Such Great Heights

Midwest
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
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Blue Ridge Pass by Maya Lin (images courtesy Arts Club of Chicago)

Winter makes Chicagoans crave a sense of escape. An intriguing new exhibition of Maya Lin’s work at the Arts Club of Chicago provides a timely opportunity to visit, visually at least, some fascinating terrain. With its small and large-scale sculpture and installations, viewers can travel from mountain peaks to the bottom of the sea. Read More

Do Not Let Me Down

International
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
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The U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince is one of the only major structures to survive the earthquake and has become an important base for relief operations.

Engineering News Record brings us the news that the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince is one of the few major buildings to survive the January 12th earthquake with only minor damage. According to the report, the facility remained functional during and after the earthquake: the electricity stayed on, communications systems continued to function, and water and air kept operating. As a result the building has become an important center for relief efforts. The reason that the 134,000-square-foot structure escaped the general devastation seems to be that it was built recently in accordance with the International Building Code and the State Department’s Overseas Building Operations requirements. The building was constructed between 2005 and 2008 as a design-build project by New York City-based Fluor Corp, was bolstered by reinforced concrete shear walls, and had mechanical and electrical systems built to withstand seismic events.

Save LA Cultural Affairs. Really.

West
Monday, February 1, 2010
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Just when we thought budget cuts couldn’t get any deeper in LA, the City Council has put forward a motion to eliminate the Department of Cultural Affairs’ only regular revenue stream, the 1% allocation from the city’s Transient Occupancy Tax. The tax now funds a large portion of the department’s operations and programs. Local non-profit Arts For LA is hoping to block this move by organizing testimony against it at the LA city council meeting this Wednesday. They’re also calling on all concerned to reach out to their local council people. Here’s a link to find yours. So go ahead. Save the day.

AIA Honors for AN

National
Monday, February 1, 2010
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AN is among the winners of the 2010 Institute Honor Awards.

 

This weekend the AIA announced that The Architect’s Newspaper has been awarded a 2010 Collaborative Achievement Award. We’re thrilled to get the national recognition because even as a regional publication (Ok-now three regionals) we have always aimed our sights as high and wide as possible. The Architect’s Newspaper has always prided itself as well on its independent voice and critical attitude toward the practice and profession of architecture, while still working collaboratively with the AIA on many events, including the New Practices program in New York and San Francisco. We’re honored our voice has been heard, and we look forward to picking up our award at the AIA national convention on June 10-12 in Miami.  Thank you, AIA!

Eavesdrop CA 01

Eavesdroplet
Monday, February 1, 2010
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Belzberg Architect's Skyline Residence, recent site of Sam Lubell book signing, $5.6 million sale. Coincidence? We think not! (Courtesy Belzberg Architects)

TORCH BEARERS
On January 5, our New York colleagues attended a wake to mourn last month’s folding of I.D. magazine, the 55-year-old trusted chronicler of design where pioneer modernist Alvin Lustig was art director and a young John Gregory Dunne was an editor before turning to novels and screenplays. The bi-coastal bash was more of a gathering of the fellowship than a farewell, with Pentagram grandee Michael Bierut and former editors Chee Pearlman and Julie Lasky hosting. Fresh from Silicon Valley, newly appointed National Design Museum director Bill Moggridge, formerly of IDEO, was also there studying local rituals. Read More

Rough Ride on the South Side

Midwest
Friday, January 29, 2010
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(Courtesy Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center)

With project’s like the Gary Comer Youth Center, designed by John Ronan Architects, and the SOS Children’s Villages by Studio Gang, Chicago’s South Side has some of the most exciting non-profit institutional architecture in the country. Chicago Magazine takes an in-depth look at one project that has had a decidely bumpier ride, the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, once planned for Bronzeville in an Antoine Predock-designed building, now destined for West Pullman in a less ambitious piece of architecture designed by Antunovich Associates (above). The piece lays out in detail how in 2004 the project was scuttled when then Alderman Dorothy Tillman vetoed the project, saying she wanted a shopping center on the site. The project was then relocated to West Pullman, with a slightly less expensive design by Murphy/Jahn. Read More

Baan Among the Best

International
Friday, January 29, 2010
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Baan doing what he does best. (Courtesy Iwan.com)

First there was Ezra Stoller, then Julius Shulman. Now comes Iwan Baan, who is furiously “remaking the genre” of architectural photography, as Charles Renfro put it to Fred Bernstein in Sunday’s Times. Baan, while only 34, has an exploding, explosive list of clients. As Bernstein explains, “Mr. Baan’s work, while still showing architecture in flattering lights and from carefully chosen angles, does away with the old feeling of chilly perfection. In its place he offers untidiness, of the kind that comes from real people moving though buildings and real cities massing around them.” It is for this reason, among many others, that Baan was selected as one of a dozen photographers in our annual Best Of issue, now online. Not surprisingly, his work turns up throughout, bringing to life everything from the High Line’s lighting to 41 Cooper Square’s facade. Do think of calling on him—as well as the hundreds of other contractors, fabricators, and suppliers in Best Of—next time you need a smart hand or steady eye on one of your projects.

