At first, the choice of avant-garde architects Herzog & de Meuron to renovate and restore the fabled Park Avenue Armory seems far-fetched. Even at second glance: “I hate preservation,” said Jacques Herzog at a press event to unveil what the firm is doing at the 1880s fortress and popular event space that contains unparalleled gems from the history of American decorative arts, including rooms and furnishings by Stanford White, Louis Comfort Tiffany, the Herter Brothers and others.
The designers behind the Lakeview Area Masterplan, Moss Design, are pushing ahead with a plan for a new park on a vacant lot on North Paulina Street adjacent to the Brown Line tracks. According to their research there are five vacant lots within a one block area, so there is ample land available for development. This argument has yet to sway Alderman Scott Waguespack, who has opposed a plan for the Special Services Area to acquire the land with the help of the non-profit Openlands. Read More
After years of grueling through studios, crits, and all-nighters, there comes a time soon after entering the real world where it hits you: You’re lost. You didn’t learn any of this architect-business in school!
While we can’t help with the shock of the realization, we did stumble across a new humorous book by SCI-Arc-trained architecture writers Guy Horton (an AN contributor) and Sherin Wing called The Real Architect’s Handbook: Things I Didn’t Learn in Architecture School. The project is a hilarious and often sobering look at the realities of the architecture profession, including its low pay, inflated egos, and many misperceptions. “Most of the books we were seeing skewed toward an idealized vision of the architect. There was a definite disconnect between this romanticized Architecture and what we were seeing and hearing,” explained Horton, who added, “We annoyed a few people, but that tells us we were hitting the right chords.”
Here are some of our favorite words of wisdom:
#1 It’s architecture, not medicine. You can take a break and no one will die.
#10 Once you leave architecture school not everybody cares about architecture or wants to talk about it.
#35 The “privilege” of working for a firm is not compensation in itself. You cannot live on, buy food with, or pay the rent with, a firm’s “reputation.”
When one thinks of Marcel Breuer’s work in New York, the Whitney immediately comes to mind. But there’s a substantial collection of Breuer buildings in the Bronx, including the Lehman College Art Gallery, where Breuer morphed from Bauhaus to Brutailism in one structure. On Monday night, two separate group shows opened at the gallery, one curated by gallery director Susan Hoetzel, the other was part of El Museo del Barrio’s biennial, “The (S) Files.” From an architectural standpoint, one artist from each show stood out because of their direct response to Breuer’s hyperbolic paraboloid columns which punctuate the space.
Following Thursday evening’s Urban Design Week (UDW) launch party hosted by the Institute for Urban Design (IfUD) at the breezy BMW Guggenheim Lab, the AN team dispersed to check out various events on the jam-packed UDW roster. We compiled our notes, and here’s a quick sampling of what we saw and heard:
Saturday, September 17: A small contingent of planners, landscape architects, and artists met up at Montefiore Park, a tiny triangle of a plaza at 137th Street where Broadway slices through Manhattan’s orderly grid. The group was invited to offer feedback on an installation at the site entitled Broadway: 1000 Steps. The interactive piece by Mary Miss (and CaLL) is an experiment in educating the public on environmental issues through artwork. A collection of periscope-like tubes and mirrors confront passersby with stats on sustainability initiatives in the city. Keep your eyes peeled—the piece will work its way down Broadway over the course of the next few months.
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: