Hypothetical Buildings Coming to New Orleans

National
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
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Every building tells a story of its past. But sometimes, with a little prompting, a building can also tell the story of its future. At least that’s what the Hypothetical Development Organization hopes. The group, created in 2010 by author and New York Times Magazine columnist Rob Walker, examines what the future might hold for some of the hidden, and underused, architectural gems in New Orleans by creating renderings of what the buildings could be, you know, hypothetically. Read More

Sad Pictures of Lautner Loss in LA

West
Monday, September 27, 2010
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©Mark Haddawy

It’s been three weeks since John Lautner’s sleek and gently curving Shusett House (1950), which Frank Escher calls one of the two major houses of Lautner’s early career, was torn down. Sadly the owner, Enrique Mannheim, refused the overtures of the John Lautner Foundation, while the Beverly Hills City Council refused to issue a stay of execution. Our friends at Architizer were able to obtain pictures of the demolition, taken by photographer Mark Haddawy. Contrasted with images of the house still standing the shots—of the house in shambles, with wood members scattered on the ground and windows and walls gone— are a painful reminder that LA’s preservation movement still lacks the muscle it should, while citizens and municipalities stand idly by. Read More

LA Has An Archi-Sukkah Too!

West
Sunday, September 26, 2010
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Much has been made of New York’s architectural Sukkahs, unveiled in Union Square a couple of weeks ago as part of Joshua Foer’s Sukkah City competition. But LA is celebrating the Jewish harvest holiday in style as well. Earlier today the Skirball Cultural Center hosted a Sukkot Family Celebration exhibiting a structure created by Culver City-based wHY Architecture, with consulting from Skirball staff. Read More

Celebrating Bruce Graham

Midwest
Thursday, September 23, 2010
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(courtesy SOM)

Recently deceased and much respected Chicago architect Bruce J Graham, the man behind the Sears (now Willis) Tower and Hancock Center, will be honored with a special tribute Thursday, October 14 at the Art Institute of Chicago. The event, hosted by the Graham family and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, will begin at 5:30 pm in the Rubloff Auditorium.  Graham also brought the Inland Steel Building to Chicago, the Business Men’s Assurance Company Headquarters to Kansas City, Missouri, and the recently demolished Upjohn Headquarters to Kalamazoo, Michigan, among many other significant projects.

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LACMA as Musical Instrument

West
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
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Buildings, of course, have acoustic properties. But what about acoustic potential? Musician and recent high school graduate Ben Meyers has carved himself a niche by using buildings and their various surfaces and surroundings as musical elements. His most recent performance: a song performed with his mallets and drumsticks on Renzo Piano’s new Resnick Pavilion at LACMA, which opens to the public early next month. A video of the piece, called Playing LACMA, was commissioned by the museum. Read More

Vermont Town Seeks to Reconnect To Waterfront

East
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
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(courtesy Battleboro Museum and Art Center)

Residents of Brattleboro, Vermont want a say in what happens to a strip of waterfront and they’re voting with… stickers.  Visitors to Renewing the Riverfront at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center can post a small round sticker next to their favorite proposals, which line the walls of the gallery. Just in case they don’t find one they like, there are plenty of blank note cards on hand where a resident can throw his or her own idea into the mix. Read More

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Gehry Supports Israeli Settlement Boycott

International
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
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(Photo: Courtesy Inhabitat)

According to the group Jewish Voice for Peace, Frank Gehry has signed a letter supporting an Israeli settlement boycott. Gehry is among an international group of artists and performers who have signed a letter supporting a group of Israeli actors and playwrights who have refused to play at the new theatre in Ariel, a large Jewish settlement in the occupied territories. Gehry, who previously withdrew from the commission to design the Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem, joins pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim, composer Stephen Sondheim, actors Julianne Moore and Cynthia Nixon, film director Mira Nair, playwright Tony Kushner and many others. Gehry’s office confirmed his support of the boycott.

