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Napa Quake a 'Reality Check'

Archinect - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 13:13

Most of the Bay Area roads, bridges, water systems, dams and levees fared well in Sunday's 6.0 earthquake near Napa, but the damage in the picturesque Wine Country town was a jolting reminder of the vulnerability of public services for 7 million people. A Big One -- such as a 7.0 earthquake on the Hayward Fault that runs beneath heavily populated Oakland and Berkeley -- would inflict more damage to key infrastructure, experts said.

Overall, the damage caused by the Napa earthquake could have been a lot worse. But a Los Angeles Times article documenting how even retrofitted historic buildings were damaged showcases the profound vulnerability of older structures in California. According to the article: "The destruction highlights one of the greatest fears of seismic engineers — that the retrofitting of unreinforced masonry buildings still leaves weak joints between bricks." Just yesterday, another LA Times article claimed that thousands of brick buildings across the state have not been retrofitted, disproportionately in low-income areas. And while low-cost retrofitting certainly mitigates the risk of a building "pancaking," but doesn't  preclude other potential dangers like falling bricks or collapsed walls. Additionally, commentators are pointing to the Napa earthquake as a "wake-up call" to officials that the state's aging infrastructure is in desperate need of an upgrade. For example, a Forbes article detaile...

Categories: Design Feeds

Construction begins of Mecanoos Three Cultural Centers & One Book Mall

Archinect - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 12:34

Work has started on Mecanoo’s first design to be built in China. The Three Cultural Centers & One Book Mall complex comprises of a public art museum, a science museum, a youth centre, a book mall with 5 floors, retail units and underground parking facilities. 

The 95.000m2 development promises to transform Longcheng Park in Shenzhen’s Longgang district into a lively destination point that strengthens the quarter’s identity and provides citizens and visitors with a renewed sense of placeBy 2017, the landmark complex will form a dynamic link between the commercial business district, a formal park and gardens, and one of the district’s main thoroughfares.

The four building volumes of Three Cultural Centers & One Book Mall emerge from the ground to create a series of arches and sheltered public event spaces. Rounded shapes respect the natural flow of pedestrians through the site. Strategically located on the ground floor, the cultural centres open outwards into the exterior public space, ...

Categories: Design Feeds

After 11 Years of Controversy, Atlantic Yards Becomes Pacific Park Brooklyn

Archinect - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 12:10

Big real estate projects sometimes go through name changes, but the announcement August 4th that the Atlantic Yards mega-development near downtown Brooklyn, which has faced steady controversy since it emerged in 2003, would become Pacific Park Brooklyn, was an unusual, strategic and dubious adjustment.

Categories: Design Feeds

Hunts Point | Memories of the Future

Archinect - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 11:51

In collaboration with fifteen poets and community activists from StartUp Box South Bronx, I recently created Memories of the Future, a location-based cinema project viewed on mobile phones. The group experimented with spoken word poetry, site specific performance, and on-site spectatorship to reframe the predominant view of Hunts Point and speak about possibilities for its future from a position of power.

Categories: Design Feeds

The Next-Generation Airport Is a Destination in Its Own Right

Archinect - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 11:45

With views of the downtown skyline, the $1.1 billion new Indianapolis airport has been celebrated for its sense of place, and for treating its passengers as "guests," much the way the hotel industry does. It has its own civic plaza, a light-filled central space with 35-foot ceilings that functions as the nexus of activity—every passenger, whether arriving or departing, passes through—where half of all the airport's shops and restaurants reside. [...] What is Indy doing right?

Categories: Design Feeds

More is more: the gaudy genius of the late Deborah Sussman

Archinect - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 10:57

“More is more,” was the motto of Deborah Sussman, the graphic designer behind this brilliant visual riot, who died last week at the age of 82. Trained in the office of Charles and Ray Eames, she took their love of colour and pattern to new heights, establishing a studio with her husband, Paul Prejza, that would tackle everything from shop fit-outs to city wayfinding, sprinkling her distinctive brand, like sugary confetti, from Philadelphia to Santa Monica.

One week ago: Deborah Sussman, designer, has died at age 83

Categories: Design Feeds

A Banker’s Bold Vision Inspires an Arts Center, and Neighbors’ Doubts

Archinect - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 10:45

From the horizon, the new Botín contemporary art center hovers over Santander’s agate-colored bay like a fleet of spaceships poised for a close encounter. [...] The $106 million center — designed by Renzo Piano, the Italian architect, to jut over the bay — is the latest private museum emerging in Europe that matches star architects and dramatic designs with billionaires who have huge ambitions and brands to promote.

Categories: Design Feeds

WW: Obstructed Egress

I Dig Hardware - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 10:31
An architect's office can't claim that they didn't understand the requirements for an unobstructed means of egress, right?

Categories: Design Feeds

China considering drastic ban on coal

Archinect - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 10:30

State-owned news outlets reported this month that the government would ban the use of coal in Beijing and other urban areas by 2020 in an effort to reduce the noxious air pollution that chokes many cities. [...] But [President Xi Jinping] and other officials have provided few details — and, indeed, have sent conflicting, even disturbing, signals about their plans. Some measures China is considering could actually exacerbate climate change.

Categories: Design Feeds

Poll: Do you understand your pet’s emotions?

