Solar Decathlon Goes So Cal

West
Friday, October 4, 2013
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Solar Decathlon Village in Assembly (U.S. Department of Energy)

Solar Decathlon Village in Assembly (U.S. Department of Energy)

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon has officially moved west. The bi-annual event, in which college teams vie against each other to build top-tier solar powered homes, opened yesterday at the Orange County Great Park. After a decade in Washington D.C. the competition had overstayed its welcome on the National Mall, and was looking for a new place to get the word out about sustainability, said event founder Richard King. The Great Park beat out sites in 20 cities around the country.  Read More

W Seattle Hotel’s Parametric Pilings

Fabrikator
Friday, October 4, 2013
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Each column measures approximately 36 inches in diameter. (Boone Speed/Skylab Architecture)

One dozen columns are wrapped in a CNC milled wood solution that recalls Seattle’s cultural and maritime history. (Boone Speed/Skylab Architecture)

LIT Workshop fabricated sleek lodge poles to complement the city’s heritage.

When Starwood Properties began to reimagine a new living room concept for the W Seattle, the existing first floor space featured a disconnected bar, restaurant, and lounge area, much like the traditional layout of a formal home. Portland, Oregon–based architecture firm Skylab Architecture was charged with knocking down the visual barriers for an open floor plan that resembled a more modern, casual living space.

Several preexisting columns could not be removed for structural reasons, so a truly open plan had to be amended. “In some ways you could see them as a negative, or they could be seen as a positive,” Skylab principal Brent Grubb told AN. “We try to turn those perceived negatives into a design element and make it unique.” Researching the city’s cultural and maritime history inspired the architecture team to combine the water-worn patina of shore-front pilings with the physical mass of wooden totem poles. The solution was a parametrically streamlined form that was fabricated in modular sections for swift installation. Read More

Unveiled> Chicago’s Newest Loop ‘L’ Stop Could Be Best Yet

Midwest
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
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Renderings show Chicago's first new Loop 'L' stop since 1997. (exp / CTA)

Renderings show Chicago’s first new Loop ‘L’ stop since 1997. (exp / CTA)

Move over Morgan—the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) released renderings Monday of a redesign for the ‘L’ station at Washington-Wabash whose modern look could unseat the sleek Morgan as CTA’s most handsome stop. The so-called “Gateway to Millennium Park” will serve the Brown, Green, Orange, Pink and Purple lines by consolidating two Loop stations: Randolph-Wabash and Madison-Wabash. Replacing two century old stops, it will be the first new ‘L’ stop in the Loop since the Library/State-Van Buren station was built in 1997.

Continue reading after the jump.

Zaha Hadid Puts her Curvilienear Spin on the Serpentine’s New Sackler Gallery

International, Newsletter
Monday, September 30, 2013
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Serpentine Sackler Gallery (Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects)

Serpentine Sackler Gallery (Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects)

Architect Zaha Hadid is finally putting her stamp on the city she has called home for over 30 years with one of her signature curvaceous designs. The London-based architect has designed the new Serpentine Sackler Gallery in Kensington Gardens consisting of both a $14.5 million curvilinear extension and the renovation of the The Magazine, a brick building originally built as a Gunpowder Store in the early 19th century.

Continue reading after the jump.

Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries Commissions Third Chair in 400 Years

International
Monday, September 30, 2013
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Bodleian Library Chair Winner (Courtesy Jamie Smith)

Bodleian Library Chair Winner (Courtesy Jamie Smith)

Designing for a specific space can be a challenge, but try designing a chair predestined to become a contemporary statement in the newly-refurbished Weston Library, part of the Bodleian Libraries at Oxford, which has commissioned only its third new chair in 400 years. Earlier this year, three partnerships—Amanda Levete and Herman Miller, Barber Osgerby  and Isokon Plus, and Matthew Hilton and SCP Ltd—were shortlisted to compete for the prestigious prize, which has officially been awarded to Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby with Isokon, for their low, round-backed design.

Continue reading after the jump.

Richard Meier Opens First Phase of New Complex in His Hometown of Newark

East, Newsletter
Friday, September 27, 2013
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Rendering of Teachers Village (Courtesy of Richard Meier & Partners Architects)

Rendering of Teachers Village (Courtesy of Richard Meier & Partners Architects)

Richard Meier has returned to his roots with the opening of his latest project in the heart of downtown Newark, New Jersey.  Government officials gathered Thursday to cut the ribbon on the first phase of a mixed-use development called Teachers Village. The 90,000 square foot structure is now home to two charter schools, with retail planned for the ground floor.

The sprawling development—part of of revitalization program to revive downtown—will consist of retail space, a daycare center, three charter schools, and 200 apartment units for teachers. The Newark-born architect was tapped to design five of the eight buildings in the complex with KSS Architects in charge of the remaining three.

COntinue reading after the jump.

Snøhetta and Architexas Make Leaves of Steel

Fabrikator, Southwest
Friday, September 27, 2013
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Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator

 
The pavilion's design is inspired by the surrounding tree canopy. (Courtesy Architexas)

The pavilion’s design is inspired by the surrounding tree canopy. (Courtesy Architexas)

A Dallas pavilion’s exposed structure demanded extremely tight tolerances of Irving, Texas–based fabricator, CT&S.

