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It's Real And Rockin'

Guitar-shaped Hard Rock hotel opens in Hollywood, Florida
The world’s first guitar-shaped hotel has officially opened for business. Standing 450 feet tall is the new face of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida—a surprisingly striking piece of architecture considering (or because?) it resembles a giant instrument. The curvaceous building is part of a $1.5 billion expansion on the existing entertainment complex that wrapped up construction this summer. Designed by Hard Rock International’s go-to architect, Steve Peck of the Las Vegas-based firm Klai Juba Wald Architecture, the unprecedented structure took nearly 10 years to design and build. The 36-story hotel is the type of architectural landmark fit for the Hard Rock brand; it even features a rockin’ light show across its reflective glass facade.  Created in conjunction with DeSimone Consulting Engineers, who led the engineering on the project, the tower blends into the dark sky at night. The design team worked with Boston lighting designer DCL and Montreal digital agency Float4 to integrate 16,800 V-sticks (strips of LED video fixtures) on the rim of the guitar and the six vertical strings that run down its middle. Each evening, the hotel becomes a temporary light installation with interactive choreography set to music from Float4 and LED experts SACO Technologies.  According to the Miami Herald, whether it’s day or night, the Hard Rock guitar is the largest physical attraction in the South Florida landscape for miles. This means guests within its 638 rooms have unobstructed views in all directions, including the Hollywood beachfront and downtown Miami, thanks to its floor-to-ceiling glass walls. The interiors of the hotel were designed by Wilson Associates and Rockwell Group In addition to the guitar-shaped structure, the original Seminole Hard Rock Hotel building was fully renovated and a 7,000-seat performance venue was built on site. The existing pool resort area was expanded to 13.5 acres with a surrounding landscape by EDSA The opening of the project comes just days after another Hard Rock Hotel under construction in New Orleans’s French Quarter partially-collapsed and killed three people and injured 30 others. Before recovering all the bodies on-site, engineers used explosives to demolish part of the structure in an effort to remove two dangerous, dangling cranes.
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Futbol Fantasy

Plans for David Beckham's Freedom Park come to life in new renderings
New visuals have surfaced for David Beckham’s $966 million soccer campus in Miami ahead of a crucial vote next week to decide the fate of the site it would be built on. The last update on the design of Miami Freedom Park was unveiled last September by local firm Arquitectonica. While the most recent vision for the 131-acre site largely mirrors that master plan, the look of the 26,000-seat stadium, and its surrounding landscape, has been altered slightly. Details now show a new undulating cover for the crown jewel soccer stadium, complete with an exposed area featuring a rooftop bar and palm trees. The proposed 1-million-square feet of commercial and office space, as well as the numerous sports fields, hotel, and 58-acre public park, are still included in the plans, but a new video released by Inter Miami FC, Beckam’s budding MLS team, brings the entire site to life.  The crux of the problem facing Beckham’s project is figuring out whether it's ready for lease approval. The goal is to establish a 99-year contract on the site, atop the 59-year-old Melreese public golf course, with Beckham's venture-partner Jorgé Mas as the only leaseholder. Last year, 60 percent of Miami locals voted to get rid of competitive bidding for the property, effectively allowing the potential single-entity leaseholder to exist. The Miami Herald noted that without completed land appraisals, as well as a proper environmental remediation plan, it’d be difficult to determine a fair market rate rent next week. Some have said the upgraded visuals are a last-ditch attempt by Beckham and his venture partners to persuade the city that the stadium complex will be beneficial to the community. On Tuesday, the Miami City Commission will discuss the unfinished lease and whether to end negotiations for the project. One commissioner even wants to open a competitive bid instead to build a luxury golf resort on Freedom Park’s proposed location.  Despite this, Inter Miami FC is still expected to begin its first season in 2020 and will play home matches at a temporary site atop the former Miami Fusion stadium in Fort Lauderdale. Freedom Park is slated to be completed in 2022.
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Infrastructure Bites Back

