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anodize analyzed

SHoP Architects lands in the Lower East Side with a folded aluminum facade
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In October 2018 SHoP Architects completed the first tower of the Essex Crossing mega-development. Located in Manhattan's Lower East Side, the 14-story mixed-use property is clad with anodized aluminum curtainwall modules. Essex Crossing is a sprawling 6-acre mixed-used development project master planned by SHoP. The site has largely lain dormant since the 1967 demolition of the working-class tenements located at the base of the Williamsburg Bridge. In total, the project will deliver approximately two million square feet of development. The podium of 242 Broome is primarily reserved for retail use, with large curtain wall modules and window widths to facilitate greater daylighting. To increase sidewalk width in front of the tower, the modules of the first five stories taper toward the building's base, each floor overhanging the one beneath by nearly one and a half feet. In a bid to blend with the preexisting massing of the neighborhood, the summit of the podium roughly meets the cornice line of surrounding classically-designed tenements.
  • Facade Manufacturer AZA INT KFK Metal Dizayn
  • Architects SHoP Architects SLCE Architects
  • Facade Installer Walsh Glass and Metal
  • Location New York
  • Date of Completion October 2018
  • System Unitized aluminum frame system mounted to slab edges
  • Products Custom anodized aluminum curtainwall
In accordance with zoning stipulations, the remainder of the tower steps back, forming a vertical rectangular volume rising from the center of the podium. Each successive floor is angled slightly to the west and set back again by nearly one and a half feet. Interior residential use is marked by tighter mullions, with window sizes reduced significantly until the uppermost floors. Just over 500 aluminum-and-glass curtainwall modules are distributed across the building's elevations. Behind the aluminum rainscreen modules, SHoP was able to insert a continuous waterproofing barrier. The facade was installed at a rate of one floor per week, with the entire enclosure system installed in approximately three months. "Anchors for the curtain wall are embedded in the concrete slabs, and serrated aluminum L-shapes attach to the anchors allowing for adjustability," said the design team. "Hooks are attached to the back of the curtainwall mullions which rest on the L-brackets." According to SHoP Architects, the design team relied on parametric design and digital workflows to develop the continually changing curtain wall panels and interior layouts. The color of the folded panels was achieved by bathing the aluminum panels in a coloration bath. Along Ludlow Street, the western elevation of the project, SHoP Architects is also designing the International Center of Photography's new home. The 40,000-square-foot space will be clad in perforated aluminum, cut, folded, and hung on a series of vertical rails.
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Public Record

Nonprofit to document publicly-owned sculptures in the U.K.
There have been a number of projects to digitize culture as of late. More and more museums are putting their collections online, and there are, of course, the many projects of Google Arts & Culture, including the company's recent experiments 3-D printing historic sites. Now, all of the United Kingdom's publicly-owned sculptures that have been made in the past millennium—some 150,000 of them—are going online. Art UK, which has previously worked to get oil paintings documented and accessible online, estimates that most of the country’s sculptures have not been previously photographed, at least in any systematic way, and that only around one percent of the country's public collections can currently be found online. With nearly £4 million in funding secured, the nonprofit's new project brings to light the many sculptures that stay tucked away in storage, as so many works are, exposing them to people across the world through a web platform. The nonprofit's staff, joined by photographers and volunteers, will be traveling across the U.K. to document sculptures from around the world, though they will only focus on those that were made over the past thousand years and are in the U.K.'s public collections or in significant private partner collections, such as those at Oxford and Cambridge. The documentation acts as a critical intervention in preserving and protecting cultural heritage, especially considering that the majority of these works are located outside and are subject to the elements and vandalism. To help organize all these works and all this information, Art UK invites users to join its Tagger platform, which was created along with Citizens Science Alliance, a group based in the astrophysics department at the University of Oxford, and with staff from the art history department at the University of Glasgow, to allow volunteers to help organize, describe, and make searchable hundreds of thousands of artworks. Part of Art UK’s mission is to show as much of the national art collection as possible, an objective that doesn’t end with the online index. Alongside the digitizing project, Art UK is embarking on  various engagement projects, including “60 sculpture-related films” being created “with and by young people.” The nonprofit will also be taking 125 sculptures into schools. You can now view the first 1,000 cataloged sculptures, including everything from outdoor modernist works by Henry Moore, a dollhouse by Yinka Shonibare, 19th-century buddhas, 15th-century bishops, and a wide array of public architectural fixtures.
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Staying in the Loop

