Video> Lithuanian Mayor Goes on Bike Lane Offensive

International, Newsletter
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
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Mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania crushing a car in the bike lane. (Video still)

Mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania crushing a car in the bike lane. (Video still)

A few days ago on July 30, Arturas Zuokas, the mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania, became fed up with cars illegally parked in the city’s bike lanes. To prove his point, he ordered in a tank and proceeded to crush a Mercedes-Benz stopped not only in a bike lane but partially in a crosswalk. The mayor then takes all scofflaw motorists to task, declaring, “That’s what will happen if you park your car illegally!” Perhaps, best of all, the Zuokas swept the broken glass from the bike lane and hopped on an electric bike and rode off into the horizon. Can you imagine such a thing happening in America? (Via Urban Velo.)

Watch the amazing video after the jump.

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Rethink/LA Imagines The Future Los Angeles

Newsletter, West
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
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Architects Taalman Koch reimagine LA's Hyperion Sewage Treatment Plant as a recreation area and animal habitat. 

Architects Taalman Koch reimagine LA's Hyperion Sewage Treatment Plant as a recreation area and animal habitat.

Los Angeles is a shifty creature, ever-changing and re-inventing itself. As memories of the perfect weekend (aka Carmageddon)  fade into memory, a collaboration of creative professionals is looking to re-focus our collective consciousness on Los Angeles’ past, present, and what it might look like in fifty years. Opening this Thursday at the A+D Museum on Wilshire Boulevard, Rethink/LA’s Perspectives on a Future City captures the voices of local Angelenos—writers, city planners, policymakers, and artists—through sound installations, collages, and videos.

Continue reading after the jump.

Quick Clicks> Of Newsprint, Shipping Containers, Plastic Bags, and Sustainable Intelligence

Daily Clicks
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
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Aesop Kiosk in Grand Central Station (COURTESY AESOP VIA CO.DESIGN)

Aesop Kiosk in Grand Central Station (COURTESY AESOP VIA CO.DESIGN)

Store in Print. Aesop director Dennis Paphitis and Brooklyn architect Jeremy Barbour of Tacklebox stacked 1,800 copies of the New York Times for the new Aesop skin care kiosk in Grand Central Station. While perhaps not our preferred choice for newsprint here at the paper, the gray pages create a rich texture on which to displayed beauty products. More at Co.Design.

Shipping Shop. London hopes to claim the world’s first pop-up shopping center made of shipping containers, to be designed by British firm Waugh Thistleton. Renderings of BoxPark revealed on Treehugger show the site-manufactured boxes stacked and outfitted with reusable materials.

Bagging a House. At the Studi Aperti Arts Festival in Ameno, Italy, design studios Ghigos Ideas and LOGh presented their architectural response to the seemingly endless supply of plastic bags. With help from students at Milan Polytechnic, the architects transformed an unfinished building with a wing made entirely of grocery bags. More at We Heart.

Green Talk. DesignIntelligence released their 2011 “Green & Sustainable Design Survey,” claiming that despite innovation in sustainable building, green construction is not yet mainstream practice. DI editor James Camor said sustainability and LEED is on the table, but maintained architects have not recognized the initiative’s urgency. More at The Dirt.

MAS(sive) Support

East
Monday, August 1, 2011
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Philanthropist Robert W. Wilson has gifted MAS with a $600,000 challenge grant

In an extended period of belt-tightening, it is often the arts sector that grapples with some of the harder aspects of fund-raising. With heavy competition from other non-profits clamoring for support from the city’s enlightened wealthy, institutions must be creative and resourceful to attract new and more generous donors. For the Municipal Art Society (MAS), this dedicated support has come in the form of Robert W. Wilson.

A veteran MAS donor, a philanthropist, and a former Wall Street hedge fund manager, Wilson has committed $600,000 over the next three years to match new or increased gifts of $1,000 or more on a one-for-two dollar basis. Effective August 1st, the aim is to help MAS strengthen and sustain its base of unrestricted support, which puts control of distribution into the hands of MAS rather than a targeted program.

Continue reading after the jump.

Museum Plaza Developers Scrap Plans for Tower

Midwest, Newsletter
Monday, August 1, 2011
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Museum Plaza would have extended Louisville's skyline. (Courtesy REX)

Museum Plaza would have extended Louisville's skyline. (Courtesy REX)

The first line of a press statement sent out by developers of the REX-designed Museum Plaza tower in Louisville, Kentucky put it bluntly: “Museum Plaza will not be built.” The 62-story hyper-rational tower—part kunsthalle museum, part residential and commercial hub, part art school—was hoped to signal the rejuvenation of the city’s urban core, but like so many iconic buildings proposed in the days leading up to the great recession, the vision succumbed to the realities of the financial markets.

Read More

The Trouble with Eighth Street

East
Monday, August 1, 2011
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Eight Street businesses have seen better days.

Bohemian Eight Street has seen better days. (AN/Stoelker)

In his poem “One Winter Afternoon,” e.e. cummings describes Eighth Street in Greenwich Village at the “magical hour when is becomes if.” Well, it seems as though Eighth Street has reached that hour once again. The street, which once played a distinct role in Village bohemia, began as a hub for book dealers and fostered the original Whitney Museum. Eventually, the street became a district for shoe stores and edgy fashion anchored by Patricia Field. Field decamped for the Bowery about nine years ago and much of the street has since devolved into a hodgepodge of chain stores and characterless low-end retail.

