Rose Window is Lower East Side’s Newest Star

East
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
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It’s official. The multi-decade restoration of the historic Eldridge Street Synagogue is now truly complete with the recent installation of the new rose window that we told you about last February.

Read More

A Thousand Drops of Light in Madison Square Park

East
Monday, November 29, 2010
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Scattered Light installation by Jim Campbell (Photo by James Ewing courtesy Madison Square Park Conservancy)

Scattered Light installation by Jim Campbell (Photo by James Ewing courtesy Madison Square Park Conservancy)

Upon first stumbling across this massive array of 2,000 LED lights encased in standard light bulbs in Madison Square Park a few weeks ago, I thought holiday decoration had come a little early to the Flatiron’s front yard, but as shadowed figures began moving across the field of light, it became apparent that this installation by artist Jim Campbell was something special.

More info and a couple videos after the jump.

Artist Creates Amazing Breathing Wall From Trash Bags

Other
Friday, November 19, 2010
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One Hundred and Eight installation (Courtesy Nils Völker)

One Hundred and Eight installation (Courtesy Nils Völker)


Artist Nils Völker has created a breathing wall comprised of trash bags and cooling fans. One Hundred and Eight selectively inflates a grid of, you guessed it, 108 bags to create a strikingly simple yet poetic result.  The softness of the trash bags rising and falling is really something to see. The installation can also interact with the viewer, sensing a person’s presence before the wall.  From the artist:

Although each plastic bag is mounted stationary the sequences of inflation and deflation create the impression of lively and moving creatures which waft slowly around like a shoal. But as soon a viewer comes close it instantly reacts by drawing back and tentatively following the movements of the observer. As long as he remains in a certain area in front of the installation it dynamically reacts to the viewers motion. As soon it does no longer detect someone close it reorganizes itself after a while and gently restarts wobbling around.

Can you imagine this idea translated to the scale of architecture? Cloud-like hallways – or even full facades – might actively follow passers by with a gently inflating and deflating rhythm. [ Via Today and Tomorrow. ]

Watch the video after the jump.

Video: Chinese Hotel Climbs Fifteen Stories in Six Days

International
Monday, November 15, 2010
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Chinese hotel built in just six days (DifferentEnergy Video)

Chinese hotel built in just six days (DifferentEnergy Video)

Would you stay in a 15-story structure built in six days?  Through the magic of prefabrication, one new hotel in Changsha, China was built erector-set-style at just such a fantastic pace and recorded through time-lapse photography. The better term might be constructed in six days, however, as the building’s foundation and the factory-made pieces were already finished at the beginning of this architectural ballet, but the feat proves rather amazing nonetheless.

While you might have never heard of Changsha, China, home to the new Ark Hotel, the country’s 19th largest city mirrors the building’s rapid growth.  Changsha tripled in size between the 1940s and 1980s and today contains an estimated population of 6.6 million.

While such a quickly constructed building might seem prone to shoddy construction, the Ark Hotel is reportedly built to withstand a magnitude 9 earthquake, meaning a quake over 1,000 times more powerful than January’s quake in Haiti.  Call us skeptical, but we’d opt to be out of the building when disaster strikes.

Prefabrication, architecture’s “oldest new idea,” can have its green benefits. The Ark Hotel is thermally insulated and boasts only one percent construction waste. [ Via Gizmodo. ]

Watch the construction footage after the jump.

So You Want To Be An Architect? Think Twice

National
Friday, October 29, 2010
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Oh, to be a wide-eyed and optimistic student ready to enter architecture school and stake his or her claim in the world of starchitecture.  A humorous take on the soul-crushing, back-breaking, pain-inducing life of an architect.  Be warned, some language NSFW.

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Calatrava's Arch Towers Over Dallas

Other
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
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Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in Dallas under construction.

Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in Dallas under construction (Diana Darling)

Construction continues at Santiago Calatrava‘s bold Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in Dallas after it’s signature arch was topped off in June.  The cable-stayed bridge is one of three planned as part of the Trinity River Corridor Project, which aims to redevelop the Trinity River and its floodplains, improving traffic flow, increasing parkland, and providing flood protection for the region.

More after the jump.