Space p11 adds to Chicago's underground art and architecture scene
“The pedway is an exquisite corpse,” said Space p11 director Jonathan Solomon of the assembly of underground spaces that make up Chicago’s Pedway, the subterranean home of the new design and architecture-focused gallery. “We are looking to encourage the many institutions above to take ownership and make the pedway a space for culture.” That notion of ownership, or perceived lack thereof, along with substandard signage, uneven maintenance and concentration of urban odors causes many Chicagoans to shame the pedway. Space p11 (‘p’ for Pedway, ‘space 11’ on the leasing plan) offers an emollient in the form of a formerly anonymous space filled with work dedicated to shared agency. This commitment to shared agency brought a series of actions to the Pedway coinciding with the debut of Space p11, which Solomon directs alongside David L. Hays. The Chicago Loop Alliance partnered with artists to work in and with the Pedway through a series of pop-up experiences, dubbed Short-Cuts, activating elements like walls and abandoned phone booths with performance, drawing, and audio installations. Space p11 opened on December 3 with Phytovision by Lindsey French, an experiment in the hierarchy of perception between humans and plants. Within Space p11, French created a space full of vegetative (not creature) comforts, including a digital video slowed to plant time and shown to a plant audience. The plants watch underneath lights in their preferred colors, red and blue, which combine to flush the gallery in magenta. “People actually think it’s a weed shop,” joked Solomon. The Chicago Pedway is a five-mile network of formal and informal underground pedestrian routes connecting forty city blocks and almost fifty buildings in the Loop. Included are both public and private along with the occasional building lobby and basement. In addition to Space p11, the Pedway houses a mix of services and amenities, including salons, dry cleaners, and a number of idiosyncratic underground bars and restaurants. The Pedway began in 1951 as a tunnel connecting the State Street Subway to the Milwaukee-Dearborn Subway, joining together what are now the Red and Blue lines of the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) system. Subsequent phases occurred in 1966, connecting the Civic Center to the Brunswick Building at 69 West Washington, through the late 1980s, and in 2005, when Millennium Station was completed. An additional extension was created in 2010 to connect the portion north of Lake Street to Aqua Tower, located at 225 North Columbus Drive. While the City of Chicago manages and cleans general areas of the Pedway, it is not responsible for privately owned sections, or those managed by the CTA. The system is not tended evenly, and signage does not remain consistent, confusing infrequent users and discouraging its use altogether for some. Those looking for consistency in the architecture of the Pedway are hard pressed to do so. While the Pedway portion of an individual building often captures what’s going on above, it doesn’t often give it sublime qualities. While there is terrazzo and marble, there are also portions of the system with as much personality as a jet bridge. Like the city above, the Pedway is not perfect. Space p11 is a project of Acute Angles, Inc., the publishers of the design journal Forty-Five. The gallery is designed by Future Firm, which has subtly improved the space by adding materiality to existing elements, along with lifting the language of retail through window framing and customary signage. “p11” is scripted in neon tube above a felted black letterboard announcing the bill of fare. A custom steel sandwich board in white and chrome auto paint is displayed outside the gallery during open hours. Through March 5, Space p11 presents Coalescence, a video installation by Rosemary Hall and Alberto Ortega that seeks to stretch our engagement with the biological and social world. Space p11 55 E. Randolph Street Pedway Level Chicago Chicago, Illinois
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Fly Local

