The Preservation Foundation

Articles of Note

A key issue at Thursday’s Landmarks Preservation Commission meeting could be summed up by a set of numbers.

Town preservation consultant Jane Day presented a report on her year-long update of the historic site survey for Palm Beach.

Of the 1,338 structures on the list, completed for the Florida Master Site File, a listing of historic properties and archeological sites within the state, 90 are potentially eligible for landmark designation by the town, according to Day.

The other number emphasized Thursday was zero.

That’s the amount of concern residents should have about their properties being included on the list, Day, Chairman Gene Pandula and others suggested.

The town staff plans to soon post the list on its website, palmbeach.govoffice.com. MORE...
“Palm Beach has been good to me and now I have an opportunity to be good to Palm Beach,” said Sidney Maddock when he announced plans to build the palatial Palm Beach Royal, a 12-story, 540-room Spanish-style hotel later renamed The Alba, on the same site where four months earlier his Palm Beach Hotel had burned to the ground during the catastrophic 1925 Breakers fire.

And yet, despite Mr. Maddock’s enthusiasm for Palm Beach, shortly after the real estate bubble burst and the stock market crashed, he retreated to Brooklyn, never returning to Palm Beach.

“During the late 1930s my father came back to Palm Beach, settled my grandfather’s debts, and restored Duck’s Nest,” recalls Paul L. “Jay” Maddock Jr., a lifelong Palm Beach resident who clarified the origin of the name for the family’s lakeside 1891 landmark home.

“Duck’s Nest” came from the affectionate English-style term “Duckie,” that my great-grandfather Henry called his wife, not from the site’s coincidental attraction MORE...
In other words all the time our cities are being permitted without control to destroy the surrounding landscape with its nature, traditional pathways, avenues of trees, villages, mills and meandering streams, and build in their place some sort of gigantic agglomeration that renders life nondescript, disrupts the network of natural human communities, and under the banner of international uniformity it attacks all individuality, identity or heterogeneity. And on the occasions it tries to imitate something local or original, it looks altogether suspect, because it is obviously a purpose-built fake. There is emerging a new type of a previously described existential phenomenon: unbounded consumer collectivity engenders a new type of solitude. MORE...
The old golf clubhouse at 45 Cocoanut Row will be no more, replaced by new sod and plantings along the roadway.

The Breakers, the property owner, will tear down the wood shingle building, citing water and termite damage.

The town Architectural Commission approved the demolition request Wednesday.

Hotel officials said the building had been vacant for 10 years, and was used for storage.

The building is not a town landmark.

“It’s nostalgic and charming,” said ARCOM member Bob Vila, who noted it was not a building of architectural significance.

“It’s unfortunate it’s gotten to this point,” Commissioner Ann Vanneck said.

ARCOM member Kenn Karakul called the impending demolition “very sad.”

“I think it’s tragic that the building wasn’t (maintained) all along.” MORE...
Imagine having no place at home to park your car.

That’s the predicament facing Palm Beach Hotel condominium residents when Publix begins construction of its new store on Sunrise Avenue next spring.

The hotel’s condo association leases 47 spaces on a parking lot across the street from the hotel, on Sunrise Avenue. But the lot’s owner, S. Daniel Abraham, has agreed to sell the property to help create space for the larger supermarket and parking lot that Publix plans to build.

Publix won’t be able to lease parking space to the hotel because it will need all of its spaces to meet town parking requirements for the new store, its attorney Maura Ziska said.

The condo association also failed to interest Publix in a joint venture to finance construction of a parking garage on the Publix property.

The Palm Beach Hotel owns no parking spaces of its own, and is having trouble finding another property owner in the area willing to lease property for parking, said the hotel’s attorney MORE...
There is something distinctly mercantile about the Architecture Biennale in Venice. Walking down the long waterfront of the Arsenale, or around the shaded paths of the Giardini, national and independent pavilions roll out their wares to court the visitor’s attention. The sheer scale of the event goads participants to extraordinary lengths to stand out. The result is engaging and often entertaining. As much a social event as creative forum, the biennale's theme this year is apt: People meet in architecture. MORE...
For years, New York developers have been trying to maximize the value of residential properties by hiring celebrity architects. At Philip Johnson’s Urban Glass House, Richard Meier’s Perry Street apartments and Jean Nouvel’s 100 11th Avenue, the architects were chosen in part to raise condominium prices.

Now the developer Bruce Ratner of Forest City Ratner is about to determine whether a big-name architect can do the same for rental apartments. His new tower at 8 Spruce Street, just south of the Brooklyn Bridge, was designed by Frank Gehry, who gave it an undulating skin that ripples like the Statue of Liberty’s gown, but in stainless steel rather than copper.

At 867 feet, 8 Spruce Street (which for a time was known as Beekman Tower) is the tallest residential building in the city, surpassing the Trump World Tower. That would make it notable even without Mr. Gehry’s distinctive facade. MORE...
It once was thought that social problems could be solved with smart urban design. The devastation of world wars and the rise of cities led to a demand for grand-scale visions. But history has not been kind to the Utopian schemes of Walter Gropius, Le Corbusier and other great architects. When it turned out that low-income families do not thrive in isolated towers of flats, architects stopped being viewed as the masterminds of a better future.

Yet architects can still have a powerful social impact, as is made plain by an inspiring show, “Small Scale, Big Change”, which opens at New York’s Museum of Modern Art on October 3rd (and runs until January 3rd). It is just that their solutions these days need to be practical and local, free of grand theories and manifestos. MORE...
On June 24, Polshek Partnership — the prestigious 50-year-old architecture practice responsible for the Clinton presidential library, the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History and the Santa Fe Opera House — disappeared.

Actually, the firm didn’t go anywhere. Only the name went away. Its replacement? Ennead.

