Sox Populi.  Charles Renfro models J. Crew's Ludlow Suit. (Courtesy Archidose) Times are tough for architecture, but is it time for starchitects to begin taking on other jobs on the side?  John Hill over at A Daily Dose of Architecture spotted architect Charles Renfro’s newest gig—J. Crew model—which is helping Renfro to become a household name. Appearing in a two-page ad running in the latest issue of Fast Company, Renfro is sporting a trim, tailored outfit of fine Italian fabrics, otherwise known as the Ludlow Suit, and some dazzling multi-colored socks. “This is what they mean by style with substance,” says the copy. (Oh, that’s what they mean…) Who should J. Crew pick for its next architecture model?

 

Unveiled> Geenland Tower in Suzhou by SOM Chicago

International, Midwest
Friday, January 20, 2012
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(Courtesy SOM)

SOM's Geenland Tower is proposed for a new city in China. (Courtesy SOM)

SOM Chicago has won a competition to design a mixed-use tower in the new Chinese city of Suzhou. Located along a lake front, the tower includes a distinctive void carved out the upper portion of the tower, splitting the floorplates in half to better serve hotel uses. Offices will fill the lower, larger floorplates. “We’ve been doing these kinds of mixed-use towers since Hancock,” said Ross Wimer, a partner at SOM Chicago. “Instead of tapering the tower, we’ve carved away a slot to bring fresh air and light into the building.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Pier Won: Michael Maltzan’s Lens Selected for St. Petersburg

East, National, West
Friday, January 20, 2012
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MALTZAN'S "LENS" WOULD BECOME THE ACTIVE CENTER OF ST. PETERSBURG AS WELL AS TRANSFORMING ITS IMAGE. (COURTESY CITY OF ST. PETERSBURG)

MALTZAN'S "LENS" WOULD BECOME THE ACTIVE CENTER OF ST. PETERSBURG AS WELL AS TRANSFORMING ITS IMAGE. (COURTESY CITY OF ST. PETERSBURG)

Michael Maltzan Architecture has won the competition to redesign St. Petersburg, Florida’s iconic pier. In a group of ambitious proposals from the likes of West 8 and BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group), Maltzan’s scheme was perhaps the most so, with a group of interconnected bridges and pathways arranged along a figure-8 plan leading to a large shell-structure at its end. Called “The Lens,” the gigantic project will frame the city through its structure and create a connection between downtown St. Petersburg and its waterfront. It will include a new tidal reef, a civic green, raised walking paths, an amphitheater, a water park and other leisure activities. More on this breaking story to come shortly.

More renderings of Maltzan’s pier after the jump.

Rojkind Arquitectos’ Tori-Tori Restaurant

Fabrikator
Friday, January 20, 2012
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Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
Fabrikator Brought to you by:

Offset steel layers are painted in two shades of gray (Paúl Rivera)

A double-layer steel lattice transforms a former residence into a Japanese eatery’s new home in Mexico City

When Mexico City-based architect Michel Rojkind was chosen as one of the Architectural League’s Emerging Voices lecturers in 2010, he already had a lot of work under his belt. His firm, Rojkind Arquitectos, had recently completed Nestlé’s factory and chocolate museum in Querétaro and was beginning work on a 54-story mixed-use tower on Mexico City’s chic Paseo Reforma. But in spite of big-name projects, the architect who started out as a rock-and-roll drummer maintained a connection to the fabrication of his projects, collaborating with local workers and using simple components instead of employing more complicated techniques. “I joke with my Swiss architect friends that I wouldn’t know how to work in Switzerland, where everything is perfect,” he told AN in a May 2010 interview. “You have to figure out ways to make things happen here, and it inspires me.” A testament to that inspiration, Rojkind’s new Tori-Tori restaurant employs a double-layer steel lattice to transform an existing residential structure in Mexico City’s rapidly changing Polanco neighborhood.

Continue reading after the jump.

Scrappers in the Global Materials Food Chain.  Scrappers in the Global Materials Food Chain Architects are aware of the fluctuations in the cost of materials due to global demand. The Times takes a look at one link of that global chain that is having a big impact on Midwestern cities: scrappers. The short documentary video “Dismantling Detroit” captures that city’s former manufacturing glory, which now being pulled down and sold for scrap to feed China’s productivity. It’s a brief, sobering look at a complex problem with vast implications for the Midwest’s built environment.

 

Zoning and you.  Zoning and youGreen markets, bike lanes, the design of street life—New York City zoning aims to impact your quality of life. “In the Bloomberg administration, as wielded by the New York City Planning Commission and its director, Amanda Burden, zoning has assumed a more activist role than ever before,” writes AN Executive Editor Julie Iovine about the ambitions of zoning 50 years after the New York Zoning Resolution was passed. Read the full article, “Zoning Grows Up,” in The Wall Street Journal.  

