Search results for "little rock"

Creative Corridor Plan Unveiled to Revitalize Little Rock
Marlon Blackwell, architect and professor at the Fay Jones School of Architecture, and Steve Luoni, architect and director of the University of Arkansas Community Design Center, have unveiled a masterplan for converting Little Rock's Main Street into a cultural center. The plan titled, The Creative Corridor: A Main Street Revitalization will include a pedestrian promenade, outdoor furniture, LED lighting installations, rain gardens, affordable living-units for artists and a renovation of downtown buildings for mixed-use. Luoni notes that execution is expected to occur in phases. The first objective is to separate the district from the rest of Main Street by using original lighting—potentially made up of old city street lights and composed into a light art installation—distinct landscaping, and purpose-built architectural pavement. The second phase plans to anchor the site at the intersection of Capitol and Main Street with a central public square containing an outdoor amphitheater and large LED screen reminiscent of Times Square monitors. The third phase hopes to densify the perimeters of Main Street with trees, rain gardens, terraces and a pedestrian promenade. The fourth is the creation of the transit district in coordination with the Metroplan’s scheduled expansion proposals and new bike lanes. As the project gets going, Little Rock’s Mayor Mike Studola plans to use the city’s EPA grant to create smaller-scale demonstrations of the ideas presented in the masterplan. Although the plan is intended to place Little Rock on the map of towns with unique urban designs, execution relies heavily on private dollars. In order to receive funding the location would have to draw crowds as an art center and Luoni has already discussed receiving support from various visual arts, film, dance and music organizations including the Arkansas Repertory Theater and Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. The presentation of “The Creative Corridor” was held at the Arkansas Repertory Theater and made possible by a $150,000 Our Town Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Upon earning the NEA grant Luoni commented, “The project has the potential to be a national model for consolidating cultural arts functions—artist housing, production spaces, galleries and performance spaces—as a catalyst for sustained urban development in downtown. We are proud that the NEA recognizes this potential and has directed resources from its signature grant program for this project." As of yet, funding for the full completion of the proposal has not been determined but Mayor Studola, architect Luoni and architect Blackwell remain on board to see it through.

Shreddin' Good Taste

Rockin’ guitar-shaped Florida hotel celebrates construction milestone
Hoteliers and musicians smashed guitars in Hollywood, Florida to celebrate a construction milestone at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, a $1.5 billion entertainment complex featuring a mega guitar–shaped hotel. The 450-foot-tall hotel will boast more than 600 rooms, around half of the complex's total, plus a 41,000-square-foot spa and a few restaurants. At the tower's base, guests can swim underneath waterfalls in plunge pools, relax in private cabanas, and partake in water sports in a giant artificial lake. Right now, the existing Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood hotel has almost 500 rooms, as well as a casino, meeting space, restaurants, and a lagoon pool. Guitars are a popular motif all over the Hard Rock hotel and restaurant empire, but this is the first of the company's buildings to so closely resemble the actual instrument. Vertical fins up the tower's midline resemble strings, while horizontal banding act as 'frets' (though unlike real frets they extend outward to mimic the curve of the instrument). “It will be the first building in the world that’s truly to scale designed as an authentic guitar,” James 'Jim' Allen, Seminole gaming CEO and chairman of Hard Rock International, told the Sun Sentinal. “So it’s not just an exterior facade, the curving of the building will be identical to an authentic guitar." Though it might be the largest guitar building, it might not be the first. In 1996, architect Glenn Williams designed a Guitar House for himself in Venice, California that was inspired by Picasso's cubist rendering of the instrument. The Architect's Newspaper (AN) has reached out to Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood for more details on the building's design and construction, and will update readers as more information becomes available. Footage from the October 25 event showed workers atop the first few swishy floors. "To do this...to have a guitar shaped hotel—the only thing I'm a little concerned with is it's not a drum!" joked Nicko McBrain, a resident of nearby Ft. Lauderdale and a drummer in the British metal band Iron Maiden. The hotel opening is slated for summer 2019, but the complex's revamp goes way beyond its signature structure. In March, the 5,500-seat onsite theater will be demolished and replaced by Hard Rock Live, a 7,000-seat, $100 million venue. The casino will double in size, too, and the Seminole tribe is adding meeting space and 60,000 square feet of new retail and restaurants. The projects are timed to open before 2020, when NFL championship teams will face off at the Populous-designed (and HOK-renovated) Miami Dolphins stadium. It's a couple of states away, but this jammer should put rawkers in the mood for the hotel's opening:

