After going through 9/11, the importance of disaster preparedness and relief hit home with New Yorkers. “Everyone was focusing on the fact that New York had been damaged,” said Lance Jay Brown, AIANY board member and co-chair of the recently formed Design for Risk and Reconstruction committee of the AIANY. “The architectural community was galvanized to respond.” Just coming off a jolt from a rare, if small, earthquake and with Hurricane Irene on its doorstep, New York is once again focused on planning for disaster.
A routine Tuesday afternoon came to an abrupt halt as our desks at AN HQ on Murray Street in Manhattan began to shake, rattle, and roll. As we grabbed our phones, commenced tweeting that we were among the survivors, and ran for the stairs, it appeared that New Yorkers all around City Hall had been suddenly given a recess to hang out in the streets.
It turned out to be the strongest quake in the City since the 19th century at a magnitude 5.9 and was centered in Mineral, VA, about 90 miles from Washington, D.C. where stones fells from the National Cathedral. Buildings were evacuated up and down the east coast from Boston to North Carolina although little damage was reported.
The titan of Titan Street is mighty no longer. On the corner of Titan and 19th streets in South Philadelphia, a robust Frank Furness-designed church has been crumbling for some time, but now the Department of Licensing and Inspections has threatened to tear the building down and send a bill to the owner, the 19th Street Baptist Church. Calls to the church went unanswered—the phone is disconnected. After Naked Philly broke the demolition news on Friday, readers identified the architect as Furness, and preservationists began to rally the troops on Facebook.
The Times Square Alliance has partnered with Spanish collaborative mmmm… as part of an experiment in urban furniture design. The result, Meeting Bowls, is a series of three over-sized semi-spherical capsules that provide seating for up to eight people. Over the course of the next month, these exaggerated forms will invite engaging social interactions along Broadway Boulevard in Times Square. Inside the bowls, there is a feature which allows one to record and share their dialogue via smartphones or laptops. Meeting Bowls will be open from 8:00 a.m. to midnight daily through September 16th.
Lyonel Feininger: At the Edge of the World
Whitney Museum of American Art
945 Madison Ave. at 75th St.
New York, NY 10021
“The ultimate aim of all artistic activity is the building! Let us desire, conceive, and create the new building of the future together. . . [and it] will one day rise towards the heavens from the hands of a million workers as the crystalline symbol of a new and coming faith,” Walter Gropius boldly declared in his 1919 “Bauhaus Manifesto,” laying the foundations for a new architecture and a modern approach to design. Seeking to reunite the artist and artisan together, the founders of the Bauhaus looked to medieval guilds as a model for a new design school that would combine the arts and design under one roof.
To illustrate the manifesto, Gropius selected a woodcut by American-born German artist Lyonel Feininger, titled, “Cathedral,” an abstracted depiction of a late Gothic church. This collaboration marked Lyonel Feininger’s first involvement with the Bauhaus—he would be later hired to teach printmaking—that would continue until the school was closed under pressure from the Nazis in 1933.
It’s almost time to face the mid-August blues, that moment when the back-to-school copy books hit the drug store shelves. Well, there’s still time to cram in a few summer day trips. One item at the top of the list should be a visit the recently landmarked Childs Restaurant building, better known as the headquarters for Coney Island USA. There, the freak shows still reign and Zoe Beloff’s small show on toy theater dioramas has an extended its run till mid-September.
In collaboration with New York-based common room architects, students at Barnard + Columbia Undergraduate Architecture (b+c a) designed a temporary installation to transform student space at the school’s Altschul Atrium.
The Altschul building, a modernist structure built in 1969, sits on the northwest corner of Barnard’s campus facing east towards the Weiss/Manfredi-designed Diana Center, which opened in January 2011. The new center houses undergraduate architecture, studio art, and art history departments and has brought increased movement to the center of campus, including students looking for space to sit, read and socialize between class. This addition to the campus has also brought attention to the unused atrium space at Altschul, which houses faculty offices and labs. The the idea behind the atrium installation is to encourage a more interactive relationship with the Altschul space as well as with other neighboring buildings on campus. Students and faculty of b+c a have envisioned an installation that accommodates multi-use programming and one that focuses on the importance of flexibility and function.
Talk to Me
Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53rd St.
Through November 7
Talk to Me explores the subject of communication between people and their environment, highlighting the role of the designer in imagining and establishing these connections. Through a diverse selection of objects and conceptual work, the exhibition examines designs that engage users, including information systems, visualization design, communication devices, and interfaces, like the QR code mowed into a field in Bernhard Hopfengärtner’s project Hello World!, above.