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.
In Provo, Utah, a new temple is rising, literally, on the site of a disaster. When a devastating fire ripped through the 112-year-old tabernacle in 2010, destroying its wooden interiors and steeples, community members mourned the loss of their historic house of worship. But with the building’s 7-million-pound stone shell still standing, a new plan was devised to transform its remains into a temple. Now the building’s skin, reinforced by shotcrete and steel beams, has been “lifted” 40 feet off the ground on steel and concrete piles.
Five noted teams have been shortlisted from a pool of 18 to renovate and expand the Kimball Art Center (KAC) in Park City, Utah. The firms include BIG/Bjarke Ingels Group; Brooks + Scarpa Architects; Sparano + Mooney Architecture; Will Bruder + Parnets; and Todd Williams Billie Tsien Architects. The center offers exhibitions as well as art classes, workshops, and other educational programs. Plans call for renovating the interior of the existing KAC and constructing a new modern building next door. Each of the proposals will be displayed using augmented reality, photography, and video during the Sundance Film Festival from January 19 through the 29 and a jury will select a winner in February once the public has had a chance to weigh in on their favorites. Construction could begin as soon as mid-2013 with the new wing opening in 2015.
Spiraling Out of Control. Salt Lake Tribune reported that the New York-based Dia Foundation‘s failure to pay the annual land fees for Robert Smithson‘s Spiral Jetty has resulted in the state of Utah’s appropriation of the artist’s famous “earthwork masterpiece.” Dia subsequently released a statement explaining that they were not aware of the pressing payment and are in negotiations with the state to ensure the water sculpture’s preservation. Artinfo digs deeper to find that the problem could have been caused by a computer or clerical error and says the Dia Foundation hopes to have the matter resolved by the end of the week.
Bad Chemistry. According to DNA, Lower Chelsea residents are fighting to stop Alchemy Construction‘s development of a 30-story tower at 31 W. 15th Street. The development firm bypassed standard zoning regulations after securing air rights from the Xavier High School, which will utilize the lower floors as new classrooms and event space. The Lower Chelsea Alliance maintains that construction of the 300-foot tall building is already causing noise and odor pollution and insist the tower will ruin the neighborhood’s aesthetic character.
Good Mixing. Further uptown, the Wall Street Journal exposes the first gourmet food truck with a one-year liquor license. The city has permitted the Turkish Taco Truck in Central Park to serve beer, wine, and cocktails as long as it provides seating and remains parked. Now introducing: better lunch breaks.
Toxicology. The New York Times reveals the National Toxicology Program‘s recent report identifying formaldehyde and styrene as carcinogens. While consumers are at minimal risk due to the low quantities in wood construction materials and plastics, respectively, the chemicals pose a serious threat to factory workers. The industry is attempting to dispute these results, but some manufacturers have already sought alternative production.
As Kermit once declared, “It’s not easy being an architect.” From the 2-feet-too-tall M Cube to the near-destruction of old masters, there seem to be problems around every corner. The story of Clark Stevens is doubly tragic, which Architizer ran today. You see, like many a sad architectural story, Stevens was working on one of his many glorious prairie houses when the recession hit and the client canceled it, and not only that, but there was a considerable squabble over fees, which client did not realize would grow as the size of the project did. After months of struggle a settlement was reached, about the best Stevens could hope for. A little while later, Read More