Restoration of Buckminster Fuller’s iconic Fly’s Eye Dome at America’s Cup

2010 - Fly's Eye Dome installed in Beacon,

Goetz Composites, fabricators of some of the most successful race boats in the world including three of today’s most high profile yachts as well as ten America’s Cup racing yachts completed a historic restoration of one of Buckminster Fuller‘s most iconic structures, the 24 foot Fly’s Eye Dome.

Patented in 1965, Fuller created two prototypes of this structure; a 24 foot and 50 foot dome. Fuller writes in his seminal book, Critical Path that “the Fly’s Eye domes are designed as part of a ‘livingry’ service. The basic hardware components will produce a beautiful, fully equipped air-deliverable house that weighs and costs about as much as a good automobile. Not only will it be highly efficient in its use of energy and materials, it also will be capable of harvesting incoming light and wind energies.”

More images and information after the break. (more…)

Cambridge Public Library wins Harleston Parker Medal / William Rawn Associates and Ann Beha Architects

© Chuck Choi

The Boston Society of Architects/AIA announced the winner of the 2010 Harleston Parker Medal as the Cambridge Public Library by William Rawn Associates Architects and Ann Beha Architects.  Each year, the Society of Architects (BSA) and the City of award the Harleston Parker Medal to “the single most beautiful” building or structure built in the Greater area over the past 10 years.

More images of the winner after the break. (more…)

Mordecai Mole the Building Thief / Julian Hector

Many great buildings...

A few weeks ago, we shared a whimsical architectural version of the children’s tale “Three Little Pigs” by .   Today, we have another great architecturally inclined book featuring Mordecai Mole – a thief who steals iconic buildings from various skylines.  Thanks to our reader Julian Hector – who also wrote and illustrated the book – for sharing it with us.  We hope you enjoy the storyline and the graphic illustrations.

Read the rest of the story after the break. (more…)

Cooper-Hewitt 2011 National Design Award Winners

Stephen Cassell, Kim Yao, and Adam Yarinsky, © Lajos Geenen

Honoring lasting achievement in American design Cooper-Hewitt announced yesterday the winners and finalists of the 2011 National Design Awards. In its 12th year of celebrating outstanding achievement in design, the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum annually presents this award to various disciplines that demonstrate excellence, innovation, and enhancement of the quality of life.

Garnering first prize for architecture is based Architecture Research Office (ARO).  A list of winners and finalists following the break.

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Steven Holl Architects to Design an Art Institute at Virginia Commonwealth University

Nanjing Sifang Art Museum by © Iwan Baan

Steven Holl Architects were approved last week by the board of visitors’ finance committee to design a $19.3 million gallery at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, Virginia.

An existing surface parking lot on the east side of ’s campus will be transformed into the 32,000 sqf arts institute.  This will provide an opportunity to create a distinctive entrance into the campus from Broad and Belvidere streets.  The program for the  new gallery includes space for traveling exhibits and student exhibits, archival study area, offices, and an auditorium.

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Is Architecture Employment Improving

© Rene de Wit

Is architecture employment improving?  According to C. J. Hughes recent article some firms need for design services has increased providing an opportunity to hire employees.  That being said the employment opportunities are still minimal some firms hiring only one or two employees while others are able to hire in the double digits.  Many principals are tentative about the future and are therefore proceeding cautiously not to over hire employees.

The full article Architecture Employment on the Rise by C. J. Hughes for ArchRecord following the break.

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Update: Tenant for Freedom Tower

as of May 13. Photo: A. Cilento

Each week, progress is being made on Manhattan’s Freedom Tower as it slowly rises to meet its 1,776 ft mark.   In addition to the skyscraper, we’ve shared Calatrava’s Transit Hub design with you and we are excited to see the completed complex.    Although the new project will offer dynamic architecture in conjunction with a spiritual environment to remember the victims of the attacks, many wonder what companies will occupy the 2.6 million sqf of office space.   A few days ago, media company Conde Nast (a publishing company responsible for the likes of Vanity Fair, Vogue, The New Yorker, among others) announced their plan to lease 1 million sqf, giving the Tower its first high-profile anchor.  Christopher O. Ward, executive director of the Port Authority, told the Times, “We built a new reality at the World Trade Center, and this transaction will be the exclamation point on that turnaround.”    This deal has appeased rising concerns that the Tower would be solely occupied with government offices; with such a progressive company slated to move in, hopefully others will follow suit.   Governor Andrew M. Cuomo told the Times, “[Conde Nast's lease] sends a message to the global business community that Lower Manhattan is alive, growing and open for business.”