DCP

With new plan, NYC seeks to revitalize Downtown Far Rockaway
In a nearly unanimous vote, on July 10th the City Planning Commission approved the rezoning and revitalization plan for Downtown Far Rockaway in Queens, as first reported by CityLand. The plan aims to re-establish Downtown Far Rockaway as the peninsula’s commercial and transportation hub through new zoning that encourages mixed-use development, new public spaces, improved pedestrian walkways, and better access to community services. It's also one of several neighborhood rezonings in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s push to build more affordable housing. Downtown Far Rockaway is the historic commercial core of the peninsula: located near Rockaway Beach and Jamaica Bay, it's serviced by stops on the A train as well as the LIRR. The area has not been rezoned since the 1961 Zoning Resolution that subsequently prevented residential developments in the commercial and manufacturing zones that feature extensively in the area. Downtown Far Rockaway also has few local employment opportunities, little open space, and poor pedestrian access. Rezoning, which is the plan’s backbone, would foster new residential and mixed-use developments, especially on the area's larger streets. One part of Far Rockaway would also be designated an Urban Renewal Area, which would enable the City to purchase and transfer properties to developers. The “roadmap for action” plan also aims to incorporate the current community by improving existing commercial spaces and local businesses as well as increasing accessibility to job training, education, and community services. According to CityLand, the city is already investing $100 million in the area, with improvements including "streetscape reconstruction, sewer upgrades, park improvements, storefront improvement, and library upgrades." The plan was passed with conditions that include community-based project labor, a new school and park, and limits on up-zoning. Additionally, a 22-block area (bounded by Caffrey Avenue, Redfern Avenue, Nameoke Avenue, Beach 22nd Street, and Gateway Boulevard) would be designated for Mandatory Inclusionary Housing. The final vote will be made by Major de Blasio, who has already indicated his support of local neighborhood rezoning and revitalization plans.

Rudolf Belling

Exhibition casts new light on remarkable and little-known German modernist
It is always exciting to discover the work of an architect whose name you know from history but whose buildings remain a mystery. This is what happened to me on a recent trip to Prague and my “discovery” of Jože Plečnik. His final 1929 building, the Church of the Most Sacred Heart of our Lord, and his small insertions in the Prague Castle were revelations and he is a new hero. But occasionally one discovers the work of an architect whose name does not even register as a footnote in traditional surveys. This is the case of the Rudolf Belling (1886-1972) who is the focus of a new exhibit at the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin. Belling, was, in fact, an artist, primarily a sculptor, who worked on the fringes of architecture yet produced several projects that are highly original and should be better known by architects. His work might best be described as modernist abstraction in the manner of contemporary movements of the period like Constructivism or Expressionism. He argued, like his contemporaries, for a fusion of the arts and he worked in multiple mediums including film, interior decoration, and architecture, in addition to sculpture (his principal medium). Belling was not unknown in his time and was a member of Arbeitsrat für Kunst, the 1918 Novembergruppe, and was featured in Le Corbusier's magazine L’Esprit Nouveau. The exhibit sets out to highlight his belief in a coming together of the arts and notion that culture and architecture were to be guided by tectonic forms rather than “natural” shapes; this was the focus of his practice and teaching. Belling, incidentally, spent several years in New York City, where he fled the Nazis and taught at the Annot Art School and Gallery in Rockefeller Center. I addition to his stunning design (at least in the grainy photographs in the exhibition) for The Scala restaurant in Berlin, he was able to model sculpture into architecture. As Alfred Kuhn pointed out in 1927, for the first time he created “sculpture from the outside in but from the Inside out.” His forms in space may not have been truly revolutionary for his time but he created powerful monuments that were more innovative as architecture than sculpture. His seven-meter-tall advertising sculpture (with Wassili Luckhardt in 1920/21) for the tire maker Pneumatik Harburg-Wien was a very example of how to create memorable roadside architecture and signage. His most powerful and unique architectural projects were a 1923 gas station (with Alfred Gellhorn and Martin Knauthe) for Olex and the two architectural sculptures he designed for Olex and the Villa Goldstein in 1923 (both destroyed). These brought all his influences from Constructivism to Futurism together as a single powerful work. In fact, it may be said that he brought architectural ideas back into sculpture. Finally, he produced beautiful small architecture renderings that seem decades in advance of the Pop style of architectural drawing methods. Rudolf Belling: Sculpture and Architecture runs through September 17 at the Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin. (The video below on Rudolf Belling: Sculpture and Architecture is available only in German.)

Red-Rock-Inspired Headquarters by ajc

Earth-toned GFRC panels and contrasting metal wrap Petzl's new North American hub.