While the move has surprised many in the design world, it is consistent with a growing trend toward firm names that sound more like video games than architecture practices — H3, Obra, PARA-Project, Indie. “There is a movement away from the spelling out of the usual white male architect at the head of the firm,” said Amale Andraos, who is a founder of Work Architecture Company with her husband, Dan Wood, in 2003. MORE...
When Pope Benedict XVI visits Spain’s most popular tourist attraction on Nov. 6, he will consecrate the 128-year-old structure known as the Expiatory Temple of the Holy Family, and it will become a Catholic church. Since Barcelona is already home to a cathedral, this monumental building by the famed Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926) will be designated the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia. MORE...
The Town Council has granted Publix’s request for expanded construction hours so the supermarket chain can get its new store built as quickly as possible.

Publix plans to demolish the existing store in April and build a larger one that is scheduled to open on Dec. 19, 2011. But Publix officials say they couldn’t meet that schedule when construction is only allowed from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The council agreed Wednesday to allow workers to assemble at the job site as early as they like, and perform noisy construction from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. from the April 25 start through May 30.

On June 1, construction hours will expand to 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. because fewer residents are in town. The expanded schedule will last until the shell of the new store is built, estimated for June 28.

Once the shell is built, outdoor construction will be limited to normal hours, but work in the interior will be allowed around-the-clock, seven days a week. Throughout construction, outdoor work will not be pe MORE...
Elizabeth Diller would seem to have her hands full. Even as work winds down on its redesign of Lincoln Center, the architecture firm in which she is a partner, Diller Scofidio & Renfro, has just won two major commissions — a new museum in downtown Los Angeles for the financier Eli Broad and a new Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive for the University of California. The firm is also designing a major structure for the new Governors Island park and an inflatable meeting hall for the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington that is due to open in 2012.

Yet the other day Ms. Diller was scrutinizing L.E.D. modules in a sign at Lincoln Center. Such small details are commanding Ms. Diller’s attention because what she refers to as Lincoln Center’s electronic infoscape — the final elements of which are being installed this week — amounts to a great deal more than just signs. MORE...
The 21st century will not be dominated by America or China, Brazil or India, but by the city. In an age that appears increasingly unmanageable, cities rather than states are becoming the islands of governance on which the future world order will be built. This new world is not -- and will not be -- one global village, so much as a network of different ones. MORE...
What if we thought less about the benefits of urban density and more about the many possibilities for proliferating more human-scaled urban centers; what if healthy growth turns out to be best achieved through dispersion, not concentration? Instead of overcrowded cities rimmed by hellish new slums, imagine a world filled with vibrant smaller cities, suburbs, and towns: Which do you think is likelier to produce a higher quality of life, a cleaner environment, and a lifestyle conducive to creative thinking? MORE...
Welcome to Chongqing, the biggest city you've never heard of. MORE...
In the twenty-first century—the first in which the majority of people will live in cities—this unique link between urbanism and upward mobility is under threat. Urban boosters still maintain that big cities remain unique centers for social uplift, but evidence suggests this is increasingly no longer the case. This process reflects a shift in economic and social realities over the past few decades. For example, according to a recent Brookings Institution study, New York and Los Angeles have, among all U.S. cities, the smallest share of middle-income neighborhoods. In 1980, Manhattan ranked 17th among the nation’s counties for social inequality; by 2007 it ranked first, with the top fifth earning 52 times that of the lowest fifth, a disparity roughly comparable to that of Namibia. MORE...
When Hurricane Katrina devastated Mississippi's coastal areas, the storm tore up the home. But it also peeled back a little slice of history about Beauvoir that might never have been known otherwise.

Beauvoir was the last home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. MORE...
Before Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans’s Lower 9th Ward was home to an estimated 18,000 people. But five years later, only about a quarter of that number live in the hard-hit neighborhood. Andrew Curtis, a university researcher, leads a team of students and local community members that is documenting the substantial changes in the area. Take a tour of the evolving landscape of the Lower Ninth Ward and read what local residents and researchers have to say MORE...
The Palm Beach County Convention Center filled again today with tales of mortgage woe.

Before dawn, with a plump moon overhead, a line of desperate homeowners trailed around the outside of the building. They slept in beach chairs or on blankets on the ground, refugees from a bad economy, bad loans, or bad decisions.

They stayed even as the rain poured down on them.

Because for most of the people in the queue, the Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America is the end of the line. The last chance to save their home.

The non-profit group will be at the convention center through Tuesday helping people get lower monthly payments through loan modifications. At least 1,000 people arrived before the doors opened. MORE...
Preserve Palm Beach and its leader, Patrick Flynn, have lost their battle to get a referendum on the Nov. 2 ballot protecting the Royal Poinciana Playhouse from demolition.

Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge David Crow ruled Thursday in favor of the town in its challenge of the constitutionality of the PAC’s proposed referendum requiring voter approval before certain landmarked buildings could be razed.

The court “does not doubt the sincerity and motives of the defendants and those citizens of the town who signed the petition and those who support it or desire to preserve what many feel are historic landmarks in the town,” Crow wrote in his order. “However, no matter how laudable these goals may be, that decision is not by popular vote when that popular vote is in conflict with Florida statutes,” he wrote.

“We are pleased with the result,” Town Attorney John Randolph said. He will ask the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections office to remove the proposed referendum MORE...
After a slow start, Publix’s plan to build a new, larger supermarket in town next year is rapidly gaining traction.

After a painstaking four-month review, the Architectural Commission on Wednesday unanimously approved the architectural, lighting and landscape designs for the new store. The panel also granted a demolition permit for the existing store.

ARCOM’s decision came on the heels of the Town Council’s Aug. 11 approval of 12 variances and a special exception that constituted most of the zoning approvals Publix needs. The council urged ARCOM to complete its work soon so Publix can keep its construction schedule on track.

Still remaining is a site plan review and declaration of use and construction management agreements, all of which will be before the Town Council on Sept. 15. MORE...
The irrational economic exuberance of the 1990s and 2000s has been rightly criticized for creating overheated markets and overextended pocketbooks, particularly in housing. That money, especially in luxury apartment towers, promoted a group of designers who emerged largely in the wake of postmodernism and who brought an unprecedented level of futuristic glamor to domestic lifestyles. Think Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel and Herzog & de Meuron, people referred to, derisively or not, as “starchitects.” MORE...
What sets a McMansion apart from a regular mansion, according to Wikipedia, are a few characteristics: They’re tacky, they lack a definitive style and they have a “displeasingly jumbled appearance.”

