An Education: Zaha Hadid wins the Stirling Prize

International
Monday, October 3, 2011
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Zaha Hadid's Evelyn Grace Academy. (Courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects)

Zaha Hadid's Evelyn Grace Academy. (Courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects)

A South London state-funded school is a far cry from an international exhibition center, but in the last two years the annual Stirling Prize, organized by the RIBA, has recognized Zaha Hadid’s designs for both as exceptional examples of British architecture. This year’s winner, the Evelyn Grace Academy in Brixton was the London-based practice’s second consecutive win after last year’s prize for the enigmatic Maxxi Museum in Rome. Hadid’s design was up against a swathe of accomplished competitors including Hopkins’ London Olympics Velodrome, the Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres in Stratford by Bennetts Associates and Chipperfield’s Folkwang Museum in Essen, Germany.

Continue reading after the jump.

Morphosis’ Museum of Nature & Science Facade: Gate Precast

Fabrikator
Friday, September 30, 2011
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Striated precast panels clad the facade (Bob Borson)

A new cultural focal point takes shape in Dallas

When the Dallas Museum of Nature & Science was created from the 2006 merger of three city museums—the Museum of Natural History, The Science Place, and the Dallas Children’s Museum—the new institution set its sites on expanding programming with a new facility in the city’s Victory Park neighborhood. Now, the 180,000-square-foot Morphosis-designed Perot Museum of Nature & Science is slated for completion in 2013. Located at the northwest corner of Woodall Rodgers Freeway and Field Street, it marks the future crossroads of the city’s Trinity River Corridor Project and the city’s cultural districts. Floating atop an irregularly shaped plinth that will be the base for a one-acre rooftop ecosystem, the museum’s striated concrete facade offers a first glimpse at the dynamic transformation of the site.

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An Honest Look at Architecture

National, Newsletter
Thursday, September 29, 2011
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Architecture Studio at Harvard University. (Cesar Harada / Flickr)

Architecture studio at Harvard University GSD. (Cesar Harada / Flickr)

After years of grueling through studios, crits, and all-nighters, there comes a time soon after entering the real world where it hits you: You’re lost. You didn’t learn any of this architect-business in school!

While we can’t help with the shock of the realization, we did stumble across a new humorous book by SCI-Arc-trained architecture writers Guy Horton (an AN contributor) and Sherin Wing called The Real Architect’s Handbook: Things I Didn’t Learn in Architecture School. The project is a hilarious and often sobering look at the realities of the architecture profession, including its low pay, inflated egos, and many misperceptions. “Most of the books we were seeing skewed toward an idealized vision of the architect. There was a definite disconnect between this romanticized Architecture and what we were seeing and hearing,” explained Horton, who added, “We annoyed a few people, but that tells us we were hitting the right chords.”

Here are some of our favorite words of wisdom:

#1 It’s architecture, not medicine. You can take a break and no one will die.

#10 Once you leave architecture school not everybody cares about architecture or wants to talk about it.

#35 The “privilege” of working for a firm is not compensation in itself. You cannot live on, buy food with, or pay the rent with, a firm’s “reputation.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Artists Take on Breuer’s Inverted Umbrellas in the Bronx

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
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Gisela Insuaste's collaboration with Breuer.

Gisela Insuaste's collaboration with Breuer. (Courtesy Lehman College Art Gallery)

When one thinks of Marcel Breuer’s work in New York, the Whitney immediately comes to mind. But there’s a substantial collection of Breuer buildings in the Bronx, including the Lehman College Art Gallery, where Breuer morphed from Bauhaus to Brutailism in one structure. On Monday night, two separate group shows opened at the gallery, one curated by gallery director Susan Hoetzel, the other was part of El Museo del Barrio’s biennial, “The (S) Files.” From an architectural standpoint, one artist from each show stood out because of their direct response to Breuer’s hyperbolic paraboloid columns which punctuate the space.

Continue reading after the jump.

Dutch Artist Imagines a Playground Rooted in Used Tires

International
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
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Proposal for a playground made of tires called RubberTree. (Courtesy AnneMarie van Splunter)

Proposal for a playground made of tires called RubberTree. (Courtesy AnneMarie van Splunter)

Of the 85 proposals submitted to a playground design competition hosted by Go Play!, few were as innovative as AnneMarie van Splunter’s RubberTree, which landed an honorable mention. The Dutch designer’s imaginative reuse of old car and motorcycle tires recalls the simplicity of children playing around a tree, inspired, in fact, by the rubber tree and its heavily exposed root system. Van Splunter sought to create a place where refugee children on the border of Burma and Thailand can be “rooted in solid ground.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Snøhetta’s Times Square Glitz Fix Revealed

East
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
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Redesigned Times Square. (Snøhetta, Courtesy NYC DOT)

Redesigned Times Square. (Snøhetta, Courtesy NYC DOT)

Mayor Bloomberg’s vision for a pedestrian-friendly Times Square is about to be written in stone. On September 27, Snøhetta gave Community Board 5 a preview of things to come at the Crossroads of the World, and they look a lot more permanent than lawn chairs and painted pavements. Principal Craig Dykers presented designs for dark and darker pavers that largely eliminate any bias for an automotive Broadway, stepping the plaza streetscape up to sidewalk grade and adding elongated benches to indicate long-gone traffic patterns. In homage to New York noir, the designers have also embedded nickel-sized reflectors adding a hard bit of glitz to the dark stones that will not compete with the glam above.

