So Much for LEED

East, East Coast
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
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Everybodys doing it: The garage at the Santa Monica Civic Center, the worlds first LEED certified parking structure.

Everybody's doing it: The garage at the Santa Monica Civic Center, the world's first LEED certified parking structure.

Yesterday, the Times ran a decent though not totally honest and rather obvious piece on how a number of LEED buildings don’t actually save much in the way of energy. The Federal Building in Youngstown, Ohio is taken to task for “rack[ing] up points for things like native landscaping rather than structural energy-saving features.” Well, our dear friend and fellow blogger Chad Smith takes the Gray Lady to task for its disingenuity. Yes, LEED is flexible, maybe sometimes too much so, but that’s precisely what makes it so good, Chad argues, or at least so successful. To wit: Read More

Pint-Sized City

West
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
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AN contributor Christina Chan sends this wee report from Irvine:

Pretend City is populated entirely by kids–this mini replica of a city is Irvine’s newest children’s museum. The 28,000-square-foot facility, which just opened its doors to visitors, has taken over a decade to come to fruition. Philanthropists Alexandra Airth and Sandra Peffer are behind the new mini-metropolis. The museum includes interactive learning exhibits geared for kids up to eight years of age.The city includes a farm where little ones can learn about the food they consume, a ATM for financial learning, a café with mock ovens and menus, and a beach that will teach about the effects of pollution. And for budding architects, there is even a construction site where kids (and perhaps grown-ups, too) can build structures with wooden planks.

Euro Bulb Ban Begins

International
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
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Environmentalists feel that banning incandescent light bulbs is a no brainer.

Environmentalists feel that banning incandescent light bulbs is a no brainer.

Europe’s ban on incandescent light bulbs went into effect today. A New York Times report filed yesterday from Brussels brought home the air of ambivalence that has accompanied the prohibition, relating tales of some Europeans jumping eagerly on the compact fluorescent (CFL) bandwagon, others racing out to stockpile the old bulbs before retailers run out, and still others wondering, “Why are we switching?” The european ban can be seen as a bellwether for a similar phasing out that will begin to take place here in the U.S. in 2012, which I wrote about in the editorial for our 2008 Lighting Issue. Just to recap, while there is no argument in terms of the energy savings that incandescent replacement technologies such as CFLs offer, they do come with their own problems: they cost more, come with embedded electronics, contain mercury, and, most important for designers, they do not render color as well. And, let’s not forget, in certain places incandescent light bulbs’ inefficiency is a boon.

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Finally On Facebook

National
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
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Were part of the club!

We're part of the club!

You’re hopefully following us on Twitter, and you’re obviously reading our blog and maybe watching our videos on YouTube. Today, we’re happy to announce that AN has taken that final, belated step into the Internet age and launched a Facebook fan page. Do show your support and follow us there. We look forward to your comments, contributions, and, yes, criticism. Until then, safe surfing.

How Fruity?

West
Friday, August 28, 2009
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Alan Tossman of Santa Monica's Farmers’ Market Movable Spaces, one of three submissions already approved in the competition.

Alan Tossman of Santa Monica's Farmers’ Market Movable Spaces, one of three submissions already approved in the competition.

Just a reminder that everyone has until Tuesday, September 1, to make their submissions to the Redesign Your Farmers Market competition launched earlier this month by us, GOOD, The Urban & Enviromental Policy Institute at Occidental College, and the LA Good Food Network. They’ve updated the submission guidelines, so be sure to check ‘em out, as well as three proposals that have already gotten the thumbs up.

Repurposing! West Philly

East
Friday, August 28, 2009
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Participants hangs out under the canopy. (All photos by Matt Cianfrani)

Participants hangs out under the canopy.

Friend of AN and Slought Foundation executive director Aaron Levy sends the following dispatch from his “Repurpose!” event from last weekend:

When the Into the Open exhibition moved in to the National Constitution Center and the Slought Foundation in Philadelphia in July after stints in New York and before that Venice, where it was last year’s Biennale entry (curated by myself, Andrew Sturm, and AN founding editor William Menking), we decided we wanted to do some community outreach in the spirit of the civic activism promoted by the architects and designers in the exhibition. And so, with the help of the National Constitution Center, the Slought Foundation, and the Community Design Collaborative, we presented “Repurpose!,” a one-day community workshop and design competition highlighting the creative possibilities of urban revitalization in the Mantua neighborhood in West Philadelphia. Read More

Welcome Home Winka

Eavesdroplet
Thursday, August 27, 2009
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Dubbeldam

Dubbeldam

We were surprised and delighted Monday upon reading in Page Six (okay, on Curbed, since we only read the Post when we’re feeling kinky) that one of our favorite designers, Winka Dubbeldam of Archi-Tectonics, will be designing a new club in Amsterdam (you know what that means!) for her fellow Dutchwoman Amy Sacco of Bugnalow 8 fame. Not only is this not the best time for clubbing, but now our dear Winka was cooler than ever, even that nifty condo of hers (aren’t they all?) down on Greenwich Street. We wrote Winka with a whole list of queries about renderings, locations, and lurid nightlife tails. Sadly, all we got back was this, presumably in reference to our dreams of a cool, crazy, possibly tropical design: “Not yet :-)” For now, then, we’re left with our bated breath to keep us warm on those cold MePa nights. Do save us a spot on the guest list, won’t you Winka?

