GENSLER’S GROWING PAINS.  GENSLER’S GROWING PAINS We’re big fans of Gensler’s new downtown LA offices, which open up to a central atrium, keeping employees visually and physically connected. But the firm’s growth has forced it to partially abandon that model, moving extra employees to the decidedly-less-airy upper floors of their building, City National Plaza. Even in the most democratic offices, you can’t escape hierarchy!

 

AIA 2012 Firm Survey: A Bleak Backward Glance.  AIA 2012 Firm Survey: A Bleak Backward Glance  The AIA has released its 2012 Firm Survey, and brace yourself–Cormack McCarthy’s bleakest novel would make for more cheerful reading. The AIA reports that for all the firms surveyed, collective gross revenue dropped 40 percent between 2008 and 2011. In real numbers that’s a decline from $44 billion to $26 billion. Personnel has been cut by one third, with non-billable, non-technical staffers bearing the brunt of downsizing. On a brighter note, the number of LEED AP staff at firms doubled (plenty of time to study!). Projects involving renovations, rehabilitations, and additions increased. And while everyone knows that work outside the U.S. has been keeping many firms afloat, the stats are eye-opening: two-thirds of international billings in the last three years were from projects in Asia, the Middle East, or Latin America.

 

On View> Field Conditions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

West
Monday, September 17, 2012
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Lebbeus Woods' Conflict Space 3, 2006. (Lebbeus Woods)

Lebbeus Woods’ Conflict Space 3, 2006. (Lebbeus Woods)

Field Conditions
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
151 Third Street, San Francisco, CA
Through January 6, 2013

Blurring the distinction between conceptual art and theoretical architecture, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art investigates the conception and experience of space by using the notion of “field” as a reference. Curator Joseph Becker describes the pieces in the exhibition as “spatial experiments,” united by the use of architectural devices to describe a spatial condition. The term “field conditions” derives from the 1996 essay by architect Stan Allen in which he describes a shift from traditional architectural form toward an understanding of systems and networks, a “field” being described by the interconnections of discrete points that constitute the whole. Many works in the exhibition deploy a process of serializing and accumulating, describing spatial qualities through deformation (such as Conflict Space 3, 2006, by Lebbeus Woods, above).

EAT MY DUST.  Nicolai Ouroussoff. (Courtesy Charlie Rose) Former New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff reemerged recently in an unexpected location: the pages of Smithsonian magazine, where Ouroussoff profiled Rem Koolhaas for the venerable publication. Those who read the piece online may not realize that Ouroussoff is one of the writers featured in Smithsonian’s September issue, which marks the debut of the magazine’s sleek redesign initiated by editor-in-chief Michael Caruso. “The main idea was to rev it up,” Caruso told Adweek of his changes to the staid cover, layout, and contribitor’s list. Smithsonian’s monthly print circulation has already risen under Caruso—it currently sits at 2.1 million, giving Ouroussoff’s feature almost twice the reach that it would have had in the Sunday Times.

 

On View> Frank Lloyd Wright and the Prairie School

Midwest
Friday, September 14, 2012
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(Courtesy Art Institute of Chicago)

Utagawa Hiroshige’s Sparrows and Camillia in Snow from 1831. (Courtesy Art Institute of Chicago)

The Formation of the Japanese Print Collection at the Art Institute:
Frank Lloyd Wright and the Prairie School
The Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
Through November 4

Frank Lloyd Wright visited Japan for the first time in 1905, inspired by the country’s pavilion at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. He lived in the country while working on Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel, soaking in Japanese art and culture. It had a lasting impact on his own work, especially the development of the Prairie Style as well as his renderings and presentation drawings. During his time in Japan, Wright became a pioneering collector of Japanese prints, and often supported himself as an art dealer. Clarence Buckingham purchased numerous prints from Wright in 1911 (including Utagawa Hiroshige’s Sparrows and Camillia in Snow from 1831, above), which became the foundation of the Art Institute’s print collection. This exhibition is composed of prints purchased by Wright, photos of an exhibition of his collection he staged in 1908 at the Art Institute, and drawings from Wright’s studio.

On View> Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian House and Pavilion

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
.
(Courtesy Guggenheim / Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation)

(Courtesy Guggenheim / Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation)

A Long-Awaited Tribute: Frank Lloyd Wright’s
Usonian House and Pavilion
Guggenheim Museum
1071 Fifth Avenue
Through February 13, 2013

In the years just before Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum forever altered the face Fifth Avenue, the directors of the museum went on a charm offensive. In 1953, they presented the exhibition Sixty Years of Living Architecture: The Work of Frank Lloyd Wright. The show introduced Wright’s Usonian House to New Yorkers by building the Prairie-style home on the construction site of where the architect’s tour de force museum would soon rise. Now through February 13 the museum presents a scaled-down version of the exhibition, which originally included the Usonian and a dramatic Wright-designed pavilion holding models, drawings, and watercolors by the master. This exhibition, A Long-Awaited Tribute: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian House and Pavilion, celebrates the two structures that won over a somewhat skeptical New York audience to the work of America’s modern master.

Video> Progress at the World Trade Center Site on 11th Anniversary

East
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
.

For the eleventh anniversary of September 11, The Architect’s Newspaper has been reviewing progress at the World Trade Center site. Last Thursday, AN visited SOM’s One World Trade to survey the view from the 103rd floor and check in on construction of the tower’s spire. Friday, a trip to the top of Fumihiko Maki’s Four World Trade on Friday showed the less-publicized view of the site. From both vantage points, the hum of activity—both from construction crews and visitors to the memorial plaza—was readily apparent.

