About Face: Nina Libeskind Favors American Folk Art Museum Preservation

East, Eavesdroplet, Preservation
Thursday, March 6, 2014
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Nina and Daniel Libeskind (Photo by TK) and the American Folk Art Museum (Photo by Dan Nguyen / Flickr; Montage by AN)

Nina and Daniel Libeskind (Photo by Mark Forte / Courtesy University of New Mexico) and the American Folk Art Museum (Photo by Dan Nguyen / Flickr; Montage by AN)

Just a week before MoMA made its somewhat ambiguous announcement that the folded bronze facade of the American Folk Art Museum building would be removed and stored—rather than tossed in a dumpster—Nina Libeskind excitedly announced over a lunch in Milan, “I’m going to get some architects together and save the facade!” Nina is known for her powers of persuasion, and Eavesdrop doesn’t know if she actually put her plan into action. If so, it might be the quickest reversal in New York preservation history. While Eavesdrop is glad that at least the facade is being saved, we doubt it will quell the ire directed at MoMA and Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

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Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid the Subject of Controversy for Middle East Projects

East, International
Thursday, March 6, 2014
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Protesters inside the Guggenheim. (Courtesy Gulf Ultra Luxury Faction)

Protesters inside the Guggenheim. (Courtesy Gulf Ultra Luxury Faction)

Nearly 50 activists recently took over the Guggenheim’s spiraling balconies to protest the museum’s planned branch in Abu Dhabi. The protesters, who are affiliated with Gulf Labor and Occupy Museums, dropped pamphlets, rolled out banners, and hung a manifesto to criticize Abu Dhabi’s poor record on workers’ rights.

Continue reading after the jump.

Letter to the Editor> Northern Liberties Ascendant

East, Letter to the Editor
Thursday, March 6, 2014
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The Piazza at Schmidt's by Erdy McHenry Architecture. (Courtesy Erdy McHenry Architecture)

The Piazza at Schmidt’s by Erdy McHenry Architecture. (Courtesy Erdy McHenry Architecture)

[ Editor's Note: The following is a reader-submitted response to a recent feature article, "City of Designerly Love." It appeared as a letter to the editor in a recent print edition, AN03_03.05.2014. 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]

As president of Philadelphia’s Northern Liberties Neighbors Association, I was pleased to see William Menking review our city’s innovative architectural scene (“City of Designerly Love,” AN 14_12.04.2013).

Yet I was surprised to see my community dismissed as the “troubled surrounding neighborhood” of the Piazza, a large mixed-use development anchored by a central plaza.

Continue reading after the jump.

Two Cheap and Efficient Ways to Improve Public Transit

Efficient Passenger Project Sign in Brooklyn. (twitter.com/eppnyc)

Efficient Passenger Project Sign in Brooklyn. (twitter.com/eppnyc)

Ah, the joy of New York City’s rush-hour subway commute. If you live in a major metropolitan area, you know the thrill in stepping off one crowded, dirty subway car into a wall of people to push your way onto the next crowded subway car. You turn up your music, or that riveting Podcast with that guy from that thing, and you power through it.

While you might be accustomed to it, the daily commute has plenty of room for improvement. Two new approaches to ease crowding on public transit systems show how some easy adjustments could make big-city commutes considerably less hellish.

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Taiwan Reveals Another Star-Filled Shortlist

International, West
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
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Reiser Umemoto's Kaohsiung Port Terminal. (Courtesy Reiser Umemoto)

Reiser Umemoto’s Kaohsiung Port Terminal. (Courtesy Reiser Umemoto)

Yet another port in Taiwan is set to become an architectural icon. In 2012 Neil M. Denari Architects won the competition to design the Keelung Harbor Service Project. Before that Reiser Umemoto won a competition to design the Kaohsiung Port Terminal (pictured), which is set to open later this year.

Now the Port of Kinmen Passenger Service Center has shortlisted another stellar group of designers. They are: Josep Mias Gifre, Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects, Junya Ishigami + Associates, Tom Wiscombe Architecture, and Miralles Tagliabue EMBT.  A winner is expected to be chosen next month.

New Research Iniatives Examine How Vital Pollinators Function In Urban Areas

International, Sustainability
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
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bee

(Courtesy David Biesack/flickr)

As scientists search for the reasons why, large bee populations continue to die off at alarming rates. The insect’s role as a vital cog in agricultural processes makes their rapid disappearance all the more concerning. Habitat destruction must certainly be considered as one explanatory factor for the troubling trend, as urbanization and sprawl have dealt a considerable blow to the ecosystems where these insects flourish. Britain alone has lost 98 percent of its wildflower meadows in the past 70 years.

