Posts tagged with "Inga Saffron":

WXY’s Claire Weisz receives AIA New York’s Medal of Honor

WXY Architecture + Urban Design co-founder Claire Weisz has received the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter’s (AIANY) top award, the Medal of Honor. "We are delighted to present to Claire the 2018 Medal of Honor, our chapter's highest level of recognition, for her ongoing career of distinguished work, and her immense contributions to public and civic space in New York," said Benjamin Prosky, executive director of AIANY and the Center for Architecture, in a statement. WXY partner and co-founder Mark Yoes has also been elevated to an AIA Fellow, which recognizes "exceptional work and lasting contributions to architecture and society." Weisz is an avowed urbanist, and WXY has won recognition for a large number of public projects across New York City, including a 2018 AIA Honor Award for their work on the Spring Street Salt Shed. Weisz was named a 2011 Emerging Voices winner, and WXY’s reconstruction of Astor Place and Cooper Square nabbed the studio a mention in AN’s 2017 Best of Design Awards for Urban Design. The studio works at all scales, from master planning enormous developments to designing for coastal resiliency, to street furniture and everything in between. Weisz will be honored at a ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street on April 20 at the annual AIANY Honors and Awards Luncheon. Artist Ai Weiwei, this year’s winner of the Award of Merit, and critic Inga Saffron, winner of the Kliment Oculus Award, will also be recognized at the event alongside the 2018 AIANY Design Awards winners. One set of Design Awards winners who won’t be attending is Richard Meier and Peter Marino, as the AIANY stripped both architects of their 2018 Merit Awards late last month amidst reports of harassment and misconduct.

Philly’s University City to undergo a ground-up rethink by Ayers Saint Gross, ZGF, and OLIN

In West Philadelphia, a team of developers, planners, and architects are asking one of urbanists' favorite questions: How can a mega-development be made to feel like a neighborhood, and not a bland corporate campus plopped in the middle of the city? Lead developers Wexford Science + Technology and the University City Science Center are spearheading the from-scratch transformation of a former superblock into a sort of mini city within a city. The developers' suggested new name for University City, uCitySquare, is bland, The Philadelphia Inquirer's Inga Saffron contends, though the master plans may not be. Ayers Saint Gross took the lead on the plan, with Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang as a contributor. It appears that the project is riding the same trends that developers used to remake Philly's 12th and Market area into a successful mixed-use district. The uCitySquare master plan would break the 14-acre site into four pieces by restoring 37th and Cuthbert streets, demapped in the urban renewal that transformed the once-dense neighborhood of row houses into growth space for the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel. It suggests moving 37th Street east of its original location, to make traffic and pedestrian flow smoother along the north-south access between Penn and the residential neighborhood of Powelton Village. Stubby Cuthbert Street would be extended east-west, linking Presbyterian Hospital to the Drexel campus. So far, the uses of two of the four parcels have been set. Drexel commissioned Rogers Partners to build an elementary and a middle school. Project start dates are contingent on budget negotiations with the city's school district. The first buildings are sprouting. ZGF Architects' 3675 Market will break ground this spring. The bulky glass cube's main tenant is the Cambridge Innovation Center. The Baltimore-based firm is doing a second building at 37th and Warren with solar panels embedded into the facade. Erdy McHenry will design a mid-rise apartment building with ground-floor retail on Lancaster Avenue that breaks ground this summer. The developers are committed to making common spaces not boring. The University City Science Center says that there will be a supermarket, wide sidewalks, and underground parking to minimize street space devoted to cars. The master plan calls for Philadelphia-based OLIN to design a public park at the center of the site. So far, these are good promises that are tempered by the science center's present foray into urbanism: folding chairs and brick pavers along a pedestrian-only stretch of 37th Street that will connect to uCitySquare is intensely uninviting.

Quick Clicks> Dampers, Doubletake, Taxes, Kaboom!

Earthshaking Costs.  The cost of an earthquake goes well beyond the financial, as the world witnessed with the disaster in Japan, but preventative measures do cost;  Architizer cites a report by California Watch that warns of cost-cutting and corruption in the cash strapped state, boiling down the numbers and creating clear cut infographics to illustrate the need and function of base isolation and mass dampers. Bring Me Your Tired One Arm Bandits. With all due respect to our Nevada brethren, New Yorkers are somewhat chagrined to learn that the Post Office will not fix their goof of putting an image of the Las Vegas rendition of Lady Liberty on a new stamp rather than an image of the original in the New York Harbor. Officials say the teenage version will stay, prompting Ed Koch to sound off to The Times "...the post office is doing a stupid thing.” Riverfront Fortress. With tax day looming, don't try to go postal with the IRS in Philly. You won't stand a chance. The agency has taken over the main branch of the old Post Office overlooking the Schuylkill River. The WPA-era grand limestone edifice took on $252 million makeover, and Philadelphia Inquirer critic Inga Saffron is not impressed. Saffron says the building, heralded as the new gateway to University City, keeps the gates closed by overdoing security measures (via ArchNews). Kaboom! NBC affiliate in the Bay Area has footage of the demolition of the last remaining WWII-era military hospital in California (via Curbed).

Between a Column and a Hard Place

Rafael Vinoly recently completed a new addition and renovation at the Cleveland Museum of Art, a major encyclopedic collection set in the city’s leafy University Circle area, which includes Case Western Reserve University and cultural institutions like the famed Cleveland Orchestra. The campus includes a 1916 Beaux Arts building and a Marcel Breuer-designed addition from 1971. Vinoly reportedly worked closely with the museum’s then director Timothy Rub, and critics have praised the addition’s galleries and the improved circulation throughout the complex. While I’m not wild about the stripes on the exterior of the new East Wing, which at first seem like an odd echo of postmodernism from Vinoly, Breuer used similar bands of stone in his wing, and Vinoly's substantial proportions in masonry and glass strike a good balance between Beaux Arts and Brutalism. This is the first of a two-phase expansion. Rub recently left Cleveland for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where he will oversee a major expansion at that museum by Frank Gehry. If it turns out as well as Vinoly’s work in Cleveland, the Philadelphia project will help to put to rest the belief that Gehry’s museums are not very art- or curator-friendly.

Awards Season

First the Pritzker, now the Pulitzers. This year's journalism awards were announced today, and a few of the awards and nominees might be of especial note to the architectural community. First up is the prize for public service journalism--the industry's highest honor--which was awarded to the Las Vegas Sun for a series exploring a chilling spate of construction deaths on the Strip, including at the starchitect-laden City Center. Elsewhere, Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron was named a finalist for the criticism prize for "her fascinating and convincing architectural critiques that boldly confront important topics, from urban planning issues to the newest skyscraper." (We think she should have won out over Times art critic Holland Carter.) There were even flashes of impressive architectural photography in the breaking news photo category. And who knew editorial cartoonist Steve Breen was such a capable renderer?