Happy Birthday, Mies!

International
Monday, March 28, 2011
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Mies standing behind a model of Crown Hall (Courtesy Illinois Institute of Technology)

Mies standing behind a model of Crown Hall (Courtesy Illinois Institute of Technology)

125 years ago this past Sunday, a newborn Ludwig Mies van der Rohe may have been dreaming up his first glass box, but 125 years later, a party in one of his most famous boxes hopes to rekindle the spirit of the famous architect. The Mies van der Rohe Society will gather in a couple hours in Crown Hall on the campus of the Chicago’s Illinois Institute of Technology for an evening of architecture, history, and, of course, cocktails.

If you can’t make the party, you can celebrate with a rather, well, unique tribute to the architect after the jump.

And a crazy Mies music video right over here.

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Quick Clicks> Cabrini Lights Up, Earth Powers Down, Calming Queens, and Starchitect Houses

Daily Clicks, East Coast
Monday, March 28, 2011
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Chicago's last Cabrini Green high rise will be lit up before demolition (Courtesy Project Cabrini Green)

Chicago's last Cabrini Green high rise will be lit up before demolition (Courtesy Project Cabrini Green)

Cabrini Green Kablooey. This Wednesday, the last high rise tower at Chicago’s Cabrini Green site will be demolished, marking the end of the famous housing project. Polis reminds us that artist Jan Tichy and social worker Efrat Appel plan to mark the occasion with an art installation. Project Cabrini Green translates 134 poems into light and will begin display at 7:00pm tonight. (Also catch a live internet feed here.)

Earth Hour. This past weekend, people, companies, and cities all over the globe celebrated Earth Hour by switching off the lights to spotlight issues of energy consumption. The Boston Globe‘s Big Picture is running a photo essay of some dramatic skylines with and without lights.

Parking lanes planned along 48th Avenue (Courtesy NYCDOT via StreetsBlog)

Parking lanes planned along 48th Avenue (Courtesy NYCDOT via StreetsBlog)

Calming Queens. StreetsBlog brings news of New York’s latest traffic calming measure proposed for 48th Avenue and 44th Drive in Queens. The block shown above in Long Island City would initially be painted for affordability and eventually transformed into a greenway.

Cribs. Inspired by Philip Johnson’s Glass House, Curbed goes in search of the homes of famous architects. Represented in the list are Alvar Aalto, Frank Gehry, Norman Foster, and Robert A.M. Stern.

Searching For A New Sign In Silver Lake

West
Monday, March 28, 2011
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©Darren Kim

Long a haven for architects, artists, and other creative types, Silver Lake needs no introduction. It’s enough to drive by the iconic Sunset Junction sign to know you’re in the heart of LA’s bohemian world (although hipsters in Echo Park might argue). Come 2012, that sign might be getting some serious competition.

Early this month, LA City Council President Eric Garcetti, the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council, and Silver Lake community groups announced the launch of “Envisioning Silver Lake,” a design competition meant to squeeze some neighborly love from the hearts and brains of local creatives.  The call covers concept designs for a plaza and a permanent installation on Sunset Junction, at the intersection of Sunset and Santa Monica Boulevards.

Continue reading after the jump.

Eduardo Souto de Moura Wins 2011 Pritzker Prize (Updated)

Apartment Building in Maia, Portugal (Courtesy El Croquis)

Apartment Building in Maia, Portugal (Courtesy El Croquis)

Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura has won the 2011 Pritzker Prize, according to several reports. The Porto-based architect worked for the country’s other Pritzker winner, Alvaro Siza, but has had a prolific career on his own since opening his office in 1980. Not widely known outside Portugal, Souto de Moura designed the new stadium in Braga in 2004, which, like much of his work, has strong, highly legible forms. There he blasted granite from the site that was later crushed to make concrete for the building.

Check out some of De Moura’s work after the jump.

Unveiled>Amanora Apartment City by MVRDV

International
Friday, March 25, 2011
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Phase one of MVRDV's Amanora Apartment City in Pune, India (all images courtesy MVRDV).

Like its neighbor to the northeast, India is urbanizing at break-neck speed. Much of the resulting development takes the shape of monotonous towers and slabs designed to house the maximum number people as quickly as possible. The innovative Dutch firm MVRDV’s project Amanora Apartment City punches through, twists, and slices off pieces of a monolithic superstructure, to create a new park-side landmark within a largely undifferentiated urban field.

Read More

Gensler Wins Hypothetical LA Stadium Commission

West
Friday, March 25, 2011
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Gensler's proposed design for a Downtown LA Stadium.

Although LA still does not have an NFL Team, developer AEG today awarded architecture giant Gensler the design of the city’s hypothetical 1.7 million square foot downtown stadium, called Farmers Field. Gensler beat out HKS and HNTB who were also shortlisted for the project back in December. If the $1 billion project moves forward it will seat 65,000 to 75,000 people, contain about 200 luxury suites, and have a retractable roof, enabling it to facilitate convention events as well as football games. Gensler’s  proposal also features a lightweight ETFE roof, bulging outward and taking on an oval-shaped profile. Read More

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QUICK CLICKS> Maps, Lots, Pavilion, Theater, Unplugged

Daily Clicks
Friday, March 25, 2011
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One of the deconstructed maps in photographer John Mann's work.

Aspirational Geographic. A recent trip to Appalachia didn’t satiate photographer John Mann‘s wanderlust. He continued his travels via cutting and sculpting maps into three dimensional forms then photographing them through a narrow depth of field. Design Observer runs the nifty slide show.

