One Small Step For Houston is One Giant Step Backward for Johnson Space Center

One of Johnson Space Center's control rooms (Photo Courtesy of NASA)

One of Johnson Space Center’s control rooms (Courtesy NASA)

AN recently profiled the emerging architectural typology of spaceports across the country, and now there’s news from the Houston site that helped launch the dream of space travel decades ago. Independence Shuttle, a full-scale replica of NASA’s iconic Space Shuttle, recently was moved from the Johnson Space Center (JSC) to its next-door neighbor, Space Center Houston.

To some people, the relocation was a matter of mere logistics. To others, however, the transfer symbolized not just a lessening of power and precedence associated with Johnson Space Center, but with NASA’s space program as a whole.

Continue reading after the jump.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s only handicap-accessible home opens for public tours

Frank Lloyd Wright's Laurent House at dusk. (Nels Akerlund)

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Laurent House at dusk. (Nels Akerlund)

Decades before the Americans With Disabilities Act, Frank Lloyd Wright designed an accessible home for a World War II veteran. Now Wright’s only home designed for a person with a disability will open to the public. Wright’s Kenneth & Phyllis Laurent House in Rockford, Illinois opens for tours on June 6, two days before what would have been its architect’s 147th birthday.

Continue reading after the jump.

Floating Farnsworth: Mies van der Rohe’s Iconic Illinois House Could Get Flood Protection

Flooding at the Farnsworth House in mid-April 2014. (Courtesy Farnsworth House)

Flooding at the Farnsworth House in mid-April 2014. (Courtesy Farnsworth House)

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s archetypal modernist home, the Farnsworth House, is drowning. The banks of the Fox River served as an idyllic setting for the building’s white steel and glass when it landed in Plano, Illinois. But lately the Fox has gone rabid, spilling over its banks three times in the past 18 years. So what to do? Preservationists are looking at installing hydraulic jacks to lift the house during floods, to the tune of about $3 million. Call it the Three Million Dollar Modernist. Ironically Mies put the house on stilts to prevent such flooding; I guess you can’t outwit a wily Fox.

Corvette Museum Considering Making Giant Car-Swallowing Sinkhole A Permanent Exhibit

The sinkhole. (Courtesy National Corvette Museum)

The sinkhole. (Courtesy National Corvette Museum)

The sinkhole that opened up underneath the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky has quickly become one of the institution’s most popular exhibits. Just three months after eight prized automobiles slid down Planet Earth’s jagged gullet, visitors from around the country are flocking to the Bluegrass State to see the damage.

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Campaign Seeks Your Letters For Gravely-Ill Massimo Vignelli

Design, International
Monday, May 12, 2014
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Massimo Vignelli in Helvetica documentary. (Via Creative Review)

Massimo Vignelli in Gary Hustwit’s Helvetica documentary. (Courtesy Gary Hustwit)

Famed designer Massimo Vignelli—known to many as the designer of this iconic New York City subway map—is gravely ill and has reportedly left the hospital to spend time at home with his family. In this  grave moment, Vignelli’s son, Luca, is asking all those who know his father—or is inspired by him—to send a letter.

Continue reading after the jump.

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Letter to the Editor> Four-Wheeled Urban Whipping Boy

(GABRIEL WARTOFSKY)

(GABRIEL WARTOFSKY)

[Editor's Note: The following are reader-submitted responses in reference to Chip Lord’s book review of The Car in 2035: Mobility Planning in the Near Future (“Car Trouble” AN 11_12.18.2013_West). Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please emaileditor@archpaper.com. ]

Boy, we get the shit end of every stick for being here in SoCal. Prof. Lord is right. The origami made car is the best thing here if we have to accept the reality of having cars around in 2035. The $7,000 price tag is probably the only real laugh in the book. Well done Dr. Lord.

Hudson Marquez
Ant Farm

Tax tax tax… and eliminate the individual. That’s the future. Not appealing.

