A Transparent Cathedral Addition by architectsAlliance

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The architects designed a transparent addition to the St. James Cathedral's 1910 Parish House. (Courtesy architectsAlliance)

The architects designed a glass addition to the St. James Cathedral’s 1910 Parish House. (Courtesy architectsAlliance)

A renovation and addition bring an historic church complex into the 21st century.

The Diocese of Toronto approached architectsAlliance (aA) about renovating the St. James Cathedral Centre with two objectives in mind. On a practical level, they wanted more space for the cathedral’s outreach program and the Diocesan archives, as well as quarters for the Dean of the Cathedral and visitors. At the same time, the Anglican leadership wanted to make a statement about the Church’s relevance to contemporary Canadian society. “The idea of the addition was to convey an image of the Church itself as a kind of more open institution, much more transparent and contemporary,” said aA’s Rob Cadeau. “[It was] really driven by the dean, who wanted to refresh the image of the Church.” Read More

Minneapolis Mayor cheers on Nicollet Mall revamp

Nicollet Walk Tree Groves (COURTESY JAMES CORNER FIELD OPERATIONS)

Nicollet’s Crystal Stair (COURTESY JAMES CORNER FIELD OPERATIONS)

As a team of designers gear up for an overhaul of Nicollet Mall, dubbed Minneapolis’ main street, civic leaders there have cheered on the project in an op-ed in the StarTribune. Read More

Chicago breaks ground on Navy Pier flyover for Lakefront Trail

navy pier flyover rendering (city of chicago)

navy pier flyover rendering (city of chicago)

Bicyclists and pedestrians cruising down Chicago’s 18-mile Lakefront Trail generally enjoy an exceptionally open, continuous and scenic path along Lake Michigan. But near Navy Pier they’re shunted inland, underneath a highway, onto sidewalks and through road crossings that interrupt their journey in the middle of one of the popular pathway’s most congested corridors.

The Navy Pier Flyover, announced in 2011, was designed to remedy that situation, and today Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the project has officially broken ground. Read More

An Impossible Stair by NEXT Architects

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The steel staircase is based on a Möbius strip. (Sander Meisner)

A folly in a Rotterdam suburb draws on residents’ complex relationship with the city.

The residents of Carnisselande, a garden suburb in Barendrecht, the Netherlands, have a curious relationship with Rotterdam. Many of them work in the city, or are otherwise mentally and emotionally connected to it, yet they go home at night to a place that is physically and visually separate. When NEXT architects was tapped to build a folly on a hill in the new town, they seized on this apparent contradiction. “This suburb is completely hidden behind sound barriers, highways, totally disconnected from Rotterdam,” said NEXT director Marijn Schenk. “We discovered when you’re on top of the hill and jump, you can see Rotterdam. We said, ‘Can we make the jump into an art piece?’” Read More

Chilean architect Smiljan Radic wins 2014 Serpentine Pavilion

Radic's 2014 Pavilion. (Courtesy Serpentine Galleries)

Radic’s 2014 Pavilion. (Courtesy Serpentine Galleries)

Chilean architect Smiljan Radic has been selected to design the 2014 Serpentine Pavilion in Kensington Gardens, England. Radic is one of the youngest and least-known architects to receive this prestigious honor since it was first awarded 14 years ago. Plans for his pavilion show an expressive, cloud-like structure that will glow at night. The space will also include a cafe, and on some summer nights it will become a stage for art, poetry, music, and film.

According to Serpentine Galleries, the structure’s translucent shell will “house an interior organised around an empty patio, from where the natural setting will appear lower, giving the sensation that the entire volume is floating. At night, thanks to the semi-transparency of the shell, the amber tinted light will attract the attention of passers-by like lamps attracting moths.” The pavilion will be open from June 26t to October 19th.

Washington D.C. sees a park where a bridge once stood

A video illustrating the general concept behind the elevated park. (Courtesy The 11th Street Bridge Park Design Competition)

Washington D.C. is using the rebuilding of a local bridge as an opportunity to create a new 900-foot elevated park across the Anacostia River. Building Bridges Across the River at THEARC and the D.C. Office of Planning are hosting a competition for the design of this developing project. Participants are invited to think of the initiative as a blank slate sitting upon the extant structural piers, the only holdovers from the old bridge that will be preserved.

More after the jump.

