FLW water dome

Today the long awaited FLW "water dome" at Florida Southern will come to life. The water dome has never been realized due to technology and funding, but finally after thirty years as a pond and sidewalk the water dome will be operational. See story in Orlando Sentinel.


It's not easy being Green

Many probably already know about (or attended) the Creative Tampa Bay-sponsored luncheon with Joe Cortright, a Portland-based economist. Cortright spoke about the success and properity Portland has experienced by their focus on being a more sustainable, environmental city. Cortright emphasized to the audience how Tampa's economy could be bolstered by a focus on 'green.'

Forgoing the more fobvious discussion of 'would Tampa leadership really undertake this task', I would ask how you feel about the validity of the mission in general, and how do you think our community of young designers could help bring this culture about in specifics. Being sustainable and bringing environmental awareness has become a much hipper, and less taboo, mindset in the last two years, but how do we affect real change?

As an example of specific actions to help focus on change, look into Lights Out Boston. This is an event planned for next spring, similar to the one in San Francisco last weekend, which will bring people together to turn off unnecessary lighting in the city for one hour.


Tampa Center for the Built Environment?

A lot of you may not know that our local AIA chapter has been exploring the possibilities of leading a team to convert the old federal courthouse in downtown Tampa into a "center for the built environment". This idea has been in the works for months but is now starting to get some real traction as AIATB will sign a letter of intent with the city. AIATB now has 6 months to perform due diligence to determine if the concept is feasible. The adaptive reuse concept for the 102-year-old courthouse building includes office space for AIATB and other organizations, an urban-planning research center, galleries, retail and restaurants.

You can read more about this at the St. Petersburg Times and at the Tampa Tribune.

What do you think of the concept? What things would you like to see go into the building?

I think that this may be a great use for a building that has seen many proposals come and go. It is certainly an opportunity for AIATB to step up and show some leadership in the community. I would like to see the program include a shared studio space for young architecture firms where people could rent desks and have access to shared facilities like conference rooms, voicemail, plotters, etc. Something along the lines of what LTL Architects had in NYC. In its heyday, the collaborative studio with a storefront presence at 147 Essex Street housed the emerging firms LTL, L.E.FT, nArchitects, Architecture Agency, Miloby Ideasystem, and Briggs Knowles Architecture + Design. Essentially, 147 Essex acted as a business incubator for young architecture firms.


Stepping outside of the box

Sarasota Herald-Tribune ran a great story in the real estate section about style (or lack of style) in architecture and the influences of computer modeling on design. Great article which quotes USF assistant professors Michael Halfants and Jim Baek. Read the article here.

Hyde Park Publix

No it won't be like the famous Miami Beach Publix, but I found a site with elevations of the new Publix in Hyde Park on Armenia between Platt Street and Azeele. The first "urban" Publix in Tampa. Due to the small lot, parking is on the roof. Through many hearings with the city and neighbors it seems that the Publix is finally breaking ground. You won't find any incredible architecture in SOHO, another box clad to look like it always belonged there. You know, matching the incredible and unique architecture of that area. Find the images here and here.

green, green, green.

Below are a list of active "green" blogs. Check them out, there is plenty of useful information to sort through during the day.

Cleantech Blog - Commentary on technologies, news, and issues relating to next generation energy and the environment.
The Conscious Earth - Earth-centered news for the health of air, water, habitat and the fight against global warming.
Earth Meanders - Earth essays placing environmental sustainability within the context of other contemporary issues.
Environmental Action Blog - Current environmental issues and green energy news.
The Future is Green - Thoughts on the coming of a society that is in balance with nature.
The Green Skeptic - Devoted to challenging assumptions about how we live on the earth and protect our environment.
Haute*Nature - Ecologically based creative ideas, art & green products for your children, home and lifestyle, blending style with sustainability.
The Lazy Environmentalist - Sustainable living made easy.
Lights Out America - A grassroots community group organizing nationwide energy savings events.
The Nature Writers of Texas - The best nature writing from the newspaper, magazine, blog and book authors of the Lone Star State.
Sustainablog - News, information and personal meanderings related to environmental and economic sustainability, green and sustainable business, and environmental politics.
These Come From Trees - An experiment in environmentalism, viral marketing, and user interface design with the goal of reducing consumer waste paper.


