Steven Holl - Simmons Hall at MIT

Buckminster Fuller and contemporary design

Calatrava's Chicago Spire developer missed property tax deadlines

    Thomas A. Corfman

    Garrett Kelleher failed to pay nearly $430,000 in property taxes due nearly two months ago on the proposed site of the Spire, even as the Irish developer was launching a lavish, five-city Asian tour to trumpet the massive skyscraper....

    A spokeswoman for the 150-story Spire ... confirmed that the taxes were past due and blamed an error in the address for the tax bills....

    The March 4 payment date is at least the third time Shelbourne has been behind in its property taxes. The Dec. 3 payment was made 11 days late. The March 1, 2007, taxes weren’t paid until May 21 of that year....

    Read the story here.
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Help Ronchamp!

    A petition destined for the French Minister of Culture, to prevent new construction near Le Corbusier's masterpiece - The Chapel of Ronchamp. We wrote about the flawed project here.

    The plan is for a Renzo Piano-designed visitor's center, a cluster of 12 cells for nuns, and a meditation space down the slope and about 175 feet from Le Corbusier’s 1955 masterwork.

    courtesy Renzo Piano Building Workshop

    The petition appears to already carry the signatures of more than 300 people including Rafael Moneo, Robert Venturi, Phyllis Lambert, Josep Quetglas, Werner Oechslin and "anonymous" (is that you?)

    Feel free to forward this.

    Thanks for this to my friend Ivan Shumkov, affiliated with the Fondation Le Corbusier.
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Miami Foam City

    120 million gallons of bubbles through the streets of Miami! See what you can do with the world's largest foam machine? So says Sony, which pumped these bubbles into the streets after supplying locals with Sony cameras and digicams to shoot it. "Viral advertising" at its soapiest. You've come a long way, baby, from

    And what's this?


    I'd love to be there when Sony shoots the next one. Bring it on! =]

    And here are bubbles in "high art"

    The Beijing Aquatic Center

    recently completed

    Of course, the most famous confluence of soap and architecture ever

    Frank Lloyd Wright
    Administration Building for the Larkin Soap Company
    Buffalo, New York
    1904. Demolished 1950

    And because when I think of architecture I think of music, let's end with

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Bertrand Goldberg's masterworks at risk

    Blair Kamin points out threats to two Goldberg structures.
    An "architecturally-disruptive incursion from Dick's Last Resort" at Goldberg's Marina City; and the possible demolition of two little-known Goldberg buildings at the Elgin, Illinois Mental Health Center.

    Also at great peril, last time I checked, is

    Goldberg's marvelous Prentice Women's Hopsital on Chicago's Gold Coast. It ought to be saved. Northwestern Memorial Hospital owns it. What's the latest on the status of this Chicago treasure that enlivens a rather boxy near-north side neighborhood?

    Dwell Magazine wrote on the great work of Bertrand Goldberg recently.

    And if these demolitions occur, it would not be the first time that we tear down an architect's important work, even as we honor him or her. The Art Institute of Chicago plans a major Bertrand Goldberg retrospective in the fall of 2010 in its new architecture galleries to open in the Renzo Piano-designed new wing.
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LEED for Neighborhoods

    To save us all, it's not enough to make buildings more energy-efficient, with "greener" materials and better indoor air; so the US Green Building Council also wants to rethink neighborhoods and change lifestyles.
    Look next year for LEED-ND guidelines.
    LEED for Neighborhood Development
    "The LEED for Neighborhood Development Rating System integrates the principles of smart growth, urbanism and green building into the first national system for neighborhood design. LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a development's location and design meet accepted high levels of environmentally responsible, sustainable development.

    Currently in its pilot period, LEED for Neighborhood Development is a collaboration among USGBC, the Congress for the New Urbanism and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

    In order to reduce the impacts of urban sprawl, or unplanned, uncontrolled spreading of urban development into areas adjoining the edge of a city, and create more livable communities, LEED for Neighborhood Development communities are:

    • locations that are closer to existing town and city centers
    • areas with good transit access
    • infill sites
    • previously developed sites
    • sites adjacent to existing development

    Encourage healthy living.
    LEED for Neighborhood Development emphasizes the creation of compact, walkable, vibrant, mixed-use neighborhoods with good connections to nearby communities. Research has shown that living in a mixed-use environment within walking distance of shops and services results in increased walking and biking, which improve human cardiovascular and respiratory health and reduce the risk of hypertension and obesity.

    Protect threatened species.
    Fragmentation and loss of habitat are major threats to many imperiled species. LEED encourages compact development patterns and the selection of sites that are within or adjacent to existing development to minimize habitat fragmentation and also help preserve areas for recreation.

    Increase transportation choice and decrease automobile dependence.
    These two things go hand-in-hand; convenient transportation choices such as buses, trains, car pools, bicycle lanes and sidewalks, for example, are typically more available near downtowns, neighborhood centers and town centers, which are also the locations that produce shorter automobile trips."

    More here.
    Architect and writer Douglas Farr tells all, here.
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Kanye West thinks about Chicago

    Kanye West's new video, here.

    Having moved to L.A., he remembers the "el," the skyline, Trump Tower! Millennium Park, the people, Marina City, public housing, Wrigley, Trib Tower, the DuSable Museum, nighttime, a bit of Mies, Mag Mile...
    "Baby, do you remember when?
    Fireworks at Lake Michigan."
    Nice piano banging, and throughout, well, he's got to hand it to himself.
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Seed your Head. In the High Temple o' Modernism


    On Friday, June the 6th 2008 in Chicago.

    I'll be there (just back from Tokyo, Beijing and Shanghai to look at buildings) to give a lunchtime talk on Crown Hall, Mies, and the IIT Campus with works by Mies, Helmut Jahn and Rem Koolhaas.

