Il Laboratorio del Gelato1 HWKN designs the cleanest, tastiest gelato in the city at Il Laboratorio del Gelato Warm Up all summer long at MoMA/P.S.1 Peter Zumthor will design the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion P.S.1 MoMA's Young Architects Program

Architecture School

HWKN designs the cleanest, tastiest gelato in the city at Il Laboratorio del Gelato

Article: HWKN designs the cleanest, tastiest gelato in the city at Il Laboratorio del Gelato

As an ardent newbie to the ice creaming making game, I appreciate and commend Il Laboratorio del Gelato’s obvious dedication to their craft. It must be the German in me that particularly responds to the space’s precision, cleanliness and austerity. Appropriately dubbed The Cooler, the lab’s LES storefront/kitchen was designed by New York-based architects HWKN (Hollwich Kushner). The design allows for total transparency; Passersby can peep through the large windows and observe the entire production process, from the delivery of the ingredients to the point of sale – all performed in white lab coats, of course.

Warm Up all summer long at MoMA/P.S.1

Article: Warm Up all summer long at MoMA/P.S.1

It’s been four months since we announced the winner of P.S.1/MoMA’s Young Architects Program. Now that summer is officially upon us, the museum has opened up its courtyard and unveiled Interboro Partner’s winning design, “Holding Pattern,” which will play host to the annual Warm Up party series. One of the first things you notice when you enter the space, aside from the fact that it seems to be undergoing some last minute construction, are the bright yellow tags on nearly every item in the courtyard (pictured below). They read “Hold For” and are stuck to the chairs, benches, planters, trees, chess boards and ping pong tables. The tags are marked with the names of local businesses and organizations who will receive the tagged item after Warm Up closes in September. When Interboro Partners was conducting their initial research they went out into the neighborhood and asked people, “Is there something you need that we could design and use in the courtyard and then donate in the Fall?” The community seems to have answered eclectically. In addition to seating, there’s a sandbox, foosball table, lifeguard chair and even a self-misting modular stage for breakdancing performances.

Peter Zumthor will design the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion

Article: Peter Zumthor will design the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion

For the last decade the Serpentine Gallery in London has commissioned a different architect each year to design an outdoor event space for their annual summer pavilion, a three month-long symposium on architecture. The practice of designing, building and removing the pavilion – all of which happens within the space of six months – is an architectural experiment in itself and is always greatly anticipated. This year the Serpentine Gallery has enlisted the services of Swiss architect Peter Zumthor who designed a walled-in garden, currently under construction in Kensington Gardens.

P.S.1 MoMA's Young Architects Program

Article: P.S.1 MoMA's Young Architects Program

From Matter Architecture Practice: “We have yet to effectively update this site.” Emerging indeed!
Earlier this week, P.S.1 MoMA announced the finalists for the 2011 Young Architects Program, their award for emerging architecture firms. The winning firm gets to take over P.S.1′s front outdoor garden space, where the museum hosts a string of events as soon as the weather allows. The five competing firms have the next three months to put the finishing touches on their proposals before the final decision is made in February.

An architect defends his masterpiece

Article: An architect defends his masterpiece

The Classroom + Laboratory Administration building at Cal Poly Pomona, known to students simply as CLA, has served as something like a second mascot for the school for almost 20 years, but last month the landmark was slated for demolition due to flaws in its design and construction. Even though the building has become an icon for the city too, not just the school, no one in Pomona, not even the students, seem that upset or are as outspoken about it as the building’s architect, Antoine Predock. Predock, who calls CLA “one of the most important of [his] designs,” says that tearing it down will create an “irreplaceable loss” and “a void in the Cal Poly campus fabric.” It’s “the new campus gateway,” he says, “a pivotal, landmark building” and a point of origin on a “difficult to navigate campus.”

Richard Chai + Snarkitecture

Article: Richard Chai + Snarkitecture

Now that the High Line’s HL23 condos have no further use for their onsite Sales Tin, the long, indoor rectangular box used as a model home display is getting a new life with Building Fashion’s series of architecture and fashion collaborations/installations. Each collab gets a two week shelf life before its swapped out with something…

Update: Renzo Piano's LACMA

Article: Update: Renzo Piano's LACMA

When Eli Broad first invited starchitect Renzo Piano to enter the competition to make sense of LACMA’s chaotic cluster of buildings in 2001, Piano declined, adding that “it’s very frustrating to play a good piece by a string quartet in the middle of three badly played rock concerts.” Ouch, take that, weird clump of old LACMA buildings. Soon after, Rem Koolhaas’ design was chosen, a ballsy plan that involved demolishing most of LACMA’s existing structures and building new galleries. Luckily, Broad and Co. came to their senses, threw out Koolhaas’ ridiculous idea and begged Piano to reconsider.

