Herzog & de Meuron Peel Layers Off Park Ave. Armory

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
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erzog & de Meuron's rendering of the slightly altered, vastly improved Drill Hall. (Courtesy Herzog & de Meuron).

Herzog & de Meuron's rendering of the slightly altered, vastly improved Drill Hall. (Courtesy Herzog & de Meuron).

At first, the choice of avant-garde architects Herzog & de Meuron to renovate and restore the fabled Park Avenue Armory seems far-fetched. Even at second glance: “I hate preservation,” said Jacques Herzog at a press event to unveil what the firm is doing at the 1880s fortress and popular event space that contains unparalleled gems from the history of American decorative arts, including rooms and furnishings by Stanford White, Louis Comfort Tiffany, the Herter Brothers and others.

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Archtober: Building of the Day #5

East
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
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The Fort Washington Branch of the New York Public Library (farm4static/Flickr)

The Fort Washington Branch of the New York Public Library (farm4static/Flickr)

Who knows what Henry Kissinger, Lou Gehrig, Maria Callas, Ralph Ellison, Marianne Moore, and Jacob Javits have in common?

They were all kids who checked books out of their neighborhood library, the Fort Washington Branch of the New York Public Library. It is one of the original 67 New York City Carnegie Libraries. Designed by Cook & Welch Architects, it opened in April 1914. Walter Cook, along with George Babb and Daniel Willard, designed the Carnegie Mansion on Fifth Avenue and 91st Street – today’s Cooper-Hewitt museum.

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University of Maryland Wins 2011 Solar Decathlon

National
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
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The winning entry from the University of Maryland. (Jim Tetro / USDOE)

The winning entry from the University of Maryland. (Jim Tetro / USDOE)

On October 1st, the U.S. Department of Energy unveiled the winner of the 2011 Solar Decathlon at West Potomac Park in Washington D.C., bringing together innovative solar-powered prototype residences designed and built by international student teams from universities and colleges. This year’s champion, the University of Maryland’s WaterShed house, excelled in a variety of then ten metrics used to judge the houses including affordability, energy balance, hot water, and engineering.

Continue reading after the jump.

Video> Jane’s Carousel: Your Thoughts?

East
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
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It’s been a couple of week’s since Jane’s Carousel opened to the public on the Brooklyn Waterfront, allowing us time to reflect on the rainy opening day and see just how the new attraction is being received. It’s seems Jean Nouvel’s pavilion is a study in contrasts, particularly on cold gloom of the opening ceremony when we first stopped by. We made a short impressionistic collage of our observations including the carnivalesque merriment going on inside the pavilion set against the sober geometry outside. (You might also spot Nouvel himself taking a ride or an overly-excited Marty Markowitz astride one of the wooden horses.)

Granted the acrylic-paneled doors of Nouvel’s pavilion can be thrown open to the surrounding park, but the celebratory atmosphere seems contained, anchored even. Viewed from across the park, the riverside building takes on the feel of a ferry terminal. Inside, however, the playful carousel offers distorted views through the giant door panels that give downtown Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge a fun-house-mirror effect.

Have you been to the carousel yet? What are your thoughts of Nouvel’s contrasting design?

Pushing for a New Park in Chicago’s Lakeview Neighborhood

Midwest, Newsletter
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
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(images courtesy Moss Design)

The designers behind the Lakeview Area Masterplan, Moss Design, are pushing ahead with a plan for a new park on a vacant lot  on North Paulina Street adjacent to the Brown Line tracks. According to their research there are five vacant lots within a one block area, so there is ample land available for development. This argument has yet to sway Alderman Scott Waguespack, who has opposed a plan for the Special Services Area to acquire the land with the help of the non-profit Openlands. Read More

Reyner Banham Facebook Mystery Solved

West
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
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In last issue’s Eavesdrop we noted that world famous LA architectural writer Reyner Banham (Architecture of Four Ecologies), who died back in 1988, now has a Facebook page with over 600 friends, most of whom think he’s still around. We’ve discovered who’s behind the fake page. Architect Parsa Khalili tells us he started it for an assignment in a seminar course at Yale School of Architecture in 2008. Khalili says he forgot about the account until one day he signed in and saw 30 people waiting to be his friend. Since then Banham has accrued friends from around the world, sending him birthday wishes and thanking him for the great honor of friending them. “Honestly I have no idea why I even bother but it has become such an absurdity it’s hard to totally let go,” explained Khalili.

