Wanted: Neighborhood for Aluminaire

East, Newsletter
Thursday, May 17, 2012
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The Aluminaire House being dissasebled last month. (Courtesy Aluminaire House Foundation)

The Aluminaire House being dissasembled last month. (Courtesy Aluminaire House Foundation)

The Aluminaire House is homeless once again. Built in 1931 for the Allied Arts and Industry and Architectural League Exhibition, the house introduced prefabricated design methods espoused by Le Corbusier to an American audience. Corbu disciple Albert Frey designed the house with A. Lawrence Kocher, onetime editor at Architectural Record. After more than 100,000 visitors passed through, the architect Wallace Harrision snapped it up and placed it on his estate to be used as guest house. The building later was featured in Hitchcock and Johnson’s 1932 MoMA exhibition and in their book The International Style. Eventually, the house came under the care of the New York Institute of Technology and onto their former Islip campus. Last month, the house was dismantled once again and handed over to the newly formed Aluminaire House Foundation, run by architects Frances Campani and Michael Schwarting of Campani and Schwarting Architects.

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Breaking Out & Breaking In: Designers, Critics, and FBI Agents

East
Thursday, May 17, 2012
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Yale SoA's Jimmy Stamp, Filmmaker Magazine's Scott Macauley, and Retired Special Agent Thomas McShane and Studio-X's Geoff Manaugh

Yale SoA's Jimmy Stamp, Filmmaker Magazine's Scott Macauley, and Retired Special Agent Thomas McShane and Studio-X's Geoff Manaugh. (Courtesy Studio-X)

Bringin’ it back to the old school, to the days of 3D online meet-up spots and avatars, when chat rooms were actual digitally-modelled rooms, “Breaking Out and Breaking In” was a “distributed film fest,” where users watched movies at home and came together in the comments section of BLDGBLOG to discuss the films. It was a blurring of the real and the digital. In partnership with Filmmaker magazine, the series focused on films which were either about bank heists (breaking in) or prison escapes (breaking out), positing them as “the use and misuse of space.” Films were watched during a period of four months, and the festival culminated with a panel discussion at Columbia’s GSAPP featuring two FBI agents alongside designers and critics.

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Bloomberg Applies Sunscreen Legislation.  Detail of Piano's sunscree for the New York Times building. (Courtesy treehugger) As if to underline, highlight, and italicize the mayor’s support for green design, today New York Mayor Bloomberg signed into law a bill that will allow sun control devices to protrude from buildings up to two-and-a-half feet. If the legislation sounds similar to the Zone Green legislation passed by City Planning back in March, that’s because it is. But the new legislation brings this particular building code in line with one of the many zoning codes encompassed by Zone Green.

 

Students in Buffalo Reimagine the Structural Potential of Paper

Dean's List, East
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
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Troy Barnes, Stephen Olson, Scott Selin, and Adrian Solecki stand on the Paper Lever over the Buffalo River. (Courtesy Buffalo Rising)

Troy Barnes, Stephen Olson, Scott Selin, and Adrian Solecki stand on the Paper Lever over the Buffalo River. (Courtesy Buffalo Rising)

For most architecture students, a model malfunction won’t land you in the middle of a river, but one group of Buffalonian risk takers at the University of Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning, under the direction of Associate Professor Jean La Marche were up for the challenge. Students Troy Barnes, Stephen Olson, Scott Selin, and Adrian Solecki designed and installed half of a bridge—made of cardboard—cantilevered over the Buffalo River, and invited people to step out over the water. The frightening experiment worked, challenging conventional notions of material constraints.

Continue reading after the jump.

Architecture is on Display at the Venice Art Walk

West
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
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Exterior of Google's new HQ in Venice. (IK's World Trip/Flickr)

Exterior of Google's new HQ in Venice. (IK's World Trip/Flickr)

Trust us, you don’t want to miss this weekend’s Venice Art Walk & Auctions (May 19-20), which in addition to showing off the area’s wealth of art studios and galleries, will introduce you to some of its finest new architecture. That’s impressive because everybody knows that Venice has more architects per square foot than pretty much anywhere else.

Continue reading after the jump.

Still Time For A Zen Experience In Downtown LA

West
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
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The zen garden hosts the Mare Nubium dance performance. (Hirokazu Kosaka)

The zen garden hosts the Mare Nubium dance performance. (Hirokazu Kosaka)

The Japanese American Cultural & Community Center’s first annual spring festival, LA Bloom wrapped up on May 5, but late visitors to the Little Tokyo site in Downtown LA can still enjoy a piece of the festivities. LA Bloom’s centerpiece ecoartspace installation will remain up for a few extra weeks. Using over five million pebbles, JACCC Artistic Director Hirokazu Kosaka and landscape architect Calvin Abe of AHBE created a large zen garden that, during the festival (along with thousands of feet of colorful thread) created a serene background for Kosaka’s evocative Mare Nubium performances.

