The World’s Best Tall Building Doesn’t Have to be the Tallest

International, Midwest, Newsletter
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
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KfW Westarkade in Frankfurt, Germany. (Spiegelneuronen / Flickr)

KfW Westarkade in Frankfurt, Germany. (Spiegelneuronen / Flickr)

The Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) sought out a deep understanding of sustainability and contextualization in selecting the Best Tall Building of 2011. This year’s worldwide winner, while hardly as tall as last year’s winning Burj Khalifa, went to the KfW Westarkade tower in Frankfurt Germany. The 184-foot-tall tower is projected to use half as much energy as a typical European office building and only a third the energy of a standard U.S. building. The 10th-annual awards ceremony took place November 3 at a distinctly horizontal building in Chicago, Mies van der Rohe’s Crown Hall.

Check out the winners after the jump.

LA Union Station Shortlist Announced & The Notables That Missed The Cut

Newsletter, West
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
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LA's Union Station. (Martin Schall)

LA's Union Station. (Martin Schall)

It’s official: the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (METRO) has revealed the shortlist for its Union Station Master Plan RFIQ (Request For Information & Qualifications), which seeks a team to oversee the redevelopment of 42 acres of land and up to six million square feet of entitlements around the station. “In addition to creating a model for Transit Oriented Development in the region, it is now important that the property be planned with an eye to its role as the center of regional transportation,” said METRO in an official document released by its executive management committee.

Shortlisted teams include: EE&K, a Perkins Eastman Company; Gruen Associates/ Grimshaw Architects; IBI Group/ Foster + Partners; Moore Ruble Yudell and TEN Arquitectos; NBBJ/Ingenhoven Architects; and Renzo Piano Building Workshop/ Parsons Transportation Group.

An impressive list, but perhaps even more notable are those that didn’t make the cut.

Coach Seated Business Class at Hudson Yards

East
Friday, November 4, 2011
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Hudson Yards viewed from the High Line. (Courtesy KPF)

Hudson Yards viewed from the High Line. (Courtesy KPF)

Mayor Bloomberg and top city officials joined executives from the Related Companies, Oxford Properties, and fashion label Coach underneath the northernmost spur of the High Line on Tuesday to announce the first anchor tenant at Hudson Yards on Manhattan’s West Side. “Today we announce Coach as the anchor tenant at Hudson Yards,” said Related CEO Stephen Ross. He told the crowd that construction could start in a few months. Coach will relocate 1,500 employees currently scattered across three buildings nearby into a sleek glass and steel KPF-designed tower overlooking the High Line, occupying about a third of the planned first tower.

Continue reading after the jump.

WRL’s Allen Theater Renovation: Eventscape

Fabrikator
Friday, November 4, 2011
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Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
Fabrikator Brought to you by:

Perforated scrims enhance acoustics in the 1920s Italian Renaissance-style theater (Eventscape)

Faceted steel screens solve acoustical problems while keeping the theater’s ornate 1920s architecture on view

The Allen Theater is one of eight venues in Cleveland’s Playhouse Square performing arts district. Opened in 1921 as a silent movie house, the Italian Renaissance-style building was renovated in 1998, when it began to host large Broadway productions and concerts. More than ten years later, the Broadway productions had moved to the nearby State Theater, leaving the door open to new resident companies Cleveland State University and Cleveland Play House. Last year, the 81,500-square-foot theater closed to undergo a dramatic transformation from its 2,500-seat format to a more intimate 500-seat proscenium theater. In the new space, designed by Westlake Reed Leskosky (WRL) and opened in September, faceted steel screens created by Toronto-based architectural fabricator Eventscape not only enhance acoustics but also hide or reveal the theater’s traditional interior finishes depending on the desired aesthetic.

Continue reading after the jump.

Gang Floats New Ideas for Chicago’s Waterways

Midwest
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
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Studio Gang has long partnered with nonprofits and community groups to realize their unconventional designs. For her recent Harvard GSD studio, principal Jeanne Gang partnered with one of the nation’s largest environmental groups, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), to tackle an issue with repercussions across the northern Midwest: separating the South Branch of Chicago River to prevent invasive Asian carp from decimating the Great Lakes.

Read More

Meet Williamsburgh Savings Bank’s Lofty New Neighbor

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
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Chad Oppenheim's design for Williamsburghotel. (Courtesy Oppenheim)

Chad Oppenheim's design for Williamsburghotel. (Courtesy Oppenheim)

Miami-based Oppenheim Architecture+Design has won an international design competition for a hotel in Brooklyn at the Williamsburg Bridge. The proposed 86,000 square foot, 440-foot-tall tower is comprised of three 16-foot deep vertical slabs and joins a recently announced 40-story rental tower designed by FX Fowle nearby on the waterfront as the latest high-rise planned for the neighborhood. Oppenheim declined to name the competition sponsor, citing a confidential development team, but the site adjacent to the landmarked, 1870s-era Williamsburgh Savings Bank is currently under renovation by a group intending to build a hotel and event space on the corner of Broadway and Driggs Avenue.

