Jordan Gruzen of Gruzen Samton Architects died on Tuesday at the age of 80. His firm traces its heritage back to 1936 and the firm of Kelly & Gruzen, founded by his father Sumner Gruzen with Colonel Hugh A. Kelly. Gruzen and his MIT classmate Peter Samton joined forces in 1967 and formed their still very active firm, Gruzen Samton (now associated with IBI Architects). They have had a significant impact on the city of New York where the firm focuses on university buildings, high density housing, and other institutional and educational projects. A full obituary of Gruzen will appear in the next issue of AN.
In recent years, architects and fabricators in the field of facade design and construction have formed new collaborative relationships through the design assist model of contracting. Under design assist, the fabricator contributes their know-how throughout the design process, not just during building. A couple of factors have encouraged the shift to design assist. On the one hand, “the recent increase of building skin complexity has been a driver of this new way of working,” explained Enclos’ Luke Smith. “But I think budget and schedule demands have also played an important role.”
Next week, Smith will moderate a panel on design assist contracting, “Delivering Complexity,” at Facades+ LA. With panelists Bill Kreysler (Kreysler), Paul Martin (Zahner), and Kerenza Harris (Morphosis), Smith will explore several case studies of architect-fabricator collaborations, and will examine the benefits and challenges of these new alliances. (Smith is also leading a dialog workshop, “Material Explorations: The Resurgence of Wood,” on the second day of the workshop.)
As you’ve probably heard by now, Boston blew past the likes of Los Angeles and San Francisco to be selected as the United States’ bid city for the 2024 Summer Olympics. With the announcement official, Boston 2024, the private nonprofit spearheading the bid, has publicly released the presentation it gave to the Olympic Committee back in December.
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Architects update pre-Columbian building method with modern tools and materials.
Matter Design‘s latest installation, Round Room (on display at MIT‘s Keller Gallery last fall) was born of a “marriage” between two of the firm’s ongoing interests, explained co-founder Brandon Clifford. First, Clifford and partner Wes McGee had long hoped to work with Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (AAC). Clifford, moreover, had been impressed during a trip to Cuzco by the Incan wedge method of masonry construction, in which precisely-carved stones are aligned on their front face, then backfilled with mortar. “This seemed like a tremendously rational way of building,” he said. “Ever since then we had been wanting to do a project that translates that process into digital design.” With Round Room, designed and fabricated in cooperation with Quarra Stone, Matter Design did just that. Though inspired by pre-Columbian building practices, the installation firmly situates the wedge method in the digital age.
Kengo Kuma’s Victoria & Albert Museum of Design in Dundee, Scotland, hasn’t even broken ground yet, but it has already racked up a pretty substantial bill. In fact, the museum project is expected to cost roughly $80 million, a whopping $35 million more than initially projected. Kuma won the commission back in 2012 and has supposedly already tweaked the design to cut down costs.
When Miguel Arroyo arrived in New York City in 1939 as the assistant of the Venezuelan painter Luis Alfredo López Méndez, he met the architect of the Venezuelan Pavilion at New York’s World’s Fair: a young Gordon Bunshaft at SOM. The two formed a lifelong friendship.
Alas, despite being hailed as the favorite to represent the United States in the race for the 2024 Olympics, Los Angeles has lost out to its much older competitor, Boston. LA had pitched what Mayor Eric Garcetti hailed as the “most affordable” proposal, using mostly existing facilities, including the LA Memorial Coliseum, the Staples Center, and even Frank Gehry‘s Disney Hall, Griffith Observatory, and the Queen Mary.
Maybe the USOC isn’t as into a bargain as we thought? Or maybe after giving LA two games they’re just not that into us anymore. San Francisco, by the way, lost out on its bid, which also banked on affordability. Damn, the Olympic Village could have been the only cheap place to live there outside of Oakland!
According to a report in Las Vegas Weekly, the Conservation Lands Foundation is pushing to make a project by land artist Michael Heizer, of “Levitated Mass” fame, a national monument. The newly threatened City installation is a still-incomplete collection of giant abstract structures stretching for more than a mile into the Nevada Desert.