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Mobile from Architectones at the VDL (Joshua White)
Art’s power can be magnified by architecture. French artist Xavier Veilhan knew that well when he took over two of LA’s most famous houses last week: Richard Neutra’s VDL Research House and Pierre Koenig’s Case Study House 21. The installation at the VDL, called Architectones, consisted of VDL-inspired sculptures in the garden, the front yard, in most of the home’s rooms, on the rooftop, and even in the reflecting pool.
Nods to Neutra himself and to the modernist movement included a large steel profile of the architect, as well as an evocative mobile and models of rather menacing-looking boats, flags, rockets, and cars.
A couple of days later came the finale: a haunting performance installation at CSH 21 that transformed reflecting pools with black ink and made the transparent house opaque with dry ice-produced smoke.
Los Angeles is putting a new spin on an old technology, returning to one of the oldest forms of irrigation: the water wheel. Aqueducts have played a significant role in Los Angeles’ history, such as a waterwheel placed on the Zanja Madre—the Mother Ditch—in the 1860s that brought water from Rio Porciuncula to the Los Angeles River. As a dedication for the 100th anniversary of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, a new waterwheel designed by Metabolic Studio‘s Lauren Bon, will be installed near the same site by November 5th, 2013. Bon, an Annenberg heiress, artist, and philanthropist, gained notoriety for her Not a Cornfieldinstallation that involved transforming 32 acres of brownfields into a fertile planting ground.
Wolf Point on the Chicago River. (Courtesy Pelli Clarke Pelli)
The biggest stir caused by the Kennedy’s newest proposal for developing Wolf Point was not obscuring the Merchandise Mart views or initial reactions to the renderings or the stuffing of three very tall towers on one impossibly small piece of land. It was more like, “There’s a living Kennedy with a stake in Chicago real estate?” We all know the family sold the Mart years ago. Fewer of us knew they held on to that little sandbar that sits in front of the the Sun-Times building.
Ready to boost the family fortune, the Kennedys with Hines, Cesar Pelli, and bKL plan to stuff three towers onto the site. Is this the architectural equivalent of a 10 lb. bag of sugar in a 5 lb. sack? Maybe, but development of that scale is also kind of exciting. And that leads to the biggest question. Can this economy support a residential and commercial project of this size? Well, Jean—that’s the last sibling standing, right, so the land must be hers—get out your good-faith checkbook: Google is coming. They’ve leased the top floors of the Mart, which will serve as the new headquarters of Motorola, which Google has acquired. That means thousands of high paying fancy Google jobs just across the street. With that news, Wolf Point is a done deal, no?
The crown of the Woolworth Building in Lower Manhattan. (dragonflyajt/Flickr)
New York City’s nouveau-tall skyscrapers, like the Christian de Portzamparc-designed One57 which recently topped out at 1,004 feet, have been wooing the world’s richest residential buyers with unimaginable amenities and floor-to-ceiling glass. But if you interested in an address that redefined tall—one hundred years ago—your options are more limited. Now, developers Alchemy Properties have acquired the top 30 floors of the iconic Woolworth Building in Lower Manhattan, the world’s tallest structure when it opened in 1913, with plans to build 40 super-luxury residential units in the sky.
Left Bank: Port de Solférino, Musée d’Orsay (Courtesy APUR/J.C. Choblet)
The “reconquest” of the Seine’s riverside expressways will be ushered in by Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë, following a long battle with Nicolas Sarkozy’s recently ousted right-wing government. Continuous two-lane motorways have severed Paris from the banks of the Seine, recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, since Georges Pompidou opened them in 1967 under the slogan “Paris must adapt to the car.”
One World Trade as viewed from Spruce Street. (Courtesy Durst)
The Durst Organization and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey released a handful of new interior and exterior renderings of a value-engineered version of original designs for One World Trade. Clearly the long-term maintenance argument won out over David Childs’ proposal for a sculpture-clad spire instead of a simple antenna. The resulting design seems far more efficient, if not aesthetically complete. Noticeably absent is Silverstein’s yet-to-be-leased towers Two and Three, which won’t rise until an anchor tenant is found. But neither collapsed cranes or a fire this morning will slow the tower from its relentless climb.
Two slightly arched sections along 30th Street will provide a brief river vista before giving way to the sweeping views of the interim section.
Everyone loves a fresh High Line rendering, prompting a leak of the latest batch—complete with giant “Not for reproduction” text scrawled across the images—last week via DNAinfo. Now that the cat is out of the bag, the High Line released officially approved renderings yesterday that are crystal clear and text free.
Changes from the designs released in March predominantly show refined detailing by James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro. The delightful rubberized I-beam section for the kids has more planting and the final wrap-around interim section features a few new set of scalies, but the temporary solution remains much the same, with a lean walkway overlooking the self-seeded rail bed.
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.
This year, 80 applicants were chosen from a pool of 317 entries, which were all assigned to one of three panels: Arts Engagement-projects mainly focused on artistic production, Cultural Planning and Design-projects to build local support systems and spaces necessary for creative placemaking, and Non-metro and Tribal Communities-projects based in small communities not adjacent to metropolitan areas.
Noesis, installation art by Amy Jean Boebel. (Kenneth Johansson)
Femmes are front, center, and all around in Los Angeles’ Architecture and Design museum’s third installation of its summer series, Come In! Usually a fun-filled event, this year’s exhibition strikes a chord in an industry often criticized for not being more gender equal.
Issue aside, this year’s Come In! Les Femmes exhibit offers a look into the unique perspective of 25 women from varied art and design disciplines. As expected, in dealing with gender, one can’t escape the occasional critique of women’s roles in society and this exhibition is no exception. By juxtaposing blissful bridal images with symbols of domestic drudgery like irons and cookware, graphic designer Petrula Vrontikis asks us to contemplate the thin line that divides princess from domestic peasant in what she calls, “Brides = Maids.” Meanwhile, rather than using a standard canopy, installation artist Amy Jean Boebel fashioned a charcoal aluminum wire mesh into a giant frilly top in “Noesis.” Inside, a television set broadcasts the changing roles of women through the years. Apparel was also architect Doris Sung’s starting point. Inspired by age-old corsets, Sung creates a sculpture made out of thermobimetal that contracts and expands according to ambient heat.
The approved AIDS Memorial is on track for installation across the street from the former St. Vincent’s hospital. (Courtesy NYC AIDS Memorial)
It was a week of devastating lows and mild highs for Community Board 2. With NYU virtually assured of getting their 1.9 million-square-foot expansion plan through City Council next week, in spite of vigorous local objection, the mood at last night’s executive board meeting was decidedly grim. But a new design for the AIDS Memorial, to be incorporated into the proposed St. Vincent’s Hospital Park across the street from the former hospital site in Greenwich Village, offered some hope. The new design was in response to a demand that the designers incorporate community input, providing hope for some that that the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) was not a waste of time. “With ULURP being ULURP, I didn’t think this would happen,” Village resident Robert Woodworth said of the memorial designed by Brooklyn-based studio a+i.