All posts in Eavesdrop

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Rise to the Occasion

Chicago Architecture Biennial may feature large installation of unique, towering columns

This post is part of our years-long running Eavesdrop series (think page 6 for the architectural field). It’s your best source for gossip, insider stories, and more. Have an eavesdrop of your own? Send it to: eavesdrop[at]archpaper.com.

Although the Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB) has begun to reveal the themes guiding this year’s exhibition, only a few details have slipped out regarding the physical content of the show. Rumors have it though that many of the large exhibition spaces within the Chicago Cultural Center will be organized by installations in which multiple participants have produced variations on a form or typology. One of these installations is reportedly going to be comprised of a room full of 16-foot-tall models of Tribune Tower submissions, each designed and fabricated by a different office. Many in Chicago are anxious to see which direction artistic directors Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee—both architects not professional curators—are going to take the largest North American architectural exhibition.

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New Digs

Free School of Architecture moving locations

This post is part of our years-long running Eavesdrop series (think page 6 for the architectural field). It’s your best source for gossip, insider stories, and more. Have an eavesdrop of your own? Send it to: eavesdrop[at]archpaper.com.

Los Angeles–based architect and educator Peter Zellner recently announced that his controversial Free School of Architecture (FSA) would be moving locations. The school’s inaugural class has grown from an original number of 12 to 38 when FSA's board of directors are added to the mix, the number jumps to 70. As a result, FSA is moving out of the Architecture + Design Museum in L.A.’s Arts District and into The Container Yard, a collaborative arts space located almost directly across the street. We have to wonder if Zellner is learning from the original rogue schoolmaster, Peter Eisenman, as we are hearing that Zellner is dating Peter’s daughter. Eisenman started the famous Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in 1967, and would be a perfect instigator for the fledgling FSA.

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Say What?

Karim Rashid is DJ Kreemy now

This post is part of our years-long running Eavesdrop series (think page 6 for the architectural field). It’s your best source for gossip, insider stories, and more. Have an eavesdrop of your own? Send it to: eavesdrop[at]archpaper.com.

Karim Rashid, one of the most famous designers in the world, got his start not in a world of colorful plastic blobs, but in the realm of engineering. After learning that the architecture program was full at Carleton University, he opted for a degree in industrial design and went on to create x-ray equipment for KAN Industrial Designers, mailboxes for the Canadian postal service, and power tools for Black & Decker. Rashid moved over to Nike, and some other, sexier places—creating the high-profile reputation he has today. Now the designer is reinventing himself in a new way, as a DJ with the moniker DJ Kreemy. He played a set during NYCxDESIGN this May at Industria Superstudio in collaboration with Martinelli Luce. Rashid plays the tunes you would expect: glimmering house music with colorful, slightly plastic-sounding synth riffs.

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Transatlanticism

IIT dean change reportedly due to Wiel Arets's lack of leadership

This post is part of our years-long running Eavesdrop series (think page 6 for the architectural field). It’s your best source for gossip, insider stories, and more. Have an eavesdrop of your own? Send it to: eavesdrop[at]archpaper.com.

The Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) College of Architecture has appointed Dr. Michelangelo Sabatino as the interim dean for a one-year term. Sabatino will be taking over for Dutch architect Wiel Arets, who was appointed to the dean position in 2012. Reliable sources have indicated to The Architect's Newspaper that the change in leadership came as the faculty was unhappy with Arets’s leadership, or lack thereof, at the college. With a thriving practice in Amsterdam, Arets was often splitting time between Europe and Chicago. Arets will continue at IIT as faculty, starting with the 2017–2018 school year.

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Dime a Demo

Chicago alderman proposes new fees on housing demolition and conversions to slow gentrification

This post is part of our years-long running Eavesdrop series (think page 6 for the architectural field). It’s your best source for gossip, insider stories, and more. Have an eavesdrop of your own? Send it to: eavesdrop[at]archpaper.com.

To address the cheers and fears of those living along Chicago’s linear 606 bike trail, an area alderman is proposing new laws to slow gentrification around the popular public space. As the park, which goes through numerous Northwest side neighborhoods, has grown in popularity, the housing prices in the area have followed suit. To combat the rising housing prices, Alderman Proco Joe Moreno is proposing new fees on housing demolition and on conversions from multi-family to single-family housing. It has become popular to convert Chicago’s ubiquitous two-flat buildings into single-family homes, effectively lowering density, raising property values, and taking more affordable housing options off the market. The proposal also includes incentives for developers to improve existing buildings, instead of razing and rebuilding.

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Free Refills

L.A. will refill Silver Lake's 96-acre reservoir

This post is part of our years-long running Eavesdrop series (think page 6 for the architectural field). It’s your best source for gossip, insider stories, and more. Have an eavesdrop of your own? Send it to: eavesdrop[at]archpaper.com.

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) officials announced in late March that the recently decommissioned Silver Lake Reservoir will be refilled over the next few months. The reservoir was emptied in 2015 after a new underground reservoir was constructed nearby, leaving behind an empty, 45-foot-deep dust bowl. Neighbors have been debating for months over how—and with which type of water—the reservoir would be refilled. After record rains this winter, the DWP officials decided to use the reservoir as a dumping ground for excess water in the Los Angeles aqueduct system and have pledged to refill the reservoir to its “historic levels” moving forward with non-potable water.

