Archinect - News 2017-07-24T14:42:11-04:00 Redevelopment of Detroit's Michigan Central Station slowly gaining momentum Alexander Walter 2017-07-24T13:54:00-04:00 >2017-07-24T13:56:23-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="425" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Talk about redeveloping the long-vacant Michigan Central Station in Detroit's Corktown area heated up again Thursday during an announcement about this year's Detroit Homecoming, which will hold the first significant private event in the 104-year-old train station since the mid-1980s. [...] "(Redevelopment of) the depot is going to take a marathon, but we're not at the beginning of the race, we're a few miles into it," said Matthew Moroun, whose father, Matty, bought the building in 1995.</p></em><br /><br /><p>"I said, 'there's one thing: Every time I read a damn national story about Detroit, there's a picture of the train station with the holes in the windows as the international image of the city's decline,'"&nbsp;Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is quoted saying, recalling his conversation with billionaire businessman &mdash; and the building's owner &mdash;&nbsp;Matthew Moroun.&nbsp;"I said, 'I want you to put windows in the train station. And if you do that, everything else will be just fine.'"</p> <p>Renovation costs for the 104-year-old train station &mdash; once the tallest rail station in the world and the city's pride but sitting vacant and in an increasingly derelict state since Amtrak service ceased in 1988 &mdash; are estimated to exceed $100 million.</p> A literary Giro d’Italia Nam Henderson 2017-07-24T00:32:00-04:00 >2017-07-24T00:39:53-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="432" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Most of Italy&rsquo;s splendid old libraries got their starts as the private collections of a humanist noble or cardinal...Where the Angelica is small, plush and perfectly faceted, the Casanatense is spartan and muscular. The Angelica reflects the wealth of its Augustinian founders, whose church, the Basilica di Sant&rsquo;Agostino, adjoins the library, while the Casanatense shows its Dominican roots in its deep collection of books and codices on Church doctrine and natural history.</p></em><br /><br /><p>David Laskin reflects on a trip he took, earlier his year, to&nbsp;Venice, Rome, Florence and Milan, where he visited a sampling of Italy's many historic libraries.</p> Engineers begin preparing for Border Wall construction Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-07-21T21:12:00-04:00 >2017-07-21T21:12:27-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="433" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>The drilling and soil testing are taking place in El Paso; Santa Teresa, N.M.; Calexico, Calif.; and the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas. Mr. Lapan said the testing has been completed in El Paso and Calexico. The agency has identified the San Diego area and the Rio Grande Valley as priority regions for new border walls. The Corps will begin work in the San Diego area in August.</p></em><br /><br /><p>On Tuesday the House Appropriations Committee approved a spending bill that included $1.6 billion for a wall, funding 74 miles of fencing along the southwest border.</p> <p><em>The Department of Homeland Security has moved $20 million from other programs to pay for the construction of several border wall prototypes. Construction of the prototypes for a border wall is set to begin this summer in the San Diego area.</em></p> <p><em>Homeland Security officials said the prototypes would be added to the existing border walls in San Diego and would allow the agency to evaluate which barriers are most effective in giving Border Patrol agents time to respond to illegal drugs and human smuggling. Officials said they planned to build four to eight prototypes.</em><br></p> Shigeru Ban is building shelters for a Kenyan refugee settlement Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-07-20T13:14:00-04:00 >2017-07-20T15:13:51-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="433" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Due to the large influx of refugees, sheet walls of many temporary houses have begun to wear out. And there are other major constraints. There&rsquo;s low water supply, deforestation, and extremely hot temperatures, and a rainy season which often results in heavy flooding. Plus Kalobeyei remote location creates many obstacles. There are no commercial flights to the area, and it can take up to 3 days to get there by road for the capital, Nairobi, where some materials may have to be sourced from.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Shigeru Ban has signed an agreement with UN-Habitat to design up to 12,000 new homes in the Kalobeiyei refugee settlement site in Northern <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Kenya</a>.&nbsp;Commissioned in response to the settlement&rsquo;s rapid growth, which is expected to outnumber its original capacity of 45,000 within a year, the new housing will need to be a replicable model adaptable to the influx of refugees fleeing violence and <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">climate change</a> in South Sudan and Somalia.</p> <p><em>"The key thing will be to design and construct shelter where no or little technical supervision is required,&rdquo;</em> noted Ban<em>, &ldquo;and use materials that are locally available and eco-friendly. It&rsquo;s important that the houses can be easily maintained by inhabitants.