Nouvel Sanguine About Midtown Guillotine

East
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
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Jean Nouvel (CBS News)

Jean Nouvel optimistic despite MoMA Tower’s shortened stature (CBS News)

Jean Nouvel feels like his MoMA Tower has been put under the guillotine.  The starchitect behind the lopped-off Midtown Manhattan proposal told CBS News this weekend that “It’s very French to cut the head, eh?”  His 75-story tower would have rivaled the Empire State Building for supremacy over the New York skyline, standing 1,250 feet tall, but met significant opposition from neighbors worried the tower would drown their street in shadow.

City Planning Commission officials voted earlier this year to allow a shortened version of the tower – chopping off 200 feet of the Pritzker Prize winner’s design.  Nouvel’s vision has been sent back to the drawing boards, but he says it’s “not in his character” to feel discouraged.  Be sure to check out AN‘s cameo appearance at the end of the interview.

Watch the interview after the jump.

Hypothetical Buildings Coming to New Orleans

National
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
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Every building tells a story of its past. But sometimes, with a little prompting, a building can also tell the story of its future. At least that’s what the Hypothetical Development Organization hopes. The group, created in 2010 by author and New York Times Magazine columnist Rob Walker, examines what the future might hold for some of the hidden, and underused, architectural gems in New Orleans by creating renderings of what the buildings could be, you know, hypothetically. Read More

Marino-designed Soho Store Inspires Chanel Makeup

East
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
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The fabulous Peter Marino has designed a fabulous new store for Chanel in Soho, which opened Friday for Fashion Night Out. It’s so fabulous that Chanel Global Creative Director Peter Phillips created a new makeup line paying homage to Marino’s sleek lines and the sleeker girls who hobble about the cobblestone streets surrounding the store. As for the renovation itself, it was inspired by the artsy spirit of the neighborhood and features an acrylic Chanel No. 5 bottle that stands over 10 feet high and will display video art as well as video of runway shows from Paris. The newly outfitted boutique has a gallery feel to it, complete with commissioned artworks by Peter Belyi, Alan Rath, and Robert Greene. More makeup and makeover after the jump. Read More

Obama Banking on an Infrastructure Rebound

National
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
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President Barack Obama hopes that a $50 billion infusion of government money
will help counteract two things that plague the nation—job loss and potholes. The
White House has a list they see as “tangible” goals for the next six years, with a focus on roads, railways, and runways. So, what might you, the taxpayer, get for $50 billion? Read More

Parks Department Coopting NYC Skaters?

East
Thursday, September 2, 2010
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On Tuesday, the Parks Department cut the ribbon on the River Avenue pocket parks in the Bronx. It is the latest piece of the sprawling, long-overdue parks system promised by the Bloomberg administration in exchange for the parks sacrificed and taxes forgone in the name of the House That Steinbrenner Built (God rest his soul). But that is not what is truly interesting about the River Avenue park. What is is that it contains a skatepark. The fourth one to open this summer, in fact, preceded by new ramps and half-pipes at Hudson River Park (above), Flushing Meadows, and Robert Venable Park in Brooklyn’s East New York neighborhood. A very popular park opened last year as the first piece of the McCarren Park pool’s redevelopment. (This reporter saw young scalawags jumping the fence to get in even before it was finished, so eager were they to ollie about.) The Parks Department now has 11 skateparks under management, with more on the way. Read More

Scale the Scaffolds on DOB YouTube Channel

East, East Coast
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
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The Department of Buildings recently launched a YouTube channel. You’d think the department’s time would be better spent actually inspecting buildings instead of making videos about inspecting buildings, but a) given the black eye the department suffered after the two crane accidents two years ago, and b) this is a pretty damn good video, let’s let our criticizm slide. In fact, this simple black-and-white-photos-and-voiceover film verges on tearjerker. “A lot of the companies out there welcome us and are happy to see us out there performing a safety inspection, and then there’s that percentage that want no part to do with us,” intones inspector Joseph Coben, the Bronx still thick in his voice. Interesting factoids about the three-year-old scaffolding team abound, like how every scaffold gets a walkthrough no matter how dangerous, and how thankful workers are for the inspector getting them off a dangerous site they can’t leave without risking their jobs. Grab some popcorn and a hardhat and enjoy.

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