Two Symposiums Will Help Determine Glasgow School of Art’s Restoration

Glasgow School of Art ablaze (unknown source)

The Glasgow School of Art have announced that they will hold two symposiums in order to discuss the of the school’s library which was devastated in a fire in May of this year. The first conference, to be held in Venice’s Querini Stampalia, will act as a precursor to a second conference to be held in Glasgow in 2015. According to Professor Christopher Platt, head of the Mackintosh School of Architecture, the meetings will help to answer the question: “What should the plans be for bringing the Mackintosh building into full use once more and how should we approach the particular issue of the Macintosh library?”

From Derelict Structure to Urban Cinema

Courtesy of

The Cineroleum, a self-initiated project built in 2010 by London based practice Assemble Studio, transformed a derelict petrol station into a “hand-built” cinema on one of capital’s busiest roads. Aimed at raising awareness to the wider potential for reusing the 4,000 empty petrol stations across the UK for public use, the adapted structure on Clerkenwell Road was ”enclosed by an ornate curtain” strung from the “roof of the petrol station’s forecourt. Described as an “improvisation of the decadent interiors that greeted audiences during cinema’s golden age,” classic infusions of cinematic iconography were integrated into a space built from only cheap, reclaimed or donated materials.

Revised Renovation Plan Released for New York Public Library

The Public Library’s (NYPL) main building on Fifth Avenue, is a Beaux-Arts masterpiece designed by architects Carrère & Hastings. Image via Flickr User CC wallyg.

Details have been released on the ’s (NYPL) plan to renovate its Mid-Manhattan branch, while creating more public space within its flagship Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. The news comes shortly after Foster + Partner’s redesign of the the Beaux-Arts landmark was scrapped due to concerns of a ballooning budget. The revised $300 million overhaul suggests a more affordable option of relocating Schwarzman’s main stacks beneath Bryant Park, while establishing a more campus-like connection with a fully renovated Mid-Manhattan branch. All the details, here.

Tadao Ando to Expand Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St. Louis

; Image via Wikipedia

Construction is slated to begin in August (2014) on an expansion project that will transform the lower level of Tadao Ando’s Pulitzer Arts Foundation building in St. Louis into a public space for exhibitions, new programs and artist-driven activities. Previously used as offices and storage, the two new galleries, also designed by Ando, will expand the Pulitzer’s programable space by nearly 50 percent. This will be the building’s first major renovation since opening in 2001.

UK Museum of the Year Shortlist Announced

The main rotunda at the Tate Britain, by Caruso St John. Image © Helene Binet

The Art Fund recently announced the six museums on the ’s 2014 Museum of the Year shortlist, its annual award for the outstanding museum of the year. The award celebrates every aspect of what makes a museum successful, but this year the list was highlighted by crucial work by architects, including renovations of the Tate Britain and the Ditchling Museum of Art & Craft, as well as the newly-constructed Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth. The winner from the six museums will receive a £100,000 prize, and will be announced on July 9th.

Read on after the break for the complete shortlist

What If MOMA Had Expanded Underground (And Saved The American Folk Art Museum)?

Sculpture Garden, MOMA. Image © Andrew Moore, http://andrewlmoore.com/

In January of this year, the latest work by Smiljan Radic, the Chilean architect chosen to design the next Serpentine Pavilion, opened to public acclaim. The Museum of Pre-Columbian Art (Museo de Arte Precolombino), located in de Chile, is a restoration project that managed to sensitively maintain an original colonial structure  – all while increasing the space by about 70%.

Two days before the The Museum of Pre-Columbian Art opened, the Museum of Metropolitan Art (MOMA) in New York issued a statement that it would demolish the American Folk Art Museum (AFAM), designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, in order to accomplish its envisioned expansion. Two weeks ago, preparations for demolition began.

Some background: MOMA had hired Diller Scofidio + Renfro a year earlier to design the expansion. The office asked for a period of six months to consider the possibilities of integrating the American Folk Art Museum into the design. After studying a vast array of options (unknown to the public) they were unable to accommodate MOMA’s shifting program needs with the AFAM building. They proposed a new circulation loop with additional gallery space and new program located where the AFAM is (was) located.

What appears here is not strictly a battle between an institution that wants to reflect the spirit of the time vs a building that is inherently specific to its place. It represents a lost design opportunity. What if the American Folk Art Museum had been considered an untouchable civic space in the city of New York, much like the The Museum of Pre-Columbian Art is for the city for Santiago? Then a whole new strategy for would have emerged.

Mecanoo, Martinez + Johnson Selected to Redesign Mies’ MLK Memorial Library

© Mecanoo with

Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray has named Mecanoo architecten and Martinez + Johnson Architecture winners of a competition to reinvent ’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library – the only library and D.C. building ever designed by the legendary architect. The Netherlands- and D.C.-based team aims to resurrect the neglected building by improving “Mies in a contemporary Miesian way.” This includes opening up the boxy interiors to enhance flow and increase natural light and, most dramatically, sculpting two rooftop terraces by topping the historic landmark structure with a four-story, mixed-use addition.

