Paris’ Lost Cafe from Hell

International, Newsletter
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
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Le Café de L’Enfer (Via How to be a Retronaut)

Le Café de L’Enfer (Via How to be a Retronaut)

Tucked away in in the bohemian enclave of Montmartre in Paris, Le Café de L’Enfer—the Cafe of Hell—welcomed all who dared pass through the mouth of a giant ghoul and a doorman dressed as the devil proclaiming, “Enter and be damned!” The exterior facade appears to be molten rock surrounding misshapen windows and dripping off the building while inside, caldrons of fire and ghostly bodies of humans and beasts covered the walls and ceiling. From an account published in Morrow and Cucuel‘s Bohemian Paris of Today (1899):

Red-hot bars and gratings through which flaming coals gleamed appeared in the walls within the red mouth. A placard announced that should the temperature of this inferno make one thirsty, innumerable bocks might be had at sixty-five centimes each. A little red imp guarded the throat of the monster into whose mouth we had walked; he was cutting extraordinary capers, and made a great show of stirring the fires. The red imp opened the imitation heavy metal door for our passage to the interior, crying, – “Ah, ah, ah! still they come! Oh, how they will roast!”

Quite a site! (In an epic battle of good and evil, another entrepreneur opened Le Ciel—”Heaven”—next door that was filled with clouds, angels, and harps.) The Café de L’Enfer operated from the late 19th through the middle of the 20th century. (Via How to be a Retronaut.)

A few more photos after the jump.

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New Chicago DOT Commissioner Could Rival Sadik-Khan

Midwest
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
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Chicago's new DOT Commissioner, Gabe Klein (courtesy D.C. Streetsblog)

Progressive transportation commissioners have become heroes in planning circles. There’s a lot of excitement surrounding Chicago Mayor Emanuel’s appointment of Gabe Klein as DOT commissioner. Poached from Washington D.C., where Emanuel saw his work first-hand, Klein has extensive experience instituting new transportation ideas, including the nation’s largest bike sharing program and a new streetcar system.  Read More

Crunch Time for Morphosis Offices

West
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
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Morphosis HQ construction site last Thursday.

We know Thom Mayne and Morphosis are moving. Now we know they’re moving REALLY soon. Their new headquarters, located just next to the new Expo Line tracks in Culver City, started construction last summer and are wrapping up this month. They need to move in by July 1, said Mayne, because the lease to their rented warehouse space next door is up. That should get things moving, despite some delays because of this year’s heavy rains.

Read More

LPC Approves Adjmi’s Concrete Riff on Cast Iron

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
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Detail rendering of a cast iron facade in reverse.

With unanimous approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission, Morris Adjmi‘s deceptively subtle take on the classic cast iron building is on its way to becoming reality. What at first glance appears to be a cast iron facade is actually a reverse bas relief cast in glass reinforced concrete—essentially a form in which you could mold a true cast iron facade. “This makes  you think of how these buildings were built, from the initial casting to being assembled as components,” said Adjmi. “So this is really taking that and inverting it so it becomes a record of the process.”

Continue reading after the jump.

TEN Arquitectos’ Hot Plan For Tabasco, Mexico

International, Newsletter
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
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The boomerang bridge as seen from above. (Courtesy Enrique Norten/TEN Arquitectos)

If opponents of New York’s bike lanes think bikers get the upper hand, then they’d be stunned to see what TEN Arquitectos has planned for the main drag of Villahermosa, the capital of Tabasco, Mexico. Of course, accommodating bikes is only a small part of what is intended to overhaul the city’s spine including an eye catching pedestrian bridge anchoring the project.

The perforated, metal-clad boomerang of a bridge links two lakeside parks, the Tomas Garrido Park and Lake of Illusions. At street level the illusion takes hold as the bridge morphs into the shape of a giant alligator.  A large amphitheater sits at its base with the park serving as backdrop. The project is set for dedication next week.

Read More

Quick Clicks>Spirals, Alchemy Tower, Sidewalk Cocktails, & Chemicals

Daily Clicks
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
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(Courtesy Maniasmias)

(Courtesy Maniasmias)

Spiraling Out of Control. Salt Lake Tribune reported that the New York-based Dia Foundation‘s failure to pay the annual land fees for Robert Smithson‘s Spiral Jetty has resulted in the state of Utah’s appropriation of the artist’s famous “earthwork masterpiece.” Dia subsequently released a statement explaining that they were not aware of the pressing payment and are in negotiations with the state to ensure the water sculpture’s preservation. Artinfo digs deeper to find that the problem could have been caused by a computer or clerical error and says the Dia Foundation hopes to have the matter resolved by the end of the week.

Bad Chemistry. According to DNA, Lower Chelsea residents are fighting to stop Alchemy Construction‘s development of a 30-story tower at 31 W. 15th Street.  The development firm bypassed standard zoning regulations after securing air rights from the Xavier High School, which will utilize the lower floors as new classrooms and event space.  The Lower Chelsea Alliance maintains that construction of the 300-foot tall building is already causing noise and odor pollution and insist the tower will ruin the neighborhood’s aesthetic character.

