We've blogged about the oil infrastructure in and around Houston, Texas, a couple of times: here and here. But we hadn't managed to get a level view of the massive installation until stumbling across ship pilot Louis Vest's time lapse video of a nighttime trip down the Houston Ship Channel aboard a 600-foot-long Panamax tanker. Vest strapped his NIkon D700 camera to an outside rail and programmed it to capture an image every six seconds, documenting a 3 1/2-hour journey cruising at 5 to 10 knots through this gloaming industrial landscape of exhaust stacks, burning lights, and gas flares. Mmmmm... Creamy!
Posts tagged with "Videos":
If you couldn't make it out San Francisco for the AIA Convention this weekend (if you did, be sure to say hi to Sam and the rest of the gang), don't fret. The Institute has been kind enough to set up streaming video of many of the lectures and events, and you can even earn credits for it. Sure, you'll miss all the fun after-parties, like our own, but it also beats flying coach.
Today, the MTA replaced the last of Grand Central Terminal's 4,000 incandescent bulbs. Here's a video and some photos from the event.
On Saturday, before we headed over to the Standard for my star turn on the media panel, Sam Lubell and I first swung by the Flat, home to celebrated LA restaurant Blue Velvet. We were there for an event hosted by colleague and co-panelist Alyssa Walker, part of her de Lab (design east of LaBrea) series. SCI-arc professor and hunk Alexis Rochas had installed easily the coolest green roof we've ever seen on top of the condo, and two dozen or so people had shown up for a tour, followed by a most-interesting lunch. The Flat, you see, is an old Holiday Inn motor hotel on the border of Westlake and downtown that was converted three years ago into luxury apartments. (I guess this is what passes for historic preservation in LA.) Well, shortly after the residences and attached restaurant opened, the folks at Blue Velvet asked Rochas to design a green roof for them, not only to retain stormwater runoff but also to supply the most local produce imaginable, at least for Downtown LA. With a group of his students, Rochas devised SynthE. The team took about 950 laser-cut panels, no two alike, bent them into the desired forms, welded them all together, and created what looks like Logan's Run if it were set on the Inner Mongolian steppe. Rochas explained that the form serves two purposes, directing the flow of water into the planted bands as well as subtly outlining the mechanical systems hidden beneath. Because the building was built before the 1967 code took effect, the weight tolerances of the roof were incredibly thin, and only 20 pounds per square foot could be added. This necessitated not only the use of the lightweight aluminum, but also a special soil, which only weighs, with water, around 15 pounds per square foot. Still, Rochas said the system absorbed 80 percent to 90 percent of all precipitation and had no trouble sustaining the plants that are product, or rather produce, of the roof. "As an architect, you design the structure and its shape, but also this time, its program and its use," Rochas explained. "The architect becomes a gardener, the gardener a planner." Indeed, the entire roof, but for a patch of grass intended for lounging by residents, is planted with various fruits, vegetables, and other edibles for Blue Velvet. Working 90-day crop cycles, the team grows all manner of tomatoes, herbs, greens, berries, wheat grass, even some monster cabbage. "It's a true, organic experiment, seeing what will grow and succeed," Rochas said. "And you can't get more local." Plus, it makes a decent slide.
"Everybody's doing it." That's how Erica Stoller of Esto described the august architectural photo agency's foray into web video. Now don't fret. At the heart of these videos remains Esto's unparalleled still camerawork, but given these changing times, experimentation is in order. And, as Stoller's colleague Joel Sanders explained, the philosophy remains the same. "Esto has always been about expressing architecture in its truest, purest, most honest form," Sanders told us over the phone. "We see these videos simply as an extension of that. It's a means to describing the architecture." For its first two videos, Esto showcases the work of photographer Albert Vecerka. One documents the restoration, more than 13 years later, of P.S. 70, a burned out Bed-Stuy school that was transformed by Robert A.M. Stern into the Excellence Charter School. The other presents a time lapse installation from last summer of KieranTimberlake's Cellophane House at MoMA's prefab show, Home Delivery.
