Many have lamented the disappearance of so many architecture book stores in recent years, chief among them the much-missed Prarie Avenue Books in Chicago. The Graham Foundation is doing their part to begin to fill that void by selling a selection of books at their stately home, the Madlener house.
Tonight, the Foundation is hosting a holiday party and book store launch, from 5-8pm. The delightful exhibition, Las Vegas Studio: Images from the Archives of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott-Brown, is also on view. Stop by and stock up. The Graham Foundation, 4 West Burton Place, Chicago.
The Architect’s Newspaper‘s main office is just two blocks from the Word Trade Center site, so we’re keeping a photographic eye on increasingly visible developments at the site. One World Trade will soon break the skyline and all throughout the site there are signs of vigor. Over the last couple of weeks, windows began to appear on some of the structures.
It’s hard not to be awed, regardless of how unfashionable that may be in an area where locals studiously observe a nonchalant protocol, as though the massive tower were just another visiting celebrity. So don’t mind us as we join the out-of-town gawkers and snap away.
In a breathless press release, developer AEG and its partners have revealed that they will be unveiling renderings from the three finalists for the proposed downtown LA stadium tomorrow evening at 5pm (December 15).
According to Sports Business Journal, the three firms chosen via an RFP are HKS, HNTB, and Gensler (who designed the Ritz Carlton/JW Marriott where the press conference will be held.. hmm..).
The stadium’s proposed location is the site of the LA Convention Center’s West Hall. We will of course share the renderings with you after the presser, so stay tuned.
Of course, LA still has no football team, nor does it have an approved location for a stadium. But this is Hollywood! We know how to dream!
In other downtown news, City Council on Thursday will vote on the fate of the proposed Wilshire Grand redevelopment, which would include two large towers designed by AC Martin. Stay tuned everybody!
Failing schools. Fast Company isn’t pulling any punches with a title like “American Design Schools are a Mess, and Produce Weak Graduates.” Designer Gadi Amit laments in his lengthy critique, “I’m finding that the impressive academic credentials of most students don’t add up to the basic skills I require in a junior designer. Simply put, the design education system today is failing many aspiring young students.” [ Fast Company ]
Hangover. It’s difficult to imagine how such a thing could happen, but an architect working for the US government in Japan managed to rack up a tab of $36,890 at a Tokyo bar. (If you’re curious, that’s 3,011 shots!) The bill is the result of a drum-based bar-competition, and architect Kaz Miura now holds a title previously held by bankers and movie stars. [ The Australian via UnBeige ]
Booing Beekman. James Gardner delivers a scathing review of Frank Gehry’s yet-to-be-completed 8 Sprice Street née Beekman Tower in Lower Manhattan. Opening with a question, Gardner asks why the tower is “so thoroughly sad and unimpressive.” Ouch. And it doesn’t get much better further in. At the root of it, the problem seems to be that the tower is rather conventional despite its curvaceous titanium skin. [ The Real Deal ]
Grand Piano. Renzo Piano’s London skyscraper dubbed the Shard (rendered at top) has topped out, or at least its central concrete core. Standing over 1,000 feet tall, the Shard will be the tallest tower in the UK and the tallest commercial tower in Europe. (And, if you recall, Renzo Piano is pretty tall himself.) Construction started in early 2009 and the tower is expected to be complete by the summer of 2012. [ BD Online ]
Limited by the constraints of its scattered design buildings, USC’s School of Architecture yesterday held its final reviews on the 50th and 51st floors of City National Plaza’s North Tower in Downtown LA. The giant review, called Blue Tape: Super Review, included 48 studios, about 70 professors, and over 700 students, including those studying architecture and urban design, landscape architecture, and historic preservation. Yours truly got to sit in on Jennifer Siegal’s studio: Generation Mobile: exploring the deployable free-range cuisine truck culture, which featured some mind-bending re-imaginings of today’s fairly traditional food trucks. The two floors, which used to contain offices for Bank of America (sorry guys) was donated by Thomas Properties, which owns both of the towers at City National. The 52-story buildings, by the way, were designed by A.C. Martin in 1972. We wonder where they’ll do their next reviews? Read More
37 first year SCI-Arc students have just finished a mesmerizing new installation in the school’s parking lot called Sway. The project is made of 228 thin bundled steel rods, bolted into the ground and joined via flexible (and wild) wire units above. The vast and tightly-packed array of bendy rods are responsive to subtle changes in wind force (and not-so-subtle pushing by visitors), enabling the structure to move around like trees in a forest, or a collection of organisms. At night they catch the light in changing and surprising ways.
The 1A Studi0—which produces a large installation every year— was led by professors Nathan Bishop, Eric Kahn and Jenny Wu. Bishop accurately called the piece an “encompassing environment.” Which is what makes it so great: the chance to walk right into the art and interact with it.
The University of Notre Dame School of Architecture announced that Robert A. M. Stern has been named this year’s Richard H. Driehaus laureate. The prize, which comes with a $200,000 purse, “honors the best practitioners of traditional, classical, and sustainable architecture and urbanism in the modern world,” according to a statement. Founded in 2003, the prize has previously honored lesser known architects such as Rafael Manzano Martos of Spain and Abdel-Wahed El-Wakil of Egypt in addition to marquee American traditional and classicist architects like Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk and Allan Greenberg (several Driehaus recipients have also won or been involved in the National Building Museum’s Vincent Scully Prize).
Click through to see more of Stern’s work
Street artist Blu recently made LA headlines when his commissioned mural for MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary (featuring coffins draped by dollar bills) was subsequently whitewashed by MOCA itself. In a statement, MOCA called the mural, which was across from the LA Veterans’ Affairs Hospital, “inappropriate,” and the move has angered (to say the least) the street art community.
For those of you unfamiliar with Blu, please take a look at this video, called Big Bang Big Boom. There are no special effects, just stop-action animation; a dazzling combination of architecture and art. It’s unclear where he shot this piece, but he obviously needed to find an area with lots of empty, and largely abandoned, walls and lots. We’re blown away, so to speak.
Following a heavy snow storm this weekend, the roof of the Minneapolis Metrodome collapsed. This video shows the structure creaking under the weight, the roof fabric tearing, and snow pouring in on the field. It looks like a scene from The Day After Tomorrow. Blair Kamin was quick to point out that though the stadium was designed by the Chicago office of SOM, the roof was the work of New York-based Geiger Berger Associates. Buffalo, New York-based Birdair Structures maintains and supplies the roof fabric. No one was hurt in the collapse. According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, this is the fourth time roof has ripped and deflated. Officials are still determining how low it will take to repair the structure.
Most of us move on from difficult breakups by eating ice cream or going on long walks. Not NBC. They build things. Now that Conan O’Brien has started his own show on TBS, NBC has awarded IA with a commission to redesign his former Tonight Show sound stage in Studio City (which reportedly cost $50 million to build) into a two story newsroom for local and network news. IA has signed a non-disclosure agreement, so they can’t talk about it. But according to the RFP, the 70,000 square foot project, awarded earlier this fall, will include studios, control rooms, edit rooms, offices and and storage. It should be finished by June 2012. So basically they want to obliterate any memory of Conan? Well, yes, our inside source tells us, that’s exactly it…