Posts tagged with "London":

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Playable Pavilion Aims to Make Beatboxing an Olympic Sport

Coca-Cola has big plans for an Olympic Park pavilion for London's 2012 sporting extravaganza. London-based architects Pernilla & Asif have created the "Coca-Cola Beatbox," a spiraling structure clad in red and white panels that appear to be suspended in frozen animation. It's not only an intriguing structure but an interactive musical instrument. The experimental architecture works with cutting edge sound technology, encouraging people to interact and "play the pavilion." Inspired by sounds of the Olympic games—the plunge of an archer's arrow into a target, athlete's quickened heartbeats, squeaking sneakers—the Beatbox will be imbedded with sound-bites created by Grammy Award-winning producer Mark Ronson that  allow visitors to remix their own mashed-up productions. Parnilla & Asif have designed a floating, divergent panel system that encapsulates a spiral ramp, leading visitors to the roof for a panoramic view of the Olympic Park. Sound and light reflect off of the panels, creating a sensory and aural experience that may be difficult to discern from renderings, but Coca-Cola is sure that its impact will be felt: “With the eyes of over four billion people on London next year, we want to use our long-standing association with the Olympic Movement to shine a spotlight on Britain’s brightest stars and inspire young people to pursue their passions."
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What Is NY-LON? Mark Wigley and Brett Steele On the New York-London Axis

"NY-LON" is an annual series of discussions at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (GSAPP) about the transfer of ideas along the New York-London axis.  In this particular conversation, Brett Steele, director of London's Architectural Association (AA), and Mark Wigley, dean of New York's GSAPP, talked about the threads that connect the two cities, what that means for architectural discourse, and how the connection has evolved over time. Steele began with an amusing comparison of the stereotypes of both cities, starting with Woody Allens famous take, "Don’t you see? The rest of the country looks upon New York like we’re left-wing, communist, Jewish, homosexual pornographers? I think of us that way sometimes and I live here." As for London, Oscar Wilde said it best: “The man who can dominate a London dinner-table can dominate the world.” But these assumptions, Steele posited, are now mostly synthetic and based on narratives driven by marketing. So how does architectural discourse flow from London to New York and vice-versa? Imperialism loosely defined the trans-atlantic exchange of ideas before globalization. Columbia was originally founded to promote the proliferation of European-style education in America. In the 1950s, Reyner Banham and the New Brutalists in London influenced Gerhard Kallman, the young German architect who studied in London at the AA.  Kallman made his way to New York and Columbia, where he and another British architect, Michael McKinnell, would build the infamous Boston City Hall, a Brutalist icon.  In a similar exchange, Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, built New York's Lever House, one of the first Modernist skyscrapers for UniLever, a London-based company.  Educators, such as Bernard Tschumi and Alvin Boyarsky, moved from the AA to Columbia, also helping bring experimental architectural ideas and discourse to New York. Today's NY-LON exchange is more complex, evidenced by the United States' influence on England's foreign policy in the Bush/Blair years. The "Occupy" movement has similarly crossed between New York and London in both directions. Today, Steele said, the AA serves "as a mechanism for the converging and moving of bodies.  Not in a traditional sense of directional transmission, but of allowing different people to converse." It is these wierd and accidental interactions which both Wigley and Steele are interested in. Moving Forward, the panel asserted that the continued influence of New York and London is questionable. Wigley made an interesting remark that New York and London will play no role in the future of cities. In the experiment of rapid urbanization in places like China and India, Wigley feels that America and Europe are like parents, quaint and out-dated.  In an era of globalization, these formerly imperial locations have become "provincial." But Steele made "a plea for continued exceptionalism," pushing for the continued relevance of New York and London's unique ideology. As the west continues to be the center of markets, both financial and intellectual, NY-LON's influence will be in the delivery of known models, but also in facilitating the accidental transmission of ideas and the interesting exchanges that take place in auxillary locations, such as Columbia's Studio-X or the AA's Visiting School, both of which serve as places, dispersed around the world, for the exchange of ideas, and possibly the future of education. Are New York and London "provincial" locations which serve only to facilitate accidental exchange of ideas around the globe? What is the world coming to?
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Quick Clicks> Prairie Preserved, Library Voyeur, Mapping Riots, & a Culver City Compromise

