Last week, Atlanta’s notoriously dysfunctional mass transportation authority, MARTA, released a $2.7-billion expansion plan that will extend its services from the city center via light rail, bus rapid transit, and arterial roadways. The announcement marks the largest development strategy made by the organization in decades. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the 40-year plan, “More MARTA,” was approved by the authority's board of directors in a unanimous vote on Thursday. Officials have agreed to dole out money to 17 projects across the city, allocating large sums to the Beltline and the Clifton Corridor, the latter of which will include four miles of light rail service from the Lindbergh Station to a new station at Emory University. In total, 29 miles of light rail will be built throughout the city, as well as 13 miles of new bus lines. Three arterial rapid transit routes serving both the north and south sides of Atlanta will be built out as well, making 20-to-30 minute trips much faster. Station improvements along the MARTA rail line will also be made over the next few years. Initial plans for the major expansion were announced in May, but significant adjustments were made leading up to the final decision after Beltline advocates pushed for more money for public transit along the 22-mile loop. The light rail addition has long been in the works for the famed urban park and trial. Further tweaks were also made to extend train and bus lines more effectively into some of Atlanta's 10 outlying counties. In recent years, several have voted to join MARTA, further incentivizing the transportation organization to provide high-capacity services to the outer regions. Atlanta is the third fastest growing metropolitan area in the United States and it has suffered from poor public transportation. A report put out by the U.S. Census Bureau in March revealed that nearly 90,000 people moved to the city from 2016 to 2017, bringing the total population to approximately 5.8 million people. It’s the largest single-year growth gain since the Great Recession. These scores of people are moving to Atlanta largely for jobs—77,300 were added last year—but not everyone is living in the areas where mass transit is already available for their daily commutes.
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Richard Meier & Partners Architects today announced that Richard Meier "will step back from day-to-day activities" at his firm after a year in which he was accused of exposing himself to young employees and groping people in public. Bernhard Karpf has been promoted to managing principal and will oversee the firm's operations. Michael Palladino will be in charge of the firm's West Coast office in Los Angeles. Richard Meier founded the practice in 1963, and the office has since completed over 130 projects around the world and won numerous awards, including the 1984 Pritzker Prize for Meier. He became the youngest person to receive the award. Meier rose to fame as part of the New York Five, a group of East Coast architects that included Peter Eisenman, Michael Graves, Charles Gwathmey, and John Hejduk. Meier rose to national attention thanks to early residential and cultural projects, like the addition to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia, but it was his design for the Getty Center in Los Angeles that propelled him to the highest echelon of architectural fame. Meier's reputation was clouded earlier this year when several female former employees accused the architect of sexual harassment and assault in The New York Times, after which Meier took a six-month leave of absence and left Vivian Lee, Reynolds Logan, Dukho Yeon, and Bernhard Karpf to oversee the firm's New York office and Michael Palladino to oversee work in Los Angeles. The firm was criticized for their response to the accusations, which alleged that Meier exposed himself to young female employees and publicly touched another inappropriately. The firm announced that after Meier steps back, Vivian Lee, Reynolds Logan, and Dukho Yeon have been promoted to principals. In a statement, Meier's office said that Meier "will remain available to colleagues and clients who seek his vast experience and counsel," and that "the firm will maintain and develop the rigorous design philosophy that Richard pioneered."
Richard Meier & Partners Architects today announced that Richard Meier "will step back from day-to-day activities" at his firm after a year in which he was accused of exposing himself to young employees and groping someone in public. Bernhard Karpf has been promoted to managing principal and will oversee the firm's operations. Michael Palladino will be in charge of the firm's West Coast office in Los Angeles. Richard Meier founded the practice in 1963, and the office has since completed over 130 projects around the world and won numerous awards, including the 1984 Pritzker Prize for Meier. He became the youngest person to receive the award. Meier rose to fame as part of the New York Five, a group of East Coast architects that included Peter Eisenman, Michael Graves, Charles Gwathmey, and John Hejduk. Meier rose to national attention thanks to early residential and cultural projects, like the addition to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia, but it was his design for the Getty Center in Los Angeles that propelled him to the highest echelon of architectural fame. Meier's reputation was clouded earlier this year when several female former employees accused the architect of sexual harassment and assault in The New York Times, after which Meier took a six-month leave of absence and left Vivian Lee, Reynolds Logan, Dukho Yeon, and Bernhard Karpf to oversee the firm's New York office and Michael Palladino to oversee work in Los Angeles. The firm was criticized for their response to the accusations, which alleged that Meier exposed himself to young female employees and publicly touched another inappropriately. The firm announced that after Meier steps back, Vivian Lee, Reynolds Logan, and Dukho Yeon have been promoted to principals. In a statement, Meier's office said that Meier "will remain available to colleagues and clients who seek his vast experience and counsel," and that "the firm will maintain and develop the rigorous design philosophy that Richard pioneered."
