Mayor’s Challenge Seeks the Next Big Idea for City Life

National
Monday, June 18, 2012
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With nine million dollars total in prizes up for grabs, The Mayor’s Challenge simply asks for innovations in city life, a subject that’s been a growing concern for countless architects, planners, and governments worldwide. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the competition last week calling for individual designers and teams to address urban challenges from sustainability to citizen empowerment. “Every day, mayors around America are tackling increasingly complex problems with fewer and fewer resources,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “Our cities are uniquely positioned to inspire and foster the innovation, creativity, and solutions needed to improve people’s lives and move America forward.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Parks & Relocation: NYC’s Adrian Benepe Bows Out to Veronica White

National
Monday, June 18, 2012
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Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe with Van Alen's Abby Hamlin and AN exec editor Bill Menking in January, 2011. (AN/Stoelker)

Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe with Van Alen's Abby Hamlin and AN exec editor Bill Menking in January, 2011. (AN/Stoelker)

With just a year and a half left of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s tenure remaining, the first of his major appointees, New York City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, is moving on. Under Benepe, the Parks Department was transformed on a scale that approached the early tenure of Robert Moses. Since his appointment in 2002, the commissioner oversaw the largest expansion of waterfront parks like Brooklyn Bridge Park, embraced public-private partnerships as seen on the High Line, and distributed more than $250 million in Croton Water Filtration funds to small pocket parks throughout the Bronx.

Continue reading after the jump.

Renaissance Critic.  Renaissance Critic It’s common knowledge that before Michael Kimmelman became the New York Times’ architecture critic he used to be one of the paper’s art critics. But did you know that before delving into the visual arts, Kimmelman had a passion for the lively arts? He even considered a professional career as a concert pianist. In fact, on his days off you can still find Kimmelman performing, most recently on May 19 and 20 with Bargemusic, a chamber music group that holds concerts on a barge near the Brooklyn Bridge. The pianist in a quartet, Kimmelman was down for a little Hayden, Beethoven, and Mozart. “Hoping people will come to my concerts at Bargemusic,” the critic tweeted beforehand, in what may count as one his few reviews of an actual, if nautical, structure. “Nice program, cool place.”

 

Profile> Jason Kelly Johnson talks Responsive Building Facades July 27

West
Friday, June 15, 2012
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Jason Kelly Johnson of  Future Cities Lab will lead the workshop "Responsive Building Facades" on July 27.

Jason Kelly Johnson of Future Cities Lab will lead "Responsive Building Facades" workshop July 27.

To get a sense of Jason Kelly Johnson’s vision for buildings of the future, drop by the Buckminster Fuller show on view at SFMOMA through July 29. Johnson’s San Francisco-based studio Future Cities Lab was one of the firms chosen to represent Fuller’s legacy in the Bay Area. You’ll see the motorized model for the HYDRAMAX Port Machine, a waterfront “urban-scale robotic structure” that harvests rainwater and fog, designed by Johnson and his partner Nataly Gattegno—a dynamic concept that makes today’s built environment look positively lazy by comparison.

Better yet, go learn from Johnson firsthand. On July 27 Johnson will explore how technical tools like Grasshopper, Firefly, and Arduino can help tap the potential of  buildings in “Responsive Building Facades,” 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.

Watch a video about the Hydramax Port Machine project after the jump.

Keeping Busy at ArchPaper West.  Keeping Busy at ArchPaper West We’ve got our plates full this month at Dwell on Design/LA Design Festival/AIA LA Design Conference. On Thursday, June 21 we’re hosting a studio tour at our new West coast offices, the American Cement Building, featuring eight architecture firms in one building. Next, on June 22-24 we’re hosting architect consultations at Dwell, connecting more than 20 of the city’s top architects to potential clients. Finally on June 24, West Coast Editor Sam Lubell is moderating an expert panel at the AIA Design Conference examining how architecture can contribute to the public realm.

 

Zaha Considers Buying a Museum in London.  Courtesy BD Online With the London Design Museum gearing up to move in to their new Pawson designed-Pad in Knightsbridge, BD Online reports that Zaha Hadid is a front runner to purchase the old digs in the Southwark section of the city. The buzz is that she plans to turn it into an architecture museum.

