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News Highlights of the Week: June 21 – June 27, 2008

June 27, 2008

By Jenna M. McKnight

Correction appended June 30, 2008

“Architects are the most educated and have the highest incomes of all artists.” That’s what Chicago Tribune reporter Charles Storch discovered in a new report from the National Endowment for the Arts. The report also says that the architectural industry boasts the highest median income ($58,000) of any professional field. Other findings: 26 percent of architects are under the age of 35; 33 percent are self-employed; and 22 percent are females. Read more on The Skyline blog.

Santiago Calatrava-designed suspension bridge

Image courtesy Ikan Maas Media

On Wednesday, Jerusalem dedicated a Santiago Calatrava-designed suspension bridge that has drawn criticism from residents.

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Norman Foster has taken his talent to the high seas. The enterprising British architect has designed a yacht for the London-based company YachtPlus, which plans to sell five-week timeshares for the 135-foot-long luxury boat, The Architects’ Journal reported this week after attending an unveiling ceremony. The company plans to build 10 of the boats by 2011. Foster has overseen “every aspect of the design, right down to the crew uniforms and the glasses and cutlery.” Of course, part-ownership in a Foster-designed sailing vessel doesn’t come cheap: the timeshares are selling for 1.8 million euros a piece. View images on the YachtPlus Web site.

The city of Jerusalem officially dedicated a Santiago Calatrava-designed suspension bridge on Wednesday during a festive ceremony that featured fireworks and dancers. But not everyone there sees reason to celebrate. "This is out of proportion, grandiose and has gone too far," a 30-year-old resident told the Chicago Tribune, while looking out his apartment window toward the harp-shaped, steel structure. "We're not in New York." The $69.8 million light-rail bridge features 66 cables and a 387-foot mast. According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the former mayor (and now prime minister) Ehud Olmert once dubbed the bridge the “symbol of modern Jerusalem.” But as RECORD reported in May, critics have objected to the planning process and the high cost of a suspension bridge. They also fear it will adversely impact surrounding neighborhoods. 

On Tuesday, the New York City Landmark Preservation Commission voted 7-1 to support Beyer Blinder Bell’s adaptive-reuse design for a historic sugar refinery in Brooklyn. The next step is a public-review process. “I’m staggered at how fabulously this has turned out, being one of the cranky ones,” The Architect’s Newspaper quoted commissioner Roberta Brandes Gratz as saying. The firm’s initial plans for the century-old masonry structure were met with considerable resistance earlier this year, as RECORD reported in May. The new design is smaller in scale and incorporates the building’s iconic neon “Domino Sugar” sign. During Tuesday’s meeting, the commission also discussed whether to grant landmark status to concrete residential towers in Greenwich Village designed by I.M. Pei. The Silver Towers/University Village complex was built in the mid-1960s as part of Robert Moses’s urban renewal program. According to The New York Times, “Some fans of Jane Jacobs’s urban spaces find the buildings hideous. Others see the towers as important examples of postwar Modernism.”

Correction: Ehud Olmert is the former, not current, mayor of Jerusalem.

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