Report Live from Megaprojects Conference

East
Friday, May 11, 2012
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The Megaprojects Conference features Hudson Yards as a "Megaproject for the 21st Century" (Courtesy Related)

The conference features Hudson Yards as a "Megaproject for the 21st Century" (Courtesy Related)

AN was live blogging from the Megaprojects Conference at the McGraw Hill Conference Center on May 11. The conference/symposium, sponsored by Columbia University’s Center for Urban Real Estate, took a close look at a few of New York’s biggest real estate projects. The World Trade Center, Hudson Yards, and Times Square. London’s Docklands was also discussed.

5:00PM

The panel from Hudson Yards was the last up at today’s conference, though Related’s Stephen Ross, who sat on an earlier panel was no longer in the house. Oxford Properties’ Dean Shapiro estimated that the project would be completed over the course of two economic cycles. MTA’s real estate director Jeffrey Rosen once again echoed the Port Authority transit theme with “Our paramount concern is running the rail road.” Rosen said that flexibility needs to be a part of any plan, adding that the High Line was not even on the radar when Hudson Yards planning began. As a result the project’s anchor tenant was a luxury fashion company.“Who would’ve thought that this would become Meatpacking North,” he said.

Vishaan Chakrabarti who opened the conference with the statement, “Cities can cure many of the world’s ills” closed the session by explaining how and why. He said major private investment needed to be paired with greater public flexibility and more investment at the federal level. He added that a more nimble public process (that’s you, ULURP) needed to be figured out. “We’re taking too long to build these kind of projects,” he said. But then he zeroed in on the major plus of the megaprojects. “They can address the alarming rate of suburbanization,” he said. “The only way to mitigate that is far denser urbanization with transportation.”

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Fabricating New Solar Skins

Fabrikator
Friday, May 11, 2012
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Brought to you with support from:
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A rendering of Martin Ferrero's new BIPV concept

Research into flexible active skins opens up new BIPV possibilities

As building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) technology becomes more advanced, architects are getting involved in how new systems affect not only a building’s performance, but also its appearance. “The photovoltaic industry was until now largely developed by engineers,” said Daniel Martín Ferrero, a Madrid-based architect researching solar design. “The architect must enter the industry to develop their integration into the urban scene.” Ferrero has launched a new company named The New Solar Architecture with a goal of bringing a higher level of design to solar energy-producing facades.

Watch a video of the system

First Look at NBBJ’s New Amazon Complex in Seattle

West
Thursday, May 10, 2012
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An early design rendering of Amazon's Block 20.

An early design rendering of Amazon's Block 20.

The largest development proposed in the history of downtown Seattle—an approximately 3 million square-foot headquarters for Amazon—may take eight years to complete. Project details presented at a recent downtown design review committee meeting revealed that Amazon’s glassy three block project, designed by NBBJ (designers of the recently-c0mpleted Gates Foundation, also in Seattle), will be built in three phases of two to four years.

Continue reading after the jump.

Inside the MOMA PS1 Performance Dome

Other
Thursday, May 10, 2012
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Walking into the large, egg-like structure of the MoMA Ps1 Performance Dome, the German electronic band Kraftwerk’s song “Man-Machine” was the perfect accompaniment to the architecture.  Their music represents the kind of progressive attitude towards materials (instruments) and aesthetics (sounds) that is captured perfectly in the temporary structure.  A shiny, white, geodesic dome reminiscent of fellow early techno-fetishist Buckminster Fuller, the space features a super-high-fidelity sound system, 8 screens projecting various computer art, and not much else. It is the ideal pairing of minimalism and technology with Kraftwerk’s slick electronic melodies. Read More

Childs vs. Durst: WTC’s Stripped Spire Stokes Controversy

East, Newsletter
Thursday, May 10, 2012
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The SOM spire at left and the Durst/Port replacement at right. (Courtesy SOM/Durst)

The SOM spire at left and the Durst/Port replacement at right. (Courtesy SOM/Durst)

The Durst Organization and the Port Authority have decided to abandon designs for what they once assured the public would be the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, and architect David Childs of SOM is fighting back. By stripping away the sculptural finishes designed by SOM with artist Kenneth Snelson the developers and the Port may no longer qualify for the tallest title bestowed by the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the body that tallies and ranks building heights.

