Search results for "Detroit"

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Cruising In

Ford may redevelop Detroit's abandoned Michigan Central Station
Michigan Central Station, a hulking ruin, is a 230-foot-tall symbol of urban decline a stone's throw away from Downtown Detroit. Now, though, Ford Motor Company is in talks to buy the abandoned station from its owners, the Moroun family. As soon as April, the Dearborn, Michigan–based automaker could ink a deal that would transform the 500,000-square-foot train station in the city's Corktown neighborhood into—well, it's not really clear at this time.  In the past, Ford leadership said that expanding their workforce in Detroit, historically a home base for the company, is part of a strategy to attract and retain younger talent, many of whom want to live in cities. The news comes as Ford is moving around 200 workers to a facility down the street; those familiar with the just-announced deal say 1,000 or more workers could fit inside a transformed Michigan Central Station. "At this time, Ford is focused on locating our autonomous vehicle and electric vehicle business and strategy teams, including Team Edison, to The Factory in Detroit’s historic Corktown neighborhood," Ford spokesman Said Deep told Crain's, which first reported the story. "While we anticipate our presence over time will grow as our (autonomous/electric vehicle) teams begin moving downtown in May, we have nothing further to announce at this time." Amtrak stopped running trains through the station in 1988, and since then, the Michigan Avenue building has served as a low-hanging symbol of Detroit's deindustrialization. Alongside countless ruins tourists on Flickr, artists like Camilo José Vergara and Andrew Moore have extensively documented the decline of the station and the surrounding city. Recently, though, the Moroun family has brought the space back to life, somewhat. Last summer, they opened the building to a Crain's-produced event for investors interested in the city, and they've spent $8 million on window replacement and structural upgrades in the past three years. If Ford drives the station deal home, it would not be the automaker's only major investment in its Michigan physical assets. Ford is in the midst of a ten-year, $1.2-billion overhaul of its neighboring Dearborn campus, with the help of architects at SmithGroupJJR.
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Best Firms

AIA California Council bestows top honors on two L.A. firms
The American Institute of Architects, California Council (AIACC) has awarded a pair of Los Angeles-based architecture firms its two most prestigious honors of the year. Late last month, the council gave Johnson Fain its Firm Award, highlighting the practice’s 28-year track record of delivering thoughtful and diverse project types while also praising the company’s enriched office culture as reasons for bestowing the honor. In a press release praising Johnson Fain’s employee amenities—which include watercolor classes and in-studio yoga sessions—an unnamed AIACC juror remarked, “How they blur lines between personal and business is inspirational. They seem to be cornering a niche on the work/life balance for their employees and it shows in their innovative work.” Johnson Fain is currently at work on a variety of high-profile projects across Southern California, including a 42-story tower in Downtown Los Angeles, a renovation of Philip Johnson’s Crystal Cathedral in Orange County, and a 355-unit mid-rise apartment complex in L.A.’s historic center. AIACC also awarded Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA) its Distinguished Practice award, praising the firm’s “passion for the constantly changing urban landscape, and the complexities which go into designing in such [areas].” The organization specifically praised LOHA principal and founder Lorcan O’Herlihy for promoting a “much-needed conversation about the relationship of design to landscape.” A juror praised the firm’s “high level of design [and] solid commitment to education, urbanism, community and environment,” adding, “I always learn from [LOHA’s] work.” LOHA currently has its hands in a variety of market-rate and supportive housing projects in Los Angeles and recently opened a new satellite office in Detroit, where the firm is working on a 210,000-square-foot mixed use development and the new African Bead Museum, among other projects.
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Club Goals

