The Green Hive Looks for Its Sweet Spot in LA

West
Thursday, June 10, 2010
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Rendering of the Green Hive's now-cancelled new space

Last month we learned that the Green Hive, a non-profit supporting green building and eco-friendly ideas, was kicked out of its future home in Downtown LA by the LA Community College District. So we were wondering: What are they doing now? Read More

New at NeoCon

Midwest
Thursday, June 10, 2010
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We’ll see you in Chicago at the show—while you’re there, remember to pick up a copy of our latest Midwest edition, hot off the press! Until then, we offer you a sneak peek of our favorite finds from this year’s contract furnishings market:

Bram Boo Bench, VanerumStelter

Belgian designer Bram Boo’s bench fosters socialization, rest, and work all in one piece of furniture. Four seats arranged in a square create four desktops and multiple ways to face others. The bench is available in red and black.

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White House Turns Green at GSA and HUD

National
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
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GSA Admin Martha Johnson

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan

If last week’s story on the apparent shortcomings of the Office of Urban Affairs may have shaken your hopes about the Obama administration’s commitment to cities, planning, and urban policy, fear not. As we tried to point out, these things are happening, just not necessarily at the White House office whose name is synonymous with it. Case in point, two major announcements were made this week concerning sustainability, one at the GSA, the other at HUD.

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City Listening Reading Series Returns to LA

West
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
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Get ready for a night of readings about Los Angeles at City Listening II.

Design East of La Brea, a.k.a. de LaB, is throwing its first ever fundraiser on Saturday, June 26, and you’re invited. A redux of 2008′s City Listening, City Listening II will feature local design writers (including AN‘s very own Sam Lubell) reading selected stories about Los Angeles. There will also be a silent auction of art work by de LaB members, food, drinks, and special guests. To put the cherry on top, the event is being hosted at downtown LA’s beautiful Spring Arts Tower. Tickets are on sale now (here) and if you purchase yours by tomorrow you’ll get a discount!

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NYC DOT Puts Peddles to the Pavement

East, East Coast
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
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Better busing and biking, coming to a stretch of First Avenue near you some time this fall. (Courtesy DOT)

First came Times Square, then, all in the course of a few weeks, 34th Street, Union Square North, and Grand Army Plaza. Now, Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan has set her sites on bus rapid transit for the east side of Manhattan. Granted this project, like those above, have been kicking around her office in one form or another for years. But to see all of them getting off—or should we say on—the ground in such a short window is welcome news, especially as the MTA continues to fumble and falter. For all the talk of parks, and not condos, being the legacy of Mayor Bloomberg’s third term, perhaps the exploits of his occasionally maligned Transit Commish should not be overlooked. After all, we’ve got 42 more months of this. At this rate, we could have a citywide space program going by then.

Broad Museum Leak Number 100: Diller Scofidio + Renfro?

West
Monday, June 7, 2010
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Diller Scofidio + Renfro's Alice Tully Hall redesign

In a selection process with more leaks than the Titanic (or, ahem, the Gulf of Mexico) the LA Times reports (thanks to a number of anonymous sources) that Eli Broad is favoring Diller Scofidio + Renfro for his new contemporary art museum. In a previous leak the  Times reported the narrowing of firms to Diller Scofidio and Rem Koolhaas’s OMA. This of course follows the leak that we first reported in March: that Broad was favoring downtown for the museum instead of Santa Monica. Of course none of this is official. In fact Broad hasn’t even formally announced a shortlist or a location. And he’s still waiting for city approval to lease the Bunker Hill site for $1 per year for 99 years (the LA CRA now owns the site, just next to the Walt Disney Concert Hall). But all this insider information is giving Washington politics and Wall Street banking a run for its money. Man, this Broad guy really knows how to play cities, and the media, doesn’t he? He should become a businessman or something. Meanwhile, is any firm hotter than Diller Scofidio + Renfro?

