Is It Time To Abandon the Coastline?

New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Image © Governor’s Office / Tim Larsen

Between Hurricane Sandy in the USA and ongoing storms and floods damaging large areas of Britain, the issues of flood prevention and coastal defense are now a top priority for planners on both sides of the Atlantic. This article in the Guardian asks whether it might be time to give in to the sea and rethink our affinity for coastal living; and this one on Architecture Boston asks to what extent society should be expected to foot the bill for those in high-risk areas, and wonders how, legally, the state could encourage people to live elsewhere.

From Grain Silo to Shipping Container Student Housing

Courtesy of Citiq Property Developers, via Inhabitat

Inhabitat has just featured an unlikely new student housing project in : Mill Junction, a student complex that consists of two former grain silos topped with shipping containers. According to its developers, Citiq Property Developers, the energy and money-saving project re-directs money towards communal facilities, proving popular with students. As a result, Mill Junction, the second shipping-container housing project built by the Developers, may be the second of many more. More info at Inhabitat.

Libeskind Designs “Polycentric Spiral” for Cosentino Group

Beyond the Wall / Daniel Libeskind for Cosentino Group

Daniel Libeskind has unveiled a permanent sculpture at the Cosentino Group world headquarters in Almeria: “Beyond the Wall.” Inspired by the “infinite possibilities of the spiral,” the is intended to exhibit how the company’s ultra-compact, innovative surfacing material, ® can be used to clad contemporary facades.

“This is not a traditional spiral with a unique center and axis, but a contemporary spiral that opens multiple paths in many different directions,” describes Cosentino in a press release. “In short, a polycentric spiral energy is projected to a dramatic peak.”

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Spectrum Magazine Spotlights MIT’s Cross-Disciplinary Research into Cities

Fluid Crystallization, a project by Skylar Tibbits which informed his investigation of 4D printing. Image Courtesy of The Self-Assembly Lab,

Spectrum Magazine, an annual publication by MIT to highlight the work of a cross-section of their professors and alumni, has recently released its 2014 edition. This year, the focus is on cities, with a great selection of architecture, planning and technology based contributions. You can download a pdf of the magazine here – or read on after the break for links to some articles of note.

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The Best Future Cities Presented on Film

A still from “Metropolis”, perhaps the archetypal futuristic city film. Image

From 1927′s Metropolis to 2002′s Minority Report, this article on the Guardian Cities explores film’s futuristic utopias, dystopias, and those somewhere in-between – and asks: which of these cities would be safest? Most suited to under-30s? The best to live in? You can find out by reading the article here.

The A-Z of Brutalism

© Andy Spain

The Guardian’s has named the “incredible hulks” of Brutalism with a thought provoking A-Z list that ranges from Hans Asplund, who coined the term “nybrutalism,” to California’s fascination with Zapotec-like adornments in the 1960s. Read the list in full and discover why Quebec City, Yugoslavia’s Janko Konstantinov, and Danish architect Jørn Utzon are all considered incredible hulks here.

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 London 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

Emerging Visions Portfolio Competition 2014

The Chicago Architectural Club, with the support of AIA Chicago and the Graham Foundation, today announced the launch of the 2014 Emerging Visions portfolio competition. This competition seeks to provide a forum for young designers to be recognized and to share their visions, inventions and ideas. The award promotes significant architectural endeavors by young architects, designers and new practices yet to be acknowledged.

Prominent architects Elva Rubio and Dan Wheeler founded the Emerging Visions portfolio competition in 1998 in an effort to draw attention to the significant design contributions of rising talents based in . Previous winners include: Michael Wilkinson (1998), Jeanne Gang & Mark Schendel (2000), Sarah Dunn & Martin Felsen (2003), Tristan d’Estree Sterk (2005), Karla Sierralta & Brian Strawn (2007) Iker Gil (2010).

Entry information, including a complete set of rules, can be found at http://chicagoarchitecturalclub.org/. Entries are due by 10pm CST, March 09, 2014. Winners of the 2014 Emerging Visions will present their work at an event at Chicago Architecture Foundation on March 13, 2014 and have their work exhibited at the 2014 AIA National Convention from June 26-28, 2014.

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

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

The U.S. Department of Energy has selected 20 collegiate teams to participate in the 2015 Solar Decathlon at , ’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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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 Los Angeles 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 . 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 adaptive reuse projects around the world (a trend instigated by the success of ’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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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.

Four Reasons Biking is Good For Business

Biking down San Francisco’s Market Street. Image © Flickr CC User Steven Vance

Aside from the environmental and health benefits provided by biking, cycle cities are proving to be profitable, which has begun to attract support from many US business leaders. Not only do bike-friendly streets increase the visibility and desirability of real estate, they also reduce the need to waste money (and space) on ample parking. In addition to this, as the Guardian’s Michael Andersen points out, bicyclists are the “perfect customer: the kind that comes back again and again.” Learn why else biking is good for business here.

Michael Bloomberg Named U.N. Envoy for Cities and Climate Change

NYC. Image © CC Flickr User Arturo Yee

Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has been appointed to be the U.N. special envoy for and . Upon receiving the news, Bloomberg tweeted: “Cities are taking measurable action to reduce emissions, emerging as leaders in the battle against … I look forward to working with cities around the world and the UN to accelerate progress [to combat global warming].” You can read more here on USNews.

Developer Seeks to Revive Calatrava’s “Chicago Spire”

. Image ©

Cloaked in financial woes, what was intended to be the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere has remained a stagnate hole in the Chicago cityscape since the height of the crisis. However, the fate of the Santiago Calatrava-designed luxury condominium may be about to change, as developer Garrett Kelleher is actively seeking court approval to reinstate the project with a $135 million investment from Atlas Apartment Holdings LLC. More on Chicago’s 2,000-foot “twisting” spire latest update here on the Chicago Tribune.   

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David Adjaye’s Wakefield Market Hall Faces Demolition

Wakefield Market Hall /

Yorkshire councilors have indicated the demise of David Adjaye’s first public project, the Wakefield Market Hall. Faced with harsh budget cuts, the local council is considering an offer by Sovereign Land, owner of the neighboring shopping complex, after the heavily subsidized 6-year-old market has consistently failed to attract enough business. If next week’s council vote sways in the developers favor, the £3 million structure will be bulldozed and replaced by a cinema. 

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Presido Trust Rejects Shortlisted Proposals, Calls Off Competition

Lucas Cultural Arts Museum © Art Zendarski

This week, just two weeks after the three shortlisted teams submitted their revised proposals for Crissy Field, ’s Presidio Trust unanimously decided to end the competition. Though the competition raised high hopes over its 14-month duration that the Trust would transform the prominent 8-acre site into a “cultural institution of distinction,” its fate has been left to the “wind,” as the SFGate’s John King reports. This means, neither George Lucas’ self-titled cultural arts museum,  and the Chora Group’s sustainability institute, or the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy’s  “park-based” cultural center will be realized. You can view each of the rejected proposals here and more details on the cancelation here.