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Los Angeles River: The Latest Architecture and News

Mies van der Rohe's Lafayette Park Named National Historic Landmark

16:16 - 6 August, 2015
Mies van der Rohe's Lafayette Park Named National Historic Landmark, AD Classics: Lafayette Park / Mies van der Rohe. Image © Jamie Schafer
AD Classics: Lafayette Park / Mies van der Rohe. Image © Jamie Schafer

One of the first and most successful examples of urban renewal, Detroit's 78-acre Lafayette Park is known for being the world's largest collection of works by Mies van der Rohe. Now, the mid-century modern "masterpiece" is the first urban renewal project to be declared a National Historic Landmark. This is partially due to the fact that, as Ruth Mills, architectural historian for Quinn Evans Architects told the Detroit Free Press, "Lafayette Park was one of the few urban renewal projects that's done it successfully." It is now Michigan's 41st landmark.

WEISS/MANFREDI to Re-envision India's US Embassy

16:00 - 5 August, 2015
WEISS/MANFREDI to Re-envision India's US Embassy, © WEISS/MANFREDI
© WEISS/MANFREDI

The United States Department of State has commissioned WEISS/MANFREDI to re-envision the Edward Durell Stone-designed embassy compound in New Delhi, India. Fifty years after its opening, the masterplan hopes to "restore the early modernist Chancery Building and recast the Embassy Compound as a multi-functional 28-acre campus setting." The masterplan's first phase will see the addition of a new office annex and restore the complex's landscape.

Los Angeles May Represent US in 2024 Olympic Bid

16:18 - 28 July, 2015
Los Angeles May Represent US in 2024 Olympic Bid, AD Classics: Walt Disney Concert Hall / Frank Gehry. Image © Gehry Partners, LLP
AD Classics: Walt Disney Concert Hall / Frank Gehry. Image © Gehry Partners, LLP

Concerns regarding the cost of hosting the Olympics has led to the termination of Boston's 2024 Olympic bid. According to the New York Times, the United States Olympic Committee has withdrawn Boston as its proposed bid city due to low resident support, as taxpayers were concerned about having to foot the bill for cost overruns.

ABI Jumps Four Points in June, Equals Highest Mark Since 2007

16:00 - 23 July, 2015
ABI Jumps Four Points in June, Equals Highest Mark Since 2007, via CalculatedRiskBlog.com
via CalculatedRiskBlog.com

After demonstrating a modest increase in demand for design services last month, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) for June showed its largest single-month jump in almost four years, rising to 55.7 and falling just a tenth of a point short of matching its post-recession high of 55.8 in June of last year. As the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reports, the increased demand has been spurred by schools, hospitals, cultural facilities and municipal buildings, as the index for the institutional sector rose to a mark of 59.1.

A breakdown of regional and sector highlights, after the break.

US Pavilion Summons Architects Interested in Participating at 2016 Venice Biennale

14:07 - 17 July, 2015
US Pavilion Summons Architects Interested in Participating at 2016 Venice Biennale, US Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale. Image © Nico Saieh
US Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale. Image © Nico Saieh

The US Pavilion for the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale has launched a call for submissions to all architects interested in participating in The Architectural Imagination. The exhibition will present speculative architectural projects commissioned for specific sites in Detroit but with far-reaching application for cities around the world." Curators Cynthia Davidson and Monica Ponce de Leon will commission 12 US architects to "produce new work that demonstrates the creativity and resourcefulness of architecture to address the social and environmental issues of the 21st century." Each of the 12 projects will be exhibited in the pavilion and documented in an exhibition cataLog, a special issue of the journal Log.

The curators are looking for design excellence, innovative speculative thinking, and architectural expertise in built and/or unbuilt work. Read on to learn more. 

The Most Successful US Firms of 2014 are...

