The U.S. Department of the Interior announced the designation of 13 new National Historic Landmarks earlier this spring. This designation signifies the importance of these sites in representing the nation’s heritage. Although the list contains many historic sites, such as the Japanese internment camp at Topaz, Utah, it also includes architecturally significant structures.
Is there a design language that is unique to civic architecture? Critic Robert Campbell posed this question to the architects, judges, and others attending “Function, Form, and Meaning: Design Excellence in Federal Courthouses” last Friday. Hosted by the General Services Administration (GSA), this day-long forum in Washington, D.C., was billed as “a review and national conversation on federal courthouse design.” Campbell’s opening lecture juxtaposed Modern designs with classical models and challenged attendees and speakers to debate whether or not one of these modes is more appropriate for civic buildings. Taking up Campbell’s challenge, several audience members asked if Modernism has
Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, the husband-and-wife team based in New York City, bested a who’s-who roster of competitors to design a new arts center for the University of Chicago, the school announced last week.
Studio Daniel Libeskind is on a roll. Less than a year after its addition to the Denver Art Museum opened to much popular fanfare, if lukewarm critical reviews, another of the firm’s big cultural projects has followed suit: a dramatic expansion of Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), which opened on Saturday. Though separated by 1,500 miles, the two buildings share Libeskind’s signature aesthetic of angular, crystalline forms. They also have in common a key gesture: a prow-shaped volume that reaches over public space. These similarities have led more than a few observers to wonder if the architect’s atelier is copying
Like two siblings who tease each other relentlessly, New York City and London are more alike than they prefer to admit. A conference sponsored by the British Council for Offices last month in Manhattan demonstrated how these cities often copy each other’s best practices for competing in today’s global economy—and architecture, it turns out, is increasingly important to both. “For a long time, high quality design was seen as an inefficiency,” observed Mark Wigley, dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture. “Today it’s seen as leverage.” New York’s real estate developers have come to realize the value of
Editor’s note: You may read the news digest below or listen to it, plus other news headlines from ArchiecturalRecord.com, as a podcast by clicking this link. Click the play button to begin | Click here to download Renderings and plans of the U.S.’s new embassy in Baghdad appeared on the Internet in a surprising breach of security surrounding the sensitive project. The 10 images were posted on the Web site of the building’s architect, Berger Devine Yaeger, but have been removed at the request of the State Department. “In terms of commenting whether they’re accurate, obviously we wouldn’t be commenting
After building designs were revealed for the 2008 Beijing Olympics a few years ago, reports turned to stories of displaced local residents and the destruction of historic architecture as the city began revamping its infrastructure. A photo that recently made the front page of newspapers worldwide best captured the activity: a lone house standing defiantly amid a giant construction pit. Nicknamed the “Nail House,” the diminutive dwelling finally succumbed to a backhoe on April 3—its owner, Wu Ping, joining the estimated 300,000 people who have been displaced by construction. But behind these dramatic scenes, a preservation ethic is gradually emerging.
With new buildings by Jean Nouvel and Herzog & de Meuron, as well as a dynamic regional design community, the architecture scene in Minneapolis is definitely heating up—but it will no longer be receiving consistent review in the local newspaper. The Minneapolis Star Tribune announced earlier this month that it is eliminating the position of its architecture critic and reporter, Linda Mack. In addition to reporting on architecture, planning, and landscape design, Mack had covered the urban landscape in a weekly features column for 20 years. Her position was one of 50 newsroom jobs cut—part of a larger effort to
Six million Americans are already affected with age-related macular degeneration, the primary cause of vision loss in the U.S, and as many as 15 million more are pre-symptomatic. Low vision, coupled with Baby Boomers’ propensity toward independent living, suggests a different set of easy design solutions from complete blindness.
For far too long, most publicly funded housing for seniors and the disabled has bordered on being dull, if not downright dismal and “institutional.” But thanks to architects who are lavishing the kind of thoughtful design attention hitherto rarely seen in such developments, and clients who are increasingly willing to take a chance on them, even some publicly funded projects are breaking the mold. Rotschild Doyno’s seniors complex. Rendering: Courtesy Rothschild Donyo Victor Regnier, FAIA, a University of Southern California professor who specializes in seniors housing design, is currently writing a book on the subject—timely, given the growing demand for