When Petzl executives decided to move the climbing and caving equipment company's North American headquarters from Clearfield to West Valley City, Utah, they sought an opportunity not just to expand, but to design a facility that would reflect the brand's mission. "The two words we kept hearing from them were verticality and light," recalled ajc architects founding principal Jill A. Jones. "The types of products they design really have to deal with the vertical world." Working with a southwestern palette inspired by Petzl corporation founder and president Paul Petzl's recent visits to Mesa Verde National Park and Machu Picchu, the architects designed a combination administrative, training, and distribution center whose mesa-like bottom stories and punctuating tower appear as if carved out of desert rock.
  • Facade Manufacturer Tuscan Stoneworx (GFRC), Drexel Metals (metal), Cornerstone Concrete (concrete), B&D Glass (glazing and curtain wall)
  • Architects ajc architects
  • Facade Installer Tuscan Stoneworx (GFRC), Superior Roofing (metal), Sahara (general contractor)
  • Location West Valley City, UT
  • Date of Completion 2014
  • System hybrid stone-backed GFRC panels, metal panels, tilt-up concrete
  • Products custom GFRC panels from Tuscan Stoneworx, Drexel Metals DMC panels, tilt-up concrete by Cornerstone Concrete
Given Paul Petzl's interest in the continent's arid landscapes, natural stone cladding would have seemed an obvious choice. But "to use stone would have been terribly expensive," said Jones—especially given the building's size, 80,000 gross square feet. "Getting a lot of stone in those larger panels would have been cost-prohibitive." Instead, the architects looked to GFRC, and worked with Tuscan Stoneworx's Dave Nicholson to develop a hybrid system of stone-backed GFRC panels. Rather than being hung on the building, the panels are adhered directly to it, thus avoiding any breaks in the thermal barrier. To perfect the look of the GFRC, the architects did no less than a dozen color studies before selecting three red-orange tones for application. The panels were sandblasted on site to render the color and texture more naturalistic. Nicholson helped ajc customize every aspect of the panel system, from color and texture to corner installation. "I don't know if he'll ever do that again," remarked Jones. The designers clad the tower and a bump-out over the front door in dark grey metal from Drexel Metals. "The tower itself was a sensitive area, because Petzl did something similar in their home headquarters in Crolles, France," said Jones. "It kind of felt dark and cold; we wanted to bring a lot of daylight into the space." The architects performed a series of daylighting studies, "to make sure we had daylighting opportunities in every occupied space." This led to the installation of high-performance glass on both sides of the office block to avoid glare. For the warehouse area, ajc chose tilt-up concrete. But as with the GFRC, achieving a natural look took some ingenuity. "We wanted not to paint the concrete, to get a more organic look," said Jones. "But staining the concrete was a challenge, because the form liners leave a natural coating on the panels." Contractor Sahara experimented with various solutions once the panels were in place to find a stain that the concrete would accept. Petzl's new North American headquarters is a fitting base camp for a company committed to pushing the limits of human exploration. Both inside and out—from its window-lit multi-story indoor climbing and training wall to its human-made, red-rock-inspired envelope—the building embodies a balance between reverence for the natural world, and celebration of the technology that makes that world a little more knowable.

Rockwell Place Hotel
Courtesy Leeser Architecture

Rockwell Place Hotel
Designer: Leeser Architecture
Client: Second Development Services
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Completion: Late 2014/Early 2015

As its expansion of the BRIC Arts | Media | Bklyn and UrbanGlass complex nears completion, Leeser Architecture is embarking on its next project in the Brooklyn Downtown Cultural District. The Brooklyn-based firm has been tapped to design the new 200-room Rockwell Place Hotel next to The Theater for a New Audience. With the new Barclays Center only a block away and a flood of new arts and cultural venues cropping up in the area, the 30-story hotel will accommodate the growing number of visitors flocking to the borough.

When he conceptualized the design, Thomas Leeser said, he wanted it to be a “marker of how we see Brooklyn.”

 
 

For that reason, the building, made of white fritted glass and metal, will feature dramatic asymmetrical fractures in the facade that reinforce a notion of Brooklyn as “multi-faceted” and “modern,” according to Leeser. “It was very important that this building be, on one hand, very ‘contemporary slick,’ but also not perfect,” he said. “Because Brooklyn isn’t perfect.”

The hotel will rise approximately 300 feet and will include a rooftop bar with a small pool, a banquet hall, a ballroom, a performance space on the basement level, and a restaurant on the main floor and mezzanine that looks onto an outdoor arts plaza.

“We wanted to make a statement that Brooklyn is very cutting edge—it is not just the little sister of Manhattan anymore,” said Leeser.

Little House in the Library
David Adjaye designed a shingled house that serves as a gallery in Richard Prince: American Prayer at the Bibliothque Nationale, Paris.
Vincent Desjardins/BNF

A recent and intriguingly provocative exhibition at the Bibliothèque Nationale (BnF) in Paris highlights how space, art, literature, allusions, and inspiration can overlap in physical, metaphysical, and dematerialized ways.

