“How can a construction toy be ‘playful’?” This is the problem that Tamar Zinguer asked her Cooper Union students in a recent seminar focused on the architecture of play. For this session, Zinguer, who has taught the course before, decided to eliminate the visual aspect, a sensory aspect of toy design highly relied upon in previous seminars’ constructions. Focusing less on color and more on the experience of the object, the result is a set of innovative and wonderfully textured toys, from blocks to shells, that encourage play for the visually impaired.
For the last several years, SCI-Arc’s Studio 1A has given new students the chance to literally make their mark by producing projects that become permanent fixtures at the school. On Friday, this year’s class revealed a project that started as a piece of clothing, then became a wire model, then became a mockup, and finally ended as a new undulating and faceted canopy and wall. Made of a recycled carbon fiber called Nyloboard, the project’s more than 2,000 pieces were all hand cut and, somehow, none are exactly alike. They’re attached with Gorilla Glue, nails, and screws. “It’s something that exists at the scale of the world, which can take years for an architect,” said Nathan Bishop, who along with Jackilin Hah Bloom and Jenny Wu led the studio.
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With a background in engineering, artist Ricardo Cid uses visualization to understand and reimagine everything from periodic elements to playing the sax. Here he flies through a presentation for the AN staff, leaving us more than a little fascinated, if not, at moments, a little perplexed.
Last week the New York chapter of the AIGA held its second annual “Fresh Blood” event, featuring top graduating students from design programs across the region. Ten students were given five minutes each to dazzle the crowd at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn with presentations related to their thesis research. Scott Stowell, the evening’s MC, kept things lively, peppering the students with questions about their work and cracking jokes that stoked school rivalries.
All the presentations were excellent, but here are a few that we just can’t stop talking about:
The conservation group Blue Ventures won the Buckminster Fuller Challenge in a ceremony at the CUNY Graduate Center on Friday night. The group took home the $100,000 prize, edging out FrontlineSMS, Rainforest Foundation UK, and TARA Ashkar+. The project caught the attention of the judges for its work with impoverished communities along the coast of Madagascar. To solve the problem of overfishing and biodiversity, the group delved into the root causes on land, such as overpopulation and a lack of birth control (an increase in population exacerbates overfishing). The strategy was to stabilize the population and shift toward alternative economic resources. Conservation in the water depends heavily on human behavior on land.
Otherworldly: Optical Delusions and Small Realities
Museum of Arts and Design
2 Columbus Circle
Opening June 7
Otherworldly: Optical Delusions and Small Realities showcases the construction of small hand-built artificial environments and alternative realities as sculpture and for film. It explores the increasing interest in creating things by hand, as digital technology becomes a bigger part of our lives. The exhibit, which features models, snow globes, photographs, and video, seeks to reflect a meaningful engagement with materials and attention to detail. Works include the Chadwicks’ diorama of a microbrewery and Alan Wolfson’s recreation of a tri-level cross-section of Canal Street, above.
It’s that time of year again: School is giving way to summer vacation, final reviews are winding down, and the life of the architecture student regains some semblance of normalcy. The Cooper Union celebrates this time of year with its traditional End of Year Show, highlighting the work of students in art, architecture, and engineering. Hundreds of projects are now on display at the school’s Foundation Building at 7 East 7th Street on Cooper Square.
The engineering show just wrapped up, but the architecture showcase runs through June 18 and the art school’s work will be on display through June 11. The exhibition is free and open Tuesday through Saturday from noon until 7:00 p.m.. Take a look at a few of the student projects after the jump.
The month of May saw three ExpoTENtial labs open around Manhattan. Curated by Laetitia Wolff/futureflair, the multi-dimensional platform/festival delves seeks insights on how design can help innovate city living. Addressing everything from urban composting with worms, to using the everyday streetscape for exercise through parcours, Wolff and team stirred up traditional notions of living in NYC by encouraging visitors to think “off the grid.” In the Par Corps Lab, the crew uses video collage to ponders the manner in which design can promote physical activity and social interaction. Multipurpose bike racks anyone? Today and tomorrow will be the last chance to check it out at the Center for Architecture. Wolff is currently attempting to raise funds for the next seven labs.