Eavesdrop NY 16

Eavesdroplet
Thursday, October 8, 2009
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Brangelina shopping for gerbils for the kids. The furry little things—no, not the kids—would soon occupy an $82,000 Rodentopia. (Courtesy Yeeeah.com)

Brangelina shopping for gerbils for the kids. The furry little things—no, not the kids—would soon occupy an $82,000 Rodentopia. (Courtesy Yeeeah.com)

WE SMELL RATS
Really? The British tabloids (all of them) are reporting that architectural fetishist and actor, Brad Pitt, has built a gerbil “Neverland” for his six children’s herd on his and Angelina’s estate in the South of France. If you believe what they’re reporting, Pitt paid somewhere between $50,000 and $80,000 on an “elaborate gerbil run [that] has a maze of tunnels, seesaws, and platforms for the pets to live in,” according to ever-present anonymous sources. Pets? Gerbils are rodents. Besides, what do gerbils know about architecture? Eavesdrop wants to see the Rodentia brief, renderings, reflected-ceiling and sprinkler plans, specs, etc. Read More

Vito Acconci, Male Model

East, East Coast
Thursday, October 8, 2009
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Vito Acconci, as seen on page 26 of the October Mens J. Crew catalog.

Vito Acconci, as seen on page 26 of the October Men's J. Crew catalog.

Back in June, we spoke with Vito Acconci about his decision to close up shop. The artist and designer essentially said he was yet another victim of the recession—”The contradictory thing is that at a time when there are these architectural projects that we have the possibility of doing, how do we keep the studio active on a day-to-day basis?”—but now we’re wondering if he maybe had a career change in mind. It would appear so, as Archinect alerts us to Vito’s appearance in none other than October’s J. Crew catalog. Maybe it’s some kind of performance art? He’s ready for his close-up after the jump. Read More

Decathletes, Start Your Solar Panels

East
Thursday, October 8, 2009
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On press day, the student teams were still finishing up the installation of their solar houses.

On press day, the student teams were still finishing up the installation of their solar houses. (Courtesy Stefano Paltera/U.S. Dept. of Energy Solar Decathlon)

Yesterday was press day at the 2009 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C. The student teams were still scrambling to finish up their installations when Team Archpaper arrived on the scene, but we still managed to talk our way into a hand full of the 20 solar houses that will go head-to-head in open competition. As in past years, the students will be go about the work of every day living—doing laundry, washing dishes, cooking—and will be judged based upon the energy efficiency, as well as architecture, engineering, comfort, and marketability of their houses. While each of the entries evoked aspects of their respective regions, they fell to either side of a line that ran between off-the-shelf affordability and high-tech über-design. Read More

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Very Veyko

East
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
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Veykos undulating subway seats, coming to a SEPTA station near you. (Courtesy Veyko)

Veyko's undulating subway seats, coming to a SEPTA station near you. (Courtesy Veyko)

With the rising popularity of both design and public transportation, it was only a matter of time before the two joined forces. Here in New York we’ve gotten fancy bike racks, fancy bus stops, and fancy bike racks cum subway grates. Now, Philly’s getting in on the action, with new, nifty seats for some of its SEPTA stations. Designed and fabricated by the fellas at Veyko, a local full-service shop, the benches are meant to evoke the movement of the trains as they fly by—though hopefully not because you’ve missed your train. They won’t be installed in stations just yet, but yo can give them a spin at Penn’s Meyerson Hall this Friday night, where they’ll be installed as park of Philly Work, an open studio event for the city’s designers. Invite after the jump. Read More

Cooper Struts Its Stuff

East Coast, Eavesdroplet
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
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Cooper Union president George Campbell, Jr., begins the night in the new auditorium at his newly completed school. (All photos Matt Chaban)

Cooper Union president George Campbell, Jr., begins the night in the new auditorium at his newly completed school. (All photos Matt Chaban)

Last week, the Rockefeller Foundation handed out its Jane Jacobs Medal, now in its third year, at a fête at Thom Mayne’s sumptuous new Cooper Union building. Guests were initially relegated to a basement parlor for drinks before being ushered across the hall into the jaw-dropping Frederick P. Rose Auditorium, which is said to be the little sister of the famed 1858 Great Hall in the main building. Maybe—but only if she were wearing a gauzy, wrinkled sheath dress of aluminum lace. Could there be nicer acoustical baffling?

