Search results for "Richard Meier"

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Staying Alive

The good, the bad, and the ugly: AN's best preservation stories
In the trenches, preservation can feel cyclical—historic buildings are defended and saved, others destroyed, and public appreciation grows for once-loathed styles (looking at you, brutalism). This year's brilliant adaptive reuse projects are worthy of their own list, but we chose to highlight the epic sagas—new landmarks, victories against out-of-scale development, priceless buildings pulverized, and the controversies and cliffhangers that will shape preservation debates through next year and beyond. (See the rest of our Year in Review 2016 articles here.) Marcel Breuer takes the East Coast by storm Brutalism has a healthy second life online, but in real life concrete buildings often seem a hair away from the wrecking ball. This year, though, fate was pretty kind to one of the masters of the genre. Although Marcel Breuer has been dead for more than three decades, the opening of the Met Breuer, and two other controversies surrounding his buildings, spurred a revival of interest in his imposing yet playful work. In Reston, Virginia, a Breuer building was threatened with demolition, then saved, then demolished—a heartbreaking tale. Further south, an Atlanta library designed by the architect was saved after a public outcry. While the Reston building is gone for good, see what Graves, Koolhaas, and Piano would've done to the former Whitney—it is possible to adapt brutalist buildings without compromising their essential character. Miami Marine The City of Miami declared in November it will borrow up to $45 million to preserve this stadium, an open-air venue for boat races on Biscayne Bay designed by architect Hilario Candela and completed in 1963. The cantilevered concrete structure was severely damaged by Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and left to decay. Restoration of the original structure, as well as the construction of a new 35,000-square-foot maritime center adjacent to the stadium, will begin when funding is secured. Lautner’s Sheats Goldstein Residence has been gifted to LACMA James Goldstein has donated his landmark house, located on Angelo View Drive, Los Angeles, and designed by prolific West Coast architect John Lautner to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). In addition, the dwelling'ss contents and surrounding estate have also been included in the donation. Johnson Fain takes on Philip Johnson’s Crystal Cathedral Johnson Fain is renovating Philip Johnson and John Burgee’s iconic Crystal Cathedral in Anaheim, California. Work on the building, which was completed in 1980 as part of a larger religious campus that contains notable structures by Richard Meier and Partners as well as Richard Neutra, began this year. Preservation across five boroughs While new city laws will make the preservation of controversial or hard-to-love buildings that much harder, this year the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) cleared its roster of almost 100 items that have been on its calendar for years, sometimes decades. As a result, the city has 27 new landmarks—including the Pepsi-Cola sign—to love. Modern architecture hearts were broken, though, when the LPC declined to landmark Alvar Aalto's conference rooms and lecture hall at 809 UN Plaza. Through rezoning, the city is trying to spur the development of more Class A office space in Midtown East, a push that encourages taller buildings but threatens many older ones. In that neighborhood, the commission decided that the Pershing Square Building and the Graybar Building, as well as the Shelton Hotel Building, the Yale Club of New York City, and seven smaller structures, all between East 39th to East 57th streets, from Fifth to Second avenues, were worthy of landmark status. Doing the Wright Thing This year the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation revealed its master plan to preserve Taliesin West, the architect's home and school in the Arizona desert. Harboe Architects drafted the 740-page plan, which outlines preservation strategies for a structure that Wright and his disciples modified many times over the years. The plan presents an approach to conserving deteriorating materials, preserving existing spaces, restoring viewscapes lost to new additions and landscaping, and supporting Taliesin West as a tourist site, education center, and foundation headquarters. The Ambassador Grill and Lounge After a huge push from preservation advocacy groups HDC, docomomo, and fans of postmodern architecture, the LPC is considering Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo Associate's glittery—but threatened—UN Hotel lobby and Ambassador Grill & Lounge for landmark status. At a November hearing, local luminaries like Robert A.M. Stern, Belmont Freeman, and Alexandra Lange, as well as a bi-coastal docomomo contingent spoke in favor of landmarking. The item would be the first postmodern interior to be designated a New York City landmark, and the “youngest” after Roche and Dinkeloo’s Ford Foundation (1963-68) which has interior and exterior landmark status. Meanwhile, the Waldorf-Astoria's mega-glamorous art deco interiors are one step closer to landmark protection. The McKeldin Fountain is no more In Baltimore, contractors have begun demolishing a symbol of the city’s renaissance and the mayor who sparked it, the McKeldin Fountain at Pratt and Light streets. The Downtown Partnership of Baltimore has led the effort to tear down the fountain, named after former Mayor Theodore McKeldin, and replace it with a landscaped plaza that members argue would be a more welcoming gateway to the city. The fountain and adjacent plaza were designed by Philadelphia architect Thomas Todd, a founding partner of WRT, as part of the redevelopment of the Inner Harbor renewal area in the early 1980s. An example of Brutalist architecture made with a series of concrete prisms and walkways, the fountain is owned by the city and listed in the city’s official inventory of public art. It is dedicated to the former mayor who first proposed in 1963 the idea of rejuvenating Baltimore’s Inner Harbor waterfront. Time is running out for the modernist legacy of William Pereira Pereira is most famous for his iconic 1972 Transamerica Building, an 853-foot tall square-based pyramid tower in downtown San Francisco, and for the Googie-styled Theme Building at Los Angeles International Airport, a flying saucer-shaped observation floor supported by four-footed, sinuous frame. These projects are among Pereira’s diverse commissions that number more than 400 and include the masterplans for the Orange County suburb of Irvine, and the University of California at Irvine (UCI) campus. The city of Irvine’s urban plan landed the architect on the cover of Time magazine where Pereira was depicted in front of the suburb’s plan.
Those aspects of his legacy are more or less doing fine—there are serious and ongoing questions about incongruous changes being made to both the Irvine master plan and to the UCI campus —but several of Pereira’s other Los Angeles works are currently more deeply imperiled.
The challenge of preserving architectural heritage in Philadelphia This year Philadelphia—home of the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and Rittenhouse Square—can boast of another historic attribute: It is the first and only city in the United States to be named a World Heritage City, one of 266 around the globe.

