Detroit’s infamous theater-turned-parking garage sold at auction

Detroit's crumbling Michigan Theatre has fallen into disrepair since its 1926 construction. (Hermann Schleicher-Roevenstrunck via Flickr)

Detroit’s Michigan Theatre has fallen into disrepair since its 1926 construction. (Hermann Schleicher-Roevenstrunck via Flickr)

Detroit’s Michigan Theatre remains iconic, but not for the reasons that made it so during its early 20th century heyday. Now the opulent 1926 concert hall holds parked cars instead of theater-goers. Will it remain a symbol of Detroit’s struggle to recover from long-term disinvestment, or could it become emblematic of the city’s resilience?

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Opppenheim’s Manhattan bridged towers that might have been

514 11th Avenue (Courtesy Oppenheim Architecture + Design)

514 11th Avenue (Courtesy Oppenheim Architecture + Design)

Silverstein Properties is developing a 1,100-foot-tall development on Manhattan’s West Side, but it won’t be Oppenheim Architecture + Design‘s proposal for a pair of towers linked by a mammoth greenhouse-topped bridge seen here. The scheme was revealed earlier this year as two speculative mixed-use towers comprising some 1.6 million square feet. Then called 514 Eleventh Avenue, the scheme would have stood eye to eye with the Empire State Building.

Continue reading after the jump.

George Lucas replaces Modernist masterpiece with Cape Cod on a California Beach

Architecture, Eavesdroplet, West
Monday, August 11, 2014
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Lucas's new house (Tom Marble)

Lucas’s new house (Tom Marble)

George Lucas is making architectural waves again. And it has nothing to do with a museum. In 2012 AN reported that Lucas had torn down 3389 Padaro Lane, a 1981 Modernist masterpiece on the beach by sculptor and architect Sherrill Broudy in Carpinteria, just east of Santa Barbara. Now he’s finished the replacement—designed by Appleton & Associates. And let’s just say it’s less of a masterpiece.

Continue reading after the jump.

Governor Cuomo Signs Bill Allowing NYC to Lower Speed Limit to 25MPH

Cuomo signing the legislation. (Courtesy New York Governor's Office)

Cuomo signing the legislation. (Courtesy New York Governor’s Office)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill that allows New York City to lower its default speed limit from 30 miles per hour to 25. The legislation, which is expected to go into effect within 90 days, is part of the city’s ongoing effort to reduce traffic fatalities. Specifically, reducing the city’s speed limit has been one of the central pieces of Mayor de Blasio‘s Vision Zero agenda. “This is another vital step toward making New York City streets safer for every family,” Mayor de Blasio said in a statement. “Our Vision Zero initiative’s mission is to save lives, and that is precisely what this legislation accomplishes.” 

 

 

 

 

Detroit “Reanimate the Ruins” Ideas Competition Tackles Historic Packard Automotive Plant

1st-Place-2

The competition winning proposal, Cross the Plant, by Vincent Lavergne.

In 2009, vandals pushed a dump truck through a hole in the wall on the fourth story of the abandoned Packard Automotive Plant in Detroit. (Of course there’s a video.) It’s a level of dereliction and decay that’s frankly common to North America’s foremost basket-case city, but it’s made a bit more poignant by the fact that the plant (built in 1907 and closed in the late ’90s) was once an icon of Detroit’s command over automotive technology and the automotive industry. The 3.5-million-square-foot facility was designed by Albert Kahn to produce luxury cars, and was the first of its type to use a reinforced concrete structure.

But now it’s time for some more creative thinking about how to use the Packard site.

Product> Grand Openings: Window Walls and Doors That Bring the Outside In

Architecture, National, Product
Monday, August 11, 2014
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sky-frame_arc_1

(Courtesy Sky-Frame)

Even in four-season climates, the allure of outdoor living endures. Meticulously engineered for ease of operation, structural soundness, and weather-tightness, large-scale openings offer a seamless transition between indoors and out. Sliding, telescoping, or rising mechanisms give designers—and their clients—a choice of access that complements their architecture.

Arc
Sky-Frame

This sliding curved window can be double- or triple-glazed. Multiple curves can be combined, or integrated with straight runs.

