Chelsea Hotel Charm Offensive

East
Thursday, January 12, 2012
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Yaddo on 23rd? Smith wants an artist in residence. (Stoelker/AN)

Yaddo on 23rd Street? Smith wants artists-in-residence. (Stoelker/AN)

The Chelsea Hotel management and architect Gene Kaufman launched a charm offensive last night in the hotel’s “Grand Ballroom.” Patti Smith came to sing and read poetry to a small media and arts crowd. Tonight, Smith will return to perform for residents. The artist is a longtime hotel alum who launched her career from Room 203. Kaufman and his client, hotel owner Joseph Chetrit, have been taking a beating in the press and in the courts for their renovations of 127 year-old hotel. Smith reached out to Kaufman, helping him to make good on a promise that the hotel would continue to foster the arts.

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Slideshow> Organic Architecture Catches Fire in Coachella Valley

Newsletter, West
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
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Ken Kellogg's GG's Island restaurant before the fire. (Keith Daly / Flickr)

Ken Kellogg's GG's Island restaurant before the fire. (Keith Daly / Flickr)

Southern California critic Alan Hess tells us more about Ken Kellogg’s GG’s Island Restaurant (formerly the Chart House), which was ravaged by fire on Tuesday morning. The extent of the damage and the potential for repair have not yet been determined.

Palm Springs may be best known for sleek steel and glass Modern architecture, but the 1978 Chart House by San Diego architect Ken Kellogg (one of a series he designed for the restaurant chain) makes it impossible to ignore the fact that Organic Modernism is just as much a part of the Coachella Valley heritage. Set along Highway 111 in Rancho Mirage, Chart House’s low-slung, serpentine shape hugs the contours of a small, rocky butte.

Outside, it’s the image of protective desert shelter: the taut vaulted roof stretches down, like the fabric of an umbrella or the shell of a crab, almost to touch the landscape berms rising to meet it. Inside, however, the heavy timber columns, curving glu-lam roof ribs, and rubble stone walls wind their way through the restaurant like a well-designed forest. They create layers of space, naturally lighted by a skylight curving along the spine, with an appealing complexity. Kellogg’s fifty-five year career, including residences, churches, and commercial and institutional buildings, continues to show the vitality of organic design.

View a slideshow of the restaurant before and after the fire.

Playing Samba in a Piano

International
Monday, January 9, 2012
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The new Cabana restaurant near London's West End. (Courtesy John Carey)

The new Cabana restaurant near London's West End. (Courtesy John Carey)

Just a stone’s throw from the British Museum, Renzo Piano‘s Central Saint Giles complex seems to have been overshadowed by the excitement around his Shard of Glass rising in the Southwark section of London. But as the Shard pierces the skyline, the year old St. Giles has begun to find its own footing. Last month, the 500,000 square foot complex brought a bit of bossa nova to this West End outpost.  Cabana, a restaurant designed by Alex Michaelis of Michaelis Boyd, plays well with Piano’s citrus colored facades and brings a dash Brazilian spice to the quiet courtyard.

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Brooks + Scarpa’s Contemporary Art Museum Canopy in Raleigh

Fabrikator
Friday, January 6, 2012
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Brought to you with support from:
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The adaptive reuse highlights Raleigh's red-brick vernacular (Brooks + Scarpa)

A folded canopy reinvents a former loading dock in the city’s historic Depot District

Raleigh’s Contemporary Art Museum chose its new home in the city’s Depot District carefully. Located in a former produce warehouse, the project calls attention to the city’s history of railroad transportation and red brick architecture while emphasizing its commitment to sustainability and adaptive reuse. Led by Brooks + Scarpa Architects, the project included renovation of the existing 21,000-square-foot structure and the addition of a 900-square-foot entry pavilion. The glass-enclosed lobby reinterprets the location of the original building’s loading dock with an expanded and folded canopy that announces the building’s new purpose and balances the effect of daylight on its interiors.