Despite its recent designation, Philadelphia has had a decidedly uneven record and reputation for historic preservation. Architects who come to the AIA convention will find Center City relatively intact. But other areas of the city are losing historically and architecturally significant buildings at a steady rate, largely due to development pressures and lack of landmark protection.

Saving the Columbus Occupational Health Association Columbus, Indiana is a small Midwestern city filled with buildings designed by a who’s who of American architecture including Eliel Saarinen, Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei, Kevin Roche, Richard Meier, Harry Weese, César Pelli, Gunnar Birkerts, Robert Venturi, Robert Stern, and many others. Now, its 1973 health center, designed by Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates, (HHPA) is for sale. Despite its wealth of modern architecture and a forthcoming biennale, the town has no formal preservation laws, so a sale could mean the destruction or thoughtless modification of this important building. Yale's Beinecke Library is now open The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library reopened its iconic building in September following a 16-month renovation led by Hammond Beeby Rupert Ainge Architects with Newman Architects of New Haven. Completed in 1963, Beinecke is considered Gordon Bunshaft’s masterpiece. One of the largest libraries in the world dedicated to rare books, its exterior grid of granite and Vermont marble panels are one of the most recognizable designs of that era and remains both inspiring and inimitable. The renovations restored the architectural landmark to its illuminated glory by refurbishing the six-story glass stack tower, preserving the sculpture garden by Isamu Noguchi, upgrading the library’s climate-control system, and expanding classroom space. Developer wants to put glass cubes on landmarked SOM plaza Fosun International, the Shanghai-based owner of Manhattan’s 28 Liberty Street (formerly One Chase Manhattan Plaza), has commissioned SOM to revamp their own classic International Style building and 2.5-acre plaza design. Among its planned changes to the site, Fosun received LPC approval to build three glass pavilions on the plaza that will serve as entrances to below-ground retail. To do this, Fosun needs to make changes to the site's deed, a move that many preservationists say will disrupt the integrity of Gordon Bunshaft's original vision. Both the International Style building and plaza were designated a New York City landmark in 2009. SOM is updating the tower’s office space and plaza and reintroducing original details lost in prior renovations while transforming approximately 290,000 square feet (four floors) of basement space into retail. (AN first covered the design proposal, and ensuing controversy, in July.) With new rules regarding deed changes now in effect, it remains to be seen how—or if—these glass pavilions will be built. Stop the Pop "After the rollout of #StopThePop campaign last June, what actually popped to the surface was less a discussion about preserving architectural landmarks, and more a social media–facilitated debate regarding what constitutes good taste."
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Leaving the Big City

