Green Boom. Blair Kamin takes a look at the sustainability of two billowing icons in Chicago and New York. Studio Gang’s Aqua Tower is going for LEED certification while Frank Gehry’s New York tower will not seek the USGBC’s approval but claims to be green nonetheless. Kamin notes the importance of such moves, saying of Gehry: “What he, in particular, does–or doesn’t do–can have enormous influence, not simply on architects but on developers.”
Trolley Boom. NPR has a piece on the explosion of streetcars across the country with planned or completed systems in over a dozen cities.
Bike Boom. Cycling advocate Elly Blue discusses a new study on Grist stating that bikes deserve their own infrastructure independent from autos. And not just a striped bike lane, Blue notes, but separated lanes called “cycle tracks” like one installed along Brooklyn’s Prospect Park West.
Soane Boom. The Independent reports on a planned renovation to the Sir John Soane Museum in London, that architect’s treasure trove of antiquities and architectural memorabilia from across the world. Plans include opening up a new floor that hasn’t been open to the public since Soane died in 1837.
Mega Watts. The Los Angeles Times reports that the James Irvine Foundation has granted $500,000 toward the preservation of LA’s Watt’s Towers, declaring the folk-art stalagmites “an important cultural icon.” (Photo courtesy Robert Garcia/Flickr)
Luck in School. The NY Times relays the story of Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck who has chosen to pursue a degree in architectural design at Stanford’s School of Engineering rather than head off to the NFL draft. We wish Mr. Luck, well, all the best in his endeavors, but life as an architect can make the NFL seem like a walk in the park.
Al Matisse? Variety brings us news that Al Pacino has been selected to play Henri Matisse in an upcoming film called Masterpiece detailing the French painter’s relationship with his nurse, model, and muse Monique Bourgeois. Producers will soon be looking for female leads.
Like Jane. The Rockefeller Foundation is accepting nominations for this year’s Jane Jacobs Medal honoring two living individuals who have improved the vitality of NYC and, among other things, “open our eyes to new ways of seeing and understanding our city.”
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Double Dutch. First Manhattan, now Governor’s Island–the Dutch just can’t get enough of New York Harbor. Adriaan Geuze of West 8 talks with author Brian Davis about West 8’s proposal for a new public park on “the island next to the island at the center of the world,” via Design Observer.
No more Jersey Shore? Speaking of the Dutch, oceanography professor Malcolm Brown told WYNC that residents of the New York-New Jersey area should brush up on their dyke-building skills, warning that higher sea levels may come sooner than we think, via Transportation Nation
City Center. Planetizen pointed us to a fascinating post on Per Square Mile about Cahokia, a pre-Columbian settlement on the Mississippi, which, until Philadelphia surpassed it ca. 1800, was the largest city in North America.
Start Spreading the News. New York: If you can make there…well, it doesn’t guarantee you’ll make it in Moscow. For whatever it’s worth, New York now ranks as the most affordable of the four cities that the world’s wealthiest citizens are likely to call home. New York beats out Moscow–yes, Moscow–as well as Hong Kong and London. The Real Deal quotes a study conducted by Savills PLC, an affiliate of Stribling.
Ok, get ready for the strangest, most audacious project you’ve seen in a long time. Our friends at Architizer just tipped us off to BOOM, a $250 million community being developed in Rancho Mirage, outside of Palm Springs, that includes some pretty inventive, or (maybe more like it) wacky designs by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, LOT-EK, J.Mayer H., and seven more firms. The ultra-expressive project, set to begin construction next year, will include 300 residences built in eight neighborhoods, each designed by a different firm (important note: the developer, Matthias Hollwich, is a co-founder of Architizer). Read More
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reOrder: An Architectural Environment by Situ Studio
Jennifer K. Gorsche
Just months after Ennead completed its renovation of Brooklyn Museum’s Great Hall, originally designed in 1897 by McKim, Mead & White, Situ Studio will transform the 10,000-square-foot colonnaded space with a site-specific installation set to open March 4. Entitled reOrder: An Architectural Environment by Situ Studio, the work will transform the hall’s 16 classical columns with nearly 2,200 yards of Sunbrella Canvas-Natural fabric, which is to be folded and stretched over suspended bent-steel tubing and plywood rings with diameters ranging from 5 to 20 feet. Beneath the fabric shapes, Situ will install benches and tables fabricated with LG Hausys HI-MACS solid surfacing, creating the rounded benches with a controlled heat process called thermoforming.
A temporary installation creates new interactive space at Brooklyn Museum
Barrios with Altitude. A poetic study of the organically evolving perimeter of Bogotá, via Lebbeus Woods.
Atlantic Aspirations. Forest City Ratner is still on the hunt for Atlantic Yards funding, but has sweetened the deal by tapping SHoP–who is already spiffing up the stadium and public plaza–to design B2, the first apartment building in the complex, says The Observer.
Sterile Street. Blair Kamin calls out developer Joe Sitt for obliterating “bracing history” in exchange for “bland consistency” on State Street, in The Chicago Times.
Bjarke Ingels continues his relentless forward march toward world domination, winning yet another project, this time a gallery in Nuuk, Greenland. With so many recent mountains, it appears BIG has moved on to new iconographies inspired by land art, a barnacle perhaps?