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245 10th Avenue may be eccentric, but at least it’s intentional

As a Manhattanite, student and practitioner of architecture, and lover of modern architecture I disagree with James Gardner, formerly the architecture critic of the New York Sun who states in his post (below), “…we must pray is not the future of architecture.”  I like the unusual materials of these buildings and the unique sculptural elements they have.  But what I like best is how they have made their neighborhoods relevent again with a sence of high-style and hipness.  Tell me what you think.

To say that 245 10th Avenue (Photos) is Manhattan’s latest contribution to the cult of ugliness is not necessarily as disrespectful as it sounds. Like the rebarbative High Line 519 (3D View) one block south on 23rd Street, 245 10th Avenue is a particularly eccentric example of Mod-meets-deconstruction, with retro-glances to the aesthetics of the 1960s and forward glances to what we must pray is not the future of architecture.

But if this nearly completed development at 245 10th Avenue (Photos) is ugly, at least it is intentionally so, which is some improvement on the status of many another recent New York building, which is unintentionally so. As a fairly representative example of the deconstructed species in question, it buckles or recedes where you would rationally expect it to present a planar wall. Along 10th Avenue, its wobbly façade is a checkered curtain wall of darker and paler panels, while to the south it appears as a windowless expanse whose blinding silvery cladding, in the proper sunlight, might well wreak havoc upon cars speeding up 10th Avenue.

Integral to the design of the new building, conceived by the architectural firm Della Valle + Bernheimer, is its proximity to a Lukoil gas station, immediately to its south. The implications of blue collar authenticity supplied by the gas station are a priceless commodity in this stretch of Chelsea, precisely because there are so few blue collar types around, and ever fewer with each passing day.

In a similar vein, across the street, heading south is a car wash, and next to that another recent condo development, Vesta 24, which is only a little more conservative than 245 10th Avenue. And yet, it requires no gift for prophecy to foresee a time, in the very near future, when the gas station and car wash will themselves give way to new developments, which will be very much like their neighbors. But all of them, once deprived of their crucial blue collar props, will look every bit as misshapen as 245 10th Avenue (Photos) today, only more so.

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SFMOMA chooses architect for $250-million expansion: Norwegian firm Snøhetta

Snøhetta's Norwegian National Opera and Ballet in Oslo

Can an art museum in this economic climate raise $480 million for an ambitious expansion and endowment campaign without a world famous architect like Frank Gehry or Renzo Piano attached to the project?

SFMOMA has just placed a very big bet that it can, by selecting the critically acclaimed but not so commonly known Oslo-based firm Snøhetta — named after a mountain in Norway — as the architect for its large-scale renovation and expansion. The museum’s board of trustees approved the selection on Wednesday; an official announcement is expected Thursday.

The decision was not a complete surprise, as SFMOMA named Snøhetta in a shortlist released in May of four firms officially under consideration, which also included Adjaye Associates, Diller Scofidio + Renfro and, most established of all, Foster + Partners. But, as SFMOMA Director Neal Benezra admits, Snøhetta is “not terribly well known in our country, and especially not in the West.”

Though Snøhetta has other buildings in development in the U.S., including the National September 11th Memorial Museum entry pavilion at the World Trade Center site in New York, SFMOMA promises to be the firm’s first building on the West Coast.

Reached by phone Wednesday evening, Benezra said a visit made by several trustees to Oslo, part of a grand tour this summer to meet the four finalists and see some of their realized buildings, played a decisive role.

He said the museum’s selection committee was bowled over by Snøhetta’s Norwegian National Opera and Ballet in Oslo (pictured above), as was he. “When I saw it for the first time, it reminded me of Bilbao — it has that kind of impact,” Benezra said.

“Not only is it a fantastic concept, but it’s also a model of engagement, with people walking inside and outside and on top of the building. And that is what we need: a building of great imagination and excitement that works on a practical level in a specific urban context.”

He also praised the collaborative nature of the firm, which was founded in 1989…more.

