And Then There Were Four at 425 Park.  And Then There Were Four at 425 Park The Times is reporting that four finalists are competing to build a new tower at 425 Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan: Norman Foster, Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid, and Richard Rogers. AN previously reported an international roster of 11 firms were in the running. The new tower could be the first of many in the area, if the Department of City Planning’s proposal to up-zone the area is approved.

 

Cincinnati’s Over the Rhine Celebrates Opening of Washington Park

Midwest
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
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INTERACTIVE WATER ELEMENTS ARE AMONG THE MORE POPULAR UPDATES. (COURTESY WASHINGTON PARK VIA FLICKR)

INTERACTIVE WATER ELEMENTS ARE AMONG THE MORE POPULAR UPDATES. (COURTESY WASHINGTON PARK VIA FLICKR)

Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood is surging back from disrepair, becoming the poster-child for Porkopolis’ return to progressive urbanism. After two years of construction, the historic neighborhood’s Washington Park reopened to the public Friday.

The $48-million renovation is the latest investment by Cincinnati in its urban character—much was made of Washington Park’s likelihood to attract and sustain investment nearby. A number of amenities were added, including a children’s playground, a dog park, a fountain, an event plaza and a stage for live performances.

Continue reading after the jump.

Form. Function. Gloves.

International, Newsletter
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
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Courtesy Renee Verhoeven

For her graduation project at Dutch art and design school ArtEZ, Renee Verhoeven explored the relationship between function and materialization with Concealed Layers of Product Life. Anatomy, movement, and utility are translated through fabrication in a collection of gloves that attempt to tackle one of the fundamental projects of Modern design and architecture. As Verhoeven explained in a statement, “It was an idea I nurtured for a long time: making the outer layers of a product expressive for its interior, the way it functions and the scientific knowledge that it materializes.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Detroit Mayor Endorses Seed Money for Urban Agriculture

Midwest
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
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earthworks farm Detroit

EARTHWORKS FARM SERVES CAPUCHIN SOUP KITCHEN, A LOCAL FARMERS MARKET AND GLEANER'S FOOD BANK. (COURTESY A HEALTHIER MICHIGAN/FLICKR.)

Despite the Motor City’s notoriety as a symbol of urban decay, development is actually going on in Detroit. And with almost 40 square miles of vacant land, Detroit has the chance to redefine urban renewal outright. The city recently took note of one major way some residents are turning blight into bounty: Mayor David Bing signed off on Michigan State University’s plan to seed urban agriculture in Detroit with $1.5 million over the next three years.

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NYC DOT Eyeing Vanderbilt for Pedestrian Plaza..  The Bleak Vanderbilt Avenue during morning rush: June 14, 8:45AM. The New York Times explored the news of Vanderbilt Avenue becoming a pedestrian plaza through a not-so-rosy Ivy filter today, featuring a photo of the Yale Club rather than the street in question.  AN first reported that the “site has obvious potential for a DOT plaza” back in mid-June when we first examined the Grand Central rezoning proposal that City Planning will present to Community Boards 5 tomorrow night.

 

James Turrell Captures a Slice of the Vast Texas Sky with Twilight Epiphany Pavilion

National, Newsletter
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
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(Courtesy Rice University)

(Courtesy Rice University)

For many, work by American artist James Turrell is instantly recognizable. Using light and basic geometric forms as the material of his compositions, Turrell subtly alters space and perception for visitors, creating weight and depth through visual experience that evokes meditation and contemplation.

Turrell’s work is at its height when gazing skyward. Multiple iterations of his Skyspace series have appeared around the world framing a dramatic slice of the heavens in his pristine geometry. The work is, essentially, a skylight: an opening above a room or pavilion for viewing the sky above, but to reduce the work to its function would disregard the transformative power of a simple yet moving experience. In each installation, a confined aperture begins to decontextualize the sky, featuring the color and texture of what is seen as an element of the art.

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> The Future of Yesterday

Midwest
Monday, July 9, 2012
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Crystal Palace. (Ives Maes & Christian Nagel)

Crystal Palace. (Ives Maes & Christian Nagel)

The Future of Yesterday: Photographs of Architectural Remains at World’s Fairs
Nelson-Atkins Museum
45th and Oak Streets, Kansas City, MO
Through September 9

In conjunction with Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World’s Fairs 1851–1939, the Nelson-Atkins Museum presents the first solo American exhibition of Belgian artist Ives Maes. In contrast to the technological and stylistic innovation showcased in the companion exhibition, Maes provides a study of the lasting artifacts of the world’s fair utopian aspirations. The photographs uncover fair grounds as they stand today, sometimes repurposed but often abandoned or in ruins (such as the site of London’s Crystal Palace, above), juxtaposing the optimism of the architects’ vision with the reality of the present. Co-curator Catherine L. Futter explains, “Ives’ visually compelling images and sculptural presentation lead us to examine the condition, context and activities of the sites in the present, yet evoke the magnificent and progressive ideals of these global events.”