&rdquo;</em></p> SF Millennium Tower continues to sink; engineers suggest a possible fix Alexander Walter 2017-07-19T17:29:00-04:00 >2017-07-19T17:35:38-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="650" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>A fix appears to be in the works for San Francisco&rsquo;s sinking and tilting Millennium Tower &mdash; just as a new report estimates the 58-story luxury high-rise has sunk yet another inch in the past seven months. [...] That lean is now up to nearly 14 inches at the building&rsquo;s roof &mdash; an additional 2-plus inches more than the tilt measured in January.</p></em><br /><br /><p>A pair of engineering firms hired by developer Millennium Partners think there's still hope to save the <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">troubled structure</a> and straighten it up again: "The LERA firm and DeSimone Consulting Engineers say the problem can be remedied by drilling 50 to 100 new piles down to bedrock from the building&rsquo;s basement," the <em>Chronicle</em> reports. "The engineering firms estimate the fix will cost $100 million to $150 million &mdash; more than your average home foundation repair, but a lot less than the billion-dollar-plus price tag that some experts have feared."</p> <p>Urgency is increasing though as a new engineering report by Arup Group presents evidence that the rate of sinking remains steady and cracking in the basement continues.<br></p> Houses in Detroit demolished with money intended to save them Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-07-19T14:16:00-04:00 >2017-07-19T15:24:34-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="488" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>With a surplus of unused money, Michigan became the first state in 2013 to demolish homes using money intended to save them. The idea was that demolitions would revitalize neighborhoods by increasing the property values of surrounding houses, attracting new homeowners, and reducing crime rates.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Detroit's&nbsp;neediest homeowners were supposed to receive federal assistance to save their homes as part of the Treasury Department's seven-year-old Hardest Hit Fund. However, Michigan squandered its originally allotted $498 million by creating unnecessarily stringent requirements, according to a scathing audit issued in January by the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP). </p> <p><em>As a result, more than 80 percent of Detroiters making $30,000 or less a year were denied assistance to save their homes from tax or mortgage foreclosure. By contrast, the other 17 states with Hardest Hit Funds rejected 53 percent of homeowners making less than $30,000. </em></p> <p>SIGTARP 2016 investigation found that demolition programs are "vulnerable to the risk of unfair competitive practices such as bid rigging, contract steering, and other closed door contracting processes" because the "Treasury conducts no oversight" and therefore cannot determine whether the cost of d...</p> Car-less apartment renters pay 16% of their rent for parking that they don't use Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-07-18T18:43:00-04:00 >2017-07-18T17:43:42-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="434" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>The average price of building a garage parking space (as much as $34,000 in 2012) is passed on to people whether they own a car or not, and distort the true demand for urban parking.</p></em><br /><br /><p>According to the 2011 National American Housing Survey data of the US census, about 16% of a housing unit&rsquo;s monthly rental cost is attributable to the expense of building an urban parking spot. For the average renter that amounts to to $1,700 per year, or $142 per month.</p> <p><em>Parking mandates increase housing prices by displacing area that could have gone to housing (thus shrinking supply), and makes each new unit more expensive to pay for more garage parking. A&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">separate study</a>&nbsp;in Los Angeles found the city&rsquo;s parking minimums raised apartment prices by about $200 per month and price of a condo by about $43,000. Renters without cars end up subsidizing this arrangement to the tune of about $440 million annually in the US. While only 7% of US rental households lack cars, according to Census data, this burden falls most heavily on the urban poor since lower-income households can least afford to subsidize garage parking spaces.</em><br></p> <p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Researchers find</a> that it might be less wasteful to price and sell ...</p> How glass buildings are making fighting climate change harder Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-07-18T13:26:00-04:00 >2017-07-18T17:53:17-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="431" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Permissive building codes, industry inertia, and market demands &mdash; like clients clamoring for floor-to-ceiling views &mdash; have widened the discrepancy between the kind of buildings cities say they want and what they actually allow. So while the industry inches towards better environmental performance, buildings in Boston and other cities still fall short of the sustainability goals that everyone claims to embrace.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Courtney Humphries of Boston Globe <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">argues</a> that the current trend for extensive use of glass in buildings contradicts today's strive for sustainability and "<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">green building</a>." When New York started tracking energy use by skyscrapers, the gleaming 7 World Trade Center &mdash; one of that city&rsquo;s more efficient glass towers &mdash;&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">scored worse than the 1930s-era Empire State Building</a>."