Homes for Haiti

West
Thursday, January 28, 2010
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House Arc, a modular house designed to withstand hurricane-force winds. Courtesy Joseph Bellomo

Bay Area architect Joseph Bellomo was putting the finishing touches on one of his side projects, a modular studio for a client in Hawaii, when he heard about the earthquake.  Because of the nature of the structure, which had been designed specifically for a tropical climate, he couldn’t help but think that it might be a good option for those made homeless by the devastation. Read More

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lumenHAUS on Broadway

East
Thursday, January 28, 2010
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Virginia Tech's entry to the 2009 DOE Solar Decathlon, lumenHAUS, in Times Square.

If you can’t make it to the Hafele showroom tonight for the presentation on lumenHAUS—Virginia Tech’s entry to the 2009 DOE Solar Decathlon—don’t worry about it. AN was in Times Square last night to get the inside skinny on the solar-powered wonder house. In a quest to reconcile contemporary goals of sustainability with modern architecture, the VT team went beyond solar arrays. They began by studying the Farnsworth House and looking for ways to increase its insulation while maintaining its connection to its surroundings. That inquiry led to the design of a steel-framed glass box outfitted with two layers of sliding panels. Read More

Broad Fatigue.. Or not?

West
Thursday, January 28, 2010
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Now that downtown LA has tossed its hat into the ring to compete for Eli Broad’s new contemporary art museum, we’ve finally reached Broad saturation. Broad has gotten the cities of Santa Monica, Culver City, and Beverly Hills to also compete for the museum, assuring that he gets the sweetest of sweetheart deals. Meanwhile, he basically controls most of the major public architecture and art in the city. There’s now the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, the Broad Contemporary Art Museum in Miracle Mile, the Broad Art Center at UCLA, as well as MOCA (bailed out and greatly influenced by Broad), the LA High School For the Performing Arts (largely funded by Broad), Disney Hall  (pushed and funded by Broad), and the Grand Avenue Project (also largely supported by Broad). Phew. It’s great to have a guiding hand and all, but GEEZ! Ok, we promise not to mention the name Broad again. Until at least tomorrow…

Big Moola for NOLA

National
Thursday, January 28, 2010
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A preliminary scheme for Charity Hospital's replacement.

On the heels of the Saints’ victory, the Big Easy had another big win this week, this time in the form of a $474.8 million FEMA payment. But preservationists have been dealt a major blow in their fight to save 70-year-old Charity Hospital in New Orleans, along with a tract of historic homes and structures in the city’s Mid-City district. For the past four years, Louisiana state officials have been at loggerheads with FEMA over the extent of Hurricane Katrina’s damages to Charity, which has been shuttered since the storm. On Wednesday, a federal arbitration panel ordered FEMA to pay nearly all of the requested replacement costs for the state-owned hospital. The ruling was a triumph for city and state officials who argued that Charity was more than 50 percent damaged by the hurricane and therefore eligible for replacement, instead of repair. Read More

Rail Picking Up Steam

National
Thursday, January 28, 2010
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(all images courtesy whitehouse.gov)

California, Florida, and Illinois are receiving the largest pieces of the federal high speed rail pie. According to the a release from the White House, California will receive  $2.32 billion for a forked line running from San Diego to Los Angeles and splitting in Northern California with spurs to San Francisco and Sacramento. Florida will receive $1.25 billion for a new line from Tampa to Orlando, with an additional line connected Orlando to Miami as a part of a “long-term vision.”

“By investing in high speed rail, we’re doing so many good things for our country at the same time,” said Vice President Biden, according to a statement from the White House . “We’re creating good construction and manufacturing jobs in the near-term. We’re spurring economic development in the future. We’re making our communities more livable—and we’re doing it all while decreasing America’s environmental impact and increasing America’s ability to compete in the world.”

Illinois will receive $1.13 billion to upgrade its corridor to St. Louis, far less than the $4.5 billion the state sought.

Read More

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