The Ledge

Midwest
Thursday, July 2, 2009
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Butterfly in the sky, I can go just as high.

Butterfly in the sky, I can go twice as high.

In our pilot Midwest issue, I wrote about The Ledge, a new viewing platform at the Sears Tower (now Willis Tower) in Chicago. At the time, only renderings were available of the SOM-designed all-glass cubes that protrude off of the tower’s west face, and the project was expected to open in mid June. Well, it appears that the dizzying new viewing experience is now accepting visitors, as a whole rash of pictures have popped up on flickr. Among them is the above image, which reminds us that sometimes the highest achievement that architecture can aspire to is to fuel the dreams of a child.

Cap + Trade = Green Building?

National
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
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The House’s passage of new Energy and Climate legislation (HR 2454: the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009) on Friday means more than just the possible institution of a new cap and trade system for the U.S. According to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the act includes several elements that should spur green building as well. These include: Read More

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Washington Lights

East, East Coast
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
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The Port Authority has swapped the bridges mercury vapor lamps for more energy-efficient LED fixtures (Courtesy sharpshoota.com)

The Port Authority has swapped the bridge's mercury vapor lamps for more energy-efficient LED fixtures (Courtesy sharpshoota.com)

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has completed the installation of LED fixtures on the necklace of the George Washington Bridge. The 156 light emitting diode fixtures replace the span’s mercury vapor lamps and are expected to save $49,000 in energy and maintenance costs annually. The LED fixtures have 80,000-hour, or 15-year, life spans, while the mercury lamps only lasted one year on average. The Port Authority also expects the new energy-efficient fixtures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 220,000 pounds per year. The capital project was approved by the authority’s board of commissioners in 2007 as part of an initiative to reduce green house gas emissions at Port Authority facilities.

Stuytown Gets Reatard-ed

East, East Coast
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
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Jay Reatard comes to, of all places, Stuytown. (Courtesy Brooklyn Vegan)

Jay Reatard comes to, of all places, Stuytown. (Courtesy Brooklyn Vegan)

Among the amenities–Oval Lounge, Oval Kids, lots and lots of trees–Tishman Speyer has rolled out at Stuytown to justify the ever-higher rents is a new summer concert series. And performing tonight is none other than… Jay Reatard? Kaki King and Budos Band we kinda get, though really, wouldn’t the Klezmonauts have made more sense? Or perhaps that is the genius behind bringing in this would-be-Ozzy Memphis garage punk Jay Reatard (the name alone says it all). This is a man, after all, who punched a fan for being too rowdy at a Toronto show, who regularly poses for pictures drenched in blood. What better way to drive out what’s left of Stuytown’s intractable, crotchety, and old (i.e. rent-controlled) residents than to have hundreds if not thousands of sweaty hipsters descend on your quaint little park and cause mayhem. Video evidence after the jump. Read More

The Emerald Coast of Queens

East, East Coast
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
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A view of the new section of Gantry Plaza State Park in Queens. (Images courtesy ESDC)

A view of the new section of Gantry Plaza State Park in Queens. (Images courtesy ESDC)

On Thursday, we wrote about a new park that had been unveiled as part of the city’s plans for Hunter’s Point South. Not to be outdone, Gantry Plaza State Park, Queens West’s original greenway, is expanding, with a new 6-acre stretch opening tomorrow. Designed by Abel Bainnson Butz, the new section of park brings Gantry Plaza to 10 acres of waterfront open space. With Macy’s fireworks moving north up the Hudson this year, those new lounge chairs and hammocks could be a perfect place to watch. Check ‘em out after the jump. Read More

The Past Imperfect

International
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
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For the 53rd Venice Art Biennial, Jorge Otero-Pailos, a professor of preservation at Columbia, made a cast of the pollution on a wall of the Doge’s Palace on the Palazzo San Marco. Trained as a conservationist, he painted liquid latex directly onto the wall and then carefully removed the cast in one sheet. The result, The Ethics of Dust, Doge’s Palace, Venice, 2009, seen in this video, is a luminous scrim that preserves the residue accrued overtime.