Internet-infamous, truck-decapitating bridge will finally be raised
It’s the end of an era. The 11-foot, 8-inch railroad trestle that went viral for sheering the roofs off of campers, freight trucks, and other too-tall vehicles in Durham, North Carolina, is finally being raised. Nicknamed the “Can Opener” for obvious reasons, the Norfolk Southern–Gregson Street Overpass gained notoriety after Durham resident Jürgen Henn set up a webcam in 2008 (and a second in 2009) to capture the carnage. Although there are plenty of signs nearby warning of the bridge’s low height, drivers either ignored or didn’t see them, and the resultant crashes were preserved forever on 11foot8.com. A subreddit, documentary, and plenty of memes soon followed, as viewers often binge watched the oddly soothing footage and shared tales of similar bridges in their own cities. But on October 18, that all changed. The Durham Transportation Department announced via Twitter that they would be raising the overpass by eight inches and closing the street below from October 23 through November 5. The upgrade is one of the North Carolina Railroad Company’s (NCRR) Major Capital Investments projects, which is intended to improve railway conditions around the state. In the case of the Can Opener, the NCRR is undertaking a “Rehabilitation of NCRR bridge over Gregson Street in Durham to increase the roadway clearance from 11 feet, 8 inches to 12 feet, 4 inches for the purpose of improving safety and reducing damage to NCRR infrastructure from vehicle strikes,” according to their list of capital improvements. What took the NCRR so long? According to 11foot8, the railroad company had installed a crash bar to mitigate damage to the bridge, and lowering the road would be prohibitively expensive due to the sewer main that runs right below the span—thus placing the upgrade on the backburner, as the crashes weren’t impacting NCRR service. As Mel Magazine laments, the raising of the overpass marks a blow to collective internet meme-making and schadenfreude-based binge-watching. When one hits play on an 11foot8 video, they know exactly what they’re getting into, no matter how fast or slow the approaching truck tries to sneak under. Still, just because the bridge is getting raised doesn’t mean the “fun” is over; as numerous online commenters have pointed out, the maximum allowable height of a truck in North Carolina is 13 feet, 6 inches. 11foot8 might live on after all.
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Pitted Against the Law

Judge rules Brad Pitt could be sued over poorly-built New Orleans homes
A federal judge has ruled that actor Brad Pitt will remain a defendant in a case against his housing nonprofit, the Make It Right Foundation. Last November, the Ad Astra-star and other directors of the organization, which was founded in 2007 to build affordable homes after Hurricane Katrina, asked the court to remove their names from a class-action lawsuit filed by two homeowners who claim shoddy construction. One hundred and nine pieces of experimental and sustainable architecture from Make It Right popped up in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward through 2015, an area devastated by the 2005 hurricane and its subsequent flooding. Renowned design firms came to Make It Right to offer their services including Adjaye Associates, Gehry Partners, and KieranTimberlake, establishing a new eco-friendly, supposedly disaster-proof neighborhood. But things quickly went awry as reports of homeowner complaints surfaced regarding the structural integrity of the architecture and more (aka mold). By September of last year, Make It Right had sued its own principal architect on allegations of defective design work.  Over the last year, Pitt’s lawyers have attempted to get the actor’s name taken off the latter lawsuit by citing he had no personal responsibility for the construction—last year, the actor claimed that because he wasn't an architect or builder, he wasn't culpable for the quality of the housing. However, as the founder and main fundraiser of the housing project, Pitt was not able to separate himself from the legal battle and could face court in the coming months. 
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Divine Intervention

World's largest treehouse burns down in minutes
It took just 15 minutes for a fire to reduce a ten-story treehouse, the world's largest, to ashes. Following an apparent vision from god, minister Horace Burgess began to build the 97-foot-tall complex in Crossville, Tennessee, in 1993. The Minister’s Treehouse, as it was known, quickly became a tourist destination and was regularly used for church services and, according to a 2009 article in The Independent, as a basketball court. However, in 2012 the structure was closed to the public when local authorities decided it didn’t meet fire standards; perhaps luckily, as no one was injured in Tuesday’s fire. (According to Atlas Obscura, Burgess claimed that there were no building codes for treehouses. The Tennessee Fire Marshall disagreed.) Burgess reported to Atlas Obscura in 2013 that god had told him, "If you build a treehouse, I'll see that you never run out of material,” and soon people began bringing him scrap lumber to build the elaborate structure atop an 80-foot-tall oak tree, with six other trees offering additional support. Each floor was wrapped with a deck, and before officials closed the treehouse, it was open to anyone. It was, after all, god’s house. The cause of the fire is unclear, and according to a fire department spokesperson may remain so. “Unless somebody comes up and tells us they seen somebody doing it, you’d probably never know what started it,” Bobby Derossett of the Cumberland County Fire Department told local WKRN news. The Minister’s Treehouse is hardly the first divinely-inspired building to go up in flames; last year a fire damaged Wadsworth, Illinois's, 17,000-square-foot golden pyramid. The owners hope to rebuild an even bigger “luxury home [and] monument to the past” in its place. It was not immediately clear what the fate of the Minister’s Treehouse might be, as the pyramid left behind more salvageable remains.
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Building Love

