Frank Gehry’s Ground Zero Performing Arts Scheme Abandoned

Original Proposal. Image © Gehry Partners

The recent hire of temporary artistic director David Lan has indicated that plans for ’s “world center for the performing arts” is moving forward in New York. The famed director will work alongside Charcoalblue managing partner Andy Hayles to revise the original Frank Gehry-designed scheme which, according to the center’s president, was prematurely designed. This leaves Gehry’s involvement unclear, as the initial 1000-seat center will be abandoned for a scaled down, three-theater house that ranges from 150 to 550 seats. Competition for funding also remains an obstacle, in light of venues such as Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s 2017 Culture Shed. You can learn more about the center’s update here

A Dozen Red Details Worth Swooning Over

Theatre Agora / UNStudio © Iwan Baan

Rather than a bouquet of roses, we wanted to express our love with a dozen seductive images of architecture dressed in red. Because nothing steals an architect’s heart like a well designed, beautifully detailed structure.

Our 12 most loved projects in , after the break…

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Critical Round-Up: ‘Sensing Spaces’ Strikes a Chord With Critics

© Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2014. Photography: James Harris

As the most ambitious architecture exhibition hosted by the Royal Academy of Arts in a generation, Sensing Spaces was inevitably going to be under a lot of scrutiny from architecture and art critics. According to the Academy’s Chief Executive Charles Saumarez-Smith, the momentous exhibition “represents a shift away from postwar modern architecture where it was about problem solving, to thinking about architecture in terms of experience, material, light and space.”

Fortunately the exhibition seems to have struck a chord with critics, who have almost universally praised the exhibition’s premise and have, to varying extents, been highly complementary about the individual exhibits.

Read on after the break for a round-up of the critics’ opinions

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20 Teams to Compete in 2015 U.S. Solar Decathlon

2013: Team Austria Wins Top Honors. Image © Jason Flakes/U.S. DOE

The U.S. Department of Energy has selected 20 collegiate teams to participate in the 2015 Solar Decathlon at , California’s Orange County Great Park. The eight returning teams will compete against 12 new teams, with partners from four international schools, to build “solar-powered, highly energy-efficient houses that combine affordability, innovation, and design excellence” within the allotted two-year period. View the full list of competitors, after the break.

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Farrells Selected to Masterplan Two Sites in Shenzhen’s Qianhai Financial District

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Farrells has been announced as winner of an international competition to masterplan two prominent commercial zones in ’s Qianhai financial district. Adjacent to the district’s Qianhaiwan metro station, the two districts are expected to boost cross-border trade between and Hong Kong. The first, 460,000-square-meter masterplan will feature a 320-meter-tall skyscraper and two 185-meter gateway towers, providing high-end office, residential and retail space, as well as serviced apartments.

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Shortlisted Concepts Unveiled for MLK Jr. Memorial Library Renovation

© STUDIOS Architecture with The Freelon Group

Preliminary designs have been released by three shortlisted teams competing to renovate ’s historic Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in – the only library and D.C. building ever designed by the legendary architect. Preview each proposal and learn how you can submit your feedback to the D.C. Public Library before they make their decision, after the break.

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MoMA to Preserve Folk Art Facade

© Flickr CC User Dan Nguyen

Though it has been confirmed that Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Museum of Modern Art expansion will result in the demise of Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects’ American Folk Art Museum, the New York Times has confirmed that the beloved copper-bronze facade will be preserved.

“We will take the facade down, piece by piece, and we will store it,” Glenn D. Lowry, the director of the Museum of Modern Art, said in an interview. “We have made no decision about what happens subsequently, other than the fact that we’ll have it and it will be preserved.”

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Diller Scofidio + Renfro Designs Public Plaza, Restaurant for LA’s Broad Museum

© , via Designboom

Alongside news that The Broad’s completion date has been pushed back to 2015, rather than this fall, Diller Scofidio + Renfro has unveiled a new collaboration with landscape architect Walter Hood that will transform the mid-block parcel adjacent to the Grand Avenue museum into a pedestrian-friendly landscaped plaza and restaurant. As reported by the Times, the new square will establish an important link to the neighboring school and apartment, as well as the future 2020 Regional Connector subway stop. The 24,000 square foot parcel will be enhanced by100-year-old olive trees transplanted from Northern California. Watch a video about the design after the break, and find more information here

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A Proposal to Turn Paris’ Unused Metro Stations Into Parks, Pools, and More

’ Arsenal Station as an underground park. Image Courtesy of Manal Rachdi, OXO Architects & Nicolas Laisné, via IBT

We architects know full well the power of renderings to capture the imagination. Apparently – so too do politicians. Capitalizing on the popularity of projects around the world (a trend instigated by the success of New York’s High Line), French politician Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet has made converting Paris’ unused “ghost stations” a major part of her platform, promising that these projects will come to pass should she be elected mayor.

The renderings, by Manal Rachdi OXO Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associés, show the Arsenal station (unused since 1939) alternately as a swimming pool, a green park, restaurant, disco, or theater. As there are in fact 16 disused metro stations in Paris, the idea behind these renderings is to instigate debate among practitioners as to how these spaces could best serve the city. See all the renderings, after the break.

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Siza, Souto de Moura, Kuma Reflect on Their ‘Sensing Spaces’ Exhibitions

As an accompaniment to their ongoing Sensing Spaces Exhibition in London, the Royal Academy of Arts has produced six wonderful films interviewing the architects involved in the exhibition, unearthing what motivates and inspires them as architects, and what the primary themes of their exhibition projects are.