</p> <p>Taking a lot of energy to heat and cool, glass buildings do not fit well with most climates. "Unlike opaque walls, glass allows heat to pass in and out easily. A 2014 report from the Urban Green Council in New York found that glass buildings have insulation values equivalent to medieval half-timber houses." As the author adds, "Transparent walls also limit privacy, and sunlight can create glare. Reflections on glass buildings can also be a problem; one London skyscraper infamously melted cars parked outside. The Urban Green Council has found that occupants of glass buildings often cover their views with shades and cur...</p> USC's Homeless Studio debuts a new video Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-07-17T17:08:00-04:00 >2017-07-17T19:21:21-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="357" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Previously covered by Archinect</a>, MADWORKSHOP Homeless Studio is a USC course exploring the architect&rsquo;s role in helping to solve Los Angeles' rapidly accelerating homelessness crisis.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>"Getting someone off the street and into permanent housing doesn't happen right away. We are looking at lead time of 2-5 years per project. How do we help people today?"</em>- asks Sofia Borges in the freshly released video.&nbsp;</p> Data-collecting benches are making their way into cities Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-07-17T16:47:00-04:00 >2017-07-17T16:47:54-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="433" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>A pair of USB ports on a console on the front of the bench provides juice from the solar panel mounted at lap level between the seats. Who wouldn&rsquo;t want to hang out at a bench like this? It certainly catches the eye of passersby. What these kids might not realize, however, is that this bench is watching them back.</p></em><br /><br /><p>"Smart" benches are spreading&mdash;recently a series of them, manufactured by Soofa, was installed in a tiny neighborhood park next to I-77 on the north end of Charlotte, North Carolina with the intent of the neighborhood's analysis and redevelopment.&nbsp;</p> <p>Soofa, founded in 2014 by three graduates of MIT Media Lab, is one of a handful of companies designing data-collecting street furniture. Their solar-powered benches register Wi-Fi enabled devices within 150 feet of them, sending data back to an office building in East Cambridge, Massachusetts. While the sensors can't access personal information from your phone, they pick up and remember your devices' MAC address. The technology allows cities and urban planners to count users of various public spaces, identifying when and for how long they're visited, and potentially optimizing their design.&nbsp;</p> <p>"The line between collecting data for a valid public purpose and the unreasonable surveillance of private citizens can be tough to tease out. Beyond c...</p> 2.7-mile-long abandoned Nazi resort is getting transformed into luxury housing Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-07-14T19:53:00-04:00 >2017-07-16T10:11:08-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="325" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Capable of holding more than 20,000 residents, Prora was meant to comfort the weary German worker who toiled away in a factory without respite. According to historian and tour guide Roger Moorhouse, it was also meant to serve as the carrot to the stick of the Gestapo &mdash; a pacifying gesture to get the German people on Hitler's side. But then World War II began, and Prora's construction stalled &mdash; until now.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Named Prora and located on a beachfront of R&uuml;gen island, the structure was commissioned by Adolf Hitler as the world's largest tourist resort three years before Germany invaded Poland in 1939. In those three years over 9,000 workers were involved in the construction of the 2.7-mile-long building.&nbsp;</p> <p>"But as the Third Reich began its devastating march through Europe, workers returned to their factories and Prora fell by the wayside. It became a shell of building, a failed Nazi dream left to decay for the next several decades ..."</p> <figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p><figcaption>Prora in 2014. Image via</figcaption></figure><p>However, in 2013 a German real-estate company Metropole Marketing bought the rights to refurbish Prora and build it up as luxury summer homes and a full-time apartment complex. While some of the units are already on sale with prices ranging from $400,000 to $725,000, the restoration is planned to be completed by 2022.</p> <p>"While these amenities are certainly appealing, given the location's history and its distance from Berlin ...</p> Justice in Design: redesigning NY's most notorious prison Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-07-14T19:00:00-04:00 >2017-07-14T19:18:51-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="462" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Today, the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform&mdash;a multi-disciplinary group of experts convened by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito&mdash;released Justice In Design, a report that envisions an alternative to a single, centralized jail. It details how community-based jails, dubbed &ldquo;Justice Hubs,&rdquo; might function in an urban context to replace Rikers.</p></em><br /><br /><p>The Rikers Island Correctional Facility, a&nbsp;complex of 10 jails and about 10,000 detainees located northeast of LaGuardia Airport, has been one of NYC's most debated problems for decades&mdash;widely criticized for corruption, brutal mistreatment of detainees, and inhumane conditions.</p> <p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform</a>&mdash;a multi-disciplinary group of experts is proposing to shut down The Rikers and advocates for alternatives to single, centralized jails.