Luis Vidal and Gensler design new terminal for Pittsburgh International Airport
Spanish firm luis vidal + architects (LVA) has partnered with Gensler and OJB Landscape Architecture to design an addition to the Pittsburgh International Airport in western Pennsylvania. Initial renderings released Wednesday of the $1.1 billion project showcase the new terminal set to open in 2023. According to the architects, the design combines nature, technology, and community (a philosophy branded by the airport as NaTeCo) as a nod to Pittsburgh’s location, its local residents, and their commitment to innovation. The design team studied the city’s landscape to come up with a vision that evokes its iconic rolling hills and the rivers that run through it. The new terminal, built between Concourses C and D, will feature an undulating roof, designed to bring pockets of light into the public spaces below. Warm timber and ample plantings will be used throughout the interior as a nod to the region’s natural surroundings. “The combination of nature, technology, and community form the DNA of the region,” said Luis Vidal, “and that should be reflected in the structure of the building to enhance the experience for all users and leave a memorable impression.” In an interview with the airport’s news service, Blue Sky PIT, Vidal noted his initial trips to the city helped him understand how these physical elements could be integrated to create an adaptable design for the 21st-century that was truly Pittsburgh-centric. “When you look at Pittsburgh, you can see it has a very strong heritage and that it has undergone a huge transformation to embrace a diversification of industries, including medicine, education, technology, and robotics,” he said. “Those elements of nature, technology, and community grabbed me during a number of visits and very quickly, I understood that it was the DNA of the region.” Vidal and Gensler’s concept centers around a new, 51-gate terminal that will include a modern check-in concourse, an expanded TSA checkpoint, as well as indoor and outdoor green plazas and gathering spaces. The design will help improve wayfinding and circulation from the departing and arrival zones, while also decreasing walking distances between those areas. HDR, an engineering consultancy based out of Omaha, Nebraska, will help plan for future technological advancements within the airport and seek room for new automated systems. Gensler’s Principal and Aviation Leader Ty Osbaugh said the first set of renderings are the result of a huge community engagement process, which will continue through the schematic design phase. “We have worked very hard, and will continue working to further refine this concept that draws on the best features of the region,” Osbaugh said. “This concept allows for a more modern, adaptable facility that will truly reflect and belong to Pittsburgh.” This isn’t the first major upgrade the Pittsburgh International Aiport has received. In 1992, a billion-dollar expansion by architect Tasso Katselas Associates received widespread praise, particularly for the addition of the airport’s then-new Airside Terminal. The large space featured an arched ceiling and ample room dedicated to a shopping district known as the Airmall. That design helped simplify aircraft movement and eased pedestrian traffic, later becoming a global model for efficient aviation architecture. The architects hope to build on the Airside Terminal’s legacy by building a modern structure that consolidates the airport’s landside and airside operations into one place. The project, with its sweeping design and light-filled interior, evokes Vidal’s award-winning 2014 design of Terminal 2 at London’s Heathrow Airport.
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Kumbaya My Light

Lambert & Fils launches its new Corridor gallery space in Montreal
Young Montreal lighting brand Lambert & Fils has gained recognition in the past few years with a series of blockbuster lighting collections that have broken away from the norms that have stagnated the lighting industry in the past few years. Notable designs include the airport-inspired Dorval series, developed with French studio SCMP. The boutique design house has also developed a series of lauded private and retail interiors. Building on this success, Lambert & Fils has just opened a new exhibition annex adjacent to its office and workshop. Located in the heart of Montreal, Corridor promises to become a new space for cultural exchange. The gallery will feature art and design, and will explore where these often-siloed disciplines intersect. To launch the new space, Lambert & Fils tapped Swiss designer Adrien Rovero to create a special, temporary installation. The Feu de Camp mise-en-scene draws inspiration from Rovero's short time in the boy scouts but also from Montreal’s long and cold winters. The installation incorporates various geometric forms, flashlight-inspired fixtures, and simple industrial materials—green tubes, elastics, electrical wires, and semi-spherical glass diffusers—loosely in the form of a campfire as a way to bring people together during the dreary late-winter season. The installation is arranged around a central node with 12 low-lying lamps surrounding in a circle. These elements were used sparingly to compose a playful yet technically-refined setup, and Rovero also created a wall mural that illustrates this peculiar typology in his unique assemblage-inspired aesthetic. Though this inaugural installation closes tomorrow, Corridor will open the new Studio Edition exhibition—a group show featuring work by emerging Canadian designers—in the coming months.
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Totally Tubular