Nashville's new $250 million soccer stadium takes shape
Nashville, Tennessee, received an early Christmas present last year, in the form of a Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion club. Nashville was one of 12 cities with ownership groups vying for four possible expansion clubs, and on December 20, MLS made the announcement that the music city would be the first to be awarded a new team. Though the official announcement happened in late December, Nashville has been working toward a new team for well over a year. This includes plans for a completely new stadium. Early designs for the 27,500-seat stadium surfaced mid-2017, with plans to position the pitch in the Fairgrounds, home to the Tennessee State Fair, located in the Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood. While details about the stadium are still being worked out, HOK will lead the design, adding it to the long list of stadiums the international firm has worked on in recent years. The road to a new professional soccer team and the subsequent stadium has been a long one for Nashville. The 12 other cities attempting to secure an expansion team included Detroit, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and St. Louis, just to name a few in the region. While the bid has garnered popular support from the city and state, not everyone was pleased with the proposed placement of the stadium. In late 2017, before Nashville had been awarded the expansion position, a local lawyer filed a lawsuit against Metro Nashville. The suit alleged that the city had violated its charter by proposing a stadium at the Fairgrounds, a park which is designated for the annual state fair and other public events. Just days before the official MLS announcement, a court sided with the defense and dismissed the case, helping pave the way for the team’s new home. While the stadium is expected to cost around $250 million, an additional $40 million will be spent updating the Fairgrounds, which are in need of numerous infrastructural improvements. A tentative timeline has construction beginning by the end of 2018, with the team’s first season starting in 2020. During construction, the grounds will remain partially open in order to continue hosting fairs, public markets, and events. Since 2004, 14 teams have joined the MLS. Nashville will be the 24th team in the league, which hopes to be up to 28 teams in the near future. For this round of expansion, Nashville set itself apart by pointing out that it had played host to a number of well-attended international matches in recent years. Though the club has not announced official colors, a logo, or even a name, the city council will soon be reviewing the stadium plans for approval. With the already-expressed support from the mayor, that process is expected to go well. Who knows? It may be only a matter of time before the sound of soccer chants, accompanied by steel guitars and fiddles, spill out of honky-tonks across the city.
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Transit City

Metro Detroit still struggling to agree on regional transit plan
Despite the weekly announcement of new developments in Detroit, from stadiums to skyscrapers, the city still faces a number of systemic issues that continue to plague its large population of economically disadvantaged residents. One of these issues, the topic of much-heated debate in recent years, is transit. The 2016 election represented a chance for the entire southeast Michigan region to reinvigorate its mass transit system, but a “no” vote sent planners and citizens back to the drawing board in hopes of a second try in 2018. The Regional Transit Master Plan, put forward by the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan (RTA), was meant to unify mass transit in the four counties surrounding Detroit with $4.7 billion in new investments, raised from a new tax and available state and federal funds. The RTA was founded in 2012 to successfully achieve this, after nearly half a century of other failed authorities. Going back as far as the 1950s, transit has been strictly divided between the mostly white suburbs and the mostly African American Detroit. And while there are many indications that this was a racial issue when the policy was made, today it has become an economic issue that many believe can no longer be ignored. Detroit’s transportation needs are enigmatic in many ways. The city is in the top ten for least car owners per capita, while it does not even chart in per-capita spending on mass transit. While three in five Detroiters work outside of the city, often in low-paying jobs, three in four jobs in the city are filled by workers from the suburbs. This means that Detroit has one of the longest average commuting distances in the country, a bit over ten miles. Many areas of the city don’t have nearly enough jobs, some as low as 100 positions per 1,000 residents. All of this together means that the economies of the suburbs and the city are inextricably linked; reliable mass transit would be an undeniable asset. The Regional Transit Master Plan was designed specifically to address these disparities and provide more comprehensive service to the entire region. Regional bus rapid transit (BRT) routes would run from the suburbs to the city center, new routes would be developed in currently underserved areas, and a regional light rail would stretch from Detroit to Ann Arbor. One of the major aspects of the plan, which was also one of the most debated, was that it would no longer allow individual suburbs to opt out of the transit system. Currently 50 suburbs have no mass transit system, as they have opt- ed out of the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART). This is cited as being one of the main reasons for service gaps in outlying areas. Another is- sue facing opposition was the funding model, which included a new tax that would cost most taxpayers approximately $95 per year over the next 20 years. When the plan came up for vote in the November 2016 election, it was rejected by roughly 20,000 votes, losing 49.5 percent to 50.5 percent. The measure was approved in two of the counties, and came close in a third. Alone, the fourth, Macomb County, was able to sway the outcome. One year on, the RTA is still trying to figure out a path forward with the possibility of another proposal in 2018. Not waiting for that possibility, the suburban transit system, SMART, is launching its own extended BRT system to provide greater links to the city. Detroit has made recent transit headway also. The QLine, a new streetcar that was in the works before the regional plan and which relies partially on private funding, opened in 2017. Currently, discussions have started within the RTA concerning a new proposal. Early ideas have included reducing the area the authority is responsible for. The RTA has noted that roughly 28 percent of the “no” votes in the election came from more rural areas that would be less directly affected by a regional transit system. As the RTA was specifically established to build a regional transit system, enacting a plan is more than just a goal; it is do-or-die for the organization. If no plan is pushed forward, many fear the RTA will go the way of the numerous other regional planning authorities before it. While Detroit’s transit situation may be singular in its dire position, it is not the only metropolitan area that has seen a renewed interest in comprehensive mass transit. This was highlighted in the rush of dozens of cities to bid for Amazon HQ2. In Amazon’s request for proposals, it specifically stated that it was looking for a city with efficient, reliable mass transit. While this did not stop cities like Detroit from apply- ing, many will likely point to it as a reason Detroit will not get the call from Amazon. Even cities like Chicago, with well-established, well-funded mass transit, are looking to the near future for improvements. The 2018–2023 Regional Transit Strategic Plan, put forward by the Regional Transit Authority of the Chicago area, just finished an initial round of public input, and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning is working on the On to 2050 plan, which includes extensive regional transit guidance. Chicago also happens to be a contender for the Amazon HQ2 project, and transit has been one of its major selling points. The path ahead of the Detroit metropolitan area’s transit future is currently very unclear. Even when suburban and urban agencies were able to come together behind a comprehensive plan, their constituencies thwarted them. While the city itself has enjoyed a recent spotlight surrounding new development, particularly in its downtown, any Detroiter will tell you that the city has a long way to go to match its prosperous past. Many hope that effective transit will also help bring economic opportunity to the many who have never had it.
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Prime Locations