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McMansion Town USA

West
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
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This story is part of A/N’s new blog series dedicated to exploring neighborhoods around the country

El Monte, CA, about 20 minutes east of Los Angeles, is a gated community. Wonky chain-linked fences and rusty metal gates keep the residents in and the criminals out. Some say El Monte is an up-and-coming city. After all, the proof is in the posh homes popping up throughout the city. “El Monte … encourages quality housing developments through well thought-out architectural designs, use of high quality materials, and enhanced landscaping,” says the city’s official website. However, a walk through the city gives another impression. Many of the city’s new housing developments look like slightly fancier versions of mobile homes parked on mounds of land, with little thought given to landscaping and aesthetics.  Read More

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Canvassing for Votes With NYC Construction Fence Finalists

East
Monday, September 20, 2010
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"...of Special Concern," by Chris Shelley

If a whole flock of ghostly animals starts appearing in downtown New York this fall, don’t panic. It’ll just mean that the public picked Chris Shelley’s design “…of special concern” as a winner in the Buildings and Cultural Affairs Departments’ urbancanvas competition, which solicited ideas for decorating the construction fences, sidewalk sheds, scaffolding and cocoons that act as eyesores on seemingly every New York City street.

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Alternative Whitney Proposal Designed to Attract Attention

East
Monday, September 20, 2010
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An alternative proposal for a new building for the Whitney Museum of American Art (all images courtesy Axis Mundi)

Think Renzo Piano’s still preliminary design for a new Whitney Museum of American Art is too timid? How about this alternative scheme floated by the self proclaimed “architectural provocateurs” at Axis Mundi? According to a statement, the proposal is meant to be “as bold in spirit as the original Breuer building.” It’s bold all right.

The design calls for a structural exoskeleton, shaped by the sight lines and street grid of the city, imbedded with the circulation and mechanical systems. Column-free galleries would be suspended from the skeleton with distinctive projecting windows, reminiscent of Breuer’s at the Madison Avenue Whitney. The Axis Mundi proposal mentions nothing of costs, which is one of the biggest hurdles facing the Whitney, given the museum’s relatively modest endowment.

Axis Mundi has chased the news before. They previously promoted an alternative to Jean Nouvel’s proposed Tower Verre for MoMA, called the Vertical Neighborhood. Check out more images of their Whitney proposal after the jump. Read More

Visit A Temple In The Sky

West
Saturday, September 18, 2010
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Bay Area architect Warren Callister was an heir to  Bernard Maybeck in that he was wonderfully eclectic.  But where Maybeck could be a little rough, Callister was refined.  Every detail, every turn, every joint, all exquisitely detailed.  Like A. Quincy Jones in Southern California he loved a powerful roof form. But Callister’s tended to be curved, not angled.  On Friday morning my architecture buddy author Pierluigi Serraino took me on a tour with the real estate agents who are selling Callister’s exquisite Duncan house in San Francisco’s Clarendon Heights. They are hosting an open house at 176 Palo Alto Avenue the next two Sundays and Tuesdays. Read More

This Little Piggie

West
Friday, September 17, 2010
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Putting the finishing touches on the exhibit

The new L+M Arts gallery in Venice, designed by wHY Architecture, is set to open with a hip gala on September 25 (We will be featuring it more in the coming weeks). The project is a beautiful renovation of a WPA-era power station, with a lofty new, diamond-shaped brick addition adjacent, attached via a minimal bar that contains the gallery’s offices. We really recommend you take a look. Oh, and while you’re there, you may want to see something that will either make you gleeful or nauseous. Giant, moving animatronic sculptures of George Bush having sex with pigs, by artist Paul McCarthy. There’s really not much more we want to say about this, except to say that these sculptures perform very efficiently. They will haunt our nightmares. Did we say the gallery looks really nice? Here are some more pix to cleanse your mind: Read More

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