Charles Dickens would have been 200 today. Among the bicentennial celebrations of the noted Victorian writer, the Museum of London has been hosting an elaborate Dickens and London exhibition including a Dickensian street scene designed and built by set designer Simon Costin for its City Gallery. The “fantastical wintry vision of 19th century London” made entirely of cardboard and lit with hundreds of LED lights includes quite an array of Victorian buildings and winding alleyways. According to Costin, “My intention is to create a fantasy vision of London as it would have been glimpsed by Dickens on his nocturnal wanderings through the city. His essays are extremely evocative and I am using the text as my starting point and things will grow and develop from there. He has said that he felt like a child in a dream, ‘staring at the marvellousness of everything’. It is that marvellousness that I want to recreate.” The window display closes this month, but if you’re in London, the MoL’s Dickens show keeps going through June. (Via Creative Review.)
But it turns out Dickens had his own eye for design as well. Hilary Macaskill recently wrote in the Guardian that the Victorian author had quite the penchant for interior design. She cites a 6,000 word article (you can become amazingly descriptive when paid by the word) he wrote about wallpaper and other decorations, where he remarks on the design of American wallcoverings from his recent visit in 1842 along with his own designs for wallpaper. Even in his home at 48 Doughty Street, Dickens enjoyed crafting the interior spaces down to the shade of pink trim and a set of decanters he picked up for “slight bargains.” Read the entire article here and check out a slideshow of his home here.
Yoshiko Sato, an architect and educator who was committed to repairing the world through design, died on Sunday in New York City after a battle with cancer. Sato was born in Tokyo to parents who studied engineering and design, which sparked her interest in science and the arts. Following a tour of Europe to study art and design, the Tokyo native settled in New York in the early 1980s and continued her education at Parsons School of Design. Her professors Billie Tsien, Robert MacAnulty, and Laurie Hawkinson quickly recognized her talent and encouraged Sato to move toward architecture. She transferred to the Cooper Union where she continued her studies under John Hejduk, Toshiko Mori, Tod Williams, and Peter Eisenman, graduating in 1989. In 1996, she received a Masters in Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design where she explored architecture and urban design under Raphael Moneo and received honors for her thesis on rebuilding Kobe, Japan after a devastating earthquake in 1995.
Sato’s professional career in New York bridged architecture, art, and design across a broad range of scales. She operated the Morris Sato Studio with her husband and design partner Michael Morris, exploring the ethereal nature of design as represented in the award-winning retrospective exhibit Shiro Kuramata, 1934-1991 and in her installation LightShowers. She won further accolades for her personal and comprehensive exploration in a pair of houses recently completed on Shelter Island.
Returning to education, Sato was appointed to Columbia’s GSAPP in 1999 where she directed the Japan Lab in Architecture. Her passion for both sustainability and exploration into outer space were clear in her work, including a collaboration with GSAPP and NASA to create Space Habitation Modules.
Sato is survived by her husband, mother, and sister Noriko Oguri of Yokohama, Japan. The staff at The Architect’s Newspaper sends our condolences to her family, friends, and colleagues. Those who wish to honor the memory of Yoshiko Sato may donate to the Japanese Red Cross Society. Condolences may be sent to Morris Sato Studio, 219 East 12th Street, 1st Fl., New York, New York 10003 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Wei Wei are getting the band back together for a brief collaboration for the famed Serpentine Gallery 2012 Pavilion. Now in its twelfth iteration, the Serpentine has commissioned temporary structures by some of the world’s leading architects, including Toyo Ito, Peter Zumthor, and Zaha Hadid. The Swiss architects and the Chinese artist/designer have previously collaborated on the so-called Bird’s Nest Olympic staduim in Beijing. While that project emphasized both strength and fagility with a soaring tangle of intersecting structure, their proposal for the Serpentine will explore the subterranean history and ecology of the site. Read More
Eight up-and-coming architecture firms from across North America have been distinguished as Emerging Voices by the Architectural League. The prestigious award is bestowed annually on a group of firms that have established a distinct design voice in their work and have “the potential to influence the disciplines of architecture, landscape design, and urbanism.” This year’s winners are INABA, 5468796 architecture, SCAPE Landscape Architecture, Studio NMinusOne, Oyler Wu Collaborative, SsD, Arquitectura 911sc, and Atelier TAG. A jury comprised of Henry Cobb, Geoff Manaugh, Paul Lewis, Jamie Maslyn Larson, Annabelle Selldorf, Claire Weisz, and Dan Wood selected the firms based on a review of their portfolios. Past Emerging Voices have included many of today’s top-name architects including Morphosis, Enrique Norten, Deborah Berke, Michael Maltzan, SHoP Architects, Jeanne Gang, and Steven Holl.
Each year, the winning firms present their work at a lecture series presented by the League in New York. Beginning on March 2, will take place at the Rose Auditorium in the new Morphosis-designed building at The Cooper Union. Also watch for an upcoming issue of The Architect’s Newspaper where we feature a profile of each Emerging Voices winner.
SOM Chicago has won a competition to design a mixed-use tower in the new Chinese city of Suzhou. Located along a lake front, the tower includes a distinctive void carved out the upper portion of the tower, splitting the floorplates in half to better serve hotel uses. Offices will fill the lower, larger floorplates. “We’ve been doing these kinds of mixed-use towers since Hancock,” said Ross Wimer, a partner at SOM Chicago. “Instead of tapering the tower, we’ve carved away a slot to bring fresh air and light into the building.”
Just a stone’s throw from the British Museum, Renzo Piano‘s Central Saint Giles complex seems to have been overshadowed by the excitement around his Shard of Glass rising in the Southwark section of London. But as the Shard pierces the skyline, the year old St. Giles has begun to find its own footing. Last month, the 500,000 square foot complex brought a bit of bossa nova to this West End outpost. Cabana, a restaurant designed by Alex Michaelis of Michaelis Boyd, plays well with Piano’s citrus colored facades and brings a dash Brazilian spice to the quiet courtyard.
Are you on KPF’s holiday mailing list? If so, think twice before you toss their annual card into the recycling bin. You’re now the owner of a limited edition print by an artist who is represented by one of London’s poshest galleries, the Belgravia, and whose work was featured this fall in a one-man show in Hong Kong. The signature is in the bottom right corner: Kohn ’11.