Targeting the Loop

Midwest
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
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(courtesy Joseph Freed and Associates)

Crain’s Chicago Business reports that big-box retailer Target is negotiating with the developers Joseph Freed and Associates for space at the venerable Carson Pirie Scott & Co. building, now named the Sullivan Center.  Formerly home of the department store Carson Pirie Scott, the building, designed by Louis Sullivan, has remained largely vacant following a recent substantial rehab effort.  The upper floors house the School of the Art Institute Chicago’s departments of  architecture, interior architecture, and designed objects and the architectural mega-firm Gensler.  The building anchors the slightly more downtrodden southern end of State Street within the Loop.  Read More

Spielberg Wades Into The Pit

West
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
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Steven Spielberg has captured some dicey events on film: World War II, Alien Invasions, and Dinosaurs gone wild. But none of that can prepare him for the mess that he’s about to cover: the World Trade Center. Spielberg is producing a documentary for the Science Channel called Rebuilding Ground Zero, a six-part series set to run next year. The show is the brainchild of architect Danny Forster, who hosts and produces the Science Channel’s Build It Bigger, and it will be directed by Jonathan Hock, who  shot Through the Fire, a documentary about Coney Island basketball star and NBA dud Sebastian Telfair. Each episode of Rebuilding will chronicle one aspect of the ultra-slow redevelopment, including the Freedom Tower, the memorials, the park, the museum, and the transportation hub. Perhaps Spielberg will conjure up some CGI magic to make the site look like more than a hole in the ground? We’ll have to wait and see.

Full Steam Ahead

East, East Coast
Monday, January 18, 2010
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A bronze mural, one of two designed by Beyer Blinder Belle, adorns the recently renovated lobby of 230 Park Avenue (Courtesy Monday Properties)

While the preservation experts at Beyer Blinder Belle are typically busy making old structures look new with new components that look old (like, say, the signage at a certain skyscraper), BBB’s designers also from time to time design from whole cloth. Or whole bronze, as is the case for a pair of murals created for a recent lobby renovation to 230Park Avenue, the former Helmsley Building that caps Grand Central. Last Monday, Monday Properties president Anthony Westreich, the building’s owner, dedicated the murals along with local pols Scott Stringer and Daniel Garodnick and Landmarks Preservation Commission chair Robert Tierney. Weighing more than a ton, the murals—which were drawn by Chris Ludlow and sculpted by Joan Benefiel under the direction of BBB—hark back to the building’s history as the former headquarters for the New York Central Railroad, depicting a train speeding by with the distinctive profile of 230 Park in the background. See more photos from the dedication and shop after the jump. Read More

Brazil 2, Chicago 0

Eavesdroplet
Friday, January 15, 2010
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Chicago suffered another crushing defeat to the hands of Brazil: first its Olympic bid loss to Rio and now best new restaurant design to Sao Paulo. Wallpaper* announced the winners in its Design Awards 2010 competition yesterday afternoon. The Chicago restaurant, Terzo Piano, nestled on top of the new Renzo Piano’s addition to the Art Institute, was nominated in the Best New Restaurant category along with contenders from Brazil, Argentina, South Korea, and Portugal. It ultimately lost to Sao Paulo’s Amazonian-inspired Kaa. Read More

Robert Moses, Atlantic Yards & Air Pollution

East
Thursday, January 14, 2010
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Pollution predominates—not surprisingly—in heavily trafficked areas, yet another legacy of Robert Moses. (Courtesy Office of the Mayor)

Almost exactly a month ago, the Bloomberg administration released a study called the “New York City Community Air Survey.” Years in the making, it was heralded as the first comprehensive study of the city’s air quality ever undertaken, with results that are shocking if not obvious. As the map of particulate matter above shows—and as many of us already knew—the city can be a pretty gross place to live and breathe. There are plenty more maps like this, but they all basically come to two conclusions: Where there are cars and oil boilers, there is pollution. However, the wonk in us saw something particularly interesting: Outside of Manhattan—where congestion is a whole other animal (hence hope for congestion pricing)—the pollution tracks pretty heavily along the expressways built by none other than the Power Broker himself. We even built a handy GIF (after the jump!) to illustrate this. There is one notable exception, that big brown spot in the middle of Brooklyn, which is why we’re bringing this up now. Read More

New Leadership at AIA Chicago

Midwest
Thursday, January 14, 2010
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There’s a new regime in town. AIA Chicago has announced its new board of directors and chapter officers. Walter D. Street III has been named chapter president. He brings a wealth of professional experience and has shown a commitment to expanding diversity and mentorship within the profession. According to a statement from AIA Chicago

Street will lead ongoing efforts for the chapter, which serves more than 3,200 members in Chicagoland.  He is currently a senior architect at Johnson & Lee, Ltd. and has been a member of AIA Chicago for many years, previously serving as Treasurer in 2008.  Street also regularly participates in the National AIA Grassroots legislative conferences in Washington, D.C., the Illinois Prairie Grassroots conferences in Springfield, and is an active member of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA).  Street has also served on the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s committee to develop an architecture curriculum for K-12 students.

