More Schools Means More Talent

Dean's List, West
Thursday, May 19, 2011
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Checking out the 2x8 entries at the A+D museum.

I had the pleasure this year of being on the jury for the annual 2×8 Competition, organized by the AIA/LA, which (thanks to more than ten sponsors) handed out more than $8,000 in scholarships to outstanding student entries from throughout California. Normally I only get to see work from household names like SCI-ARC, USC, UCLA, etc. But the competition introduced me to projects from equally talent-rich schools like Los Angeles Institute of Architecture and Design, Pasadena City College, Woodbury, Otis, Cal State Long Beach, Cal Poly Pomona and several more. Read More

ICFF Walkabout: Spirits Flying High by Ingo Maurer

East
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
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"Spirits Fly High" by Ingo Maurer (Photo by Tom Stoelker)

The star of the show at Ingo Maurer was "Spirits Flying High". They must have been blithe spirits, because this special commission piece was not for sale. (Photo by Tom Stoelker)

The scene at Ingo Maurer was a tad more subdued than the rest of Green Street last Monday night. Could it be because Maurer’s work has a such tactile quality that the space feels more like an art gallery? Showroom hoppers didn’t make an immediate bee line to the bar. How could you when the first thing you see  on entering is the arresting vision of “Spirits Flying High”.  The undulating sheet of light looks a flying carpet about to blow out the door. On closer inspection the 87 inch by 50 inch hanging light fixture is composed of more than 100 LED strips wrapped in a warm milky colored silicon. Don’t ask, the special commission piece is not for sale.

More photos after the jump.

Billings> Index Tumbles to Lowest Point in 6 Months

National, Newsletter
Wednesday, May 18, 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)

In what can only be described as an about face, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) took a bit of a tumble into negative territory last month. The April ABI fell to 47.6 from 50.6, beating even October’s low of 48.7. At the end of 2010, words like “rebound” were cautiously bandied about, but for the past three months the ABI skated along the edge of positive territory hovering around 50.

Continue reading after the jump.

ICFF Walkabout: Wearable Maps

East
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
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Talia Wiener's wearable maps. (Courtesy TaliaSari)

One item that caught our eye at ICFF wasn’t furniture at all.

Every city has certain geographic quirks that people come to identify with a place–Manhattan’s rigid grid, the radial boulevards of Paris–even when viewing a two-dimensional version of it. You Are Here, a collection from Israeli jewelry designer Talia Wiener, was inspired by just such a concept.

Each pendant or brooch incorporates part of the urban fabric of  Rome, Paris, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, New York City, San Francisco, Barcelona, or London. According to Wiener, her designs play with the notion that there is a certain location-oriented secret shared by a city’s residents while also proclaiming their membership in “a broader, ever-growing urban tribe.”

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Best Architecture Block Ever?

West
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
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du Architects' Our House

Is there a better place to see contemporary homes than Venice? This weekend’s Venice Art Walk and Auctions is offering a tour of one of this architecture hub’s most impressive blocks: Appleton Way, where several ambitious residences have sprouted up in the last five years. The tour includes gems like the Walnut Residence by Modal Design;  Our House, by du Architects; the Yin-Yang House by Brooks + Scarpa; Ortiz Mexia’s Ortiz & Wheeler Residence; Sylvia Aroth & Jeff Cook’s Sylvia’s Duplex; and Thomas Carson’s Carson/Bettauer Residence. Read More

ICFF Walkabout> Zaha Hadid′s Genesy Lamp

East
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
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Zaha Hadid's Genesy lamp (Photo by Tom Stoelker)

Zaha Hadid's Genesy lamp (Photo by Tom Stoelker)

Genesy held court in its own VIP area at Artemide’s Monday evening cocktail party. Posed behind red velvet ropes, the floor lamp’s sensuous lines appeared anthropomorphic, with a waist as svelte as that of any Hollywood starlet. Designed by Zaha Hadid, the injection molded polyurethane lamp–featuring direct LED light and indirect (halogen or fluorescent) light–is newly available in the US in polished black or polished white.

Zaha Hadid's Genesy lamp (Photo by Tom Stoelker)

Zaha Hadid's Genesy lamp (Photo by Tom Stoelker)

 

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Quick Clicks> Top Transit Towns, HUD in Hot Water, Graceland Safe, & An Interior Award

Daily Clicks
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
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The city with the best public transportation according to the Brookings Institute? Honolulu

Transit Surprise. The Atlantic has the 10 best and worst cities for public transportation based on a report on transit and access to jobs from the Brookings Institution. The think tank ranked cities by the area served and the share of city jobs accessible by public transit. The results might surprise you: none of the cities with the best public transit are on the East Coast.

