Posts tagged with "Year in Review 2017":

These are AN’s best hot takes of 2017

2017 was a tumultuous year for the news, but it was also a controversial one for architecture. We saw many of the same weird 2017 phenomena (social media, privatization, the post-truth) affecting AN and the subjects we cover. Here are some of our most controversial and critical opinion pieces, from the lackluster Chicago Architecture Biennial to the way that media is changing how we see and make architecture. (See the rest of our Year in Review 2017 posts here). Why are we wrecking our best modernist landscapes? by Audrey Wachs "Just as chokers and platform sandals are cool again, designers are expressing renewed interest in successful 1990s postmodern landscapes, like Wagner Park or Pershing Square. Despite their significance, these parks are now threatened by thoughtless development."

Architects must redesign their profession before technology does

by Phil Bernstein "Since society created the professional class to codify and distribute professional expertise, shouldn’t this trend to democratization be embraced? And since architects design a small percentage of the built environment, isn’t this trend, in theory, all for the good? Should architects cede our authority to algorithms, it’s likely we’ll lose all control and influence over the forces that often reduce great design aspirations to mediocre results."   Five fundamental problems with the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial by Matt Shaw "Some projects were about 'signs' or about 'steel construction,' but that label was more or less the extent of it. There was not much criticality in each individual project, and the overall idea of history seemed to simply be about picking a precedent. Precedent and history are two different things: the former is about legal or argumentative justification, while the second is about all the interesting social, political, and formal ideas. Perhaps the exhibition should have simply been 'Use Precedent (101).'" Splashy renderings hide the flaws of this shipping container house by Mark Hogan "While it would be easy to criticize yet another shipping container project on the basis of it being made out of shipping containers, what is more remarkable is the publicity one can get for renderings of a structure that has no connection to its site or program."   Does architecture have a crisis of ideas? by Matt Shaw "Where are the relevant ideas in architecture? While taking the latest philosophy or digital technology and applying it to architecture is at least a stab in the right direction, what happened to innovative formal ideas, or cultural innovations in architectural form? Where are the radical ideas that might spark our imagination and make us think differently about the discipline and the world in which it exists?"   The town hall as democratic monument: a manifesto by Adam Nathaniel Furman "We are living through what is perceived to be one of our democracy’s most intense crises in generations, which means it is in fact the perfect moment to build monuments to its rebirth. In crisis lies the greatest opportunity for reinvention... It is time for the town hall as a democratic monument: architectural plurality in compositional unity."       What happened to speculation in architecture? by Matt Shaw "While the discipline might be struggling to imagine new ways of living, it is not a boring time for architecture. The world around us is changing quickly, and we can see several new futures simultaneously developing before our eyes. It may not be about predicting or producing new futures, but about reflecting on the present and what plausible near futures could be on the horizon and how they will affect our cities." As the American Dream dies, we must rethink our communities  by Keith Krumwiede "Any new ideas about the way we live, if they are to dislodge us from our long-habituated connection to the single-family detached house, must be accompanied by new architectural models and delivered through compelling new narratives that situate the needs and desires currently manifest in the house within new patterns that make collective life more desirable."   Architects must do more to protect our threatened public lands by Antonio Pacheco "In the same way that architects have led the way in saving architectural relics via support for historic preservation and the National Register of Historic Places—also administered by the Department of the Interior—we must become more vocal in our support for retaining and, in fact, expanding public access to public lands."