Well, count 2010 as the year the last nail was hammered into the McCoffin: In its latest report on home-buying trends, real-estate site Trulia declares: “The McMansion Era Is Over.” MORE...
Great houses and families don’t come much greater than Knole and the Sackvilles. Robert Sackville-West tells their story, lightly and clearly, tracking the house (365 bedrooms, 52 staircases) as it zigzags down the generations, from 1604 when Thomas Sackville, first Earl of Dorset, Lord Treasurer to Elizabeth I and James I, bought the freehold, to the time when the author and his family moved in. MORE...
Deserted highways, empty hotel rooms, miles of unsold residential and office space. These were not the images that Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Makhtoum, Dubai’s ruler, had in mind when he wrote his book about the emirate, My Vision: Challenges in the Race for Excellence, which was published in April 2006. “Dubai’s proving to be one of the most successful development stories in the world, and is being viewed increasingly in the Arab and Muslim worlds as a source of pride,” a gushing press release issued by the publisher declared. In the book, al-Makhtoum explained how Dubai had been transformed in the course of two generations from a desert backwater into the ultimate global city. He compared Dubai to Córdoba, the medieval capital of Arab Spain, and praised its melting pot of nations and creeds that enhanced, the release proclaimed, “human interaction and understanding.” MORE...
The Park51 controversy isn’t really about a building. It’s about erasing individuals. MORE...
Risk aversion has become the rule, however, in part because bashing big-name innovators is in style. I.M. Pei and other celebrity architects are frequent whipping boys. America’s prowess in design and construction has eroded. MORE...
Most of my work as a photographer centers on urban development in the sense of construction and expansion. But not all development succeeds, and not all construction lasts. In recent years a number of cities in Britain have recognized that some of the large public housing projects built during the postwar era have been failures; what were supposed to be new residential communities have been overtaken by crime and drug use. In several cases, particularly unmanageable buildings have even been torn down. Some years ago I became interested in photographing such a demolition, especially one of an entire housing block. Razing existing structures to prepare for new development is standard practice in urban planning. Demolition, therefore, becomes part of the question I ask about all of the construction sites, suburban sprawl and infrastructure I photograph: How do we decide what sort of development is sustainable, and how do we respond to that which is unsustainable? MORE...
Many suburbanites take free parking for granted, whether it’s in the lot of a big-box store or at home in the driveway. Yet the presence of so many parking spaces is an artifact of regulation and serves as a powerful subsidy to cars and car trips. Legally mandated parking lowers the market price of parking spaces, often to zero. Zoning and development restrictions often require a large number of parking spaces attached to a store or a smaller number of spaces attached to a house or apartment block. MORE...
An eminent writer, thinker, commentator, politician, academic chooses five books on their specialist subject. Harry Mount is an author and journalist who regularly contributes to a range of national newspapers, including the Telegraph, Daily Mail, The Guardian and the Spectator. Educated at Oxford and the Courtauld Institute, he is the author of the international bestseller Amo, Amas, Amat... And All That. MORE...
Publix’s proposal to replace the town’s lone supermarket with a larger, more modern store won broad support Wednesday from the Town Council.

The council unanimously approved 12 variances and a special exception use that constitute the bulk of zoning approvals Publix needs.

The council attached a list of conditions that are due for approval next month.

The council also delayed until September its decision on a final zoning hurdle, the site plan review, because of changes to the parking configuration. Publix agreed to a council request that the parking lot be redesigned for 90-degree spaces instead of angled ones. The change will allow 215-220 spaces, instead of 201.

The council’s decision did not apply to the architectural plans, which fall under the Architectural Commission. MORE...
The city's avant-garde masterpieces are falling into ruin. It seems only the oligarchs' wives can save them. MORE...
A huge and previously unknown trove of archival material from Philip Johnson’s architectural practice — including his hand-drawn sketches for towers that helped define postmodern architecture — is to be put up for sale by one of Johnson’s former partners, who has had them in storage for years. MORE...
It's understandable why director Christopher Nolan would lean so heavily toward familiar architectural forms, but too bad such a mind-bending narrative lacks equally inventive structures. MORE...
Palladio's church in Venice glistens like a pearl set in an exquisite shell – but the real star is the architect and his vision. MORE...
In 1855, the city embarked on a far-fetched scheme to hoist itself out of the mud and gunk. On the 155th anniversary of the project's launch, we take a lively illustrated look back. MORE...
How do you renovate the United Nations? Diplomatically. MORE...
What is the most important piece of architecture built since 1980? Vanity Fair’s survey of 52 experts, including 11 Pritzker Prize winners, has provided a clear answer: Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. But parsing the votes, which also anointed Renzo Piano’s Menil Collection, Peter Zumthor’s Thermal Baths, and Sir Norman Foster’s HSBC Building, among other significant structures, Matt Tyrnauer examines the complex legacy of Modernism and the impact of its greatest renegade. MORE...
While “orthodox” modernists have long thought of glass as a means of making their buildings transparent, Mr. Carpenter said that for him transparency is far down on his list of concerns. What interests him, he explained, is “what is occurring on or in or through the material itself.” MORE...
Alice T. Friedman, an architectural historian and professor of American art history at Wellesley, has a new book, “American Glamour and the Evolution of Modern Architecture” (Yale University Press; $65), that links the work of postwar architects like Morris Lapidus, Philip Johnson and Richard Neutra to a single quality: glamour. Critics liked to trash the glamorous — as they did the photographs Julius Shulman took of Neutra’s Kaufmann Desert House, published in Life magazine in 1949 — as tawdry eye candy, too eager to sell itself, too beautiful to be proper modern architecture, doomed to be mere fashion. But glamour, Professor Friedman proposes, is no mere aesthetic; it is a sensual, emotional and magical sensibility that percolated up from American popular culture, elevating the ordinary — a toaster, say — into the extraordinary. MORE...
One hundred and fifty years ago the Swiss art lover and historian Jacob Burckhardt published his master work, The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy. The study of the Renaissance can no more forget Burckhardt than biology can leave Darwin behind. Jacob Burckhardt rediscovered the Renaissance for the 19th century, viewing it shockingly as the dark and turbulent origin of modernity. Jonathan Jones hails his classic of cultural history. MORE...
Few developments central to the history of art have been so misrepresented or misunderstood as the brief, brave, glorious, doomed life of the Bauhaus. MORE...
Embarrassment for Charles as letter to Sheikh criticising Chelsea Barracks development is published. MORE...
A Palm Beach theater closes and is targeted for demolition, touching off a vigorous public debate, a preservation drive, and legal wrangling over its future.

