LA Architecture School Boasts Stimulating Post-professional Programs

01:00 - 14 February, 2013
LA Architecture School Boasts Stimulating Post-professional Programs, © SCI-Arc ESTm, Marcelo Spina Studio, Artificial Clouds
© SCI-Arc ESTm, Marcelo Spina Studio, Artificial Clouds

Two dynamic post-graduate programs offered by the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) in Los Angeles have been charged with examining core contemporary issues facing architecture today. Spanning topics from advanced manufacturing methodologies and new building systems, to urban planning and design challenges faced globally, these post-professional tracks allow students to rethink architecture and design through the creative lens of the SCI-Arc community. 

The architecture school’s Emerging Systems, Technologies & Media (ESTm) and Future Initiatives (SCIFI) programs are conceived as intensive one-year (three semesters) post-professional degrees in architecture, functioning as think tanks and research engines within the larger framework of the school. 

Situ Studio's 'Heartwalk' Opens in Times Square

00:00 - 13 February, 2013
Situ Studio's 'Heartwalk' Opens in Times Square, © Ka-Man Tse, Times Square Alliance
© Ka-Man Tse, Times Square Alliance

Just in time for Valentine's Day, Situ Studio has unveiled the fifth edition of Times Square’s annual Heartwalk installation - a heart-shaped “room within the city” made of salvaged Sandy debris. Inspired by the “collective experience of Hurricane Sandy and the love that binds people together during trying times,” Heartwalk begins as two weathered ribbons of wooden planks that gradually lift to form an illuminated heart enclosure in the middle of Duffy Square. 

People are already falling in love, as you can see Instagram's #heartwalktsq is filling up with images of elated New Yorkers standing within the “heart of New York City”.  

More images after the break...

The AIA Elevates 122 Members and Seven International Architects to the College of Fellows

01:00 - 11 February, 2013
The AIA Elevates 122 Members and Seven International Architects to the College of Fellows

The 2013 Jury of Fellows from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) elevated 122 AIA members to its prestigious College of Fellows, an honor awarded to members who have made significant contributions to the profession. The 2013 Fellows will be honored at an investiture ceremony at the 2013 National AIA Convention and Design Exposition in Denver.

BIG’s West 57th Pyramid Wins Final Approval

00:00 - 7 February, 2013
© BIG
© BIG

After an “arduous” public review and a heated debate over affordable housing, New York’s City Council has unanimously awarded final approval to BIG’s tetrahedral-shaped West 57th apartment building in Manhattan. As reported by Crain’s New York Business, a compromise has been made to include 173 affordable housing units within the 32-story, 750-unit residential building and the neighboring industrial building that will be converted into 100 additional rental apartments. As you may recall, the community board and Councilwoman Gail Brewer initially threatened to “torpedo the project” if the apartments were only made affordable for a 35 year period. However, Durst apparently won them over by contributing one million dollars into an affordable housing fund. 

"The good news, which is the matra of my office and community board No. 4, is there will be, yes, by law, 35 years of income-restricted affordable housing," stated City Councilwoman Brewer, who represents the area.

University-driven Urban Economies Proposer, based on Brookings Institution Report

00:00 - 6 February, 2013

Think the best way to promote the economic and creative development of a city is to build stadiums and and shopping malls? Think again. In a recent article in the New York Times, Steve Lohr reveals the findings of a study from the Brookings Institution 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 education 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.

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

00:00 - 6 February, 2013
The New York 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.
The New York 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.

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 New York’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...

2013 Rudy Bruner Award Finalists Announced

00:00 - 1 February, 2013
Courtesy of Rudy Bruner Award
Courtesy of Rudy Bruner Award

Celebrating those who transform urban problems into creative solutions since 1987, the biennial Rudy Bruner Award (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:

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

00:00 - 24 January, 2013
January 21, 2013, Inaugural Speech; Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson
January 21, 2013, Inaugural Speech; Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson

This past Monday, President Obama made climate change and sustainable energy 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.

While this is a sentiment easier said than done and 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

00:00 - 24 January, 2013
Image via Cook County
Image via Cook County

Cook County, Illinois, recently brought the elimination of construction waste to a new level by creating the first demolition debris ordinance in the Midwest. This groundbreaking ordinance requires most of the debris created from demolition 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.

00:00 - 21 January, 2013
Master Plan © Perkins Eastman
Master Plan © Perkins Eastman

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.

2013 AIA Institute Honor Awards for Interior Architecture

01:00 - 17 January, 2013
© Timothy Hursley
© 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 Institute Honor Awards for Interior Architecture. Continue after the break to see who will be honored with this prestigious award at the AIA 2013 National Convention and Design Exposition in Denver.

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

01:00 - 16 January, 2013
© Paul Hester
© Paul Hester

The Menil Collection Houston, designed by architect Renzo Piano, has been selected for the 2013 AIA Twenty-five Year Award. Recognizing architectural design of enduring significance, the Twenty-five Year Award 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.

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

00:00 - 15 January, 2013
View of Silicon Valley via Flickr user Shootyoureyeout
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 New York 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 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

19:00 - 14 January, 2013
© Michael Moran
© 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 urban design. 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:

AIA Announces Legislative Agenda for 113th Congress

15:00 - 13 January, 2013
United States Capitol Building © Karissa Rosenfield
United States Capitol Building © Karissa Rosenfield

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) 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:

Urban Fabric: Building New York's Garment District

13:00 - 10 January, 2013
URBAN FABRIC: Building New York's Garment District; Courtesy of the Skyscraper Museum © 2012
URBAN FABRIC: Building New York's Garment District; Courtesy of the Skyscraper Museum © 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

19:00 - 9 January, 2013

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) have developed the Building Research Information Knowledgebase (BRIK), 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 AIA Chief Executive Officer, Robert Ivy, FAIA. “The BRIK offering is an entry-way to show quantifiable proof of evidence-based design approaches.”

High Line-Inspired Park proposed in Queens

13:00 - 8 January, 2013
Rockaway Rail Branch of the LIRR; Photos Courtesy of Friends of the Queensway © 2012
Rockaway Rail Branch of the LIRR; Photos Courtesy of Friends of the Queensway © 2012

When plans for the High Line were first revealed it made quite an impression on the design community. The converted elevated rail line, long abandoned by New York City, was threatened by demolition until a group of activists fought for its revival and helped transform it into one of the most renowned public spaces in Manhattan. Now Queens, a borough with its own abandoned infrastructure is on its way to redeveloping the land for its own version of the High Line, to be known as the Queensway Cultural Gateway.

In late December, the Trust for Public Land announced that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has awarded a $467,000 grant to the organization to begin a feasibility study on the 3.5 mile Long Island rail line. Early proposals reveal a new pedestrian and bike path, public green space and a cultural gateway that will celebrate Queens’ diversity in art, sculpture and food, serving the 250,000 residents that live in the neighborhoods along the route, which include Rego Park, Forest Hills, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and Forest Park.

Join us after the break for more.