Good Mixing. Further uptown, the Wall Street Journal exposes the first gourmet food truck with a one-year liquor license.  The city has permitted the Turkish Taco Truck in Central Park to serve beer, wine, and cocktails as long as it provides seating and remains parked.  Now introducing: better lunch breaks.

Toxicology. The New York Times reveals the National Toxicology Program‘s recent report identifying formaldehyde and styrene as carcinogens. While consumers are at minimal risk due to the low quantities in wood construction materials and plastics, respectively, the chemicals pose a serious threat to factory workers.  The industry is attempting to dispute these results, but some manufacturers have already sought alternative production.

Highlight> Avant-Garde Art in Everyday Life

Midwest
Monday, June 13, 2011
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(COURTESY ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO)

(COURTESY ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO)

Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
June 11 through October 9, 2011

Soon after the turn of the last century, artists and designers from Central and Eastern Europe began producing radically innovative images and objects that remain remarkably fresh today. For the first time, the Art Institute has gathered over 300 objects from across departments to present a comprehensive view of works from the period. Bold graphics, such as John Heartfield’s cover and illustrations for Kurt Tucholsky, Deutschland, Deutschland über Alles from 1929 (above), and pared back design objects show some of the ways in which these artists sought to transform daily living, an experiment that historical events would quickly bring to an end.

Event> Happy 125th, Pasadena!

West
Monday, June 13, 2011
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Greene & Greene's iconic Gamble House

Pasadena is celebrating its 125th Anniversary today and will continue partying all month and into the fall. Now a significant city with over 140,000 residents, it was a rural settlement when it decided to become the fourth city to incorporate in Los Angeles County on June 12, 1886. While many know Pasadena for its Rose Bowl, Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena Playhouse, and California Institute of Technology, the city is also home to “Bungalow Heaven,” a 16-block Historic Landmark District neighborhood featuring nearly 1,000 Craftsman bungalows. This month features tours of these homes and more.

Continue reading after the jump.

Blue Ventures Takes Buckminster Fuller Prize

Blue Ventures' conservation efforts on the coastal towns of Madagascar helped it take home the prize. Courtesy Buckminster Fuller Challenge.

The conservation group Blue Ventures won the Buckminster Fuller Challenge in a ceremony at the CUNY Graduate Center on Friday night. The group took home the $100,000 prize, edging out FrontlineSMS, Rainforest Foundation UK, and TARA Ashkar+. The project caught the attention of the judges for its work with impoverished communities along the coast of Madagascar. To solve the problem of overfishing and biodiversity, the group delved into the root causes on land, such as overpopulation and a lack of birth control (an increase in population exacerbates overfishing).  The strategy was to stabilize the population and shift toward alternative economic resources. Conservation in the water depends heavily on human behavior on land.

Watch a video after the jump.

Sneak Peek> Dream Downtown Opens Softly

East
Monday, June 13, 2011
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The Dream Downtown (Branden Klayko/AN)

The Dream Downtown (Branden Klayko/AN).

On our way to the grand opening of the extended High Line last week, we couldn’t help but notice the lights were on at the Dream Downtown, hotelier Vikram Chatwal’s newest luxury outpost. While the soft-opening was reserved for Chatwal friends and family, the official opening later this month is sure to draw out the denizens of New York nightlife.

Inside the lobby, a glass-bottomed pool diffuses light from the building’s interior courtyard, accessed through a lushly-planted sliver at the back of the lobby. In the courtyard, a teak-heavy lounge opens up onto the pool deck complete with its own white sand beach, where Vikram himself was lounging on a plush chaise. On the roof, a still-under-wraps venue–with what the Dream is touting as one of Manhattan’s finest views–is sure to be popular. Among the amenities that will open later this year is Romera New York, which is expected to offer a 12-course prix fixe for $245. The hotel will feature 316 rooms, but some are still being finished up.

Originally designed by Albert Ledner in 1966–the same architect as the neighboring Maritime Hotel and the nearby O’Toole Building–and last used as a homeless shelter, Handel Architects has reclad the round-windowed building in stainless steel, earning the structure the nickname of “The Cheesegrater.”

More photos after the jump.

BLT on Top at Kimmel

East
Friday, June 10, 2011
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Most of the rooftop garden's trees will be replaced with smaller plants. Courtesy Kimmel Center

Completed in 2001, the Viñoly-designed Kimmel Center in Philadelphia seems too old for growing pains, but today it’s certainly going through something of an awkward phase. In late April, KieranTimberlake released plans to revamp the performing arts center and now some of the details are emerging.  BLT Architects have shared a few rendering from their renovation of the rooftop garden into an event space.

Renderings after the jump.

Architect Falls to His Death

East
Friday, June 10, 2011
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Architect Danny Colvin

Since reports surfaced this morning that an architect died on West 13th Street in Manhattan, architects and the media have been wondering who the had suffered this unfortunate fate. Multiple outlets are now reporting that architect Danny Colvin, principal of ColvinDESIGN, an architecture and interior design firm specializing in residential projects, fell from a building in the Meatpacking District. We at The Architect’s Newspaper are saddened by the news and send his friends, family, and colleagues our sincerest condolences.

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