Civic group calls on Chicago to expand car-free zones

Harry and Guenter Kempf Plaza in Chicago's Lincoln Square. (Google Maps)

Harry and Guenter Kempf Plaza in Chicago’s Lincoln Square. (Google Maps)

The jostle of potholes notwithstanding, motorists might find nothing unbalanced about Chicago’s public streets. But the Active Transportation Alliance points out while nearly a quarter of the city is in the public right-of-way, cars dominate practically all of it.

Citing the city’s Make Way for People initiative, which turns over underused street space to pedestrians, the group released 20 proposals Wednesday, calling on City Hall to create car-free spaces from Wrigley Field to Hyde Park. Read More

Among the Sequoias, a 3D-Printed Refuge by Smith|Allen

Fabrikator
Friday, February 14, 2014
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ECHOVIREN IS THE WORLD'S FIRST FULL-SCALE 3D PRINTED ARCHITECTURAL INSTALLATION (SMITH|ALLEN)

ECHOVIREN IS THE WORLD’S FIRST FULL-SCALE 3D PRINTED ARCHITECTURAL INSTALLATION (SMITH|ALLEN)

Smith|Allen’s 3D-printed forest refuge is inspired by the site’s patterning and historical cycle of deforestation and regeneration.

When Brian Allen and Stephanie Smith first visited the sequoia forest in Gualala, California, they saw patterns everywhere. “We were really intrigued by patterning at many scales, from bark on the trees to light through the trees and also, at a micro scale, [the cells of] the sequioas,” said Allen. Two months later the pair was back, this time with 580 sculptural bricks forming the world’s first 3D-printed architectural installation. Translucent white and 10 by 10 by 8 feet in size, Echoviren resembles a cross between a teepee and a tree stump, a mass made light by the organic porosity of the bricks.

Echoviren is intimately tied to its site on the grounds of Project 387, the residency in which Smith|Allen participated last fall. Besides the sequioas’ patterning, the designers drew inspiration from the primitiveness of their surroundings. “The overall form was driven by what is the most basic space we could make,” said Allen. “It turns [out to be] just a small oblong enclosure with an oculus, a small forest hermitage.” The oculus draws the eye up, to the natural roof formed by the sequioas’ branches. In addition, Smith|Allen address the history of the site as a place where regrowth followed the trauma of deforestation. Built of bio-plastic, Echoviren has an estimated lifespan of 30-50 years. “The 50 year decomposition is a beautiful echo of that cycle” of deforestation and resurgence, said Allen.

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Folk Art Facade to be Preserved, Though Likely Not on 53rd Street

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
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The white bronze facade of the American Folk Art Museum. (Dan Nguyen / Flickr)

The white bronze facade of the American Folk Art Museum. (Dan Nguyen / Flickr)

The New York Times is reporting that MoMA has decided to disassemble the white bronze facade of the American Folk Art Museum building, designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien. A controversial expansion plan, by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, calls for the demolition of the building to make way for a new “art bay” and circulation to new galleries in an adjacent tower designed by Jean Nouvel.

Continue reading after the jump.

In State of the City, New York City Mayor de Blasio Promises Affordable Housing

Development, East, Media, Newsletter, Urbanism
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
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Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers his State of the City address (New York City's Mayor Office / Rob Bennett)

Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers his State of the City address. (New York City Mayor’s Office / Rob Bennett)

In his first State of the City address, Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to tackle the “inequality gap that fundamentally threatens [New York City’s] future.” At the LaGuardia Community College in Queens, the new mayor spoke of the “Tale of Two Cities” that has taken root in America’s largest city, and he promised to address it head-on.

Continue reading after the jump.

Unveiled> MVRDV Designs Shiny New Storage Facility for Rotterdam Museum

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MVRDV’s winning proposal. (Courtesy MVRDV)

Dutch firm MVRDV has won a competition to design a new public/private art depot for the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam. While the design has been selected, the fate of the project remains in the balance. City council officials have until the end of the year to decide whether or not to go ahead with construction.

Learn more after the jump.

Weill Cornell Medical College’s Double Skin

Envelope
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
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Outer skin of the double curtain wall features 10-and-a-half foot glass units. (Jeff Goldberg/Esto)

The outer skin of the double curtain wall features 10-and-a-half foot glass units. (Jeff Goldberg/Esto)

A research center in Manhattan gets a custom facade solution for energy efficiency and user comfort.

