Robert Hughes’ Opinionated Voice Silenced at Age 74

International
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
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Coincidentally, this video  of legendary art critic Robert Hughes’s 1980s television series The Shock of the New was passed around the AN offices yesterday morning. We were saddened to hear of Hughes death at the age of 74 later that day. This television series and his role as chief art critic for Time magazine made him a fixture of the cultural world, and his opinionated, sometimes combative, no holds barred attitudes on art and architecture made him a lively and engaging writer and commentator. In describing Damien Hirst’s The Virgin Mother then on display at the Lever House in Manhattan, Hughes said, “Isn’t it a miracle what so much money and so little ability can produce. Just extraordinary.” And there you have it.

Festival Floats Hundreds of Umbrellas over the Streets of a Portuguese Town

International
Thursday, August 2, 2012
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(Patricia Almeida/Flickr)

Umbrellas float above Rua Luís de Camões in Águeda, Portugal. (Patricia Almeida/Flickr)

On any typical day, the pedestrianized Rua Luís de Camões in the small Portuguese town of Águeda is a charming place to experience the city, but this July, a cultural festival called AgitÁgueda (Stir Agueda) rolled out the green carpet, suspended hundreds of colorful umbrellas overhead, and invited residents to see the city in a whole new light.

More photos after the jump.

A Glowing Moonscape in France is Skateable Art

International
Thursday, August 2, 2012
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Otro, a glow-in-the-dark skate park in France. (Courtesy L'Escaut Architectures)

Otro, a glow-in-the-dark skate park in France. (Courtesy L’Escaut Architectures)

In the middle of a lightly populated island in the middle of a French reservoir—the Ile de Vassivière—an eerie green glow rises from the crest of a hill at dusk, indicating that you’ve found OTRO, a phosphorescent skate park of sinuous bowls and tunnels. Designed by artist Koo Jeong-A, L’Escaut Architectures, and skateboard consultants Brusk and Barricade, the project is described as “skateable artwork” and located near a large chateau housing the International Center of Art and Landscape, a light house designed by Aldo Rossi, and a humanoid piece of land art only visible from high above.

Check out a photo gallery after the jump.

Bjarke Ingels Offers A Surreal Reflection of War at a Danish Bunker Museum

International, Newsletter
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
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(Courtesy BIG)

(Courtesy BIG)

Denmark has chosen one of their own, the Copenhagen and New York-based Bjark Ingels Group (BIG) to design the Blåvand Bunker Museum, a structure to be located—or more specifically embedded—in a historic seaside site where German forces occupied Denmark during World War II. Ingels slices into the landscape and builds lightly out of glass atop the ruin of a massive concrete bunker, all of which will be recreated to serve a completely different purpose.

Continue reading after the jump.

Safe Harbor?  Safe Harbor? If you need to turn around an aircraft carrier, it helps to have an experienced captain on board. Maybe that’s the strategy behind RMJM’s rumored choice of Danish shipping exec Jesper Bo Hansen to lead its New York office. Hansen has spent the last two decades not in architecture but in the shipping biz, first at cargo giant Maersk and most recently at Torm. Maybe he’ll instate some ship to shore protocols at RMJM, whose financial management woes have played out publicly in recent years. As Bjarke Ingels might say, held og lykke—good luck, Jesper!

 

Hand-Crafted High-TechLight Bulb Channels Edison

International
Monday, July 30, 2012
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The LED Alva lamp. (Courtesy Luke Anderson)

The LED Alva lamp. (Courtesy Luke Anderson)

They’re being phased out in Europe and in many other countries around the world (but not in the U.S.), but there’s no denying that the soft, yellow glow from incandescent light bulbs—especially the low-Wattage Edison original that’s a staple in any Brooklyn-chic bar or restaurant—hasn’t been matched by fluorescent or LED alternatives. Until now. Lancaster, PA-based artist Luke Anderson partneres with a ceramicist and a glass blower to create a larger-than-life modern version of the Edison bulb called Alva—the famous inventor’s middle name—built with modern LED technology but with the nostalgic glow of the original.

See how the Alva lamp is made after the jump.

