Going Local.  Courtesy Google Maps We hear that the mighty Pritzker family from Chicago (namely Anthony Pritzker) has built an ultra-large estate in Beverly Hills. A 49,000 square foot chateau, to be exact. We haven’t been able to identify who the architect is, but it’s apparently a firm “from Paris.” What ever happened to hiring locally? The compound brings new meaning to the concept of mega-mansion, but plans for an even larger house of 70,000 square feet for a Saudi prince are taking shape nearby. But maybe this means a sop to a West Coast architect for the next Pritzker?


Renaissance Critic.  Renaissance Critic It’s common knowledge that before Michael Kimmelman became the New York Times’ architecture critic he used to be one of the paper’s art critics. But did you know that before delving into the visual arts, Kimmelman had a passion for the lively arts? He even considered a professional career as a concert pianist. In fact, on his days off you can still find Kimmelman performing, most recently on May 19 and 20 with Bargemusic, a chamber music group that holds concerts on a barge near the Brooklyn Bridge. The pianist in a quartet, Kimmelman was down for a little Hayden, Beethoven, and Mozart. “Hoping people will come to my concerts at Bargemusic,” the critic tweeted beforehand, in what may count as one his few reviews of an actual, if nautical, structure. “Nice program, cool place.”


Profile> Jason Kelly Johnson talks Responsive Building Facades July 27

Friday, June 15, 2012
Jason Kelly Johnson of  Future Cities Lab will lead the workshop "Responsive Building Facades" on July 27.

Jason Kelly Johnson of Future Cities Lab will lead "Responsive Building Facades" workshop July 27.

To get a sense of Jason Kelly Johnson’s vision for buildings of the future, drop by the Buckminster Fuller show on view at SFMOMA through July 29. Johnson’s San Francisco-based studio Future Cities Lab was one of the firms chosen to represent Fuller’s legacy in the Bay Area. You’ll see the motorized model for the HYDRAMAX Port Machine, a waterfront “urban-scale robotic structure” that harvests rainwater and fog, designed by Johnson and his partner Nataly Gattegno—a dynamic concept that makes today’s built environment look positively lazy by comparison.

Better yet, go learn from Johnson firsthand. On July 27 Johnson will explore how technical tools like Grasshopper, Firefly, and Arduino can help tap the potential of  buildings in “Responsive Building Facades,” a special workshop that is part of AN‘s upcoming conference Collaboration: the Art and Science of Building Facades, taking place July 26-27 in San Francisco.

Watch a video about the Hydramax Port Machine project after the jump.

To Russia, With Love.  To Russia, With Love Is Russia the new China? Probably nyet, but there are a couple of projects to watch in Putinland. Rem Koolhaas has locked up the commission to transform a crumbling Soviet-era building into a hip new home for the Garage (pictured), the contemporary art center in Moscow run by Dasha Zhukova. Bankrolling the creation of a 58,000-square-foot kunsthalle, complete with the obligatory café, shop, and “learning center,” is billionaire Roman Abramovich, Zhukova’s longtime boyfriend.


WTF WI-FI.  WTF WI-FI That didn’t take long. We hear that the funds promised for the LA Unified School District’s innovative prefabricated prototype schools by the likes of Craig Hodgetts, Swift Lee and Gonzalez Goodale have been routed instead to updating LAUSD schools’ wifi systems. We know that getting on the Internet without a cord is cool, but more important than shelter from the storm? Say it ain’t so! Now that the program is on hold there is one silver lining. It appears that LA’s charter schools are jumping over themselves to get a prefab prototype. Stay tuned.


On View> The Architecture and Legacy of Pietro Belluschi

Wednesday, June 13, 2012
(Sally Painter)

(Sally Painter)

The Architecture and Legacy of Pietro Belluschi
Oregon Historical Society
1200 Southwest Park Avenue
Portland, OR
Through September 9

Shortly after migrating from Italy in 1922 and graduating from Cornell, Pietro Belluschi began practicing architecture in Portland with A. E. Doyle. He would quickly become one of the most important architects in America, first building churches, homes, and office buildings in Oregon and later throughout the country. Belluschi’s early work in Oregon contributed to the style of Pacific Northwest Regionalism, reflecting the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Arts and Crafts movement as well as the nascent modernist style. In 1951, when he became dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Belluschi continued to innovate in the field of modernism by collaborating with firms on buildings around the country. For the first time, Belluschi’s contributions to architecture will be exhibited along with personal mementos from the Belluschi Family archive.

Bye Bye Blair!.  Blair Kamin. Pulitzer-prize winning Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin had better go hat shopping. He’s got another feather for his chapeau! A super prestigious Neiman Fellowship from Harvard! “My aspirations for the fellowship are straightforward: To return to my job refreshed and refocused, so I can provide our readers with the most sophisticated, discerning coverage of architecture—and, in the process, to demonstrate anew why newspapers should cover this inescapable art,” Kamin told Time Out Chicago. Congratulations Blair. Don’t get tempted to stay on the coast. The Midwest needs you!