Ennead Architects and Heintges & Associates recently completed construction on the 475,000-square-foot Belfer Research Center, Weill Cornell Medical College’s latest expansion to Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The building’s facade includes a unique double skin system on the southern face to define the medical campus’ identity, provide ample natural light without glare to the laboratory spaces, and create a highly efficient envelope. Read More

Letter to the Editor> Cornell Responds to Milstein Hall Rumors

East, Letter to the Editor, Newsletter
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
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Milstein Hall at Cornell University. (Philippe Ruault)

Milstein Hall at Cornell University. (Philippe Ruault)

[ Editor's Note: The following is a reader-submitted response to a recent Eavesdrop article, “OMA Gosh, What a Disaster!” It appeared as a letter to the editor in a recent print edition, AN02_02.12.2014. Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com. ]

The Architect’s Newspaper’s gossip column recently mentioned Cornell University’s Milstein Hall, quoting an online interview with Cornell Professor Jonathan Ochshorn. The column repeats a few shocking claims regarding our new addition, Milstein Hall.

Continue reading after the jump.

Bronze on Your Hands: Diller Scofidio + Renfro Faces Folk Museum Backlash

The doomed Folk Art Museum. (Photo by Dan Nguyen / Flickr; Montage by AN)

The doomed Folk Art Museum. (Photo by Dan Nguyen / Flickr; Montage by AN)

Liz Diller faced down a hostile crowd at the recent “MoMA Expansion Conversation,” hosted by the Architectural League, the Municipal Art Society, and AIA New York. Apparently she’s had some practice.

One elder statesman of the New York architecture community reports that Diller made a series of phone calls to prominent architects prior to the public release of MoMA’s plans asking for their advice and support. This gray eminence apparently told her the firm should resign from the commission. At which point Ric Scofidio apparently chimed in, saying, succinctly, “Never!”

An editor from another publication reports rumors of dissent within Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Apparently some associates in the firm have asked not to work on the project, fearing a Scarlet Letter on their resumes.

Chicago Spire developer moves to settle bankruptcy, revive project

Development, Midwest, News
Friday, February 7, 2014
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spire

Chicago’s stalled supertall Spire could rise again, according to the Irish developer who went into foreclosure in 2010 after a protracted legal battle over the project.

Garrett Kelleher’s lawyers on Thursday filed papers in U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeking court approval to move ahead with the Chicago Spire, which remains a hole in the ground at 400 North Lake Shore Drive. Kelleher said a $135 million investment from Atlas Apartment Holdings would allow him to settle bankruptcy claims in full but, as reported in the Chicago Tribune, the court filings don’t say how much more money would be needed to fund the construction of the 2,000-foot-tall condo skyscraper.

Read More

Jan Gehl Calls On Cities to Design For People, Not For Cars

East, Review, Transportation, Urbanism
Friday, February 7, 2014
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Jan Gehl. (Courtesy Center for Architecture)

Jan Gehl. (Courtesy Center for Architecture)

The Oculus book talk on the new book, How to Study Public Life, at the Center for Architecture with Jan Gehl and his co-author Birgitte Svarre was like seeing the documentary The Human Scale come to life—only with a sense of humor.

Gehl’s urban theories have gained a lot of traction, not least in New York City. Jeanette Sadik-Khan went to Gehl’s native Copenhagen two weeks into her job as commissioner of NYC’s Department of Transportation (along with fellow commissioner of City Planning, Amanda Burden) and experienced the city’s pedestrian-over-cars public plazas, rode bicycles on protected bike lanes, and absorbed the lessons of the city that is repeatedly named the most livable in the world.

Continue reading after the jump.

De Blasio Names Carl Weisbrod Chairman of NYC Planning Commission

East, News, Shft+Alt+Del, Urbanism
Friday, February 7, 2014
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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio introduces Carl Weisbrod as the new City Planning Commissioner. (Kyle Kimball / Twitter)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (left) introduces Carl Weisbrod (right) as the new City Planning Commissioner. (Kyle Kimball / Twitter)

This afternoon, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that Carl Weisbrod, a real estate consultant and co-chair of the mayor’s transition team, will be the city’s next planning commissioner. De Blasio said Weisbrod “understands exactly how the city can shape development to stoke the most growth, the strongest affordability, and the best jobs for New Yorkers. He is ready to take these challenges head-on.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Giant Pixel’s Binary Star Wars Canopy

Fabrikator, Interiors, West
Friday, February 7, 2014
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The steel canopy introduces a Star Wars theme with a binary translation of the trilogy's opening text. (Jasper Sanidad)

The steel canopy introduces a Star Wars theme with a binary translation of the trilogy’s opening text. (Jasper Sanidad)

A software developer gets a subtly intergalactic theme for its new San Francisco headquarters.

For the Giant Pixel corporation’s new headquarters, Studio O+A evoked the feel of a sophisticated galaxy far, far away in a renovated San Francisco workspace. With the help of Chris French Metal, Nor-Cal Metal Fabricators, and Seaport Stainless, O+A designers Denise Cherry and Primo Orpilla designed an interior environment that invokes themes from the client’s favorite movie, Star Wars, without delivering a set design for the Spaceballs parody. One of the office’s most notable features is an entry canopy constructed from ¼-inch hot rolled steel plate with laser-cut perforations that sets the office theme with a binary translation of the trilogy’s opening crawling text. Read More

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