Detroit's House of Pure Vin lets visitors wine in style
1433 Woodward Avenue Detroit, 48226 (313) 638-2501 M1/DTW House of Pure Vin is a minority-owned wine shop in downtown Detroit contributing to the revival of the city’s historic Woodward Avenue. Architect Christian Unverzagt from M1/DTW helped transform the 3,000-square-foot space into a sophisticated wine tasting shop and tourist attraction. Unverzagt converted a twisted and irregular retail space into a series of smaller rooms—including a climate-controlled champagne room, recessed retail nook, and tasting room—to provide a sense of visual clarity and allow the space to slowly unfold to reveal new activities to visitors. The shop holds over 4,000 bottles of wine, displaying the majority of them within a wall of cardboard tubes typically used for manufacturing. The tubes serve as wine racks, an eye-catching way to store the bottles sideways and shield them from light. Cork is used for various surfaces within the shop, including the walls and cash wrap, acting as a warm contrast to the black steel and industrial materials elsewhere in the store.
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City on Stilts

First phase of Hudson Yards set to finally open to the public
Four blocks of Manhattan’s Far West Side were rezoned 14 years ago for New York's ambitious 2012 Olympic bid. After a failed attempt to secure the games, the parcel of land was awarded in 2008 to real estate giant Related Companies. Through a public-private partnership in which Related would oversee the design, construction, and long-term maintenance of the site, the group began creating what's now the largest private development in the history of the United States. Set atop a cluster of rail yards between 10th and 11th avenues, the first phase of the multibillion-dollar megaproject known as Hudson Yards is set to open on March 15, when a cohort of towers and parkland previously inaccessible to the public will be unveiled. Ahead of the much-anticipated launch date, here’s a brief look at what’s already opened and what’s coming online this spring. 10 Hudson Yards Designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF), this 895-foot-tall office tower was the first structure completed on-site in May of 2016 and features 1.8 million square feet of commercial space. It boasts tenants such as Coach, L’Oréal, Sidewalk Labs, VaynerMedia, and Boston Consulting Group, among others. A Spanish food hall by José Andrés will also be located in the building. 15 Hudson Yards Rising 917 feet in the sky, this residential tower will offer 285 luxury apartments and 107 affordable rentals come March. The skinny skyscraper was designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) as lead architect and Rockwell Group as lead interior architect. 30 Hudson Yards This commercial tower, also designed by KPF is the tallest in Hudson Yards, stretching 1,296 feet in the air, and is set to open in March. It features the city’s highest open-air observation deck, which will be open to the public in 2020. Major media groups such as HBO, CNN, Turner Broadcasting, Time Warner, and Wells Fargo Securities, are set to move in this March. 35 Hudson Yards Also opening this spring, this mixed-use supertall tower was designed by David Childs of Skidmore, Owings + Merrill. It will house 143 condominiums, as well an Equinox Club at the base of its 92 floors. A branded hotel by the luxury fitness company will also open inside the structure. 55 Hudson Yards KPF worked alongside Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates to design this boxy, 780-foot office structure. Completed last year, it's already opened to tenants, serving as the headquarters of several law firms and financial groups. Vessel/New York’s Staircase Heatherwick Studio’s monumental work, known now as New York’s Staircase or Vessel, was commissioned to become the development’s signature work of art. As the centerpiece of Hudson Yards’ five-acre public park, designed by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, the spiraling, copper-clad work stands 150 feet tall and weaves 2,500 steps throughout its structure. It will open to visitors starting in March. The Shops and Restaurants a.k.a. 20 Hudson Yards This seven-story structure, designed by Elkus Manfredi Architects, will contain 25 fast-casual dining options and restaurants helmed by famous chefs like Thomas Keller and David Chang. The one-million-square-foot building will also feature over 100 luxury shops and an immersive exhibition space by Snarkitecture called Snark Park. The Shed, a.k.a the Bloomberg Building This 200,000-square-foot structure features a retractable outer shell designed to open and enclose a year-round exhibition space and performing arts venue. Also designed by DS+R in collaboration with Rockwell Group, the structure sits at the base of 15 Hudson Yards and will serve as the city’s newest cultural center. The project will open on April 5.
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OH! San Diego 2019

