Open House New York’s annual weekend of free tours is this weekend, on October 9 & 10. You may have waited too long to book many of these tours, but there are still some with space available on Saturday and Sunday. Open House New York was started in 2001 by architect Scott Lauer, and has quickly become America’s largest architecture and design event. It has opened spaces like the magnificent Jefferson Market Library tower to public tours (a full listing may be viewed on the OHNY website). And if you want to help this fantastic organization, come to their annual Weekend Launch Party! This year it will be on the top floor penthouse of the I.M. Pei-designed Centurion apartment tower in midtown Manhattan. The tickets are only $50, and can be purchased online or at the door. See you there!
The Daily Beast features a very interesting article about LA’s “Culture King” Eli Broad. The writer, LA Weekly’s Tom Christie, details Broad’s incredible spending spree on culture (not to mention on education and science), from the Broad Stage in Santa Monica to his new museum downtown, putting him in the company of other legendary—and, um, challenging— LA philanthropists like Norton Simon and J. Paul Getty. While art world figures like Michael Govan take their shots, few architects appear willing to talk on record about the intrusive client (Broad calls himself “strong willed” in the story). But one of them is Thom Mayne, who doesn’t pull many punches, although in the end seems to have an affinity for Broad. As for their failed partnership on the downtown museum, Mayne gets in a little dig: “We worked for a while, and we just reached a mutual understanding that we weren’t going to work together… It’s my city, and I didn’t want to produce a building I wasn’t proud of.”. Another revealing tidbit “I think he’s crazy as a loon half the time, and I don’t agree with him. But I have great admiration for him, and I actually like him.” For his part Broad gets in a slap at those who criticize his style: “Why don’t they join in the L.A. cultural life, rather than [sit] back and [offer] commentary?”
Ancient art once again finds itself an inspiration for new solutions. Borrowing principles from the art of Japanese paper folding, USC School of Architecture grad Tina Hovsepian invented Cardborigami, a temporary and ultra-portable shelter that can be used by the homeless or those stricken by natural disasters. The shelter is made from standard corrugated cardboard, a lightweight and cost effective material. Incorporating a consistent pattern of x’s and parallel lines, Tina created a structure that can fold down for portability, but also open up to create the makeshift “walls” of the shelter. Read More
The School of Missing Studies and Slought Foundation have recently returned from a “photo safari” to Petrova Gora in Croatia, one of many languishing memorials from the socialist era of the former Yugoslavia. Conceived in 1981 by Vojin Bakić, a Croatian sculptor who won many state-funded commissions, working with the architect Branislav Šerbetić, the project was designed as a 12-story-tall social center, set on the site of a Partisan field hospital used during World War II. Finally completed in 1989 as a monument to Yugoslavia’s resistance fighters, the memorial was used as intended for only a brief period before the Balkan crisis erupted. The wars that ensued scattered refugees around the region, and practically erased the political cause this structure was meant to embody. Read More
If New York is the city that never sleeps, how come it took us so long to get around to hosting our own Nuit Blanche (French for “Sleepless Night”)? The global all-night festival of arts began in Paris, Berlin, and St. Petersburg way back in 1997, and has spread around the world in the years since.
This Saturday, October 2, starting at 7:00 p.m., Brooklyn will host our city’s first Nuit Blanche, rechristened “Bring to Light” by local organizers DoTank:Brooklyn and producers Furnace Media. Over 50 artists and performers will converge on Greenpoint’s Oak St. between Franklin St. and the East River, taking over street corners, galleries, vacant lots, and rooftops to showcase their work. Read More
Stanford University has been commissioning a storm of new buildings, and it just opened the Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge, the centerpiece for its med school. The $90.2 million project squeezes in a range of programs, including a mock operating theater for training purposes, a 350-seat conference hall, and the student center. Visually, the building needed to be the “greeter” for Stanford Medical School, which previously had no architectural focal point. San Francisco firm NBBJ went for a touch of the neoclassical, with a deep overhang anchored by columns. Read More
The Brooklyn-based Center for Urban Pedagogy is a unique organization that brings real meaning to the often overused word “design.” Founded in 1997 by Damon Rich, the organization has evolved to engage art and design professionals—artists, graphic designers, architects, and urban planners—with community-based advocates, researchers, and policymakers. Tomorrow night, CUP is once again hosting an annual benefit party that is always one of the best celebrations around. It only costs $35, and, as CUP says, offers “good people, food, music, fun, and a great cause.” You’ll also get acquainted with CUP’s recent projects like the Sewer in a Suitcase, the Affordable Housing Toolkit, and more. This year, the party will be held at the Old American Can Company at 232 Third Street near the Gowanus Canal.
Every building tells a story of its past. But sometimes, with a little prompting, a building can also tell the story of its future. At least that’s what the Hypothetical Development Organization hopes. The group, created in 2010 by author and New York Times Magazine columnist Rob Walker, examines what the future might hold for some of the hidden, and underused, architectural gems in New Orleans by creating renderings of what the buildings could be, you know, hypothetically. Read More
It’s been three weeks since John Lautner’s sleek and gently curving Shusett House (1950), which Frank Escher calls one of the two major houses of Lautner’s early career, was torn down. Sadly the owner, Enrique Mannheim, refused the overtures of the John Lautner Foundation, while the Beverly Hills City Council refused to issue a stay of execution. Our friends at Architizer were able to obtain pictures of the demolition, taken by photographer Mark Haddawy. Contrasted with images of the house still standing the shots—of the house in shambles, with wood members scattered on the ground and windows and walls gone— are a painful reminder that LA’s preservation movement still lacks the muscle it should, while citizens and municipalities stand idly by. Read More
Much has been made of New York’s architectural Sukkahs, unveiled in Union Square a couple of weeks ago as part of Joshua Foer’s Sukkah City competition. But LA is celebrating the Jewish harvest holiday in style as well. Earlier today the Skirball Cultural Center hosted a Sukkot Family Celebration exhibiting a structure created by Culver City-based wHY Architecture, with consulting from Skirball staff. Read More