Review> Engineering and Design Common Themes in Films at SXSW 2014

Art, National, Review
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
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Still from DamNation. (Courtesy DamNation)

Still from DamNation. (Courtesy DamNation)

At this year’s SXSW Festival, engineering took center stage in the documentary DamNation (directors Travis Rummel & Ben Knight), which won the Documentary Spotlight Audience Award. It begins with America’s rash of dam-building under FDR when these mammoth structures were considered man-made wonders. Hoover and Grand Coulee are the large-scale examples, but there were about 80,000 smaller dams built across the country.

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New York Affordable Housing Experts Weigh In on De Blasio’s Pending Housing Plan

Development, East
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
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Aerial view of New York City. (Flickr /  Katy Silberger)

Aerial view of New York City. (Flickr / Katy Silberger)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has been promising to “preserve or construct” nearly 200,000 units of affordable housing since his days as the most unlikely of mayoral contenders. Since stepping into City Hall, the mayor has repeated that pledge nearly every chance he gets. But while the affordable housing plan is one of his central policy issues, it’s still not clear how the city can hit the mayor’s magic number. That should change this week when de Blasio’s housing team releases their detailed plan of action. Before that plan is released, however, AN asked some of the city’s leading architects, advocates, and planners what they hope to see in the team’s path forward.

Continue reading after the jump.

Obit> Fred Schwartz, 1951–2014

East, Obit
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
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Fred Schwartz looks toward the New Jersey 9/11 memorial, Empty Sky, from the documentary, The Art of Memories. (Courtesy The Art of Memories)

Fred Schwartz looks toward the New Jersey 9/11 memorial, Empty Sky, from the documentary, The Art of Memories. (Courtesy The Art of Memories)

We heard this morning that Fred Schwartz—one of the most independent, passionate, and even fearless voices in the New York architecture world—passed away last night. Frederic Schwartz Architects was well known for its waterfront park planning and various 9/11 memorials (Fred died at 9:11p.m. last night).

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AIA’s Committee On The Environment Announces 2014’s Top 10 Green Buildings

Arizona State University Student Health Services. ( Bill Timmerman / Courtesy AIA)

Arizona State University Student Health Services. ( Bill Timmerman / Courtesy AIA)

The AIA’s Committee on the Environment (COTE) has announced the winners of its annual sustainability awards program. Now in its 18th year, the COTE awards celebrate green architecture, design, and technology. According to a press release, the winning projects must “make a positive contribution to their communities, improve comfort for building occupants and reduce environmental impacts.”

Each of the ten winners will be officially honored at the AIA’s National Convention and Design Exhibition in Chicago later this year, but, in the meantime, here’s a closer look at the 10 winners.

View the winners after the jump.

Louisville Names Winners in Competition to Creatively Reuse Abandoned Lots Across the City

(dye scape)

(dye scape)

In January Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer implored local designers and developers to propose ideas for 250 of the city’s several thousand vacant lots. Last week they announced four winners, which included gardens of dye plants for local textile production; a Habitat for Humanity–style homeownership program; environmental remediation via lavender fields; and meditation gardens made of recycled materials.

See the winning proposals after the jump.

Q+A> Oren Safdie’s “False Solution” Debuts In Santa Monica

Architecture, Art, On View, West
Thursday, April 24, 2014
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The stars of False Solution (Mark Montiel)

Amanda Saunders and Daniel J. Travanti star in False Solution. (Mark Montiel)

For those architects with an interest in theater, Wednesday was the West Coast premiere of Oren Safdie’s newest play, False Solution, at the Santa Monica Playhouse (tickets may be purchased here). Safdie earned an M.Arch at Columbia University and is the son of architect Moshe Safdie. He has now written three plays inspired by contemporary architecture, including The Bilbao Effect and Private Jokes, Public Spaces. False Solution, which also played in New York last summer, follows Anton Seligman, a successful architect whose latest commission, a new Holocaust museum in Poland, is aggressively challenged by one of his new interns, Linda Johansson. She also confronts his beliefs in himself, his career, his profession, and much more. Continue reading after the jump.

Obit> Hans Hollein, 1934–2014

International, Obit
Thursday, April 24, 2014
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Hans Hollein

Hans Hollein

Pritzker Prize–winning Austrian architect, artist, engineer, and designer, Hans Hollein, has died at the age of 80. Born in Vienna in 1934, Hollein attended the Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture in that city and graduated in 1956. Following graduation he was awarded a Harkness Fellowship, affording him the opportunity to travel to the United States. He did graduate work at the Illinois Institute of Technology and completed his masters degree in architecture at the University of California, Berkeley in 1960. During those years he met and worked with Mies van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Richard Neutra.

Continue reading after the jump.

Milwaukee pushes urban agriculture for vacant land

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is pushing a plan to turn parcels of city-owned vacant land into urban farms and orchards. The HOME GR/OWN program has long been stalled, but received a boost from the Bloomberg Mayors Challenge.

Continue reading after the jump.

Gehry & Foster’s Battersea Redesign Seeks to Humanize Viñoly’s Original Masterplan

Battersea_archpaper9

(Courtesy Battersea Power Station)

Despite having first dibs on the project, Rafael Viñoly is being forced to hedge his vision for London’s Battersea Power Station redevelopment under pressure from fellow power players Norman Foster and Frank Gehry. Responsible for guiding “Phase III” of the project, the latter pair have rejected the two large structures Mr. Viñoly had initially envisioned lining a raised pedestrian thoroughfare in favor of five smaller structures in an attempt to “humanize the scale.”

More after the jump.

Architects Propose Parametric “Urban Alloy Towers” Bridging a Train Yard in Queens

The Urban Alloy Towers. (Courtesy AMLGM)

The Urban Alloy Towers. (Courtesy AMLGM)

Why cap a transit hub with traditional, mixed-use towers when it can be topped by an amorphous, alien-like, tubular, metallic structurethat seemingly defies gravity? That, apparently, was the thinking behind AMLGM’s “Urban Alloy” proposal for Queens, New York. Their dramatic proposal, which bends and twists above an existing transportation center, includes retail, office, cultural, and residential space within its metallic skin.

More after the jump.

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Valerio Dewalt Train’s 13-Story Hyde Park Development Advances With Changes

An updated design for Vue53 in Chicago's Hyde Park. (Courtesy Valerio Dewalt Train Associates)

An updated design for Vue53 in Chicago’s Hyde Park. (Courtesy Valerio Dewalt Train Associates)

Last year, Mesa Development and the University of Chicago announced they’d planned a 13-story mixed-use development for the western end of Hyde Park’s 53rd Street commercial strip. The massive project drew opposition to its scale and a lawsuit delayed construction—until now.

See how the design has changed after the jump.

Milan In Review> Interiors & Environments Push the Salone del Mobile Beyond Furniture

CitizenLightIsTime

Light is Time installation for Citizen watches at the Triennale in Milan. (Courtesy Citizen)

It’s easy to get overwhelmed at the Salone del Mobile and the dozens of related events during Milan Design Week. Luckily there are plenty of visual palate cleansers in form of immersive environments, from new showrooms by Pritzker Prize–winning architects to dazzling installations by up-and-coming designers. There is more to Milan Design Week than just great looking furniture! At the Triennale design museum, for instance, Paris-based DGT architects created a light-catching installation for Citizen watches called Light is Time (above), featuring space dividing curtains made of tens of thousands of watch plates.

Continue reading after the jump.

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