Richard Prince: American Prayer, the first major show of the American artist’s work, focuses on his beloved and extensive collection of classic first editions and pulp fiction, published between 1949 to 1984 (plus James Joyce’s Ulysses.) Curated by Bob Rubin, who owns and has restored Pierre Chareau’s Maison de Verre, the exhibition—closing in Paris on June 26 but negotiating an American venue—offers an “unprecedented encounter between contemporary art and the book” in the words of the BnF president Bruno Racine.

The centerpiece of the installation is a shingled house designed by architect David Adjaye, who has designed for and collaborated with a long roster of artists including James Casebere, Olafur Eliasson, Tim Noble and Sue Webster, Chris Ofili, Lorna Simpson, and Jürgen Teller.

Together Rubin and Adjaye conceived of the house as an archetypical shelter for both the rarities and the curiosities in the collection—there’s a copy of Roots dedicated by Alex Haley to Buckminster Fuller—as well as the idea of free-flowing information finding its way, in a sense home as inspiration.

Rubin described the house that is clad completely in Montana cedar shingles as representative of the French concept l’Amerique profonde, translated variously as “the heartland” or “the hinterlands.“

Rubin also wrote in an email, “I found the shingles in Montana. You can't get any more "profonde" than the Big Sky state. Needless to say, the BnF people were shocked at the idea. The house seemed way too big on paper (of course, it's perfect), and the shingles needed to be there months in advance to be fumigated and fireproofed.”

The following is an adaptation from Rubin’s essay in the exhibition catalog:

Adjaye's shingled house.
 

“What’s the connection between the artist who gave us entertainers, cowboys, nurses, partying Hells Angels and their biker girlfriends, and the hallowed turf of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France—library of kings, repository of how French (and therefore, until recently, the world’s) culture was made, stomping ground of Karl Marx, Walter Benjamin, and other titans of Eurocentric critical theory?”

C’est evident.

Books are a huge influence on Prince’s art. Not just what’s in them. He makes art out of books, or parts of books, or even the detritus of publishing. Plus he happens to own one of the finest collections of modern Americana in private hands: first editions, manuscripts, author’s letters, and inscribed copies of Nabokov, Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs, Salinger, Capote, Kesey, Pynchon; multimedia material from Warhol, the Velvet Underground, Jim Morrison (whose poem and posthumous album An American Prayer are the inspiration for the show’s title), Bob Dylan, R. Crumb, and Jimi Hendrix; and iconic material from four American authors Philip K. Dick, Jim Thompson, Richard Brautigan, and Chester Himes, whose reputations are bigger in France than in the United States. For American Prayer he mixes the gems of his collection with his own art. The resulting gestalt is a typology of American subcultures—science fiction, fantasy, pulp, porn, comics, and rock and roll—and their denizens—cowboys, space cowboys, bikers, beatniks, hippies, and punks. The links are telling: Richard Brautigan’s fishing license comes with an inscribed first edition of Trout Fishing in America. Ken Kesey’s autographed helmet from the bus sits next to the original manuscript of Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Koolaid Acid Test. Then there’s a plaster cast of Jimi Hendrix’ penis (remember the Plaster Casters?) with Jimi’s handwritten letters from the road to his father. Blend in the obscure smut that the BnF automatically receives from publishers as a matter of French law, dépôt légal. Until Prince (a fan of nurses in uniform, and not) came along, most of this stuff had never seen the light of day. A few boxes of photo-book porn from the BnF’s deep reserves were sent to Prince and came back stickered with Prince’s signature dots, to strategic effect.

The 600-page English catalog for the show, co-published by the BnF and Gagosian Gallery and distributed by Rizzoli, is a collage of texts from the Beat, Hippie, and Punk eras. There is also a catalog in French, introduced by the cult magazine Purple’s own Jeff Rian.

Prince has sometimes been called a thief, or, worse yet, an appropriation artist. But, as American novelist Jonathan Lethem explains in the catalog, the use of others’ intellectual property should not be considered theft but rather the beauty of second use. And, to paraphrase Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño, it’s better to rob a book than a safe because at least you can carefully examine its contents before perpetrating the crime.”

Gwathmey’s Parting Gesture at Crocker Art Museum
The simple geometric forms are arranged to create a double-height entry rotunda and galleries generously lit by saw-tooth skylights.
Bruce Damonte

Yesterday, Sacramento’s Crocker Art Museum unveiled its new expansion by Gwathmey Siegel & Associates of New York. At 125,000 square feet, the $75 million addition becomes a new architectural identity for the oldest art museum in the West. Yet it also represents one of the last major works by Charles Gwathmey, who passed away last summer.

