When Christopher Hawthorne, architecture critic for the Los Angeles Times, gives a bad review there is the sense that he is essentially dismantling a building, chipping its façade apart, like breaking down some charade in defense of the public’s honor. Like a hired killer he disappears the architecture, but at the same time heightens its visibility in the culture.
This ability, to provoke in such ways, is precisely why Thom Mayne would like to bar Mr. Hawthorne from taking a crack at reviewing the new building he and his firm, Morphosis designed for the firm’s new offices.
On a recent tour of the new digs, Mayne, as reported in The Architect’s Newspaper, was overheard saying, “There are no good writers in Los Angeles” and “All local writers are horrible.” To add further insult, he wants a science writer to cover it. That should be a short review.
Despite the romantic notion about cities that develop organically have a rich diversity of form and function, we cannot overlook the deadly side effects of negligent city planning. As Christopher Hume of the Toronto Star points out, last month’s tragic fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas is a grim reminder that planning has a time and place and its ultimate utility resides in the initiative to protect residents and make for healthier communities. The tangle of bureaucracy associated with planning, zoning and land use regulations can give any architect or developer a massive headache. In some cases, the laws are so restricting that diverging from bulk regulations becomes very limiting.
Aiming to build awareness of urban design solutions capable of shaping Dallas forward, The Connected City Design Challenge is asking participants to develop a more refined and specific strategy for connecting the downtown and river, and assist in securing future public and private investment. By empowering both designers and citizens, The Challenge will work to realize integrated solutions that improve the livability and viability of our city. In order to secure the most capable design talent and facilitate a variety of solutions, this will be structured as a competitive process consisting of two idea streams: a professional stream and an open stream. Requests for qualifications are due May 9 for the professional stream and for the open stream, the deadline for submissions is October 3. For more information, please visit here.
On March 26th, architect Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects will discuss how housing can evolve in multiple ways to address contemporary challenges in “Moving House,” delivered as the Rice Design Alliance’s 2013 Sally Walsh Lecture at the The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. Dedicated to “honoring Walsh’s groundbreaking foray into modern design by bringing cutting edge designers to Houston,” the lecture is sponsored in collaboration with the Rice School of Architecture, the AIA Houston Chapter, and the Architecture Center Houston Foundation.
The Applied: Research Through Fabrication exhibition which took place the first weekend in March highlighted the winning proposal of their competition, titled ‘Cast Thicket’, designed b yo_cy’s Ken Tracy and Christine Yogiaman. The project was exhibited at the two-day event led by internationally recognized instructors within the field of parametric modeling provided a robust opportunity for participants to be exposed to the highest level of concentrated learning possible. More images and information on the event after the break.
Going back to where it all started, TEX-FAB will be holding their Parametric Design and Digital Fabrication Conference at the University of Texas Arlington School of Architecture from February 28 to March 3. The event will include their largest selection of workshops and a full day symposia, which will culminate in the exhibition opening of the APPLIED: Research Through Fabrication competition winner. Ranging from basic for beginners to advanced for the experienced user, a broad spectrum of cutting edge workshops will be offered for this year’s conference by industry leaders. To register, and for more information, please visit here.
As an update to the article we posted several months ago regarding the disputed ‘hot spot’ in Dallas between Renzo Piano‘s Nasher Sculpture Center and the adjacent residential tower, the controversy is still a hot issue. The reflection caused by the sculpture center is still something they have not been able to solve. Any solution will be costly and difficult. The Nasher people have recommended louvers covering the tower’s south face. The tower people say that this will require a computer-generated engine for every window, about two years to study, even more time to install. And it may not work. More information after the break.
Michael Van Valkenburg Associates (MVVA) and Thomas Phifer & Partners have been announced as winners of an international competition set to transform 15 blocks of the neglected Waller Creek in downtown Austin, Texas, into a vibrant local attraction. Co-sponsored by the nonprofit Waller Creek Conservancy and the City of Austin, the ambitious project intends to spearhead redevelopment within the city’s central business district with the 1.5 mile urban scheme that represents approximately 11 percent of Austin’s downtown.
“Today, we glimpse a transformation of Austin through a new community gathering place. This design team selection illustrates our City’s desire for great civic space, unique culture and opportunity for interaction with nature,” Austin Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole said during the City Hall announcement. “We look forward to each new milestone of this development.”
The Junk King – Vince Hannemann - has spent much of his life constructing the Cathedral of Junk in Austin, TX. In 2010, the City of Austin requested a building permit and Vince was forced to tear down nearly half of his creation. Despite this traumatic event and with the help of many supporters, Vince was still able to keep the Cathedral alive and continue its legacy.
Directed: Evan Burns
Cinematography: Garyle Morgan & Mitzi Morrow
Produced: Eduardo Tobias
Architect: Taniguchi and Associates
Location: Houston, Texas, United States
Architect of Record: Kendall/Heaton Associates
Project Manager: Project Control
Contractor: W. S. Bellows Construction Corp.
Consultants: GBA Architecture, Ingenium Inc., CHPA Consulting Engineers, Walter P. Moore, Office of James Burnett, Fisher Marantz Stone, Minor Design Group, Theater Projects Consultants, Inc., Waterscape Consultants, Inc., Shen Milsom Wilke, CDC Curtain Wall Design and Consulting, Persohn/Hahn Associates, Ulrich Engineers, Inc.
Project Area: 3,716 sqm
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Hester & Hardaway
The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, designed by 5G Studio Collaborative, aimed to address the needs and desires of the growing community through sustainable capital improvements on the existing campus that sought to reflect the past and contemporary contexts. Through dialogue, observation, and reimagination, the potential to reposition the existing underutilized courtyard as the centroid of the Church’s social life became evident. Beginning with the courtyard and progressively outwards to the lot perimeter, the new campus design creates places of varying moods and moments to enrich the Church’s environmental and social connectivity with its neighbors. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The highly anticipated “Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace, designed by American artist James Turrell, will open to the public today with a sunset light show. The abstract pyramidal structure complements the natural light present at sunrise and sunset, creating a mesmerizing light show that connects the beauty of the natural world with the surrounding campus. This experience is enhanced by an LED light performance that projects onto the 72-by-72-foot thin white roof, which offers views to the sky through a 14-by-14-foot opening. Additionally, the Turrell Skyspace is acoustically engineered for musical performances and serves as a laboratory for music school students, as it stands adjacent to the Shepher School of Music on the Rice University campus in Houston, Texas.
David Leebron, Rice University President: “The campus has to play its role in inspiring our students.”
Continue after the break to watch a sneak preview of the Turrell Skyspace light show.