Posts tagged with "Cars":

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30 cities join forces to buy electric vehicles worth $10 billion

Thirty cities—including New York, L.A., and Chicago—are investing billions in electric vehicles to show doubters (like, uh, our president) that there is indeed a market for fuel-efficient cars and trucks. The $10 billion investment, still in its negotiation stage, is a clear message to the auto industry that there's growing demand for low-emission vehicles, even as President Trump moves to relax pollution standards opposed by the auto industry. The cities reached out to car manufacturers to provide feasibility report on 114,000 electric vehicles, a fleet which, Bloomberg News reports, could include garbage trucks, street sweepers, and police cars. “No matter what President Trump does or what happens in Washington, cities will continue leading the way on tackling climate change,” Matt Petersen, the chief sustainability officer for Los Angeles, told the paper. During a meeting with Big Three executives on Wednesday, the President announced plans to review Obama-era fuel efficiency standards. The heads of General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, and Ford all say that the fuel-saving innovations are too expensive to implement and that drivers aren't interested in the technology. A spokesman for an industry trade group, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, told Bloomberg News that carmakers offer 95 different electric and hybrid vehicles but all those sales are eclipsed by one popular gasoline-powered pickup truck. Despite the industry's claims, the city-led inquiry could boost the electric vehicle market substantially, potentially accounting for almost three-quarters of the electric vehicle sales in the United States. So far, there's interest on the supply side: Almost 40 manufacturers have responded to the request, which is being led by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Four cities—Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, and L.A.—ordered about 24,000 electric vehicles earlier this year, and since then an additional 26 cities have signed onto the initiative. “Now more than ever there is a need for cities’ leadership on climate,” said Daniel Zarrilli, New York City’s senior director of climate policy and programs. “We really want to send a message that there is a growing market for electric vehicles—regardless of what is happening in D.C.”
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SVA remembers the women behind the modern car

The School of Visual Arts (SVA) is hosting a lecture on women designers who influenced the blueprint of the modern automobile. "Women and Cars" explores the historical and stylistic development of the car through the women who took it from its humble beginnings as a horseless carriage to the "objet de luxe of the 1920s." Conducted by design writer Russell Flinchum, Associate Professor at the College of Design at North Carolina State University, the lecture is set to honor former SVA faculty member and design critic Phil Patton whose fascination with cars informed a large part of his writing career. Flinch plans to look at the "concours d'elegance" by featuring haute couture clothing alongside equally chic cars. In the post-war period, being seen to have "good taste" was no more evident in the cars of General Motors. Under the "GM System," design executive Harley Earl created an automobile aesthetic that we've come to associate with a certain period in American history. To many, the 1950s "Damsels in Design" advertisements created by Earl are seen as the starting point for examining women's contributions to the modern automobile. The "damsels" were nine women designers from Pratt Institute that Earl selected to model with GM cars, and their presence was meant to appeal to women who managed their household's purchases. By going back in the archives, SVA is exploring a period in time that is reflective of a revolutionary decade in automobile history. The talk is set to take place Tuesday, March 22 at the SVA Department of Design Research, Writing and Criticism (136 West 21st Street).
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Cool & Unusual: The story behind Mark Foster Gage’s unique tower proposal for Billionaire’s Row

