With intense speculation about Hernan Diaz Alonso assuming the deanship at SCI-Arc, academic hiring season is in full swing. But don’t worry, there are so many more deanships up for grabs—Columbia, Cooper Union, University of Kentucky, MIT, among others. The architectural academy is about to go through a major personnel shuffle.
In one of AN‘s many visits to offices around the West Coast we recently stumbled upon a true gem. Apparently the dog whisperer, Cesar Milan, is hoping to build an estate for himself in Santa Clarita, north of Los Angeles, that would include the world’s largest dog park, a home for his foundation, the Dog Psychology Center, a dog track for training rescued dogs, and villas for pet owners to stay when they’re treating their dogs. The project is still seeking funding, but well keep you posted if this one gets its, ahem, legs.
It appears our friends at engineering firm Buro Happold, which just moved their offices to Downtown Los Angeles, are experiencing some of their own moves. Chief engineers Greg Otto and Sanjeev Tankha have taken their talents to Walter P. Moore, a Santa Monica firm hoping to expand their design expertise and research capabilities. In other moving news, after ten years wHY Design’s founding partner Yo Hakamori has left the firm for DesignARC. And over in New York our friend Dung Ngo has announced he’s leaving Rizzoli. No word why at this point, but according to Ngo the parties are leaving “on the very best of terms.” If only all breakups were as amicable.
Speaking of controversy, Zaha Hadid can’t catch a break! Since her stadium design for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was unveiled, complaints have arisen about the scale and height of the project. Then two of Japan’s biggest architects—Toyo Ito and Fumihiko Maki—signed on to a petition calling for a revised design. As of press time more than 26,500 people have signed on to protest the design. Is someone’s star beginning to dim?
Speaking of directors stepping down, it appears the unspoken rumor that we’ve been forbidden to share for so long is now all-but official. Eric Owen Moss is indeed stepping down as the head of SCI-Arc, and a committee is in session to choose his replacement. This being SCI-Arc, everyone has an opinion about who should step in; but we won’t share anything else until we find a ripe, unsubstantiated piece of gossip telling us who it might be.
We’ve known for some time now that ex MOCA director Richard Koshalek has returned to Los Angeles from D.C., where he recently stepped down as director of the Hirshhorn Museum. Now we know one of his exploits: We hear that he is consulting Frank Gehry on the organization of his vast archives. Maybe this means there will someday be a Gehry museum? Certainly the architect is not getting any younger, so we may hear more soon.
Major museums are really expensive these days, and boy do we like to complain about it (actually we get into most museums for free with a press pass, but we still love to complain about it)! Well gather ‘round dear readers, because we’ve got a bit of nice news for once. The new Renzo Piano–designed Whitney Museum is offering free admission for a year to all the men and women who are building their new Meatpacking location. It’s a nice counter to all the bad news about labor conditions at major cultural and educational institutions in the Middle East (we’re looking at you, NYU).
Peeping Toms, bust out the kazoos. Your field day has arrived—and it comes equipped with party favors. The Shard, designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, is London’s tallest skyscraper and, as of last week, home to a new luxury hotel. The rooms include breathtaking views of the city—and, thanks to a design flaw, unscrupulous views of unsuspecting neighbors.
Glass panels on the Shard’s exterior bestow the building with a crystalline front and its namesake. But at night, the city’s lights turn the glass into mirrors that fully reflect guest bedrooms into each other. Complementary binoculars (“for the view,” ahem) don’t help matters. Nor do puns about the naked eye. Masking a blush? Rest easy—susceptible rooms include shades for extra privacy.
Just last month Eaves dropped in on the Chicago Design Museum for the launch of its Kickstarter campaign, which sought funding for the institution’s first summer exhibition in a new permanent space. Well, that space has been revealed, and it’s every Chicagoan’s favorite downtown boondoggle. No, not the Spire. Or the Post Office. Never mind—it’s Block Thirty Seven! That’s right, it turns out the largely vacant downtown mall has 5,000 square feet free for ChiDM (and probably a lot more). A good chance to remind yourself that the building’s still there, looming above the Red Line-Blue Line transfer.
Gallup pollsters recently asked Americans if they had the opportunity to move, “would you like to move to another state, or would you rather remain in your current state?” Well, Illinois and Connecticut earned the dubious distinction of having the nation’s most restless residents. About half of the surveyed residents in Illinois wanted to bounce, but don’t expect an influx of moving boxes. We’ll probably just ride it out and complain. Case in point: another Gallup poll found 25 percent of Illinoisans surveyed said their state is “the worst possible place to live in”—second only in self-loathing to Rhode Island.
Architecture critic and one-time eavesdropper Philip Nobel has a fancy new title: Editorial Director for SHoP Architects. Though he has long been known for throwing critical barbs, Nobel has always been cozy with the firm, having contributed an introduction to their monograph, Out of Practice, and a written glowing profile of Vishaan Chakrabarti for Metropolis (the piece had the oh-so subtle title, “Vishaansanity”). You might say it was a very long audition that clearly paid off in the end.
It’s hard enough for west coast firms to make it into architecture publications, but Clive Wilkinson has made it into the vaunted pages of the New Yorker. In the “Talk of the Town,” writer Nick Paumgarten describes Wilkinson’s thousand-foot-long, resin-topped “superdesk,” which he designed for New York ad agency Barbarian Group in Chelsea, as “swerving around the giant loft space like a mega slot-car track.” Barbarian calls the desk “4,400 square feet of undulating, unbroken awesomeness to keep people and ideas flowing.” In fact the desk even played a major role in a recent company party, and Paumgarten wondered if the desk itself might be taking on human characteristics: “One got a sense, after a while, that the superdesk might be capable of consciousness, that it was observing the humans as they heedlessly laughed and flirted and left glasses of wine on its carapace, and that it might be developing longings and resentments, or plotting its revenge.”