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Cornell Chooses Thom Mayne; SOM Forges Ahead with Master Plan

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
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Cornell has made an object-ive choice in Thom Mayne. (Brnandon Thomas / Flickr)

Cornell has made an object-ive choice in Thom Mayne. (Brnandon Thomas / Flickr)

Cornell University has named 2005 Pritzker Prize winner Thom Mayne as architect for the first building at its Tech Campus on Roosevelt Island called the Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute. The selection should overshadow some sour grapes that were emanating from Stanford in the past few days regarding their losing bid. Mayne bested an all-star list, including Rem Koolhaas of OMA, Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, Steven Holl, and SOM. The choice of Mayne, whose iconic building 41 Cooper Square still jams traffic at Astor Place, hints that Cornell is looking for a traffic stopper of its own on the East River.

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Evolution and Growth at the 2012 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion

International
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
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Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2012 designed by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei.

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2012 designed by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei.

The twelfth Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London is nothing without the first eleven. The collaborators responsible for the wonderfully intricate Beijing National Stadium (aka the Bird’s Nest) in 2008—Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron and Chinese artist Ai Weiwei—have designed  a temporary pavilion inspired by the archaeology of previous structures by Peter Zumthor, Jean Nouvel, and Zaha Hadid, among others.

Continue reading after the jump.

Visitors Become Performers at OMA’s Marina Abramovic Institute

East
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
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OMA's design for a 650-seat theater at the Marina Abramovic Institute for the Preservation of Performing Arts in Hudson, New York. (Courtesy OMA)

OMA's design for a 650-seat theater at the Marina Abramovic Institute for the Preservation of Performing Arts in Hudson, New York. (Courtesy OMA)

What makes the performing arts so thrilling is also what makes them so elusive—they are, by nature, ephemeral. Any documentation of a performance is only a pale reflection of what it’s like to be there in the moment. So when performance artist Marina Abramovic began to contemplate what her own legacy would be, she thought beyond biographies, retrospectives, or monuments and instead began to develop a method of generating the kind of experiences she valued, one that would allow her kind of performances to continue long after the artist was no longer present.

Starting in late 2014, “long duration” (six hours plus) performance pieces as well as facilities intended to initiate the public into performance art will be housed in the Marina Abramovic Institute for the Preservation of Performance Art (MAI) in Hudson, New York. The institute will occupy an old 20,000 square-foot theater that was purchased by Abramovic in 2007 and whose interior is being redesigned by Shohei Shigematsu and Rem Koolhaas of OMA.

Continue reading after the jump.

Ten Thousand Blue Citibikes to Hit New York Streets

East, Newsletter
Monday, May 7, 2012
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A Citibike demonstration at today's announcement. (Branden Klayko / AN)

A Citibike demonstration at today's announcement. (Branden Klayko / AN)

Beginning this July, thousands of bright-blue Citibikes will begin swarming the streets of Manhattan and eventually Brooklyn and Long Island City, Queens. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYCDOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan made the formal announcement today that Citibank has signed on as the official sponsor for the city’s new bike share system.

More after the jump.

Deborah Berke and Students Toast Urban Industry

East, Midwest
Monday, May 7, 2012
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Chester Prescott Distillation Tower by Francesco Galetto.

Chester Prescott Distillation Tower by Francesco Galetto.

With investment in American cities on the rise, mixed-use development is all the buzz, but architect Deborah Berke says we must be careful not to leave industry out of the mix. “We need to sway mixed-use back to the direction of a real mix. We’ve gone to all residential,” she said. Berke and critic Noah Biklen just finished teaching an architectural studio at Yale on boutique urban manufacturing, where students explored bringing a bourbon distillery to downtown Louisville, Kentucky.

View the student proposals after the jump.

MOCA Cleveland and the Big Blue Yonder

Midwest
Monday, May 7, 2012
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The exterior of MOCA Cleveland nears completion. (Courtesy FOA)

The exterior of MOCA Cleveland nears completion. (Courtesy Farshid Moussavi Architecture)

If Foreign Office Architects’ first project, the huge Yokohama International Port Terminal in Japan, was the vast scale of rolling dunes, the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland—begun when the firm was still known as FOA and carried to completion by Farshid Moussavi Architecture—is compact as a cube. And size has made all the difference in keeping on track through the economic downturn with the $27.2 million building poised for opening in October.

Continue reading after the jump.

HygroScope: Meteorosensitive Morphology

Fabrikator
Friday, May 4, 2012
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Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
Fabrikator Brought to you by:

HygroScope: Meteorosensitive Morphology

New climate-responsive architecture research makes structure the machine

A new project commissioned by the Centre Pompidou for its permanent collection explores responsive architecture based on the behavior of material during climate changes. Designed by architect Achim Menges in collaboration with Steffen Reichert, “HygroScope: Meteorosensitive Morphology” appears at first glance to be a wooden model suspended within a glass case. But when the humidity level within the case rises, the system begins to breathe, ventilating the moisture-saturated air without any sensory equipment or electricity.

Watch a video of the system

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