John Johansen’s iconic Mummers Theater in Oklahoma City may be demolished in the next year. Built with a $1.7 million grant from the Ford Foundation, the so called “Brutalist” building was closed in 2010 due to flooding and a local Oklahoma City group has been trying to purchase it for a downtown children’s museum.
Los Angeles firm Layer (you may remember some of their past work) are showcasing their talents once again with an upcoming exhibit at the Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA). Opening June 3, the show, entitled Layer: A Loose Horizon is designed as a low-relief, web-like sculptural installation that begins outside the museum’s second floor window and continues into the interior of the building, across the lobby.
The series of overhead shapes “explores the threshold between perception and logic,” and creates “a physically engrossing and intellectually stimulating spatial construction,” according to the PMCA.
AN was live blogging from the Megaprojects Conference at the McGraw Hill Conference Center on May 11. The conference/symposium, sponsored by Columbia University’s Center for Urban Real Estate, took a close look at a few of New York’s biggest real estate projects. The World Trade Center, Hudson Yards, and Times Square. London’s Docklands was also discussed.
The panel from Hudson Yards was the last up at today’s conference, though Related’s Stephen Ross, who sat on an earlier panel was no longer in the house. Oxford Properties’ Dean Shapiro estimated that the project would be completed over the course of two economic cycles. MTA’s real estate director Jeffrey Rosen once again echoed the Port Authority transit theme with “Our paramount concern is running the rail road.” Rosen said that flexibility needs to be a part of any plan, adding that the High Line was not even on the radar when Hudson Yards planning began. As a result the project’s anchor tenant was a luxury fashion company.“Who would’ve thought that this would become Meatpacking North,” he said.
Vishaan Chakrabarti who opened the conference with the statement, “Cities can cure many of the world’s ills” closed the session by explaining how and why. He said major private investment needed to be paired with greater public flexibility and more investment at the federal level. He added that a more nimble public process (that’s you, ULURP) needed to be figured out. “We’re taking too long to build these kind of projects,” he said. But then he zeroed in on the major plus of the megaprojects. “They can address the alarming rate of suburbanization,” he said. “The only way to mitigate that is far denser urbanization with transportation.”
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Research into flexible active skins opens up new BIPV possibilities
As building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) technology becomes more advanced, architects are getting involved in how new systems affect not only a building’s performance, but also its appearance. “The photovoltaic industry was until now largely developed by engineers,” said Daniel Martín Ferrero, a Madrid-based architect researching solar design. “The architect must enter the industry to develop their integration into the urban scene.” Ferrero has launched a new company named The New Solar Architecture with a goal of bringing a higher level of design to solar energy-producing facades.
The largest development proposed in the history of downtown Seattle—an approximately 3 million square-foot headquarters for Amazon—may take eight years to complete. Project details presented at a recent downtown design review committee meeting revealed that Amazon’s glassy three block project, designed by NBBJ (designers of the recently-c0mpleted Gates Foundation, also in Seattle), will be built in three phases of two to four years.
Walking into the large, egg-like structure of the MoMA Ps1 Performance Dome, the German electronic band Kraftwerk’s song “Man-Machine” was the perfect accompaniment to the architecture. Their music represents the kind of progressive attitude towards materials (instruments) and aesthetics (sounds) that is captured perfectly in the temporary structure. A shiny, white, geodesic dome reminiscent of fellow early techno-fetishist Buckminster Fuller, the space features a super-high-fidelity sound system, 8 screens projecting various computer art, and not much else. It is the ideal pairing of minimalism and technology with Kraftwerk’s slick electronic melodies. Read More
Syracuse University’s School of Architecture will need a new dean before summer. New York City’s International Center of Photography (ICP) has announced that Mark Robbins the current dean of the school will become its next Executive Director. Robbins worked tirelessly to utilize Syracuse’s intellectual and design resources to bring life and new ideas to the dying college city and will be hard for the school to replace. But perhaps his skill at jump starting building projects will be useful in helping ICP find a new Manhattan gallery space befitting their mission and world class collection. Robbins will move out of his dramatic Syracuse bank townhouse and back to his hometown by July 1.
The Brooklyn Navy Yard is home to New York’s most spectacular collection of industrial buildings, warehouses, and 19th century dry docks. The Yard is normally closed to the public, but this Saturday Open House New York will open the gated industrial park to the public and many of its artisans, designers, and fabricators will be on hand to conduct tours of their studio spaces. The Navy Yard has just opened Building 92 with a spectacular museum of the facility’s history and an adjacent exhibition space featuring an exhibit of the collected steel dies (called hubs) of Mathew Lewandowski who was tool and die maker based in the Yard. The hubs on display represent 30 years of Lewandowski’s production and are beautiful objects in their own right as well as being tools for mass production. This Saturday is supposed to be beautiful weather so join Open House for a day in the Yard and its after party with the artists and artisans on the tour.
Wendy Evans Joseph and Chris Cooper
Re-Envisioning the South Street Seaport Museum
Thursday, May 10, 6:30 p.m.
South Street Seaport Museum
12 Fulton St.
Following extensive renovation, the South Street Seaport Museum reopened its doors in January under the auspices of the Museum of the City of New York. With 16 galleries, a site-specific sculptural installation, and a new shop, the museum is now a modern and vibrant cultural center in the historic Schermerhorn Row. The architects behind this renovation, Wendy Evans Joseph and Chris Cooper of Cooper Joseph Studio, will discuss their approach in modernizing these historic structures and the process of realizing their vision. Read More
The twelfth Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London is nothing without the first eleven. The collaborators responsible for the wonderfully intricate Beijing National Stadium (aka the Bird’s Nest) in 2008—Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron and Chinese artist Ai Weiwei—have designed a temporary pavilion inspired by the archaeology of previous structures by Peter Zumthor, Jean Nouvel, and Zaha Hadid, among others.