Boulevard of Broken Bourbon Bottles: Louisville Ponders Its Waterfront Again

A re-imagined Louisville waterfront in the shadow of the elevated Interstate 64. (Courtesy MKSK)

A re-imagined Louisville waterfront in the shadow of the elevated Interstate 64. (Courtesy MKSK)

It’s beginning to sound a bit like a broken record, but for the umpteenth time, the conclusion has been drawn that the riverfront interstate, I-64, in Louisville, Kentucky, is a problem. That along with a lot of other advice—some insightful, some, like, “duh!”—was included in a new $300,000 master plan for the city developed by the firms MKSK, Development Strategies, City Visions, and Urban 1. The more insightful bits include ways of reconnecting Portland and west side neighborhoods with the urban core. The obvious, but still necessary, include the 42 million (that figure is a bit of hyperbole) surface parking spaces. Have you ever flown into Louisville? The downtown looks like a mall parking lot. Mayor Greg Fischer, don’t let this advice fall on deaf ears… again.

Where is that Sculpture? Oyler Wu’s “Cube” Adrift Somewhere in China

Art, Design, Eavesdroplet, West
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
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(Courtesy Oyler Wu)

(Courtesy Oyler Wu)

One of our favorite duos, Oyler Wu, recently completed its biggest installation to date: The Cube, a twisting, glowing steel and wire concoction for the 2013 Beijing Biennale. The dramatic project is now touring China, but when pressed for the latest news the firm admitted that it is not sure where it is. So if you spot a giant cube somewhere in the country, please give them a ring, will you?

On View> The Graham Foundation presents “Chromatic Patterns” through April 5

Art, Interiors, Midwest, On View
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
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(Courtesy Graham Foundation)

(Courtesy Graham Foundation)

Chromatic Patterns
Graham Foundation
4 West Burton Place
Chicago, IL
Through April 5

Judy Ledgerwood’s Chromatic Patterns is a site-specific work that transforms the lower galleries of the Graham Foundation’s historic Madlener House in Chicago. The house was designed by Richard E. Schmidt and Hugh M. G. Garden and built in 1901–02. Judy Ledgerwood is a Chicago-based painter and educator. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award, an Artadia Award, a Tiffany Award in the Visual Arts, a National Endowment for the Arts Award, and an Illinois Art Council Award. This exhibition surrounds the visitor in vibrant colors with a vibrant floral motif that almost mimics the house’s prairie style ornamentation. This installation examines the effect of paint on architecture, specifically the wall covering’s ability to produce new effects and feelings about a space. In this work, Ledgerwood uses ornamentation to change visitors’ perception of the ornamentation in the Madlener House’s lower galleries, highlighting the divergent ways that pattern, color, ornamentation, and surface have been coded, gendered, repressed, and embraced in art and architecture.

The Chicago Spire is One Big Ol’ Water-Logged Bucket Of Foreclosure

Development, Eavesdroplet, Midwest
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
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The Chicago Spire today only exists as a hole in the ground. (Marcin Wichary / Flickr)

The Chicago Spire today only exists as a hole in the ground. (Marcin Wichary / Flickr)

Social media was abuzz recently over the reports by eavesdrop, the WSJ, and other major papers about the biggest recession scab over Chicago: the failed Spire designed by Santiago Calatrava. That Irish pie in the sky developer apparently found someone to bail the project out of its foreclosure. Everyone was all, “It’s back on!” Dear readers, until they start pumping the water out of the big hole in the ground, Eavesdrop is betting against this one.

On View> “Focus: Fred Tomaselli” at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth ends Sunday

Art, On View, Southwest
Friday, March 21, 2014
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(Courtesy Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth)

(Courtesy Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth)

FOCUS: Fred Tomaselli
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
3200 Darnell Street, Fort Worth
Through March 23, 2014

FOCUS: Fred Tomaselli highlights works created by the artist in the past ten years, including his New York Times collages. Tomaselli is known for his work on wood panels where he combines unorthodox materials that are suspended in a thick layer of clear, epoxy resin. The materials used in these pieces range from field guides to marijuana leaves. In Tomaselli’s hands, they form a hybrid of subjects and cultural references. The artist tries to represent the transcendental and utopian capabilities available within art. His work comments on suburbia in the 1960s and 70s and the quest for escapism. The images that are depicted relate to his California upbringing during those decades. Of his work, Tomaselli said, “It is my ultimate aim to seduce and transport the viewer into the space of these pictures while simultaneously revealing the mechanics of that seduction.”