According to an email from Seth Solomonow, Press Secretary at the NYC Department of Transportation: “This long-planned redesign will restore the aging utilities below the street, which itself hasn’t been rebuilt in more than 50 years and still has trolley tracks beneath the asphalt. On the surface, this simple, flexible design will clear obstructions and support the growing number of programs occurring in Times Square, which more than 350,000 people visit every day.”

Another rendering after the jump.

IwamotoScott Architecture: Bookshelf Screen Wall

Fabrikator, West
Friday, September 23, 2011
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(Courtesy IwamotoScott)

(Courtesy IwamotoScott)

Lisa Iwamoto and Craig Scott, principals at IwamotoScott Architecture first established a relationship with Obscura Digital, a digital media company, three years ago in order to collaborate on a new hemispheric theater encased in a geodesic dome in Dubai. While the project was scuttled by the recession, the two firms stayed in touch, and when Obscura acquired new office space in a 1940s-era warehouse in an up-and-coming San Francisco neighborhood, they again called on IwamotoScott to design it, and even invited the architects to move into their new space.

Working with a tight budget, IwamotoScott injected digitally fabricated details that would give focus and add drama to the large industrial space. A black-box conference room that Scott describes as bringing “shrink-wrap to seismic bracing” is perched on the edge of a second-floor mezzanine while a 32-foot laser-cut screen wall comprised of cells that appear to collapse into fluid scales sequesters the architect’s space within the digital media company’s headquarters.

Continue reading after the jump.

Susan Chin to Head Design Trust

East, Newsletter, Shft+Alt+Del
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
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Susan Chin.

Susan Chin. (Sultan Khan)

Unhelmed for five months, the sixteen-year-old Design Trust for Public Space tomorrow will announce the appointment of Bloomberg administration’s Susan Chin as the new executive director, effective October.

Chin is a public servant through and through, having served as Assistant Commissioner for Capital Projects for the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs for over twenty years. Some of the projects that she has helped shepherd into existence with city funding include Leeser Architecture’s Museum of the Moving Image (2011), Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Alice Tully Hall (2009), SANAA’s New Museum (2008), and Curtis + Ginsberg’s Staten Island Zoo Reptile Wing renovation (2006). She also oversaw the Percent for Art program and the Community Arts Development Program.

Continue reading after the jump.

West Coast Park(ing) Day Diary

Standard's park on Sunset Blvd in LA's Silver Lake neighborhood. (Carren Jao)

What if we could transform part of the massive space we dedicate to urban parking into public parks, and what would it look like? On Friday, over 100 cities worldwide participated in the sixth annual PARK(ing) Day, where citizens and designers temporarily converted metered parking spots into open public space. While we couldn’t jet set around the world, a couple of our reporters checked out the happenings in California, where the concept was born.

Before you check out the parks, we should mention that these grassroots efforts are slowly influencing permanent change. In San Francisco, a City Planning Department collaboration with design firm Rebar, which helped begin PARK(ing) Day, has led to the creation of the “Parklets” program, where parking spots around the city are being converted into permanent plazas and outdoor seating.  And on Friday, LA City Council members Jan Perry and Jose Huizar announced a partnership with local neighborhood groups in downtown LA and Eagle Rock to begin a Parklets pilot program in Los Angeles.   Read More

Aggregated Porosity Canopy: Digital Architecture Laboratory

Fabrikator
Friday, September 9, 2011
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Brought to you with support from:
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The canopy provides both shade and seating (DAL)

Students and architects create a curving plywood canopy during this summer’s Digital Architecture Laboratory workshop

This summer, Hunan University’s School of Architecture sponsored the Digital Architecture Laboratory (DAL), a workshop created to bring architects and students together to explore digital fabrication techniques. Hosted in Changsha, China, the workshop was led by Biao Hu, a professor with the university, and Yu Du, an architect with Zaha Hadid Architects. Suryansh Chandra, also with Zaha Hadid Architects, and Shuojiong Zhang, of UNstudio, were invited to participate as tutors for the workshop, which with a theme of “aggregated porosity” would explore variations in material density and the juxtaposition of solid forms with skeletal ones. Additionally, the project had to be a structure that provided shade and fit within an approximately 10-by-10-by-20-foot area.

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Burning Man Amazes Yet Again

Newsletter, West
Thursday, September 8, 2011
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Temple of Transition (Michael Holden)

Temple of Transition (Michael Holden)

For the second year in a row (check out last year’s report here) we’d like to share some of the most amazing, ridiculous, and inspiring architecture of Burning Man, which just wrapped up in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. And like last year the Playa’s temporary installations didn’t disappoint; displaying an aggressive level of imagination and ambition for Burning Man’s 25th anniversary (has it really been that long?).

The theme this year was Rites of Passage, although we’re not sure the artists here are interested in following any rules. Photographer Michael Holden was on the ground to document the event. Here are our favorites from Burning Man 2011:

Continue reading after the jump.

Video> World Trade Center Rendered Like Never Before

East, Newsletter
Thursday, September 8, 2011
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It’s blockbuster good. Silverstein Properties has produced a video of The New World Trade Center that shows where we’ve been and where we’ll be in coming years (provided the markets cooperate).  With music swelling, this time machine has production values on par with Inception, and like that thriller it might leave you wondering which dream level we’re on.

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