Open House! San Diego releases lineup for March event
The San Diego Architectural Foundation (SDAF) has announced the lineup for its annual Open House San Diego (OHSD), an architecture and urban design extravaganza scheduled to take place March 23 and 24. The free festival will open up over 100 architecturally-significant locations across San Diego for building and history enthusiasts to explore. The list of buildings includes some of the city’s newest architectural works as well as several of its most historic sites, including Balboa Park, Barrio Logan, and some in the city’s bustling downtown area. This year, the event will spread to the northern suburb of La Jolla, home to the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and many historic works by Irving Gill, among others. In a press release, OHSD founder Susanne Friestedt said, “We expect thousands of San Diegans and out of town visitors, including families and architecture and design students interested in learning about the design, history, and development of our city.” She added, “Last year, more than 7,500 visits were tallied at 83 sites. This year we anticipate at least 10,000 site visit visits. 350 trained volunteers will be on hand to assist visitors.” One highlight in the lineup includes the recently-completed Block D Makers Quarter, a six-story creative office hub designed by BNIM that strives for high-impact sustainability. The LEED Platinum and net-zero structure is wrapped in louvered shades and will anchor a new creative quarter in downtown San Diego.  Miller Hull’s The Wharf at Point Loma, America’s Cup Harbor project, a finger-like arrangement of shops and public spaces, will also open to the public. With the structure, the architects have brought a commercial and social node to San Diego’s waterfront area. Other sites include the Salk Institute by Louis Kahn in La Jolla, the Atmosphere apartments in Downtown San Diego designed by Joseph Wong Design Associates, and the Jacobs Music Center designed by Gensler. See the OHSD website for more information and a full list of participating sites.
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Going Up

OMA drops a chromatic escalator in the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship
The ground floor of New York's sprawling $250 million Saks Fifth Avenue flagship renovation is complete, and OMA and Rem Koolhaas have designed a splashy, technicolored centerpiece for the midtown Manhattan shop. The luxury department store has embarked on an ambitious reorganization ahead of competitors moving into New York City; as Bloomberg notes, both Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus are opening their first N.Y.C. locations in 2019. Saks Fifth Avenue’s new ground floor is all about handbags. The previous first-floor tenants, the beauty and fine jewelry departments, have been moved upstairs. The Saks Store Planning and Design team and Gensler collaborated on the 53,000-square-foot first floor, installing custom terrazzo flooring from Italy, “experiential” handbag displays with appropriate signage, and wide, runway-inspired aisles. The centerpiece of the new handbag department is the escalator, which changes color as shoppers ride between the lower and main floors, and up to the beauty department on the second floor. UUfie, one of the Architectural League's 2019 Emerging Voices, also used a dichroic effect for a department store escalator, in that case Paris's Printemps Haussmann Verticalé. The second and third phases of the Saks renovation—the “vault,” which will showcase high-end jewelry, and the new menswear section—are both expected to open later this year.
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Welcome to the Big D

