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The Big Dig

The Big Dig by Topotek1, at the Xi’an International Horticultural Expo. All Photos: Geng Wang

You were seven, it was summer, and you were bored to tears. Somehow you got the idea in your head that you could dig a tunnel to China. You grab a spade or shovel (of hard plastic) and begin to dig. You’re determined, and nothing—not the limitations of your physical strength, hunger, networks of piping, dangerous levels of air pressure, lack of oxygen, the earth’s molten core, or, if you managed to get past all that, the fact that you’d end up in the middle of the Indian Ocean and should have started in Argentina—will keep you from digging. But after 30 minutes, but what seems like hours, night fall or dinner time precludes the conclusion of your journey.

A thin glass barrier encircles the hole and prevents the visitor from falling into the abyss and, presumably, ending up in an unknown land.

The Big Dig” is designed as the emerging point of your trans-national travel. More than a hole in a two dimensional surface, the installation is a suctioned chasm, where space is curved and stressed. Existing site features, such as nearby trees, were untouched, reinforcing the conceit that you’ve just surfaced into an arcadian garden. A discrete audio system plays recorded sounds from the other side of the world—“cows from the pampas of Argentinas, commuters rushing among transit through New York City, the maritime life of Stockholm, and layers of history so audible among the streets of Berlin”—transporting visitors far from China to Western Europe or South America.

Topotek1’s installation at the 2011 Xi’an International Horticultural Exposition presents the question, “what if we did dig a tunnel to the other side of the world.”

Source: Architizer Blog

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Phase II of the High Line Now Open!

Cool benches under one of the many futuristic silver buildings which have popped up recently in West Chelsea.

The anticipation of the second section of the High Line has more in common with that of summer blockbusters than urban renewal projects. With two million visitors last year, the elevated park has garnered praise usually reserved for Manhattan’s original icons. The park was even featured in an episode of “Family Guy” late last year, featuring a Sketch-up like rendering of the hunkering Standard Hotel straddling the elevated walkway whose terminus disappears in a wash of low rise brick buildings.

Due to its overwhelming popularity and appeal, the park has, as some have pointed out, become more than a dynamic urban project — it’s become a brand, and one with remarkable influence in shaping the future of Manhattan’s real estate and elsewhere.

Aerial View, from West 30th Street, looking West toward the Empire State Building. ©Iwan Baan, 2011

Phase II of the High Line keeps all of the original features of the elevated promenade that flipped the Olmstedian park on its head, while introducing some new baubles, including a wide glass screen framing traffic criss-crossing 26th street below and a “cut-out” view of the deck’s substratum, where the trademark concrete planks are stripped away to reveal the platform’s substructure.

There’s also the “flyover” (above), a catwalk ascending above the main path into a “shady canopy of sumac and magnolia trees, allowing an undulating terrain of shadowy groundcover to fill in below”—a narrative apparently warranting donors’ name—and what will probably be the park’s most welcomed addition, a long, unobstructed lawn for lounging or picnicking.

Philip A. and Lisa Maria Falcone Flyover, aerial evening view at West 26th Street, looking South. ©Iwan Baan, 2011

But more has changed since the opening of the first section of the High Line. The architecture looming over the sides of the park has grown increasingly flashy, with starchitects and others being called in to furnish silver-screen backdrops to the spectacle. Of course, Gehry’s IAC building is nearby, accompanied last year by Jean Nouvel; further along, Neil Denari’s HL23 glistens like some Jetson-age aluminum bombshell. And Renzo Piano is set to make his mark at the foot of the High Line’s main entrance with typically ascetic designs for the new extension of the Whitney Museum.

The rapid production of such marketable architectural clout, along with the openings of countless art galleries, chic eateries, and high-end shopping have attributed to the construction of the High Line Effect. The dream is that this gleaming model of gentrification can be reproduced ad absurdum, given the tangentially right conditions, the involvement of fashionable architects, and, the most important ingredient, the procuring of salvageable decaying urban infrastructure. Cities far and wide, from Chicago to Philadelphia, Jerusalem to Rotterdam, have expressed interest in building their own elevated parks, going so far as to contacting Field Operations to consider plans (no doubt, willfully derivative) for their respective cities.

