[Editor's Note: The following are reader-submitted responses to the editorial “Acceptable if not Noble” (AN 03_04.30.2014_SW), which considered the imminent demolition of John Johansen’s Mummer’s Theater in Oklahoma City and the renovation of Ulrich Franzen’s Alley Theatre in Houston. 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 email@example.com. ]
There were local groups working hard to preserve and repurpose the Mummers Theater and conceptual plans put forth that incorporated the existing theater into a larger cultural and commercial mixed-use complex. My father supported and encouraged these efforts as an important and necessary evolution of this building, and architecture in general, to reinvent itself by adapting and embracing new ideas and technology.
Since arriving in North Texas to take up the job of Dallas Morning News architecture critic, Mark Lamster has been under a trial by fire, suffering scrutiny and criticism for everything from his Yankee origin to his unsympathetic take on the city’s built environment. Well, local opinions seem to be warming a bit to the sharp-tongued scribe. In a recent piece in the Dallas Observer, Charles Schultz went so far as to praise how quickly Lamster has come to understand Big D’s development landscape and the insider track around its so-called zoning regulations. Schultz even showed a little contrition for a previous quip: “I apologize for calling him ‘Mark Lamster, New York Pinhead’ when he first showed up.”
Tales of Two Cities: New York & Beijing
1 Museum Drive, Greenwich, CT
Through August 31
The Bruce Museum’s newest exhibition examines two of the world’s greatest art capitals: New York and Beijing. The show compares works by five New York–based artists and five Beijing-based based artists. The ten creators have been engaged in five different global, cross-cultural, artistic dialogues over the course of two years via email, Skype, and in person, sometimes with translators, about issues ranging from political and social upheaval, the concept of global culture, and questions about materials and techniques.
Designing for Disaster
National Building Museum
401 F Street NW, Washington, D.C.
Through August 2, 2015
The National Building Museum’s newest exhibition, Designing for Disaster, will explore how communities assess risks from natural hazards and how we can create policies, plans, and designs that create safer, more disaster-resilient communities. The two central questions that the exhibit addresses are where and how we should build.
With intense speculation about Hernan Diaz Alonso assuming the deanship at SCI-Arc, academic hiring season is in full swing. But don’t worry, there are so many more deanships up for grabs—Columbia, Cooper Union, University of Kentucky, MIT, among others. The architectural academy is about to go through a major personnel shuffle.
Sopheap Pich: A Room
Indianapolis Museum of Art
4000 Michigan Road
Through August 24
Among the currently running exhibitions in the Indianapolis Museum of Art is a bamboo installation that embodies the essence and culture of Cambodia. Entitled A Room, this brainchild of acclaimed Cambodian contemporary artist Sopheap Pich furnishes the Efroymson Family Entrance with approximately 1,200 bamboo strips. The bamboo strips, both natural and artificial, are arranged into a circular curtain that extends 40 feet from the floor to its peak. The area inside the bamboo curtain measures 26 feet in diameter and is illuminated by natural light filtered through or between the bamboo pieces, making it an ideal location for visitors to meditate. Pich is distinguished by his consistent use of bamboo and rattan strips in his art installations. In this particular case, the light coming through the bamboo strips emulates the sensation of standing in a bamboo forest in Cambodia.
No Further West: The Story of Los Angeles Union Station
Los Angeles Public Library, Central Library
630 West 5th Street, Los Angeles, CA
Through August 10
Known as the “Last of the Great Railway Stations,” Los Angeles Union Station receives due recognition with the exhibition entitled No Further West: The Story of Los Angeles Union Station. Organized by the Getty Research Institute, the exhibition will span from the station’s construction in 1939, when its construction became an incidental platform for racial issues of the era, to today, when it serves 60,000 commuter passengers daily. Photographs, architectural drawings, and other archival items will all relay the story of the station’s journey from a basic transportation hub to an important centerpiece of Southern California architecture. The Los Angeles Public Library—an iconic cultural centerpiece itself—hosts the exhibition until August 10.
In one of AN‘s many visits to offices around the West Coast we recently stumbled upon a true gem. Apparently the dog whisperer, Cesar Milan, is hoping to build an estate for himself in Santa Clarita, north of Los Angeles, that would include the world’s largest dog park, a home for his foundation, the Dog Psychology Center, a dog track for training rescued dogs, and villas for pet owners to stay when they’re treating their dogs. The project is still seeking funding, but well keep you posted if this one gets its, ahem, legs.
Pompeii: The Exhibition
California Science Center
700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles, CA
Through January 4, 2015
Before its destruction, Pompeii was one of the most vibrant and modern cities of its time. Now on display at the California Science Center, Pompeii: the Exhibition is a full-scale display of over 150 artifacts that illuminate the city’s cultural import. On loan from the Naples National Archeological Museum are garden frescoes, marble statues, and religious altars and shrines.
It appears our friends at engineering firm Buro Happold, which just moved their offices to Downtown Los Angeles, are experiencing some of their own moves. Chief engineers Greg Otto and Sanjeev Tankha have taken their talents to Walter P. Moore, a Santa Monica firm hoping to expand their design expertise and research capabilities. In other moving news, after ten years wHY Design’s founding partner Yo Hakamori has left the firm for DesignARC. And over in New York our friend Dung Ngo has announced he’s leaving Rizzoli. No word why at this point, but according to Ngo the parties are leaving “on the very best of terms.” If only all breakups were as amicable.
Inside the Palace of Fine Arts: Cosmopolitanism at the 1904 World’s Fair
Kemper Art Museum, Washington University
1 Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO
Through August 3
As part of STL250, a region-wide celebration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of St. Louis, the Kemper Art Museum at Washington University presents Inside the Palace of Fine Arts: Cosmopolitanism at the 1904 World’s Fair. This exhibition brings together a selection of artworks from the Museum’s permanent collection that were on view at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition, along with related works, to explore the role of the World’s Fair in relation to local aspirations to turn the city into an international cultural center. The show features such artists as Jean Charles Cazin, Frederic Edwin Church, Charles François Daubigny, Narcisse Virgile Diaz de la Peña, and Jozef Israëls.
Are you heading to the AIA Convention? Come visit The Architect’s Newspaper at booth 4940. Meet executive editor Alan G. Brake and Midwest editor Chris Bentley from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. Relax in design classics provided by Carl Hansen & Son. Recharge your phone. Have a coffee or water on us. Network with friends and colleagues. Or just wave! See you in Chicago!