It’s been a couple of weeks since we stopped by the WTC site. The most striking aspect from the street remains the speed with which glass surfaces begin to rise. It seems like only yesterday that three stories of glass wrapped around Tower One. Now with ten stories completed, the quartz-like surfaces start to take shape. At the Memorial Museum, Snohetta’s glass has flown up in what seems a matter of days. The facade already reflects the grove, whose trees continue their own march toward West Street.
125 years ago this past Sunday, a newborn Ludwig Mies van der Rohe may have been dreaming up his first glass box, but 125 years later, a party in one of his most famous boxes hopes to rekindle the spirit of the famous architect. The Mies van der Rohe Society will gather in a couple hours in Crown Hall on the campus of the Chicago’s Illinois Institute of Technology for an evening of architecture, history, and, of course, cocktails.
If you can’t make the party, you can celebrate with a rather, well, unique tribute to the architect after the jump.
Long a haven for architects, artists, and other creative types, Silver Lake needs no introduction. It’s enough to drive by the iconic Sunset Junction sign to know you’re in the heart of LA’s bohemian world (although hipsters in Echo Park might argue). Come 2012, that sign might be getting some serious competition.
Early this month, LA City Council President Eric Garcetti, the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council, and Silver Lake community groups announced the launch of “Envisioning Silver Lake,” a design competition meant to squeeze some neighborly love from the hearts and brains of local creatives. The call covers concept designs for a plaza and a permanent installation on Sunset Junction, at the intersection of Sunset and Santa Monica Boulevards.
Like its neighbor to the northeast, India is urbanizing at break-neck speed. Much of the resulting development takes the shape of monotonous towers and slabs designed to house the maximum number people as quickly as possible. The innovative Dutch firm MVRDV’s project Amanora Apartment City punches through, twists, and slices off pieces of a monolithic superstructure, to create a new park-side landmark within a largely undifferentiated urban field.
Although LA still does not have an NFL Team, developer AEG today awarded architecture giant Gensler the design of the city’s hypothetical 1.7 million square foot downtown stadium, called Farmers Field. Gensler beat out HKS and HNTB who were also shortlisted for the project back in December. If the $1 billion project moves forward it will seat 65,000 to 75,000 people, contain about 200 luxury suites, and have a retractable roof, enabling it to facilitate convention events as well as football games. Gensler’s proposal also features a lightweight ETFE roof, bulging outward and taking on an oval-shaped profile. Read More
Aspirational Geographic. A recent trip to Appalachia didn’t satiate photographer John Mann‘s wanderlust. He continued his travels via cutting and sculpting maps into three dimensional forms then photographing them through a narrow depth of field. Design Observer runs the nifty slide show.
Priority Parking. Developers of Philly’s 1 million square foot Pennsylvania Convention Center touted their greenness by providing minimal parking; the argument was it would encourage the use of public transportation. Now PlanPhilly says the city council has approved a 530-space garage to rise across the street. So much for synergy. Just north in Newark, they’re having the opposite problem: they want to lose parking lots. Newark’s Star-Ledger reports that March Madness at the Prudential Center won’t hide downtown’s glum outlook: nine parking lots surrounding the arena are still awaiting development.
D.C. Detail. WSJ Magazine explores the oft-overlooked Philip Johnson Pavilion at Dumbarton Oaks where the curvaceous facade slinks knowingly beside the Beatrix Farrand-designed gardens.
Parisian Pulse. Théâtre de la Gaîté Lyrique ain’t your everyday gallery-cum-theater space. The Guardian writes that this “theater for the digital arts” has given its stately old facade a swank makeover aimed at the 15 to 35-year old theater goer.
Sustainable Sound. WBUR spotlights a Boston band that found a way to make music that’s off-the-charts and off-the-grid. Generators hooked up to human-propelled bike peddles provide energy for electric guitars, plus a very John Cage-ish backdrop to the music making.
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A south-facing heat sink mass wall stores heat and diffuses light, creating an all-seasons solarium for an energy efficient home in Upstate New York.
Dana Cupkova and Kevin Pratt, founders of Ithaca-based design and research practice Epiphyte Lab, met the client for which they built Hsu House in one of Cupkova’s classes at Cornell where she teaches design and fabrication strategies for ecologically adaptive construction systems. The client, a medical doctor, was in the class with the goal of designing his own energy efficient home in Danby, New York, but after an initial consultation, asked Cupkova and Pratt to design it instead.
Our friends at Oyler Wu are putting the finishing touches on their collaboration with artist Michael Kalish that brings a pixelated face of Muhammad Ali to L.A. Live’s plaza in Downtown Los Angeles. The sculpture, reALIze, which has its official unveiling tomorrow night, consists of a large frame of hundreds of aluminum tubes on which 1,300 speed bags are hung via steel cables. From most angles it looks like a bit of a jumble, but from straight on, the composition of light and dark bags indeed forms an impressive likeness of the champ.
Icelandic Borders. Today at 5PM, “the largest temporary public art exhibition… in New York City Parks history,” titled BORDERS, will be unveiled at Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza. The UN-conscious installation is a collaboration between the Parks Commissioner, an Icelandic Ambassador, and Icelandic artist Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir, consisting of 26 androgynous, life-size sculptures.
Painted Trees. Gerry Mak of Lost at E Minor adoringly shares the curious images of the vibrantly painted trees around Colorado by artist Curtis Killorn. Because of the unexpected colorings, these trees do not look like they came from land, but from the sea.
Green Carnegie. We were worried when gbNYC reported that the good ol’ Carnegie Hall is planning to undergo a massively ambitious, full-spectrum retrofit this year. But don’t worry, the architecture firm Iu + Bibliowicz, which is in charge of all this, swears to preserve “the building’s distinctive 19th-century architectural grace notes” while making dramatic green building improvements.
Parking to parkletting. The SF Examiner reports that more temporary public spaces, called
‘parklets,’ are exploding throughout San Francisco parking spots. The public battle between those who want to park cars and those who want to seat customers out on the sidewalk seems to have a clear winner– the Department of Public Works is stamping out countless approvals for businesses to have their own parklets despite complaints.