In his poem “One Winter Afternoon,” e.e. cummings describes Eighth Street in Greenwich Village at the “magical hour when is becomes if.” Well, it seems as though Eighth Street has reached that hour once again. The street, which once played a distinct role in Village bohemia, began as a hub for book dealers and fostered the original Whitney Museum. Eventually, the street became a district for shoe stores and edgy fashion anchored by Patricia Field. Field decamped for the Bowery about nine years ago and much of the street has since devolved into a hodgepodge of chain stores and characterless low-end retail.
Practice makes perfect, and for some Parsons students, the Splash House at Highbridge Pool and Recreation Center is a jumping off point for becoming better architects.
Parsons’ Design Workshop, a design-build studio set up 15 years ago to offer practical training to students, has partnered with New York Parks and Recreation Department to instigate a five-year initiative to identify and implement improvements in public spaces across the city. “The architecture students get a more holistic understanding of process,” said Kate McCormick, Press Officer at Parsons. “They actually learn how to make and engage the community, by finding out what it needs.” Although it usually collaborates with public organizations both inside and outside Manhattan, this is the Workshop’s first long-term municipal partnership within New York City. The first assignment: Highbridge Pool and Recreation Center in Upper Manhattan. Read More
Last week, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) announced that two U.S. projects have been shortlisted for the RIBA Lubetikin Prize. The distinction honors building projects outside the European Union that set a standard for international excellence. The American projects chosen as finalists are The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston by Foster + Partners and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia by Rick Mather Architects.
“This year’s shortlist is unusual in that they are all big budget projects—each with a contract value over $100 million,” RIBA president Ruth Reed said in a statement. “The list mixes some of world architecture’s most famous names, with a younger practice so it will be interesting to see who the judges choose as a winner.” The prize will be announced on October 1 followed by a feature on the winners on BBC 2′s The Culture Show.
Other finalist projects from around the world: Zaha Hadid’s Guangzhou Opera House (Guangzhou, China), Foster’s Masdar Institute (Masdar City, Abu Dhabi) and the Met by WOHA (Bangkok, Thailand).
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A prototype of the city’s alternative to unsightly construction sheds is unveiled.
Two years after the NYC Department of Buildings and AIA New York launched the UrbanSHED competition to find a new sidewalk shed design that would beautify city streets, a prototype of the winning proposal has been unveiled. Called Urban Umbrella, the shed structure was developed by competition winner Young-Hwan Choi with architect Andrés Cortés and engineer Sarrah Khan of New York-based Agencie Group. Brooklyn-based architecture and fabrication firm Caliper Studio was hired late last year to detail and build the much-anticipated design, which the DOB and architecture, construction, and real estate backers hope will eventually replace unsightly sidewalk scaffolding at many of the city’s construction sites.
With all the NYU real estate hubbub going on around LaGuardia Place in Greenwich Village, it’s refreshing to hear of a quiet transaction between two locals. This week, the AIANY signed the lease for 532 LaGuardia, an empty retail space owned by local lumber magnate Guy Apicella just one door south of the AIANY’s current home, the Center for Architecture at 536 LaGuardia.
Frank Gehry is looking to sell his archive, Richard Meier opens his Queens storage room for models to visitors by appointment, and now Renzo Piano is giving back, too. On June 10, his eponymous foundation launched a new awards competition to encourage young Italian architects, a rare breed these days.
To that end, the competition was open to designers under 40 with an office in Italy presenting a constructed work. The jury, composed mostly of architectural magazine editors, whittled 69 entries down to three winners who demonstrated “innovative and poetic space research.” The purse for the prize was 10,000 euros each.
The top honor, handed out in June, went to Iotti+Pavarani architects based in northern Italy. Piano was particularly impressed with their recently completed Domus Technica building, a training and innovation center for a manufacturing company in Brescello, Italy. Honorable mentions were bestowed upon ARCó and carlorattiassociati.
The American Institute of Architects California Council (AIACC) has named Steven Ehrlich the 2011 Maybeck Award recipient for lifetime achievement in architecture. The award recognizes an architect’s body of work for outstanding design achievement extending over a career of 10 years or more. Named in honor of Bernard Maybeck, only 14 awards have been given since its inception in 1992. Ehrlich joins Thom Mayne, Frank Gehry and Joseph Esherick, among others. Read More
It’s hard to avoid the advertisements for Mercedes House; they’re everywhere. The ads, with their renderings of a completed project, employ the recent trend of touting the building’s architectural credentials, in this case “designed by Enrique Norten” of TEN Arquitectos. One could be forgiven for thinking the project was finished a long time ago. But could real estate savvy New Yorkers not notice a huge serpentine-shaped building rising on Manhattan’s West Side? Not likely. In fact, the Two Trees development is only about one quarter complete. However, as the ads note, you can move in right now–if you want to rent. More than 220 rentals are done, and when we took our walk-through last month financing was in place to complete the remaining 665 units, which includes 170 condos.
Playhouse. While the 300 year old Italian home of architect Armin Blasblicher features rustic, vernacular elements like stacked logs, Blasblichler updated the house with whimsical, playful elements. He incorporated doors on ceilings, doors within doors, and a contemporary interpretation of stained glass inspired by Pantone color swatches, as pictured above. More at Gizmodo.
Super-giant photo. The Culver Center of the Arts in Riverside, California is exhibiting the world’s largest photograph, created by the world’s largest camera. Lost at E Minor said the camera was fashioned from a converted airplane hangar with a 6mm opening in one its walls. At eleven stories long and three stories high, the resulting landscape photograph needed a 35 minute exposure.
Blooming brownfields. Seattle is cleaning up its brownfields in South Lake Union. The district, once home to factories, paper mills, and other industries, fell into decline as businesses moved out. For decades, the sites lay abandoned, tainted with toxic chemicals. The city has issued large-scale cleanups that include removing contaminated soil and building materials. The area is in various phases of redevelopment, with new offices, residences, and shops opening, reported the Wall Street Journal.
Un-knotting bikes. Knowhow Shop created a playful tongue-in-cheek bike rack for Roanoke, Virginia in the shape of a large comb, keeping bikes upright and tangle-free. Resting on its side, it is made from mangaris wood and supported by black steel bars that are supposed to resemble hair, posted Gizmodo.
Well, you can’t say we didn’t warn you. As AN reported back in May there would be a three month grace period before penalties would be slapped on non-compliers of the new energy and water use benchmarking laws for properties over 50,000 square feet. That means time’s almost up, folks–building owners must file reports by August 1. This may not effect the architecture profession directly (as much as the property owners), but by now architects should certainly be familar with the law and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Portfolio Manager Tool. Also, another clock is ticking for energy calculations on all architectural drawings. In September the State will start conducting hard audits to make sure the numbers are there to back up the reporting.