The year’s best buildings outside NYC-LA-CHI

Not every piece of spectacular architecture built this year has been located in the major urban centers. From Utah to Ohio, ambitious institutions have constructed some of the country’s best new architecture. The following projects are a few of our editor’s favorites from this year. (See the rest of our Year in Review 2017 articles here.) Southern Utah Museum of Art by Brooks + Scarpa Cedar City, Utah The 28,000-square-foot Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA) by Los Angeles-based Brooks + Scarpa looks to the sandstone canyons of nearby Mount Zion National Park for its soft, yet expressive, form. The dipping and arching exterior includes a 120-foot cantilever, covering a 6,000-square-foot public event space. That form also works to reduce solar gain and protect the museum's artworks, reducing the building's environmental footprint. Home to contemporary and performing art from southern Utah and the surrounding region, the museum is also an educational resource, providing a site for conservation training for MFA students at Southern Utah University. Kent State Center for Architecture and Environmental Design by WEISS/MANFREDI Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism Kent, Ohio Of great interest to most architects, new academic architecture buildings are a rare treat. Designed by New York-based WEISS/MANFREDI Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism, the Kent State Center for Architecture and Environmental Design was the winner of Building of the Year – Midwest in AN’s 2017 Best of Design Awards. Along with the expected studio spaces, lecture halls, library and classrooms, the building includes a café, gallery, and grand stairways, which activate the north and south facades. Large custom brick fins, made of locally produced iron-spot bricks, ties the building into the surrounding campus, while a larger tiered form makes reference to the scale of neighboring buildings. The Contemporary by Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis Architects Austin, Texas The Contemporary brings together two of Austin, Texas’s, most important art institutions, Arthouse and the Art Museum of Art. The project is an adaptive reuse of a building that in the past has served as a theater, a department store, and, most recently, a local art center. The redesign specifically allows for large-scale art pieces to be installed in the building, while the large roof terrace provides additional exhibition space. The roof also includes a perforated aluminum canopy, which includes a retractable weather curtain. At 23,800 square feet, the Contemporary is a new center for art in the heart of Downtown Austin. Innovation Lab and Lamplighter Barn by Marlon Blackwell Architects North Dallas, Texas Arkansas-based Marlon Blackwell Architects has been delivering exceptional buildings throughout the middle south for years. This continues with its first North Texas project, an Innovation Lab and Lamplighter Barn. Built on the campus of the North Dallas Lamplighter School, the project is part of the "Igniting Young Minds for a Lifetime of Learning” campaign. The Innovation Lab includes a teaching kitchen, environmental science spaces, a robotics lab, and a woodworking shop. The Lamplighter Barn is replacing the campus’s chicken coop and will define an outdoor pasture for its animals. Most strikingly, the Innovation Lab takes the form of a long sleek building clad in a concealed-fastener, flat-panel copper facade. Over time the project is expected to gain a varied coloration as the copper patinas, based on local weather and sun movements. Cummins Headquarters by Deborah Berke Partners Indianapolis, Indiana Cummins, makers of diesel engines, is no stranger to quality architecture. The company’s founder is credited with bringing many of the Modernist masterpieces to the small town of Columbus, Indiana, just south of Indianapolis. When it came to building its own headquarters, Cummins turned to New York-based Deborah Berke. The nine-story tower is Berke's first office design, which is located on the empty site of a former arena. The building includes flexible work spaces, including double height “social hubs,” retail space, with a new urban park at the its base. The highly tuned form and facade of the building integrates vertical fins and horizontal shades to provide environmental control, as well as a carefully considered aesthetic.

The good, the bad, and the ugly: Best preservation stories of 2017

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 that will shape preservation debates through next year and beyond. (See the rest of our Year in Review 2017 posts here.) New York City is losing its modernist public spaces 2017 was rough on New York City's modernist landscapes. In June, bulldozers unceremoniously demolished a landmarked Sasaki fountain and plaza at the Citicorp Center—a move that was sanctioned by the city without input from the public. Over in Battery Park City, officials are considering a total redesign of Machado Silvetti and Hanna/Olin's Wagner Park, a public postmodern marvel. Out in Brooklyn, the Parks Department is set to replace a rare public commission by landscape architect A.E. Bye in Fort Greene Park with a bland promenade. At least no one here is turning Brutalist landscapes into climbing walls...

Lawrence Halprin’s Freeway Park slated for major overhaul

Seattle’s Freeway Park, a pioneering work of modernist landscape architecture by Lawrence Halprin and Angela Danadjieva that's widely recognized as the world’s first freeway cap park, is undergoing a series of wayfinding-oriented renovations. Nonprofit park stewards Freeway Park Association (FPA) hired Seattle-based landscape architects SiteWorkshop to add a bandshell, new restroom facilities, a food kiosk, a playground, and even a bouldering wall to the Brutalist landscape. The interventions are meant to soften the verdant but austere park, a move that some say runs counter to Halprin and Danadjieva's original design intent. New York Public Library interiors landmarked The New York Public Library’s (NYPL) main branch in Midtown Manhattan is a definitive New York building, but until recently, its splendid interiors were mostly unprotected. That changed this summer when the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) added the Rose Main Reading Room and the Bill Blass Catalogue Room to its roster of interior landmarks. (The exterior of the Carrère & Hastings–designed building was protected 50 years ago.) Now, the structure is slated for extensive remodeling by Mecanoo and Beyer Blinder Belle, who debuted a master plan for the changes in November.

