Eavesdrop> AIA/LA Has Architecture Center Envy

Eavesdroplet, Newsletter, West
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
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AN’s annual resource list may be published every year but it is never the same. Painstakingly drawn from extensive interviews by our editors with the architects and builders of the best architecture of 2011, these names are the too-often unacknowledged cornerstones that guarantee the quality and excellence of today’s architecture. We both herald and share them with you.

New York's Center for Architecture: model for LA?

It appears that AIA/LA is serious about opening a new architecture center, a storefront, multi-use space similar to that of the Center for Architecture in New York (above). According to a now expired post on Idealist.org, they’re looking for (and rumored to have already hired) a new fulltime “Campaign Director” for an $8 to 15 million capital campaign to “support the acquisition and renovation of an existing building for the new Center for Architecture and Urban Design Los Angeles,” and “create an endowment to maintain this new property.”

According to the post the center will be “a highly collaborative organization that builds strong relationships with other organizations to carry out its mission.” The center is rumored to contain not just AIA offices and exhibition and event spaces, but perhaps spaces for the A+D Architecture and Design Museum and the Urban Land Institute’s Los Angeles chapter.

Diamond studded Eco-Developer?  Diamond studded Eco-Developer? Having successfully covered the world (or at least all 11 outposts of the global Gagosian empire) in colorful spots, Damien Hirst is turning his attention to architectural matters. The artist is planning to build more than 500 homes on the land he owns in Devon, England as part of a broader expansion of the glam seaside resort town of Ilfracombe. Mike Rundell of London-based MRJ Rundell+Associates is putting his undergrad degree in fine art to good use and working with Hirst on the project. “He has a horror of building anonymous, lifeless buildings,” said Rundell of his artist client. Pressed for details, Rundell described the houses as modern and possibly incorporating eco-friendly touches such as photovoltaic panels and wind turbines nestled in the roofs. Pickled sharks or spin art not included.

 

Foster on Film

Eavesdroplet
Thursday, February 2, 2012
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Norman Foster, who, as writer Mark Lamster has noted, “even in his 70s, has the look of a heavy in a Guy Ritchie film,” skis, sketches, and visits his childhood home in Manchester, England, in the film How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster?, a documentary produced by the architect’s wife that screened on January 25, at the IFC Center. Directed and dreamily photographed by Norberto Lopez-Amado and Carlos Carcas, the film moves seamlessly between irresistible images of Foster’s buildings, and the man himself, dashing between projects, reflecting on his career, and earning praise from scriptwriter Deyan Sudjic on everything from his work ethic to his wardrobe. “Everything inspires me,” says Foster early in the film. “Sometimes I think I see things others don’t.”

Watch the movie trailer.

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Eavesdrop> A Very Gehry Opera.  Walt Disney Concert Hall by Frank Gehry.Walt Disney Concert Hall by Frank Gehry. Frank Gehry will return to Walt Disney Concert Hall this spring—as a set designer. He’s at work on a “moving still-life on the stage” for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s May production of Don Giovanni. The plans call for moving the orchestra upstage on raised lifts, about four feet above the action taking place downstage. Meanwhile, in a recent Q&A with Wallpaper* magazine, Gehry revealed that things are “getting slow” for his firm, to the point that he is considering—gasp!—proactive PR efforts. “We’ve got enough things for the next year, but it’s not the same as it was a few years ago,” he said. “I’m old enough to quit, though, you know what I mean? I’m 82.”

 

Eavesdrop> Libeskind & Son’s Big Bang.  Physicist Noam Libeskind collaborated with his father Daniel on a new Zumtobel light fixture.Physicist Noam Libeskind collaborated with his father Daniel on a new Zumtobel light fixture. Daniel Libeskind’s latest project promises to illuminate your living room and the origins of the universe. He has joined the likes of Zaha Hadid and Hani Rashid in collaborating with Zumtobel, the Austrian lighting company. Libeskind’s chandelier, “eL Masterpiece,” debuted last month at Art Basel Miami Beach and while its name evokes a dodgy canvas proffered on the streets of South Beach, the design is actually an LED-studded feat of quantum complexity. Enter Libeskind fils, Noam, a rocket scientist at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam, who was tapped by his father to whip up an algorithm that controls the chandelier’s 1,680 twinkling LED modules and tells the story of how light came into being. “By turning on the eL and watching it through its loop, you’re actually recreating 14 billion years of cosmic history,” explains Herr Doktor Libeskind.

 

Eavesdrop> Smoke and Mirrors.  Eavesdrop> Smoke and MirrorsArchitect and set designer David Rockwell will be waving his wand over a new Broadway production based on the life of Harry Houdini. But this time, Rockwell won’t just be creating the sets, he’ll also be co-producing. The idea has been in the works for years, and now Rockwell and a glitzy team—Hugh Jackman in the leading role, Aaron Sorkin on the script, Jack O’Brien as director, and Kurt Andersen, who helped develop the project, as creative consultant—will conjure HOUDINI into reality by 2014.

