LA Will Not Be the Same Without John Chase

West
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
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Lean On Me: John Chase (center) and friends

The accolades keep pouring in for former West Hollywood Urban Designer John Chase. Frances Anderton is busy writing the obituary for us (and her blog for KCRW’s Design and Architecture is full of Chase memories). Here’s a lovely tribute from Marissa Gluck and Josh Williams at Curbed LA. And one from AN contributor Alissa Walker. And below is a moving piece from AN contributor Tibby Rothman:

In Memory of John Chase, Formidable Friend, Daring Dresser, Urban Enthusiast

LA planner James Rojas just posted this: “LA has lost its greatest urban planner. John Chase has passed away.”

But John Leighton Chase was also a writer. And, he was better than the rest of us at it. I remember reading his stuff for the first time, and knowing very clearly that I’d never be that good. Read More

Flooding the Unisphere Once Again

East, East Coast
Monday, August 16, 2010
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For the first time in 15 years, the Unisphere, one of the ’64 World’s Fair’s numerous icons, is back on, its fountain at full force thanks to a $2 million renovation funded by the Queens Borough President and the city. Designed by landscape architect Gilmore D. Clarke, the fountain is, as Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe puts it, part of the city’s Versailles that is Flushing Meadows. While not quite the Lincoln Center fountain, we’d still sit here any day and enjoy some Belgian waffles, which a press release informs us were served at Thursday’s rechristening, having been a favorite at the Fair.

Learning From, and Ignoring, Hong Kong

East Coast, International
Monday, August 16, 2010
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Hong Kong (right) and Kowloon, one of the many cities-within-cities that have sprung up on the island in recent decades. (Mr. Wabu/Flickr)

We’re fairly critical of the planning process here in New York, but our pal Norman Oder has us beat a thousand times over with his watchdog website The Atlantic Yards Report. Which is why we were surprised to find him writing over on Urban Omnibus about just how laudable our way of doing things can actually be, at least compared to the current vogue for Asian-style authoritarian planning, particularly that of Hong Kong. Jumping off from Vishaan Chakrabarti’s praise for Hong Kong’s “doubling down on density,” Oder points out that of the locals he’s heard from, “enough is enough.” Read More

Another Sad Day For LA Architecture

West
Friday, August 13, 2010
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John Chase, at left, with Frances Anderton, Clive Wilkinson, and friend

We’re still reeling from the tragic death of Stephen Kanner, and now we have learned that two more of LA’s brightest lights, Elaine Jones and John Chase, have also died. Jones was A. Quincy Jones’ widow, and Chase was the urban designer for the City of West Hollywood. Both were valuable advocates for architecture and good friends. We’re still gathering information and will get it to you as soon as we can.

Dyson Awards Aim to Improve Society Through Design

International
Thursday, August 12, 2010
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Copenhagen 1

The brief for the James Dyson Award design competition is deceptively simple: Design something that solves a problem. The winner and nine finalists representing the United States all responded with highly functional designs that could make a positive impact on the way we live, none more so than the U.S. winner, the Copenhagen Wheel, designed by Christine Outram and students in the SENSEable City Lab at MIT. The hybrid battery-powered disk turns any bike into an electric boosted bike, helping cyclists go longer distances and ride up hills. Read More

Thoughts From That Other Biennial, in California

West
Thursday, August 12, 2010
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The Eco Center at Heron's Head Park, Toby Long Design

The California Design Biennial includes a well thought out spectrum of designers from the practical to the extraordinary.  Held this year at the Pasadena Museum of California Art, the fourth running of the event (which continues through October 31) has five categories: Fashion Design, Transportation Design, Graphic Design, Product Design and, for the first time, Architecture. Bravo to each curator for making every category work together. Frances Anderton, host of KCRW’s DnA: Design and Architecture radio series, was curator for the Architecture category.  Her selections address the social and community roles of building, like the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook.  The large public facility, completed in 2009 by Safdie Rabines Architects, is open to hikers needing respite. Read More

Columbia Builds Holl-y Hell in Inwood

East
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
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The Campbell Sports Center designed by Stephen Holl has some neighbors ready to punt.