The original conception of the High Line project surely holds the most promise and the most applicable lesson to all venturing cities and urbanizing areas, that is, untapping the potential hidden within the obsolescent and the forgotten made possible through the tireless efforts of a stubbornly committed group of people dedicated to preserving and improving their city.

A ribbon of grass lawn just above 23rd Street

Source and more photos:  Architizer

High Line Website

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Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum Announces Winners and Finalists of the 12th Annual National Design Awards

Sixth Annual National Design Week to Be Held Oct. 15–23

The Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum will celebrate outstanding achievement in design this fall with its 12th annual National Design Awards program. Today, Cooper-Hewitt Director Bill Moggridge announced the winners and finalists of the 2011 National Design Awards, which recognize excellence across a variety of disciplines. The award recipients will be honored at a gala dinner Thursday, Oct. 20, at Pier Sixty in New York.

“As the nation’s design museum, Cooper-Hewitt raises awareness that design is everywhere,” said Moggridge. “The work of this year’s National Design Awards winners represents extraordinary solutions to the design problems central to the landscape of daily life, from how we dress, shape our personal and private spaces, frame communication and interact with the world at large.”

First launched at the White House in 2000 as a project of the White House Millennium Council, the National Design Awards were established to promote excellence and innovation in design. The awards are accompanied each year by a variety of public education programs, including special events, panel discussions and workshops. First Lady Michelle Obama serves as the Honorary Patron for this year’s National Design Awards.

The call for National Design Award nominations was extended this year to the general public, broadened from the select committee solicited in past years. Nominees must have at least seven years of experience in order to be nominated, and winners are selected based on the level of excellence, innovation and public impact of their body of work. This year’s jury of design leaders and educators from across the country convened by Cooper-Hewitt reviewed the nominations and chose Lifetime Achievement and Design Mind recipients, and selected winners and finalists in the Corporate and Institutional Achievement, Architecture Design, Communication Design, Fashion Design, Interaction Design, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture and Product Design categories.

Cooper-Hewitt’s sixth annual National Design Week will be held Oct. 15–23. Educational programming surrounding the 2011 National Design Awards, which includes the Educator Open House, the Teen Design Fair in New York and the Teen Design Fair in Washington, D.C., are sponsored in part by Target.

Media sponsorship provided by Fast Company.

National Design Week is made possible in part by the generous sponsorship of Target.

The 2011 National Design Award recipients for architecture, interior design and landscape architecture are:

Architecture Design: Architecture Research Office

The Architecture Design Award, which recognizes work in commercial, public or residential architecture, is given to Architecture Research Office, a New York-based firm led by Stephen Cassell, Adam Yarinsky and Kim Yao. Its work spans from strategic planning to architecture and urban design. Since 1993, the firm has worked with leading universities, cultural institutions, global corporations, government agencies, international fashion labels and nonprofit organizations using research and analysis to drive the design. From a prototype for 1,000-square-foot low-income sustainable housing to a proposal to reinvent the role of ecology and infrastructure in New York, ARO uses design to unite the conceptual and the pragmatic within a strong, coherent vision.

Finalists in the Architecture Design category are Dan Rockhill, a distinguished professor of architecture at the University of Kansas and executive director of Studio 804, a graduate design studio that builds affordable designs in neglected Kansas neighborhoods, and Weiss/Manfredi, a multidisciplinary practice known for the dynamic integration of architecture, art, infrastructure and landscape design.