&nbsp;The group released&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Justice In Design</a>, a report that envisions an alternative to a single, centralized jail and details how community-based jails, dubbed &ldquo;Justice Hubs,&rdquo; might function in an urban context to&nbsp;replace Rikers.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p></figure><p>"Developed in partnership with the nonprofit urban think tank Van Alen Institute, the design-based findings are a follow up to a March&nbsp;<a href=";gwh=9CFF40BAE2A874BA987FDAAE409CB506&amp;gwt=pay" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">report</a> that recommended a system of borough-based jails to replace Rikers, among other reforms to the city&rsquo;s criminal justice system."</p> <p>The d...</p> Moscow's new Avant-Garde Museum opens to the public Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-07-14T17:22:00-04:00 >2017-07-15T06:25:14-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="488" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>As government officials in Moscow earmark Constructivist buildings for demolition in a massive project to relocate up to 1.6 million of the city&rsquo;s residents, a non-profit museum dedicated to preserving Russia&rsquo;s avant-garde architecture has opened in the Shabolovka neighbourhood.</p></em><br /><br /><p>The new Avant-Garde Museum is located in Na Shabolovke Gallery, which is a part of&nbsp;Khavsko-Shabolovsky housing complex built in the late 1920s by the rationalist Asnova (Association of New Architects). It is part of a district with a rich heritage of early Soviet architecture and design, dominated by the famous hyperboloid Shukhov radio tower. Supported by private grants and volunteers, the museums features photographs, video footage, archaeological fragments, archival materials, blueprints, salvaged interior fittings such as door handle, and tools belonging to the tower's visionary engineer, Vladimir Shukov.&nbsp;</p> <p>"The idea for the space came from the local historian and activist Ilya Malcow, who has spent years collecting artifacts of the area&mdash;many of which are now on show at the museum. The neighborhood is unique, he says, because it was built virtually from scratch after the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 to house workers for the new factories and institutions.&nbsp;</p> <figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p><figcaption>Photo by Olga Alexeyenk...</figcaption></figure> Bro, Do You Even Quoin? A conversation with McMansion Hell's Kate Wagner Archinect 2017-07-13T16:41:00-04:00 >2017-07-21T11:41:57-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="421" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p>On this week's episode we&rsquo;re joined with Kate Wagner, the author of <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">McMansion Hell</a>, a blog that balances serious essays on architecture and urbanism, with brilliantly funny analysis of the absurd trends in American suburban architecture. Kate has recently emerged, triumphantly, from a widely publicized threat from Zillow to stop using their imagery. As reported on Archinect recently, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Zillow withdrew their legal threats</a> after the Electronic Frontier Foundation responded on behalf of Kate, and McMansion Hell is back in business, with a larger following than ever.</p> <figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p><figcaption>A taste of what McMansion Hell offers</figcaption></figure><p>Listen to "Bro, Do You Even Quoin?":</p> <ul><li><strong>iTunes</strong>:&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Click here to listen</a>, and click the "Subscribe" button below the logo to automatically download new episodes.</li><li><strong>Apple Podcast App (iOS)</strong>:&nbsp;<a href="pcast://" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">click here to subscribe</a></li><li><strong>SoundCloud</strong>:&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">click here to follow Archinect</a></li><li><strong>RSS</strong>:&nbsp;subscribe&nbsp;with any of your favorite podcasting apps via our RSS feed:&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"></a></li><li><strong>Download</strong>:&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">this episode</a></li></ul>... The Norman Foster Foundation announces a program of education initiatives Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-07-12T14:40:00-04:00 >2017-07-12T14:42:31-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="433" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p>Based in <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Madrid</a> and operating globally, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">The Norman Foster Foundation</a>&nbsp;is a non-profit promoting holistic education and interdisciplinary thinking and research.&nbsp;</p> <p>Followed from the <em>Future is Now</em> forum held in Madrid's Royal Theater on the 1st of June, Mayor of Madrid and Lord Foster brought together leading figures in the fields of science, design, architecture, politics, art, economics and history, to&nbsp;a capacity audience of 2,000 and 75,000 online viewers.&nbsp;</p> <p>With the support of the Rolex Institute, the Foundation will host week-long events in its Madrid Headquarters in November 2017. Grants will be awarded to ten students from around the world for a series of talks, think tanks and workshops led by key individuals, including Norman Foster, on issues such as the city, infrastructure, mobility and technology.&nbsp;</p> <figure><figure><figure><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a><figcaption>The Norman Foster Foundation. Image courtesy of the NFF</figcaption></figure></figure></figure><p>In October 2017 the Foundation will feature an exhibit titled Common Futures in Madrid's Espacio Fundacion Telefonica. Create...