Amazon announces the 20 cities that made its HQ2 shortlist
Ending months of speculation and handwringing, Amazon has announced that the company has cut its list of prospective locations for its second headquarters from 238 down to 20. Competition over HQ2, a $5 billion co-headquarters expected to bring 50,000 jobs to the area it touches down in, has been fierce, as cities submitted bids that aggressively gave away land and tax breaks to the tech giant. While Amazon had received offers from all over North America, including Canada and Mexico, their shortlist skews heavily toward the East Coast of the United States. All of the following metropolitan areas met Amazon’s requirements of having at least one million people, and zoning capable of building up to eight million square feet of office space. The full list includes: Atlanta Austin, Texas Boston Chicago Columbus, Ohio Dallas Denver Indianapolis Los Angeles Miami Montgomery County, Maryland. Nashville Newark New York Northern Virginia Philadelphia Pittsburgh Raleigh, North Carolina Toronto, Canada Washington, D.C. The selection is notable not only for the cities it includes but the locales that didn’t make the cut. Los Angeles is the only west coast city on the list despite competing bids from Seattle, which holds Amazon’s current headquarters, and cities throughout California. Detroit is absent, as is Baltimore, even as both cities had promised to give Amazon hundreds of developable acres. Tax considerations seem to have played a major role in the final decision, as the inclusion of two cities in Texas, as well as Nashville and other southern cities and regions might attest to. While none of the Mexico-based bids made it through to the final round, Toronto may have been chosen for the money Amazon could save owing to the weakened Canadian dollar; $1 USD at the time of writing is worth $1.25 CAD. Details on what these 20 metropolitan areas have offered Amazon in exchange for HQ2 have been hard to come by. Muckrock has been tracking down bid packages for all 238 of the areas that submitted initial proposals, and while many of them have refused to release detailed packages, giving away unrestricted development rights or heavy tax breaks have been common. Chicago, for instance, has offered to return 50 to 100 percent of the income tax collected from Amazon employees straight back to the company itself. Newark, New Jersey, has explicitly offered to give Amazon a $7 billion tax break, which is the highest among any of the other finalists. New York, for its part, had offered potential space in four neighborhoods across three boroughs: Midtown West, Lower Manhattan, the Brooklyn "Tech Triangle" between Downtown Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Navy Yard and DUMBO, and Long Island City. The RFP for HQ2 can be read here, and should give some idea of what the headquarters will mean for the winning city when Amazon chooses its final location later this year.
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The big atrium in the sky

