The Municipal Art Society recently commissioned and released four versions of a re-imagined Penn Station. It commissioned Diller Scofidio + Renfro, H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture, SHoP Architects, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) to prepare drawings of what a new terminal would like for the busiest train station in the country.
It has now come to light that actually a fifth concept was prepared but not presented at MAS’s “press conference.” The design by the firm Michael Sorkin Studio builds on MAS’s legendary 1970s protest against the destruction of Grand Central Station. In that protest Jacqueline Onassis famously joined forces with other powerful Manhattanites to stop a proposed Marcel Breuer high rise slated to be built above and across the southern front of Grand Central.
Wednesday, the National Trust for Historic Preservation released its 2013 list of “America’s Most Endangered Historic Places” made up of cultural landmarks, historic houses of worship, civic spaces, derelict industrial structures, and a significant waterway. For twenty-five years, the National Trust has launched campaigns to save historic structures and places in regions across the United States—many of which are vulnerable from years of neglect or the threat of demolition. In a press conference over Twitter, President and CEO Stephanie K. Meeks explained the impetus for including these specific sites: “It’s always a tough choice, but we evaluate on significance, urgency of threat, and possible solution.” The designation, Meeks said, is a tool for drawing attention to places “in a national context of significance” that might otherwise go unnoticed.
This year’s motley list includes the likes of Gay Head Lighthouse in Martha’s Vineyard and San Jose Church in Puerto Rico built in 1532.
Tomorrow, June 21, is the summer solstice. On the occasion, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum will open the doors on a major solo show of the work of James Turrell, called simply James Turrell. It’s a fitting day to open an exhibition on the American artist. Since the 1960s, Turrell has developed a diverse body of work that uses light as material and medium. The centerpiece of the show is Aten Reign, a site-specific installation that fills Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous rotunda. Made from a series of interlocking fabric cones that relate to the Guggenheim’s interior ramps, Aten Reign interlaces the prevailing daylight with subtly changing color fields produced by concealed LED fixtures. Viewed from below, on reclining benches or lying flat on the floor, with the gentle bubbling of the Guggenheim’s fountain providing aural accompaniment, the installation provides a meditative, perception altering experience.
Chicago’s plan to extend and revamp its downtown riverwalk got a major shot in the arm from the feds last week.
U.S. Dept of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the federal government will loan the city $99 million under the Transportation Finance Innovation Act, a program geared at transportation projects of “national and regional significance.” Mayor Rahm Emanuel had previously set his sights on just such funding, as well as financial sponsors for ongoing maintenance.
The project, which is scheduled to be finished by 2016, hopes to draw more attention to the riverfront. Designs by Sasaki Associates, Alfred Benesch & Co., Ross Barney Architects, and Jacobs/Ryan Associates call for six unique identities across six downtown blocks of the Chicago River, such as The Jetty, The Cove, and The River Theater. Read more about the design in AN‘s previous report.
San Francisco Facades+ PERFORMANCE is only three weeks away! Connect with other architects, fabricators, developers, consultants, and other design professionals and earn up to 8 AIA LU credits per day at the conference, presented by AN and Enclos, July 11 to 12, 2013. Invaluable information, networking opportunities, and hands-on workshops are on the lineup for this year’s two-day event.
The symposium on Day 1 involves exciting presentations and discussion-based panels. Here are just a few of the speaker highlights on the agenda for Facades+.
Claire Maxfield, Director of Atelier Ten, in conjunction with Jeffrey Vaglio of Enclos, will offer introductory remarks on Day 1. Her expertise includes facade optimization and water systems.
The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) has shortlisted six firms to design the new U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon. The new Embassy will be located in Awkar, about 7 miles north of the city center, in the vicinity of the existing Embassy. The new compound will consist of a chancery, support offices, a parking structure, Marine residence, Representational and staff housing, and a community center. Thirty-nine firms replied to the public announcement regarding the task of designing the center.
Are you eager to put your architectural design skills to the test? Here are some exciting upcoming competitions that will be sure to present you with the type of challenge you’ve been waiting for. AN‘s editors have combed through our online listing of architecture and design competitions to bring you five of the most interesting competitions happening right now. If you’d like your competition to be included in the listing, please submit it here.
Designing Recovery. AIA, Architecture for Humanity, Make It Right Foundation, and the St. Bernard Project are sponsoring a residential design competition that will substantially impact the lives of families who have been affected by disaster. The competition solicits high quality, affordable housing designs to reduce damaged caused by natural disasters. Three cities (Queens, NY; Joplin, MO; and New Orleans, LA) have been chosen as the settings for the competition. $10,000 will be awarded to one design for each location, and the goal is to utilize as many entries as possible to construct affordable housing.
Submission Deadline: August 15, 2013.
Consensus among the city’s political players is growing in favor of the relocation of Madison Square Garden from its home atop Penn Station. Yesterday, City Council held a public hearing to discuss the future of the Garden and the overcrowded train terminal. Filmmaker Spike Lee, surrounded by an entourage of former Knicks players, testified on behalf of the Garden. According to the Wall Street Journal, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn expressed her support of a ten-year term limit for the arena in a letter addressed to the Garden’s President and CEO, Hank Ratner, on Wednesday. The owners of the arena have requested a permit in perpetuity, however, several government officials and advocacy groups—including Borough President Scott Stringer, the Municipal Art Society (MAS), and the Regional Plan Association—have called for limiting the permit to 10 years. This comes after the City Planning Commission voted unanimously for a 15-year permit extension.
Art photographer Bonnie Edelman’s visit to The Philip Johnson Glass House resulted in a new addition to her SCAPES (Land, Sea, Sky) collection, a series of photographs that capture natural settings in blurs of color.
“The first shot I made as soon I got there, when the house and pool came into view, was the SCAPE called “The Glass House”, 2012. The pool shape was so incredibly unique and so incredibly blue, where the trees were this beautiful fresh deep Spring green, which gave the pool a glow of sorts through the contrast,” said the artist in a statement.
Philip Johnson added the 6 foot, 4 inch deep concrete pool to the iconic house in 1955. Influenced by philosophy, specifically by Platonic geometry, the pool’s perfect circular form reflects the geometric style of design that defined most of Johnson’s architectural career. The pool, which sits almost hidden from view in the midst of a vibrant green lawn, is complete with a rectangular platform that lies adjacent to it. While it cannot be seen from most of the property, when viewed from higher ground, the flawless circular shape accompanied by the rectangular ledge makes a bold statement of geometry.
After a 16-year tenure as director of The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), Holly Hotchner stepped down from her position. Under her guidance, MAD has been transformed into a significant cultural institution, attracting more than 400,000 visitors annually. Hotchner’s leadership ends on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the museum’s new location. Hotchner wrote, in a statement, “that it would be best for the institution I have nurtured and love to build upon all that has been achieved and move forward into the future with new leadership.”
The developer of the two-tower Millennium Hollywood, located just next to the Capitol Records building in Hollywood, has agreed with the city of Los Angeles to limit the buildings’ heights to 35 and 39 stories, reports Curbed LA. The original proposal put forth heights of 485 and 585 feet (that’s roughly 48 and 58 stories). Millennium said that the total square footage of the project—more than one million square feet—and the number of residential (492) and hotel (200) units will not change. The agreement was reached at LA City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee.
This means the buildings will dwarf the iconic Capitol Records building slightly less, although the move probably won’t soothe locals fears about increased congestion. Meanwhile according to the LA Times, the California Department of Transportation has accused city of officials of ignoring their concerns about the project’s impact on the city’s freeways. Stay tuned as this drama unfolds.