In the interest of getting students to build physical things, three years ago, USC introduced Top Fuel, a week-long design-build workshop accompanied by lectures, exhibitions, and panels. This year’s workshop, “Filters Funnels Flows,” wrapped up earlier this week. It focused on pneumatic (aka inflatable) structures, teaching students about the “inseparable relation between form and performance of pneumatic systems.” Indeed, produce the wrong form here (or material, or structure) and the piece doesn’t inflate. Students also explored lighting, temperature, and other environmental issues.
In a city obsessed with spectacle, it seems only fitting that graduate architecture students at UCLA would investigate the subject in one of its most literal forms. The students (including the author of this blog post) have designed objects, known collectively as Space Oddities, or Variations on the Disco Ball, for a 10-week technology and construction seminar led by professor Jasson Payne. The pieces, morphed from their disco ball origins, are now neither spherical nor symmetrical. Hung in a darkened gallery, they cast a dizzying array of reflections, shapes, shadows, and forms across the room.
Today’s New York Times is packed with urbanism stories, with three articles and two Op-ed pieces that made it to print. First, there’s Speaker Christine Quinn‘s exemption for Related Properties’ Hudson Yards project from the Living Wage bill. Then there are rumblings from Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer‘s office that he isn’t pleased that NYU “seems to be backpedaling” on their 2.2 million square foot proposal. A source says the university may be able to get by on 1.5 million square feet. “When you propose a plan you know will overwhelm the existing community, you lose credibility with architects, planners and land-use experts, and you lose the heart and soul of a community,” the BP told the paper. But wait there’s more…
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A temporary installation spruces up the burger stand’s site ahead of its summer opening
Two years ago, Mario Gentile founded Phildelphia-based Shift_Design after being laid off from Peter Marino Architects. With an infant son in tow, he began to design and manufacture a range of systems for outdoor garden environments. The company was part of the GoodCompany incubation program for socially responsible products and will complete a green roof, living wall, and rainwater harvesting system at the Urban Outfitters headquarters at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in September. They are also working with Philadelphia’s Water Department to design new stormwater-collecting planters. Though functional and environmentally minded, the group’s work has a lighthearted appeal for urban environments—something that’s apparent in its newly completed installation at the construction site of Danny Meyer’s first Philadelphia Shake Shack, scheduled to open this summer.
LA’s proposed 44-acre Hollywood Central Park, which would be set atop the capped 101 Freeway between Santa Monica and Hollywood boulevards, made new friends in Washington last week, according to the LA Daily News. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood met with local congressman Adam Schiff and Friends of the Hollywood Central Park (FHCP), a non-profit formed in 2008 to raise funds for the park. LaHood expressed interest in the project, and provided insights on its development and possible benefits. He also offered to have members of his staff contribute to its planning process.
In an amusing aside, landscape architect Laurie Olin discussed his bow ties on the firm’s blog today. Olin briefly described the style of landscape architects. “Well, there are probably as many styles of dress for landscape architects as there are regions of the world for them to practice in,” he said. And he argued that there is a time and a place for the bow tie. “There are of course clients for whom you wear blue jeans, and events where that’s completely inappropriate.”
Ties in general, he added, are one of the last frontiers in attire for masculine elan. “I think that because there are so few details in men’s clothing and so little ornament, that ties have become uniquely important. It’s one of the last gasps of flair and color for men. Humans respond to color, and it signals various things. It signals that, ‘I’m a wild and crazy guy’ or ‘I’m alive’ or ‘I’m sensible.’”
ONE Lab, New York School for Design + Science is a non-profit research and education collaborative that plans to begin year-round programming when the historic renovation of Building 128 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard is complete in 2014. This innovative, interdisciplinary school currently operates out of the Metropolitan Exchange, a professional cooperative at 33 Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, NY. The co-chairs, Maria Aiolova and Mitchell Joachim of urban ecology thinktank Terreform ONE, seek to promote “research and education at the intersection of design and science.”
For your afternoon enjoyment, check out this silent film from 1921 we spotted at the Urbanophile called Manhatta. The short film by Paul Strand and Charles Sheeler documents city life in Lower Manhattan during a typical day, from the arrival of a ferry at the Battery Maritime Building to construction of skyscrapers to a Manhattan sunset. Our favorite scenes, however, are the chaotic streets (“Where the city’s ceaseless crowd moves on, the live long day.”) filled with people, cars, buggies, trolleys, elevated rail lines, and bikes all moving in the same shared space. Take a look.
It was a busy archi-spring night last night. The Municipal Arts Society held their debate on NYU’s 2031 expansion plan, the AIDS Memorial exhibit opened at the Center for Architecture, and Ralph Walker: Architect of the Century opened at the newly re-dubbed Walker Tower on West 18th Street. Read on for highlights of the MAS debate and to view few photos from the Center and Walker Tower…