By virtue of its storied past and prized architecture, the building is eventually deemed a historic landmark.

Its golden days as a theater, for the time being at least, remain locked in its past. Its landmark status does not guarantee it a secure future.

That takes money, and a lot of it.

This narrative might apply to the Royal Poinciana Playhouse, but it describes another island theater property that hasn’t received much attention lately, the Paramount Building.

The North County Road movie theater opened in 1927 and has been landmarked since 1982, two years after its last curtain call as the town’s only movie house.

Recently, because of its deteriorating condition, The Paramount has become the target of Code Enforcement Board action. MORE...
Over the past two years, economic hard times have loomed as large at Washington National Cathedral as the Gothic spires that grace the city's skyline. The cathedral has slashed its budget from $27 to $13 million, outsourcing its gift shop operation and shuttering its popular greenhouse and its continuing education college for clergy. Three rounds of layoffs have reduced the staff from 170 to 70, including, at the end of this month, the cathedral's conservator and the liturgist who oversaw the April memorial service for civil rights pioneer Dorothy Height. Then news came this week that the cathedral, visited by every U.S. president since Theodore Roosevelt laid its foundation stone in 1907, was considering selling off part of its rare books collection, probably worth millions. Cathedral officials said the potential sale of the books is a separate matter from its ongoing budget difficulties. MORE...
In railing against the passing of SoHo’s exhilarating, creative days—characterized by “the mix of artists, crafts-people, small manufacturers, researchers [!], as well as of commerce oriented to their needs” (a few funky bars for the artists; places like the collectively run restaurant Food)—Sorkin joins in the lamentation for “the rapid decline of the city’s industrial economy.” He doesn’t recognize that the SoHo he yearns for was precisely the product of that rapid industrial decline, which made economically available to artists and their hangers-on all those cool industrial spaces that in more industrially vibrant times would have been used by, well, industry. MORE...
Actor obsessed with architecture to work on £250m project MORE...
Writer and philosopher, Alain de Botton, launches Living Architecture, a social enterprise that puts up houses designed by some of the world's finest architects and rents them out for holidays throughout the year. But why are we so stuck in the past? Are we inherently old-fashioned and fuddy-duddy? MORE...
The house that Goldman built. MORE...
Jane Volk, artist, preservationist, former head of the Landmarks Preservation Commission and widow of the prolific Palm Beach architect John Volk, died Monday, March 15, 2010, at Good Samaritan Medical Center.

She was 88.

Mrs. Volk was an influential voice in the Town of Palm Beach largely through her service on the commission. MORE...
Architect brands Lenin-commissioned structure as a work of 'dazzling genius' and inspiration that must be saved. MORE...
At first glance, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything exemplary in the layout of Willets Point, Queens, with its jumble of auto repair shops, junkyards, and the cars, broken down and not, that litter the spaces between buildings. The city hasn’t built sidewalks there—neither has it installed sewers—so the main drag is both street and sidewalk, and the neighborhood looks more like Mumbai than Queens. When Roberta Brandes Gratz makes that observation in her new book, The Battle for Gotham: New York in the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs, she means the comparison as a kind of praise, a compliment to the neighborhood’s industriousness and gritty entrepreneurship. Willets Point, like the infamous Dharavi slum outside Mumbai, might be messy, but it’s also, in the best sense of the word, urban. MORE...
Jean Nouvel's modern take on traditional architecture deserves recognition for its role in shaping our urban landscapes. MORE...
A multistorey garage is usually little more than a soulless concrete stack, but as designed by Herzog & de Meuron, the architects of Tate Modern, a new one is bringing high style to Miami Beach. MORE...
After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Brad Pitt called in the world's top architects for his acclaimed Make It Right project. The plan was to build green homes to replace those destroyed in New Orleans. Now the first houses are up and inhabited… so is it just a celebrity ego trip or a true regeneration? MORE...
Excessive landmarking threatens to make Manhattan a refuge for the rich. During the 1980s, the mostly historic tracts added an average of 48 housing units apiece—noticeably fewer than the 280 units added in the partly historic tracts and the 258 units added in the nonhistoric tracts. In the 1990s, the mostly historic tracts lost an average of 94 housing units (thanks to unit consolidation or conversion to other uses), while the partly historic tracts lost an average of 46 units and the nonhistoric tracts added an average of 89 units. In short, census data show that there has indeed been less new housing built in historic districts, even though they are some of the most attractive areas in New York. MORE...
Last month's earthquake in Haiti left two million people homeless. As the colossal reconstruction effort begins, Steve Rose talks to the architects who are transforming disaster zones around the world. MORE...
Urban sprawl in the United States reflects distinctive geographic, demographic, and economic circumstances, but also results from a unique combination of public policies. American and European cityscapes are shaped in part by fundamental differences in how societies have organized everything from national tax and transportation systems, to housing strategies, agricultural subventions, energy conservation efforts, protection of small businesses, and local fiscal responsibilities. While most of the public agenda abroad cannot, and should not, be mimicked here, some general aspects are decidedly worth contemplating. They suggest ways that U.S. cities could benefit from selective revisions of our tax structure, transportation budget, public housing program, and federal regulatory framework. MORE...
Working in Palm Beach makes sense for Jane Day.

After all, she calls herself an island girl.

The town's preservation consultant of 17 years is particularly fond of this barrier island, as well as the Keys, the Bahamas and Venice.

Those island locales have distinctive cultures and architecture, but the allure for Day, as much as those two factors, are the people.