“Charles said that everyone has a little bit of a desire to be an architect, and he wanted everyone to have that experience,” said Lial Jones, director of the Crocker. “He was very open to taking ideas from others and it was a terrific collaboration.”

The new structure is interconnected with the Crocker's two Victorian buildings.
Brian Suhr

The firm has been responsible for several other high-profile museum expansions—most famously, an addition to the Frank Lloyd Wright–designed Guggenheim in 1992—and was selected to prepare a masterplan for the museum in 2000. At that time, the museum’s main display space was the portrait gallery in one of its two 1860s Victorian buildings, which meant that over 95 percent of its 15,000-item collection was sequestered away in storage, including an extensive collection of master drawings.

Connections between the addition and the victorian buildings are reinforced by dramatically framed views.
Bruce Damonte

On the exterior, the new structure is a massing of simple geometric forms. Interlocking cylinders create a dramatic double-height entry rotunda. “Because the new building is three times the building we were connecting to, we tried to break down its scale, expressing it as a series of mini-buildings using zinc, white metal panels, and glass, so that it didn’t appear as one big bulky mass,” said Gerry Gendreau, the project architect. “We tried to develop a dialogue between the modern and historic elements in the most sympathetic way we could.”

An expansive glass wall faces a courtyard between the new and historic structures.
Bruce Damonte

To bridge the contemporary addition with the interconnected Victorian buildings, the firm worked to match up the floor levels. To that end, it sunk the auditorium below grade, placed the administrative offices on the second floor, and placed the galleries on the third. The 35,000 square feet of galleries are primarily daylit, using sawtooth skylights. To showcase the old gallery’s ornate form, the entrance leads to a hall with a 120-foot-long window wall that frames the historic building across the courtyard.

Rockwell makes a ruckus at Imagination Playground
“It doesn’t seem like it, but everything connects with each one perfectly,” said Gabrielle Sunderland, 12, squinting happily toward the hot July sun. Around her were piles of weather- and germ-resistant foam blocks in sundry shapes and sizes. The blue pieces are the signature element of David Rockwell’s Imagination Playground, which opened Tuesday on Burling Slip near the South Street Seaport. A designer of theaters, high-end restaurants, and Broadway stage sets, Rockwell found his own children bored by the playgrounds of Lower Manhattan. So he set out to create a playspace where kids could use their own imagination, just as he once did. “Playgrounds are the places where kids can learn how to be a community and create their own worlds, but the ones we visited were all too linear,” he told AN at the opening. “That gave me the idea of a different kind of playground.” Gabrielle and her friend Ajda Celebi, 10, were industriously showing off Rockwell’s central strategy: providing kids with loose pieces that promote unstructured play. The girls set two rectangular blocks together with a noodle on the side and a ball on top, creating something like a giant teapot. They liked the fact that the playground allows them to make structures entirely “out of your own creativity,” as Ajda put it. The project got its start after Rockwell persuaded Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe with a drawing on a lunch napkin, and then spent five years researching progressive learning theory and child development. He also helped round up funds for the $7.5 million project, which included a $4.5 million grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and $3 million from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection for the relocation of two water mains and a sewer line into the adjacent street. Rockwell also teamed with nonprofit playground designer KaBOOM! and together they developed Imagination Playground in smaller portable versions, tested and tweaked after trial tours in Washington, D.C., New Orleans, Miami, and New York. But the first permanent site for the concept is designed pro-bono on a former parking lot at Burling Slip. Comprised of a large multi-level deck in the shape of a swooping figure eight of reclaimed Indonesian teak, the new playground is essentially an empty space for the array of 350 props. Situated in a landmark district, the landscape does include some features that recall the surrounding area’s nautical past, including reused benches from Coney Island, barrels, and burlap bags. The west end is the sand pit, consisting of sloping wooden ramps and four wooden masts made by a shipbuilder, each connected by ropes and pulleys. In the center stands a crow’s nest atop a red, circular structure housing bathrooms and a storage space for the blocks. At the east end, a rounded amphitheater for storytelling overlooks an ankle-deep pool with pipes and canals that enable the control of cascading water. A staff of city workers trained as “play associates” oversees the action, as with all Imagination Playgrounds. According to Benepe, Burling Slip is the start of a new era of New York City playgrounds, where Rockwell’s sponges will replace worn-out monkey bars, swings, and jungle gyms. “The next step is to look at playgrounds that are underperforming and need renovation in central Brooklyn and the South Bronx, and apply the concept,” he told AN, adding that these might come with a different set of materials. “Here we had a flexible budget, but we could take a traditional Parks Department playground budget, and use these approaches.” For his part, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg described the project as a tremendous success. “It is always amazing to see what children choose to create when they are fully using their imagination,” he declared. As for the little pirates, they too gave the playspace top grade. “It’s all big and blue and bendy,” Gabrielle said, while balancing a cog on top of a cube tower. “It’s a lot of fun!” And Ajda added, “The new West Thames playground where I live is really cool, but this one is more fun, because you can do anything here.” With that, she eagerly returned to helping the other kids dam a cascading water flow in the pool area. To everyone’s joy, the jets of water created unexpected rainbows against the blue afternoon sky.