Our dear friends Mike Bloomberg and Arnold Schwarzenegger and their pal Ed Rendell dropped by Washington this weekend, first to visit with President Obama and then, today, Meet the Press. They were in town to promote their two-month old partnership, Building America's Future, which seeks to promote the reconstruction of the nation's aging infrastructure along with its expansion into the future. Details on the White House meeting are scant. Newsday says it lasted an hour, and CBS News reports that the trio had a tripartite message for the president:
[Rendell] said the three men delivered three messages to the president and his team of advisors. One, that the president should take control of the infrastructure debate. Secondly, that a so-called “infrastructure bank” is essential. And three, that all funding possibilities should be explored. [...] "The president gets it," Bloomberg said. "This is about the future of our country. Whether it is transportation or water or other things, we need to invest now so that our children and grandchildren will have a future."According to NY1, there's still much work to be done:
Bloomberg acknowledged that infrastructure projects produce limited immediate jobs, but Schwarzenegger said that vehicular and mass transit systems need bailouts of their own. "We have maybe spent $900 billion to $1 trillion in the next five years, but we really should be spending $2.2 trillion in the next five years in order to keep up with the demand," said California's governor.You can also watch Building For America's press conference from the White House lawn on YouTube. If all that weren't enough, the three shed more light on their ideas during their Meet the Press appearance (transcript here). Rendell put it best:
MR. GREGORY: So, Governor Rendell, first of all, it was Governor Schwarzenegger who said infrastructure's not a very sexy word when it comes to building political will. What are we talking about here? Bridges, roads, what else? GOV. ED RENDELL (D-PA): Well, it's not just transportation infrastructure. First of all, high-speed rail. This country desperately needs to build a high-speed rail passenger system. We need to improve our rail freight system. But it's not just transportation. It's the levees that failed in Cedar Rapids and New Orleans. It's dams, it's water and wastewater systems. It's so much more. And the message is fairly clear. We started Building America's Future because we think this is about the future. We think it's about generations down the road. And unless we can rebuild our infrastructure, we're not going to be competitive. Unless we can rebuild our infrastructure, our quality of life is going to suffer. Unless we rebuild our infrastructure, things like what happened in Minnesota are going to repeat. MR. GREGORY: Bridge collapse. We took a poll, Building America's Future, and the poll showed the American people are willing pay for infrastructure improvements, pay more taxes, if they believe it'll be done in a nonpolitical way, if the choices made will be good choices based on cost benefit analysis. That was our message to the president. We're willing to support him. We think the infrastructure bank is terrific. We need to do it in a little bit bigger scale.Perhaps the most intriguing part of the group's work is its desire to drive infrastructure expansion through the issuance of bonds and the cultivation of public-private partnerships:
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: Yes, the amount of stimulus in the--the amount of money in the infrastructure package is a small amount. But Governor Rendell--who deserves all the credit, I think Arnold would agree with me, to putting this organization together--has talked about how you can leverage that money. And today it takes a while to get projects going. This president's willing to face the issues and he's going to have to work with Congress. [...] MR. GREGORY: Right. And we talk about private equity. There's so much money in this economy on the sidelines with nowhere to go and nobody wanting to assume any risk. So if there's this kind of private sector money, how would it work? If they--if private equity or hedge funds want to put up money for a light rail system, fast rail system around the country, what's in it for them? GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, it's a, it's a great investment. I mean, that's what--it's like when you look at British Columbia or other places where they have a public-private partnership, where everyone is happy. Businesses are happy, the people are happy, labor is happy, the politicians are happy. I mean, everyone is happy. We want to do the same thing. We should--the United States should copy that kind of a principle so that you can go out there and build. GOV. RENDELL: There's so many innovative ways to, to use the tax code to get private investment involved in this. There are innovative ways. David, we don't have a capital budget, a federal capital budget. We're the only governmental subdivision in the country without one. You could finance--for $30 billion a year, which these days is not a lot of money, you could finance almost $400 billion to put up front in an infrastructure repair program administered through something like the infrastructure bank.While public-private partnerships have, indeed, been a success in the past, they also pose problems, as recent hitches resulting from the recession have shown. Furthermore, to propose "leveraged," perhaps highly leveraged, deals with the same private equity and hedge fund firms that got us into the mess this infrastructure is supposed to get us out seems suspect. Just imagine what an infrastructure bubble might look like. Probably lots of bridges to nowhere. Where the coalition is headed from here remains to be seen, but if Bloomberg's similar effort, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, is any indication--to say nothing of his work reshaping the city's physical culture--it's due for a smashing success.
There's been a good bit of coverage so far of LVHRD's increasingly ubiquitous (and expensive: 30 bucks!) ARCH DL, now in its fifth year. But without question, the best so far has been this video produced by Sebastian Howard, for Record. Hats off, sir. (Video, and assorted photos, after the jump.) As the video attests, Front won for making their project look like a croissant. A bit gimmicky, if you ask us. And Gehryan. There's still no accounting for taste, it appears.
Or so she just told WNYC. The clip was aired during Morning Edition, but as Soterios Johnson (LOVE HIM!) directed us to the web for a complete recap and more, the interview actually appears to be from yesterday's episode of Soundcheck. Thanks to the magic of the Internet, you can find the full clip above, as well as a video tour after the jump. And as Johnson gamely noted, be sure to tune in Sunday for the building's debut performance, which will air live. Think those improved acoustics carry over to radio. If this weren't enough, Soundcheck host Jonathan Schaefer shares his thoughts on the Alice Tully on the Soundcheck Blog:
Alice Tully Hall is in exactly the same place as it always was; the renovation was unable to change the “footprint” of the hall within the larger building, or to move walls or even seats. These restrictions make the changes that have been made all the more impressive. The vaguely modernist look of the hall has changed to an organic warmth. [...] It used to be that walking into Alice Tully Hall was like boarding a submarine - there was no natural light to speak of, and the lobby had all the charm of a Knights of Columbus hall. Now, everything is glass; you can see across 65th Street, or out to Broadway. It’s a phenomenon familiar to any NYC apartment dweller: you don’t realize how important natural light is to an apartment until you finally get a place that actually has it. Then you wonder how you ever lived in the half-lit dingy old place of yours for so long.Obviously, Mr. Schaefer is a Manhattanite. We've got plenty of sky here in Brooklyn. Lincoln Centers, not so much, though. We'll call it a draw.
