Jordan Gruzen of Gruzen Samton Architects died on Tuesday at the age of 80. His firm traces its heritage back to 1936 and the firm of Kelly & Gruzen, founded by his father Sumner Gruzen with Colonel Hugh A. Kelly. Gruzen and his MIT classmate Peter Samton joined forces in 1967 and formed their still very active firm, Gruzen Samton (now associated with IBI Architects). They have had a significant impact on the city of New York where the firm focuses on university buildings, high density housing, and other institutional and educational projects. A full obituary of Gruzen will appear in the next issue of AN.
In October on a visit to London, friends mentioned that Eduardo Paolozzi’s early 1980 tile mosaics in the Tottenham Court tube station were going to be demolished. I diverted a Northern Line trip from Bank Street to the Charing Cross branch of the line and and walked through the Tottenham Station taking poorly lit iPhone images of the threatened mosaics. Paolozzi was a founding member of the English Independent Group and as an important early pop artist. His tube station artworks are a colorful and bright addition to a public space that is usually generic and often downright lifeless and boring.
Emanuele Piccardo and Amit Wolf’s “Beyond Environment” explores American naturalism and European urbanity
The 1972 MOMA exhibition, The New Domestic Landscape, featured the unique voices and high designs coming from Italy (particularly Florence) during the period. It was a design interpretation of “Counter Culture” lifestyles coming from American college campuses and media interrupted by the young generation of Italian designers that called themselves radicals practicing “Superarchitettura.” What comes through in the drawings, videos, and objects in the show is that while much of the work foregrounds a “hippie” return to nature how truly urban Italian design thinking was during the period.
The World Trade Center Transportation Hub—or as its designer Santiago Calatrava likes to think of it, the “bird in flight”—is just blocks from AN‘s office, so we get to walk by and watch it try to take off regularly. But in the weeks before the holidays, odd “struts” started to be welded between the structure’s giant fins or blades.
Docomomo is one of our most valuable national architecture organizations. It fights to preserve modern architecture, sites, and neighborhoods even when it is not publicly popular (think of the Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center) in all parts of the country. Now the organization known for its advocacy and preservation of contemporary built culture is sponsoring its second Modernism in America Awards to celebrate the people and projects working to preserve and rehabilitate mid-century modern buildings.
The New York architect and designer Dr. Haresh Lalvani has been researching the forms of living things-particularly those of shape codes akin to our own DNA makeup for 30 years. This research and analysis he then translates into sculptural forms that seem always to be merging and growing not fixed or frozen in place. At his solo exhibition, Mass Customization of Emergent Designs, at Moss Gallery at Design Miami in 2011, he used an algorithm to create 1,000 design variations of a common fruit platter out of a total of 100,000,000,000 possible designs before the computer crashed.
The Parson’s exhibit How Things Don’t Work: The Dreamspace of Victor Papanek should have the tagline, “There are few professions more harmful than industrial design.” Every designer should see the show before it closes on December 15. There are many designers today who believe that design—what we might think of as the planning or intention behind the creation of a material object—can solve almost any physical problem. But the Austrian-born and American-educated designer Papanek, the subject of this exhibition, had a different and more expansive view of the field.
The New York Preservation Archive Project’s Eleventh Annual Bard Birthday Breakfast Benefit is taking place at the D&D Building on December 10th. The Archive is devoted to documenting, preserving, and celebrating the history of historic preservation in New York City and bringing its stories to light through public programs, oral histories, and the creation of public access to information.
Architects, perhaps more than any other professional group, understand property and real estate and the role it plays in the construction of buildings. But it’s not often talked about it in their monographs or symposia where they prefer to speak about their designs as internally generated or part of a closed history of architecture. A new website, House Housing: An Untimely History of Architecture and Real Estate, from Columbia University’s Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture, hopes to help foreground the importance of real estate in the design, development, and construction of buildings.
The Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates website went to a black background this weekend to announce the passing of its dynamic, South African–born president Paul Katz. Katz had a quick penetrating mind but was an open and generous person who “trained and mentored” many young architects at the firm. The Architect’s Newspaper will publish a longer obituary in its next issue.
Thomas Jefferson embraced the architecture of Andrea Palladio as model for 18th century America, but he never actually visited any of the Veneto architect’s buildings. Instead he came to know Palladio through Giacomo Leoni’s first English translation of Quatro Libri dell’Architettura published in 1721. Now a beautifully-realized photographic exhibition, Found in Translation: Palladio–Jefferson, at the Canadian Center for Architecture in Montreal subtly focuses on Jefferson’s translation of Palladian architectural form into buildings for the new democratic nation.