Churches Squabble as Furness Falls

East
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
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The crumbling facade of the Furness designed 19th Street Baptist Church. (Courtesy of Naked Philly)

The titan of Titan Street is mighty no longer. On the corner of Titan and 19th streets in South Philadelphia, a robust Frank Furness-designed church has been crumbling for some time, but now the Department of Licensing and Inspections has threatened to tear the building down and send a bill to the owner, the 19th Street Baptist Church. Calls to the church went unanswered—the phone is disconnected. After Naked Philly broke the demolition news on Friday, readers identified the architect as Furness, and preservationists began to rally the troops on Facebook.

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Pictorial>Henning Larsen in Reykjavik

International
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
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(all images courtesy Henning Larsen)

On Saturday, Icelanders celebrated the opening of the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik. Designed by Henning Larsen, the building features a colorful, prismatic  facade, developed in consultation with the artist Olafur Eliasson. The architects and the artist drew inspiration from basalt stone formations found along the Icelandic coast. The building has both a rugged power, and yet the colorful facade, which changes throughout the day according to light conditions, is inviting. Read More

On View> Supertall! at The Skyscraper Museum

East, Newsletter
Monday, August 22, 2011
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Guangzhou West Tower Hotel Atrium, designed by Wilkinson Eyre. Courtesy Skyscraper Museum.

SUPERTALL!
WORLD TOWERS ABOVE 380 METERS
The Skyscraper Museum
39 Battery Place
New York
Through January 2012

The world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa is over twice the height of the Empire State Building—a grand total of 2,717 feet. The exhibition SUPERTALL! at the Skyscraper Museum explores the development of such architectural giants, presenting a survey of the world’s 48 tallest buildings completed since 2001 or expected for completion by 2016. The skyscrapers featured are at least 1,250 feet tall, with the majority from China, South Korea, and the Middle East, including Al-Hamara in Kuwait, above left. Organized chronologically as well as by region, the installation highlights the evolution of very tall buildings, opening with a 30-foot timeline of vertical constrution. Architectural models, computer renderings, as well as photographs and film, support a story focused on building technology, contemporary construction, and sustainable approaches. Nodding to the local as well as the global, the exhibition also includes a section on the original World Trade Center towers and the new construction rising on the site. images after the jump

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Quick Clicks> Digital Clay, Red Blue Greenhouse, Platonic Rugs, Biker Rights

Daily Clicks
Monday, August 22, 2011
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Recompose, the "digital clay" 3D interface developed by MIT Media Lab. Courtesy TechNewsDaily.

Digital Clay. Last week at the SIGGRAPH technology conference, a prototype input device called “Recompose” made its debut. TechNewsDaily says that this “marriage of a keyboard and a 3-D tiled surface could be the future of computer interfaces.” Developed by the MIT Media Lab, Recompose will give users the ability to “sculpt” data.

LED Lettuce. The Dutch have amped up hydroponic agriculture with the use of LEDs, notes Good magazine. Scientists in the Netherlands have found that using the red and blue versions of the lights maximizes the effects of sunlight and minimizes dehydration. A bonus result? Greenhouses with rave-like ambiance.

Flat out Platonic.  Core 77 alerted us to the thought-provoking carpet designs of Luís Porém, which are based on deconstructed Plato’s beloved polyhedrons.

Biker Rights. A group of NYC lawyers ride to the aid of cyclists disputing NYPD tickets for bell, helmet, and lane violations, reports The New York Times. The law firm of Rankin & Taylor is preparing a class action suit against the city on behalf of bikers.

Open-Source Architecture: Download Your Own WikiHouse

Wikihouse prototypes. (Courtesy Wikihouse)

Wikihouse prototypes. (Courtesy Wikihouse)

Want to make your own home in 24 hours? Meet WikiHouse, a way to design and assemble a model structure within a single day. Wikihouse is designed to be easy to use with an online design community posting and editing open-source plans with Google Sketchup. Template plans can be downloaded and cut out with a CNC mill and then easily assembled with minimal skill.

From WikiHouse:

The first WikiHouse will be constructed in South Korea at the Gwangju Design Biennale 2011. We are now looking for architects, furniture designers, product designers, craftsmen, and makers from around the world who are interested in contributing to the WikiHouse process. If that’s you then please drop us an line on hello@wikihouse.cc!

Could downloaded design and “fabrication on the fly” be the future of architecture? How will open-source design impact the profession? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Check out the construction process after the jump.

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Quick Clicks> Countenance Cartography, In Situ Study, Old Becomes New, and Venice Vexed

Daily Clicks
Friday, August 19, 2011
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Courtesy Ingrid Dabringer via Core77

Courtesy Ingrid Dabringer via Core77

Mapping Visage. Canadian artist Ingrid Dabringer has attracted attention for her unique map paintings, finding countenances in irregular land masses. The artist explained that she draws inspiration from large-scale topography and lines on detailed maps. Dabringer believes that maps hold meaning and by adding her own touches, she seeks a more personal interpretation within a traditional tool. More at Core77.

In Situ Study. Recently on Building Design, third-year architecture student Jonathan Brown posed the following question, “Do architecture students today focus too heavily on design theory and practice and consequently, neglect construction skills that cannot be taught in a classroom?” Not alone in his query, the latest RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) “Part of the Picture” campaign permits graduates to credit three months of on-site experience toward their education.

Now and then. Technology and the internet have transformed the way we preserve and promote history, particularly our photographs. Trendcentral highlighted three exciting websites: Historypin, where users can upload historic photos and search geo-tagged photos by time, period, and address; Dear Photograph posts reader-submitted photographs of historic photos in context; and the Flickr group, Looking into the Past, includes a diverse range of historic-current photo collages.