Ten years ago, the Dallas Parks & Recreation Department launched a revitalization project to update 39 decrepit pavilions throughout its park system. One of them—which was to be designed by the New York office of Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta in partnership with local practice Architexas—sat at the mouth of a meadow lined by old pecan and oak trees on the southern side of College Park. Speaking about the site, Snøhetta director Elaine Molinar said, “You’re aware you’ve left the surrounding neighborhood and entered a more rural setting.” This is the feeling that the team wished to encourage in its design for a new pavilion.

Continue reading after the jump.

More Time with Norman, Please: Foster + Partners’ New Manhattan Tower Fails To Impress

East, Unveiled
Thursday, September 26, 2013
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Rendering showing facade detail of Norman Foster's 551 West 21 Street. (Hayes Davidson /  Courtesy Foster + Partners)

Rendering showing facade detail of Norman Foster’s 551 West 21 Street. (Hayes Davidson / Courtesy Foster + Partners)

Foster + Partners likes to think of itself as a high-design firm with glamorous projects all over the world. But the banal rendering accompanying this week’s announcement of a new 19-story, “luxury” residential tower, 551 West 21 Street, belies their design skills. Could it be that they have a two-tier design strategy in their office where glamorous cultural institutions get “Sir Norman” and commercial towers get, well, something less?

Continue reading after the jump.

Getting in on the Ground Floor: Collective-LOK Wins Van Alen’s Ground/Work Competition

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
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Winning Proposal (Courtesy of Collective-LOK/Van Alen Institute)

Winning Proposal (Courtesy of Collective-LOK/Van Alen Institute)

The Van Alen Institute, a non-profit organization devoted to public realm improvements in New York City, has announced Collective-LOK as the winner of its Ground/Work competition. The winning team—a collaboration between Jon Lott (PARA-Project), William O’Brien Jr. (WOJR), and Michael Kubo (over,under)—was selected from a pool of over 100 applicants, and beat out two other finalists: Of Possible Architectures and EFGH. The competition called on designers to re-imagine the ground floor level to accommodate new offices, bookselling platform, galleries, and event and programming space.

Continue reading after the jump.

Flint Flat Lot’s Floating House draws criticism

Midwest
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
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Photos of the built work were questioned by some commenters. (Gavin Smith, courtesy Two Islands)

Photos of the built work were questioned by some commenters. (Gavin Smith, courtesy Two Islands)

When London-based Two Islands took first place in Flint, Michigan’s first Flat Lot Competition for public art, images of their floating, mirror-clad meditation on the foreclosure crisis turned heads. Six months later the project has been built, but it faced challenges and has drawn criticism making the leap from rendering to reality.

Continue reading after the jump.

Review> Set Designer Harnesses Nostalgia for Detroit in AMC’s New Series, “Low Winter Sun”

National, Newsletter
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
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(Courtesy AMC)

(Courtesy AMC)

Nostalgia (nóstos), meaning “homecoming”, a Homeric word, and (álgos), meaning “pain, ache”, and was coined by a 17th-century medical student to describe the anxieties displayed by Swiss mercenaries fighting away from home. Ruth Ammon, set designer for the AMC television series, Low Winter Sun, used this word to describe the series in its most honorable sense. This tale of morality uses the architecture of Detroit’s heyday, to embody the pride of the city which elevated middle working class life.

It is poignant that the city’s decline is also apparent in every frame, rather than pimping these noble structures like urban porn. Whether featuring Albert Kahn’s Packard Automotive Plant, 1903-11 (the production offices were next door to this location, one of the largest parcels of unoccupied real estate in the Western hemisphere); Kahn’s Detroit Police Headquarters at 1300 Beaubien St., 1923 (given the same role in the series, but now under threat since the PDP moved out); the art deco David Stott Building of 1929 by Donaldson and Meier; St. Hyacinth Roman Catholic Church, 1924 by Donaldson and Meier; or the Venetian Gothic Ransom Gillis House, 1876-78 (documented extensively by photographer Camilo Jose Vergara), these were deliberate choices.

Continue reading after the jump.

Drexel University Breaks Ground on Perelman Plaza Campus Center Redesign

East
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
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Perelman Plaza is hoped to become the new social campus center of Drexel University. (Courtesy Andropogon Landscape Architecture)

Perelman Plaza is hoped to become the new social campus center of Drexel University. (Courtesy Andropogon)

The 32nd Street corridor at Drexel University in Philadelphia has become a hub for student gatherings, interaction, and events. Situated between Chestnut and Market Streets in the campus center, the corridor’s current design, however, does not serve the social and functional needs of its college population. In March, landscape architecture firm Andropogon released primary renderings and plans for a complete redesign of the space now known as Perelman Plaza. In August, more comprehensive images were revealed, and now the project is underway. Two weeks ago, Andropogon broke ground in Phase One on the site, razing the existing awkwardly angled hardscape to begin construction of a practical design for the coexistence of human traffic and nature.

Continue Reading After the Jump

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