2013 Aga Khan Award Winners Improve Quality of Life

International
Thursday, September 12, 2013
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(Courtesy AKAA)

A winning project: Rabat-Salé Urban Infrastructure Project, Morocco (Courtesy AKAA)

From an Islamic cemetery in Austria to a 330-meter bridge in North Africa, the five recipients of the 2013 Aga Khan Award for Architecture each address a concern within their culture to improve quality of life. Awarded every three years since its 1977 initiation, the competition grants a collective $1 million to a number of projects that exist in areas with a significant Muslim population. Each project must be culturally receptive and increased merit is given to those that use local resources in ways that may motivate analogous ventures in the future.

The 2013 Award Recipients After the Jump

ASLA Launches Guide on Health Benefits of Nature

National
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
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asla-health-guide-01

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has launched a new online guide to educate folks on the benefits of exposing themselves to nature. The polemic makes the case that there are long- and short-term health advantages of spending time alfresco, whether in the wilderness or in community parks. Health Benefits of Nature involves hundreds of case studies, research studies, and news articles that are categorized into 23 health concerns such as depression, asthma, stress, and general health to emphasize nature as a critical health tool.

Read More

Unveiled> SOM Designs New Library Branch for Chicago’s Chinatown

Midwest
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
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Chinatown's new library on Wentworth Avenue. (SOM / Public Buildings Commission)

Chinatown’s new library on Wentworth Avenue. (SOM / Public Buildings Commission)

In the first-ever design/build process for a Chicago neighborhood library branch, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill joins Wight & Company construction to replace Chinatown’s aging and heavily trafficked library at 2100 South Wentworth Avenue.

Continue reading after the jump.

Taking the Park by Swarm: Bike-Powered Public Space Pops Up Worldwide

International
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
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(Courtesy Tim Wolfer / N55 and Yarat)

(Courtesy Tim Wolfer / N55 and Yarat)

That old saw about how you can’t take public space with you is bound for the trash heap. Landscape architect John Bela, co-founder of San Francisco–based Rebar, and artist Tim Wolfer of N55 have developed Parkcycle Swarm, a green space initiative that puts people and green space together—on wheels. The basic Parkcycle module is a mobile green space made of an aluminum frame, plywood, standard bicycle parts, and astroturf. Each one measures 2.6 feet tall, 4 feet wide, and 7.4 feet long. Parkcycles offer instant open space to neighborhoods. All users have to do is park the Parkcycle and sprawl out on the turf to enjoy a bottle of beaujolais or play some hackie sack. Four of the small mobile parks are currently making the rounds at the Participate public arts festival in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Continue reading after the jump.

From The Pages of Texas Architect: Astrodome Update by Ben Koush

Southwest
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
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The Astrodome under construction in 1963. The structure comprises 9,400 tons of steel, 2,900 of which is in the roof alone. (Courtesy University of Houston)

The Astrodome under construction in 1963. The structure is made up of 9,400 tons of steel, 2,900 of which is in the roof alone. (Courtesy University of Houston)

[ Editor's Note: For those of you who are getting excited about The Architect's Newspaper and YKK AP's Reimagine the Astrodome design ideas competition, you have until September 17 to register. Once you've done that, take the time to read the following article, which appeared in the September/October 2013 issue of Texas Architect. Written by Houston-based architect and writer Ben Koush, it covers the current status of the Dome, what it means to Harris County, and Space City's record of not bothering to preserve its architectural heritage. ]

Ever since the Houston Oilers owner Bud Adams, in a snit after being refused a new stadium, took his football team to Nashville in 1997 and renamed it the Tennessee Titans, the fate of the Astrodome has been up in the air. Matters were made worse when, instead of rehabilitating the Astrodome a new, neo-traditionalist baseball stadium, Minute Maid Park, was built down-town for the Astros in 1999, and then in 2002, a hulking new football stadium, Reliant Center, was built uncomfortably close to its predecessor to house the replacement team, the Houston Texans, and the Houston Rodeo.

Continue reading after the jump.

Hotelier Andre Balazs to Update Saarinen’s TWA Terminal With New Standard Hotel

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
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Wally Gobetz/Flickr

Wally Gobetz/Flickr

The TWA terminal at JFK airport in New York may soon change prevailing opinions that sleeping at the airport is strictly a last-resort decision. Reports have recently circulated that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has named André Balazs—the hotelier behind the Standard hotels in New York, Miami, and Los Angeles—to develop the iconic TWA terminal in Jamaica, Queens.

Read more after the jump.

