Walking Tours that Conjure New York’s Tragic Past

East Coast
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
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General Slocum Steamship Diaster, 1904. (Courtesy Sites of Memory)

General Slocum Steamship Diaster, 1904. (Courtesy Sites of Memory)

Before 9/11, the General Slocum steamship disaster was the greatest loss of life in a single day in New York. Never heard of it? You may have walked by a diminutive memorial fountain in Tompkins Square Park, but otherwise little remains to tell the tale of the 1904 East River wreck that killed over 1000 German immigrants from the Lower East Side. A major event of its time, the Slocum tragedy was commemorated in books and even a movie, but as generations pass, the memory has faded.

Sites of Memory, a newly launched project by art director and writer Angela Riechers, aims to reanimate the memories of events like the General Slocum, or the Civil War draft riots, or more contemporary tragedies like the shooting of Amadou Diallo, by taking you—physically or virtually—to the very spot and letting a literary-star narrators including Kurt Andersen, Luc Sante, and Lewis Lapham, tell you the often sad but always intriguing story of the unlucky people involved.

Continue reading after the jump.

Strange Sentence for Phonehenge Creator

Newsletter, West
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
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(Flickr user RuggyBearLA)

(Flickr user RuggyBearLA)

For those of you that don’t know “Phonehenge,” it was one of California’s classic DIY creations (right up there with the Watts Towers and Salvation Mountain), created by former phone company repairman Kim Fahey out of old telephone poles in the Mojave Desert. Unfortunately the structure, in Acton, CA, was demolished last year because of code violations, and according to the Washington Post a judge recently sentenced Fahey to pay the $83,488 it cost to demolish it.

In an even stranger demand, the court sentenced Fahey to 63 days of community service, five of them in the county morgue. “The judge thought it was an extreme fire danger and I guess she just wanted him to see dead people,” defense attorney Jerry Lennon told the Post. But there’s a silver lining. A group called Save Phonehenge West is raising donations both to pay for Fahey’s legal bills and to rebuild Phonehenge in Kern County, to the north.

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Chicago Loop Alliance to Coat Sidewalks, Streets, & Buildings with Color

Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
The promotional rendering for "Color Jam."

The promotional rendering for "Color Jam."

From May 29th through June 4th, sheets of vinyl will be layered over the intersection of State and Adams streets in Chicago’s Loop in a site specific installation entitled Color Jam. The public installation, commissioned by Chicago Loop Alliance through their Art Loop public art program, is the work of multimedia artist Jessica Stockholder. The exhibit will be an ongoing piece of public art, covering sidewalks, buildings. and the intersection itself with contextually abstract shapes and colors. The work will be on display from its “official” completion on June 5th through September 30th of this year.

Continue reading after the jump.

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Grow-Life: A Metabolist Science Fair, or, Cross-Contamination

Dean's List, East
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
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Jesse Reiser's "SUPERJURY" (Feng Shen)

Jesse Reiser's "SUPERJURY" (Feng Shen)

After an earthquake and tsunami devastated the Sendai region of Japan on March 11, 2011, a lengthy recovery and rebuilding is underway. This is the basis for Nanako Umemoto and Jesse Reiser’s “SUPERJURY,” a collaboration between Princeton University, Tokyo University, Osaka Sangyo University, California College of the Arts, Tsinghua University, and Nagoya Institute of Technology. It explores large-scale reconstruction solutions which mediate between occasionally conflicting political interests of infrastructure construction, economic redevelopment, and memorialization of the site. Serving as inspiration was the utopian planning of Japanese Metabolism that addressed the destruction of WWII Japan, a situation similar to the devastation of the Sendai region. All parties convened at Princeton’s School of Architecture on Tuesday, May 15 for a “science fair” of their research findings and proposals.

Continue reading after the jump.

Fire Island Pines Pavilion to Rise from Ashes

East
Friday, May 25, 2012
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Just in time for Memorial Day, renderings! (Courtesy Fire Island Historical Preservation Society)

Just in time for Memorial Day, renderings! (Courtesy Fire Island Historical Preservation Society)

Facebook was aflame this morning with new renderings by HWKN (Hollwich Kushner) for Fire Island’s notorious Pavilion, the entertainment complex that burned down last November. In January, it was reported in The New York Times that Diller Scofidio + Renfro were signed on to do the master plan for the marina, of which the Pavilion sits at the center and serves as the social hub.

Read More

ICFF: Editors’ Finds From the Floor

International
Friday, May 25, 2012
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The Losanges collection for Nanimarquina by Studio Bouroullec.

The Losanges collection for Nanimarquina by Studio Bouroullec.

New York’s Design Week 2012 might be over, but the abundance of furniture displayed in private lofts, showrooms, and on the vast floor of the Javits Center at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) is still fresh in our minds. Between handing out hundreds of copies of the newspaper at our booth, AN‘s editors combed the floor at ICFF and selected an array of products that caught our eyes from chairs, to rugs, to lighting and more.

Check out the editors’ picks after the jump.

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Dubious FEMA Argument for Rudolph Demolition Debunked, Again.  RUDOLPH'S ORANGE COUNTY GOVERNMENT CENTER In yet another turn of the screw, Orange County, New York county executive Eddie Diana’s claim that a FEMA report proved Paul Rudolph’s Government Center sustained substantial damage from Hurricane Irene turns out to bogus at best.  Dogged reporting from the Times Herald-Record reveals once again that the county executive’s numbers just don’t add up: “Diana told reporters that county officials have coaxed FEMA into raising its original estimate to $535,000 from $505,000. By contrast, the county’s consultants had estimated $10.5 million in damages.” FEMA officials blame the bulk of the damage on poor maintenance.

