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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. Used under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>Creative Commons</a>
View of Silicon Valley via Flickr user Shootyoureyeout. Used under Creative Commons

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.

AIA President Mickey Jacob Urges Congress to Aid Sandy Relief

15:20 - 4 January, 2013
© Amanda Kirkpatrick
© 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, AIA 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…

AIA Comments on “Fiscal Cliff” Vote

13:00 - 2 January, 2013

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) 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 AIA 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…

WORKSHOP for Everlane / The Principles

13:00 - 31 December, 2012
Courtesy of The Principles
Courtesy of The Principles

The Principles just recently completed an interactive project, titled the “Workshop”, for the clothing brand Everlane in the Meatpacking district of New York. As part of the Everlane’s “Not-a-Shop” series, which focuses on selling only online, “the space was a physical manifestation of their primarily digital presence; replacing coded interaction with physical interaction,” described The Principals co-founder Drew Seskunas.

Chelsea Market Upzoning Approved by NYC Council

15:00 - 24 December, 2012
Plans for Chelsea Market along 10th Avenue; Courtesy of Jamestown Properties. Via Architect's Newspaper
Plans for Chelsea Market along 10th Avenue; Courtesy of Jamestown Properties. Via Architect's Newspaper

Construction has exploded along the High Line ever since it opened: condos hover over the rehabilitated track and look out onto the Hudson, while the new location of the Whitney Museum is making headway on the southern end of the park as Google moves into its NYC headquarters to a building just a few short blows away.  Now, the historic Chelsea Market may be looking at a facelift following approval from the New York City Council for increasing density in the building by developers, Jamestown Properties. The proposed vertical extension, which has made a brief appearance on a few architecture blogs, will provide the additional in demand office and retail space in the Chelsea neighborhood.

New United States Courthouse Competition Entry / Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design

15:00 - 23 December, 2012
Courtesy of  Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design
Courtesy of Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design

Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design and Gruen Associates have shared with us their second place proposal for the highly anticipated design-build competition for the new United States courthouse in Los Angeles, California. Envisioned as an icon within the city skyline, the triangular monolith provides a sustainable, 21st century courthouse that embodies the democratic qualities of dignity, stature, transparency, openness and accessibility.

Located at a pivotal node connecting the Los Angeles Civic Center, the Broadway Historic District and Bunker Hill, the 550,000 square foot courthouse is surrounded by a lush civic space that plays an important role in the existing cityscape.

Read the architect’s description after the break…

VIDEO: Federal Architecture

13:00 - 23 December, 2012

Democratic By Design is a short film, produced by the General Services Administration and narrated by Luke Russert, that tackles the issue of federal architecture. Buildings designed for the government typically have a familiar aesthetic. Washington, DC, is dominated by Neoclassical Architecture, building on the connotations of ancient Greek and Roman fora and temples as a symbol of democracy. But they perpetuate a sense of dominance and formality. Most of these buildings – city halls, courthouses, agency headquarters – were built in the 18th and 19th century, yet they leave behind a legacy and association in the architecture of the federal government.

US Census Bureau Headquarters / SOM
US Census Bureau Headquarters / SOM

On the contrary, government buildings built in the mid to late 20th century, specifically after 1962, have a more varied vernacular. This can be credited to Daniel Patrick Moynihan, aide to President John F. Kennedy. His one page document outlined guidelines for public architecture – an effort to contextualize and modernism government buildings. This video brings his words to life via well-known architects who have have designed federal buildings.

Join us after the break for a look at some of these buildings.