Interior Design: Shelton, Mindel & Associates

The Interior Design Award, recognizing an individual or firm for exceptional and exemplary work in domestic, corporate or cultural interior design, is awarded to Shelton, Mindel & Associates. Established in 1978, Shelton, Mindel & Associates is a leader in architectural, interior and product solutions for corporate, cultural, academic, retail, recreational, hospitality and residential clients. Founding partners Peter Shelton and Lee Mindel have applied their passion for building unified environments to the firm’s portfolio of projects, which includes the design of the Polo/Ralph Lauren headquarters. The firm is a member of the AD 100 and has been honored for its simplicity and strong, elegant designs with numerous awards, including more than 30 AIA awards. Shelton and Mindel were recognized as the Deans of American Design in 2005, and both have been inducted into the Interior Design Hall of Fame.

Finalists in the Interior Design category are Clive Wilkinson Architects, a Los Angeles-based firm that covers the full spectrum of architecture and interior design with a focus on research and strategy, and Aidlin Darling Design, a multidisciplinary firm that bridges the demands of artistic endeavor, functional pragmatics, environmental responsibility and financial considerations.

Landscape Architecture: Gustafson Guthrie Nichol

The recipient of the Landscape Design Award, which is presented for work in urban planning or park and garden design, is Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, a Seattle-based landscape-architecture practice that works throughout the Americas and Asia. Founded by partners Kathryn Gustafson, Jennifer Guthrie and Shannon Nichol, the firm offers special experience in designing high-use landscapes in complex, urban contexts. The landform of each space is carefully shaped to feel serenely grounded in its context and comfortable at all times, whether bustling with crowds, offering moments of contemplation, or doing both at once. Gustafson Guthrie Nichol’s prominent projects include the Lurie Garden in Chicago, the Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard at the Smithsonian’s Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture, which houses the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., and the new Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Campus in Seattle.

Finalists in the Landscape Design category are Tom Leader, principal of Tom Leader Studio, a collaborative design office based in Berkeley, Calif., with a focus on building communal places for real people, and Margie Ruddick, whose work integrates ecology and culture, infrastructure and art, as realized in benchmark projects such as the Shillim Institute and Retreat in India and the Living Water Park in China.

Additional winners categories

Source:  PR Newswire

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Local Events Highlight National Landscape Architecture Month

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–From a newly created traveling park in San Diego to the New Jersey Governor’s office, local chapters of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) will volunteer in their communities, reach out to schools and educate the public this April during National Landscape Architecture Month. In addition, the entire April issue of Landscape Architecture magazine is available online for free

Among the many events this April, expect benches to show up with virtual informational markers in Indiana at important sites designed by landscape architects. In Missouri, a community comes together to re-design a park to increase water quality and improve wildlife habitat. Connecticut and Wisconsin state houses will display award winning designs from the profession. In Arizona, professionals will offer seminars at their local library on topics ranging from the urban heat island effect to lizard species habitats. 

“Landscape architecture encompasses everything from giant ecological restorations to single family homes – balancing the built and natural environments in every step of the process. These events will encourage everyone to learn about the profession and how it creates sustainable communities during National Landscape Architecture Month,” said ASLA President Jonathan Mueller, FASLA. 

National Landscape Architecture Month encompasses Earth Day on April 22nd and Frederick Law Olmstead’s birthday on April 26th, the father of American landscape architecture. For more information about National Landscape Architecture Month activities, visit www.asla.org/lamonth. To view the free issue of Landscape Architecture magazine, www.zinio.com/lamapril2011.

Via ASLA

 

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Winners of the 2011 Skyscraper Competition

eVolo magazine has run a tidy little competition for the last five years, inviting architects to innovative new skyscraper typologies. Today, the winners of the 2011 Skyscraper Competition were announced and we’ve got a recycling wind turbine, an energy- and water-harvesting horizontal tower, and a re-imagining of the Hoover Dam.

Jury members included SOFTlab principals Jose Gonzalez and Michael Svizos, architecture critic John Hill, Mitchell Joachim of Terreform One, CarloMaria Ciampoli of Live Architecture Network, and a host of other working and teaching architects (see the full list here).

