There are lots of photo essays documenting the growing fallowness of Detroit, but Andrew Moore’s photos of Motown ruins are my favorite.
Category : architecture
The four-story townhouse where the late Richard Avedon had his studio and home for more than 30 years is now on the market for $12 million. Currently owned by Olivier Sarkozy, the half-brother of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the ground-floor studio where Avedon made his photos has been left unchanged since the Sarkozys moved in 2005, the year after Avedon’s death. And it’s a pretty interesting studio space too. In this photo you can see how the walls of the studio curve into the floor, creating a backdrop with an illusion of unlimited space.
This is amazing. Reggie Watts deconstructs the shite out of classic rap cliches. And the beat is irresistible. Bad words are used.
Diller Scofidio + Renfro has been busy lately. Fresh from designing one of the more significant new parks on the continent, the High Line, the New York-based architecture firm has also created a terrific 100,000 sq/ft expansion/renovation of the Julliard School. See more great photos of the new space, check out Iwan Baan’s photos.
San Francisco photographer Alex Fradkin has made some beautiful photos of concrete bunkers ruins around the San Francisco Bay Area. Built by the U.S. military to defend against an enemy that never came., some have fallen into the Pacific Ocean and some just sit quietly as they are absorbed back into the earth.
You think times are tough for you? At least you don’t own a mall. Once a bulwark of American economy, culture and probably its soul, the shopping mall has fallen on hard times. And to see the decline close up you should check out the site deadmalls.com. So what should we do with this new surfeit of empty big boxes surrounded by oceans of asphalt? There are a few good ideas submitted to Reburbia, a design competition to re-imagine suburbia. One suggestion from the Alabama-based architecture firm Forest Fulton suggests that perhaps the mall should see a reversal of a function and go from being:
a retailer of food – food detached from processes from which it came to be – to producer of food. The parking lot becomes a park-farm. The inside of the big box becomes a greenhouse and restaurant. Asphalt farming techniques allow for layering of soil, compost in containers on top of asphalt. The big box store’s roof is partially replaced with a greenhouse roof. Other details, such as the reversal of parking lot light poles into solar trees that hold photovoltaics can be implemented. One can imagine pushing a shopping cart through this suburban farm and picking your produce right from the vine, with the option to bring your harvest to the restaurant chef for preparation and eating your harvest on the spot.
See more finalists in the Reburbia design competition.
The most beautiful bookstore in the world is the Selexyz Dominicanen in Maastricht, Netherlands. A 700-year-old church refurbished by Dutch architects Merkx + Girod, the Selexyz Dominicanen has a three-story black steel book stack that reaches the stone vaults, and a cafe in the former choir where visitors can sit and admire the restored 14th century ceiling frescoes. Just take a look at this place.
Where y’at New Orleans? Four years after Katrina, architects, planners and builders have made messy, heterogeneous efforts at rebuilding the Crescent City. There’s a great article in the recent Atlantic Monthly profiles some of the approaches to rebuilding that are underway.
In the absence of strong central leadership, the rebuilding has atomized into a series of independent neighborhood projects. And this has turned New Orleans—moist, hot, with a fecund substrate that seems to allow almost anything to propagate—into something of a petri dish for ideas about housing and urban life. An assortment of foundations, church groups, academics, corporate titans, Hollywood celebrities, young people with big ideas, and architects on a mission have been working independently to rebuild the city’s neighborhoods, all wholly unconcerned about the missing master plan. It’s at once exhilarating and frightening to behold.
The Sears Tower in Chicago is about to undergo a $350 million-dollar retrofit that will add wind turbines to its 110th floor roof and upgrades to windows, lighting and cooling systems. It’s estimated that the retrofit will reduce the building’s electricity demand by 80%. And for a 4.5 million square foot building, that’s a big deal– estimated to be equal to 150,000 barrels of oil a year. Read more details on the renovation on the Sears Tower site.
