Inside the Archtober Building of the Day #14: the Metropolitan Tower

East
Friday, October 14, 2011
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W. 57th POP (Privately Owned Public) Space

The West 57th Street POP (Privately Owned Public) Space by Rogers Marvel. (Courtesy Rogers Marvel)

The Metropolitan Tower is the wedge-shaped, Darth Vader-like all black glass monolith next to Carnegie Hall. Rising a tidy 716 feet in 77 stories of offices in the low-rise portion and residences in the high rise, the AIA Guide to New York City tells us that its developer Harry Macklowe claimed to have designed it himself. Not true! Schuman, Lichtenstein, Claman & Efron (now SLCE Architects) get the credit for the 1987 tower.

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Comment> The Rights of the Neighborhoods

National
Friday, October 14, 2011
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York St and 10th St, North Philadelphia.

York Street and 10th Street, North Philadelphia. (Courtesy Slought Foundation)

A Call to Action for the  Rights of Neighborhoods

This new social contract is based off of the historical model of the Second Bill of Rights that was delivered by Franklin D. Roosevelt on January 11, 1944.

It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for rethinking the American Dream. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people—whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth—is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure. Communities in need are not free communities. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

Continue reading after the jump.

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SOM, with Kung Fu Panda, Wins Nanjing Waterfront Competition

International, Midwest
Friday, October 14, 2011
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(all images courtesy SOM/MIR Renderings)

Today, SOM announced it has been selected by Beijing-based MCCC Real Estate to redesign the Nanjing waterfront. The redevelopment will extend two-kilometers from the Yangtze River levee to the old city wall. The plan calls for renovating existing rail bridges and an old power station into new cultural and commercial spaces, preserving existing trees, and adding a hotel and other amenities along a renovated shipping canal. The plan also calls for remediating waterways for public access and recreation.

But what about Kung Fu Panda?

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St. Nicholas Back at WTC

East
Friday, October 14, 2011
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Aswered prayers: St. Nicholas to rebuild.

Answered prayers: St. Nicholas to rebuild. (markamav/Flickr.com)

“Win-win!,” were the two words that Father Mark Arey chose to describe this morning’s deal signed with the Port Authority that will bring St. Nicholas Church back to the World Trade Center site. Arey, the spokesperson for the Greek Archdioses in America, said the agreement was signed in the governor’s Manhattan office by church council member Michael Jaharis and the Port Authority’s soon-to-be-departing-director Chris Ward. Governor Cuomo stood witness to the signing with Archbishop Demetrios. The governors prodding of the Port brought the two parties toward an agreement. The new building will sit at the corner of Liberty and Greenwich streets near Four World Trade.

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Highlights from Monterey 2011: No Theme, No Problem

West
Friday, October 14, 2011
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OAB's AA House near Barcelona (© Alejo Bagué)

For the first time in 20 confabs the Monterey Design Conference, the AIA California Council’s bi-annual gathering of architectural talent and inspiration, didn’t follow a theme. One participant said that this year’s event was about materiality and light; others talked about science, optimism, and the potential of the future. The organizers did an excellent job reaching out to diverse voices and knew that each attendee would concoct their own theme.  After many years the event has evolved to the point it doesn’t need too many impositions.

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Performer: An Auto-Affirmation for Everyone

East
Friday, October 14, 2011
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Next time you are in Times Square, don’t be shy when you see a spotlight– no matter how lame your dance moves are, you are guaranteed an explosive roar of applause from an invisible, enthusiastic crowd of people as long as you are moving. (What a refreshing departure from the notorious American Idol jury.) This location-appropriate spotlight installation is an interactive public art work by Adam Frank, an installation artist and a product inventor, whose body of work “represents an ongoing investigation of light and interactivity.” His shadow-casting oil lamp, LUMEN, is one of the MoMA Store’s best-selling items.

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Trahan’s Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Museum

Fabrikator
Friday, October 14, 2011
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Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
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On-site panel mockup (Trahan)

Cast stone and steel become the medium for collaboration at Trahan Architects’ newest project.