The M Cube: LA’s Rebuttal

West
Monday, June 7, 2010
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LA’s City Planning and Building and Safety departments, which we could not reach last week, have finally spoken up on the now-imperiled M Cube in Venice. To remind you LA City Council on Thursday rejected designer Mark Baez’s request to allow his floating modular, glass-clad, cube shaped apartment building an exception to remain two feet above the Venice Specific Plan’s requirement of 30 feet. Baez asserted that building inspectors informed him too late that the building was too tall, that his contractor bungled the height, and that the city was nitpicking over a height limit that other buildings are able to surpass. Baez may now resort to tearing down the building instead of going through with the costly changes. City planner Kevin Jones and building and safety investigator John Kelly beg to differ. Read More

Building Hope for Haiti

East
Monday, June 7, 2010
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(Photo: Courtesy IfUD)

On Friday, at Rebuilding a Sustainable Haiti—a public symposium on planning strategies for the country’s future hosted by New York’s Institute for Urban Design—a common sentiment united nearly all of the panelists onstage, as well as those seated in Cooper Union’s packed Rose Auditorium: the scale of destruction from the January earthquake demands a transformation, and not merely a replication, of Haiti’s built environment. “Perhaps a better title for the symposium is ‘Building a Sustainable Haiti,’” Garry Pierre-Pierre, editor and founder of The Haitian Times, said in his opening remarks, which provided a background of Haitian politics from 1986 to the present and stressed the corrupt nature of the state. Read More

What Were You Thinking, Mr. Foster?

The Architect prepares to take off.

Last night, I was lucky enough to enjoy assorted swells (but not very many architects) at the Hearst building for a screening of the enigmatic “How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster?”, a film devoted to his lordship’s extravagantly photogenic architecture and life of work. Or so it looks in this approximately 90 minute film which sweeps us from the Engadin Alps where Foster annually plows through a 26-mile mile cross-country ski marathon in tight black lycra with some 14,000 others to his redbrick childhood home quite literally on the wrong side of the tracks in Manchester to his current home in a Swiss villa, spectacularly void of human touches, to his 1,000-plus strong office in London to the early Sainsbury Centre; the Swiss Re gherkin; the British Museum Great Court; the Berlin Reichstag, etc, etc, and of course, the Hong Kong Beijing Airport that is the largest building on earth as narrator Deyan Sudjic intones mellifluously. (The trailor below provides but a morsel of this delight.) Read More

Statues Settle In at NYC City Hall

East, East Coast
Thursday, June 3, 2010
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Mayor Bloomberg opens the Statuesque show in City Hall Park, standing before Aaron Curry's "Yellow Bird Boy" (2010).

Since Wednesday, an aluminum woman is joyfully resting in the grass of City Hall Park. Among her well-set figurative friends are a bronze giant, an octopus man, and a couple of luminous neon creatures. The new sculptures are part of The Public Art Fund’s yearly exhibit in the park, an ongoing project for more than 30 years with the aim of making visitors experience art more directly. Read More

Now Playing: Every Corner of New York

East Coast, Other
Thursday, June 3, 2010
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Our friends over at Urban Omnibus created this delightful video entitled “Archipelago,” a sort of cinematic corollary to the current New New York show at the site’s mothership, the Architectural League. Billed as “a day in the life of five New York neighborhoods: Hunts Point, Jamaica, Mariner’s Harbor, Downtown Brooklyn, and Chelsea,” the video really is amazing for how it so succinctly captures the mind-boggling diversity of the city, revealing both the familiar and obscure to even the most stalwart local in a way so seamless that the city, for once, seems truly bound together despite all its disparity. The soundtrack alone, from Mr. Softee in the Bronx to freestyling on Staten Island to the constant sirens, is irresistible. It’s the fastest eleven-and-a-half minutes you’ll watch for some time. Almost as fast as the city it chronicles.

Tobias Wong, 1974-2010

East
Thursday, June 3, 2010
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Tobias Wong with his Gold Pills and his CC Matches (photo courtesy Citizen:Citizen)

The Architect’s Newspaper was saddened to hear of the untimely passing of designer Tobias Wong at age 35. Wong’s friend and occasional collaborator Aric Chen captures Wong’s influences, ideas, and legacy in this statement:

Through his work, Wong helped bring forth much of what is now taken for granted in contemporary culture. Influenced by Dada and, especially, Fluxus, he questioned authorship through appropriation; held a mirror to our desires and absurdities; upended the hierarchy between design and art, and the precious and the banal; and helped redefine collaboration and curation as creative practices. Working within what he termed a “paraconceptual” framework, Wong prompted a reevaluation of everything we thought we knew about design: its production, its psychological resonance, its aesthetic criteria, its means of distribution, its attachment to provenance, its contextualization and its manner of presentation. Wong was a keen observer, an original mind, a brilliant prankster, and an unerring friend.   Read More

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