Atlanta architect and developer John Portman dead at 93
John C. Portman Jr., the Atlanta architect and developer has died at 93. The Georgia Tech–trained architect is credited with developing large downtown projects that revolved around the concept of the the atrium, which he turned into large and dramatic enclosed open spaces surrounded by multiple balconies, hundreds of rooms and capsule elevators rushing vertically from base to upper floors.  Portman—who often developed and partially owned his projects—thought of these megastructures as new downtowns and they were often built in old downtowns that had been decimated by urban renewal and middle class fight. These buildings were often criticized by theorists like William H. Whyte, Mike Davis, Frederic Jameson and others for their lack of context with the historic city, especially the street. However, later in life Portman received praise from multiple sources including Herbert Muschamp, Paul Goldberger and Rem Koolhaas, who praised his work as “a hybrid” of styles and urban relationships. In 2010 Portman’s career was featured at the 2010 Venice Architecture Biennale and more recently, Harvard Dean Moshen Mostafavi used his designs in a GSD studio, sponsored by Portman, to think of “a new architecture, but one with a lineage.” Portman’s first large important project was for the Merchandise Mart (now AmericasMart) in his hometown of Atlanta in 1961 and this led to his design for the nearby multi-block Peachtree Center in 1965 where he maintained his office. His development firm created the multi-block complex at San Francisco's Embarcadero Center,  the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles 1976, the New York Marriott Marquis in 1985, and the Renaissance Center in Detroit in 1977, whose central tower remained the tallest hotel in the Western Hemisphere until 2013. The Shanghai Centre (1990) was the first of many major projects in China and elsewhere in Asia. Look for a longer appreciation of Portman’s life and career in the next Architect's Newspaper print edition.
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Face/Off

Detroit's historic National Theatre to be scrapped for $800 million development
On December 26, commercial developers Bedrock Detroit released conceptual drawings for its proposed incorporation of Albert Kahn's decaying and vacant National Theatre into their $800 million Monroe Blocks redevelopment. According to The Detroit News, the project would add a 35-story office tower and four mixed-use buildings within the city center. Kahn designed the Moorish Revival-Beaux Arts hybrid National Theatre in 1911, but the structure was abandoned in 1975. While the building has been allowed to decay, it remains the last in Detroit’s historic theatre district. The ongoing struggle to reverse Detroit’s economic fortunes has led to an increasing appreciation of historic structures within the city, as demonstrated by the ongoing restoration work of the Shinola Hotel, and the Albert Khan and Fisher Buildings. A critical asset behind Detroit’s renewal is the preservation of its architectural past. Although the development of unused land within the city center has few opponents, Detroit News reports that only the white-glazed terra-cotta facade and gold-domed towers of the National Theatre building will be preserved by Bedrock Detroit. This leaves the rest of the theatre space subject to demolition. Additionally, the facade will be dismantled piece by piece while undergoing restoration, and will subsequently be returned to a location within the Bedrock’s redevelopment scheme. While Preservation Detroit has voiced support for the Monroe Blocks redevelopment, the organization has expressed concern that only saving the facade compromises the district’s history and  removes an opportunity to restore the existing building within the development. Bedrock is presently involved in a number of ambitious projects in Detroit, such as the restoration of the iconic Book Building and the development of SHoP Architects-designed 1206 Woodward Avenue. For now, the restored facade of the National Theatre will only serve as a pedestrian portal for the upcoming project.
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SHoPping Spree

