via Huffington Post: Facebook has enlisted world-renowned architect Frank Gehry to create Facebook West, a mammoth new campus in the Silicon Valley city of Menlo Park, which will eventually house 2,800 of the company’s engineers.
For this project, Gehry worked closely with Zuckerberg and designed a space reflecting the 28-year old billionaire’s un-hierarchical corporate philosophy… “Mark said he wanted to be in the same room with all his engineers,” Gehry explained to Bloomberg News. “I told him we could put the building up on stilts, park cars underneath and create a room as large as he wanted.”
This issue is of concern nowhere more than San Francisco, where the Golden Gate Bridge is said to be the world’s most common site for suicide, with more than 1,500 recorded deaths since its opening 75 years ago. There have been calls for decades for a net to be installed on the bridge that would catch any jumpers and, ideally, prevent people from even thinking about jumping in the first place.
Plans to install such a net are currently in the works, and $5 million has been dedicated to prepare a design for the suicide deterrent. But, as critics are quick to point out, that still leaves a hole of $45 million to complete the project. Expensive, sure. But it’s also a project that would likely dissuade people from jumping off the bridge. It would also change the appearance of the bridge, one of the most iconic in the world.
Read more. [Image: Lonely Planet, NYU Local]
" … people have cooked for centuries using nothing more than simple tools and heat from a fire or the sun. So how did Americans get this way, expecting expensive kitchen trends and technology to show up in even very average priced homes?
'People see their kitchen as the centerpiece of their house, in terms of entertaining and people hanging out,' says Arlington, Va., real estate agent Brian Block. So getting a trendy new kitchen is like getting in shape before a high school reunion; sure it’s great for you, but it’s even better if someone else sees it … “
"… Not too long ago, bodies were sculptors’ territory. The best way to capture those sly contours, the twists and turns of muscle or fabric, was to stay small, make a statue, a museum piece. Buildings were too big. They needed strength, height, the protection of solid geometry — rectangles, squares and triangles. But all that’s changed… "
A Shard pierces heart of London: Europe’s tallest building launched amid debate
Europe’s tallest skyscraper the Shard was inaugurated Thursday with a spectacular laser show, as critics debate whether it is an architectural triumph or a blot on the London skyline.
Boris Johnson, the London Mayor, sang the Shard’s praises, calling it “a quite astonishing piece of architecture.”
“Of course it’s not like any piece of architecture in the city at the moment, but that’s the whole point about London,” he told BBC radio.
But in a nod to Londoners’ split opinions on the building, he added, “I think it is important that we do not pepper-pot the city with skyscrapers everywhere. There’s got to be control.” (Photos: AP Photo; Getty Images)
A new vision for the “nation’s front yard” was laid out this week in Washington, DC, when winners of a design competition to revitalize the National Mall were announced.
Parts of the Mall have been in disrepair for years and hundreds of millions of dollars worth of maintenance has been long deferred in favor of inexpensive patch jobs. Back in 2009, NPR’s Morning Edition ran a story that highlighted the problem. The AP published photos around the same time.
To address the issue, the Trust for the National Mall - the official non-profit partner of the National Park Service, which runs the Mall – held a design competition targeting some of the problem areas for improvements.
They include Constitution Gardens, an area with a pond near the Lincoln Memorial, which is pictured above in a winning rendering by PWP Landscape Architecture and Rogers Marvel Architects. From the design narrative:
“The simple armature of an underwater ring wall in the east side of the lake—invisible when not in use—will enable this part of the lake to transform into a model boat basin in summer. In winter, the basin can be drained and topped with a temporary ice surface, creating a magical venue for skating on a frozen Lake, in urban Washington DC.”
Also on the list for rehab are the Washington Monument grounds and the area near the Capitol known as Union Square.
Caroline Cunningham, President of the Trust said the designs are intended to bring the Mall “back to its former glory” and serve as “models of sustainability and best practices in urban parks.” The Trust is projecting a groundbreaking for the first project by 2014.
But Trust spokesman Joe Kildea tells NPR there’s quite a bit of work to do before that point. “The next step is evaluating the cost, impact, how [these designs] would affect use, things like that. So the process continues.”
So-far $7 million in private money has been raised. The projects will likely require hundreds of millions more. In short, these winning designs represent what would be built, if something is to be built.
You can see more winning images here.
There was a lot of excitement in New York this week as the mayor, the president of New York University, and a lot of other dignitaries crowed around a podium in Brooklyn. The announcement: NYU is joining the effort to create a powerhouse tech triangle in the city’s most populous borough. The university plans to take over the mostly vacant MTA building at 370 Jay Street to house a new Center for Urban Science and Progress. The building will undergo a massive renovation (as depicted in the above photo and rendering, courtesy NYU).
Officials proclaimed many benefits of this project to the development of Brooklyn’s downtown. But the new graduate program itself is intended to contribute knowledge and expertise to an emerging global industry — the business of smart cities — according to CUSP ‘s new director, physicist Steven Koonin. Koonin has formerly served as provost for the California Institute of Technology, chief scientist at BP, and an undersecretary at the Department of Energy.
James Garrett, the head of Civil Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University (one of CUSP’s academic partners), gives an example of the kind of project students might tackle. Imagine a network of sensors that monitor the integrity of underground water pipes throughout a city to warn of a potential water main break. Now, envision testing that kind of system in a city as complex as New York. The goal, he says, is to understand “how systems interact with each other and to use New York City as a living test bed.”
The nascent smart cities field is being pioneered by technology corporations such as IBM and Siemens. Steven Koonin tells NPR that “urban science” is about “understanding cities in a detailed systemic way.” He likens the study of a city’s networks of roads, pipelines and even health care to systems biology. “In many fields of science, the data is king. The goal is to move to a really data driven approach in cities … to improve efficiency, resilience and quality of life.”