Billings Stays Positive for Fifth Consecutive Month

National
Wednesday, April 18, 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)

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has registered promising gains since late last fall, and, according to the AIA’s latest report on March billings, the ABI continues to find its footing in positive territory—but just barely. The overall March score was 50.4, indicating slight growth in demand for services (any score above 50 reflects increase in billings) but less growth than the previous month (the ABI was 51.0 in February).

Read the full breakdown after the jump.

Everybody Walks In LA.  Everybody Walks In LA Or at least that’s the goal of Los Angeles Walks!, a pedestrian advocacy group that aims to make walking accessible and safe in a city that has long been stereotyped as car-centric. Among other things the group recommends improvements to dangerous intersections through better crosswalk design, better way finding, road diets (aka street slimming), and various policy changes. This Saturday evening the group is hosting the Los Angeles Walks Karaoke Fundraiser at Atwater Crossing in LA’s Atwater Village. Get out there and sing! And if you drive there, at least park a few blocks away…

 

LA the Latest to Join the Nationwide Bike Share Game

National, Newsletter
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
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A rendering of a bike share station in LA. (Courtesy Bike Nation)

A rendering of a bike share station in LA. (Courtesy Bike Nation)

Over the weekend, over 100,000 pedestrians and cyclists packed the streets of Los Angeles for the city’s CicLAvia open streets initiative, a play off of the the Ciclovia in Bogotá, Columbia which popularized the movement to shut down city streets to cars and turn them over to the community for a day.

But masses of people taking to the streets wasn’t the big news out of LA. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa made a surprise announcement that the city is the latest to join the bike share craze that’s been pedaling across the nation. When it opens later this year, LA’s bike share system will be among the largest in the country, so AN decided to take stock of where some of the biggest initiatives stand today.

Continue reading after the jump.

Charlie Rose: Mayors Roundtable.  Baltimore's Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake on Charlie Rose yesterday. Charlie Rose held a roundtable with four American mayors on last night’s program. Chicago’s Rahm Emanuel joined Louisville’s Greg Fischer, Baltimore’s Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, and Jacksonville’s Alvin Brown. From infrastructure, to education, to public private partnerships, the crew parsed the pressing issues. They even delved into the tricky tango that cities must dance with the federal and state governments.

 

Wednesday! The Institute as the Women Saw It.  Courtesy Author House Publishing Wednesday night at Van Alen Institute, AN’s own Julie Iovine will moderate a panel discussion on the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies. The IAUS, at first affiliated with the MoMA and Cornell University, was dedicated to research, education, and discourse on architecture and urbanism. Artists, architects, and historians collaborated on projects that would shape architectural discourse for decades—Koolhaas’ Delirious New York was born out of his time at the Institute. The discussion will center on Suzanne Frank’s new book IAUS: An Insider’s Memoir, with fellow Institute alumni Diana Agrest, Suzanne Stephens, and Frederieke Taylor.

 

Tonight! NYC’s Grid and Cycles of Planning

East
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
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Join AN‘s Executive Editor Julie V. Iovine at the Museum of the City of New York as she moderates a panel discussion on the relationship between real estate and the New York City grid this evening at 6:30 p.m. The panel of five experts will explore cycles in planning including, among other topics, the emergence of superblocks and their subsequent decline. While you do need to register, mention AN and you get a discount! More information on the AN Calendar.

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What is Green, Anyway? Join Us for an Online Conversation on Sustainability

National
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
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John Stein (left) and Angela Brooks (right) in front of the Raleigh Museum of Art by Brooks+Scarpa. (Montage by AN)

John Stein (left) and Angela Brooks (right) in front of the Raleigh Museum of Art by Brooks+Scarpa. (Montage by AN)

Join us for a live Facebook discussion, “What Is Green, Anyway?”
Wednesday, April 18
12:00 p.m. PST, 3:00 p.m. EST

You’re invited to talk about sustainability with AN‘s West Coast Editor Sam Lubell, Angela Brooks, partner at Brooks + Scarpa, and John Stein, president of Kirei, a green materials company. The open discussion will cover what exactly makes a project green, how effective green standards are, how sustainability is driving design (and whether it should), and where green design is heading.