Such pollution is typically seen negatively, but Otero-Pailos sees it as a record of human activity and questions the impulse to erase these traces of the past.

See Bruce in Court!

East, East Coast
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
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We barely knew yee, Ellerbe arena. (Courtesy ESDC)

We barely knew yee, Ellerbe arena. (Courtesy ESDC)

We recently wrote above how opponent’s best hope of stopping Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards Project was not the departure of Frank Gehry but lawsuits. There was a good possibility the “sweetheart” deals the state had crafted to make Ratner’s project easier to move forward could have triggered further litigation, but it seems it may not even come to that, as the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, has decided to hear Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn’s challenge to the state’s use of eminent domain. With oral arguments not due until October, the outcome of the suit may not even matter, as it will likely further delay a scheduled fall groundbreaking on the new arena and could make it even harder for Ratner to secure tax-exempt financing before year’s end. Read More

More Regions, More Problems

National
Monday, June 29, 2009
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Planetizen’s Nate Berg brings us an interesting report from America 2050‘s recent LA conference. The group is trying to develop a nationwide infrastructure strategy. In order to handle the U.S.’s mega problems, it’s divided the country into 11 “megaregions,” to “encourage regional thinking and cooperation on issues like transportation, energy, and water.” Read More

Taking Back the Streets x2

East, East Coast
Monday, June 29, 2009
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Before closing Broadway got her branded a car-hating communist, DOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan was already well on her way to transforming the city’s streets. One of the most memorable events–and a sign of things to come–was last year’s Summer Streets program, which, for three Saturdays last August, closed off a large swath of Manhattan from the Brooklyn Bridge to 72nd Street, with most of the course running up Park Avenue. (There was also a less publicized closure of Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg.) Never one to stand (or bike) still, Sadik-Khan and the mayor announced today the expansion of the program throughout the summer and across all five boroughs this year. Details after the jump, but first two quick thoughts: Brooklyn, with seven sites, is the obvious winner; and why no Park Avenue this year? Read More

Saturday Night Live (At Dwell)

West
Monday, June 29, 2009
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Food truck mania

We don’t always give props to other design pubs, but after a great weekend at Dwell On Design, how can we not? After the expo, the panels, and the awards, on Saturday night the Dwellistas hosted a wonderful evening at the Geffen Contemporary in Downtown LA that started with LA’s first ever mobile restaurant row (Apparently the Kogi taco truck has helped spawn a phenomenon), and then became a night at the movies. Read More

Schrager in Chicago

Midwest
Monday, June 29, 2009
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The Pump Room in its heyday. (courtesy www.pumproom.com)

Ian Schrager is coming to Chicago. Crain’s reports that the hotelier, known for his high design boutique properties, is looking to buy and renovate the Ambassador East and it’s famous restaurant, the Pump Room. Read More

SOM To Date

National
Monday, June 29, 2009
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Monacellis five-book series on SOM begin with three volumes reprinted from the original Verlag Gerd Hatje monographs.

Monacelli's five-book series on SOM begin with three volumes reprinted from the original Verlag Gerd Hatje monographs.

The Monacelli Press has announced publication of a five-volume monograph on SOM. According to the publisher, the five books offer a near complete history of the iconic firm’s work from the 1950s to the present. Each project featured is illustrated with archival and new photographs, as well as drawings, and each volume begins with an essay from such well-known architecture critics as Henry-Russell Hitchcock, Albert Bush Brown, and Kenneth Frampton. The first three volumes are reprints of editions published by Verlag Gerd Hatje in 1963, 1974, and 1984, though their layouts have been updated and their covers redesigned to create a consistent aesthetic with the two new volumes. The monographs go on sale in October, though they are currently available for pre-order on Random House’s website.

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