It might be the latest trend in creative modern eco-office design or, more likely, it’s a tongue-in-cheek reminder to avoid letting work take over your life. In the typical modern office with row upon row of geometric cubicles, the closest a worker might get to nature is a small potted plant, a faraway glimpse out a window, or a rainforest background on his or her computer. But a new installation in downtown Denver quite literally breaks down this man-made environment in an effort to promote outdoor activity and a connection to nature during the workday.
Aban-dam-ment. Atlas Obscura posted several images of the abandoned 1906 Pinawa Dam in Manitoba, Canada on the Winnipeg River. After its decommission in the 1950s, the dam was later used for military training. Quite literally bombed out, the dam stands as a scarred relic and reminder of the once highly functional hydro-electric generating station.
Campus Tour. Architectural Digest compiled a list of top colleges with the best architecture, spotlighting both old and new including UVA’s World Heritage-listed campus, Harvard and Yale’s 18th century history mixed with modern architecture, and Frank Llyod Wright’s presence at Florida Southern College.
International Green. International landscape designers Gillespies developed three “rooftop sanctuaries” that take their visitors around the world. With inspiration drawn from Indonesian, Japanese, and Moroccan traditional gardens, the result was “a series of posh but welcoming spaces ranging from the intimate and serene to the open and flourishing.” Inhabitat has a virtual tour.
Moshe’s Fall. Architect Moshe Safdie is expecting to open four projects to the public in the next few months. ArtDaily profiled of each of them, including the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City (September 16), United States Institute of Peace, Washington (Fall 2011), Khalsa Heritage Centre, Anandpur Sahib, India (Fall 2011), and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas (November 11).
Lyonel Feininger: At the Edge of the World
Whitney Museum of American Art
945 Madison Ave. at 75th St.
New York, NY 10021
“The ultimate aim of all artistic activity is the building! Let us desire, conceive, and create the new building of the future together. . . [and it] will one day rise towards the heavens from the hands of a million workers as the crystalline symbol of a new and coming faith,” Walter Gropius boldly declared in his 1919 “Bauhaus Manifesto,” laying the foundations for a new architecture and a modern approach to design. Seeking to reunite the artist and artisan together, the founders of the Bauhaus looked to medieval guilds as a model for a new design school that would combine the arts and design under one roof.
To illustrate the manifesto, Gropius selected a woodcut by American-born German artist Lyonel Feininger, titled, “Cathedral,” an abstracted depiction of a late Gothic church. This collaboration marked Lyonel Feininger’s first involvement with the Bauhaus—he would be later hired to teach printmaking—that would continue until the school was closed under pressure from the Nazis in 1933.
It’s almost time to face the mid-August blues, that moment when the back-to-school copy books hit the drug store shelves. Well, there’s still time to cram in a few summer day trips. One item at the top of the list should be a visit the recently landmarked Childs Restaurant building, better known as the headquarters for Coney Island USA. There, the freak shows still reign and Zoe Beloff’s small show on toy theater dioramas has an extended its run till mid-September.
Prairie Hotel. After a 2-year, $18 million renovation, Frank Lloyd Wright’s last standing hotel has reopened in Mason City, Iowa. The Historic Park Inn Hotel is a premier example of the Wright’s Prairie style, and features deep hanging eaves and a terra-cotta façade. A massive art-glass skylight drenches the lobby in multi-colored light. More at ArtInfo.
Library of Glass. Although Philip Johnson’s Glass House library is transparent, Birch Books Conservation will soon offer the public a view the architect’s library without a trip to New Canaan. The non-profit publisher hopes “to preserve the professional libraries of artists, architects, authors, and important public figures through publishing photographic and written research,” with an inside look at Johnson’s personal collection, reported Unbeige.
Mapping Poverty and Rebellion. The Guardian opened up the recent London riots for debate. Journalist Matt Stiles mapped the newspaper’s accumulated data of riot hot spots on a plan of London’s neighborhoods. Deep red stands for the British capital’s poorest regions, while blue represents the wealthiest communities.
Metro In-The-Middle. The long-awaited Culver City Expo Line station was delayed by a disagreement between Culver City and construction authorities. Now, the two parties have agreed to the $7 million budget increase, which will fund a pedestrian plaza, bike lanes, parking facilities and pavement improvements. More at Curbed LA.
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The Leonardo Museum’s commission for its new home is part architecture, part artistic innovation.