SHoP breaks ground on Michigan's future tallest building
Michigan Government Rick Snyder, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, and Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert were on hand for the groundbreaking of what will be the tallest building in Michigan. The SHoP-designed project is now expected to rise to 800 feet, making it at least 70 feet taller than John Portman's Renaissance Center, currently the city's tallest building. New renderings show a slightly more conservative formal language for the project. Most notably, the once slightly twisting tower has been straightened out, and deep curving insets have been designed out of the second (lower) building of the project. New York–based SHoP is working with local architects Hamilton Anderson Associates on the project, which is being overseen by Gilbert’s Bedrock development company. The $900 million project will include well over 300 residential units in the 58-story tower, which sits next to an additional 12-story mixed-use building. The ground level of the lower building will include a large market and exhibition space, along with other retail and civic spaces. An observation deck will top the tower. “The building is conceived around a huge and inspiring new public space, a year-round civic square that, both in its architecture and its culture, will foster and convey the feeling we all share when we work together to imagine what this great city can become,” said William Sharples, principal at SHoP, in a press release. The project is being built on what was once the site of one of Detroit’s most popular department stores, Hudson’s. Once the tallest department store in the world at 25 stories, the Hudson’s building was closed in the early 1980s and imploded in 1998. “Ever since Hudson’s closed its doors in 1983, Detroiters have waited and wondered what would come next and what could possibly live up to the incredible history of that block,” said Mayor Mike Duggan at the groundbreaking. “It’s taken nearly 35 years to get that answer, but when people watch this incredible new building rise and see all of the jobs and opportunity it brings, it will have been worth the wait.” The groundbreaking earlier this week begins the three-year building process. Along with this new project, Bedrock is planning to invest $2.1 billion in four projects throughout the city.
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Premium Prefab

2017 Best of Design Awards for Residential – Multi-Unit
2017 Best of Design Award for Residential – Multi-Unit: True North Designer: EC3 Location: Detroit, Michigan True North is a development comprised of nine rental units and shared community gardens located two-and-a-half miles from Downtown Detroit in a quiet, spacious neighborhood. It has received widespread recognition for pioneering creative, affordable design attuned to its community. For aesthetic and economic reasons, the client challenged the architect to utilize Quonset Huts, a prefabricated lightweight structure consisting of corrugated galvanized steel and having a semicircular cross section. The placement of the huts balances openness and security, views and privacy, socializing and solitude. Each structure is assembled on top of a four-inch concrete slab with in-floor radiant heat, which is also the unit’s finished floor. The end walls feature custom steel framing around polycarbonate panels that provide a higher level of security, natural light and high thermal value. Each interior is unique and designed to inspire different creative lifestyles in Detroit. “It’s always nice to see architects do so much with so little. Despite the restraints of working with prefabricated structures and limited materials palette, they’ve made a surprisingly beautiful development—one that could easily be repeated—for a city that needs creative solutions.” —Morris Adjmi, Principal, Morris Adjmi Architects (juror) Client: Prince Concepts Executive Architect: Studio Detroit Site and Landscape Design: EC3 Landscape Contractor: Heroes Landscape Manufacturer: SteelMaster   Honorable Mention Project: American Copper Building Architect: SHoP Architects Location: New York The American Copper Buildings present two bold and dynamic copper towers ‘dancing’ on NYC's East River. The 761-unit luxury rental community, designed to patinate over time, reaches 41 and 48 stories in height with an iconic, amenity-filled skybridge connecting the two towers.   Honorable Mention  Project: 2510 Temple Architect: Tighe Architecture  Location: Los Angeles

Perched within Los Angeles’s Historic Filipinotown, this combination of market-rate and affordable apartment units responds to the city’s housing crisis. Clad in metal panels, the sculptural form of the entry serves as a connection between the private areas of the project and commercial storefronts at street level.