Edward Durell Stone gem gets a comprehensive rehab

Halfway between Chicago and Denver along Interstate 80, Grand Island, Nebraska is perhaps best known as the home of the Nebraska State Fair, but it also hosts an important work of modern architecture. Designed by Edward Durell Stone in 1963, the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer documents the lives of Europeans who first settled in Nebraska. Recently, the museum underwent a comprehensive renovation and rehabilitation, led by Lincoln, Nebraska–based BVH Architecture. Snøhetta takes on the AT&T Building   Architects took to the streets to protest changes to the AT&T Building, Philip Johnson and John Burgee’s iconic postmodern tower. Among other changes, the Snøhetta-led redo would glass in the building’s signature 110-foot-tall arched stone entryway. Denise Scott Brown, Sean Griffiths, Adam Nathaniel Furman, Paul Goldberger, and others took to AN‘s pages to weigh in on the design (TL;DR most folks think glassing in the base is a bad idea). Thanks to activists’ efforts, the pomo marvel on Madison Avenue is now up for landmarking. OMA menaces Gordon Bunshaft's Albright-Knox addition When it was revealed that OMA would design an $80 million expansion of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, preservationists were concerned. OMA's concept design—new galleries and parking organized around a huge class lobby—would eliminate Gordon Bunshaft's suave 1962 addition to the Buffalo, New York museum. Over protests, the museum is now raising money for the project, which it has dubbed AK360 (perhaps in reference to the assault on good taste). Helmut Jahn's Thomson Center still imperiled  Designed by Helmut Jahn and completed in 1985, the James R. Thompson Center is the hub of Illinois state government in the City of Chicago. From the moment it was constructed, its vertiginous interior has turned heads and sparked debate. Today Governor Bruce Rauner is keen to see the building either demolished or converted into a private property. This year saw the premiere of Starship Chicago: A Building on the Brink, a new documentary on the oft-misunderstood building.

Louis Kahn’s endangered floating concert hall is headed to Florida

This summer it looked like Louis Kahn's concert-hall-on-a-barge was headed to the scrap heap. The 195-foot-long boat, dubbed Point Counterpoint II, was commissioned as a floating venue for the American Wind Symphony Orchestra (AWSO) for the Bicentennial, and it's traveled the country's waterways ever since. Despite its design pedigree, longtime owner Robert Austin Boudreau struggled to find an owner for two decades, and was going to chuck the boat if he didn't find a suitable buyer. In early December, the Hudson Valley's Daily Freeman reported that Boudreau sold the vessel to a consortium of Florida businesspeople. This winter, it will be restored in Louisiana and will eventually dock in Lake Okeechobee, about 50 miles west of Palm Beach, Florida. Master plan for The Alamo stirs debate A $450 million plan for the treasured historic site of The Alamo in downtown San Antonio is causing a stir. Architects, planners, professors, patriotic preservationists, and the public are in disagreement over a rejuvenation scheme that looks to open up the plaza but relocates a historic cenotaph in the process. House of Tomorrow is saved  The House of Tomorrow, the first residence to be clad with a glass curtain wall, is set to receive a much-needed update from a team of Chicago firms. Originally designed by Chicago architect George Fred Keck for the city's 1933 World’s Fair, the 12-sided glass-and-steel home sports an open floor plan, also a rarity for the time. After the fair, the early modern home was moved to Beverly Shores, Indiana, to be incorporated into a vacation village that was never completed. Now, Indiana Landmarks is spearheading the renovation of the National Register–listed property in collaboration with chosen firms. Monument removal After white nationalists provoked violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and amid a national climate of heightened bigotry, cities and towns across the county are re-evaluating their public monuments. With little fanfare, under the cover of night, the City of Baltimore took down four Confederate monuments in August. After protests, New York City established an independent commission this fall to review the city’s public monuments for "symbols of hate." Should these monuments be saved in the name of history? Or should they be altered—even destroyed—because they no longer positively embody contemporary values?

