As East Asian cities continue to modernize and densify, monotonous and dehumanizing blocks tend to replace the finely-grained, small-scale architecture and urbanism such as Beijing’s Hutong, Tokyo’s small wooden houses, and Singapore’s traditional villages. These “urban ecologies that have evolved over the course of centuries,” as Dutch firm MVRDV explains, foster a social interconnectivity in these communities, forming the basis for a new exhibition currently on view in Seoul, South Korea.
New Yorkers like to believe that they’ve perfected stoop sitting culture, but half a world away in Auckland, New Zealand, experimental design collaborative Oh.No.Sumo has taken stoop sitting a step higher. As part of St. Paul Street Gallery‘s 2012 exhibition program of curatorial practice, Oh.No.Sumo created a small-scale tactical intervention forming an unexpected theater on a small stoop where the steps are the seats. Responding to the intersection’s lack of social life and the public’s retreat into smart-phone isolation, the Stairway Cinema creates a communal node and conversation piece.
The film My Architect, the story of Louis Kahn’s son on a mission to discover and understand his father, won over the hearts and praise of even the lay-est of architectural laypersons. The effects of which—a fresh spotlight on the work and life of a brilliant designer—did not fall on blind eyes. Tomas Koolhaas is making a film about his father, Rem Koolhaas—see the Facebook page!—called REM set to debut in 2013. It also appears from rough clips that the CCTV building in China will play a central role in the story. Awesome! We can’t wait to see this quaint little film about a humble and modest architect and his role in designing the media headquarters for political oppression and censorship in China. We’ll get the popcorn!
The U.S. Department of State has announced that Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects and Davis Body Bond will team up to design a new Embassy Compound in Mexico City. The husband and wife team has been riding an enormous wave of praise for their recently opened Barnes Foundation Museum in Philadelphia, but just when you thought the last of the praise was proffered, in comes Martin Filler’s rave in this week’s New York Review of Books (“wholly unexpected,” “ravishing,” “dazzling”).
That should give critics a breather till the duo’s University of Chicago Logan Center opens this fall. In the mean time, the next twenty months will be focused on working with Davis Body Bond designing the new embassy, with a construction contract to be awarded in 2015. The selection is the first under the State Department’s new Design Excellence program.
Bjarke Ingels has again thrown us for a loop, this time in Bordeaux, France. Ingels’ firm BIG has revealed its latest competition-winner called the Maison de l’Économie Créative et de la Culture en Aquitaine, or, for the rest of us, MÉCA. As AN noted in April, BIG won the commission working with Paris-based FREAKS freearchitects, beating out the likes of SANAA and Toulouse-based W-Architectures, but the renderings have been kept under wraps until now. Ingels’ explained the design using his signature diagram-based narrative as an array of three visual and performing arts agencies arranged around a 120-foot-tall arch-shaped building.
If your interested in how many people viewed Christian Marclay’s The Clock exhibition at the Centre Pompidou (6,996 for its three day run) in 2011 then The Art Newspaper‘s yearly round up of the top exhibitions makes great reading. This year the list breaks out Architecture and Design exhibitions and New York’s MoMA is the clear winner.
Richard Meier Retrospective
The Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil
Revolución 1608, San Angel, Álvaro Obregón
Through August 26
The Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil will present a retrospective of the Richard Meier’s most emblematic works. The exhibition includes artifacts from throughout Meier’s career, including models, original sketches, renderings, and photographs. Iconic projects such as the Smith House, The Getty Center, and the High Museum of Art will be exhibited. Read More
New York’s Design Week 2012 might be over, but the abundance of furniture displayed in private lofts, showrooms, and on the vast floor of the Javits Center at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) is still fresh in our minds. Between handing out hundreds of copies of the newspaper at our booth, AN‘s editors combed the floor at ICFF and selected an array of products that caught our eyes from chairs, to rugs, to lighting and more.
Last week at Audi’s HQ in Ingolstadt, Germany, architect Junya Ishigami of Tokyo succinctly summed up the problem the car company aims to tackle: there is “a gap between people’s speed and the city’s speed,” Ishigami said. In other words, people’s habits evolve quickly to suit a 21st-century lifestyle, but the infrastructure of the cities they live in is constantly playing catch up. And Audi, whose primary product is by nature infrastructure-bound, wants get ahead of the curve.
Ishigami was one of six architects presenting research as part of the first phase of Audi’s 2012 Urban Future Award, a bi-annual program first started in 2010. The 2012 firms were selected for their track records of researching the urban environment and their relationships to one of six metropolitan areas: CRIT (Mumbai); Höweler + Yoon Architecture (the Boston-Washington corridor); NODE Architecture & Urbanism (Pearl River Delta); Superpool (Istanbul) and Urban Think Tank (São Paulo); and Junya Ishigami + Associates (Tokyo). The brief: to “create visions for individual mobility in the future.” Audi defined the future as ca. 2030, when it’s predicted that 70 percent of the world population will live in cities with eight million or more inhabitants.