This Friday, catch the world premiere of “Modern Ruin” all about the New York State Pavilion from the 1964 World’s Fair
World Premiere of Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion
Friday, May 22nd, 2015
Cocktails 7:00–8:00p.m., Screening 8:00–9:30p.m.
Queens Theatre, 14 United Nations Avenue South
Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens
Philip Johnson and Lev Zetlin’s New York State Pavilion for the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens’ Flushing Meadows Corona Park should be more than an eyebrow raiser as those curious, disc-on-pole structures seen when driving to JFK airport. It was Munchkinland, the starting place for Dorothy’s journey to Manhattan—correction, Oz—in the 1978 film The Wiz. It was an alien spacecraft tower in the original 1997 Men in Black which crashes into the nearby Unisphere. And it was the site of Tony Stark/Ironman’s confrontation with his adversaries in Iron Man 2 on the grounds of Stark Expo 2010, a digitally updated 1964 World’s Fair grounds (director Jon Favreau’s childhood home overlooked the park). And it will appear in the new film Tomorrowland starring George Clooney that opens May 22.
In 2010, director Wim Wenders created a 3D video installation at the Venice Architecture Biennale about the Bolex Learning Center in Lausanne, Switzerland, called If These Walls Could Talk. The ability to visually explore the building and simulate being inside the space that the medium affords inspired him to team up with Robert Redford to create a 3D series called Cathedrals of Culture, which will be shown at the IFC Center in New York beginning on May 1.
The word “sapienza” means “wisdom” in Italian. It also refers to the Church of Saint Yves at La Sapienza, 1642–1660, designed by Baroque architect Francesco Borromini. In Eugene Green’s film, La Sapienza, Borromini is a hero of the protagonist, architect Alexandre Schmid (played by Fabrizio Rongione). Borromini incorporated the remains of a 14th century church, rather than razing it, a touchstone for Schmid. Geometry reigns throughout: the building is capped by a corkscrew lantern, and triangles and semi-circles are combined with figurative elements.
This year’s Park City offerings at the Sundance and Slamdance film festivals ranged from portraits of architects, a mayor with architectural dreams, a victim of the foreclosure crisis, those trapped in physical and dreamed spaces, and individuals exploring the cultural landscape. Always a harbinger of what is coming up, look out for these films and media projects coming to a screen near you.
Architecture & Design Film Festival
54 Varick Street, New York
It’s that time of year again, when the Architecture & Design Film Festival brings a bouquet of moving image portraits about the built environment and the creators behind them to New York. From October 5–19 at Tribeca Cinemas, you can catch the U.S. premiere of the much-anticipated series masterminded by Wim Wenders, Cathedrals of Culture. Made by six directors—Wenders, Robert Redford, Michael Glawogger, Michael Madsen, Margreth Olin and Karim Aïnouz—about six buildings: Berlin Philharmonic, the National Library of Russia, Halden Prison, the Salk Institute, the Oslo Opera House, and the Centre Pompidou, all in 3-D.
Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walkabout
Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 5th Avenue, New York
Through November 2. 2014
One of the great gifts bestowed on New York in the summer is the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s roof garden. You are thrust into Olmsted’s Central Park from a promontory surrounded by the perimeter skyline on all sides. The trick with the rooftop art commissions is to play with the space, the views, and the interrelationships between the two. The goal is to make the viewer see them differently—you want to feel like the rooftop is your personal terrace in the sky while sharing it with others in a magnificent secret shared space.
The recent 2014 Tribeca Film Festival screened a remarkable number of films on displacement. People were displaced from their homes—often forced but sometimes voluntary—for financial reasons, discrimination, landlord harassment (or irritation), and natural disasters. In the film Below Dreams, which takes place in New Orleans, a character says “Everybody needs a room.” Here are a few seekers.
Artists and architects often work in dance, designing sets, projections, costumes, and environments. Not often, however, does that artist actually get to choreograph. Here, JR, an artist who works in the public realm creating photo murals that are often a participatory experience with a community, such as a favela in Rio, or a slum in Delhi, has been given the opportunity to make his figures move.
At this year’s SXSW Festival, engineering took center stage in the documentary DamNation (directors Travis Rummel & Ben Knight), which won the Documentary Spotlight Audience Award. It begins with America’s rash of dam-building under FDR when these mammoth structures were considered man-made wonders. Hoover and Grand Coulee are the large-scale examples, but there were about 80,000 smaller dams built across the country.
Maggie’s Centres: A Blueprint for Cancer Care
New York School of Interior Design, NYSID Gallery
161 East 69th Street, New York.
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 11am – 6pm
Through April 25, 2014
These are the requirements that were put to Richard Rogers, Zaha Hadid, Piers Gough, Steven Holl, Rem Koolhaas, Frank Gehry, and thus far eleven other architects when asked to design Maggie’s Centres, buildings in the U.K. where “free practical, emotional, and social support to people with cancer, their family and friends” are provided.
Richard Rogers Theater
226 West 46th Street, New York
Scheduled to play through October 12, 2014
THINK OF EACH PLAZA, PIER, AND PUBLIC PARK—
HOW MANY SIT THERE EMPTY, LONELY, DARK—
The Broadway musical If/Then starts in Madison Square Park with its unmistakable folding seats, tables, and umbrellas, a signature of Janette Sadik-Khan’s overhauling of public spaces during the Bloomberg administration. In this musical by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey (the team behind Next to Normal) city planner Elizabeth (Idina Menzel) returns to New York from Arizona where she’s just gotten out of a failed marriage—and urban sprawl.