Read the full list of directors after the jump. Read More

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Wait Just A Minute Santa Monica

West
Thursday, January 14, 2010
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Just when we thought that Santa Monica was all set to get Eli Broad’s new art museum (Santa Monica City Council is expected to vote on an “agreement in principal” for the museum on January 19), the LA Times gets an email from the Broad Foundation saying it wouldn’t make up its mind on a location for a few months.  In the email, dated January 13, the Broad Foundation said: “There are more than three cities that have expressed an interest in the Broad Art Foundation headquarters/museum. Discussions are still ongoing, so we can’t say more at this point.  But we’re keeping our options open and hope to make a decision on a location this spring.” The story also seems to resolve the location of that mysterious third possible location for the museum: a 10-acre parcel on the campus of West L.A. College in Culver City (although West L.A. College President Mark Rocha said he hasn’t heard a peep from Broad). This saga will obviously be drawn out until 2050, so we prescribe patience for those who want an answer soon.

Ciao Conduit

West
Thursday, January 14, 2010
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Stanley Saitowitz’s highly original Conduit restaurant in San Francisco, which used slender and sculptural copper piping as a unique design focus, closed its doors in mid-January. Located on Valencia Street, the restaurant had won several design awards, including a 2008 AIA San Francisco Honor Award. On its Facebook page owner Brian Gavin noted: “The dining population shrank. We had a great first year,… then a roller-coaster second year. We just didn’t have enough diners.”

Turning to the Japanese

International
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
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Kurt Anderson interviews the lovely couple, Yoshiharu Tsukamoto and Momoyo Kaijima, behind Atelier Bow-Wow. (Jenny Lawton/Studio360.org)

If you happen to be a fan of Kurt Anderson’s wonderful radio show Studio 360, perhaps you tuned in this weekend for the trip to Japan, a fascinating account of a place that seems at once otherworldly and yet so much like our own. If not, dare we suggest you tune in for the whole hour. Or, at the very least, consider the wonderful segment on Japanese design. In it, Anderson interviews architectural master Shigeru Ban and the up-and-coming couple behind Atelier Bow-Wow, as well as a fashion designer and a poet. At issue is that undeniable “Japanese-ness” that undergirds their work and that of their country, how it is shaped by their tiny, overcrowded island and, more recently and perhaps importantly, the economic collapse of the 1990s.

Affirmation or Desecration?

Eavesdroplet
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
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Desecration? Or delight? (Sara Hart)

When you enter the lobby of the I.M. Pei-designed East Wing of the National Gallery of Art, the building’s credits are prominently etched in stone. Why do you think Pei’s name has been rubbed to the point of illegibility? Are visitors paying homage or expressing disapproval? Perhaps it has something to do with those pesky panels? Whatever the case, it’s not pretty.

This Stinks! But for How Long?

East, East Coast
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
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Newtown Creek spills into the East River and Manhattan. (Promaine/Flickr)

UPDATE:The mayor called. See more below.

It should come as no surprise that a local government supported the Superfund designation of one of its most polluted waterways. Unless that government happens to be the Bloomberg administration, which has vehemently opposed “blighting” the Gowanus Canal and environs by naming the polluted Brooklyn waterway a Superfund site. That opposition remains firmly in place. What is surprising, though, as the Brooklyn Paper reported Friday, is that the administration, in testimony submitted to the EPA on December 23, came out in favor of designating Newtown Creek, a place in constant competition with the Gowanus for most reviled in the borough. The big difference, it would appear, is that the Gowanus’ northerly sibling has but award-winning poop processors lining its banks, and not the prospect of condos. Though that prospect could be fading fast. Read More

Does Deitch Dig Design?

West
Monday, January 11, 2010
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Deitch inside his eponymous Soho gallery. He will soon be leaving New York for LA. (Courtesy Scribe Media)

UPDATE: A source close to the museum writes in with this: “Who knows what Deitch will do? It probably depends on what Eli Broad tells him to do.” Which is pretty much what you might have guessed reading the (New York) Timesstory on the whole affair on the Arts front today. Looking for hints in Tyler Green’s first-out-the-gate interview with Deitch, we found none. Design was mentioned exactly once, in reference to a MOCA satellite at the Pacific Design Center. And yet Deitch’s shows and showiness have a certain architectural scale about them. As always, anything goes and anything can happen.

New York uber-collector and bombastic bon vivant Jefferey Deitch has been named director of LA’s Museum of Contemporary Art. Read More

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