14:08 - 13 July, 2015
The Most Successful US Firms of 2014 are..., Metropolis; Los Angeles / Gensler. Image © Greenland, USA
Metropolis; Los Angeles / Gensler. Image © Greenland, USA

Architectural Record has named the "Top 300 Architecture Firms" in the United States, ranking the nation's most successful practices based on their architectural revenue from 2014. Gensler, whose annual revenue surpassed one billion USD, maintained the lead for the fourth consecutive year. The firm's recent commissions, such as Los Angeles' Metropolis, help them set new records for revenue. AECOM, who came in second, also recorded significant growth - both internationally and domestically.

The top 25 firms are...

Frank Gehry's Eisenhower Memorial Wins Final Approval

12:23 - 13 July, 2015
Frank Gehry's Eisenhower Memorial Wins Final Approval , © Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission
© Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission

The National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) has awarded Frank Gehry's controversial Eisenhower Memorial final approval during a meeting held on July 9. This means all agencies overseeing the project has (finally) agreed on the design, which has taken 15 years and many design revisions to achieve. The project, now a joint venture between Gehry and AECOM, was initially granted preliminary approval last October.

"The resulting Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial design satisfies the goals of the seven design principles established for this site in 2006 by the NCPC to preserve and enhance the unique character of this site and establish a new green space within the context of L’Enfant’s plan for Washington D.C.," said the NCPC in their final report. You can read the report in full, here.

Snarkitecture Turns National Building Museum into Massive Ball-Pit

12:24 - 7 July, 2015
Snarkitecture Turns National Building Museum into Massive Ball-Pit , © Noah Kalina
© Noah Kalina

Now through September 7, you can take a "swim" in a massive "BEACH" that has taken over the National Building Museum's Great Hall. Spanning 10,000-square-feet, the BEACH was created in partnership with Brooklyn-based Snarkitecture to offer the people of Washington D.C. a one-of-a-kind installation as part of the NBM's "Summer Block Party."

The "ocean" is essentially a ball-pit comprised of nearly one million recyclable translucent plastic balls. It is contained within a mirrored, all-white enclosure flanked by a 50-foot-wide "shoreline" that offers visitors the option to wade the  "water" or sit back and relax. 

© Noah Kalina © Noah Kalina © Noah Kalina © Noah Kalina + 11

AD Round Up: American Classics

11:00 - 4 July, 2015

Happy Fourth of July! In recognition of Independence Day in the United States, ArchDaily has assembled six of our favorite "American Classics." Featuring projects by Louis Kahn, Mies van der Rohe, Richard Neutra, Paul Rudolph, Eero Saarinen, and Richard Meier, each of these canonical works occupies a prominent place in twentieth-century American architecture. See them all after the break.

Sex and Real Estate, Reconsidered: What Was the True Story Behind Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House?

08:30 - 3 July, 2015
Unidentified woman, perhaps Edith Farnsworth, at Farnsworth House. Undated.  [BACK] Gorman’s Child Photography. Courtesy and copyright of Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois.
Unidentified woman, perhaps Edith Farnsworth, at Farnsworth House. Undated. [BACK] Gorman’s Child Photography. Courtesy and copyright of Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois.

In 1951, Mies van der Rohe completed a house in Plano, Illinois that was the epitome of his modernist ideals; with a steel structure surrounded entirely by glass walls the building perfectly connected the user with its idyllic natural setting, and it was - and is - venerated as a masterwork. A lesser-known story about the work is how its owner Dr Edith Farnsworth attempted to sue her architect, in a story of bitterness and unrequited love - but even less well-known, argues Nora Wendl, is the story of what really happened. In this excerpt from her essay "Uncompromising Reasons for Going West: A Story of Sex and Real Estate, Reconsidered," published in Thresholds issue 43: "Scandalous," Wendl examines the overblown and dubious assertions made about Farnsworth's intentions, finding that the truth may be much more simple: perhaps the Farnsworth House is just not a pleasant place to live.

“I have decided to speak up.”