Goodbye New York: AN picks the best projects outside the Big Three
The Architect's Newspaper (AN) has editors in New York, Chicago, and L.A., but we're not city snobs. With a network of regional writers from Baltimore to Dallas, Seattle to Phoenix, our mission is to cover projects everywhere in North America—and in 2016, we printed far-flung stories that usually fly under the radar. Check out our 15 favorite projects below. (See the rest of our Year in Review 2016 articles here.) WORKac Arizona House revives the Earthship typology “The desert house typology reached an ending point where it became all about overhangs and metal—a common vocabulary of what a desert house should be,” said Dan Wood, principal of WORKac. “We felt like that needed to be renewed.” The Memphis Movement A slew of new developments suggest Memphis, long plagued by high rates of poverty and unemployment, is on the up-and-up, but is the city really rebounding? Gensler designs a new vision for the unloved Milwaukee Post Office The long, low-slung Milwaukee Post Office is not a popular building, but Gensler's forthcoming revamp will inject much-needed vitality into the more-or-less dead space. Basket builders vacate Ohio’s famous basket building After nearly twenty years, the Longaberger Company, maker of wooden baskets, will be moving out of its trademark Longaberger Medium Market Basket–shaped building in Newark, Ohio. What will happen to the building? $1.9 billion Las Vegas Raiders stadium clears penultimate hurdle The odds for the Oakland Raiders football team’s relocation to Las Vegas are looking very good right about now. Not OKC See what's happening to John Johansen’s Mummers Theater in Oklahoma City. Ford begins work on new $1.2 billion campus in Michigan When Ford Motor Company took stock of its current 60-year-old Dearborn, Michigan, facilities, it became clear that the only way forward would be to take a big leap into two new high-tech campuses. Spearheading the master plans is the Detroit office of SmithGroupJJR. When completed, the estimated $1.2 billon, ten-year project will involve moving 30,000 employees from 70 buildings into a Product Campus and a Headquarters Campus. Throughout the project, the entire campus will also have to stay 100 percent operational. New renderings revealed for ambitious, highway-capping park in Atlanta Buckhead Park Over GA400 is a new park typology for the city. Like most great public places, it’s about creating a series of scaled experiences” for visitors, explained Rob Rogers, principal at Rogers Partners and one of the park's lead designers. The Mexico City designers forging a new path beyond modernism By combining high-design references with homespun folk art, the city's designers are able to create works that are contemporary, but also contextual and artisanal, and that speak to the contested and refined realities of their home city. With a grab bag of contemporary stylistic influences coupled with the methodical pedagogy of their elders, the current generation of designers is quickly moving past the orthodoxy of the city’s Modernismo traditions toward new enterprises that blend design, architecture, and furniture. This year the city hosted Design Week Mexico, and it will be the WorldDesign Capital in 2018—the sixth in the program and the first North American city to be named as such. Shelburne Farms Old Dairy Barn, a Vermont landmark, destroyed by fire Sadly, Vermont lost one of its agrarian and architectural landmarks in September when the historic Old Dairy Barn at Shelburne Farms was destroyed by fire. Saving the Columbus Occupational Health Association Columbus, Indiana is small Midwestern city filled with buildings designed by Eliel Saarinen, Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei, Kevin Roche, Richard Meier, Harry Weese, César Pelli, Gunnar Birkerts, Robert Venturi, Robert Stern, and many others. Now, its 1973 health center, designed by Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates (HHPA) is for sale. Despite its wealth of modern architecture and a forthcoming biennale, the town has no formal preservation laws, so a sale could mean the destruction or thoughtless modification of this important building. Jean Nouvel eyeing North Adams The home of MassMoCA and the future home of Gluckman Tang's Extreme Model Railroad Museum may be getting a master plan by none other than Jean Nouvel. Residents say Celebration, FL is ruined by mold and shoddy construction Although the Walt Disney Company hired a cadre of leading architects to design Celebration, Florida, the sloppy construction of homes in the theme town is driving residents to grief and financial trouble.
Dallas–Fort Worth Branch Waters Network dovetails with rapid development Architect Kevin Sloan thinks American conceptions of planning and notions of “nature” need to be challenged. His Branch Waters Network project in Dallas aims to do just that. 
A torrent of new projects are reshaping Staten Island Okay, okay—Staten Island is part of New York City, but even in a city of islands, the borough gets no love. Islanders voted to secede in 1993, and city officials say it's too far for nice things like bikeshares. Nevertheless, AN visited this spring to check out some new developments shaping the Forgotten Borough.
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Waterline Square

