Year In Review 2016

2016 was god-awful, but are here are 13 feel-good stories to ring in the new year

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(Courtesy Martin Solveig VEVO via YouTube)
(Courtesy Martin Solveig VEVO via YouTube)

If we’re being honest, the last few weeks of 2016 were a bit horrible (particularly on the election front) but the entire year wasn’t all bad! As we head into its final days, here are our favorite feel-good stories to put that warm and fuzzy feeling back in your heart. (See the rest of our Year in Review 2016 articles here.)

Boyarsky on elephant outside the AA in 1978. (Courtesy Nicholas Boyarsky)

Boyarsky on elephant outside the AA in 1978. (Courtesy Nicholas Boyarsky)

Peter Zellner launches Free School of Architecture
Architect Peter Zellner’s new project, the Free School of Architecture (FSA), will launch next summer as a “tuition and salary free” school seeking to “explore the edges of architectural education.” Read AN‘s exclusive Q+A with Zellner here.

(Courtesy Gensler)

(Courtesy Gensler)

L.A.’s expanding transit is challenging the city’s auto-urbanism
In the four years since the first spur of the Expo opened, developers have begun to wake to the untapped market for transit-oriented development along the corridor, signaling a shift not only in the ways in which Angelenos get to and from work, but where and how they live their lives beyond business hours. Now that the line has been completed, development along the western length of the corridor has sped up.

(Courtesy Just Nøt The Same)

(Courtesy Just Nøt The Same)

#SWA: Scalies with Attitude
A new website that allows users to download scale figures for architectural renderings, but these aren’t your average figures—all races, ages, and body types are represented. Shout out to Just Nøt The Same for making representation in architecture matter.

In the Element House at Star Axis in Anton Chico, New Mexico, by MOS Architects, an arrangement of solar chimneys becomes a system of shapes that drives and organizes the form of the entire house. (Courtesy Florian Holzherr/Courtesy MOS)

In the Element House at Star Axis in Anton Chico, New Mexico, by MOS Architects, an arrangement of solar chimneys becomes a system of shapes that drives and organizes the form of the entire house. (Courtesy Florian Holzherr/Courtesy MOS)

Passive-Aggressive design: When sustainability shapes architecture
Today, architects are more concerned with sustainability than ever, and new takes on old passive techniques are not only responsible, but can produce architecture that expresses sustainable features through formal exuberance. We call it “passive-aggressive.”

(Courtesy Chicago Arts & Industry Commons)

(Courtesy Chicago Arts & Industry Commons)

Chicago’s South Side gets a boost
Artist Theaster Gates is getting $10.25 million to grow a network of art institutions. Youth on the South Side will benefit from a coordinated effort between four major donors, as well as a few private philanthropists.

Ori
The modular robotic home furniture from MIT’s Media Lab will help you get the most of your shoebox apartment. Check out the video, above.

(Courtesy bcWORKSHOP)

(Courtesy bcWORKSHOP)

Revisionary Ethics
buildingcommunityWORKSHOP seeks to improve the livability and viability of communities through thoughtful design. Here’s how.

(Courtesy SCAPE Landscape Architects)

(Courtesy SCAPE Landscape Architects)

This water is so wet
When downtown Lexington, Kentucky held a competition to revitalize and re-pedestrianize its concrete, car-driven downtown, New York–based SCAPE Landscape Architecture chose to reveal and celebrate its geology.

(Courtesy CUP)

(Courtesy CUP)

Social Impact Design: The don’t be a Dick edition
For some, it’s a motto to live by. One New York City–based nonprofit would like architects to design by it, too.

(Arndt Schlaudraff via fubiz)

(Arndt Schlaudraff via fubiz)

New York City bike lane art scores high points with videogame references
The New York City Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Art Program partnered this spring with nonprofit New York Cares to paint two bike lane barriers in styles that will appeal to true 90s kids.

(Courtesy Martin Solveig VEVO via YouTube)

(Courtesy Martin Solveig VEVO via YouTube)

Doing it Right: Ricardo Bofill’s Postmodern La Muralla Roja stars as backdrop for Martin Solveig music video
Martin Solveig is often partial to pomo imagery in his music videos. For the French artist’s latest hit Do It Right (featuring Tkay Maidza), the accompanying music video is set at the La Muralla Roja (The Red Wall) in Alicante, southeast Spain. Designed by Catalan postmodernist Ricardo Bofill, the 1973 building made arguably as big of a splash in the industry as Solveig does in his music video.

The JGMA-designed El Centro has won the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Excellence in Community Design. (Courtesy JGMA/LISC)

The JGMA-designed El Centro has won the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Excellence in Community Design. (Courtesy JGMA/LISC)

JGMA wins Chicago Neighborhood Development Award, immediately donates prize money
As part of the 22nd annual Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards (CNDA), Chicago-based JGMA’s El Centro were awarded Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Awards for Excellence in Community Design. During moving his acceptance speech, JGMA lead Juan Moreno brought the 1500-person crowd to its feet, and many to tears, as he explained his plan for the award money. 

(Arndt Schlaudraff via fubiz)

(Arndt Schlaudraff via fubiz)

LEGO brutalist buildings (of course)
Berlin-based LEGO enthusiast Arndt Schlaudraff is using plastic—not concrete—blocks to recreate miniature works of brutalist architecture. Using only white bricks and aided by their orthogonal nature, Schlaudraff is able to perfect the clean finishes, crisp lines, and massing often found in Brutalist architecture.

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