Of particular interest were substantial developments at the Vehicle Security Center, where a new entryway on Liberty Street will send security measures beneath a new St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. It was heartening to read in today’s New York Times that the conflict between Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg over the Memorial Museum, reported here last year, was resolved in time for ceremonies this morning.

For all the talk of delays, an extraordinary amount work has been accomplished. As a tribute, AN has compiled a video montage showing continued progress at the site on this historic day.

LYNN PROJECT SINKS.  LYNN PROJECT SINKS Bummer. SFMOMA, soon closing for several months for its Snøhetta-designed expansion, was hoping to keep things interesting by hiring Greg Lynn to design a floating exhibition in the San Francisco Bay. The project, coordinated with sail maker North Sails, would have included 200 sculptural chairs (made out of carbon fiber—the same material used in America’s Cup boats’ sails) under a large canopy on a large barge, providing clear views of the America’s Cup, which will soon be held in San Francisco. According to North Sails, Lynn may now produce some of the chairs for Vitra instead.

 

SHFT+ALT+DEL: September 7, 2012

Shft+Alt+Del
Friday, September 7, 2012
.

Denver Art Museum has appointed William Morrow as its curator of contemporary art. Morrow was the founding director of the 21c Museum in Louisville, KY, where he gained recognition for developing programming to introduce wider audiences to contemporary art.

NYC-based architect David Katz has launched Katz Consulting, a new branch of his firm that will work with management companies and co-op and condo boards through building, design and maintenance projects.

Trespa Design Centre New York announced the appointment of Steve Manning as President of Trespa North America. Manning comes the building products company Ardex Americas, where he served as president and supervised   North and South American businesses.

Parsons The New School for Design has appointed two new deans:  Anne Gaines as the new dean of its School of Art, Media and Technology and of Alison Mears as dean of its School of Design Strategies. Other Parsons news: Bill Morrish, dean of the School of Constructed Environments at Parsons since 2009, will step down and rotate into a full-time teaching and research position. Faculty member David J. Lewis, principal at Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis Architects, will serve as interim dean during a search for Moorish’s successor.

Have news on movers and shakers in the architecture & design universe for SHFT+ALT+DEL? Send your tips to people@archpaper.com!

Event> Chris Payne’s “One Steinway Place,” Lecture September 13

East
Friday, September 7, 2012
.
Piano frames at the Steinway factory. (Courtesy Christopher Payne)

Piano frames at the Steinway factory. (Courtesy Christopher Payne)

Chris Payne: One Steinway Place
Bonni Benrubi Gallery
41 East 57th Street
New York
Through September 29
Lecture
6:30-8pm
South Street Seaport Museum
September 13

One Steinway Place, the address of the venerable Steinway & Sons piano factory in Astoria, Queens, is also the title of photographer Chris Payne‘s latest show at the Bonni Benrubi Gallery in midtown Manhattan.  The series of large-format photographs are the result of  his days and weeks spent in the factory, to which Steinway gave him full access. Payne captures the unexpected and striking forms, patterns, and textures that emerge when he turns his lens to pianos-in-the making. “A piano is something we all think of and love as a whole, but like anything complex, it is really just a kit of parts, built up gradually out of raw, messy materials. And yet, the deeper I look into its construction, the more I revere it as one of the supreme accomplishments of the human hand and imagination,” said Payne.

On September 13 at the South Street Seaport Museum, Payne will speak about his Steinway project as well as his photographic series about North Brother Island. The lecture (6:30-8pm) is hosted by Open House New York.  For information and tickets, click HERE.

On View> Grete Marks: When Modern Was Degenerate

Midwest
Thursday, September 6, 2012
.
(Courtesy Milwaukee Museum of Art)

(Courtesy Milwaukee Museum of Art)

Grete Marks: When Modern Was Degenerate
Milwaukee Art Museum
700 North Art Museum Drive Milwaukee, WI
Through January 1

Grete Marks was born in Cologne in 1899 to an artistic Jewish family, and she enrolled in the ceramics program at the Bauhaus School in 1920. In 1923 she left the school to marry a young industrialist with whom she founded the Haël Factory for Artistic Ceramics to produce her designs. These works are composed of simple geometric shapes, glazed with striking colors and patterns in the style of Soviet Constructivist painters and showcasing the Bauhaus ideal of uniting industrial mass-production with Modernist aesthetics. Marks’ legacy as a potter was cut short by the Nazi party when in 1935 they declared her artwork “degenerate,” and her avant-garde pottery career ended with the onset of World War II. This will be the first American exhibition to explore Marks’ work and the circumstances that have prevented her name from entering the list of Bauhaus greats.

More images after the jump.

Political Overreach? Lehrer’s Community Center Scrapped

Eavesdroplet, West
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
.
Lehrer Architect's San Angelo Community Center. (Courtesy Lehrer Architects)

Lehrer Architect’s San Angelo Community Center. (Courtesy Lehrer Architects)

Despite the recent opening of LA County’s Grand Park, County Supervisor Gloria Molina generally seems to have it in for contemporary design. Add to her list of architect victims Lehrer Architects, whose striking San Angelo Community Center north of Los Angeles was set to move forward, receiving community reviews and preliminary local sign off. In stepped Molina, who apparently didn’t like the modern look of the project. She killed it immediately. Now that’s power.

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