Cooper president George Campbell, Jr., introduced Judith Rodin, president of the foundation. Before beginning her remarks, Rodin gave a shout out to a trio of city commissioners who were equal parts guests of honor and comrades at arms: Planning’s Amanda Burden, Transportation’s Janette Sadik-Khan, and, newest of the pack, HPD’s Rafael Cestero. Read More

A Double Feature at pinkcomma

East
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
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(photos: Quilian Riano)

Increasingly becoming home to Boston’s architectural community, pinkcomma gallery opened its third Fall season on with two exhibitions: Heroic and Publishing Practices. Heroic takes a closer look at the material that re-shaped Boston, concrete, and the idealistic architects that used it from 1957-1976. The exhibit consists of a selection of local concrete buildings intertwined with essays by some of the architects who built them, material experts, historians, and voices from a new architectural generation who seek to put this work in context. Heroic, however, boasts a larger and weighty agenda: to educate the public at large on the innovations and ideals of Boston’s concrete architectural legacy to save endangered buildings.

Read More

Haven For Hipsters

West
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
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For those of you  Silver Lake architects looking for new offices, may we recommend a great, and ironically cool spot. The Haven of Rest, once the 1970′s offices for a radio ministry of the same name (where you could “take the good ship Grace to Jesus with Captain Bill as your guide,”) is now a haven for creative workers. The spot, which opened in September (it sits next to the Haven’s original recording studio, which looks not unlike a giant boat)  currently rents out workspaces and cubicles to filmmakers, writers, editors, a dancer, and a record company, among others. It was renovated back in the late 90′s by architect Barbara Bestor for record company Dust Bro’s, so it includes much of her brightly colored modern aesthetic. There are three or four offices left; contact Dirty Robber, the production company who leases the spaces, if you’re interested. Read More

Machines in the Garden

West
Monday, October 5, 2009
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Inside Schindlers How House, Looking Out

Inside Schindler's How House, looking out.

The MAK Center‘s  Silver Lake/ Los Feliz house tour yesterday helped once again put to rest the fallacy that Modernist homes have to be cold boxes with no regard for their contexts. On the contrary, the homes by Schindler, Ain, Ellwood, Soriano, and Harris focus on natural materials and highlight their landscapes: framing fantastic views, incorporating  secluded gardens, and opening up with cross breezes, open courtyards, and double-height windows. Our favorite houses, Schindler’s Howe House (1926, just painstakingly restored by preservationist Michael LaFetra) and Ellwood’s Moore House (1965), induced zen-like contemplative states with their breathtaking landscapes, light-filled interlocking spaces, and warm wood cladding. And who knew that Soriano’s Schrage House (1952) had a waterfall and a killer model train setup in its garden? Read More

Code Warriors

East
Monday, October 5, 2009
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The joys of syntax: Casey Reas Programming. (Courtesy MIT Press)

The joys of syntax: Casey Reas' and Ben Fry's Processing. (Courtesy MIT Press)

On September 28, the first round in a series of debates on the future of computational design kicked off at Columbia University’s GSAPP. Under the heading Post-Parametric, the first debate was co-chaired by David Benjamin, partner at The Living design studio and director of GSAPP’s Living Architecture Lab, and Michael K. Reed of Columbia’s Department of Computer Science and Blue Sky Studios. Focusing on the subject of data, the event brought Casey Reas to the table with Chuck Eastman, and the result, one might say, was a technical knockout. Read More

Feasibility is the Essence of Design

International
Monday, October 5, 2009
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This innovative British firm is on the shortlist for the 2010 Stirling Prize. The building they’re brainstorming is the firm’s first U.S. commission. The site is somewhere on Cooper Square. Morphosis is the architect of record.

Their work is the focus of a new book, Feasibility: The New Polemic (The Too Little Too Late Press, 2009).

Water Water Everywhere

West
Friday, October 2, 2009
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Could rising sea levels do this to New York?

Kurt Russell surfs on the LA River in Escape from LA. Could be in California

With its economy in the toilet and its legislature stuck in gridlock, California is .. hurting. But there is one area where the Golden State is still a leader. It’s one of the few states in the country to be developing an actual plan for rising sea levels: the California Climate Adaptation Strategy Draft. This, and other very relevant topics will be discussed tomorrow at a UC Berkeley symposium tomorrow called Battling The Sea Level Rise: Climate Adaptation Plans in California & Lessons for Developing World Cities. Read More

Man of Metal

East
Thursday, October 1, 2009
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Moneo

Moneo

Last night Rafael Moneo, Madrid-based architect and Harvard Graduate School of Design professor, kicked off Columbia’s third annual conference on architecture, engineering, and materials with a keynote lecture on his Northwest Corner Building, a new interdisciplinary science facility between Chandler and Pupin halls.

This year’s conference is titled Post Ductility: Metals in Architecture and Engineering, and though Moneo’s building isn’t scheduled to be completed until the fall of next year, there may not have been a better time to discuss its materials or its contribution to the campus. Unfinished, the building can be seen as the engineering marvel that it is, with 300 tons of structural trusses enabling it to float above the gym beneath it. (Here’s a video we posted of them being installed.) Read More

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