Over the years, Day has met a number of memorable Florida characters including the late Marjory Stoneman Douglas, the legendary defender of the Everglades; the late Dade County historian Thelma Peters,; and Jane Volk, chairwoman of the Landmarks Preservation Commission when Day began surveying Palm Beach properties and chronicling their architectural, cultural and historical merits. MORE...
The world's tallest skyscraper will open soon in Dubai, even as the emirate continues to be battered by the financial crisis. Is Burj Dubai an expression of failed megalomania or proof of Dubai leader Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's stunning vision? MORE...
It would be churlish to call our financial troubles one of the best architectural events of the year, however much they give us a Scrooge-like sense of satisfaction. So in the spirit of this positive-thinking season, let me look instead at some things that have actually happened, rather than at some things that have not, and offer up the ten most positive architectural events of the year. MORE...
Do You See a Pattern? An architectural theorist who has inspired smart-growth advocates, counterculture DIY-ers, and computer programmers.

Last month, the architect and author Christopher Alexander received the Vincent Scully Prize, given annually by the National Building Museum "to recognize exemplary practice, scholarship or criticism in architecture, historic preservation and urban design." For the last 45 years, Alexander has been a controversial figure on the architectural scene, both revered and reviled; yet in an period burdened by flocks of architectural theorists, I would guess that he is one of very few whose work will endure. MORE...
With his latest album, 'The BQE,' Sufjan Stevens takes on urban living, civic projects and Robert Moses. MORE...
From Paris to Timbuktu, the urban places that have played illustrious roles in the world's story MORE...
The best hope to show that America was capable of still building great cities might have been Bank of America’s hometown of Charlotte. The North Carolina city was a middling Southern metro until about 15 years ago. Then a combination of competing business leaders and a moment in history — rather like Chicago, albeit on a smaller scale — turned Charlotte into the nation’s second-largest banking center, drew a population larger than Seattle and seemed on the brink of showing how automobile-age America could still build a real city. MORE...
Residents and some zoning commissioners objected Tuesday to proposed zoning changes they say will open the door to unwanted redevelopment of the Royal Poinciana Way business district.

"This is allowing you to increase density in an area that is already congested," Susan Markin, a former zoning commissioner and town councilwoman, told the Planning and Zoning Commission.

"Some of the buildings are shabby, but that is a code board problem, not a zoning problem," Markin said of Royal Poinciana Way.

Markin, who was opposed two years ago to undertaking a master study that led to the proposed zoning amendments, said she likes the street's Old World charm and mom-and-pop businesses.

Sam Boykin, a member of the Architectural Review Commission, said the town shouldn't encourage development that will attract shoppers from across the bridges.

Palm Beach is a residential community with town-serving businesses and should remain that way, he and others said. MORE...
The fervent pleas of preservationists, considerable media attention and an offer to move the house were not enough to save La Ronda, Addison Mizner's last commission.

Crews began demolishing the Spanish Gothic-style mansion near Bryn Mawr, Pa., Thursday morning.

"They are working at such a speed I'm sure it will be down by today or tomorrow," preservationist Kathleen Abplanalp said Thursday. She was one of the many area residents who had campaigned against the demolition. The demolition of the nearly 18,000-square-foot house could actually take longer.

In the 1920s, Mizner helped make the Mediterranean Revival style the defining architectural style of Palm Beach and South Florida.

Joseph Kestenbaum, who bought La Ronda this summer, rejected an offer Benjamin Wohl of Palm Beach made in August to buy the house for $100,000 and move it to an adjacent lot. MORE...
New zoning rules for the Royal Poinciana Way area would offer incentives to property owners who redevelop using design characteristics preferred by the town.

The proposed amendments were drafted by town consultant Marcela Camblor and delivered to Town Hall on Monday. They go before the Planning and Zoning Commission Oct. 6 and the Town Council Nov. 18.

The changes would require council approval and amendments to the town's comprehensive land-use plan. Implementation would not occur before next year, said John Page, director of the Planning, Zoning and Building department.

A 30-acre zoning overlay would be created on the north side of Royal Poinciana Way, and on Sunrise and Sunset avenues. Property owners could opt to redevelop under the overlay or under existing zoning rules.

Building height is limited to two stories in the zoning district. Under the overlay, however, buildings could be three, and in some cases four, stories tall if owners provide publicly accessible open s MORE...
When interior designer Margaret Kaywell decided to return to work after her son started school, along came opportunity and fate.

Opportunity knocked when her husband, John, came home one night and told her: "I just met the nicest designer. You ought to go in and say hi."

Kaywell, who had already launched a residential interior design service — Kaywell Interiors — in Palm Beach, took the suggestion and looked up Valerie McGreevy Tatalovich of Valerie M. Interiors. They chatted, clicked, and in February formed a partnership in a new commercial design enterprise.

And here's where the fate comes in: Tatalovich had previously landed the contract for the interior revamp of Sea Gull Cottage, a storied treasure trove of Palm Beach history.

The 1886 house, the oldest in town, was in the process of getting a $5.5 million facelift to better serve the nearby Royal Poinciana Chapel.

The task at hand: design the interior so it harmonized with the 19th century exterior charm, while sti MORE...
Anyone who knew or knew of James Lees-Milne in his later years might have formed the impression of an exquisitely polished round peg in a perfectly round hole. Aesthete, diarist, wit, he had known everyone from the Mitfords to Mick Jagger and wrote about them amusingly. His work for the National Trust over three decades had made him personally and professionally familiar with most of the great houses of England. In some he was a regular guest, while many more owed their continued existence wholly or partly to him. If it had all really been so smooth he would probably have been an intolerable person and certainly a bad diarist, for the stuff of diaries is the uneven texture of the everyday and the comedy, or tragedy, of contrasts. But Lees-Milne, as he emerges from his diaries and memoirs, is decidedly unpolished, the anti-hero of his own life. MORE...
For urbanists and others, the battle between Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs was the great titanic struggle of the twentieth century. Like the bout between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling, their conflict has magnified significance, as the two figures have become symbols. Jacobs is the secular saint of street life, representing a humane approach to urban planning grounded in the messy interactions of the neighborhood. Moses is the icon of infrastructure established by power, the physical reconstruction of cities with great bridges and wide expressways and tall apartment buildings. The actual projects that fueled their acrimony may now be curiosities of urban history, but the ideological conflict embodied by Jacobs and Moses continues to rage in every growing city in the world. The growth of Shanghai may be described as Moses on steroids, whereas the land-use restrictions in Mumbai honor a central element of Jacobs’s legacy. MORE...
Thirteen bridges, 637 miles of highway, two tunnels, 17 parks and 658 playgrounds have the handprints of Robert Moses. He was like an imperious child determined to build his every whim, and New York City was his giant erector set. But the city's Master Builder met an unlikely match in Jane Jacobs, a self-educated journalist and housewife who fell in love with Greenwich Village. “Wrestling with Moses”, a new book by Anthony Flint, chronicles the rivalry that would forever change the field of urban planning. MORE...
A town committee unanimously recommended Monday that the Town Council approve a revised plan for improving Worth Avenue.

