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New York Skyscrapers: The Latest Architecture and News

A Pocket Guide to New York's Art Deco Skyline

Empire State Building / Shreve, Lamb & Harmon
Empire State Building / Shreve, Lamb & Harmon

In a permanent state of architectural transience, New York City continues to be adorned with new skyscrapers with every passing day. Historically fueled by financial prosperity coupled with the demand for commercial space, the only way to continue to build was up. Blue Crow Media’s latest map, “Art Deco New York Map” showcases over sixty buildings from the era, celebrating the eclectic nature of Art Deco architecture that is so deeply inherent to the identity of the city.

Radio City Music Hall / Edward Durell Stone and Donald Deskey © Jason Woods / Blue Crow Media New School for Social Research Auditorium / Joseph Urban Brooklyn Public Library / Alfred Morton Githens and Francis Keally + 9

Reinvent or Die: The Transformation of Malls Under The New Economic/Urban Paradigm

In this collaboration, the Spanish office Ecosistema Urbano analyzes the rise and fall of the shopping centers as an authentically American typology of the twentieth century and with commercial success in the rest of the world, although it does not undergo significant changes in "its spaces, solutions, and elements."

According to the authors, this typology is currently undergoing an inflection due to the new economic and urban paradigms that force them to reinvent themselves or die. They plan a series of revitalization strategies in a mall in the outskirts of Barcelona (Spain) that seeks their "reconfiguration through the introduction of new programs in an attempt to convert it into a much more public space, being able to attract users who would otherwise not come."

Full article after the break.

El centro comercial Santa Monica Place, que gracias a la sostenibilidad de su transformación ha recibido la certificación LEED. Image Cortesía de Macerich (Creative Commons) The US automotive culture fostered the trend of suburban shopping malls. Image via Malls of America La comida como catalizador social. Image Cortesía de Ecosistema Urbano Edificio para experimentar y descubrir.. Image Cortesía de Ecosistema Urbano + 13

The "Kitchenless" House: A Concept for the 21st Century

Architect Anna Puigjaner imagines a future in which housing is suited to the needs of its inhabitants. Sometimes that happens to mean not having a kitchen. Her project “Kitchenless” has received the Wheelwright Prize from Harvard University, along with an endowment of $100,000 for research on existing models of communal residences worldwide.

Puigjaner and the other members of the Maio firm work alongside professionals from other disciplines in a beautiful spot in the Gracia district in Barcelona, which functions more as a co-working space than a conventional architectural office. The Maio team opted for this place in 2011, during the crisis, so in order to hold on to it they decided to open the space to other workers. In 2016 they could afford to be alone, but there isn’t any compelling reason for them to do it. This could be a summary of their philosophy and is surely one of the reasons why Puigjaner received the Wheelwright Prize, a unique prize among architecture awards as it doesn’t focus on a specific work or research but the relationship between the two, in direction and ideas.

She does the interview from her office and talks about the changes that lie ahead for the future of housing:

What It’s Like to Be an Architectural Consultant for Assassin’s Creed II

In the following article, originally published in Spanish on MetaSpace as "Assassin's Creed 2 - Arquitectos que hacen videojuegos"(Architects Who Make Video Games), Spanish architect Manuel Saga interviews María Elisa Navarro, a Professor of Architectural History and Theory, who worked with Ubisoft Montreal as a historical consultant on the design team for the video game Assassin's Creed II, from the first rough drafts up to its launch in November of 2009.

While getting her PhD at McGill, María Elisa Navarro was a consultant for the entire development process of the game as part of a research project between the university and Ubisoft Montreal. She worked on the project in complete secrecy with "a small team of 20 people and then later more than 400 in a huge basement in Montreal." Navarro worked on everything from late 15th century wardrobes to the correction of architectural errors in the recreated cities, going over the look and ornamental details of the buildings.

"Sometimes, for gameplay purposes, they needed to have walls with a lot of texture so that Ezio could climb them, but when the time came to lay those parts out, there were some inaccuracies. For example, I remember a balcony with a wrought iron railing that couldn't have existed in that time period. I was responsible for detecting those issues," Navarro noted in her conversation with MetaSpace.

Read the full interview with Navarro after the break.

Ezio Auditore da Firenze jumping from four story buildings. Image © Ubisoft Montreal Scene from Assassin’s Creed II. Image © Ubisoft Montreal Carnival in Venice: wardrobes and masks. Image © Ubisoft Montreal Welcome (sic) to Venecia. Image © Ubisoft Montreal + 6

8 Influential Art Deco Skyscrapers by Ralph Thomas Walker

No architect played a greater role in shaping the twentieth century Manhattan skyline than Ralph Thomas Walker, winner of the 1957 AIA Centennial Gold Medal and a man once dubbed “Architect of the Century” by the New York Times. [1] But a late-career ethics scandal involving allegations of stolen contracts by a member of his firm precipitated his retreat from the architecture establishment and his descent into relative obscurity. Only recently has his prolific career been popularly reexamined, spurred by a new monograph and a high-profile exhibit of his work at the eponymous Walker Tower in New York in 2012.

One Wall Street, formerly the Irving Trust Company building, occupies one of the most valuable plots of real estate in the world. Courtesy of Wikipedia. Image  The AT&T Long Distance Building in New York, NY, contains over 1.1 million square feet of office space. Image © Wikipedia user Jim Henderson 60 Hudson Street, formerly the Western Union building, has become one of the most important internet hubs in the eastern U.S. Image © Wikipedia user Beyond my Ken The aluminum-winged crown of the Times Square Building in Rochester, New York, is an icon of Art Deco architecture. Image © Wikipedia user Marduk + 12