“It isn’t something that can be experienced through description. It would be like explaining what it’s like to be present watching the original moon landing,” said Abe, for whom the space created a “profound existential experience.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Billings Bucks Upward Trend

National
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
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BILLINGS (BLUE) AND INQUIRIES (RED) FOR THE PAST 12 MONTHS. (THE ARCHITECT'S NEWSPAPER)

BILLINGS (BLUE) AND INQUIRIES (RED) FOR THE PAST 12 MONTHS. (THE ARCHITECT'S NEWSPAPER)

For the past five months things were looking up for the Architecture Billings Index. Until now. Granted, the index was merely teetering on the positive side of the spectrum at 50.4 for March (any score above 50 reflects an increase), so it didn’t have far to drop into the negative territory of 48.4 for April. Despite the five-month positive stint, throughout the period AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker urged cautious optimism in what has clearly been a tepid recovery. In a statement released today, he said that the decline in demand for design services is not surprising considering continued volatility in the overall economy. “Favorable conditions during the winter months may have accelerated design billings, producing a pause in projects that have moved ahead faster than expected,” he said.

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> Craft Spoken Here at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

East
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
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Rebecca Medel's "The One, 1985." (Courtesy PMA)

Rebecca Medel's "The One, 1985." (Courtesy PMA)

Craft Spoken Here
Philadelphia Museum of Art
26th St. and Benjamin Franklin Pkwy.
Philadelphia, PA
Through August 12

Since it was founded in 1876, the Philadelphia Museum of Art has collected and exhibited crafts; the collection today includes 20th- and 21st-century works from across the globe. With Craft Spoken Here, the Museum presents the medium of crafting as a common language of technique, material, and form that defies cultural boundaries and historical categorization. Drawing from the museum’s collection as well as works on loan from artists and private collections, the exhibition will include some 40 works by acclaimed and lesser-known craftsman alike, with contemporary pieces from 1960 to the present, including The One, 1985 by Rebecca Medel (above). Representing the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Europe with works in ceramic, glass, metal, wood, lacquer, paper, and fiber, the works on display show the breadth of the medium and highlight the qualities of craft that transcend culture and time.

Space and Time Expanding at Yale Art Gallery

East
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
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Yale University Art Gallery (left to right: Louis Kahn building, Old Yale Art Gallery building, Street Hall). (Christopher Gardner)

Yale University Art Gallery (left to right: Louis Kahn building, Old Yale Art Gallery building, Street Hall). (Christopher Gardner)

Few university art museums have holdings that span from 3000-year old Chinese bronze vessels to bronze coins of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, and from the blue-tiled gates of ancient Babylon to Blam, a red, white, and blue oil painting by Roy LichtensteinThe collections of the Yale University Art Gallery, both deep and wide-ranging, offer up an impressive art-fueled time machine, and thanks to the Gallery’s current expansion project by Ennead, visitors will be able to travel more easily than ever across history and cultures.

Continue reading after the jump.

Unveiled> SOM’s Latest Supertall Building in China

(Courtesy SOM)

(Courtesy SOM)

A “supertall” building is one which tops out at over 1,250 feet. Right now, there are 18 completed supertall buildings and 21 under construction. Chicago-based architects Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill (SOM) will break ground on Tuesday on the 1,740-foot-tall CTF Tower in Tianjin, China. It will be the tenth supertall building to begin construction for SOM, the most of any firm in the world. The building is a carefully-crafted design which deliberately merges structural challenges with program and form.

Continue reading after the jump.

Casting Bogardus Plaza in an Architectural Light

East
Monday, May 14, 2012
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Bogardus Plaza. (Branden Klayko / AN)

Bogardus Plaza. (Branden Klayko / AN)

It’s not every day that architects get a public space named after one of their own, but tucked away in Lower Manhattan is a small pedestrian plaza named after one of the most important 19th-century architects around. Bogardus Plaza occupies one block of Hudson Street on the corner of Chambers Street and West Broadway only a few blocks from AN headquarters and is named from James Bogardus (1800-1874), the inventor of the cast-iron building, and last week the plaza received a fresh coat of gravel-epoxy paint.

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On View> The Outdoor Office at the Art Institute of Chicago

Midwest
Monday, May 14, 2012
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The Outdoor Office. (Courtesy AIC)

The Outdoor Office. (Courtesy AIC)

The Outdoor Office
The Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago
Through July 15

Jonathan Olivares takes a human-centered approach to industrial design and research. His 2011 book A Taxonomy of Office Chairs, published by Phaidon, provides an encyclopedic history of the office chair from 1840 to present day; building on this research, Olivares presents the speculative project The Outdoor Office (above). The advent of mobile communication means that work can be done outside of traditional offices and that the utility of outdoor space is no longer limited to recreation and leisure. Olivares examines how productive work environments can be created with new types of outdoor furniture and architecture, with consideration of privacy, shelter, and adaptability. The exhibition showcases the research and results of his findings, with images drawn from television, film, and existing offices, in addition to conceptual projects and models developed for new outdoor work spaces.

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