High-Speed “Skyway” Aims to Shorten Commutes from Brooklyn to Manhattan

© via New York Daily News

New York real estate executive Daniel Levy of CityRealty has unveiled a proposal to connect Brooklyn’s waterfront to with a $75 million “East River Skyway.” According to Levy, the high-speed gondola could shorten commutes to just four minutes and move more than 5,000 people per hour, while relieving congestion on ferries, subways and bridges. “[The Skyway] would be a relatively inexpensive and quickly deployable solution,” said Levy. “It is essential to adapt New York City’s transportation system to serve residents in these booming areas.” Levy will present the project in an effort to harness support at the Brooklyn real estate summit on Tuesday.

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Sheila Kennedy Awarded 2014 Berkeley-Rupp Prize

. Image Courtesy of UC Berkeley

Shelia Kennedy has been awarded the 2014 , a $100,000 prize presented biannually to a “distinguished practitioner or academic who has made a significant contribution to promoting the advancement of women in the field of architecture, and whose work emphasizes a commitment to sustainability and the community.” Kennedy is a principal of Boston’s KVA Matx and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s first-ever female Professor of the Practice of Architecture who is internationally renowned for her explorations of material innovation in the fields of architecture and urbanism.

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BIO 50: Ljubljana Marks 50 Years of Design Biennales with “3, 2, 1… TEST”

Courtesy of BIO 50

From the organizers: On Thursday, 18 September 2014, more than 120 designers and multidisciplinary agents descend upon Ljubljana for the opening week of BIO 50, the Biennial of Design. Over the course of four days, they will unveil the results of a six-month long collaborative process, offering perspectives on possible futures for design. The for best collaboration will be presented by the BIO 50 jury comprising industrial designer Konstantin Grcic, design critic Alice Rawsthorn and designer and professor Saša J. Mächtig. Before the opening, the talk with Alice Rawsthorn, Justin McGuirk and Jan Boelen will be organized.

Brought together by the experimental framework that shaped BIO 50, eleven groups tackled the themes of Affordable Living, Knowing Food, Public Water Public Space, Walking the City, Hidden Crafts, The Fashion System, Hacking Households, Nanotourism, Engine Blocks, Observing Space and Designing Life, creating specific projects to be implemented during the Biennial and beyond.

Following a period of intense research, where collaboration and learning were fundamental values, the outcomes are widely diverse, ranging from a series of household appliances developed under the same principles that shape open-source software to a garden pavilion developed with the local residents to encourage new discussions about food. Other outcomes include a performative experiment that challenges the way one experiences walking in the city, as well as a multipurpose engine that doubles as a survival tool in a dystopian vision of the future.

BIO 50 runs from September 18th until December 7th in . For more information on the event, click here

Alumni Launch Petition to Save the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture’s Accreditation

The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture’s Main Campus at Taliesin West. Image © Flickr User: lumierefl

A group of alumni from the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture have launched a petition on change.org to incorporate the school “as an independent subsidiary as required by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) to ensure this irreplaceable treasure is perpetuated.” The school is currently at risk of losing its accreditation due to a recently enacted HLC law that requires colleges and other institutions to be  accredited separately from the organizations that sponsor them. The Frank Lloyd Wright School is currently funded as a part of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, which supports both of the school’s campuses, and preserves collections of Wright’s work.

“The School is a vibrant, rigorous, and fully accredited contemporary school of architectural design (offering an HLC- and NAAB-accredited M.Arch degree) that fills an irreplaceable niche as an alternative to conventional architectural education, a mandate set forth by Frank Lloyd Wright at its founding in 1932,” states the petition, which currently has over 400 signatures. Among the signatures are Mecanoo’s Francine Houben and Finnish architect Juhani Pallasmaa, who wrote: “Having stayed at Taliesin West for five months as a Scholar in Residence, I have deeply understood the great potential of the School.”

Learn more and sign the petition on change.org.