Continue reading after the jump.

Opening Salvo Aimed at NYU Expansion

East
Thursday, January 5, 2012
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Andrew Berman takes the mic before an overflow crowd at the Center for Architecture. (Stoelker/AN)

Andrew Berman takes the mic before an overflow crowd at the Center for Architecture. (Stoelker/AN)

It was the opening shot heard ’round the Village–and the East Village, and SoHo. An overflow crowd gathered at the Center for Architecture last night to rally the troops opposing NYU’s twenty year expansion plan. It certainly wasn’t the usual black-clad crowd found at the Center. No, these were some good old fashioned Village rabble rousers.

The event was organized by the Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, who assured the crowd that the NYU Core plan is “not a done deal.” On Tuesday, the university certified proposals with City Planning, thus kicking off the ULURP process for what is likely to become one of the most contentious development debates of 2012. The proposal is, after all,  in the heart of Jane Jacobs country.

Just across the street from the Center are the remains of Robert Moses’ failed attempt to build the Lower Manhattan Expressway through SoHo after Jacobs and Co. put a halt to the plan. Parcels of land assembled by the Department of Transportation to accommodate the failed highway are now parkland commonly known as the DOT strips. A substantial portion of the 1.3 million square feet NYU wants to build in the area would be placed beneath the strips. The university has proposed designating the strips as parkland after the construction is complete, with the new green space designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.

No matter the promises, this was not a crowd that trusts the university. The term “Midtown Zoning” got thrown about with on-message regularity. As did square footage metaphors, such as “bigger than the Waldorf-Astoria,” “the size of the Empire State Building,” and “three Jacob Javits Convention Centers.”

Council Member Margaret Chin was on hand to listen, but not to state her pro or con position–despite pressure from the crowd.

This month’s Community Board 2 subcommittee meetings will no doubt be unusually crowded as they’re all dealing with the proposal. If you want to see some New York zoning theater in action, here’s a selected breakdown:

Land Use:  Mon., 1/9 6PM at The Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Pl.

Traffic and Transportation: Tues., 1/10 @ 6:30 NYU Silver Building, 32 Waverly Pl. room 520

Parks:  Thurs., 1/12 @ 6:30PM at NYU Silver Bldg. 32 Waverly Pl. room 520

Full Board: Thurs., 1/19 @ 6:00PM 116 West 11th Street, Auditorium

 

Board Named for WTC Performing Arts Center

East, Newsletter
Thursday, January 5, 2012
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The site of the proposed performing arts center sits directly east of One World Trade Center.

Possible site of the proposed performing arts center sits directly east of One World Trade Center.

It had to happen before midnight December 31. And it did, although quietly. Downtown Express reports that five founding board members for the World Trade Center Performing Arts Center (PAC) were announced by National September 11 Memorial President Joe Daniels in the nick of time, in order not to forfeit access to $100 million in LMDC funds set aside in fall 2010 for the lone surviving cultural venue–apart from the September 11 museum–at the site, where once many were envisioned as the most sure-fire way to lift ground zero out of the psychological depths of mourning for the lost.

Continue reading after the jump.

Obit> Anne Tyng, 1920-2011

East
Thursday, January 5, 2012
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Anne Tyng, photo credit: Ramak Fazel

Anne Tyng, 1920-2011. Photo: Ramak Fazel.

Anne Tyng, the Philadelphia architect and design professor, passed away on December 27. Born in 1920, Tyng was best known as a close collaborator—and even muse—of Louis Kahn, but she herself was an extraordinary figure. She established her career with theoretical writings that reflected a deep interest in mathematics and design, themes that she explored in Simultaneousness, Randomness and Order, her Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Pennsylvania, and pursued throughout her professional life.

Anne Tyng: Inhabiting Geometry, an exhibition that opened last year at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, was an elegant summation of her theoretical research on design and of her professional and academic career. Several of Tyng’s geometric designs from the ICA show were later exhibited at the Graham Foundation in Chicago, a longtime supporter of her work.

