Sou Fujimoto’s search for lightness at the Chicago Architectural Biennial

Sou Fujimoto find architecture in everyday objects at the Chicago Architecturee Biennial. (Bika Rebek/AN)

Sou Fujimoto finds architecture in everyday objects at the Chicago Architecture Biennial. (Bika Rebek/AN)

Just like every other major architectural exhibition, the Chicago Architecture Biennial is a massive undertaking filled with large scale models, full size mock- ups and room sized installations. However, the most light-handed approach in the main exhibition can be found sandwiched between two full scale houses. Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto placed about 40 different found objects on five-inch-by-five-inch plywood bases.

Continue after the jump.

Kenneth Caldwell on designer chatter at the Monterey Design Conference

Architecture, Interiors, Review, West
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
MDC 2015 Master of Ceremonies, Reed Kroloff.(Courtesy AIACC)

MDC 2015 Master of Ceremonies, Reed Kroloff.(Courtesy AIACC)

This year’s Monterey Design Conference could have been titled the “Monterey Design Short Video Clip Festival.” For as long as I can remember, most of the presentations at the conference have followed the same formula: show slides of recent work and explain them. But now most of the speakers are trying to tell a more nuanced story, informed by our mobile-app/social-media/you-are-never-offline age. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. I checked in with attendees to get their impressions.

More after the jump.

Review> Paul Gunther on preservation and the ongoing exhibit, Saving Place: 50 Years of New York City Landmarks

Grand Central Terminal, 2014. (Iwan Baan)

Grand Central Terminal, 2014. (Iwan Baan)

Saving Place: 50 Years of New York City Landmarks
An exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York and Catalog edited by Donald Albrecht, Andrew Dolkart, and Seri Worden
Through January 3, 2016

Since the first trace of the species homo sapiens, human evolution only represents four one hundred thousandths of one percent of the earth’s age. In proportion to an 80-year life span, that means just 31 hours—less than a day and a half of the 701,280 hours lived.

With the existential threat of climate change and ecological ruination gaining traction in collective consciousness—combined with the outsized expectations of breath-holding fundamentalists for whom earth’s rapturous end can’t come soon enough—our sense of what permanence means has begun to shift. If all human culture to date is just four-dozen millennia and we’ve wreaked so much havoc already, “forever” strikes a dubious chord.

Continue reading after the jump.

This Friday, catch the world premiere of “Modern Ruin” all about the New York State Pavilion from the 1964 World’s Fair

Architecture, East, Review
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
The New York State Pavilion. (Marco-Catini)

The New York State Pavilion. (Marco-Catini)

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.

Continue reading after the jump.

In Cathedrals of Culture, Wim Wenders and Robert Redford Explore Monuments of Architecture

Architecture, Art, Media, Review
Friday, May 1, 2015
A scene from the Cathedrals of Culture segment “The Salk Institute," directed by Robert Redford. (Alex Falk)

A scene from the Cathedrals of Culture segment “The Salk Institute,” directed by Robert Redford. (Alex Falk)

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.

Continue reading after the jump

On View> SPUR exhibit tackles illegal housing in San Francisco


(Jeffrey Maeshiro)

Urbanism From Within
654 Mission Street, San Francisco
Through May 1st

There’s a little over a week left at the exhibition Urbanism From Within put on by the San Francisco Planning & Urban Renewal Association (SPUR), so head over and brace yourself for some captivating research, drawings and peep-show high-jinks along the downtown Mission corridor.

Continue reading after the jump.

Review> Richard Estes’s photorealistic paintings of New York on view at the Museum of Arts and Design

Architecture, Art, East, Newsletter, On View, Review
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Richard Estes, The Plaza's Plaza from a city bus, 1991.

Richard Estes, The Plaza’s Plaza from a city bus, 1991.

Richard Estes: Painting New York City
Museum of Arts & Design
New York
Through September 20, 2015

The first exhibition of art at this institution originally and primarily devoted to craft consists of photorealist paintings spanning 50 years by one of the most accomplished masters of the style. And in the dispassionate way typical of this artist and the genre, they show some subtle changes that have taken place in the cityscape.

Continue reading after the jump.

This year’s architecturally inspired films at the 2015 Slamdance and Sundance film festivals

Still from Concrete Love. (Courtesy respective directors)

Still from Concrete Love. (Maurizius Staerkle Drux)

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.

Continue reading after the jump.

Review> Poking at Power: New Parsons Exhibition Ridicules Dictators

(Helga Taxler)

(Helga Taxler)

At the Aronson Galleries at the New School, a wall of pickle jars taped with black-and-white cutout portraits of twenty dictators lines the windowsill. A standard 8 ½ x 11 paper sign invites visitors to Pick Your Own Dick by placing a poker chip in a jar. Chairman Mao, a world-class “dick” whose Cultural Revolution starved and murdered millions of Chinese, and Turkish President Erdogan, an elected Muslim fundamentalist morphing into a military strongman, handily won opening night.

Romancing True Power: D20, the mischievous exhibition designed by Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss of NAO and conceived by Nina Khrushcheva, associate dean and professor at the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy at the New School, cheekily invites public debate about the nature of and difference between types of dictatorship, taking special glee in thumbing its nose at ostentatious symbols of power. The exhibit was accompanied by a journal compiled by Khrushcheva with Yiqing Wang-Holborn and by a book of graphic novellas designed as a result of Weiss’s seminar on new ideologies at Columbia GSAPP, both profiling selected dictators and their trappings.

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On View> Pittsburgh’s Heinz Architectural Center tackles architecture from “Sketch to Structure”

Architecture, East, On View, Review
Monday, February 2, 2015
Presentation model of Lorcan O'Herlihy's Formosa1140, 2012. (Tom Little)

Presentation model of Lorcan O’Herlihy’s Formosa1140, 2012. (Tom Little)

Sketch to Structure
Heinz Architectural Center
Carnegie Museum of Art
Through May 20, 2015

The concept and visual for Sketch to Structure, an exhibition that has just opened at Pittsburg’s Heinz Architectural Center, is so cogent and well thought out it’s a wonder no other museum hasn’t already staged such a show. The exhibit is curated by Alyssum Skjeie of the Heinz Center and takes the architectural design process and divides it into four discrete sections—concept, collaboration, communication, case studies—each with drawings and renderings taken from the center’s own collection.

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Emanuele Piccardo and Amit Wolf’s “Beyond Environment” explores American naturalism and European urbanity


1972 metal frame tower called Tumbleweeds Catcher in Utah.


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.

Continue reading after the jump.

Review> A Disciplined Approach to Misbehaving Urbanism

Mr. and Mrs. Andrews of Shadrach Woods, Freedomland. (Krumwiede)

Mr. and Mrs. Andrews of Shadrach Woods, Freedomland. (Krumwiede)

Keith Krumwiede’s Freedomland, an exhibition of architectural misfits, suburban follies, and developer nightmares, that just closed at the Princeton University School of Architecture Gallery, defies easy categorization. The pulse of the work is strong, its intention clear: to satirize the cringe-worthy packaging and wholesaling of a particular strain of the American dream of mass-produced, individualized suburban living by Toll Brothers and others through a series of reconfigured catalogue house plans.

Continue reading after the jump.

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