Celebrating Bruce Graham

Midwest
Thursday, September 23, 2010
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(courtesy SOM)

Recently deceased and much respected Chicago architect Bruce J Graham, the man behind the Sears (now Willis) Tower and Hancock Center, will be honored with a special tribute Thursday, October 14 at the Art Institute of Chicago. The event, hosted by the Graham family and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, will begin at 5:30 pm in the Rubloff Auditorium.  Graham also brought the Inland Steel Building to Chicago, the Business Men’s Assurance Company Headquarters to Kansas City, Missouri, and the recently demolished Upjohn Headquarters to Kalamazoo, Michigan, among many other significant projects.

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LACMA as Musical Instrument

West
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
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Buildings, of course, have acoustic properties. But what about acoustic potential? Musician and recent high school graduate Ben Meyers has carved himself a niche by using buildings and their various surfaces and surroundings as musical elements. His most recent performance: a song performed with his mallets and drumsticks on Renzo Piano’s new Resnick Pavilion at LACMA, which opens to the public early next month. A video of the piece, called Playing LACMA, was commissioned by the museum. Read More

Vermont Town Seeks to Reconnect To Waterfront

East
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
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(courtesy Battleboro Museum and Art Center)

Residents of Brattleboro, Vermont want a say in what happens to a strip of waterfront and they’re voting with… stickers.  Visitors to Renewing the Riverfront at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center can post a small round sticker next to their favorite proposals, which line the walls of the gallery. Just in case they don’t find one they like, there are plenty of blank note cards on hand where a resident can throw his or her own idea into the mix. Read More

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Gehry Supports Israeli Settlement Boycott

International
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
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(Photo: Courtesy Inhabitat)

According to the group Jewish Voice for Peace, Frank Gehry has signed a letter supporting an Israeli settlement boycott. Gehry is among an international group of artists and performers who have signed a letter supporting a group of Israeli actors and playwrights who have refused to play at the new theatre in Ariel, a large Jewish settlement in the occupied territories. Gehry, who previously withdrew from the commission to design the Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem, joins pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim, composer Stephen Sondheim, actors Julianne Moore and Cynthia Nixon, film director Mira Nair, playwright Tony Kushner and many others. Gehry’s office confirmed his support of the boycott.

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McMansion Town USA

West
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
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This story is part of A/N’s new blog series dedicated to exploring neighborhoods around the country

El Monte, CA, about 20 minutes east of Los Angeles, is a gated community. Wonky chain-linked fences and rusty metal gates keep the residents in and the criminals out. Some say El Monte is an up-and-coming city. After all, the proof is in the posh homes popping up throughout the city. “El Monte … encourages quality housing developments through well thought-out architectural designs, use of high quality materials, and enhanced landscaping,” says the city’s official website. However, a walk through the city gives another impression. Many of the city’s new housing developments look like slightly fancier versions of mobile homes parked on mounds of land, with little thought given to landscaping and aesthetics.  Read More

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Canvassing for Votes With NYC Construction Fence Finalists

East
Monday, September 20, 2010
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"...of Special Concern," by Chris Shelley

If a whole flock of ghostly animals starts appearing in downtown New York this fall, don’t panic. It’ll just mean that the public picked Chris Shelley’s design “…of special concern” as a winner in the Buildings and Cultural Affairs Departments’ urbancanvas competition, which solicited ideas for decorating the construction fences, sidewalk sheds, scaffolding and cocoons that act as eyesores on seemingly every New York City street.

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Alternative Whitney Proposal Designed to Attract Attention

East
Monday, September 20, 2010
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An alternative proposal for a new building for the Whitney Museum of American Art (all images courtesy Axis Mundi)

Think Renzo Piano’s still preliminary design for a new Whitney Museum of American Art is too timid? How about this alternative scheme floated by the self proclaimed “architectural provocateurs” at Axis Mundi? According to a statement, the proposal is meant to be “as bold in spirit as the original Breuer building.” It’s bold all right.

The design calls for a structural exoskeleton, shaped by the sight lines and street grid of the city, imbedded with the circulation and mechanical systems. Column-free galleries would be suspended from the skeleton with distinctive projecting windows, reminiscent of Breuer’s at the Madison Avenue Whitney. The Axis Mundi proposal mentions nothing of costs, which is one of the biggest hurdles facing the Whitney, given the museum’s relatively modest endowment.

Axis Mundi has chased the news before. They previously promoted an alternative to Jean Nouvel’s proposed Tower Verre for MoMA, called the Vertical Neighborhood. Check out more images of their Whitney proposal after the jump. Read More

Visit A Temple In The Sky

West
Saturday, September 18, 2010
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Bay Area architect Warren Callister was an heir to  Bernard Maybeck in that he was wonderfully eclectic.  But where Maybeck could be a little rough, Callister was refined.  Every detail, every turn, every joint, all exquisitely detailed.  Like A. Quincy Jones in Southern California he loved a powerful roof form. But Callister’s tended to be curved, not angled.  On Friday morning my architecture buddy author Pierluigi Serraino took me on a tour with the real estate agents who are selling Callister’s exquisite Duncan house in San Francisco’s Clarendon Heights. They are hosting an open house at 176 Palo Alto Avenue the next two Sundays and Tuesdays. Read More

This Little Piggie

West
Friday, September 17, 2010
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Putting the finishing touches on the exhibit

The new L+M Arts gallery in Venice, designed by wHY Architecture, is set to open with a hip gala on September 25 (We will be featuring it more in the coming weeks). The project is a beautiful renovation of a WPA-era power station, with a lofty new, diamond-shaped brick addition adjacent, attached via a minimal bar that contains the gallery’s offices. We really recommend you take a look. Oh, and while you’re there, you may want to see something that will either make you gleeful or nauseous. Giant, moving animatronic sculptures of George Bush having sex with pigs, by artist Paul McCarthy. There’s really not much more we want to say about this, except to say that these sculptures perform very efficiently. They will haunt our nightmares. Did we say the gallery looks really nice? Here are some more pix to cleanse your mind: Read More

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New York Celebrates Brasilia Birthday with Photography Show

East
Thursday, September 16, 2010
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Nice bag.

Last night, the 1500 Gallery in Chelsea held an opening for Brasilia, a show of iconic photographs dating from the creation of the freshly minted Brazilian capital. Indeed, the show is meant to be a celebration of the Semicentennial of Oscar Niemeyer’s city in the jungle. The show was organized by Brazilian photographer Murillo Meirelles and will be up through November 27. Pictures of pictures, and more from the opening, after the jump.

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Daley Reverses Course, or Wants To

Midwest
Thursday, September 16, 2010
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(photo: sunface13/flickr)

Whether you want to call him a lame duck or not, Chicago Mayor Richard M Daley wants to float out of office and into Lake Michigan. Days after announcing his decision not to seek reelection the long-serving mayor hinted at a possible last hurrah: the re-reversal of the Chicago River. Read More

Historic District Struts Its Stuff on Manhattan’s West End Avenue

East
Thursday, September 16, 2010
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CLICK TO ZOOM (Courtesy LPC)

As we reported a few weeks ago, the Landmarks Preservation Commission is gearing up to create a huge new historic district on the Upper West Side. Last night, the commission held a meet-and-greet with the neighbors, at which the tentative boundaries for the new district—technically five contiguous extensions to five existing districts—were unveiled. As the map shows, it’s quite a lot of real estate, and though smaller than the extant Upper West Side historic district (2,000+ versus 745) it will become, should it be approved, one of the largest in the city. What’s most interesting, though, is how much of the Upper West Side will now be under the commission’s purview. It will be interesting to see how the development community reacts.

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