March 04, 2010

Architecture News and Notes

A few architecture tidbits for you on this sunny day in Dallas.  One on the ultimate in adaptive reuse.  Reports/reviews from around the world on the new American Embassy in London. And an artistic offering from Herzog and de Meuron.

First up, the most creative re-purposing of a structure we’ve heard about in a long time.  The Punta Carretas Shopping Center in Montevido, Uruguay is the town’s most upscale mall.  But before its role in commerce, it was a notorious prison, known for a 1971 prison break of 106 urban guerillas.  This story points out that the mall “is doing a much better job of keeping shoppers in than it had with prisoners.”  Perhaps the state prison on the Trinity can undergo a similar transformation?  We’re just saying…

 One of the biggest international architecture stories of the last couple of weeks has been the reaction to the designs by Philadelphia-based architecture firm Kieran Timberlake which have been selected for the new U.S. Embassy in London.  This Washington Post article describes the design competition (only the fourth time the State Department has had such a selection process) and its goals to end up with “a modern, open and secure” building. Christopher Hawthorne of the Los Angeles Times takes a more critical lookAnd The New York Times’ Nicolai Ouroussof just doesn’t like it. Neither do the locals and their architects, going so far as to say that their view of the Thames is being ruined “by this boring glass cube.”

And architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron are facing a different kind of critic for their sets for the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Atilla.  Sounds like Santiago Calatrava has some competition in the set design arena, no?

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