Note from Self: Architects Selling Out.  Note from Self: Architects Selling Out Speaking at a recent literary festival in London, writer Will Self reproached the architects who helped set the stage for this summer’s games. “If you are an architect and involved in this obscenity then you should go home and consider retraining as a dentist… You might be able to use your creativity in a form that doesn’t do so much damage,” said Self, comparing the buildings to snake oil used to veneer over “people’s looming sense of the inequalities in society.” In a follow-up interview with Building Design, Self questioned why the profession’s most critical thinkers, like Rem Koolhaas, Daniel Libeskind, and Richard Rogers, continue to work for socially unjust clients. “It’s not because they can’t afford to pay their heating bills,” said Self.

 

Future of the NAi in Question as New Director Takes Over

International
Friday, July 27, 2012
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Netherlands Architecture Institute. (Paul Joseph/Flickr)

Netherlands Architecture Institute. (Paul Joseph/Flickr)

The Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAi) was founded in the early 1990′s and has been one of the world’s leading centers for promoting architecture and urban planning and improving public space. It is partially responsible for the high quality of contemporary Dutch design and planning. The institute was lead by the American curator and museum director Aaron Betsky until 2007 when Ole Bouman replaced him as the director.

COntinue reading after the jump.

Our Evolving Kitchen: Lessons from 1920s Frankfurt

International
Thursday, July 26, 2012
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Frankfurter Kitchen

Berlin’s Museum der Dinge (Museum of Things) is home to the Werkbundarchiv, a collection of objects produced from 1907 up until the midcentury by the Deutsche Werkbund (German Work Federation), an association of artists, architects, designers, and industrialists. Even though the Werkbund is attributed with being the precursor of Modern architecture and industrial design and had a significant influence on the Bauhaus school, it wasn’t a creative movement, but a state-sponsored initiative to pair traditional crafts with mass production techniques to gain a competitive edge in manufacturing everything – as their motto states: Vom Sofakissen Zum Stadtbau (from sofa cushions to city building).

The collection is as fascinating as it is overwhelming, packed to the gills with objects that are rightfully described by the museum’s curators as “designed by very famous artists and anonymous designers, individual pieces and mass production, functional and puristic objects and so-called ‘error in taste’ or ‘Kitsch,’ substantial ‘honest’ things and material surrogates, branded articles and no-name products.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Obit> Walter Pichler: 1936-2012

International
Monday, July 23, 2012
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House for the two troughs, front view. (Courtesy Gladstone Gallery)

House for the two troughs, front view. (Courtesy Gladstone Gallery)

Walter Pichler, the far sighted visionary architect, died last week at his home in Burgenland, Austria at the wage of 76. Though he does not seem to have an English Wikipedia page devoted to his work, Pichler was unquestionably one of the most influential artist/architects working in post-war Europe. Like Austrians Hans Hollien, Raimund Abraham, the groups Haus Rucker and Coop Himmelb(l)au, he created a powerful and evocative utopian world out of a hybrid of sculpture and drawing but always with an architectural idea at the core of the work.

Continue reading after the jump.

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Six Firms Competing for 2012 Stirling Prize

International
Monday, July 23, 2012
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London Olympic Stadium by Populous.

London Olympic Stadium by Populous.

The shortlist for the coveted annual Stirling Prize from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has been announced! With six contesting projects to choose from, judges will begin visiting all six sites and will convene for a final vote on October 13, 2012. Among the six shortlisted projects are Maggie’s Cancer Centre and New Court Rothschild Bank, both by the OMA, London’s new Olympic Stadium by Populous, and David Chipperfield’s Wakefield, the Barbara Hepworth sculpture gallery in Yorkshire.

View all the shortlisted projects after the jump.

Victoria & Albert Gets Permission to Dig In on Underground Expansion

International
Monday, July 16, 2012
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(Courtesy AL_A)

(Courtesy AL_A)

When Libeskind’s radical spiral proposal for Victoria and Albert Museum (V+A) extension went under after eight years, the V+A has literally gone underground. The newest proposal for V+A by British architect Amanda Levete and her practice AL_A, won in 2011 after a design competition, calls for an extension project that includes a 16,200 square foot underground gallery space for temporary exhibitions. The addition will feature a public courtyard with an entrance into the museum from the adjacent Exhibition Road. Last week, the project was awarded planning permission allowing the project to move forward.

Continue reading after the jump.

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