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.
New York-based landscape architecture firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA) has been selected to develop new designs for The Menil Collection’s 30-acre campus in Houston, Texas. The appointment kicks off the Menil’s “neighborhood of art” master plan, designed in 2009 by London-based David Chipperfield Architects. Chipperfield’s scheme attempts to tie together a group of six buildings spread across several blocks and interspersed with outdoor sculpture gardens and green spaces. The museum anticipates that groundwork for the initial stage of MVVA’s design will begin this September.
Waterfront Gateway Design Competition: New Rochelle, NY To Launch Important Architecture Competition June 19
The City of New Rochelle, New York, is announcing the start of an exciting new competition to re-imagine its waterfront and downtown communities. Founded in 1688 by a craftsman from La Rochelle, France, New Rochelle, sits on the shore of Long Island Sound just a few miles north of New York City. A diverse, highly livable, and walkable place, the city has made great strides in recent years to rehabilitate its infrastructure and historic downtown.
However, there is only a single block in the commercial quarter that touches on the shore of Long Island Sound. This is the site of the competition. In order to take advantage of this valuable waterfront, the city is sponsoring the three-part Waterfront Gateway Design Competition, which will officially launch tomorrow, Thursday at noon.
Today, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) revealed its 2013 Honors recipients. The Honors acknowledge individuals and organizations for their lifetime successes and notable contributions to the landscape architecture profession. The process is straightforward – ASLA members submit nominations to be reviewed by the Executive Committee and forwarded to the Board of Trustees. This year, the awards will be presented in Boston during the ASLA Annual Meeting & EXPO, November 15-18, 2013.
April showers bring May flowers. The AIA’s latest numbers for May’s Architecture Billings Index have fortunately showed renewed strength with a score of 52.9, an increase from April’s low score of 48.6, which marked a surprising setback into negative territory for the first time in nine months. (Any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings.)
“This rebound is a good sign for the design and construction industry and hopefully means that April’s negative dip was a blip rather than a sign of challenging times to come,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, in a statement. “But there is a resounding sense of uncertainty in the marketplace—from clients to investors and an overall lack of confidence in the general economy—that is continuing to act as a governor on the business development engine for architecture firms.”
The Architecture firm Sejima & Nishizawa and Associates (SANAA), in partnership with Israel’s Nir-Kutz Architects, recently unveiled a proposal for a new 400,000 square-foot building for Jerusalem’s Bazalel Academy of Arts and Design. The design of the new building aims to promote collaboration between the school’s eight different—and currently separate—departments by housing them under one roof for the first time. There will be space for classrooms, studios, offices, two auditoriums, public galleries, and cafes.