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In Memoriam

Who we lost in 2017
2017 may have had its peaks and valleys (to be honest, more than its fair share of valleys), but all felt the loss of revered figures throughout the design world this year. Below we pause to remember these notable people and their contributions to design, criticism and pedagogy. (See the rest of our Year in Review 2017 articles here) James Ackerman Born November 8, 1919, James Ackerman was a prolific architectural historian and scholar of the Italian Renaissance. In 1969, Ackerman became a Slade Professor at Cambridge University; The Slade Professorship of Fine Art is the oldest professorship of art at the universities of Cambridge, Oxford, and London. Ackerman passed away December 31, 2016, at the age of 97.     Christopher Gray Architecture writer, historian and longtime author of the New York Times Streetscape column Christopher Gray passed away at age 66 in March. Gray was a voluminous writer, having published over 1,450 columns between 1987 and 2014. His wry humor and sly observations, coupled with a habit to pick up on stories that others might overlook, all contributed to a wide readership.     Hugh Hardy A fixture of the New York City landscape, architect Hugh Hardy’s impact was felt by nearly every major theater in the city. Born July 26, 1932, Hardy worked on projects ranging from Radio City Music Hall to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, as well as the Windows on the World restaurant inside of the World Trade Center. Theaters nationwide dimmed their lights after Hardy’s death on March 15th.     Vito Acconci Conceptual artist and architect Vito Acconci passed away earlier this year at the age of 77. The Bronx-born, Brooklyn-raised artist is most well known in the architectural world for designing the Storefront for Art and Architecture in Manhattan with Steven Holl, as well as teaching architecture at Pratt. Acconci leaves behind decades of breakthrough performance art, and Acconci Studio in Brooklyn.     Diane Lewis Diane Lewis, the first woman architect appointed to the Cooper Union’s full-time faculty, died on May 2nd at age 66. Lewis, winner of the 1976 Rome Architecture Prize in Architecture and the 2008 Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt National Design Award, also served on many faculties around the world and was an integral part of New York’s contemporary design scene.     Robert Kliment A cofounder of the award-winning Kliment Halsband Architects with his wife Frances, Robert Kliment passed away June 3rd of this year at the age of 84.  Kliment was also a faculty member at Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania. Known for work that was both thoughtful and humanistic, Kliment was the principal designer on several well-known institutional and educational buildings.     Hilary Ballon Hillary Ballon, a professor of Urban Studies and Architecture at NYU, passed away on June 16 of this year at age 61. Ballon was a prolific author and curator, having written several recognized books on how urban planning relates to social, political, and economic forces.     Branden Klayko Committed urbanist, journalist, and former senior editor for The Architect’s Newspaper (AN), Branden Klayko passed away in June at age 33. An instrumental part of AN’s founding, Klayko used his writing to advocate for sensible urban solutions that took the whole streetscape, and the public’s interaction with it, into account.     Peter Pran Norwegian architect Peter Pran passed away at age 81 on July 5th of this year. Known for bringing modernist ideas to larger corporate firms, Pran was an extremely productive designer with projects realized on nearly every continent. He had previously held positions at Ellerbe Becket, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), and NBBJ, and was a co-founder and partner of Peter Pran + H Architects in New York City.     Gunnar Birkerts Latvian-American architect Gunnar Birkerts passed away at the age of 92 on August 15th, just as the place of his 40-year career in the architectural canon was being reevaluated. An ardent modernist and individualist, Birkerts’ usage of experimental materials and attention to space planning were well-served in Detroit, where he could work without compromising on his unique style.     Fred Koetter Avowed urbanist, teacher, critic and former Dean of the Yale School of Architecture Fred Koetter passed away at the age of 79 on August 21. During his tenure as Dean, Koetter established the school’s Rome summer program and Yale Urban Design Workshop, and continued to win acclaim for projects realized through his professional firm of Koetter Kim & Associates, co-founded with Susie Kim.     Albert Speer, Jr. Prominent German architect Albert Speer, Jr., who spent much of his life trying to get out of the shadow of his Nazi father, Speer, Sr., passed away one September 15th at the age of 83. A renowned urban planner whose progressive approach focused on human-scale projects, Speer’s firm, Albert Speer + Partner, made successful bids in recent years for larger projects such as the 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup.     David Marks David Marks, whose Millennium Wheel has made a lasting impact on London’s skyline, passed away at the age of 64 on October 5th. The Swedish designer was a graduate of the Architectural Association School (AA) and known particularly for his fondness of elevated views. He designed and built several elevated viewing platforms in England, as well as having recently proposed a gondola system for Chicago.     Albert C. Ledner Modernist Albert C. Ledner, whose nautical-themed designs changed both New Orleans and New York, died on November 14th at the age of 93. Despite spending much of his career outside of the mainstream, his work won recognition in recent years owing to its playful, sometimes seemingly esoteric qualities.     Vincent Scully Distinguished architectural historian Vincent Scully, a Yale professor for over six decades, passed away on November 30th at the age of 97. Scully was a champion of American architecture and design, and his teaching and written works affected generations of architects and critics. Other than teaching, Scully was a productive author with 20 books to his name, focusing on everything from Greek sacred architecture to Frank Lloyd Wright.     Ivan Chermayeff Founding titan of modern graphic design Ivan Chermayeff passed away at age 85 on December 3rd. The long-lasting legacy of his award-winning firm, Chermayeff & Geismar, can be felt in the dozens of logos they designed, from NBC’s peacock, to the National Geographic and PBS logos. Besides for-profit projects, Chermayeff was also involved with creating the identities of non-profits ranging from the MoMa to the Library of Congress.
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Reader’s Digest