With a theoretical site on Mahattan’s 57th Street—the so-called Billionaires’ Row—New York–based Mark Foster Gage Architects (MFGA) was recently asked, “What is the next generation of luxury?” The firm's answer? To bring “higher resolution” to those projects by working at a range of textural scales, and his proposed theoretical tower has been making waves in design conversation around the city. For instance, from far away, the building reads as a figure in the skyline, but up close, there is another level of detail that is not legible from far away. Even closer, the ornament has another level of “resolution” that makes it more visually interesting. Gage told AN that the idea comes from a Leon Krier drawing where a man is looking at a column, and then zooms in to see a capital, and then zooms in even further to see an egg-and-dart pattern. The same man then looks at a Modernist building, which looks like a grid. When he zooms in he sees another grid, and then zooms in again to see another grid. Gage wants to develop this concept for the 21st century, creating high- to super-high resolutions using a technique called “kitbashing,” or taking parts of readily available models and repurposing and reanimating them together as a new whole. Three-dimensional models from the internet become like new primitives for MFGA, where a new vocabulary emerges from a wealth of new shapes. “Architecture, and especially abstraction, has become about picking out products,” Gage told AN. “If a building is going to be 102 stories, it should give more to the city than just a facade product.” He cites Rockefeller Center as a building that has multiple readings, from its iconic profile to the narrative relief sculptures on its walls. The proposed tower on 57th Street does not have the overt political meaning that Rockefeller’s ornament does. Gage is adamant about not assigning symbolic meaning to his architecture. He would rather choose the figures for their formal qualities, and let people assign meaning. And people have certainly been assigning meaning. “The comments are hilarious,” said Gage. Critics’ comments include everything from speculation that Bruce Wayne bought the penthouse, to musings about a 21st century Gothic, to comparisons to a temple to the Norse god Odin. Others likened it to Gaudi and Michelangelo. A person going by the name Andres Duany on a University of Miami listserv had the quote of the day. “NO! Ornament must be handcrafted. We must and we will wrench the clock back two centuries!!! That will assure that is [sic] is good ornament. The good looking and durable is the guaranteed result of handcraft. The bad looking and soon-to-be-decrepit is the inevitable result of machine production. Plus returning to handcraft will employ oodles of workers in a satisfying way.” However, aesthetics are slippery slope. Everyone has different opinions. What matters here is that while the forms are extreme, they carry with them a significant set of ideas about ornament in our time, and the importance of resisting the simplification of architecture into a monotonous skyline of dull boxes. With a boom of residential construction producing a large percentage of high-profile architecture in New York and other cities, many of the most exciting projects are not experienced by the public as an actual building, but rather as an image, or a part of a landscape or skyline. In this regard, the contribution architects can make to the city remains mostly visual. Thus, aesthetic research remains important and timely.
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Not a car in the world: Nashville neighborhood abstains from use of cars for a whole week

While major cities in Europe and across the world are experimenting with the car-free lifestyle, the American South is not likely on anyone's radar as the next to embrace the trend. A neighborhood in Nashville, Tennessee, however, has promised to not use cars for an entire week, leaving them at home as part of the "Don't Car Campaign."

Having started on September 19, 30 participants will go carless until the 25th. “Parking has been a big issue here,” said Jamie Brown, a member of the Nations Neighborhood Association (NNA) board speaking to the Nashville Business Journal. “The residential density is getting higher. One [house] goes down and two or three go up,” she said. “Now we’re starting to see condominium and apartment units." Elaborating on the parking difficulties in the area Brown went on to say: “We’re worried about how [new development] is going to affect our overflow parking in the street. We don’t have sidewalks in our neighborhood. The developers keep telling us this is a walkable neighborhood, saying it’s close to downtown. … We wanted to test that concept.” The NNA campaign to go car-less highlights the outdated transit system currently in place, adjudged by the Nashville MTA as insufficient for the growing local population. The city, according to the Nashville Business Journal, is fortunate in that it is walkable and pedestrian-friendly with plenty of bike lanes. Abstaining from car usage then shouldn't be that much of an issue. “People in other neighborhoods have reached out and told us this is a great idea,” Brown said. “We hope the campaign could be done by other neighborhoods.” The team of 30 who will record and document their experiences seeks to be a leading example of how a population can get by without being dependent on cars. They also want people to start seeing how capable their transportation infrastructure really is.
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While Google is photographing your street, its cars will also be mapping the air city dwellers breathe

Will we call it Air View? Google is collaborating with San Francisco–based, pollution-tech start-up Aclima to begin assessing air quality in metropolitan areas across the United States. Cars Google uses to capture its popular Street Views have been equipped with Aclima's environmental sensors and will be able to detect pollutants such as Methane, Carbon Dioxide, and Black Carbon. https://youtu.be/Ggkab1lKj6g In a test drive back in August 2014, three Google cars equipped with these sensors collected 150 million data points after driving 750 hours around Denver. The study, conducted by NASA and the EPA, successfully mapped the change in outdoor air patterns and has confirmed the effectiveness of mobile sensing."We have a profound opportunity to understand how cities live and breathe in an entirely new way by integrating Aclima's mobile sensing platform with Google Maps and Street View cars," Aclima CEO and co-founder Davida Herzl said on the company's blog. The Aclima–Google Street View cars are said to be maneuvering around the Bay Area next. They will eventually branch out to other cities to collect data that could help create healthier cities for people to live in. In the future, Aclima hopes to make the data accessible to the public.
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Gallery> Tour the rehabbed Chicago Motor Club, a Henry Ford–era art deco mecca for motorists

