Charles Dickens would have been 200 today. Among the bicentennial celebrations of the noted Victorian writer, the Museum of London has been hosting an elaborate Dickens and London exhibition including a Dickensian street scene designed and built by set designer Simon Costin for its City Gallery. The “fantastical wintry vision of 19th century London” made entirely of cardboard and lit with hundreds of LED lights includes quite an array of Victorian buildings and winding alleyways. According to Costin, “My intention is to create a fantasy vision of London as it would have been glimpsed by Dickens on his nocturnal wanderings through the city. His essays are extremely evocative and I am using the text as my starting point and things will grow and develop from there. He has said that he felt like a child in a dream, ‘staring at the marvellousness of everything’. It is that marvellousness that I want to recreate.” The window display closes this month, but if you’re in London, the MoL’s Dickens show keeps going through June. (Via Creative Review.)
But it turns out Dickens had his own eye for design as well. Hilary Macaskill recently wrote in the Guardian that the Victorian author had quite the penchant for interior design. She cites a 6,000 word article (you can become amazingly descriptive when paid by the word) he wrote about wallpaper and other decorations, where he remarks on the design of American wallcoverings from his recent visit in 1842 along with his own designs for wallpaper. Even in his home at 48 Doughty Street, Dickens enjoyed crafting the interior spaces down to the shade of pink trim and a set of decanters he picked up for “slight bargains.” Read the entire article here and check out a slideshow of his home here.
We here at The Architect’s Newspaper always appreciate unfettered access when it comes our way, but today we’re unwitting holders of the hottest ticket in town. This morning you couldn’t get any where near City Hall without a business card that says you work nearby. Turns out we landed front row seats to the ticker tape parade and City Hall ceremony celebrating the NY Giants Superbowl victory. Now, how do we relate this to urban planning and architecture…
Yoshiko Sato, an architect and educator who was committed to repairing the world through design, died on Sunday in New York City after a battle with cancer. Sato was born in Tokyo to parents who studied engineering and design, which sparked her interest in science and the arts. Following a tour of Europe to study art and design, the Tokyo native settled in New York in the early 1980s and continued her education at Parsons School of Design. Her professors Billie Tsien, Robert MacAnulty, and Laurie Hawkinson quickly recognized her talent and encouraged Sato to move toward architecture. She transferred to the Cooper Union where she continued her studies under John Hejduk, Toshiko Mori, Tod Williams, and Peter Eisenman, graduating in 1989. In 1996, she received a Masters in Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design where she explored architecture and urban design under Raphael Moneo and received honors for her thesis on rebuilding Kobe, Japan after a devastating earthquake in 1995.
Sato’s professional career in New York bridged architecture, art, and design across a broad range of scales. She operated the Morris Sato Studio with her husband and design partner Michael Morris, exploring the ethereal nature of design as represented in the award-winning retrospective exhibit Shiro Kuramata, 1934-1991 and in her installation LightShowers. She won further accolades for her personal and comprehensive exploration in a pair of houses recently completed on Shelter Island.
Returning to education, Sato was appointed to Columbia’s GSAPP in 1999 where she directed the Japan Lab in Architecture. Her passion for both sustainability and exploration into outer space were clear in her work, including a collaboration with GSAPP and NASA to create Space Habitation Modules.
Sato is survived by her husband, mother, and sister Noriko Oguri of Yokohama, Japan. The staff at The Architect’s Newspaper sends our condolences to her family, friends, and colleagues. Those who wish to honor the memory of Yoshiko Sato may donate to the Japanese Red Cross Society. Condolences may be sent to Morris Sato Studio, 219 East 12th Street, 1st Fl., New York, New York 10003 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jan Staller: Heavy Duty Landscapes
ISE Cultural Foundation
Through March 2
Jan Staller: Heavy Duty Landscapes, an exhibition curated by Marc Freidus, at the ISE Cultural Foundation, features sixteen large format photographs selected from series completed by Staller during the past seven years. Roadsides, recycling plants, and construction sites like the one featured in Pilings, Flushing, Queens (above) are the types of overlooked landscapes Staller addresses in his work. Through his lens we see the unexpected beauty of harsh, chaotic industrial sites and objects softened by their natural surroundings, as in Tank Car In Snow, Port Reading, New Jersey (below).
With Super Bowl XLVI charging towards the end zone like a wide receiver under pursuit, it’s Indianapolis’ time in the national spotlight. The city has been reinventing itself around sports and specifically the biggest game in football, and it’s certainly showing, with a massive new hotel by HOK and an expanded convention center by Ratio. Emily Badger recently tackled the building boom over at Atlantic Cities and Aaron Renn argues at the Urbanophile that pursuing a sports strategy has been a touchdown for the city. Among the big plays the Circle City has revealed: in this year’s Super Bowl Village a 95-foot-tall, 800-foot-long zip line carries football fans careening through downtown.
If you’ve managed to snag one of those coveted tickets to the game, or if you’re just hanging around the city for the fun of it, be sure to check out local blog Urban Indy’s write-ups of how to get around the city without a car and the best in transit-accessible night life. And try out that zip line…if you dare.
Norman Foster, who, as writer Mark Lamster has noted, “even in his 70s, has the look of a heavy in a Guy Ritchie film,” skis, sketches, and visits his childhood home in Manchester, England, in the film How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster?, a documentary produced by the architect’s wife that screened on January 25, at the IFC Center. Directed and dreamily photographed by Norberto Lopez-Amado and Carlos Carcas, the film moves seamlessly between irresistible images of Foster’s buildings, and the man himself, dashing between projects, reflecting on his career, and earning praise from scriptwriter Deyan Sudjic on everything from his work ethic to his wardrobe. “Everything inspires me,” says Foster early in the film. “Sometimes I think I see things others don’t.”
The Architect’s Newspaper has learned that curator and gallerist Henry Urbach will become the new executive director of the Philip Johnson Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut, a National Trust for Historic Preservation property. Urbach succeeds interim director Rena Zurofsky, who took the reins following the departure of executive director Christy MacLear in the fall of 2010. Read More
Layered SPURA: Spurring Conversations Through Visual Urbanism
Sheila C. Johnson Design Center
Parsons The New School
66 Fifth Ave.
Through February 25
The Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA) that occupies 14 square blocks on the Lower East Side has remained one of the largest underdeveloped city-owned parcels of land for more than 40 years. Very few of the originally-planned buildings came to pass, and vast parking lots created by slum-clearance on the south side of Delancey Street symbolize a hotly contested renewal plan. Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani and students of the New School’s City Studio have spent three years investigating the complex issues surrounding the site, and in an exhibition highlighting their research and artwork they propose to instigate a new grassroots conversation rather than a top-down planning vision.
Stephen Cassell, principal of Architecture Research Office, has been elected Chair of the Van Alen Institute Board of Trustees. Cassell takes the reins from Abby Hamlin, president of the real estate development company Hamlin Ventures.
Gretchen Bank, who currently serves as the Marketing & PR Committee Co-Chair at AIA New York, steps into the position of Director of Business Development & Marketing at Cosentini Associates, effective February 6.
Architect and New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) alumnus Peter J. Romano has joined NYIT’s Board of Trustees. With his wife, Jane, Romano established an endowed scholarship fund for students attending NYIT’s School of Architecture and Design.
The bathroom fixtures company Duravit has appointed Frank Richter to succeed Franz Kook as Management Board Chairman; Kook has retired after 41 years with the company.
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