Good Old New York

East, East Coast
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
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Making the streets—and buildings—safer for New Yorks seniors. (Courtesy Streetfilms)

Making the streets—and buildings—safer for New York's seniors. (Courtesy Streetfilms)

Yesterday, the city released a report, “Age Friendly New York,” [PDF] about creating a place that is more appealing to seniors. After all, New York can be hard enough as it is without a bum hip and fifth-floor walk-up. (Why else do so many of us flee for Florida in our autumn years?) The report contains the expected investments in senior centers and “social inclusion,” but roughly 40 percent of the 59 initiatives deal directly or indirectly with issues of equal concern to architects and planners, like more seats at those fancy Cemusa bus shelters, more affordable housing dedicated to seniors, and improved elevator and escalator access. “The initiatives we’re launching will go a long way towards helping older New Yorkers live more connected, vibrant, and meaningful lives,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a press release. The best part is, it might even mean a nicer city for the rest of us, not to mention some much need work for the city’s designers. See all 23 initiatives after the jump. Read More

Gehry Shines in Court

West
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
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The goods. (Courtesy Hello Designers)

The goods. (Courtesy Hello Designers)

He may have lost Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn and Grand Avenue in Downtown LA, but at least Frank Gehry won’t have to forfeit half the proceeds from his jewelry line designed for Tiffany & Co. Yesterday, a judge threw out a case from Culver City-based Circa charging it was owed a fee for a 2003 agreement it struck with the Santa Monica designer for half the profits from any jewelry deal, though it was apparently rescinded a year later, though the two sides differ on this point. Gehry later entered into a direct deal with Tiffany, excluding Circa and its proprietors, Fred and Anthony Nicholas, though people at the company claim to have introduced the architect to New York jeweler. “I couldn’t understand why he wanted so much money for doing nothing,” Gehry told NBC LA outside the courthouse following LA Superior Court judge Jane Johnson’s decision not to hear the case. Maybe this explains the tagline for Gehry’s Tiffany line: “Beauty Without Rules.”

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Architect as.. Indiana Jones?

West
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
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TV program developer William Wiegman is looking for a sexy architect (yes, that does exist) to host a new reality show he’s pitching that “takes viewers on an exploration of the world’s most famous rooftops.” Details on the show are still vague (the producers don’t want anyone stealing their ideas…), but according Wiegman, the “architect must be photogenic, male, 30-45, adventurous, and have an engaging personality on-camera. He must possess the physical agility of a rock climber and the intellectual prowess of an architectural historian.” Good idea, because this architect needs to be filmed standing on building roofs, among other things.  Send resume and photos to williamwiegman@hotmail.com. Deadline for submissions is September 20.

Only In Vegas

West
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
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After a recent visit we saw that Las Vegas’ 18 million square-foot City Center project, with buildings by Daniel Libeskind, Norman Foster, Cesar Pelli,  Helmut Jahn, Rafael Vinoly, and KPF, among others, is well underway. In fact despite delays (remedied by foreign investors), the project’s web site still claims it will be done by this year. We also noticed that Libeskind’s new building is sporting a conspicuous Louis Vuitton logo. Only in Vegas.

Whose Bad? Hoyt Schermerhorn

East
Monday, August 24, 2009
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Whos Bad? (Courtesy Gothamist)

Who's Bad? (Courtesy Gothamist)

If you’ve ever left the C or G trains at Hoyt Schermerhorn Station and gotten the urge to dance, we now think we know why. Turns out, that’s the very same station Martin Scorsese chose to shoot MIchael Jackson’s music video for his 1987 hit “Bad.” Well, to honor the deceased pop star (who has gotten a lot of play locally despite few real connections), local City Council rep Letitia James has proposed either installing a plaque or perhaps appending Jackson’s name to the station in some way, reports NYPolitics. But the Post says the MTA has told James “to ‘beat it.’” Undetered—she’s one of the people responsible for holding Atlantic Yards at bay—James is collecting petitions to see MJ through. And if that’s not enough Jackson action, Archinect has extended the deadline for its memorial competition through Wednesday.

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