A Desert Oasis by assemblageSTUDIO

Architecture, Envelope, West
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
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tresARCA's facade reflects the colors and textures of its desert environment. (Bill Timmerman)

tresARCA’s facade reflects the colors and textures of its desert environment. (Bill Timmerman)

Capped by a protective steel mesh screen, tresARCA house is built for indoor/outdoor living.

There are two ways to live with Las Vegas’ harsh climate. The first, epitomized by the hermetically-sealed tract houses ringing the Strip, rejects the reality of the desert in favor of air conditioning and architecture evoking far-off places. The second strategy embraces the environment for what it is, and looks to the natural world for cues about how to adapt. In their tresARCA house, assemblageSTUDIO took the latter approach. Glass and granite punctuated by a folded steel screen surrounding the second-floor bedrooms, tresARCA’s facade is a meditation on the resilience of the desert landscape. Read More

Portuguese architect Ines Lobo wins second annual arcVision prize

Awards, International, Newsletter
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
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Single family house in Magoito

A single family house in Magoito designed by 2014 arcVision prize winner Ines Lobo (Courtesy Ines Lobo)

The 2014 arcVision Prize, an international architecture award for female designers, was bestowed upon Ines Lobo. The Portuguese architect emerged from a short list of 21 nominees representing 15 countries. Lobo has focused the majority of her practice on her native country, where she also teaches at the Autonoma University in Lisbon. Since founding her own firm in 2002, Lobo has been most prolific in the public realm, designing the Art and Architecture Facility for Evora University and a number of secondary schools throughout Portugal. Anna Heringer of Switzerland, Shimul Javeri Kadri of India and Cecilia Puga from Chile were also tabbed for special mention. Brazilian architect Carla Juaçaba was the recipient of the inaugural arcVision Prize after Italcementi created the award in 2013.

Michael Kimmelman Wins Municipal Art Society’s Brendan Gill Prize

Awards, East, Media, Shft+Alt+Del
Monday, March 10, 2014
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Michael Kimmelman. (Wikimedia Commons)

Michael Kimmelman. (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

The Municipal Art Society (MAS) has announced that New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman has been awarded the 2014 Brendan Gill Prize. The award will be officially presented by MAS President Vin Cipolla and Board Chair Genie Birch on March 25th. The annual cash prize is named in honor of the late New Yorker theater and architecture critic.

“Michael’s insightful candor and continuous scrutiny of New York’s architectural environment is journalism at its finest, and in solid alignment with the high standards of Brendan himself,” MAS President Vin Cipolla said in a statement. The jury was particularly impressed with Kimmelman’s calls to drastically improve Penn Station.

Bloomberg News Cuts Cultural Coverage Including Architecture Critic James Russell

Media, National, Shft+Alt+Del
Monday, March 10, 2014
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(Courtesy Design Trust)

James Russell. (Courtesy Design Trust)

The every diminishing ranks of architecture critics suffered another loss, as Bloomberg News cut James Russell’s column, as a part of a larger reorganization/elimination of its cultural coverage. According to a post on Russell’s personal blog, Bloomberg is focusing on luxury and lifestyle coverage over arts and culture coverage.

Continue reading after the jump.

Art Installation Casts NYC Water Towers in Infinite Light

Art, East, Newsletter
Monday, March 10, 2014
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(Photo by James Ewing Photography/Courtesy Madison Park Conservancy)

By the New York Times’ estimate, there are some 12,000–17,000 water towers currently in use within New York City. Frequent hosts for sediment and even harmful bacteria, Ivan Navarro has found a new substance for filling these ubiquitous components of the city skyline: neon light. The material is the Chilean artist’s preferred medium, and in a new installation in Madison Square Park he has rendered the words “we” “me”, and a ladder on the interiors of three separate water towers.

More images after the jump.

Urban Innovator Enrique Peñalosa To Run for Colombian Presidency

Enrique Peñalosa

Vaunted champion of urban living standards Enrique Peñalosa (pictured) is running for president of Colombia. As mayor of Bogotá, Peñalosa introduced a number of changes that improved the city’s public transportation system and also made it more pedestrian- and bike-friendly. His three-year reign witnessed the the implementation of the TransMilenio bus rapid transit system which services 2 million Colombians daily. He also  instituted of a number of measures strategically restricting auto-traffic within certain parts of the city. Since 2009 the Duke alum has been president of the Institute for Transport and Development Policy, an organization that promotes transportation solutions globally. Peñalosa will be representing Colombia’s Green Party in the 2014 elections, which take place May 25.

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