The California AIA’s biennial Monterey Design Conference is on the next two days—September 27th and 28th—at Asilomar, the glorious Julia Morgan– and John Carl Warnecke–designed center on the Pacific Ocean in Pacific Grove. The conference will feature lectures by Thom Mayne, Marlon Blackwell, Thomas Phifer, Kengo Kuma, and AN board member Odile Decq.
But first up this morning was Greg Otto from Buro Happold who presented various Happold projects that were created using a multi-disciplinary approach and discussed design and legal issues around responsibility and how these “stress traditional design assumptions.” Otto also discussed his ongoing New York projects with Jeff Koons who wants to make large steel structures look “like marshmallows.”
Foster + Partners likes to think of itself as a high-design firm with glamorous projects all over the world. But the banal rendering accompanying this week’s announcement of a new 19-story, “luxury” residential tower, 551 West 21 Street, belies their design skills. Could it be that they have a two-tier design strategy in their office where glamorous cultural institutions get “Sir Norman” and commercial towers get, well, something less?
The 2013 Lisbon Architecture Triennale‘s emphasis on active workshops, networking and “research” projects rather than architectural set pieces often plays as live performative tableaus. The public focus of the exhibition is indeed an elevated stage in the city’s Praca da Figueira (Square of the Fig Tree) where architects are performing plays, encouraging civic engagement with public performances, and programming research workshops. Performance is also the operative scheme in another triennial initiative, The Institute Effect, that takes place the city’s Museum of Design.
I wrote in my first post from the Lisbon Architecture Triennale Close, Closer that it’s the first international exhibition that does not need or even want outside visitors. The exhibition’s organizer and head curator, Beatrice Galilee, downplays installations and object-making in favor of active workshops, networking, and “research” projects aimed primarily at residents of the Portuguese capital.
The Lisbon Triennale, Close, Closer, is the first architecture exhibition that does not need, nor even want outside visitors. In recent years, the relevance of the international exposition in a defined physical boundary has been questioned, given the energy and expense (particularly in Venice) involved in putting the event together and the ubiquity of digital display and information dissemination. Why not, many people argue, just do the whole thing on line and open it up to the whole world rather than forcing visitors to trek to expensive cities and countries? Lisbon’s Close, Closer will have a tremendous online presence, but, more to the point, the curators of the exhibition, under the overall guidance of British curator Beatrice Galilee, have downplayed expensive formal installations in favor of workshop, networking, and research projects.
AN‘s popular Facades+PERFORMANCE conference series is quickly becoming the most important event focused on the fast-paced changes taking place in facade technology. The two day conference and workshops, which has also taken place in San Francisco and New York City, is returning to Chicago on October 24th and 25th and will take place at Mies van der Rohe’s IIT campus with a cocktail reception to follow at Rem Koolhaas’ McCormick Tribune Campus Center.
The October 24th symposium will feature German architect Stefan Behnisch who has designed scores of major buildings in Europe and the United States and is known for this elegant, precise, and creative facades. His recently completed Law School for the University of Baltimore,for example, has a sophisticated glass and aluminum curtain wall with an extra layer of glass to reduce noise and horizontal sun shading. He will discuss this and many of his other projects at Facdes+PERFORMANCE in Chicago this October.
In just the nick of time for outdoor summer weekends in New York City, Norton Architecture and Design Books has released a Guide to New York City Urban Landscapes. It’s a concise and beautifully illustrated guide to thirty-eight public spaces that claims to be the “first wide-ranging survey of New York urban landscapes from the first half of the nineteenth century to, well, tomorrow.”
This had been a big year for 42-year-old Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto. He has been the focus of a special design charrette at Rome’s Maxxi Museum and then awarded the prestigious commission for the Serpentine Pavilion in London. Now he been awarded the 2013 Marcus Prize. The prize awarded by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Architecture and supported but the Marcus Corporation Foundation is meant to recognize an architect “on a trajectory to greatness.”
The Municipal Art Society recently commissioned and released four versions of a re-imagined Penn Station. It commissioned Diller Scofidio + Renfro, H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture, SHoP Architects, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) to prepare drawings of what a new terminal would like for the busiest train station in the country.
It has now come to light that actually a fifth concept was prepared but not presented at MAS’s “press conference.” The design by the firm Michael Sorkin Studio builds on MAS’s legendary 1970s protest against the destruction of Grand Central Station. In that protest Jacqueline Onassis famously joined forces with other powerful Manhattanites to stop a proposed Marcel Breuer high rise slated to be built above and across the southern front of Grand Central.
It took only a few seconds for Building 877 on Governors Island—dynamited at various key points—to come crashing down in a pile of sand-colored dust (hopefully with no asbestos)! A group of about 150 lucky New Yorkers, including Raymond Gastil (heading back to his home in Seattle), Margaret Sullivan (H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture), Jonathan Marvel (Rogers Marvel Architects and one of the architect’s of the new Governors Island), Lance Brown, and The Guy Nordenson family, were invited to witness the “implosion” at 6:37a.m. on Sunday, June 9.
On a recent walk down Broadway near the AN offices in Lower Manhattan I was handed a flyer by The Granny Peace Brigade who were protesting in front of a building where several New York City Council Members have offices. The flyer claims in bold letters “High Tech Stop and Frisk: Domestic Drones Coming to Your Neighborhood?” It had an image of a LEAPP Drone made by Brooklyn Navy Yard–based Atair Aerospace who claim their powered paraglider “is a slow-flying, long endurance powered paraglider UAV [Unarmed Aerial Vehicle] platform that is used for ISR [Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance] and distributive operations payload delivery missions,” but that the Brigade believes could be used to monitor for loitering.
There are probably many buildings in New York we would in our fantasies like to see blown up, but that rarely happens in this dense and intricate city. But this Sunday morning June 9 at precisely 7:36 building 877, a twelve-story former-residential structure on Governors Island will be “imploded” and turned into fill for the new adjacent landscaped park being designed by West 8 the Dutch landscape firm. Building 877 is one of the least distinguished buildings on the overbuilt island and will be much more valuable used as fill for a new public park than as a building. In this picture of the building taken just a few months ago before its facade had been taken off the grey blob oozing around the back of the structure is the base of West 8’s new landscape for the island which will open next fall. If you can’t make it to the island, you can watch a livestream of the implosion here.