Another museum that’s a work of art – The Boston Globe

All over the country – all over the world, in fact – cities are building new art museums, or enlarging the ones they have.
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A surge of new buildings like this, all of a single kind, doesn’t occur very often. What our blizzard of museums reminds you of is the Middle Ages in Western Europe, when every city and town seemed to be erecting a cathedral.

And indeed, it can be argued that the art museum, too, is a place where we gather with our neighbors to engage in something rather like worship. As the philosopher Nietzsche famously said, God is dead, and all we have left is art.

Museums now are like movies or celebrities. There’s a hot new performer every year. The current media darling is the Bloch Building, a new wing of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, which is the major art museum in Kansas City. The architect is Steven Holl, of New York, best known in Boston for his amazing, sometimes controversial Simmons Hall dormitory at MIT. The Bloch is amazing too, but it isn’t controversial. It’s been just about everybody’s pick as the best American building of 2007.

Another museum that’s a work of art – The Boston Globe.

Orlando approves $27.1M for performing-arts-center architects

Orlando approved a contract Monday with the Dallas company that will lead the team of architects designing the new downtown performing arts center.

The contract between HKS Architects Inc. and the Dr. P. Phillips Performing Arts Center is worth $27.1 million. The arts center will pay HKS a base fee of $4.5 million to serve as the production architect, with $4.3 million going to the company’s local partner, Baker Barrios Architects. Most of the rest will go to subcontractors.

HKS will work with the design architect already selected for the center, Barton Myers Associates of Los Angeles.

Orlando approves $27.1M for performing-arts-center architects — OrlandoSentinel.com.

China’s cities: faster, bigger, better?

Today Pudong has joined Manhattan and the City of London as one of the world’s foremost business hubs.

Countless other Chinese cities are determined to follow in Shanghai’s steps. Cities have been the engines of China’s economic growth, contributing 70% of its annual gross domestic product. But they are also the stage on which China’s most intense social and environmental struggles are being played out.

The rapid expansion of cities and swelling of urban populations has been the most spectacular feature of China’s rapid economic development over the past two decades. China has become one large construction site: the stock of urban buildings has doubled in a mere five years, reaching almost 15 billion square metres in 2004. In 2005, Shanghai constructed more building space than exists in all the office buildings of New York City. Construction projects in China account for 30% of the global total.

China has become a global laboratory of urban change and an incubator of technological, design and policy innovations. Paradoxically, therefore, China’s urban mayhem has made it the epicentre of global debate on sustainable urbanisation.

Read more at Bangkok Post : Business news. LEO HORN-PHATHANOTHAI

N.Y. leads USA in green construction

Two days ago, the Verdesian, a 26-story rental building developed by the Albanese Organization, became the first multi-family, residential high-rise building in the United States to receive Platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) status from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Five years ago, the Solaire, built by the same Long Island-based family, became the first-ever green residential high-rise building in the U.S. Currently under construction, the Visionaire will soon be the greenest high-rise residential condominium in the country.

You have to see these buildings, all in Battery Park City, to understand what it means to build green. While tours of the Solaire are given on request, here’s the next best thing — a visual and textual look inside the three greenest residential towers in the U.S.

N.Y. leads country in green construction – Daily News – Jason Sheftell

Our endangered coast – Australia

COASTAL development, rising sea levels, increasing storm surges and a vocal community are a potent political mix. The climate change debate has rightly focused on the critical need to reduce carbon emissions but inadequate attention is being given to what we need to do in terms of adaptation to climate change on the coast.

Our coastal communities face an impending crisis. Continuing development in areas likely to be inundated is foolhardy at best. For a nation skilled at emergency management when it comes to floods and fire, we are remarkably unprepared for when the inevitable storm surge hits a populated coastal area.

Read more ‘Our endangered coast’ – Opinion – theage.com.au – Barbara Norman

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