ludger Paffrath for Euroboden)

Ribbons of laser-cut metal lamellas envelop a glass curtain wall.

J. MAYER H. Architects designed the sculptural anodized aluminum facade of JOH3, a Berlin apartment building located near both the Friedrichstrasße and Museum Island, as a contemporary echo of its historic neighbors. “The project is located in an old part of Berlin, where there are lots of facades with stucco detail,” said project architect Hans Schneider. “We tried to do something as rich with a new design, something like Jugendstil [the German Art Deco movement] but in a modern translation.”
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On View> Radical Pedagogies: ACTION-REACTION-INTERACTION at the 2014 Venice Biennale

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The Radical Pedagogies: Action-Reaction-Interaction exhibition at the Corderie dell’Arsenale with dancers rehearsing for the Dance Festival in the foreground.

AN just had a quick Arsenale walkthrough of Radical Pedagogies: ACTION-REACTION-INTERACTION by creator and Princeton professor Beatriz Colomina. The Arsenale has been given over in this biennale to Monditalia, a single-theme exhibition with exhibits, events, and theatrical productions engaging Italian architecture with politics, economics, religion, technology, and industry. In this installation the other festivals of la Biennale di Venezia—film, dance, theatre, and music—will be mobilized through the architecture event to contribute to a comprehensive portrait of the host country.

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Chicago’s Divvy bike share program gets a corporate sponsor

Pro tip: A bike with the seat backwards means it's in need of repair. (John Sonderman / Flickr)

Pro tip: A bike with the seat backwards means it’s in need of repair. (John Sonderman / Flickr)

Divvy, Chicago’s bike share program, just sold the moving ad space of some 3,000 bicycles that have traveled 2.5 million miles since the system launched nine months ago. Illinois’ largest health insurance company, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, paid $12.5 million to sponsor Divvy and brand its blue bikes and vans with their corporate logo beginning in June. The Chicago Tribune reported that the highest bidder was Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, which has also sponsored several other bikeshare systems in recent years, starting in Minneapolis. The health insurance company will pay $2.5 million each year through 2018—revenue the city will use to expand Divvy and fund bicycling projects throughout the city.

Put It Back: A Call to Rebuild Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art

(Ross Cowan / Flickr)

(Ross Cowan / Flickr)

[Editor's Note: Following a devastating fire at the Glasgow School of Art on Friday, May 23, the university has launched a fundraising campaign to assist with restoration and rebuilding efforts. To support the fund, donate online here. Work has been ongoing to assess the damage and salvage what remains. This article originally appeared on Witold Rybczynski's blog, On Culture and Architecture. It appears here with permission of the author. ]

The tragic fire at the Glasgow School of Art, Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s masterpiece, raises anew the question: How to rebuild? In a thoughtful blog, George Cairns of Melbourne’s RMIT, who has studied the building in detail, points out that many undocumented changes were made during the building’s construction, so it will be impossible to recreate what was there. In addition, the inevitable demands of modern fire security will likely alter the original design. Rather than try to rebuild Mackintosh’s design, Cairns argues for “great architects to be invited to design a worthy intervention that will breathe new life into the school.”

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> Palaces for the People: Guastavino and the Art of Structural Tile

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Della Robbia Room Bar, Vanderbilt Hotel, 1912

Palaces for the People: Guastavino and the Art of Structural Tile
Museum of the City of New York
1220 5th Avenue, New York
Through September 7th

Coming to New York City from Washington, D.C., this exhibition illuminates the legacy of architect and builder Rafael Guastavino. A Catalan immigrant, Guastavino created the iconic (and aptly named) Guastavino tile. By interlocking terracotta tiles and layers of mortar to build his arches, Guastavino married old-world aesthetics with modern innovation. The resulting intersection of technology and design revolutionized New York City’s landscape, and is used in over 200 historic buildings including Grand Central Terminal, Carnegie Hall, The Bronx Zoo’s Elephant House, and Ellis Island.

View a slideshow of Guastavino vaults after the jump.

Celebrate the 10th Anniversary of OMA’s Seattle Central Library with These 10 Great Photos

Architecture, Pictorial, West
Monday, June 2, 2014
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Seattle Public Library (Jeff Wheeler/Flickr)

Seattle Public Library (Jeff Wheeler/Flickr)

The Seattle Central Library celebrated its 10th anniversary this year on May 23rd with live music, free treats and refreshments, and guest appearances from some of the chief architects and minds behind the construction of the building. Regarded as the prize library of Seattle’s library system, the Seattle Central Library, designed by Rem Koolhaas’ OMA, has also garnered criticism and acclaim for its unique architectural design. To celebrate the decade, AN has compiled a collection of ten great photos that will give the online viewer a virtual tour of Seattle’s unique cathedral of reading.

Ten amazing photos of the library after the jump.

The Menil’s Modulated Light: Museum’s Design Creates a Light Choreography Through Space

Light Modulation starts outside the building (MDI/ Johnston Marklee)

Light Modulation starts outside the building (MDI/ Johnston Marklee)

The architecture of Johnston Marklee’s recently-unveiled Menil Drawing Institute has wowed most observers and critics, including our own. But an equally significant element of the $40 million project is its lighting, a combination of innovation and subtlety, natural and artificial light.

Continue reading after the jump.

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