Prairie Hotel. After a 2-year, $18 million renovation, Frank Lloyd Wright's last standing hotel has reopened in Mason City, Iowa. The Historic Park Inn Hotel is a premier example of the Wright's Prairie style, and features deep hanging eaves and a terra-cotta façade. A massive art-glass skylight drenches the lobby in multi-colored light. More at ArtInfo. Library of Glass. Although Philip Johnson's Glass House library is transparent, Birch Books Conservation will soon offer the public a view the architect’s library without a trip to New Canaan. The non-profit publisher hopes “to preserve the professional libraries of artists, architects, authors, and important public figures through publishing photographic and written research,” with an inside look at Johnson’s personal collection, reported Unbeige. Mapping Poverty and Rebellion. The Guardian opened up the recent London riots for debate. Journalist Matt Stiles mapped the newspaper’s accumulated data of riot hot spots on a plan of London’s neighborhoods. Deep red stands for the British capital’s poorest regions, while blue represents the wealthiest communities. Metro In-The-Middle. The long-awaited Culver City Expo Line station was delayed by a disagreement between Culver City and construction authorities. Now, the two parties have agreed to the $7 million budget increase, which will fund a pedestrian plaza, bike lanes, parking facilities and pavement improvements. More at Curbed LA.
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Quick Clicks> Of Newsprint, Shipping Containers, Plastic Bags, and Sustainable Intelligence

Store in Print. Aesop director Dennis Paphitis and Brooklyn architect Jeremy Barbour of Tacklebox stacked 1,800 copies of the New York Times for the new Aesop skin care kiosk in Grand Central Station. While perhaps not our preferred choice for newsprint here at the paper, the gray pages create a rich texture on which to displayed beauty products. More at Co.Design. Shipping Shop. London hopes to claim the world's first pop-up shopping center made of shipping containers, to be designed by British firm Waugh Thistleton. Renderings of BoxPark revealed on Treehugger show the site-manufactured boxes stacked and outfitted with reusable materials. Bagging a House. At the Studi Aperti Arts Festival in Ameno, Italy, design studios Ghigos Ideas and LOGh presented their architectural response to the seemingly endless supply of plastic bags. With help from students at Milan Polytechnic, the architects transformed an unfinished building with a wing made entirely of grocery bags. More at We Heart. Green Talk. DesignIntelligence released their 2011 "Green & Sustainable Design Survey," claiming that despite innovation in sustainable building, green construction is not yet mainstream practice. DI editor James Camor said sustainability and LEED is on the table, but maintained architects have not recognized the initiative’s urgency. More at The Dirt.
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Quick Clicks> Brodsky’s Vienna, Seating San Fran, Wind in the West, & Explorers Underground

Day becomes night. Alexander Brodsky: It still amazes me that I became an architect will be open at the Architekturzentrum Wien in Vienna, Austria through October 3. Described by the gallery as a "total installation," Archidose also notes that during the exhibition "the day becomes night, the dimensions of space and time appear to slowly dissolve as one paces an archaeological chamber of wonders. Having returned to daylight, a selection of Brodsky's completed projects provides insights into his architectural oeuvre." (More images after the jump.) Steel becomes ribbon. Streetsblog reports that San Francisco metaphorically cut the ribbon, unveiling a new public space on the two-block Powell Street Promenade.  The Union Square shopping district is greatly improved by the eight six-foot wide Walter Hood-designed benches, constructed to resemble delicate ribbons. Above the fray. The Westerholt E-66 Observation Wind Turbine stands out among the 40 turbines in the Holtriem Wind Park: it’s unique observation deck provides visitors with panoramic views of one Europe’s largest wind farms—for a price. Visitors must climb a 297-step spiral staircase to reach the viewing deck, according to Atlas Obscura. Under the city. Produced by Silent UK, the documentary film Beneath the Surface trails urban explorers as they descend below the cities of London and Paris, says PSFK. The explorers climb through sewers, old subway lines, reminiscent of the NY Times five-day adventure last December under New York.
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QUICK CLICKS> Bike Lite, Convenient Cities, London Smog, Choco-design

