Earlier this fall the rapper Ice Cube pleasantly surprised us by turning up in posters promoting the Getty’s exhibition series Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980, a sweeping SoCal round-up that also covers the work of architects and designers. It turns out that before founding the group N.W.A., Ice Cube studied architectural drafting, and in the process he became a fan of Ray and Charles Eames.
In a video just released by the Getty, Ice Cube communes with the designer couple’s famous Case Study #8 house in Pacific Palisades, walking around the exterior to admire the “off-the-shelf factory windows, prefabricated walls” and then kicking back in a 670 lounge chair inside to hold forth on the Eames’ approach of mixing the new with the old, comparing it to sampling in music: ” They was doing mash-ups before mash-ups even existed.” But the most instructive part of the video may be Ice Cube’s decoding of the traffic specific to L.A. freeways…watch for it here:
For more on Ice Cube’s take on design, read his interview with the New York Times.
Jürgen Mayer H.: Wirrwarr
The Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago
Through January 22, 2012
While the Berlin-based architect Jürgen Mayer H. is known for his highly sculptural, honeycomb-like buildings, such as the Metropol Parasol in Seville or the the Court of Justice in Hasselt, Belgium (above), one of his quirky obsessions is not as widely known: a fascination with secret codes and numbers encrypted into patterns. Used by institutions such as banks to ensure that sensitive information such as PINs and passwords are only visible to the recipient, these intricately patterned data sheets are largely unexamined. To Jürgen Mayer H., however, this visual expression of our fear of exposure and desire for protection is fascinating and relevant to architecture.
High Bento. For this year’s Thanksgiving dinner, Inhabitat thought up quite a creative centerpiece: an edible miniature High Line? It’s ingredients include, among others, good old mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. For an additional garnish, simply add enoki mushroom people.
Valuing Education. The Center for an Urban Future is conducting a study on the economic and entrepreneurial importance of New York City’s design and architecture schools. They have set up a survey for practicing NYC architects to share their interactions with these schools, but hurry, the survey only runs through the end of the week. Take the survey here.
Ice Conditioned. Ulan Bator, the Mongolian capital, decided to adopt an ambitious, city-wide air conditioner: an artificial glacier. The $700,000 geoengineering project is expected to cool down the city during the summer while also supplying residents with water. More on The Guardian and The Atlantic.
Building New Delhi. Jane Ridley, professor of history at the University of Buckingham and the great granddaughter of Edwin Lutyens, illuminates some of the personal struggles the celebrated architect faced while undertaking his greatest achievement, designing and building New Delhi. Read at the WSJ.
Geothermal + Batteries. Although lithium isn’t exactly rare—it’s the 25th most abundant element—society still faces challenges keeping up with the demand. According to Treehugger, we might have inadvertently stumbled on a solution.
Postal nostalgia. During the Great Depression, the WPA built a post office with a tile roof, marble steps, and an intricate mural in Venice, CA. The LA Times noted that the historic post office may now close down due to USPS budget cuts, much to the chagrin of Venice residents.
A place for bikes. The number of indoor bicycle storage rooms at offices is slowly increasing throughout New York City. Though expensive to maintain and space consuming, the NY Times asserted the presence of a bike room benefits the real estate industry (by increasing interest) as well as residents.
Biking Memphis. StreetsBlog reports Memphis Mayor AC Wharton has proposed 55 miles of bike lanes to be inserted into existing streets. Local businesses are subsequently concerned about slower traffic.
Parking in LA. The LA Times reported LA Mayor Villaraigosa has announced he wants to build 50 “pocket parks” in the next two years. First on the agenda, is the construction of several parks ranging from 5,000 to 20,000 square feet in Southern Los Angeles that begins next month.
Hadid no diva. Zaha Hadid sat down with Newsweek and Daily Beast editor Tina Brown to discuss her life, her career, and her reputation.
Form follows People. According to the NY Times, there might be a significant mismatch between “the housing New Yorkers need” and “the housing that gets built.” That’s why last monday, various NY architects gathered together to pitch their proposals to city commissioners for artist, musician, and other creative-type housing.
Surrounded by Superfunds. Four of the most polluted water-ways in the country—all declared Superfund sites—are located in the Tri-State area around New York City. WNET’s Metro Focus breaks down of each waterway’s problematic histories and the difficult task of cleaning them up.
3-D Printed. Wired reports that we could be only 2 years away from building circuit boards with 3-D printers. Implications? Printed out PCs, printed printers (if a part breaks, that part can be printed out), inventory-less virtual stores, and easier work collaboration across the country or the globe.
Costco Bonito. While it might be difficult to call a big-box store beautiful, designers at Costco are certainly trying to punch up the retailer’s design in Los Angeles The LA Times has more on the proposed beautification efforts which include adding dark, woodlike metal-slats to the facade.
