Urban Art Museum

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No ya-ya, People want Architecture at a Great ValueA few months ago I began to contemplate the effect of the Great Recession on our profession and to define for myself the current, past and future status of architecture in the United States. There have been many movements and styles to evolve in architecture since the implosion of Pruitt-Igoe. It seems that since the death of Modernism that stylistic periods in architecture have increasingly become shorter and shorter, approaching a period of brevity in which we have to question whether or not we should even call these movements architectural styles.

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Have you ever considered what function the background on your computer’s desktop serves? I doubt it. Many people treat their desktop’s background as an expensive picture frame that displays imagery of their family or maybe a sports car that they will never ever be able to afford, but why not ask the desktop what it wants to be? It seems that the background of your computer’s desktop is an opportunity that architects have not yet capitalized on. In fact, I do not know of any profession that has thought about using the background of their computer’s desktop as anything other than a picture frame. This article discusses ten ways that you can make your desktop function for you.

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The de Young Museum designed by Jacques Herzog & Pierre de Meuron is both underwhelming and overwhelming. The structure’s interiors are underwhelming at best, and there are few spaces on the interior that capture the same spirit that is embodied by the structure’s unique exterior appearance. The exterior form and treatment of the structure’s skin is overwhelming. The materiality, texture and the building’s seductive physique are used to create a building that one cannot help but to stare at. The de Young Museum is simply beautiful, its copper skin is unmatched in scale and execution, but the local and regional ecosystem must pay a great cost for its unique beauty.

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So, you want to be an Architect? The process of becoming an architect has become overly complicated since the days of Peter Keating and Howard Roark, but it is not impossible, yet. I have focused the last year of my life on obtaining my professional license, and may be deemed a licensed architect sometime this month, but instead of keeping my experiences to myself, I thought that I would pass along the lessons that I have learned during the past year in hopes that it will help other interns navigate this murky process.

One of the most difficult things about the architectural licensing process is that the road to becoming an architect is fragmented.

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It has been awhile since I have attacked my favorite moving target, NCARB, partly because I have been very busy trying to beat NCARB at their own game, and also in part because I have been very busy at work. I have taken what will hopefully be my last ARE, and during this whole process I have run into many obstacles, which is nothing new for ARE candidates attempting to complete this ridiculous process of graduating from intern architect to licensed architect. The reason that I refer to the process as ridiculous is for reasons different than many of my peers. I agree that it is silly that one has to know what riprap is (something I saw on a practice exam somewhere) in order to protect the health, safety and welfare of the general public, but the best thing to do is accept it, learn it and hope that you know enough silliness to pass all of the AREs. I am not even going to touch on the topic of health, safety and welfare as it is related to the ARE, that will be left for a later post, but what I will touch on is the notion that the process of becoming an architect is ridiculous, and you may be surprised when you hear the reasons why.

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The Miami School of Architecture Building (also known as the Paul L. Cejas School of Architecture Building) was designed by Bernard Tschumi. It is a visually exciting building, and was one of the many highlights on a recent architectural pilgrimage that I made to Miami. This project is one of three must see buildings on the Florida International University campus, the other two structures are designed by Robert Stern and KPF, and if you can believe it the Robert Stern designed structure is the best of the three architectural gems hidden on the campus.

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During a recent trip to Miami, I made a quick visit to 1111 Lincoln Road, a development in South Beach’s Lincoln Mall, which I have been following for some time now. At first glance the renderings display a project that is at the very least, an exciting structural display that mimics the symbols of wealth displayed by the celebutantes of South Beach. Upon visiting South Beach and the 1111 Lincoln Road development, it became clear that the design and development are clearly foreign to the surrounding collection of 800 Art Deco structures located in South Beach’s Art Deco Historic District.

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Augmenting aerial earth maps, or Augearth as it is called by its creators, is the resultant of a research effort at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Augmented Environmental Laboratory. I discovered the results of the research while visiting the Google Earth Blog, which is a must bookmark for architectural 3d modelers and illustrators. I am writing about this, not because I don’t feel like finishing the dozen or so articles I have sitting in the queue, but because the researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have brought to the forefront a new type of visualization that will not only change the way we view architecture and the world, but our process.

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The New World Symphony designed by Frank Gehry may rank as one of the architects most important works. The New World Symphony located in South Beach is evolutionary in the same way that Gehry’s Santa Monica House or Guggenheim Museum Bilbao are now monuments that mark different periods in the  architect’s career. America’s most famous Canadian architect has crafted a pivotal work that will determine the future creative direction of Gehry and his office. The New World Symphony represents a much more restrained Gehry than we are used to seeing.

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When going to Miami this weekend I was excited at the prospect of seeing my first Richard Meier building. Meier was one of the first architects that I was introduced to in my architectural education, and have always had an appreciation for his ability to take a consistent formal language and evolve it with the completion of each new project. The project pictured to the left is a rendering of the Beach House in South Beach Miami, Florida. The developers of the project, which there are many, never miss an opportunity to tell you that the project is designed by Richard Meier.

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