For full article click 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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The International House on University of Nottingham’s Jubilee Campus

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My immediate reaction to this was WOW because it seems to pop off the page, but upon closer review it initial luster was scummed by it massing.  It sort of resembles a Zamboni and I can’t get that image out of my head.  Not good.

Via DailyDose

The International House on University of Nottingham’s Jubilee Campus by Make Architects, 2008. For the first phase of the campus expansion project, Make realized two other buildings, the Amenities Building and the Sir Colin Campbell Building.

DailyDose Blog

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Charles Gwathmey, Architect of the Modernist School, Is Dead at 71

As the owner of Consulting For Architects, I have had the opportunity and privilege to work with the architecture firm, Gwathmey Siegel from the mid nineties to present as a provider of staffing services.  Mr. Gwathmey’s passing is a loss for his family, friends, firm and the profession and I hope to bring together some of the things others have said about him recently in regards to his passing.

From the New York Times:

Charles Gwathmey, part of a generation of architects who put their own aesthetic stamp on the “high Modernist” style, died on August 3. He was known both for residential work — he built living spaces for Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Jerry Seinfeld — and sometimes controversial public buildings.

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In the New Yorker Magazine architecture critic Paul Goldberger said:

Postscript: Charles Gwathmey

In 1965, Charles Gwathmey, three years out of the Yale School of Architecture, designed a house and studio for his parents, the artists Rosalie and Robert Gwathmey, on Bluff Road in Amagansett, on eastern Long Island. Gwathmey was twenty-eight, an age when most architects are toiling away in large corporate offices and hoping for the chance to renovate a friend’s kitchen. When Gwathmey’s project, a pair of crisp, sharply angled structures covered in cedar siding, was finished, a year later, it became one of the most influential houses of the decade: a composition of cubes, cylinders, and triangles, it was a study in inventive modernist geometries. It cost somewhere around thirty-five thousand dollars, and it inspired a generation of beach houses in the Hamptons and elsewhere.

Architectural careers generally develop slowly, which made Gwathmey’s particularly unusual, the architectural equivalent of the young writer who comes out of nowhere and produces a brilliant first novel. In some ways, Gwathmey was the architecture world’s Norman Mailer, with the same bravado, the same raw talent, and the same career-long anxiety about whether he could continue to equal his spectacular first performance. Over the years, Gwathmey’s work became more complex than the house and studio in Amagansett, and vastly more elaborate. The cabinetry in any Gwathmey kitchen was certain to cost several times as much as his parents’ entire house.

A few years after the house in Amagansett was finished, Gwathmey and his architectural partner since 1968, Robert Siegel, designed an apartment at the El Dorado, on Central Park West, for Faye Dunaway, and over time they became the architects of choice for clients in the entertainment industry who were sophisticated enough to want something other than an interior decorator’s French Provincial. The firm of Gwathmey Siegel designed modernist houses and apartments for David Geffen, Steven Spielberg, Jerry Seinfeld, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Ron Meyer, and Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy, not to mention grandiose modernist villas for Michael Dell, the computer maker, and Mitchell Rales, a Washington, D.C., industrialist, for whom Gwathmey also designed a private museum, Glenstone.

By the time the large villa that Gwathmey had designed in East Hampton for François de Menil, now owned by Larry Gagosian, was completed, in 1983, it was clear that Gwathmey had become not the avant-garde architect that his early success had promised but something closer to a modernist Stanford White or John Russell Pope. Gwathmey’s modernism, by then, had become not so different from what a Georgian manse was in the nineteen-twenties: a symbol of refinement and sophistication more than of cutting-edge sensibility. Maybe it didn’t matter: after all, his houses were impeccably designed and exquisitely crafted, and his clients were not just any rich people but ones who knew the difference between a Gwathmey house and someone else’s.

Still, Gwathmey hated to be thought conservative, and the unspoken theme of his career was the struggle between his desire to continue to make buildings that were new and different and his passion for a kind of classic modernism, which as time went on seemed ever more to be a part of history. He never copied anything literally, and he couldn’t bear to think of himself as one of those architects who replicate the past. He kept trying, over and over, to find new ways to rearrange the basic geometric shapes he loved so much—he was earnest, almost innocent, in his passion for pure architectural form—and his late work, if not dazzling in the way that his parents’ house was, had a striking richness to it. He tried new surfaces, he tried new materials, he tried new shapes, but there was always the same kind of sleek, crisp formality to his work. If there is such a thing as blunt intricacy, Gwathmey’s architecture has it.

