Senior Housing in Oakland Pushes the Building Envelope

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Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects pursued both LEED and GreenPoints ratings for their Merritt Crossing senior housing complex. (Tim Griffith)

Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects pursued both LEED and GreenPoint ratings for their Merritt Crossing senior housing complex. (Tim Griffith)

Sustainability and high design meet in Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects’ affordable housing complex.

Designing a sustainable building on a budget is tricky enough. But for the Merritt Crossing senior housing complex in Oakland, California, non-profit developer Satellite Affordable Housing Associates upped the ante, asking Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects to follow not one but two green-building ratings systems. “They wanted to push the envelope of what they typically do and decided to pursue not only the LEED rating, but also the GreenPoint system,” said principal Richard Stacy. “So we actually did both, which is kind of crazy.” Wrapped in a colorful cement-composite rain screen system punctuated by high performance windows, Merritt Crossing achieved LEED for Homes Mid-Rise Pilot Program Platinum and earned 206 points on the Build-It-Green GreenPoint scale. The building was also the first Energy Star Rated multi-family residence in California, and was awarded 104 points by Bay-Friendly Landscaping. Read More

Chicago Transit Authority’s Belmont Bypass would raze 16 parcels

Midwest, News
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
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Rendering of the proposed Belmont Bypass. (Courtesy CTA)

Rendering of the proposed Belmont Bypass. (Courtesy CTA)

As part of a plan to reorganize a busy elevated train station on Chicago’s North Side, the Chicago Transit Authority has released a list of buildings it needs to raze to ease delays for 150,000 riders daily. The mostly residential buildings, as well as 11 vacant lots, would be occupied by a train bypass CTA has proposed to help untangle the knot of Red, Purple, and Brown Line trains at the Clark junction just north of the Belmont ‘El’ station.

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Jaume Plensa lands four new heads in Chicago’s Millennium Park

Art, City Terrain, Midwest, On View
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
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Jaume Plensa's new work "Look Into My Dreams, Awilda," greets visitors to Chicago's Millennium Park. (City of Chicago / Patrick Pyszka)

Jaume Plensa’s new work Look Into My Dreams, Awilda, greets visitors to Chicago’s Millennium Park. (City of Chicago / Patrick Pyszka)

Barcelona-based artist Jaume Plensa said the first thing he does after checking into his hotel during stays in Chicago is drop by Crown Fountain, the digital waterwork that features human faces spitting water, just to make sure his popular downtown installation really exists.

“Sometimes I think it was just a beautiful dream I had 10 years ago,” Plensa said at a press conference Tuesday. Millennium Park, which turns ten years old in 2014, counts Plensa’s whimsical fountains among its more popular installations. A new piece of his, on loan from the artist through the end of 2015, attempts to build on that momentum.

Continue reading after the jump.

Gehry to Unveil New Eisenhower Memorial Plans Next Month

Proposed design for the 4-acre Eisenhower Memorial. (Courtesy Gehry Partners)

Proposed design for the 4-acre Eisenhower Memorial. (Courtesy Gehry Partners)

Frank Gehry has had a hell of time with this Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial in Washington, D.C. Since the architect was selected to design the memorial in 2009, his plans to honor Ike have been met with sustained and scathing backlash.

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Facades+ NYC14 Video Interviews: Resilience

Climate change and extreme weather events have made resilience a watchword among AEC professionals. In this video from our partners at Enclos, filmed at facades+ NYC in April, Gordon Gill (Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill), Edward Peck (Thornton Tomasetti), and James O’Callaghan (Eckersley O’Callaghan) talk about designing and engineering building skins to meet present and future environmental challenges.

Resilience will take center stage at the facades+ Chicago conference July 24-25. Early Bird registration rates have been extended through Sunday, June 29. For more information and to register, visit the conference website.

Letter to the Editor> Improvising Modernism

300, 320, and 350 Park Avenue. (Courtesy WASA / STUDIO A)

300, 320, and 350 Park Avenue. (Courtesy WASA / STUDIO A)

[Editor's Note: The following are reader-submitted response to a back-page comment written by Pamela Jerome (“The Mid-Century Modernist Single-Glazed Curtain Wall Is an Endangered SpeciesAN 05_04.09.2014). Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com]

Pamela Jerome’s thoughtful comment on mid-century modernist curtain walls raises a number of important issues that deserve further study.

