According to the Las Vegas Review Journal and Engineering News Record officials at MGM Resorts want to demolish Foster & Partners’ unopened 27-story Harmon Hotel, a major part of the $8.5 billion CityCenter development. The building was originally designed as a 47-story tower, but major construction errors and subsequent time and money issues led to its drastic reduction in size. Lawsuits will prevent anything from happening to the building until at least 2012, says MGM. “Right now, I have a building I can’t do anything with,” CityCenter CEO Bobby Baldwin told the LVRJ, adding that Harmon has become “the poster child for nonconforming work worldwide.” For the record the Harmon’s web site still says “Coming Soon.” In its recent third-quarter earnings statement, MGM Resorts said it took a $279 million write down for the Harmon and concluded “it is unlikely the Harmon will be completed using the building as it now stands. “Baldwin concludes: “It was one of the most beautifully designed buildings ever, and it’s sitting static for over two years… The most sophisticated of all the architects (Foster) ended up being involved in a building that was our biggest disappointment.” Read More
While the country has been obsessed mid-term elections, local and state building code officials passed another less conspicuous but equally important vote that will reportedly result in 30 percent more efficient buildings than those built to current standards. During the International Code Council’s (ICC) final action hearings held in Charlotte, North Carolina last month, building officials supported revisions to the commercial section of the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), one of the model building codes published by the ICC that establish minimum energy efficiency standards for new construction of residential and commercial buildings.
Would you stay in a 15-story structure built in six days? Through the magic of prefabrication, one new hotel in Changsha, China was built erector-set-style at just such a fantastic pace and recorded through time-lapse photography. The better term might be constructed in six days, however, as the building’s foundation and the factory-made pieces were already finished at the beginning of this architectural ballet, but the feat proves rather amazing nonetheless.
While you might have never heard of Changsha, China, home to the new Ark Hotel, the country’s 19th largest city mirrors the building’s rapid growth. Changsha tripled in size between the 1940s and 1980s and today contains an estimated population of 6.6 million.
While such a quickly constructed building might seem prone to shoddy construction, the Ark Hotel is reportedly built to withstand a magnitude 9 earthquake, meaning a quake over 1,000 times more powerful than January’s quake in Haiti. Call us skeptical, but we’d opt to be out of the building when disaster strikes.
Tomorrow LA City Hall—usually the scene of budget battles and slow, somber legislating—will host two uplifting performances by Collage Dance Theater, a group that specializes in making the most of architectural settings. The company, started in 1987, has performed in laundromats (yes, dancers did fit inside of dryers), a jail, vacant lots, art galleries, an ice rink, architects’ homes, a courtroom, a church, a locker room, the former Ambassador Hotel, and many more locales. The show, called “Governing Bodies,” will, according to founder Heidi Duckler, take advantage of the 1928 Art Deco building’s beautiful interiors: from its grand rotunda to its echoing, narrow hallways to its cold, bureaucratic council chambers; not to mention allowing dancers to break out and quickly contort in otherwise buttoned-up government attire. Could be a lesson for the real bureaucrats, no?
While signs of economic recovery are beginning to show for architects, design publishers continue to struggle to adjust to the changing media landscape and the soft economy. The parent companies of The Architect’s Newspaper‘s two major competitors, Architectural Record‘s McGraw-Hill and Architect‘s Hanley Wood, both announced major restructurings this week. According to Folio, McGraw-Hill is folding New York Construction, Midwest Construction, and its other regional titles into Engineering News-Record and turning ENR into a regional publication while eliminating up to 2,000 jobs across the company. At Record, this also meant letting go of some senior editorial staff, AN learned yesterday. Meanwhile, Hanley Wood’s president, Peter Goldstone, has been let go and his position has been eliminated, Folio also reported.
UPDATE: A spokesperson for McGraw-Hill wrote to dispute that the company is eliminating 2,000 jobs. While she declined to give a number, she said that the 2,000 figure is, “completely inaccurate.” She also clarified that ENR will “continue to be a national publication, but now it also has regional supplements.”
Famed architect Frank Gehry enthralled a packed auditorium of students and community members at Pratt Institute yesterday afteroon. Speaking with The Architect’s Newspaper’s own executive editor Julie V. Iovine and Yael Reisner, author of Architecture and Beauty: Conversations with Architects about a Troubled Relationship, Gehry reminded the budding architects in the audience that his job involves more than just sitting around and creating curvy buildings from crumpled paper–it’s about delivering a finished product to a client, albeit a unique one.
AN has managed to get its hands on the shortlist for Art Center College’s renovation of its iconic Craig Ellwood building in the hills of Pasadena. Completed in 1976, the dark structure, with its expressive exposed steel frame and amazing glass and steel bridges, is one of our favorites in California, but certainly needs a facelift. According to the RFQ the renovation includes reshaping and expanding the academic building, updating it seismically, installing new sustainable energy systems, and improving its roof and glazing systems. The four finalists are…. drumroll please… Michael Maltzan Architecture, Behnisch Architekten (LA office), Barton Myers Associates, and Krueck + Sexton. That’s three local firms and a Chicago firm, Krueck + Sexton, that renovated a similar project: Mies van der Rohe’s Crown Hall at IIT. The winner, according to competition organizer David Meckel, will be announced early next year. Make sure to take a look at these amazing historic images of the building (including campus construction shots) below, from the Art Center exhibition Hillside Campus. Read More
A new study says that some St. Louis residents are getting slighted when it comes to the usablity of neighborhood parks, and that may be adversely impacting their health, according to researchers from Saint Louis and Washington Universities. A story in the St. Louis Beacon reports that uneven sidewalks and outdated or broken equipment make neighborhood residents less likely to use parks. Researcher Cheryl Kelly of the School of Public Health at Saint Louis University pointed out that the lack of usability means that “people are getting less physical activity in general, which is a factor associated with health disparities, such as obesity and some chronic diseases and conditions.” Read More
!melk, a brand new landscape architecture and urban design firm, is set to join Arata Isozaki, Daniel Libeskind, and Zaha Hadid, among others, for CityLife, an enormous development planned for the historic Fiera di Milano neighborhood in Milan. The New York-based !melk, which was founded less than a year ago when Jerry van Eyck left West 8 and teamed up with Evan Rose, won an international competition to design a multi-level piazza, sculpture park, and butterfly garden/pavilion situated within Libeskind’s master plan. CityLife will include skyscrapers by Isozaki, Libeskind and Hadid, as well as a museum of modern art, commercial center, housing complexes, and a new subway station. !melk collaborated on its submission with the London-based landscape architect Gustafson Porter as well as One Works and Arup in Milan. Read More
Starchitect Richard Meier is now in the Judaica business, sort of. He recently designed a limited edition menorah and series of mezuzahs for The Jewish Museum in New York. The menorah is based on the Meier Lamp, a piece that was originally commissioned by the Israel Museum in 1985. And just in time for Hanukkah (which begins December 1st), this limited edition menorah can be purchased through The Jewish Museum Shop.
No property is safe from this economy. The futuristic house from Woody Allen’s sci-fi comedy “Sleeper”, which is actually located just outside Denver, is being foreclosed on. The house, built in 1963 by architect Charles Deaton, who also designed Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium, has its foreclosure auction scheduled for tomorrow. According to the Wall Street Journal, Denver entrepreneur Michael Dunahay, who purchased the house in 2006, is delinquent on the nearly $2.8 million outstanding balance of his $3.1 million mortgage on the house. So who will buy the amazing spaceship-like abode? Allen’s co-star in the movie was LA preservation hero Diane Keaton. So maybe? Just maybe she’s interested?