HUD in Hot Water. The Washington Post alleged that “HUD has lost hundreds of millions on delayed or defunct construction deals nationwide” in its new investigative series “Million-Dollar Wasteland.” The paper explores, among deals in other cities, a failed project in D.C. where speculators profited at the cost of millions for the city government.

Graceland Saved. The flooding along the Mississippi River has spared Memphis’ key historic landmarks. According to NPR, Graceland, Sun Studio (where Elvis Presley recorded), and Stax Records (which launched Otis Redding’s career) were unharmed. But some of Louisiana’s most valuable farmland is expected to be inundated by rising waters.

Interior Award. Bar Agricole in San Francisco won the 2011 James Beard Award for Best Restaurant Interior, reported Fast Company. The restaurant, which serves French-inspired food sourced from local farms, features billowing glass sculptures, walls lined with strips of oak from whiskey barrels, recycled oak seating, and concrete banquettes. Restauranteur Thad Vogler collaborated with Aidlin Darling Design, which received co-ownership for its work.

Video> Thomas Heatherwick′s Seed Cathedral

Seed Cathedral by Thomas Heatherwick (Photo by Eugene Regis/Flickr)

Seed Cathedral by Thomas Heatherwick (Photo by Eugene Regis/Flickr)

British architect Thomas Heatherwick was recently featured on a Ted Talk where he presented five projects including his Seed Cathedral from Shanghai’s Expo 2010. The pavilion incorporated thousands of seed-encapsulating plastic rods that transmit light into and out of the building. Taken as a whole, the strands resemble one giant occupiable seed puff. Check out Heatherwick’s talk about the Seed Cathedral and his firm’s design philosophy after the jump.

Watch the video after the jump.

Guggenheim′s Newest Exhibit to Offer Therapy

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
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Pedro Reyes's rendering of the Sanatorium

The stereotypes of New Yorkers are that they’re rude, they only wear black, and they all have therapists. Sanitorium, the first installation of Guggenheim’s new program, stillspotting nyc, explores the smorgasborg of therapies that help the city’s neurotic residents keep their lives together.

Continue reading after the jump.

ICFF Studio: Bernhardt Mentors The Design Stars of Tomorrow

East
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
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Clamp Chairs by Andreas Kowalewski (all images courtesy ICFF Studio)

ICFF wraps up today and, as usual, reviews of the fair seem mixed. Professional but boring! Too safe! Appropriately sober! Practical and market-friendly! Reheated Eames! Now in its sixth year, the ICFF Studio, sponsored by Bernhardt, offers a snap shot of where young designers are looking. Most skewed toward the market-ready, while one designer went in a conceptual direction. The young Dutch designer Andreas Kowalewski’s Clamp Chairs certainly look showroom bound (above).

Continue reading after the jump.

Tucson Brutalist Bank at Risk

West
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
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The cafeteria of the former Valley National Bank is scheduled for demolition. Courtesy MAPP.

After the 9/11 attacks, municipalities all over the country took note of the breakdown of communications between rescue workers during a moment of crisis. Many set aside funds to build emergency communication centers, like the ill-fated one located at Seven World Trade. In 2003, county voters in Tucson set aside $92 million to build a command center where police, fire, and emergency personnel could coordinate emergency responses. The county Board of Supervisors selected the former Valley National Bank building on East 22nd Street as the site for the new command center. But now preservationists are concerned that sections of the Brutalist building, designed by local architects Cain, Nelson, Wares & Cook Architects, will be destroyed.

Read More

Quick Clicks> Babel Books, High Line, Tower Trouble, Twin Lions

Daily Clicks
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
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Artist Marta Minujin's "Tower of Babel" made from books in Argentina. (Courtesy Buenos Aires World Book Capital)

Artist Marta Minujin's "Tower of Babel" made from books in Argentina. (Courtesy Buenos Aires World Book Capital)

Tower of Babel. Argentinian artist Marta Minujin has created an 82-foot tall “Tower of Babel” in Buenos Aires after the city was named UNESCO’s World Book Capital for 2011. Readers, libraries, and 50 embassies donated over 30,000 books in a variety of languages to fill the twisting structure. The Guardian has a slideshow and we posted a video of the tower after the jump.

High Line Caution. Witold Rybczynski penned an op-ed for the NY Times cautioning the many would-be High Line copy cats that the success of the New York wonder-park (and a Parisian predecessor) aren’t because of the parks themselves, but because of their unique situations in dense, thriving cities.

Tower Trouble. The Wall Street Journal writes that skyscraper construction has dropped off drastically from decades past to the tune of 14 million fewer square feet per decade than the period between 1950 and 1990. Can New York maintain its global competitiveness without ramping up construction?

Twin Lions. Two stone lions, Leo Astor and Leo Lenox, have been standing sentinel at the New York Public Library’s main entrance on Fifth Avenue since 1911. Ephemeral New York posted a little more history on the backstory of the big cats.

Watch the Tower of Babel video after the jump.

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