Getting Ready For The Big One

West
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
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Earthquake damage in Haiti.

It sounds like a summer blockbuster, but it’s actually one of the most important symposia this year. Imminent Danger: Earthquake Disaster and Risk Reduction In U.S. Cities. It’s being held on December 1 at UCLA, and features engineers, physicists, geologists, architects, and public officials getting together to discuss how to best prepare for the inevitable ground shaking disasters that will hit our cities in the near future. Thanks (unfortunately) to recent quakes in Haiti, Chile, and China, the group has a lot of new input to discuss. “Every time there’s a large seismic event we learn more,” said Gensler principal Rob Jernigan, who is one of the event participants. He adds that the conference is also a way for  architects, engineers and other experts to come up with innovative earthquake-proof buildings that don’t look like large bunkers: “We have to design for lateral movements without making giant, clumsy joints. We can develop a level of refinement,” he said.

Models of Ruin Show Eerie States Of Abandonment

Other
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
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After Effects model (Courtesy Daniele Del Nero)

After Effects model (Courtesy Daniele Del Nero)

The cult of decay is an enthralling topic.  This inevitability of time serves as the inspiration of Italian artist Daniele Del Nero‘s new project “After Effects” consisting of a series of model houses in advanced states of decay.  Del Nero covered the models in flour and mold which then grew to nearly consume the models.  These eerie miniatures appear strangely similar to plant-strewn ruins of many ailing rustbelt cities that have captivated public imagination as cities continue to wrestle with abandonment and revitalization. [ Via designboom. ]

Take a look at a few of the models after the jump.

Note to Planners: Think Twice Before Banishing My Porsche

National
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
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Rick Harrison's extremely rapid personal transport. (Courtesy newgeography)

Last week we brought you the news that your commute might not be as bad as you thought it was. Which is good, considering how much Americans love their cars. Now, the good folks at newgeography explore what might happen if we tax suburbanites for owning and driving vehicles. In this witty piece, author and neighborhood designer Rick Harrison explores the outcome if a majority of Americans are forced to quit their “addiction” to cars. Read More

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LACMA Puts Kibosh On New Building

West
Monday, November 22, 2010
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May Company Building

We’ve just learned via the LA Times that construction-happy LACMA has suspended all future projects until they’ve raised another $100 million. The news comes on the heels of a mixed finance review from Moody’s Investors Service, which downgraded its ratings outlook from “stable” to “negative.” The museum has so far raised about $320 million for its construction program, and its construction bonds kept their A2 rating. The suspension means an official halt to SPF:A Architects’ LACMA West Project, which includes the renovation of the 1939 May Company building on Wilshire and Fairfax into new gallery spaces. That project was originally scheduled for completion this year. It also puts a longer hold on renovation projects on LACMA’s east end, which were to be the third phase of LACMA’s campus transformation.

The Latest From Gwynne Pugh

West
Monday, November 22, 2010
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The logo for Pugh's new firm

We recently ran into Gwynne Pugh, former principal at Pugh + Scarpa (now Brooks + Scarpa), who earlier this fall left his longtime job (22 years to be exact) to start his own firm, Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio. It seems that he’s already quite busy working as an urban design consultant. Pugh, who sees himself as an intermediary between cities and developers, is consulting with agencies in the cities of San Diego, Carson, and Long Beach. He’s also teaming up with Bridge Housing on an affordable housing project in Santa Monica and working with Coca Cola to review its sustainability scheme for its bottling plant in Downey. Pugh is also president of the planners’ division of the  League of California Cities. “It’s been a great opportunity for me to focus on some of these issues I care about,” said Pugh, who right now is working with three employees, and plans to move to a new office in Playa Vista in the beginning of next year.

Hudson Square Pushes to Reclaim Pedestrian Space

East, East Coast
Monday, November 22, 2010
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Street scene in  Hudson Square (Courtesy Hudson Square Connection)

Street scene in Hudson Square (Courtesy Hudson Square Connection)

A major transformation of the once-industrial Hudson Square neighborhood in Lower Manhattan aims to bring pedestrian vitality to streets originally designed for delivery trucks servicing printing houses.  Crain’s reports that Hudson Square Connections, the local business improvement district, has selected a design group led by Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects from a pool of 23 respondents to create a new streetscape to improve the area’s image.

