Archive for July, 2012

Weekend Links

July 22, 2012

* Douglas Fir sawlog price declines 2% in 2012 to $587 per million board-feet

Urban Land Institute top-ten monthly trends


Architect Philip Johnson

July 13, 2012

Sunday past was Architect Philip Johnson’s 106th birthday anniversary. This model shows the lobby at 885 Third Avenue, where my classmate Debbie Shapiro and I designed the core, lobby and plaza with Mr. Johnson. Gerald Hines was the developer, his first project in New York City.

The massing of the tower is derived from the zoning diagram; the stepping of the floor plates is tangential to the rear elevator core. We initially had the core centered in the building and then moved it back to free-up the floor plates. The tower floor plates are ellipses and the ground floor storefront is not, as it steps in from the ellipse above at a fixed dimension.

Not all the ground floor columns are structural, as some were added for the rhythm of the facade. This was not Mr. Johnson’s first job for Mr. Hines, who trusted Johnson’s judgement, particularly when it came to investing for the architecture.

The genius on this project was structural engineer Ahmad Rahimian, his first job as a lead designer for Irwin Cantor. I may scan and post some of the structural drawings to illustrate the point.

I don’t know where the term “Lipstick Building” came from, but in any case it was later, after the tower was built. Mr. Johnson had a terrific sense of humor, but wasn’t amused by it, as well he should not have been; this is one of his best towers.

Entry Study

July 9, 2012

New Home Sales Jan. 2000 to May 2012

July 5, 2012

The chart above shows the thirteen-year trend in new home sales through the end of April 2012. Last week the census bureau and HUD released new home sales with figures that surprised economists to the up-side. Here is the government press release:

“Sales of new single-family houses in May 2012 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 369,000, according to
estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
This is 7.6 percent (±12.2%)* above the revised April rate of 343,000 and is 19.8 percent (±15.2%) above the May 2011
estimate of 308,000.

“The median sales price of new houses sold in May 2012 was $234,500; the average sales price was $273,900. The
seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of May was 145,000. This represents a supply of 4.7
months at the current sales rate.”

Independence Day

July 3, 2012

There to some group of mates the chants resuming,
     (Tallying Earth's soil, trees, winds, tumultuous waves,)
     Ever with pleas'd smile I may keep on,.... WALT WHITMAN