Such is the threshold between a private affair and a public scandal: one person speaks. These are also the opening lines to “The Threat to the Next America,” which appears in the April 1953 issue of House Beautiful. Penned by editor Elizabeth Gordon, the article describes an unnamed, but “highly intelligent, now disillusioned, woman who spent more than $70,000 building a 1-room house that is nothing but a glass cage on stilts.”[1] Gordon warns readers of a design movement sweeping the nation:

Something is rotten in the state of design—and it is spoiling some of our best efforts in modern living. After watching it for several years, after meeting it with silence, House Beautiful has decided to speak out and appeal to your common sense, because it is common sense that is mostly under attack. Two ways of life stretch before us. One leads to the richness of variety, to comfort and beauty. The other, the one we want fully to expose to you, retreats to poverty and unlivability. Worst of all, it contains the threat of cultural dictatorship.[2]

Farnsworth House, south façade and terrace. Undated.  [BACK] Gorman’s Child Photography. Courtesy and copyright of Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois. Farnsworth House, interior. Undated.  [BACK] Gorman’s Child Photography. Courtesy and copyright of Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois. Farnsworth House, looking northwest from the interior of screened-in porch, furnished by Farnsworth. Undated.  [BACK] Gorman’s Child Photography. Courtesy and copyright of Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois. Farnsworth House, exterior, view of south façade and east end of terrace with Farnsworth’s sculptures. Undated.  [BACK] Gorman’s Child Photography. Courtesy and copyright of Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois. + 15

BIG Office Building to Break Ground at Philadelphia's Navy Yard

14:00 - 30 June, 2015
BIG Office Building to Break Ground at Philadelphia's Navy Yard, via Philadelphia Inquirer
via Philadelphia Inquirer

Construction is slated to begin next week on a $35 million office building designed by BIG at Philadelphia's Navy Yard. As the Philadelphia Inquirer reports, Liberty Property Trust will break ground Tuesday on the 94,000-square-foot office building at a site adjacent to a five-acre park designed by James Corner Field Operations. The project will be Liberty's fourteenth development at Navy Yards - a 1200-acre office park sited on a World War II Navy shipyard.

2015 Los Angeles Architectural Awards Honor Drought-Conscious Design

16:00 - 27 June, 2015
2015 Los Angeles Architectural Awards Honor Drought-Conscious Design, Hollyhock House. Image Courtesy of City of Los Angeles, Bureau of Engineering
Hollyhock House. Image Courtesy of City of Los Angeles, Bureau of Engineering

The Los Angeles Business Council (LABC) has announced the winners of its 45th Annual Los Angeles Architectural Awards, putting an emphasis on drought-conscious designs in light of California’s ongoing drought. The competition sought to find projects that “successfully married environmental sustainability with aesthetic sensibility while contributing to the fabric of their communities.”

Over three dozen designs were awarded, with the Grand Prize given to the City of Los Angeles’ Bureau of Engineering for their restoration of Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1919 Hollyhock House. Learn more about the rest of the winners, after the break.

Restore Neighborhoods Los Angeles Affordable Housing Prototypes. Image Courtesy of Lehrer Architects LA Ocean Avenue South. Image Courtesy of Koning Eizenberg Architecture, Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners LTD Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park Interpretive Center. Image © Paul Turang Wilshire Boulevard Temple. Image Courtesy of Levin & Associates Architecture + 45

Beacons of Pride: #LoveWins in These Illuminated Buildings

15:35 - 26 June, 2015
San Francisco City Hall illuminated in rainbow colors in honor of Pride Week Image © Nickolay Stanev via Shutterstock.com
San Francisco City Hall illuminated in rainbow colors in honor of Pride Week Image © Nickolay Stanev via Shutterstock.com

Earlier today, the US Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage should be legal in all 50 states, effectively overruling 14 states that so far have continued to enforce a ban (if you've been on Facebook in the last few hours, you've probably already heard). The ruling comes just in time for Pride Parades which will take place this weekend in many cities, and to celebrate this historic decision, we've rounded up some iconic buildings lit up for past Pride Parades for everybody to enjoy - equally.

