For this monthâ€™s installment of New Yorker Currents, Paul Goldberger,Â The New Yorkerâ€™s architecture critic, spoke with Richard Cook, a partner in Cook+Fox Architects and the designer of the new Bank of America Tower, a Manhattan skyscraper, completed earlier this year, that is the largest building to receive aÂ LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification, the highest standard set by the U.S. Green Building Council. Here they discuss sustainable architecture, the use of nature in design, and the debates over theÂ LEED standard.
Ah – buildings for the Greenway! Thankfully the BSA is on top of things, and trying to push along planning for these empty spaces. Commercial properties? Ground floor retail? A building at Dewey Square? All the buildings ‘don’t have to be museums’? Brilliant – let’s hope we start to see some of these ideas unfold.
Putting an actual building at Dewey Square would be great – holding that space out front of South Station, and improving the streetscape along Summer Street. That, and I was just saying the other night while leaving the Fisherman’s Feast (in the North End) that what the Greenway seems to desperately need is a bar (really, more than one). It’s a strange scene there at night, with most people (it seems) just passing through the space – unless some special event is going on. I say dope little cafe by day, classy bar at night.
One thing I’m tired of hearing about is the scary shadows, blah blah blah. Sure, we need to be careful of blocking out the sun – but people have complained about tall buildings being suggested for the EAST of the Greenway. I’m not going to insult a ninjas intelligence and explain why that’s ridiculous – but c’mon son.
Architecture student Magnus Larsson details his bold plan to transform the harsh Sahara desert using bacteria and a surprising construction material: the sand itself.
Not so new, but new to me – this video is pretty interesting. Imagine building with nature like this, and what that could mean for architecture and construction. Who’s to say that we won’t be programming these bacteria, etc, to perform increasingly complex & specific tasks – guiding them along a certain design trajectory while allowing for just enough randomness for unique and ‘natural’ results. We could be growing whole cities – which, needless to say, would be pretty dope.
Ellen Dunham-Jones takes you through retrofitted suburbia, transforming dead malls into buzzing downtown centers.
Barnard College’s Diana Center, a 98,000 SF multipurpose arts building designed by Weiss / Manfredi, has recently opened for use. The competition-winning design aims to transform the project from simply an art facility into a “social nexus”, creating new spaces for interaction and collaboration between the building’s users.
The 7-storey structure includes architecture and painting studios, a 500-seat performance space, black box theatre, cafe, dining room, reading room, classrooms, and exhibition galleries – all contained within facade of 1,154 clear and color-integral glass panels, intended to reference the brick and terra cotta used Â in the surrounding neighborhood.
The project’s most striking feature is a diagonal void carved through the building, creating double-heigh glass atria that connect the building’s interior with the surrounding campus and the city beyond – while also creating informal spaces for the interaction and collaboration mentioned above.
The public-space volume twisting out from the main structure, creating views and social interaction, etc, actually reminds me of Steven Holl’s Linked Hybrid (oddly enough).
::info + images provided by WEISS / MANFREDI::
“At TEDGlobal U, Cameron Sinclair shows the unreported cost of real estate megaprojects gone bust: thousands of migrant construction laborers left stranded and penniless. To his fellow architects, he says there is only one ethical response.”
Rachel Armstrong: Architecture that repairs itself?
Venice, Italy is sinking. To save it, Rachel Armstrong says we need to outgrow architecture made of inert materials and, well, make architecture that grows itself. She proposes a not-quite-alive material that does its own repairs and sequesters carbon, too.
Rachel Armstrong is a medical doctor, multi-media producer, science fiction author and arts collaborator. Her current research explores architectural design and mythologies about new technology. She is working with scientists and architects to explore cutting-edge, sustainable technologies.
Armstrong’s hope is that, in the future, cities will be able to replace the energy they draw from the environment, respond to the needs of their populations and eventually become regarded as “alive” — in the same way we think about parks or gardens. Since “metabolic materials” are made from terrestrial chemistry, they would not be exclusive to the developed world, and would have the potential to transform urban environments worldwide.
Basically, this woman is working to put us all out of work…
::Video Sundays is a weekly feature here on AMNP. For more architecture-related videos, click on any Sunday in the sidebar calendar, or on the “videos” category in the archjutsu section. And don’t hesitate to submit suggestions for video features to architecture[at]myninjaplease[dot]com::
AMNP recently learned of a newly created design firm in Canada founded by two young designers finishing up grad school – The Practice of Everyday Design.
The Practice of Everyday Design is a new partnership founded in 2009 with a focus on installation art, product design, and architecture. The Practice is committed to the merging of seemingly irreconcilable ideas to form new design opportunities. The practice is not afraid of pushing the boundaries of convention, the status quo, or the constraints imposed by current technologies. Ideas emerge from the desire to reevaluate the banality of the everyday and reinvent them to create innovative and playful designs. Using art as a means to investigate process and design – there is no clear boundary between our design practice and our art pieces.
Their first published project is also their office space – ‘The Mobile Office‘. In an apparent move to ‘think green’ [and maybe a reflection of the economy and its effect on architects] the office is constructed entirely out of discarded materials found within a one-block radius of the site. Objects were collected and transported using the designer’s bikes – and only the necessary hardware was actually purchased. As you can see, the project combines a number of functions into one structure that has been inserted into the space – reminiscent of both the work of Dan Hisel and the URBIA project by OBRA Architects.
The mobile office has allowed us to consolidate all the furniture and shelving into one mobile unit. This has freed up our office space allowing us the flexibility to make large scale models and have spontaneous dance parties.
“2010 METROPOLIS Next Generation Design Competition
CALL FOR ENTRIES
Good design determines how well products, spaces, and systems work from the beginning. We think that great design ideas can make things work even better.�One Design Fix for the Future challenges you to prove us right�whether you are an architect, interior designer, product designer, landscape designer, graphic designer, communication designer. We�re looking for ONE design fix you can make now in your designed environment�the products you use, your home, your workplace, your city, or any commercial application�that, in scale or as inspiration, can improve our future.
To enter, provide one small (but brilliant and elegant) fix�leading to an incremental (or dramatic) change in sustainability. Your fix needn�t have anything to do with �environmentalist engineering� to make a difference. Concentrate on what you know best, are aching to improve in a way that deploys your training and imagination.
DEADLINE: January 29, 2010″
Van Jones, a presidential adviser on green jobs, was forced to step down before controversy enveloped the entire White House – over some bullshit.
For my third crack at this post [seriously], I’ll try to keep my views on politricks to a minimum and simply say that Van Jones was not an elected official – and that even if he were it wouldn’t matter, since many Republican leaders can not live up to the standards by which he was judged. Essentially, he acted like a real person – and since he’s a Democrat [or whatever he is – not a Republican] he was punished. Yay for politricks being about everything other than what’s good for the country!
Van Jones, you’re a ninja sir – don’t let this bullshit keep you down.