New York’s Armories Look Toward Next Life

East
Monday, July 9, 2012
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Rendering of the Kingsbridge Armory showing its use as an ice center.

Rendering of the Kingsbridge Armory showing its use as an ice center.

New York’s historic armories are getting a second chance at life with the city looking to reimagine both the Crown Heights Armory in Brooklyn and the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx. The Crown Heights crowd has been wowed by the adaptive reuse of the Park Slope armory as a community gathering spot. Borough President Marty Markowitz favors a roller rink. Up in the Bronx two developers are duking it out to realized that venue as either a Latin-infused marketplace or an ice skating rink sponsored in part by former Rangers captain Mark Messier.

Meanwhile, the grandaddy of repurposed armories, the Park Avenue Armory, announce last week that they secured $15 million from the Thompson Family Foundation toward their own $200 million Herzog & de Meuron renovation.

Nation’s First Rooftop Community Garden Prepares to Open Atop a Seattle Parking Garage

West
Friday, July 6, 2012
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Fresh sod in front of a repurposed Airstream tool shed. (Courtesy UpGarden P-Patch)

Fresh sod in front of a repurposed Airstream tool shed. (Courtesy UpGarden P-Patch)

Installation of the first community rooftop garden in the United States—UpGarden—is almost complete. Located in the shadow of Seattle’s Space Needle, the project will convert close to 30,000 square feet on the top of the Mercer parking garage into an organic, edible, herb and flower garden with 100 plots for lower Queen Anne neighborhood residents. Landscape architecture firm Kistler Higbee Cahoot is leading the design, organizing community workshops and construction of the garden with a volunteer crew.

Continue reading after the jump.

Tea Time Pavilion Made From 250,000 Plastic Coffee Stirrers

East
Friday, July 6, 2012
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Jean Shin and Brian Ripel's "Tea House" is at the DeCordova sculpture park through the fall (Courtesy Clements Photograph and Design)

Jean Shin and Brian Ripel's "Tea House" is at the DeCordova Sculpture Park through the fall (Courtesy Clements Photography and Design)

Rarely do red plastic coffee stirrers conjure notions of Walden Pond, but for architect Brian Ripel and artist Jean Shin, the notion is not that far fetched. The duo’s Tea House rooftop installation at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts sits about a mile from Thoreau’s retreat. Ripel pointed out that the connection is somewhat difficult to discern in isolation, but the gabled pavilion frames pristine views absent of any evidence that the museum sits a mere twelve miles from downtown Boston.

Continue reading after the jump.

BUCKY ON FILM.  BUCKY ON FILM There’s something about Buckminster Fuller. Already there have been a spate of documentaries about the eccentric, geodesic dome-loving designer. They include The World of Buckminster Fuller, by Robert Snyder; Buckminster Fuller: Thinking Out Loud, by Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon; and A Necessary Ruin, by Evan Mather. But now we hear a rumor that filmmaker Steve Reiss is working on a full-length feature about Fuller called “Bucky,” based on a screenplay by Ron Bass. Stay tuned as we get more details. And hold on to your domes.

 

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson’s Tree Canopy

Fabrikator
Friday, July 6, 2012
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Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
Fabrikator Brought to you by:

Colombiere1

A tree grows in the Colombiere Center Chapel

It all started with a beech tree that has lived for the past hundred years on the Colombiere Jesuit Brother’s bucolic 14-acre site in Baltimore, MD.  The tree stands in plain view of the brothers’ new chapel, designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ). Alfred Dragani, an associate with the firm and the lead on the project, said that “as our Jesuit clients expressed a greater desire for privacy, we began to study ways of designing a shroud behind the south and north facing glass walls of the chapel that would operate like light-modulating screens. Our hope was that we could simulate the effect of an actual tree canopy, resulting in a dappled and serene light.” Dragani and his team used digital modeling (Rhino and Grasshopper) to simulate daylight conditions in the chapel throughout the year and create an interior installation in the chapel made from perforated wood panels in an organic arrangement of overlapping planes within a repetitive steel framework.

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