The Miller Hull Partnership Expands to San Diego

Courtesy of The

Seattle based Miller Hull Partnership has recently shared with ArchDaily that they have expanded to open an office in San Diego. Formed in 1977 the award-winning [check out our coverage of The Miller Hull Partnership here] firm’s design reputation is based on simple, innovative and authentic designs that incorporate sustainable practices.

The Miller Hull Partnership has been working in San Diego for seven years, and has a number of projects currently under way. These include the renovation of the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry, the busiest border crossing in the world (Phase 1 in construction), and the University of California San Diego Structural & Nano Materials Engineering building also in construction.

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Update: ABI April


via the

Keeping with our coverage of the Architecture Billings Index,  while the past index saw a slight decrease from 58.7 to 55.0 in March, the AIA has just announced that the  index has dropped quite a bit to 47.6 for April.   This billing marks the first point since October to register below 50.   As the AIA explained,“It remains unclear if this month’s downturn is a bump in the road to recovery, or indicative of a longer-term reversal in the two-quarter recovery in design activity. Firms reported that the threatened federal government shutdown, tornadoes though the Southeast, and the winding down of federal stimulus funds for building activity all were impediments to design activity in April.”

Regionally, the South and West regions are still struggling to break 50, with the South reporting 48.3 and the West 47.7.   Yet, as the AIA reports, some Southern firms may see a possible increase in work activity to rebuild from the recent storms and flooding.   The Northeast and Midwest reported 51.2 and 51.1, respectively, and the multi-family residential sector holds strong at 53.9; followed by commercial / industrial at 49.9, institutional at 45.9 and finally, mixed practice at 45.2.

Senate Legislation Calls for Zero-Net-Energy Buildings by 2030

A recent Bi-Partisan Congressional effort has landed the 2030 Challenge back on the Senate Floor, where the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2011 was introduced by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). The bill places meeting the 2030 Challenge target of zero-net-energy for new buildings by 2030 as the first item in a comprehensive strategy for U.S. energy reductions in the building and industrial sectors.

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Top 100 Architecture Firms

© Joe Pugliese

Architect Magazine‘s third-annual ranking of American architecture firms takes a look at three factors: profitability, sustainability, and design quality. This whole picture approach provides an opportunity for small and large firms to go head to head, with a result of the best architecture firms, not necessarily the biggest.

Some of these practices have been featured on ArchDaily like Perkins + Will, Skidmore Owings & Merrill, , and Frank Harmon Architect.

Take a look at the complete rankings after the break.

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SOM Wins 2011 AIA Institute Honor Award for Regional and Urban Design

© SOM

The Beijing Central Business District (CBD) plan by SOM can now add 2011 AIA Institute Honor Award for Regional and Urban Design to its list.  The ongoing 4,200,000 sqm project is the winning design from the international design competition expanding the CBD

The plan calls for the establishment of three new districts anchored by signature parks and green boulevards. New modes of public transportation are proposed, including express commuter rail service between the Beijing Capital International Airport, the CBD, and high speed rail service at Beijing South Station. A new streetcar system is proposed to conveniently link all areas of the CBD, and every street would be bicycle friendly. To establish a pedestrian-friendly scale for development, the plan calls for a network of small, walkable blocks.

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Update: New Amsterdam Pavilion Opens / Ben van Berkel

UNStudio

Last summer, we had the opportunity to discuss ’s design ideas behind his for New York (see our past coverage here).  At that time, while the pavilion’s sleek sculptural form was complete, the interior the pavilion was still under construction.   Now, with the interior and landscape complete, the pavilion has opened for public use.  Situated outside the South Ferry terminal in Peter Minuit Plaza, the pavilion will serve as a new cultural hub in the middle of an intersection crossed by more than 150,000 residents each day.    Conceived as a contemporary “outdoor living room”, the project will provide visitor information, locally grown gourmet food, and a space for spontaneous and schedule activities.  Plus, at 12:00, the pavilion will glow with an array of colors in tribute to Peter Minuit whose name translates to ‘midnight.’