 

Fulton Street Transit Center Oculus

East, Fabrikator
Friday, May 25, 2012
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Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
Fabrikator Brought to you by:

Inside the transit center's atrium (MTA)

An in-progress look at the new transit hub’s massive skylight

After funding cuts and subsequent delays since construction started in 2005, the much-anticipated Fulton Street Transit Center is finally taking shape in Lower Manhattan. The $1.4 billion project will connect eleven subway lines with the PATH train, the World Trade Center, and ferries at the World Financial Center. In collaboration with artist James Carpenter, Grimshaw Architects designed the project’s hallmark—a 60-foot-tall glass oculus that will deliver daylight to the center’s concourse level. The hyperbolic parabaloid cable net skylight supports an inner skin of filigree metal panels that reflect light to the spaces below. AN took a look at the design’s progress with Radius Track, the curved and cold-formed steel framing experts who recently completed installation of the project’s custom steel panels:

Continue reading after the jump.

San Francisco To Help Citizens Create “Better Streets”

West
Thursday, May 24, 2012
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The City of San Francisco recently launched sfbetterstreets.org to encourage public participation in city planning.

The City of San Francisco recently launched sfbetterstreets.org to encourage public participation in city planning.

 

One of Jane Jacobs’ most valuable contributions to the understanding of cities was her faith in the wisdom of the urban dweller. She argued that the physical city—and any approach to city planning—could not be separated from the wisdom of each individual inhabitant, “People who know well such animated city streets will know how it is. I am afraid people who do not will always have it a little wrong in their heads, like the old prints of rhinoceroses made from travelers’ descriptions of rhinoceroses.” The complication arising from Jacobs’ argument is simple though difficult to solve; how can we plan a city when planning is one part abstraction and abstraction removes us from Jacobs’ precious “real life” mentality?

A step towards solving this contradiction is sfbetterstreets.org, a website launched last week by the City of San Francisco. Developed by the San Francisco Planning Department in conjunction with other city agencies, the website is part of the city’s larger, “Better Streets” initiative. The legislative concept, described in San Francisco’s Better Streets Plan, is to create streets “designed and built to strike a balance between all users regardless of physical abilities or mode of travel… maximizing features for the comfort, usability, and aesthetics of people walking.”

Continue reading after the jump.

GSA Seeks Patrons for Candles on the Water

National
Thursday, May 24, 2012
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Maine's Halfway Rock Light (Flickr/Random Factor)

Maine's Halfway Rock Light (Flickr/Random Factor)

As part of ongoing subtle austerity measures, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) announced Monday that as part of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000, they will transfer ownership of 12 lighthouses to willing non-federal-government organizations.  Eligible state or local governments, non-profit corporations, historic preservation groups, or community development organizations have 60 days to file a letter expressing interest in the properties. If no suitable taker is found, then a public auction will take place. The measure is part of President Obama’s initiative to save $1.5 billion in federal money by reducing overhead costs of maintaining federal real estate, and the GSA claims that they are on track to save $3.5 billion by the end of the year. Read More

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Moss out in WeHo? Or maybe not?

Newsletter, West
Thursday, May 24, 2012
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Rendering of Moss' Sunset Strip Hotel (courtesy Eric Owen Moss Architects)

Rendering of Moss' Sunset Strip Hotel (courtesy Eric Owen Moss Architects)

While it was approved by the city of West Hollywood back in 2009 (and again in 2010), it looks like Eric Owen Moss’ large hotel on the Sunset Strip might be in trouble. Curbed LA reports that the property containing the 11-story project, which was also to include condos and retail, has been bought by Marriott hotels’ “Edition” brand of luxury hotels, which WeHo Patch has said “doesn’t seem inclined to use the Moss designs.” Our calls to Marriott were not returned.

The Moss scheme was originally proposed by developer Richard Weintraub (with no hotel operator), and Marriott’s involvement became clear when the West Hollywood planning department approved the company’s modifications (slightly increasing size, adding a nightclub) to the project last Thursday. But wait. According to West Hollywood Planning Manager John Keho, Marriott has not yet told the city who the architect of their proposal will be, nor have they given a timeline for when they might submit architectural plans. According to Moss principal Eric McNevin, “Nothing has been confirmed yet. It’s not known yet. What was reported was speculation.” Stay tuned.

Six Firms Compete for Audi’s High-Stakes Urban Future Award

International
Thursday, May 24, 2012
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Architects participating in Audi's Urban Future Initiative are considering what "mobility" might look like in cities in the future. Above, an underpass in Mumbai.

Architects participating in Audi's Urban Future Initiative are considering what "mobility" might look like in cities ca. 2030. Above, life below an overpass in Mumbai. (Courtesy CRIT)

Last week at Audi’s HQ in Ingolstadt, Germany, architect Junya Ishigami of Tokyo succinctly summed up the problem the car company aims to tackle: there is “a gap between people’s speed and the city’s speed,” Ishigami said. In other words, people’s habits evolve quickly to suit a 21st-century lifestyle, but the infrastructure of the cities they live in is constantly playing catch up. And Audi, whose primary product is by nature infrastructure-bound, wants get ahead of the curve.

Ishigami was one of six architects presenting research as part of the first phase of Audi’s 2012 Urban Future Award, a bi-annual program first started in 2010. The 2012 firms were selected for their track records of researching the urban environment and their relationships to one of six metropolitan areas: CRIT (Mumbai); Höweler + Yoon Architecture (the Boston-Washington corridor); NODE Architecture & Urbanism (Pearl River Delta); Superpool (Istanbul) and Urban Think Tank (São Paulo); and Junya Ishigami + Associates (Tokyo). The brief: to “create visions for individual mobility in the future.” Audi defined the future as ca. 2030, when it’s predicted that 70 percent of the world population will live in cities with eight million or more inhabitants.

Continue reading after the jump.

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