Troubled Bridge over Water. Conservationists and architects have rejected the Venetian superintendent’s call to replace the historic Ponte del Accademia with a glass and steel substitute, reported Building Design. Although architects Schiavina of Bologna have incorporated an Istrian stone version of the iconic bridge’s gentle arch in their design, prominent art critic Francesco Bonami has dubbed the plans a “bad crash.” Plans remain on hold while the city seeks funding for the €6 million design.

Slideshow> Foster & Apple Render the Cupertino Ring

West
Friday, August 19, 2011
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Apple's planned Cupertino campus. (Courtesy Foster & Partners)

Apple's planned Cupertino campus. (Courtesy Foster & Partners)

The official Foster + Partners design has (finally) been released for the new Apple campus in Cupertino. At a recent Cupertino City Council meeting Steve Jobs said he was excited to centralize his campus with a building for 12,000 employees on a site currently dominated by parking lots. In the time since the Cupertino meeting, the not-so-secret news that Foster & Partners designed the giant ring has also been confirmed. The low-lying complex, described as being built at a “human scale” and largely off the grid, is expected to open in 2015. In reference to the overall design and the building’s glass curvature Jobs noted, “It’s a little like a spaceship landed.”

Continue reading after the jump.

nonLin/Lin Pavilion: Marc Fornes/THEVERYMANY

Fabrikator
Friday, August 19, 2011
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Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
Fabrikator Brought to you by:

The nonLin/Lin Pavilion at the FRAC Centre in Orleans, France (THEVERYMANY)

An aluminum prototype structure at FRAC explores non-linear design and fabrication

The new nonLin/Lin Pavilion at the FRAC Centre in Orleans, France, is a coral-like structure of 40 pre-assembled white aluminum modules made of 570 CNC-cut single components punched with 155,780 asterisk-shaped CNC-drilled holes and held together by 75,000 white aluminum rivets. But these pieces, as designer Marc Fornes of THEVERYMANY has demonstrated throughout his work, are much more than the sum of their parts. Neither an art installation nor a model, the pavilion is full-scale architecture that pushes the limits of its materials and of physical fabrication processes with custom computational protocols.

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On View> Meeting Bowls in Times Square

East
Thursday, August 18, 2011
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Meeting Bowl Times Square (Courtesy Times Square Alliance)

Meeting Bowl Times Square (Courtesy Times Square Alliance)

The Times Square Alliance has partnered with Spanish collaborative mmmm… as part of an experiment in urban furniture design. The result, Meeting Bowls, is a series of three over-sized semi-spherical capsules that provide seating for up to eight people. Over the course of the next month, these exaggerated forms will invite engaging social interactions along Broadway Boulevard in Times Square. Inside the bowls, there is a feature which allows one to record and share their dialogue via smartphones or laptops. Meeting Bowls will be open from 8:00 a.m. to midnight daily through September 16th.

images after the jump

Quick Clicks> Tabled, Athletic Alphabet, Grand Apple, and Trumping Georgia

Daily Clicks
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
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Table of Tables. It’s a meta periodic table of tables…or a chemistry lessons for design connoisseurs. Curbed posted the tongue-in-cheek infographic above: gone are helium, hydrogen, and silver; now we have coffee tables, pool tables, and nightstands.

Athletic Alphabet. An ambitious Spanish graphic designer, Joan Pons Moll, has created a new typeface—with his feet. Living on the island of Menorca, with its curving, windy streets, Moll uses Run Keeper, to map his letter-shaped routes. More at the NY Times.

Grand Apple. Apple’s next stop is Grand Central. Slated to open in the balcony space once home to restaurant Metrazur, Apple will forgoe its traditional glass cube designs in favor of an open plan overlooking the main concourse. New renderings posted by Gothamist show a minimal layout filled with high-tech toys.

Trumping Georgia.Donald Trump will develop the two tallest towers in Georgia (the country, not the state), according to the NY Times. The Don’s firm won’t be directly involved with construction; instead, Silk Road Group will manage the projects. John Fotiadas Architect is designing the master plan for the residential tower slated for the Georgian city of Batumi.

Video> Explore California’s “Accidental” Sea

Newsletter, West
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
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We just came across The Accidental Sea, a fascinating documentary about California’s bewildering Salton Sea, an artificial lake created by flooding the Colorado River southeast of Palm Springs. It quickly turned into a resort and then (after subsequent environmental degradation) into a ghost town. The film by Ransom Riggs explores the history of the site and looks at the eeriness there now, from rusted out cars to abandoned spas and homes. Makes you wonder about the tenuousness of our civilization and makes you want to explore California’s other modern ghost towns like California City, an 80,000 acre development once intended to be the third largest city in the state (it’s population is now just over 8,000 people).

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Billings Bummer Yet Again in July

National
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
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Billings (blue) and inquiries (red) for the past 12 months. (The Architect's Newspaper)

Billings (blue) and inquiries (red) for the past 12 months. (The Architect's Newspaper)

For the fifth straight month the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has posted negative figures, with the only positive number on the chart coming from billing inquiries.

The overall number dropped from 46.3 in June to 45.1 in July (any ABI number below 50 is considered negative). AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker once again pointed to the larger economy as the source of industry woes. “The stuff that’s going on with the national level is consistent with what we’re experiencing,” said Baker, adding that given the current political situation he didn’t think another stimulus package would make it through Congress. “The politics of that is going to be tough; there’s a problem with increased spending,” he said. Even if it did, the last package didn’t really trickle down to the industry. “I have a hunch if there’s a chance it would go through, it would look a lot like the last stimulus and architects didn’t get a lot from that,” he said.

Continue reading after the jump.

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