Libeskind on CNN

With the opening of the Denver Art Museum, his struggles at the WTC, his multiple condo projects, Daniel Libeskind is quickly becoming America's favorite architect. He is the focus of this month's "Revealed" by CNN. go here for everything Libeskind.


FLW at Florida Southern

NPR's All Things Considered ran a story on Frank Lloyd Wright, focusing on Florida Southern and the restoration currently being preformed by architect Jeff Baker.

Go the link here, and be sure to check out the image gallery.


PLY named as one of the 101 world's most exciting new architects

PLY Architecture, the keynote speakers at this year's upcoming AIAFLA Emerging Professionals Conference in Sarasota, have made Wallpaper* Magazine's list of "101 of the World's most exciting new architects." PLY is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan where both partners teach at the University of Michigan. They consider themselves a "research practice" that rejects the "routines of professional practice" in favor of "continuous reinvention." They are one of 5 young American firms to make the list.

See the entire list here.

See more about the conference here. There is still time to register.


kiley park revisited

Found this little tid bit on the "restoration" Kiley Park. Not sure what the restoration will mean, but seems like something might be done to renovate the park. Story from WMNF

Kiley has been a constant battle and in some degree the beginning of e-tba. Earlier this year urban charrette held one of their first meetings at Kiley.

go here for some of the history of the effort to Save Kiley Park.


The Future of Ground Zero

This is the future view from Midtown Manhattan towards the World Trade Center site. The Architects Newspaper has a story on the three recently released designs for WTC 2,3, and 4. The developer, Silverstein Properties, now prefers the names 200, 175, and 150 Greenwich Street, projects designed, respectively, by Foster & Partners, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, and Maki and Associates. AN has renderings of all three projects.

200 Greenwich Street by Foster & Partners

175 Greenwich Street by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (aka Richard Rogers)

150 Greenwich Street by Maki and Associates

What do you think? I'm a little disappointed. But at least things seem to finally be moving forward.

Lebbeus Woods Interview

Given that it is AIATB Annual Gala time, I thought that I'd post a link to an interview of Lebbeus Woods who was the keynote speaker a few years ago. Check it out over on BLDGBLOG.

Also, Lebbeus has a new website that is worth checking out.

Don't miss Monica Ponce de Leon

If you haven't made your reservations yet, be sure to call Paulette at AIA Tampa Bay to get your tickets for this year's Annual Gala. The keynote speaker is Monica Ponce de Leon of the Boston based firm Office dA. It should be a great evening. I hope to see you there.


urban design excellence awards

Downtown Tampa is seeing some of its most dynamic changes in several years come to reality. Many individuals have worked long and hard hours to bring to the urban core some outstanding improvements and projects.
Because of this, the Partnership, through generous sponsorship of Carlton Fields, is launching the First Annual Urban Excellence Awards. The event will be held November 27th. Now is your opportunity to submit the names and projects of those whom you believe have done an outstanding job. To do so, click here for the Urban Excellence Nomination Form.


Will Downtown Dreams Come True?

Will Downtown Dreams really come true for downtown Tampa with the start of 4 high profile projects: The Children's Museum (Gould Evans), The History Center (Verner Johnson and Associates), Tampa Museum of Art (Saitowitz) and the Curtis Hixon Park Redesign (Thomas Balsley)? All projects are scheduled for completion in late 2008 / 2009.

Do these projects deserve the hype that they are starting to receive? What are your thoughts about the future of dowtown Tampa? Are these truly great projects breathing new life into the dowtown core? Or are they missed opportunities for a city that has struggled for the past decade to be something more than a 9-5pm workplace destination?