A New Cultural Light in Detroit

Midwest
Thursday, June 9, 2011
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Tim White-Sobieski's Deconstructed Reality (2007) at the new Kunsthalle Detroit.

Among the triumvirate of Save Detroit schemes (urban farming, attracting artists, and right-sizing the city), cultural projects in some ways seem most challenging given the city’s dire circumstances. Located in a formerly abandoned bank building, the new Kunsthalle Detroit will showcase multimedia and light-based artworks, a smart strategy given the comparatively low cost and ease of presenting such work. The museum opens tomorrow with an exhibition titled, “Time and Place,” featuring works by Bill Viola, Tim White-Sobieski and ten other artists. “This museum brings the best in contemporary multimedia art as catered to the local population,” said founder Tate Osten, in a statement. “It is ultimately a revolutionary action, bringing international art forces to Detroit. In the near future we envision multimedia and light projects splashing from within the museum onto the streets of Detroit, making life and art inseparable.” Kunsthalle Detroit is located at 5001 Grand River Avenue, and will be open Tuesday through Saturday, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. 

Quick Clicks> AOL’s New Offices, Philly Makeover, NYC vs. LA, & Brownwashing Republicans

Daily Clicks
Thursday, June 9, 2011
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Aol's new offices in Palo Alto. (Mario Anima/Flickr)

AOL’s New Offices Are Snazzy: Fast Company has a slideshow of interior shots of AOL’s new offices in Palo Alto. The space was designed to be bright and collaborative. “This being a tech company, naturally, it’s got a game room, too,” writes Suzanne LaBarre. The interiors are the work of Studio O+A, which has designed offices for other Internet companies like Yelp, Facebook and PayPal.

Philly Set For a Makeover: Sometimes it seems like Philly is the East Coast city people love to hate on for its small size, poor public transit and high crime rates. That may change soon with a new comprehensive plan for the city that could include: “more open space, bike lanes and preservation efforts, as well as specific goals including an extension of the Broad Street subway to the Navy Yard, an east Market Street that can really be Philly’s ‘Main Street’, a waterfront lined with parks.”

NYC’s Lesson for LA: New York Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan blogs on how Los Angeles can learn from New York City’s Plaza program. It’s the quintessential showdown of cities: New York, a dense metropolis where most native-born teens don’t even have their driver’s licenses, and LA, a sprawling auto-centric city. There’s even a book called “New York and Los Angeles” that says so. Sadik-Khan’s piece is part of Streetsblog’s new series on how the best transportation practices in other cities can be adapted for LA.

Brownwashing Republicans: Grist has a list of 10 Republican politicians who are backtracking on pro-environment statements they’ve made in the past. The #1 offender is presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, who called for climate action in a 2008 ad for Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection. Earlier this year, he said, “”I would not adopt massively expensive plans over a theory.”

NeoCon Preview> New Meteor Colors by Carnegie

National
Thursday, June 9, 2011
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(Courtesy Carnegie)

(Courtesy Carnegie)

New Meteor Colors
Carnegie

To celebrate its 30-year anniversary, Carnegie is rolling out 71 new colors to diversify its classic Meteor fabric panels, which are also suitable for upholstery and wall coverings. Panels are woven of inherently flame retardant yarns and are Cradle-to-Cradle Silver certified. The new color options are grouped into four categories: primary brights (pictured), dusty hues, deep darks, and new neutrals.

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NeoCon Preview> Clodagh′s Natural State by Bentley Prince Street

National
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
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(Courtesy Bentley Prince Street)

(Courtesy Bentley Prince Street)

Clodagh’s Natural State
Bentley Prince Street

In collaboration with design partner Clodagh, Bentley Prince Street will introduce a new version of its 80 percent wool flat weave carpet. Called Natural State, the basket-weave pattern incorporates Protekt soil and stain protection and is available in ten colors. All of the company’s standard broadloom products are certified to the NSF 140-2008 Sustainable Carpet Assessment Standard at the Platinum level.

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Video> Steve Jobs Reveals Apple Campus

Newsletter, West
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
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New Apple HQ (Cupertino City Television Screen Capture)

New Apple HQ (Cupertino City Television Screen Capture)

Behold! The unveiling of Apple’s next product… the iBuilding. Okay, so it’s not a product, but it is their highly-anticipated new campus in Cupertino, California. Steve Jobs, wearing his trademark mock turtleneck and jeans, revealed the plans—with fancy, although somewhat grainy renderings—at yesterday’s Cupertino City Council meeting (watch the video after the jump).

