July 29, 2014, 2:35 pm
London’s Norman Foster-designed Gherkin skyscraper, infamous for its various resemblances, has been placed on the real estate market, reports the BBC. After one of the building’s former co-owners, German company IVG Immobilien, filed for insolvency, joint responsibility for selling off the building was transferred to financial firms Savills and Deloitte in April.
Though the companies have announced that they plan to sell the 2004 tower, they refused to set a starting price; instead they’re asking bidders to name a sum. “We could see offers in excess of £650m,” said Stephen Down of Savills to the BBC (about $1.1 billion). The sale will likely make a very handsome profit — the Gherkin cost approximately $240 million to construct. Down explained that the companies have started marketing the building, which currently rents offices to approximately 20 tenant, and are already seeing interest from potential buyers in the Middle East, Far East, and North America. “I suspect there will be an iconic element to this [sale],” said Down. A website is taking registration from interested bidders through August 16, and after a vetting process, the winner will be announced in late September or early October, he added. And that’s how you get out of a pickle.
— Anna Kats (@fortunaviriliis)
Image via Wikimedia Commons.
July 23, 2014, 2:55 am
When developer Extell’s latest luxury condo building opens at 40 Riverside Drive on the Upper West Side, only wealthy residents will be allowed to enter through the front door. New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development has officially approved plans for a separate entrance that will divert lower-income residents to enter through a side entrance, reports the Huffington Post. The “poor door,” as the New York Post calls it, will prevent owners of the building’s lavishly appointed full-price units from sharing public spaces with residents of low-income apartments mandated by the city. Entrances and elevators will be separated in the building according to income status, prompting incredulity among critics. When the plan was first announced last August, Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal drew comparisons to the ‘separate but equal’ rhetoric of segregation in the West Side Rag. “A mandatory affordable housing plan is not license to segregate lower-income tenants from those who are well-off,” she said at the time. Continue Reading
July 21, 2014, 11:24 am
The Eames Chair, manufactured by Herman Miller.
Herman Miller, the famed manufacturer of mid-century furniture, is buying modern furnishings retail chain Design Within Reach for $154 million, reports Bloomberg Businessweek. Announcing its “lifestyle brand ambitions,” Herman Miller posted a statement to its website on July 17 that clarifies the deal’s intended results: the creation of a consumer business unit headed by DWR’s current leadership, meant to increase Herman Miller’s presence (and revenue) in the “higher margin consumer sector.” In purchasing the chain of retail outlets, Herman Miller plans to expand its share in the home furniture market through DWR’s popular in-store and online retail outlets. But the retailer also comes with a troubled past: DWR faced a series of lawsuits in recent years related to trademark infringement on European designs.
July 17, 2014, 2:00 pm
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid of Dubai presents a maquette of the the Mall of the World.
Climate control systems revolutionized architecture when they first debuted in the early 1950s. Those curtain-wall facades that made the Lever House and Seagram Building international style icons? They were made possible by the invention of air conditioning, which allowed buildings to systematically control air flow and thus remain hermetically sealed. Dubai, however, is taking air conditioning one (or maybe a few) steps further, with plans to build the world’s first entirely sealed and climate-controlled city. The development, announced on July 5 as the “Mall of the World,” will be devoted to shopping and luxury living. Occupying 48 million square feet, the mall-city is still smaller than the emirate’s maximalist consumer culture. Continue Reading
July 15, 2014, 1:40 pm
MoMA has appointed Martino Stierli its new Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design, the museum announced today in a press release. Stierli, like his predecessor Barry Bergdoll, comes to the museum from academia; he currently teaches architectural history at the University of Zurich. Bergdoll remains a part-time curator at MoMA since he stepped down last July to serve full-time as the chair of the Art History department at Columbia University. Stierli will assume his new role at MoMA in March 2015, when the museum is due to open a retrospective on Latin American architecture since 1955, organized by Bergdoll. Continue Reading
July 10, 2014, 4:48 pm
It’s not uncommon to hear talk of “New York architects” or “L.A. architects,” or even “Chicago architects” (the city recently announced a new architecture biennial to claim its status as a design capital). Though the local design cultures of Minneapolis, Seattle, and even San Francisco don’t get quite as much popular attention as the coastal megalopolises, a new study conducted by the labor data and market research firm EMSI (that data was then interpreted by scholar Richard Florida) shows that these smaller cities are also design industry hotspots. San Francisco, in particular, has the highest concentration of employed design professionals in the United States, reports Citylab. Surprised?
June 30, 2014, 2:11 pm
In recent years, Buffalo, in upstate New York, has emerged as an unexpected capital of historic preservation. Long gone are the days the yore, when the city allowed the demolition of Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1906 Larkin Building in 1950. Architectural landmarks, such as H.H. Richardson’s 1870 Olmsted Complex and Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1905 Darwin D. Martin House, are now undergoing comprehensive restoration programs devoted to making the city’s most historically significant buildings accessible to the public once again. The Pierce-Arrow Museum in Buffalo has taken the city’s devotion to historic architecture one step further, by resurrecting a 1927 Frank Lloyd Wright design for a filling station — originally intended for a street corner in Buffalo and later incorporated into the architect’s sprawling, unrealized plans for Broadacre City.
June 24, 2014, 4:55 pm
As if the ongoing Donald Trump vs. Blair Kamin brawl and the upcoming annual convention of the American Institute of Architects didn’t provide enough architecture news from Chicago for the week, the city has just announced that it plans to start an international architecture expo in 2015. “Aiming to boost tourism and elevate its status as a design center, Chicago next year will mount a global exhibition of cutting-edge architecture that will strive to duplicate the cachet and commercial success of a cultural spectacle in Venice, Italy,” writes Kamin in the Chicago Tribune, where he serves as staff architecture critic.
The Chicago Cultural Center will start hosting the city’s forthcoming Architecture Biennial in 2015.
June 24, 2014, 9:41 am
Knud Lonberg-Holm’s propsed design for the Radio Broadcasting Station, Detroit, circa 1925.
“The really great architect will be the architect who produces the invisible house where you don’t see roofs or walls,” designer Knud Lonberg-Holm told a young Buckminster Fuller when they first met in 1929. Though the advice deeply impressed the future geodesic dome innovator, who cultivated a lifelong friendship with Lonberg-Holm and even hoped in the 1960s to pen a book about the Danish-American designer’s ideas and oeuvre, the fame and notoriety accorded to Fuller have eluded his mentor’s legacy. Never one for self-promotion, Lonberg-Holm eschewed the aesthetic and personality flourishes that made contemporaries like Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright ubiquitous names the world over. Modern architecture, believed Lonberg-Holm, should be defined by its mode and scale of production, not a conspicuous style (International or otherwise). Yet for all his forward-looking ideas about “invisible” buildings, and research into designing systems for organizing and disseminating information about architectural production, Lonberg-Holm eventually became invisible himself — his work occasionally uncredited, his name and innovations largely absent from narratives of design history. Continue Reading
June 23, 2014, 5:52 pm
The American Institute of Architects’ annual convention opens in Chicago this Thursday, but the Windy City is already hosting a vociferous design debate courtesy of none other than Donald Trump. It turns out that almost everyone in Chicago hates the 141-foot-long sign that spells out Trump’s surname currently being installed on the riverfront facade of the Donald’s Trump International Hotel & Tower building, which opened in 2009. “The sign is an on-steroids version of Trump’s ubiquitous logo and its bold serif typeface,” writes Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin. But it’s not like Trump has ever been one to back down or acquiesce to what his detractors think. Continue Reading