Richard Meier, Rafael Viñoly, and KPF will each design a tower in this Manhattan development
Located between 61st Street and 59th Street, and next to the Henry Hudson Parkway, the newly-announced multi-tower "Waterline Square" development will stand among an interesting set of neighbors. On the other side of 61st Street is One Riverside Park of "poor door" infamy; across 59th street is the IRT Powerhouse, a massive Stanford White-designed steam production facility operated by ConEd (it was originally a subway power station). And just south of the IRT building—with its massive 240-foot-tall smokestack, the last of six originals—is Bjarke Ingles Group's hyperbolic paraboloid Via 57. Waterline Square—which is being developed by the Boston-based GID Development Group, owner of two nearby residential developments—will feature three glassy towers: One Waterline Square (Richard Meier and Partners Architects), Two Waterline Square (Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF)), and Three Waterline Square (Rafael Viñoly Architects). "Together, we are transforming one of the last remaining waterfront development sites on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, into a new, vibrant neighborhood," said James Linsley, president of GID Development Group, in a press release. Waterline Square will occupy the final large empty lot on Riverside Park South, which stretches from 72nd to 59th Street. The towers' luxury condominiums will be accompanied by "100,000 square feet of best-in-class sports, leisure, and lifestyle amenities, as well as a beautifully landscaped park and open spaces spanning nearly 3 acres," according to the press release. The new park will contain "a playground, fountains, and waterfalls." Construction actually began on Waterline Square in 2018 but this appears to be the first major release of the project's details and renderings. For more details, see the development's website here.
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The Dark Side

All-black Richard Meier-designed tower starts construction in midtown Manhattan
When we saw the "Rare Albino Graves" proposal for Miami surface last year, one wonders if perhaps Richard Meier too had his eyes on bucking his own trademark color palette. The Pritzker Prize-winning architect did offer some explanation as to why his design for 685 First Avenue—his firm's tallest residential building in New York—dons a "Terminator-black" facade. “We asked ourselves, can formal ideas and the philosophy of lightness and transparency, the interplay of natural light and shadow with forms and spaces, be reinterpreted in the precise opposite—white being all colors and black the absence of color?” said Meier in a press release. “Our perspective continues to evolve, but our intuition and intention remain the same—to make architecture that evokes passion and emotion, lifts the spirit, and is executed perfectly." Developer Sheldon Solow has owned this site since the turn of the century, but plans have been a long time coming. Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM) initially worked on a masterplan for the five-acre site in 2008 which involved an office block, six residential towers, and public parks. Some of that land had since been sold off by Solow and now construction has finally started on the site (initial exterior renders were revealed in May earlier this year). Back then, the Wall Street Journal was far from complimentary in describing Meier's work as “a plain rectangular slab." "The new building, except for its color, is vintage Meier inside and out, a polished specimen of neo-Modernist simplicity.” Sources close to AN also poured scorn: “A cheap lighter.” “Nice gap tooth.” “Looks like they hired no one to design it.” “Should have stuck to white.” The 556-unit tower will rise to approximately 460 feet (42 stories). 408 of these units will be available to rent while the remaining 148 will be condos. This programming is expressed through 685 First Avenue's facade with a double-height divider—emulative of a rogue Tetris piece—that can be found on the 27th floor. Above that gap is the project's 148 condos, of which 69 will provide balconies and views of Midtown Manhattan. Renders of these luxurious interiors can be seen in the gallery above. Along with the living units, amenities include specific rooms for games, yoga, work (on laptops/tablets), dining, as well as a children's play area and a 70-foot swimming pool and fitness center. These will be located on the building's second floor, while at ground level, residents at the public will have access to retail services.
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Modern Love

