We were scouting cool party spaces recently and caught this view from the 9th floor of Neil Denari’s HL23 on the High Line. Lower floors of the 14-story condo, now nearing completion, are going to feel pretty vulnerable to nose-pressers strolling up the rail-bed park who will be just feet away from their living room glass walls. But on the upper floors, views of the length of High Line will unfurl as alluringly as the Yellow Brick Road. Right now, it’s possible to make out the stretch of emerald lawn section at 23rd Street, waiting for its sunbathers.
Design Miami is all about furnishings as art, parties, being someplace warm in December, and more parties. It’s not so much about architecture, except that the most riveting eye-grabber is often an installation by an architect. In 2006, Zaha Hadid, named Designer of the Year, created a plasticene web of wonder that ensorcelled the interior atrium of the Moore Building in the Design District. More recently ArandaLasch created tents set up closer to the action and directly in front of the convention center where Art Basel Miami Beach is located.
It was a panel I couldn’t refuse: To moderate a talk with two architects from China about sustainability. Not that it’s a topic with which I am very familiar, but I would guess that even architects working there find much about the Chinese approach to environmental issues a mystery. I do know that the country has a $375 billion dollar construction industry devouring resources and that, at least ten years ago, a new coal-fired plant was being built every ten days. But things are changing fast and the chance to talk to Wang Degang who has his own 20-person firm in Nanjing and with Mesh Chen Dongliang who has been working for the past six years at Arquitectonica’s Shanghai office about their impressions was quite an opportunity.
My antipathy toward 200 Eleventh Avenue was partly on principle. The 250-foot condo with a garage off every unit—“just like a house in the suburbs,” chimed a spokesperson—seemed a flagrant abuse of the New Yorker code of honor to use public transportation, even if it’s an idling town car. And the stainless steel east-facing facade that houses the vertical parking lot presents a largely blank and uncommunicative face to the city. But a tour with architect Annabelle Selldorf made a quick convert of me, and an entire group of design journalists, as we traipsed through some nearly completed rooms in this 61,000-square-foot condo made for 16 duplex apartments (95% sold). Read More
Chef Mario Batali stopped by a group of diners at a press event today at Eataly to say that everyone who came into the new high-end Italian-theme eating court is ‘Italian.” But he was actually right, as sprinkled among the journalists sat the upper ranks of the Italian furniture industry all come to New York to announce one of those commercial-turned-cultural events that only the Italians can pull off without seeming crass. Read More
Increasingly, the architects chosen each year to design the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London hail from a pool of the usual suspects. This past summer, it was Jean Nouvel. SANAA, and Frank Gehry ran up the mast in 2009 and 2008 respectively. The 2011 pavilion, we hear, will be by Swiss mystic architect, Peter Zumthor.
There’s certainly abiding fascination in a series of heavyweights forced to design a lightweight structure on the double-quick (about six months) but the young and restless might actually have more to explore and certainly more to gain than the big names. Then again, more than most, Zumthor has maintained his mystique as an architect. Lightweight he is not: For the 2002 Venice architecture biennale, he submitted a six ton concrete model of his Cologne museum that was too hefty to be contained in the vast Arsenale.
A hot night in an organic garden sometimes smells like steaming mulch. But a hot night in a Brooklyn organic garden will more likely smell like beer. At least that’s the first impression one gets at the Berlin-cool Roberta’s in Bushwick where there’s a restaurant in front and an Alice Waters-funded greenhouse outback atop the shipping-container home of Heritage Radio Network.com, and more particularly of “Burning Down the House,” a weekly podcast by Curtis B. Wayne, a Cooper Union/Harvard-educated architect turned radio host and budding East Coast counterpart to KCRW’s Frances Anderton in LA. His Wednesday night live coverage is architectural improv, ranging from trashing Prince Charles over the Chelsea Barracks fiasco in London to discussing local garbage circulation issues. Wednesday night, I was the guest talking about a full array of random architectural topics from the 28th Annual Awards for Excellence in Design and the Beekman Tower to the power of landscaping and William Makepeace Thackeray, although I am not sure that the mic was still on for that last bit. Listen and find out here at Burning Down the House.
British architect John Pawson was in town recently, conferring with a client about their new apartment in one of Richard Meier’s Perry Street towers and supporting another whose film was premiering at the Museum of Modern Art. He took time out for a coffee to talk about the upcoming show of his work at the London Design Museum opening on September 22, as well as his new home for the museum—announced last month—within the repurposed Commonwealth Institute, aka the Parabola Building, a swoopy 1962 white elephant designed by RMJM in West London. (Also going on the site is a controversial Rem Koolhaas-designed apartment building.) Read More
While it may sound a tad like a movie starring Kirk Douglas, Ennead Architects is the new official name of the firm formerly known as Polshek Partnership. The change, according to partner Todd Schliemann, who has been with the firm since 1979, is meant to reflect the collaborative and dedicated spirit that has long suffused the practice’s philosophy, founded in 1963 by James Polshek, now 80, and that will now be even more pronounced. Polshek retired from active duty five years ago, and there was some confusion, according to Schliemann, about who had designed which projects. Read More
Last night, I was lucky enough to enjoy assorted swells (but not very many architects) at the Hearst building for a screening of the enigmatic “How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster?”, a film devoted to his lordship’s extravagantly photogenic architecture and life of work. Or so it looks in this approximately 90 minute film which sweeps us from the Engadin Alps where Foster annually plows through a 26-mile mile cross-country ski marathon in tight black lycra with some 14,000 others to his redbrick childhood home quite literally on the wrong side of the tracks in Manchester to his current home in a Swiss villa, spectacularly void of human touches, to his 1,000-plus strong office in London to the early Sainsbury Centre; the Swiss Re gherkin; the British Museum Great Court; the Berlin Reichstag, etc, etc, and of course, the
Hong Kong Beijing Airport that is the largest building on earth as narrator Deyan Sudjic intones mellifluously. (The trailor below provides but a morsel of this delight.) Read More
Architecture writer Robert Booth reports in The Guardian that the only two British jurors on the selection committee for the new U.S. Embassy in London pronounced that the Kieran Timberlake design was “not good enough to represent one of the great nations in London.” Whether in meetings or in a “Minority Report” remains unclear, the two Lords on the jury, architect Richard Rogers and developer/art collector Peter Palumbo, allegedly found the design boring and that they “fought to the death” to swing votes in favor of the Thomas Mayne scheme that they considered “touched by genius.” Read More