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Torre Cervantes by FR-EE / Fernando Romero Enterprise

Archinect - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 15:05

In an outstanding location in the northwestern part Mexico City, FREE had the opportunity to develop a mixed-use complex that includes a shopping mall, offices, apartments, and two new museums in a former industrial zone. In order to consolidate the area center and create a new destination in the city, FREE designed “Torre Cervantes” housing. Sections are organized along a vertebral spine that provides structural rigidity where all vertical services are located. Maximizing the extraordinary setting, the orientation of the building makes the most of the site’s views onto the city’s cultural center to the south. This connection allows the center to participate in a subtle dialogue with the city that generates a new dynamism for the center’s educational and artistic elements, strengthening the identity of both the Jumex Museum and the theater in the middle of the plaza. The asymmetrical plan of the center is consolidated with a continuous window façade that can open completely, allowin...

Categories: Design Feeds

Li Xiaodong, Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Maya Lin, Steven Holl, OMA+OLIN, and Haworth Tompkins are among this week's many winners

Archinect - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 14:47

Every Monday, we highlight some of the most recent news in competition-winning projects, commissions, awards, shortlists, and events on Bustler from the previous week that we think are worth checking out.

The week of Oct. 13-17, 2014 was quite an eventful one. Here's Recap #31:

Li Xiaodong’s Liyuan Library wins inaugural Moriyama RAIC International Prize

The Liyuan Library by architect Li Xiaodong won the first CAD$100,000 Moriyama RAIC International Prize in Toronto, which was launched by The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) Foundation and distinguished Canadian architect Raymond Moriyama.  Archinect contributor Terri Peters gave a recap on attending the awards ceremony.

Winners of the LEAF Awards 2014

Every year, the LEAF International highlights projects that are perceived as setting the standard for the international architecture and design community in various categories. From 40 shortlisted projects, this year's overall winner was One Central Park in Sydney, Australia...

Categories: Design Feeds

Working out of the Box: Daniel Dorall, Architect turned Maze Artist

Archinect - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 14:14

Working out of the Box is a series of features presenting architects who have applied their architecture backgrounds to alternative career paths.

In this installment, we're talking with Malaysia-born Melbourne-based sculptor and creator of fascinating miniature objects Daniel Dorall.

Are you an architect working out of the box? Do you know of someone that has changed careers and has an interesting story to share? If you would like to suggest an (ex-)architect, please send us a message.

Categories: Design Feeds

Rescuing Washington's Skyline

Archinect - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 14:10

Clinging to antiquated urban notions, the District’s building height regulations imagine a skyline filled with spires, domes and minarets.



The debate over the Capital's skyline should not pit preservationists against contemporary designers. In fact, regulations that take advantage of the rooftop space would contribute to the monumental character of the city. 

Categories: Design Feeds

Screen/Print #26: Intern Magazine, interview with Jessica Walsh of Sagmeister & Walsh

Archinect - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 13:58

Intern Magazine is devoted to “intern culture” in the creative industries, elevating the talents of an oft under-valued workforce in a classy, bi-annual glossy. Part polemic and part showcase, the magazine is dissatisfied upfront with the current state of unpaid/underpaid intern labor, and hopes its pages can provoke a reevaluation of the too-often exploited population.

Categories: Design Feeds

Lawler: Updated Table of Distressed and All-Cash Share for September

Calculated Risk - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 13:22
CR Note: Existing Home Sales for September will be released tomorrow by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The consensus is for sales of 5.09 million on seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) basis. Sales in August were at a 5.05 million SAAR. Economist Tom Lawler estimates the NAR will report sales of 5.14 million SAAR.

Housing economist Tom Lawler sent me the updated table below of short sales, foreclosures and cash buyers for several selected cities in September.  Lawler notes: "Note the jump in the foreclosure sales share in Orlando."

On distressed: Total "distressed" share is down in these markets due to a decline in short sales.

Short sales are down in all these areas.

Foreclosures are up slightly in several of these areas - and up significantly in Orlando.

The All Cash Share (last two columns) is mostly declining year-over-year. As investors pull back, the share of all cash buyers will probably continue to decline.

  Short Sales ShareForeclosure Sales Share Total "Distressed" ShareAll Cash Share
Sep-14Sep-13Sep-14Sep-13Sep-14Sep-13Sep-14Sep-13
Las Vegas10.4%23.0%8.8%7.0%19.2%30.0%34.3%47.2%
Reno**7.0%20.0%7.0%5.0%14.0%25.0%   
Phoenix3.8%8.8%5.8%8.0%9.6%16.8%25.7%33.4%
Sacramento5.3%12.1%6.5%3.9%11.8%16.0%19.4%23.6%
Minneapolis3.4%6.0%9.4%16.0%12.8%22.0%   
Mid-Atlantic5.5%7.7%9.7%8.2%15.2%15.9%19.1%18.4%
Orlando7.1%18.0%24.8%18.0%31.8%36.0%41.9%43.5%
California *5.9%10.8%5.3%7.1%11.2%17.9%   
Bay Area CA*3.6%7.5%2.8%3.6%6.4%11.1%20.9%23.3%
So. California*6.0%10.9%4.7%6.4%10.7%17.3%24.3%28.7%
Hampton Roads        19.6%26.1%   
Tucson            26.7%29.8%
Toledo            31.4%38.1%
Wichita            27.8%28.6%
Des Moines            16.8%19.2%
Peoria            24.7%20.7%
Georgia***            27.4%N/A
Omaha            19.9%19.1%
Pensacola            29.2%27.3%
Memphis*    11.7%16.5%       
Springfield IL**    9.5%14.1%    22.6%N/A
*share of existing home sales, based on property records
**Single Family Only
***GAMLS