According to several reports, the architect of the new complex, whose land Apple bought from Hewlett Packard, will be Norman Foster, but that hasn’t been formally announced.

A few highlights of the new design: Apple’s new HQ is shaped like a doughnut, a spaceship, or an iPod trackwheel. It’s clad in curved glass with a giant courtyard in the middle. While Apple plans to increase it’s employees from 9,500 to 13,000, it will reduce its surface parking by 90% (from 9,800 to 1,200) and most of the parking will be underground. The vast majority of campus is set aside for landscaping (with an estimated 6,000 trees).

According to Jobs, the building will generate its own clean energy using the grid as backup. Given how the council treated Jobs like a visiting god, it looks like the company should get the project passed. If it moves forward, the new campus is expected to be complete by 2015.

Watch Steve Jobs unveil the new HQ and see more renderings after the jump!

NeoCon Preview> Crypton by Kravet

National
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
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(Courtesy Kravet)

(Courtesy Kravet)

Crypton
Kravet

Kravet has added its eco-friendly high-performance Crypton line to its new Guaranteed in Stock program. More than 145 fabrics will be shipped within 24 hours of an order, ensuring project timelines stay on track. Made with 50 to 100 percent recycled fiber content, all fabrics pass a 50,000 double-rub durability rating and are engineered to resist stain, moisture, mildew, bacteria, and odor.

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Quick Clicks> Lahood Rides, High Line Booms, Detroit Blooms, Weiner Wilts

Daily Clicks
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
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Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood biked to work yesterday morning (courtesy Department of Transportation).

Lahood Bikes to Work: The Transportation Secretary biked to work with other DOT commuters yesterday morning, as seen in this video. He wrote, “The route was safe and well-marked; we enjoyed some exercise; and we didn’t burn a drop of gas–which saved us some money.” Since taking office in 2009, the former Republican congressman has prioritized light rail development and overseen $600 million in TIGER II grants to projects that promote livability. John Norquist, president of the Congress for New Urbanism, tells us Lahood is the best Transportation Secretary this country has seen since Secretary Coleman under President Ford.

The High Line: “Economic Dynamo.” The New York Times reports “preserving the High Line as a public park revitalized a swath of the city and generated $2 billion in private investment surrounding the park.” The development of the High Line (the second section of which opens tomorrow) has spurred the construction of hundreds of deluxe apartments, art galleries, restaurants and boutiques nearby and the addition of 12,000 jobs, which more than make up for the $115 million the city spent on the park.

Can Detroit Come Back? With a dwindling population, low literacy rates and vacant housing, Detroit is one of America’s biggest underdogs. But the city’s woes also make it the perfect laboratory for experiments like Hantz Farms plan to create the world’s largest urban farm. OnEarth takes a look at the different ideas percolating in Detroit.

Anthony Weiner on Bike Lanes: Anthony Weiner’s getting some serious flack, but let’s not forget: he also hates bike lanes, says Transportation Nation. At a Gracie Mansion dinner for New York’s Congressional Delegation last June, Weiner told Mayor Bloomberg: “When I become mayor, you know what I’m going to spend my first year doing? I’m going to have a bunch of ribbon-cuttings tearing out your [expletive] bike lanes.”

LEED Leaves Land: Floating Building Seeks Certification

Daily Clicks
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
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Cottonwood Cove Marina (courtesy Carlton Studio Architecture)

Cottonwood Cove Marina (courtesy Carlton Studio Architecture)

At Lake Mohave, Nevada, the Cottonwood Cove Marina & Resort takes one step further toward ecological sustainability as the first-ever floating building to seek LEED certification. Designed by Carlson Studio Architecture, the structure’s custom fabricated dock will support a houseboat rental business and an engine repair shop. The marina will house the Lake Mead National Recreation Area resort’s office of operations and provide dry storage for its clientele’s boats.

The Florida-based architecture firm hopes that the marina will receive Gold level LEED certification. Committed to ecological sustainability and innovation, Carlson Studio Architecture implemented an energy-efficient design. The structure’s SIPS walls and roof protects the interior from direct sunlight and are lined with Photovoltaic panels. The building’s insulated shell and general orientation optimize its energy consumption and costs. Its stucco exterior is composed of reused tires; the decking of rice hulls and recycled plastic. The marina celebrated its LEED registration status at a public event on Monday, June 6th.

