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 , 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 San Francisco 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, / Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) © Michael Moran

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) 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 . Selected from over 700 total submissions, 28 recipients located throughout the world will be honored at the AIA 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 of modern architecture, as Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Woman’s Hospital appears to be joining Richard Neutra’s Cyclorama Center on the demolition 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, Chicago 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 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 Hurricane Sandy.

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

Richard Neutra’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 ’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 demolition and to consider “non-demolition 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…

Urban Fabric: Building New York’s Garment District

URBAN FABRIC: Building New York’s Garment District; Courtesy of © 2012

New York’s Garment District, consisting of 18 blocks in the west side of midtown, was the city’s most well known industries in the boom of the 1920s through the early 50s.  The influx of immigrants and the geography of New York City made it a natural hub for manufacturing and trading activity.  The work began in small workshops and at home in crowded tenements and eventually grew out of these crammed space into factories and warehouses.  The industry inadvertently transformed Seventh Avenue into rows of skyscraper factories that faithfully abided to New York City’s zoning regulations.  The 125 loft buildings all shared the pyramidal forms due to step-back laws governing design.

Now, The Skyscraper Museum in New York City is celebrating this neighborhood and its influential development of business, industry and architecture and the mark that it left on the city with an exhibition called URBAN FABRIC.  It is curated by Andrew S Dolkart, the Director of the Historic Preservation Program, and will be running through February 17th.

Learn more and watch the curator’s lecture after the break.

AIA and NIBS Launch Building Research Information Knowledgebase

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) have developed the Building Research Information Knowledgebase (), an interactive portal offering free online access to peer-reviewed research projects and case studies in all facets of the built environment, from pre-design through occupancy and reuse.

“By providing a portal to comprehensive research and data, this initiative is intended to help better educate the entire real estate marketplace on how design strategies and innovations can have a profound impact on building performance,” said Chief Executive Officer, Robert Ivy, FAIA. “The BRIK offering is an entry-way to show quantifiable proof of evidence-based design approaches.”

AIA President Mickey Jacob Urges Congress to Aid Sandy Relief

Photography: The Rockaways, Post-Sandy © Amanda Kirkpatrick

In response an outrage that broke out amongst Democrats and Republicans, after House Speaker John Boehner failed to vote for Sandy relief before the end of the Congressional session two days ago, the House of Representatives have approved a $9.7 billion relief measure to aid flood victims of Hurricane Sandy. This is good news, as the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) recently warned that it would soon run out of funding if no measures were taken. Senate approval is likely to come later in the day and a second congressional vote is scheduled to take place on January 15 for a larger $51 billion request.

Understanding the importance of issuing this federal support,  President Mickey Jacob has offer Congress three key objects for helping these communities recover.

Read AIA President Jacob’s letter to congress and his three objectives after the break…

The Biggest Complaint of 2012: Insufficient Pay

© Tulane Public Relations

For many young architects the biggest complaint of 2012 has been insufficient pay in exchange for hard work and long hours under the guise of an internship. As if graduating with a degree in architecture is not grueling enough, NCARB, the US architectural licensing board also requires three years (amounting to thousands of hours) of training under a licensed architect, followed by a seven-part exam.  Becoming an architect takes an exceptional amount of commitment, time and money.  College graduates are already shaking under the weight of student loans and a stunted economy and job market; but what makes matters worse is that architecture as a profession has gained a reputation for exploiting recent graduates by hiring them as interns with little or no compensation.

2013 can be the year to turn this trend around.  Is the architectural profession willing to make this resolution?

Follow us after the break for more.

AIA Comments on “Fiscal Cliff” Vote

The American Institute of Architects () today issued the following statement in reaction to the House and Senate votes approving the “Fiscal Cliff” deal negotiated by Congressional leaders earlier this week. The statement should be attributed to President Mickey Jacob, FAIA:

“On the plus side, the agreement prevents a tax increase on millions of Americans and small businesses. It also extends several business tax incentives that help create jobs and promote design and construction, including for schools and energy efficient homes.”

More after the break…

2013 Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement Recipients

Three influential groups have been chosen by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) to receive the 2013 Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement. The award recognizes and encourages distinguished achievements of allied professionals, clients, organizations, architect teams, knowledge communities, and others who have had a beneficial influence on or advanced the architectural profession.

This year’s award goes to: the for DiscoverDesign.org, the Palm Springs Modern Committee (PS ModCom), and the DC Preservation League. Continue reading to learn how these three programs have had a positive impact on the profession.