Studios Kabako from Congo wins 2014 Curry Stone Design Prize

Archinect - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 12:12

Congolese performance and theater group Studios Kabako from Kisangani was announced as the 2014 Curry Stone Design Prize winner this past weekend at an awards ceremony in Brussels...Studios Kabako was established in 2001 to address the various emotions linked to the aftermath of civil war. Located in a city that is isolated geographically and culturally, the studio has provided its community a safe creative haven of dance, theater, and music through its urban interventions and cultural programs.



Studios Kabako will start a U.S. tour including in New York from October 21 to November 1, 2014, with two performances at the BRIC theater in Brooklyn.

The studio will receive a $100,000 grant prize, and were also featured in a short documentary by the Curry Stone Foundation, which you can watch entirely below.

Read more about the studio on Bustler.

Categories: Design Feeds

FHFA Director Watt: Reps and Warrants to be Clarified in Coming Weeks, "sensible and responsible guidelines" for Lower Downpayments

Calculated Risk - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 11:56
From FHFA Director Melvin Watt: Prepared Remarks of Melvin L. Watt, Director, FHFA, At the Mortgage Bankers Association Annual Convention

On lower downpayments:
To increase access for creditworthy but lower-wealth borrowers, FHFA is also working with the Enterprises to develop sensible and responsible guidelines for mortgages with loan-to-value ratios between 95 and 97 percent. Through these revised guidelines, we believe that the Enterprises will be able to responsibly serve a targeted segment of creditworthy borrowers with lower-down payment mortgages by taking into account “compensating factors.” While this is a much more narrow effort than our work on the Representation and Warranty Framework, it is yet another much needed piece to the broader access to credit puzzle. Further details about these new guidelines will be available in the coming weeks as we continue to advance FHFA’s mission of ensuring safety, soundness and liquidity in the housing finance markets.
On Reps and Warrants:
We know that the Representation and Warranty Framework did not provide enough clarity to enable lenders to understand when Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac would exercise their remedy to require repurchase of a loan. And, we know that this issue has contributed to lenders imposing credit overlays that drive up the cost of lending and also restrict lending to borrowers with less than perfect credit scores or with less conventional financial situations.

To address this problem, FHFA and the Enterprises have worked to revise the Framework to ensure that it provides clear rules of the road that allow lenders to manage their risk and lend throughout the Enterprises’ credit box. These revisions are consistent with our broader efforts to place more emphasis on upfront quality control reviews and other risk management practices that provide feedback on the quality of loans delivered to the Enterprises earlier in the process.
...
As I committed FHFA to do when I announced these refinements in May, we have continued to engage in an ongoing process to address the issue of life-of-loan exclusions. Life-of-loan exclusions are designed to protect Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from instances of fraud or other significant noncompliance, and, as a result, they allow the Enterprises to require lenders to repurchase loans at any point during the term of the loan. The current life-of-loan exclusions are open-ended and make it difficult for a lender to predict when, or if, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac will apply one of them.

So, we have continued to address this issue, and I can report that we have reached an agreement in principle on how to clarify and define the life-of-loan exclusions. These changes are a significant step forward that will result in a better Representation and Warranty Framework and facilitate market liquidity without compromising the safety and soundness of the Enterprises.

First, we are more clearly defining the life-of-loan exclusions, so lenders will know what they are and when they apply to loans that have otherwise obtained repurchase relief. These exclusions fall into six categories: 1) misrepresentations, misstatements and omissions; 2) data inaccuracies; 3) charter compliance issues; 4) first-lien priority and title matters; 5) legal compliance violations; and 6) unacceptable mortgage products.

Second, for loans that have already earned repurchase relief, we are clarifying that only life-of-loan exclusions can trigger a repurchase under the Framework. This is a straightforward clarification, but one that we believe will reduce confusion and risks to lenders.

The Enterprises will provide details about the updated definitions for each life-of-loan exclusion in the coming weeks ...
emphasis added

James Corner Field Operations Will Design a New Waterfront Park in Brooklyn

Archinect - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 11:43

Renderings for the waterfront park to be built alongside the massive housing development Greenpoint Landing have been released. Flooding from Hurricane Sandy ravaged the area only a few years back, so it comes as no surprise that locals were concerned with how developers would protect the area from future storms. James Corner Field Operations was chosen to address the problem, and the result is a resilient design that manages to enhance the structural integrity and aesthetic appeal of the existing riverfront.

Categories: Design Feeds

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by Dr. Radut