Faith Rose tapped as Executive Director of New York City’s Public Design Commission

Faith Rose, the new Executive Director of the Public Design Commission. (Courtesy

Faith Rose, the new Executive Director of the Public Design Commission. (Courtesy o’neill rose architects)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has appointed Faith Rose, a former senior design liaison at the Department of Design and Construction (DDC), to lead the city’s Public Design Commission. According to the mayor’s office, in her new role, Rose “will be charged with building on the Public Design Commission’s history of prioritizing the quality and excellence of the public realm, enhancing and streamlining the Commission’s review process, and fostering accessibility, diversity and inclusion in the City’s public buildings and spaces.”

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Beer, Shakespeare, and hip hop take over a vacant lot in Downtown Louisville

ReSurfaced, a pop-up festival occupying a vacant lot in downtown Louisville. (Urban Design Studio)

ReSurfaced, a pop-up festival occupying a vacant lot in downtown Louisville. (Urban Design Studio via Flickr)

What can you do with a vacant lot? Urban activists in Louisville have set out to show just how much with an ongoing pop-up festival of sorts at 615-621 West Main Street, an empty plot of land in the heart of downtown where REX‘s Museum Plaza skyscraper was once set to rise.

Continue reading after the jump.

Red Deer Lights Up Burning Man

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As visitors climb on and around Luz 2.0, integrated sensors trigger an interactive lighting display. (Dustin Wong Photography)

As visitors climb on and around Luz 2.0, integrated sensors trigger an interactive lighting display. (Dustin Wong Photography)

Prismatic pyramid evokes desert mirage by day, Aurora Borealis by night.

Given that their pyramidal acrylic installation at this summer’s Burning Man was inspired in part by Pink Floyd‘s Dark Side of the Moon album cover, it seems safe to say that the architects at Red Deer “get” the festival’s vibe. “We try to get very intimate with our sites, so it was interesting to approach one that we hadn’t been able to visit,” said founding director Ciarán O’Brien. “Some of the primal forces we could see at play there were the heat of the desert and the way people interact with structures. Specifically, for us it was about light in all its forms.” The UK firm worked closely with the structural engineers at Structure Mode to design a transparent six-meter-tall structure comprising interlocking equilateral triangles, while New York Institute of Technology professor Charles Matz contributed an integrated light display based on the Aurora Borealis. “All kinds of imagery came to mind that held to the desert landscape,” said O’Brien. “By day, the concept evoked a mirage; by night, a kaleidoscope. One is ephemeral, a non-place; the other is specific, a beacon.” Read More

MVRDV’s enormous arched food hall and housing complex opens in Rotterdam

Markthal Rotterdam. (Courtesy facebook.com/MarkthalRotterdam)

Markthal Rotterdam. (Courtesy facebook.com/MarkthalRotterdam)

When the plan for Markthal Rotterdam first appeared, it seemed like one of those interesting, but never going to actually happen type of projects. There was no way that MVRDV’s sprawling food hall set underneath a 130-foot-tall arching roof that itself contains 228 apartments would ever be realized. Well, it turns out there was a way, and Rotterdam figured it out.

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Chicago’s big building owners embrace the smart grid

Chicago is one of 10 cities targeted by philanthropies for energy efficiency savings. (josh*m via flickr)

Large downtown buildings make up a disproportionate share of the built environment’s energy usage. (josh*m via flickr)

The members of Chicago‘s Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) control nearly 80 percent of downtown Chicago’s rentable building area. That makes them critical to local energy efficiency initiatives that aim to reduce the nearly 40 percent of U.S. energy that is consumed by buildings. Read More

Eavesdrop> MVRDV Booted from Moscow Project, But Maybe So What?

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MVRDV’s proposal repurposed the original factory building. (Courtesy MVRDV)

The Architect’s Journal reported, somewhat melodramatically, that a “row” has broken about between MVRDV and the British firm LDA over the redevelopment of the Hammer and Sickle Factory in Moscow. MVRDV’s competition winning scheme, which respected the existing historic factory buildings, has been dumped in favor of LDA’s swoopier Shanghai/Dubai/Where-am-I scheme. Hurt feelings aside, MVRDV might have dodged a dictatorial bullet. Russia isn’t exactly the most stable or desirable or reputation-burnishing place to work these days.

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Talking tall buildings in Shanghai

In September the Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) gathered high-minded designers, developers and engineers for a conference in Shanghai. CTBUH, which often partners with AN on conferences, including our own Facades+ events, invited me to serve as a special media correspondent for the conference, held September 16–19. I spent most of the time conducting video interviews with the symposium guests, which we’ll post here on the AN blog as they become available. For now, here’ a quick overview of the topics discussed.

Continue reading after the jump.

A greenhouse-inspired park to bring new public space to Miami’s Wynwood Arts District

Wynwood Greenhouse Park  (Courtesy Azeez Bakare)

Wynwood Greenhouse Park (Courtesy Azeez Bakare)

A straight-forward, standard-issue park just won’t do for the uber-trendy, graffiti-covered streets of Miami‘s Wynwood Arts District. Instead of merely carving up green space within the artsy district, Tony Cho, a local real estate broker and developer, launched an international design competition to turn a parking lot into a public space worthy of its distinguished neighborhood.

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Another Brutalist Wonder Bites the Dust: Johansen’s Mechanic Theatre

Mechanic Theatre in Baltimore (photo: Edward Gunts)

Despite pleas for preservation from some of the nation’s top architects, demolition work has begun on  a nationally significant example of “Brutalist” architecture in north America, the 1967 Morris A. Mechanic Theatre in Baltimore, Maryland, designed by the late John M. Johansen.

A  yellow backhoe with a spike-like attachment began chipping into the theater’s concrete exterior earlier this month, ending any chance that the building could be saved. One local preservationist was able to salvage the original letters from the  building, but nothing else. Read More

Milwaukee breaks ground on new 32-story tower complex

Northwestern Mutual's updated Milwaukee headquarters, which broke ground in late August, include a new 32-story tower designed by Pickard Chilton. (Courtesy Pickard Chilton)

Northwestern Mutual’s updated Milwaukee headquarters, which broke ground in late August, include a new 32-story tower designed by Pickard Chilton. (Courtesy Pickard Chilton)

Construction has begun on the latest addition to Milwaukee’s lakefront skyline, a sleek curving tower from Pickard Chilton. Gilbane Building Co. and C.G. Schmidt broke ground in August on the new 32-story headquarters of insurance giant Northwestern Mutual. Read More

GLUCK+ Screens a Modern Great Camp

Architecture, East, Envelope
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
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The two main buildings at GLUCK+'s Lakeside Retreat feature sliding wooden screens over massive glass curtain walls. (Courtesy GLUCK+)

The two main buildings at GLUCK+’s Lakeside Retreat feature sliding wooden screens over massive glass curtain walls. (Courtesy GLUCK+)

Custom sliding wood shades maximize privacy and views in Adirondack Mountains retreat.

Architect-led design build firm GLUCK+ designed the Lakeside Retreat in the Adirondack Mountains on an historic blueprint: the Great Camps, sprawling summer compounds built by vacationing families during the second half of the nineteenth century. “The clients wanted to hold events there, and to make a place where their kids—who were in college at the time—would want to spend time,” said project manager Kathy Chang. “They wanted to create different ways of occupying the space.” GLUCK+ carved the hilly wooded site into a series of semi-subterranean buildings, of which the two principal structures are the family house and the recreation building. These buildings are, in turn, distinguished by massive lake-facing glass facades, camouflaged by wooden screens designed to maximize both privacy and views. Read More

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