If approved by the council, construction would start May 1 on the design created by architect Mark Marsh in concert with landscape designer Jorge Sanchez and historian/attorney Harvey Oyer.

Key facets include returning coconut palms to the famed shopping street, creating a clock tower at the east end of the street, widening sidewalks by narrowing driving lanes from 11 ½ feet to 10 feet, adding a piazza to Hibiscus Avenue, creating a park west of Saks Fifth Avenue, and adding crosswalk nodes for pedestrian safety. MORE...
Would pink be a welcome alternative to the green-grey color now covering the walls of the Royal Poinciana Plaza and Playhouse?

Pink, a shade of beige or a brownish-purple paint called Volk's Special could adorn the Regency-style buildings in the weeks ahead.

A paint chip analysis indicated the buildings' color was originally pink, although photographs suggest the initial color may have been a form of beige, said Adam Munder, a partner with Sterling Palm Beach, manager of the 12-acre commercial/retail property.

Sterling is preparing to paint the buildings. Boston architect Ann Beha, designer of Sterling's redevelopment proposal for the plaza, will review the company's paint studies and make a presentation before the Landmarks Preservation Commission's Sept. 15 meeting. Beha will show what the buildings will look like with various potential colors, Munder said. MORE...
The campaigns to restore lost architectural gems signify a malaise in our culture. MORE...
Instantly recognizable with its squat red columns, ceremonial staircases, and "throne rooms," Knossos is the second most visited of all archaeological sites in Greece, attracting almost a million visitors each year. Yet none of those columns are ancient; they are all restorations, commissioned in the first half of the twentieth century by Sir Arthur Evans, the British excavator. MORE...
Reconsidering the influential design movement on its 90th anniversary. MORE...
Here are two books by two very different people, one a clear-headed British journalist and commentator, the other a veteran Finnish architect of lucidly philosophical disposition, that deserve to meet on the same civic stage. Both are concerned with much the same issue - the wilful transformation of our cities and architecture into hard and shiny playthings designed for maximum profit, that are, ultimately, as inane and as unhappy as the global workings of the pitiless neo-liberal political economy itself. MORE...
Can you tell a flying buttress from a vast iron member? Do you know the difference between an oeil de boeuf window and a fanlight? Do you think crocketing and tracery are something to do with needlework? And would you place a poodle at an Aedicule opening?

If your answers to all of the above questions are "yes", then you can only be Matthew Rice, author of this excellent and beautiful guide to British architecture. If you do not know all the answers, then this is essential reading, an entertaining capsule complement to Nikolaus Pevsner's inimitable guides to the buildings of England and, in its own right, a charming and eccentric lesson in things we need to know about the buildings we live among. MORE...
This July, the American Institute of Architects forecasted steep declines in nonresidential construction spending through 2010. Spending is projected to decrease by 16 percent this year and another 12 percent in 2010. With less money flowing through the industry, high-end design projects are likely to be scaled back; architects, builders and regular folk are opting for retrofits with more practical design. While the demand may be turning to minimal and frugal architecture, unusual design still holds a place for museums and other prominent locations, primarily because it is so effective at turning heads. Here are some of our favorite unusual designs for museums, offices, homes and libraries—and why they are so effective at drawing attention. MORE...
Playhouse ballot lawsuit can omit petition signers, judge rules. Palm Beach County Circuit Judge David Crow ruled Wednesday that the town is not obligated to add more defendants to its lawsuit challenging the wording of a proposed referendum designed to shield the Royal Poinciana Playhouse from demolition. But the judge has not ruled on the primary issue: Whether the referendum's wording is constitutional. The lawsuit names the Preserve Palm Beach political action committee and its founder and leader, Patrick Flynn, as defendants.

