The opening yesterday in Father Duffy Square of the new TKTS booth—conceived 35 years before the current trend in pop-up venues—was attended by Mayor Bloomberg, Bernadette Peters, and loyal members of the 69th, if not the naked cowboy. Even the original designers of the red steps, Australians Tai Ropiha and John Choi, were on hand, although organizers were quick to call their competition winning design (best of 683 entries from 31 countries) of January 2000, just a concept.
Making lists is a time-honored September New York ritual as we all trash the beach reading and play serious catch-up as quickly as possible, reading back-to-back The New York Times’ The New Season feature on September 7 followed by New York magazine’s Fall Preview (Don’t be confused by cover dates, the Times’ Sunday edition came out one day ahead).
And now, to New York architecture critic Justin Davidon’s worthy and lengthy survey of new glass buildings across the city “Glass Stampede” (of which we read every word on a long flight recently), there is Nicolai Ouroussoff’s tossed-off and irresponsible “New York City, Tear Down These Walls”. Maybe the guy should be applying the principles of adaptive reuse to architecture rather than to his journalism.
The Storefront for Architecture and Control Group have announced the winners of an international competition to rethink the White House. The competition attracted some 450 entries who responded with plenty of You-Tube ready concepts, from top prize winner, Revenge of The Lawn, to an honorable mention for a White House Paradise (above). With project descriptions about “prose poems of the modern architectural folk tale” and suggestions to recast the manse in mood tattoos, the debt to Superstudio is very clear. But we can’t wonder if the whole thing had already been upstaged by the prospect of the big house done up in Sarah Palin’s bordello decor.
By the time we realized there were no water taxis headed uptown and took the A train, instead, the Museum of Arts and Design’s opening day press conference was almost over and only a few diehard journo’s (Christopher Hawthorne, Robert Campbell) were still lurking around to talk to museum architect Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture (above in the catbird seat) about winning the four-year fight to turn a playboy’s private collection housed in crimson and burled panelling into a high-tech cabinet of craft curiosities. Asked what he thought about the space now that it’s chock-ablock with the kind of severe white (though some are black) Fort-Knox-style display cases favored by the downtown design store Moss, the architect said, “They have to learn how to play the instrument.”
The AN crew has departed Venice and we are now all back and preparing our next vast issue which will cover all at the Biennale that we found to be firm, commodious, and delightful, or not. There were no untoward confrontations on the flight back as we sat amidst friends in steerage including Charles Renfro, LOT/EK’s Giuseppe Lignano and Ada Tolla, Andrea Blum, Chee Pearlman, Tucker Viemeister. Laurie Beckelman, Liz Diller, Ric Scofidio, Mark Wigley and Beatriz Colomina were also on board but sat in Somewhere Else. Stay Tuned.
It is confirmed: Aaron Betsky fell into the canal. Friday, on his way to one of several august assemblages of the evening (See Guggenheim Villa, Darkside), Betsky pitched into the murky depths as he ascended the staircase of the Palazzo Polignac where Herzog & de Meuron were hosting a private dinner party. As confirmed by his sister, he was unable to answer his cell phone the next day, as rumors abounded that he went in after it. As we have also experienced a pitching sensation whenever near the water and handrails are few and far between in this fair city, we can sympathize. Later that evening, other diners noticed that Betsky’s spirits were undamped although his suit and shirt were.
Inside Palazzo Giustinian Lolin, up a narrow stone stair in a grand salon with silk walls, dim frescoes, and blue-ish gold brocade curtains, the computer monitors talk about the lives of ordinary rooms with a quiet precision that feels like a salve after days of can-you-top-this architecture installations. Read More
US Pavilion Press Conference- Following official comments by the US State Department about culture’s dependency on private donors as “in keeping with the way that we see our society,” our own Bill Menking acknowledged that architects play a tiny role in how our world actually gets built and that this exhibition is dedicated to showing those architects who are showing the way to a new approach to infrastructure, from teaching schoolchildren how to grow their own food or entire communities to create buildings.
Obviously when we saw that the first event of the first panel discussion on the first day was titled “Writing Building” and was billed as going beyond criticism and academic writing in an effort to recapture a lost audience (Are you still with me here?), we pricked up our ears. Read More
The Bellinis, toasts, and information exchange about digital technology flowed freely at a reception and rooftop dinner at the Danieli Hotel hosted by David Rockwell, Aaron Betsky, Reed Kroloff and Casey Jones. Liz Diller, Ric Scofidio and Charles Renfro joined the celebrants after decamping from an equally glam—but apparently mosquito infested party at Villa Malcontenta—party hosted by Zaha Hadid celebrating collegue-divided-only-by-the-centuries Palladio. Lise Anne Couture and Hani Rashid stayed in the Villa’s formal gardens, Couture recounted, pretending they were in the characters in the classic flick, Last Year at Marienbad.