Letter to the Editor> Reimagine the Astrodome Competition Sour Grapes

Letter to the Editor, Southwest
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
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(Courtesy HiWorks with Erica Goranson)

(Courtesy HiWorks with Erica Goranson)

[ Editor's Note: The following is a selection of reader-submitted comments from the online feature about AN's recent Reimagine the Astrodome competition. It appeared as a letter to the editor in a recent print edition, AN01_02.05.2014_SW. Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com]

Three of these are not serious, and the one with merit, the “sky dome” closely resembles a proposal I published over two years ago. Naturally we think that is a great concept, but the devil is in the details.

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Philly Art Commission Pans Stern’s Revolution Museum Design as “Disneyesque”

Stern's Panned Proposal for The Museum of the American Revolution.  (Rendering NC3D.)

Stern’s Panned Proposal for The Museum of the American Revolution. (Rendering NC3D.)

Philadelphia might be the City of Brotherly Love, but it’s not showing any affection for Robert A.M. Stern these days. According to Philly.com, the city’s Art Commission is  “deeply dissatisfied” with the architect’s proposal for the new Museum of the American Revolution. The newspaper’s critic, Inga Saffron, reported that “the commission asked the architects to remove a Disneyesque cupola, add eye-level windows on Chestnut Street, and reconsider the building’s composition.” It’s not quite the shot heard around the world, but, “Disneyesque cupola!?” The Philly Art Commission pulls no punches.

Continue reading after the jump.

Photo of the Day: Happy Presidents Day!

National
Monday, February 17, 2014
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The Washington Monument. (Courtesy Department of the Interior)

The Washington Monument. (Courtesy Department of the Interior)

By George, today is Presidents Day, the annual celebration of Presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and their successors. While Washington was born on February 22 and Lincoln on February 12, the holiday—dating back to the 1700s—is officially celebrated on on the third Monday in February. To mark the occasion, the U.S. Department of the Interior shared this rather untraditional view of the Washington Monument in the nation’s capital.

And To Think That I Saw It In Mulberry House: SHoP’s Geometric Residences Show Off Luxe Interiors

East, Interiors, Newsletter
Monday, February 17, 2014
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(Courtesy SHoP)

(Courtesy SHoP)

The much-maligned building at 290 Mulberry Street—called Mulberry House—is trying to show that its whats on the inside that counts. SHoP Architects have filled their heavily-critiqued rippling brick residential structure with a bright interior awash in wood, black lacquer, and polished white surfaces. The new development is a conclusive step in a  project that once appeared destined to fall victim to the recent recession.

More after the jump

Alphabet Soup: Architecture Firm Acronyms Gone Wild

Eavesdroplet, Midwest
Monday, February 17, 2014
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(Beanbag Amerika / Flickr)

(Beanbag Amerika / Flickr)

What do architects, attorneys, and accountants have in common? Naming firms after themselves. Architecture firms are some of the worst offenders and Eavesdrop is constantly consulting Wiki to figure the names behind those initials. After decades of ego, leadership changes, and acquisitions, one would think that global design would be dominated by a firm called SOMHOKBKLMNOP.

So it should not come at any surprise that St. Louis–based HOK recently acquired the New York and Shanghai offices of hospitality firm BBG-BBGM. Eavesdrop refuses to do any research on the provenance of that cluster of initials, but, luckily, it appears the combined firm will just be HOK. BBG should add an impressive, high-end roster of clients—think St. Regis and Peninsula hotels—to HOK’s portfolio of marquee projects.

Megaface: Watch Sochi’s Olympic-Sized Selfie Machine in Action

International, Newsletter
Monday, February 17, 2014
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MegaFaces--Kinetic-Facade-Shows-Giant-3D-'Selfies'

Take a moment from celebrating the first American curling victory of this Olympics to observe Asif Khan‘s Megaface in action. Previewed in the lead up to the Games, the wall is now installed and has been projecting the faces of visitors to Sochi on the side of the Megafon pavilion for the past week.