FIRST PLACE: ‘LO2P Recycling Skyscraper’ by Atelier CMJN (Julien Combes, Gaël Brulé)

“The idea behind this skyscraper is to recycle the old cars and use them as building material for the new structure. The building is designed as a giant lung that would clean New Delhi’s air through a series of large-scale greenhouses that serve as filters. Another set of rotating filters capture the suspended particles in the air while the waste heat and carbon dioxide from the recycling center are used to grow plants that in turn produce bio-fuels.”

“The idea behind this skyscraper is to recycle the old cars and use them as building material for the new structure. The building is designed as a giant lung that would clean New Delhi’s air through a series of large-scale greenhouses that serve as filters. Another set of rotating filters capture the suspended particles in the air while the waste heat and carbon dioxide from the recycling center are used to grow plants that in turn produce bio-fuels.”

SECOND PLACE: ‘Flat Tower’ by Yoann Mescam, Paul-Eric Schirr-Bonnans, and Xavier Schirr-Bonnans

Imagined for medium-size cities where vertical skyscrapers do not fit the skyline, the flat tower is a “new high-density typology that deviates from the traditional skyscraper. The medium-height dome structure is perforated with cell-like skylights that provide direct sunlight to the agricultural fields and to the interior spaces. The dome’s large surface area is perfect to harvest solar energy and rainwater collection.”

THIRD PLACE: ‘Reimagining the Hoover Dam’ by Yheu-Shen Chua, United Kingdom

This project merges the programs at the current Hoover Dam — viewing platform, a bridge, and a gallery – into a “single vertical super structure.”

There a long list of honorable mentions, and we’ve highlighted below some especial favorites (clockwise from top left):

 

‘Sports Tower’ by Sergiy Prokofyev and Olga Prokofyeva, Ukraine

‘RE:pH Coastscraper’ by Gary Kellett, United Kingdom

‘White Cloud Skyscraper‘ by Adrian Vincent Kumar and Yun Kong Sung, New Zealand

‘Seeds of Life Skyscraper’ by Mekano (Osama Mohamed Elghannam, Karim Mohamed Elnabawy, Mohamed Ahmed Khamis, Nesma Mohamed Abobakr), Egypt

‘Waste Collector Skyscraper’ by Agata Sander and Tomek Kujawski, Poland

‘Hopetel: Transitional High-Rise Housing’ by Asaf Dali, United States

Via Architizer.com

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Beautiful Underground Aloni House Blends in With the Earth


This stunning underground home by Deca Architecture utilizes a natural palette of materials to maintain a low profile while complementing the serene Mediterranean landscape that surrounds it. Situated in a small valley with views of the coast, the Aloni house consists of two stone walls bridged by a beautiful green roof that spans two adjacent slopes. The home takes advantage of rustic materials that maximize energy efficiency while allowing the house to blend in with the rugged terrain of Greece’s Antiparos Island.


The Aloni house finds its inspiration in the landscape of the Cycladic Islands, which were shaped in the past by earthen retaining walls erected to create land fit for farming. Deca Architecture decided to incorporate this traditional building typology into the design of the house, and the result is a structure that resonates with the topography of its site while taking advantage of low-impact materials that impart high insulation values. The single-level 240 square meter home features walls made of retained earth that regulate the interior temperature thanks to their high thermal mass, while a green roof provides further insulation from the bright Mediterranean sun.

To read full article via Inhabitat click here.

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NYC Council Approves New Domino Project


The landmarked Domino Refinery complex will be preserved and adapted for residential, commercial, and cultural uses, including 30- and 34-story apartment buildings. Rafael Viñoly Architects developed the overall master plan as well as the conceptual design for all new buildings on the site; Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners developed architectural concepts for the refinery; and Quennell Rothschild and Partners developed the landscape design. The master plan will transform the industrial complex into a modular, mixed-use, and multi-income residential development that emphasizes open space and public access to the river while preserving the refinery and its famed 40-foot-tall Domino Sugar sign. The project will create approximately 2,200 residential units, 660 of which will be affordable. The more than 223,500 square feet of retail will include a grocery store that will adhere to FRESH zoning standards in addition to approximately 143,000 square feet of community facility space. A nearly one-acre open lawn will anchor a new public waterfront esplanade.

