South Street Seaport Preservationistas: Oh no! PoMo Don’t Go!

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
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Detail of the model presented by SHoP at yesterday's Landmarks hearing. (AN/Stoelker)

Detail of the Pier 17 model presented by SHoP at yesterday's Landmarks hearing. (AN/Stoelker)

The PoMo aficionados were out in force at yesterday’s Landmarks Preservation hearing for the new proposal for South Street Seaport’s Pier 17. It would seem that just as debate on the value of 1970s Brutalism shifts into high gear, the 1980s PoMo crowd is revving its engines. As preservationists and developers whacked it out, some larger questions about context and neighborhood integration arose.

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Redesigning the National Mall: Union Square

East
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
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Snohetta & AECOM

Snohetta & AECOM

[Editor's Note: Following the unveiling of proposals to redesign the National Mall, AN will be running a three-part series to display the proposals for each of the three segments of the Mall: Constitution Gardens, Union Square, and the Washington Monument Grounds.]

Even for most Washingtonians, the name “Union Square” evokes a place in New York City. But the National Mall Plan of 2010 calls for this disconnected, little-used area—which has a reflecting pool and large equestrian statue of Ulysses S. Grant on the west front of the U.S. Capitol—to become a prime site for demonstrations and other large gatherings, thereby relieving some of the strain on the Mall. (The Mall receives 25 million visitors per year.)

Recently, control of the square passed from the National Park Service to the Architect of the Capitol, raising doubts about how a renovation would proceed. The National Mall Design Competition is organized by the Trust for the National Mall, a private organization that partners with the National Park Service.

Check out all four finalist proposals after the jump.

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Billings Stays Positive for Fifth Consecutive Month

National
Wednesday, April 18, 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)

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has registered promising gains since late last fall, and, according to the AIA’s latest report on March billings, the ABI continues to find its footing in positive territory—but just barely. The overall March score was 50.4, indicating slight growth in demand for services (any score above 50 reflects increase in billings) but less growth than the previous month (the ABI was 51.0 in February).

Read the full breakdown after the jump.

LA the Latest to Join the Nationwide Bike Share Game

National, Newsletter
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
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A rendering of a bike share station in LA. (Courtesy Bike Nation)

A rendering of a bike share station in LA. (Courtesy Bike Nation)

Over the weekend, over 100,000 pedestrians and cyclists packed the streets of Los Angeles for the city’s CicLAvia open streets initiative, a play off of the the Ciclovia in Bogotá, Columbia which popularized the movement to shut down city streets to cars and turn them over to the community for a day.

But masses of people taking to the streets wasn’t the big news out of LA. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa made a surprise announcement that the city is the latest to join the bike share craze that’s been pedaling across the nation. When it opens later this year, LA’s bike share system will be among the largest in the country, so AN decided to take stock of where some of the biggest initiatives stand today.

Continue reading after the jump.

Kansas City Solar Pavilion Opens, Puzzles

Midwest
Monday, April 16, 2012
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(photos: Gunnar Hand)

The Sun Pavilion, winner of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art’s design competition in conjunction with their Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World Fairs, 1851-1939, is now open. Completed in  81 days, the pavilion is an expression of the innovation that reflects the ideals of World’s Fairs. Read More

Books and Mortar

East
Friday, April 13, 2012
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A corbel dome made of books. (Courtesy Miler Lagos)

A corbel dome made of books. (Courtesy Miler Lagos)

Artist Miler Lagos is building a library, but think twice before pulling out a book. For his recent installation called Home at the Magnan Metz Gallery in New York City, Lagos constructed an entirely self-supporting dome out of nothing but books.

See more after the jump.

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Van Valkenburgh to Design Gardner’s Garden

East
Friday, April 13, 2012
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Museum in 1946 following a Japanese-inspired update. (Courtesy Gardner Museum)

The Monks Garden at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1946, following a Japanese-inspired redesign. (Courtesy Gardner Museum)

“I don’t have time to read, because I trot about with the gardeners. And the little monk’s garden at Fenway Court is very dear too,” Isabella Stewart Gardner wrote to her art advisor Bernard Berenson in 1908.

