Explore Grand Central’s History With Fun, New Website

Grand Central's Main Concourse in 1914. (New York Transit Museum)

Grand Central’s Main Concourse in 1914. (New York Transit Museum)

Grand Central has always been more than a train station. It’s an architectural and cultural touchstone for New York City. Even the most hurried commuter will stop to admire the building’s impressive scale and immaculate detail, before making their next transfer or stepping onto the crowded Midtown streets.

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On View> Doris Duke’s Shangri La: Architecture, Landscape, and Islamic Art at the University of Michigan Museum of Art

Art, Midwest, On View
Thursday, February 20, 2014
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(Courtesy University of Michigan Museum of Art)

(Courtesy University of Michigan Museum of Art)

Doris Duke’s Shangri La: Architecture, Landscape, and Islamic Art
University of Michigan Museum of Art
525 South State Street, Ann Arbor, MI
Through May 4

Following a 1935 honeymoon that brought her to Morocco, Syria, Iran, Pakistan, India, and Indonesia, enigmatic heiress Doris Duke began work on Shangri-La, her paean to Islamic art and architecture. The Hawaiian estate features rich 
tiling, carefully manicured grounds, and innumerable 
design flourishes all meant to evoke Duke’s own vision of the Islamic world. It also acted as the resting place for much of the heiress’s extensive art collection.

The University of Michigan Museum of Art has launched an exhibition featuring examples from this collection along with extensive documentation of the estate and Ms. Duke’s international travels. These photographs, films, art objects, and correspondences will be joined by work from eight contemporary artists of Islamic background.

Our Crisis: Engineer Considers Options for Houston’s Transportation Future

Eavesdroplet, Southwest, Transportation
Thursday, February 20, 2014
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Houston. (Paul Sableman / Flickr)

Houston. (Paul Sableman / Flickr)

It’s no secret that Houston is going through a growth spurt. The city currently has four central business districts that, if separated, would each be among the country’s top 15 employment centers. In the next 30 years, 3.5 million people are projected to move to the 8-county region, with two million of those concentrated in Harris County.

Continue reading after the jump.

Must See TV> PBS Explores the World’s Super Skyscrapers

Rendering of the super-tall Shanghai Tower.

Rendering of the super-tall Shanghai Tower. (Courtesy Gensler)

PBS’s four-part TV series, Super Skyscrapers, deals with uber-high buildings around the world. It is rare to follow the process of constructing a building, let alone a monster-sized one. Yet here, a special characteristic of each of the four skyscrapers is highlighted within the context of maximum height: One World Trade Center’s safety measures, Leadenhall’s prefabrication, One57′s high luxury, and Shanghai Tower’s vertical city aspirations.

Continue reading after the jump.

Ten Roads Whose Time Has Come: Congress for the New Urbanism Releases List of Freeways Ripe for Removal

highways_to_boulevards_2

Detroit's I-375 made the list.

Detroit’s I-375 made the list. (gab482/flickr)

The Congress for the New Urbanism has released their annual list of Freeways Without Futures. The organization selected the top 10 urban American (and one Canadian) highways most in need of removal. The final list was culled from nominations from more than 50 cities. Criteria for inclusion included age of the freeway, the potential that removal would have to positively effect the areas where the roadways are currently situated, and the amount of momentum to realize such removals. Additionally the CNU highlighted campaigns in Dallas, the Bronx, Pasadena, Buffalo, and Niagra Falls, that are taking significant steps towards removing freeways (some of which have been included in past lists) as illustrations of broader institutional and political shifts on urban infrastructural thinking.

The dubious list after the jump.

TxDOT Approves Barton Creek Bicycle Bridge for Austin

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Since the construction of the twin freeway bridges that carry the MoPac expressway over Barton Creek in 1987, the Austin community has been clamoring for a bike and pedestrian bridge to accompany it. That outcry has now been answered. On February 11, The Texas Department of Transportation approved just such a crossing. The project will cost the state around $7.7 million and will take approximately thirty months to complete.

According to the Austin Public works department the construction will be handled in three phases: Phase I includes adding a bicycle/pedestrian bridge over Barton Creek at MoPac. The south bound lanes of MoPac will also be re-striped to lessen traffic congestion and to improve bicycle and pedestrian connections to the Southwest Parkway, Loop 360, and other trails in the area, including the Violet Crown Trail and the Oak Hills Neighborhood Trail System.