 

Art and architecture merge at new Matthew Marks gallery

West
Thursday, January 19, 2012
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(Joshua White)

(Joshua White)

Matthew Marks Gallery tonight opens its new West Hollywood gallery, designed by architect Peter Zellner. The white, cube-shaped, 3,500 square foot building is highlighted by a huge sculpture by Ellsworth Kelly, which makes sense given that the gallery’s opening show, Ellsworth Kelly: Los Angeles, opens tomorrow. The sculpture, a dark colored bar measuring 8×40 feet, has been installed 30 feet off the ground, jutting ten inches out from the building facade, creating a floating effect. The metal sandwich panel structure was hung via a series of steel plates, “like hanging a painting,” said Zellner. Of course that’s a painting that weighs 5,000 pounds. Inside the lofty, spare gallery space, with its eight skylights, will be showing off some of Kelly’s finest work, including two works that inspired the facade piece: the collage Study for Black and White Panels (1954), and the painting Black Over White (1966).

Upper West Side Mom & Pops Get Boost from Planning

East, Newsletter
Thursday, January 19, 2012
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(Montage based on photos by Ed Yourdon and Ken Fager / Flickr)

(Montage based on photos by Ed Yourdon and Ken Fager / Flickr)

While the city has kept Walmart at bay—for now—banks and/or drugstores continue to consume two, three, and sometimes four or five consecutive storefronts in many parts of the city. The Upper West Side has been particularly hard hit because most of its side streets are residential. The neighborhood primarily relies on the north/south corridors of Broadway, Amsterdam, and Columbus for its shopping needs. After hearing citywide complaints about the problem, City Planning has begun to address the issue through the West Side Neighborhood Retail Streets Initiative.

Continue reading after the jump.

It’s Stops A Go for Rahm.  It's Stops A Go for Rahm Yesterday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel officially reopened the Grand/State L station, and pledged to build a new Green Line stop at Cermak and a new Washington/Wabash stop in the Loop. Construction on the two new stops is expected to begin in about a year, and will create approximately 4000 jobs. Curbed Chicago has a good round-up of the news and event.

 

AIA Billings Index Stays Positive.  Billings (blue) and inquiries (red) for the past 12 months. (The Architect's Newspaper)Today the AIA released the December results of its Architecture Billings Index (ABI), and we’re happy to report that the overall score is holding steady in positive territory for the second month in a row. Like November, December’s score came in at 52 (anything over 50 is positive). But AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker remains circumspect, noting “We saw nearly identical conditions in November and December of 2010 only to see momentum sputter and billings fall into negative territory as we moved through 2011, so it’s too early to be sure that we are in a full recovery mode.”

 

PROFILE> Skylar Tibbits

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
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Skylar Tibbits

What can NURBS do for you?

Find out on February 17, when SKYLAR TIBBITS will lead Scripted Design, a workshop focused on exploring the potentials of RhinoScript, as part of DAY 2 of the upcoming COLLABORATION conference on fabrication and facades in NYC.

A trained architect, designer, and computer scientist, Tibbits’ research currently focuses on developing self-assembly technologies for large-scale structures in our physical environments. He was recently awarded a 2011 TED Fellowship, a 2012 TED Senior Fellowship, and was named a Revolutionary Mind in SEED Magazine’s 2008 Design Issue.

Tibbits currently resides in Boston and is the founder and principal of a multidisciplinary research-based practice, SJET LLC, and an instructor for MIT’s Architecture Department. Previously, he has worked at a number of design offices including: Zaha Hadid Architects, Asymptote Architecture, SKIII Space Variations, and Point b Design. He has designed, collaborated, and built large-scale installations around the world and his work has been exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum and the Beijing Biennale. He has lectured widely, including at MoMA and SEED Media Group’s MIND08 Conference.

Scripted Design, Tibbits’ COLLABORATION workshop, will provide an introduction to Python for Rhino. Topics covered will include: Running Scripts, Syntax, Data Types, Variables, Flow Control, Tuples/Lists/Dictionaries, Points/Vectors, Functions, Paneling and Recursion. The training will concentrate on IronPython within Rhino.

The workshop has a limited number of spots; register here!

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And…we have a winner!.  And...we have a winner! As Ice Cube said, the Eames “were doing mash-ups before mash-ups existed,” and the winner of our giveaway contest–featuring a limited edition poster of Ice Cube celebrating the Eames–was admiring the Eames before she knew who they were. Congratulations to AN reader/commenter Lori who proclaimed, “My grandparents collected mid-century furniture, and I loved the Eames before I had any idea what design was. Now that I know, I so appreciate that early introduction to clean, functional beauty.” As a consolation prize, we suggest rewatching archi-drafter-rapper Cube give a tour of an Eames Case Study House, catching up with the exhibition at Pacific Standard Time, or tuning in to the PBS documentary on the Eames’ life and work.

 

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