In the months following Hurricane Katrina, two well-connected musicians, Harry Connick, Jr., and Branford Marsalis, began thinking about how they could help New Orleans’s music scene recover. They soon teamed with Habitat for Humanity to envision Musicians’ Village: a neighborhood composed of 70 single-family homes, five duplexes, a park, and a performance center, that would provide musicians with affordable housing and work space. The move from cultural mission to concrete buildings has not been as simple—or as musical—as they initially hoped it would be, but it is finally showing success. Photo courtesy Bell Architects The Ellis Marsalis Center for Music
This April’s Architectural Billings Index, prepared by the American Institute of Architects, held steady for the third month in a row with a score of 52.7; any showing above 50 indicates growth. But many of the mostly commercial firms surveyed said that inquiries for new business are rising, suggesting that billings might increase later this year.
Editor’s note: You may listen to excerpts from James Murdock’s interview with Robert Hillier and Peter Morrison by clicking the link below. Click the play button to begin | Click here to download Although the official announcement was embargoed until today, both RMJM and Hillier Architecture had difficultly keeping a lid on their big news: they’re getting hitched. To the tune of $30 million, it turns out. The papers were signed yesterday at Hillier’s office in Princeton, New Jersey, and the firm’s management, along with leaders from its new Edinburgh-based parent company, will celebrate with a champagne toast at the
Michael Govan, director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, created a buzz in museum circles earlier this year when he expressed an interest in acquiring canonical, Midcentury Modernist houses for his institution's collection.
Renzo Piano is not bashful about his plan to raze century-old, masonry-clad factories and tenements in West Harlem and replace them with big, crisp buildings of steel and glass—a new campus for Columbia University that resembles Metropolis more than it does the existing neighborhood. “Cities are bound to change,” he says, “You have to accept it.” Images courtesy Renzo Piano Building Workshop / Skidmore Owings & Merrill Created by Renzo Piano and SOM, Columbia University’s new 17-acre campus will replace low-rise warehouses and tenements with glass-walled towers. Pressed for space at its original campus in Morningside Heights, 10 blocks south,
Coming Out of the Scaffolding: Chicago's First LGBT Center In recent American memory, gays and lesbians have been the self-designated keepers of the historic urban fabric. Their preservationist urge has saved whole districts from neglect—Will Fellows detailed it in his 2004 book A Passion to Preserve—and it’s common knowledge among real estate investors to “follow the gays” when searching for the next neighborhood to undergo gentrification. Image courtesy Gensler Fittingly, LGBT community centers also reflect preservationist elements, either by adapting old spaces or combining them into larger campuses. The most recent melding of old and new takes place in the
Empire State Building Lobby Getting a Makeover Image Courtesy Beyer Blinder Belle Although not generally known for its ground-floor views, the Empire State Building—which recently topped an AIA poll of Americans’ favorite buildings—may soon give visitors a reason to linger at street level. The lobby of this Art Deco skyscraper, designed by William Lamb and completed in 1931, is being restored. A plastic-panel dropped ceiling in the lobby, added in the 1960s, is being removed. In its place will go a re-creation of the original ceiling, a gold-leaf-on-canvas abstraction of planets and stars. A re-creation, rather than a restoration, is
Libeskind Tower to Perch Atop Hummingbird Centre How do you build an icon on top of an icon? That’s the thorny question posed by Studio Daniel Libeskind’s new residential and arts complex in Toronto. At 50 stories and 550,000 square feet, the planned tower aims to be a major addition to a theater that's a local Modernist landmark. The Hummingbird Centre, completed in 1960 by English-born architect Peter Dickinson, is a limestone-clad, fan-shaped theater that has often been compared to London’s Royal Festival Hall. The Libeskind design wraps a curvy, L-shaped volume around two sides of the existing structure. Its
Herzog & de Meuron's "Pirate" Seizes Hamburg's Skyline'and Its Imagination A warehouse on Hamburg’s waterfront is being transformed into the Elbe Philharmonic Hall, the architectural equivalent of Greta Garbo or a pirate ship—take your pick of these analogies, the former offered by future tenant Christoph von Dohnányi, chief conductor of the NDR Symphony Orchestra, and the latter by architect Jaques Herzog, of Herzog & de Meuron. Images: Courtesy Herzog & de Meuron As contradictory as they might seem, both analogies are apt. Von Dohnányi says that the design, like the famously shy film star, “is very beautiful, but it doesn’t