We can confirm—although not entirely officially—that New York’s Institute for Urban Design will represent the United States at the 2012 Venice architecture biennale.
The Chair of Institutes Board of Directors Michael Sorkin has told AN that the theme of their exhibition will be loosely based on the Institute’s new open-source program, By the City/For The City: An Atlas of Possibility for the Future New York, that played out recently across New York to enthusiastic crowds. The details of the exhibition are still to be developed by Sorkin, co-board member Cathy Lang Ho and the institute’s director (and former AN Managing Editor) Anne Guiney.
The U.S. Department of State, in a first for the government agency, selected the winning exhibition a full year before the opening of the international exhibition giving the IfUD team time to raise the $300,000 (the State Department has given them $100,000) needed to open in Venice next year.
It is not yet clear who will be the official commissioner aka “meeter, greeter, & spokesperson” of the pavilion, but they are currently looking to create “crowd sourced” events all over la Serenissima and not just inside the official giardini or McKim Mead & White American temple. We send our hearty congratulations and will start hoarding our airline miles!
A South London state-funded school is a far cry from an international exhibition center, but in the last two years the annual Stirling Prize, organized by the RIBA, has recognized Zaha Hadid’s designs for both as exceptional examples of British architecture. This year’s winner, the Evelyn Grace Academy in Brixton was the London-based practice’s second consecutive win after last year’s prize for the enigmatic Maxxi Museum in Rome. Hadid’s design was up against a swathe of accomplished competitors including Hopkins’ London Olympics Velodrome, the Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres in Stratford by Bennetts Associates and Chipperfield’s Folkwang Museum in Essen, Germany.
EXD’11 Lisbon Design Biennale Opening Week
September 28–October 2
“Useless,” the theme of Lisbon’s the sixth design biennale organized by Experimentadesign, grew out of a desire to explore what the term “useful” means today. A number a guest-curated exhibitions form the backbone of the event: for Sidelines, design historian Emily King considers the motivations behind collecting art and objects, deploying Lisbon’s museums to display an eclectic series of private collections; in Utilitas Interrupta, Joseph Grima, editor of Domus, asks what abandoned infrastructure and its implements (above) say about our society. These shows run through November, but opening week highlights also include a series of lectures by design scene fixtures like Hans Ulrich Obrist and Zoe Ryan, as well as a specially organized film series.
Wulpen Community Center
Architect: Solid Objectives – Idenburg Liu
Client: Flemish Government Architect
Location: Wulpen, Belgium
The Brooklyn-based firm Solid Objectives – Idenburg Liu (SO–IL) recently won a design competition for a community center located in Wulpen, a small, coastal town in Belgium. Their design transforms an unused schoolhouse into a community center with three distinct parts: a multipurpose room in the former two classrooms, a youth space in a garden, and meeting rooms in the original teachers’ house.
Of the 85 proposals submitted to a playground design competition hosted by Go Play!, few were as innovative as AnneMarie van Splunter’s RubberTree, which landed an honorable mention. The Dutch designer’s imaginative reuse of old car and motorcycle tires recalls the simplicity of children playing around a tree, inspired, in fact, by the rubber tree and its heavily exposed root system. Van Splunter sought to create a place where refugee children on the border of Burma and Thailand can be “rooted in solid ground.”
Beijing Design Week
September 26–October 3
Beijing Design Week, now in its second year, aims to change the catchphrase “Made in China” to “Designed in China.” The festival will bring together 30 local and international design firms for packed roster of events focusing on urban design and including Dutch artist/architect Daan Roosegaarde’s experiments with LEDs (above). Design Week will take over the whole city, staging happenings everywhere from the trendy 798 art district to Tiananmen Square, whose neighboring historic district will host pop-up shops and street art installations, to the site of the China Millenium Monument, where Paul Cocksedge will unveil an installation on October 1. This year London was invited to be Beijing’s “guest city,” and emissaries from the London Design Festival will translate some of their most successful ideas and activities into a new context.
File under: “Say What?” Retired Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has joined the jury for the Pritzker Prize. Prize organizers say the Justice has a long and demonstrable interest in architecture. Who knew? Also joining the jury is 2004 laureate Zaha Hadid. Is it just us, or does it seem strange for Zaha to be upstaged by a guy in a black robe known for his rigorous legal scholarship and even temperament? Read More
London Design Festival
September 17–September 25
This year’s theme for the London Design Festival is “Design from all Angles.” Home base for the event will be the main exhibition hall at the Victoria and Albert Museum, but design projects will also be scattered at 150 sites throughout the city. A three-story red oak latticework spiral called Timber Wave (above) will frame the V&A entrance; the installation is by Amanda Levete, who was recently commissioned to design the museum’s courtyard and expansion. Elsewhere: at St. Paul’s Cathedral, John Pawson creates an optical allusion that distorts distance and depth through lenses and mirrors; this year’s Size and Matterinstallation at the Royal Festival Hall, an annual event highlighting design and technology, is a collaboration between David Chipperfield and Arup, who are sandwiching reflective metal-coated fabric mesh between glass to explore translucent and reflective properties.
Helsinki Design Week
September 9–September 18
To warm up for its turn as the 2012 World Design Capital, the city of Helsinki will host a week-long design festival in September. A variety of sites throughout the city will be pressed into service, from public plazas to the Old Customs Warehouse. Architects and designers plan explore the relationship between the urban dweller and urban design. The exhibit I Am the City by the art and design collective, Ornamo 100, features Helsinki Throne (above) by interior designer Jouni Leino, and design think tank OK Do’s Museum of the Near Future transforms an unused office building into a library, bookstore, and public art studio. Design Week’s organizers trumpet Finland’s acclaimed education system, making architectural and design education practices a running theme throughout the week.