Taylor Family Digital Library Sunscreen

Fabrikator
Friday, April 13, 2012
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The self-tensioning system has 52 percent open area (Cambridge)

LEED Gold-certified building protects old documents with a modern mesh design

The new Taylor Family Digital Library houses some of the University of Calgary’s prized documents—more than 800,000 architectural drawings, one million maps and aerial photographs, and thousands of print monographs are among the nine million items in the collection. The university built the library as part of its mission to become one of Canada’s top five research libraries by 2016, the year of its 50th anniversary. But the library also serves the practical goal of protecting the special documents and art collections that were relocated there from other facilities. To that end, architect Kasian Architecture Interior Design and Planning envisioned the 265,000-square-foot building enshrouded in a veil of mesh that would provide solar protection while creating a semi-transparent facade and day-lit interiors to be enjoyed by students and community members.

Continue reading after the jump.

Is Brooklyn Becoming Farm Country?

East
Thursday, April 12, 2012
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Inside the rooftop greenhouses. (Courtesy Bright Farms)

Inside the rooftop greenhouses. (Courtesy Bright Farms)

A massive new urban farming project in Sunset Park, Brooklyn was announced last week by New York City-based Bright Farms, a company dedicated to building hydroponic farms close to supermarkets. The Sunset Park project will be the largest rooftop farm in the city, and possibly the world. At 100,000 square feet, it could potentially yield 1 million pounds of produce a year and joins several other agricultural projects in Brooklyn. Brooklyn Grange, another rooftop farming operation located in Queens, is planning to open a 45,000 square foot urban farm at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and farm-developers Gotham Greens will be opening a new location in the borough as well.

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Redesigning the National Mall: Constitution Gardens

East
Thursday, April 12, 2012
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OLIN & Weiss/Manfredi

OLIN & Weiss/Manfredi

[Editor's Note: Following the unveiling of proposals to redesign the National Mall, AN will be running a three-part series to display the proposals for each of the three segments of the Mall: Constitution Gardens, Union Square, and the Washington Monument Grounds.]

A 50-acre parcel of the National Mall, Constitution Gardens, lies just north of the Reflecting Pool and east of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Grade changes keep it somewhat hidden from the main stretch of the Mall, and many tourists (and locals) visit the monuments and Smithsonian museums without coming across it. The gardens’ focal point is a small lake with an island that visitors can access by footbridge. The National Park Service has struggled with the site’s poor soil conditions—the ground was dredged from the Potomac River back in the late 19th century—and with upkeep of the paths and other features.

The National Mall Plan of 2010 calls for an “architecturally unique, multipurpose visitor facility, including food service, retail, and restrooms” to be developed at the east end of the lake, as well as a flexible performance space.

Check out all the proposals after the jump.

MIT Launches New Multidisciplinary Initiative.  MIT Launches New Multidisciplinary Initiative With a $1.5 million Mellon Foundation grant in hand, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is establishing a Center for Art, Science and Technology (CAST), which will advance integrated arts education in higher learning. The proposal was co-sponsored by the associate provost and the deans of the schools of Architecture and Planning and Humanities,  Arts, and Social Sciences. The grant will provide funds for faculty, researchers, and curators to develop multidisciplinary programs that traverse art, science, and technology. It will also support the University’s Visiting Artists program. “MIT has a great legacy in this domain,” Architecture Dean Adele Naude Santos said in a statement. “MIT created the first architecture program in the country and is today a leader in new forms of design and digital fabrication; the Center for Advanced Visual Studies, founded by György Kepes in 1967, established a model for collaborations among artists, scientists and engineers; and the Media Lab is internationally renowned for pioneering efforts in the fields of design, media arts and electronic music.”

 

Blanc’s Bronx Vertical Garden

East
Thursday, April 12, 2012
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Patrick Blanc's cube installation at the New York Botanical Garden.

Patrick Blanc's cube installation at the New York Botanical Garden. (AN/Stoelker)

As architects like Herzog & de Meuron and Jean Nouvel tap into the potential of vertical gardens, they’ll often seek the expertise of Patrick Blanc. For the past thirty years Blanc developed vertical gardens while researching adaptive strategies of plants at the National Center for Sceintific Research in France. His research of plant growth in nature’s more hostile environs, such as hanging off of stone cliffs or springing from rocks next to waterfalls, has yielded a uniquely urbanistic solution for gardening. For the next ten days there’s a small window of opportunity left to see the work of Blanc at its most luxurious. The botanist designed the New York Botanical Garden‘s annual Orchid Show which ends on April 22. As a bonus, this also happens to be the moment that the Gardens’ 250 acres are at the height of their springtime burst.

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Shortlisted Teams Reveal a Reimagined National Mall

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
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Constitutional Gardens proposal by Nelson Byrd Woltz and Paul Murdoch.

Constitutional Gardens proposal by Nelson Byrd Woltz and Paul Murdoch.

