For those heading north on the New York State Thruway, the Yonkers Raceway emerging on the right is just another part of the landscape. But Studio V Architects is about to change all that with their massive porte-cochère that serves as the iconic tour de force for the $45 million expansion of the Empire City Casino. The curved lattice canopy will be clad in ETFE foil—a polymer membrane often used for roofing—that will reflect LED lights resting atop the steel frame.
Behind the canopy, a four-story, 300-foot-long glass wall will serve as a clear backdrop to the canopy, mimicking its curve, while allowing visitors to see the action inside. “The sculptural steel and foil shell grow out of the landscape,” explained Studio V founder and principal Jay Valgora. That landscape will eventually get the Ken Smith treatment. AN took a trip up to Yonkers to check out the construction and all seems on track for opening this fall. We’ll keep you updated on its progress and more from Studio V.
Machine collaborates on your design as you make it
Earlier this summer Design Hub Limburg mounted “The Machine,” an exhibition that anticipates what the Netherlands-based design collective is calling the designers’ industrial revolution, a movement that sees more and more designers developing and building machines specially suited to their particular needs, like the Computer Augmented Craft project (CAC) by German designer Christian Fiebig. He was commissioned by Design Hub Limburg to create an interactive machine with a digital interface that makes suggestions to the designer during the fabrication process. Using custom-made sensors, the computer tracks the making process and instantly generates formal possibilities based on the designer’s chosen parameters, bridging hi-tech with traditional craftsmanship.
Fiebig enlisted the help of product and interaction designer David Menting and his company, Nut & Bolt, to devise a system of sensors specifically for spot welding strips of metal. First, Menting used an off-the-shelf CNY70 reflective infrared sensor to detect the position of the metal strips and created an adapted pair of digital calipers to measure the length. A custom-made circular infrared sensor was then created to measure the angle at which two different strips meet. The values read by the sensors are registered by an Arduino, a microcontroller chip that enables a computer to communicate input and output components, in this case the sensors. The Arduino checks whether the infrared sensor can detect the light from a ring of LEDs on the workstation at a rate of approximately a thousand times per second. If not, it knows the light is being blocked by a strip of metal, which it measures the length and angle of, and then sends that information to the computer.
You might have heard that the next version of Apple’s iPhone software, iOS 6, is scrapping transit directions when it revamps its mapping program. That’s a big deal for city dwellers in a constant rush to grab the closest subway or the fastest bus and caused quite an uproar earlier this summer when news hit the internet. While Google’s standard app is no longer default, a plethora of software developers have jumped at the opportunity to design custom transit apps. Open Plans, a non-profit software developer in New York, is one of them, and they’re in the final hours of a Kickstarter campaign to fund their transit app.
As of publishing, their open-source OpenTripPlanner Mobile project is still about 20 percent short of its goal, but closing in pretty quickly. The software promises features that the current Google maps app doesn’t allow, like planning for multi-modal trips involving transit, walking, and bikes. New Yorkers can check out an example of Open Plans’ bike-share software Cibi.me, which will help plan Citi Bike trips once the city finally works out all the bugs.
Before the 2012 Venice Biennale opens on August 29, Zaha Hadid Architects has released its own preview of the firm’s pavilion to be displayed at the Giardini and the Arsenale in Venice. The pavilion will be one of 66 projects in the 13th International Architecture Exhibition at the Biennale, entitled Common Ground.
In its ongoing march to reclaim downtown neighborhoods marred by blight and suburban exodus, Cincinnati this week added Pendleton to the Neighborhood Enhancement Program. The district is known for its art center, and was a natural choice for the program now in 14 areas of the city.
Like its neighbor to the west, Over-the-Rhine, Pendleton has struggled with crime. The “90-day blitz of city services” offered by NEP is designed to begin the process of long-term revitalization for the neighborhood by addressing that issue. Kennedy Heights saw a 16 percent drop in crime after it embarked on NEP earlier this year. The program will be reevaluated every 90 days, and again six months after completion.
An interesting trend to hit landscape architecture in recent years is borderless fountains, where water flows flush with the pavement. If so inclined, visitors can kick off their shoes and stroll though damp pavers. Such fountains can be found by Field Operations with Diller, Scofidio + Renfro on the High Line, Digsau’s Sister Cities Park in Philly, and Field Operations’ recently completed plaza fronting New York by Gehry. The trend seems to speak to city dwellers need to touch water.
On a recent sunny day in Silver Lake the Materials & Applications gallery got folks together to eat cake. In honor of the group’s 10th anniversary M&A hosted an architectural bake-off called “Elevate Your Cake,” with groovy deliciousness by an impressive group of designers. They included Predock Frane; Chu + Gooding; Escher GuneWardena Architecture; Gensler; Deegan Day; Deutsch; Patterns; Noah Riley Design; Warren Techentin; Barbara Bestor; MASS; Osborn; Modal Design; Taalman Koch; and Andy Goldman.
That’s right, this was no amateur night. These were serious architectural cakes. Chu + Gooding’s cake, “Inopportune Totem,” looked like a porcupine had mated with a death-by-chocolate. Warren Techentin’s entry, “cubisphere,” was made up of Japanese Mochi and chocolate cake balls. It looked like a cube made of colorful (but edible) golf and ping pong balls stacked on each other. After several of the cakes were raffled off everybody got down to business: eating the rest.
Don’t miss Maps to Apps, the Digital Cityscape tonight at the Center for Architecture! Here’s a short synopsis of the event:
The advent of digital technology and the near universal adoption of the smart phones and the iPad have inspired many cities to experiment with using digital technology both for cultural tourism and for planning. In a couple of years the technology has developed from cell phone tours to QR codes placed on civic buildings. The just launched iPad app for the London Olympics ‘London A City Through Time’ transforms an entire encyclopedia’s worth of content into a tool for understanding the archaeology of a city. Probably the first attempt to use state of the art technology to take the pulse of a city and then share it was in Boston with the Where’s Boston exhibition at the Prudential Center in 1976. This summer cultureNOW is surveying Boston again through the lens of its Museum Without Walls/ iPhone app. This symposium will examine the project and look at it in the broader context.