More on the plan to balance the area’s changing demographics.

Celebrating Sustainability at Chicago's Art Institute

Midwest
Monday, November 22, 2010
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Party-goers holding court at Chicago's Art Institute (photos: Andrew Hensley)

On November 17, The Architect’s Newspaper and Buro Happold, along with our other event partners Dow Building Solutions, Graphisoft, American Hydrotech, and Adaptive Building Initiative, celebrated GreenBuild at the Art Institute of Chicago’s Modern Wing. Renzo Piano’s LEED certified building proved to be a stylish venue for the hundreds of architects, engineers, designers, and other assorted revelers. Click through for pictures of some of the evening’s hundreds of party-goers. It was quite the green scene! Read More

Stay Up To Date with AN on Facebook and Twitter

Other
Monday, November 22, 2010
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A Shiny New Neighbor for the Farnsworth House

Midwest
Friday, November 19, 2010
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Virginia Tech's Lumenhaus is completely self-powered and the exterior is lit with subtle building-integrated LEDs at night. (All photos of the Lumenhaus: Jim Stroup)

Virginia Tech’s Solar Decathlon-winning Lumenhaus is currently cooling its heals in the opulent surroundings of Millennium Park. The house, which has been touring the globe, was brought to town to coincide with GreenBuild, and is remaining on view through Saturday. The compact house is efficiently designed both in terms of space and energy use, and is completely self-sustaining. Though its stay in Millennium Park will be brief, it’s not going far. The house will be stored on the grounds of the Farnsworth House for the winter and will be open to the public when it reopens for the spring season in April 2011. Whitney French, executive director of the Farnsworth House, sees a deep connection between the two structures.  Read More

The Straw That Broke the Silver Towers' Back

East, East Coast
Friday, November 19, 2010
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Fourth tower at NYU cancelled (Rendering courtesy Grimshaw and MVVA)

The proposed fourth tower at NYU is being reconsidered. (Rendering courtesy Grimshaw and MVVA)

I.M. Pei speaks and NYU listens. The university announced this week that plans for a Grimshaw-designed residential highrise planned for Pei’s landmarked Silver Towers block will be scrapped after the architect expressed disapproval over the project. The proposed 400-foot tower set amid three original concrete structures had been a point of conflict between NYU and its neighbors.

Read more after the jump.

Artist Creates Amazing Breathing Wall From Trash Bags

Other
Friday, November 19, 2010
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One Hundred and Eight installation (Courtesy Nils Völker)

One Hundred and Eight installation (Courtesy Nils Völker)


Artist Nils Völker has created a breathing wall comprised of trash bags and cooling fans. One Hundred and Eight selectively inflates a grid of, you guessed it, 108 bags to create a strikingly simple yet poetic result.  The softness of the trash bags rising and falling is really something to see. The installation can also interact with the viewer, sensing a person’s presence before the wall.  From the artist:

Although each plastic bag is mounted stationary the sequences of inflation and deflation create the impression of lively and moving creatures which waft slowly around like a shoal. But as soon a viewer comes close it instantly reacts by drawing back and tentatively following the movements of the observer. As long as he remains in a certain area in front of the installation it dynamically reacts to the viewers motion. As soon it does no longer detect someone close it reorganizes itself after a while and gently restarts wobbling around.

Can you imagine this idea translated to the scale of architecture? Cloud-like hallways – or even full facades – might actively follow passers by with a gently inflating and deflating rhythm. [ Via Today and Tomorrow. ]

Watch the video after the jump.

Fortress Ground Zero? Security Tactics Debated for WTC Towers

East
Friday, November 19, 2010
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The Memorial and 1 World Trade Center rise. (Photo: LMCCC)

On Wednesday, architects and developers gathered to hear colleagues hold forth on the topic of “Innovation by Necessity” at New York’s Center for Architecture, a panel that seemed to promise a semi-sleepy discussion of building information modeling (BIM) at the World Trade Center site. But after several speakers outlined the logistics of the vast construction project, the panel veered into another topic entirely: an eye-opening primer on security strategies at Ground Zero.

Read More

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