The above features both Álvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura, who both designed their Sensing Spaces exhibits with the other in mind. Siza explains his preoccupation with the joints between the natural and the man-made through his Leça Swimming Pool complex, and the way the rock formations informed his interventions. He also introduces his one-time protégé Souto de Moura’s Braga stadium as expressing the same understanding of the natural and man-made.

See videos from the 5 other Sensing Spaces participants after the break

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Wang Shu and Zaha Hadid Among 14 Nominated for “Design of the Year” Award

Heydar Aliyev Center / Zaha Hadid Architects © Iwan Baan

The Design Museum in has announced the 2014 “Design of the Year” nominees. Spanning the industries of architecture to fashion and furniture design, featuring NLE’s floating school in Nigeria, Toyota’s affordable environmental car, and a mobile phone made from detachable blocks, just one of 76 nominated works will be crowned this year’s most innovative design. Of the nominees, 14 are some of the world’s most renowned structures. Catch a glimpse of the architecture being considered, after the break.  

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Young Projects Play “Match-Maker” in Times Square

© Ka-Man Tse for Times Square Arts

Young Projects will be spending the week playing “Match-Maker” in , as the Brooklyn-based studio has debuted their interactive Valentine’s Day installation in the heart of Times Square. Made in collaboration with fabricator Kammetal, as part of Times Square Alliance’s sixth annual heart design competition, the interactive heart-shaped sculpture is designed to cosmically connect people based on their zodiac signs by arranging curious passerby’s at twelve points surrounding the installation.  

As describes, “Peering through colorful, interwoven periscopes provides glimpses of each viewer’s four most ideal astrological mates, offering potentially novel connections between lonely souls or settled lovers.”

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RAW Design Warms Canadian Skaters with Fur-Inspired “Nuzzles”

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Toronto-based RAW Design has been crowned winner of the annual Warming Huts competition, which is intended to “push the envelop of design, craft and art” by encouraging architects to design innovative warming shelters along the frozen Red River Mutual Trail in Winnipeg,

Moving away from the traditional notion of an enclosed shelter, the firm’s winning proposal “Nuzzles” engages skaters with a playful arrangement of “insulated appendages” (a.k.a. pool noodles) supported by a geodesic lattice structure that is illuminated and heated from within. Users are encouraged to “nestle into the structure” and manipulate its fur-like exterior into informal resting areas. 

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Apple’s Revised San Francisco Store Approved

Courtesy of

Third time’s the charm, at least in the case of Apple’s -designed flagship store planned for San Francisco’s historic Union Square. After being sent back to the drawings boards on multiple occasions, the signature glass box’s third proposal (which was claimed to be “more iconic” than the company’s famous Five Avenue glass cube in New York City) has been awarded approval from the city.

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REX Unveils Details of Five Manhattan West Development

450 West 33rd Street / Rendering of building with completed renovations

Joshua Prince-Ramus of REX, together with Brookfield Properties unveiled today the $200 Million redevelopment of 450 West 33rd Street in . The 1.8 million-square-foot building will be integrated into the Manhattan West Development.

The architectural firm designed the redevelopment of Five Manhattan West, including a new pleated glass façade which will create floor‐to‐ceiling windows on every floor, maximizing daylight penetration while reducing solar gain through geometric ‘self‐shading.’ The interior program includes a redesigned lobby, upgraded and expanded elevators, and enhanced HVAC and other mechanical systems. New retail storefronts will provide a welcoming streetscape. The renovation is expected to be completed in 2016.

More details on the project after the break.

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IIT’s College of Architecture Launches the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize

Courtesy of

The College of Architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and its Dean Wiel Arets has announced the creation of the (MCHAP) and the MCHAP for Emerging Architecture. With an objective to “reward the daring contemplation of the intersection of the new metropolis and human ecology,” these two biennial prizes will “recognize the most distinguished built constructs of the North and South American continents” while fostering research toward rethinking the metropolis.

MCHAP is an extension of the larger curricular and research initiatives of IIT, as established by Dean Wiel Arets, who states: “This new prize will not be bestowed to an individual or organization based solely off inventive form, however clever its design, or based solely off a submitted image, no matter how captivating. The prize’s jury will instead be holistic in their approach to selecting exceptional works. Architecture, as a discipline, will continue its pursuit of technology, so that it can further advance. And architecture is for people; it is strengthened by their presence.”

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Congress Aids the Impending Doom of Gehry’s Eisenhower Memorial

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Congress budget cuts have officially stalled ’s controversial Eisenhower Memorial, according to a recent report, rejecting $49 million in construction funds and cutting the Eisenhower Memorial Commission’s annual budget in half. Unless the commission is able to raise a substantial amount of private funds, as well as win support from the Eisenhower family (which is doubtful), Gehry’s “grandiose” memorial is unlikely to ever break ground. Despite this, the commission’s director is optimistic, stating that the FDR Memorial took nearly 45 years to get built. You can read more about the controversy here.

Snow Reveals Opportunities for Public Space

Image via This Old City.

Traffic imprints found in Philadelphia’s record snowfall has revealed some clever opportunities for public space. As reported by This Old City, formations have carved examples of unused streetscape that could be easily reclaimed as pedestrian space. This would not only improve traffic safety, but would also enhance the city’s and desirability. Learn more and see examples here.