Calling all archi-writer-types! If you are interested in:
· all things architecture and design
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…then you may be a good candidate to join the team at The Architect’s Newspaper as an editorial intern! AN is a national publication with three regional editions and a dynamic online presence, covering breaking news, reviews, and features on what matters right now in the world of architecture and design.
New Galleries of the Art of the Arab
Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and
Later South Asia
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Permanent galleries opened November 1
After a hiatus of nearly eight years, the Metropolitan Museum’s Department of Islamic Art and its extensive collection—one of the most comprehensive gatherings of this material in the world—will permanently return to view this November in a completely renovated space of fifteen galleries. The suite of galleries was constructed by a fleet of Moroccan craftsmen (in action above) recruited specifically for their experience and the precision of their work. Nearly as impressive as the handiwork of different trades is the team of planners, architects, and scholars who collaborated with them. Nadia Erzini, Achva Benzinberg Stein, and other experts worked with Metropolitan’s own curators to create spaces of contextual authenticity. The galleries are arranged geographically, further highlighting the rich and complex diversity of the Islamic world and its distinct cultures within.
Midcentury American Art and Design
Museum of Arts and Design
2 Columbus Circle
Through January 15, 2012
Crafting Modernism: Midcentury American Art and Design presents the evolution of the design industry spanning 25 years, from the late 1940s to 1969. The show explores the contributions of artists and designers using craft media—defined here as clay, fiber, wood, metal, glass, and alternative materials—within a culture focused on mass-production in the years following World War II. Through their work, designers and craftsmen reacted to the plethora of machine- and mass-produced consumer appliances, furniture and textiles; at the same time a there was a growing consumer interest in the individualistic aesthetic of handmade works. Craft, which spanned the fields of product design to architecture, became a medium for social commentary, philosophy and wit, as seen in the My Mu terracotta vase by Isamu Noguchi (above), an idiosyncratic, three-legged ceramic containing a central cavity that provocatively references the Zen concept of mu, meaning “nothingness.” In addition to Noguchi, the exhibition features the work of Harry Bertoia, George Nakashima, Ray and Charles Eames, and Alexander Calder, among others.
Calm like Rahm. Halloween might be over, but we couldn’t resist sharing this Facebook photo of Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel riding public transit with zombies! The photo was posted with the following caption: “In case of a zombie apocalypse, remember to stay calm like Rahm.” (h/t Transportation Nation)
S, M, L, XL, XXL. The AIA-Chicago has released their latest round of awards and the Chicago Tribune‘s Blair Kamin takes a look at the winners, lauding the range of project scales undertaken by Chicago architects, from a small pavilion to the world’s tallest building.
Tracking LA. While Chicago has zombies, LA County has some cold hard cash. Everything Long Beach reports that eight key transportation projects were awarded $448 million including a 6.7 light rail line that is expected to become one of the busiest lines in the U.S.
Sacred sale. Bankrupt mega-church Crystal Cathedral has found a buyer for their expansive, starchitect-studded Southern California campus (think Philip Johnson, Neutra, and Meier). The LA Times says Chapman University will pay $50 mil for the site, allowing the slimmed-down church to stay and eventually buy back their core building.
Philly reads. In this economy, small book stores—especially architecture book stores—are struggling to keep their doors open. Philly is bucking this trend as the AIA Philadelphia opens up a new shop working with the Charter High School for Architecture and Design in Washington Square.
Lyonel Feininger: Photographs, 1928–1939
1200 Getty Center Drive
Los Angeles, CA
Through March 2012
The American-German artist Lyonel Feininger, famous for his urban and landscape paintings, took up photography in 1928. Already a longtime collaborator with Walter Gropius—Feininger taught printmaking at the Bauhaus for almost a decade while Gropius was director—Feininger turned to the “mechanical” medium to explore the effects of light and shadow, reflections, and night imagery. A majority of his photographs have remained in relative obscurity. The exhibit Lyonel Feininger: Photographs, 1928–1939 at the Getty Center is the first U.S. venue to present a comprehensive collection of his photography.
It’s going to happen when you least suspect it: the zombie apocalypse will be upon us and your life will be in your own hands against the living dead (that’s assuming hours behind a studio desk hasn’t already transformed you into a zombie yourself). Luckily, as architecture-types, we possess special skills needed to defend ourselves from those out for our brains. A fantastic display of anti-zombie ingenuity is on display at the 2011 Zombie Safe House Competition, like the above proposal to retrofit existing urban buildings against a future zombie invasion (with a green roof, no less), and you can vote for your favorite. (Here’s last year’s winner: a floating dwelling sailing the Mighty Mississippi.) This year’s voting ends this Monday—Halloween—when you’ll likely encounter a few rogue zombies wandering the streets.