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.”
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.
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.
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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.
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
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.