Culture Shock

Studio Gang and SCAPE unveil plans for Arkansas Arts Center expansion
What does a cultural hub for the 21st century require? With their newly unveiled design for the Arkansas Arts Center in Little RockStudio Gang and SCAPE Landscape Architecture have a few ideas in mind: flexibility, inclusivity, community, and a nod to sustainability. The expansion and renovation, which is scheduled to break ground in 2019 and open in 2022, addresses a number of concerns from the existing 1937 structure and the work of eight subsequent additions. ("A very complicated puzzle," as museum director Todd Herman described the existing space.) In addition to selective demolition that will reveal the original facade, the first course of action involved uniting the spaces, which the architects plan to accomplish with the addition of a pleated covered walkway spine that links the city-facing north entrance with a new southern entrance connected to parkland. “Starting from the inside out, the design clarifies the organization of the building and extends its presence into MacArthur Park and out to Crescent Lawn,” Studio Gang Founding Principal Jeanne Gang said in a statement. “By doing so, the Center becomes a vibrant place for social interaction, education, and appreciation for the arts.” In addition to the central corridor, the expansion will also include an indoor-outdoor dining space and a multifunctional area called the Cultural Living Room that's designed to welcome visitors to engage and relax, while also offering space for large-scale events and performances. Specific attention will be paid to the sustainability of the materials and mechanical systems, underscoring the connection to nature that's at the core of the project, which has been described as a "museum in a forest." Critical to that concept is the SCAPE's new plan for the landscape, which increases parkland with more than 250 new tress and a variety of new paths and trails. SCAPE founder Kate Orff found inspiration for the design in Little Rock's unique ecology, which spans from the Mississippi Delta to the bluffs of Emerald Park. “This an exciting moment for the Arkansas Arts Center, central Arkansas, and the entire state,” Herman said of the $70 million project in a statement. “The reimagined Arts Center will be a welcoming place that encourages prolonged and meaningful interaction with the collection and programs at the Arts Center. It is intended to be a gathering place for the community that highlights the interplay between the AAC and the surrounding park.”