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Spotlight: Renzo Piano

© Architecture Record

“Architecture is art, but art vastly contaminated by many other things. Contaminated in the best sense of the word – fed, fertilised by many things.” -Renzo Piano

, the Pritzker-Prize Laureate born in Genoa, Italy, turns 77 today. While Piano was originally expected to follow the family tradition of building, Renzo rebelled to study architecture in Milan. Even so, to this day, Piano maintains a healthy skepticism of academia; indeed, craftsmanship and experimentation are both pillars at the Renzo Piano Building Workshop. Check out more Renzo Piano, including inspiring quotes and all his works on ArchDaily, after the break…

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Spotlight: Tadao Ando

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Tadao Ando (13 September 1941), the 1995 recipient of the Pritzker Prize, turns 73 today. Ando, a Japanese architect based out of Osaka, Japan, is highly regarded for his unparalleled work with concrete, sensitive treatment of natural light, and strong engagement with nature.

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Competition Challenges Architects and Students to Design Zero Net Energy Housing in California

Architecture at Zero Citation Award: NZ + Beyond Net Zero Energy / Drew Adams, Joseph Yau and Mark Alocilja. Image Courtesy of Architecture at Zero

Architecture at Zero, now in its fourth year, is challenging all students, architects and designers worldwide to envision two mixed-use, zero net energy (ZNE) housing proposals for adjacent parcel sites in , California. The is a response to the ZNE targets set out by the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) which aims for all new residential construction in the state to be ZNE by 2020. Entrants are eligible for winning up to $25,000. Early bird registration ends September 12. All projects must be submitted by October 31 at 1PM PST. Learn more on the competition website and review last year’s winners.

Zaha Hadid Says She “Would Love To Do a Tower in London”

Zaha Hadid Architects’ designs for three towers in Brisbane were recently unveiled. Image © Zaha Hadid Architects

Despite her position as one of the world’s most prominent and successful architects, Zaha Hadid yesterday revealed that there is one thing she feels is missing from her portfolio: a skyscraper in London. Speaking to BD at the announcement of her Science Museum competition win, Hadid said ”I’d love to do a tower in but it hasn’t arrived.” More of Hadid’s comments after the break.

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Artists Seek Alternatives to Proposed Guggenheim Helsinki

South Harbor. Image © City of Helsinki

As the first phase of the Guggenheim Helsinki design competition concludes, a group of independent arts organizations have launched a search for “alternative” proposals: The Next Helsinki. The counter- calls on architects, urbanists, landscape architects, artists, and “all others who love cities to suggest ways in which Helsinki and its South Harbor can be transformed for the maximum benefit of the city.” More information, after the break.

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Architect Magazine’s Top 50 US Architecture Firms

The Bertram and Judith Kohl Building / Westlake Reed Leskosky. Image © Nic Lehoux

Architect Magazine has released its list of the 50 best architecture firms in the US, with Westlake Reed Leskosky, William Rawn Associates and Gensler taking home the top three slots in the overall ranking. The ranking is based on three key factors: business, design and sustainability. Westlake Reed Leskosky also ranked number 1 in the Best in Business category, along with HDR and Spector Group in second and third place, respectively. NADAAA, Behnisch Architekten and Payette were the top three firms in the Best in Design category, while EYP Architecture & Engineering, William Rawn Associates and Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects were ranked as the top three in the Best in Sustainability category. For the full list visit Architect Magazine.

Van Alen Institute Launches Competition to Shape the Future of US National Parks

Courtesy of The Van Alen Institute

With over 275 million visitors to the United States‘ 401 national parks per year, what will be the experience of visitors in the 21st century? The Van Alen Institute has teamed up with the National Park Service to launch a new competition: National Parks Now - a central component of Elsewhere: Escape and the Urban Landscape, the Institute’s initiative to investigate how the form and organization of the built environment shapes a need and desire for escape. Operating on the belief, stated by Van Alen Institute Executive Director David van der Leer, that “too few people realize what a huge resource these smaller national park sites are for local communities and for larger urban networks,” this initiative seeks to make parks relevant for the 21st century audience. More on the competition after the break.

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Are Playable Cities the Future of Urbanism?

Park and Slide in Bristol. Image © Flickr CC User Paul Townsend

Who says that playing is just for kids? Bristol, in the United Kingdom, is just one of the many cities around the world experimenting with , creating opportunities to eliminate urban solitude in favour of having fun. In a recent article in The Guardian, Julian Baggini dives head first into Bristol’s playful new initiatives including a 300-foot water slide on the city’s high street, post boxes that converse using text messaging, and city-wide zombie chases. Bristol is leading the way with urban play worldwide, hosting a conference this month entitled Making the City Playable, an opportunity for planners to convene with the creative minds behind the new form of entertainment. Find out more about urban play and the benefits it brings to cities here.

