Chelsea Hotel Resumes Renovation, and Other News

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Chelsea Hotel, New York

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Chelsea Hotel’s long-planned renovation has resumed after a lengthy legal battle. 

Patti Smith fans, rejoice: a long-planned renovation of the Chelsea Hotel will move forward after a lengthy fight against the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development. According to The Real Deal, the housing agency reached its verdict because of a 1997 document recently found in city archives in which the hotel’s previous owner obtained an exemption to the standard requirement for a “certificate of no harassment,” based on the building’s status as a luxury hotel. Designated a New York landmark since 1966, the illustrious hotel has played host to countless rock legends, auteurs, and cinematic luminaries, and was sold to real estate developer Joseph Chetrit for $80 million in 2011. 

The prolific architecture critic Blair Kamin leaves The Chicago Tribune after 33 years. 

After more than three decades of cold, hard, genuine reporting at The Chicago Tribune, Blair Kamin announced his departure from the publication after 33 years, 28 of which as the sole architecture critic. In his role, Kamin witnessed enormous changes in the city landscape, cajoling, cheering, and chastising the projects that shape the cityscape and, by extension, our lives. As he wrote on Twitter, “from the horrors of 9/11 to the joy of Millennium Park, and from Frank Gehry to Jeanne Gang, I have never lacked for gripping subject matter.”

iCar? Apple and Hyundai are reportedly teaming up on autonomous electric vehicles.

It’s been rumored for years that Apple has been wanting to get into the car business, and now it seems like it might finally happen. According to reports, the tech company is in the final stages of negotiating a partnership with Korean carmaker Hyundai to start production on an autonomous electric vehicle by 2024, with a beta version coming as early as 2022. Details are still scarce, but there has been speculation that production will take place at the Kia factory in Georgia and that Apple will introduce its breakthrough battery technology as one of the key features. One industrial designer has even hypothesized about what it might look like.

SPECTER by Sterling Ruby at Desert X 2019

Desert X postpones its opening until lockdown restrictions are lifted in California.

As nearly 10 percent of California’s population has been infected with Covid-19, Desert X organizers have postponed the upcoming edition of the Coachella Valley outdoor sculpture exhibition until the state lifts lockdown restrictions. The exhibition’s third edition was scheduled to open on February 6 and offer both physical and digital experiences throughout the valley. “In light of the urgent health crisis and surge in cases of Covid-19, the only responsible way forward to protect our community, health care system, artists, visitors, and all those who volunteer and contribute to the exhibition is to wait until we are out of the lockdown period,” says Desert X founder Susan Davis, who will announce a new opening date “as soon as we believe we can safely do so.”

An exhibition by Forensic Architecture at Miami Dade College’s museum sparks controversy.

Details are emerging in the year-long controversy surrounding Forensic Architecture’s exhibition at Miami Dade College’s art museum that doubled as an investigation into the treatment of migrant children at the nearby Homestead Emergency Care Shelter. The London-based firm and research group has a history of exploring potential human rights violations using 3D renderings of buildings and streetscapes, including the fatal shooting of a Palestinian teenager by an Israeli border guard, evidence of the Russian military presence in eastern Ukraine, and U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan. Although the show’s run was cut short due to the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the events surrounding “Forensic Architecture: True to Scale” have remained in question, with school and museum officials claiming they were never informed by curator Sophie Landres that they were signing on to sponsor an investigation. Now, according to recently obtained documents by The New York Times, it appears the officials had been told of the plans numerous times. 

The Smithsonian drastically downsizes a $2 billion expansion designed by Bjarke Ingels.

When the Smithsonian unveiled an ambitious expansion plan for the 17 acres surrounding The Castle, its beloved administration building, officials predicted it would be a game-changer. Now, six years after the plan was introduced, the institution has abandoned the more eye-catching components of the $2 billion proposal by Bjarke Ingels. Instead of a “Blade Runner”–esque plaza and new Mall-facing entrances to the National Museum of African Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery that were expected to take upwards of 30 years to complete, the revised project calls for interior and exterior restoration of The Castle and a new underground utility plant that serves the Freer and the Quadrangle Building. The project is estimated to take four years to complete.

U.S. Capitol concept by Opposite Office

Today’s attractive distractions:

Designers reimagine the U.S. Capitol as a dystopian brutalist fortress.

Valspar’s new sensory experience lets you listen to your favorite color.

Keith Haring’s beloved cartoonish figures now adorn Dr. Martens boots.

A shuttered muscle car museum has put its entire inventory up for sale. 


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