The Architect’s Newspaper will publish a more extensive obituary written by Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss in our next issue.

New Projects: Chicago’s Newest Architecture Gallery

Midwest, Newsletter
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
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Located three blocks south of Crown Hall at IIT, New Projects, a new architecture research and exhibition space, aims to provide a venue for urban and artistic dialogue about the future of cities. Located in the 1920′s Overton Building, the 3400 square foot storefront space is to play host to lectures, workshops, and exhibitions “focusing specifically on urbanism,” according to co-organizer Marshall Brown. Read More

New Year Brings CRA Disaster in California

Newsletter, West
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
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The CRA's dissolution could be the final death knell for the $3 billion Grand Avenue Project (The Related Companies)

The CRA's dissolution could be the final death knell for the $3 billion Grand Avenue Project (The Related Companies)

Now that California’s Redevelopment Association (CRA) has doubled down and lost its bet with the California Supreme Court, leading to the scrapping of all the state’s CRAs, building projects across the state are in severe jeopardy. There are about 400 municipal redevelopment agencies in the state. Here are the projects in trouble for just one (albeit the largest): the Los Angeles CRA. They include nearly $100 million in grant funds to improve public infrastructure and create affordable housing and transit oriented development, the 126-unit Noho Senior Arts Colony in North Hollywood, the renovation of the historic Westlake Theater near downtown, the 35,000 square foot Wattstar Theater in Watts, the Cleantech Manufacturing Center south of downtown, and the biggest, the $3 billion Grand Avenue Project downtown. More than 20 projects in total are in danger. More to come on this huge news, including more lawsuits than you ever wanted to see.

BLOCK Research Group’s Freeform Catalan Thin-Tile Vault

Fabrikator
Friday, December 30, 2011
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Brought to you with support from:
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The freeform vaulted structure is BLOCK Research Group's first built prototype (BLOCK)

A research project explores techniques from the past to learn about building stronger structures in the future

Sometimes research involves destruction in the name of creation. Architects and engineers from Zurich-based BLOCK Research Group at science and technology university ETH Zurich recently teamed up to build, and destroy, a vaulted masonry structure that was designed with advanced digital fabrication methods but constructed with traditional timbrel, or Catalan, thin-tile vaulting techniques. Through its research of freeform shells, tiling patterns, building sequences, and formwork, the group hopes to construct increasingly radical forms without sacrificing efficiency.

Continue reading after the jump.

Pictorial> An Architect Paints a Softer Skyline

International
Friday, December 30, 2011
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A watercolor by Gene Kohn included in a Hong Kong exhibition.

A watercolor by Gene Kohn included in a Hong Kong exhibition.

Are you on KPF’s holiday mailing list? If so, think twice before you toss their annual card into the recycling bin. You’re now the owner of a limited edition print by an artist who is represented by one of London’s poshest galleries, the Belgravia, and whose work was featured this fall in a one-man show in Hong Kong. The signature is in the bottom right corner: Kohn ’11.

Continue reading after the jump.

Zen-otaph: Steve Jobs and the Meaning Behind Apple’s New Campus

Newsletter, West
Thursday, December 29, 2011
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Aerial view of Apple's proposed new headquarters in Cupertino, California. (Courtesy Foster + Partners)

Aerial view of Apple's proposed new headquarters in Cupertino, California. (Courtesy Foster + Partners)

Apple’s new campus in Cupertino has left the design community a bit perplexed.

Back in September most of the architectural critics who weighed in on the issue expressed a one-two combination of shock and disappointment. Precisely because of Apple’s design bona fides and Sir Norman Foster’s involvement as the lead architect, they were expecting better. Christopher Hawthorne of the LA Times called it a “retrograde cocoon,” marking it down as a car-centric, “doggedly old-fashioned proposal.”

Continue reading after the jump.

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