About 10 years ago, the city of St. Petersburg, Florida started talking about tearing down one of its most well-known piece of architecture: a 1970s-era, inverted pyramid at the end of a city pier. The city would then replace that pier head with a more modern, but still architecturally significant, statement. So, a few years back, a design competition was launched, and it resulted in some of the most ambitious designs we’ve ever seen from a competition like this.
A lush green park reaching over the Eisenhower Expressway. Bus rapid transit connections. Economic invigoration for the North Lawndale neighborhood.
Congratulations to Nervous System, whose Kinematics Dress was just acquired by the Museum of Modern Art (a prescient, pre-emptive move that might keep the curators of the Metropolitan Museum‘s Costume Institute awake for nights to come). While the physical product is certainly a head-turner, it’s the underlying technology that’s the true wonder—and maybe of greater interest and implication to architects.
Up-and-coming architect Frank Gehry recently sat down with the New York Times to discuss his Guggenheim museum under construction on Saadiyat Island near Abu Dhabi. The eccentric or idiosyncratic or whimsical structure totals 450,000 square feet, making it 12 times larger than the Guggenheim in New York. The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi is defined by multiple cones that Gehry says were influenced by teepees because of how they remove hot air. The design is also supposed to evoke the domes of mosques around the Middle East. Although that’s a bit harder to discern.
On November 30, the Arts Council New Orleans launched LUNA Fête, a large-scale, outdoor light and sound installation that can be experienced free by the public at Lafayette Square. The centerpiece of the event is a projection mapping display by French art group La Maison Productions that transforms the Crescent City’s former city hall (Gallier Hall, 1853) into a neoclassical canvas. The nine-minute animated work plays on the columns and contours of the Greek Revival edifice with a richly layered spectacle inspired by the music and cultural history of New Orleans.
This Fall, I served as special media correspondent for The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat‘s September symposium in Shanghai. The topic was “Future Cities: Towards Sustainable Vertical Urbanism,” and among the many architects, engineers and other tall building types I interviewed was Ole Scheeren—founder Büro Ole Scheeren and former director at OMA.
Whatever you may think of video games (new media art form, societal ill, lame waste of time) there was no avoiding them in downtown Denver this summer. From June 7 to July 26, three blocks of Champa Street between 14th Street and the 16th Street Mall were transformed into one big video arcade. Known as Oh Heck Yeah, the project assembled local and national arts groups and businesses to activate this stretch of turf with a variety of programming centered around a series of custom designed, family friendly video games. Designed by Denver-based creative teams Legwork Studio and Mode Set, the games were played on the Theatre District’s giant LED screens.
Al Jazeera has launched Rebel Architecture, a six-part documentary that profiles lesser-known architects who are using their design skills “as a form of activism resistance to tackle the world’s urban, environmental and social crises.” These designers aren’t building glass towers for the global elite, but schools, cultural spaces, and homes for everyone else. And they’re often doing it in legal gray area. Read More