Hurricane Irene was no match for tenth anniversary preparations at the World Trade Center site. In fact, some are claiming that the storm could have been a good thing for the soon-to-be-open memorial site. Joseph Daniels, president and CEO of the Memorial Foundation, told The Observer that all the trees on the site, including the Survivor Tree, made it out of the storm unscathed. And at a depth of only six feet, the eight-acre plaza “lid” did seem quite vulnerable just a few days ago. While there was some minor flooding and dripping underneath the plaza, Daniels said, there was no major damage. If anything, Daniels was saw Irene’s drips in a glass half full, pushing the project slightly ahead of schedule: “All the preparations we did in preparing for the storm actually helped prepare us for the opening, like removing excess equipment and temporary fencing that had been surrounding the pools.”
The three year cycle of summertime renovations at Madison Square Garden is starting to eat away at its bottom line. The renovation schedule has prevented some big name events booking the arena, resulting in 39 percent drop in earning for the second quarter. At a cost of nearly $850 million (up from initial projections of around $500 mil), renovations won’t be done until 2013. Work that began this past April at the end of the Knicks’ season involved refurbishing the lower seating bowl will wrap up in October. Future work will redo the upper seating bowl and add bridges above the arena’s ceiling. [Deadline via Real Deal]
Some heavy hitters are lining up to knock down a proposal to landmark Brooklyn’s downtown skyscraper historic district. The Brooklyn Newspaper reported that everyone from the Brooklyn Law School to the Real Estate Board of New York say that the proposal will stunt growth in the area. Not surprisingly, as we reported back in December, the folks at 75 Livingston are still raising a stink of what it will cost them as one of the few residential buildings in the district. Proponents say that landlords are posturing to push for a major retail district and don’t want the limitations brought about by landmarking.
Treehouse of Worship. Everyone loves a treehouse, especially one that dates from 1696 (built in a tree that’s over 800 years old, no less). Boing Boing uncovered the chapel in Allouville-Bellefosse, France dedicated to the Virgin Mary that was built in the hollowed out trunk caused by a lightning strike.
Talking Tanks. Who can forget the Mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania who, fed up with cars parked in the bike lane, crushed the offending vehicles with a tank. Classic. Transportation Nation couldn’t get enough of the car-crushing crusader, either, and has posted an interview where the mayor warns that tanks may return to the streets of Vilnius.
Frank Llego Wright. Will we ever tire of LEGOs? I hope not. LEGO has already immortalized Wright’s Fallingwater and his Guggenheim Museum in tiny plastic bricks, but Building Design just reported that the Prairie-style Robie House in Chicago is also available for architects and aspirants to assemble and adore.
Baking Buildings. Some of the most beautiful historic (and modern, too!) buildings feature terra cotta facades, but whether they’re ornate or sleek, we seldom have a chance to peek behind the scenes to see how the clay cladding is made. Buffalo Rising took a visit to a local terra cotta factory to check out what’s involved.
So Hurricane Tropical Storm Irene has come and gone, leaving most of New York City unscathed. It looks like some 700 trees were downed across the city and we’re sure a few patio chairs ran away from home, but luckily for the city, the storm lost its might as it raged toward Gotham. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority prepared for the worst before the storm, shutting down the city’s transit system electively for the first time (the system was also shut down after 9/11 and a power blackout). The agency has released an amazing set of photos of its preparation and cleanup after the storm including dramatic views of an abandoned Grand Central Station, mudslides, and flooded tracks. Take a look after the jump.
If you didn’t catch the giant inflatable pop-up chapel/igloo at Silver Lake’s Materials & Applications gallery last year, now’s your chance to experience it in person. Well, it’s cousin anyway. The 25-foot-tall second rendition, Density Frames was designed by USC’s architecture director Gail Peter Borden for the school’s Religious Center courtyard. The irregularly-shaped balloon-like structure will be on display through December 15.
Brian Ulrich: Copia—Retail,
Thrift, and Dark Stores, 2001–11
Cleveland Museum of Art
11150 East Boulevard
Through January 16, 2012
Using only a hand-held camera, photographer Brian Ulrich captured the fluctuating economic climate’s impact on American consumerism in the last decade. Brian Ulrich: Copia – Retail, Thrift and Dark Stores, 2001–11 at the Cleveland Museum of Art features 50 color photographs, portraying anonymous commercial excess in three distinct venues. Whether engrossed by the saccharine colors and limitless temptation of big box stores or by the discarded whimsies of thrift shops, the photographed subjects are caught in a vicious cycle of spending. The final phase highlights the absent consumer, focusing on the prevalence of ghost stores and dark shopping malls as a result of the 2008 financial crisis, such as J.C. Penney, Dixie Square Mall (above).
After going through 9/11, the importance of disaster preparedness and relief hit home with New Yorkers. “Everyone was focusing on the fact that New York had been damaged,” said Lance Jay Brown, AIANY board member and co-chair of the recently formed Design for Risk and Reconstruction committee of the AIANY. “The architectural community was galvanized to respond.” Just coming off a jolt from a rare, if small, earthquake and with Hurricane Irene on its doorstep, New York is once again focused on planning for disaster.
Noguchi: California Legacy
Laguna Art Museum
307 Cliff Drive
Laguna Beach, CA
Through October 2
Noguchi: California Legacy features three bodies of work that capture the connection Los Angeles-born sculptor Isamu Noguchi had with the California landscape. California Scenario: The Courage of the Imagination celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Segerstrom commission at the South Coast Plaza sculpture garden; a gallery is illuminated by Noguchi’s famed Akari lights for the 1986 Venice Biennale in What is Sculpture?, shown above; and for Noguchi at Gemini G.E.L., his sculpture for atelier Gemini G.E.L. Los Angeles in 1982 are reproduced as flattened steel plates, described by Noguchi as “short poems pertaining to California where I was born, and to the world I have known.”
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Frankfurt’s Zeil gets another facelift with an ever-changing media installation
The Zeil is Frankfurt’s main shopping district, a pedestrian-only street bordered by two large plazas. In 2009, Massimiliano Fuksas’ vortex-clad Mab Zeil mixed-use center brought a new face to the street. Not to be outdone by its neighbor, the Zeilgalerie shopping mall began its own facelift the same year. Designed by Wiesbaden, Germany-based interdisciplinary collective 3deluxe, its LED-illuminated black facade brings a new sense of unity to the street and was recently given the Red Dot 2011 design award in the category of Information Design/Public Space.
It’s a printed airplane! The printed aircraft has arrived. Researchers in the UK created the first 3D-printed electric-powered airplane. Core77 explained that 3D printing was originally developed for the US Navy (to eliminate excess parts) making repairing damage easier.
Red light, green light. For Mayor Bloomberg, safety is paramount. He even believes there should be red light cameras at every New York City intersection. At a recent conference, he cited economic reasons: the city cannot afford to have cops on every corner. Check out the Mayor’s comments at Transportation Nation.
Bharadvaja’s Twist. A hybrid architecture firm and yoda studio called Arte New York is… stretching… their space in the garment district, adding an additional 15,000 square feet according to Crain’s. The firm’s new space will include a wellness center for the community.
The labyrinth. Beginning September 12th, the Centre Pompidou-Metz in France will present Wander, Labyrinthine Variations, an exhibit exploring the development of labyrinths through a variety of mediums including architecture, art, film, maps, as well as archeological findings. More at e-flux.