Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been attacking Barack Obama lately for trying to bring European Social Democracy to this country. A new book on 44 urban transformation projects in European Union makes us wish “if only!”
The book details some well known projects—the Novartis campus in Basel, the new Bilbao Metro, and Strasbourg’s car park by Zaha Hadid architects—but it also features many lesser known projects that make Europe seem like the most interesting testing ground for transforming aging cities into new livable ones. Developed from a 2010 exhibition by Architecture Workroom Brussels, the book does not have a distributor in this country, so we are loathe to review, but it turns out that the book is designed by New York City-based Project Projects, and they are hosting a launch of the book on Sunday, March 11 from 4-6pm at their office at 161 Bowery on the second floor.
AN is headed out to California for the third year running for one of our favorite architecture events: Palm Springs Modernism Week (February 16-26). Palm Springs–and its surrounding towns, spas and arid California landscape–is home to what the organizers call “desert modernism.” The city is an extraordinary gridded landscape of modern car-ported flat-roofed houses and dozens of iconic homes, shops, and landscapes. The 11-day celebration focuses every year on an outstanding example of residential modern architecture, and this year it will highlight Sunnylands, the A. Quincy Jones-designed mansion (interior by William Haines) for the Annenbergs in nearby Rancho Mirage. The estate is surrounded by an art garden, labyrinth, private nine-hole golf course (currently being restored), and a new visitors center designed by Frederick Fisher. Read More
Tour New York’s design hot spots! Open House New York (OHNY) opens up scores of the city’s most important building for public tours every year, and now it’s doing the same for architect’s offices. OHNY will open a variety of offices for self-guided public tours in four of the city’s most creative design centers: DUMBO, The Brooklyn Navy Yard, Varick Street, and Red Hook.
The first tour of Dumbo (also sponsored by Two Trees Development, the DUMBO Improvement District, and The Architect’s Newspaper) is schedule for Saturday, February 25 from 1:00 to 5:00 pm. You will gain unprecedented access to some of the most creative design firms in New York, but you must sign up on the OHNY website. The day will end with a reception at a Dumbo design space with the participating architects. To see a full list of participating firms and to register, click here.
Anne Tyng, the Philadelphia architect and design professor, passed away on December 27. Born in 1920, Tyng was best known as a close collaborator—and even muse—of Louis Kahn, but she herself was an extraordinary figure. She established her career with theoretical writings that reflected a deep interest in mathematics and design, themes that she explored in Simultaneousness, Randomness and Order, her Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Pennsylvania, and pursued throughout her professional life.
Anne Tyng: Inhabiting Geometry, an exhibition that opened last year at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, was an elegant summation of her theoretical research on design and of her professional and academic career. Several of Tyng’s geometric designs from the ICA show were later exhibited at the Graham Foundation in Chicago, a longtime supporter of her work.
The Architect’s Newspaper will publish a more extensive obituary written by Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss in our next issue.
The World Architecture Festival is wrapping up its fourth iteration and AN has been there since the beginning as official United States media sponsor. We have seen it grow from a small mostly British bash in Barcelona to a truly international competition and trade show with over 1,400 participants from 68 countries. One of the functions of our participation is that I serve as official judge in one of the event’s 15 short-listed categories for best built project (plus there are ten categories for unrealized projects). This year I served with Michigan University’s architecture dean Monica Ponce de Leon and Barcelona architect Fermin Vazquez as jurors in the Civic and Community group. We were asked to select the best of show in the category with the winner going on to the final round where it is considered by a super jury including Michael Sorkin, Jo Noera, Odile Decq (who sadly was stuck in China) and engineer wizard Tim Macfarlane.
We can confirm—although not entirely officially—that New York’s Institute for Urban Design will represent the United States at the 2012 Venice architecture biennale.
The Chair of Institutes Board of Directors Michael Sorkin has told AN that the theme of their exhibition will be loosely based on the Institute’s new open-source program, By the City/For The City: An Atlas of Possibility for the Future New York, that played out recently across New York to enthusiastic crowds. The details of the exhibition are still to be developed by Sorkin, co-board member Cathy Lang Ho and the institute’s director (and former AN Managing Editor) Anne Guiney.
The U.S. Department of State, in a first for the government agency, selected the winning exhibition a full year before the opening of the international exhibition giving the IfUD team time to raise the $300,000 (the State Department has given them $100,000) needed to open in Venice next year.
It is not yet clear who will be the official commissioner aka “meeter, greeter, & spokesperson” of the pavilion, but they are currently looking to create “crowd sourced” events all over la Serenissima and not just inside the official giardini or McKim Mead & White American temple. We send our hearty congratulations and will start hoarding our airline miles!
The Venice architecture biennale is still over a year away but the longer running art biennale will open next week. If you are of the architecture bent there is always a great deal to see and visit at the art biennale. Here is a sampling including images from Real Venice: International Artists help to Save Venice in the abbey of San Giorgio Maggiore to remind you just how special is la Serrininisma. But perhaps the most exciting exhibit at this years biennale is Venice in Venice organized and curated by the irrepressible Jacqueline Miro and Tim Nye (with help from Tibby Rothman) about our Venice! If you are not making it to the Venice Biennale, here are some images to savor!
While many of you –our loyal readers–were partying it up in New Orleans at our AIA New York State party, we were being honored in New York! The Historic Districts Council presented the paper with its Friend in the Media Award at their 12th annual Grassroots Awards in the spectacular in the garden of the Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims in Brooklyn Heights. I was honored to accept the award for our very hardworking staff on Murray Street.
Meanwhile, Ibex, AIANY, YKK, and the Ceramic Tiles of Italy hosted their shindig in New Orleans…
The 17th-century Sospiri Bridge (Bridge of Signs) in Venice connects an ancient prison with interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace. The bridge crosses the Rio de Palazzo that itself slices through the palace and makes a spectacular vista as one crosses the canal bridge on the Grand Canal. This vista has been rudely emblazed for at least the past five years by a giant advertising sign the wraps the palace walls and over and under the beautiful Sospiri bridge.
With architectural discourse today so focused on the impact of digital design, it is hard to remember that 20 years ago all architects talked about was postmodernism. The discussion began with the publication of Robert Venturi’s Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture and Aldo Rossi’s The Architecture of the City but became more focused and intense with the opening of an exhibition devoted to the theme.