NYC Developers Race to the Top

© Adam Jackson

It’s a race to the top as developers are reaching higher and higher with impressive glass skyscrapers that house exclusive apartments and panoramic views across Manhattan, level with some of the city’s tallest buildings.  Gary Barnett of Extell Development Co. is the man behind the 1,005 foot high One57 tower in Midtown Manhattan.  He announced last month that he would be developing the tallest residential building in (without the help of a spire).  Adrian Smith, chosen as the architect for the job, is best known for his work on the Burj Dubai.  The new building, still in its early stages of design planning and financing, will tower over the Empire State Building at a planned 1600 feet, that’s just 176 feet shy of World Trade One, the tallest building in Manhattan.

ABI Reports Strongest Business Conditions Since 2007

ABI November 2012 via Calculated Risk

The numbers are in and the American Institute of Architects’ November (ABI) has revealed positive business conditions for all building sectors for the fourth consecutive month.

As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. Understanding this, the is pleased to report that November has reached a five-year high with a score of 53.2, slightly up from 52.8 in October. Since August, the national billings index has continued to increased above 50.0 – the break-even point between contraction and growth – reflecting a steady rise in demand for design services. The West seems to be the only region in contraction, coming in at a score of 49.6.

Additionally, November also sees the Project Inquiry Index at 59.6, marking the 47th straight month in which inquiries into architectural services has been increasing.

“These are the strongest business conditions we have seen since the end of 2007 before the construction market collapse,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “The real question now is if the federal budget situation gets cleared up which will likely lead to the green lighting of numerous projects currently on hold. If we do end up going off the ‘fiscal cliff’ then we can expect a significant setback for the entire design and construction industry.”

View the ABI highlights in greater detail, after the break…

Video: Glithero / Design Miami


Glithero are a progressive London-based practice made up of designers, Tim Simpson and Sarah van Gameren, who met and studied at the Royal College of Art. Their latest work, entitled ‘Lost Time’, was recently unveiled at Design . Created in collaboration with Perrier-Jouët, the installation takes inspiration from the Art Nouveau movement and a trip to the Champagne region of France, where they were invited into the Perrier-Jouet cellars in Epernay. In the past year Glithero has presented solo shows in London, Paris and Rotterdam, as well as exhibitions in Milan, Berlin and Basel. In 2011 the studio was shortlisted for the Brit Insurance Award and the Dutch Design Awards. Filming the installation, we gain an insight into its creation and into Glithero’s design ethos.

Despite Controversy, Michael Maltzan Architecture’s “Lens” Will Go On

Courtesy of Michael Maltzan Architecture

Despite petitions and pending lawsuits, the St. Petersburg City Council declared last night that Michael Maltzan Architecture‘s $50 million re-design of the city  will go on.

The project, known as “The Lens,” has hit speed-bumps due to local dissidents, who have been vocally wary of the new Pier’s price-tag/design and have called for a voter referendum. However, the architects have been sensitive to the process; since first winning the competition in January (beating out BIG and West 8), the firm has taken part in local workshops to get community input, making some significant changes to the original design.

After receiving local criticism that the Pier include more things “to do” and more shading, the firm has adjusted the design to include two restaurants, shaded balconies, and – in order to improve access – a road that can support service vehicles and a tram. Most noticeably, the plan for an underwater reef garden, the signature feature which gave the project its name, has had to be scratched: scientists have determined that a reef garden would be unrealistic with Tampa Bay’s dark water.

Last night’s 7-1 vote determined that the project will now receive funding in smaller, pre-approved increments in order to safeguard against potential legal complications. However, no mater the outcome, the closure and the demolition of the current Pier will take place between May and August 2013; if all goes to plan for Michael Maltzan Architecture, “The Lens” will open in summer 2015.

See updated Renderings for “The Lens,” and a really cool video, after the break…

Pinterest Round Up of Our Favorite Nap Time Retreats

Four-cornered Villa / Avanto Architects © Kuvio

If there is one thing that will make you crave a nap, it’s a feast. To help you through the post-meal hangover, we have complied some images of our favorite nap time retreats from Pinterest. Relax, enjoy and thank you for being an ArchDaily reader.

Continue after the break for all the images…

“Ai Weiwei: According to What?”

, Cube Light, 2008. Photo: Cathy Carver.

“Cube Light” has made it’s debut in Washington D.C. at the Smithsonian’s , along with collection of Ai Weiwei most famous works in the retrospective “Ai Weiwei: According to What?”. Although one of China’s most prolific and provocative contemporary artists, Weiwei is best known in the world of architecture for his work with Herzog & de Meuron on Beijing’s famous “Bird’s Nest” and, most recently, the 2012 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion.

More images and information after the break…