Janet Echelman Suspends Massive Aerial Sculpture Over Boston’s Greenway

© Peter Vanderwarker

Janet Echelman‘s latest aerial sculpture has been suspended 365 feet above Boston’s Rose Kennedy Greenway. On view through October 2015, the monumental installation spans 600 feet, occupying a void where an elevated highway once divided the city’s downtown from its waterfront.

“The sculpture’s form echoes the history of its location,” describes Echelman. “The three voids recall the ‘Tri-Mountain’ which was razed in the 18th-century to create land from the harbor. The colored banding is a nod to the six traffic lanes that once overwhelmed the neighborhood, before the Big Dig buried them and enabled the space to be reclaimed for urban pedestrian life.”

University of Chicago Selected to Host Barack Obama Presidential Library

Courtesy of OPLSouthSide.org

According to Forbes, the University of Chicago has been selected to be the official home of the Presidential Library and Museum. The proposal, selected over sites at Columbia University, the University of Hawaii, and the University of Illinois at Chicago, will be built in the city’s South Side Hyde Park, near a home owned by the Obamas.

Brick House / Christi Azevedo

© Cesar Rubio

Architects: Christi Azevedo
Location: , CA, USA
Area: 15.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Cesar Rubio

Filler Residence / PIQUE

© Alan Brandt

Architects: PIQUE
Location: , OR, USA
Contractor: High Timber Construction
Area: 4845.0 ft2
Year: 2013
Photographs: Alan Brandt

11 Projects Win Modernism in America Award

© nyc-architecture.com

Eleven buildings have been announced as winners of Docomomo US‘ 2015 Modernism in America (#ModernismAwards), of which includes the -designed Lewis and Clark Branch Library that is currently scheduled to be demolished. Each awarded project is “emblematic of the work going on all over the country and represent buildings and building typologies of postwar society in the United States.” It is hoped that these awards will shed light on the importance of preserving modern architecture. Take a look at the winners, after the break.

Nahahum / Balance Associates

© Steve Keating Photography

Architects: Balance Associates
Location: Cashmere, WA 98815, USA
Architect In Charge: Tom Lenchek
Project Architect: Kyle Zerbey AIA
Structural Engineers: Harriott Valentine Engineers
General Contractor: Fred Dowdy
Area: 1650.0 ft2
Year: 2009
Photographs: Steve Keating Photography

Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building / Mecanoo + Sasaki Associates

Courtesy of Mecanoo

Architects: Mecanoo, Sasaki Associates
Location: Roxbury, , MA, USA
Area: 16700.0 sqm
Year: 2015
Photographs: Courtesy of Mecanoo

Residential Design Innovation in Downtown Kirkland / Medici Architects

© Tucker English

Architects: Medici Architects
Location: 325 6th Avenue, , WA 98033, USA
Area: 3900.0 ft2
Photographs: Tucker English

Hattiloo Theatre / archimania

© Hank Mardukas Photography

Architects: archimania
Location: 37 Cooper Street, , TN 38103, USA
Area: 11041.0 ft2
Year: 2014
Photographs: Hank Mardukas Photography

3 Student-Designed Pavilions from DS10 to be Built at Burning Man

Bismuth Bivouac / Jon Leung

Three students from Diploma Studio 10 (DS10) at the University of Westminster have received grants to see their designs realized at this year’s Burning Man festival. The projects - The Infinity Tree, Reflection, and Bismuth Bivouac - are temporary pavilions that will provide respite for festival-goers, each with a unique experiential quality to captivate the masses.

Drawing upon the 2015 theme “Carnival of Mirrors,” the three pavilions will explore the illusory and enchanting qualities of old-fashioned carnival culture while serving as functional spaces of rest and shelter from the Black Rock Desert sun. These and other installations will make up a “temporary metropolis” from August 30 to September 7.

More on the designs and their Kickstarter campaign, after the break. 