onePULSE Foundation reveals heavy-hitting shortlisted designs for new museum
The onePULSE Foundation and Dovetail Design Strategists have revealed concept designs from the six shortlisted teams chosen to create the upcoming National Pulse Memorial and Museum in Orlando, Florida. Each architect-led team proposed a series of interventions (below) that connect the former PULSE nightclub site with the larger SoDo district and the Orlando Survivor’s Walk.  In honor of the 49 "angels" who died on June 12, 2016, the designers were challenged to embody the foundation’s mantra within the architecture: "We will not let hate win." The public is allowed to comment on the designs here through Friday, October 10. Fly-throughs of the individual projects can be found here as well. Coldefy & Associés with RDAI French firm Coldefy & Associés has envisioned a striking three-pronged design for the onePULSE Foundation that includes a spiraling, open-air museum structure that towers over a renewed West Kaley Street. The memorial site below that is presented as both a lush garden planted with 59 trees and a piece of preserved architecture. Coldefy chose to integrate the existing nightclub into the new design, transforming it with cutouts that allow visitors to walk through the building on an intimate path. A reflecting pool encircling the club would feature a palette of 49 colors in its basin.  The design team has prioritized accessibility, walkability, and biking in its vision for memorial and museum, as well as SoDo. As the neighborhood grows, Coldefy aims to integrate more promenades, bike paths, and room for a shuttle to connect Pulse visitors to the train station. Further collaborators: Xavier Veilhan, dUCKS scéno, Agence TER, and Professor Laila Farah  Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Rene Gonzalez Architect with Raymond Jungles, Inc. DS+R’s scheme for the site centers around a contemplative sound garden with 268 reflective columns honoring the survivors. The original club structure will remain and be covered in a beaded shroud while a platform atop it would hold the sanctuary, a space featuring mementos and displaying the names and stories of the angels. Forty-nine rainbow-colored ceramic tail columns puncture the sanctuary and extend above a suspended canopy for passersby to see. Glass openings in the floor would provide views of the club’s dance floor below. At night, the lights dance.  heneghan peng architects, Gustafson Porter + Bowman The quiet and stately concept design from the Dublin and Berlin-based heneghan peng features an angular museum that, according to the architects, resonates with the energy of the nightclub. Along West Kaley Street, its facade curves and tilts upward, 'hugging' visitors as they walk in. The memorial also symbolizes a kind of embrace; the original nightclub building is surrounded by seven sections that come together as a shared space. The names of the 49 lost would be embedded into a series of colorful, vertical bands on one elongated wall. Though silence is a major component of this design, so is sound. Within the museum would be recording studios, conversation spaces, and community areas. Heneghan peng proposed the PULSE Music Label, which would spread music that shows the strength of the LGBTQ+ community.  Further collaborators: Wannemacher Jensen Architects, Bartenbach LichtLabor, Sven Anderson, and Pentagram MASS Design Group, Ralph Appelbaum Associates, and Sasaki MASS Design Group's monumental proposal frames the original structure of the nightclub in a sculptural embrace. With waterfalls cascading down the facade, visitors would be able to view the memorial from a contemplative seating area at the gathering space of the survivors. The memorial is accompanied by the Museum for Equality, aiming to position the tragic events at Pulse "in a global context of the fight for equality." Triangular motifs are a key feature of this museum's design, and colored glass window panels would give the building a sacred feeling, topped off with a "kaleidoscope atrium" that uses natural light to create a warm, reflective space. Further collaborators: Sanford Biggers, Richard Blanco, Little Diversified Architectural Consulting, and Porsha Olayiwola MVRDV and Grant Associates Inspired by the "midnight quality" of the nightclub's black exterior, MVRDV's monument design is a raised structure that seems to levitate over a landscape of small mounds and surrounded by 49 trees chosen by the families of the angels. The facade will remain black, with gold accents to highlight fractures along the surface. The memorial is a truly interactive site, as visitors would be able to pass under the floating structure and atmospheric lighting would allow visitors to connect with the space in deeper ways. Meanwhile, the design of the Pulse Museum is organized into four sections, which twist to form the word "love," visible from the street level because of its sloped construction. The extensive green roof of the building would be fully accessible and is intended as a communal space. Further collaborators: GSM Project, and Studio Drift Studio Libeskind with Claude Cormier + Associés Studio Libeskind has dubbed its design 'Perpetual Light' and it would feature a heart-shaped memorial surrounded by 366 colorful frames—one for each day of the year 2016. The memorial extends out and would connect to a Survivors Walk, a testament to the bravery and heroism that occurred at the site. The proposed museum is a towering structure that "connects the terrestrial to the celestial," shooting upward and ending in a display of 49 beams of rainbow light activated by human touch. An observation deck would give the opportunity for visitors to view the entire district from above and think about the legacy of Pulse in Orlando and beyond. Further collaborators: Thinc and Jenny Holzer
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Design + Practice Exchange

