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Dieter Rams and his 606 Universal Shelving System at the Vitsoe Showroom.
When Dieter Rams enters a new country, he doesn’t like to call himself a designer. Instead, the world famous German industrial designer writes “architect” on his passport entry card. In fact, it was as an architect in the early 1950s that Rams got his start building additions and installations for a little known German manufacturer just starting up, named Braun.
Steven Holl’s new Cité de l’Océan et du Surf in Biarritz, France is at once rugged and ethereal. Designed in collaboration with the Brazilian artist Solange Fabiao, the building includes an accessible concave plaza roof covered in cobblestones, pierced by two milky “glass boulders,” or pavilions housing a restaurant and a “surfer’s kiosk.” The boulders offer views out to the ocean, while the plaza directs the eye to the sky above. The museum “explores both surf and sea and their role upon leisure, science, and ecology,” according to a statement from the firm.
The landscape beyond is scooped out to reflect the building’s concave form and create a new gathering place for the city. The museum opens to the public on June 25.
For a 120-year-old magazine, Architectural Record went impressively new-fangled in announcing its new editor-in-chief, Cathleen McGuigan, with word leaking out on Facebook Monday followed by rounds of Twitter and a formal blog posting at the Arc Rec website this morning.
With our office just two blocks up from Ground Zero, we are feeling the exhilaration and pride right up to our 5th floor windows. And when we saw NBC’s Matt Lauer at the corner Starbucks preparing for a ‘live from’ segment, we didn’t hesitate to buttonhole the guy and give him our latest timely issue—online today!—featuring a complete rundown on the Memorial Museum, along with some first views of the underground construction site that is taking shape as a museum as large as almost any in the city—with the potency of history.
Architect-researcher-conceptual designer-provocateur Francois Roche was recently invited to give a lecture and exhibition at SCI-Arc relating to the work of his firm R&Sie(n). However he canceled both, revealing the reasons in an open letter, after the jump. Much of it is in self-described “Frenchglish,” but you get the idea.
He’s not so happy with what he characterizes as the school’s arrogance, its narrow focus on design, and its “lack of interest for politics and attitude.” Them’s fightin’ words… Meanwhile SCI-Arc spokesperson Georgiana Ceausu tells AN that Roche’s summer exhibit didn’t work out because he wanted to display something he had already shown, which is against school policy.
187 Franklin Street (Courtesy Landmarks Preservation Commission)
A fanciful parametric design for an addition to a single family house in Tribeca made its way before the Landmarks Preservation Commission today and walked away with a stunning unanimous approval. Jeremy Edmiston of SYSTEMarchitects designed the new facade and addition to an existing three-story single-family house at 187 Franklin Street. According to its web site, the firm studies contemporary culture with “a focus on spaces that are multi-layered, overlapping, and intertwining — systems consisting of varying constituencies, economies and environments — systems both concrete and intangible.” From the looks of these boards presented to the panel, this project is right on the mark.
Don’t look now, Eric Owen Moss has put another landmark along the eastern edge of Culver City with the completion of the Cactus Tower on Hayden tract. Upending the usual relationship of earth and sky, he’s placed cactus plants high above the air, suspending them within a severe steel frame.
Ogrydziak Prillinger's Gallery House, heard but not seen. Photograph by Tim Griffith, courtesy of the architects.
On Thursday, the architecturati were at the War Memorial Performing Arts Center’s Green Room to see who won in this year’s AIA SF Awards. This year only saw 27 awards presented, half the number of last year’s 54–perhaps an indication of how hard the economic downturn has hit this area. But despite the shorter program, there was no shortage of distinctive projects.
Proposed highway removal along Louisville's riverfront (Courtesy 8664.org)
In a shift from America’s traditional 20th century landscape, more and more cities are now considering removing major highways in favor of housing, parks and economic development.
The chief motivation seems to be money, according to a recent NPR report highlighting the growing movement and the removal of Cleveland’s West Shoreway. As highways age, keeping them around doesn’t justify the high cost of maintenance.
AN exec editor Julie Iovine in conversation Rafael Viñoly at the Museum of the City of New York.
AN‘s Julie Iovine held a freewheeling conversation last week with architect Rafael Viñoly under the subject heading “What Comes After Postmodern Architecture.” The architect had some choice words about the period before moving on to a variety of other topics, including corporate architecture, collaboration, and New York.
A detail outlining Zelda the turkey's body and neck (her neck represented by a single line of bamboo leading to the head, somewhat obscured by the trees to the upper left). AN/Stoelker
After giving a brief lesson in New York’s Dutch history, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe opened a one-acre urban farm to a couple hundred local school children in Battery Park on Monday. It’s the Battery’s first farm in the area since the Dutch tilled soil there in 1625. The idea for the farm brought together celebrity chefs, architects, and community activists to work alongside the kids. The design, by the newly formed STUDIOperFORM, incorporated bamboo salvaged from last year’s Metropolitan Museum rooftop exhibit, Big Bambú. Design partners Shane Neufeld, an architect, and Scott Dougan, a set designer, used an silhouette of Zelda, the park’s resident turkey, as the basis for their design. Neufeld said that Zelda was never meant to be fully recognizable, instead, the design serves as narrative to teach the children about nature. As a native of Brooklyn, Neufeld said that he doesn’t recall ever having a garden. “We had a parking lot,” he said. Read More
Ai Weiwei with Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia (Courtesy Melissa Lam)
(Updated 4-6-2011) As details emerge, be sure to track the comments on this post for the latest on Ai Weiwei. We have learned that the US State Department called for his release on Monday. According to VOA News, Mark Toner, State Department Acting Deputy Spokesman saud, “The detention of artist and activist Ai Weiwei is inconsistent with the fundamental freedoms and human rights of all Chinese citizens, including China’s commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and we urge the Chinese government to release him immediately.” Today, the Guardian reported that Ai Weiwei is under investigation for “suspected economic crimes” according to the Chinese state news agency Xinhua which has since deleted the statement.
AN also received the following note of support for Ai Weiwei from Richard Meier. Please feel free to voice your messages of support in the comments.
Ai Weiwei deserves all of our support in his efforts to communicate with the world community of architects about the conditions that currently exist in China. We all hope that his immediate release will happen quickly in response to comments from all of us that support him in his cause.
(Original Report 4-4-2011) News that Chinese artist, architect, and activist Ai Wei Wei has been detained and disappeared as of April 3, 2011 broke yesterday in the International media. As reported by Andrew Jacobs in the New York Times, and more recently today by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, his detention and police closure of his Beijing studio coincides with what is known as the “Jasmine Revolution,” a protest movement in the People’s Republic of China that was inspired by the 2011 Tunisian Revolution and has prompted the Communist Party’s six-week crackdown on human rights lawyers and activists, with many of those detained still not released, and others, such as pro-democracy writer Liu Xianbin, sentenced to 10 years in jail for subversion.