Illinois To Test High-Speed Rail South of Joliet

Midwest
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
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High-speed rail in Taiwan. (Image courtesy Flickr user loudtiger.)

High-speed rail in Taiwan. (loudtiger/Flickr)

Union Pacific Railroad and Amtrak have sought permission from federal regulators to conduct the first test of high-speed rail in Illinois. A 20-mile track between the cities of Dwight and Pontiac could be a proving ground for the 110 mph passenger train starting October 1.

They would be testing a new system of triggers for highway crossing gates — one that uses radio signals to raise gates 80 seconds before a crossing in order to give the faster trains more time to slow down or stop if necessary. The current system uses track circuits to communicate, and allows the normal 79-mph trains 30 to 35 seconds of clearance before a crossing. The Illinois Department of Transportation will conduct a survey to determine whether motorists will tolerate the longer wait times.

Funding for high-speed rail was narrowly approved in California earlier this month, as Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and others continued to build on growing excitement for high-speed rail in the heartland.

KieranTimberlake Refines London’s US Embassy Designs

East
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
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Clear views of the U.S. Embassy from Nine Elms Lane belie subtle security barriers (Courtesy KieranTimberlake)

Clear views of the U.S. Embassy from Nine Elms Lane belie subtle security barriers (Courtesy KieranTimberlake)

The State Department’s Overseas Building Operations (OBO) released new renderings by KieranTimberlake of the United States Embassy to be located near London’s Vauxhall neighborhood.  The project has acted as something of a petri dish for the development of OBO’s Design Excellence program, which was modeled on a similar program at the much-beleaguered GSA. The London project has been watch closely by federally commissioned architects who must comply with design requirements that combine energy efficiency, sustainably, intense security, and high design. “They continue to use this project as a test case for sorting that stuff out and to continue to achieve really high levels of refinement and design excellence,” concurred James Timberlake.

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> Aesthetics/Anesthetics at the Storefront for Art and Architecture through July 28

East
Monday, July 16, 2012
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(Courtesy Storefront for Art and Architecture)

(Courtesy Storefront for Art and Architecture)

Aesthetics/Anesthetics
Storefront for Art and Architecture
97 Kenmare Street
Through July 28

Storefront for Art and Architecture presents 30 newly commissioned drawings of its gallery space by emerging and established architects, now being auctioned on the Storefront website through Saturday. The gallery is plastered in wallpaper composed of images sourced from architectural drawings produced in the past ten years and describes graphic tools deployed to express properties of drawing that the architectural drawing itself cannot represent, such as birds suggesting movement or green surfaces conveying ecologic awareness.

(Courtesy Storefront for Art and Architecture)

(Courtesy Storefront for Art and Architecture)

Curator and director of Storefront Eva Franch writes in a statement, “An image (and its after-image) carries within itself a history or performative script of characters, discourses, and conventions. During the last ten years there has been a resurgence of certain representational devices and clichés that operate almost as placeholders or decorative devices to an architecture unable to draw itself.”

Smaller Airports Struggle with Vacant Space

Midwest
Monday, July 16, 2012
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Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE)

Cleveland's airport had 1,565,187 fewer enplanements in 2009 than in 2000. (Image courtesy Cody Austin via Flickr.)

The airline industry was hit hard by the recession—2011 had fewer takeoffs than any year since 2002. Airports in cities like Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Oakland are feeling the effects of that contraction, leaving one-time regional hubs and smaller airports with vacant and underused terminals.

A report on airport building reuse commissioned last year by the Transportation Research Board found enplanements were down more than 60 percent in St. Louis over the last decade. Growing interest in regional rail transit could place further pressure on smaller airports to get creative with their extra space, especially as they face costly demolition bills and shrinking revenue.

Victoria & Albert Gets Permission to Dig In on Underground Expansion

International
Monday, July 16, 2012
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(Courtesy AL_A)

(Courtesy AL_A)

When Libeskind’s radical spiral proposal for Victoria and Albert Museum (V+A) extension went under after eight years, the V+A has literally gone underground. The newest proposal for V+A by British architect Amanda Levete and her practice AL_A, won in 2011 after a design competition, calls for an extension project that includes a 16,200 square foot underground gallery space for temporary exhibitions. The addition will feature a public courtyard with an entrance into the museum from the adjacent Exhibition Road. Last week, the project was awarded planning permission allowing the project to move forward.

Continue reading after the jump.

Rusticated: That Nouvel Smell

East, Eavesdroplet
Monday, July 16, 2012
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(jesarqit/Flickr)

100 Eleventh Avenue in Manhattan. (jesarqit/Flickr)

The hanging gardens inside the atrium of Jean Nouvel’s 100 Eleventh Avenue sound idyllic: “From planting boxes built into the structure, trees soar upward and plants cascade down the walls, lending their scent to the atmosphere,” states the building’s website. But the smell may not be so sweet. A source familiar with the project told AN that the huge suspended planters lack proper drainage, leading to standing water and the early onset of rust. Maybe Nouvel can argue that he’s taking a cue from the Cor-ten laden High Line next door?