You can credit Chicago's recent boom in boutique hotels with revving up an historic 16-story building once home to the Chicago Motor Club, which rolled back onto the market in May as a Hampton Inn. As AN wrote at the project's inception, the design draws heavily on 68 East Wacker Place's history. Perhaps most notably, Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture retained a 29-foot mural by Chicago artist John Warner Norton that suggests cross-country driving routes from 1927. Mural restoration expert Dmitri Rybchenkov, of the Chicago firm Restoration Division, led those efforts. In addition to the mural, other details recall the building's original identity as a motorist's mecca. To wit, an original 1928 Ford Model A overlooks the lobby. Interior designers with Gettys One also worked to restore many of the art deco details originally included by architects Holabird & Root. Vacant for over a decade, the building was destined for demolition before developer John T. Murphy, president of Murphy Asset Management, cobbled together historic preservation tax credits and financing from the Hampton Inn hotel chain to revive the short yet handsome structure.

Via Kenny Kim Photography, take a look inside the renovated Chicago Motor Club building:

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On View> When the Future had Fins: American Automotive Designs and Concepts, 1959-1973

When the Future had Fins: American Automotive Designs and Concepts, 1959-1973 Christopher West Mount Gallery, Pacific Design Center 8687 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood, CA Through May 20 Once upon a time the American car industry was king. Nothing captures the prestige, aspirations, and mythology of Detroit’s heyday quite like the working sketches and drawings used to develop and promote the land boats we used to call automobiles. _DSC3420-copy A new show at Christopher W. Mount Gallery focuses on sketches from designers at the “Big Three”—General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler—from 1959 to 1973, when those companies were as important as Google, Apple, and Facebook. The sleek, colorful cars with their dynamic angles and large hoods capture the sexiness and muscle that is long gone in today’s car culture. Visionaries like Ford’s John Samsen and GM’s Bill Michalak had a mastery and an expressive craftsmanship on paper that is far removed from the digitized and sanitized world of 21st century rendering.
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Sprucing up Twin Cities transit stations

With the Midwest's winter thaw underway, Minneapolis residents have an eye to the outside. But for the 40 percent of the city's downtown workers that walk, bike, or ride transit to their jobs throughout the winter, public spaces play a year-round role. Downtown transit stops in particular see tens of thousands of Twin Cities denizens on any given weekday, yet their designs range from utilitarian to downright unwelcoming. Writing for journalminneapolis.com, Max Musicant mulled how his city could turn transit stops into places where people want to be. He envisions a network of local groups taking ownership of their area transit stops, requesting money from the Twin Cities' Metro Transit agency that would otherwise go to “off-the-shelf” bus shelters and their maintenance. They'd spend that money on place-based designs, their “own “branded” station, perfectly attuned to local custom, utility, and whimsy.” Muses Musicant, founder and principal of the Minneapolis-based placemaking and public space management firm The Musicant Group:
An ideal set up could have Metro Transit establish a handful of pilot project sites chosen based on the ability of capacities of local groups that came forward. For each site, Metro Transit would ensure quality control over the process: that riders, businesses and property owners drive the process, that each station meets minimum requirements (shelter, seating, structural integrity, etc.), and that there is an accredited entity with proper insurance and capacity (non-profit, adjacent small business, etc.) that commits to build and maintain the station up to an agreed upon standard.
Minneapolis is a good place for public space designers to dream—the city's public review process and collaborative design culture make it especially attuned to public opinion. With the recent extension of the Metro Green Line, the Twin Cities reconnected their separate light rail systems after decades apart. One of the junctions, next to Target Field in downtown Minneapolis, was specifically envisioned as a celebrated public space, as much park and plaza as multimodal transit hub. Over the next two years, Metro Transit said it will deliver $7.36 million in upgrades, including 22 new bus shelters. At $1.7 billion, however, the Green Line extension was not without its local critics—fairness and fiscal efficiency were at the heart of many complaints about the project. And in the sprawling midwest, many in the Twin Cities still depend on their cars. Much of the $6 billion Governor Mark Dayton is requesting to improve the state’s transportation system over the next 10 years will go to repair roads and highways.
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Cadillac to leave Detroit for New York City