Exhibit Columbus kicks off with public symposium
This past weekend Exhibit Columbus launched its inaugural annual programming with a three-day symposium. Exhibit Columbus will alternate between symposiums and exhibitions in the modernist enclave of Columbus, Indiana. The small city of Columbus is home to an unmatched collection of modernist architecture. In major part due to the Cummins Foundation Architecture Program's support, the city is filled with projects by the likes of Eliel and Earo Saarinen, Perkins + Will, Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, Richard Meier, SOM, KPF, Roche Dinkeloo, Robert A. M. Stern, Caudill Rowlett Scott, Harry Weese, Kevin Roche, and Robert Venturi, to name a few. The Cummins Foundation supplements architecture fees for projects in the city that are designed by architects chosen from a list maintained by the Foundation. The incentive has led to schools, churches, factories, and corporate campuses commissioning some of the world’s most famous architects. The goal of Exhibit Columbus is to celebrate the city’s design heritage and bring new talent and attention to the area. This year’s symposium, “Foundations and Futures,” brought speakers and architects together to discuss the past and the future of the city and the field of architecture as a whole. The symposium also launched the J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize Competition, which will pit ten young offices in a head-to-head juried competition. The Miller Prize Competition will culminate in the 2017 Exhibit Columbus exhibition with five site-specific installations around the city. This last weekend’s symposium brought historians, critics, clients, and architects together in panel discussions and lectures. Some of the speakers included Curbed Architecture Critic Alexandra Lange, Vitra Museum Chief Curator Jochen Eisenbrand, Fabio Gramazio of Gramazio Kohler, Bill Kreysler, president of Kreysler and Associates, and L. William Zahner, co-chair of A. Zahner Company. The Miller Prize participants also spoke on panel discussions throughout the symposium. Keynote discussions included conversations with Robert A. M. Stern and Deborah Berke, both of whom have built projects in the Columbus area. The J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize Competition participating offices include: Aranda\Lasch Tucson, AZ and New York, NY Baumgartner + Uriu Los Angeles, CA Ball-Nogues Studio Los Angeles, CA Rachel B. Hayes Studio Tulsa, OK Höweler + Yoon Boston, MA Yugon Kim Boston, MA Johnston Marklee and Jonathan Olivares Design Research Los Angeles, CA Oyler Wu Collaborative Los Angeles, CA Plan B Architecture & Urbanism New Haven, CT studio:indigenous Milwaukee, WI These offices will be designing for five sites around the city, which include: Bartholomew County Public Library I.M. Pei and Partners First Christian Church Saarinen and Saarinen Irwin Conference Center Eero Saarinen and Associates Cummins Corporate Office Building Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo Associates Mill Race Park Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates with architecture by Stanley Saitowitz
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Chicago Crew

Young design firms move into the Monadnock building

Among Chicago architects, the Monadnock Building is an icon. The tower is a product of the Chicago School, half designed by Burnham and Root and half by Holabird & Roche, built in two phases. Yet it is unlike any of its contemporaries. To start, its older southern Burnham & Root half is a masonry structure, the tallest in the world. And though the southern half, built three years later, is a more typical steel structure, the similarities to other 1890s Chicago buildings end there. Notably, rather than the ubiquitous center atrium of most Chicago School builds, the Monadnock has a thin interior pedestrian street, complete with old-timey shops. The upper floors of pint-sized offices are mostly filled with attorneys and the occasional private detective, yet a few small architecture firms have set up shop in this enigmatic structure.

Among the half dozen or so practices in the building, an even smaller contingent is in their first official office spaces. For them, the move from the dining room table to a downtown high-rise was an important step in establishing their practice in the city. An added benefit has been the growing community of critical practices under one roof. Norman Kelley and Design With Company share a small office on the 12th floor, with just enough room for each to have an intern or two at any given time. Three stories below, PORT Urbanism makes epic master plans in a 300-square-foot office. The highly experimental Weathers and MANA Design/Protostudio also call the building home.

“The space complements our life,” said Stewart Hicks of Design With Company. “Before, working out of our home, there was no separation of work and life. Not that we ever stop working, but now we can walk here, and we are a short distance from the University of Illinois at Chicago where we teach. It is also just easy to find someone in the building to talk to, and bounce ideas off of.”

Having an office in the 125-year-old Monadnock is not without its drawbacks, though. The depth of the offices is governed by the distance from the central hall to the building’s envelope, only around 15 feet. Though affordable, the often-tiny offices leave very little space for producing. MANA Design/Protostudio and Weathers find themselves limited by space, unable to produce the models and prototypes with which they often work. To deal with the lack of space, the offices rely on connections they have to universities, shared spaces, and a series of specialized fabricators. Design With Company often calls upon stage-scene fabricators to build installation pieces, as it has found scene builders to be more accustomed to the scale and precision the models demand. Some of the unique benefits of the building include operable wood-frame windows and classic hand-painted doors straight out of a film noir.