Saturday! OHNY openstudios Takes on Red Hook

East
Friday, July 13, 2012
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OHNY's openstudios series will explore the artists studios of Red Hook on Saturday.

OHNY's openstudios series will explore the artists studios of Red Hook on Saturday. (Courtesy OHNY)

OHNYopenstudios in Red Hook
Saturday, July 28, 12:00-5:00 p.m.
Reception to follow at the Red Hook Winery, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Tickets $30 / $20 for students and seniors.
Purchase tickets here.

As part of the Open House New York openstudios series, artists’ studios in Red Hook will throw open their doors this weekend. In addition, metalworkers, furniture designers, and glassblowers will be thrown into the mix, making it a good fabrication tour as well. The self guided event kicks off Saturday at noon and a wine reception will quench thirst around 5:00 p.m. at the Red Hook Winery.

Frank Gehry Goes Contextual in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward

National, Newsletter
Friday, July 13, 2012
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(Chad Chenier Photography / Make It Right.)

(Chad Chenier Photography / Make It Right.)

Make It Right, Brad Pitt’s development of contemporary, LEED Platinum homes in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward—an area devastated by Hurricane Katrina and still far from recovered—has a new addition: Frank Gehry. Gehry’s new duplex on the site was completed this week. The surprisingly simple design (especially considering some of the expressive homes in the development) features a waterproof solar canopy, a roof terrace and six covered porches. Still one could argue that Gehry’s stilt-raised design, with its fiber cement siding (that looks like local clapboard siding), metal roofs and focus on outdoor space, is one of the most contextual of the bunch.

SHFT+ALT+DEL: July 13, 2012

Shft+Alt+Del
Friday, July 13, 2012
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Quentin Bajac will become the chief curator of photography at MoMA in January 2013. Bajac is currently at Centre Pompidou, Musée Nationale d’art moderne in Paris, where he has led the photography department since 2007. He will succeed Peter Galassi, who retired from MoMA as chief photography curator in 2011.

Mason Currey joined Print magazine as executive editor. Previously, he was managing editor at Metropolis.

Trinity Simons has been named director of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design (MICD), an organization that helps mayors prepare for the role as chief urban designers of their cities. Simons previously was a program officer in the Wellesley, Massachusetts office of Enterprise Community Partners.

PROFILE> Kevin McClellan + Andrew Vrana Decode Parametric Facades, July 27

Newsletter, West
Friday, July 13, 2012
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Winning entry by Vlad Tenu by TEX-FAB's REPEAT competition.

Winning 2011 entry by Vlad Tenu by TEX-FAB's 2.0 and REPEAT competition.

Kevin McClelland and Andrew Vrana of TEX-FAB, the Texas-based fabrication think tank, are also pioneering members of the Digital Fabrication Alliancean international network of  digital fabricators, academics, architect, designers, and developers of hardware and software with a goal of sharing information and knowledge. The TEX-FAB partners bring their expertise into the classroom at Texas A&M, and also host the annual REPEAT conference and competition.

On July 27  McClellan and Vrana will delve into the making of such facades in “Parametric Facade Tectonics,” a special workshop that is part of AN‘s upcoming conference Collaboration: the Art and Science of Building Facades, taking place July 26-27 in San Francisco.

Continue reading after the jump.

Adaptive Reuse, Aisle 7: How An Empty Big Box Can Give Rise to Community

Midwest, Newsletter
Friday, July 13, 2012
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THE MCALLEN MAIN LIBRARY, ONCE A WALMART. (IMAGE COURTESY MEYER SCHERER & ROCKCASTLE)

THE MCALLEN MAIN LIBRARY, ONCE A WALMART. (IMAGE COURTESY MEYER SCHERER & ROCKCASTLE)

An average Walmart tops 100,000 square feet. With more than 600 stores nationwide, the company has a mighty footprint. And when a store goes under, it can be somewhat of a crater in the local real estate market.

One Walmart in McAllen, Texas—about 15 miles from the Mexican border—got a major facelift from Minneapolis-based Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, who also have an office in Marysville, Md. They won an ALA/IIDA Library Interior Design Award for their work converting the defunct big box store into a library.

Continue reading after the jump.

Surface Deep: Undulating Installation Invites Visitors to Climb Atop Its Mossy Nooks

Fabrikator
Friday, July 13, 2012
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Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
Fabrikator

Brought to you by:

large-surface deep

Asensio_mah & Harvard’s Graduate School of Design’s moss-covered installation is architecture on the cellular level

When visitors stroll through Quebec’s Redford Gardens, the first of many large installations they come upon is Surface Deep, an undulating, moss-covered structure designed by international architecture firm asensio_mah in collaboration with students from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. It was built last summer, but with this year’s Metis International Garden Festival, Surface Deep is once again getting major foot traffic in the most literal sense of the word. Surface Deep is a mountable, climbable series of snaking panels that invites visitors to explore it in its entirety, from its long, sweeping form to its small, mossy nooks.

Continue reading after the jump.

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