The Florentine architecture group Superstudio enjoyed the penultimate moment on the world architecture stage at the 1972 MoMA exhibition, The New Domestic Landscape. However, by the end of that decade with worldwide radical politics on the wane and postmodernism on the rise, the Florentines found their radicale arguments and practice marginalized and they began to move away from architecture towards other sorts of design initiatives. But before the group left the international stage, they created one last potent architectural statement: La Moglie di Lot and displayed it at the 1978 Venice Biennale of Art.
The 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale is a bit like walking into a giant research project. If the exhibition The Elements of Architecture is not necessary thrilling to the spirit it is at least full of ideas on the basics of construction. It is possible to walk through a dozen times and come away with new information and concepts. Here is a quick look at several of the ideas in this intellectual project masquerading as an exhibition.
It’s day two at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale and AN had a chance to run through Monditalia in the Venetian arsenal while workers and young architects were feverishly finishing their installations. Here is a selection of iPhone image of projects we saw on our whirlwind tour.
AN just had a quick Arsenale walkthrough of Radical Pedagogies: ACTION-REACTION-INTERACTION by creator and Princeton professor Beatriz Colomina. The Arsenale has been given over in this biennale to Monditalia, a single-theme exhibition with exhibits, events, and theatrical productions engaging Italian architecture with politics, economics, religion, technology, and industry. In this installation the other festivals of la Biennale di Venezia—film, dance, theatre, and music—will be mobilized through the architecture event to contribute to a comprehensive portrait of the host country.
AN is already in Venice preparing an edited list of the best of the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. The biennale in years past was confined to the spectacular Arsenale and the pavilion-filled giardini (some of the pavilions were designed by Carlo Scarpa), but one of the big changes in the past two biennials is the number of off-site events, pavilions, and installations that now participate in the architecture fair.
Its hard to drive past a Target roadside box today without remembering James Wines/SITE Architects’ magical 1970’s Best Store projects—and everything they revealed about consumerism in America. These designs are also remembered for their formal invention and early support of environmental thinking, but Carriage Trade, the tiny but always smart art gallery on Tribeca’s Walker Street, reminds us in their exhibit, Cutting Through the Suburbs, how radical they were at the time of their design.
The Drawing Center, along with the online auction house, Paddle 8, is hosting an auction of architectural drawings in conjunction with its current exhibition, Lebbeus Woods, Architect. The auction is meant to support future exhibitions of drawings at the center, including ones on architecture and by architects.
The auction ends on May 9th, so place your bids right away. Up for bid are drawings by Thom Mayne, Michael Bell, Steven Holl, Stan Allen, WXY/Claire Weisz & Mark Yoes, Neil Denari, Eric Owen Moss, Brad Cloepfil, Michael Maltzan, Annabelle Selldorf, Pablo Castro/OBRA, and James Newton Wines. The drawings all represent important architecture projects and ideas.
Total Reset: Institute for Public Architecture Symposium Tackles Affordable Housing in New York City
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.
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).
Allan Wexler: Breaking Ground
Ronald Feldman Fine Arts
31 Mercer Street, New York
Through May 3, 2014
The current Allan Wexler exhibit, Breaking Ground, at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts proves again how important is the work of architects who confine their production to the gallery. In the new exhibit, Wexler explores mankind’s first interventions into landscape with a series of photo-based images and sculpture. Wexler first builds models of his imagined landscapes out of plaster and museum board before photographing them and digitally manipulating and printing them. The Architect’s Newspaper will celebrate Wexler’s extraordinary forty five year career with a special reception at the Feldman gallery Tuesday, April, 29th from 6:00–8:00p.m.
What was the most popular architecture or design exhibition in 2013? If you guessed MoMA’s Le Corbusier spectacular or SFMOMA’s landmark Lebbeus Woods: Architect (coming to New York’s Drawing Center April 15) you’re close but off the mark. In fact the most popular architecture exhibition in the world, according to The Art Newspaper‘s 2013 Visitors Figures was MoMA’s Henri Labrouste exhibition that drew 438,680 viewers (4,100 a day) compared to the Le Corbusier show that had 405,000 visitors (4,010 a day).