Construction has recently been completed on UNStudio’s Hanjie Wanda Square, a new luxury shopping center in Wuhan, China. The firm boldly coated the exterior of the building in over 42,333 metallic spheres, bestowing a fluidity to the facade that extends into the interior of the structure. There, curved walkways and corridors flow together in order to carry shoppers throughout the upscale retail stores, catering outlets, and movie theaters within the center. Read More
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Southside Precast Products fabricates landscape architecture firm West 8’s designs for an organic system of concrete benches and curbs.
When Dutch landscape architecture firm West 8 envisioned a new terrain for Governors Island in New York’s East River, part of the plan included a section dubbed The Hills. The recently completed curving expanse of green space is defined by nearly one dozen curved sections, or “petals,” of seamless, white concrete bench and curb edges fabricated by Buffalo, New York-based Southside Precast Products.
Ellen Cavanagh, Director of Park Design and Construction for the Governors Island Trust, said that the concrete pathways along the petals help define areas where the ground was formed to rise and recede. “They call it eyeliner,” she told AN in a recent interview. “Thick and bold white stripes give your eye an anchor so you have a better sense of depth as opposed to one solid color.” At approximately 24 inches in width, the curbs along Governor’s Island are decidedly more massive than standard street curbs. Read More
In November, the Los Angeles City Council named Armet & Davis’ Johnie’s Coffee Shop, the restaurant at the corner of Wilshire and Fairfax, a historic cultural landmark. That’s a win for preservationists concerned with the legacy of the Googie style, the auto-oriented, steel-and-neon aesthetic that spawned diners and coffee shops across Southern California from the 1940s through the 1960s.
It might also give a leg up to locals interested in seeing Johnie’s returned to its original use. Because Johnie’s Coffee Shop isn’t a coffee shop, and hasn’t been for over a decade. Since 2000, it’s been closed to the public and used exclusively for filming. The restaurant’s film credits, both before and after its conversion to a 24/7 theatrical set, include The Big Lebowski and Reservoir Dogs.
Indianapolis’ public parks system, Indy Parks, is looking for third parties interested in privatizing some or all of the city’s parks and recreation holdings. The move follows last year’s survey seeking ways to upgrade the city’s 207 parks properties.
All good things must come to an end. Following a robust six months, the demand for design services has simmered down. In November, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) slid from 51.6 in October to 49.8 (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). This the second month in a row that the ABI has experienced a small dip.
Los Angeles has for years been working to change its fire code to allow for skyscrapers without boring flat tops. It looks like there’s been a breakthrough. LA Councilman Jose Huizar recently announced that his office and the LA Fire Department have issued “Policy No. 10,” a step to reform the department’s decades-old policy calling for flat rooflines for helicopter rescue.
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Austin’s Circuit of the Americas gets an iconic observation tower using 350 tons of steel.
The Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, will host the United States Grand Prix from 2012 to 2021. While German Formula 1 specialist Hermann Tilke designed the racecourse and technical facilities, COTA’s owners hired local firm Miró Rivera Architects to turn out a main grandstand and amenities for the 9,000 fans expected to attend the races. In addition to imbuing the project with a variety of programmatic functions that go beyond racing, Miró Rivera created a sleek observation tower that gives spectators unrestricted views across the racetrack’s twisting expanse.
“Our idea for the tower was to be able to go way up and see the track from one focal point in a structure that was an iconographic symbol for the track,” said Miguel Rivera, founder and principal of the architecture firm. “Our inspiration came from Formula 1 cars, where speed and efficiency are so important.” Just like the track’s feature attractions, the tower’s design didn’t feature any excesses. Structural engineers at Walter P Moore helped ensure every piece of steel did some kind of work so the tower was as efficient as possible. Read More
The recently concluded Lisbon Triennale announced that it has selected Kenneth Frampton to receive its Lifetime Achievement Award for 2013. The award has previously been given to Vittorio Gregotti (2007) and Álvaro Siza Vieira (2010). This third Lisbon exhibition, Close, Closer, was dynamically curated and presented by Beatrice Galilee and is in some ways unimaginable without the critical thinking and architectural activism of someone like Frampton. It is also exciting to see someone so critical to architecture culture who is not primarily a builder be given an international award. He is the author of Modern Architecture and the Critical Present (1980), Studies in Tectonic Culture (1995), American Masterworks (1995), Le Corbusier (2001), Labour, Work & Architecture (2005), and an updated fourth edition of Modern Architecture: A Critical History (2007).
A Christmas tree ornament designed by Zaha Hadid currently on display in London restaurant aqua shard will be auctioned off for charity at the end of the year. The object hangs amongst 19 other ornaments designed by the “celebrity friends” of Matthew Williamson, a British fashion designer responsible for curating the tree. The proceeds generated by the subsequent sale of the items will go towards British charity Kids Company.