REX’s Joshua Prince-Ramus Unwraps His Approach to Facade Design

REX's Media Headquarters Buildings feature retractable sunshades based on a traditional Arab Mashrabiya pattern. (Courtesy REX)

REX’s Media Headquarters Buildings feature retractable sunshades based on a traditional Arab Mashrabiya pattern. (Courtesy REX)

Joshua Prince-Ramus, principal at REX, has a bone to pick with modernism and its legacy. “For the last 100 years, architecture’s been involved in a silly tension between form and function,” he said. While high modernism privileged function over form, some of today’s top designers argue that architecture is about aesthetics and not much else. REX has a different take: architecture, the firm claims, is both function and form. “We really believe that architecture can do things. It’s not just a representational art form,” said Prince-Ramus. “We talk about performance. Aesthetics are part of performance [as is function.]”

Continue reading after the jump.

Obit> Robert Hull, 1945–2014

Architecture, Obit, West
Thursday, April 17, 2014
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Robert Hull, FAIA. (Courtesy The Miller Hull Partnership)

Robert Hull, FAIA. (Courtesy The Miller Hull Partnership)

Robert Hull, FAIA, founding partner of The Miller Hull Partnership, has died from complications following a stroke. Hull, who was 68, was on sabbatical in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. He is survived by his wife and two sons.

Continue reading after the jump.

Harvard Names Seven Finalists for the 2014 Wheelwright Prize

The Finalists Projects. (Courtesy Harvard GSD)

The Finalists Projects. (Courtesy Harvard GSD)

Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) has announced seven finalists for the $100,000 Wheelwright Grant which is awarded annually for travel-based architectural research. This prize was first given in 1935 to purely GSD grads until it was revamped in 2013 to be an open competition.

The 2014 competition received nearly 200 submissions from 46 countries. The jury awarded special commendation to seven individuals for their exceptional design talent and imaginative research proposals. The winner will be announced on April 30th.

See the finalists after the jump.

Can a Canadian Furniture Magnate Save Citi Bike?

Citi Bikes docked in NYC. (SLGCKGC / FLICKR)

Citi Bikes docked in NYC. (SLGCKGC / FLICKR)

Given the past few weeks of Citi Bike news, the events that played out over last weekend shouldn’t come as a surprise. But, alas, they do. Bixi— the bankrupt Montreal company behind Citi Bike‘s glitchy equipment—was purchased by, who else, a Canadian furniture magnate named Bruno Rodi. Yes, the man whose company sells living-room furniture and bills itself as the “spécialiste du sofa” will himself become the “spécialiste du vélo.”

It gets stranger after the jump.

Networking Opportunities Abound at facades+PERFORMANCE New York

East
Thursday, April 17, 2014
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facades+PERFORMANCE New York offers opportunities for informal networking as well as scheduled presentations and workshops.

facades+PERFORMANCE New York offers opportunities for informal networking as well as scheduled presentations and workshops.

So much of design work today is solitary. It involves sitting in front of a computer—crunching data, building renderings, and running evaluations on digital models. But that’s not the full picture. AEC professionals rely on personal connections to identify projects, connect with clients, and learn new skills. Whether a business meeting or a chat over cocktails, face-to-face interactions still matter.

Continue reading after the jump.

Product> From Pawson to Libeskind, Quick Picks from Milan Design Week

Interiors, Product
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
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Color Fall by Casamania. (Courtesy Casamania)

Color Fall by Casamania. (Courtesy Casamania)

AN editors swept and tweeted through the exhibit halls of the venerable Salone del Mobile last week, as well as the myriad satellite design events, exhibits, and installations that popped up around Milan. Footsore but aesthetically satiated, the AN team has reassembled stateside to share some of the best finds from the fair.

Casamania
Color Fall

A lacquered, digital print enlivens the interior of the shelves, which are constructed of humble MDF. Designed by Garth Roberts.

More picks after the jump.