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California Home + Design Shuts Down After 20 Years

Media, West
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
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California Home + Design Spring 2014 cover (McEvoy Media)

California Home + Design Spring 2014 cover (McEvoy Media)

Bad news for the publishing industry: another design magazine, California Home + Design, has ceased operations. The quarterly focused on houses, architecture, design, products, art, and lifestyle up and down the state. According to CH+D Editor-In-Chief Erin Feher, the owners, McEvoy Group, had been trying to sell it for a few months, but multiple suitors fell through. Finally today McEvoy shut down the undertaking and laid off the staff. There remains a chance, however, that they could find a buyer.

Continue reading after the jump.

Selldorf Rumored To Be Winner at Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego Expansion

Eavesdroplet, West
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
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MCASD's La Jolla Campus.  (UC Davis Arts Club)

MCASD’s La Jolla Campus. (UC Davis Arts Club)

It’s not confirmed, but we hear from a source that the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD)  has named New York–based Selldorf Architects to design its upcoming expansion. The approximately $25 million project would add about 30,000 square feet of exhibition space to the museum’s La Jolla location.

Continue reading after the jump.

Chicago Mulls Zoning Changes To Ward Off Mountains of Petcoke

Midwest, Newsletter
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
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Petcoke stored along the Calumet River on Chicago's Southeast Side, between 106th and 100th streets. (Josh Mogerman via Flickr)

Petcoke stored along the Calumet River on Chicago’s Southeast Side, between 106th and 100th streets. (Josh Mogerman / Flickr)

Piles of dusty, black waste from coal and petroleum processing have been piling up on Chicago’s southeast side, angering residents and prompting Mayor Rahm Emanuel to weigh in on the contentious environmental issue.

The Sun-Times has reported that Emanuel will introduce an ordinance at next month’s City Council meeting banning new storage facilities for so-called petcoke—a byproduct of the oil refinery process that can be sold overseas. It’s a step back from an outright ban proposed in December by Alderman Edward Burke, whose constituents were outraged by black dust clouds wafting from uncovered piles of petcoke along the Calumet River. Read More

Architecture Billings Index Starts Year With Slight Gain

National
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
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BILLINGS (BLUE) AND INQUIRIES (RED) FOR THE PAST 12 MONTHS. (THE ARCHITECT’S NEWSPAPER)

BILLINGS (BLUE) AND INQUIRIES (RED) FOR THE PAST 12 MONTHS. (THE ARCHITECT’S NEWSPAPER)

After months of slowed growth at the end of last year, the Architecture Billing Index ticked up slightly in  January. The ABI score was measured at 50.4, up from 48.5 in December—and that’s good news because any score above 50 means positive growth. The positive number was largely due to growth in the South (53.5) and the West (51.1). The ABI dipped below 50 in both the Midwest and Northeast, with scores of 46.5 and 43.6, respectively.

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ZGF Builds a Suit of Armor for The University of Oregon

Envelope, West
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
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Brought to you with support from:
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THE HATFIELD-DOWLIN COMPLEX SUGGESTS A COMBINATION OF GROUNDEDNESS AND AMBITION (JEREMY BITTERMANN)

THE HATFIELD-DOWLIN COMPLEX SUGGESTS A COMBINATION OF GROUNDEDNESS AND AMBITION (JEREMY BITTERMANN)

The glass, stone, and metal exterior of the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex evokes the strength and agility of a college athlete.

The superhero and the Samurai. That’s where Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects (ZGF) began their design of the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex at the University of Oregon. The football player, the architects imagined, is like Batman: stealthy and strong, he came to his powers not by supernatural accident, but through relentless training. At the same time, the athlete is a highly skilled warrior, the modern-day equivalent of Japanese military nobility. The facade of the new football training facility materializes these ideas in glass, stone, and metal. Dominated by horizontal expanses of tinted glass, it is powerful but not foreboding. ZGF offers the analogy to a suit of armor: the building’s skin balances protection and connection, solidity and agility.

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All The Museums Fit To Print: Artist Reduces Iconic Architecture Into Icons

Art, Design, International
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
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Museum silhouette3

(Courtesy Yoni Alter)

That’s not a line graph, its the Pompidou Center. Graphic designer Yoni Alter has stripped down a number of iconic museum exteriors to their core ingredients. The silhouettes are then swathed in a Miami-vice color scheme for a further dose of abstraction. Despite the neon paint-job, the scales are all accurate, with the Tate Modern and Guggenheim Bilbao looming largest. Signed copies of the print are available for $50 before shipping.

More images, including an answer key, after the jump.

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