News Highlights of the Week: September 22 – September 28, 2007
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Cesar Pelli and his firm will design what could become the tallest tower in San Francisco. As RECORD reported this week, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, teamed with developer Hines, were awarded exclusive negotiating rights for a prime downtown site owned by the Transbay Joint Powers Authority. The authority seeks to rebuild the aging Transbay Terminal facility next door. Pelli’s design is for a 1,200-foot-tall tower of glass and steel alongside a new terminal for buses and commuter rail. The revamped terminal would stretch one-quarter mile and cross above two city streets. A 5.4-acre park, designed by Peter Walker and Partners, of Berkeley, will top it. The Pelli scheme, and Hines’ $350 million bid for the site, triumphed over entries by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Rogers Harbour Stirk + Partners.
Lord Norman Foster has won an international competition to redesign the biggest stadium in Europe, the 98,000-seat Camp Nou in Barcelona. Drawings released this week reveal Foster’s plan to retain the structure’s asymmetrical shape while adding 8,000 seats and more public space. Foster proposes draping the stadium in a scaly skin made of multicolored polycarbonate and glass panels, a reference to Trencadis, a mosaic-style popularized in the early 20th century by Barcelona’s native son, Antoni Gaudi. Francesc Mitjans-Miro, Garcia Barbon, and Soteras Mauri designed the original stadium, which celebrated its 50th birthday on Monday. It was announced last week that Foster submitted the winning design for the renovation of the stadium, which houses the Futbol Club (FC) Barcelona. The Guardian reports that construction on the €250 million project is slated to begin in 2009 and be finished by 2011.
Architects from around the globe are invited to submit ideas for a competition to design 10 new eco-towns in the U.K., the British government announced on Thursday. The Times in London reports that the free-standing towns will have up to 20,000 homes and are intended to be models of sustainable building and living. The government has not yet announced where the eco-towns will be located. The competition aims to gather ideas from leading innovators in the fields of town planning, urban design, architecture, landscape design, transport, and environmental planning. The competition has two phases: The first focuses on overarching concepts, while the second focuses on individual communities. The government has emphasized that designs should incorporate the local vernacular. Yvette Cooper, Britain’s Housing Minister, told the The Times that she envisions eco-friendly developments similar to those in Scandinavia and the Netherlands. The government plans to announce development schemes in the first half of 2008.
On Tuesday, the Art Institute of Chicago announced the long-anticipated online publication of The Magic of America, a 1,400-page chronicle of architectural history and theory that has achieved cult-like status among historians and design professionals since the author’s death in 1961. The manuscript was never published, and only three fragile copies of it survive (two in the Art Institute’s collection, one in the New York Historical Society’s collection). It is the first time the precious manuscript has been available on the Web. The Magic of America was started in the 1940s by the late Marion Mahony Griffin when she was in her 70s. Griffin, who worked closely with Frank Lloyd Wright, was the second woman to receive an architecture degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the first licensed female architect in Illinois. She was never able to find a publisher for the hefty manuscript during her lifetime. The online version was conceived and completed by the staff of Ryerson and Burnham Libraries of the Art Institute.