On View> Jan Staller: Heavy Duty Landscapes

East
Monday, February 6, 2012
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Pilings, Flushing, Queens. (Jan Staller)

Pilings, Flushing, Queens. (Jan Staller)

Jan Staller: Heavy Duty Landscapes
ISE Cultural Foundation
555 Broadway
Through March 2

Jan Staller: Heavy Duty Landscapes, an exhibition curated by Marc Freidus, at the ISE Cultural Foundation, features sixteen large format photographs selected from series completed by Staller during the past seven years. Roadsides, recycling plants, and construction sites like the one featured in Pilings, Flushing, Queens (above) are the types of overlooked landscapes Staller addresses in his work. Through his lens we see the unexpected beauty of harsh, chaotic industrial sites and objects softened by their natural surroundings, as in Tank Car In Snow, Port Reading, New Jersey (below).

Tank Car in Snow, Port Reading, New Jersey. (Jan Staller)

Tank Car in Snow, Port Reading, New Jersey. (Jan Staller)

BIG Heart Gets a Second Chance in Times Square

East
Monday, February 6, 2012
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(Courtesy BIG / Times Square Alliance)

(Courtesy BIG / Times Square Alliance)

Last year, BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) got their heart broken by the Times Square Alliance, which chose a hula-hoop happy design by Freecell Studio for its annual Times Square Valentine’s installation. Now a spokesperson from the Alliance admits that they always “loved” BIG’s design and were willing to give it a second chance.  This year, the Alliance didn’t go online looking for love. Instead, they went back to a former flirtation, and chose BIG’s entry from last year, shunning the possibility of outside suitors.

BIG calls its 10-foot high glowing heart sculpture “BIG♥NYC.” The design affair was something of a ménage à quatre, with Flatcut (the fabricator),  Local Projects (the interaction designers), and Zumtobel (the lighting designers) pitching in on the effort. Four-hundred LED-lit acrylic tubes wrap a cube that bounds a suspended heart. Not surprisingly, when touched the heart grows brighter.

Indianapolis is Ready for Some Football

Midwest
Friday, February 3, 2012
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With Super Bowl XLVI charging towards the end zone like a wide receiver under pursuit, it’s Indianapolis’ time in the national spotlight. The city has been reinventing itself around sports and specifically the biggest game in football, and it’s certainly showing, with a massive new hotel by HOK and an expanded convention center by Ratio. Emily Badger recently tackled the building boom over at Atlantic Cities and Aaron Renn argues at the Urbanophile that pursuing a sports strategy has been a touchdown for the city. Among the big plays the Circle City has revealed: in this year’s Super Bowl Village a 95-foot-tall, 800-foot-long zip line carries football fans careening through downtown.

If you’ve managed to snag one of those coveted tickets to the game, or if you’re just hanging around the city for the fun of it, be sure to check out local blog Urban Indy’s write-ups of how to get around the city without a car and the best in transit-accessible night life. And try out that zip line…if you dare.

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Slideshow> WTC Update: Compare and Contrast, Then and Now

East
Friday, February 3, 2012
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One World Trade in January of last year (left) and today.

One World Trade in January of last year (left) and today.

It’s been one year since we began walking the circumference of the World Trade Center site and taking photos of the progress. A lot can happen in a year. The city and state are in a tussle over the Memorial Museum  bringing construction there to a halt.  Larry Silverstein has threatened to cap Tower Three at at seven stories instead of 80 if he doesn’t get a lead tenant by the end of the year.  Pat Foye, the new head of the Port Authority has called the PA’s Trade Center focus a “mission drift” and ordered a special committee to audit the years overseen by his predecessor, Chris Ward.  And now The New York Post reports that the underground loading dock for One World Trade won’t be completed by the time the first tenants move in.

News from the last couple of months has been so bad that we thought we’d sift through some of our old photos to focus on the work that was completed over the past year.  And while One World Trade continues its march upward (it’s nearing the 1,776 feet), other projects on or near the site are almost complete or are on schedule to be finished in the next couple of years. Brookfield‘s renovations of the World Financial Center have begun. Work at Fulton Street Transit Station by Grimshaw continues to chug forward. CUNY’s Fiterman Hall by Pei Cobb Freed was recently capped.  And a new visitors center for the memorial opened on West Street.

Read More

Populous Reveals Massive Pixelated LA Convention Center

West
Friday, February 3, 2012
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(Populous/ AEG)

Yesterday AEG unveiled its design for a 200,000 square foot convention center expansion in downtown Los Angeles.  Replacing a wing of the LA Convention Center, the new structure, called LACOEX (LA Convention and Exhibition Hall) and designed by Populous (which, it so happens, is also designing Majestic Realty’s proposed stadium in the City of Industry) the elevated center would stretch over Pico Boulevard and connect directly to the company’s planned football stadium, the Gensler-designed Farmers Field.

The highly graphic, glass paneled exterior would be complemented by restaurants and patios outside the base of the hall,. The plan, of course, won’t go forward until LA gets a new NFL team for the new stadium/convention complex. Look for an update with more information soon.

More renderings after the jump.

