The legendary architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable has died at 91. Winner of the first Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, Huxtable served at architecture critic for the New York Times and was also a contributor of numerous editorials about the city’s built environment. She later served as architecture critic for the Wall Street Journal, where she most recently wrote a scathing critique of the proposed renovation of the New York Public Library by Foster + Partners (“You don’t ‘update’ a masterpiece. ‘Modernization’ may be the most dangerously misused word in the English language.”). Known for the crystalline clarity of her arguments and the cutting precision of her words, Huxtable was unmatched in her lifetime as an architecture critic. She made the city and its architects better. Julie V. Iovine has penned a full remembrance that will run in the next print edition of AN.
Almost a year ago, reports surfaces that, without an anchor tenant, the 80-story Three World Trade tower by Pritzker-winner Richard Rogers of Rogers, Stirk, Harbour + Partners would be lopped off at seven stories. Without an anchor tenant signing up for at least 400,000 square feet of space in the $300 million tower, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey will not guarantee the project’s debt. Mayor Bloomberg is optimistic, though, telling the New York Post last week that the tower is “closer than anyone realizes” to landing that all-important tenant, which could be GroupM, a subsidiary of advertising giant WPP. The Post said the company is interested in 550,000 square feet of the tower’s 2.8 million total square feet. If a deal is signed and construction continues, the tower could be complete in 2015.
Bloomberg also delivered the not-unexpected news that Norman Foster’s 88-story Two World Trade tower will likely remain a stump for the near future. SOM’s One World Trade and Fumihiko Maki’s Four World Trade are expected to be finished by the end of the year. In the meantime, take a look back at Silverstein’s blockbuster video rendering of the complete World Trade Center site.
In 2010, AN wrote about an identity theft scandal involving some high profile British architects and Chinese impostors leaving some observers at the time to wonder if starchitects like Norman Foster or Zaha Hadid might be next. It now appears the archi-pirates have indeed set their eyes on Hadid’s curvaceous designs, setting of a construction race to see whether the copy-cat can outbuild the original and an international debate about intellectual property. Spiegel reported that Hadid’s Wangjing SOHO tower complex, proposed in 2011 for Beijing and now under construction, has been copied and rebranded as the Meiquan 22nd Century in Chongqing. When placed side by side (above), it’s tough not to see the distinct resemblance.
A proposed 57-story residential tower designed by SOM’s Roger Duffy at the corner of Manhattan’s East 57th Street and 2nd Avenue is seeing new life after laying low through the recession. The Observer reported today that the 250 East 57th project, announced in 2006, will begin construction this year now that developer World Wide Group has filed new construction papers with the city and began clearing the site.
AN previously reported how the project is a partnership with the New York City School Construction Authority to extract the air-rights value beneath the city’s school properties. In this case, developers of 250 East 57th paid the Department of Education $325 million for a site lease and agreed to rebuild P.S. 59 adjacent to the tower’s site, including roof terraces and a large astroturf play area. Roger Duffy told AN at the time, “A lot of school sites in New York remain underdeveloped in terms of FAR (floor-area ratio).” The school opened in September 2012.
The University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design has announced that Australian Richard Weller has been appointed Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture. Penn Dean Marilyn Jordan Taylor believes that Weller is just the person to build on the department’s well known legacy of research and teaching since it was founded over 50 years ago by the legendary Ian McHarg. The department has been directed by Field Operation’s James Corner since 2000 who asserts that Weller is a “leading edge figure in our field.” Weller has been teaching at the University of Western Australia and was director of both the Australian Urban Design Research Centre and the design firm Room 4.1.3. His current research concerns ways of “conceptualizing, representing and designing cities a mega-regional scale.” In March of this year Weller will release his latest book, Made in Australia, that focuses on the long term future of cities.
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The fabrication team cut, folded, and welded 264 aluminum panels into 66 uniquely shaped sun shades.
One of the challenges of designing affordable housing, points out Kevin Daly, principal at LA firm Daly Genik Architects, is “managing a balance between the economic forces that demand repeatability and the risk that monotony comes with that repetitiveness.”
Daly Genik and LA fabricators Machineous came up with a great solution for Broadway Apartments, an affordable project at the corner of Broadway and 26th Street in Santa Monica, developed by Community Corporation of Santa Monica. Read More
The top brass in the field of design have long supported preserving Chicago’s Old Prentice Women’s Hospital. Now proposals to save the embattled Bertrand Goldberg building may have economics on their side, too, according to a new report commissioned by advocates who hope to convince owner Northwestern University not to demolish the four-pronged curvilinear tower.
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SITU Fabrication produces and installs a Dev Harlan-designed projection wall in three weeks flat
For Adidas street fashion line Y-3’s 10th anniversary, the company commissioned New York City-based artist Dev Harlan to produce one of his distinctive 3D light installations. Y-3 wanted the installation to serve as a backdrop for a runway show at this September’s New York Fashion Week. Harlan designed a 170-foot-long wall with a deeply textural pattern of 656 skewed pyramids made prismatic by projected colored light and geometric shapes. He called on Brooklyn-based SITU Fabrication to produce and install the work in three weeks flat.
“We had worked with Harlan before on ‘Astral Fissure,’ a sculpture of folded aluminum plates that he projected light on,” said SITU partner Wes Rozen. “This time the budget and timeframe were much less, so we worked with foam core instead of aluminum.”
Stuck with the post-Sandy realization that buried waterfront highways are unlikely to be buried for fear of flooding, designers are looking to spruce them up, instead. The emerging “funderpass” movement hit Brooklyn last week, and now Manhattan’s Upper West Side has its own proposal, the leafy “Vine Line.”
Architect Laurence Tamaccio has proposed hiding, or rather masking, an elevated section of the West Side Highway between 61st and 72nd streets with a green scheme of vines and waterfalls. Plans had been on the table to bury the highway once and for all after a collapse in the 1970s and the contentious process of rebuilding it, but after Hurricane Sandy, that option seems in doubt. So far, Tamaccio’s plan, which also offers a grey water filtering system and a café, has been greeted with support from the community board and many local residents.