Upward March: Billings Index Regains Positive Territory

National
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
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Billings (blue) and inquiries (red) for the past 12 months. (The Architect's Newspaper)

Billings (blue) and inquiries (red) for the past 12 months. (The Architect's Newspaper)

The Architecture Billings Index is up, hitting 52.0 in November, the first positive ground since touching 51 in August (anything over 50 indicates an increase in billings). The roller-coaster volatility of the past few months—we held our breath and skipped reporting September’s down and October’s up—suggests cautious optimism that the index which tracks the approximate nine-month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending is finally in a solid swing upwards.

Continue reading after the jump.

Proposed Light Installation Responds to Noise Pollution in Red Hook

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
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Silent Lights proposal (Courtesy Artist Build Collaborative).

Silent Lights proposal (Courtesy Artist Build Collaborative).

The Artists Build Collaborative is attempting to bring light and clarity to an area of Red Hook most notable for its darkness and confusion. The proposal, Silent Lights, is a system of interactive illuminated gates along a pedestrian path along Hamilton Avenue under the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. With a high concentration of both human and motor traffic in the area, the installation will respond to the surrounding vehicular cacophony by translating sound pollution into light, allowing the auditory experiencee to be both seen and heard.

Continue reading after the jump.

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Hollywood’s Field of Dreams? The Academy Plans an Amphitheater

West
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
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Rendering of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences' plan for an outdoor theater for screening classic films. (Courtesy AMPAS)

Rendering of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences' plan for an outdoor theater for screening classic films. (Courtesy AMPAS)

Now that it’s clear that Christian de Portzamparc’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Museum in Hollywood will not happen (the Academy will instead reimagine the old May Company building for the museum), the Academy recently shared its plans with the LA Times to build a new amphitheater and 17,000 square foot event space on the dead project’s land. The group purchased the 3.5-acre lot near the intersection of Vine Street and Fountain Avenue in 2005 for $50 million. According to the Times, the amphitheater (to be used, of course, to screen movies) will include a raised grassy area and will seat about 300 people. Plans call for a 10,000-square-foot patio adjacent to the amphitheater designed for special events. It looks like the space is probably temporary, as Academy President Tom Sherak said the Academy will keep the space until the site’s value climbs back to its 2005 level. On second thought, this amphitheater could be here a while.

St. Louis to I-70, Put A Lid On It

Midwest, Newsletter
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
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St. Louis will soon build a "lid" over I-70 to better connect the Arch with downtown.

The grounds surrounding the St. Louis Arch have long been cut off from downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods. One of the chief goals of the City+River+Arch competition was to improve connectivity. St. Louis recently received $20 million in federal TIGER III grants to build a lid over 1-70, one of the most important pieces of the Michael Van Valkenburgh-led redesign of the Arch grounds. The overall cost of the redesign is estimated at $578 million, so the grant is just a fraction of the overall funding needed. Still, it’s an important, early sign that this ambitious project is moving ahead.

 

Cornell Wins: Next Stop Roosevelt Island

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
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SOM's plan for Cornell's tech campus on Roosevelt Island.

SOM's plan for Cornell's tech campus on Roosevelt Island.

With his hand essentially forced by a hasty withdraw of Stanford on Friday, and the hugely enticing carrot of a $350 million gift from Duty-Free billionaire and Cornell alum Charles Feeney, Mayor Bloomberg announced on Monday that the Cornell team will be building the NYC Tech Campus on Roosevelt Island. The terms “game changer” and “transformative” were bandied about with regularity throughout the mayor’s midday press conference, which was streamed live on the net to the delight of Cornell’s partnering campus, Technion—Israel Institute of Technology. The Israeli students’ digitally lapsed cheering added a techy touch.

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MAXXI & PS 1 announce shortlist for 2012 Young Architects Program in Rome.  WHATAMI by stARTT. (Cecilia Fiorenza / Courtesy MAXXI)The Italian website Tafter reports that the finalists are 6mu6 (Turin, Italy), Rural Boxx (Sacile, Italy), Urban Movement (New York, USA / Rome, Italy), and Yellow Office Yellow Office (Milan, Italy),  and a team composed of John A. Salvator Liotta, Matteo Belfiore with Taichi Kuma and Yuta Ito (Naples, Italy / Tokyo, Japan). The winner will be announced early in 2012, with the installation opening at the MAXXI in June simultaneously with New York’s YAP installation at MoMA PS 1. In bocca al lupo!