New York and New Orleans women will tackle design leadership in a new conference
For architects, the feeling of solidarity and the sharing of ideas are important aspects of professional practice, especially when it involves highly-skilled women who are constantly aiming to collaborate and want to raise up the next generation of design leaders. The Design + Practice Exchange is a new conference model that's bringing together the members of Women in Architecture committees from various chapters within the American Institute of Architects. The first official event, happening this Friday, September 27, in New Orleans, will give both local and New York architects a chance to share best practices for building community within their respective cities, practices, and the field at large.  Hosted at the Ashé Cultural Arts Center and the Center for Architecture and Design New Orleans, the two-day symposium will feature presentations by Vivian Lee, principal of Richard Meier & Partners Architects, Fallon Samuels Aidoo of the University of New Orleans’ Department of Planning and Urban Studies, as well as Emilie Taylor Welty, partner of the New Orleans-based studio Colectivo, and Sara Lopergolo, partner at Selldorf Architects. Each will discuss current projects that are transforming neighborhoods in New Orleans and New York. For Lopergolo, the presentations are a time to champion women leaders in design. “There are many women in offices—not enough, of course—but too few women in design leadership roles,” she said. “This forum is to discuss the challenges and solutions to getting women into these leadership roles.” Wells Megalli, a designer at Deborah Berke Partners, and Tracie Ashe, partner of studioWTA, will explore how they approach housing projects and how, as design leaders, they utilize every part of the architectural process to build community. This also translates to the process of building solidarity in the industry. “Our field is very coast-to-coast-centric,” said Lopergolo, “and with this Design + Practice Exchange, we’re trying to expand our communication to other cities small and large.”
 
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Joel Pominville and Aran Donovan of AIA New Orleans are helping prepare for the event this week. As a smaller organization compared to the AIA NY, they are thrilled to start the conversation surrounding the Design + Practice Exchange in their home city. “It’s critical that architects from cities of different scales, social, and political makeups come together around key issues in the field,” said Pominville, executive director of the AIA New Orleans and the New Orleans Foundation. “These types of discussions aren’t happening in New Orleans as much as they are in New York.”  During the conference, there will be a series of roundtable discussions spearheaded by leaders from Studio West, FXCollaborative, Perez, Robert A.M. Stern Architects, Trapolin Peer Architects, and Fogarty Finger Architecture. These conversations will be less project-focused and more centered on workplace culture and leadership. “It’s good for women to know how other women are being perceived in other cities,” said Cassidy Rosen, a designer at Eskew+Dumez+Ripple who will be moderating the event. “We want to know that we’re on the same page as women in New York and know how to be engaged not just in professional development, but in community, social and networking aspects as well.” In addition, a session on advocacy and activism, two growing topics that architects today are more and more challenged by, will be lead by Colloqate’s Sue Mobley and Arielle Weiss of Urbhan. Whether it’s learning ways to uplift other women, bolster entrepreneurship, or combat gender discrimination and equal pay issues in the practice, the ideas exchange will give women from all backgrounds the support they need to do even better work.  “We want greater collaboration,” said Rosen, “which is something that’s lacking between states.” The Design + Practice Exchange will take place Friday, September 27 at the Ashé Cultural Arts Center, with an evening reception at the Center for Architecture and Design New Orleans. There will be a tour of women-led projects and organizations along Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. on Saturday morning, September 28. The morning presentations and morning tour are free and open to the public, while the roundtable discussions and reception are limited with a registration fee. AN is an official media sponsor.
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Not Bargain Bin

