Foster Responds to Kimmelman’s “Offensive” Diatribe Regarding the New York Public Library

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

When applying “major surgery” to a beloved, 20th century “masterpiece”, you’re going to face some harsh criticism. Such is the case for Norman Foster, as the legendary British architect has been receiving intense backlash from ’s toughest critics for his proposed renovation to the New York Public Library. First, the late Ada Louise Huxtable exclaimed, “You don’t “update” a masterpiece.” Now, the New York Time’s architecture critic Michael Kimmelman claims the design is “not worthy” of Foster and believes the rising budget to be suspect.

More on Kimmelman’s critique and Foster’s response after the break…

Brookings Institution Reports University-driven Urban Economies Proposer

WEISS/MANFREDI Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism Shortlisted Proposal for Kent State; Click on the photo for more.

Think the best way to promote the economic and creative development of a city is to build stadiums and shopping malls? Think again. In a recent New York Times article, Steve Lohr reveals the findings from a Brookings Institution study that looks into where and why specific cities emerge as hubs of creativity and innovation.  By studying the patent filings of the United States’ 370 metropolitan areas, the study revealed that cities with the most innovation were centers of and research.  San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California; Burlington-South Burlington, Vermont.; Rochester, Minnesota; Corvallis, Oregon; and Boulder, Colorado topped the list as the “output of innovation”.  Lohr suggests that this data can help promote policies that encourage urban development for economic feedback.

More after the break.

2013 Rudy Bruner Award Finalists Announced

Courtesy of

Celebrating those who transform urban problems into creative solutions since 1987, the biennial Rudy Bruner (RBA) has announced the 2013 finalists. The prize aims to illuminate the complex process of urban placemaking by seeking out often overlooked urban exemplars whose existence heightens the richness and diversity of American cities.

In celebration of their achievement, one $50,000 Gold Medal award and four $10,000 Silver Medals will be awarded to the finalists in May.

The 2013 Rudy Bruner Award finalists are:

2013 Young Architects Award

The American Institute of Architects () has selected fifteen recipients to receive the 2013  Young Architects . Defined as professionals who have been licensed ten years or fewer, the Young Architects will be honored for making significant contributions to the profession and providing exceptional leadership. The recipients will be presented the at the  2013 National Convention and Design Exposition in Denver, Colorado.

The complete list of the 2013 Young Architects:

The Design Implications of President Obama’s Commitment to Climate Change and Sustainable Energy

January 21, 2013, Inaugural Speech; Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson

This past Monday, President Obama made and sustainable the focal points of his Inaugural Address when he declared that choosing to ignore these key environmental issues “would betray our children and future generations.” This is the first time in the last few months that the President has taken a firm stand for the future of our Earth, a direct result of Super Storm Sandy and a smart choice to reveal controversial policies only after re-election. Although Monday morning was not the time to outline a specific political strategy, President Obama made it very clear that this time around, denial of scientific judgment and Congressional opposition would not be reasons for failure to act.

Since this is a sentiment easier said than done, there is doubtlessly a long and difficult road ahead for the President and his administration. The White House has revealed that it plans to focus on what it can do to capitalize on natural gas production as an alternative to coal, on “reducing emissions from power plants, [increasing] the efficiency of home appliances and [on having] the federal government itself produce less carbon pollution” (NYTimes). According to the New York Times, they aim to adopt new energy efficiency standards for not only home appliances but for buildings as well, something that should spark the interests of architects and urban planners already committed to designing with climate change and sustainable energy in mind.

More after the break…

Chicago’s Cook County Aims to Eradicate Demolition Waste

Image via Cook County

Cook County, Illinois, recently brought the elimination of construction waste to a new level by creating the first debris ordinance in the Midwest. This groundbreaking ordinance requires most of the debris created from to be recycled and reused instead of being sent to the landfill. The ordinance helps contribute to Cook County’s zero waste goal, part of the Solid Waste Plan Update.

The new law states that at least 7 percent of suburban construction and demolition debris must be recycled, and an additional 5 percent must be reused on residential properties. This new legislation will have a great impact as it affects about 2.5 million suburban Cook County residents.

More after the break…

Massive Waterfront Redevelopment Receives Green Light in Washington D.C.

