The English architectural editor, author, and founder of the London Festival of Architecture, Peter Murray, is also a devoted urban bicycle activist. Murray always arrives at events in London with a bicycle helmut under his arm because it’s the only way he moves around the city. He believe’s that “cyclised cities are civilised cities” and has organized group rides around Britain and Europe to publicize the need for cities to become more bicycle friendly. To demonstrate that commitment and to promote cycling, Murray and a group of peers are taking a 4,347 mile ride.
The Art Newspaper is out with its latest listing of top exhibitions and museum attendance for 2012 and in the category “Architecture and Design” there are some surprises. MoMA, the first museum in the world to have an architecture department, has led this category for many years and in 2011 as usual had the top three architecture and design exhibitions in the survey. But for 2012 St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum’s first show dedicated to a living architect, Santiago Calatrava: The Quest For Movement, broke MoMA’s monopoly of the category and became the most popular exhibit in the world.
The Century Club in New York recently hosted a memorial celebration of the life of the late architect John M. Johansen organized by his daughter, Deborah Johansen Harris, and son, architect Christen Johansen. Christen, who collaborated with his father on later renovations and additions to various projects, read a touching tribute to Johansen that recalled his series of fast British sports cars and his ability to do “a handstand from a seated position in a lawn chair, or holding himself horizontally from a lamppost when the opportunity arose.” He remembered that John delighted guests to the New Canaan house “by setting his martini down on the window sill and, mid-conversation, vaulting out the window to the lawn below, reappearing moments later through the front door.”
Rem Koolhaas and OMA may have grander commissions and more famous clients (Miuccia Prada?), but probably not a more devoted and long lasting partnership than with David Maupin of the Lehmann Maupin Gallery. The gallerist first commissioned Koolhaas to design a new exhibition space on Manhattan’s Greene Street in 1995 and again when they moved to 26th Street in Chelsea ten years later (there is non-OMA-designed Lehmann Maupin on the Lower East Side). Now the Lehmann Maupin Gallery has asked OMA to design a third gallery, this time in Hong Kong.
Architecture and urban design apps are appearing so fast its hard to keep up with the latest new site to investigate city history and growth. But a new one—Archipelago Town-lines—is the result of a 3 year-long research on three key places: Berlin, Beirut, and Venice. It uses original photo galleries, video, and audio content and interactive data visualization features, as a guide for new urban geography, history, and lifestyle of these three very different cities. These places are then place holders for the analysis of contemporary urban trends, in order to propose a new possibility for growth.
Stefano Boeri—the talented architect, politician, and former editor of Domus—was summarily dismissed this week from his position as Councillor for Culture, Fashion, and Design for the city of Milan. Boeri, who for several years has tried to bring architecture and design into official decision making process, has apparently butted heads with Milan’s Mayor Giuliano Pisapia and has been pushed out the door.
He has, according to one observer of Italian politics, clashed with the mayor “over how much he spent on an exhibition,” who may be using the country’s budget woes as an excuse to sack a potential political opponent.
Boeri was coordinating the upcoming Milan Year of Culture and is not gong without a fight. A petition signed by host of major architects, artists, and cultural workers is being distributed to the press to put pressure on the mayor to bring Boeri back into government.
The latest Shigeru Ban paper tube building has opened at IE University in Madrid, Spain. Elsewhere, Ban built the paper tube Nomadic Museum in New York City on a Hudson River pier in 2007, a Camper retail store in New York’s Soho neighborhood, and now in Christchurch, New Zealand he is constructing an A-Frame cathedral out of the temporary, eminently efficient material. The Madrid University building took only two weeks to build, is based on sustainability objectives, and there was a requirement that it be a temporary construction. It is made of 173 paper tubes held together by timber joints that rest on paper columns.
Oklahoma City just cannot tear down its architectural landmarks fast enough! The city and its developer community have been trying to do away with John Johansen‘s famous Mummers Theater and now David Box, a local developer, wants to get rid of a unique geodesic dome built in 1958 on Route 66. The developer—who claims among other things that the roof leaks and “you can’t just call a normal roofer and say hey we got a geodesic dome here can you fix it”—will give anyone who wants the dome a $100,000 bonus to take it off his property so he can fill it in and “make it safe.” The structure was originally built to house a bank and has been declared eligible to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2002 and was designed by local architects Bailey, Bozalis, Dickinson, and Roloff based on Buckminster Fuller‘s patented dome.
Here at AN we have been hearing from the many fans of GA Global Architecture about the passing of its founder and creative force Yukio Futagawa. His long career as a publsiher had many highlights but it was as a architectural photographer that many feel he was most distinguished. William Stout Books, the great San Francisco architecture bookstore, has posted a tribute to Futagawa who worked with the store for many years. The store staff—a group that gets to see all the best architecture books—writes that he along with Julius Shulman were the two great “masters” of the craft of photographing buildings, particularly in black and white. They point out that the “quality of light in his work was truly unique because of his use of natural light,” particularly in his older books; The Essential Japanese House + Wooden Houses + Japanese Temples: Sculpture, Painting, Gardens and Architecture. The contrast in the black and white photos is really stunning,” they believe, and not unlike that of Aaron Siskind.
A sad but touching note today from Steven Holl informed us that Yukio Futagawa, the founder and impresario of GA Architecture magazine, passed away in Japan on March 5, 2013. Futagawa was 80 years old and was best known as the founder and director of GA Architecture Publishing Group. GA is recognized for seeking out the world’s best architects and projects and presenting them in elegant and intelligent formats (GA Houses, GA Documents) that crossed magazines with book publishing.
It is understandable that GA would be such a powerful and distinguished publishing house since Futagawa was a much respected architectural photographer and, as Holl writes, “a cultural force for fine architecture globally [who] understood that we must think beyond the provincial beyond the national.”
GA will continue to operate under the new leadership of Yukio’s son Yoshio. The family held a private funeral service for Futagawa in Japan on March 10, but if you are in Beijing, Holl will hold a tribute toast for him at the Opposite House Penthouse on March 17 from 7:00 to 8:00 pm.
Lessons From Modernism is the smartest and most compelling exhibition ever mounted in New York (and maybe anywhere) on the influence of nature and the environment in architectural design. This Cooper Union exhibition looks at and analyzes 25 iconic modern buildings from architects like Le Corbusier, Paul Rudolph, Jean Prouvé, and Oscar Niemeyer. Conceived and curated by Cooper Union Professor Kevin Bone, Lessons From Modernism brilliantly demonstrates how these and other important modern architects integrated environmental concerns into their designs and “explores the extent to which these practices have produced environmentally performative and distinctive architecture.”