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The Guggenheim Museum has chosen to honor the 50th anniversary of its (you should pardon the word) iconic building by Frank Lloyd Wright with a monumental exhibition that pays tribute to the architect’s life work and fills the spiral ramp from top to bottom, or bottom to top, depending on how you choose to see it. Curiously, the only meaningful gesture the installation makes to its dramatic setting is the view of the gorgeous curtain Wright designed for the Hillside Theater at Taliesin in 1952, glowing colorfully across the spiral, and the presentation of the Guggenheim Museum itself as the climax of the show. The display neither challenges nor exploits the building’s unique spatial possibilities. It would fit just as well into any set of conventional galleries. MORE...
In November Yale University Press will publish “Unpacking My Library: Architects and Their Books,” a co-publication with Urban Center Books that features the personal libraries of Stan Allen, Henry N. Cobb, Liz Diller and Ric Scofidio, Peter Eisenman, Michael Graves, Steven Holl, Toshiko Mori, Michael Sorkin, Bernard Tschumi, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien. The book was first conceived as an exhibit, which is currently on view at the Municipal Art Society of New York until February 2010. The following essay is the story of how the author and her colleagues conceived of the project, found their architects, and then spent the rest of the time trying to track them down. MORE...
Fred Rush has written a lucid, engaging essay on architectural theory and practice. Among its many merits is that it is limited to being neither a pure work of aesthetic theory, nor one of architectural criticism, nor a manifesto for a future architecture, though there is much here that could be employed in the pursuit of any of these projects. Rush writes with a formidable knowledge of classical aesthetics, does not shy away from taking a critical stand on a number of modern and contemporary buildings, and argues persuasively for the value of a phenomenologically inspired architecture. Still, this book is more about engaging, in the spirit of the series Thinking in Action, a broad audience on important questions of architecture than presenting a theory or taking a particular critical stand. MORE...
It has been nearly eight years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but the fears and anxieties they gave rise to continue to take a toll on the design of public buildings. Even the words “United States,” it seems — when spelled out in the wrong size and color — can be an unacceptable security risk. MORE...
Americans love the myth of the small town, while the reality is a little harder to come by. Small town culture is actually in decline, which maybe explains the renewed nostalgia. We are an increasingly urban species. Timothy Clack states in Ancestral Roots that by 2020, 60 percent of the Earth's population will live in cities. We crowd together in our big city centers while the small towns face dwindling populations and increasingly destitute main streets. Kids who grow up in small towns, myself included, talk of "getting out" and "escaping." Those left burdened with running the family farm or trapped by poverty or bad luck are looked upon with pity. When couples decide they'd like a slower way of life these days, they don't move to the small towns — they move to a suburb, many of which try to recreate the small town ideal. Unsuccessfully. The lawns might look the same, but while small towns often painfully feel like they're sealed off from the outside world, suburbs exist in relation MORE...
Three young German architects are designing structures made completely out of living trees, including a pavilion for concerts in downtown Stuttgart. But designing the ultimate treehouse turns out to be trickier than one might expect. MORE...
Millais’ proposition is that a century of progress has led to inefficient, ugly, unpopular buildings that we have been duped into accepting by an elite conspiracy of incompetent, arrogant architects who believe they are artists.

Millais recounts tired tales of sub-standard housing, of iconic buildings with leaky roofs, of minimalist glazed offices that become greenhouses in summer and deep freezes in winter. And of course, he is right.