Last week over 100,000 people wandered through the porticos of Bologna, Italy, to attend Cersaie, the annual international exhibition of ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings. The show surveyed nearly 900 exhibitors showcasing a world of tiles and bathroom surfaces. Why Italy? And why ceramics? According to Ceramics of Italy, the trade organization that coordinates the exhibition, in 2017 Italy’s 145 ceramic tile manufacturers produced 930 million square feet of tiles, accounting for an overall revenue of €514.9 million. The material has been the main staple for flooring and surfaces because of its beauty, cost-effectiveness, and durability, but also because of its environmentally sustainable qualities. Its intrinsic characteristics are "green"; the material is more sustainable over its entire lifecycle than products like linoleum (which is cheap but has a very short life cycle) or naturally occurring materials like marble (which is expensive but can be expensive to maintain). Here, we review only a handful of what we saw in the collections that debuted in Italy last week, though some of the new colorways and large format sizes below premiered at Coverings and Salone del Mobile earlier this year. We encourage you to also have a look at the Cersaise story on our Instagram account to see more tile and style at the world's premiere show for ceramic tile and furnishings. Wide&Style Dark Edition ABK Featuring a dark-hued background, this collection encapsulates six floral motifs that would fit right in at a Vivienne Westwood boutique or as a backdrop in a Siouxsie and the Banshees music video. The digitally-printed slabs are made-to-order in customized dimensions along with a rendering and instructions for cutting and installing. Majestic collection Valentino by Ceramiche Piemme For forty years, the Italian fashion house Valentino and luxury ceramic tile manufacturer Ceramiche Piemme have collaborated to make glamorous wall and floor tiles. Majestic, the newest brainchild from the collab, is inspired by gorgeous veined marbles like Carrara, Calacatta, and Emperador. While the materials imitate the naturally occurring rock, these ceramic alternatives are much more cost effective and are heat-treated to last for decades. Eterno Versace Ceramics Inspired by shou sugi ban—the traditional Japanese technique to preserve and finish wood using fire—these tiles feature a charred, tactile motif rendered by high-resolution digital printers. The full effect is accentuated by gold inlay tracing the frame of the trim with the original Versace bordering that surrounds the Medusa head in the brand’s logo. The collection dropped in May at Salone del Mobile in Milan, while new larger format tiles were released at Cersaie last week. Operae ORNAMENTA Earlier this year in April at Coverings in Atlanta, ORNAMENTA unveiled Operae, a large format family of seven collections of saturated floor and ceiling tiles—all of which are digitally fabricated and completely customizable. The eclectic collections—Gradient, Squares, Domestic Jungle, Rugs, Deco, and Terrazzo—feature colorful themes ranging from an Art Deco motif with geometric shapes to a pattern with a foreground of palms printed on a millennial pink background. GRANDE in Treverkfeel finish MARAZZI Emulating the look and texture of a natural wood grain, the Treverkfeel collection is spired by the knots and rings found in large planks of American walnut. Bigger sizes and wider thicknesses span the breadth of this large-format collection offered in slabs of 600 by 3200 millimeters with 6 millimeter thickness and 1620 by 3240 millimeters with 12 millimeter thickness. They are offered in four natural shades: ivory, beige, cherry, and brown. Titan CENTURY by Finbec Group Gritty and unfinished, Titan is a collection of seemingly-aged tiles in seven metal and cement finishes. The collection is one of the new brands of oversize ceramic slabs aptly dubbed OVER, which is offered in nine thicknesses and sizes.
