SCI-Arc student group questions “secretive” hiring process for Diaz Alonso

Dean's List, Shft+Alt+Del, West
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
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Hernan Diaz Alonso (Xefirotarch)

Hernan Diaz Alonso. (Xefirotarch)

A collection of anonymous students at SCI-Arc calling themselves SCI-Arc Community have taken to Tumblr to express their concern over the hiring process for future school director Hernan Diaz Alonso. Their biggest complaint: the “extreme secrecy of the Director Search Committee.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Pittsburgh’s Mellon Square Returned to Its Modernist Roots

The refurbished fountain and stairway. (Courtesy Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy)

The refurbished fountain and stairway. (Courtesy Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy)

After five years and $10 million, Pittsburgh’s Mellon Square has been returned to its mid-century splendor. Dedicated in 1955, the Square served as a modern, green oasis in a city choked by pollution. But only a few decades after opening, the modern masterpiece had fallen into disrepair, its former glory hidden by cracked pavement, broken fountains, pigeons, and empty planters. As Pittsburgh has transformed itself in recent years, so to has Mellon Square. Now, the reborn space is yet another example of the Steel City’s promising future.

Continue reading after the jump.

New York Design Commission Announces Excellence in Design Winners

Architecture, Awards, Design, East
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
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LeFrak Center at Lakeside. (Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects)

LeFrak Center at Lakeside. (Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects)

Winners of the 32nd Annual Awards for Excellence in Design were announced last night at the Thomas Leeser–designed BRIC Arts Media House in Brooklyn’s emerging Cultural District. Mayor Bill de Blasio was on hand to honor the winning projects, which were selected by the city’s Design Commission. “While Brooklyn is my home borough, I am proud to be awarding a diverse group of projects representing all five New York City boroughs,” the mayor said in a statement. “This year’s winners exemplify the Design Commission’s mission to enhance every New Yorker’s quality of life through public design, regardless of their size or location of the project.”  The 10 winning proposals are all unbuilt, but two special recognition awards were awarded to Tod Williams Billie Tsien’s LeFrak Center in Prospect Park and Louis Kahn’s Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island.

On to the winners…

Detroit doubles down on startups and young creatives with new “innovation district”

Detroit, on the water. (Image courtesy Bernt Rostad via Flickr.)

Detroit (Image courtesy Bernt Rostad via Flickr)

As Detroit nears the one year anniversary of the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history, creative professionals in a busy downtown corridor are the target of a Washington, D.C.–funded “innovation district” that hopes startups will rev Detroit’s stalled economic engine. Read More

On View> Connecticut’s Bruce Museum presents “Tales of Two Cities: New York & Beijing”

Other
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
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(Chen Shaoxiong)

(Chen Shaoxiong)

Tales of Two Cities: New York & Beijing
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive, Greenwich, CT
Through August 31

The Bruce Museum’s newest exhibition examines two of the world’s greatest art capitals: New York and Beijing. The show compares works by five New York–based artists and five Beijing-based based artists. The ten creators have been engaged in five different global, cross-cultural, artistic dialogues over the course of two years via email, Skype, and in person, sometimes with translators, about issues ranging from political and social upheaval, the concept of global culture, and questions about materials and techniques.

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Dutch Architects Propose Floating Island Made of Recycled Plastic

Recycled Island (Courtesy Design Villa)

Recycled Island (Courtesy Design Villa)

Considering how much trash Baltimore’s solar-powered Trash Interceptor scoops out of the city’s harbor—50,000 pounds a day!—these floating islands made from found plastic waste might just stand a chance. With the support of the Creative Industries Firm NL, WHIM Architecture is developing a prototype of their project, the recycled island, built primarily from recycled plastic waste gathered from the North Pacific gyre and the North Sea.

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Architect proposes a pedestrian bridge in Israel built from discarded shipping containers

3-ecocontainer-bridge-arielsharonpark-yoavmesserachitects-iftahhayner-hagaradmin-archpaper

(Yoav Messer Architects)

There is an ongoing architectural quest to find new and innovative sustainable materials. Some products could appear in the next science fiction film, such as the fungus-grown packaging material by Ecovative. Other materials have been with us for a long time, under guise of other uses. Some products—like the lowly shipping container—have served one function for so long they beg to be reinvented.

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Le Corbusier’s Words Sought a New Architecture as Much as His Built Forms

International
Monday, July 7, 2014
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Andrea Pozzo, Rules and examples of perspective proper for painters and architects, etc.: in English and Latin. London, 1707. (Courtesy Vassar College Libraries)

Andrea Pozzo, Rules and examples of perspective proper for painters and architects, etc.: in English and Latin. London, 1707. (Courtesy Vassar College Libraries)

Writing mattered to the Swiss architect Le Corbusier. When he became a naturalized French citizen in 1930, Le Corbusier called himself neither a painter nor an architect, but an homme de lettres (a man of letters): he was an inveterate writer. His first book was a study of German decorative arts published when he was twenty-five; his last, sometimes described as a final testament, was completed only a month before his death. In between there are approximately fifty books (depending on how you define “book”), as well as letters, lectures, and handwritten journals as thick as books. Words were the stuff of architecture, not just how he participated in and influenced the debates of his time; they were essential to the task of making a new architecture.

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On View> Designing for Disaster at the National Building Museum

Elevate

An elevated model home in Biloxi, Mississippi, designed by architect Marlon Blackwell in 2009 as part of an Architecture for Humanity Initiative, incorporates resilient and affordable design with porch living—an important part of local culture. (Timothy Hursley)

Designing for Disaster
National Building Museum
401 F Street NW, Washington, D.C.
Through August 2, 2015

The National Building Museum’s newest exhibition, Designing for Disaster, will explore how communities assess risks from natural hazards and how we can create policies, plans, and designs that create safer, more disaster-resilient communities. The two central questions that the exhibit addresses are where and how we should build.

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With Caveats, High Speed Rail, And Its Stations, Chug Ahead In California

Conceptual rendering of the Fresno to Bakersfield route (CA High Speed Rail)

Conceptual rendering of the Fresno to Bakersfield route (CA High Speed Rail)

Despite ongoing delays, lawsuits, and government holdups, it appears that California’s High Speed Rail (HSR) plans (and their associated stations) are ready to move ahead. Last week the United States Department of Transportation issued a “Record of Decision” for HSR’s initial 114-mile section from Fresno to Bakersfield.

Continue reading after the jump.

Deep Underground, Researchers Testing Giant Elevators for the World’s Tallest Building

KONE Ultrarope (Courtesy KONE Online Bank)

KONE Ultrarope (Courtesy KONE Online Bank)

Where there are tall buildings there are also tall elevators. Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Tower, designed by Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, will be the tallest building in the world if constructed as planned. The building is expected to stand 3,281 feet tall and will require elevators the likes of which the world has never seen. Luckily for the Kingdom Tower, one elevator company is researching the extremes of vertical circulation.

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Researchers Train Robots to 3D Print Architecture

Minibuilders (Courtesy Iaac)

Minibuilders (Courtesy Iaac)

The future of architecture is upon us, and thanks to a team of researchers led by Sasa Jokic and Petr Novikov, construction workers may soon be made obsolete. A team from the Institute for Advanced Architecture Catalonia (IAAC) is currently tackling the challenge of making “mini-builders”: drones that are capable of applying 3-D printing at a large, architectural scale.

Continue reading after the jump.

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