After rejecting two plans for the Museum of the American Revolution at Valley Forge, the American Revolution Center (ARC) made a land swap with the National Park Service to secure a prime location in Center City Philadelphia. In exchange for donating their 78-acre property at the Valley Forge site, the Park Service will give the museum nearly two-thirds of the space of the former National Park Visitors Center near Independence Mall on Third Street. ARC selected Robert A.M. Stern to design the $150 million building. Stern told ThePhiladelphia Inquirer he plans to use “the language of traditional Philadelphia architecture.” The 1970s era building designed by Cambridge Seven and its redbrick modernist bell tower holding the Bicentennial Bell, a gift to United States from Queen Elizabeth II, will be demolished, and critics worry the future of the bell itself is uncertain.
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.
Attention Zoning Wonks! In honor of the 50th anniversary of the 1961 Zoning Resolution, City Planning is hosting the Zoning the City Conference on November 15. Mayor Bloomberg will open the conference, while planning commissioner Amanda Burden will moderate with Harvard planning guru Jerold Kayden (a recent AN commentator). AN plans to blog live from the event and City Planning will be tweeting away @ZoningTheCity. The event, co-sponsored with Harvard and Baruch’s Newman Institute, has already been dubbed “the Woodstock of Planning” by one at least one registrant.
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.
DesigNYC continues on its mission to match civic-minded designers with nonprofit organizations in New York City. For its third cycle of projects in 2012, desigNYC will focus on the theme of Recharging Communities. Nonprofit organizations and pro bono design teams are invited to submit applications by THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2011 at 5 pm EST via desigNYC’s website.
This round aims to identify and support projects intended to strengthen communities, promote social interaction, and improve neighborhood environments through better housing and public space as well as social media and knowledge-based networks. DesigNYC is seeking a range of design disciplines and projects types that may address these goals.
The 2012 selection jury will be announced in the coming weeks, and design firms, nonprofit organizations, and partnered teams will be announced by the end of the year, in order to begin work in January 2012. Each project-designer team is assigned a desigNYC mentor who helps facilitate collaboration and link the team back to the desigNYC support network.
For applications, more information, to see previous projects, and to learn how to get involved, visit desigNYC’s website.
With Archtober fading away with the fall leaves and buckets of Halloween candy, here’s one last look at the last three Archtober Buildings of the Day from Halloween weekend!
Building of the Day #29: NYC Information Center
810 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY
Neither snow, nor rain… your intrepid Archtober team made it through the snowy October nor’easter to visit the Official NYC Information Center at the Times Square Alliance, designed by WXY architecture + urban design and Local Projects and run by NYC & Company. Alas, our architect tour guide didn’t.
“Banality,” the theme of Storefront‘s Critical Halloween costume fundraiser, was manifested in an array of clever–and occasionally perplexing–forms on Saturday evening at the 3-Legged Dog in Manhattan. Blizzard-like conditions did not deter a group of over 250 design-o-philes and at least one (in)famous party crasher from getting decked out in spandex, foam, plush, rubber, tulle, and acres of cardboard. The weather did prevent Liz Diller from arriving to judge the costume contest, but her fearless partner Charles Renfro stepped into the breach, and channeling Damien Hirst in a rhinstone-studded skull mask (“Greed”), took his place alongside judges Wangechi Mutu (embodying Pantone’s “Bluebird”) and Justin Davidson (dressed as an architecture critic).
Over the weekend, we headed out to Brooklyn Bridge Park to check out the light show of Jane’s Carousel. We had been told that silhouettes of horses were to be projected onto a ceiling scrim until 1AM. We even held ambitions of traipsing across the Brooklyn Bridge to get a better view. But after watching a spectacular sunset reflect off of Jean Nouvel’s acrylic cube, the show was over. We were told that the lights for the magic lantern were much too hot for the recently restored horses. No matter, it’s hard to surpass the carousel’s bulbs reflected in the acrylic, with a glittering Manhattan serving as backdrop.
Shortly after the Landmarks Preservation Commission declared a section of the Grand Concourse an historic district on Tuesday, New York Times columnist Constance Rosenblum received a call with the news. Walking down Montague Street near her home in Brooklyn Heights, the usually unflappable writer burst into tears. When it comes to the Concourse, Rosenblum wrote the book. Her 2010 chronicle of the corridor, Boulevard of Dreams (NYU Press, $20), played a significant role in calling attention to the plight and promise of the neighborhood. “It was notable day,” she said in a phone interview in reference to the announcement. “It wasn’t easy for the Bronx, and the stigmas will remain for a long time.”