President-elect Barack Obama gave a half-hour interview to CNBC tonight (full interview here, transcript here) that was impressively policy heavy--a real treat for the wonks out there, though who isn't these days--in advance of the unveiling of his nearly $800 billion stimulus package tomorrow. One of the issues he necessarily touched upon was the housing crisis (video), given its place at the center of the current meltdown.
I think the most important thing when it comes to declining home values is, number one, preventing further foreclosures. That just erodes home values across the board. And that's why I think for those of us who are still paying a mortage--you know, you hear sometimes folks up in the country say, 'Well, I've been responsible. Why should I provide any help to somebody who maybe took out a mortgage that they couldn't afford.' Well, this goes back to the adage that if your neighbor's house is burning, you got to first worry about putting out the house, even if they'd acted irresponsibly. I think that's true when it comes to foreclosures as well. We've got to prevent the continuing deterioration of the housing market.Sadly, he didn't say much more on the subject, except that we need to make long-term investments as well, like "weatheriz[ing] homes all across the country, which can "drastically cut the country's energy bills, increase energy independence, [and] reduce global greenhouse gases." As for his stimulus plan, he didn't say much about that, either--presumably he's saving all the fireworks for tomorrow--but without mentioning infrastructure once, or saying much about new housing or other construction, we're a little worried. After all, we need him now more than ever.
President-elect Barack Obama named Shaun Donovan, chair of the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD bio), to serve as his Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. The announcement came during his weekly web-address: AN had heard from a number sources that Donovan--an outside candidate--had taken a month off in late October and early November to prepare a white paper on affordable housing for the Obama campaign, though HPD did not return numerous calls seeking confirmation on this or his possible nomination. Well, now it's official. If confirmed, Donovan will be returning Washington, where he served as Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Multi-Family Housing in the Clinton Administration. A graduate of Harvard, Donovan has been acclaimed for his work on the mayor's New Housing Marketplace plan, which seeks to create 165,000 affordable units over a decade through construction and preservation. Get acquainted with the appointee's thoughts on housing policy, which AN published after a chat with Donovan last year. Update: Both Posts--that being The New York Post and The Washington Post--are reporting that Bronx Borough President Adolofo Carrión Jr. will serve as Director of Urban Policy for the Obama administration. The Bronx Beep had been also in the running for the HUD position, though whether he has been awarded a greater or lesser prize remains to be seen as the exact mandate of directorship has yet to be laid out by the administration, as we reported. Carrión is less known for his work on land-use issues than his compatriots in Manhattan and Brooklyn--partly a result of the relative levels of development in each borough--though the Baychester-raised Bronxite did receive a masters in planning from Hunter, according to his official biography, followed by stints at the Department of City Planning, Bronx CB5, and local non-profit developer Promesa before he moved to City Council and then the borough presidents office. Politco points out that the number of New Yorkers in Obama's cabinet is beginning to rival the number of Illini there, which hopefully means the Feds will stop ignoring the city as it has in the past.
As Alissa helpfully pointed out yesterday, our dear president-elect (we like to call him 'Bam around the New York office) wanted to be an architect. A little nimble Googling on our part turned up the speech where he says as much. What's even better, though, is that he hasn't forgotten those early dreams. I said as much in an article earlier this year, that looked at the architecture and planning policies of the three remaining candidates at the time--Clinton, McCain, and Obama. To wit:
If there were one, Barack Obama could be called the candidate of infrastructure; at least in much the same way he is called the candidate of hope, given his frequent invocation of infrastructure issues on the stump, much of which was tied to Katrina and directed toward his African-American base but has shifted in recent months to a wider focus on the economy and job creation. To that end, Obama has proposed an Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank, which he unveiled in February. The bank would start with $60 billion from federal coffers—skimmed off shrunken Iraq expenditures—that would be leveraged through public-private partnerships to create $500 billion in infrastructural investment. That money would go to strengthening the “core” infrastructure of roads, airports, dams, and the like; high-speed rail; traffic mitigation and transit-oriented development; clean, domestic energy production and research; and rebuilding and improving the Gulf Coast and river-borne transportationAnd you may recall, we've also pegged him as pro-transit. Planetizen has a thoughtful look at his planning policies, as well. Heck, even Fox News calls him the first green president. He's not the only one, either. Recent Democratic hopefuls Clinton and Gore got in on the act, too, she stumping for the USGBC's green school initiative and he writing two major op-eds on "green capitalism." Maybe Ralph Nader wasn't the end of the Green Party after all.