Gehry’s Controversial Design for Eisenhower Memorial Approved

Courtesy of Gehry Partners, LLP, 2013

Despite harsh criticism and a lingering threat from the House to scrap funding and start anew, the Eisenhower Memorial Commission has unanimously approved Frank Gehry’s design for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial in Washington DC. The $110 million project, nearly fourteen years in the making, has undergone numerous revisions in the past couple years in search of a compromise between the commission and its opposition, namely the Eisenhower family. 

Though the odds started to lean in the opposition’s favor, the commission is pressing forward with their plans and Gehry is expected to present his design to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts next month and the National Capital Planning Commission in early fall for review and approval.

The Smithsonian Scraps Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Hirshhorn ‘Bubble’

Courtesy of

After four years of high-brow debate, the demise of the controversial Hirshhorn ‘Bubble’ has been confirmed. The decision, made by Secretary G. Wayne Clough and Undersecretary Richard Kurin, comes shortly after the Hirshhorn board’s split vote resulted in the resignation of director Richard Koshalek – the man behind the ‘Bubble’. 

Spotlight on Design: SOM

Al Hamra Firdous Tower by / © Tim Griffith

Taking place at the National Building Museum on May 14 from 6:30-8:00pm, SOM (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Architects) design principal Gary Haney, AIA, RIBA, will present the innovative design process behind the firm’s work, including the recently completed, 1,354-foot tall, Al Hamra Tower in Kuwait City, one of the world’s tallest buildings and the tallest building in Kuwait. Since its founding in 1936, the firm has designed and engineered some of the tallest buildings in the world-notably Chicago’s Willis Tower, and New York’s One World Trade Center. To register, and for more information, please visit here.

House Bill Proposes to Eliminate Funding for Eisenhower Memorial

Courtesy of Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission

The Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial saga continues, as Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) proposed legislation that would forego Frank Gehry’s controversial design and eliminate federal funding. Although Bishop’s radical bill would save $100 million in future funding, it ignores any possibility of compromise.

In response, the AIA stated:

Green Schools Exhibition

Manassas Park Elementary School, Manassas, Virginia. Architect: VMDO Architects, PC. / © Sam Kittner

Striving to provide the nation’s children with a healthy place to learn is not a new concept. As long as there have been school buildings, there have been advocates for architectural improvements to ensure that students had proper lighting, heating, and fresh air. But with the real problems of overcrowding, age, and budget crises, many green visions have fallen short. With that being said, the Green Schools exhibition at the National Building Museum, which began this month and will run until January 5, 2014, will look at several examples of what is possible—at the future that, in some places, is already here—and provide resources for all of us to consider as we look toward constructing the next generation of school buildings. For more information, please visit here.

Two Films at the National Building Museum During the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital

‘Mother Nature’s Child’ / © Fuzzy Slippers Productions

The National Building Museum, in partnership with the Environmental Film Festival will be showing two films related to both the natural and built environment. Taking place Sunday, March 17 from 11:30am to 12:45pm, ‘Mother Nature’s Child’ focuses on nature’s powerful role in children’s health and development is explored through the experience of toddlers, children in middle childhood and adolescents, from Vermont to Washington, D.C. Then, on Thursday, March 21 from 6:30pm-7:30pm, ‘Diller Scofidio + Renfro: Reimagining Lincoln Center and the High Line’ film includes a discussion of their projects and interviews with New York City planning commissioner Amanda Burden and other civic figures. For more information on the events, please visit here.

Smithsonian Hires BIG to Rethink Historic D.C. Campus

Institution © Karissa Rosenfield / ArchDaily

The Smithsonian Institution has commissioned the innovative practice of Bjarke Ingels to reimagine the heart of its antiquated Washington D.C. campus. The Danish architect has agreed to an eight- to 12- month, $2.4 million contract to draft the first phase of a master plan that seeks to dissolve the notable impediments and discontinuous pathways that plague the area.

More on this news after the break…

Nordic Cool 2013 Forum Talk by Bjarke Ingels

Courtesy of The Kennedy Center

As part of the Nordic Cool 2013 Forum: Designing Nature: Art & Architecture in Cities and Public Spaces exhibition, which is on now until March 17, Bjarke Ingels, the internationally acclaimed Danish architect and founder and principal of BIG, will give a forum talk on February 24. At this free event, located at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C, Ingels will share to the audience his views on development and challenges of sustainable design. Through a series of award-winning design projects, Bjarke and have developed a reputation for designing buildings that are as programmatically and technically innovative as they are cost and resource conscious. More information after the break.

‘Culture as Catalyst: Past, Present, Future’ Event

WaterWorks at Arizona Falls, 2003 / © Bob Rink

As part of their Cultural Drivers event series, the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. will be presenting the ‘Culture as Catalyst: Past, Present, Future’ event from 6:30pm-8:00pm on February 25th.  Cities are increasingly defined by their civic spaces such as museums, theaters, libraries, parks, and cultural districts. Designers, public officials, and non-profit leaders from across the U.S. will share how their cultural facilities and civic spaces are re-energizing neighborhoods, spurring economic development, and responding to the needs of the community. For more information, please visit here.

 

National Mall / CLOG

Nearly a million people crowded the yesterday to witness the second swearing-in of President Barack Obama. The Mall was transformed – from the oft-trampled, dusty track of land separating the Capitol from the Lincoln Memorial – into a space of civic pride and participation. It’s moments like these that reveal to us the latent potential of the , and it’s important symbolic value as our Nation’s “backyard.”