The history of modern architecture is certainly rich in failure. But what the author forgets is that architecture responds to a brief. The deep floor plates of corporate offices demanded more glazing than the small chambers of Victorian commercial buildings. Building technology and land value led buildings to grow taller and it became cheaper and easier to extrude them upwards in repetitive sections. MORE...
Daniel Libeskind builds on very big ideas. Here, he shares 17 words that underlie his vision for architecture -- raw, risky, emotional, radical -- and that offer inspiration for any bold creative pursuit. MORE...
This is a big year for golden anniversaries. Lincoln Center is marking its first half-century with a year-long celebration and an ambitious rebuilding program, and the Guggenheim Museum is honoring its 50th with a huge show that pays homage to its famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, who died in 1959, the same year the building was completed. Miles Davis recorded "Kind of Blue" that year, and in case you hadn't noticed that 50 years have passed, consider the fact that the Harvard Business School now uses that jazz classic as a case history of how innovation is generated and why such acts of genius have a competitive advantage. MORE...
The well-preserved ruins of the Roman Forum are nineteenth-century reconstructions, obscuring the Baroque past MORE...
There will be no Everglades in 100 years. The economic cost of that change to US GDP is marginal. There will be no Venice in 100 years. The economic cost of that change to US GDP is tiny. There will be no New Orleans in 100 years. The economic cost of that change to US GDP is extremely small. ... But the worth of many precious things cannot be measured in money. MORE...
Frank Bures on airports, Dubai and Marc Augé's "Non-Places: An Introduction to Supermodernity" MORE...
The life of a palace noted for its grandeur, expense, symbolic importance and unhygienic residents MORE...
The Guggenheim Museum, turning 50 this year, showcases the trailblazer's mission to elevate American society through architecture. MORE...
Celebrating fifty years of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim. MORE...
The sustainable city of the future will rest on the revival of traditional institutions that have faded in many of today’s cities. MORE...
Now that the age of irrational exuberance and outrageous excess is apparently over, can we please talk about real architecture again? It has been fun seeing just how far talent can stretch itself before achieving irrelevancy, but there are diminishing returns in watching more become less in an escalating game of real-estate toys for the superrich. It has been less fun to see how easily, and paradoxically, in a time of extreme affluence, the social contract that is an essential part of the art of architecture has been abrogated. Or at least driven under the radar by the kind of showy construction where creativity and cost are terminally confused. You do begin to wonder what happened to the art that could build with genuine grandeur and still serve and elevate ordinary lives. MORE...
How architects are dealing with the problems of housing the 600 million rural immigrants moving to Chinese cities MORE...
In the 1940s Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer defined the culture industry as a combination of cinema and radio. How has the Internet affected new definitions of a contemporary culture industry? The imaginary architecture in a 15th-century book may provide the answer MORE...
Many of Europe and America’s most controversial buildings currently await an uncertain fate, raising the issue of aesthetic success versus social function MORE...
How Palladian was Palladio? MORE...
The modesty, usefulness and scholarly calm that Palladio brought to the hinterlands of Venice MORE...
Daniel Burnham’s great Chicago Plan turns one hundred. MORE...
The crash of 2008 continues to reverberate loudly nationwide—destroying jobs, bankrupting businesses, and displacing homeowners. But already, it has damaged some places much more severely than others. On the other side of the crisis, America’s economic landscape will look very different than it does today. What fate will the coming years hold for New York, Charlotte, Detroit, Las Vegas? Will the suburbs be ineffably changed? Which cities and regions can come back strong? And which will never come back at all? MORE...
For a maverick movement begun by little old ladies in tennis shoes fighting bulldozers in the urban renewal demolition wars of the 1960s, historic preservation has achieved some astounding successes, from the passage of landmarks preservation laws and the establishment of the National Trust for Historic Preservation to the recognition, restoration and reuse of an impressive part of this country's architectural heritage. Guidelines have been established for a wide range of buildings, from the monumental to the vernacular -- repair first, restore second, rebuild last; make clear what is new or added, and honor the original materials and construction. MORE...
The new Alice Tully Hall bodes well for other Lincoln Center renovations MORE...
The Philip Johnson Tapes, edited transcripts of ten conversations conducted in 1985, provides portraits of both interviewer (Robert A. M. Stern) and interviewee (Johnson) as no less than besotted with architecture, the history thereof, and, not inappropriately, their respective roles in shaping its discourse. As someone who, beginning in the 1980s, spent many hours in conversation with both Stern and Johnson, I found that the voices captured in these transcripts sounded amazingly familiar. While the presence of a tape recorder can often result in a deadening sense of historical self-awareness, Stern and Johnson display an intense familiarity—and comfort—with the mechanics of history. As they both so clearly understood, one of history’s most important tools in its own creation is talk—not chatter or gossip, but serious talk. MORE...
It may seem low on anyone's list of priorities at this moment of political change and economic crisis, but now that Ed Stone's little seraglio has been converted into the new home of the Museum of Arts and Design and the reviews have set some kind of record for irresponsible over-the-top building-bashing, it is time to look at the facts and close the books on 2 Columbus Circle. MORE...
Few architects have generated as much interest as the master theorist, builder, urban designer, and visual artist born Charles-Edouard Jeanneret in the Swiss city of La Chaux-de-Fonds in 1887. Starting as early as 1910 and until his death in 1965, the man who would be known as Le Corbusier produced letters, pamphlets, books, schemes, plans, villas, cities, and even shacks (his beloved quasi-monastic cabanon at Roquebrune Cap-Martin on the French Riviera) that have revolutionized the way architects and designers conceive of themselves and their work. Traveling incessantly around the world, he devoured information about the cultures he encountered, the latest inventions and innovations, art both new and old, and, of course, architecture. Le Corbusier was a tireless advocate for novel ideas about buildings, urban environments, and our place in them; his groundbreaking constructions, with their strong lines, bold colors, and combinations of materials such as steel, glass, and reinforced co MORE...
"Yes, children are starving and puppies are dying, and you should probably support these causes", writes Allison Schrager. "But better to support a great museum than my local pub" ... MORE...
From Venetian palazzos to fantastical submersible lairs, the buildings in Bond films dazzle - what a shame they get blown to smithereens MORE...
A building that can’t break free of its predecessor. MORE...
Pugin, Ruskin, and the Gothic Revival MORE...
Oscar Niemeyer’s work continues to enchant and appall students of architecture and urban planning. MORE...
Beijing’s great new architecture is a mixed blessing for the city. MORE...
When did it start, this intimate liaison between developers and government, to reconstruct the body of London, to their mutual advantage? Dr Frankenstein with a Google Earth program and a remote-control laser scalpel. MORE...
Beijing’s Olympic architecture is spectacular, but what message does it send? MORE...
Antimodernist Léon Krier designs urban environments to human scale. MORE...
What can a designer bring to the world of architecture? MORE...
This fall, after eight years and almost half a billion dollars, world-famous architect Renzo Piano will complete the greenest museum ever built—the new California Academy of Sciences, in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park—housing its aquarium, planetarium, and natural-history museum under a two-and-a-half-acre “living roof.” Todd Eberle photographs Piano’s fusion of nature and structure, while Matt Tyrnauer learns about its genesis. MORE...
How a revolution in American domestic architecture put women in command MORE...
Can anyone design a nice airport? MORE...
The emancipatory power of the American hotel MORE...
In the late 1800s, Richard Norman Shaw was ranked alongside Wren as one of the England's greatest ever architects. Rosemary Hill on the man who helped create Old England in industrial Britain. MORE...
Board members back $2 million proposal for research library, office space. MORE...
The subprime crisis is just the tip of the iceberg. Fundamental changes in American life may turn today’s McMansions into tomorrow’s tenements. MORE...
Session yields ideas, from creating more vias to preserving the theater or building a new one MORE...
Caucus yields only one race in Feb. 5 election MORE...
Every two years the World Monuments Fund, the New York City-based conservation group, announces a list of the 100 “most endangered” architectural and cultural sites around the world. Chosen by an international panel of experts in archaeology, art history and preservation and based on hundreds of nominations, previous lists have included famous landmarks such as the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China and Pompeii as well as more obscure places such as the Larabanga Mosque in Ghana and the National Art School in Cuba. The goal is to rescue these buildings and over the past 10 years the WMF has granted more than $47m to 214 sites. As a result of the attention, an additional $124m has also been raised from other sources – mainly foundations, private donors and corporations. The Financial Times takes a look at some of the lesser-known former settlements and homes included on this year’s list. MORE...
Kitchen, tennis locker room to be updated; arch to be reinstalled. MORE...
What the Luftwaffe began, arrogant, philistine town planners finished off. Now a new study names the guilty men. MORE...
The Economist reviews the book Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits. MORE...
On the fusion of celebrity and architecture. MORE...
Preservation consultant says commission approaches changes to landmarks with 'organic' viewpoint. MORE...
Denis Coleman's idea may spark new dialogue on future of Royal Poinciana Playhouse MORE...
Flagler Museum's Kenan Pavilion wins American Institute of Architects chapter award. MORE...
Was Norah Lindsay a social gadfly or a garden designer of real merit? MORE...
Antoni Gaudí was a fervent Catholic whose fantastical buildings burst with colour, freedom and hedonism - is he the greatest urban architect of modern times? MORE...
A travel guide to the architecture of Frank LLoyd Wright. MORE...
The official magazine of the National Trust's November-December 2007 issue. MORE...
The Cynic's Calendar of Revised Wisdom for November 1904 by Oliver Herford, Ethel Watts Mumford and Addison Mizner MORE...
About the book Hotel: An American History by A.K. Sandoval-Strausz which includes information of Palm Beach and Henry Flagler. MORE...
Award-winning video illustrating how urban design and planning can re-develop towns. MORE...
The famed architecture critic has died at the age of 59. MORE...
Covers the latest developments in the fields of new urbanism and smart growth MORE...
States and cities are selling their roads, bridges, and airports for eye-popping sums. MORE...
Alan Hollinghurst takes a whistlestop tour of the manic life and prodigious work rate of an architectural genius through Rosemary Hill's God's Architect: Pugin and the Building of Romantic Britain MORE...
Wallpaper* magazine's 2007 Architects Directory MORE...