And the Gehry Goes To

West
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
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WIs that an award or a paperweight? It's both! Thanks Frank.

Is that an award or a paperweight? It

The Urban Land Institute is hosting a new awards program for Los Angeles called the ULI LARC (Los Angeles Real Creativity) Awards, which will be presented annually to “four recipients who, through their extraordinary vision and creative action, are helping to change our world” The winners will be divided into four categories: Design (conceptual designs), Enterprise (innovative companies or initiatives), Place (a completed building or space), and Idea (for a big idea with profound effects).  The fun part is that anyone can nominate a candidate here until October 14. The awards ceremony will take place at 5900 Wilshire Blvd (former home of the A+D Museum) on December 5, and award presenters will include none other than Frank Gehry, who has also “designed” the award’s trophies. That is to say the ULI is handing over some Gehry-designed paperweights. Granted it’s a $975 paperweight the architect made for Tiffany’s, so it’s not too shabby of an award after all.

Police Drama

West
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
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Workers prepare to move the LAPD Memorial

Workers prepare to move the LAPD Memorial

Gensler yesterday installed their shimmering Memorial to Fallen Officers, a 11,000 pound, backlit structure made up of hundreds of staggered brass plaques, in front of AECOM’s  almost-finished Police Headquarters in Downtown LA. The structure travelled via trailer from Kansas City over the weekend. That was the good news. The not-so-good news, according to the LA Times, is that after the memorial was craned into place the designers realized it was facing the wrong way! Instead of swiveling the whole structure, they’re going to have to unscrew all the plaques and re-install them on the other side. Someone’s gonna have to investigate this one…

AIC Adds Architecture Curator

Midwest
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
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(photo: Dave Jordano)

(photo: Dave Jordano)

Another sign of the growing importance of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Architecture and Design Department, the museum announced the appointment Alison Fisher as assistant curator. Fisher, who will focus on the department’s historical collection, joins department chair Joe Rosa, and curator Zoe Ryan, who has been building the department’s contemporary design collection. The department, which now boasts the country’s largest architecture and design galleries, is working on a major exhibition on Bertrand Goldberg, among other shows. Fisher previously served as a curatorial fellow at the Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University and she is completing a doctorate in art history at Northwestern.

Frank Frank on Frank

East, East Coast
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
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Video projection of Gehry/Armstrong Conversation taking place 10 feet away while audience chewed steak and mulled on all the unspoken topics

Video projection of Gehry/Armstrong Conversation taking place 10 feet away while audience chewed steak and mulled on all the unspoken topics

The invitation billed it as an exclusive conversation about “the potential of architecture for urban, economic, and political change.” But when Frank Gehry and Richard Armstrong, director of the Guggenheim Museum, sat down before the mics after one and half hours of benefit chow at a new Wall Street steakhouse and just 15 minutes before the event was to end, the talk, like the $200/plate mashed potatoes and pureed spinach, was noticeably soft. Read More

When SCI-Arc Had Soul

West
Monday, September 21, 2009
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SCI-Arc, back when it had character. (All photos Courtesy Orhan Ayyüce)

SCI-Arc, back when it had "character." (All photos Courtesy Orhan Ayyüce)

We recently noted the impending demise of SCI-Arc’s original building in Santa Monica, which the school’s founder, Ray Kappe, didn’t consider much of a loss. As he put it, referring to renovations subsequent to SCI-Arc’s departure, the building “had good character, but now it’s got dumb character.” We didn’t exactly get what he meant, but then the fine folks at Archinect were kind enough to link to our story, and therein occasional AN contributor Orhan Ayyüce posted some pics from his time at SCI-Arc back in the day, some of which we’ve posted here (click the above link to see the rest). Now we get it, are kinda sorry we missed it, and sorry to see it go. Read More

A Final Lesson From Max Bond

East
Monday, September 21, 2009
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Library in Bolgatanga, Ghana (all photos by Quilian Riano)

Fifty-one years after his graduation the late Max Bond Jr.’s influence is once again felt in his alma mater, Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. An exhibit and celebration of his life and work opened there on Monday September 14th and will run through October 18th. The exhibit takes a close look at Max Bond’s personal life, his passion for social equity, and his professional design work.
Read More

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Quick, See It Before It Melts!

