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.
Yesterday, the New York City Council approved a 32-story tower designed by TEN Arquitectos that is set to rise on an empty parcel adjacent to the Brooklyn Academy of Music. As AN reported last November, the site is the last undeveloped city-owned lot in the district. The mixed-use project will include 300 residential units (60 which will be “affordable”); 50,000 square feet of cultural space to be shared by BAM Cinema, performance groups connected with 651 Arts, and a new branch of the Brooklyn Public Library; a 10,000-square-foot public plaza; and 15,000 square feet of ground-level retail.
“Two Trees is grateful to the City Council for its support and proud to partner with the city and some of Brooklyn’s most innovative cultural institutions to advance the growth of downtown Brooklyn’s world-class cultural district,” said Jed Walentas, a principal at Two Trees Management, in a statement. “With cultural space, much-needed affordable housing, and a new public plaza, we will be transforming a parking lot into an iconic building with many public benefits.”
Buster Simpson // Surveyor
The Frye Art Museum
704 Terry Avenue, Seattle
Through October 13
Buster Simpson is a Seattle-based artist who has dedicated his artistic career to developing community-focused and urban environmentalist public art projects. For more than forty years he has created site-specific, agitation and propaganda works that have not only troubled neighborhoods to think about the health of their communities but also suggested local solutions to global issues. This exhibition at the Frye Art Museum features some of Simpson’s most compelling works, filled with explicit messages and rich metaphors, such as his “Hudson River Purge” (1991), a video performance in which he addresses the problem of acid rain by dropping 42 ½-pound soft limestone discs, or “antacid pills,” into the Hudson River, neutralizing the acidity of the water. This collection of Simpson’s public artwork celebrates his artistic legacy and captures the regional and global impact of his work.
Robert Venturi won the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1991. His wife and professional collaborator Denise Scott Brown was not recognized, sparking a controversy that has raged ever since. Following a recent round of petitions and editorials calling for a retroactive prize–or some form of recognition—the current Pritzker jury chair, Lord Peter Palumbo, sent a letter on the matter to two current students at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Arielle Assouline-Lichten and Caroline James, organizers of the most prominent of the recent petitions.
Palumbo made it clear that no retroactive prize was possible: “Insofar as you have in mind a retroactive award of the prize to Ms. Scott Brown, the present jury cannot do so. Pritzker juries, over time, are made up of different individuals, each of whom does his or her best to find the most highly qualified candidate.” Palumbo left open the possibility of recognition for Scott Brown. “Let us assure you, however, that Ms. Scott Brown remains eligible for the Pritzker Award. That award is given on the basis of an architect’s total body of built work.” Palumbo further acknowledged the context of the controversy: “We should like to thank you for calling directly to our attention a more general problem, namely that assuring women and fair and equal place in the profession.”
Heatherwick Studio has envisioned a refreshing way for Londoners to safely commute from the North to the South side of the city that doesn’t involve the hassle of waiting for a bus, squeezing onto the overcrowded “Tube,” or sitting in mind-numbing traffic. The firm, which has been working closely with actress and campaigner Joanna Lumley to develop the design, proposed a pedestrian garden bridge that will extend across the River Thames, providing Londoners with a safe, green river crossing.
The Denver Architectural League asked architects and designers from across the world to reimagine the micro-apartment on a riverfront site by designing an eight-unit structure that diverges from the uninspired design of multi-family housing elsewhere in the community. Their Micro Housing Ideas Competition generated over 100 entries and a jury selected ten proposals for special distinction. The competition was inspired by a concern regarding a shortage of innovation present in Denver’s multi-family housing market. Members of the design community were given the opportunity to rework and establish the future of this specific sector.
The fate of an 8,500-square-foot house designed in 1970 by architect Romaldo Giurgola in Wayzata, Minnesota hangs in the balance following what the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported as 2012′s priciest single-family housing deal in the Twin Cities. Just months after paying $10 million for the lakefront property, the new owner, Cargill heir Donald C. MacMillan, has presented plans that could include the building’s demolition.
Tired of hearing about building integrated photovoltaics? Well, the next wave of energy-producing architecture may look quite different. Strawscraper, a project currently underway in Stockholm, will see a building coated in a hair-like material that harvests energy from the wind. The process is known as piezoelectricity. Designed by Swedish firm Belatchew Arkitekter, Strawscraper is an addition to Stockholm’s Söder Torn building, which was completed in 1997. Once transformed into the Strawscraper, the building will stand at 40 stories tall and will act as an “urban power plant,” according to the architect’s website.