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Charlotte is converting an old Model T and missile factory into workspaces
S9 Architecture is helping turn an old Ford Model T and army missile manufacturing facility in Charlotte, North Carolina, into the city’s newest hub for creativity and innovation. Camp North End, a long-empty industrial site just northeast of downtown, will feature 1.8 million square feet of office, retail, and event space set inside its historic, early 19th-century factory. New York-based developer ATCO Properties purchased the site in 2016 and opened it to the public last year. Various vendors have populated the grounds, and it’s been a hotbed of activity ever since, housing countless companies and office space for coffee roasters, media professionals, artists, and startups alike. It’s also been home to several exciting festivals and arts programs put on in the various open spaces. S9’s master plan for the 76-acre campus will transform the site into a sustainable spot for businesses to put down permanent roots. ATCO brought on S9 to collaborate on the adaptive reuse of the complex’s 12 main buildings and connect them through experiential passageways. In between each structure, the team will lay out gathering spaces for people to eat, hang out, or put on events. The build-out will also include space for future residential and hospitality developments. While many of the buildings on the site are already in use, ATCO and S9 are renovating four larger areas in the first phase of construction: the Gama Goat Building, the Mount, a 24,000 square-foot former Ford factory building, and the adjacent boiler building. The latter two were designed by Detroit architect Albert Kahn in the 1920s. The design will substantially retrofit the dilapidated structures and add a contemporary edge to the facility. This isn’t the first large-scale placemaking project the Brooklyn-based firm has done in recent years. S9’s design for Ponce City Market converted an outdated Sears building in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward into a coveted piece of real estate for top tech companies and local food vendors. Also under the firm's industrial reuse belt is Dumbo’s Empire Stores in New York City, as well as Dock 72 in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, home of WeWork’s New York headquarters.
Marcel Breuer’s dark and boxy Central Atlanta Library will literally light up this fall with projected images chronicling the city’s hip-hop and experimental music scene. Curbed Atlanta reported that URBANSCREEN, an artist collective from Germany, will design a light show on the Brutalist building’s hulking facade beginning October 5. The 250,000-square-foot concrete public library is situated at the corner of Forsyth and Williams Streets and is currently undergoing a controversial $50 million renovation by local firm Cooper Carry. URBANSCREEN’s “Superposition” installation will bring temporary color and motion to the exterior as part of the Goethe-Institut’s “Lightart Meets German Architecture” project. In partnership with the organization, the artists will illuminate two other iconic German-American pieces of architecture outside of Atlanta: the Athenaeum in Indianapolis and the German ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C. Not only is the project a celebration of these enduring buildings, but it is also a chance to reflect on the history of German architecture in the U.S. and what that means to the countries’ relationship today, according to URBANSCREEN. For Atlanta, digital art, dance, and music will be integrated within the project “to unite several universal languages that transcend geographical definitions,” says a press release cited by Curbed. In an interview with the Goethe-Institut, the URBANSCREEN team described their inspiration for the projection on the Atlanta library. “We first had an entirely different idea, but then changed our minds completely when we arrived on site,” said Majo Ussat. “Now we are presenting a highly graphical projection in collaboration with local youth groups who will dance hip-hop—a kind of 'Bauhaus meets hip-hop.'" The team will install four projectors around the library, some in a nearby building and on the roof of a gallery, since the surrounding block is too tight to set them up efficiently. Per Curbed Atlanta, the event will also include a street festival replete with food and beer trucks. The revamp of the Central Library, as well as the light show, signals a rededication to the historic architecture scene of Atlanta. Back in 2016, the city was considering demolishing the building, but local and national preservationists came to the rescue. Cooper Cary’s retrofit will transform 50,000 square feet of the library into private, leasable space in an attempt to enhance its program. On August 24, the site was unanimously voted to the National Register of Historic Places as well as the Georgia Register of Historic Places by the Georgia National Register Review Board.