The National Mall has suffered decades of over-use and under-funding, but has recently come back on the National agenda. With many projects underway – and soon to be underway – now is the time to consider: What is the National Mall? What is its value? And how should it be designed for the future? With informative graphics, varied insights, and interesting case studies, : National Mall addresses these vital questions.

Read our review of CLOG: National Mall, after the break…

Critics: Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s “Bubble” Should Be Burst

Courtesy of

Diller Scofidio + Renfro‘s ‘Bubble’ project (featured here) has recently come under fire by critics for its “ballooning” cost. Meant to be a seasonally inflated, temporary structure at the in Washington, DC., the Bubble’s original price-tag ($5 million) has now inflated to $15.5 million. The federally-funded price tag would be less relevant if the project were universally accepted, but many feel that the “Bubble” represents a misguided attempt to get into the spectacle game.

More information after the break. 

“Ai Weiwei: According to What?”

Ai Weiwei, Cube Light, 2008. Photo: Cathy Carver.

“Cube Light” has made it’s debut in at the ’s Hirshhorn Museum, 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…

‘Spotlight on Design’: Abalos + Sentkiewicz Lecture

Atelier Albert Oehlen. Photo couretsy

Taking place 6:30pm-8:00pm on Tuesday, October 30, the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. will be presenting a lecture by Madrid-based studio Ábalos + Sentkiewicz arquitectos. The event, which is part of the ‘Spotlight on Design’ series, focuses on their integration between architecture, environment, and landscape. This “thermodynamic beauty” is seen in a variety of international projects, including the Highspeed Rail Station in Logrono, Spain; Atelier Albert Oehlen in Bühler, Switzerland; and plans for a performing arts center in Taipei. Presented with the Embassy of Spain as part of Preview: Spain Art and Culture. The ‘Spotlight on Design’ speaker series is sponsored by Lafarge, the world leader in building materials, with additional support from the American Institute of Architects. For more information on the event, please visit here.

Design unveiled for St. Elizabeths East Gateway Pavilion in D.C.

©

Mayor Vincent C. Gray has announced Davis Brody Bond, KADCON and Robert Silman Associates as the winning team to design the new St. Elizabeths East Gateway Pavilion on the St. Elizabeths Hospital east campus in Designed by Davis Brody Bond, the $5 million Gateway Pavilion will transform an existing “weedy, fenced-in plaza fronting Martin Luther King Avenue SE in Congress Heights” into a sustainable, multi-purpose structure that will provide “a venue for casual dining, a farmers’ market and other weekend and after-hours community, cultural and arts events”.

Continue after the break to learn more.

Smart Growth: Tactical Urbanism Event

he Bayfront Parkway project, in Miami Florida, transformed a median strip parking lot into a park. Credit Ana Bikic.

Taking place at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. on October 11, the Smart Growth: Tactical Urbanism Event features Mike Lydon, the primary author of Tactical Urbanism Volumes 1 and 2. He will discuss chair bombing, site-previtalization, depaving, open streets, intersection repair, and numerous other placemaking tactics at a time when cities and citizens are increasingly using short-term action to spur long-term revitalization. The event, which starts at 12:30pm, is free and presented in association with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Smart Growth Network. For more information, please visit here.

 

Spotlight on Design: Intensities: Recent Work by Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis

Arthouse at the Jones Center by / © Michael Moran Studio

Taking place September 24th at the National Building Museum, the Spotlight On Design: Intensities: Recent Work by Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis event highlights the firm’s ability in using the constraints of small budgets, awkward spaces, and strict zoning to generate innovative architecture. Marc Tsurumaki, AIA, one of the founding principals of the New York-based studio, shows how this “opportunistic architecture” results in compelling projects that include Austin’s Arthouse at the Jones Center and the Claremont University Consortium Administrative Campus Center. For more information, please visit here.

Exhibition: “Open City: London, 1500-1700

Civitates Orbis Terrarum. Hand-colored engraving, 1574. Folger Shakespeare Library.
“Open City: London, 1500-1700″, an exhibit running at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, explores the two hundred year period in which was transformed from a medieval capital to an early modern metropolis.  During this period the city suffered a series of traumatic events including plagues, religious disputes, civil wars, the Great Fire, political instability and economic upheaval.  This exhibit allows the audience to witness that despite these drawbacks in its history, came out on top as the capital of a global empire.  Looking at the city as places of gathering: churches, theaters and markets, “Open City” explores ways in which citizens dealt with the changes in their political, economic and social systems.  The exhibit is curated by Kathleen Lynch and will be running through September 30th.

More after the break.

Amtrak and HOK unveils design for new Washington Union Station

View from H Street – Courtesy of

A national landmark and one of the busiest multimodal transportation hubs in the country, Washington Union Station, designed by Daniel Burnham, is about to undergo some significant changes. The 1907 station is currently operating beyond capacity, serving 100,000 passenger trips per day on Amtrak and commuter trains, Metrorail and buses. Over the next 15 to 20 years, passengers are expected to triple and the number of trains will double, so change is necessary in order to accommodate this growth.

HOK, in collaboration with Amtrak and Parsons Brinckerhoff, have unveiled a plan to revitalize the station and bring it up to 21st century standards. Continue after the break for more.