A modern interpretation of a Christmas tree designed by French firm 1024 Architecture lighting Grand Place, the main public square in Brussels, Belgium has some locals seeing stars. Standing 82 feet tall, ABIES-Electronicus, as the modern tree installation is named, is billed as an eco-friendly equivalent of chopping down a living tree, but some politicians in the city say it represents a “war on Christmas” as the symbols of the holiday are abstracted away from tradition. The mayor dismissed the charges, noting this year’s holiday theme was about light, and noting that a nativity scene is set up nearby.
On Wednesday, Forest City Ratner made it official: the world’s tallest prefabricated building will be coming to Brooklyn with a groundbreaking date set for December 18. As AN outlined in our recent feature on Atlantic Yards, the SHoP Architects-designed B2 Tower will climb, modular unit by modular unit, 32 stories on a slender wedge-shaped parcel adjacent to the new Barclays Center on the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Dean Street.
Renderings released with the groundbreaking announcement also revealed design revisions to the B2 Tower since it was unveiled in November 2011, and Chris Sharples, principal at SHoP, told AN what’s new.
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While events like Maker Faire have done a lot to increase the visibility of 3D printing, the London-based generative and 3D design group Softkill has spoken openly about how they still think “3D printing is a specialized, one-off luxury, rich man’s thing.” But they went on to say that “there really is an interesting future for architecture and 3D printing because you have great cost savings and material efficiency, which architects are really interested in. That’s where 3D printing is really pushing the discipline.” Softkill recently tested the limits of the latest in Selective Laser Sintering technology with Protohouse, a ⅓ scale house completely fabricated by a 3D printer.
The days of airport as shopping and entertainment destination are in full swing. Construction of the new 40,000 square foot passenger concourse at the Long Beach Municipal Airport (LGB) will be finished next month. And this is no ordinary concourse. As part of a $140 million modernization project, the two-year renovation not only includes waiting and screening areas, but also two new terminals with 10,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space along with 4,200 square feet of outdoor patio seating containing fire pits, cabanas, and outdoor performance areas.
British rock band Pink Floyd famously opined, “We don’t need no education,” and maybe they were right. The band was founded by a group of architecture students—Nick Mason, Roger Waters, and Richard Wright—at the Regent Street Polytechnic, now the University of Westminster, which served as the band’s first rehearsal space and performance venue in the early 1960s. As the band gained popularity, the architecture students left school to focus on their music.
There are countless ways to get around cities these days—on foot, bike, or skateboard, by transit or car—but Estonian firm Salto Architects has imagined what could be the next dedicated lane to hit a street near you: the Fast Track trampoline sidewalk. The 170-foot-long trampoline was built earlier this year in Russia for the Archstoyanie Festival, sending leaping pedestrians through Nikola-Lenivets Park, about 120 miles southwest of Moscow.
Noted author and critic Jane Holtz Kay passed away November 5 at the age of 74 from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. Her book Asphalt Nation: How the Automobile Took Over America and How We Can Take It Back propelled her into the national spotlight as she chronicled the affects of cars on the American landscape. Jane Jacobs remarked about the book, “Jane Holtz Kay’s book has given us a profound way of seeing the automobile’s ruinous impact on American life.” She had been working on a sequel to Asphalt Nation, documenting climate change and global warming, called Last Chance Landscape. Holtz Kay was also architecture critic for The Nation and formerly for the Boston Globe. She is survived by her sister, Ellen Goodman, daughters, Julie Kay and Jacqueline Cessou, and four grandchildren. The staff at The Architect’s Newspaper sends our condolences to her family, friends, and colleagues.
Heading into the holidays, the AIA has more good economic news to report: the Architectural Billings Index (ABI) has recorded a third straight month of growth. The October score was 52.8, up from September’s 51.6 (any score above 50 indicates a growth in billings). The uptick reflects improving conditions in the housing market and real estate more broadly. All four regions were in positive territory, with the South leading at 52.8, followed by the Northeast at 52.6, the West at 51.8, and the Midwest at 50.8.
Move over Woolworth Building. Another iconic Lower Manhattan skyscraper is slated for a residential conversion, this time by Deborah Berke Partners and architects of record Steven B. Jacobs Group. The 66-story art deco landmark at 70 Pine Street was built in 1932 as the Cities Service Company, and more recently served as the headquarters of American International Group (AIG), and now developer Rose Associates plans to transform the tower into 700 luxury apartments above a 300-room hotel.