As part of continuing efforts in the Southwest to develop and improve transit systems, the City of Austin has announced its intention to build an urban rail system known as UltraRail that will run through the city’s eastern downtown.
A 4,000-square-foot home in Whitney, Texas is currently on fire, and this, apparently, is a good thing. The luxury home sits atop a collapsing cliff and was perilously close of dropping into Lake Whitney, 75-feet below. Authorities said it would have been quite costly to remove pieces of the home from the water, so fire crews lit it ablaze instead. According to NBC 5 in Dallas-Fort Worth the home was purchased for $700,000 in January, but the unstable property was recently condemned and the homeowners moved out two weeks ago. The fire can be watched via NBC’s Live Feed.
With a recent vote in the Philadelphia City Council, bikeshare moves closer to becoming a reality in the City of Brotherly Love. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the council’s Transportation and Public Utilities Committee advanced a bill to bring bikeshare to the city by next spring. The bill is expected to be approved by the full city council on June 19.
The LEGO tower in Budapest, Hungary has broken the world record for “tallest structure built with interlocking plastic blocks.” The tower was completed and registered with the Guinness Book of World Records on May 25th at a height of 114 feet. The previous record was 112.9 feet and was set through the combined efforts of students from the red clay consolidated school district in Delaware. According to the blog So Bad So Good, the new tower was erected by LEGO architects, who received some help from local primary school children. The tower was topped with a Rubik’s cube: a Hungarian invention.
A compromise has been reached in the heated battle over the fate of Brooklyn’s iconic Kentile Floors sign. The New York Times reported that the sign’s owner will dismantle the structure and donate its red letters to the Gowanus Alliance, a local group which plans to reinstall the sign nearby. For that to happen, though, the eight-story, 50-year-old sign must first be removed from its current rooftop home without breaking. “There are some hurdles to clear,” reported the Times. “The permits require that the 20-foot-high letters be reduced to four-by-four-foot sections and sent down a debris chute off the roof.” City Councilman Brad Lander, who recently launched a petition to save the sign, told the paper he hopes the letters can be removed with a pulley and not “crammed down a chute.”
New York City’s Office of Emergency Management has opened a full-scale prototype of its temporary housing units that would shelter those displaced from the next Sandy-like storm. The OEM describes “The Urban Post-Disaster Housing Prototype Program,” as a “multi-story, multi-family interim housing solution that will work in urban areas across the country.” The prefabricated structures are designed by Garrison Architects and intended to be dispatched quickly after an emergency and assembled on-site.
Yesterday Santa Monica radio station KCRW broke ground on its new hub, which will bring it out of a basement at Santa Monica College and into the architectural spotlight. The 35,000 square foot building, designed by Clive Wilkinson Architects, will be located on the college’s future Entertainment and Technology Campus, in the city’s creative business district, along the Expo line. Wilkinson won the commission back in 2008, but the bold, colorful design has developed significantly since then.
We’ve known for some time now that ex MOCA director Richard Koshalek has returned to Los Angeles from D.C., where he recently stepped down as director of the Hirshhorn Museum. Now we know one of his exploits: We hear that he is consulting Frank Gehry on the organization of his vast archives. Maybe this means there will someday be a Gehry museum? Certainly the architect is not getting any younger, so we may hear more soon.
The French “GIF artist”—welcome to the 21st century, everybody—Axel de Stampa has officially made time-lapse videos look like child’s play. In his new project, Animated Architecture, de Stampa spins, shifts, tops, and deconstructs some of the most visually distinctive contemporary buildings—all in endlessly entertaining GIF format.
Friday the 13th just got a whole lot scarier. Tomorrow, on the tail of The World Naked Bike Ride in Portland, Oregon (NSFW Link), a similar clothing-optional bicycle boosting event is coming to Brooklyn. Topically dubbed Vision Zero Clothing (in what must be an honest homage to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan, which proposes to stop people from getting run over by cars), the event is scheduled to get underway at 6:00 p.m. at Grand Ferry Park in Williamsburg (which, incidentally, is a favorite hangout of the Hasidic Jewish community).
Two global urbanistic powerhouses, San Francisco–based Rebar and Copenhagen-based Gehl Architects, have joined forces to create Gehl Studio. The practices will keep their offices in their respective cities and start a new one in New York. Gehl didn’t purchase Rebar, but hired most of Rebar’s staff, including two of the three founding partners, according to a report in Landscape Architecture Magazine.