Master Plan ©

Hoffman‐Madison Waterfront, the master developer of the 3.2 million square foot Southwest Waterfront project - “The Wharf” - that stretches across 27 acres of land along the historic Washington Channel, has announced the approval of its Phase1 Planned Unit Development (PUD) by the District of Columbia Zoning Commission. The Zoning Commission’s action approves all of the architectural designs and specific plans for each parcel of the project’s first phase encompassing 1.5 million square feet of residential, hotel, office and retail uses along with three piers, numerous open spaces, gathering places and a 3‐acre waterfront park. 

“The unanimous approval last night by the commissioners participating in the hearings is exhilarating. It creates momentum for ground breaking later this year,” said Monty Hoffman, Managing Member of Hoffman‐Madison Waterfront. “After more than six years of planning and substantial investment, we are preparing to launch one of the highest profile redevelopments in the country. We are ready to put shovels in the ground for this $2 billion redevelopment of the Southwest Waterfront.”

More on Washington D.C.’s Southwest Waterfront project after the break.

Brookfield’s Manhattan West Breaks Ground

; Courtesy of Brookfield Development

City’s Midtown West will be experiencing a large makeover over the coming years.  Shortly after Hudson Yards broke ground in late 2012, Brookfield Properties initiated the first phase of its 5.4 million-square-foot master plan for Manhattan West on the corner of 33rd Street and 9th Ave.  Hovering over Penn Station’s Railroad tracks, an engineering feat will support two 60-story towers that will encompass residential and commercial functions, as well as public and community space.

2013 AIA Institute Honor Awards for Interior Architecture

Lamar Advertising Corporate Headquarters; Baton Rouge
Eskew+Dumez+Ripple © Timothy Hursley

Earlier this week, we presented the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) top selection of architecture that best exemplifies excellence in the United States for the year of 2013. Now, we bring you this year’s recipients of the . Continue after the break to see who will be honored with this prestigious at the AIA 2013 National Convention and Design Exposition in Denver.

The Menil Collection selected to receive AIA Twenty-five Year Award

© Paul Hester

The Menil Collection Houston, designed by architect Renzo Piano, has been selected for the 2013 AIA . Recognizing architectural design of enduring significance, the is conferred on a building that has stood the test of time for 25 to 35 years as an embodiment of architectural excellence. Projects must demonstrate excellence in function, in the distinguished execution of its original program, and in the creative aspects of its statement by today’s standards. The award will be presented this June at the AIA National Convention in Denver.

More on The Menil Collection after the break.

Brooks + Scarpa designs Interfaith Chapel in Florida

© Courtesy of

The highly acclaimed Los Angeles-based practice Brooks + Scarpa Architects, along with KZF Design Studio, have released plans for a new Interfaith Chapel at the . Drawing inspiration from a free-flowing wedding gown, its informally shaped footprint - reminiscent of an allegorical figure such as Justice, Faith, Hope, Charity, Prudence and Fortitude – flows upward and culminates at the top with a large skylight whose light is diffused by a wooden lattice spire that is derived from the symbol of infinity.

The symbolic, 7000 square-foot structure will provide students with an intimate, spiritual space that may be used daily while also supporting a variety of diverse religious services, such as student ceremonies, weddings, lectures, meditative practices, musical performances and more.

Learn more about Brooks + Scarpa’s wooden chapel after the break.

Studio Gang Unveils Schematic Design for Chicago’s new Writers’ Theatre

Theatre Center East View from Green Bay Road ©

Back in July 2011 we announced the selection of Studio Gang Architects’ to design a new home for ’s beloved Writers’ Theatre in downtown Glencoe and have since been eagerly waiting for the first schematic renderings to be released. Well, they are finally here! And, as usual, Ms. Gang does not disappoint. Situated on the sloped Tudor Court site of the Glencoe Woman’s Library Club, the glass encased timber theatre transforms the structure into a theatrical spectacle, as the main performance space lined with a second story catwalk peers through the transparent facade and grasps the attention of anyone passing by.

More renderings and the architects’ description after the break.

Our Ideal City? Seen through the eyes of the Pacific West Coast.

