Friday, April 30, 2010

Can Architecture Spam be Useful?

So I got an interesting piece of spam the other day.  It's from one of those online diploma places.  Of course, it was tailored to catch my eye, and it did, with the headline "100 Awesome Twitter Feeds for Architecture Students."

Could it actually be worth something?  The answer turns out to be yes.  The list is pretty solid, listing feeds from such places as the Chicago Architecture Foundation, the AIA, and McGraw-Hill's Construction magazine.

Here's the link to the list:

I'm in no way endorsing the online degree web site that's hosting the list, and the link above has been "nofollowed" to eliminate the effectiveness of the spam.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Landmark Chicago Skyscraper Redevelopment Complete

Got a press release today stating that the major renovations at 330 North Wabash are now complete.  You may remember 330 as the Chicago's old IBM Building or One IBM Plaza, Mies Van Der Rohe's massive black slab along the Chicago river that used to loom so menacingly over the Sun-Times building before it was neutered by Donald Trump.

There have been complaints on the internet from people who think the treatment of the lobby has been rather ruthless, but for the 99% of Chicagoand who only see this building from afar, no damage has been done.

The building is interesting to watch at night because the top dozen floors form a black hole in the city's skyline while office lights tinkle and burn in other buildings around them.  It's because that section of the building is being redeveloped as a luxury hotel.  There is no opening date for that hotel yet.  At a public event about six months ago, the developer said he was in no hurry to complete the project, especially considering the state of the economy.

The full press release about the redevelopment of 330 North Wabash follows:

Firm Offers Architecture Tours of Japan

If you're looking for a better way to spend your summer vacation than going up to the cabin/lake/grandparents' yet again, and you have $13 grand burning a hole in your pocket, CScout Japan might have what you're looking for.

The company sent over a press release today about its architecture tours of the Land of the Rising Sun.

Speaking from first-hand experience, Japan is an architecture fan's wildest dream, and worst nightmare come to life.  There are so many fantastic and fascinating designs and buildings.  But a lot of them are hard to find, or exist in the most unlikely (to Western eyes) places.  Most of my greatest discoveries in Japan have come when I've been lost and wandering down alleys.

If you want to be more productive than that, CScout offers guided tours that are a cut above the usual tour bus fare -- they go to actual architects' places of work and you get a chance to talk with the creative professionals.

I can't vouch for the quality of the tour because I haven't been on one.  But the flyer makes it seem like a great experience.

You can read the entire press release below, and don't forget to visit our Japanese architecture web page, Tokyo Architecture Info.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Energy Hog Buildings Compete to Become The Biggest Losers

Even if you don't watch a lot of television, you're probably at least familiar with the game show "The Biggest Loser."  Now the U.S. government is holding its own version of the competition.

The EPA is pitting a select group of buildings from around the country against each other to see which ones can save the most energy.

The contestants are:

  • 1525 Wilson Boulevard in Arlington, Virginia
  • 522 Fifth Avenue in New York
  • The Courtyard by Marriott Downtown in San Diego
  • Crystal River Elementary School in Carbondale, Colorado
  • The JCPenney store in Orange, California
  • Maplewood Mall in Saint Paul
  • The Memorial Arts Building in Atlanta
  • The Morrison dorm at UNC in Chapel Hill
  • The Sears store in Glen Burnie, Maryland
  • The Sheraton hotel in Austin
  • Solon Family Health Center in Cleveland
  • The Tucker dorm at NC State in Raleigh
  • Van Holten Primary School in Bridgewater, New Jersey
  • The Virginia Beach Convention Center

The winner gets... bragging rights mostly. Also, they've saved a bunch of energy which is nice.

If all this has you curious,
Here's the web site for the EPA's National Building Competition.
Here's a Twitter link so you can follow the contest.

A press release from Hines about the participation of its 522 Fifth Avenue follows:

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Chicago Skyline Sunrise

The sun peeks out over Lake Michigan and illuminates the skyscraper forest of Chicago on an early morning.  From this vantage point, several buildings clearly stand head and shoulders above the rest:
Why no 100-story John Hancock Center in the photograph?  Because it was taken from the John Hancock Center.