BREAKING: Davidson and Ponce de Leon to Curate the U.S. Pavilion Exhibition in the 15th International Architecture Biennale in Venice
Call it the Floating City meets Motor City. The U.S. Department of State selected the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan to organize the exhibition of the United States Pavilion in the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale. Curators Cynthia Davidson and Monica Ponce de Leon take Detroit as their starting point. Out of the ashes of Motown and Ford comes an urban archetype that provokes the exhibition title: “The Architectural Imagination.”
Just a few weeks before the death of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, the New Yorker published a profile by Jon Lee Anderson (“Letter from Caracas: Slumlord”). The subject of the profile was less Chavez and more a Chavez-era phenomenon, the so-called Tower of David in downtown Caracas. “It embodies the urban policy of this regime, which can be defined by confiscation, expropriation, governmental incapacity, and the use of violence,” Guillermo Barrios, dean of architecture at the Universidad Central in Caracas, told Anderson.
An article in yesterday’s Boston Globe, “Design for Acrimony,” detailed recent strife between the principals of Office dA, Nader Tehrani and Monica Ponce de Leon, including accusations of inappropriate withdrawals of office funds and changing the locks of the studio. The Globe reporter spoke with Tehrani, but Ponce de Leon, the Dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan, did not agree to be interviewed. In response to the article, de Leon sent AN this statement:
“Nader and I have been working together for a long time. The Boston Globe article is grossly inaccurate and one sided. I did not give an interview to the Globe and I did not make any of the statements attributed to me. I did not use my majority stock to terminate his position with Office dA. This a small business dispute and the matter is scheduled for arbitration before the end of the month. Despite the dispute, Office dA continues to thrive.”
Both sides agree that the matter will be settled by arbitration by end of month.