2013 Aga Khan Award Winners Improve Quality of Life

International
Thursday, September 12, 2013
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(Courtesy AKAA)

A winning project: Rabat-Salé Urban Infrastructure Project, Morocco (Courtesy AKAA)

From an Islamic cemetery in Austria to a 330-meter bridge in North Africa, the five recipients of the 2013 Aga Khan Award for Architecture each address a concern within their culture to improve quality of life. Awarded every three years since its 1977 initiation, the competition grants a collective $1 million to a number of projects that exist in areas with a significant Muslim population. Each project must be culturally receptive and increased merit is given to those that use local resources in ways that may motivate analogous ventures in the future.

The 2013 Award Recipients After the Jump

Explore Environmental Analysis for High Performance Building Envelope Design at Facades+ Chicago

Midwest, National
Thursday, September 12, 2013
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Banner_Workshop-Image_EnvironmentalAnalysis_615x105

Next month, AN is providing registered architects the opportunity to earn 8 AIA LU credits and the chance to collaborate with industry experts on practical projects at Facades+PERFORMANCE Chicago. Mostapha Roudsari of Thornton Tomasetti is leading one of six full-day tech workshops programmed for October 25th at the Illinois Institute of Technology, where he will investigate building envelope performance through hands-on tasks.

For those with beginner level knowledge of Grasshopper, Roudsari will explore the relationship between building envelope performance and architectural design decision-making. Environmental Analysis for High Performance Building Envelope Design will involve a short introduction to the basics of building envelope performance evaluation, in addition to practical weather data analysis. Through a series of applications, this workshop will guide participants through an iterative method of understanding the issue, conducting design evaluations, setting up parametric models, leading environmental analyses, and drawing conclusions.

Roudsari is an Integration Applications Developer at Thornton Tomasetti where he specializes in environmental building design and simulation. His diverse expertise allows him to create automated performance-driven design and optimization workflows by integrating advanced parametric modeling with environmental performance analysis and multi-objective optimization algorithms. Roudsari is the developer for Ladybug and Honeybee, two environmental plugins for Grasshopper that allow users to import and analyze weather data and run parametric environmental studies using RADIANCE, DAYSIM and EnergyPlus directly from Grasshopper3D.

Register for Facades+ and learn more about Roudsari’s tech workshop.

On September 11, Reflecting On Progress After 12 Years

East, National
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
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The World Trade Center site on September 11, 2013. (Branden Klayko / AN)

The World Trade Center site on September 11, 2013. (Branden Klayko / AN)

The streets of Lower Manhattan were especially crowded today as New Yorkers and tourists alike gathered around the World Trade Center site to mark the 12th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. A national moment of silence was observed at 8:45 a.m. this morning—the time the first jet struck the World Trade Center—to reflect on the disaster and all who were touched by the devastation. Over a decade after the attacks, Lower Manhattan is in the midst of a strong recovery. With AN‘s offices only a couple blocks away from the World Trade Center site, we have been able to watch daily as construction continues at rapid speed.

More after the jump.

Urban Ecology Center Finds New Grounds at San Antonio’s Phil Hardberger Park

Southwest
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
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Opening of the new Urban Ecology Center at Phil Hardberger Park in San Antonio, Texas, on September 7, 2013. (Courtesy Lewis McNeel, Lake|Flato Architects)

Opening of the new Urban Ecology Center at Phil Hardberger Park in San Antonio, Texas, on September 7, 2013. (Courtesy Lewis McNeel, Lake|Flato Architects)

Last Saturday, the San Antonio community inaugurated the Lake|Flato Architects–designed Urban Ecology Center (UEC). Sited on the West Side of Phil Hardberger Park, the 18,600-square-foot UEC will be home to the Alamo Area Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists. This latest showpiece in the city’s park system will serve as a functional ecological system, a meeting space, and an urban ecology learning facility. Parks Project Manager Sandy Jenkins explained that the center was built with the intention of informing future generations about environmental concerns and the preservation of ecological systems. Former mayor Phil Hardberger, who recognized the asset of parks in improving the general urban quality of life, originally prompted the construction of the park in 2010. Covering 311 acres on eiter side of the Wurzbach Parkway, it was built as a means to preserve San Antonio’s environmental treasures and natural heritage.

Continue reading after the jump.

ASLA Launches Guide on Health Benefits of Nature

National
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
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asla-health-guide-01

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has launched a new online guide to educate folks on the benefits of exposing themselves to nature. The polemic makes the case that there are long- and short-term health advantages of spending time alfresco, whether in the wilderness or in community parks. Health Benefits of Nature involves hundreds of case studies, research studies, and news articles that are categorized into 23 health concerns such as depression, asthma, stress, and general health to emphasize nature as a critical health tool.

Read More

Unveiled> SOM Designs New Library Branch for Chicago’s Chinatown

Midwest
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
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Chinatown's new library on Wentworth Avenue. (SOM / Public Buildings Commission)

Chinatown’s new library on Wentworth Avenue. (SOM / Public Buildings Commission)

In the first-ever design/build process for a Chicago neighborhood library branch, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill joins Wight & Company construction to replace Chinatown’s aging and heavily trafficked library at 2100 South Wentworth Avenue.

Continue reading after the jump.