</p> Paris and Los Angeles to host the Summer Olympics in 2024 and 2028 Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-07-11T16:53:00-04:00 >2017-07-11T16:54:01-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="390" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>&#8203;The rare decision to name the hosts of separate Games simultaneously &mdash; established with a unanimous vote of I.O.C. members on Tuesday &mdash; is an effort by the organization to counter diminished interest shown by democratic nations in hosting the Olympics amid exorbitant costs, white-elephant stadiums, widespread corruption, rampant doping and limited appeal to the youth audience.&#8203;</p></em><br /><br /><p>Delegates of International Olympic Committee will vote on future hosting cities on Sept. 13 in Lima, Peru. "Paris is favored to hold the Games in 2024, the centenary of the last time it hosted the Olympics, while Los Angeles is expected to hold the Summer Games for a third time in 2028." Paris and Los Angeles remain the only cities bidding to host the 2024 Olympics&nbsp;after withdrawals of Boston, Rome, Budapest and Hamburg, Germany.</p> <p>The cities are also expected to demonstrate efforts in reforming the Olympics in reducing prohibitive costs in staging the Games by&nbsp;using mostly existing and temporary facilities.&nbsp;</p> Brutalism lovers rejoice: Plans for a new FBI headquarters are canceled Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-07-11T14:40:00-04:00 >2017-07-11T19:34:40-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="512" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>The decision follows years of failed attempts by federal officials to persuade Congress to fully back a plan for a campus in the Washington suburbs paid for by trading away the Hoover Building to a real estate developer and putting up nearly $2 billion in taxpayer funds to cover the remaining cost. For years, FBI officials have raised alarms that the decrepit conditions at Hoover constitute serious security concerns.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Built in 1975 in Washington DC, at $126 million, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">J. Edgar Hoover Building</a> was the most expensive federal building ever erected. While much loved by some architectural critics, the building has also been under intense criticism for its appearance and functionality ever since its construction.&nbsp;</p> <figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p><figcaption>J. Edgar Hoover Building from the street - taken in April 2007.</figcaption></figure><p>Some of its most distinctive features like its open courtyard, designed to allow visitors to walk freely into the inner courtyard, and its firing range equipped with a 162-seat auditorium, where visitors can sit and watch agents take shooting practice, have become obsolete over the years. The Stanislaw Gladych and&nbsp;Carter Manny-designed <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Brutalist</a> icon was going to be demolished and replaced with a&nbsp;mixed-use condo building, but as of now, it's destiny is unclear.&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">According to the Washington Post</a>, "Further <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">retrofitting</a> is prohibitively expensive; despite the Hoover building&rsquo;s overall size of 2.4 million gross square feet only 53 perce...</p> Allison Arieff describes Silicon Valley's outdated and dysfunctional planning Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-07-10T14:08:00-04:00 >2017-07-10T15:43:16-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="468" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>The built environment of the Valley does not reflect the innovation that&rsquo;s driving the region&rsquo;s stratospheric growth; it looks instead like the 1950s. Looking at aerial views of midcentury campuses like the Eero Saarinen-designed Bell Labs next to contemporary ones like Apple, it&rsquo;s nearly impossible to tell the midcentury structures from the 21st-century ones.</p></em><br /><br /><p>While Silicon Valley is&nbsp;a&nbsp;place&nbsp;of much interest&nbsp;to many, its architectural image and overall planning is hard to grasp or&nbsp;call successful.</p> <p>Allison Arieff of NY Times argues that the isolated corporate headquarters of tech giants have no consideration for the larger context of their surroundings, and heavily contribute to the Bay area's ever-worsening traffic which in combination with the outdated zoning laws, makes the whole region an extremely hard place to live in.&nbsp;<br></p> <p>"In 2011, when asked by a City Council member what benefit the new <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Apple headquarters</a> would have for Cupertino, Steve Jobs responded that it&rsquo;d get to keep the company there. And that&rsquo;s about the extent of what it got. A project like the new Norman Foster-designed Apple Park shows a blatant disregard not only for the citizens of Cupertino but also for the functionality of the region."<br></p> <figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p><figcaption>Apple Headquarters in Cupertino&nbsp;</figcaption></figure><p>"Because of the Bay Area&rsquo;s chronic underinvestment in housing and transit, home prices escalate and cong...</p> Editor's Picks #471 Nam Henderson 2017-07-06T18:02:00-04:00 >2017-07-06T20:59:10-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="383" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p>ICYMI, the always "<em>into it</em>"&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Julia Ingalls</a>, sat down with <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Harvard GSD's K. Michael Hays + Lisa Haber-Thomson</a> to discuss the role of jargon in pedagogy, a new GSD online course offering and the "<em>vexed notion of architecture&rsquo;s autonomy.