 

Eavesdrop CA 03

Eavesdroplet
Friday, April 2, 2010
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Ben Prosky, Win De Wit, and Brooke Hodge at the Architizer LA Launch Party. (Courtesy Guest of a Guest)

DRAMA At SFMOMA
In mid-March, Curbed SF revealed, via an unnamed source, six of the eight architects that it claimed had been shortlisted for SFMOMA’s planned expansion, which would house the late Donald Fisher’s art collection. The list included international big-hitters like David Adjaye, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Steven Holl, OMA, Snøhetta, and Renzo Piano. And so began rumor-mill heaven. Read More

Eavesdrop NY 04

Eavesdroplet
Monday, March 8, 2010
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Will we ever see an Architect Barbie? (Courtesy Buffalo News)

VALLEY OF THE DOLL
With either mock or earnest outrage (hard to tell), Charles Linn, deputy editor of Architectural Record, alerted Eavesdrop to an injustice that’s resonating throughout the profession. Barbie will never be an architect. It’s true, a lot of dolls aren’t architects, presumably by choice, but Barbie has, for all intents and purposes, been banned from three years of sleepless, pore-clogging charrettes and humiliating juries. Here’s what happened. Mattel, Barbie’s baby daddy, had an online contest called “I Can Be” to determine the next Career Barbie. Voters were asked to choose from a list of five nominees: environmentalist, surgeon, news anchor, computer engineer, and architect. And the winners are: news anchor and computer engineer. Read More

Eavesdrop CA 01

Eavesdroplet
Monday, February 1, 2010
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Belzberg Architect's Skyline Residence, recent site of Sam Lubell book signing, $5.6 million sale. Coincidence? We think not! (Courtesy Belzberg Architects)

TORCH BEARERS
On January 5, our New York colleagues attended a wake to mourn last month’s folding of I.D. magazine, the 55-year-old trusted chronicler of design where pioneer modernist Alvin Lustig was art director and a young John Gregory Dunne was an editor before turning to novels and screenplays. The bi-coastal bash was more of a gathering of the fellowship than a farewell, with Pentagram grandee Michael Bierut and former editors Chee Pearlman and Julie Lasky hosting. Fresh from Silicon Valley, newly appointed National Design Museum director Bill Moggridge, formerly of IDEO, was also there studying local rituals. Read More

Eavesdrop NY 01

East Coast, Eavesdroplet
Friday, January 22, 2010
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Sutton Scarsdale Hall is looking to fill its walls with something. Anything. Please. (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Pimp Our Ruins
Formula for architectural mischief: Start with a fabulous ruin. Then add a public entity with oversight of fabulous ruins, which, in turn, summons a quirky arts organization to devise a competition to do something useful with said ruin in peril. Governors Island? Nope. Think England: The fabulous ruin is Sutton Scarsdale Hall, a dilapidated wreck of a structure in the countryside of Derbyshire. The public entity is English Heritage, which watches over Stonehenge among other oddities, and the arts organization is something called the Centre of Attention. The 1724 Georgian hall was stripped to its foundation in 1919, and some of the interior paneling ended up in the Hearst Castle and at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, although apparently there are still “traces of sumptuous plasterwork.” (Don’t miss the ha-ha ditch on the picturesquely wrecked grounds.) The Centre of Attention has called for proposals to transform the stone shell into “a pavilion of post-contemporary curating.” If that’s your cup of tea, dive right in. Read More

Brazil 2, Chicago 0

Eavesdroplet
Friday, January 15, 2010
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Chicago suffered another crushing defeat to the hands of Brazil: first its Olympic bid loss to Rio and now best new restaurant design to Sao Paulo. Wallpaper* announced the winners in its Design Awards 2010 competition yesterday afternoon. The Chicago restaurant, Terzo Piano, nestled on top of the new Renzo Piano’s addition to the Art Institute, was nominated in the Best New Restaurant category along with contenders from Brazil, Argentina, South Korea, and Portugal. It ultimately lost to Sao Paulo’s Amazonian-inspired Kaa. Read More

Affirmation or Desecration?

Eavesdroplet
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
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Desecration? Or delight? (Sara Hart)

When you enter the lobby of the I.M. Pei-designed East Wing of the National Gallery of Art, the building’s credits are prominently etched in stone. Why do you think Pei’s name has been rubbed to the point of illegibility? Are visitors paying homage or expressing disapproval? Perhaps it has something to do with those pesky panels? Whatever the case, it’s not pretty.

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