Brooklyn Botanic Garden Visitor Center Opens to the Public

© Albert Vecerka/Esto

Accompanied by Mayor Bloomberg yesterday in an early morning ribbon cutting, City-based practice Weiss/Manfredi celebrated the grand opening of the new Botanic Garden Visitor Center. Embedded into an existing hillside at the Garden’s northeast corner, the sinuous glass building appears as a seamless extension to the existing topography as it leads into the 52-acre garden. In addition, the $28-million Visitor Center incorporates numerous environmentally sustainable features—most notably a 10,000-square-foot living roof—that are aimed toward earning LEED Gold certification. The project has been recognized by the New York City Public Design Commission with an Award for Excellence in Design.

Continue reading after the break for the architects’ description.

The Indicator: City IPO WTF

A flag announcing the IPO of Facebook flies next to the American flag outside the offices of J.P. Morgan in City, , May 4, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Celano via The Nation.

In her recent Next American City article, “An IPO for Cities”, Diana Lind proposes employing the financial mechanisms of Wall Street to fund urban development and maintain public infrastructure. This would be fundamentally dangerous to already fragile municipal finance systems.

Is it possible that, now four years in, we still haven’t learned anything from Depression 2.0? Is Wall Street, the cause celebre of our financial system’s downslide, really a good model for funding our cities? Would this go over well in Europe?

Cities are struggling, but raising capital through a financial tool designed to infuse cash into corporations is not the answer. Cities neither function like publicly-traded corporations nor were they intended to perform in such manner.

Infographic: The AIA History

Today,  over 17,000 architects and designers, contractors and project managers, magazines and bloggers (including us) will converge on the Capital for the American Institute of Architects’ () 144th National Convention, Design ConnectsSo let’s take a moment to reflect on this Association’s long history, intertwined with our nation’s history, and look at how it’s evolved to become both a vital resource for working/emerging architects and the voice of the architecture profession today.

Crossroad Offices Extension / OFIS Arhitekti

Courtesy of

The new extension for the Crossroad Offices by OFIS Arhitekti acts as a crossroad regulator between the existing villa and its approach from the street on the south side and the underground parking on the east side. The actual form derives from the main logical directions on the site to the main destinations as the new volume is positioned behind the existing villa with individual cut outs, ‘green bays’, in function of the extended external park coming into the pavilion. Inside they form divisions between internal spaces and create dynamic, light and calming atmosphere. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Looking Back, Moving Forward: What the 2012 National Convention says about Architecture Today

© Megan Jett

According to its Web Site, The American Institute of Architects (AIA) aims to be two things for the architecture profession: a resource and a voice.

There’s no doubt that as a resource, the plays its part well. But what does it mean to be a “voice”? Can an association speak for a profession? And, if so, what is it saying?

Today, over 17,000 architects and designers, contractors and project managers, magazines and bloggers (including us) will converge on the Capital for the AIA’s 144th National Convention, Design Connects. Over the course of three days, connections will be made, conversations had, and three keynote speakers present.

If the AIA represents how we conceptualize and communicate architecture, then let’s take a closer look at those speakers who will be its living mouthpieces: a famed historian, a member of the Obama administration, and the architects who participated in the 9/11 Memorials. The past, the present, the future. Taken together, they tell a story – of where we’ve been, yes, but, more importantly, where we’re going.

Update: ABI April

Source AIA via the WSJ

And, we are back with our monthly updates of the .  Last month looked promising as March marked the fifth consecutive positive rating.  However, April’s index has been calculated as 48.4 – a drop from March’s 50.4.  The index has been a roller coaster ride of slight positive trends followed by negative setbacks, and AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, explains, “Considering the continued volatility in the overall economy, this decline in demand for design services isn’t terribly surprising.  Also, favorable conditions during the winter months may have accelerated design billings, producing a pause in projects that have moved ahead faster than expected.”

More about April’s index after the break.