Facades+ Dallas will dive into the trends reshaping Texas's largest metro area
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Texas is adding more people per year than any other state in the country, and with nearly 8 million residents, the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area is the largest urban area in the state. On March 1, The Architect's Newspaper is bringing together architecture and development firms located within the metropolitan area for Facades+ Dallas, a fast-paced dialogue focusing on the region's tremendous growth and the projects reshaping it. Participants include 5G Studio Collaborative, CallisonRTKL, Harwood International, Merriman Anderson Architects, the CDC, L.A. Fuess Partners, Ibanez Shaw, Omniplan, DSGN Associates, Buchanan Architecture, Shipley Architects, Urban Edge Developers. Lauren Cadieux, associate at 5G Studio Collaborative, and Michael Friebele, associate at CallisonRTKL, are co-chairing the conference. In the lead up to Facades+ Dallas, AN sat down with Friebele to discuss trends within Dallas and CallisonRTKL's ongoing projects in the area and across the world. The Architect's Newspaper: To begin with, what facade-led projects are CallisonRTKL up to in Dallas and Texas as a whole? Michael Friebele: We are an interesting office in that we have a long-standing local reach here in Dallas-Fort Worth but also a broad depth of work around the globe. We often find it most interesting for us to take the international experience and find ways to apply those lessons throughout our work back home and likewise in the other direction. The collaboration between offices across CallisonRTKL really makes this possible.

From a conceptual standpoint, our work on a vertical campus in Downtown Dallas took cues from many lessons we have learned abroad, from site response to contextual integration, and paired these attributes with an evolving corporate business model. Ultimately, the concept was shaped around an affordable housing project just to the east of the site, maintaining a view corridor through the gesture of a loop that ultimately became a symbol for the company’s programmatic model. It is one in a line of projects coming up in Texas that we are excited about.

From a facade standpoint, our hospitality group is working on a Grand Hyatt Hotel in Kuwait that is currently under construction. The facade concept of self-shading finds a balance between the harsh climate of the region and the demand for expansive views. The pitch results in the natural placement of photovoltaics with the underside of the bay providing a highly transparent opening with minimal direct solar heat gain. The same team recently completed the core and shell of the Maike Business Center and Grand Hyatt in Xi’an. Here, two towers were linked by a belt truss to limit lateral loads while serving as a critical program link between the hotel and office towers. The facade was a simple extruded, serrated form linked in the middle by a vertical screen that emphasizes the composition.

I am working currently on the design of two China-based projects with quite a range of scale between them. OCT Chengdu is on the larger side with a dominant facade facing a key convergence of traffic in the city. The facade plays into that movement with a series of fins that peel upward to reveal the activity of the mall behind, thus activating what is traditionally a hard face. We have been working further to optimize this system. This project is currently under construction and should be complete in a few years. On the other side of scale, we recently began work on an Audubon Center in Zhengzhou. The concept is about tying program and landscape together underneath an observation ring. We have been working with Thornton Tomasetti on realizing the ring as a completely unsupported element over the waterfront with full height curved glazing that reveals the public behind, as if the visitor were a part of the facade experience. The Zhengzhou project will start in construction in a few months and be complete by the middle of next year.

AN: What unique opportunities and challenges are present for architects and designers in Dallas?

MF: Mark Lamster summed it up well in a Dallas Morning News article from April of 2016, "Dallas Architecture is a joke (but it doesn't have to be)."

In my opinion, the potential in Dallas is to be proactive rather than reactive toward challenging and evolving typologies but with that comes a certain degree of investment and risk. We can take lessons from two organizations that I believe have had the most impact upon the city in BC Workshop and Better Block. Both groups have been recognized for their innovative approaches to typologies and community engagement. The Cottages at Hickory Crossing is a noted example on the city’s south side.