After years of renovations, Salt Lake City’s Leonardo museum is poised to move into its new home in the city’s former downtown public library building. Conceived in the spirit of Leonardo da Vinci, the art, science, and technology museum hosted a design competition to create a permanent media wall that would represent its creative mission while serving the programmatic role of dividing two first-floor galleries in the new building. Last summer, the museum awarded the commission to recent Columbia GSAPP graduates Yong Ju Lee and Brian Brush, founders of the New York- and Portland, Oregon-based design and digital fabrication practice SoftRigid. Their installation, Dynamic Performance of Nature, is not only a fluid solution to the building’s architectural needs but also a high-tech presentation of real-time environmental data from around the world.
In collaboration with New York-based common room architects, students at Barnard + Columbia Undergraduate Architecture (b+c a) designed a temporary installation to transform student space at the school’s Altschul Atrium.
The Altschul building, a modernist structure built in 1969, sits on the northwest corner of Barnard’s campus facing east towards the Weiss/Manfredi-designed Diana Center, which opened in January 2011. The new center houses undergraduate architecture, studio art, and art history departments and has brought increased movement to the center of campus, including students looking for space to sit, read and socialize between class. This addition to the campus has also brought attention to the unused atrium space at Altschul, which houses faculty offices and labs. The the idea behind the atrium installation is to encourage a more interactive relationship with the Altschul space as well as with other neighboring buildings on campus. Students and faculty of b+c a have envisioned an installation that accommodates multi-use programming and one that focuses on the importance of flexibility and function.
In case you missed the news, Dwell magazine editor-in-chief Sam Grawe (pictured) is stepping down. He had been EIC for five years and with the magazine for eleven. No word yet on why he decided to leave, but we did get this (below) statement from Dwell marketing director Nancy Alonzo, which mentions that Grawe turned down an offer to stay with the magazine as editor at large.
Rollin’ on the River. After seventy years, the Los Angeles River is now open to use by residents and visitors. The LA Times reported that the EPA has designated the river a navigable waterway, and a pilot program, Paddle the Los Angeles, launched this Monday. Visitors can now tour the waterway by kayak or canoe on weekends.
Unplugged Plugin. The new Sanya Skypump electric vehicle charging station is off the grid; it uses a combination of wind and solar energy, says Engadget. It is also a streetlamp, providing safe, green, parking illumination.
Urbanized Ablaze. Among of the casualties of the London Riots are the cousins of the upcoming documentary, Urbanized. According to the project’s blog, looters broke into a Sony distribution warehouse containing 20,000 DVDs of the Helvetica and Objectified films, took what they could and burned the rest. Many other independent films were also lost in the blaze.
Suburban dreams. The 2000 Census indicated that young Americans ages 25 to 34 were fleeing the suburbs and moving to cities, but polemic writer Joel Kotkin argued in Forbes that new census data analyzed by Wendell Cox points to a reversed trend. He said the demographic is returning the suburbs as they grow older and have kids.
Money McQueen. The Alexander McQueen retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which closed this past Sunday at midnight, was the Met’s 8th most popular exhibit of all time. Over its three-month showing, 661,508 people visited. Jezebel estimated the Met netted a minimum revenue of $14,603,862.
LA City Council is busy these days. Just one day after approving a downtown football stadium it voted today to approve the CRA/LA Continuation Ordinance, a move that will allow its city redevelopment agency to keep running. As part of the state’s so-called “Voluntary Alternative Redevelopment Program,” the city had to pay $97 million to the state this year, and will need to pay $26.5 million in future years. The program came as a result of state budget bills that would have simultaneously dissolved the state’s CRAs and given them a monetary out. According to Curbed LA, other cities that have opted in so far include Long Beach and Irvine. We’ll wait to see who else antes up.. Meanwhile the California Redevelopment Association’s lawsuit against the legislation is still pending.
We all know AT&T’s wireless service is, well, less than perfect. But at least they’re working on it, making about $450 million worth of improvements in the LA area over the last two years. Here’s an example: last week the technology giant installed a cell site inside the historic National Bank of Whittier buildingin uptown Whittier, California to boost its coverage in that area. The six-story Beaux Arts-style landmark building, home to Richard Nixon’s first law office and recognized on the National Register of Historic Places, was designed by Los Angeles father and son architect team John and Donald B. Parkinson in 1923. To preserve the building’s charm, the antenna site is fully concealed inside specially-built radio cabinets located on the top floor. The site is the only completely indoor one among 15 other Whittier cell structures. Other upgrades in the LA area (and there are a slew—many look, ahem, like trees) include a site close to the Chateau Marmont and one near the Greek Theatre.