View of Silicon Valley via Flickr user Shootyoureyeout

As most New Yorkers know, people are willing to shell out a hefty sum to live in a place where work and play are right around the corner from each other.  But as the article by Ken Layne in The Awl points out, the west coast is a somewhat different place.  UNLIKE City, which is crowded with restaurants, bars, and entertainment, as well as offices, design firms and businesses; Silicon Valley, which caters to programmers and tech companies that hire at $100k a year, offers few of the amenities that a nearby town like does.  So, Layne concludes, residents are willing to spend hours of their day  making their way into the fortressed office parks of Silicon Valley, flanked by parking lots and boulevards, just to have a cultural reprieve to call home.

2013 AIA Institute Honor Awards for Architecture

Centra Metropark; Iselin, New Jersey / Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) © Michael Moran

The American Institute of Architects () has selected the 2013 recipients of the Institute Honor Awards, the profession’s highest recognition of works that exemplify excellence in architecture, interior architecture and urban design. Selected from over 700 total submissions, 28 recipients located throughout the world will be honored at the 2013 National Convention and Design Exposition in Denver.

Top honors in architecture were awarded to the following:

Northwestern University confirms the demise of Prentice Women’s Hospital

© C. William Brubaker via Flickr user UIC Digital Collections

The new year is off to a rough start for the preservation of modern architecture, as Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Woman’s Hospital appears to be joining Richard Neutra’s Cyclorama Center on the list for 2013. Northwestern University senior vice president for business and finance, Eugene S. Sunshine has confirmed that, despite strong opposition from architects and preservationists worldwide, the university will be replacing the historic, icon with a new biomedical research facility.

“The new building on the Prentice site will be connected on a floor-by-floor basis with the existing University research building just to the west of the site,” announced Sunshine in a press release. “Doing so will bring researchers together and thereby enhance the chances of finding breakthroughs in cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders, among others. The site is the linchpin for what will be a major new medical research hub.”

More on this controversial decision after the break…

AIA Announces Legislative Agenda for 113th Congress

United States Capitol Building © Karissa Rosenfield

The American Institute of Architects () today announced a five-point legislative agenda for the 113th Congress, targeting job creation for small businesses as a top priority. The agenda is the product of months of collaboration and dialogue with AIA members and leaders. More than 3,400 AIA members offered their views about what policies the AIA should advance through the annual Call for Issues last fall.

According to Mickey Jacob, FAIA, 2013 AIA President, the AIA’s agenda “reflects the interests of our members, which not so coincidentally reflects the priorities of the American people. These five priorities for the next two years have the creation of jobs as their centerpiece while also seeking to shore up our aging infrastructure, make our communities more resilient and assure we invest in the next generation of architects.”

The five priorities are:

Situ Studio to Construct Valentine’s Day Installation with Salvaged Sandy Debris

© Situ Studio

Situ Studio has been selected from eight competitors as winner of the fifth annual Times Square Valentine Heart Design, cosponsored by Times Square Arts, the public art program of the Times Square Alliance, along with Design Trust for Public Space. The young, Brooklyn-based practice won the jury over with their Heartwalk proposal made of and New Jersey boardwalk boards that were salvaged from the aftermath of .

The installation will be unveiled on Tuesday, February 12, 2013, and remain on view until March 8, 2013.

Learn more about Situ Studio’s winning proposal after the break.

Farewell to Richard Neutra’s Cyclorama Center in Gettysburg

’s Cyclorama Center at Gettysburg National Military Park. Photo via Artinfo

After a intensive, 14-year preservation battle, the fate of Richard Neutra‘s mid-century Cyclorama Center in Pennsylvania’s Gettysburg National Military Park has been sealed. Yesterday, the National Park Service confirmed their plans to demolish the modernist structure and restore the site to its original 1863 appearance just in time for the 150th anniversary commemoration of the battle. It is a victory for Civil War purists and a loss for 20th century architecture advocates.

As we announced last September, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia directed the park service to conduct an environmental analysis on the and to consider “non- alternatives” such as moving the structure or leaving part of it intact. Following the release of a 200-page analysis, the park confirmed that the service had “no need for the continued use of the building” and that it “conflicted with the overall goals of the park.”

More after the break…