Tunnel Rats: Does Texas Favor Building Highways Over Subways?

Eavesdroplet, Southwest
Monday, November 18, 2013
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The Waller Creek Tunnel in Austin. (Courtesy Lachel & Associates Engineers)

The Waller Creek Tunnel in Austin. (Courtesy Lachel & Associates Engineers)

According to a very confidential source, engineers currently working on the Waller Creek tunnel believe that Austin sits on top of some of the most optimal conditions for tunneling in the entire U.S. These number-crunching problem solvers claimed that a subway tunnel beneath the Texas State Capital’s downtown would cost 1/10th of the amount it would in most places in the country. However, the brainiacs also said that there are those in high places who do not want that knowledge spread around (read TxDOT) because the construction of more freeways is making certain people a great deal of money.

Major Donation Completes Push for Tod Williams Billie Tsien Lakeside Center in Prospect Park

City Terrain, East
Friday, November 15, 2013
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Rennovated Wollman Rink at Lakeside Park will offer services during all four seasons. (Courtesy Tod Williams Billie Tsien)

A renovated Wollman Rink will offer services during all four seasons, including its original winter ice skating. (Courtesy Tod Williams Billie Tsien)

Brooklyn’s Prospect Park will soon receive a refurbished Lakeside Center, with help from a $10 million donation to the Prospect Park Alliance and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.

The LeFrak family, real estate royalty within the borough and in the Tri-state area, has gifted the sum in support of the oft-delayed green space revamp, which finally set a completion date for December of this year. In the heart of Prospect Park’s 526-acre grounds, project restoration by architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien and construction company Sciame will redevelop the Wollman Ice Rink for use during all four seasons. This lakeside facility is to be renamed The Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Center, honoring the family’s philanthropy in Brooklyn.

Continue Reading After the Jump.

Los Angeles Celebrates Aqueduct Centennial with Interactive Garden

City Terrain, West
Friday, November 15, 2013
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THE LOS ANGELES AQUEDUCT CENTENNIAL GARDEN IN GRIFFITH PARK WAS DEDICATED ON OCTOBER 23 (LOS ANGELES DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND POWER)

THE LOS ANGELES AQUEDUCT CENTENNIAL GARDEN IN GRIFFITH PARK WAS DEDICATED ON OCTOBER 23 (LOS ANGELES DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND POWER)

The Los Angeles Aqueduct turned 100 on November 5, and the city has been partying hard. In a performance-art piece designed by Lauren Bon and Metabolic Studios, 100 mules plus their handlers walked along the 240 miles of the aqueduct from the Eastern Sierras to its terminus at The Cascades. The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County staged a special exhibit to honor the centennial. And Department of Water and Power (LADWP) employees reenacted the opening of the Cascades’ spill gates, accompanied by descendants of Los Angeles Aqueduct Engineer William Mulholland.

Continue reading after the jump.

Susan Morris Surveys the 4th Edition of New York’s Documentary Film Festival, DOC NYC

East, On View
Friday, November 15, 2013
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Still from If You Build It. (Courtesy Long Shot Factory Release)

Still from If You Build It. (Courtesy Long Shot Factory Release)

DOC NYC
New York City
November 14-21
IFC Center and SVA Theater

This year the 4th DOC NYC documentary film festival boasts 132 films and events: 73 feature-length, 39 shorts, and 20 panels. Tucked into the schedule are films about architecture, design, and the arts amongst a wide array of subjectmatter. Only one, If You Build It, was also seen at the recent Architecture & Design Film Festival, so here’s your chance to view a new crop and to see the ones you’ve missed.

Continue reading after the jump.

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Gensler, LOT-EK Design Google’s San Francisco Barge With Sails, Shipping Containers

West
Friday, November 15, 2013
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A rendering of the Google barge (By and Large, LLC).

A rendering of the Google barge (By and Large, LLC).

The rumors are true: Google is building that barge docked at Treasure Island on the San Francisco Bay. Last week, the San Francisco Chronicle uncovered documents submitted to the city by By and Large, a company connected to Google, that revealed plans for a “studio and tech exhibit space.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Proposals Unveiled For Nobel Prize Headquarters in Stockholm

International
Friday, November 15, 2013
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Anonymous design proposal for Nobel Prize headquarters (courtesy Nobelhuset AB)

Anonymous design proposal for Nobel Prize headquarters (courtesy Nobelhuset AB)

The Nobel Foundation, the body that administers all activities involved in the delivery of the prestigious Nobel Prize, has shortlisted 12 architecture firms to partake in an international design competition for the new headquarters in Blasieholmen, Stockholm.

In addition to providing a global headquarters, the establishment will also include a visitors center where the public can explore the natural sciences, humanities, and peace efforts of the United Nations. One of the key factors for the Foundation in selecting the architects to participate involved “their ability to work in intricate urban environments where historical context and the natural environment must be considered with sensitivity.”

Continue after the jump.