Gensler will lead the project team for Walmart's new headquarters
Gensler has been announced as the lead firm on the project team for the new Walmart headquarters in Arkansas. The 350-acre home office campus, centered around community, innovation, and sustainability, will be located between Central Avenue and Highway 102 in Bentonville, Arkansas Dan Bartlett, the executive vice president of corporate affairs at Walmart, announced the project team for the campus as design leaders across both the Arkansas community and the world. His team choice was intended to highlight the collaboration between global and local designers. The rest of the project team includes: Miller Boskus Lack Architects of Fayetteville, Arkansas, CEI Engineering Associates, Inc. of Bentonville, Walter P Moore of Houston, Sasaki of Watertown, Massachusetts, and the Los Angeles branch of landscape architecture firm SWA Group. The team will focus their abilities towards amenity buildings, low-cost engineering and material sourcing, a downtown extension, and wildlife preservation.  Douglas C. Gensler, Gensler's managing director and principal, issued the following comment for Walmart's website: “We are honored and humbled to be the creative partner helping shape Walmart’s future campus. The design is innovative, resilient, thoughtful and purpose-driven that places people at the heart of the company's next chapter. The new Walmart campus will embody the DNA attributes for a connected and successful work-place with the latest advances in technology and sustainability, while reflecting the Walmart culture and seamlessly integrating into the fabric of the community.” The new headquarters will span 20 buildings, with the "Razorback Regional Greenway" running through the center of the campus, harmonizing biking and walking trails that encourage internal mobility. The offices are expected to hold 14,000- to- 17,000 employees, and will join expanded cafeteria spaces, fitness spaces, a childcare facility, and accessible parking. The renderings, released in May, display office buildings boasting large windows with an abundance of natural light and open green spaces seeded with native vegetation that bolster the sustainable design.  Gensler has noted that the buildings will feature energy-efficient lighting and HVAC systems under the goal of creating a zero-waste environment that operates completely on renewable energy.  The new Walmart Arkansas headquarters will be another corporate campus that Gensler can add to their extensive resume; it joins Facebook’s one-million-square-foot headquarters in Menlo Park, California, the Washington Post Offices in Washington D.C., and the renovation of the Adobe campus in San Jose, California.
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Made in Miami

Foster + Partners tops Apple Aventura with wavy white precast roof
Foster + Partners has broken out of its traditional glass-box bubble and designed a different kind of Apple Store—one that’s arguably distinct because it wasn’t built in a major city center, or within another development (and doesn't resemble a Macbook). Apple Aventura in Aventura, north of Miami is a piece of actual mall architecture that ripples above and beyond its predecessors in terms of design.  Located in a new wing of the posh Aventura Mall, the two-story building isn’t a huge departure from the firm’s other work for Apple. It is, in fact, boxy and of course includes trees inside. But the undulating white concrete roof evokes a certain feeling of fluidity in the bayside shopping center that doesn’t exist elsewhere.  “We love the honesty and purity of the concrete,” said Stefan Behling, head of studio at Foster + Partners in a press release.  Behling and the design team worked closely with Jonathan Ive, the former chief design officer of Apple. They said the building’s exterior design mimics Miami’s white art deco-style architecture, as well as its nautical design scene. “This store is very ‘Miami’ to me,” said Ive. “Its special trees, the light, and the new roof. It is also quintessentially Apple, marrying the outdoor lifestyle with a sense of freedom and creativity that is intrinsic to the way we work.”  According to Foster + Partners, the wavy roof design was made from seven precast concrete arches that together form a barrel-vaulted ceiling. The entire structure is held up by steel columns each covered with another thin architectural precast column that's also painted white. Per other Apple stores, this one boasts floor-to-ceiling glass windows, revealing all the activity within the stop.  The result is a light-filled Apple store that actually breaks a big design boundary for the tech giant: Of all its retail spaces, the building is the only one to use precast concrete as a predominant structural material. The idea was first introduced within Apple’s Cupertino headquarters, also known as Apple Park, in 2017. Inside Apple Ventura, the ground-floor is decked out with rows of elongated wooden tables that serve as Apple’s signature product displays. A large terraced seating area anchors one end of the store, allowing guests to relax while waiting for their Genius Bar appointments or to secure space for an in-store event. The flight of interior steps is outfitted with leather seating and charging stations.  Outside the store, a densely planted garden features teak tables and chairs that seamlessly reference the interior architecture. Customers can also hang out in the shade of the outdoor “Genius Grove” while they wait for assistance.  The Apple Aventura store is situated just steps away from the spiraling Aventura Slide Tower by Carsten Höller, a 93-foot-tall piece of public art that's among the most famed parts of the 2.8-million-square-foot shopping campus. The entire site is the second-largest mall in America.
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Sculpture Garden Irrigation