</em>"&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Will Galloway</a> was "<em>very impressed that Michael Hays and Lisa Haber-Thomson agreed to the exchange. That speaks a lot about them, and deserves a lot of respect...</em>" For his part,&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Jeffry Burchard</a> theorized "<em>that there are and have always been three languages of Architecture. They happen to correspond nicely to the audiences of architecture</em>".</p> <p>Plus, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Zack Semke</a>&nbsp;highlighted the potentials of <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Passive House Design</a>. <strong>Daniel Piselli</strong> chimed in "<em>Great, timely article. Passive House is no longer a fringe concept. Its being proven feasible in the US on projects of multiple scales &amp; types by a growing number of architects &amp; engineers.</em>"&nbsp;Some of you, may be interested in <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">related</a> cost research from the UK Passivhaus Trust.</p> <figure><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a><br></figure><figure><figcaption></figcaption></figure>News <p>In NCARB related news; they have <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">launched</a> th...</p> Fast Co Design wonders, "Why Is There So Much Modern Architecture In The NRA’s New Ad?" Orhan Ayyüce 2017-07-05T15:13:00-04:00 >2017-07-06T18:47:33-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="368" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>For decades, authoritarian regimes have waged war on modern architecture and the philosophy it embodies. A new ad proves it&rsquo;s still a target.</p></em><br /><br /><p><u> </u>In an alarmingly threatening and dangerous ad, NRA attacks intellectualism (in its core sense) via modern architecture. This savage ad might not only target your profession and/or your education but also puts the&nbsp;average citizen in front of the barrel of a gun.<br></p> The S House prefab system hopes to bring super-low-cost housing to Vietnam — and the rest of the world Alexander Walter 2017-07-05T14:55:00-04:00 >2017-07-07T23:39:48-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="433" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Known as &ldquo;S Houses,&rdquo; these prefab structures going up here in Ba Vi, about 30 miles from Vietnam&rsquo;s capital, Hanoi, are iterations of a prototype that Mr. Nghia has been honing since about 2013. [...] But Mr. Nghia says that his plan is to mass-manufacture this portable, easy-to-assemble design for people in slums, remote areas or refugee camps around the world, beginning later this year, all for the starting price &mdash; $1,500 &mdash; of about two iPhones.</p></em><br /><br /><p>The <em>NYT</em> takes a closer look at the extremely affordable S House prefab system currently going up by the dozens in Vietnam, with a keen eye on the global super-low-cost market. Designed by <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Vo Trong Nghia Architects</a>, a design studio with offices in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, S House was exhibited with a full-scale prototype at the <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial</a>. <br></p> <p> </p> <figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p><figcaption>S HOUSE at the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial. Photo: Steve Hall, Tom Harris, copyright: Hedrich Blessing, image via the architects' website.</figcaption><figcaption></figcaption></figure><p>If the firm name sounds strangely familiar, Vo Trong Nghia Architects won the 2014 World Architecture Festival 'House' category with the spectacular <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">House for Trees</a> project. VTN partner Masaaki Iwamoto is also a <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">2014 Wheelwright Prize finalist</a>.<br></p> Architects, have you recently finished a remodel? Send it to us! Nicholas Korody 2017-07-05T13:25:00-04:00 >2017-07-05T15:50:32-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="488" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p>Architects love the freedom presented by a blank sheet of paper (or CAD window), but the reality of practice inevitably puts limits on the imagination. This is doubly true when it comes to remodels, which require working around somebody else&rsquo;s design. But constraints can also encourage creativity as new ideas are shaped by pre-existing parameters. Sometimes, the most difficult challenges&mdash;a wall that can&rsquo;t be moved or a budget that won&rsquo;t budge&mdash;breed the most inventive solutions.</p> <p>We want to take a look at what goes into designing around an existing structure. Specifically, we&rsquo;re interested in residential projects with unusual backstories and imaginative design choices. Did you modernize a traditional home? Strip things bare or keep them intact? How did you relate to the original design? How did you relate to the clients&rsquo; demands?</p> <p>Have a project that fits the bill? Post the project to your <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">individual</a> or <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">firm profile</a>, then submit it for consideration by filling out this <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">form</a>.&nbsp;We will be...</p> Zillow backs off McMansion Hell Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-06-30T12:46:00-04:00 >2017-06-30T17:14:08-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="329" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">McMansion Hell</a>, which besides satire, also regularly features educational posts on the history and significance of vernacular architecture in the US, was <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">threatened with a lawsuit</a> this week for using photos obtained from <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Zillow</a> for parody.