Architects of Air Build Inflatable Cathedrals of Psychadelic Space

(Courtesy Architects of Air)

(Courtesy Architects of Air)

To build an inhabitable luminaire you need little more than colored plastic sheeting and an air compressor and the ability to expose said construction to natural light. The finished products are far greater than the sum of the parts, producing results that seem to suggest a series of more elaborately ornamented James Turrell installations. They are the brainchildren of Architects of Air (AoA), a British company that has erected temporary luminaires throughout Europe, Asia, and the United States.

More after the jump.

Shigeru Ban’s Mt. Fuji Visitors Center Flips the Mountain Upside Down

Fujisan

(Courtesy Shigeru Ban Architects)

In the summer of 2013, Mt. Fuji was named a UNESCO World Heritage site. The designation was of the cultural rather than the natural variety, in part because of the way the mountain has “inspired artists and poets.” Japanese architect Shigeru Ban plans to add a quite literal architectural chapter to this legacy of inspiration in the form of a visitor center commemorating the mountain’s recently-minted status.

More after the jump.

OMA Selected To Design High Rise Tower In San Francisco

Newsletter, West
Thursday, March 20, 2014
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Unofficial rendering of OMA/Fougeron project (San Francisco Chronicle)

Unofficial rendering of OMA/Fougeron project. (Via San Francisco Chronicle)

Despite its collection of near-misses in California (LACMA, The Broad, Universal, etc.), OMA  and Rem Koolhaas keep trying to land a headlining project in the Golden State. And it looks like they’re about to design a high rise in San Francisco to accompany their (currently on hold) winning scheme for a mixed use project in Santa Monica.

San Francisco’s Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure (the successor to the city’s Community Development Agency) has given the firm initial approval to design a 550-foot-tall residential tower on Folsom Street, between First and Fremont streets, in the city’s Transbay area.

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Modernity and National Identity Collide in New Exhibition

International, On View
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
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Samskara installation view. (Courtesy India Gandhi National Centre for the Arts)

Samskara installation view. (Courtesy Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts)

The upcoming 2014 Venice architecture biennale, Absorbing Modernity: 1914-2014, will question the notion of national identity in architecture and investigate the degree to which national styles have been “sacrificed to modernity.” To the credit of the Venice curators, they asked national pavilions to investigate ways in which this “seemingly universal architectural language… in significant encounters between cultures… can find hidden ways of remaining ‘national?’” Clearly the internationalization—and some would say flattening—of culture is one of the more complicated forces in contemporary culture.

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Memory Wounded: How Norway is Remembering the Utøya Massacre

A model of the architectural wound that will be inflicted upon the Sørbråten peninsula. (Courtesy Jonas Dahlberg Studio)

A model of the architectural wound that will be inflicted upon the Sørbråten peninsula. (Courtesy Jonas Dahlberg Studio)

It has been close to three years since a gunman detonated a bomb in Oslo and then stormed a small summer camp off the coast of Norway, killing 77 people and cementing a record as the worst mass shooting in modern memory. The Swedish artist Jonas Dahlberg recently won a competition, Memorial Sites After 22 July, to create an official memorial at the sites of the 2011 Norwegian massacres.

Continue reading after the jump.

Moscow’s Shukhov Tower Will Be Dismantled, But Opposition Mounting [Updated]

The Shukhov Tower. (Courtesy Richard Pare)

The Shukhov Tower. (Courtesy Richard Pare)

After racking up a winning medal score at the Sochi Olympics, the host country is set to lose one of its most iconic pieces of architecture. It’s not an Olympic stadium, but the Shukhov Radio and Television Tower in Moscow, which dates back to the 1920’s. The engineer behind the project, Vladimir Shukhov, is credited with creating the world’s first hyperboloid steel structures, an invention that would influence the world of architecture for generations.

The Architectural Billings Index Ticked Up in January. You’ll Never Believe What Happened Next.

National
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
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BILLINGS (BLUE) AND INQUIRIES (RED) FOR THE PAST 12 MONTHS. (THE ARCHITECT’S NEWSPAPER)

BILLINGS (BLUE) AND INQUIRIES (RED) FOR THE PAST 12 MONTHS. (THE ARCHITECT’S NEWSPAPER)

After the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) posted positive gains in January, the question everyone was asking was, “What comes next?” Today, the AIA’s monthly report answered that question with a bit more good news. The ABI was measured at 50.7 in February, which is up slightly from a  January score of 50.4. So, how did this happen? The change was due to strong numbers posted in the South (52.8) and the West (50.5). But dragging the group down, the Northeast and Midwest both scored below 50 with scores of 48.3 and 47.6, respectively (any score below 50 indicates a decline).

Continue reading after the jump.

Philadelphia Green Lights New Riverside Park, Bartram’s Mile

Bartrams Mile1

(Courtesy Andropogon)

Consider it a mile-long step in Philadelphia’s ongoing architectural renaissance. Local landscape firm Andropogon recently received approval for the plans to re-work a vacant stretch of land beside the western banks of the tidal Schuylkill River. The goal is to convert the plot located between Grays Ferry Avenue and 58th Street into public green space that provides riverfront access and recreational opportunities for local residents.

More after the jump.

Saturday> AN’s Bill Menking To Lead Seminar on Contemporary Domestic Architecture

East
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
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(Courtesy Pieter Estersohn)

(Courtesy Pieter Estersohn)

The New York Times is hosting a series of seminars at this weekend’s Architectural Digest Home Design Show. As part of the program AN‘s very own Bill Menking will be joined by Mark Hutker of Hutker Architects, Dan Lobitz of Robert A.M. Stern Architects, and Karen Stonely of SPAN Architecture to discuss evolutions in contemporary domestic architecture. The quartet will take the stage at Pier 94 on Saturday, March 22 at 3:00p.m. for an hour-long discussion. See you there!

A Transparent Cathedral Addition by architectsAlliance

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The architects designed a transparent addition to the St. James Cathedral's 1910 Parish House. (Courtesy architectsAlliance)

The architects designed a glass addition to the St. James Cathedral’s 1910 Parish House. (Courtesy architectsAlliance)

A renovation and addition bring an historic church complex into the 21st century.

The Diocese of Toronto approached architectsAlliance (aA) about renovating the St. James Cathedral Centre with two objectives in mind. On a practical level, they wanted more space for the cathedral’s outreach program and the Diocesan archives, as well as quarters for the Dean of the Cathedral and visitors. At the same time, the Anglican leadership wanted to make a statement about the Church’s relevance to contemporary Canadian society. “The idea of the addition was to convey an image of the Church itself as a kind of more open institution, much more transparent and contemporary,” said aA’s Rob Cadeau. “[It was] really driven by the dean, who wanted to refresh the image of the Church.” Read More

Toyo Ito Wins 2014 Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture

Awards, International
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
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Toyo Ito.

Toyo Ito.

Award-winning architect Toyo Ito can add another accolade to his collection as he’s been awarded the University of Virginia’s 2014 Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture. He will be officially honored on April 11th when the school hosts a talk with the celebrated Japanese architect.

Read More

Minneapolis Mayor cheers on Nicollet Mall revamp

Nicollet Walk Tree Groves (COURTESY JAMES CORNER FIELD OPERATIONS)

Nicollet’s Crystal Stair (COURTESY JAMES CORNER FIELD OPERATIONS)

As a team of designers gear up for an overhaul of Nicollet Mall, dubbed Minneapolis’ main street, civic leaders there have cheered on the project in an op-ed in the StarTribune. Read More

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