The New Orleans Museum of Art flaunts its waterside sculpture garden
Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden at the New Orleans Museum of Art 1 Collins Diboll Circle City Park New Orleans Louisiana 504-658-4100 Architect: Lee Ledbetter & Associates Landscape Architect: Reed Hilderbrand The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, which adjoins the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), reopened this summer after a major expansion. The renovated garden includes a variety of amenities for education and entertainment, including an amphitheater, a gallery, and an outdoor learning environment. Pathways and pedestrian bridges snake past groves, open fields, and lagoons to enable visitors of all physical abilities to fully explore the garden’s art. NOMA maintains a particularly impressive collection of contemporary sculpture in the outdoor space, including pieces by Yinka Shonibare, Beverly Pepper, and Frank Gehry. Working with Reed Hilderbrand and Lee Ledbetter & Associates, the museum has prioritized environmental sustainability throughout its expansion. An elaborate lagoon system, as well as ecologically conscious soil-management practices and hundreds of new trees, ensures that the garden’s ecosystem continues to thrive. As has always been the case, the Besthoff Sculpture Garden is free and open to the public seven days a week.
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Studio Saves

Tulane launches new research studios on climate change and water management
Tulane’s School of Architecture announced a series of multi-year Research Studios earlier this month that will debut in the fall, each designed to address environmental issues and climate change. Combining both rigorous research engagement as well as traditional designed studio methods, the goal is to produce scholarship and real-world solutions to some of the most pressing problems affecting the architectural profession today. That includes examining a single topic over three-to-five years, including water management, conservation, sustainable real estate development, and more, The school’s setting in New Orleans, a sprawling metropolis located below sea level, has put students and faculty on the front lines of pressures from receding coastlines and escalating natural disasters. Architect Iñaki Alday was appointed Dean in August 2018 with the goal of aligning pedagogy towards practical challenges facing architecture and urbanism, and the Research Studios reflect his personal commitment to architecture that works—he is a cofounder of the Yamuna River Project, a pan-university initiative to tackle the urgent rehabilitation of the Yamuna in India. The studios, scheduled to launch for the Fall 2019 semester, will be led by Alday and global experts like Richard Campanella, Byron Mouton, and Kentaro Tsubaki, among others. Studios are expected to be interdisciplinary, spilling into other areas of scholarship at Tulane like the social sciences, law, and real estate. The Research Studios are a first of their kind and may inspire similar initiatives or climate focuses at schools around the world. With titles like Big Questions, Small Projects and The Future of Ports, the studios set out to address all scales, challenging students to design with a new type of urgency for the future.  The new Research Studios will cover the following, according to Tulane: · The Yamuna River Project and the Rajasthan Cities. By lead instructor Iñaki Alday, Dean and Richard Koch Chair in Architecture. · URBANbuild: re-evaluation, affordability, national translation. By lead instructor Byron Mouton, AIA, Director of URBANbuild, Lacey Senior Professor of Practice in Architecture. · The Future of Ports: From the Backyard to the Forefront of Ecology, Economy, and Urbanity. By lead instructor Margarita Jover, Associate Professor in Architecture. · Resilience Reinforced: Architectural precast concrete systems addressing the regional water infrastructure challenges. By lead instructor Kentaro Tsubaki, AIA, Associate Dean for Academics, Favrot Associate Professor of Architecture. · Contemporary Architecture in Historic Contexts: The Case of Magazine Street in New Orleans. By lead instructor Ammar Eloueini, AIA, NCARB, Favrot V Professor of Architecture. · Toward a Civic Landscape. By lead instructor Scott Bernhard, AIA, NCARB, Favrot III Associate Professor of Architecture. · Fast/Strong/Sustainable: Exploring the Expanded Mass Timber Industry for Design in Hurricane-Prone Regions. By lead instructor Judith Kinnard, FAIA, Harvey-Wadsworth Chair of Landscape Urbanism, Professor of Architecture. · Addis Ababa River Project. By lead instructor Rubén García Rubio, Assistant Professor in Architecture and Urbanism. · Big Questions, Small Projects: design build's potentials to advance community-driven ideas. Led by instructor Emilie Taylor Welty, Favrot II Professor of Practice.
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Stranger Sites