BID CITIES

A revealing look at how cities bid for Amazon’s new headquarters
On October 19, Amazon received 238 proposals from cities and regions in 54 states, provinces, districts and territories across North America, all vying to be the home of HQ2, the $5 billion, 50,000-employee co-headquarters the company wants to build over the next two decades. A decision is expected sometime in 2018. Bidders were asked not to divulge details of their proposals, but information has leaked out about many of them. Baltimore officials held a news conference at the waterfront site they’re touting, saying, “This must be the place.” The District of Columbia identified four possible locations and created a hashtag: #ObviouslyDC. Birmingham, Alabama placed giant Amazon packages all over town. New York City lit up the Empire State Building and other landmarks “Amazon orange.” While much of the news coverage has focused on some of the more publicity-seeking stunts by cities and locales, it is worth sifting through the news to consider how the urban landscape is being imagined and parceled off for a single corporate giant. Some bidders don’t meet Amazon’s criteria for consideration, such as having a metropolitan area of at least one million people or zoning to build up to 8 million square feet of office space. Others are making strong cases for why they should be chosen by combining their forces with other locales. Overall the bids reveal a glimpse of how seriously some cities are taking the chance to host Amazon, and what they believe the strengths of their metropolitan areas are. Some cities put all their eggs in a single basket, offering up a single site within their city boundaries. Boston offered Suffolk Downs, a soon-to-close horse racing track in East Boston, and touted its concentration of leading colleges and universities. “Boston sells itself,” Mayor Martin Walsh was quoted as saying in The Boston Globe. “We have world class colleges and universities. We’re the youngest city per capita in America.” Baltimore offered the 235-acre Port Covington redevelopment area south of downtown. An independent citizens’ group offered a second site in midtown Baltimore, including land currently occupied by the state penitentiary, a proposed Innovation Hub, and State Center, a government office complex. Dallas extended a transit-oriented development surrounding a proposed $15 million Hyperloop terminal that will run between Dallas and Houston. New Jersey offered an 11.5–acre riverfront site in Newark as well as tax breaks worth up to $7 billion. Practice for Architecture and Urbanism would be the master planner for the project, working with Michael Green Architect, TEN Arquitectos and Minno & Wasko Architects and Planners. Surprise, Arizona, the Grand Canyon State’s “newest emerging city,” made an unlikely bid for the Amazon project by offering 100 acres of prime downtown real estate, Bizjournals reported. Offering big city amenities but also a “blank canvas waiting to be painted,” the municipality west of the Phoenix metro area boasts sports training facilities for national teams, a college stadium that hosts professional football games, and a foreign trade zone already being developed by international corporations. The bid sets aside the 100-acre site beside its civic center with the intention of having Amazon “help to create the culture of downtown.” In case Amazon isn’t content with creating a new downtown from thin air, the municipality also offered up the suburban town of Prasada nearby that also has 100 acres of vacant, highway-adjacent land that can be used. Surprise joins Phoenix, Mesa, Chandler, Tempe and Tucson, Arizona as cities making bids for the HQ2 project in the state. Other cities proposed a range of sites, suggesting that their cities were more than equipped to handle the space and tech needs of a headquarters like Amazon. Washington, D. C. proposed four locations for Amazon HQ2: the Anacostia Riverfront, Capitol Hill East; Shaw-Howard University, and NoMa-Union Station. Another promising site would have been the RFK stadium property, but as a federally owned property, leasing terms require that the land be used for sports and recreation, so it wasn’t offered. New York City identified four potential sites: Midtown West, Long Island City, the Financial District and the Brooklyn Tech Triangle, which includes DUMBO, the Brooklyn Navy Yards and downtown Brooklyn. Philadelphia proposed three locations: Schuylkill Yard, uSquare and the Navy Yard. Chicago offered 10 potential sites and an incentive package that could be worth $2 billion.  The sites are the “Downtown Gateway District,” which includes space in the Willis Tower and the Old Post Office; the endangered Helmut Jahn-designed James R. Thomson Center; two separate sites along the Chicago River’s North Branch; the now booming Fulton Market in the city’s West Loop neighborhood; the Illinois Medical District; a 62-acre site along the Chicago River’s South Branch; the now vacant site of the former Michael Reese Hospital in Bronzeville, and two sites outside of the city at the former Motorola global headquarters in Schaumberg and the soon-to-be former McDonald’s headquarters in Oak Brook. Huntington Beach and Long Beach in California offered three sites: the Boeing campus in North Huntington Beach,  the World Trade Center in Long Beach, and a site next to the Long Beach Airport. Another set of cities, perhaps due to their size, offered a regional package, either by applying to be part of a regional headquarters or teaming up with nearby cities and even across international borders to put together an offer. Omaha, Nebraska does not meet many of the company’s stated requirements, but it submitted a bid in the hopes that Amazon may choose to break up the project over multiple cities. If not, city leaders expressed the hope that their bid will be a chance to put the city in front of Amazon executives, and those of other tech companies, for the possibility of future investments. Missouri offered three sites: Columbia, St. Louis and Kansas City, with a Hyperloop transit system connecting all three. In Kansas City, Mayor Sly James purchased 1,000 items on Amazon, leaving reviews and product videos for many of them. Each review included not-so-coded language about the advantages of living and working in Kansas City. Buffalo and Rochester, New York, submitted a joint proposal offering the metro corridor between the two cities. The Buffalo-Rochester team highlighted the region’s contributions to technological research in many fields relevant to Amazon–among others, RFID technologies, drones, and software development. They also highlighted the corridor’s ties to businesses and universities just across the border in Canada. Detroit-Windsor, Michigan and Ontario, Canada teamed up to submit an international bid that presents unique opportunities for Amazon in terms of hiring and wages. Amazon would have more flexibility in building a staff with the option of hiring either Canadian or U.S. employees. There is also the possibility that Amazon could save on wages thanks to the exchange rate. Currently, one U.S. dollar is worth $1.26 in Canadian currency. Finally, another set of city bids crafted multi-nodal offers across multiple cities or scattered sites within city borders rather than proposing a single-site headquarters. In the San Francisco Bay area, the cities of San Francisco, Oakland, Richmond, Concord, and Fremont joined forces to make one bid. The San Francisco portion of the bid offers up the Candlestick Point and San Francisco Shipyard, a stretch of land called “Southern Bayfront” running down Mission Creek to Candlestick Park, and another area in the South of Market district for the development. In Oakland, the Uptown Station, 601 City Center, and Eastline Development sites are offered. Concord is providing the decommissioned Concord Naval Weapons facility, a 2,300-acre site includes 500 acres slated for a potential first phase of the project. Richmond is offering a new research and development facility on the University of California, Berkeley campus that could potentially serve as a brain hub for the tech giant. Fremont is offering a 28-acre parcel at a transit stop that is zoned for 1.8 million square feet of commercial development. The combined regional bid includes adding 45,000 housing units to the area. In Los Angeles, leaders with the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation are offering a dispersed, nine-site proposal. The specific sites have not been disclosed, but according to the Daily News, areas of the San Fernando Valley’s Warner Center complex, Cal Poly Pomona’s campus, and sections of Santa Clarita are up for grabs. Sites in Long Beach are also potentially included as part of the proposal. Colorado pitched what Governor John Hickenlooper described to 9 News as a “collaborative community that works to solve our own problems,” adding that with Colorado, Amazon would be “not just getting a site. They’re getting a community.” The proposal was generated by the Denver Economic Development Corporation, a private entity that works across the nine-county metropolitan area surrounding Denver. The bid involves eight sites across the state and an unspecified number of tax incentives, which Hickenlooper described as being “1/20th” the amount of incentives offered by other states and municipalities. Outside the melee of bidding, at least two cities made a point of announcing they weren’t submitting a proposal. In Texas, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff wrote an open letter to Bezos stating, "The public process is, intentionally or not, creating a bidding war,” and “blindly giving away the farm isn’t our style.” Rather than jump through hoops to try and attract Amazon’s attention, Little Rock, Arkansas, took the opportunity both to graciously decline and promote itself. In a full-page ad taken out in The Washington Post, which is owned by Bezos, the Arkansas capital of 200,000 penned a “Dear John” letter to announce its intention not to place a bid. “Amazon, you’ve got so much going for you, and you’ll find what you’re looking for,” read the letter. While Little Rock was a long shot, unable to meet some of the company’s requirements, it’s also the home of one of Amazon’s largest rivals, Walmart. Arkansas was one of only seven states that did not have a jurisdiction bidding for the new headquarters. The others are Hawaii, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming. Additional reporting for this article was provided by AN editors Matthew Messner, Antonio Pacheco, and Jackson Rollings. 

