Tuesday
Mar122013

Rebirth in Bethlehem  

Originally published on June 7, 2012

WRT designed the centerpiece bandshell and revamped streetscape.
Paul Warchol

For generations no one imagined Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, without steel. But after the bankruptcy of the steel plant, the city had to rethink its identity. Situated as it is, between New York and Philadelphia, reimagining the plant as cultural magnet seemed equally implausible, but that is what it has become. Bethlehem kept its silenced furnaces as both conduit to a shared past and a backdrop for contemporary culture. With the completion of a new band shell called the Levitt Pavilion and a redesigned streetscape, both by Philadelphia-based WRT, the city has an arts attraction and town plaza so close to the plant, one can almost touch the preserved stacks.

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Tuesday
Mar122013

Viva Vanna

Venturi's illustration of the Vanna Venturi House in the master bedroom.

Amid the grand chateaux and stately villas of Chestnut Hill rests the unassuming Vanna Venturi House.  On an early spring afternoon, two visitors cautiously crept past melting mounds of snow to have a look. It’s a sight all too familiar to the current owner Agatha Hughes, whose parents purchased the house from Robert Venturi in 1973. Interlopers are as much a part of the landscape as the arc of crabapple trees bordering one side of the property.

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Tuesday
Mar122013

Magic City 

Originally published on July 31, 2012

With casinos and convention centers becoming the catchall answer to urban-planning problems up and down the East Coast, the new Revel in Atlantic City may prove an influential model. It merges several markets under one roof in a smoke-free environment (a novelty in casino land) including hotel resort, casino, theaters, and convention space.

The $2.4 billion project designed by Arquitectonica was supported in part by $261 million in New Jersey taxpayer incentives and is a cornerstone of Governor Chris Christie’s attempt to turn Atlantic City around. But there are signs that the complex is not playing nice with its urban context. Developers of the Revel said in an interview that they weren’t even aware of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority master plan designed by Jerde Partnership and announced in March.

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Tuesday
Nov062012

World Trade Center, September 2012

Thursday
Aug092012

Breuer Trove

Originally published on June 8, 2012
Bridge at NYU Residence Hall in the Bronx (1961). Courtesy Syracuse University Library

With the launch of the Marcel Breuer Digital Archive in April, Syracuse University reached the midpoint in digitizing their extensive Breuer collection. While the public and critics debate the merits of Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Hospital in Chicago or Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center, the new website will add grist to the mill of Brutalist defenders looking for concrete arguments about the movement’s pedigree. Though Breuer and many of his disciples would likely eschew any stylistic labels, there are finds within the archive that arguably could be viewed as seeds for the Whitney Museum, a Brutalist bellwether on Madison Avenue.

 

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Thursday
Aug092012

Triangle Trouble

THE WINNING ENTRY IN THE AIDS MEMORIAL PARK COMPETITION BY STUDIO A+I.

In a closely watched competition to envision an AIDS Memorial at Triangle Park in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, Brooklyn’s studio a+i took first place for their design, Infinite Forest, beating out more than 475 entries. The memorial is intended to replace a depressing garden and garage directly across the street from the former St. Vincent’s Hospital, where thousands of AIDS patients were cared for throughout the height of the epidemic in the 1980s. But while the competition captured the imagination of architects across the city, many Village residents feel the competition ignored their concerns.

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Thursday
Aug092012

From the Ashes

Courtesy HWKN

The Friday before Memorial Day new renderings appeared by HWKN for Fire Island Pine’s notorious Pavilion, the entertainment complex that burned down last November. In January, it was announced that Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) were signed on to do the master plan for the marina, of which the Pavilion serves as the social hub.

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Thursday
Aug092012

Thin Crust

NEW PARK SPACE BETWEEN NYU'S PLANNED TOWERS IS BUILT ATOP AN UNDERGROUND BUILDING.

The pubic review process got off to a cantankerous start on January 3 after New York University (NYU) filed plans with City Planning for its 20-year expansion on two superblocks in Greenwich Village. In a move that struck some Villagers as audacious, the university touted the addition of more than 140,000 square feet of publicly accessible open space, while building out 2.4 million square feet in new construction. Nearly one million square feet will sit below grade, making the new public space on the northernmost block akin to an elaborate rooftop garden. This prompted consternation among residents who fear that future university administrations will renege on the public space arrangement. 

Currently

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Thursday
Mar082012

Road to Green 

Via Verde, the affordable housing complex designed by Dattner Architects in partnership with Grimshaw, would fit with any of the sexy newcomers on Manhattan’s West Side Highway. Built atop a former rail yard in the Melrose section of the South Bronx, the triangular site sits directly across from some featureless low-income housing in uninspiring old-school red brick.

 

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Thursday
Mar082012

Catching Up

East River Waterfront Esplanade from Architect's Newspaper on Vimeo.

 

With all eyes fixed on everything coming up roses on the West Side’s High Line, City Planning has been concentrating on the East. The long-term goal of connecting the lushly-landscaped promenades and bike paths of the West Side to the heavily trafficked spaghetti of the East Side moved a step closer with the opening on July 14 of the section from Pier 11 at Wall Street to Pier 15 at South Street Seaport. “After 9/11 we said that the most important thing for lower Manhattan is rebuilding and the transformation of the East River,” said City Planning commissioner Amanda Burden. The plans for the park are being developed with the New York City Economic Development Corporation and will ultimately extend up to Pier 35 just north of Manhattan Bridge.

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Sunday
Oct092011

Reimagining with Artist Ricardo Cid  

With a background in engineering, artist Ricardo Cid uses visualization to understand and reimagine everything from periodic elements to playing the sax. Here he flies through a presentation for the AN staff, leaving us more than a little fascinated, if not, at moments, a little perplexed.
 

