Obit> Yoshiko Sato, 1960-2012

International
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
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Yoshiko Sato. (Dustin Aksland)

Yoshiko Sato. (Dustin Aksland)

Yoshiko Sato, an architect and educator who was committed to repairing the world through design, died on Sunday in New York City after a battle with cancer. Sato was born in Tokyo to parents who studied engineering and design, which sparked her interest in science and the arts. Following a tour of Europe to study art and design, the Tokyo native settled in New York in the early 1980s and continued her education at Parsons School of Design. Her professors Billie Tsien, Robert MacAnulty, and Laurie Hawkinson quickly recognized her talent and encouraged Sato to move toward architecture. She transferred to the Cooper Union where she continued her studies under John Hejduk, Toshiko Mori, Tod Williams, and Peter Eisenman, graduating in 1989. In 1996, she received a Masters in Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design where she explored architecture and urban design under Raphael Moneo and received honors for her thesis on rebuilding Kobe, Japan after a devastating earthquake in 1995.

Sato’s professional career in New York bridged architecture, art, and design across a broad range of scales. She operated the Morris Sato Studio with her husband and design partner Michael Morris, exploring the ethereal nature of design as represented in the award-winning retrospective exhibit Shiro Kuramata, 1934-1991 and in her installation LightShowers. She won further accolades for her personal and comprehensive exploration in a pair of houses recently completed on Shelter Island.

Returning to education, Sato was appointed to Columbia’s GSAPP in 1999 where she directed the Japan Lab in Architecture. Her passion for both sustainability and exploration into outer space were clear in her work, including a collaboration with GSAPP and NASA to create Space Habitation Modules.

Sato is survived by her husband, mother, and sister Noriko Oguri of Yokohama, Japan. The staff at The Architect’s Newspaper sends our condolences to her family, friends, and colleagues. Those who wish to honor the memory of Yoshiko Sato may donate to the Japanese Red Cross Society. Condolences may be sent to Morris Sato Studio, 219 East 12th Street, 1st Fl., New York, New York 10003 or michael@morrissato.com.

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Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei To Reunite at London’s Serpentine

International
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
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(courtesy herzogdemeuron-film.com)

 

Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Wei Wei are getting the band back together for a brief collaboration for the famed Serpentine Gallery 2012 Pavilion. Now in its twelfth iteration, the Serpentine has commissioned temporary structures by some of the world’s leading architects, including Toyo Ito, Peter Zumthor, and Zaha Hadid. The Swiss architects and the Chinese artist/designer have previously collaborated on the so-called Bird’s Nest Olympic staduim in Beijing. While that project emphasized both strength and fagility with a soaring tangle of intersecting structure, their proposal for the Serpentine will explore the subterranean history and ecology of the site.   Read More

Book Launch> Four Conversations

East
Monday, February 6, 2012
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Last Friday's book launch for AN's Bill Menking and Aaron Levy's Four Conversations on the Architecture of Discourse (Stoelker/AN).

The crowd listened at last Friday's book launch for AN's William Menking and Aaron Levy's Four Conversations on the Architecture of Discourse at the Van Alen Bookstore (Stoelker/AN).

Last Friday night, AN‘s William Menking and Aaron Levy launched their new book Four Conversations on the Architecture of Discourse at the Van Alen Bookstore in Chelsea. The book’s publisher, Thomas Weaver of the Architectural Association in London, and the Van Alen’s Olympia Kazi we on hand to help frame the evening’s discourse on discourse.

The new book springs from an earlier effort called Architecture on Display: the History of the Venice Biennale of Architecture, aka “the white book.” In true manifesto fashion, the group sidestepped the official Biennale promo machine by publishing the white book outside of the established Biennale channels and then blanketed the 2010 festival with more than 600 copies.  That book transcribed interviews with former Biennale directors and recovered an important history of the forum. From that quick and dirty approach emerged a longer term plot for the “black book” of Four Conversations, which focused architectural display and its relationship to the public.

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Is Frederick Law Olmsted Bad for Landscape Architecture?  Is Frederick Law Olmsted Bad for Landscape Architecture? Mark Hough put it bluntly in his latest article from Landscape Architecture magazine reposted on the American Society of Landscape Architects’ blog, “Our preoccupation with Olmsted stems from a chronic, debilitating inferiority complex that plagues our profession. We lament that laypeople confuse us with landscape designers and horticulturists, and we envy the greater visibility that architects enjoy. All of this contributes to a feeling of inadequacy…The fear seems to be that if people stop talking about him, they stop talking about landscape architecture. I hate to say it, but there is some truth in that paranoia.” Read the rest of the article at the ASLA Dirt.

 

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.

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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.

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