Unhelmed for five months, the sixteen-year-old Design Trust for Public Space tomorrow will announce the appointment of Bloomberg administration’s Susan Chin as the new executive director, effective October.
Chin is a public servant through and through, having served as Assistant Commissioner for Capital Projects for the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs for over twenty years. Some of the projects that she has helped shepherd into existence with city funding include Leeser Architecture’s Museum of the Moving Image (2011), Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Alice Tully Hall (2009), SANAA’s New Museum (2008), and Curtis + Ginsberg’s Staten Island Zoo Reptile Wing renovation (2006). She also oversaw the Percent for Art program and the Community Arts Development Program.
What if we could transform part of the massive space we dedicate to urban parking into public parks, and what would it look like? On Friday, over 100 cities worldwide participated in the sixth annual PARK(ing) Day, where citizens and designers temporarily converted metered parking spots into open public space. While we couldn’t jet set around the world, a couple of our reporters checked out the happenings in California, where the concept was born.
Before you check out the parks, we should mention that these grassroots efforts are slowly influencing permanent change. In San Francisco, a City Planning Department collaboration with design firm Rebar, which helped begin PARK(ing) Day, has led to the creation of the “Parklets” program, where parking spots around the city are being converted into permanent plazas and outdoor seating. And on Friday, LA City Council members Jan Perry and Jose Huizar announced a partnership with local neighborhood groups in downtown LA and Eagle Rock to begin a Parklets pilot program in Los Angeles. Read More
Time to hit refresh on another Gehry project that is opening within these city walls. There was a time when Gehry couldn’t get a Big Apple commission off the ground: no mega-Gugg on the Eastside, no New York Times across from the Port Authority. Now they are popping up all over, with IAC a Chelsea fixture, the public school at New York by Gehry on Spruce Street pumping out sassy little brats from day one. Today, we are reminded that the Signature—once part of the performing arts package at ground zero—is opening in February in Times Square. And it’s only spent $6 million over the original $60 mill cost (with $25 from the city). Read More
Jean Prouvé plus G-Star? The coupling at first seems an unlikely one, and not just because it is partially posthumous. But the fashion forward Dutch company, best known for its high-end jeans, counts the self-taught French architect and designer (1901-1984) among its inspirations. Two years ago G-Star called Vitra, who has owned the manufacturing rights to Prouvé’s furniture since 2001, and asked if the designer could come out to play. The result is Prouvé RAW, the latest edition in G-Star’s Crossover Series, design experiments that pair G-Star with designers outside the field of fashion. Prouvé classics like the 1951 Direction Office Armchair No. 352 (above) are reimagined as formal replicas in contemporary materials.
The collection was first unveiled on June 15 at Art Basel but makes its New York debut today, marking the start of a two-week preview (and pre-purchase) period before the line officially goes on sale in October. The launch was timed to coincide with the tail end of New York’s Fashion Week, with the idea that denizens of the runways might also be lured by a different kind of G-Star model, now posing in Vitra’s Meatpacking showroom.
SCI-Arc held its graduation ceremony on Sunday in the parking lot in front of its building in LA’s Arts District. And they did it in style: in front of a billowing 60 x 110 foot canopy designed by LA firm Oyler Wu Collaborative, whose principles Dwayne Oyler and Jenny Wu are both SCI-Arc professors. Read More
For the second year in a row (check out last year’s report here) we’d like to share some of the most amazing, ridiculous, and inspiring architecture of Burning Man, which just wrapped up in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. And like last year the Playa’s temporary installations didn’t disappoint; displaying an aggressive level of imagination and ambition for Burning Man’s 25th anniversary (has it really been that long?).
The theme this year was Rites of Passage, although we’re not sure the artists here are interested in following any rules. Photographer Michael Holden was on the ground to document the event. Here are our favorites from Burning Man 2011:
It’s blockbuster good. Silverstein Properties has produced a video of The New World Trade Center that shows where we’ve been and where we’ll be in coming years (provided the markets cooperate). With music swelling, this time machine has production values on par with Inception, and like that thriller it might leave you wondering which dream level we’re on.
This past week in Copenhagen has been filled with a series of design exhibitions, fairs, conferences, and guided tours throughout the Danish capital city as part of Copenhagen Design Week, hosted by the Danish Design Center. Scandinavian architects, interior designers, urban planners, and filmmakers submitted work under the theme of “Think Human” and ranged from urban installations to furniture and industrial design. One exhibition highlight organized by the Center for Information Technology and Architecture is the project, Thicket Installation (above), that examines how technology and architecture impact connections between public and private life. Read More
Far from the expected pablum that these events usually generate, Chris Ward, executive director of the Port Authority, gave a speech opening the New York Building Congress yesterday loaded to bear with fight, a lot of Good Fight, demanding continued federal funding for infrastructure. Along the way, he recalls his own version of the tortured path from Ground Zero grind to the Memorial Moment of meditation to come.
It’s quite a version and well worth a close read as he “recalls” Libeskind’s master plan as “gardens in the sky” and how that was “replaced with another vision, as realities of the site, the market” set in. Then he talks about “Breaking Away from Monumentalism” and “The Assessment” thanks to the Port Authority, which may or may not be the stinking months of pissing match between PA and Silverstein as they wrangled about responsibility for building the first then the other towers.
Sit back—but fasten your seat belt—You’ll be amazed to read what you went through:
Last week at the Phaidon Bookstore in Soho, White Box held a benefit for their new sustainable art garden by organizing a panel discussion called “Sustainable Work Lab: new projects in art, architecture and urban design.” Ali Hossaini moderated the discussion between landscape designer Frances Levine, architect David Turnbull, and urban designer Maria Aiolova.
Hossaini yielded to Turnbull’s freewheeling conversation about Socratic love, i.e. the coupling of poverty and invention. Inspired by his fresh-off-the-plane-from-Kenya presentation, the crowd indulged in the philosophical debate. Turnbull balked at biennials and instead encouraged artists “to make artifacts that are useful and have that magical quality that keep them from being thrown away.” “Sustainability should be the bare minimum,” concurred Aiolova. She should know. Her firm, Terreform1, held a sustainability love fest all summer long, which culminated in winning the Victor J. Papanek Social Design Award on August 17.
It’s official. Norman Foster’s unfinished and beleaguered Harmon Building at Las Vegas’ CityCenter is among the walking dead. Its owner MGM has announced its intention to implode the building, whose construction was plagued by incorrectly-installed rebar. These severe structural flaws led to a decision in 2009 to scrap the top half of the building, and it’s been sitting unoccupied ever since.
But what better way to send off what must be among the biggest buildings never occupied than a collection of the most spectacular implosions Las Vegas can muster? There are fireworks, spotlights, music, and lots of gawking onlookers. This stuff is fun, trust us.
Everyone’s favorite installation architects, Ball-Nogues Studio, are producing one of their most ambitious works to date: The Yucca Crater, a 24-foot-tall installation in the middle of the Mojave Desert near Joshua Tree. The project’s wavy wood shell will contain rock climbing holds on its interior, rising out of eight feet of water (the basin, the firm describes, is a nod to abandoned suburban swimming pools scattered across the Mojave).
The wood will come from the formwork of another Ball-Nogues project, Talus Dome, in Edmonton, Canada. It is being built for High Desert Test Sites (HDTS), an initiative that invites artists to create experimental projects scattered among towns near Joshua Tree National Park like Joshua Tree, Pioneertown, Wonder Valley, Yucca Valley, and 29 Palms.