Before & After> Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Imagines a Pedestrian-Friendly Seattle

seattle-streetscape-01bseattle-streetscape-01a

The streets of downtown Seattle are set for a major overhaul, thanks to a new masterplan by Gustafson Guthrie Nichol. As AN reported in our recent West Coast edition, the Seattle-based firm has made recommendations to improve the pedestrian realm “centers on uniting the fragmented parts of the Pike-Pine corridor, two major thoroughfares at the heart of the retail core running east-west from Interstate 5 to the waterfront.”

Check out their dramatic proposed transformations overlayed on Seattle’s existing streetscape for a better look at how pedestrians and cyclists will fare under the plan.

More after the jump.

Art Barn on the Move: Rice University’s Martel Center To Be Relocated to Houston’s Fourth Ward

Southwest
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
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The Art Barn (Courtesy Rice)

Leaving campus the way it came in—amid a swirl of shifting plans and controversy—seems to be the modus operandi for Rice University’s Martel Center, more colloquially known as “the Art Barn.” After reports last month that the building would be demolished, Rice University changed its mind and announced that it would, instead, relocate the historic structure to the Fourth Ward area of Houston, just west of downtown.

The Art Barn has graced Rice University’s campus since 1969. Originally conceived by John and Dominique de Menil as what was meant to be a quick-fix housing solution for their prestigious private art collection, the squatter became father to a generation of its kind, and established itself as a cultural mainstay not just within the university, but the community as a whole.

Continue reading after the jump.

“Transit Future” Wish List Tantalizes Chicago Commuters with $20 Billion in Improvements

Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle speaking at the Transit Future campaign press conference. (Steven vance)

Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle speaking at the Transit Future campaign press conference. (Steven vance)

Here’s something to meditate on the next time you see three Chicago Transit Authority buses leapfrogging one another on a crowded street, or have to shell out for a cab because the trains won’t get you where you want to go on time: a grand proposal called “Transit Future” that seeks to improve the way Chicagoans get around the region.

Continue reading after the jump.

Two-Sided Railway Station by Team CS

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The south facade of the new Rotterdam Centraal Station is a soaring construction of stainless steel and glass. (Jannes Linders for Team CS)

The south facade of the new Rotterdam Centraal Station is a soaring construction of stainless steel and glass. (Jannes Linders for Team CS)

Rotterdam Centraal Station’s relationship to the existing urban fabric called for different treatments of its north and south facades.

To call the commission for a new central railway station in Rotterdam complicated would be an understatement. The project had multiple clients, including the city council and the railway company ProRail. The program was complex, encompassing the north and south station halls, train platforms, concourse, commercial space, offices, outdoor public space, and more. Finally, there was the station’s relationship to Rotterdam itself: while city leaders envisioned the south entrance as a monumental gateway to the city, the proximity of an historic neighborhood to the north necessitated a more temperate approach. Team CS, a collaboration among Benthem Crouwel Architekten, MVSA Meyer en Van Schooten Architecten, and West 8, achieved a balancing act with a multipart facade conceived over the project’s decade-long gestation. On the south, Rotterdam Centraal Station trumpets its presence with a swooping triangular stainless steel and glass entryway, while to the north a delicate glass-house exterior defers to the surrounding urban fabric. Read More

Seven Firms Short-Listed for Mexico City Airport Expansion

Inside the current structure. (Branden Klayko / AN)

Inside the current terminal. (Branden Klayko / AN)

It’s a battle of the starchitects in Mexico City—and the Brits are leading the pack. Out of the seven finalists short-listed to design an expansion for the capital city’s airport, Benito Juarez International, four hail from the UK: Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, and Pascall+Watson.

Continue reading after the jump.

vision42design Competition Asks Designers to Re-Imagine 42nd Street Without Cars

(Courtesy Vision 42)-2

(Courtesy vision42)

The Institute for Rational Urban Mobility is hosting the just-announced vision42design Competition calling on architects, designers, and transportation gurus to re-imagine one of the most iconic (and congested) streets in New York City—42nd Street. Submit your plans today to transform the street into a world-class boulevard complete with a high-quality public spaces and a light-rail tram. In addition to the $10,000 winner’s prize, the jury’s top selected projects will be featured in The Architect’s Newspaper. For more info and to register visit the competition website. Registration Deadline: Sept 8, 2014 (Midnight) EST

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