Can Columbia build anything without causing a ruckus? There is, of course, the famous gym proposed for Riverside Park that triggered the 1968 riots, and more recently the huge fight over its 17-acre Manhattanville expansion. Now the Times is reporting a “teapot-size storm” surrounding the university’s proposal to build a new athletic center within its complex in Inwood. According to the Gray Lady, the issues are the same as anywhere in Manhattan: light, views, and context. “It does not relate well to the community,” said Gail Addiss, 61, an architect who lives opposite Baker Field. “It’s similar to Frank Gehry architecture — large metal things whose glare is going to cause more brightness to reflect into people’s windows.”

NYC Snatches Sustainability Czar from PDX

East Coast, National
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
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There are few places better for the Bloomberg administration to look for a new head for the Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainabilty than Portland, that utopia of urban green living. (To some, it borders on zealotry.) Today the administration announced that David Bragdon, the president of Metro, the City of Roses’ land-use and management body, will be replacing the recently departed Rohit Aggarwala. He has his work cut out for him, as his predecessor was the chief architect of the city’s lauded PlaNYC 2030 plan, though it appears the office is in capable hands. Read More

All Aboard for the Venice Biennale

International
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
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The Biennale Architettura 2010 in Venice will open a month earlier than usual this year, with the media vernissage set for August 26–28. The Architect’s Newspaper will be there blogging daily on Kazuyo Sejima’s curated exhibition People Meet in Architecture, bringing you reports from all the national pavilions, collateral exhibits, and of course the parties. Read More

Morris-Sato Stunner for Sale

East
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
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Morris-Sato's recent masterpiece can be yours for a cool $4.195 million.

Is it a good sign or a bad one for real estate that all these spiffy homes are for sale? And what does it say about high-end, name-checking architecture? Most recently, we noted a notable Eric Owen Moss home up for sale, and now our good friend and frequent contributor Alexandra Lange notified us (how else—via Twitter) that the stunning YN-13 House designed by Morris-Sato Studio, which she highlighted in her summer homes feature last year, is now up for sale. At the time, she wrote, “the one thing the YN-13 House is not is a cookie-cutter, shingles-on-steroids McMansion.” Corcoran, in its listing for the Shelter Island stead, puts it this way: “Inspired by the historic homes of Kyoto, Japan, this unique architecturally designed residence combines artful living with uncommon functionality. The clean lines and meticulous detailing and construction throughout infuse the light filled spacious home with remarkable serenity and grace.” They’re currently asking $4.195 million. Read More

Brutalism On the Small Screen

East
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
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Quick! Name that Building!

That’s right, it’s time for another round of our favorite game. You can probably name the architect, thanks to the ribbons of his signature corduroy concrete, to say nothing of the cantilevered passageways and swooping staircases. So it’s Paul Rudolph. But which of his masterworks? It’s not a famous one, so you’ll probably never guess. Okay, you got it. It’s the Hurley Building of his Government Service Center in Boston. It’s an impressive star turn for an architect whose buildings haven’t faired so well of late. And yet it’s good to know that when those Madison Avenue Fatcats still need a structure to shoot on that screams hip futurism, Rudolph’s the go-to guy. Dude’s still got it. Read More

Michelle Kaufmann Goes Net Zero

West
Monday, August 9, 2010
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One of three new models from Michelle Kaufmann, the Ridge is designed to withstand cold climates and still meet net-zero energy goals.

Now that LEED is old-hat, architects are starting to talk about net-zero buildings: ones that produce as much energy that they consume. Prefab pioneer Michelle Kaufmann just announced three new prefab designs that are net-zero, offering them through a partnership with Bay Area company Studio 101 Designs. The models start at 422 square feet at a cost of $66,500 ($158 per square foot). Read More

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