Safer at night. Two design students at Carnegie Mellon University created a functional and graceful lighting system for bikers that enhances side visibility at night.  The LED lights that line the wheel rims, are powered by pedaling and change colors depending on speed. Bloggers at Greater Greater Washington have posted a video of the lights in action. Convenient Cities. What makes a city "convenient"? According to a study published by The Street, factors include walkability, public transportation, and amenity proximity.  Their city ranking, using data from Walk Score, Zillow and APTA, put Boston, New York, Denver, Portland, and Chicago at the top. Olympic Pollution. A documentary by filmmaker Faisal Abdu'Allah, Double Pendulum, examines the harmful effects of pollution on East London residents and athletes, The Guardian says. Abdu'Allah cautions that poor air quality in East London may threaten athletes' performances in the London 2012 Olympic Games. Designer Chocolates. PSFK reports that researchers in a joint program between the University of Exeter, the University of Brunel, and Delam, a software developer, have created a printer that turns 3D CAD designs into ready-made chocolates. An upcoming retail site will allow the public to upload original designs.
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Quick Clicks>YAP, Biscornet, Glas Italia, the Gherkin

YAP to the Max. MoMA PS 1 and the MAXXI open exhibits of the now-transatlantic Young Architects Program, featuring the winners (whose concepts are now installed in New York and in Rome, above) and the finalists. Made of Glass. Designer Piero Lissoni utilized Glas Italia's prime material to expand the high-end manufacturing company's headquarters in Macherio, Italy. Azure reports that the new minimalist building is completely constructed out of glass, and looks best at night when the translucent structure becomes an illuminated box. Blight on the London Skyline. The phallic silhouette of the skyscraper, which won the 2004 Sterling prize, continues to generate controversy. The Telegraph records Ken Shuttleworth, a former associate at Norman Foster & Partners and the designer widely credited for 30 St Mary Axe, a.k.a. “the Gherkin,”  expressing regret for his design of the tower. French Flat Iron. Architectures completes the Ministère de la Culture’s coveted Biscornet commission: a modern residential building amid Paris’ Haussmannian stock. Architecture Lab notes that the trapezoidal-structure perfectly fits the slightly set back site on the Place de la Bastille, facing both the Gare de Lyon and the Bassin de l’Arsenal. The facade’s pleated metal panels shift to reflect the light and the time-of-day, emanating a golden shadow on the historic location.
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Quick Clicks> Cathedral Restoration, Haunted, Deserted and Isolated Cities

Restored London. Building Design reports that after 15 years, St. Paul’s Cathedral in London is scaffolding-free. The £40 million project restored Christopher Wren’s masterpiece to its original glory in time for the cathedral’s 30oth anniversary. St. Paul’s will host a photography competition and display the winning selections in the cathedral crypt to celebrate its complete renovation. Artificial England. While China continues to be a hot spot for architectural and economic development, its many ghost towns lack permanent residents. The Infrastructurist exposes one of China’s English-inspired uninhabited cities, Thames Town, built in 2006 as part of Shanghai’s “One City, Nine Town” initiative at decentralization. The state-of-the-art $9 billion design draws tourists, but not residents. Trucks, not Tanks. At the United States Conference of Mayors, local government representatives vote to reallocate federal funds directed toward the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for the improvement of American cities. The municipal leaders assert that the conflicts’ $126 billion per year budget would be better spend building urban infrastructure, employing civil servants, and supporting educational and family institutions. Mall City. City Watch LA evaluates Rick Caruso’s latest business proposition: running for public office. The billionaire developer envisions a new Los Angeles comprised of isolated communities each with its own shopping mall, a potential reality if Caruso wins the 2013 mayoral seat.
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Quick Clicks> Lifted Forts, A New Leaf, Walking the Line, and LA Light Rail