Each of these firms flies steadily under the radar in a city dominated by many of the largest corporate firms in the world. Only a few blocks away, the Motorola Building, formerly the Santa Fe and Railway Exchange Building, is occupied by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Stantec, and Goettsch Partners. Despite its lower profile, the Monadnock crew has recently seen a great deal of critical and popular success. Norman Kelley was responsible for one of the Chicago Biennial’s most popular submissions, Chicago, How Do You See?, an expansive vinyl window treatment on the front of the Chicago Cultural Center. Its new Aesop skin care storefront has also garnered international attention. Along with its own contribution to the biennial, Design With Company was responsible for a playful forum-like installation at Design Miami for Airbnb. PORT’s projects tap into a very real idea of “make no small plans.” Its submission to the biennial, The Big Shift, raised ire among mainstream media critics, but thrilled visitors. Both Sean Lally, the head of Weathers, and Norman Kelley were recipients of the coveted Rome Prize, joining the likes of Richard Meier, Charles Moore, Michael Graves, and Stanley Tigerman. The more established KOO, also in the building, was recently given the go-ahead from the city to move forward with a new hotel on Navy Pier.

The Monadnock represents the possibilities of Chicago architecture, from its original soaring masonry ambitions to some of today’s most experimental young practices. If there is an argument to be made about the power of space and adjacency, the Monadnock may just be the model to prove the point. Expect more exceptional things from this exceptional building.

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Religious Theater

Johnson Fain to revamp Philip Johnson’s Crystal Cathedral
This week Los Angeles–based architects Johnson Fain revealed their plans for the first phase of upcoming renovations to Philip Johnson and John Burgee’s iconic Crystal Cathedral in Anaheim, California. The building, completed in 1980 and part of a larger religious campus that contains notable structures by Richard Meier and Partners as well as Richard Neutra, will begin renovations this year. The iconic structure’s continuous glass panel exterior will be preserved during the renovation. A bulk of the new work will pertain to the building’s interior spaces, which are being reconfigured and expanded in order to accommodate a larger congregation. Plans revealed for the renovations include the reorientation of the worship spaces, with the existing, “antiphonal” arrangement with two singing groups on either side of the main stage being converted into a traditional Catholic altar configuration. In this arrangement, the choir will be located behind the altar with the altar itself pushed forward into the nave of the church. A new organ will be located further behind the choir, creating a new focal point for the cathedral. The new altar will also receive specially-calibrated devices the firm calls “quatrefoils” that will make for a more efficient distribution of light and forced air in the worship space. The proposed renovations come after several years of uncertainty for the church. The structure was purchased by The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange in 2011, after the Crystal Cathedral Ministries, the church’s original congregation, declared bankruptcy. The building was subsequently rechristened as “Christ Cathedral” and has been awaiting renovation ever since. Neutra’s Arboretum building, a massive drive-in church located adjacent to the Crystal Cathedral structure, was renovated in 2014. During the public unveiling of the new plans in the cathedral, which took place during a day-long, 40th anniversary for the complex, the architects handed out virtual reality headsets to attendees and played the animation below.
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Columbus Day