Zaha Hadid’s Miniature House Draws a Large Price Tag for Charity Auction

International
Friday, November 15, 2013
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(Courtesy A Dolls' House)

This Must Be the Place by Zaha Hadid Architects Racked Up at Large Price Tag for Charity Auction. (Courtesy A Dolls’ House)

Twenty of the world’s biggest architects were asked to design on quite a small scale last month. Cathedral Group commissioned architect-designed dollhouses for a charity auction to benefit KIDS, a United Kingdom-based organization supporting disabled children. A Dolls’ House sold the interesting toys a few days ago at Bonhams in London and Zaha Hadid’s 30-inch-by-30-inch, puzzle-like home, This Must Be the Place, received the night’s highest bid: $22,500.

Continue Reading After the Jump.

Kammetal Tops Off SOM’s 1 World Trade Center

Fabrikator
Friday, November 15, 2013
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Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
Kammetal fabricated 48 triangular panels for the beacon of 1 World Trade Center in Manahattan. (courtesy DCM Erectors)

Kammetal fabricated 48 triangular panels for the beacon of 1 World Trade Center. (courtesy DCM Erectors)

Seven tons of glass and steel clad a structural stainless frame on the Western Hemisphere’s tallest building.

Brooklyn-based metal fabrication company Kammetal and DCM Erectors of New Jersey were selected to fabricate and install the crowning beacon atop the spire on 1 World Trade Center. The fabrication team executed SOM’s design for a dynamic and complex adornment to one of the country’s most anticipated buildings, along with the help of engineers at Buro Happold to ensure safety at 1,776 feet.

To craft a 15-ton, 50-foot beacon that accounted for thermal expansion and movement, Kammetal modeled and drew their designs in SolidWorks. The company’s team laser cut 48 triangular 316 stainless steel panels with ¼-inch thickness in a nondirectional finish to clad DCM’s square tubular steel frame. “Before we started the project, we had the structural frame 3D scanned to generate a point cloud,” explained Sam Kusack, president at Kammetal. “Because the structure was so dynamic—it contains zero right angles or reference points—we had to verify the conditions.” Read More

Edward Durell Stone House in Darien, Connecticut Under Threat

East
Thursday, November 14, 2013
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Edward Durell Stone's American modernist home in Darien, Connecticut (Larry Merz)

Edward Durell Stone’s American modernist home in Darien, Connecticut (Larry Merz)

A house designed by Edward Durell Stone, located in Darien, Connecticut, is under threat of demolition to make way for a developer’s vision: a neocolonial pastiche home. The 2,334-square-foot home is sited on a 1.1 acre wooded lot in the private community of Tokeneke. The house represents a transitional moment in Stone’s multifaceted career.  Read More

Writers Theatre raises $22 million to build Studio Gang–designed complex in Chicago

Midwest
Thursday, November 14, 2013
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Studio Gang Architects' design for Writers Theatre, an intimate theater space on the North Shore of suburban Chicago. (Studio Gang Architects)

Studio Gang Architects’ design for Writers Theatre, an intimate theater space on the North Shore of suburban Chicago. (Studio Gang Architects)

Roughly one year after it announced a fundraising campaign to reinvent its home with a Studio Gang–designed “cultural destination,” Writers Theatre in suburban Glencoe said Wednesday it had raised $22 million of the $28 million needed to build the structure on Chicago’s north shore. Read More

After More Than A Decade, A New Office Building Opens on the World Trade Center

East
Thursday, November 14, 2013
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Mayor Bloomberg presides over the Four World Trade Center ribbon-cutting ceremony. (Edward Reed / Courtesy NYC Mayor's Office)

Mayor Bloomberg presides over the Four World Trade Center ribbon-cutting ceremony. (Edward Reed / Courtesy NYC Mayor’s Office)

Yesterday, something remarkable happened. More than a decade after the destruction of the World Trade Center, the walls and fences surrounding a small corner of the site came down and the public was able to glimpse a new stretch of Greenwich Street—which will eventually bisect the site—as well as Fumihiko Maki‘s completed 72-story tower, Four World Trade. The minimalist tower is the first completed building on the site, though tenants will now begin building out their floors.

Watch a time-lapse construction video after the jump.

Carpetbagger: Dallas Extends Unconventional Welcome to Critic Mark Lamster

Eavesdroplet, Southwest
Thursday, November 14, 2013
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Mark Lamster. (Courtesy Dallas Morning News)

Mark Lamster. (Courtesy Dallas Morning News)

“New York City?!? Get a rope.” That sums up the feelings of some North Texans upon learning the origin and reading the prejudices of the Dallas Morning News’ new architecture critic, Mark Lamster. The Brooklyn-based scribbler—who also happens to be a professor in the architecture school of the University of Texas at Arlington—recently tweeted a love letter he received from one such offended reader. “You’re a carpetbagger reporter with no knowledge of—or sensitivity to—Dallas, our suburbs, or our incorporated cities and towns,” it said. To which Lamster replied, “Thanks!”

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