Work was just finished on the Blackfriars Bridge in London, which is now the largest solar bridge in the world. The renovation of the Victorian-era bridge was part of the larger modernization project for the adjoining Blackfriar’s railway station. The station has been fitted with 4,400 photovoltaic panels, which are expected to reduce the station’s CO2 emissions by an estimated 511 tons (563 tons) per year. Work began in spring 2009 and the station was operationally complete in time for the 2012 Olympics, with the solar array installation complete in March 2013. The full refurbishment of the station is now also complete.
The nearly 20,000-square-feet of new panels are intended to offset about 50% of the station’s energy costs.
London has Borough Market. San Francisco has the Ferry Building. Seattle has Pike Place Market. And now Santa Barbara has the Santa Barbara Public Market. The 19,400 square-foot marketplace, put together by local architecture firms Cearnal Andrulaitis, Sutti Associates, and Sherry & Associates Architects, opened on April 14. It showcases regionally-sourced, artisanal foods in a downtown location. Part of Alma del Pueblo, a mixed-use development that includes additional retail and 37 condominiums, the Public Market is located on the site of a former Vons. “When I bought the land, I knew that I wanted to put a market back,” said developer Marge Cafarelli. “Santa Barbara . . . [has] such rich roots and traditions in agriculture, farming, food, and wine, that it made sense to put something back that made sense in this time. Read More
The transformation of the Jehovah’s Witness’ Watchtower campus in Dumbo is underway. Real estate wunderkind Jared Kushner is converting the five-building complex into “Dumbo Heights” – Brooklyn’s next tech hub and commercial district. While the 1.2-million-square-foot project won’t open until next year, a new promotional video for the site was released this week. And it’s packed with more Brooklyn stereotypes than a Williamsburg brunch spot on Sunday. Here’s a shot-by-shot guide to the spring’s most epic real estate promotional film. Read More
The Chicago Design Museum, our resident pop-up pantheon of graphic aesthetics, is looking for your help to mount the first exhibition in its new permanent home. They’re planning a centennial show for the American Institute of Graphic Arts (hey, AIGA’s as old as Wrigley!), and they’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to get it funded (and time is really running out!). Eavesdrop’s been known to drop in on ChiDM’s shows since its inception, so we could be persuaded to part with some cash.
An odd confluence of global statecraft and local politics could reshape Manhattan super luxury real estate. The Russian/Ukraine conflict has pushed the U.S. to impose sanctions on many of Russia’s richest men, the so-called oligarchs surrounding Vladimir Putin. According to the Times’ Real Estate section, the sanctions are sending a “chill” through Manhattan’s luxury developers and the brokers who serve them, since Russian buyers have acquired some of the city’s priciest properties in recent years. Time will tell if the conflict is long lasting enough to depress prices or change the dynamic of Manhattan real estate, but with Mayor de Blasio’s relentless drive to create affordable housing the pressure is on for developers to start paying more attention to average New Yorkers, not just global billionaires looking to stash their cash in empty apartments overlooking Central Park.
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This reminds me quite a bit of the never-built proposal, Bombed Churches as War Memorials (1945), published in London after WWII, which presented various designs for bombed-out churches to be preserved in ruined form with the addition of garden plantings and a few amenities.
Houston is set to double the amount of tax breaks it gives to developers for downtown apartments and condos to try to lure people to the city’s sleepy business district. The City Council unanimously agreed to expand the Downtown Living Initiative, which first launched a year and a half ago, to offer tax breaks for 5,000 residential units, up from a previous cap of 2,500.
A group of North Carolina preservationists is trying to protect a local piece of modernist history from the impending wrecking ball. The News & Observer reported that a group called North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH) has started a campaign to save the former Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic building, which was designed by Raleigh architect G. Milton Small over 50 years ago.
“The building is really Raleigh’s finest example of international architecture,” said George Smart, the head of NCMH, who noted that Small studied under Mies van der Rohe at IIT.
Speaking of the architecture/celebrity complex, a source told Eavesdrop that Liz Diller is designing an Upper East Side apartment for entertainment mogul David Geffen. The once radical architect has gotten awfully cozy with the establishment. We guess all that time in Los Angeles designing The Broad is paying off.
Total Reset: Institute for Public Architecture Symposium Tackles Affordable Housing in New York City
The history of affordable housing in the United States has always centered on efforts—research, architectural prototypes, and creative financing—undertaken in New York City. From early philanthropic models like the late 19th century Cobble Hill Tower Homes, the 1911 Vanderbilt-sponsored Cherokee Model Apartments, and the 1930s Amalgamated Dwellings on the Lower East Side, virtually all early advancement in housing reform in this country began in New York City.
The evening of April 14th was a big one for the East Austin community, when developers met with residents to unveil the master plan for the 208-acre lot of land known as Colony Park. Plans for the development were rolled out onto a community center floor as a giant map that enabled attendees to walk, step-by-step, through the five-year-plus initiative. The project hopes to bring commerce, parks, new residences, into a sustainable community.
It looks like design history is in the air here in Chicago. The Chicago Design Museum is in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign to launch an exhibition looking back at 100 years of graphic arts. Chicagoisms just opened at The Art Institute—a meditation on Chicago’s architectural history and mythology that builds off a previous exhibition of unbuilt work reviewed here.
Now another exhibit glances at Chicago’s design history to better assess its present and future.