Oy, Tannenbaum! Modern Christmas Tree Causes A Stir in Belgium

International
Friday, November 30, 2012
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ABIES-Electronicus, a modern XMAS tree. (Courtesy 1024 Architecture)

ABIES-Electronicus, a modern XMAS tree. (Courtesy 1024 Architecture)

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.

Continue reading after the jump.

SHoP Updates Atlantic Yards Design as Forest City Confirms Prefab

East
Friday, November 30, 2012
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SHoP refines the design of the Atlantic Yards B2 Tower as groundbreaking approaches. (Courtesy SHoP)

SHoP refines the design of the Atlantic Yards B2 Tower as groundbreaking approaches. (Courtesy SHoP)

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.

Continue reading after the jump.

Grow Your Own 3D Printed Protohouse

Fabrikator
Friday, November 30, 2012
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Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
Fabrikator
Protohouse by Softkill.

Protohouse by Softkill.

Print your next house in 30 separate snap tight pieces

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.

Continue reading after the jump.

Long Beach Airport Reimagined as a Locavore Cabana With Fire Pits and Outdoor Seating

West
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
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Yes, this is an airport. (Courtesy Studio One Eleven)

Yes, this is an airport. (Courtesy Studio One Eleven)

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.

Continue reading after the jump.

Another Brick in the Wall: Pink Floyd Drummer Awarded Honorary Architecture Degree

International
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
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Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason awarded an honorary architecture degree.

Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason awarded an honorary architecture degree.

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.

Continue reading after the jump.

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Photo of the Day: World Trade Center Spire Adrift at Sea

East
Monday, November 26, 2012
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Part of the World Trade Center's spire on its way to Lower Manhattan. (Courtesy Port Authority of NY & NJ)

Part of the World Trade Center’s spire on its way to Lower Manhattan. (Courtesy Port Authority of NY & NJ)

The spire that will one day reach a point 1,776 feet above Lower Manhattan on the ever-progressing World Trade Center is en route to New York via a barge from Valleyfield, Quebec, Canada. The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey put out a statement that the giant antenna embarked on its 1,500-nautical-mile journey on November 16 and is expected to arrive at Port Newark any day now, but a tracking website doesn’t appear to be working. Smaller pieces will be trucked in over the next month. Each segment of the spire weighs from five to 67 tons. Once the spire is on site, construction is expected to take about three months to complete.

Extreme Commutes: Architects Build “Fast Track” Trampoline Sidewalk in Russia

International
Monday, November 26, 2012
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Salto Architects' "Fast Track trampoline sidewalk. (Courtesy Salto Architects)

Salto Architects’ “Fast Track trampoline sidewalk. (Nikita Šohov & Karli Luik/Courtesy Salto Architects)

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.

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Obit> Jane Holtz Kay, 1938-2012

National
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
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Jane Holtz Kay in 1986.

Jane Holtz Kay in 1986.

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.

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Happier Holidays for Architects as Billings Continue to Climb

National
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
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BILLINGS (BLUE) AND INQUIRIES (RED) FOR THE PAST 12 MONTHS. (THE ARCHITECT’S NEWSPAPER)

BILLINGS (BLUE) AND INQUIRIES (RED) FOR THE PAST 12 MONTHS. (THE ARCHITECT’S NEWSPAPER)

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.

Continue reading after the jump.

Deborah Berke Designing 700 Residences in Lower Manhattan Art-Deco Skyscraper

East
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
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Looking up at 70 Pine. (12th St David / Flickr)

Looking up at 70 Pine. (12th St David / Flickr)

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.

Continue reading after the jump.

MVRDV Proposes A Tower of Life-Size Stacked “Building” Blocks

International
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
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Lower base of structure from the ground (Courtesy MVRDV)

Lower base of structure from the ground (Courtesy MVRDV)

Dutch architecture office MVRDV has placed a bid to create a 1,300-foot-tall skyscraper in Jakarta, Indonesia called Peruri 88. The complex arrangement of edifices, which resembles a city’s worth of buildings stacked atop one another along the lines of a massive assembly of life-size “building” blocks covered with greenery, is MVRDV’s answer to Jakarta’s need for densification and green space.

Continue reading after the jump.

Doctors Say Famed 104-Year-Old Architect Oscar Niemeyer’s Condition Is Getting Worse

International
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
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104-Year-Old Architect Oscar Niemeyer in Hospital

104-Year-Old Architect Oscar Niemeyer in Hospital.

The health of Oscar Niemeyer is deteriorating according to a recent statement released by the hospital treating the 104-year-old architect in Rio de Janeiro. The world-renowned architect—known for his design of civic buildings in the capital city of Brasilia—landed in the hospital on November 2nd after he caught a cold that resulted in kidney failure.

He took a turn for the worse last week when he experienced bleeding in his digestive track. The hospital says that he is now breathing with the help of machines, and is lucid. Up until recently, Niemeyer, who is less than a month shy of his 105th birthday, has continued to work on projects.

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