The Venice Biennale is staged in an enormous old Arsenal building and in an urban park a few blocks away that houses 30 national pavilions. The first of these pavilions opened in 1907 and several were designed by famous architects like Josef Hoffmann (Austria), BBPR (Canada), Alvar Aalto (Finland), and Sverre Fehn (Nordic). The United States pavilion was designed by William Adams Delano. There have been very few buildings built in the garden since James Sterling designed the biennial book store in 1991, but just behind the U.S. pavilion the Australians are building a new exhibition space designed by Denton Corker Marshall. The Australian architects describe the pavilion as a simple structure or “a white box contained within a black box.” The pavilion will open in 2015 for the 56th art biennale and its $6 million price tag will be paid for with private funds.
Rumors have been circulating that Paul Goldberger was leaving his prized perch as architecture critic at the New Yorker. It appears he’s been given a golden parachute from Condé Nast in the form of a contributing editor title at Vanity Fair, where he will cover architecture and design. AN has obtained an undated press release from that magazine confirming the move. “This is an appointment that thrills me profoundly,” Graydon Carter, editor in chief of Vanity Fair, said in a statement. “Paul is about as gifted a commentator on architecture, urban planning, and design as anyone you’re going to find these days—in other words, he’s just a brilliant writer.”
Coca-Cola has big plans for an Olympic Park pavilion for London’s 2012 sporting extravaganza. London-based architects Pernilla & Asif have created the “Coca-Cola Beatbox,” a spiraling structure clad in red and white panels that appear to be suspended in frozen animation. It’s not only an intriguing structure but an interactive musical instrument. The experimental architecture works with cutting edge sound technology, encouraging people to interact and “play the pavilion.”
Inspired by sounds of the Olympic games—the plunge of an archer’s arrow into a target, athlete’s quickened heartbeats, squeaking sneakers—the Beatbox will be imbedded with sound-bites created by Grammy Award-winning producer Mark Ronson that allow visitors to remix their own mashed-up productions.
In the interest of getting students to build physical things, three years ago, USC introduced Top Fuel, a week-long design-build workshop accompanied by lectures, exhibitions, and panels. This year’s workshop, “Filters Funnels Flows,” wrapped up earlier this week. It focused on pneumatic (aka inflatable) structures, teaching students about the “inseparable relation between form and performance of pneumatic systems.” Indeed, produce the wrong form here (or material, or structure) and the piece doesn’t inflate. Students also explored lighting, temperature, and other environmental issues.
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A temporary installation spruces up the burger stand’s site ahead of its summer opening
Two years ago, Mario Gentile founded Phildelphia-based Shift_Design after being laid off from Peter Marino Architects. With an infant son in tow, he began to design and manufacture a range of systems for outdoor garden environments. The company was part of the GoodCompany incubation program for socially responsible products and will complete a green roof, living wall, and rainwater harvesting system at the Urban Outfitters headquarters at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in September. They are also working with Philadelphia’s Water Department to design new stormwater-collecting planters. Though functional and environmentally minded, the group’s work has a lighthearted appeal for urban environments—something that’s apparent in its newly completed installation at the construction site of Danny Meyer’s first Philadelphia Shake Shack, scheduled to open this summer.
LA’s proposed 44-acre Hollywood Central Park, which would be set atop the capped 101 Freeway between Santa Monica and Hollywood boulevards, made new friends in Washington last week, according to the LA Daily News. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood met with local congressman Adam Schiff and Friends of the Hollywood Central Park (FHCP), a non-profit formed in 2008 to raise funds for the park. LaHood expressed interest in the project, and provided insights on its development and possible benefits. He also offered to have members of his staff contribute to its planning process.
It is now confirmed that the next dean at Princeton University School of Architecture will be Alejandro Zaera-Polo. The last lap of the race to take Stan Allen’s position as dean had narrowed down to three with odds on one of the several female contenders including Sylvia Lavin and Keller Easterling. But when the London-based, Spanish-born architect was called in London on March 18 and asked to fly to Princeton, where he is currently a visiting lecturer, the die seemed cast. And now Dean Allen confirms.