More renderings after the jump.

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Chutes and Ladders at the New Museum

East
Friday, October 28, 2011
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Carsten Höller's Slide at the New Museum. (Branden Klayko)

Carsten Höller's Slide at the New Museum. (Branden Klayko)

The New Museum has been transformed into a real-life game of chutes and ladders, or perhaps a Fun Palace a la Cedric Price, for its new exhibition Carsten Höller: Experience that opened this week and is running through January 15, 2012. The centerpiece of the show is a spiraling stainless steel slide traversing the fourth through second floors and providing what certainly must be the most rapid vertical circulation in the entire city short of a plummeting elevator . We stopped by to check out the slide and, after signing our lives away on a waiver, took a couple rides ourselves.

Check out a photo gallery after the jump.

DesignByMany Pop-Up Shop Contest

Fabrikator
Friday, October 28, 2011
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Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
Fabrikator Brought to you by:

M.Ling's concept for a temporary Amazon Kindle store (M.Ling)

Design of a prefabricated retail location is the latest competition hosted by a challenge-based design technology community

Launched last year, DesignByMany is a challenge-based virtual design community for architects, engineers, students, and construction-industry members interested in publicly sharing technical design knowledge. The site lets users post projects online in response to community-generated challenges or as submissions to frequent sponsored challenges (the sponsor is Hewlett-Packard).

With the goal of bringing more functionality to small, under-utilized urban spaces, the site’s current challenge is to design a rapidly constructible or prefabricated freestanding shop that occupies less than 200 square feet. While permitting issues were left out of the entry criteria, contestants were urged to consider foot traffic and visibility, as well as a location or multiple locations where the project could be deployed. Community voting will end Sunday before a panel of judges selects the final winner. AN‘s Fabrikator takes a look at three designs in the running:

Continue reading after the jump.

City Center Slicker

East
Thursday, October 27, 2011
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The newly restored City Center opened on Tuesday. (Aislinn Weidele / Ennead Architect)

The newly restored City Center reopened on Tuesday.(Aislinn Weidele / Ennead Architects)

You could literally smell the champagne aroma at Tuesday night’s gala reopening of New York City Center. Row upon row of glasses were poured just before the doors opened to reveal Ennead’s $56 million renovation of the beloved hall. Backstage, wide-eyed dancers and musicians rushed with palpable pre-performance angst. Duncan Hazard, Ennead’s partner in charge of the restoration, gave us a whirlwind tour before the curtain went up.

Read More

White Mannequins Are the New Ghost Bikes

Midwest
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
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(Courtesy CDOT)

Yesterday, Chicago’s Department of Transportation (CDOT) began a new pedestrian safety initiative, in hopes of taming the aggressive driving habits of city residents. Following in the footsteps of the grassroots Ghost Bikes campaigns–where cycling advocates place anonymous white painted bikes at the sites where cyclists have been killed–the program includes 32 white mannequins placed along Wacker Drive. The mannequins refer to the 32 pedestriand deaths in the city last year. Read More

Pictorial> Virgin goes Galactic

International, Newsletter
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
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The Virgin Galactic Spaceport by Foster + Partners. (Nigel Young / Foster+Partners)

The Virgin Galactic Spaceport by Foster + Partners. (Nigel Young / Foster+Partners)

A quick flashback: Back in 2005, Virgin Group’s latest venture, Virgin Galactic, and the State of New Mexico had announced that they had reached an “historic agreement”—that they would build a state-funded $200 million spaceport in New Mexico. Virgin planned to provide sub-orbital space flights to the paying public, along with sub-orbital space science missions and orbital launches of small satellites (and much later, even orbital human space-flights). The facility was to be designed by Foster + Partners, who won Virgin Galactic’s international architectural competition.

Now, the Virgin Galactic Spaceport America—the world’s first commercial spaceport—has officially launched. Aimed to “articulate the thrill of space travel for the first space tourists while making a minimal impact on the environment,” the spaceport is designed to resemble, when viewed from space, Virgin Galactic’s brand logo of the eye, with an elongated pupil–the elevated apron completes the iris. Check out the photos after the jump.

2011 ASLA Professional Awards Showcase Innovation & Sustainability

National
Friday, October 21, 2011
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Citygarden, St. Louis, MO by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects. (Courtesy NBW)

Citygarden, St. Louis, MO by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects. (Courtesy NBW)

Earlier this week, we checked in with the student winners of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) 2011 awards and found reason to be hopeful about the future of landscape architecture. But what legacy will those students be inheriting? The ASLA has recently doled out 37 awards to professional firms from across the globe, honoring their innovation, design, and sustainability.  The submissions (most of which have been built) range from the systematic redesign of streetscapes and historical residential gardens to large scale estuarine master plans.

Check out the winners after the jump.

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