An engagement of our value as architects and designers to all parties involved in a project, from developer to community, is key, but change will also depend upon us stepping out and trying something without permission. As Dallas further evolves, there is no better place to test and experiment, but we have yet to really commit to that, beyond few examples. In all, it is really getting back to our fundamentals of why we practice this profession and to search for its meaning once again.

AN: Which ongoing Dallas developments do you perceive to be the most exciting in terms of facade innovation and overall impact on the city?

MF: There have been some noted transformations in Downtown Dallas, from work by Architexas on the Joule Hotel, to Merriman Anderson’s work on the Statler Hilton, all the way to more recent conversions of 400 Record by Gensler. Each of these, among others, have defined in many respects the process of historical rehabilitation in Texas, but also have transformed the program in all cases. Almost overnight, there is a developed rhythm toward respecting the past and redefining the urban realm. The Statler and 1401 Elm represent the largest and most challenging cases of preservation in the city. Statler was many years in the making. Historical innovations during the 1950s proved quite challenging in the rehab of the building. The results of maintaining such a celebrated form and period in the rehab are nothing short of a feat. 1401 Elm is currently undergoing its makeover, with the marble currently off-site for rehab. It has stalled a few times during recent years but hopefully, it will become a major contributor once again.

Both projects are a glimpse into a city that is continually working to value its history more and more by the day. With our first panel, we hope to shed further light on this discussion.

Further information regarding Facades+ Dallas may be found here.
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Lights, Camera, Action

Film Forum's extensive renovation becomes art in new photo book

The following is excerpted from Film Forum: Under Construction 2018.

The images that you see here were captured on a worksite for the expansion of Film Forum, a place where people gather with a group of strangers to watch a story unfold —something that is increasingly unusual these days. They are a celebration of an ancient ritual married to a modern technology. The technology develops but the ritual decays.

What do these photographs say about watching movies? What do they recall and what do they suggest? How is it that beneath the formal pleasures of their design, their abstraction, and their use of color, they conjure something concrete about shared experience? Like a lot of abstractions, and certainly like many of Jan Staller’s photographs, these pictures are not only about a surface but the materiality below the surface. In this case the materials are the brick and mortar of the theater itself and the steel and brittle celluloid of projectors, reels and filmstrips—objects that look now like sacraments of the earliest technology of the art form. They are evocative because they are tactile. My first exposure to the movies was more sterile and electronic. It took place alone, in a dark room, late at night in front of a television set. In this respect, it was closer to the way that most people watch movies today. As I got older I went to movie theaters, spending hours of my youth in palaces called The Orpheum, The Lyric, and more prosaically (and appropriately), The Suburban World. There was something fundamentally different about going to a theater. The impact of the experience was magnified literally by the scale of its presentation and emotionally by the act of sharing it with a community. And just as importantly, by its appeal to the sensorium, something that most modern technology abjures. The theater was itself a machine, one that you entered, was turned on, and then would grind into action. Its constituent parts were hidden but somehow felt.  That’s part of what these photographs evoke, but for me they also evoke memories of my early days as a film editor, when you felt the film in your hands and heard the clack of the sprockets as it ran through the machines. But before waxing too nostalgic about the older ways of doing things, it may be useful to think about two movies that I saw for the first time at Film Forum. They were both by F. W. Murnau, a German filmmaker who came to Hollywood in 1926. The first, Sunrise, was made in 1927 and is certainly one of the greatest movies of the silent period. It was a huge success, and William Fox, the man who had brought Murnau to America and who was the producer of Sunrise, asked him to do another movie. In his youth, Murnau had been something of a gear head—he was fascinated by cameras and new technology. In the interim between Sunrise and his next film for Fox, The City Girl, sound had been introduced. The new technology was alien to Murnau as an older man. He couldn’t reconcile it with his taste or his process and The City Girl was made and released as a silent film with title cards instead of dialogue. Watching it now one wonders what it would have been like otherwise. A cautionary tale about aging out of your era. The movies are wedded to technology, and for better or worse as the technology advances it changes not only how they’re made, but what we actually see and how we watch them. At a certain point resistance seems quaint and misguided. The opportunities in most cases outweigh the things we lose. The sensual pleasures of pre-digital machines are probably lost forever, but the act of gathering to watch stories, to be part of an audience, would be dangerous to lose. It is ancient and fundamental. So let’s celebrate one of the few institutions that continues to expand that opportunity. These pictures do, and they do something else—they get under the skin.
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OAUF

