Street Seats Design Challenge

Courtesy of Design Museum

Design Museum Boston recently announced the call for entries for Street Seats Design Challenge — an international outdoor furniture design challenge that will culminate in new waterfront seating, an outdoor design exhibition, and a walking tour around the channel. The Fort Point Channel links the waterfronts of downtown and South Boston – the seam between the Financial District and the emerging Boston Innovation District. o=Open to local and international artists, designers, and enthusiasts, Street Seats falls into the stated goals for the Fort Point Channel Watersheet Activation Plan, a 2002 vision to establish the Fort Point Channel as the next great (public) place in the City of Boston. Submissions are due no later than February 1. For more information, please visit here.

Boston: The Least Sucky American City to be An Architect

. Photo via Flickr CC User Raymond Larose.

According to a new survey published in Architect Magazine, Boston is starting to show “encouraging, though not significant, signs of improvement” in its architecture industry. Well, something’s better than nothing, right?

2012 Architectural Survey, conducted by accounting firm CBIZ Tofiasv, found that profit per hour increased from 2010’s $5.54 to $6.89; and the direct labor utilization rate (aka the portion of payroll that pays for income-generating labor, not training, administration, time off, etc.) also increased from last year, which in turn was an improvement over the three previous years.

But it’s not all rosy in Beantown. First of all, the 2011–2012 increase wasn’t huge, and, what’s more, the overhead rate didn’t drop. In 2007, it was $47.27; in 2011, $59.09, reported the Boston Business Journal.

We got flurries of responses when we asked “What’s the best country to find work?” but we didn’t think to ask: “What’s the best American city to find work?”

If these small economic flutterings are anything to go by, could Boston be the answer? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Story via Architect Magazine

Museum of Medical History and Innovation / Leers Weinzapfel Associates Architects

© Anton Grassl/Esto

Architects: Leers Weinzapfel Associates Architects, Inc
Location: , , USA
Principal in Charge: Jane H. Weinzapfel, FAIA
Project Manager: Winifred A. Stopps, Senior Assoc. AIA LEED AP
Project Architect: Alan Christ, AIA LEED AP
Design Architect: Tom Chung, Senior Assoc., AIA LEED AP
Project Team: Kevin Bell AIA, Susan Crowe Knight, Laura Duncan, Shih-Min Hsu AIA, Hannah Jackson RA, Irene Kang AIA LEED AP, Matt Petrie AIA, Jared Ramsdell, Marley Wright RA
Project Area: 12,270 sqm
Project Year: 2012
Photographs: Anton Grassl/Esto

GLOW/SHIFTboston Copley Square Competition Proposal / Khoury Levit Fong

Courtesy of

Khoury Levit Fong shared with us their proposal for the GLOW/SHIFTboston Copley Square Competition. Their concept consists of an urban room, and hanging in the middle of it is a great chandelier. Dewdrop-shaped globes hang from a funicular mesh support, each illuminated by a wick-like row of low-energy addressable LEDs. It is light which is given weight and pulls down upon its supports to produce an inverted dome of scintillating light. Through the middle, the oculus at the center, the unobstructed sky is visible again. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Video: Ames Boston Hotel


Housed in ’s first skyscraper the Ames hotel effortlessly combines old world glamour with modern luxury. Designed by world renowned architect David Rockwell, the hotel is a design hotspot, featuring huge spiral staircases, installations made from thousands of mini metal discs and even old world New England curiousity cabinets. General manager Cate Farmer and director of sales Paul Sauceda take Crane.tv on a tour of the only hotel in the city worthy of your forty winks.

Tucker Design Award 2012 / Gustafson Guthrie Nichol + Crosby Schlessinger Smallridge

Courtesy of GGN

Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN), with Crosby Schlessinger Smallridge (CSS) of Boston, were recently announced as the recipients of the biennial Tucker Design Award for 2012 for their North End Parks in Boston, MA. First presented in 1977, the award is a nationally recognized architectural design award in both the building and landscape industries and honors those whose work demonstrates excellence in concept, design, construction and use of natural stone. More information on the awards after the break.

In Progress: MassArt Student Residence Hall / ADD Inc

© Paul Clemence

New York-based architectural photographer Paul Clemence has shared with us recent images and his thoughts on College of Art and Design’s new student residence hall that is being constructed in downtown Boston. The 21-story, $61 million building is planned for completion this year.

Boston is not particularly known as a destination for trendy, contemporary architecture; but some new buildings are beginning to change that perception. From Diller Scofidio Renfro’s Institute of Contemporary Art to Norman Foster’s new wing at The Museum of Fine Arts to the recently completed Renzo Piano addition to the beloved Gardner Museum, the city’s urbanscape is getting a much needed updating. And now, a soon to be finished bold new project by the firm ADD Inc is bringing a colorful twist to the mix. They are the designers behind the new MassArt Students Residence Hall.

Continue reading for more.

Boston Medical Center / TK&A Architects

© Jeffrey Totaro

Architects: TK&A Architects
Location: Albany Street, , USA
Size: 24,5000 sqm
Collaborators: MEP -Richard D. Kimball, Structural – Mc Namara / Salvia, Elevator – Lerch Bates, Cost – Vermeulens, CM – William A. Berry & Son, Inc
Completion: March 2011
Photographs: Jeffrey Totaro

BSA (Boston Society of Architects) Space / Höweler + Yoon Architecture

© Andy Ryan

The Boston Society of Architects (BSA) recently opened its new headquarters, BSA Space, ’s leading cultural institution on architecture and design. The design of the new headquarters by -based firm Höweler + Yoon Architecture is centered around a highly visible “cloud” ceiling and an iconic stair. These two architectural elements act as brand markers for BSA Space and an invitation into the exhibits and meeting spaces above. More images and project description after the break.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Opens New Wing Today / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Evening exterior view - Outdoor art installation “Ailanthus” by Stefano Arienti (right) © Nic Lehoux /

The newly constructed wing for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, opens to the public today with a celebratory ribbon-cutting ceremony accompanied by the City of ’s Mayor Thomas M. Menino. Designed to preserve the 1902 historic building, the 70,000 square-foot addition will offer purpose-built spaces for concerts, exhibitions and classes, along with enhanced visitor amenities. The museum will also be kicking off an inaugural season of exhibitions, performances and events that will highlight the buildings wide range of programming.