</p> <figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p><figcaption>Image courtesy of</figcaption></figure><p>After <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Electronic Frontier Foundation</a>, representing Wagner against Zillow, released its letter asserting that the company "cannot leverage its agreements with third parties to assert some kind of 'super copyright' that overrides fair use" Zillow announced that they will not pursue legal action against Wagner. The blogger agreed to stop using photos sourced from the website but will not delete any of the already posted images, as originally requested.&nbsp;</p> Transform your phone into an augmented-reality ruler with the soon-to-be-released app AR Measure Julia Ingalls 2017-06-29T13:46:00-04:00 >2017-07-01T21:09:17-04:00 <img src="" width="900" height="506900" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p>If you've ever wanted to measure the dimensions of a window that you can't reach physically, it's largely been a trick of algebra. However, the new <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">AR Measure App</a>, as developed by Laan Labs, promises to make it easy to accurately measure physical objects by simply pointing an iOS device at it. In the demo video, the app is able to instantly render the dimensions of a physical object using the existing sensors of an iPhone or iPad.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <figure><figure><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a><figcaption>"Boat." Image: AR Measure</figcaption></figure></figure><p>In a press release, Laan Labs notes that &ldquo;A lot of the credit here goes to the brilliant engineers at Apple. Our app is built on top of the ARKit Framework that was announced at WWDC 2017. That framework allows us to identify points in space using the iPhones sensors and camera input and then measure the distance between those points.&rdquo;</p> <figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p><figcaption>"Stool." Image: AR Measure</figcaption></figure><p>The demos only show the measurement of height or width of relatively flat objects, as opposed to the surface of a curvy or circular item. In practical terms, this makes th...</p> MIT team wins NASA challenge to design luxury hotel in low Earth orbit Julia Ingalls 2017-06-29T13:07:00-04:00 >2017-06-29T13:07:37-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="545" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>The MIT project &mdash; the Managed, Reconfigurable, In-space Nodal Assembly (MARINA) &mdash; was designed as a commercially owned and operated space station, featuring a luxury hotel as the primary anchor tenant and NASA as a temporary co-anchor tenant for 10 years. NASA&rsquo;s estimated recurring costs, $360 million per year, represent an order of magnitude reduction from the current costs of maintaining and operating the International Space Station.</p></em><br /><br /><figure><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=""></a></p><figcaption>Left to right: Caitlin Mueller (faculty advisor), Matthew Moraguez, George Lordos, and Valentina Sumini are some of the members of the interdisciplinary MIT team that won first place in the graduate division of the Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts-Academic Linkage Design Competition Forum.</figcaption></figure><p>Part luxury hotel, part future Mars explorer, MIT's MARINA has a modular design that works not only to provide a bar, restaurant, gym,and&nbsp;eight rooms for low orbit guests, but can be reconfigured to create an "interplanetary Mars transit vehicle that can enter Mars&rsquo; orbit, refuel from locally produced methane fuel, and return to Earth." At last:&nbsp;a luxury hotel at which it would be appropriate to charge sky-high prices.</p> The Department of Homeland Security plans to start building prototypes for Mexico border wall this summer Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-06-28T14:55:00-04:00 >2017-06-28T14:55:53-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="421" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Congress may not have agreed to President Trump's $2.6 billion budget proposal for his much-touted border wall, but that has not stopped&nbsp;Customs and Border Protection from preparing for the first stage of the project; testing prototypes for the border protection.</p></em><br /><br /><p>According to Ronald Vitiello, Customs and Border Protection&rsquo;s acting deputy commissioner, $20 million, allocated from other programs, have been used&nbsp;to pay four to eight companies that&nbsp;will be contracted to produce prototypes for <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">the border wall</a>&nbsp;with <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Mexico</a>.&nbsp;To be completed within&nbsp;30 days in <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">San Diego</a> those prototypes will then serve as models for the roughly 2,000-mile border. More than 600 companies submitted designs for the wall before a March deadline. <br> &ldquo;Think of it,&rdquo; Trump told a crowd at a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. &ldquo;The higher it goes, the more valuable it is. Pretty good imagination, right?&rdquo;</p> LA's lessons in decriminalizing street vending Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-06-27T20:18:00-04:00 >2017-06-27T20:19:37-04:00 <img src="" width="640" height="480" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>The decision was a long time coming for both immigrant- and small-business advocates, who for decades had been pushing for legalization, but the presidential election was a clear galvanizing factor. In L.A., a sanctuary city, the majority of vendors are Central American immigrants who, if they&rsquo;re undocumented, could face deportation for a misdemeanor charge under President Trump.