Olafur Eliasson plays architect

Article: Olafur Eliasson plays architect

Photos by Osbjørn Jacobsen
The Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center in Reykjavik has remained merely a proposal for decades, but now, after Iceland’s recent economic collapse, plans for construction are finally underway and 300,000-square-foot performing arts venue is slated for completion next May. Henning Larsen Architects, who just won a major award for their Zaha Hadid-inspired aquarium in Georgia, took a decidedly more straight-edged approach with their design for Reykjavik’s East Harbor district.

Eli Broad gives LA the silent treatment

Article: Eli Broad gives LA the silent treatment

There are curmudgeonly old men and then there’s Eli Broad, whose secrecy around the design of his LA museum seems to be putting everyone off. First, he wouldn’t reveal the site, then he wouldn’t reveal the architecture firms he was considering and now that he’s chosen one he won’t reveal the design until he breaks ground in the fall. Of course, as a private owner, Broad is under no obligation to reveal any part of his operation, but many in LA claim he’s “making a mockery of the public process,” and that his refusal to share his plans is “a disaster for LA, which will effectively have no say over one of the most important cultural institutions in history.”

Is the Empire State Building really in trouble?

Article: Is the Empire State Building really in trouble?

The impending construction of 15 Penn Plaza goes to a vote before the City Council today, and a few parties are concerned. Among the most perturbed by the proposed 1,200-foot-high shining hulk of a skyscraper is Friends of the New York City Skyline, a group that includes the Historic Districts Council, the Landmark Conservancy and the very pissed off Malkin Holdings. Malkin currently holds the Empire State Building, which they claim is in jeopardy of being overshadowed by the new construction set to replace the Hotel Pennsylvania some 900 feet away.

Launching Cleantech 2010

Article: Launching Cleantech 2010

The depressing strip of grey concrete nothing-ness you see in the photo above runs through East Downtown LA, right along the LA River. It’s the site of the Los Angeles Cleantech Corridor and Green District Competition, recently announced by SCI-Arc (The Southern California Institute of Architecture) and The Architect’s Newspaper. The hope is to transform this zone into “an integrated economic, residential and cultural engine for the city,” and asks architects, landscape architects, designers, engineers, urban planners, and environmental professionals to challenge conventional wisdom about civic development and green architecture to create a thriving, livable new space.

I.M. Pei's Terminal 6 set for demolition

Article: I.M. Pei's Terminal 6 set for demolition

The first thing you notice when you enter Terminal 6 at JFK is the sheer amount of space and a freedom of movement not typically associated with crowded airports. But I. M Pei’s design was carefully constructed to give a hectic space a light and airy feel. To do this he used huge expanses of glass uninterrupted from floor to ceiling by the use of glass mullions, or glass frames, instead of metal ones – an unprecedented innovation. He and his team also developed a new kind of drainage system that feeds in through the building’s exterior concrete columns instead of the typical indoor method that would have marred the otherwise glorious view of his glass walls. Still more important is the way Pei’s design managed congestion, which was becoming an issue as consumer travel increased in the late 60s. Up until the construction of Terminal 6 all airports grouped the space for arriving and departing travelers together, creating traffic jams and confusion. It seems absurdly simple now, but by separating the two Pei’s terminal was vastly quieter, calmer and more organized – and all airports built since then have adopted it.

Japan's first Passive House

Article: Japan's first Passive House

In the last 10 years more than 15,000 buildings in Europe, from single family residences to entire factories, have been built or remodeled to the passive house standard. This means that, among other factors, these structures use 90% less energy, and it’s done, for the most part, by simply better utilizing the natural resources of the surrounding environment. To begin with, a passive house is virtually airtight. It’s also equipped with an energy recovery ventilator that provides a constant, balanced fresh air supply, minimizing energy losses and providing top rate indoor air quality. Furthermore, instead of relying on active systems to bring a building to zero energy, passive houses use natural resources like sunlight, for example, and apply them efficiently.

Buildings that meet the passive house standard are popping up all over the world, but only recently has Japan finally built their very first passive house in Kamakura, a small city 30 miles from Tokyo.

Australia goes 3D at the Venice Biennale

Article: Australia goes 3D at the Venice Biennale

With 93% of its citizens living in cities, Australia is among the most urbanized continents in the world, and its entry in the upcoming Venice Architecture Biennale, “NOW + WHEN” reflects the growing need for a retooling of its biggest cities. The NOW part highlights 6 of Australia’s “most interesting” urban and rural areas, but the WHEN part is clearly the focus, with 17 proposals that anticipate or fantasize (you be the judge) about the state of Australia’s cities in 2050, many of which are presented in 3D stereoscopic for extra wow factor.

The new Pompidou: big hit or big flop?

Article: The new Pompidou: big hit or big flop?

