Earlier this year, during an urban development forum at a university in Belfast, Ireland, the New York-based architect Daniel Libeskind ruffled feathers when he admonished fellow architects not to accept commissions from China and other so-called repressive regimes. “I think architects should take a more moral stance,” he proclaimed. The Polish-born architect’s speech incited backlash from colleagues and charges of hypocrisy—some pointed to his Hong Kong project, the now-under-construction Creative Media Centre—but his remarks incited a question that can leave some architects feeling squeamish: Is it ethical to accept commissions from authoritarian governments with poor human rights records? Photo '
One name that will be absent from RECORD’s 2008 list of the top 150 design firms is New Jersey-based CUH2A. The 400-member firm, which specializes in science and technology (S&T) projects such as hospitals and research facilities, is merging into HDR Architecture, in Omaha, Nebraska, to form what both companies say will be the world’s most comprehensive S & T design program. HDR has 1,300 employees and is the tenth highest grossing architecture and engineering firm in the world, with reported revenues of $260 million in 2007. The merger spawned from the company’s desire to expand its portfolio without slowing
Photo courtesy New York City Department of Buildings Patricia Lancaster, FAIA, stepped down as Building Commissioner of New York City on April 23. On April 23, New York City’s Building Commissioner Patricia Lancaster, FAIA stepped down following a string of construction accidents in 2008, 13 of which were fatal. Just one week later, on April 28, a construction worker on Staten Island was critically injured on the first day of the city’s newly created Construction Safety Week. These incidents have incited a fierce debate over where fault lies that could have far-reaching implications for other cities in the midst of
The first conflict at yesterday’s New York City Planning Commission hearing on Columbia University’s 17-acre Manhattanville expansion plan, a scheme designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop and Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM), was not over a building but a chair. “Twelve urban planners, and none of them can plan a seating arrangement,” said Harlem resident Nellie Hester Bailey as she took a seat reserved for Columbia staff in the Commission’s cramped 50-seat auditorium. A two-hour meeting ensued, during which community members, who are upset about the university’s plan to displace 5,000 residents and use eminent domain in aid of building
Columbia University’s simmering tension with Harlem residents over its plan to build a new, 17-acre campus in Manhattanville came to a boil last week when a rowdy, standing-room-only crowd of roughly 400 people armed with signs and maracas packed into a hearing on the school’s 197-C development plan, developed by the Renzo Piano Building Workshop and Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM). This reaction made yesterday’s rejection of the plan by the local Community Board an inevitability. Columbia’s 197-C plan, named for a clause in New York City’s charter that requires potential developers to seek zoning approval through a land-use review,
A new state law aimed at curbing architects who knowingly self-certify incorrect plans has sparked a turf war between New York state and local officials in New York City over the administration of professional discipline. New York City’s Department of Buildings (DOB) initiated self-certification in 1995 to help ease a permit backlog. The practice allows architects and engineers to confirm that their plans are compliant with applicable laws, rather than submit plans to DOB inspectors. It accounted for nearly half the 6,000 new building permits issued in 2006 and a similar number in 2007. Controversy erupted last summer when audits