The most popular interior design projects of 2017

As we continue to evolve our AN Interior magazine (don’t miss it on newsstands if you haven’t already gotten your copy!), we are discovering more and more amazing architectural interiors. Here are a few showstoppers that you, our readers, couldn't stop checking out this year. (See the rest of our Year in Review 2017 articles here.) Pedro&Juana’s Ana Paula Ruiz Galindo and Mecky Reuss show off their new apartment in Mexico City In all of their projects, Ana Paula Ruiz Galindo and Mecky Reuss, of Mexico City–based Pedro&Juana furnish public areas with furniture of their own design, imbuing utilitarian spaces with a joyful energy and effervescent wit. Those sensibilities—and some of those furniture pieces—are fully realized throughout the pair’s recently renovated, 1,200-square-foot Mexico City apartment. Home Studios brings luminous art nouveau to a Brooklyn cocktail bar A certain type of Brooklynite has, in the past five years, done at least one of the following: lined up for pizza at Paulie Gee’s; caught a movie at Syndicated; and raced to happy hour at Ramona, Sisters, or Manhattan Inn. Even if none of those names ring a bell, chances are, if you’ve been out and about anywhere in North Brooklyn, then you’re already familiar with Home Studios, the firm behind these and Elsa, their newest addition to the Brooklyn bar scene. Home Studios designed Elsa’s light fixtures, doors, banquettes, tables, shelving for the bottles behind the bar, cocktail tables, and stools—with much of the work completed in its in-house shop. It’s all in a day’s work for the firm, which specializes in highly customized interiors. Striking gold accents fill Dallas’s Houndstooth Coffee and Jettison Cocktail Bar Dallas-based OFFICIAL transformed a 2,100-square-foot space into a day-to-evening cafe-bar whose design cements the brand of a well-loved Texas coffee shop. The bar’s lower ceilings are punctuated by a celestial gold-painted and trussed cavity that releases just the right amount of mood lighting into the space while providing clever coverage for the HVAC system. Custom fabrication shapes the space top-to-bottom: The perf wall light next to the bar was designed and fabricated locally by Mark and Amy Wynne Leveno, OFFICIAL’s cofounding principals. West of West brings an ethereal lighting scheme to this Dallas optical shop The architects at West of West brought Golden State cool to the latest retail outpost of Garrett Leight California Optical in Dallas, Texas. For the sunshiny space, founding principals Jai Kumaran and Clayton Taylor looked to nature and James Turrell’s luminous work. You don’t need 20/20 vision to see the beauty of this inspiration. Here, in their fifth store for the company, the Los Angeles and Portland–based firm crafted a calm ceiling “cloud” that orients the crisp space from above.“The interior of the store was inspired by conditions found in nature and then abstracted, condensed, and refined,” Kumaran said. “By manipulating light and volume an immersive spatial experience is created that separates this store from its suburban surroundings.” Philippe Starck designs a surreal nautical interior for Miami’s Bazaar Mar The 7,200-square-foot Bazaar Mar in Miami’s SLS Brickell is composed of two dining rooms and a raw bar materially connected by more than 6,000 hand-painted tiles featuring the drawings of artist Sergio Mora and manufactured in Spain by Cerámica Artística San Ginés. The azulejo tilework, painted in a Delft Blue pastiche typical of 16th-century Dutch pottery, completely covers the walls and ceiling. The murals are ornamented with gilded crustaceans and cabaret-style mermaids that dissolve otherwise-solid walls into surrealist other worlds. Likenesses of people involved in the project, including Chef Andrés, appear throughout the murals. The furnishings include smooth marble-topped tables, upholstered love seats, and stark white wooden chairs, creating an evocative atmosphere from which the maritime narrative emerges. Kayak office’s takes flight with an aeronautical design When Beinfield Architecture set out to create a new headquarters for travel search engine Kayak, it turned out that client and architect both had movement on the brain. The resulting headquarters is in a formerly abandoned police station designed by Yale University architect James Gamble Rogers. Kayak envisioned the patinaed headquarters containing not only top-notch collaborative offices, but also an awesome accent piece: a full-scale section of a vintage airplane fuselage that would symbolize the company’s airline-travel focus. The historic building’s nature precluded altering the structure physically, so the 20-by-30-foot fuselage couldn’t be dropped in as was originally planned. Instead, Beinfield constructed a replica within the building from new components.

