A Dead Mall Success Story in England, and Other News

Our daily look at the world through the lens of design.

The Mailbox in Birmingham. Photography by Jim Stephenson, courtesy of Studio Sutton

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A Dead Mall Success Story in England

The fate of dead malls has been a topic of discussion for a while now. Few institutions of everyday life have experienced such a dramatic fall from grace, from a titan of consumerism to skeletons of their former selves that now sit practically deserted. Developers have been forced to think outside the “big box” to repurpose what are essentially warehouses surrounded by acres of pavement: healthcare facilities, marijuana farms, university offices, and, of course, Amazon fulfillment centers. The latest idea comes from Studio Sutton, an English firm that transformed The Mailbox, a 130-foot-long shopping arcade on the ground floor of a former Royal Mail sorting office in Birmingham into a thriving co-working hub for Spaces

The scheme draws inspiration from the organizing principles of a shopping mall, preserving much of the building’s original configuration. Where there was once the central arcade now features a cafe and communal desks. Former storefronts now house individual meeting rooms; anchor stores contain rentable office space complete with colorful privacy curtains. “We like to work along with the existing building,” says Nathan Breeze, a director at Studio Sutton. “It’s about going there and really understanding the character and letting the building give us clues in terms of how to work with it.” With a layered scheme that seamlessly blends public and private spaces, it serves as a clever blueprint for repurposing dying malls. —Ryan Waddoups

The Steelyard. Image courtesy of Sterling Bay

The next phase of Chicago’s Lincoln Yards development will break ground this year.

Sterling Bay has unveiled an updated timeline for The Steelyard at Lincoln Yards. The first phase involves a 280,000-square-foot life sciences office building and a newly completed riverwalk. The second phase, which comprises two towers, will bring a 15-story office building with retail space and an office lobby, and a 19-story mixed-use building with 350 residential units, commercial and retail space. Additionally, Parcel B.1 will feature a newly constructed park, riverwalk, seawall, and small buildings with seating, and canoe and kayak rentals.

A former OpenSea product manager has been convicted in an insider trading case. 

Former OpenSea product manager Nathaniel Chastain was convicted of money laundering and wire fraud on May 3 in a landmark NFT insider trading case. Chastain was accused of buying NFTs he knew would feature on OpenSea’s homepage, waiting for their value to increase and then selling them at two to five times his original purchase price, making $57,000 between June and September 2021. This case, which involved anonymous OpenSea accounts, may set a precedent for the largely unregulated crypto sector.

New York becomes the first U.S state to ban natural gas stoves in new buildings.

New York has become the first state in the United States to prohibit natural gas and other fossil fuels in most new buildings. Governor Kathy Hochul and the state’s Democratic lawmakers passed the new law as part of the $229 billion state budget. The ban applies to gas-powered stoves, furnaces, and propane heating and encourages using climate-friendly appliances like induction stoves and heat pumps in new residential buildings. While the state’s budget doesn’t ban gas in all new buildings, the impact on new residential buildings could be significant, as buildings account for 32 percent of New York’s planet-warming emissions.

Block, House, Commons, a conceptual project by Studio Sean Canty. Image courtesy of Studio Sean Canty

The Architectural League Prize for Young Architects winners grapple with discomfort.

The Architectural League of New York announced the winners of the Architectural League Prize for Young Architects + Designers. This year’s theme was “Uncomfortable,” asking emerging firms to wrestle with their position in the industry and their uncomfortable responsibilities in the realm of ecological concerns and dismantling architectural legacies. This year’s winners include Katie MacDonald and Kyle Schumann of After Architecture; Miles Gertler of Common Accounts; Joseph Altshuler and Zack Morrison of Could Be Design; Sarah Aziz and Lindsey Krug; Daisy Ames of Studio Ames; and Sean Canty of Studio Sean Canty

Bill Brady, a beloved art dealer known for nurturing emerging talents, dies at 55.

Bill Brady, a renowned art dealer with galleries in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami, has died at 55. Known for championing emerging artists and nurturing their talent, Brady was a respected art-world figure who helped many artists launch their careers, including Tomoo Gokita and Huma Bhabha. “The art world can be a special place and community and Bill was an important part of creating that,” Michael Kagan, an artist who showed at Bill Brady Gallery, wrote on Instagram. “He loved art, artists, and learning their process. His energy was contagious. His eye for talent and his reputation for discovering young painters and helping them launch their careers is legendary.”

The Farrell Centre opens in Newcastle with an exhibition of green building materials.

The Farrell Centre, a new architecture center in Newcastle, England, has opened with an exhibition showcasing futuristic building materials. The project was founded by architect Terry Farrell, who donated his archives and provided £1 million towards the center. “More with Less: Reimagining Architecture for a Changing World” explores how buildings can adapt to the climate crisis and features installations made from mycelium, wool insulation, and fake fur. The urban rooms aim to provide workshops and events where locals can learn about the past and future of Newcastle and voice their opinions on development plans.

Hot Chat 3000. Image courtesy of MSCHF

Today’s attractive distractions:

Nendo designs a beer can with two pull tabs to create “ideal foam.”

Even the ancient Romans dropped their ring stones down the drain.

MSCHF’s new chat site lets AI evaluate whether you’re hot or not.

Brandon Blackwood and Starbucks drop a “sip and sling” bottle bag.

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