The best part is that the questions will be all yours, answered live by our participants. To participate in “What Is Green, Anyway?,” simply visit the AN Blog tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. eastern. We’ll publish a post to the AN Blog before the event and you can join the discussion and ask questions of the experts live over Facebook Live Stream. You can even share your comments with your Facebook friends directly. See you Wednesday!

Read about the experts after the jump.

Kansas City Solar Pavilion Opens, Puzzles

Midwest
Monday, April 16, 2012
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(photos: Gunnar Hand)

The Sun Pavilion, winner of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art’s design competition in conjunction with their Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World Fairs, 1851-1939, is now open. Completed in  81 days, the pavilion is an expression of the innovation that reflects the ideals of World’s Fairs. Read More

Redesigning the National Mall: Washington Monument Grounds

East
Monday, April 16, 2012
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Michael Maltzan Architecture & Tom Leader Studio

Michael Maltzan Architecture & Tom Leader Studio

[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.]

Finished in 1884 and standing 555 feet tall, the Washington Monument is the world’s tallest structural stone tower and tallest obelisk. The monument is now closed because of damage it sustained during a 5.8 magnitude earthquake last August. Nevertheless, its grounds continue to host countless visitors who want to view the iconic obelisk up close—or play soccer or fly a kite in its shadow. Inspired in part by the monument grounds’ worn condition, the nonprofit Trust for the National Mall launched a design competition to redesign the National Mall. Four concepts have now been shortlisted.

View all four finalists’ proposals after the jump.

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On View> Heather Hart: The Eastern Oracle

East
Monday, April 16, 2012
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Hart's Eastern Oracle is on display in the Brooklyn Museum’s fifth-floor rotunda. (Courtesy Brooklyn Museum)

Hart's Eastern Oracle is on display in the Brooklyn Museum’s fifth-floor rotunda. (Courtesy Brooklyn Museum)

Heather Hart: The Eastern Oracle
Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY
Through June 24

For the fourth exhibition in its Raw/Cooked series displaying the work of budding Brooklyn artists, the Brooklyn Museum presents an installation by Heather Hart. Occupying the museum’s fifth-floor rotunda, the installation will consist of a single rooftop that lies flat on the ground, without walls and outside its original context. As Hart describes it: “A rooftop can refer to home, stability, or shelter, but in this context, it is also an action of reclaiming power.” The roof makes specific reference to the oldest architecture in the museum’s period room collection—the Jan Martense Schenck House, built in 1676, the second-oldest Dutch-American building in Brooklyn. Visitors are encouraged to physically interact with the structure, fulfilling Hart’s intention to create a place of self-reflection and self-empowerment.

View the inside after the jump.

BIG Wins Culture Center in Bordeaux.  Bjarke IngelsOn April 14 the Regional Council of Bordeaux, France announced that BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) was selected to design the new Maison de l’économie créative et de la culture en Aquitaine, a.k.a. “la Méca.” The new building on the riverfront site will house three regional visual and performing arts agencies. The website of France’s SudOuest newspaper reports that BIG beat out SANAA and the Toulouse-based firm W-Architectures with a design for a 120-foot-tall arch-shaped building featuring a 14,000-square-foot roof terrace. The 52-million-euro scheme awaits final approval at a May 21 council meeting…stay tuned for the renderings!

 

EVENT> Guggenheim Launches Stillspotting, Queens Edition, April 14

East
Friday, April 13, 2012
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In SO-IL's Transhistoria project, writers tell stories in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens.

In SO-IL's Transhistoria project, writers tell stories around the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens. (Courtesy Guggenheim)

When New Yorkers seek an island of calm within the city, they usually think of finding a patch of grass in a park, not making a beeline to the streets of Jackson Heights. But stillspotting, a series of programs sponsored by the Guggenheim, promises pools of respite in the most unusual places.

Selected artists and architects are paired with each of New York five boroughs and asked to create “spots” of stillness–what that might mean seems to be completely at their discretion. Last June artist Pedro Reyes’ Sanitorium project in Brooklyn offered visitors a selection of “urban therapies”; in September the architects of Snoehetta teamed up with Estonian composer Arvo Part to create To a Great City, a series of installations deploying weather balloons accompanied by Part’s music in a handful of spaces around Manhattan. Now, the architecture firm SO-IL is defining stillness through time, specifically the time it takes for a writer to read a short story. Read More

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