Sunday
Oct092011

Back to Neutral on Neutra

A STAY OF EXECUTION HAS BEEN GRANTED TO NEUTRA'S KRONISH HOUSE COURTESY J. PAUL GETTY TRUST, JULIUS SHULMAN PHOTOGRAPHY ARCHIVE, THE GETTY RESEARCH INSTITUTE

Last week, the owners of Richard Neutra's Kronish House agreed to give the property a reprieve until October 10. Designed in 1955 the Beverly Hills house was previously on track for demolition. The suspension has given the city a chance to take stock of its architectural and historical treasures. Unlike several nearby municipalities, Beverly Hills, while it does have a Design Review Commission for new construction, it does not have preservation ordinance in place. The City Council hopes to map out a plan for an ordinance as well as a preservation commission at a meeting tomorrow evening. The Friars Club by Sidney Eisenshtat and the Shusett House by John Lautner were both lost in the past year alone. 

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Wednesday
Aug102011

Desert Showdown

TOWN AND COUNTRY'S FACADE NEEDS TLC. (COURTESY DANIEL CHAVKIN)

Everyone in Palm Springs agrees that the Desert Fashion Plaza, a mall in the heart of downtown, is a flop. It takes up 15 acres on the site of the former Desert Inn, one of four large hotels that drew Hollywood glitterati during the first half of the 20th century. By 1948 the area was a well-established resort town, and across the street, A. Quincy Jones and Paul R. Williams designed a late modern multi-use residential complex. At the time Architectural Record praised their Town and Country Center for its “flair and flavor.” But by the mid 1960s the Desert Fashion Plaza replaced the Desert Inn, and morphed gradually into an ever larger mall that by the 1990s was largely unoccupied. Meanwhile, Town and Country’s fortunes followed suit turning desolate and dilapidated.

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Wednesday
Aug102011

Prentice Reprieve

THE REUSE STUDY PROPOSED RECLADDING THE BASE OF THE PRENTICE TOWER IN CLEAR GLASS. COURTESY LANDMARKS ILLINOIS

With the stay of execution for Prentice Hospital extended through the end of June, Landmarks Illinois released a reuse study for the threatened clover-like structure designed in 1974 by Bertrand Goldberg. Considered by many to be a hallmark of sculptural modernism, the building sits within a research corridor of Northwestern University, the building’s owner. Northwestern says it needs the space to expand and would like to double the space, an amount allowed by zoning.

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Wednesday
Aug102011

Not to Close

VIEW EAST ALONG 20TH STREET. (COURTESY BBB)

In 1883 the General Theological Seminary campus designed by Charles Coolidge Haight was lapped  at its western edge by the waters of the Hudson. Now it will lap more condo owners in luxury.

After selling the buildings on the east end for $10 million to the Brodsky Organization to develop Chelsea Enclave, luxury apartments designed by Polshek Partnership, the seminary still found itself $41 million in the hole. Last winter, it was revealed that Brodsky   continued on page 10  Not?too Close continued from front page  would take over an additional 90,000 square feet, including the seminary’s oldest building, the West Building, built in 1836. The developer retained Beyer, Blinder, Belle (BBB) to design more luxury housing within the historic quad, known as the Close. New renderings show a building replacing a tennis court and playground and connected by a glass link to the West Building, also being converted to luxe condos.

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Sunday
Aug072011

Pod with a View

 COURTESY CCNY

High above Harlem’s City College campus, a Solar Decathlon entry is being assembled on a rooftop overlooking the quad. Team New York, composed of students from City College’s Spitzer School of Architecture, Grove School of Engineering, and the art department are designing a sustainable house whose lifespan may extend beyond the biennial contest. The team’s “Solar Roofpod” entry addresses the problems of urban density and heat island effect while tapping into New Yorkers’ obsession with desirable real estate, namely the rooftop penthouse.

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Sunday
Aug072011

Chicago's Emerald Necklace

The Bloomingdale Trail at dusk. (Photo courtesy David Schalliol)

Among the many promises coming from the new Emanuel administration is one to the make elevated Bloomingdale Trail a reality. The mayor has promised full support for Chicago’s Bike Plan and that includes completing the 2.65-mile trail by the end of the first term. The bike transportation—as well as pedestrian—aspect of the trail may help it qualify for monies with the reauthorization of the 2005 Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient, Transportation Equity Act (SAFETEA), the federal transportation bill.

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Sunday
Aug072011

Sugar Rush 

LOOKING FROM THE WATERFRONT BENEATH THE WILLIAMSBURG BRIDGE IN A RENDERING OF THE APPROVED DOMINO SUGAR FACTORY REDEVELOPMENT IN WILLIAMSBURG RAFAEL VIIOLY ARCHITECTS

A last ditch effort to stop development at the Domino Sugar refinery fell through on May 25 when State Supreme Court Judge Eileen Rakower dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Williamsburg Community Preservation Corporation. The group claimed that the project’s developer, the Community Preservation Resources Corporation’s (CPRC), along with Department of City Planning and City Council, did not conduct the proper land use and environmental reviews.

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Sunday
Aug072011

Crossing Union Lines

The area to be developed by Akridge behind Union Station.

“Nothing like this has ever happened in D.C.” is how architect Shalom Baranes described the recent rezoning of the rail yards behind Union Station in the nation’s capitol. Baranes has been retained by the developer Akridge to design a mixed-use development across fourteen-acres of platform. Both the developer and the architect have remained relatively mum during the zoning process, preferring to wait until the ink had dried on official documents. The D.C. Zoning Commission unanimously passed the order in April and published it on June 9. The developer has set the bar pretty high for Baranes by calling the project Burnham Place after Daniel Burnham, the hundred year-old station’s architect.

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Sunday
Aug072011

Botswana Information Hub