Preservationists Surrender to Hopeless Battle for Prentice

© C. William Brubaker via Flickr user UIC Digital Collections

In response to the Commission on Chicago Landmarks’ decision to reject landmark status to Prentice Woman’s Hospital for the second time in three months, the two preservationist groups challenging the City of Chicago have withdrawn their lawsuits. This eliminates the last barrier standing in Northwestern University’s way to demolish the historic, structure for a new biomedical research facility.

“We felt that we had done as much as we possibly could to demonstrate the significance of the building and ways to reuse,” stated Christina Morris, a senior field officer for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “We just couldn’t see that we’d have any other outcome.”

For many, this news is disheartening as and preservationists from around the globe have fought in solidarity for much of the past year in an attempt to illustrate the importance of this one-of-a-kind structure.

More after the break…

LA Architecture School Boasts Stimulating Post-professional Programs

© ESTm, Marcelo Spina Studio, Artificial Clouds

Two dynamic post-graduate programs offered by the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) in 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

© 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 City”.

More images after the break…

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

The 2013 Jury of Fellows from the American Institute of (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.

Continue reading for more information and the complete list of newly honored Fellows:

13th Annual Structures for Inclusion Conference

© Iwan Baan

The thirteenth annual Structures for Inclusion conference (SFI-13) will be held March 23-24 at the University of Minnesota’s Minneapolis Campus. The conference is preceded by the Public Interest Design Institute, a training program sponsored by the American Institute of Architects, that will be held at the same location on March 21-22. These are two major events that help compose the inaugural Public Interest Design Week, March 19-24.

BIG’s West 57th “Pyramid” Wins Final Approval

Courtesy of BIG

After an “arduous” public review and a heated debate over affordable , 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 mantra 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.

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

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 , 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 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 . Defined as professionals who have been licensed ten years or fewer, the Young will be honored for making significant contributions to the profession and providing exceptional leadership. The recipients will be presented the award 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 climate change 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, , 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.

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 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’ (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 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

© Paul Hester

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

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 University of North . 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 © Studio Gang

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.