Superdesk Strikes Back: Clive Wilkinson’s Undulating Design Tickles the New Yorker

Architecture, East, Eavesdroplet
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
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(Courtesy New Yorker; The Barbarian Group)

(Courtesy New Yorker; The Barbarian Group)

It’s hard enough for west coast firms to make it into architecture publications, but Clive Wilkinson has made it into the vaunted pages of the New Yorker. In the “Talk of the Town,” writer Nick Paumgarten describes Wilkinson’s thousand-foot-long, resin-topped “superdesk,” which he designed for New York ad agency Barbarian Group in Chelsea, as “swerving around the giant loft space like a mega slot-car track.” Barbarian calls the desk “4,400 square feet of undulating, unbroken awesomeness to keep people and ideas flowing.” In fact the desk even played a major role in a recent company party, and Paumgarten wondered if the desk itself might be taking on human characteristics: “One got a sense, after a while, that the superdesk might be capable of consciousness, that it was observing the humans as they heedlessly laughed and flirted and left glasses of wine on its carapace, and that it might be developing longings and resentments, or plotting its revenge.”

The Energetic City: Design Trust Calls on Designers to Create Connected Public Space

The Energetic City. (Courtesy Deutsch NY)

The Energetic City. (Courtesy Deutsch NY)

On Monday, dozens of designers, planners, and community organizers packed the amphitheater at the newly opened LEESER-designed BRIC House in Brooklyn‘s rapidly-growing BAM district. The attendees were there to hear the details of the latest Request For Proposals (RFP) from the Design Trust for Public Space, The Energetic City: Connectivity in the Public Realm.

The Design Trust has launched pivotal projects before, like their Five Borough Farm that is helping to redefine urban agriculture in New York City. This time, the group is seeking new ideas for public space and, according to a statement, “develop new forms of connectivity among the diverse people, systems, and built, natural, and digital environments of New York City.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Port Authority Makes it Rain on Man from Spain: Calatrava Paid for Uncommissioned Work

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The new Goethals Bridge, not designed by Santiago Calatrava. (Courtesy Port Authority)

According to a report in the Bergen Record, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey gave Santiago Calatrava, the renowned Spanish architect whose lust for gold is as vigorous as that of his conquistador forebears, $500,000 for two bridge designs that will not be built and to which Calatrava will retain the copyrights. Sound shady? Anyone who has had the opportunity to use the Port Authority Bus Terminal will not be surprised to find out that it is.

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Obit> Dr. Alan Friedman, 1942-2014

East, Obit
Friday, May 16, 2014
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Aerial view of the NY Hall of Science Playground, completed in 2007. (Jeff Goldberg/Esto)

Aerial view of the NY Hall of Science Playground, completed in 2007. (Jeff Goldberg/Esto)

We love all of our clients equally… but Dr. Alan Friedman we really, really loved. We should all be so fortunate as to work with someone as generous, curious, optimistic yet not unrealistic, trusting, and somehow always fun.

BKSK worked with him on two ambitious permanent outdoor exhibits (collectively the NY Hall of Science Playground) approximately ten years apart, and in between were tapped for various smaller tasks. So lightning, for us, struck more than once. The beginning of any project was, following that metaphor, electrifying.

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Min | Day Unveiling Transformable Furniture For ICFF

East, Product, West
Friday, May 9, 2014
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Min|Day Stones Collection (Min|Day)

Min|Day Stones Collection (Min|Day)

MOD, the newly-created furniture wing from San Francisco architecture firm Min | Day, will be unveiling three new pieces at ICFF next week.  By making use of the human inclinations to rearrange and reconfigure, the pieces grow through a simple geometry of addition and subtraction. All three styles utilize playfulness and improvisation to create topological terrains.  Read More

Christopher Mount to Open Architecture and Design Gallery in Los Angeles

Mies van der Rohe, New National Gallery, Berlin, 1968, photograph by Balthazar Korab. (Courtesy Estate of Balthazar Korab)