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Los Angeles was the last of the 10 largest American cities&nbsp;to decriminalize vending in February of 2017. There are, however, still many questions to resolve&mdash;finer points of vending, such as how much control neighborhoods will have over local vendors, the cost of permits, and staff to enforce them, among other concerns, have still not been determined.</p> <p>The city's previous attempts at regulating street vending have failed due to not just business interests or safety, but also anti-immigrant sentiment. Another issue that was often raised by some council members in the 90's was the potential of alienating brick-and-mortar business owners, who unlike vendors, have to pay rent. The zoning regulations that followed those concerns attempted restricting vending to a single district&mdash;like&nbsp;MacArthur Park, which ultimately failed the program due to inefficiency. <br>The hope is those examples from Los Angeles' history will help shape a successful street vending policy that in the future might guide o...</p> Home Depot sued for $5 million over "misleading" labeling of 4 x 4s Julia Ingalls 2017-06-27T19:06:00-04:00 >2017-06-29T14:42:43-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="580" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>The alleged deception: The retailers market and sell the hefty lumber as 4x4s without specifying that the boards actually measure 3&frac12; inches by 3&frac12; inches...The retailers say the allegations are bogus. It is common knowledge and longstanding industry practice, they say, that names such as 2x4 or 4x4 do not describe the width and thickness of those pieces of lumber.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Taking literal interpretations to a new, class-action-lawsuit extreme, a group of men are suing Home Depot and Menard's for failing to specifically label their 4 X 4s as being 3.5" X 3.5" (one can only imagine the litigious hurt and fury when these men discover that Aunt Jemima's Syrup is not made by Aunt Jemima). Even the lawyers representing the men admit that 4 X 4 is a trade name that does not literally represent the dimensions of the 4 X 4s, but make this argument instead:&nbsp;</p> <p><em>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s difficult to say that for a reasonable consumer, when they walk into a store and they see a label that says 4x4, that that&rsquo;s simply &mdash; quote unquote &mdash; a trade name,&rdquo; Turin said in an interview.</em></p> <p><em>Turin&nbsp;said his clients don&rsquo;t argue that the retailers&rsquo; 4x4s (and, in the Menards&nbsp;case, a 1x6 board as well) are not the correct size under the standards published by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The product labels, however, should disclose that those are &ldquo;nominal&rdquo; designations and not actual sizes, Turin said...</em></p> NCARB reports architects take 12.5 years on average to get their licenses, down from 14 years in 2013 Julia Ingalls 2017-06-27T13:37:00-04:00 >2017-06-27T21:08:19-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="510" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p>In 2013, it took an architect an average of 14 years to complete the initial education, myriad examinations and extra curricular activities neccessary to acheive licensure. In 2016, that figure dropped by 1.5 years thanks in part to an accelerated testing schedule. As <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">a press release</a> notes, "NCARB's work with licensing boards over the past decade have focused on streamlining, updating, and aligning two key pillars on the path to licensure&mdash;the Architectural Experience Program&trade; (AXP&trade;) and the Architect Registration Examination&reg; (ARE&reg;)&mdash;leading to a reduction in completion times. Plus, candidates for architecture licenses are increasingly overlapping these two programs."&nbsp;</p> The Guardian reports on the social housing crisis in the UK Anastasia Tokmakova 2017-06-26T14:34:00-04:00 >2017-06-26T14:45:29-04:00 <img src="" width="650" height="397" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Now, although the horror is still raw and much about it is still unknown, it has also become clear that Grenfell exposes in the harshest possible way questions of the current state of social housing, about the accessibility, affordability and quality of homes, and their impact on people&rsquo;s lives.</p></em><br /><br /><p>The Guardian's feature&nbsp;examines the new documentary<em> Dispossession: The New Housing Swindle </em>which addresses the build up anger surrounding the issue of <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">affordable housing</a> and the failed attempts at combatting it, including&nbsp;Margaret Thatcher's right-to-buy policy&nbsp;and the effects of&nbsp;the 60s and 70s estates renewal. Beyond that, the article also offers recent examples of demolition, displacement through opinions of people that have experienced it firsthand<em>&ndash;</em>former residents of social or council housing. </p> <p><em>"No honest portrayal of the current situation can ignore the fact that the last time government was a major builder of homes it didn&rsquo;t get it all right. But, as it is now blindingly obvious that the market is not going to provide by itself, active building and planning by the public sector looks inevitable. There are ways to achieve new and affordable homes &ndash; by densifying suburbs, encouraging garden cities and, indeed, by renewing council estates &ndash; but none of them are easy. The invisib...</em></p>