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Letter to the Editor> Bosques of Boston’s Past

A plan for Boston City Hall Plaza by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners from 1961. (Courtesy Pei Cobb Freed & Partners)

A plan for Boston City Hall Plaza by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners from 1961. (Courtesy Pei Cobb Freed & Partners)

[ Editor's Note: The following is a reader-submitted response to a recent article, "Softening Boston’s City Hall." It appeared as a letter to the editor in a recent print edition, AN03_03.05.2014. Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com]

With regard to the proposed landscape interventions in Boston’s City Hall Plaza: This welcome news brings to mind the Illustrative Site Plan prepared by our firm in 1961 (above) to accompany the Government Center Urban Renewal Plan. As our drawing shows, we envisioned the space between Tremont Street and the new City Hall not as a paved plaza but as a quiet lawn crossed by footpaths and populated by deciduous trees, in the tradition of a New England town green.

Continue reading after the jump.

Facebook Likes Gehry and the East Village

East, Interiors
Thursday, March 13, 2014
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(Courtesy Facebook)

(Courtesy Facebook)

Facebook’s New York engineering team now has some sweet new digs, courtesy of Frank Gehry. As the engineers settle into their 100,000-square-foot space in Manhattan, construction crews are building Facebook’s new campus in Menlo Park, also designed by Gehry.

Read More

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Bye-Bye Art Barn: Rice University to Demolish Martel Center Building

Art, Eavesdroplet, Southwest
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
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(Courtesy Glasscock School of Continuing Studies at Rice)

(Courtesy Glasscock School of Continuing Studies at Rice)

Texas art website Glasstire.com has confirmed the rumor that Rice University intends to demolish the Martel Center building—more informally known as the Art Barn. The corrugated metal structure was commissioned by John and Dominique de Menil in 1969 to house the Rice Museum, a predecessor of The Menil Collection.

The utilitarian structure inspired the “tin house” movement that gained some momentum in Houston’s West End neighborhood in the 1970s.

Continue reading after the jump.

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Is that Musk in the Air? Electric Car, Space Guru Has Plans For Texas

Eavesdroplet, Southwest
Monday, March 10, 2014
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Diagram of the Tesla Model S showing its battery pack. (Courtesy Tesla Motors)

Diagram of the Tesla Model S showing its battery pack. (Courtesy Tesla Motors)

Speaking of rumors, Texas Monthly spread the word that Silicon Valley billionaire visionary Elon Musk may be locating facilities for two of his future-looking companies in the Lone Star State. Musk’s SpaceX has been buying up land in Cameron County in South Texas with the implicit purpose of building a space facility on the site to launch an expedition to Mars. In more terrestrial affairs, the South Africa native is also considering building a battery factory in the state for his electric car company, Tesla Motors.

About Face: Nina Libeskind Favors American Folk Art Museum Preservation

East, Eavesdroplet, Preservation
Thursday, March 6, 2014
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Nina and Daniel Libeskind (Photo by TK) and the American Folk Art Museum (Photo by Dan Nguyen / Flickr; Montage by AN)

Nina and Daniel Libeskind (Photo by Mark Forte / Courtesy University of New Mexico) and the American Folk Art Museum (Photo by Dan Nguyen / Flickr; Montage by AN)

Just a week before MoMA made its somewhat ambiguous announcement that the folded bronze facade of the American Folk Art Museum building would be removed and stored—rather than tossed in a dumpster—Nina Libeskind excitedly announced over a lunch in Milan, “I’m going to get some architects together and save the facade!” Nina is known for her powers of persuasion, and Eavesdrop doesn’t know if she actually put her plan into action. If so, it might be the quickest reversal in New York preservation history. While Eavesdrop is glad that at least the facade is being saved, we doubt it will quell the ire directed at MoMA and Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

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Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid the Subject of Controversy for Middle East Projects

East, International
Thursday, March 6, 2014
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Protesters inside the Guggenheim. (Courtesy Gulf Ultra Luxury Faction)

Protesters inside the Guggenheim. (Courtesy Gulf Ultra Luxury Faction)

Nearly 50 activists recently took over the Guggenheim’s spiraling balconies to protest the museum’s planned branch in Abu Dhabi. The protesters, who are affiliated with Gulf Labor and Occupy Museums, dropped pamphlets, rolled out banners, and hung a manifesto to criticize Abu Dhabi’s poor record on workers’ rights.

Continue reading after the jump.

Letter to the Editor> Northern Liberties Ascendant

East, Letter to the Editor
Thursday, March 6, 2014
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The Piazza at Schmidt's by Erdy McHenry Architecture. (Courtesy Erdy McHenry Architecture)

The Piazza at Schmidt’s by Erdy McHenry Architecture. (Courtesy Erdy McHenry Architecture)

[ Editor's Note: The following is a reader-submitted response to a recent feature article, "City of Designerly Love." It appeared as a letter to the editor in a recent print edition, AN03_03.05.2014. Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com]

As president of Philadelphia’s Northern Liberties Neighbors Association, I was pleased to see William Menking review our city’s innovative architectural scene (“City of Designerly Love,” AN 14_12.04.2013).

Yet I was surprised to see my community dismissed as the “troubled surrounding neighborhood” of the Piazza, a large mixed-use development anchored by a central plaza.

Continue reading after the jump.

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