Perkins+Will Talks Transparency.  Poisonous substances are common in the built environment. Fred Bernstein of The New York Times quizzed Chris Youssef and Peter Syrett of Perkins+Will about their “Transparency” lists, an online database “linking common forms of flooring, lumber, wiring, pipes and other construction materials to government warnings about the substances contained in them.” The site is divided into the “Precautionary List” (harmful substances commonly found in the built environment), a list of asthma triggers, a list of toxicity levels of commonly used flame retardants, and a list of lists (a resource library). It’s a valuable tool for architects and designers; for lay users, it could become the WebMD for home and office (“Hey honey, did you know that a lot of treated wood contains arsenic?!”)

 

Don’t We all Need One of These? SPUR Opens San Jose Office

West
Friday, February 3, 2012
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(Courtesy SPUR)

(Courtesy SPUR)

One of the Bay Area’s most effective urban instigators, SPUR (San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association) is opening an office in San Jose. The move came about for a few reasons, says the group. First, San Francisco has a declining share of the region’s population, so it makes sense to branch out. And second, most planning decisions are made locally, so SPUR needs to establish footholds in the area’s major cities.

The new branch office was made possible by a successful $1 million fundraising campaign that will fund operations over the next three years. Leah Toeniskoetter will head up the new office and brings a background in real estate and economic development and finance.

“San Jose wants to be walkable, it wants more transit-oriented development and sustainability,” SPUR Director Gabriel Metcalf told the San Francisco Business Times. “In many ways, San Jose’s challenge is America’s challenge.” A move to Oakland could be next on SPUR’s agenda.

Synthesis Design’s Bespoke Office

Fabrikator
Friday, February 3, 2012
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Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
Fabrikator Brought to you by:

The desk's volumes conceal storage space (Peter Guenzel)

A carefully detailed private workspace conceals office equipment behind birch plywood ribs

It’s a reality of the modern work world that many people work from home. But a home office need not look like a corporate cube. That was the idea behind a customized workspace designed for a personal investment advisor by Los Angeles-based Synthesis Design + Architecture. Located in the client’s Chelsea home in London, the design conceals storage units and office equipment behind a sculptural work surface.

Continue reading after the jump.

Steven Holl’s Houston Unification.  Steven Holl's Houston Unification The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston announced today that architect Steven Holl was selected to build a new building on a two-acre parking lot in the city’s Museum District, besting Morphosis and Snøhetta. Situated among other structures by Mies van der Rohe, Raphael Moneo, and a sculpture garden by Isamu Noguchi, Holl’s building dedicated to art after 1900 will help unify the campus. According to MFAH Director Gary Tinterow, “Everyone on the committee was deeply impressed by the intelligence and beauty of their museum projects, and we feel certain that they will conceive a design that will match the clarity and elegance of our existing architectural landmarks.”

 

NYC Gears Up for Bike Share…but Where?

East
Thursday, February 2, 2012
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AIANY's Rick Bell and ArchNewsNow's Kristen Richards check out the new bikes.

AIANY's Rick Bell and ArchNewsNow's Kristen Richards check out the new bikes. (Stoelker/AN)

To hell with what Pennsylvania groundhog Punxsutawney Phil says about there being six more weeks of winter; if you want a true harbinger of spring, head over the Center for Architecture for a last chance to check out the “Two Wheel Transit” show mounted by the DEP for their bike share program that going to be launched in the spring. The show teases out some of the details of the plan that will add rentable public bikes to the New York City’s transit options.  The exhibit closes this Saturday, but if you don’t make it over in time, you can go to one of the community bike share workshops that begin on Monday. The first meeting will be held at 25 Carmine Street. The workshops will give New Yorkers a chance to comment on where to put the 600 bike stations.

Continue reading after the jump.

Whew! EPA Declares Chicago’s Air is Still Dirty.  Whew! EPA Declares Chicago's Air is Still Dirty Most people would think that politicians would want their cities to be declared in compliance with Clean Air Act standards, but not Chicago! Illinois Governor Quinn and others the EPA lobbied to make sure  Chicago is counted as having dirty air, in spite of initial findings from that Chicago’s pollution levels had improved significantly from 2008 to 2010. Why? Money of course! According to Crain’s, a cleaner air ruling would have jeopardized up to $80 million in funding for projects to promote cleaner air, including transit upgrades and bike paths. While the logic is mind-bending, at least it means better public transportation and biking options!

 

Foster on Film

Eavesdroplet
Thursday, February 2, 2012
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Norman Foster, who, as writer Mark Lamster has noted, “even in his 70s, has the look of a heavy in a Guy Ritchie film,” skis, sketches, and visits his childhood home in Manchester, England, in the film How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster?, a documentary produced by the architect’s wife that screened on January 25, at the IFC Center. Directed and dreamily photographed by Norberto Lopez-Amado and Carlos Carcas, the film moves seamlessly between irresistible images of Foster’s buildings, and the man himself, dashing between projects, reflecting on his career, and earning praise from scriptwriter Deyan Sudjic on everything from his work ethic to his wardrobe. “Everything inspires me,” says Foster early in the film. “Sometimes I think I see things others don’t.”

Watch the movie trailer.

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