In life, by all accounts, William Penn, founder of the Province of Pennsylvania, was a good man. In death, however, this portly, English-born idealist has turned nasty—if the good sports fans of Philadelphia are to be believed. But Norman Foster has a plan to appease the spirits.
We are not talking about Jeanne Gang or Mark Schendel, that’s for sure, but their practice, Studio Gang. Word on the streets is that they’re shopping for a new home. If you visit their website, you can see why, as the list of people requires you to scroll through dozens of names. That can only mean one exciting thing: projects are under construction! Just one or two years ago, Eavesdrop was at an office party where the entire firm could’ve comfortably fit in the office’s quaint second story courtyard. What unfortunate timing for the office to grow out of its britches, as one of the new (Gensler-designed?) outposts of Intelligentsia is opening across the street next month.
Takeshi Murata: Melter 2
Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis
3750 Washington Road, Saint Louis, MO
Through April 27
New York–based artist Takeshi Murata will be transforming the facade of the Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis through the installation of Melter 2. Created in 2003, the playful piece of video is being enlarged from its original form in order to fit the museum’s 62-by-18-foot metal facade. Melter 2 is reflective of the vibrant and psychedelic animations that have formed a major component of Murata’s practice. Its colorful floral forms that seem to melt and fuse over the course of the video will be visible once night falls through April 27. The work is the second in the museum’s ongoing series of expansive video-art installations, Street Views.
Frank Lloyd Wright and the City: Density vs. Dispersal
Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street, New York, NY
February 1 to June 1
Frank Lloyd Wright and the City: Density vs. Dispersal will represent the first exhibit resulting from the recent join acquisition of the architect’s archives by MoMA and Columbia University’s Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library. The models, drawings, and films found within the extensive collection will allow the museum to illustrate the tension in Wright’s urban thinking in the 1920s and 30s.
Even as he undertook projects that contributed to the increasingly vertical nature of American cities, he created a radical horizontal vision of urban life known as Broadacre City. The elaborate model of this agrarian metropolis created by Wright and his students will be displayed alongside the architect’s designs for the San Francsico Call Building, Mahattan’s St. Mark’s-in-the-Bouwerie Towers, and a largely theoretical mile-high skyscraper.
Speaking of hotels, 21C Museum Hotels continue to rake in the accolades. We noticed every dang travel magazine has rated the new Cincinnati and Bentonville (aka, Walmart-town) outposts as Super Number One Hotel In America. We jest, but seriously, the point we previously made about good design in Chicago has been successfully executed multiple times now by Deborah Berke Partners in lesser cities, creating destinations for locals and travelers alike.
Lord Norman Foster’s pickle-shaped 30 St. Mary Axe building in London, widely known as “the gherkin,” has been featured in an advertisement for a UK chemist that sells erectile dysfunction pills at £6 a pop. The print ad for Lloyds Pharmacy features the interrogative headline “Lost the perk-in your gherkin,” illustrated with a photo-shopped image of a drooping 30 St Mary Axe. The ad goes on to exhort readers not to “let a hard day stop a hard night.”
Speaking of zombies, two of Downtown LA’s most long-stalled projects appear to be rising from the dead. The mixed-use project revolving around Julia Morgan’s beautiful Herald Examiner Building on Broadway is apparently finally getting underway, now developed by Forest City, and no longer designed by Morphosis. The designer has yet to be revealed.