Yesterday a stretch of Broadway around Times Square between 42nd and 47th Streets and another near Herald Square between 33rd and 35th Streets was closed to automotive traffic and more than 3 acres of new open space was added to the heart of Manhattan. Officially, a $1.5 million pilot project that will be evaluated throughout 2009 for a final approval, the Green Light for Midtown project has turned Broadway into a pedestrian mall that will soon be dotted with cafe tables, slacking smokers, tourists with rollybags and Chinese delivery guys on bikes. While Mayor Bloomberg might get all the glory (or grief) for this and other bike- and pedestrian-friendly civic plans (180 miles of bike lanes have been added in New York since 2006), it turns out that the bold genius behind turning Broadway into the newest park in New York is Janette Sadik-Khan, the city’s Transportation Commissioner since 2007. Oddly, closing Broadway, and removing its diagonal slice through the Manhattan grid, is going to have a beneficial effect on auto traffic through Midtown. With no more 3-way intersections at 34th and 42nd Streets, Midtown traffic models predict a 37% improvement in travel times for cars traveling north on 6th Ave. and a 17% improvement to travel times when traveling downtown on 7th Ave. New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff sized up the first day without cars down Broadway this way:
Walking down the cramped, narrow sidewalks, a visitor could never get a feel for the vastness of the place. Now, standing in the middle of Broadway, you have the sense of being in a big public room, the towering billboards and digital screens pressing in on all sides.
See photos of the day Broadway was given back to pedestrians.
Swiss Architect Peter Zumthor has won the 2009 Pritzker Architecture Prize. Saying his architecture expresses respect for the primacy of the site, the legacy of a local culture and the invaluable lessons of architectural history, the Pritzker jury will award the 65 year-old architect their $100,000 prize on May 29th. To see photos of his buildings, take a look at this Pritzker image library, a Guardian slideshow, or to get the full picture of Zumthor’s work, download the Pritzker photobooklet of his work (5MB .pdf).
Generating heat and power from the sun doesn’t have to involve huge projects like the new 5 megawatt Kimberlina solar thermal power plant in Bakersfield. Conserval Engineering, which has offices in less-than sunny Buffalo and Paris, developed SolarWall panels decades ago which are made from simple corrugated and perforated galvanized steel. The panels are attached to the outside of the south-facing walls of industrial and commercial buildings and the sun-warmed air that is created in this cavity is vented up and into heating ducts. This simple technology generates six times the power of similarly-sized photovoltaic solar panels, but costs one-tenth the price.
Probably one of the last signature architecture pieces in New York for a while the new Cooper Union academic building at Third Ave. and 7th St. in New York is taking shape. Designed by Thom Mayne of Morphosis, the building will have a 120ft. atrium, Gold LEED certification, carbon dioxide detectors in the building that will automatically dim power and ventilation when rooms are unoccupied and a green roof that will be covered by a layer of low-maintenance plantings. One of the more interesting things about the building is that Cooper Union’s promotional website contains the worst description ever written in English about a building, e.g.: The zoning envelope proscribes the kind of exuberant challenge to the grid that the institutional personality of Cooper Union would seem to demand.
In Miami, a group called Take Back the Land is moving homeless families into previously empty, foreclosed homes. And a lot of people are happy about the situation: the neighbors prefer it to an empty sometimes-looted shell next door, the police don’t mind, the banks don’t mind –and even prefer that someone’s doing a little upkeep on their property.
Hong Kong architect Gary Chang has done the most of his 344-square foot apartment. By using shifting wall units suspended from steel tracks bolted into the ceiling his studio can transform into at least 24 different layouts. Check out the photos.
An unintended consequence of sheathing the new Renzo Piano-designed New York Times building in a ceramic-rod lattice is that crazy people can climb the building like a ladder. And it was climbed by two different crazy people just yesterday. It took the first climber 40 minutes to reach the top of the 52-story tower. See photos and video of the climbs.