Read More

School + Pool: Parsons Makes Waves with Splash House

East
Friday, July 29, 2011
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Design Workshop's Splash House at Highbridge Pool and Recreation Center.

Practice makes perfect, and for some Parsons students, the Splash House at Highbridge Pool and Recreation Center is a jumping off point for becoming better architects.

Parsons’ Design Workshop, a design-build studio set up 15 years ago to offer practical training to students, has partnered with New York Parks and Recreation Department to instigate a five-year initiative to identify and implement improvements in public spaces across the city. “The architecture students get a more holistic understanding of process,” said Kate McCormick, Press Officer at Parsons. “They actually learn how to make and engage the community, by finding out what it needs.” Although it usually collaborates with public organizations both inside and outside Manhattan, this is the Workshop’s first long-term municipal partnership within New York City. The first assignment: Highbridge Pool and Recreation Center in Upper Manhattan. Read More

American Museums Shortlisted for the RIBA Lubetkin Prize

East
Friday, July 29, 2011
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Boston Museum of Fine Arts by Foster + Partners (Courtesy Nigel Young)

Boston Museum of Fine Arts by Foster + Partners (Courtesy Nigel Young)

Last week, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) announced that two U.S. projects have been shortlisted for the RIBA Lubetikin Prize. The distinction honors building projects outside the European Union that set a standard for international excellence. The American projects chosen as finalists are The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston by Foster + Partners and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia by Rick Mather Architects.

“This year’s shortlist is unusual in that they are all big budget projects—each with a contract value over $100 million,” RIBA president Ruth Reed said in a statement. “The list mixes some of world architecture’s most famous names, with a younger practice so it will be interesting to see who the judges choose as a winner.” The prize will be announced on October 1 followed by a feature on the winners on BBC 2’s The Culture Show.

Other finalist projects from around the world: Zaha Hadid’s Guangzhou Opera House (Guangzhou, China), Foster’s Masdar Institute (Masdar City, Abu Dhabi) and the Met by WOHA (Bangkok, Thailand).

Take a look at the shortlist after the jump.

UrbanSHED Design Competition Prototype

Fabrikator
Friday, July 29, 2011
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Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
Fabrikator Brought to you by:

The Urban Umbrella is an alternative to traditional construction sheds (DOB)

A prototype of the city’s alternative to unsightly construction sheds is unveiled.

Two years after the NYC Department of Buildings and AIA New York launched the UrbanSHED competition to find a new sidewalk shed design that would beautify city streets, a prototype of the winning proposal has been unveiled. Called Urban Umbrella, the shed structure was developed by competition winner Young-Hwan Choi with architect Andrés Cortés and engineer Sarrah Khan of New York-based Agencie Group. Brooklyn-based architecture and fabrication firm Caliper Studio was hired late last year to detail and build the much-anticipated design, which the DOB and architecture, construction, and real estate backers hope will eventually replace unsightly sidewalk scaffolding at many of the city’s construction sites.

Read More

Center for Architecture Grows in the Village

East
Thursday, July 28, 2011
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New York's Center for Architecture just signed a lease to expand next door. (AN/Stoelker)

With all the NYU real estate hubbub going on around LaGuardia Place in Greenwich Village, it’s refreshing to hear of a quiet transaction between two locals. This week, the AIANY signed the lease for 532 LaGuardia, an empty retail space owned by local lumber magnate Guy Apicella just one door south of the AIANY’s current home, the Center for Architecture at 536 LaGuardia.

Read More

Piano Forte: Inaugural Renzo Piano Award Honors Young Italian Architects

International
Thursday, July 28, 2011
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Renzo Piano with Paolo Iotti and Marco Pavarani. (Courtesy Iotti+Pavarani)

Renzo Piano with Paolo Iotti and Marco Pavarani. (Courtesy Iotti+Pavarani)

Frank Gehry is looking to sell his archive, Richard Meier opens his Queens storage room for models to visitors by appointment, and now Renzo Piano is giving back, too. On June 10, his eponymous foundation launched a new awards competition to encourage young Italian architects, a rare breed these days.

To that end, the competition was open to designers under 40 with an office in Italy presenting a constructed work. The jury, composed mostly of architectural magazine editors, whittled 69 entries down to three winners who demonstrated “innovative and poetic space research.” The purse for the prize was 10,000 euros each.

The top honor, handed out in June, went to Iotti+Pavarani architects based in northern Italy. Piano was particularly impressed with their recently completed Domus Technica building, a training and innovation center for a manufacturing company in Brescello, Italy. Honorable mentions were bestowed upon ARCó and carlorattiassociati.

View work by the winning firms after the jump.

Honors> Ehrlich Receives California’s Lifetime Achievement Award

West
Thursday, July 28, 2011
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The American Institute of Architects California Council (AIACC) has named Steven Ehrlich the 2011 Maybeck Award recipient for lifetime achievement in architecture. The award recognizes an architect’s body of work for outstanding design achievement extending over a career of 10 years or more. Named in honor of Bernard Maybeck, only 14 awards have been given since its inception in 1992.  Ehrlich joins Thom Mayne, Frank Gehry and Joseph Esherick, among others.  Read More

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