 

Oyler Wu’s “Screenplay” Installation

Fabrikator
Friday, June 15, 2012
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Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
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An installation team is using a digitally designed model to carefully wrap steel frames with rope (Clifford Ho)

The firm continues its exploration of creating complex shapes with rope

The West Coast’s design show Dwell on Design brings tens of thousands of visitors to the Los Angeles Convention center for three days of modern design each summer. This year, the show commissioned a project from Oyler Wu Collaborative, the LA-based architecture firm of Jenny Wu and Dwayne Oyler. The most recent of seven installations (including “Netscape,” the SCI-Arc 2011 graduation pavilion) that the duo has designed since 2007, “Screenplay” is a 22-foot-long, 9-foot-high steel frame over which is woven an impossibly complex web of silver polypropylene rope.

Continue reading after the jump.

Willets Point Brings Retail Revelry, Puts Housing on Back Burner

East
Thursday, June 14, 2012
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The retain and entertainment complex to abut the west side of Citi Field.

The retain and entertainment complex to abut the west side of Citi Field.

Mayor Bloomberg evoked Fitzgerald today when he announced the deal between Sterling Equities and Related Companies to revamp Willets Point. “Today the ‘valley of ashes’ is well on its way to becoming the site of historic private investment,” the mayor said in a statement, referring to the gritty midpoint between Gatsby’s West Egg manse and Manhattan. The plan pegs its success to a  mega entertainment/retail hub just west of the stadium, that sounds very much a part of a trend in projects that used to be called malls, but are now called retail/entertainment attractions (see also the aptly named American Dream in NJ).

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To Russia, With Love.  To Russia, With Love Is Russia the new China? Probably nyet, but there are a couple of projects to watch in Putinland. Rem Koolhaas has locked up the commission to transform a crumbling Soviet-era building into a hip new home for the Garage (pictured), the contemporary art center in Moscow run by Dasha Zhukova. Bankrolling the creation of a 58,000-square-foot kunsthalle, complete with the obligatory café, shop, and “learning center,” is billionaire Roman Abramovich, Zhukova’s longtime boyfriend.

 

WTF WI-FI.  WTF WI-FI That didn’t take long. We hear that the funds promised for the LA Unified School District’s innovative prefabricated prototype schools by the likes of Craig Hodgetts, Swift Lee and Gonzalez Goodale have been routed instead to updating LAUSD schools’ wifi systems. We know that getting on the Internet without a cord is cool, but more important than shelter from the storm? Say it ain’t so! Now that the program is on hold there is one silver lining. It appears that LA’s charter schools are jumping over themselves to get a prefab prototype. Stay tuned.

 

Trendspotting at Neocon

Midwest, National
Thursday, June 14, 2012
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Steelcase's media:scape software on a stand from Coalesse.

As North America’s largest interior design conference, Neocon is a great place to scout interiors trends. Here are a couple themes AN spotted during this year’s opening days. Video conference calls are an integral part of day-to-day office work for a growing share of businesses. Elegant office design and high-tech compatibility seemed to dovetail in many of the new products on display at Neocon. Read More

Scientists Wire a Luxury Tower in San Francisco with Seismic Sensors

West
Thursday, June 14, 2012
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One Rincon Hill and the San Francisco Bay. (sheenjek/flickr)

California’s tallest residential-only tower and, according to some, the ugliest building in San Francisco has been given a new purpose following the installation last month of 72 accelerographs, or strong motion seismographs, within the building. Through a collaboration between the California Geological Survey, the U.S. Geological Survey, and Madnusson Klemencic Associates, the building’s structural engineers, the 641-foot southern tower of the One Rincon Hill luxury condominium development at the base of the Bay Bridge is now home to the “densest network of seismic monitoring instruments ever installed in an American high-rise,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported. These instruments, located at strategic points throughout 24 floors of the building, will provide “unprecedented” seismic data, which will in turn lead to better building codes and guidelines for structural engineers and future high-rise builders.

Continue reading after the jump.

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