While its product development teams and manufacturing facilities will remain in Michigan, Cadillac will move its headquarters to downtown New York City from Detroit, parent company General Motors announced Tuesday. A new office in Soho will house the “majority of functions with oversight and responsibility for both global and U.S.” starting next year, GM said in a statement. The iconic car brand is currently based in the Renaissance Center, whose towers define the skyline of Detroit. As such, the move is likely to rankle some who have seen the real estate rebound in downtown Detroit as a cause for celebration amid increasingly dire prospects for the Motor City, which last year became the largest U.S. municipality to file for bankruptcy in the nation's history. Cadillac's decreasing sales and struggle to stand out among GM's brands are key challenges for the company's new president, Johan de Nysschen, who joined the company last month from the Infiniti division of Nissan.
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Corvette Museum Considering Making Giant Car-Swallowing Sinkhole A Permanent Exhibit

The sinkhole that opened up underneath the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky has quickly become one of the institution’s most popular exhibits. Just three months after eight prized automobiles slid down Planet Earth’s jagged gullet, visitors from around the country are flocking to the Bluegrass State to see the damage. In fact, attendance at the museum has spiked since the 40-foot-wide, 60-foot-deep, hole did its thing. Visits are up 20 percent in the first quarter of this year, and over 50 percent in March. The cars have since been pried out of the earth and are now on display in all of their dirty, beat-up glory. The museum is also considering keeping the sinkhole as a permanent exhibit. If it does, the hole will either be topped with a glass floor, connected with a bridge, or made accessible with a staircase that descends down into the earth. [h/t WLKY]
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Amid Horse Carriage Debate, Nostalgic New Yorkers Ponder a 21st Century Horseless Carriage

In what sounds like a flashback to the turn of the 20th century, curious New Yorkers peered inquisitively at a new horseless carriage model on display at the New York International Auto Show. The old-timey vehicle is actually a high-tech electric vehicle at the center of the heated fight to ban horse carriages from Central Park in New York City. Just feet from the buffed and polished BMWs and Aston Martins, the eight-seat “Horseless eCarriage” made its global debut. The prototype is designed as an homage to brass-era vehicles, with plenty of brass detailing, tufted leather seats, and an over-sized windshield. It even sported some classic books on New York City history tucked into a vintage glove compartment. “My distinct honor and challenge has been to design a vehicle that celebrates the nostalgia and romance of the early 1900s, while eliminating a lot of the not-so great qualities of that time,” said Jason Wenig, who designed the vehicle. He said he took the style of the time, but created a car that has the comfort and technical capabilities of today’s automobile. This prototype was commissioned by New Yorkers for Clean, Livable, and Safe Streets (NYClass), a group which has been leading the charge to ban horse carriages, and just happened to donate $1.3 million to Bill de Blasio’s mayoral campaign. As mayor, de Blasio has pledged to ban the carriages and replace them with something like the eCarriage. But doing so won’t be easy. He’s facing sustained backlash from carriage drivers, the press, locals, and even Liam Neeson who expressed his support for horse carriages in a recent New York Times op-ed. And, for now, all that backlash has reportedly stalled the mayor’s plans. De Blasio still contends that the carriages will be gone by year's end. If that does happen, it still remains to be seen if the over-size wheels of the Horseless eCarriage—or something like it—will follow in the horse’s footsteps.
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Is that Musk in the Air? Electric Car, Space Guru Has Plans For Texas

Speaking of rumors, Texas Monthly spread the word that Silicon Valley billionaire visionary Elon Musk may be locating facilities for two of his future-looking companies in the Lone Star State. Musk’s SpaceX has been buying up land in Cameron County in South Texas with the implicit purpose of building a space facility on the site to launch an expedition to Mars. In more terrestrial affairs, the South Africa native is also considering building a battery factory in the state for his electric car company, Tesla Motors.