On View> Mobilier National at Demisch Danant

East
Thursday, December 15, 2011
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President's Desk by Henri Lesêtre, 1968. (Courtesy Demisch Danant)

President's Desk by Henri Lesêtre, 1968. (Courtesy Demisch Danant)

MOBILIER NATIONAL
Demisch Danant
542 West 22nd St.
Through February 11, 2012

Dating back to the 17th century, Mobilier National is the institution specifically dedicated to decorating the French Republic’s official palaces and residences, at home and abroad. For the first time in America, Demisch Danant presents more than 20 rare commissions realized in the 1960s by the Atelier de Recherche et Création (ARC), a program launched by Mobilier National to promote a distinctly French contemporary style in decorative arts and design. With research and design development subsidized, these pieces were meant to be commercially produced in limited quantities. Many of the ARC creations have become icons of modernity, including Pierre Paulin’s famous designs for President Georges Pompidou’s private apartments at the Palais de l’Elysée and the President’s Desk (1968) by Henri Lesêtre (above).

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Americans Storm Over MVRDV’s Clouded Vision

International
Thursday, December 15, 2011
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Rendering of the Cloud (Courtesy MVRDV)

Rendering of the Cloud (Courtesy MVRDV)

Guy Horton, a frequent contributor to AN, here adds his thoughts on the still-steaming controversy over MVRDV’s twin towers.

MVRDV’s design for what they call The Cloud, a twin high-rise with a connecting “cloud” above the waistline, has resulted in an blitz of negative criticism. Americans who have never heard of the Dutch firm are now phoning and emailing threats and condemnation non-stop—some are personal threats aimed at individuals. They have even been called “Al Qaeda lovers.”

Continue reading after the jump.

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Stanford is Ennead Country

Newsletter, West
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
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Ennead's new Anderson building would be located just west of its soon-to-be complete Bing Concert Hall. (courtesy Stanford University)

Ennead Architects (formerly Polshek Partership) seems to be taking over Stanford University one building at a time. First they built the Cantor Center for the Visual Arts in 1998. Then they finished the Stanford Law School Academic Building in 2010. They were also commissioned to build the Bing Concert Hall, which will open in 2013. And now they’ve just been chosen to build a $30.5 million, 30,000 square foot building for the Anderson Collection, a renowned compilation of post-World War II American Art. The building will also contain a library, offices, and storage spaces. Designs for the project will be released this Spring, according to Stanford. The Anderson, the Bing, the Cantor, and the new 96,000 square foot Burton and Deedee McMurtry Building, awarded in April to Diller Scofidio+ Renfro and containing undergraduate art and film studios, galleries, and an art and architecture library, will form the center of Stanford’s “arts district.”  Read More

Slideshow> WTC Memorial at Night

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
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Sonohetta's entrance to the Memorial Museum overlooks the North Pool.

Snøhetta's entrance to the Memorial Museum overlooks the North Pool.

Last Friday, AN went to the 9/11 Memorial, without a press pass, an official tour guide, or a hard hat. We went as a neighbor and experienced the place as any other visitor might. First, we attempted to get our ticket online. After checking the availability on Tuesday, we dithered, and by Wednesday online tickets were gone. But at the temporary exhibition space on Liberty Street, and a manager told us that a $20 ticket to the museum would get us into the memorial without reservations.

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Postmodernists Are Now Classicists, Driehaus Confirms

National
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
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The Minneapolis Institute of Arts addition designed by Michael Graves (all photos courtesy Driehaus Prize)

The small world of classicist architecture in America–where many former Postmodernists found refuge after the dial of taste turned away from jokey historical references and pasted-on pediments–is working overtime to rehabilitate the 70s and 80s stylistic counter reformation. First was the recent conference, “Reconsidering Postmodernism,” organized by the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which brought out many of the movement’s old stars for presentations, chats, and a lot of hand wringing. Today, the Chicago-based Richard H. Driehaus Foundation announced that Michael Graves was this year’s winner of the $200,000 Driehaus Prize.

Continue reading after the jump.

Gehry Goes to the Grammys With New Poster Design

West
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
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Frank Gehry's poster design for the Grammy Awards. (Courtesy Grammys)

Frank Gehry's poster design for the Grammy Awards. (Courtesy Grammys)

Adding to his pop culture resume (appearing on the Simpsons, designing a hat for Lady Gaga, starring in a documentary) Frank Gehry has designed the official poster for the 54th Grammy Awards, which takes place in February. It appears that Gehry simply placed the Grammy trophy in front of a collection of models at his office, leaving the question, can you spot any specific projects? If so leave a comment. We’d like to see Gehry’s interpretation of the iconic gramophone made of his signature curving titanium forms. Neil Portnow, president of the Recording Academy, said in a statement, “Frank’s exemplary creative accomplishments through a variety of artistic platforms have been inspirational. We are honored to work with such a well-respected talent who has served as an influential figure within the arts on a global scale.”

Coincidentally, Gehry will be designing sets for the LA Philharmonic’s production of Don Giovanni at Disney Hall this May. The Philharmonic is nominated for a Grammy this year for its performance of Brahms Symphony Number Four.