“This new wing is an extraordinarily elegant workshop, a bustling counterpoint to the historic building’s serenity. Here, the thinking and the work of the Museum is performed, so that the Palace, which had been put to uses for which it was not equipped, can once again give visitors the experience Isabella Stewart Gardner intended: a personal confrontation with art,” said Anne Hawley, Norma Jean Calderwood Director of the Museum.

Continue reading for more images and information.

Center for Life Science | Boston / Tsoi/Kobus & Associates

© Ed Wonsek

Architect: Tsoi/Kobus & Associates
Location: , Massachusetts, USA
Project Size: 777,600 square feet
Project Year: 2008
Photographers: Jeffrey Totaro, Ed Wonsek

Levinson Plaza, Mission Park / Mikyoung Kim Design

Courtesy of Mikyoung Kim Design

Envisioned as an urban grove, this central gathering space represents the convergence of community in this diverse, mixed income, residential development. The design accommodates a complex program, layering the varied multi-cultural and intergenerational uses with a number of meaningful gathering and recreational spaces for the residents. Tai Chi, chess, children’s play areas, and contemplative seating areas allow for various groups to utilize the garden spaces in different ways. Lawn areas can be used for sunbathing in the summer and also provide the community with areas for flexible programming during larger gatherings, such as celebrations for the Chinese New Year, Russian Unity Day, and other cultural and civic events.

Landscape Architect: Mikyoung Kim Design
Location: , , USA
Project Year: 2008
Photographs: Courtesy of Mikyoung Kim Design

BSA Lecture Series

Courtesy of WaterFire Providence

Boston Society of Architects (BSA) recently launched their lecture series which opens up on September 21st with Jeremiah Eck, FAIA as he considers a simple way to infuse sustainability and light in homes; Barnaby Evans does something similar for cities while Chee Pearlman enlists design for the betterment of humanity and Audrey O’Hagan, AIA looks boldly toward the future of the profession. All free BSA lectures take place at 6:00 pm at the BSA Space multimedia room (290 Congress Street, ). More information on the series after the break.

Seismic Considerations in New York City and Washington DC

Courtesy of Washington National Cathedral (1)
Courtesy of Washington National Cathedral

The U.S.G.S. recently reported that an earthquake struck the Washington, D.C. area with a preliminary magnitude of 5.8 (later updated to 5.9). Initial reports of damage are minor however the National Cathedral’s central tower sustained some damage. “It looks like three of the pinnacles have broken off the central tower,” spokesman Richard Weinberg said of the tower, the highest point in Washington, D.C.

Update: The Cathedral has sustained some substantial damage due to the earthquake, and experts are currently assessing the structural and aesthetic damage. For a video of the Cathedral damage, or to help join the efforts of preserving the Cathedral click here.

Update: You can also see the effects of the earthquake on a building in Virginia here.

Felt in Philadelphia, North Carolina, Boston, , Martha’s Vineyard, and even Wheeling, West Virginia, the tremor raises questions of the importance of seismic considerations particularly in .

Although earthquakes are not something a typical New Yorker would have cross their mind in comparison to other parts of the world such as Japan (8.9 magnitude in 2011) and Chile (8.8 magnitude in 2010), the overal size and density of NYC puts it at a high risk for extensive damage.

More photographs of the Washington National Cathedral and discussion regarding seismic considerations following the break.

Courtesy of Washington National Cathedral (2) Courtesy of Washington National Cathedral (14) Courtesy of Washington National Cathedral (12) Courtesy of Washington National Cathedral (10)

Isabella Stewart Gardner Expansion / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Gardner Museum director Anne Hawley and Jim Labeck, the director of operations, look over a model of the Gardner's new wing (center). The original building (right) sits in front of it. (John Tlumacki / Globe Staff)

Opening in 2012, the $118 million steel, glass, and copper-clad expansion to Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum by Renzo Piano Building Workshop will more than double the size of the current facility. Included in the project are a new entrance, music hall, gallery space, and other amenities for an institution that has remained largely unaltered since opening in 1903.

AD Classics: JFK Presidential Library / I.M. Pei

Photo by Daniel Cooper - http://www.flickr.com/photos/doitintheroad/

After a nine year process and fourteen possible architects the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library was finally finished and dedicated on October 20, 1979. Architect ’s signature geometric shapes of concrete steel and glass created an appropriate stately monumentality. A juxtaposition of spaces and light quality along with a defined and lucid circulation creates a logical story line of its namesake.

B Street Lofts / Touloukian Touloukian Inc.

© Stephen Lee

Architects: Touloukian Touloukian Inc.
Location: , Massachusetts, USA
General Contractor: Fern Vanchon
Lighting Designer: Scott Richardson
Photographs: Stephen Lee

East 6th Street House / Touloukian Touloukian Inc.

© Stephen Lee Photography

Architects: Touloukian Touloukian Inc.
Location: Boston, Massachusetts,
General Contractor: Mike Ahern
Structural Engineer: Uy Than Ly
Electrical Lighting Design: Paul Zaferiou
Photographs: Stephen Lee Photography