Despite the economic freeze gripping much of Italy, more than 100,000 attendees—50 percent of whom came from outside the country—converged on Bologna for the 2013 edition of Cersaie, the world’s largest ceramic tile fair. In addition to daily educational sessions and a keynote from Pritzker Prize winner Rafael Moneo, 900 product exhibitors filled the halls with the newest iterations of stone and tile looks on porcelain and ceramic. Textile-influenced surfaces were particularly prevalent, as were recreations of hand-crafted, custom-made tiles thanks to more affordable production methods.
Though nearly every company exhibiting at Cersaie 2013 boasted some kind of wood look, Cerim’s (above) stood out for its realistic color and graining, and authentically placed embossing. Available in five tones on three differently sized planks, the collection also comes in two finishes for indoor and outdoor flooring applications.
The AIA Los Angeles has awarded its 2013 Gold Medal to Frederick Fisher. Founder and principal at Frederick Fisher & Partner Architects, Fisher has been practicing architecture in LA for more than 30 years. During the late 1970s he was part of the “L.A. School,” a group of architects including Thom Mayne, Frank Gehry, and Eric Owen Moss who staged exhibitions at Mayne’s in-home architecture gallery.Fisher worked in Gehry’s practice for several years, yet in his own designs Fisher eschews the mind-bending geometry for which Gehry and some of his other contemporaries are known. Instead, Fisher’s work is characterized by a combination of lightness and restraint.
New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) just faced another hurdle in its controversial plan, known as its “infill strategy,” to lease swathes of land in public housing developments to private developers. The deal would allow for the construction of new market-rate apartment buildings, along with a handfull of affordable housing units, in eight projects throughout Manhattan. But New York City Council and a group of tenants filed a lawsuit on Thursday to prevent the plan from moving forward. This past spring, the struggling agency issued a Request for Proposal seeking ideas from developers. The lawsuit slips in right before NYCHA’s November 18th deadline for proposals. The New York Times reported that the plaintiffs said that the agency failed to include City Council on the “decision-making regarding the plan to build on public housing grounds.” And moreover, government officials pointed out that the Bloomberg administration didn’t follow the standard protocol, which requires that agency officials go through City Council for approval.
In a statement to Times, NYCHA said: “It’s unfortunate that the City Council is attempting to block a proposal that would generate significant revenue for the New York City Housing Authority — money that would go directly into developments and repairs for residents.”
Walking along the farthest block of West 34th Street, navigating past queues waiting for MegaBuses going to Boston, Philadelphia, and other cities, is a small white tent behind a chain-link fence. There begins another journey to a world that will exist only until next May. It is the High Line at the Rail Yards, the last stretch of the beloved park between West 30 and 34th streets, still raw before it joins the two completed sections running to Gansevoort Street.
You are first greeted by a dense, green self-seeded landscape, including a tree ripe with green apples. As you gingerly step over battered wooden rail ties and metal tracks, the vista opens up to the portion called the Spur, which runs parallel to the Hudson River with only the West Side Highway in between. Ships pass by, helicopters land, the Javits Center, the Starrett Lehigh Building, and the new Hudson Yards construction site surround you—and then you encounter the first of seven sculptures by Carol Bove sited along the tracks. Read More
Placed within Tokyo’s Daikanayama district, architect Arthur Casas has designed a flagship store to appear completely as an opaque box. As fashion trends change, so does the store’s appearance. The exterior walls boast a bold graphic design that will surely be swapped out for the next season’s trends.
At the end of September, the AIA released “Cities as Lab”, a report stipulating how innovative design can help strengthen modern urban America. Presented during the National Leadership Speaker Series in Washington D.C., it stressed how resilient cities are better suited to address upcoming social, economic, and physical challenges. The report is part of a larger framework looking to guide the international development agenda for decades to come. As a whole, it seeks to fuel the progress of critical sustainable programs around the world.
Proving the beauty and sustainable capability of steel construction, the winning projects of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) 2012-2013 Steel Design Student Competition have been announced. The competition, launched last spring, called for comprehensive and environmentally thoughtful steel designs in two categories. The first, Building to Bridge, sought a plan for a long-span pedestrian bridge whose location would be enriched by the connection it created. And the second, Open, allowed for full flexibility in student design ideas of steel construction.
The ACSA chose winners whose projects represented “creative and innovative use of structural steel in the design solution, successful response of the design to its surrounding context, and successful response to basic architectural concepts.”
Germans have taken on a unique approach to hospitality. This past August, hotelier Michael Schloesser introduced an innovative type of lodging two miles from the city center of Bonn. By converting an old storage facility into an indoor campground, Schloesser has created what he calls the world’s first camping trailer hotel: BaseCamp Bonn Young Hostel. Inside the warehouse, numerous trailers, vintage vans, sleeping cars and motorhomes are arranged to create a typical campground setup.
Economic inequality is not hard to see — in Chicago, drive south on Halsted Street from Lakeview to Englewood, or bounce between Oak Park and Austin, or Evanston and Rogers Park — but sometimes it takes a visualization to put it into perspective. Read More
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A new exhibition helps a New York-based firm explore indoor and outdoor applications of a new building material.
Cosentino is celebrating Architecture Month with Surface Innovation, a multi-media exhibition at the Center for Architecture in New York that presents innovative applications of its new Dekton material. A combination of raw, inorganic materials found in glass, porcelain, and natural quartz, the new indoor/outdoor surfacing material is made with particle sintering technology (PST) that recreates the natural process of stone formation. The company invited six local architecture firms to design unique projects featuring the material, including SOFTlab, a design/build firm known for its mix of research, craft, and technology in large-scale installations and building projects.
For SOFTlab, working with a product that could be used for both interiors and exterior applications was an opportunity to reconcile the growing inverse relationship between the skin and volume of large buildings. “We came up with the idea of building something a little more dense than a single story or residentially scaled building, where Dekton may be used,” said Michael Svivos, founder and director of SOFTlab. “We went to a larger scale building, that blurs the inside and outside.” Read More