Having successfully redeveloped two major twentieth century commercial buildings, I believe that those buildings are probably the least understood in all of preservation theory. They were built by unsentimental men in pursuit of trade, commerce, and wealth. There was never a moment’s hesitation to alter them time and again as tastes changed, neighborhoods evolved, and tenants came and went. Those commercial cultural issues are just as important as the aesthetic issues inevitably associated with any building, and they are very hard to reconcile.

Continue reading after the jump.

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Former Firefighter Creates the Fire Hydrant of the Future

National, Technology
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
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Sigelock SPARTAN (Courtesy Sigelock Systems)

Sigelock SPARTAN Hydrant (Courtesy Sigelock Systems)

Fire hydrants are as necessary as they are historically significant. The first fire hydrant was proposed sometime during the early 19th century. No one knows the exact date as the records of its creation and use were, ironically, destroyed in a fire. The design of modern fire hydrants hasn’t changed for decades, but today, a veteran firefighter has proposed a new design that could make fighting fires much easier.

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UNStudio Completes Flower-Shaped Pavilion for Horticultural Exhibit

Aerial view of the pavilion. (Courtesy UNStudio)

Aerial view of the pavilion. (Courtesy UNStudio)

UNStudio has completed a sprawling, flower-like campus for the 2014 Horticulture Exhibit in Qingdao, China. The Theme Pavilion consists of four metallic structures that stretch out over 300,000-square-feet and resemble a Chinese rose from above. And at the human scale, the metallic, undulating structures interact with their mountainous surroundings.

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Towers by Thomas Leeser and Enrique Norten Break Ground in Brooklyn

Enrique Norten's tower along Flatbush Avenue (left) and Thomas Leeser's hotel are under construction. (Courtesy Respective Firms)

Enrique Norten’s tower along Flatbush Avenue (left) and Thomas Leeser’s hotel are under construction. (Courtesy Respective Firms)

Construction has started on two towers set to rise in the BAM Cultural District in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Unlike most new projects in the area, one of the buildings to rise off Flatbush Avenue, a 32-story structure designed by Brooklyn-based architect Thomas Leeser, will not be luxury apartments, but a 200-room boutique hotel run by Marriot. The tower is one of the most architecturally distinct high-rises to arrive in Brooklyn in quite some time, with prominent, asymmetrical carve-outs along its glass facade that make it appear as if someone—or something—has slashed through its skin with a knife.

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Wilmore Resident Wins Grant For Edible Walkway Project

Development, East, Urbanism
Monday, June 16, 2014
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Wilmore Urban Garden (Courtesy UNC Charlotte Urban Institute)

Wilmore Urban Garden (Courtesy UNC Charlotte Urban Institute)

Kris Steele’s “Edible Walkway” proposal to bring an urban orchard to Charlotte, NC was one of two recipients of the Keep Charlotte Beautiful (KCB) neighborhood beautification grants announced in May. Steele’s proposal was approved over 34 other proposals by KCB and received an endowment of $2,500 to get the plan moving.

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Winning Crowdsourced Designs Unveiled for New York City Hotel

The work space. (Pierre Levesque via PSFK and Prodigy Network)

The work space. (Pierre Levesque via PSFK and Prodigy Network)

It is only fitting that a crowdfunded hotel slated for New York City has a crowdsourced design as well. For its new, extended-stay hotel at 17 John Street, developer Prodigy Network, along with design blog PSFK, launched the Prodigy Design Lab, which allowed designers from around the world to submit plans for the project’s interior spaces and digital services. After 70 submissions were received and 10,000 votes cast, three winners have been announced.

COntinue reading after the jump.

Flint Public Art Project enlists local students for ‘museum of public schools’

(Museum of Public Schools)

(Museum of Public Schools)

Flint, Michigan kicked off a series of events celebrating education and the arts Friday, unveiling interactive installations cooked up over a year-long after school program local students have dubbed Museum of Public Schools.

Produced by the Flint Public Art Project, the ongoing exhibition will culminate in a series of proposals by students to change their school system. Mott Middle College plays host to the ongoing event.

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