Saving one of Columbus, Indiana's unsung architectural gems
In the 1970s I was a project architect for the New York–based architectural firm Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates, (HHPA) and worked on a medical clinic for the Cummins Engine Company called the Columbus Occupational Health Association (COHA). It won a national AIA Honor Award in 1976 and served its client for over 40 years. Now the building is for sale. In the 1960s, in a small town in Indiana, a seed of design excellence was planted. As a patron of modern architecture, J. Irwin Miller had a goal to make Columbus, “the very best community of its size in the country.” “We would like to see it become the city in which the smartest, the ablest, the best young families anywhere would like to live,” he said. The result was a small Midwestern city filled with buildings designed by a who’s who of American architecture including, Eliel Saarinen, Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei, Kevin Roche, Richard Meier, Harry Weese, César Pelli, Gunnar Birkerts, Robert Venturi, Robert Stern, and many others. Columbus Occupational Health Association In 1969, HHPA was selected for an outpatient medical clinic to serve Cummins Engine Company and several other industrial firms in the Columbus area. At that time medical clinics and hospitals were intimidating environments, typically a collection of enclosed rooms off of long sterile corridors—places most people were not enthusiastic about visiting. Cummins wanted something new and innovative and commissioned a study by the Kaiser Foundation, which recommended a cooperative health center. The study suggested that the new building might serve as a national model, so Cummins encouraged the architects to contemplate what environments would be appropriate for healthcare delivery in the future. HHPA sought to create an atmosphere of openness, hope, and healing. It analyzed the program and developed spaces organized around open, sloped walkways bathed in natural light from skylights above. Ultimately COHA offered a new paradigm for outpatient healthcare delivery that welcomed patients and staff in a fresh, expressive environment. Instead of hiding technology behind walls and ceilings, the structure and mechanical systems were exposed and celebrated in bright colors. Visitors experienced the whole building giving them an awareness of place. The building, completed in 1973, was selected in 1976 for a national AIA Honor Award. The jury commented: “Careful organization of the ordinary mechanical and structural elements brings interest and excitement to this small health center… a well-organized plan exposes routine medical functions to both patient and technician which relieves the tedium of clinical work and the anxiety of patients.” I visited the building in 2012, and met with several staff members. They were enthusiastic about working there and told me that patients and staff found that most of the original design was still serving their needs. Now the building is for sale. COHA has moved to new quarters, the Columbus Occupational Health Association has evolved, and in mid-June it relocated to downtown Columbus and is now called the Cummins LiveWell Center. An Uncertain Future What does the future hold for the COHA building and why should we care? Besides people’s affection and pleasant memories, why should COHA be saved and why is it important in architectural history? At the time it broke new ground in many ways. It celebrated the functions and technology that made the building work. More importantly, it showed all of us that going to the doctor doesn’t have to be a scary thing. By opening up the inside, bringing in natural light, and allowing patients to see inside technical spaces like the laboratory, COHA taught us that being healthy and caring for our well-being can be an uplifting experience. There’s a famous quote from Winston Churchill, “First we shape our buildings, thereafter, they shape us.” HHPA shaped COHA to be a simple black glass box on the outside with a bold sloped skylight and a dynamic inside, that treated visitors to a potpourri of shapes, colors and spaces. The philosophy of challenging the status quo and reinventing how healthcare is delivered helped make COHA unique. It has influenced how architects design medical buildings and how medical providers interact with their patients. Unfortunately there are no preservation laws in the city of Columbus, Indiana. COHA could be sold and demolished. Or it could be saved and adapted to a new use. Columbus has a strong sense of community and respects its legacy of design excellence. It has created Landmark Columbus, whose mission is, “To care for and celebrate the world-renowned design heritage of the Columbus, Indiana, area.” Richard McCoy, executive director of Landmark Columbus, told me that, “while there is no law to prevent demolition, the community has a voice and it has influence.” The legacy of Miller is now in the hands of Cummins, Inc. Katie Zarich, manager of external communications for Cummins, said: “COHA served Cummins well for several decades… Architecture remains important to Cummins. We are looking for a buyer that will maintain the architectural integrity of the facility.” It is possible to extend the useful life of buildings. It takes energy, vision and commitment. Let’s hope COHA finds itself the recipient of respect from its new owner.
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Henderson, NV

Construction begins on Lake|Flato's ASCAYA "Inspiration Home"
A luxury housing development in Nevada has started construction on the Lake|Flato-designed "Inspiration Home," one of seven homes in the new development designed by renowned architects to give "design inspiration" to future residents. ASCAYA is carved out of the hilly volcanic rock of the McCullough Range in Henderson, and is arranged so each lot has a view of the city and surrounding mountains. Its elevation at the highest point is 3,000 feet, and the remaining spots are sought-after: One of its 313 lots coming in at just a little over an acre recently sold for $2.6 million. Lake|Flato's inspiration home is a single story and measures 9,000 square feet, with four bedrooms and a four-car garage in addition to a large living space. The master bedroom opens into a private patio aimed at nearby Las Vegas. Sustainability and the landscape are integrated into the design of the house. Its walls are made of rammed earth, which blends into the surrounding rock as well as providing great insulation for the location's hot climate. The main living space also opens up into an outdoor courtyard. This is the third of seven inspiration homes to break ground on the site. Others were designed by Swaback Partners, SB Architects, Hoogland Architecture, Marmol Radziner, and Backen, Gillam, & Kroeger. Richard Meier, Pritzker Prize–winning designer of the Getty Center, contributed one of his signature all-white homes. Lake|Flato's philosophy of blending the house into its desert surroundings is reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright's own home and school in the desert, Taliesin West. When building the compound in Scottsdale, Arizona, he was mindful of integrating the house into the rocky landscape to the point of literally building its walls with local rocks. John Sather of Swaback Partners is a graduate of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. All these homes are in a style that could be described as "desert contemporary," setting the tone for architects who will design buildings for the development later on. Adding to that aesthetic is a luxury clubhouse designed by Swaback Partners that will include a fitness center, spa, and pool.
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To Scale