The Trust for the National Mall, a nonprofit devoted to restoring the heavily used park in the core of Washington, D.C., has released the shortlisted design concepts in its National Mall Design Competition. The 10 teams in the contest’s final stage were asked to reimagine three sites on the Mall most in need of repair or improvement: Constitution Gardens, near the Lincoln Memorial and the Reflecting Pool; the Washington Monument grounds; and the area around the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial facing the U.S. Capitol’s west face.

Continue reading after the jump.

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Thursday: Panel discusses designs for Long Island City.  Noguchi Skyviewing model, 1969. (Courtesy Noguchi Museum) Thursday night at the Center for Architecture, AN‘s executive editor and editor of the forthcoming Civic Action publication Julie V. Iovine will moderate a panel on Civic Action: A Vision for Long Island City, a site-study and exhibition featuring innovative design proposals for the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens. The panel will include Lyn Rice, Elliott Maltby, and Claire Weisz speaking about involving the arts in civic planning. See you there!

 

NYU Takes a Shave; Locals Still Not Pleased

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
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The NYU expansion plan as seen from above will not change drastically. (Courtesy NYU)

The NYU expansion master plan as seen from above will not change drastically. (Courtesy NYU)

As was largely expected following comments from Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer‘s office leaked to the press last month, officials from NYU announced that the university has agreed to shave off 370,000 square feet from their 2,275,000 square foot expansion plan, The New York Times reported.

In a telephone interview with AN, Andrew Berman, of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, said that even with those changes the project is still out of scale for the neighborhood. Berman added that he was disappointed that the Borough President (BP) didn’t hold public meetings for the ULURP, as was done for the Columbia University expansion in Morningside Heights. “If there was ever a ULURP to hold a public hearing for, it was this,” he said.

Continue reading after the jump.

Architectural League Honors Amanda Burden’s Commitment to Quality Design

East
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
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Amanda Burden. (David Malosh)

Amanda Burden. (David Malosh)

Amanda Burden, Chair of the New York City Planning Commission and Director of the Department of City Planning, is the recipient of the Architectural League of New York’s highest honor, the President’s Medal. The League’s President and Board of Directors grant the award to individuals in recognition of an exceptional body of work in architecture, urbanism, or design. The medal was presented to Burden last night at an awards ceremony.

Continue reading after the jump.

Christie’s ARC Accounting Questioned.  New Jersey Governor Chris Cristie's tunnel numbers are being questioned (Courtesy crooksandliars.com). The accounting methods that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie used to put the kibosh on new cross Hudson train tunnel were called in to question in a report released today, the New York Times reports. Christie said that the project, called the Access to the Regions Core (ARC), could run up to $14 billion, but independent Congressional investigators found that it would cost no more than $10 billion. He also claimed that New Jersey would foot more than 70 percent of the bill, but investigators said it would have been more like 14 percent. It should be noted that a constant Christie critic, Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, commissioned the report. No matter, it seems to be no skin off the governor’s nose. NJ.com grabbed a quotable quote from the governor speaking in New York this morning at the George W. Bush Institute Conference on Taxes and Economic Growth: “So when they want to build a tunnel to the basement of a Macy’s and stick the New Jersey taxpayers with a bill of $3 to $5 billion over, no matter how much the administration yells and screams, you have to say no.”

 

Kamin: Humana Resurrecta.  Michael Graves Humana building, Louisville, 1986 (Courtesy AIAArchiblog). Blair Kamin seems to have joined the reconsider PoMo chorus, stating in his Sunday column that the movement “deserves a more sophisticated reappraisal.” The focus of the Tribune tribute was Michael Graves’s Humana building in Louisville, Kentucky.  By drawing comparisons to Johnson’s AT&T building in its unabashed commercialism and to Kohn Pedersen Fox’s 333 Waker Drive for its national significance, Kamin writes that “Graves crafted a tower that could only have been built in Louisville.” The reassessment comes on the heel of Graves receiving the Richard H. Driehaus Prize for classical and traditional architecture in Chicago last month, which in turn came after last fall’s PoMo Conference at New York’s Institute for Classical Architecture and Art. Seems that the classicists are going gaga for PoMo.

 

On View> Pedro E. Guerrero: A Retrospective

West
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
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(Pedro Guerrero / Woodbury)

(Pedro Guerrero / Woodbury)

Pedro E. Guerrero: A Retrospective
WUHO Gallery
6518 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles
Through April 25

At age 22, Pedro E. Guerrero made a spontaneous visit to Taliesin West to meet Frank Lloyd Wright; upon seeing his portfolio Wright immediately gave Guerrero the position of principal photographer. Guerrero’s relationship with Wright would define his career; nearly all publications about Wright include his work. Moving to New York, Guerrero went on to work for journals including Architectural Record and Vogue, documenting the works of modernists like Saarinen and Breuer. His photography approaches architecture as sculpture, displaying an eye for composition and form that led to close personal and working relationships with Alexander Calder and Louise Nevelson.

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