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.

Goooooaal! The best sports architecture of 2017

Soccer fields, ballparks, and football stadiums are all designed to direct attention towards a central spectacle, but that doesn’t mean they all have to follow the same playbook. In a year where cities tried to integrate their stadiums into the surrounding urban fabric, developers and designers demonstrated new ways of thinking about how we imagine sports architecture. Designing for sports means thinking not only about withstanding the elements and the wear and tear of massive crowds, but also make sure the project stands the test of time. 2017 saw stadiums go to new, sometimes weird places, all made possible through creative engineering. Below are some of the best sports architecture projects that AN has written about this year. The Rams' Stadium dapples in the sun The swooping, biomorphic shape of the new L.A. Rams stadium is pierced by 20 million holes. Even though the whole thing is clad in metal panels, the breezy, HKS-designed arena will let fresh air blow through, hopefully solving at least some of the “hellish” conditions of the current coliseum. HOK’s oscillating Georgia Dome replacement A viral story about the Georgia Dome’s failed implosion couldn’t overshadow the opening of its replacement, HOK’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Crowned by an iris-shaped roof that can open or close in only nine minutes, the stadium features a host of innovative engineering applications that make it what it is. The multi-use, LEED Platinum certified stadium has certainly been recognized for it, too. The Oakland Raiders are leaving (to) Las Vegas Putting aside the Raiders’ controversial move from Oakland to Las Vegas, the stadium proposed for the team’s new hometown is light, airy, and undeniably football-centric. A step up from the 50-year old concrete coliseum that the Raiders share with the Oakland A’s, the approximately $2 billion project will focus solely on one sport. While the project broke ground just last month and is on track for the NFL’s 2020 season, that means three years of tension between fans while the Raiders are still in Oakland.* Bending it like Beckham in Miami This year new renderings were released for the stadium that soccer star David Beckham hopes will draw a pro-soccer team to Miami. After feedback over an initially bulky design, Populous unveiled plans for an open-air stadium with a soaring superstructure topped by a canopy. The most ground-breaking part of the stadium is that it won’t break ground on any parking lots, encouraging spectators to use the nearby Metrorail, waterways, and even a shuttle service from stadium-owned parking garages that could be built further away. Los Angeles goes European with their latest soccer stadium The Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) teamed up with Gensler earlier this year to release their plans for a “European-style” soccer stadium where steeply stacked seating arrangements would put fans closer to the field than a traditional layout. Newly-christened as the Banc of California Stadium, the open-air stadium is ensconced around the edges by cavernous glass sections that will both keep viewers dry as well as house the lighting system. A focus on upscale interior finishes might not be the first thing that comes to mind when discussing a soccer stadium, but the LAFC hopes that these restaurants and commercial spaces will draw non-fans to the area as well. Tampa’s new-old skatepark wins over critics Skaters were outraged when Tampa demolished the Bro Bowl, a concrete skatepark that boarders had been tagging since 1978. Part of the city’s redevelopment of the Central Avenue drag, a compromise was reached where an exact replica of the park was built a few hundred feet away, with the original site being turned into a sculpture garden for works portraying prominent members of the African American community. With both Tampa’s African American community and the skaters up in arms at first, both sides have come to embrace the new developments.