Austin's Blanton Museum surveys the state of African design
Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design, an upcoming exhibition at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas, takes a broad look at the state of design across Africa. Rather than trying to catalog every aesthetic movement across a land mass of over one billion people and dozens of countries, the show instead focuses on designers and artists who are challenging negative narratives about the continent. The show's curators have taken the position that the region is a contemporary hotbed of architecture and design, one that mixes cultures and influences to create optimistic ideas about the future. The show mixes photography, furniture, and a range of other media to explore a rich and expansive cultural mood. The show is divided into four sections. The first, Prologue, attempts to "provide counter-narratives that challenge preconceived notions of the continent," according to a statement from the museum. Through imaginary maps and reworked Renaissance paintings, artists imagine alternative histories for the continent and rework traditional imagery. The next category, I and We, looks at personal style and the fashioning of subcultures. Space and Object tackles the continent's architecture and urbanism, bringing up the work of familiar names like David Adjaye and Diébédo Francis Kéré. Finally, the show collects work that reflect on Africa's colonial past and its lasting impact in Origin and Future. For those interested who cannot make it to Austin, the show's website collects much of the work on view and supplements it with interviews and added information. The show was created by the Vitra Design Musem and the Guggenheim Bilbao and was previously on view in the U.S. at Atlanta's High Museum of Art and the Albuquerque Museum. Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design Blanton Museum of Art Austin, Texas October 14, 2018, to January 6, 2019
A new exhibit at the Yale School of Architecture, Adjacencies uses a multi-media approach to tell the story of various strange and tactile projects from 14 emerging firms around the country, and the show highlights a one-of-a-kind, ground-up residential project that’s set to open in Atlanta later this fall. Haus Gables, designed by Jennifer Bonner of MALL, is a single-family home under construction along the Atlanta Beltline and a playful and surprising reinvestigation of the architectural zeitgeist using an exaggerated roof plan. The house is broken down in detail at Yale through a series of bright models, drawings, and ephemera that unveil her design philosophy for this inspired and irregular building. According to the architect, the project was influenced by Le Corbusier’s free plan and Adolf Loos’s raumplan—both residential design methods that called for unconventional interior spacing. Bonner’s aim was to “rework the spatial paradigms of the past” by organizing her architecture solely around the roof. She designed Haus Gables, a 2,100-square-foot structure, with six gable roofs that form one elongated canopy. The unique shapes of the resulting ceilings produced an interior filled with oddly-sized rooms, catwalks, and double-height spaces that are confined to the steep ridges of the pitched roofs. The idea for Haus Gables formed out of a 2014 course she taught at Georgia Tech School of Architecture, according to an interview with Curbed Atlanta. Bonner worked with students to imagine designs centered around individual architecture components. This exercise led Bonner to create her massive Domestic Hats exhibition for Atlanta's Goat Farm Arts Center, for which she studied Atlanta’s various roof typologies and created 16 models with alternative roof forms that challenged traditional domestic design. While Adjacencies provides a behind-the-scenes look at how Bonner specifically conceived the Haus Gables project, the real-life version is nearly complete on an 18 foot-wide plot of land in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward. Not only is the design itself unusual, but so are the materials specified for the project. Most notably, it features a cross-laminated timber (CLT) structure, the second of its kind in the United States, and prefabricated components that were quickly put together on site over the last year. Haus Gables, once complete, will also include extensive faux finishes on the exterior and interior. From the black terrazzo to the marble and brick, nothing will be real, but everything will be cost-efficient. Bonner even plans to conceal the CLT in an effort to mimic, yet bring a contemporary twist, to the Southern architectural tradition of DIY and “faking it.” An inside look at the production of Haus Gables will be on view in Adjacencies, curated by Nate Hume, at the Yale Architecture Gallery through November 15. Bonner will give a gallery talk alongside the other featured designers this Thursday, September 13, at 6:30 p.m.