Tainted Lens

Photographer Timothy Hursley captures neglected corners of America in new exhibit

In between photography assignments for virtuosos such as Moshe Safdie, Marlon Blackwell, and Rural Studio, Timothy Hursley takes long drives throughout the rural South and other parts of the country and aims his camera at the neglected structures and forlorn dwellings of obscure or shunned subcultures.

Hursley’s ramblings have produced several series, including his photographs of both the interiors and exteriors of the brothels of Nevada. These gentle narratives, in which the women are notably absent, bear no hint of judgment. “The photographs are stronger without people,” Hursley said. “They are like footprints of a subculture.” When Hursley stumbled upon Bobbie’s Buckeye Bar, the owner would not let him in. Left to contemplate the outside, Hursley found a composition in which the running white fence symbolized customers entering the pink brothel and “then coming out tainted red,” he explained.

Finding himself in Utah, as the trial had just begun for convicted felon Warren Jeffs, the former leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), Hursley wondered what the architecture of polygamy looks like. An apostate brought Hursley to the FLDS cave in Hildale, Utah, a stronghold of polygamy, where he photographed the eerie interior and a new series was launched.

A quad of photos and a time-lapse video of a dilapidated silo in Hale County, Alabama, are the subject of the Oxford American video SoLost: The Beauty of a Broken Silo. Photographed from different angles, the bent and rusted structure radiates a heartrending anthropomorphism.

Closer to his home in Little Rock, Arkansas, Hursley stumbled upon two beaten-up white hearses that triggered a new fascination with the rundown funeral homes that dot the rural landscapes of the deep South. In one curiously intriguing image, Train Ride-Vicksburg, Mississippi, 2014/2016, two coffins sit on either side of a nearly room-size toy train track. For Hursley, the scene—odd, yet ordinary—is an analogy to the human condition, traveling through life to our inexorable ends.

And perhaps most curious for an artist attracted to scenes of obscurity is his series of photographs of the legendary Andy Warhol’s last factory in the early 1980s. The studio spaces were still raw at the time, recalled Hursley: “There was a lot of junk around, so I decided to roam around the space and start documenting what was there.” Eventually, Hursley enticed Warhol to come down to the cavernous space where he snapped an extraordinary photo in which a blue-jeans-and-black-turtleneck clad Warhol stands against the abstract geometry of the white space, illuminated by a distant doorway awash in an industrial shade of green.

Timothy Hursley: Tainted Lens, a solo exhibition of these and other works, is on view at the Garvey|Simon gallery in New York through June 10.