Harvest Pavilion / Vector Architects

© Shu He Photo

Architect: Vector Architects
Location: Kunshan,
Client: Kunshan City Investment Company
Design-Partner-In-Charge: Gong Dong, Chien-ho Hsu
Project Architect: Feng Xu
Project Advisor: Nan Wang
Building Area: 150 sqm
Completion: 2012
Photographs: Shu He Photo

Powerhouse Company, Bubbles (2012). Courtesy Powerhouse Company / Christian van der Kooy

‘SHIFTS: The Economic Crisis and its Consequences for Architecture’ Exhibition

‘SHIFTS: The Economic Crisis and its Consequences for Architecture’ is an exhibition currently on display until June 9 at The Architecture Foundation in London. Presented by Rotterdam/Copenhagen-based Powerhouse Company and critic and architectural historian Hans Ibelings (the Architecture Observer), the…

Swelling LV / LR Architects

© Laurent Brandajs

Architects: LR Architects
Location: , Belgium
Completion: 2008
Surface: 170 sqm
Photographs: Laurent Brandajs

Courtesy of TEX-FAB

APPLIED Research Through Fabrication Competition

The APPLIED Research Through Fabrication competition is seeking proposals that actively connect academia, the profession and the fabrication industry in the Continuing Research category and in the Speculative Proposal category new start-up projects. Through a panel of experts we propose to identify…

Los Nogales School Chapel / Daniel Bonilla Arquitectos

© Ricardo Amado Fotografía

Architects: Daniel Bonilla Arquitectos
Location: ,
Chair Design: Lorenzo Castro
Photographs: Ricardo Amado Fotografía


Inland Revenue Centre by Hopkins Architects © Martine Hamilton Knight/Builtvision

RIBA Photography Competition

RIBA recently launched a new photography competition open to entries from all RIBA members in any category. With the theme, Architecture 2012, the RIBA invites images that capture any interpretation of architecture in whatever form – the inspiring, the beautiful,…

Italian-Venezuelan Centre New Services Building / Roberto Puchetti


Architects: Roberto Puchetti
Location: , Venezuela
Project Team: Yesenia Di Sabatino, Fernando Blanco, Andrés Cova, Karina Rodriguez
Engineering: Manuel Ramírez, Roberto De Adessis, Ricardo Ortega
Completion: 2011
Built Area: 465 sqm
Client: Centro Italiano Venezolano, A.C.
Construction: Constructora Proyectos La Torre, C.A.
Photographs: Roberto Puchetti

S. Roque House I / Bruno Armando Gomes Marques

© Miguel Coelho

Location: S. Roque, Municipality of Oliveira de Azeméis,
Contributors: Architect Gonçalo Freitas, Architect Rita Cunha
Designers of expertise: Ponte Urbana, Ltd
Completion: 2011
Photographs: Miguel Coelho

Bio-Lake Reception Center / Zephyr Architects

© Yao Li

Architect: Zephyr Architects
Location: Wuhan, , China
Client: Bio-Lake Commission
Gross Floor Area: 3,540 sqm
Completion: 2010
Design Team: Fu Dong, Zhao Zhonggui, Yang Ching-Chi, Ding Junmei, Yu Tong
Associate Architect: Wuhan Oule
Photographs: Yao Li

Video: Cosmic Communist Constructions Book, by Frédéric Chaubin

In his book Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed, French photographer Frédéric Chaubin captures the eerie beauty of Soviet brutalism. In his quest to document Brezhnev-era architecture, he stumbled upon 90 Soviet buildings scattered across 14 former-USSR republics. The diversity and lack of a recurring theme across the buildings signaled the end of the Soviet Union.

Pathway House / Jacobs-Yaniv Architects

© Uzi Porat

Architects: Jacobs-Yaniv Architects
Location: , Israel
Project management: Oren Sadot
Structural engineer: Doron Toeg
Garden design: Itamar Landscape Design Ltd.
Photographs: Uzi Porat


Melissa Store in Melbourne / Edwards Moore

© Peter Bennett

Architects: Edwards Moore
Location: Melbourne,
Project Team: Ben Edwards, Juliet Moore, Leo Dewitte, Jacqueline Nguyen
Area: 70 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Peter Bennett