In the middle of a lightly populated island in the middle of a French reservoir—the Ile de Vassivière—an eerie green glow rises from the crest of a hill at dusk, indicating that you’ve found OTRO, a phosphorescent skate park of sinuous bowls and tunnels. Designed by artist Koo Jeong-A, L’Escaut Architectures, and skateboard consultants Brusk and Barricade, the project is described as “skateable artwork” and located near a large chateau housing the International Center of Art and Landscape, a light house designed by Aldo Rossi, and a humanoid piece of land art only visible from high above.
There’s a scene in Edith Wharton’s 1913 novel Custom of the Country, where the wicked vixen Undine Spragg insists on speeding across the High Bridge in a “horseless carriage” before making her grand entrance at a party so as to rouge her cheeks with a cold snap of air whipping up from the Harlem River. The romantic fascination accorded the then-65-year-old bridge quietly slipped from New York’s consciousness as bigger engineering marvels usurped its quiet dignity.
Now approaching 165 years, renovations are about to get underway to finally restore the bridge to its former glory as a 1,200-foot-long pedestrian bridge, uniting neighborhoods of High Bridge and Washington Heights in the Bronx and Manhattan. New Yorkers for Parks stopped by the span Monday afternoon to document current conditions before construction is in full swing, giving us a hint of Undine’s views. Though controversial netting integrated into the design might mildly disrupt the vista, Monday’s photos show it the way it was, albeit slightly overgrown.
The National Building Museum‘s latest exhibit presents a new way to beat the summer heat—12 holes of mini-golf designed by prominent local architects, landscape architects, and developers. But if it’s windmills and castles you’re after, tee off elsewhere. While the course is a challenge, it offers an intriguing (and very engaging) look at Washington’s architectural history and future.
On Friday we revealed Francois Perrin’s precariously-situated house, a sleek stack of glass boxes embedded into the Hollywood Hills on a concrete base. Terrain aside, the project is stunning for its views of the city, for its glassy connection between indoor and outdoor space, and for its minimal lines. Perhaps even more amazing, though, is how the house was built in the first place, requiring crews to literally move mountains and dangle from cables off the side of a ravine. To reveal the process beneath the building, AN compiled a slideshow of the work in action.
New York City is home to over 700 food-producing farms and gardens spread over 50 acres of reclaimed lots, rooftops, schoolyards, and public housing grounds. This week at a launch and press event, the Design Trust for Public Space (in partnership with the Brooklyn-based non-profit community farming project Added Value) debuted the most comprehensive survey yet of the city’s urban agricultural infrastructure, Five Borough Farm: Seeding the Future of Urban Agriculture in New York City.
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A new modeling program can give any material a makeover.
TUFTIT is a fabrication program developed by Alexander Josephson and Pooya Baktash, two students who put their studies at the Architectural Association in London on hold to found Partisans, a research-based architectural platform they started in Toronto following the financial meltdown in 2010. What seemed like a risky venture at the time might just be Josephson and Baktash’s best career move, especially if TUFTIT is an indication of the kind of technologically innovative projects they’re executing.
The modeling program was born from a desire to reinterpret popular traditional styles, like “Edwardian tufted leather furniture” featured in a Restoration Hardware catalogue, for a contemporary audience. “To us, this was an apt example of where innovation and reinvention could occur, especially with the use of parametric modeling,” said Josephson. “The goal was to create a radical new interpretation of that model, one that was completely organic and free in its scale and use.”
More than 60 architects flocked to the side of Bertrand Goldberg’s embattled Prentice Women’s Hospital Wednesday, calling on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to ensure the concrete cloverleaf’s permanent place in Chicago’s skyline.
“The legacy of Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Women’s Hospital is unmistakable. It stands as a testament to the Chicago-led architectural innovation that sets this city apart,” reads the open letter, whose cosigners include Frank Gehry, Jeanne Gang and the partners of SOM. “Chicago’s global reputation as a nurturer of bold and innovative architecture will wither if the city cannot preserve its most important achievements.”
Thursday, July 26, 2012
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In an economic environment in which competition amongst homes for sale is fierce, homeowners, architects and designers are turning to the garage. According to the National Association of Home Builders House Price Estimator, adding a garage to an average single family detached house can increase the value of the home by tens of thousands of dollars, depending on location.
For the enterprising architect or interior designer, garages represent a blank canvas. It’s an area of the home that often collects clutter (and rarely sees aesthetic effort), but the garage acts as the main entrance of the home for many people. Improvements in this space are easily recognizable (and thus, proposable) to prospective clients, especially with the right garage-specific features.
When it comes to choosing those features, Gladiator® GarageWorks, a Whirlpool Corporation brand (yes, of home appliance fame), suggests utilizing functional products designed specifically for the garage environment. Which, as it turns out, is important: broad temperature and humidity fluctuations can ruin many products. They even make an ENERGY STAR® qualified garage-specific refrigerator for clients with home offices, shops, or entertaining areas in their garages.
Yet, as functional as these products are, they do not leave much to be desired when it comes to aesthetics. Take the Gladiator® Storage Bench, pictured here, for example. How many features in your garage have a beautiful bamboo top? It’s a great spot to sit and remove your shoes in the garage, but also looks nice in the mudroom or in the living room as an entertainment center. And it has plenty of space for various items to keep inside.
When it comes to areas of the home ripe for the architect’s or designer’s touch, don’t overlook the garage. Gladiator® brand even offers an interactive design tool on its website, allowing designers to visualize their ideas in different layouts. The space is there, as are the garage-specific products. What garages need, and are now getting, is attention.