This museum in a Tokyo warehouse is dedicated to preserving architectural models
A recently-opened museum in Tokyo aims to archive and display architectural models from great Japanese architects like Kengo Kuma, Riken Yamamoto, and Shigeru Ban. The museum treats the models as  important archival pieces in respect to their finished buildings as well as pieces of art worthy of appreciation. The museum is called Archi-Depot, and it’s located in the Shinagawa district of Tokyo. Its founder, Warehouse Terrada, is a storage company that advertises its expertise in storing wine, art, and other media. This helps explain the layout of the space, which has its models simply arranged on 116 shelves in an open warehouse. Guests can look up more information, including photos and blueprints, of each model using QR codes. The layout of the museum is clean and minimalist, and it doesn't take an expert in architecture to appreciate these delicate miniatures. According to Archi-Depot, their mission is work at the intersection of museum and archive. “Architectural models are considered to be profound materials that transmit designers’ thoughts, as well as being high quality sculpture works,” the museum says on their website. “Fans of architecture will gather from all over the world, as ARCHI-DEPOT has an accumulation of Japanese architectural models.” This museum is the first of its kind in Japan but its philosophy is similar to that of the Richard Meier Model Museum in Jersey City, New Jersey, which specifically gathers models made by the Pritzker winning architect Richard Meier. Other museums have dedicated specific exhibits to architectural models.
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White House

Richard Meier house added to National Register of Historic Places
The Richard Meier–designed Douglas House has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. The Harbor Springs, Michigan house was built in 1973 for Mr. and Mrs. James Douglas. Clad in Meier’s signature white, the Douglas House is sited dramatically over Lake Michigan. Due to the steep site, the house is entered from the roof level by way of a foot bridge. This long entry sequence enforces a strict separation between the public and private. Once inside the house is oriented to exterior views. The roof deck and the living room provide uninterrupted views out over Lake Michigan. Richard Meier commented on the early stages of working with the Douglases: “One day I received a letter from a Mr. and Mrs. James Douglas inquiring if I would sell them the blueprints for the Smith House. I replied that while I was not prepared to sell the drawings, I would certainly be willing to design a new house for them along similar lines. They accepted, and I started designing a house for a site that they had purchased in a residential subdivision in northern Michigan. As it happened, the developer who had sponsored the subdivision insisted on reviewing the design of any house that would be built within its boundary. He asked me to submit photographs of my work, whereupon he immediately refused to permit a house designed by me since it did not have the prerequisite classic pitched roof. To my delight, the Douglases responded to this impasse by promptly selling the plot and looking for another site, and that was the beginning of a very gratifying collaboration." The National Register of Historic Places is maintained by the U.S. Department of the Interior via the National Park Service. The goal of the register is to support “public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archaeological resources.”  Properties added to the register can be either buildings, structures, objects, or sites.
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Black Box

Richard Meier blacks out for new tower on the East River
Pritzker Prize–winning architect Richard Meier's trademark is the white, or off-white, structure. Yesterday, though, the architect blacked out at the behest of his developer friend Sheldon Solow for a 42-story, 556-unit residential tower on the East River. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) revealed renderings of the 828,000-square foot, Terminator-black, UN-adjacent building, at 39th Street and First Avenue. It's Meier's tallest in New York and his first since his three apartment towers on West Street were completed more than 12 years ago. The WSJ generously described the form as "a plain rectangular slab...the new building, except for its color, is vintage Meier inside and out, a polished specimen of neo-Modernist simplicity." Sources close to AN panned the design: "A cheap lighter." "Nice gap tooth." "Looks like they hired no one to design it." "Should have stuck to white." Solow insisted that Meier use black, because all of the developer's buildings are black. Solow thinks of architects as painters, and it was a question here, Solow explained, of getting Meier to adjust his palette. Solow has intended to develop the site, formerly home to Con Edison steam plants, for decades. After years of environmental remediation, and fights with planning agencies and the community boards, visions for the towers were scuttled in the 2008 recession. Last year, Solow resumed the development, filing plans for the tower were last August, although a few details have changed since then: the size of the building is up 10,000 square feet, with one-third condos and two-third rentals. The project is expected to be complete in 2018. The site could accommodate more programs, including a proposed commercial high-rise by SOM, and a one-acre park designed by James Corner Field Operations, although Solow would like to see how Meier's project progresses before confirming details on these projects.