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.
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.
Archtober Building of the Day #3
The New School University Center
65 5th Avenue, New York, NY
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), the five-story academic building topped with student housing on the southeast corner of Fifth Avenue and 14th Street aggressively embraces its urban setting wearing a vivid zig zag expression of vertical circulation on its sleeve. The AIA New York Chapter held the most recent FitCity conference in its 800-seat auditorium last May. The site was selected for this annual event that brings public health and design professionals together, partly because stairs are the defining element of the structure.
A dramatic 16-story building designed by SOM has continued construction on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 14th Street in Manhattan. The structure will eventually open at the University Center for The New School, and with its Muntz metal (a type of brass made of copper and zinc) and glass facade now in place, most of the activity is happening behind closed doors. Or in this case, on the roof only viewable from neighboring buildings. In late July, crews installed a thin emerald necklace where the building sets back including what appears to be a variety of sedum plants commonly found on green roofs. The building is expected to be complete this fall. In the meantime, read about SOM’s unique approach to expressing circulation on the facade in an AN In Detail report.
In response to Hurricane Sandy, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) launched the Rebuild by Design competition to develop strategies to increase the resiliency of urban and coastal areas in the face of extreme weather events and climate change. According to HUD’s website, the goal of the competition is “to promote innovation by developing regionally-scalable but locally-contextual solutions that increase resilience in the region, and to implement selected proposals with both public and private funding dedicated to this effort. The competition also represents a policy innovation by committing to set aside HUD Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funding specifically to incentivize implementation of winning projects and proposals. Examples of design solutions are expected to range in scope and scale—from large-scale green infrastructure to small-scale residential resiliency retrofits.”
The shortlist of 10 teams—including architects, landscape architects, university groups, developers, engineers and others—has been announced.
Parsons The New School for Design has named Brian McGrath as the new dean of the School of Constructed Environments, the university’s integrated school of architecture, interior design, lighting design, and product design, taking the place of interim dean David Lewis. Educated at Syracuse and Princeton, McGrath is the founder of the urban design consultancy, Urban-Interface, where he explores the role of architecture, design, ecology, and media in cities, and has been an associate professor of urban design at Parsons‘ School of Design Strategies.
“The School of Constructed Environments has a key role to play with respect to contributing research and practical applications of design to address the key issues of our time: rapid urbanization, globalization, social justice and climate change,” said McGrath in a statement. “We have taken an active role in recent post-Sandy discussions, and plan on expanding these efforts so that we can make a important contribution to future dialogues and debates on these topics.”
New York City will be hit by a design storm this May. Along with the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) taking place May 18 through 21 at the Javits Center, The New School is throwing its annual Parsons Festival, May 5 through 24, at locations across the city. Both events feature cutting edge design establishing NYC as a major design capital.
The Vera List Center for Art and Politics at the New School has—under its director Carin Kuoni—been an instigator in drawings links between artistic and design practices and the real world of politics. The Center sponsors symposia, lectures, and exhibitions that draw links that are often crucial and obvious but not discussed by professionals and academics in the design professions. Once again it is highlighting such an issue with a series of discussions, Who Builds Your Architecture?, that connects construction and labor.
If you walk down Fifth Avenue and 14th Street toward Union Square and notice a building under construction with crooked columns, don’t worry—it is not about to collapse. According to NBC New York, the SOM-designed New School University Center, previously detailed by AN, is raising eyebrows from the local community because some of its columns are slightly skewed.
But it’s no mistake. “It’s the most efficient way to carry all of the different structural loads of the building from the top of the foundation, ” Joel Towers, Parsons The New School for Design dean told NBC. The New York City Department of Buildings has confirmed there are no safety issues with the project.
On Friday, the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at The Parsons New School for Design will kick off their annual fall exhibition, Art, Environment, Action! The 11-week interdisciplinary and interactive laboratory, open to the public, includes workshops, lectures, discussions and a wilderness hike through Greenwich Village. A varied group of contributors, from dancers and chefs to designers and scientists will investigate the common premise of how their interactions within the natural world can be used to bring consciousness to the environment.
In the first event of the showcase, the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science will host a map-knitting workshop. Participants will remap a public area in the city using an elaborate handmade camera rigging system along with balloons and kites to capture aerial images of the site below. The images will then be posted online and layered atop existing satellite images of the area. The result is an attempt to use maps as communication and a tool in redefining public areas as a community owned territory.
Rachel Judlowe, formerly arts and design PR guru at Ruder Finn, is partnering up with architecture and design publicist Elizabeth Kubany of EHK PR.
Gensler appoints two principals as new managing directors at its London office: Ian Mulcahey and Duncan Swinhoe, who joined the firm in 2000 and 2004 respectively.
Michael Algiere departs Jones Lang LaSalle to join Cannon Design as principal and leader of the firm’s corporate/commercial interiors practice for the New York region.
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