The walled “monk’s garden” flanks the Gardner Museum‘s Venetian-style palazzo (the house originally known as Fenway Court that became today’s museum) and was first planted in 1903 in an Italianate-style with elegant evergreens running along the walls and pathways. In the 1940s museum director Morris Carter resdesigned the Monks Garden using a Japanese style plan but seeding it with New England wildflowers. For the garden’s last update in the 1970s, Sasaki Associates added bluestone pavers and wooden benches. And the recent addition to the Gardner campus by Renzo Piano included a repositioning of the museum’s main entrance, a move that gives the Monks Garden a much higher profile, warranting another facelift. Read More

Taylor Family Digital Library Sunscreen

Fabrikator
Friday, April 13, 2012
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Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
Fabrikator Brought to you by:

The self-tensioning system has 52 percent open area (Cambridge)

LEED Gold-certified building protects old documents with a modern mesh design

The new Taylor Family Digital Library houses some of the University of Calgary’s prized documents—more than 800,000 architectural drawings, one million maps and aerial photographs, and thousands of print monographs are among the nine million items in the collection. The university built the library as part of its mission to become one of Canada’s top five research libraries by 2016, the year of its 50th anniversary. But the library also serves the practical goal of protecting the special documents and art collections that were relocated there from other facilities. To that end, architect Kasian Architecture Interior Design and Planning envisioned the 265,000-square-foot building enshrouded in a veil of mesh that would provide solar protection while creating a semi-transparent facade and day-lit interiors to be enjoyed by students and community members.

Continue reading after the jump.

Is Brooklyn Becoming Farm Country?

East
Thursday, April 12, 2012
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Inside the rooftop greenhouses. (Courtesy Bright Farms)

Inside the rooftop greenhouses. (Courtesy Bright Farms)

A massive new urban farming project in Sunset Park, Brooklyn was announced last week by New York City-based Bright Farms, a company dedicated to building hydroponic farms close to supermarkets. The Sunset Park project will be the largest rooftop farm in the city, and possibly the world. At 100,000 square feet, it could potentially yield 1 million pounds of produce a year and joins several other agricultural projects in Brooklyn. Brooklyn Grange, another rooftop farming operation located in Queens, is planning to open a 45,000 square foot urban farm at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and farm-developers Gotham Greens will be opening a new location in the borough as well.

Read More

Blanc’s Bronx Vertical Garden

East
Thursday, April 12, 2012
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Patrick Blanc's cube installation at the New York Botanical Garden.

Patrick Blanc's cube installation at the New York Botanical Garden. (AN/Stoelker)

As architects like Herzog & de Meuron and Jean Nouvel tap into the potential of vertical gardens, they’ll often seek the expertise of Patrick Blanc. For the past thirty years Blanc developed vertical gardens while researching adaptive strategies of plants at the National Center for Sceintific Research in France. His research of plant growth in nature’s more hostile environs, such as hanging off of stone cliffs or springing from rocks next to waterfalls, has yielded a uniquely urbanistic solution for gardening. For the next ten days there’s a small window of opportunity left to see the work of Blanc at its most luxurious. The botanist designed the New York Botanical Garden‘s annual Orchid Show which ends on April 22. As a bonus, this also happens to be the moment that the Gardens’ 250 acres are at the height of their springtime burst.

Read More

Shortlisted Teams Reveal a Reimagined National Mall

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
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Constitutional Gardens proposal by Nelson Byrd Woltz and Paul Murdoch.

Constitutional Gardens proposal by Nelson Byrd Woltz and Paul Murdoch.

The Trust for the National Mall, a nonprofit devoted to restoring the heavily used park in the core of Washington, D.C., has released the shortlisted design concepts in its National Mall Design Competition. The 10 teams in the contest’s final stage were asked to reimagine three sites on the Mall most in need of repair or improvement: Constitution Gardens, near the Lincoln Memorial and the Reflecting Pool; the Washington Monument grounds; and the area around the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial facing the U.S. Capitol’s west face.

Continue reading after the jump.

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NYU Takes a Shave; Locals Still Not Pleased

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
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The NYU expansion plan as seen from above will not change drastically. (Courtesy NYU)

The NYU expansion master plan as seen from above will not change drastically. (Courtesy NYU)

As was largely expected following comments from Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer‘s office leaked to the press last month, officials from NYU announced that the university has agreed to shave off 370,000 square feet from their 2,275,000 square foot expansion plan, The New York Times reported.

In a telephone interview with AN, Andrew Berman, of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, said that even with those changes the project is still out of scale for the neighborhood. Berman added that he was disappointed that the Borough President (BP) didn’t hold public meetings for the ULURP, as was done for the Columbia University expansion in Morningside Heights. “If there was ever a ULURP to hold a public hearing for, it was this,” he said.

Continue reading after the jump.

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