Read more posts from the NYC AIA via eOCULUS here.

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Danish Architect Bjarke Ingels: 3 warp-speed architecture tales

If you cannot spare 18 minutes now, be sure to come back when you can.  This is a must for architects, designers, green & sustainability enthusiasts and thinkers of all kinds.

From TED.com TEDTalks podcasts

Danish architect Bjarke Ingels rockets through photo/video-mingled stories of his eco-flashy designs. His buildings not only look like nature — they act like nature: blocking the wind, collecting solar energy — and creating stunning views.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AYE3w5TWHs]

About TEDTalks

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Featured speakers have included Al Gore on climate change, Philippe Starck on design, Jill Bolte Taylor on observing her own stroke, Nicholas Negroponte on One Laptop per Child, Jane Goodall on chimpanzees, Bill Gates on malaria and mosquitoes, Pattie Maes on the “Sixth Sense” wearable tech, and “Lost” producer JJ Abrams on the allure of mystery. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, development and the arts.

architect, Design, eco building, Green Architecture, green building, green buildings, Green Built Environment, Landscape Architecture, modern architecture, modern buildings, new buildings | , , | 2 Comments

Pritzker Prize winner reveals Museum of Nature & Science plans for Dallas

From our friends at ArchitectureNews.com

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Thom Mayne has revealed his dramatic design for the new $185 million Perot Museum of Nature and Science at Victory Park in Dallas with groundbreaking due this Autumn. Described as a “living educational tool featuring architecture inspired by nature and science,” the new facility designed by his firm, Morphosis, will provide 180,000 sq ft of display and archive space on a 4.7 acre site just north of downtown Dallas.

“Museums, armatures for collective societal experience and cultural expression, present new ways of interpreting the world,” said Mayne. “They contain knowledge, preserve information and transmit ideas; they stimulate curiousity, raise awareness and create opportunities for exchange. As instruments of education and social change, museums have the potential to shape our understanding of ourselves and the world in which we live.

“The new Perot Museum of Nature & Science in Victory Park will create a distinct identity for the Museum, enhance the institution’s prominence in Dallas and enrich the city’s evolving cultural fabric.”

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At 170 ft and 14 stories high the structure presents itself as a cube structure atop a plinth. Working to a theme of ‘nature in an urban fabric’ its roof alone offers one acre of rolling native landscape featuring all the native flora and fauna of Texas and including a large urban plaza for events. Surrounding the building too landscape design, created in conjunction with Dallas-based Talley Associates, brings together science and technology with nature acting as an extension of the building design. The two are so integrated that, to mention one example, the parking lot is used to generate energy to power water features (post-rain).

80% of the building will be open to the public (an unusually high percentage) and facilities will include 10 exhibition galleries, including a children’s museum and outdoor playspace/courtyard; an expansive glass-enclosed lobby and adjacent outdoor terrace with a downtown view; state of the art exhibition gallery designated to host world-class travelling exhibitions; an education wing; large-format, multi-media digital cinema with seating for 300; flexible-space auditorium; public café; retail store; visible exhibit workshops; and offices.

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A signature design feature within the museum is a 54-foot continuous-flow escalator contained in a 150-foot tube-like structure that dramatically extends outside the building. It will take visitors from the light-filled lobby atrium to the museum’s top floor. Patrons will arrive at a fully glazed balcony high above the city, with a bird’s-eye view of downtown Dallas.

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“We believe the new Museum will provide an unforgettable experience for our visitors and help them better understand and appreciate the world we share,” said Nicole Small, President and CEO at the Museum of Nature & Science, “And our hope is that it will inspire young people – and those of any age – to pursue careers in math, science and technology.”

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