Akoaki designs a new future for Detroit's Oakland Avenue Urban Farm
Detroit Cultivator, a six-acre urban plan developed between design firm Akoaki and the Oakland Avenue Urban Farm (OAUF), uses architecture and community organizing to help formalize a legacy urban farm in Detroit’s North End neighborhood.  The OAUF started with a single plot back in 2000, but over time has grown to encompass over 30 lots and 8 structures. Today, the farm administers mentorship programs, hosts classes, and offers community and art spaces alongside its agricultural activities. As Detroit has recovered from financial calamity following the Great Recession, development interests have taken to surrounding areas, threatening the farm’s future. That’s where Detroit-based Akoaki saw an opportunity to apply its design expertise and institutional connections in innovative ways. The firm is helmed by Anya Sirota, associate professor of architecture at the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, and her partner, designer Jean Louis Farges. Together with neighborhood residents, several university-based teams, and outside “impact investors” like The Kresge Foundation and ArtPlace America, Akoaki has helped design a way to ensure that the farm can become a permanent neighborhood fixture by setting out a long-term growth plan and designing site-based interventions that will promote economic and environmental sustainability. Sirota said, “As architects, we became interested in the challenge of what architecture could do systemically to create a more sustainable operating system for the farm.” The designers sought to discover how the farm could become an “autonomous cultural actor in a complicated urban scenario” that included unclear land ownership, development pressures from land speculators, and water access issues, among other concerns. Because some the farm’s components were located on blighted plots of land that the farm did not own outright, the first step for the project was to secure a path toward formalizing land ownership over these parcels to ensure that developers could not wipe away the farm’s gains. The designers worked with the University of Michigan Law School and a team of “moral investors” to flip the script on land speculators by studying and imitating the tactics they use to exploit Detroit’s land bank. The plan secured land ownership for little-to-no cost via a community land trust ownership model that will keep the land out of the hands of speculators. Once the existential issue of land ownership had been laid to rest, the team worked with volunteers from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business to craft a business plan for the farm. The plan focuses the team’s efforts on two complementary goals: First, by prioritizing the farm’s productivity to create a stable source of income to fund operations and second, by designing the farm’s individual components to create a flexible one-stop-shop for nascent neighborhood entrepreneurs. As a result, the farm is peppered with existing structures that will each eventually become activated as public amenities: A vacant big-box grocery store will be converted into a community gathering space containing a commercial kitchen with the help of a for-profit social venture, Fellow Citizen; an existing shoe shine parlor and former speakeasy will reopen as a multi-tenant commercial space and performance venue; several of the existing homes on the property will eventually house an herbarium, studio, and a design-focused library. New elements created for the site will include a commercial market hall as well as water-harvesting and power stations.  In creating their plan, the designers realized that they could not keep the farm purely agricultural, and they instead sought to formalize other existing uses through building and site interventions. The design embraces both the “urban” and “farming” aspects of OAUF, which, according to the architects, is what the community wants and needs most.  The project, according to Sirota, represents an “attempt to marry form-making with productive landscapes,” to sustain the social and economic impact of land that was once considered marginal in value.  Next, the designers are working on developing and prototyping water harvesting, solar generation, and insulation techniques to help feed into the long-term sustainability plan for the farm while fundraising efforts get underway.