No More Nicolai: Critic Leaving NY Times

Nicolai Ourossoff appeared on Charlie Rose (Screen Capture)

Nicolai Ouroussoff appeared on Charlie Rose (Screen Capture)

According to an in-house memo, New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff is “moving on” at the end of this month.

The sweet but short memo about the critic—who this year submitted his own Pulitzer nomination package—was sent around this morning from culture editor Jonathan Landman. Ouroussoff’s plan, the memo said, is:

to write a book about the architectural and cultural history of the last 100 years, “from Adolf Loos’s Vienna and the utopian social experiments of post-revolutionary Russia to postwar Los Angeles and the closing years of the 20th century,” as Nicolai describes it.

Continue reading after the jump.

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Quick Clicks> Lifted Forts, A New Leaf, Walking the Line, and LA Light Rail

Daily Clicks
Monday, June 6, 2011
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MAUNSELL FORTS (COURTESY WWW.HOWTOBEARETRONAUT.COM)

Maunsell Forts (Courtesy How to be a Retronaut)

Guy Maunsell’s Sea Forts. Standing above the sea, these Maunsell fortifications were originally built as British defenses during World War II. They remain lifted as a symbol of protection. As industrial creatures, the towers take expressive portraits.

Oh, Pentagram. New York City paired with Paula Scher of Pentagram to create a new symbol for the iconic NYC Parks Department leaf. Although excellent in traditional green, the paired down logo can also be used as an elegant silhouette for programming and public events. Or perhaps wrapping paper.

Parasol Unit in red, in public. New York-based performance artist Kate Gilmore and the Parasol unit foundation collaborated to start a new program entitled parasol public. Gilmore’s red structure is the centerpiece of  Walk the Line, a small two story space designed upstairs for pacing and downstairs as a passageway within Exchange Square, London.

Downtown to Santa Monica. The new Los Angeles county Expo Line light rail system expects to bring a bit of green speed to transportation across the city. With a plan to partially open in the fall and to unveil completely in 2015, the rail line is already underway. Just about everybody is looking forward to the new light rail, especially those who will benefit directly as part of their commute to work.

Quick Clicks> Solar Butterflies, Parks Over Parking, Killer Commutes, and Nearly NeoCon

Daily Clicks
Friday, June 3, 2011
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Chandelier of butterflies made from solar material (Courtesy Engadget)

Chandelier of butterflies made from solar material (Courtesy Engadget)

Solar Butterflies. Engadget spotted Dutch designer Jeroen Verhoeven’s chandelier made of 500 butterflies cut from photovoltaic cells. Called the “Virtue of Blue,” the light glows softly at night. (Via Psfk.)

Capitol Green. New York isn’t the only city replacing asphalt with greener, more pedestrian friendly streetscapes. According to DC Mud, a block of C Street in Washington, D.C. between two federal office buildings is set for a makeover. Plans call for creating a park on what’s currently a large parking lot.

Killer Commutes. Slate writer Annie Lowrey tells us what we already know: commuting isn’t fun. She goes on to explain the consequences of many-an-American’s daily burden: “Long commutes cause obesity, neck pain, loneliness, divorce, stress, and insomnia.”

Nearly NeoCon. Haworth Partners announced that they have partnered with Crate & Barrel. The table and two chairs will be available beginning in July and August. More at otto.

A Visit To Watts Towers

West
Friday, June 3, 2011
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(All photos by Sam Lubell/AN)

(All photos by Sam Lubell/AN)

Yesterday we visited one of our favorite sites in Los Angeles: Watts Towers. The amazing complex, which includes four towers, a gazebo, fountains, and a slew of other jumbled elements, was designed by Simon, or Sam Rodia, a tile factory worker who labored on the project basically without stopping for over thirty years (from 1921-1954).

The structures rise as high as 100 feet and are clad with broken bottles, tiles (over 15,000 of them), sea shells, and pretty much anything else Rodia could get his hands on. Their frame is made from chicken wire, barbed wire, coat hangers, and other makeshift materials.

The feat is all the more amazing considering that Rodia didn’t study any sort of building trade and was illiterate. He usually worked until 1 or 2 in the morning then went back to work in a factory the next day.

Check out a photo gallery after the jump.

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