He was at his best at small scale, which made him the opposite of almost every other major architect of our time. He did a few towers, none of which were great, and several institutional buildings, few of which equalled his best houses. (He was almost alone among first-class architects in making houses a central part of his practice, even when he had plenty of bigger, more lucrative projects.) Toward the end of his career, he poured his heart and soul into a non-residential commission he cherished, the restoration and expansion of the Art and Architecture Building at Yale, by his teacher Paul Rudolph. The Rudolph building is an impossibly difficult neo-Brutalist masterpiece from 1963, and Gwathmey made it look better than it has in forty years. His addition is smart and well planned on the inside, and too complex and overwrought on the outside. It tells you all you need to know about its architect, who couldn’t bring himself to sit quietly beside his mentor. Gwathmey paid loving homage to Rudolph in the restoration, and then he wanted to get into the ring with him. I don’t think he was trying to show his teacher up. He just worried about what it would look like if he didn’t assert himself. He never wanted anyone to think that he didn’t have the right stuff.

More from the New York Times:

While in his 20s Mr. Gwathmey became a sensation by building a house for his parents on the East End of Long Island. The house, completed in 1966, was consistently described as one of the most influential buildings of the modern era. Two years later he and Robert Siegel founded Gwathmey Siegel & Associates.

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Perhaps the firm’s best known work was its addition to Frank Lloyd Wright’s design of the Guggenheim Museum on the Upper East Side, the rectangular tower beside the building’s famous spiral.

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Mr. Gwathmey’s Astor Place condominium tower drew criticism from those who said it was insufficiently deferential to its surroundings.

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Mr. Gwathmey in 1976, outside of Whig Hall at Princeton University. His renovation of the building was known as one of his more daring projects.

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The Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens.

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Mr. Gwathmey created a proposal for the World Trade Center site, along with Richard Meier, Peter Eisenman and Steven Holl.

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Mr. Gwathmey in his apartment in Manhattan.

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Via New Yorker Magazine and NYT

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Photos of the Remota Hotel in Patagonia, Torres del Paine, Puerto Natales-Chile by Germán del Sol

This is a special building.  I’ll let the photo’s speak for themselves…

Hotel

Check out the rest of the photos courtesy of the Daily Dose blog.

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EDITT Tower – Singapore Goes Eco-Friendly

Every time I see this new genre of eco-friendly-green-buildings (like the EDITT Tower) I am inspired.  These buildings are inviting to look at and like I did as a young boy exploring Navy vesels in New York Harbor with my dad, I want to explore every floor, view and perspective.  Because these buildings have the potential to change the urban living experience for future generations, including rethinking the impact of sustainable design on our personal lives, I am showcasing them here.

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Freshome Blog: What, you though only Dubai and China have the most stunning buildings in the world? Guess again, because EDITT Tower (“Ecological Design In The Tropics”) will be built in Singapore with the financial support of their National University and should be the most eco-friendly in the country. The most interesting thing is that this 26-storey building will use photovotaic panels and will be wrapped in organic local vegetation that will act as a living wall insulator. More to it, the skyscraper was designed to collect rain-water, both for plant irrigation and for its “needs”. If you want to congratulate someone, T.R.Hamzah & Yeang have had their hands on the project.

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Article via Freshome Blog

architects, architecture, buildings, construction, Design, green buildings, Green Built Environment, modern buildings, new buildings | , , | 2 Comments

Dancing Living House, Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan

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Designed as a single-family residence combined with a dance studio, this three-story reinforced concrete building is private and open to the sky, and best of all it has plenty of parking, which comes at a premium in Japan.

Dancing Living House, Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan, by Junichi Sampei, for A.L.X. (Architect Label Xain)
via: What we do is Secret

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