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New York’s Green Zone Goes For Code

East
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
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A large solar array planned for the Brooklyn Army Terminal. (Courtesy NYCEDC)

A large solar array planned for the Brooklyn Army Terminal. (Courtesy NYCEDC)

City Planning hasn’t missed a beat since celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1961 Zoning Amendment with a conference in November that brought together zoning czars from academia, business, and government to discuss challenges ahead for planning in New York City. On Monday, Amanda Burden of the City Planning Commission (CPC) announced a new Zone Green initiative making it easier —at least zoning-wise—for sustainable upgrades of residential and commercial buildings across the city.

Continue reading after the jump.

Unveiled> UNStudio Creates a Neighborhood in the Sky for Singapore

International
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
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UN Studio's Scotts Tower proposed for Singapore. (Courtesy UN Studio)

UNStudio's Scotts Tower proposed for Singapore. (Courtesy UNStudio)

Singapore’s largest private property developer, the Far East Organisation, is the latest client of the Amsterdam-based architect UNStudio. The project in question is The Scotts Tower, a high-end residential building with the ambition to achieve “vertical city planning”–a concept perhaps inevitable in evermore crowded Asian cities. According to Ben van Berkel, UNStudio principal, the project is to “create neighborhoods in the sky; a vertical city where each zone has its own distinct identity.”

Continue reading after the jump.

MVRDV Responds to Cloud Tower Imagery

International
Monday, December 12, 2011
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An early concept rendering of the Cloud tower and a rendering of the final design released last week. (Courtesy MVRDV)

An early concept rendering of the Cloud tower and a rendering of the final design released last week. (Courtesy MVRDV)

It must have been a rough day at MVRDV’s Rotterdam offices after their newly unveiled Cloud tower set to be built in Seoul, South Korea went viral in a bad way. MVRDV envisioned two towers shrouded in pixelated mist, but others saw the image of a plane hitting the World Trade Center in New York, half a world away. MVRDV released the following statement on their Facebook page along with an early conceptual drawing showing the inspiration for the tower, in a much more literal cloud:

A real media storm has started and we receive threatening emails and calls of angry people calling us Al Qaeda lovers or worse.

MVRDV regrets deeply any connotations The Cloud projects evokes regarding 9/11, it was not our intention.

The Cloud was designed based on parameters such as sunlight, outside spaces, living quality for inhabitants and the city. It is one of many projects in which MVRDV experiments with a raised city level to reinvent the often solitary typology of the skyscraper. It was not our intention to create an image resembling the attacks nor did we see the resemblance during the design process. We sincerely apologize to anyone whose feelings we have hurt, the design was not meant to provoke this.

Check out all of the renderings over here. What do you think? Is this too reminiscent of the Twin Towers? Do you see a cloud or an explosion frozen in time?

Video> Create a 3-D Model Out of a Series of Photographs

International, Newsletter
Monday, December 12, 2011
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123D Catch preview. (Courtesy Autodesk)

123D Catch preview. (Courtesy Autodesk)

Imagine snapping away at a favorite building, fountain, or desktop tchotchke, then uploading your photos to that super-computer in the sky we call the cloud, and after a just few short minutes being presented with a detailed three-dimensional digital model. That future, it appears, is finally here. Core 77 tipped us off that a new product by Autodesk called 123D Catch performs that basic photo-to-3D-model conversion, and the best part (if you’re running a PC) is that you can try out the beta version for free. We’re on Macs here at The Architect’s Newspaper HQ so we haven’t had a chance to test drive the software ourselves, but if it’s anything like Autodesk’s slick video demonstration (after the jump), we’ll be sending our photo archive cloud-side soon!

Watch the video demonstration after the jump.

The Ralph Pucci Tango

East
Monday, December 12, 2011
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The fiber art of Dana Barnes included fiber molded tires and inner tubes.

The fiber art of Dana Barnes included fiber molded tires and inner tubes. (Stoelker/AN)

The opening of “The Architecture of Indifference” last Thursday at Ralph Pucci’s Gallery 9 brought together the worlds of fashion and design in the manner that only this showroom can. The event launched a new line of mannequins from the company called “Guy,” with sultry poses suggesting last call at a bar in Buenos Aires. Any doubt as to Pucci’s inspiration for this collection was put to rest by the a tango performed by Walter Perez and Leonardo Sardella, who ambidextrously shifted roles in dancing backwards. The diversion almost threatened to distract from the fiber-based designs of Dana Barnes, but, of course, that’s nearly impossible to do.

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Unveiled> Seoul Cloud by MVRDV

International
Friday, December 9, 2011
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Courtesy MVRDV

Rendering of the Cloud at night. (Courtesy MVRDV)

Seoul’s Yongsan International Business District, a new district designed to lift the city’s architectural appeal as an international business destination, is filled with wild promises: the world’s second tallest tower (‘Dream Tower’) to be completed by 2016, the Libeskind-designed, 28-trillion-won ($22.6-billion) ‘Dreamhub’ project, and now MVRDV’s The Cloud.

Continue reading after the jump.

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