Eva Tho
San Diego, CA

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Here’s Rem Koolhaas’ “Floating” Runner-Up Proposal for Los Angeles’ Broad Museum

Architecture, Newsletter, West
Monday, May 12, 2014
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OMA's proposal for the Broad Museum. (Courtesy OMA)

OMA’s proposal for the Broad Museum. (Courtesy OMA)

With Eli Broad hyping his DSR-designed Broad Museum in Downtown Los Angeles, we thought it would be appropriate to share The Broad that never was: OMA’s runner up proposal. As featured in this author’s book, Never Built Los Angeles, Rem Koolhaas’s firm proposed a “floating” box covered in a lacy-patterned metal screen and cantilevered via steel brace frames above Grand Avenue.

More images after the jump.

“Tilt!” tips tourists out from Chicago’s John Hancock Tower

Midwest, News, Skyscrapers
Monday, May 12, 2014
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"Tilt!," a new attraction at Chicago's John Hancock Center, opened this weekend. (360Chicago)

“Tilt!,” a new attraction at Chicago’s John Hancock Center, opened this weekend. (360Chicago)

Visitors to Chicago’s John Hancock Tower this weekend were, of course, treated to the skyscraper’s stunning views of Lake Michigan and downtown Chicago, but the thrill-seekers among them also had another option. On the 94th floor, up to eight people at a time can stand in a glass box that tilts out 20 degrees, dangling them 1,000 feet above the street.

Continue reading after the jump.

Unveiled> bKL Architecture cooks up a replacement for Chicago’s Howard Johnson Motel

720 N. LaSalle (Courtesy bKL Architecture)

720 N. LaSalle (Courtesy bKL Architecture)

bKL Architecture is going as bullish as any Chicago-based firm in this start-and-stop economy, embarking on big commissions in Beijing and Toronto while committing to more and more work at home. The firm bunks with Magellan Development in ground floor offices at Aqua Tower and has partnered with the Lakeshore East progenitor on a number of buildings including two phases of the new GEMS Academy private school.

And now that kinship is extending into River North. Fresh off the drafting table is a 38-story rental tower slated for 720 North LaSalle Street (at Superior) on the present site of a Howard Johnson Inn, one of downtown Chicago’s last remaining suburban-style motels—and a relic of affordability.

Continue reading after the jump.

Min | Day Unveiling Transformable Furniture For ICFF

East, Product, West
Friday, May 9, 2014
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Min|Day Stones Collection (Min|Day)

Min|Day Stones Collection (Min|Day)

MOD, the newly-created furniture wing from San Francisco architecture firm Min | Day, will be unveiling three new pieces at ICFF next week.  By making use of the human inclinations to rearrange and reconfigure, the pieces grow through a simple geometry of addition and subtraction. All three styles utilize playfulness and improvisation to create topological terrains.  Read More

Christopher Mount to Open Architecture and Design Gallery in Los Angeles

Mies van der Rohe, New National Gallery, Berlin, 1968, photograph by Balthazar Korab. (Courtesy Estate of Balthazar Korab)

Mies van der Rohe, New National Gallery, Berlin, 1968, photograph by Balthazar Korab. (Courtesy Estate of Balthazar Korab)

Having observed the absence of architecture and design materials from the American art collection scene, curator and scholar Christopher W. Mount decided to fill the gap himself. His eponymous Los Angeles gallery, housed in the Pacific Design Center, opens to the public on Friday, May 23 with A Modern Master: Photographs by Balthazar Korab. A second gallery, open by appointment, will be located on the Upper West Side in New York. “I really thought that this was the time,” said Mount. “I thought, ‘Here is a subject matter that major museums collect, and there hasn’t been somebody who opened a gallery.’” Read More

Philly’s Divine Lorraine Hotel Coming Back to Life

The decaying Divine Lorraine. (Flickr / Vandalog)

The decaying Divine Lorraine. (Flickr / Vandalog)

One of Philadelphia’s most impressive old ruins might be coming back to life. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that a New Jersey real estate lender is providing  $31.5 million to convert the decaying Divine Lorraine hotel into luxury apartments and commercial space. This is not the first attempt to transform the Lorraine, but it just might be its best.

Read More

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