The best book, building, and exhibition reviews of 2017
We all know the idiom when it comes to everyone having an opinion, but critiques and design discourse are undoubtedly an essential part of the architectural process. The AN office is filled (literally) with piles of architectural and design books, and between our editors and writers, we visit hundreds of exhibitions and buildings each year. Here are the top reviews and critiques that rose above them all. "Five fundamental problems with the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial" By Matt Shaw Exhibition: Chicago Architecture Biennial The second Chicago Architecture Biennial opened in September and immediately caused controversy. We analyze the five key elements that went awry and how we can do better. "What can architects learn from Walmart’s fulfillment centers?" By Kazys Varnelis Book: The Rule of Logistics: Walmart and the Architecture of Fulfillment  Kazys Varnelis argues that The Rule of Logistics is an important book in our current political climate where “the culture of Whole Foods [was] shown up by that of Walmart." “A new book explores Bacardi’s use of architecture going back to the 1800s” By James Way Book: Building Bacardi: Architecture, Art & Identity Who knew rum would be one of the unsung heroes of architecture? The history of Bacardi’s relationship to its brand design and its buildings is a fascinating one. "Snøhetta masterfully creates a new museum setting for 17,000-year-old cave art" By Michael Franklin Ross Building: Lascaux IV Museum This review delves deeply into the research and design that Snøhetta put into the newest iteration of Lascaux, in addition to the building’s context and accomplishments. "Architecture's Odd Couple" is a rare design-professional page-turner" By Paul Gunther Book: Architecture’s Odd Couple: Frank Lloyd Wright and Philip Johnson From Wright referring to Johnson’s work as a “monkey cage” to Johnson accusing Wright of acting as though he was born “from the head of Zeus,” Gunther’s lively review of this architecture rivalry book is a real fun read. "A new book explores John Portman’s influence on American architecture with photos by Iwan Baan" By Andrey Wachs Book: Portman’s America and Other Speculations Four essays and a series of photographs by Iwan Baan places the divisive work of John Portman under a new lens. "SOM’s new L.A. courthouse needs almost no artificial lighting during the day" By Michael Webb Building: United States District Courthouse, Los Angeles Learn why SOM’s newLos Angeles courthouse generated such a buzz for its simple, yet impactful glass cube. "How a $500 house tells the story of a changing Detroit" By Matthew Messner Book: A $500 House in Detroit: Rebuilding an Abandoned Home and an American City If the gritty, American-style story of a 23-year-old buying and renovating a house in Detroit doesn’t lure you in, the thoughtful self-awareness and examination of what “investing in Detroit” really means will.
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Pop! Bang! Fizzle

Watch the failed implosion of the Pontiac Silverdome
It took two tries to substantially demolish the Pontiac Silverdome, former home of the NFL’s Detroit Lions. On an unseasonably warm, but brisk Sunday morning, fans gathered to watch the spectacle of a controlled blast that was to partially implode the stadium. Once the series of explosions went off, nothing happened. The plan called for charges on major structural steel columns to be blasted, bringing down the upper level of the stadium and the ring which once secured its dome. According to a statement released by the City of Pontiac mayor Deirdre Waterman, eight of the shape charges did not go off. It would take a second try, on Monday afternoon, to bring the upper levels down, and begin the nine to 12-month process of demolishing the whole building. Built in 1975, the Silverdome was home to the Detroit Pistons during the 1980s and the Detroit Lions until 2002.