Taking the Park by Swarm: Bike-Powered Public Space Pops Up Worldwide

International
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
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(Courtesy Tim Wolfer / N55 and Yarat)

(Courtesy Tim Wolfer / N55 and Yarat)

That old saw about how you can’t take public space with you is bound for the trash heap. Landscape architect John Bela, co-founder of San Francisco–based Rebar, and artist Tim Wolfer of N55 have developed Parkcycle Swarm, a green space initiative that puts people and green space together—on wheels. The basic Parkcycle module is a mobile green space made of an aluminum frame, plywood, standard bicycle parts, and astroturf. Each one measures 2.6 feet tall, 4 feet wide, and 7.4 feet long. Parkcycles offer instant open space to neighborhoods. All users have to do is park the Parkcycle and sprawl out on the turf to enjoy a bottle of beaujolais or play some hackie sack. Four of the small mobile parks are currently making the rounds at the Participate public arts festival in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Continue reading after the jump.

From The Pages of Texas Architect: Astrodome Update by Ben Koush

Southwest
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
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The Astrodome under construction in 1963. The structure comprises 9,400 tons of steel, 2,900 of which is in the roof alone. (Courtesy University of Houston)

The Astrodome under construction in 1963. The structure is made up of 9,400 tons of steel, 2,900 of which is in the roof alone. (Courtesy University of Houston)

[ Editor's Note: For those of you who are getting excited about The Architect's Newspaper and YKK AP's Reimagine the Astrodome design ideas competition, you have until September 17 to register. Once you've done that, take the time to read the following article, which appeared in the September/October 2013 issue of Texas Architect. Written by Houston-based architect and writer Ben Koush, it covers the current status of the Dome, what it means to Harris County, and Space City's record of not bothering to preserve its architectural heritage. ]

Ever since the Houston Oilers owner Bud Adams, in a snit after being refused a new stadium, took his football team to Nashville in 1997 and renamed it the Tennessee Titans, the fate of the Astrodome has been up in the air. Matters were made worse when, instead of rehabilitating the Astrodome a new, neo-traditionalist baseball stadium, Minute Maid Park, was built down-town for the Astros in 1999, and then in 2002, a hulking new football stadium, Reliant Center, was built uncomfortably close to its predecessor to house the replacement team, the Houston Texans, and the Houston Rodeo.

Continue reading after the jump.

Brooklyn Neighborhood Slams Proposal for Massive Waterfront Development

East
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
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Greenpoint Landing (Courtesy Handel Architects)

Greenpoint Landing (Courtesy Handel Architects)

It is going to be an uphill battle for the developers behind two massive residential projects planned for Greenpoint, Brooklyn.  DNA Info reported that Community Board 1 rejected the proposals to build over a dozen 40-story residential towers on the northern tip of the borough, but they indicated they could be persuaded to change their minds. The bargaining chip is more affordable and senior housing. The board would like the developers behind the two developments, Greenpoint Landing and 77 Commercial Street, to drastically bump up the number of affordable units in their plans, which so far include housing, retail, a public school, and esplanades along the water. This decision is just the first step in the Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP).

Explore Complex Construction, Aesthetic Appeal at Chicago Facades+PERFORMANCE Conference

National
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
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The faceted facade of the Spertus Institute in Chicago. (Matt & Megan / Flickr)

The faceted facade of the Spertus Institute in Chicago. (Matt & Megan / Flickr)

Presented by The Architect’s Newspaper and Enclos, day one of the upcoming Facades+PERFORMANCE conference in Chicago on October 24th to 25th consists of a stimulating architectural symposium exploring all aspects of building facades, from design to construction to client perspective. With new, specialized technology for construction, facades become increasingly complex.

In his session at Facades+PERFORMANCE Mark Dannettel, facade specialist and vice president at engineering design firm, Thornton Tomasetti, will speak on two recent facades that embrace complex design, yet maintain an aesthetic appeal. Entitled “Cable-nets and Other Complex Facades,” Dannettel’s lecture will address the methods used to create two spectacular but amazingly different Chicago buildings by locally-based firms: the cable-net supported, double curtain wall of Solomon Cordwell Buenz‘s Loyola University Information Commons and the hyper-facetted glass facade Krueck + Sexton‘s Spertus Institute.

Dannettel joins a host of architects, engineers, and innovators in the Facades+PERFORMANCE weekend lineupRegister today for early bird rates until September 27th.

 

Brooklyn Neighborhood Group Opens New Plazas and Public Art in Bed-Stuy

East
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
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"Mathematical Star" by Ellen Harvey at Marcy Plaza. (Nicole Anderson / AN)

“Mathematical Star” by Ellen Harvey at Marcy Plaza. (Nicole Anderson / AN)

Fulton Street, the bustling commercial strip of the Brooklyn neighborhood, Bedford Stuyvesant, has just received a much-needed makeover. The Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corp., along with community stakeholders and city officials, gathered this morning at the new Marcy Plaza to celebrate the completion of a $20 million neighborhood revitalization project, funded by the city. The organization led efforts to revamp Restoration Plaza with the help Garrison Architects, build a new plaza along Marcy Avenue, implement public art, and overhaul a mile-long stretch along Fulton Street with expanded sidewalks, new benches, trees, plantings, bike racks, and lighting. These streetscape improvements aim to bolster local businesses and support the local residential community by creating a safer and more walkable neighborhood.

Read More

Hotelier Andre Balazs to Update Saarinen’s TWA Terminal With New Standard Hotel

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
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Wally Gobetz/Flickr

Wally Gobetz/Flickr

The TWA terminal at JFK airport in New York may soon change prevailing opinions that sleeping at the airport is strictly a last-resort decision. Reports have recently circulated that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has named André Balazs—the hotelier behind the Standard hotels in New York, Miami, and Los Angeles—to develop the iconic TWA terminal in Jamaica, Queens.

Read more after the jump.

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