We will keep you posted with more details as they come available. In the meantime, scroll through the renderings and presentation that landed Mecanoo and Martinez + Johnson the commission, after the break.

Living by the Sea / Minarc

Courtesy of

Architects: Minarc
Location: , CA, USA
Architect In Charge: Minarc
Design Team: Erla Dögg Ingjaldsdóttir, Tryggvi Thorsteinsson
Year: 2011
Photographs: Courtesy of Minarc

Designing Parking Garages For a Car-less Future

The trend is part of a wider drive to rethink worldwide. Image © Paul de Ruiter Architects by Rien van Rijthoven

This intriguing article on The Atlantic Cities highlights a growing trend as cities become more focused on pedestrians, bicycles and public transportparking garages that are designed with alternative uses in mind. Developers are ensuring that these garages have ”good bones”, such as comfortable ceiling heights, that will allow them to be easily converted into apartments or offices in a future when many city-dwellers don’t own cars. You can read the full article here.

Philip Johnson’s Crystal Cathedral Born Again

© Flickr CC User Amir Nejad

Johnson Fain and Rios Clementi Hale Studios have been selected to transform ’s 1981 Crystal Cathedral, originally a Protestant mega-church, to make it more in keeping with its new, Catholic identity.

The Cathedral, which had filed for bankruptcy in October 2010, was bought in early 2012 by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange. Earlier this month, the architects were chosen for the : Johnson Fain will focus on the interior, while Rios Clementi Hale Studios will oversee the masterplan of its 34-acre campus.

UOW Australia Wins the 2013 Solar Decathlon China

Courtesy of Team UOW

Team UOW from the University of Wollongong in has been awarded first place at the 2013 , taking top honors for its net-zero, water-conserving design. Selected from 22 teams and 35 universities, Team UOW’s winning entry – the Illawarra Flame House – was the first retrofitted house ever to be submitted in decathlon history.

FBI’s Brutalist Hoover Building Faces Serious Makeover

© Jeffrey MacMillan via The Washington Post

“Originally seen to reflect the democratic attributes of a powerful civic expression – authenticity, honesty, directness, strength – the forceful nature of Brutalist aesthetics eventually came to signify precisely the opposite: hostility, coldness, inhumanity. [...] Separated from its original context and reduced in meaning, Brutalism became an all-too-easy pejorative, a term that suggests these buildings were designed with bad intentions.” - “BRUTAL”/“HEROIC” by Michael Kubo, Chris Grimley and Mark Pasnik

Brutalism, an architectural movement that peaked in the 1960′s, inspired the development of countless governmental buildings in Washington DC as well as across the world. Though Brutalism’s original intentions may have been good, many believe that the actual manifestation of these buildings was not and consider them to be little more than an eyesore on the District’s landscape. One such concrete structure, the ’s J. Hoover Building, is currently facing possible redevelopment as the government has decided to relocate headquarters and given the private sector the rare opportunity to transform this so-called “monolith” into a new kind of monument.

More on the Hoover Building after the break…

Five Firms Shortlisted to Rehabilitate U.S. Embassies Worldwide

US Embassy in Beijing, by SOM. SOM is one of the 11 firms shortlisted by the Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings (BOB). Photo © SOM

The Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) has selected five design teams in a worldwide Architecture/Engineering Design Services solicitation to rehabilitate/renovate facilities that “represent American values and the best in American architecture, engineering, technology, , maintainability, art, culture, and construction execution.”

Each of the five selected firms, which include Weiss/Manfredi Architects, have “extensive and restoration experience.” See them all after the break…

Queens Museum of Art Expansion / Grimshaw Architects

Courtesy of and the Museum of Art

Originally constructed for the 1939 World’s Fair, the resilient structure of New York’s Queens Museum of Art has been undergoing its fourth and most ambitious renovation since April 2011. This $68 million renovation, designed by Grimshaw Architects, will double the institution’s size, expanding the museum to a total of 105,000 square feet upon its completion in October 2013.

On Oikonomia: Saarinen’s Ezra Stiles College Open After $55M Renovation

Ezra Stiles College under construction, 1961. Copyright Balthazar Korab Ltd.

NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT–Yale’s Ezra Stiles College, designed by and completed in 1961, reopened to students last month after a one-year, $55 million dollar . The project was the last in a complete overhaul of all the residential colleges at Yale, which started in 1998 and has cost over $500 million (adjusted for inflation).

Students are happy with the work, praising the new brick pizza oven in the dining hall, shift from single to suite-style rooms, and improved furniture and lighting. Jon Rubin ’12 told the Yale Daily News (YDN) the renovated Stiles is “definitely a step up” from the college he lived in two years ago.