Eavesdrop NY 01

East Coast, Eavesdroplet
Friday, January 22, 2010
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Sutton Scarsdale Hall is looking to fill its walls with something. Anything. Please. (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Pimp Our Ruins
Formula for architectural mischief: Start with a fabulous ruin. Then add a public entity with oversight of fabulous ruins, which, in turn, summons a quirky arts organization to devise a competition to do something useful with said ruin in peril. Governors Island? Nope. Think England: The fabulous ruin is Sutton Scarsdale Hall, a dilapidated wreck of a structure in the countryside of Derbyshire. The public entity is English Heritage, which watches over Stonehenge among other oddities, and the arts organization is something called the Centre of Attention. The 1724 Georgian hall was stripped to its foundation in 1919, and some of the interior paneling ended up in the Hearst Castle and at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, although apparently there are still “traces of sumptuous plasterwork.” (Don’t miss the ha-ha ditch on the picturesquely wrecked grounds.) The Centre of Attention has called for proposals to transform the stone shell into “a pavilion of post-contemporary curating.” If that’s your cup of tea, dive right in.

Saarinen’s Punch List
In the exhibition Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future at the Museum of the City of New York, there is a peculiar document among the Finnish architect’s personal ephemera on display. It’s a marriage proposal to his second wife, Aline, in the form of a checklist in which he rates her and several other women on categories including beauty, sex, and support of her husband’s career. It’s not unlike the way some architects weigh the pros and cons of a number of possible building schemes. We assume that Aline—an accomplished art critic, author, and television reporter—was amused. The exhibition closes January 31.

Color Me Opaque

Color authority Pantone has selected 15-5519 Turquoise as the 2010 color of the year. Thank god that’s sorted out. But apparently, no decision has been made on which media company will be awarded the contract to be the AIA’s official publication. Will Architectural Record renew, or will it go to one of the other two competitors who made the shortlist? Now we hear that we won’t hear until the board meets again in February. Frankly, we’re feeling rather teal about the whole business. [Ed.: This was published in print prior to the decision in, uh, January. So much for those sources, Sarah.]

Send paint chips and tea leaves to shart@archpaper.com.

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