Guy Maunsell's Sea Forts. Standing above the sea, these Maunsell fortifications were originally built as British defenses during World War II. They remain lifted as a symbol of protection. As industrial creatures, the towers take expressive portraits. Oh, Pentagram. New York City paired with Paula Scher of Pentagram to create a new symbol for the iconic NYC Parks Department leaf. Although excellent in traditional green, the paired down logo can also be used as an elegant silhouette for programming and public events. Or perhaps wrapping paper. Parasol Unit in red, in public. New York-based performance artist Kate Gilmore and the Parasol unit foundation collaborated to start a new program entitled parasol public. Gilmore's red structure is the centerpiece of  Walk the Line, a small two story space designed upstairs for pacing and downstairs as a passageway within Exchange Square, London. Downtown to Santa Monica. The new Los Angeles county Expo Line light rail system expects to bring a bit of green speed to transportation across the city. With a plan to partially open in the fall and to unveil completely in 2015, the rail line is already underway. Just about everybody is looking forward to the new light rail, especially those who will benefit directly as part of their commute to work.
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Quick Clicks> Sprawl, Prize, Endangered, Bids

Tightening the Greenbelt. Per Square Mile explores why greenbelts fail to hold back city sprawl. Using London and San Francisco as examples, Tim De Chant writes that perimeter actually parks attract suburbs to form outside their borders. Role of a lifetime. The AIA has awarded Portland U's Sergio Palleroni the Latrobe Prize for his research on the role of architects in future public interest projects. A Portland Architecture interview plays well with De Chant's article above, as Palleroni casts a critical eye on Portland's sprawl. Going, Going. The list of the top seven endangered buildings in Chicago was today released by Preservation Chicago. Curbed Chicago pounced on list an hour after it went online. At the very top is a relative youngin': the 1975 Prentice Tower (by Mies student Bertrand Goldberg), whose uncertain fate AN's Julie Iovine covered in a recent issue. Bids 4 Bush... Bids for yet another NYC waterfront property are begin accepted by the New  York Economic Development Corporation Crain's reports, and this one comes with a 99-year ground lease. The 130,000 square-foot property sits on Gowanus Bay at Bush Terminal in Sunset Park Brooklyn.    
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Quick Clicks> Wren, Denver, Pike, & Livability

Wren's Dome. Some 300 years ago, Christopher Wren completed St. Paul's Cathedral in London. Now with today's modern icons transforming the city's skyline, the Telegraph pays homage to his lasting landmark amongst the new "Shards, Gherkins and distorted walkie-talkie-shaped skyscrapers." Green Mile High. The Editor-at-Large brings news that the USGBC has named Denver the "greenest" city in the United States with about 230 LEED registered or certified buildings. Two have earned LEED Platinum since 2010. Pike Park. StreetsBlog reports that construction has begun on permanent Pike Street pedestrian improvements to be completed this fall in Manhattan. The project replaces temporary materials DOT installed in 2009 to calm traffic along Pike and Allen streets. Shut Out. Reuter's has the list of the world's most (and least) livable cities ranked by the Economist Intelligence Unit. Vancouver topped the list (Harare, Zimbabwe came in last). No city in the United States managed to break into the top ten.
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Quick Clicks> Scanning, Aedas, Retro, Epic Growth

Vox populi. Complaining just got easier for neighborhood watchdogs in NYC. This week Mayor Bloomberg announced that building permits posted at construction sites will soon have QR (Quick Response) codes that can be scanned by smart phones. A wave of the wrist will bring up all the particulars of the construction site online and allow passers-by to report anything amiss or just find out more about project. More details about digitization of the buildings department on the mayor's website. Gardens grows. The Architect's Journal reports that Aedas, Glenn Howells, and Jestico + Whiles have been selected to design the replacement for Robin Hood Gardens housing complex in east London. The plan for the £500 million development includes the demolition of the early 1970s buildings designed by Alison and Peter Smithson. Midlife crisis. Owners of mid-century modern homes in Massachusetts are retrofitting aging residences designed by TAC and other firms, equipping them for the future and saving them from the wrecking ball in the process, writes Kathleen Burge in the Boston Globe. Before and after, epic version. Web Urbanist presents the rise of the modern metropolis through a series of eye-popping images. (Shenzen, China wins for most dramatic transformation, while New York 1954 and New York 2009 look eerily similar.)