A new research initiative led by the University of Bristol is examining the way bees and their fellow pollinators function within the urban and suburban environs they are increasingly forced to inhabit. The Urban Pollinators Project, is studying pollinator populations in gardens in UK cities Bristol, Leeds, Edinborough, and Reading. The initiative is joined by a similar (and identically-named) project sponsored by the University of Washington that takes Seattle as its laboratory.

Maps Visualize the Challenge of De Blasio’s Vision Zero Plan

Cyclistaccidents2_archpaper

A heatmap of 2013 cyclist injuries. (Courtesy Ben Wellington)

With Bill de Blasio making traffic regulation a priority of his fledgling administration, new visualizations of traffic injuries across New York City illustrate what the new mayor is up against in attempting to make such incidents a thing of the past. Statistician and Pratt professor Ben Wellington has used open data documenting traffic fatalities and cyclist injuries to generate heat maps of where in the city such events tended to occur in 2013.

More after the jump.

Perkins + Will folds in Freelon Group Architects, expands North Carolina practice

East, National, Shft+Alt+Del
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
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Freelon's Museum of the African Diaspora (Todd HidoEDGE)

Freelon’s Museum of the African Diaspora. (Todd HidoEDGE)

Design giant Perkins + Will has swallowed up Freelon Group Architects, one of the country’s most prominent African American–led firms. The firms announced Tuesday that North Carolina–based Phil Freelon will help lead Perkins + Will’s design efforts in the region and globally.

Continue reading after the jump.

Jeanne Gang To Design Tower in San Francisco.  Jeanne Gang To Design Tower in San Francisco Chicago architect Jeanne Gang (pictured) isn’t just preparing to design new towers in Chicago and (perhaps) New York. According to her office, Gang has been hired by Tishman Speyer to design a high rise tower in San Francisco‘s Transbay district. The building’s site (and, likewise a design) has not yet been revealed, but according to a piece in the San Francisco Chronicle, it’s near the now-rising Transbay Center. According to the Chronicle, Tishman is also developing the Lumina and Infinity towers in the area by Arquitectonica, and a 26-story office tower by Gensler and Thomas Phifer. (Photo: Courtesy Studio Gang Architects)

 

Boston Valley Brings a 100-Year-Old Dome into the Digital Age

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BOSTON VALLEY FABRICATED 18,841 INDIVIDUAL TERRA COTTA COMPONENTS FOR THE RESTORATION PROJECT (BOSTON VALLEY TERRA COTTA)

BOSTON VALLEY FABRICATED 18,841 INDIVIDUAL TERRA COTTA COMPONENTS FOR THE RESTORATION PROJECT (BOSTON VALLEY TERRA COTTA)

Boston Valley Terra Cotta restored the Alberta Legislature Building’s century-old dome using a combination of digital and traditional techniques.

Restoring a century-old terra cotta dome without blueprints would be a painstaking process in any conditions. Add long snowy winters and an aggressive freeze/thaw cycle, and things start to get really interesting. For their reconstruction of the Alberta Legislature Building dome, the craftsmen at Boston Valley Terra Cotta had a lot to think about, from developing a formula for a clay that would stand up to Edmonton’s swings in temperatures, to organizing just-in-time delivery of 18,841 components. Their answer? Technology. Thanks to an ongoing partnership with Omar Khan at the University at Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning, the Orchard Park, New York, firm’s employees are as comfortable with computers as they are with hand tools.

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After Record-Breaking Concrete Pour in Los Angeles, Wilshire Grand Reaches for the Sky

THE $1.1 BILLION WILSHIRE GRAND IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION IN DOWNTOWN LA (AC MARTIN)

THE $1.1 BILLION WILSHIRE GRAND IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION IN DOWNTOWN LA (AC MARTIN)

The Wilshire Grand, a 73-story tower under construction in downtown Los Angeles, hasn’t yet risen out of the ground, but it’s already in the Guinness Book of World Records. That’s thanks to a February 15–16 event promoters called the Grand Pour, in which construction crews poured 21,200 cubic yards (82 million pounds) of concrete in 18 hours—the largest continuous concrete pour in history.

Why all the fuss?

Grains to Galleries: Heatherwick design converts South African silos into a cathedral for art

V&A Heatherwick

(Courtesy Heatherwick Studio)

A monolithic cluster of concrete silos on the Cape Town waterfront is the subject of a dramatic surgical intervention. The industrial relic will be transformed by Thomas Heatherwick into an art museum planned for the city’s V&A Waterfront. The project entails the conversion of the grain silo complex into a new space to house and display the Jochen Zeitz Collection, an assortment of art that will act as the foundation for Zeitz MOCAA a non-profit institution dedicated to contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora.

More after the jump.

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