Watch “Zaha Hadid on Kazimir Malevich” Today

Malevich’s Tektonik. Image © Architects

Zaha Hadid has been featured in a 30-minute BBC Secret Knowledge  based on Kazimir Malevich: The Russian Revolutionary: Zaha Hadid on Kazimir Malevich. One of Hadid’s greatest influencers, the Russian painter and theoretician inspired the Dame’s AA graduation thesis which transformed Malevich’s 1923 Arkitekton model into a 14-story hotel that stretched across London’s Hungerford Bridge. You can watch the film online (here) through September 16.

Competition: Re-Imagining The Athenaeum of Philadelphia

Imagine: After three years of careful dismantling, moving,  painstakingly re-assembling and most importantly, restoring, John Notman’s historic Athenæum building has finally arrived at its new location in Fairmount Park, where it will serve as the headquarters of  the newly formed chapter of the Friends of Brownstone (PhilaFOB). Flush with government funding from lottery and fracking  revenue, PhilaFOB made the Athenæum Board of Directors an offer it  couldn’t refuse.  So now, for the first time since 1845, the lot at 6th & St. James Streets  is vacant, and the Athenæum, still a vital independent lending and  research library, with growing architectural and design collections,  must re-imagine itself without its historic building. Given its  location and its corporate purposes, what might a mid-21st century  Athenæum look like?

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OMA Announces Addition of Four New Partners

OMA has announced the addition of four new equity partners, all promoted from Associate level, to take its total number of partners to ten. The move is a reflection of ’s increasing workload in both architectural projects, and also the increasing involvement of AMO, the company’s research offshoot. With two of the new partners based in their overseas offices, it also represents a move to strengthen their work in markets outside of their European base. Read on after the break for details of all four new partners.

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Spotlight: Andrés Duany

© Flickr CC User Michigan Municipal League

Andrés Duany, a founding partner of Miami firms Arquitectonica and Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company and a co-founder of the Congress for New Urbanism, turns 65 today. As an advocate of , since the 1980s Duany has been instrumental creating renewed focus on walkable, mixed use neighborhoods, in reaction against the sprawling, car-centric modernist urbanism of the previous decades. More about Duany and after the break.

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Beyond Starchitects: An Architectural Revolution at the 2014 Venice Biennale

Bahrain’s analysis of in the Arabic nations is arguably contrary to the theme of ‘’. Image © Nico Saieh

“The Biennale reveals that modernism was never a style. It was a cultural, political, and social practice,” says Sarah Williams Goldhagen in her recent article for New Republic, The Great Architect Rebellion of 2014. This year, the Venice Biennale dissects the notion of modernism by providing a hefty cross-section of architectural history in the central pavilion. However contrary to Koolhaas‘ prescriptive brief, the 65 national pavilions show modernism was not just a movement, but a socially-driven, culturally attuned reaction to the “exigencies of life in a rapidly changing and developing world.” Unexpected moments define the 2014 Venice Biennale: from Niemeyer‘s desire to launch Brazil into the first world through architectural creation, to South Korea‘s unveiling of a deep modernist tradition with influence across the nation. This Biennale proved to be truly rebellious – read Goldhagen’s article from New Republic here to find out why.

Brutalism: Back in Vogue?

The Barbican in London. Image © Flickr CC User Rene Passet

Are Brutalist buildings, once deemed cruel and ugly, making a comeback? Reyner Banham‘s witty play on the French term for beton brut, was popularized by a movement of hip, young architects counteracting what they perceived as the bourgeois and fanciful Modernism of the 1930s. Though the use of raw concrete in the hands of such artist-architects as Le Corbusier seems beautiful beneath the lush Mediterranean sun, under the overcast skies of northern Europe Brutalist architecture earned a much less flattering reputation. Since the 1990s, however, architects, designers, and artists have celebrated formerly denounced buildings, developing a fashionably artistic following around buildings like Erno Goldfinger‘s Trellick Tower, “even if long-term residents held far more ambivalent views of this forceful high-rise housing block.” To learn more about this controversial history and to read Jonathan Glancey‘s speculation for its future, read the full article on BBC, here.