Lightbox / Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

© Nic Lehoux Photography

Architects: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
Location: , WA, USA
Principal: Peter Bohlin, FAIA, Robert Miller, FAIA
Project Manager: Jeremy Evard, AIA, Associate
Project Team: Patricia Flores, Kyle Phillips
Area: 1560.0 ft2
Year: 2015
Photographs: Nic Lehoux Photography

Green Woods House / Stelle Lomont Rouhani Architects

© Matthew Carbone

Architects: Stelle Lomont Rouhani Architects
Location: , NY, USA
Design Team: Frederick Stelle, Viola Rouhani, Luca Campaiola, Esra Unaldi
Photographs: Matthew Carbone

From Prisons to Parks: How the US Can Capitalize On Its Declining Prison Populations

The Former Bangalore jail in India, now Freedom Park . Image © Flickr CC user abhisheksundaram

Prisons are often seen as problematic for their local communities. After centuries of correctional facilities discouraging economic growth and occupying valuable real estate as a necessary component of towns and cities, many of these institutions have been relocated away from city centers and their abandoned vestiges are left as unpleasant reminders of their former use. In fact, the majority of prisons built in the United States since 1980 have been placed in non-metropolitan areas and once served as a substantial economic development strategy in depressed rural communities. [1] However, a new pressure is about to emerge on the US prison systems: beginning in 2010, America’s prison population declined for the first time in decades, suggesting that in the near future repurposing these structures will become a particularly relevant endeavor for both community development and economic sustainability. These abandoned shells offer architects valuable opportunities to reimagine programmatic functions and transform an otherwise problematic location into an integral neighborhood space.

Why repurpose prisons rather than starting fresh? The answer to this question lies in the inherent architectural features of the prison typology, namely the fact that these structures are built to last. People also often forget that prison buildings are not limited to low-rise secure housing units – in fact, prisons feature an array of spaces that have great potential for reuse including buildings for light industrial activity, training or office buildings, low-security housing, and large outdoor spaces. These elements offer a wide variety of real estate for new programmatic uses, and cities around the world have begun to discover their potential. What could the US learn from these examples, at home and overseas?

AIA Names Top 10 Most Sustainable Projects of 2015

E+ Highland Street Townhouses / Interface Studio Architects and Urbanica Design. Image © Sam Oberter

Ten projects have been named the top examples of sustainable and ecological design by the AIA and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) for the year 2015. Now in its 19th edition, the COTE Top Ten Awards program recognizes projects that adhere to the highest integration of natural systems and technology to produce spaces that positively impact their surroundings and minimize their environmental footprints.

All of the projects will be honored at the 2015 AIA National Convention and Design Exposition in Atlanta. See this year’s top ten sustainable designs, after the break.

March ABI Continues to Increase

March 2015 . Image © CalculatedRiskBlog.com

For the second consecutive month, the US Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has indicated a “modest increase” in design activity in March. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the March ABI score was 51.7, up from a mark of 50.4 in February. The new projects inquiry index was 58.2, up from a reading of 56.6 the previous month.

“Business conditions at architecture firms generally are quite healthy across the country. However, billings at firms in the Northeast were set back with the severe weather conditions, and this weakness is apparent in the March figures,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “The multi-family residential market has seen its first occurrence of back-to-back negative months for the first time since 2011, while the institutional and commercial sectors are both on solid footing.”

3 Projects Win 2015 Global Holcim Awards for Sustainability

Courtesy of Holcim Foundation

Emerging from over 6,000 entries, three winners of the fourth Global Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction have been selected. The international competition, occurring every three years, recognizes designs that provide sustainable solutions to local issues faced by communities throughout the world. This year’s winning projects addressed sites in Colombia, Sri Lanka, and the United States and will receive monetary prizes ranging from $50,000 to $200,000.

The winning entries were selected from last year’s top-prize recipients in the five regional Holcim Awards competitions, a total of 15 proposals (see our previous coverage here). An international jury of industry leaders, led by Mohsen Mostafavi (Dean of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design), determined the winners of the 2015 Global Holcim Awards.

See the winners after the break.

AIA Names 10 Most Impressive Houses of 2015

La Casa Permanent Supportive Housing / + Leo A Daly

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) have announced the recipients of the 2015 Housing Awards. Currently in its 15th year, the awards are designed to “recognize the best in US housing design” and “promote the importance of good housing as a necessity of life, a sanctuary for the human spirit and a valuable national resource.” This year, the jury awarded ten designs in three categories. See them all, after the break.

Living Building Challenge Now Fulfills LEED Energy and Water Requirements

certified: Hawaii Preparatory Academy Energy Laboratory. Image © Flansburgh Architects

The Living Building Challenge will now fulfill the energy and water requirements for LEED. As the U.S. Green Building Council announced, this marks an important step in the ’s mission to make LEED an accessible platform that complements other construction rating systems.

The USGBC’s decision essentially equates the two systems in the fields of water and energy efficiency, recognizing projects that meet the Living Building Challenge’s standards within these areas as equivalent to LEED standards. By doing so, it encourages a spirit of collaboration toward sustainable goals across competing rating systems.