On View> Currents 35: Tara Donovan at the Milwaukee Art Museum

Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Unititled, 2008. (Tara Donovan/Courtesy The Pace Gallery)

Unititled, 2008. (Tara Donovan/Courtesy The Pace Gallery)

Currents 35: Tara Donovan
Milwaukee Art Museum
700 North Art Museum Drive
Milwaukee, WI
Through October 7

The work of Tara Donovan demands close reading. By using strict rule-based systems, Donovan accumulates individual pieces of material into installations that defy easy identification. Milwaukee Art Museum chief curator Brady Roberts explains, “Donovan’s process involves selecting one material and finding one unique solution for its construction, whether it’s folding, gluing, stacking, or pressing.” Taking cues from 1960s conceptual artists like Donald Judd and Sol LeWitt, whose works rely on rule-based processes, Donovan obscures her quotidian materials to compose spectacular objects. The exhibition includes several major works including Haze, a 32-foot wall covered in approximately three million straws, Unititled, 2008 on polyester film (detail, above), and Drawing (Pins), 2011 composed of gatorboard, paint, and nickel-plated steel pins.

On View> Edward Burtynsky: Oil at the Nevada Museum of Art

Monday, June 11, 2012
Edward Burtynsky, SOCAR Oil Fields #6, Baku, Azerbaijan, 2006. (Edward Burtynsky)

Edward Burtynsky, SOCAR Oil Fields #6, Baku, Azerbaijan, 2006. (Edward Burtynsky)

Edward Burtynsky: Oil
Nevada Museum of Art, Feature Gallery South
160 West Liberty Street, Reno, NV
Through September 23

One of the most important topics of our time, oil and its industry serve as the departure point for the work of one of the most admired photographers working today. From 1997 through 2009, Edward Burtynsky traveled the world chronicling oil, its production, distribution, and use. Through 50 large-scale photographs, Burtynsky illustrates stories about this vital natural resource, the landscapes altered by its extraction, and the sprawl caused by the development of infrastructure needed to transport it. Behind the awe-inspiring photography is an epic tale about the lifeblood of mankind’s existence in the 21st century. Curated by the Center for Art + Environment, Oil forces the viewer to contend with the scale and implications of humanity’s addiction to energy.

More images after the jump.

On View> Judith Turner: The Flatness of Ambiguity

Friday, June 8, 2012
(Judith Turner)

(Judith Turner)

Judith Turner: The Flatness of Ambiguity
University of Michigan Museum of Art
525 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI
Opening June 14

Judith Turner’s photographs are the subject of the University of Michigan-Museum of Art’s new exhibition The Flatness of Ambiguity. Turner’s work captures architecture through an intense editing process where architecture is reinterpreted through unusual views. Operating from severe angles, the photographs capture the buildings in black-and-white compositions that play with the ambiguity of light, shadow, and tonality. Cropping them to further pull the buildings from their context, Turner abstracts the built landscape, transposing buildings into often unrecognizable flat artworks. Turner’s highly abstract signature style heightens the aesthetic character of her subject matter and reveals visual relationships that are not apparent when experiencing the building in traditional ways, in person or in photographs. This exhibition consists of approximately forty works, which span Turner’s three-decade-long career.

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PROFILE> Bill Kreysler Explores Composite Facades with Joshua Zabel

Fabrikator, Newsletter, West
Thursday, June 7, 2012
Brought to you with support from:
Bill Kreysler of Kreysler and Associates. (Photo Jorgen Gulliksen)

Bill Kreysler of Kreysler and Associates. (Photo Jorgen Gulliksen)

Composite materials, a.k.a. “composites,” are the result of the two different materials being combined but remaining physically and chemically distinct. For over 40 years Bill Kreysler, founder of the Napa County-based Kreysler Associates, has been leading developments in molding and application of composites for architectural use. On July 27 Kreysler and his associate Joshua Zabel will lead a special workshop on how composites are used in facades today as part of the AN‘s upcoming conference Collaboration: the Art and Science of Building Facades, taking place July 26-27 in San Francisco.

After getting his start in manufacturing sailboats, Kreysler founded his own firm in 1982 and brought his knowledge of fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) to bear on  architectural and industrial products as well as large scale sculpture (his workshop boasts three CNC-milling machines). Currently chair of the committee to write Guide Specifications and Recommended Practice for FRP Architectural Products and a founding member of the newly formed Digital Fabrication Alliance, Kreysler is also co-author of Composites, Surfaces, and Software High Performance Architecture with Greg Lynn.

Through lectures and a rare opportunity for hands-on learning, the upcoming July 27 workshop will provide participants with both the creative and technical knowledge to design and prototype composite based building components. Participants will also be eligible to compete in a limited competition to have a small component fabricated full-scale by Kreysler & Associates to be exhibited at ACADIA 2012, a conference on computer-aided design. To register for the Collaboration conference, click here.


On View> Bruno Cals: Horizons through September 28

Thursday, June 7, 2012
(Bruno Cals)

(Bruno Cals)

Bruno Cals: Horizons
1500 Gallery
511 West 25th Street #607
New York
Through September 28

For city dwellers, the horizon line where the earth meets the sky can be impossible to find, hidden by the topography of the skyline. By pointing his camera upward, Bruno Cals repositions the horizon and reframes the built environment in terms of landscape itself. Cals deliberately obfuscates the subjects of his series; the photographs read not as structure but as texture and line.

Continue reading after the jump.

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