More Megaface after the jump.

The New Paris Underground: Mayoral Candidate Proposes Reusing Abandoned Subway Stations

Metro_archpaper2

Subway station as restaurant (Courtesty OXO architects + Laisné architecte urbaniste)

Paris mayoral candidate Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet is attempting to forge a new underground scene in the French capital. In conjunction with her 2014 campaign the politician has commissioned a series of mock-ups that re-imagine abandoned subway stations as cultural and recreational gathering spaces. The designs were executed by Manal Rachdi of OXO architects + Nicolas Laisné from Laisné architecte urbaniste.

Read more after the jump.

On View> “Mario Botta: Architecture and Memory” at the Bechtler

East, On View
Friday, February 14, 2014
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(Courtesy Bechtler Museum of Modern Art)

(Courtesy Bechtler Museum of Modern Art)

Mario Botta: Architecture and Memory
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
Charlotte, NC
Through July 25, 2014

The architect Mario Botta is known for his postmodern or idiosyncratic country houses, churches, and institutional buildings in the Ticino region of Switzerland and Europe. He actually worked in the studio of Le Corbusier as a young man and his work is clearly indebted to Carlo Scarpa and, like many Italian architects of his generation, Louis Kahn. He has workedthroughout his career in a small regional outpost of Lugano and has stood against the mainstream of modern, commercial and avant-garde ideas and trends and produced buildings that can only be called “Bottan.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Extell’s Latest Super-Tall Tower Moves Closer to Construction

Development, East
Friday, February 14, 2014
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(Courtesy AS+GG)

(Courtesy AS+GG)

Members of the Arts Student League of New York voted to allow Extell to cantilever their super-tall skyscraper (pictured left) over their landmarked building. In return for the air rights, the league will receive $31.8 million, which it plans to use to upgrade its current facilities. According to the New York Observer, “Extell imposed a hard deadline, telling the League that if the deal was not approved by Wednesday, it would walk away and build without the cantilever.” This overwhelming vote paves the way for construction to begin on the Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill-designed tower.

The National Security State Watches You. Now You Can Watch It Back

East, Media, National, Technology
Friday, February 14, 2014
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The National Security Agency (Photo by Trevor Paglen)

The National Security Agency. (Trevor Paglen)

More than eight months after Edward Snowden started pulling back the curtain on the national security state, we’re just now getting our first glimpse of what that sprawling apparatus actually looks like – building by building. Up until this point, the only image of the actual, physical intelligence operation was an agency-released photograph of the NSA’s boxy, glass headquarters in Fort Meade.

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AIA NY Announces Winners of Queensway Design Competition

Qway PresRelease Winners-4

Queens Bilboard by Nikolay Martynov (Courtesy Nikolay Martynov/ENYA)

The winners of the AIA New York‘s biennial design competition have been been announced. The Emerging New York Architects (ENYA) committee selected from 120 proposals submitted as a part of QueensWay Connection: Elevating the Public Realm, which was intended to drum up ideas that would contribute to the proposed re-purposing of an elevated railway in Queens. Entrants were tasked with designing a vertical gateway for the elevated viaduct portion of the 3.5 mile–long track currently under consideration for the High Line treatment.

More winners after the jump.

Civic group calls on Chicago to expand car-free zones

Harry and Guenter Kempf Plaza in Chicago's Lincoln Square. (Google Maps)

Harry and Guenter Kempf Plaza in Chicago’s Lincoln Square. (Google Maps)

The jostle of potholes notwithstanding, motorists might find nothing unbalanced about Chicago’s public streets. But the Active Transportation Alliance points out while nearly a quarter of the city is in the public right-of-way, cars dominate practically all of it.

Citing the city’s Make Way for People initiative, which turns over underused street space to pedestrians, the group released 20 proposals Wednesday, calling on City Hall to create car-free spaces from Wrigley Field to Hyde Park. Read More

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