Keeping Up With the Super-Tall Joneses: SHoP Designs Another Manhattan Skyscraper

East, Newsletter
Monday, September 9, 2013
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(Courtesy SHoP)

(Courtesy SHoP)

Manhattan’s 57th Street continues its ascent as New York City’s new gold coast with a skinny skyscraper unveiled by SHoP Architects and JDS Development today. SHoP most recently celebrated the groundbreaking of another skyscraper for JDS along the East River, but has now been tapped to build a lean, luxury high-rise on West 57th Street that could climb to a whopping 1,350 feet tall.

Continue reading after the jump.

First Steps At Los Angeles’ Pershing Square

City Terrain, West
Friday, September 6, 2013
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Gensler's conceptual design concept for Pershing Square (Gensler)

Gensler’s conceptual design concept for Pershing Square. (Courtesy Gensler)

Last week Los Angeles councilman, Jose Huizar, announced the formation of a 21-member task force to help re-imagine Pershing Square, the beleaguered central park in the middle of downtown. The group includes local residents, design and architecture experts, business people, and government officials. Huizar said he hoped they could bring “a wide-range of ideas and perspectives to the discussion.” They’ll also have to develop an agenda and a timeline, and figure out how to fund the project.

COntinue reading after the jump.

Artek Joins the Vitra Family

International, Product, Shft+Alt+Del
Friday, September 6, 2013
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Artek's Lukki Family

Artek’s Lukki Family

On September 6, 2013, Vitra announced it acquired Artek. The Finnish furniture company was established in 1935 by architect Alvar Aalto, his wife Aino,  Maire Gullichsen, and historian Nils-Gustav Hahl to produce furniture that promoted modern living. Over the company’s last 80 years, it has expanded its business to include rights to Ilmari Tapiovaara’s furniture collection and collaborations with renowned designers and artists such as Shigeru Ban, Eero Aarnio, and Enzo Mari.

Artek will continue operations as a separate entity but it is anticipated the purchase will expand the furniture company’s reach further beyond Finland, where contract and residential domestic sales account for 60 percent of its business. “The international dimension, which was a clear goal already in Artek’s founding manifesto of 1935, needed to be revitalized,” said Artek’s CEO Mirkku Kullberg in a statement. “That arena is where we want to be and alliances or ownership arrangements are one way of building the future.” Read More

PROJECTiONE’s Engrained Parametrics

Fabrikator
Friday, September 6, 2013
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Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator

 
PROJECTiONE fabricated 280 fins from polystyrene for a 12-foot, free-standing architectural panel. (courtesy PROJECTiONE)

PROJECTiONE fabricated 280 fins from polystyrene for a 12-foot, free-standing architectural panel. (courtesy PROJECTiONE)

Designers in Indianapolis fabricate a graphic, splintered design.

Indiana-based design/build studio PROJECTiONE employs a multidisciplinary approach to its work that runs the gamut from digital to analog fabrication. Founders Adam Buente and Kyle Perry craftily bridged that gap with Synthetic Grain, a set piece for the Young & Laramore advertising agency of Indianapolis that explores the natural knotting and grain of lumber. The team used parametric software to create a graphic, 3D pattern system for an architectural screen that mimics natural variations of wood.

Working in Rhino, parallel lines—or the wood grain—were drawn and points were defined within. Each point served as a knot, around which the lines would gently curve. “Our only input for this project were those points in 3D space,” said Perry. To ready the design for fabrication, curves and cut holes for the plywood backing were generated in Grasshopper. Read More

Ice Cream Freezer Reinvented as Santa Fe Architecture Office

Newsletter, Southwest
Thursday, September 5, 2013
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(Rich Anderson / Flickr)

(Rich Anderson / Flickr)

Santa Fe, New Mexico–based architecture firm WAMO Studio recently moved into a cool new office—a former walk-in ice cream freezer. The repurposed space, formerly used by Taos Cow Ice Cream to store frozen treats. The 550-square-foot freezer offers a sleek and industrial space with sheet metal walls and industrial-strength insulation. After a few adjustments, WAMO has transformed it from a frigid container to a viable workspace. Partner and architect, Vahid Mojarrab, described the space to the Santa Fe New Mexican as “a perfect fit” for the husband-and-wife architecture company, which specializes in energy-efficient and high-performance design.

View the office conversion after the jump.

Architecture Research Office Designs Public Art Display Panels for NYC’s Pedestrian Plazas

East
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
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ARO-NYCDOT-Public-Art-Sign-archpaper-03

NYCDOT Urban Art Program (James Ewing / Courtesy NYCDOT)

Streets occupy nearly a quarter of New York City’s land, however there are limited outdoor spaces to socialize, sit, and enjoy city life outside of parks. As part of an effort to improve the quality of public space for all New Yorkers, the NYC Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) has been developing new public open space by converting underutilized street spaces into pedestrian plazas. With dozens of plazas already open and functioning across the city, the NYCDOT has been looking to polish the new spaces, installing permanent designs, improved benches, and now, specially designed signs to showcase public art.

Continue reading after the jump.

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