Here are the best architectural ducks of 2017

It has been 40 years since Learning from Las Vegas introduced the world to the idea of the architectural duck. Though often held up as everything that is wrong with postmodernism, ducks seem to have some real lasting power. Every year, a number of projects take the idea of the duck a few steps further. 2017 has been no exception. Here are some of this year’s most notable ducks. LEGO House  – Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) Billund, Denmark There may be no toy in existence which has had a bigger impact on the minds of future architects than Legos. Located in Billund, Denmark, BIG’s LEGO House takes the idea of a duck to an extreme. The LEGO House’s is comprised of 21 LEGO-shaped volumes, with round skylights on the top level resembling the iconic two-by-four LEGO block. The project was conceived as an interactive attraction for the Billund’s Downtown, where LEGO is headquartered. Apple Flagship Store – Foster + Partners Chicago, Illinois Over the past decade and a half, Apple has been constructing flagship stores around the world by designers such as Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and Norman Foster. Their latest seems to take the company’s branding very seriously. The new Foster-designed Chicago flagship takes the undeniable form of an Apple laptop. Early rumors predicted the ultra-thin long-span carbon fiber roof would be adorned with the iconic apple symbol. While that rumor never proved to be true, the grey roof from above still resembles a giant Macbook Pro. "Domestikator" – Atelier Van Lieshout Paris, France Though originally created in 2015, "Domestikator" by Atelier Van Lieshout made its way back into the headlines when the Louvre refused to display the building-size artwork this year. The Louvre’s art director, Jean-Luc Martinez, stated that the fear of “being misunderstood by visitors” was the reason for the reversal in plans to show the work during the FIAC International Contemporary Art Fair in the Tuileries Gardens. Atelier Van Lieshout’s founder, Joep Van Lieshout, had planned to live in the structure through the duration of the festival. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, Florida Still under construction, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is a $1.5-billion entertainment development that takes the shape of a immense electric guitar body. At 450 feet tall, the hotel will include 600 rooms, multiple restaurants, and a 41,000-square-foot spa. While the shape of the hotel does not include the neck or head of the guitar, a series of six vertical fins resembling guitar strings run up the front of the building. Rather than a typical groundbreaking, the project had a “guitar smashing ceremony,” and is expected to be complete in 2019. Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation, American Museum of Natural History - Studio Gang Architects Washington, D.C. Studio Gang is no stranger to biomorphic forms in its designs. The new addition and renovation to the American Museum of Natural History, currently still in the design phases, takes this interest a few steps further. While the exterior resembles a weathered rock face, the interior takes on the form of a full-out natural cave. Though formally resembling a subterranean cavern, vast expanses of glass bring bright natural light into the space. The 235,000-square-foot Gilder Center is expected to open in 2020.

