Freshly anointed “Design Mind” of the year by the National Design Awards, Michael Sorkin dazzled the full house at the annual graduation conference hosted by SVA’s Design Criticism MFA program. Sorkin startled the audience to attention with his opener, “Our world is going to hell!” and then never let up. Presenting concepts for self-sustaining cities, the architect/professor/gadfly took a break from urban planning to critique some other types of design. “Get ready for the worst graphic design of the day,” he said, clicking to a the logo of his employer, The City College of New York, and its weirdly gargantuan “the.” Following his presentation, Sorkin and moderator John Hockenberry debated the appropriateness of a request Sorkin had received to write a good review of a recent tour on TripAdvisor…from a guide who had just taken him through the Dharavi slum in Mumbai. In vintage Sorkin style, the Design Mind lamented, “Everything is being assimilated to a system of consumption!”
Are you eager to put your architectural design skills to the test? Here are some exciting upcoming competitions that will be sure to present you with the type of challenge you’ve been waiting for. AN‘s editors have combed through our online listing of architecture and design competitions to bring you five of the most interesting competitions happening right now. If you’d like your competition to be included in the listing, please submit it here.
Architecture at Zero. A competition for zero net energy architecture, Architecture at Zero is open to students and professionals in pursuit of energy efficient design. Presented by Pacific Gas and Electric Company and AIA San Francisco in partnership with the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, the competition invites designs for a new, 150 unit mixed-use residential apartment building in San Francisco that is as close to zero net energy as possible. The structure must consist of affordable and market rate housing, and include a ground floor neighborhood-serving grocery store. $25,000 in prize money will be awarded. There will be at least one award for a student entry and one for a professional entry.
Submission Deadline: October 1, 2013.
Is Anthony Weiner two-timing New York City? If you looked at the mayoral candidate’s website in late May, you might wonder whether he wants to lead parades in the Big Apple or the City of Steel. Perspicacious political reporter Michael Barbaro of the New York Post discovered that a backdrop image on Weiner’s website was not a view from Brooklyn across the East River, as it may seem on first glance, but rather a shot from the Robert Clemente Bridge leading into downtown Pittsburgh. Oops.
Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit
4454 Woodward Avenue
Before his passing at the young age of 57, Los-Angeles based artist Mike Kelley created an exact duplicate of his childhood home in the Westland area of Detroit, on-wheels. The artist intended to use the mobile-home as a community center, it’s rooms dedicated to hosting local events and providing community services and education programs, save for the two-story basement, which he would close to the public and use as his private underground studio. Kelley was never able to use his studio. He tragically committed suicide before he could ever see his vision come to life, but his artistic legacy lives on. The mobile home, which provides a solid example of the architecture of working-class neighborhoods in the American Midwest, was wheeled to The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit where it has been transformed into a center for community programs, just as Kelley intended.
Valerie Hegarty: Alternative Histories
The Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway
Valerie Hegarty: Alternative Histories is part of a series at the Brooklyn Museum that asks artists to stage the museum’s Period Rooms with site-specific art. In Hegarty’s work, featured in the Cupola House parlor and the dining room, she explores themes of colonization, Manifest Destiny, and repressed histories. Her display in the Cupola House includes a Native American patterned rug and portraits of George Washington and an anonymous Native American Chief. The rug looks to be tattered with unkempt plants and roots growing over it and the portraits appear to be engaged with one another. In the dining room, 19th-century still-life paintings come to life with fruit overflowing from their frames and being attacked by black three-dimensional crows, referencing Alfred Hitchcock and segregation, among other cultural themes.
While Santiago Calatrava’s soon-to-bo-soaring transportation hub at the World Trade Center is just not starting to rise from the ground, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has given us a glimpse of what’s been going on underground, complete with the classic articulated ribs that make Calatrava’s train stations so dynamic. And look at all that marble! Sure beats your standard New York City subway stop. This view is actually part of the east-west connector that will eventually be lined with retail shops.
A. Quincy Jones: Building for Better Living
The Hammer Museum
10899 Wilshire Boulevard
Through September 8
Archibald Quincy Jones (1913–1979) was a Los Angeles–based architect known both for the glamorous homes he designed for actors like Gary Cooper, as well as his dedication to the redevelopment of middle-class housing using effective, innovative, and sustainable building methods during the 1950s and 60s. His 5,000 built projects were centered on the premise of “better living” and “greenbelt planning.” He experimented with materials like plywood, steel, and masonry block construction and intentionally built in locations where his buildings would have access to natural light, air, ventilation, and views. This exhibition is presented as a part of Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A. The documentation on view—including original architectural drawings taken from the architect’s personal and professional archive, a case study house model, and vintage photographs—highlights a variety of Jones’s projects, including community developments, churches, libraries, restaurants, residential homes, work spaces, and schools.
The rumor-mill has been churning non-stop over LACMA director Michael Govan’s and architect Peter Zumthor’s plans for the museum. Basically it looks like they are planning to take LACMA apart and start over; an effort that failed when attempted by Rem Koolhaas and OMA back in the early 2000s. The full scope of the plans will be unveiled in June, with LACMA’s exhibition The Presence of the Past: Peter Zumthor Reconsiders LACMA. But for now we’ve gleaned that under Zumthor’s plan, not only would there be a new indoor/outdoor art park, but four of the museum’s midcentury structures would be replaced by “curvaceous modern glass structures.” That basically includes everything but the Bruce Goff pavilion and Renzo Piano’s new structures. Let’s see if the second time’s the charm.
Depending on your tendencies toward miracles and/or conspiracies, you may have done a double-take if you saw J.C. Penney’s photographs of its Michael Graves-designed Stainless Steel Teapot. An online opinion that the kettle’s profile evoked Adolf Hitler saluting caught fire… and the now-backordered kettle will be available again on August 28.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY
Through July 7
Sopheap Pich is a contemporary Cambodian painter and sculptor known particularly for his unique rattan and bamboo sculptures. He uses these two culturally meaningful materials to create organically flowing, three-dimensional, open-weave forms. Most of his works emulate the naturally fluid forms of human anatomy and plant life. For example, “Morning Glory,” a mesh sculpture inspired by the blooming vine that served as an important source of nourishment for the Cambodian population during the 1970s, gently slinks across the floor before gracefully opening into a delicate flower. This exhibition features ten of the Cambodian artist’s most important works, which appear to be weightless, but deliver deep and complex statements about culture, faith, nature, the rich, and the sometimes-tragic history of Cambodia.