Trahan Architects’ Louisiana State Sports Hall Of Fame and Regional History Museum was designed with northern Louisiana’s geography in mind. Located in Natchitoches, the oldest settlement in the Louisiana Purchase, the 28,000-square-foot building overlooks Cane River Lake at the boundary of the Red River Valley. While the museum’s exterior will be clad in a skin of cypress planks, a nod to the area’s timber-rich building stock, the interior spaces will be formed by a skin of more than 1,000 cast stone panels resembling land shaped by eons of moving water. As the panels begin to be installed, AN went behind the scenes to learn how the project is taking shape.

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Inside the Building of the Day #13

Other
Thursday, October 13, 2011
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The Francis Martin Library in the Bronx. (Courtesy Ben Kracauer)

The Francis Martin Library in the Bronx. (Courtesy Ben Kracauer)

We are up in the Bronx again today, this time further north in the Morris Heights neighborhood. The Francis Martin Library, named after the first district attorney from the Bronx, was built in 1956, and sits atop a hill on a prominent corner of University Avenue. The University is Bronx Community College, now housed in what was originally the McKim Mead and White Heights Campus for New York University. Be sure to check out the original Hall of Fame there. 1100 Architect has made its own Hall of Fame for the kids’ library. Stanley Kubrick, Chaim Potok, Herman Wouk, Colin Powell even Fiorello LaGuardia himself are part of a graphic game on the warm white walls that undulate around the core of the children’s library renovation on the second floor.

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Video> Noguchi Museum Takes Civic Action

East
Thursday, October 13, 2011
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Detail from map of the LIC study area by WXY's Fall 2010 studio at Parsons.

Detail from map of the LIC study area by WXY's Fall 2010 studio at Parsons. (AN/Stoelker)

With buses running from the Lever House on Park Avenue, the Noguchi Museum was flush with Manhattanites last night for the opening of Civic Action: A Vision for Long Island City. The show of ideas by local artist teams—led by Natalie Jeremijenko, Mary Miss, Rirkrit Tiravanija and George Trakas—fleshes out urban dreams for the mostly industrial area. In anything but an autocratic manner, the show—the first ever at the museum to include contemporary artists and not Noguchi—encourages dialogue between large institutions, government, and the public.

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City in China Disappears Overnight

International, Newsletter
Thursday, October 13, 2011
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Chaohu city is officially canceled. (Courtesy anhuinews.com)

Chaohu city in China has been canceled. It wasn’t a small city. In fact the population of more than 4 million is comparable to Los Angeles, the Phoenix metro area, and the whole of South Carolina, but that is now irrelevant data, since Chaohu’s official city status was annihilated on August 22. Although buildings and inhabitants remain as proof of a once-coherent city plan and living organism, the land has since been divided into three parts and absorbed by its neighbors, Hefei, Wuhu and Ma’anshan.

Continue reading after the jump.

Gang in the Great Hall

Midwest
Thursday, October 13, 2011
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(Courtesy MacArthur Foundation)

(Courtesy MacArthur Foundation)

Fresh off winning a MacArthur Fellowship, last night Jeanne Gang gave a lecture at the Great Hall at Cooper-Union, organized by the Architectural League, which emphasized her firm’s commitment to material research, sustainability, and collaboration with experts from diverse fields. She spoke about an ongoing research project into possibly restoring the natural flow of the Chicago River, which may have intrigued New York’s Planning Commissioner, Amanda Burden, who was among those in the audience. The project, in many ways, mirrors the Bloomberg Administration’s citywide sustainability efforts. Amale Andraos, from Work AC, introduced Gang and guided her through some gentle questioning. Read More

Archtober Building of the Day #12: Betances Community Center

East
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
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The Betances Community Center in the Bronx (Courtesy Stephan Yablon Architect)

The Betances Community Center in the Bronx (Courtesy Stephan Yablon Architect)

When is a Center really a center? Well first of all it’s got to have a center, don’t you think? The Betances Community Center has a splendid gym holding strong in the middle of the plan, full of warm, white light modulated by the south-facing glass block wall and monitor side walls of Kalwall. Originally intended to house a boxing ring and bright orange bleacher seating, the space is now multi-purpose with the bleachers accordioned to the walls; the famous boxing program moved elsewhere. Even without the ring, the architecture packs a wallop of clarity, modesty, attention to detail, and programmatic resolution.

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