ABI Rebounds into Positive Territory

12:15 - 24 June, 2015
ABI Rebounds into Positive Territory, via CalculatedRiskBlog.com
via CalculatedRiskBlog.com

After two months of a decreasing demand for design services, the US Architecture Billing Index (ABI) has bounced back into positive territory. As the American Institute of Architects (AIA) report, May's ABI score was 51.9, up from a mark of 48.8 in April. The new projects inquiry index was 61.5, up from a reading of 60.1 the previous month. This growth was lead by a growing demand for new schools, hospitals, cultural facilities and municipal buildings.

A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break.

Images Released of Beyer Blinder Belle-Designed U.S. Diplomacy Center

18:00 - 23 June, 2015
Images Released of Beyer Blinder Belle-Designed U.S. Diplomacy Center, © U.S. Diplomacy Center
© U.S. Diplomacy Center

The Washington Post has published renderings of the new U.S. Diplomacy Center currently under construction at the State Department in Washington DC. "A shimmering pavilion," as architecture critic Philip Kennicott describes, the new center will serve as a welcoming public entrance to the Department of State's headquarters and be the nation's first museum and education center devoted entirely to the "history, practice and challenges of US Diplomacy.

Designed by architect Hany Hassan of Beyer Blinder Belle, the glass pavilion will house a museum and an underground cafe, bookstore and event space, providing a new destination just two blocks from the National Mall.

WEISS/MANFREDI Break Ground on "The Bridge" at Cornell Tech’s Roosevelt Island Campus

14:20 - 17 June, 2015
WEISS/MANFREDI Break Ground on "The Bridge" at Cornell Tech’s Roosevelt Island Campus, Cornell Tech Phase 1. Image © WEISS/MANFREDI
Cornell Tech Phase 1. Image © WEISS/MANFREDI

WEISS/MANFREDI broke ground yesterday on Cornell Tech's pioneering building, "The Bridge." Spearheading the first phase of the $2 billion Roosevelt Island tech campus, the new building will "bridge" the gap between academia and industry, providing a seven-story "corporate co-location" loft where students and industry leaders will collaborate.

“The Bridge is a crystalline incubator with river-to-river views and creates a three-dimensional crossroads, an ecosystem of innovation to catalyze collaboration between academics and entrepreneurs,” say design partners Marion Weiss and Michael A. Manfredi.

Open Call: US Searches for Architect to Design New Embassy Compound in Brasília

14:10 - 4 June, 2015
Open Call: US Searches for Architect to Design New Embassy Compound in Brasília , Brasilia under construction (click for more images). Image © Marcel Gautherot
Brasilia under construction (click for more images). Image © Marcel Gautherot

The United States Department of State (DOS) has released a request for information (RFI) in search of architects interested in designing a New Embassy Compound (NEC) in Brasília, the federal capital of Brazil. The (up to) $350 million, design-bid-build project will be located on a 4.86 hectares (12 acres) site near the seat of the Brazilian Government within the city's planned "Diplomatic Sector." All proposals must take in considering the site's conditions, the city planning context and the architectural significance of Brasilia as a 1956 urban planned city and now UNESCO World Heritage Site. More details after the break.

2015 AIA/HUD Secretary Awards Honor Housing Projects

08:00 - 4 June, 2015
2015 AIA/HUD Secretary Awards Honor Housing Projects, Step Up / Brooks + Scarpa. Image © John Edward Linden
Step Up / Brooks + Scarpa. Image © John Edward Linden

The American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Housing Knowledge Community, together with the Office of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), has announced two selections for the 2015 AIA/HUD Secretary Awards, which recognize innovative housing projects with excellence in design. This year's projects were selected in the Excellence in Affordable Housing Design and Creating Community Connection categories.

The Excellence in Affordable Housing Design Award was awarded to Brooks + Scarpa for their Step Up project in Santa Monica, California, which embodies the award’s recognition of “architecture that demonstrates overall excellent design responses to the needs and constraints of affordable housing."

Gossens Bachman Architects was announced as the winner of the Creating Community Connection Award for their Co-op Plaza Redevelopment in Brattleboro, Vermont. This award “recognizes projects that incorporate housing within other community amenities for the purposes of either revitalization or planned growth.”

More about the winners, after the break…