More about the pavilion after the break. (more…)

Henry Gifford Files Opposition to USGBC’s Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint

The USGBC continues to be in the headlines as last week Henry Gifford filed opposition papers to the USGBC’s motion to dismiss the pending lawsuit in .

Mr. Gifford’s attorneys argue in their opposition. “If the USGBC website were password protected for professional members only, that assertion would be more convincing,” Mr. Gifford’s attorneys write. “But the USGBC website is aimed at giving the general public an overview of LEED, with ‘What LEED Is’ on the masthead. USGBC’s website explains to the layman consumer: ‘By using less energy, LEED-certified buildings save money for families, business, and taxpayers. . . It’s absurd to think USGBC is not directing its marketing at the tenant-consumer.”

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Update: MoMA set to buy American Folk Art Museum

© Michael Moran

Yesterday, we shared the news of the ’s announcement to sell its 53rd Street building to the MoMA due to financial troubles.  As we reported, with the MoMA looking to expand its gallery square footage, speculation is growing as to whether the will be preserved.  The situation is a little complicated as the Folk Art building stands between the existing MoMA and an empty lot sold to the developer Hines which is where Jean Nouvel’s West 53rd tower will stand in the future.  Some feel the MoMA will demolish the Folk Art to utilize the empty lot to its fullest potential.  Yet, the MoMA has said the Folk Art museum will be used as gallery space.

Architect has expressed concern over converting the building into anything other than an art museum, stating, “It wouldn’t make any sense to gut the structure”  and adding that, “When you make a building, you put your heart and soul into it and send it out into the world.”   While the Folk Art is set to relocate to its 5,000 sqf gallery on Columbus Avenue, the future of the 53rd Street structure is still to be determined.

We spotted this update on ArchRecord thanks to @JennaMMcknight via Twitter.

Next Generation AIA Contract Documents from the AIA

The American Institute of Architects () has recently unveiled a demonstration of its new Next Generation Service. The new service follows the release of the Sustainability Guide, which was developed to assist users of AIA Contract Documents in understanding contractual considerations unique to sustainable design and construction projects.

The next generation AIA Contract Documents service, which will represent a significant innovation in accessibility, security, flexibility, affordability and ease of use for the design and construction industry. This new service will allow AIA Contract Documents users to have access to the AIA Contract Document library and all drafts and final documents anytime from anywhere with an internet connection from either a PC or Mac.

More details about the Next Generat Service following the break.

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MoMA set to buy American Folk Art Museum

© Michael Moran

Surrounded by the Museum of Modern Art, Tod Williams and ’s has created a strong aesthetic identity with its stoic tombasil metal exterior.  Upon its completion, the museum was named the ”Best New Building in the World in 2001” and has attracted art lovers to experience galleries filled with a wide variety of American Folk Art as well as the architecture itself [check out our AD Classics coverage of the museum].  However, the museum has been financially struggling in recent years as efforts to balance the budget have made little progress.   After a thorough review of the situation, the board has decided to sell the museum to the Museum of Modern Art.

More information after the break. (more…)

MVRDV’s Winy Maas receives Legion of Honor

Courtesy of

The prestigious recognition of France’s Legion of Honour, was recently bestowed upon MVRDV’s Winy Maas. A French order established by Napoleon Bonaparte, on 19 May 1802, it is the highest decoration in France and was given to Mass by French Ambassador to the Netherlands Mr. Jean-François Blarel.

MVRDV has become active in France, currently part of a think tank – Atelier du Grand Paris (concerned with the future planning of Greater Paris) and a number of architecture projects throughout France including: the refurbishment of a Dijon Mustard laboratory into a call centre and incubator, Le Monolithe in Lyon, they are also working on Caen’s port refurbishment, and the Pushed Slab energy efficient office building.