 

Artist Creates a Colorful Mosaic of 1,000 Doors in Seoul

International
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
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South Korean artist Choi Jeong-Hwa's "Doors" installation. (Courtesy Choi Jeong-Hwa)

South Korean artist Choi Jeong-Hwa's "Doors" installation. (Courtesy Choi Jeong-Hwa)

This surreal construct is one of the many public art projects by South Korean artist Choi Jeong-Hwa, whose love of found objects and anti-institutional approach to art is known internationally (he once hung strings of sparkling garbage around Seoul Olympic Stadium). The 10-story tall installation called Doors is comprised of 1,000 reused, brightly colored doors transformed into a rustic and visually indulgent object evoking a pixelated and painterly effect from afar, perhaps reminiscent of an abstract Klimt painting. Alternatively, the installation can also be read less glamorously as a mirror to Seoul’s increasingly ad-dominated cityscape where Doors resembles a jarring collection of ads to the point of irony. (Via Colossal.)

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Clothing Becomes A Canopy at SCI-Arc

Dean's List, West
Monday, December 19, 2011
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Friday's review of the two new structures (courtesy Chung Ming Lam)

For the last several years, SCI-Arc’s Studio 1A has given new students the chance to literally make their mark by producing projects that become permanent fixtures at the school. On Friday, this year’s class revealed a project that started as a piece of clothing, then became a wire model, then became a mockup, and finally ended as a new undulating and faceted canopy and wall. Made of a recycled carbon fiber called Nyloboard, the project’s more than 2,000 pieces were all hand cut and, somehow, none are exactly alike. They’re attached with Gorilla Glue, nails, and screws. “It’s something that exists at the scale of the world, which can take years for an architect,” said Nathan Bishop, who along with Jackilin Hah Bloom and Jenny Wu led the studio.

Check out more photos after the jump.

Slideshow> SHoP’s Pier 15 Opens to Public

East
Monday, December 19, 2011
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The SHoP designed Pier 15 opened to the public today. (Stoelker/AN)

The SHoP-designed Pier 15 opened to the public today. (Stoelker/AN)

Before all eyes and ears were focused on the mayor’s announcement about Cornell and their EDC project upriver, AN was downtown for a much quieter opening of yet another EDC project. Without fanfare, the SHoP-designed Pier 15 opened to the public today. With the exception of another photographer and a family visiting from Spain, we were the only ones at the pier when the security guard unhooked the chain.
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Dutch Dream Team to Redesign United Nations Lounge

East
Monday, December 19, 2011
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View from the bar area towards the entrance. (Courtesy OMA)

View from the bar area towards the entrance. (Courtesy OMA)

Rem Koolhaas has been thinking about the United Nations since his early Delirious New York days. Earlier this century, he even made a bid to design a new Secretariat. While that project didn’t pan out, the Dutch architect is joining a team of countrymen and women to “reconceive” the North Delegates Lounge in the Conference Building. In addition to OMA, the team will include designer Hella Jongerius, graphic designer Irma Boom, artist Gabriel Lester, and “theorist Louise Schouwenberg.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Tracking the Origins of MVRDV’s Cloud

East
Monday, December 19, 2011
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Close-up of the Cloud (Courtesy MVRDV)

Close-up of the Cloud (Courtesy MVRDV)

Urban design historian Grahame Shane weighs in on the controversial project tracing MVRDV’s explosive imagery to its source in research.

When Ole Scheeren departed from OMA Beijing with the MahaNakhon Bangkok tower to found his own office in 2010, he had the idea to connect tower and urban village, marking a key moment in a very Dutch delirium that moved beyond OMA’s CCTV tower. In the Bangkok tower the developer’s website claims this skyscraper “melds with the city by gradually ‘dissolving’ the mass as it moves vertically between ground and sky.”

Continue reading after the jump.

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Port Authority Threatens to Sue 9/11 Museum for $300 Million

East
Friday, December 16, 2011
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The pools at the 9/11 Memorial. (AN / Tom Stoelker)

The pools at the 9/11 Memorial. (AN / Tom Stoelker)

In the days immediately following the show of solidarity on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, the Port Authority and Governor Cuomo retreated to one corner and Mayor Bloomberg and the Sept 11 Memorial and Museum Foundation to another over accusations of $300 million in cost overruns that neither party has agreed to pay. Construction of the museum has ground to a halt decreasing the likelihood that the Museum will open next year as promised.

Continue reading after the jump.

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