Still in question, however, is if an ambitious plan presented last summer by Mia Lehrer+Associates (MLA) and the group Silver Lake Forward aimed at converting the 96-acre reservoir into a dynamic, multi-functional habitat and recreation space will move forward. The plan contains various proposals for utilizing the decommissioned reservoir in a more environmentally suitable manner and would contain, among many components, hatcheries for local and migrating bird populations.

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Rotterdammit

OMA's initial plans for a Miami condo complex were hilariously below par

This post is part of our years-long running Eavesdrop series (think page 6 for the architectural field). It’s your best source for gossip, insider stories, and more. Have an eavesdrop of your own? Send it to: eavesdrop[at]archpaper.com.

In related Related Group news, The Architect's Newspaper is hearing that when OMA submitted its plans for the three-tower Park Grove condo complex in Miami’s Coconut Grove, the initial submission was hilariously below par. Because OMA had not done very much housing, the original RFQ contained some of Rem Koolhaas’s earliest conceptual housing schemes. When the designs for Park Grove were delivered to Related, they had no closets and the kitchens were too small. It took a collaboration with a local, condo-experienced architect to get them up to speed. It worked out, however, Park Grove is now over halfway done: Two Park Grove and the Club Residences recently topped off, and One Park Grove is expected to break ground in 2018.

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Leaked Leak

Luxury condo tower Icon Brickell's pool springs a leak

This post is part of our years-long running Eavesdrop series (think page 6 for the architectural field). It’s your best source for gossip, insider stories, and more. Have an eavesdrop of your own? Send it to: eavesdrop[at]archpaper.com.

According to Miami’s new architecture website Sean of Miami, the pool at the luxury condo tower Icon Brickell has been having problems with its rooftop pool leaking. After a string of repairs the pools were still leaky and in order to fix the issue, construction workers were forced to cut down dozens of mature shade trees.

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That Stupid Wall

Jorge “The Condo King” Pérez: Trump's wall is "the most idiotic thing I’ve ever seen or heard in my life."

This post is part of our years-long running Eavesdrop series (think page 6 for the architectural field). It’s your best source for gossip, insider stories, and more. Have an eavesdrop of your own? Send it to: eavesdrop[at]archpaper.com.

In a now-par-for-the-course Trumpian weaponization of identity politics, the president asked Related Group president Jorge “The Condo King” Pérez—of Argentinian descent—to help build the U.S.-Mexico border wall. The real estate tycoon, who is friends with Trump and has built a couple of buildings with him, said that he declined nicely and made a joke about which side he might end up on, according to Bloomberg. Pérez said later that “The wall is the most idiotic thing I’ve ever seen or heard in my life.”

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Sinking of You

An interstate conspiracy against Florida real estate?

This post is part of our years-long running Eavesdrop series (think page 6 for the architectural field). It’s your best source for gossip, insider stories, and more. Have an eavesdrop of your own? Send it to: eavesdrop[at]archpaper.com.

A developer in Miami said that there is an interstate conspiracy against South Florida architecture. “We would sell way more real estate here if the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) would stop telling everyone that Florida was sinking!” Sources have not confirmed whether either claim is true: the conspiracy or the sinking.

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Bilbao (Prison) Effect?

Frank Gehry to teach “The Future of Prison” course at SCI-Arc

This post is part of our years-long running Eavesdrop series (think page 6 for the architectural field). It’s your best source for gossip, insider stories, and more. Have an eavesdrop of your own? Send it to: eavesdrop[at]archpaper.com.

The Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) announced last winter that architect Frank Gehry would be teaching one of the school’s elective vertical studios for the spring 2017 semester. According to an image promoting the studio on the university’s Instagram, the studio is titled “The Future of Prison” and “calls on emerging architects to break free of current conventions and re-imagine what we now refer to as ‘prison’ for a new era.”

Could Gehry and his students re-imagine the carceral system the way his firm did with tourist-driven arts destinations? Perhaps the class could propose new designs for the Metropolitan Detention Center in Downtown Los Angeles, the 757-bed jail located just one mile from the SCI-Arc campus. The jail is due to be replaced sometime between 2027 and 2030 under the auspices of the city’s new Civic Center Master Plan. If rebuilt elsewhere, planners would be wise to look to Gehry’s SCI-Arc studio for ideas and inspiration.

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Dollar Days

In new Milwaukee initiative, only developers able to buy city-owned foreclosed properties

This post is part of our years-long running Eavesdrop series (think page 6 for the architectural field). It’s your best source for gossip, insider stories, and more. Have an eavesdrop of your own? Send it to: eavesdrop[at]archpaper.com.

Milwaukee residents were sorely disappointed at a packed City Hall meeting when they were told they could not partake in a program to buy city-owned foreclosed properties for $1. The Milwaukee Employment/Renovation Initiative (MERI) was set up to entice developers to buy and renovate vacant properties in the Sherman Park neighborhood, emphasis on developers. The initiative is only open to developers, which submitted to an RFQ in early January. Critics of the initiative say that they don’t believe developers buying large portions of the neighborhood will address pressing community issues.