Image courtesy Jean de Gastines Architects
The new branch of the Centre Pompidou that opened earlier this month in Metz has little in common with its Parisian counterpart aside from the name and the art collection, of course. In terms of appearance, however, it owes nothing to Renzo Piano and Richard Roger’s famous ‘exposed’ exterior that generated quite a bit of debate before it was deemed genius. I’m not sure if I can predict the same fate for the Metz structure, designed by Shigeru Ban, Jean de Gastines and Philip Gumuchdjian.

Richard Meier's Model Museum

Article: Richard Meier's Model Museum

Multi-award-winning American architect Richard Meier is best known for his mostly white, supremely modern buildings like the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, the Indiana Athaneum and most famously, the Getty Center in Los Angeles. It is not so well known that he is one of very few architects working today who still uses physical models and not the more popular 3D models generated by a computer. But not only does Meier use models during his design process, he uses multiple, intricately rendered models of varying scale made mostly of wood.

Visual overload: The Archigram Archival Project

Article: Visual overload: The Archigram Archival Project

Product design the Archigram way.
Not many of the designs from the inimitable architecture group Archigram have ever been built. It should of course be noted that not many of their designs are buildable, even with the technology available now, 40 years after their conception. That is not to say, however, that Archigram has not met with success. The visionary collaboration of its 6 founders and sole members have had a lasting influence on design today, from architecture and city planning to product and graphic design.

The Rise of Wall Street

Article: The Rise of Wall Street

Vertical Wall Street: every building from Broadway to Pearl over the course of 5 eras.
Guess how Wall Street got its name? Yeah, that’s right. Before it was a street it was a wall, built to mark the edge of town in colonial times. Over time original row-houses were replaced by banks and then by financial buildings that only got higher and higher. In fact, many of the buildings on Wall Street today are vertical expansions of sites first erected as many as 150 years ago. In an optimistic turn of phrase, The Skyscraper Museum (don’t worry, I’d never heard of it either) will open “The Rise of Wall Street,” an exhibition with a focus on the good ol’ days of American business, namely the 1850s, when architects set their sites as high as their clients’ financial speculations.

Tampa's skyline gets modern

Article: Tampa's skyline gets modern

The museum at night, lit by a wall of color-changing LEDs. When the Tampa Museum of Art realized its growing collection of classic and contemporary art was outgrowing the museum itself they called in architect Rafael Vinoly, but his $76 million proposal was passed over in favor of the $26 million plan designed by the…

Model Home: Certified LEED Silver

Article: Model Home: Certified LEED Silver

Nestled at the foot of a low mountain range in Emigration Canyon at the edge of a 200-acre camp site in Salt Lake City, UT lies the first private residence in the state to achieve LEED Silver certification. The 2,500 square foot structure features an operable wall that can be moved to instantly transform the…

Sustainable housing for Haitians

Article: Sustainable housing for Haitians

Architect Joseph Bellomo’s egg-shaped house.

Even though the average temperature in Haiti seldom dips below 75 degrees, building permanent shelter for survivors is imperative for obvious reasons. You’ve probably seen pictures of the tent cities that the estimated 1.5 million homeless are currently living in. So did San Francisco-based architect Jospeh Bellomo, who was working on a modular structure for a client in Hawaii when the hurricane hit. Built to withstand tropical storms with a foundation of only a few concrete blocks, Bellomo immediately thought his project could be a perfect solution for displaced Haitians.

I.M. Pei rubbed out

Article: I.M. Pei rubbed out

In the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art the names of those responsible for its construction are etched in stone. Enter now, however, and you’ll see that architect I.M. Pei’s name has been, quite intentionally, rubbed out. The psychics of rubbing down stone aside, could it, perhaps, have something to do with the (estimated) $85-million renovation of the building’s “systemic structural failure?” The National Gallery, which was completed in 1978, has a facade composed of 16,200 panels of pink Tennessee marble, and all of these panels are currently being removed and remounted.

Craig Hodgetts, Playmaker

Article: Craig Hodgetts, Playmaker

In 1978, architect Craig Hodgetts was commissioned to design a sustainable utopia of the future based on the book “Ecotopia: The Notebooks and Reports of William Weston,” by Ernest Callenbach. Some credit the book with anticipating the use of videoconferencing (one of the technologies of the future the characters use selectively so as to not…



Ever seen the movie The Gods Must Be Crazy? Remember when the Coke bottle fell out of the sky? Well, the TV Gods are at it again. This time, an eager young homebuyer, barely out of college, showed up at our proverbial door. Actually, he showed up at the empty blue URBANbuild house a block…



A dangerous question around here lately. The students are having a hard time agreeing on what color to paint the house exterior. Adriana, whose winning design became URBANbuild House #3, is from Trinidad. No big surprise then, one might argue, that her preferred color palette evokes a tropical sea. But hometowns aside, both she and…