TED Blog - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 08:39
Pets: they are just like us. Well, maybe. In her TED Talk, “Depressed dogs, cats with OCD—what animal madness means for us humans,” Laurel Braitman shares her seven years of research on the mental health of animals. “What I discovered is that I do believe they can suffer from mental illness, and [that] trying to []
Categories: Design Feeds

Interview with Keller Easterling about Subtraction

Archinect - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 16:07

Keller Easterling is an internationally-recognized architect and theorist working on issues of urbanism, architecture, and organization in relation to the phenomena commonly defined as globalization. Her latest book, Subtraction, is published by Sternberg Press.  Easterling is a Professor of Architecture at Yale University

Mitch McEwen: Should we jump into the Subtraction?

Keller Easterling: Sure. I confess, I don’t have any prepared answers

MM: Should we start with Detroit? Detroit, just in terms of how it operates, in the book?

KE: The rust-belt cities, shrinking cities have been shrinking for as much time as they have been growing. These are fascinating to the Subtraction project because the failure is so spectacular that something almost magical happens, where all of the kind of trafficked mortgage products stop being trafficked mortgage products and turn back into heavy landscapes and houses again. Things back in a gravitational field, things made of material, things that have ta...

Categories: Design Feeds

The uphill climb to gender equity continues...

Archinect - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 14:39

Women are architecture's original rebels. Over 120 years ago, they insisted that architecture schools and professional organisations open their doors to women, arguing that the field would thrive (or wither) according to the diversity of its students and practitioners...And yet despite this long history of challenging architecture to be inclusive, women have been given little credit for their contributions.

Despina Stratigakos, historian and University of Buffalo architecture professor highlights in her Opinion article how women in architecture have challenged and continue to challenge the deep-rooted patriarchy in the field of architecture throughout the past century. Although there is a growing number of women who are studying architecture, holding leadership roles in schools and firms, and forming organizations, the same problems of gender inequality still exist to this day. Another question that remains: Is anyone even paying attention?


In Architecture, a Glass Ceiling

Phyllis Lambert named as 2014 Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement recipient

Mecanoo’s Francine Houben named AJ Woman Architect of the Year 2014

Arab Women in Architecture Film

Categories: Design Feeds

How teachers can best use TED Talks in class, from the perspective of a student

TED Blog - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 12:02
By Olivia Cucinotta My high school English class had just finished reading Madame Bovary, and we were all confused. (For those of you who have not read it, please skip to paragraph two. Spoiler alert!) Emma Bovary, a listless housewife in search of the passionate love she’s read about in books, has many sordid affairs, []
Categories: Design Feeds

Hearing begins for "modernist" North Carolina home threatened with demolition

Archinect - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 11:38

Today is day two in court for architect Louis Cherry and his wife, Marsha Gordon, for the hearing that will decide the fate of their new home in the historic Oakwood neighborhood of Raleigh, South Carolina. Back in March, a neighbor complained that the "modernist" style of Cherry's home didn't jive with the neighborhood's tone, and successfully appealed to have the building's permits revoked. Construction was halted, and now the decision of whether the house can be finished, demolished, or forcibly modified to local design standards has been brought to court.

We first covered this issue back in May and July, and the preservationist-NIMBYism that it's raised. Opening statements for the case were held yesterday, although it could take months for the judge to issue a final decision. @NCMHTweets is reporting from inside the courtroom, and @ModernOakwood reps the house itself, "if these walls could talk" style.

Updates from NC Modernist Houses, @NCMHTweets:

Tweets by @NCMHTweets

Categories: Design Feeds

Why haven't China's cities learned from America's mistakes?

Archinect - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 10:43

In the wake of economic reforms in the 1990s that helped set off the largest urban migration in history, China had the rare opportunity to embrace cutting-edge city-building approaches as it expanded its skyline. It could have avoided the mistakes that made Los Angeles into the land of gridlock, or bypassed the errors that turned the banlieues of Paris into what one American planner calls “festering urban sores”. But China looked back instead of forward.

Meanwhile in Africa: Urban China: Chinese Urbanism in Africa

Categories: Design Feeds

Mexico City’s new and vivacious architecture

Archinect - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 10:41

They would lead me and two friends through a collection of new and old galleries, museums, neighborhoods, institutions and restaurants, as well as buildings of their own designs, to give me a sense of what stands out to Mexico City architects when they turn their gaze toward home.

Sam Lubell visited Mexico City recently, and was led on tours of the city's architecture (old and new) by Fernando Romero and Michel Rojkind.

Also see previous - The chromatic feats..., wherein Guy Trebay rediscovers Mexico City and the houses of the great Mexican architect Luis Barragán.

Categories: Design Feeds

Doors in the News

I Dig Hardware - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 10:33
Keith Brooks, Head of Prevention and Protection at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “This case is a perfect example of how important fire doors are when a fire breaks out both in the home and the workplace. They play a critical element in saving lives and property and should never be propped open..."

Categories: Design Feeds

Park City Rejects Bjarke Ingels' Kimball Art Center Designs - Again!

Archinect - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 10:10

City Hall on Thursday rejected the designs of the Kimball Art Center's expansion proposal, determining they do not meet the municipal government's strict Old Town guidelines. It was a significant setback as the not-for-profit organization attempts to press ahead with an ambitious redo of the high-profile intersection of Main Street and Heber Avenue. [...] The Kimball Art Center selected a renowned Danish architectural firm, Bjarke Ingels Group, to draft the designs.

Previously: BIG is named winner of the Kimball Art Center Transformation Project Design Competition

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by Dr. Radut