Priority Parking. Developers of Philly’s 1 million square foot Pennsylvania Convention Center touted their greenness by providing minimal  parking; the argument was it would encourage the use of public transportation. Now PlanPhilly says the city council has approved a 530-space garage to rise across the street. So much for synergy. Just north in Newark, they’re having the opposite problem: they want to lose parking lots. Newark’s Star-Ledger reports that March Madness at the Prudential Center won’t hide downtown’s glum outlook: nine parking lots surrounding the arena are still awaiting development.

D.C. Detail. WSJ Magazine explores the oft-overlooked Philip Johnson Pavilion at Dumbarton Oaks where the curvaceous facade slinks knowingly beside the Beatrix Farrand-designed gardens.

Parisian Pulse. Théâtre de la Gaîté Lyrique ain’t your everyday gallery-cum-theater space. The Guardian writes that this “theater for the digital arts” has given its stately old facade a swank makeover aimed at the 15 to 35-year old theater goer.

Sustainable Sound. WBUR spotlights a Boston band that found a way to make music that’s off-the-charts and off-the-grid. Generators hooked up to human-propelled bike peddles provide energy for electric guitars, plus a very John Cage-ish backdrop to the music making.

Visionary Update in Inglewood

Newsletter, West
Friday, March 25, 2011
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Last fall we reported on (fer) Studio’s proposed designs for Inglewood’s once-bustling but now down-on-its-luck Market Street; a strategy to anchor the street, enliven its storefronts, and integrate it with the coming Expo Light Rail line. Those preliminary designs have come a long way. Their latest iteration again focuses on Market Street’s re-zoning, but fleshes out a wider system of  urban agriculture; wind, photovoltaic, bio fuel, and geothermal energy; a green belt, and a self-contained water reservoir. Not to mention some gigantic planted towers, canopies, and  walls—”vertical public spaces giving Inglewood an identity,” says (fer)’s Chris Mercier, over transit and mixed-use. Despite losing their staunchest ally, Mayor Daniel Tabor (who recently resigned) they’ve submitted the plans to Cascadia’s Living City Competition, and are still trying to push them to what is a fairly conservative city council.  To get a closer look at these and other visionary plans from (fer), join our friends at deLAB as they visit their studios in Inglewood tomorrow. More pix of (fer)’s schemes below. Read More

Epiphyte Lab′s Hsu House Mass Wall

Fabrikator
Friday, March 25, 2011
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Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
Fabrikator Brought to you by: 

The poured-in-place concrete wall (Susan and Jerry Kaye)

A south-facing heat sink mass wall stores heat and diffuses light, creating an all-seasons solarium for an energy efficient home in Upstate New York.

Dana Cupkova and Kevin Pratt, founders of Ithaca-based design and research practice Epiphyte Lab, met the client for which they built Hsu House in one of Cupkova’s classes at Cornell where she teaches design and fabrication strategies for ecologically adaptive construction systems. The client, a medical doctor, was in the class with the goal of designing his own energy efficient home in Danby, New York, but after an initial consultation, asked Cupkova and Pratt to design it instead.

Continue reading after the jump.

Greatest (Public Art) Of All Time in LA?

West
Thursday, March 24, 2011
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Image © Sam Lubell

Our friends at Oyler Wu are putting the finishing touches on their collaboration with artist Michael Kalish that brings a pixelated face of Muhammad Ali to L.A. Live’s plaza in Downtown Los Angeles. The sculpture, reALIze, which has its official unveiling tomorrow night, consists of a large frame of hundreds of aluminum tubes on which 1,300 speed bags are hung via steel cables. From most angles it looks like a bit of a jumble, but from straight on, the composition of light and dark bags indeed forms an impressive likeness of the champ.

Check out more photos after the jump.

Quick Clicks> Icelandic Sculptures, Painted Trees, Carnegie, and Parklets

Daily Clicks
Thursday, March 24, 2011
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A sectional view of the BORDERS exhibition (courtesy New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, artist Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir, and photographer James Ewing)

Icelandic Borders. Today at 5PM, “the largest temporary public art exhibition… in New York City Parks history,” titled BORDERS, will be unveiled at Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza. The UN-conscious installation is a collaboration between the Parks Commissioner, an Icelandic Ambassador, and Icelandic artist Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir, consisting of 26 androgynous, life-size sculptures.

Painted Trees. Gerry Mak of Lost at E Minor adoringly shares the curious images of the vibrantly painted trees around Colorado by artist Curtis Killorn. Because of the unexpected colorings, these trees do not look like they came from land, but from the sea.

Green Carnegie. We were worried when gbNYC reported that the good ol’ Carnegie Hall is planning to undergo a massively ambitious, full-spectrum retrofit this year. But don’t worry, the architecture firm Iu + Bibliowicz, which is in charge of all this, swears to preserve “the building’s distinctive 19th-century architectural grace notes” while making dramatic green building improvements.

Parking to parkletting. The SF Examiner reports that more temporary public spaces, called
‘parklets,’ are exploding throughout San Francisco parking spots. The public battle between those who want to park cars and those who want to seat customers out on the sidewalk seems to have a clear winner– the Department of Public Works is stamping out countless approvals for businesses to have their own parklets despite complaints.

Slideshow> Ellis Island West

West
Thursday, March 24, 2011
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When anyone thinks of U.S. immigration in the late 19th and early 20th centuries they picture Ellis Island. But the West Coast’s counterpart was the US Immigration Station at Angel Island, a 1910 collection of modest timber buildings located off the coast of Tiburon, just outside San Francisco.

Until the end of World War II thousands of immigrants arrived here; most from the far east. And while Ellis Island was no picnic, this was an even harder place. Technically a detention center, its crowded barracks held hundreds of people for up to a year at a time. Thanks to California State Parks’ recent $20 million renovation by SF-based Architectural Resources Group and Tom Eliot Fisch, you can now visit.

Check out the slideshow after the jump.

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