Last Thursday, the first mods of the SHoP Architects’ prefabricated skyscraper—the B2 tower at Brooklyn’s megaproject, Atlantic Yards—were hoisted up and assembled into place. The 32-story residential tower, which will be half affordable housing, will rise within the Atlantic Yards development adjacent the Barclays Center. The modular components are being built locally in a 100,000 square foot facility in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. When construction is complete by end of 2014, it will be the world’s tallest pre-fabricated building.
Searching for the perfect holiday gift? If AN’s 2013 Holiday Gift Guide choices are not exquisite enough for your recipient’s taste, sport architecture firm Populous has just the right $30 million option.
The Kansas City-based company, whose commissions include Yankee Stadium in New York City and London’s Olympic Stadium, will give one big spender their own custom backyard stadium this holiday season. The offer was created for Robb Report’s Ultimate Gift List this year, a list of luxury presents for the world’s wealthiest, said Ballpark Digest. After at least 12 months of design and construction, the personal field will be equipped with the electronic displays and the technology to host and play nearly any sport.
The journal Clog wants to slow things down. It believes that digital media has reduced the “lifespan of any single design or topic” to a nano second and that the deluge of content required to feed online platforms means that “excellent projects receive the same fleeting attention as mediocre ones.” In order to counter these trends, Clog focuses on its print journal with themed issues like Brutalism, The National Mall, Rendering, and next spring, Prisons (submissions due December 31, 2013).
[Editor's Note: The following review was authored by Gideon Fink Shapiro and Phillip M. Crosby.]
A generation’s worth of experimentation with generative digital design techniques has seemingly created a “new normal” for architecture. But what exactly are the parameters of this “normal” condition? On November 14th and 15th Winka Dubbeldam, principal of Archi-Tectonics and the new Chair of the Department of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, called together some of contemporary architecture’s most prominent proponents of generative digital design techniques for a symposium, The New Normal, examining how these techniques have transformed the field over the past twenty years. According to Ms. Dubbeldam and her colleagues in Penn’s post-professional program who organized the symposium, digital tools have “fundamentally altered the way in which we conceptualize, design, and fabricate architecture.” Participants were asked not only to reflect upon the recent past, but also to speculate on future possibilities.
Last week was a big week for development in the already condo-saturated area of north Brooklyn. Brownstoner reported that City Council gave the massive Greenpoint Landing proposal the green light to construct 10 towers along the East River waterfront. While the project already had the approval to build as of right, the developers made a few concessions including an agreement to build a public school, offer free shuttle service to transit nodes from the complex, bump up the number of affordable housing units, and allocate money towards Newton Barge Park.
In Williamsburg, the SHoP-designed Domino Sugar Refinery proposal (pictured) received Community Board One’s approval. Two Trees also had as of right to build its string of towers, but the developer is now seeking to increase the height of the buildings and add more green space. Board members requested a few tweaks to affordable housing options and retail.
Chicago’s Divvy bikesharing program wants your help placing new bicycle rental stations throughout the city. The Divvy Siting Team will consider your suggestions at suggest.divvybikes.com—they’ve already mapped many public suggestions alongside the 300 existing stations.
Last month the program announced its intent to become North America’s largest bikesharing system. Divvy will add 175 stations by the end of 2014 and, pending state and federal funding, bring another 75 online after that, raising the total to 550 stations.
As it expands, Divvy could address previous criticisms about equal access. Though it started by focusing on the Loop and other high-density downtown areas, the program has expanded into many neighborhoods. Still, many are unserved—Uptown is the northern terminus, while much of the West, Southwest, and South Sides have no stations.
Impressed: Modern Japanese Prints
Indianapolis Museum of Art
4000 Michigan Road, Indianapolis, IN
Through January 26, 2014
In traditional Japanese woodblock printing, a team of four artists worked to create a single piece. In this collaboration, the publisher directed the designer, the engraver, and the printer to apply their respective artisan skills for the creation of a final artwork. During the early 20th century, however, a new printmaking method arose in Japan, transforming the group project into an independent endeavor. The Sosaku hanga, “creative prints,” school of printmakers became the first solo artists in Japanese woodblock printing, designing and executing every aspect of their artworks by their own hand.
Currently on exhibit at the Indianapolis Museum of Art is a collection of these masterpieces, including some the best known Sosaku hanga printmakers from the last century. Running through January 26, Impressed: Modern Japanese Prints explores the effects of blossoming individualism on woodblock prints. Distinguished by intricate detailing and the look of a highly texturized surface, the exhibition’s display of print works by Tajima Hiroyuki, Iwami Reika, Saito Kiyoshi, and Maki Haku shows that artists of this movement considered the woodblock print an art form, not a commercial venture.
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Aerodynamics of transit inform the design for new public seating in busy pedestrian areas like train platforms.
Landscape architect Thomas Balsley has been shaping public spaces in urban settings for more than 35 years, from the Bronx to Dallas to Portland. Even at large scales his work underscores attention to detail, all the way down to the furniture that adorns his sites. As a resident of New York since the 1970s, Balsley is all too aware of the way public benches and seating function in densely populated cities. For Transit Bench—fabricated by Landscape Forms custom project team at Studio 431—he designed a seating option for busy pedestrian areas, like train platforms and street-side parklets, where movement engulfs stationary seating.
“I started thinking of the aerodynamic aspects of transit and airline design, where the skin of the plane is an important structural component,” Balsley told AN. “I had the idea that this folded piece of skin could be the structure.” The bench, which rests on two sled base legs, is one solid form, made from a single sheet of stainless steel with laser cut perforations that suggest motion.
Architects are probably the only people who like to see a construction site. We love to see building cranes, steel workers, and scaffolding—if only because it means architects are working and paying the rent. But for most urban dwellers these work places are “unsitely” disruptions to daily life and noisy irritations.
Now Montreal’s Design Bureau, in collaboration with the city’s downtown Ville-Marie borough and the Saint-Étienne Cité du Design (France), are launching an effort to correct this situation and asking architects for help. They will host a colloquium called “Unsitely! Leveraging Design to Improve Urban Construction Sites” on October 8-9, 2014. They are asking architects to submit proposals on how design can improve individual and collective experience, and the overall communication strategy of major worksites, or at least to contribute to reducing their negative impact on daily life.
Architects (and others) should submit cases studies that address these issues by Tuesday, December 17, 2013. For additional information, contact colloquium executive producer, Laetitia Wolff.
Architect Elena Manferdini Completes the Colorful, Laser-Cut “Nembi” Installation in South Los Angeles
Until recently, talented Los Angeles–based architect Elena Manferdini had practiced all over the world, but barely in her own city. That has definitely changed. Earlier this year she worked on two shops in Venice, and her latest project is an art installation at the entry way of the Hubert H. Humphrey Comprehensive Health Center in South Los Angeles. The colorful project is part of the LA County Art Commission’s Civic Art project, a one percent program for county facilities.