    Be there! The first two SEEDs were fab. You will:

    Learn about taking control of your own work by seeking out methods to inspire new thinking and adopt unconventional ideas about collaboration and business via six presentations and discussions led by 37signals, Segura Inc, Coudal Partners and friends.


    will fill your head with knowledge you can use. This isn’t about theory, it’s about practice

    You should attend if you’re a designer (print, web or video) or a business-minded soul who is looking to take creative ideas and turn them into something SATISFYING & BANKABLE. Anyone creative with an open mind will take away something useful. This is a day of active learning, not just idle listening. Only 270 seats available. REGISTER NOW

    The venue will inform the discussion too, SEED will be held in the “Cathedral of Modernism”

    CROWN HALL by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

    Painstakingly renovated in 2005, Crown Hall stands as one of the most important buildings of the modern age and it was also held in the highest regard by Mies himself who said it best represented his “architecture of almost nothing.”


    CARLOS SEGURA is the founder of Segura, Inc. an internationally recognized visual communications company and the creator of T.26 the web's original digital type foundry as well as the 5" retail brand and the Cartype weblog.

    JASON FRIED is the founder of 37signals, influential creators of web-based communication and collaboration tools Basecamp, Highrise, Backpack & Campfire and authors of the book Getting Real and the popular weblog Signal vs. Noise.

    JAKE NICKELL is the Founder and JEFFREY KALMIKOFF is the Creative Director of skinnyCorp, the force behind the unstoppable community-based tee shirt design concept Threadless and a steady stream of other great ideas.

    EDWARD LIFSON reports on architecture for National Public Radio, architecture critic, blogger and Loeb Fellow at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard. He’ll talk during lunch about the Crown Hall, Mies, and the IIT Campus, with buildings by Mies, Helmut Jahn and Rem Koolhaas.

    JIM COUDAL is the founder of Coudal Partners, a design and advertising consultancy that has created numerous brands and concepts such as The Deck Advertising Network, Jewelboxing, Layer Tennis and Field Notes.

    GARY VAYNERCHUK is the proprietor of Wine Library TV and a perfect example of someone who has used the web and his own ingenuity to harness the power of his passion. Check him on Conan, Nightline and Ellen.

    An OPEN PANEL DISCUSSION will follow the presentations and the day will conclude with a

    RECEPTION on the LAWN of CROWN HALL featuring wines selected by Mr. Vaynerchuk.



    An amazing setting, great food all day catered by Big Delicious Planet and a reception on the lawn afterwards. SEED promises to be an amazing Friday, which will leave you with an entire summer weekend in Chicago & take our word for it, a summer weekend in Chicago is pretty tough to beat. Regarding SEED, you can take other people’s word for it too. Here are a few reviews of SEEDS 1 & 2: Mike Rohde, Jameson Watts, Anthony Zinni, Bud Caddell, Chad Udell

    DK Design, Andy Sernovitz, Scott Dierdorf, Larry Wright, Wake Interactive, Matt Jankowski, plus search a lot more

    Register for SEED Today

    $499/person, attendance is limited to 270.

    Any questions?

    VARIOUS DETAILS: Registration opens at 8a and the conference will conclude around 5p, followed by the reception. Breakfast, a buffet lunch, including vegetarian options, and appetizers at the reception will be served. WIFI is free. Parking is included and IIT is easily accessible by public transportation. In fact, the CTA Green Line runs right through the Campus Center. From downtown a taxi should be around $10. Directions. Google Map. We don't have any hotel affiliations but we dig The Burnham, The Amalfi and The James. The Sox host the Twins SEED weekend. REM is at The UC, Blues Fest is on, as is The Printer's Row Book Fair. Peace.

    Copyright 2008, Seed Chicago Conference. All rights reserved.

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Frank Lloyd Wright on sex, his mile-high skyscraper, religion, war, the "mob," old age, art, the press, critics, America and more.

A light rain

A competition to restore Mies' Tugendhat House in Brno, Czech Republic

    From the Prague Daily Monitor: From (private residence to) dance studio to kindergarten to UNESCO landmark, the villa has fulfilled many functions since its expropriation from a Czech Jewish family in 1939.

    And yet, the city of Brno, which owns the building, has badly neglected the landmark, citing lack of finances. Disputes over the villa's ownership and disagreements over reconstruction plans have also delayed repairs.

    ... Part of the building is literally sliding down hill, millimetre by millimetre, widening the existing cracks in the fa├žade and creating new ones ... as wide as 10 centimetres in some places, plus crumbling stairs and broken glass.

    The sad thing is it didn't have to be this way. The heirs of the original owners formally approached Brno City Hall last winter, in the hope of reclaiming ownership of the building and restoring it to its original state.

    Members of the Tugendhat family, who live in Austria, Germany and Switzerland today, said their concern for the villa was the main reason why they wanted it back. They said they would keep the landmark open to the public and fund the reconstruction themselves.

    Art historian Daniela Hammer-Tugendhat, the youngest of the heirs, and her husband Ivo Hammer, who specialises in historical building conservation, have worked on extensive studies of how to restore the villa for decades.

    One might think that city representatives would be hard-pressed to find someone better qualified to plan out the reconstruction. ...

    But City Hall decided last year not to return the villa, citing missed restitution deadlines. The deadlines do not apply to claims for confiscated works of art. ...

    But, in a remarkable feat of warped logic, City Hall officials argued that the villa, which is registered as a cultural landmark, is not a work of art.

    more here.

    Meanwhile, at Mies' 860-880 Lake Shore Apartments in Chicago, the travertine plaza is about to be torn up and replaced. Extensive work will also begin on the lobbies.Source URL:
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