Studio Gang has been hired to reimagine a stalled mixed-use high-rise in downtown Lexington, Kentucky. Having languishing through the recession and without financing, the development called CentrePointe may now gain momentum thanks to the fresh eye of the Chicago-based firm responsible for the much-praised Aqua Tower. Jeanne Gang, principal, told AN her office will be preparing several concept plans over the next six weeks demonstrating new design strategies that could guide the future project and attract new tenants and financing.
Bedside Manor. The folks at Fast Company featured a beautiful hospital by architect Koen van Velsen in their blog today. The cantilevered casa for care trusts itself so elegantly into the woods, it almost makes you wish you were sick. The hotel, er, hospital in Arnhem, Holland is one of six finalists for the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture Mies van der Rohe Award.
Goal to Go. After holding out for several years, the Rudin family finally took home the prize. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court approved the $260 million sale St. Vincent’s Hospital in the Village to the Rudins and the North Shore-LIJ Health System. The brown-brick complex on the east side of Seventh Avenue will go condo, while the white tiled maritime-sque O’Toole building on the west side will become an emergency care unit. In a bizarre fourth quarter twist, Crain‘s reported that several NFL veterans attempted Hail Mary pass to outbid the Rubins, promising to smack the NFL logo on the side of the building.
Mega Mansion. Even by L.A. standards, plans for this mega-mansion went over the top. After causing a huge stir among neighbors in Benedict Canyon with his plans to build an 85,000 square foot compound, Saudi Prince Abdulaziz ibn Abdullah ibn Abdulaziz al Saud promised to scale back designs for the 5.2 acre plot. The prince tried to keep his identity under wraps, but the L.A. Times busted his cover last month.
An Urge to Merge. HMC Architects is pulling their resources with San Francisco based Beverly Prior Architects reports Architect. Prior had always poo-pooed the idea of merging with a faceless corporate entity, but she told Architect that the larger firm had certain “joie de vivre to them” that won her over.
Toronto’s Ryerson University announced plans this week for a bold Student Learning Center designed by Oslo-based Snøhetta and Zeidler Partnership Architects of Toronto. The 8-story structure will mix passive and active academic uses with street-level retail and will serve as the university’s front door on busy Yonge Street.
Nature’s Benz. LA Autoshow reveals a radically green Mercedes-Benz concept called Biome– it’s made of organic fibers, powered by the sun, and releases pure oxygen into the air! The system behind this model is called “Mercedes-Benz Symbiosis,” in which vehicles are seamless part of the ecosystem.
Facebook’s Exodus. According to the New York Times, Facebook is moving out — of the office clusters in Palo Alto — and into an insulated 57-acre corporate campus in Menlo Park, California, which is to be renovated by San Francisco-based Gensler. About 2,000 workers, including Mark Zuckerberg, will be moved in within next 10 months. These young 20-somethings don’t want a sleek corporate office, but something idiosyncratic and soulful, which the new campus aims for.
Code Green. Crain‘s reports that the New York City Council continues to green up the city’s building codes. A trio of bills looks to “create more energy-efficient roofs.” While the first bill requires more reflective and less heat-absorbent roof materials, the second removes building-height limitations from solar thermal equipment and electric collectors and the third bill will add heat and power systems to the list of allowable rooftop structures.
Well-spoken Vowell. Chicago magazine talks to Sarah Vowell about Chicago — and a little New York — architecture. “It’s what I do for fun: Go see buildings. I like architecture because it’s so nonverbal,” she said, and then goes on to discuss her personal relationship with the Carson Pirie-Scott Building. Vowell recently finished her new book on Hawaii called Unfamiliar Fishes.
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Unraveling strands of steel pipe create a clothing display and focal point for the tony boutique.
Flatcut, a design and fabrication firm with a studio in Brooklyn and a 100,000-square-foot facility in Passaic, New Jersey, has more than 100 machines to its name. Though it has the capabilities to mass-produce 20,000 custom furniture pieces and 50,000-square-foot facades, the firm also creates small, site-specific installations for museums and retail stores. Most recently the Beckley Boutique, a celebrity hot spot and shopping destination on Melrose Avenue, hired Flatcut to design an eye-catching design feature at its new Las Vegas outpost in the Cosmopolitan Resort and Casino.
From March 28-April 1, the Design Build Institute of America (DBIA) held a two-in-one conference for Transportation and Water/Wastewater in Kansas City, Missouri. Unfortunately, like many conferences, this one was attended more for it’s offering of mandatory Continuing Education Credits (CEU) than for anything else. Sure, it provided updates on Design-Build contracts, best practices, awards, and time for networking, but there was little innovation or excitement in the actual practice of design-build, especially with a focus on building highways, bridges, and wastewater treatment plants.
Every architect has a mental file of unusual client requests, but few, if any, have been asked to make a wall dance. Yet, in essence, that’s what San Francisco architect Christopher Haas created—not for a client, but for a collaborator, Alonzo King, the San-Francisco-based choreographer. For King’s LINES Ballet company’s spring season that premieres April 15-24 at the city’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Haas created a wall that performs, but not as a soloist. Read More
After years of waiting, as of this past weekend Silver Lake residents can finally enjoy the “Meadow,” a 6-acre swath of grassy land adjacent to the Silver Lake Reservoir and west of Silver Lake Boulevard that’s been fought over and delayed for several years. It was determined that the Meadow could be opened to the public because the Reservoir itself will soon be replaced as a drinking water source by underground storage tanks north of Griffith Park (plus restless neighbors fearing outsider encroachment and the destruction of local habitats finally relented). We finally had a spare second to check it out today, and were very impressed.
Heckling Hadid. The New York Times reports that the city council in Elk Grove, California is reconsidering its Bilbao moment. Once upon a time before the recession, the community hoped a community center designed by Zaha Hadid would bring acclaim to the suburban city. Now as plans are being reconsidered, the council only sees a “squid” or an “animal from another planet.”
LA on HL. Usually found prowling around the west coast, Christopher Hawthorne, architecture critic for the LA Times, has found his way to New York and takes a look at HL23, that condo tower perched above Manhattaned beloved High Line by LA architect Neil Denari.
Gimme (Smartly Planned) Shelter. It turns out that when Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell isn’t rocking out, he’s pondering smart growth. Smart Planet relays a recent event at the National Press Club where Leavell and co-author J. Marshall Craig talk transportation, sustainability, and community growth.
Ennis House Blues. Curbed reports that Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1924 Ennis House in LA just can’t seem to find a buyer since it was put on the market in 2009. Originally listed at $15 million, the price has steadily dropped to its current $5.9 mil.