For season three of Stranger Things, they built an entire mall
The angular mid-80s architecture of a derelict shopping center in Duluth, Georgia, has garnered fame in recent weeks after the release of the third season of Netflix’s hit series Stranger Things. Avid fans of the show may recognize that Gwinnett Place Mall—an actual mall located in a suburb of Atlanta, was transformed as the setting for major moments that take place in Hawkins, Indiana’s newest attraction: The Starcourt Mall.  Production designer Chris Trujillo spoke with The L.A. Times about the search and intense-build out for Starcourt Mall, as well as why the writing team chose to center the plot on the all-too-familiar, small-town-gets-big-mall storyline. In the interview, he said it made sense to showcase how Hawkins was changing with the introduction of the mega-shopping center, right alongside how the main characters were themselves changing. No longer little kids who saved the world, everyone was growing up facing their own relationship and materialist concerns. Much of teenage life in Midwestern America at that time was spent at the mall.  After investigating a dozen structures built from 1984-85, the production team settled on Gwinnett Place Mall, a 1.3 million-square-foot space that, during its first 16 years of operation, attracted people from all over Georgia as well as neighboring South Carolina. By 2001, with the opening of both the Mall of Georgia and Sugarloaf Mills, the space began its slow descent into obscurity. Now, thanks to the production team’s massive retrofit—gutting and rebuilding nearly 40 stores and restaurants—as well as a slew of tweets from curious fans that tried to sneak a peak of the set last year, the mall has experienced a meteoric rise in popularity.  According to Trujillo, most of the filming inside the 34-year-old mall took place around its food court, a gem of 1984-era interior architecture with a soaring atrium and vaulted geometric ceilings. It was the showpiece of the mall, he told the L.A. Times. But more than that, the large, two-story interior gave way to the “dynamic camerawork” that the Duffer brothers are famous for.  In an effort to make the Gwinnett Place Mall truly feel like a time warp set specifically for the horror sci-fi series, the production team not only recreated the facades of iconic retail spaces with all period-appropriate signage and window displays, but in some cases, the entire stores themselves were redone. From Orange Julius to the Gap, Radio Shack, and JC Penny, the brief moments these places popped up on screen helped paint an authentic picture of 1980s consumerism. One of the most-filmed spots within Starcourt Mall was Scoops Ahoy, the made-up ice cream shop where Steven Harrington works. Trujillo called that project, which was built entirely from scratch, “our special little baby.” Spoilers ahead: In that ice cream shop is where Steve, Dustin, and newcomer Robin decode secrete Russian messages that lead them to discover there’s a world-ending operation taking place beneath their feet—the portal to the Upside Down is being reopened. That importance to the overarching plot helps explain why so much attention was paid to the layout of the mall. Apart from a scrapbook found on location with old images of the Gwinnett Place Mall from its heyday, the inspiration for the build-out came from the memories of staffers on the production and decoration teams. Most people on the team's leadership grew up in the 80s and 90s and made decisions for Starcourt based on what they remember it felt like to be in those spaces as a kid.  “There is a homogeneity to the architecture of malls,” Trujillo told the L.A. Times. “They’re all calibrated to be similar spaces. We had to be somewhat specific about the regionality, but I definitely brought a lot of my childhood and teenage memories of hanging out and working in malls.” Though the set is closed to the public and is already being dismantled, according to one reporter who chronicled his visit for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC), that hasn’t stopped fans from trying to take photos of the interior through fences. As a focal point of “Stranger Things 3,” Gwinnett Place Mall will forever live on in memories of fans forever, despite its soon-to-be demolition. The AJC reported in February that a sports stadium developer plans to build a mixed-use complex with a 20,000-seat cricket arena on the site.