Archtober Building of the Day #4: Top of the Rock

East
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
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Top of the Rock (Courtesy Gabellini Sheppard).

Top of the Rock (Courtesy Gabellini Sheppard).

It’s hard to imagine that the cool and suave young architect who launched Minimalism on Park Avenue with the Jil Sander Store in 1983 is the same man who brought us the modern apotheosis of Art Deco at Top of the Rock. Is it a space? Is it a ride? It certainly has a chandelier!

Continue reading after the jump.

Quick Clicks> Tiny Homes, Artificial Leaf, Sky Nets, Shrouded Silos

Daily Clicks
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
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A house in Belgium. (Thames & Hudson via WSJournal)

Tiny Homes. The average size of an American home has been decreasing since 2009 (to at 2,392 SF), the Wall Street Journal reported. With financial and environmental concerns, many homeowners are down-sizing. The book Nano House: Innovations for Small Dwellings examines dwellings under 800 feet, such as the above 215-square-foot house in Belgium.

Artificial Leaf. Researchers at MIT have created an artificial leaf that uses sunlight to convert water into oxygen and hydrogen. The device is made of silicon, that is coated with a cobalt catalyst on one side, and a nickel catalyst on the other. When dropped in water, the cobalt separates oxygen and the nickel side hydrogen. The next step: scientists are working on a way to capture the gasses. More at Inhabitat.

Sky Sculptures. Brookline, Massachusetts artist Janet Echelman uses Indian fisherman weaving techniques to create ethereal neon nets that float in urban sky-scapes. Check out images of her work, that resembles the translucent fish of the coral reef at Artist a Day.

Shrouded Silos. In Omaha, Nebraska, the educational nonprofit Emerging Terrain has wrapped grain silo elevators in giant 80 by 20 feet banners that focus on food and agricultural issues. More at Planetizen.

DePaul Museum Takes Contextual Approach, Foregrounds Art Inside

Midwest
Monday, October 3, 2011
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The new DePaul Art Museum (photos courtesy DePaul University)

A passerby might mistake the Art Museum at DePaul University as an enduring Lincoln Park fixture, even though the brand new building just opened. Bucking the trend for cutting-edge art museum architecture in favor of a contextual approach was a deliberate decision by the university and its longtime architect, Antunovich Associates.

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Archtober Building of the Day #3: Seven World Trade Center

East
Monday, October 3, 2011
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Seven World Trade Center at right.

Seven World Trade Center at right. (Courtesy Center for Architecture)

The view from LaGuardia Place includes the symphony of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s 7 World Trade Center at 250 Greenwich Street and its ever-rising companion, One World Trade Center, beyond. I see the buildings every day from the Center for Architecture, and have become a fan of 7 WTC’c magical properties, both geometric and optical. It is a building made out of reflections, refractions, inflections, and colors, expressed in glass and stainless steel.

Continue reading after the jump.

Architects Say the Darndest Things

West
Monday, October 3, 2011
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UC Irvine Comtemporary Arts Center by Ehrlich Architects. (Courtesy Ehrlich Architects)

UC Irvine Comtemporary Arts Center by Ehrlich Architects. (Courtesy Ehrlich Architects)

If you’ve ever wanted to know more about LA’s architects than the results of their projects in steel and stone, check out Success By Design by writer and photographer Jenn Kennedy. The book profiles 25 of them, including Steven Ehrlich, Barton Myers, Ray Kappe, the late Stephen Kanner, and Hodgetts + Fung. Architects divulge all sorts of secrets like Myers’ insecurities about getting upstaged by students; Art Gensler’s original desire to start a “small” firm (his firm, Gensler, has over 2,000 employees); Randy Peterson of HMC’s amazing lack of free time; Kanner’s struggles with fees; and Kappe’s surprising facility with the business end of architecture. The book recently launched its digital version and a web site. See some interesting quotes below.

Continue reading after the jump.

October is for Architecture in Los Angeles, Too!

West
Monday, October 3, 2011
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Westwood Village (here shown in the early 20th Century) will be the topic of the panel Curse and Vision on October 10.

New York isn’t the only city celebrating Archtober. In Los Angeles, October has officially been “Architecture Month” since Mayor Villaraigosa declared it so back in 2007. The AIA/LA hopes the month-long festivities will help to “educate the public about architecture and architects, celebrate the profession and encourage the dialogue between those interested in the built environment.”

Check out the highlights after the jump.

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