The 12 best architecture controversies of 2017

As 2017 fades away, we look back at some of the controversies and debates that stirred up the waters. Here are our most memorable, outrageous topics of the year. We love it when our readers respond and add to the conversation! (See the rest of our Year in Review 2017 articles here.) Pier 55 It was dragged through the courts. It lived. It was taken back in, only to be killed again. Less than two months later, Pier 55 was resurrected for good, ending one of the most entertaining public spectacles of 2017, an epic troll-fest that had two of the city's richest men running to almost every New York paper to leak informationdrop disses, and escalate their mutual antipathy with a vigor rivaled only by Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio’s pettiness. An October deal between stakeholders and opponents assures that key parts of Hudson River Park will be rebuilt, and the governor has promised state money for these projects. Zillow's legal crusade against McMansion Hell Back in June, real estate site Zillow told Kate Wagner, creator of popular architecture blog McMansion Hell, that she had violated Zillow's terms of use on her blog and warned she had just days to delete all offending images from McMansion Hell. When Wagner posted the shocking letter online, architecture Twitter brought the roof of wrath crashing down on Zillow. Just two days and one threat later,  Zillow backed off its legal claims, allowing us to resume laughing at and learning from the nubs and weird turrets of suburban America's mega-homes. The fake architect This year, Paul J. Newman, 49, president and sole employee of architecture firm Cohesion Studios, pled guilty to posing as a licensed New York state architect for work on multiple projects, including an Albany, New York senior center and townhouse developments in the Capital Region. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office dubbed its two-year investigation “Operation Vandelay Industries,” a nod to the fake company George Costanza invented on Seinfeld to collect unemployment benefits. In September, Newman was sentenced to a maximum of seven years in prison in Saratoga County, New York, with more arraignments to follow. Building Trump's border wall In late February, the Department of Homeland Security announced it was accepting bids for a U.S.-Mexico border wall, and the first prototypes for this highly controversial project were revealed in October. Beyond its dubious efficacy and shaky moral foundation, the wall's construction will also destroy wildlife preserves and homes in Texas and possibly other states. Trump tax plan guts Historic Tax Credit The House’s tax plan eliminates the Historic Tax Credit (HTC), an important revitalization tool for municipalities across the country. The Senate’s rules are only slightly better: Its bill would spread out the current 20 percent credit for recognized historic structures over five years, and eliminate the ten percent credit for buildings erected before 1936. When the bill (officially known as Tax Cuts and Jobs Act) went into conference early this month, the AIA said it would lobby hard against the proposed HTC cuts. The sinking Millennium Tower The 58-story Millennium Tower, designed by Handel Architects, has sunk nearly 17 inches since its opening in 2009. Recently, engineers with Arup—employed to work on the currently under-construction Salesforce Tower designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects next door—inspected the Millennium Tower’s rooftop height and found that the tower had sunk an additional 2 ½ inches beyond the initial 14 ½–inch drop recorded last year. Troublingly, the tower is not only sinking, but it is sinking unevenly, resulting in a measurable slant to the 645-foot-tall complex. As the muddy and sandy soils beneath it give way, it continues to tilt precariously toward the Salesforce Tower. Whoops. The Oculus leaks Last year, we asked architects what they thought of Santiago Calatrava's Oculus, the train station in a mall near the World Trade Center. Besides its grand spindly dino bone shape and horrific interior detailing, leaks in the ceiling deposit puddles on the marble floors, and these slippery surfaces have sent multiple people to the hospital. Not only that, a malfunctioning escalator injured two passengers in April. It may prove to be an iconic transit hub, but watch your step for now. The Raiders hoof it to Las Vegas This year, National Football League (NFL) owners approved the Oakland Raiders' relocation to Las Vegas, heralding what could be the final play in the nearly two-year-long drama that has unfolded as several West Coast teams reshuffle hometowns. Las Vegas city officials courted the Raiders for months, offering $750 million in public financing for the team’s Manica Architecture–designed $1.9 billion (yes) stadium proposal. The 65,000 seat stadium—a recycled scheme left over from the team’s attempt to move to Carson, California last year—features a large-scale, retractable side wall that would allow the stadium to become partially open-air. In May, the team purchased a 62-acre site for their future stadium, but it can't move into its new digs until 2020, an awkward situation given the emotionally fraught pre-move negotiations. Zumthor's LACMA scheme The Los Angeles County Museum of Art's (LACMA) $600 million expansion by Atelier Zumthor's will demolish the entirety of the existing William Pereira–designed campus, including a 1986 addition by Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer done in the postmodern style. The proposed changes would leave in place the 2008 Renzo Piano-designed Broad Contemporary Art Museum addition as well as the Japanese Pavilion by Bruce Goff from 1988. Despite the 390,000-square-foot expansion's hefty price tag and the sacrifice of several key works of late modern and postmodern architecture, Zumthor’s proposal will generate a net loss in gallery space for LACMA. Instead, the new museum will be designed as a singular mega-gallery carved up into differently-sized rooms. Plans call for the proposal to undergo further review over the next several months, and construction is expected to begin sometime in late 2018. Monument removal After white nationalists provoked violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and amid a national climate of heightened bigotry, cities and towns across the county are re-evaluating their public monuments. With little fanfare, under the cover of night, the City of Baltimore took down four Confederate monuments in August. After protests, New York City established an independent commission this fall to review the city’s public monuments for "symbols of hate." Other monuments are being tried in the court of public opinion: Is Christopher Columbus an Italian hero, or an imperialist monster? What about Teddy Roosevelt? The weight of history bears heavily on these questions. Zaha's sidelined Manhattan supertall The major redevelopment of the Kushner Companies' 666 Fifth Avenue building by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) is stalled for good. Kushner’s partner on the project, Vornado Realty Trust, has decided to simply renovate the site’s existing structure. Kushner’s original plan with ZHA called for stripping the current building down to its steel core and extending it up into a 1,400-foot-tall slender cigarette of a tower. 'Hands off my Johnson' Architects took to the streets to protest changes to the AT&T Building, Philip Johnson and John Burgee’s iconic postmodern tower. Among other changes, the Snøhetta-led redo would glass in the building's signature 110-foot-tall arched stone entryway. Denise Scott Brown, Sean Griffiths, Adam Nathaniel Furman, Paul Goldberger, and others took to AN's pages to weigh in on the design (TL;DR glassing in the base is clearly a bad idea). Thanks to activists' efforts, the pomo marvel on Madison Avenue is now up for landmarking.

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.