Mies van der Rohe, New National Gallery, Berlin, 1968, photograph by Balthazar Korab. (Courtesy Estate of Balthazar Korab)

Having observed the absence of architecture and design materials from the American art collection scene, curator and scholar Christopher W. Mount decided to fill the gap himself. His eponymous Los Angeles gallery, housed in the Pacific Design Center, opens to the public on Friday, May 23 with A Modern Master: Photographs by Balthazar Korab. A second gallery, open by appointment, will be located on the Upper West Side in New York. “I really thought that this was the time,” said Mount. “I thought, ‘Here is a subject matter that major museums collect, and there hasn’t been somebody who opened a gallery.’” Read More

Pictorial> Kara Walker Creates a Sugar Sphinx for Domino Sugar factory

The Sphinx. (Henry Melcher / AN)

The Sphinx. (Henry Melcher / AN)

Before the old Domino Sugar factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is razed to make way for the massive SHoP-designed mixed-use complex, it has been transformed into a gallery for famed artist, Kara Walker. Inside the 30,000-square-foot space, which stills smells of molasses, she has created a 75-foot-long, 35-foot-high, sugar-coated sphinx (on view through July 6th). The work, which was created in collaboration with Creative Time, is called A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby, and according to Walker’s artist statement, it is “an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World.”

Continue reading after the jump.

New York Public Library Closes the Book on Foster + Partners Renovation Plan

The New Reading Room would have replaced the stacks.

The New Reading Room would have replaced the stacks. (Courtesy Foster + Partners / dbox)

The New York Public Library has canceled its controversial renovation plan by Foster + Partners, according to a report in the New York Times. The plan, which would have removed the historic book stacks and turned the non-lending research library into a circulating library, was widely opposed by scholars, writers, and architectural historians.

Continue reading after the jump.

New York City’s Bike Infrastructure Growing and Improving

East
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
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Prospect Park West bike lane.  (Flickr /  Steven Vance)

Prospect Park West bike lane. (Flickr / Steven Vance)

New York City’s bike infrastructure is expanding into new territory with new greenways connecting the city in a web of safer transportation options. And as it does, the Department of Transportation is working to significantly improve the bike lanes that already exist.

Continue reading after the jump.

The Critical Inversion of the Prosthetic Public Armature

East, Eavesdroplet
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
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diller-geffen

Liz Diller / David Geffen.

Speaking of the architecture/celebrity complex, a source told Eavesdrop that Liz Diller is designing an Upper East Side apartment for entertainment mogul David Geffen. The once radical architect has gotten awfully cozy with the establishment. We guess all that time in Los Angeles designing The Broad is paying off.

Total Reset: Institute for Public Architecture Symposium Tackles Affordable Housing in New York City

East, Review
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
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The "Total Reset" symposium took place at Columbia's Studio-X.

The “Total Reset” symposium took place at Columbia’s Studio-X.

The history of affordable housing in the United States has always centered on efforts—research, architectural prototypes, and creative financing—undertaken in New York City. From early philanthropic models like the late 19th century Cobble Hill Tower Homes, the 1911 Vanderbilt-sponsored Cherokee Model Apartments, and the 1930s Amalgamated Dwellings on the Lower East Side, virtually all early advancement in housing reform in this country began in New York City.

Continue reading after the jump.

Obit> Fred Schwartz, 1951–2014

East, Obit
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
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Fred Schwartz looks toward the New Jersey 9/11 memorial, Empty Sky, from the documentary, The Art of Memories. (Courtesy The Art of Memories)

Fred Schwartz looks toward the New Jersey 9/11 memorial, Empty Sky, from the documentary, The Art of Memories. (Courtesy The Art of Memories)

We heard this morning that Fred Schwartz—one of the most independent, passionate, and even fearless voices in the New York architecture world—passed away last night. Frederic Schwartz Architects was well known for its waterfront park planning and various 9/11 memorials (Fred died at 9:11p.m. last night).

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