The film My Architect, the story of Louis Kahn’s son on a mission to discover and understand his father, won over the hearts and praise of even the lay-est of architectural laypersons. The effects of which—a fresh spotlight on the work and life of a brilliant designer—did not fall on blind eyes. Tomas Koolhaas is making a film about his father, Rem Koolhaas—see the Facebook page!—called REM set to debut in 2013. It also appears from rough clips that the CCTV building in China will play a central role in the story. Awesome! We can’t wait to see this quaint little film about a humble and modest architect and his role in designing the media headquarters for political oppression and censorship in China. We’ll get the popcorn!
“The Energy Tour” is a music video and performance tour premiering at the AIA 2012 convention, happening now in Washington D.C. Produced by YKK AP America, the video introduces the new YUW 750 XT unitized wall system, part of the company’s enerGfacade product line.
Part advertisement, part SNL Digital Short, part amateur YouTube upload, the video features two Ohio State students in suits rapping about new YKK AP products, “Listen up the saving starts now,/ Come and roll with us and we’ll show you how./ To minimize costs and reduce heat gain,/ What they say is we’ll make it rain.”
YKK AP America has used YouTube before, including a “Building a Better Tomorrow, Today” video competition and another enerGfacade product release video, both in 2010. With a simple beat and scenes of dancing architects excited about energy efficiency, this new video is a novel, youth-oriented addition to advertising for the design community.
For your afternoon enjoyment, check out this silent film from 1921 we spotted at the Urbanophile called Manhatta. The short film by Paul Strand and Charles Sheeler documents city life in Lower Manhattan during a typical day, from the arrival of a ferry at the Battery Maritime Building to construction of skyscrapers to a Manhattan sunset. Our favorite scenes, however, are the chaotic streets (“Where the city’s ceaseless crowd moves on, the live long day.”) filled with people, cars, buggies, trolleys, elevated rail lines, and bikes all moving in the same shared space. Take a look.
The new home of Cleveland’s Museum of Contemporary Art is rapidly taking shape. Designed by Farshid Moussavi, the faceted design is both iconic and responsive to its wedge-shaped site, packing a lot of visual and programmatic punch within a small envelope and with a small budget. The Museum has been keeping a video record of the building going up. Read More
Norman Foster, who, as writer Mark Lamster has noted, “even in his 70s, has the look of a heavy in a Guy Ritchie film,” skis, sketches, and visits his childhood home in Manchester, England, in the film How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster?, a documentary produced by the architect’s wife that screened on January 25, at the IFC Center. Directed and dreamily photographed by Norberto Lopez-Amado and Carlos Carcas, the film moves seamlessly between irresistible images of Foster’s buildings, and the man himself, dashing between projects, reflecting on his career, and earning praise from scriptwriter Deyan Sudjic on everything from his work ethic to his wardrobe. “Everything inspires me,” says Foster early in the film. “Sometimes I think I see things others don’t.”
If you love the Eames Office (and who doesn’t?) you need to see this new video by Eames Demetrios, grandson of Charles and Ray Eames, who took several of their famous elephants on safari with him at the Malamala Game Reserve in South Africa. The stop-action video accomplishes what few in the design world have been able to: it brings the already playful pieces to life, wearing pith helmets, bumping around in their jeep, wrestling and checking out zebras, water buffalo, and other creatures (but curiously no elephants). Good news: it appears there will be more safaris to come.
Metropolis II, opening at LACMA on January 14, is installation artist Chris Burden’s action-packed, raucous, optimistic view of Los Angeles sometime in the not-to-distant future. Eleven-hundred custom-made, die-cast cars, about twice the size of a Matchbox car, race through a multilevel system of 18 roadways that twist and turn and undulate amid buildings that seem vaguely familiar but are not replicas of any specific landmark (although, strangely, there is what looks like an Eiffel Tower). The cars whip along on a plastic roadway at fantastic speeds, producing an enormous din that echoes off the gallery walls like the incessant roar of real-life freeway traffic. HO-scale trains and 1930s-era trolley cars roll along tracks of their own, adding a cheerful nostalgia to the mix.
Still riding the wave of publicity following her recent MacArthur genius grant win, Jeanne Gang gets the full star treatment from Chicago’s public TV station WTTW. This documentary, “Jeanne Gang: The Sky’s the Limit,” is all praise. Blair Kamin and Stanley Tigerman figure as her head cheerleaders. It would have been nice to have someone puncture the bubble a bit, possibly interrogating Gang about architect’s limits, rather than merely presenting the discipline (and Gang as one of its leading lights) as a environmental and societal savior. The documentary does show some engaging glimpses of Studio Gang’s working methods and office style, so there’s plenty to enjoy, even for the (mild) skeptics.
Noting the rivalry between his new home, Los Angeles, and New York while visiting the Big Apple last week, Conan O’Brien launched a new segment , the Fight to the Death Building Battle to settle the cities’ differences once and for all. Curbed spotted these epic architectural fights posted online at Team Coco’s blog, and we couldn’t help but share on this Friday afternoon, 11/11/11. While in New York, Conan pitted the Empire State Building (“weighing in at 365,000 tons of limestone”) against LA’s Scientology Book Store (“the best building they could come up with.”) Of course, the Empire State soundly won. Back in LA, he revoked his New York show as “playing to the New York crowd,” and held another match between the Empire and a trio of LA buildings: the Capitol Records Building, a Lady Foot Locker from a Venice Boulevard strip mall, and later Randy’s Donuts. Remember, whatever side you choose, as Conan pointed out, “You’re booing a building.”
By our watch here at The Architect’s Newspaper HQ, it’s 11:11:11 a.m. on 11/11/11. We’re pretty excited that the date and time looks a little like a miniature Manhattan skyline! Continuing on our theme of absurdity (previously, architectural models), check out this delightful video put together by the New York-based Koren Ensemble to commemorate this special day. Some say so many 11′s is certainly a lucky event, so be sure to make a wish when the clock strikes 11:11 the second time around.