More after the jump.

Gehry and (fer) Making Their Mark In Watts

Architecture, News, West
Friday, August 8, 2014
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Frank Gehry (Bustler)

Frank Gehry (Bustler)

We like to give Frank Gehry a hard time for his foibles, but he has actually undertaken a lot of pro bono work, including a Make It Right home in New Orleans and the Pasadena Playhouse and Jazz Bakery Theater in Los Angeles. His latest effort is in one of the most troubled neighborhoods in Los Angeles: Watts. Gehry Partners has agreed to design a new campus for the Childrens Institute (CII), a social services non-profit. They’re collaborating with Inglewood firm (fer) Studio, who will be Executive Architect.

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This Weekend> Giant rainbows and iridescent pools light up Cleveland

Art, Lighting, Midwest, News, On View
Friday, August 8, 2014
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Jen Lewin's "The Pool" (Jen Lewin Studio)

Jen Lewin’s “The Pool” (Jen Lewin Studio)

Through Saturday night, a public art project by LAND studio is turning Cleveland’s downtown malls into canvases for light displays including sweeping rainbows, iridescent discs, and high-definition projections. “Light Up Cleveland!” runs August 7–9 and is sponsored by a slew of companies and nonprofits. You can see a map and full schedule of events on ahacle.com.

Continue reading after the jump.

Marks Barfield Architects building 530-foot-tall observation tower in Brighton, England

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 4.41.44 PM

i360 Brighton. (Courtesy Marks Barfield Architects)

The husband-and-wife team behind the London Eye observation wheel plans to one-up themselves with an observation tower in Brighton, UK that’s about 100 feet taller. For the seaside town, David Marks and Julia Barfield of Marks Barfield Architects have created Brighton i360, a 531-foot-tall, futuristic-structure that lifts visitors up high above the English Channel.

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Regional Plan Association’s Bob Yaro steps down as leader of New York planning group

Robert Yaro, left, and Tom Wright, right. (Courtesy Regional Plan Association)

Robert Yaro, left, and Tom Wright, right. (Courtesy Regional Plan Association)

The Regional Plan Association has announced that its president Bob Yaro is retiring and will be succeeded by its executive director Tom Wright. Yaro has been with the association for 25 years and served as its president since 2001. “I have been privileged over the last quarter century to guide RPA and help address some of the New York metropolitan region’s most pressing challenges,” Yaro said in a statement. “While I will miss working with the extraordinarily talented researchers and policy experts at RPA on a daily basis, I am thrilled to be leaving the organization in the hands of someone as accomplished and visionary as Tom Wright.” 

Page Floats a Cedar Sunshade in Albuquerque

Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
Page designed a simple cedar and steel-wire screen to shade the courtyard of the new GSA building in New Mexico. (Patrick Coulie)

Page designed a simple cedar and steel-wire screen to shade the courtyard of the new GSA building in New Mexico. (Patrick Coulie)

Minimalist catenary canopy lends warmth and lightness to office courtyard.

When Page design principal Larry Speck suggested a catenary sunshade for the courtyard of the new GSA building in Albuquerque, his colleagues set about identifying precedents. “There were some really great devices that we looked at, but a lot were done in the 1960s out of heavy, monumental materials,” said principal Talmadge Smith. “We wondered if there was a way to do it in a lighter, more delicate way that would also introduce some warmth to the space.” The architects elected to build the structure out of western red cedar, which performs particularly well in arid climates. Comprising 4-, 8-, and 12-foot boards suspended on steel cables, the sunshade appears as a wave of blonde wood floating in mid-air, casting slatted shadows on the glass walls of the courtyard.
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Eavesdrop> Sign of the Times: Reflecting on Chicago Summer-Long Trump Tower Saga

Chicago's Trump Tower and its notorious sign. (edward stojakovic / Flickr)

Chicago’s Trump Tower and its notorious sign. (edward stojakovic / Flickr)

Mr. Donald Trump has bestowed upon fair Chicago an ode to his own self-worth, spurring an architectural debate that’s pulled in Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Jon Stewart, and plenty more. Grab a bag of popcorn and we’ll catch you up.

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