West
Friday, September 18, 2009
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Grow Melt at The Late Gardens in Sonoma

"Grow Melt" at The Late Show Gardens in Sonoma

At The Late Show Gardens, visitors were reminded that one of the temporary installations at this new garden show in Wine Country was, in fact, extremely temporary. A representation of global warming,  the six-foot-high wall of ice was designed by a group that included Berkeley’s Peter Walker and Partners. In the 90-degree heat of  a September day in Sonoma, the wall dramatically collapsed shortly before 3pm. The luminous ice was juxtaposed with thin green columns of cactus reflected in a pool of water–a startling and otherworldly image that could have come straight out of a Hayao Miyazaki movie. Read More

Alexander Has His Moment

West
Friday, September 18, 2009
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Christopher Alexander

Christopher Alexander

Last week, we wrote about Christopher Alexander winning the prestigious Scully Prize. Now, he’s been named the third most important urban thinker by venerable planning site Planetizen, after Jane Jacobs and Andrés Duany and ahead of F.L. Olmsted and Kevin A. Lynch. Even Daniel Burnham, who’s celebrating the centennial of his eponymous plan was lower on the list. If we sound surprised, it’s because many of us here in the office had either never heard of Alexander or long forgotten about him, his heyday having been so long ago. But clearly he is on people’s minds, considering Planetizen‘s list of the 100 most influential urban thinkers comes from a survey of its readers.

Perhaps Ned Cramer put it best, when we discussed Alexander’s selection by the Scully jury, of which the Architecture editor was a part: “I think it’s a lot like Venturi in the 90s, people are really starting to recognize a very influential designer, someone they’d been drawing on for years without even realizing it.”

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Park It Here

West
Friday, September 18, 2009
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AN Contributor Alissa Walker enjoys the pocket pasture at Silverlake restaurant Local

AN Contributor Alissa Walker enjoys the pocket pasture at Silverlake restaurant Local

Today  is Park(ing) Day LA. It’s the third year that the City Of Angels is participating in this transformation of metered parking spots into temporary microcosms of park-like environments — some replete with bench seating, grassy areas, and fresh food off the grill. San Francisco-based art and activist studio, Rebar, created the idea in 2005 as a comment on the lack of quality public spaces as well as to promote social interactions and critical thinking among urbanites. And the meters? Organizers are continually plunking change into the metal coin collectors while the parks occupy the parking spot. Some highlights include: Read More

Solar Communications

International
Friday, September 18, 2009
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The photovoltaic tower can be affixed to existing cell phone towers to produce on-site electricity to power broadcasting equipment. (Courtesy MDAA)

The photovoltaic tower can be affixed to existing cell phone towers to produce on-site electricity to power broadcasting equipment. (Courtesy MDAA)

On the occasion of the 2009 G8 summit in L’Aquila, Italy, architecture firm MDAA (Massimo d’Alessandro & Associati) of Rome designed a photovoltaic tower to power an existing cellular communications aerial. The installation brought to life an idea that has been paddled about quite a bit in recent years: equipping our existing infrastructure with energy-producing technology. After the G8 tower was erected, MDAA designed a more efficient version for Vodafone (the largest mobile network operator in the world). The new tower raises the design quality, lowers  the use of materials, and is capable of producing 15KWp, enough to run broadcasting equipment. Check out that design, as well as more on the G8 tower, after the jump. Read More

High Speed Ahead

National
Thursday, September 17, 2009
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Someday, high-speed rail will criss-cross the map. (Courtesy America 2050)

Someday, high-speed rail could criss-cross the map. (Courtesy America 2050)

We’ve been paying an awful lot of attention to high-speed rail of late. That’s partly because it’s a pet project of the president, as well as the various regions we cover. Well, bids were due last month for the $8 billion to be doled out in stimulus funds for high-speed rail development (after all, that kinda money isn’t going to go very far toward building any one system, let alone the dozen or so needed to begin supplanting planes or cars), and while the money will likely get split up amongst different states and localities so as not to anger any constituency, the infrastructure-oriented, RPA-affiliated group America 2050 released a report today recommending where best to spend that money, and we’ve got bad news for our colleagues on the West Coast and Great Lakes—it should go right here in the Northeast Corridor. (It should be noted the RPA, like AN is headquartered here in New York, so maybe it’s just bias at play.)

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Bureau V: The AntiPopUp

East
Thursday, September 17, 2009
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(Courtesy Bureau V)

Don't call it a pop-up.

There has been so much talk in recent years over the confluence of fashion and architecture, we won’t attempt to add to the “discourse” accept to note that Fashion Week is ending today and with it a number of cool and interesting installations around town. One of particular note was created by our friends at Bureau V—two Asymptote alums and a former DSRer—who have now made their third installation for designer Mary Ping and her Slow and Steady Wins the Race brand. We’re not exactly sure what’s going on here, as one of the principals sent over this nice photo in reference to a separate email, but Style.com puts it thusly: “[It] uses the idea of the still life to, as Ping puts it, ‘react to the temporality of the pop-up, and go back to an older tradition of talking about objects.'” If you hurry, you can still catch the installation and the objects thereon—some designed by Ping—some merely selected by her, through tomorrow at Saatchi & Saatchi’s ground floor events space at 275 Hudson Street.

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