This fall, architecture schools across the southern half of the U.S. will host architects, landscape designers, curators, and architectural photographers as part of their semester-long lecture series. These types of events often see hundreds of students scrambling to get a front row seat to hear from the greatest minds in design. But the public is invited too, meaning architecture enthusiasts, veteran designers, and aspiring city planners alike can learn from these influential talks. While several universities have yet to publish their fall schedules, we’ve gathered some highlights from a few top-notch schools in the list below. Mark your calendars before September sneaks up on us this weekend! Rice University School of Architecture Martino Stierli, The Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design, MoMA “Toward a Concrete Utopia: Yugoslav Architecture at the Crossroads of International Exchange in the Cold War” Thursday, September 27 Ellen van Loon, Partner at OMA "Was it Just a Dream? Architecture and Social Inclusion" Monday, October 15 Virginia Tech School of Architecture and Design Marlon Blackwell, founder of Marlon Blackwell Architects Wednesday, September 26 Christian Bailey, founding principal at ODA Thursday, October 25 University of Miami School of Architecture Meejin Yoon, dean of Cornell APP and co-founder of Howeler + Yoon Technoglass Lecture Wednesday, September 19 Livia Tani, architect and project manager at Atelier Jean Nouvel Technoglass Lecture Wednesday, October 3 Georgia Tech School of Architecture Michael Murphy, cofounder and director of MASS Design Group “Architecture That’s Built to Heal” in collaboration with Museum of Design Atlanta Thursday, October 18 Nader Tehrani, Principal at NADAAA “The Tectonic Grain” Wednesday, October 24 NC State University College of Design Neil Denari, principal of Neil M. Denari Architects Monday, September 10 Hagy Belzberg, FAIA, founding principal of Belzberg Architects Monday, September 24 Louisiana State University College of Art + Design Robb Williamson, photographer Wednesday, September 26 Kate Orff, founder & principal of SCAPE Wednesday, October 24
Designing for Dignity
Design for Good exhibit to open at the Museum of Design Atlanta
A new exhibition at the Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA) will press people to consider the ways in which architecture can bring dignity to those who need it most. Design for Good: Architecture for Everyone will open September 23 and will showcase real-world stories about structures designed by firms that put people first. Based on the 2017 book Design for Good, the show will be curated by the author, John Cary, an architect, writer, and curator. Cary envisions a more diverse industry that’s dedicated to designing for the public good. His seminal book led him to speak at a TEDWomen conference last November where he highlighted the narratives of the architects and clients around the world who participated in the featured projects. Similar to his book and TED Talk, Cary’s MODA exhibition will focus on why everyone deserves good design no matter their economic status, race, or geographic location. He’ll display the work of firms like Studio Gang and MASS Design Group as well as the stories of the people whose lives have been affected by their buildings. Design for Good: Architecture for Everyone will run through January 12 with an opening reception on Saturday, September 22 at 5 p.m. Tickets are available here.
Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda
Seven unbuilt stadiums are brought to life in renderings
Ticket retailer Vivid Seats teamed up with NeoMam Studios, a content marketing agency, to produce renderings of proposed baseball stadiums that could have transformed cities across the U.S. had they actually been built. The extremely realistic visualizations, posted last week on Vivid Seat's blog, show what the buildings would look like in 2018 in their urban contexts. Many of the stadiums incorporate space-age futurist features, like the glass bubble of the Brooklyn Dome, or the sliding The Shed-esque canopy of the Pontiac Dome. Ultimately, these expensive flourishes may have been what doomed the projects—many of these structures would be barely feasible with today's technology and budgets, much less with what was available fifty years ago, when some of them were proposed. The detail of the renderings has a way of making all of the designs look reasonable, though, and even the most Jetsons-y designs seem to fit into their modern settings. And given the superlatives other football stadiums have recently reached, these designs don't seem like long shots.
International elevator and industrial company thyssenkrupp has revealed plans for a new headquarters complex in Atlanta that include both tower space for over 900 employees and a testing tower for the company’s experimental elevator systems. Thyssenkrupp Elevator Americas will be building the campus adjacent to The Battery Atlanta, a commercial and entertainment district developed by the Atlanta Braves and anchored by SunTrust Park. Thyssenkrupp reportedly has the go-ahead from the Braves for their “Innovation Complex," and the Braves Development Company is a partner on the project. The complex will include three buildings, including the 420-foot-tall testing and qualification tower as the project’s centerpiece. The test tower is slated to have a variety of uses; besides safety testing normal elevators, the company plans on using the 18-shaft tower to field test its rope-less MULTI system and the TWIN system (where two elevator cabins are stacked in the same shaft). Thyssenkrupp is no stranger to constructing technologically-advanced test towers, as the company completed an 800-foot-tall, spiralized structure in Rottweil, Germany late last year. The complex’s two other buildings will serve as more traditional office spaces and, judging from the renderings, will be clad in a glass curtainwall. The corporate headquarters is slated to be 155,000 square feet and will hold thyssenkrupp’s engineering and training offices, as well as space for company events and offices for executives. The remaining 80,000-square-foot building will house the administrative offices and shared services division. When the testing tower is complete, it will be the tallest of its kind in North America. The elevators the company wants to refine aren’t just science fiction, either; Atlanta’s CODA Building will contain North America’s first TWIN elevator system when the project is completed next year. The Development Authority of Cobb County has approved the sale of $264 million in bonds to help fund the project, and it's expected to bring up to 650 new jobs to Atlanta, so barring any major stumbles, the complex should be complete in early 2022.