Lebbeus Woods was a powerful presence in New York City and in the world of architectural thinking and expression. It’s still unsettling to think he is no longer here to push and provoke the world of architecture towards a more thoughtful and challenging practice. Though his ethical voice (his projects and writing can still be explored at lebbeuswoods.wordpress.com) and the demanding worlds he created inside his drawings will no longer confront the major issues of the day we still have his drawings to remind us of his thinking and vision. The first major retrospective of Woods career will open at the Drawing Center in New York on April 16, 2014 and was organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and is currently in view at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University (through March 2, 2014).
After promising to “end the tragic and unacceptable rash of pedestrian deaths” in his State of the City speech, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has officially unveiled his “Vision Zero Action Plan.” On Manhattan’s Upper West Side, near an area where three pedestrians have been killed in the past month, the mayor promised to address the scourge of traffic fatalities across the city.
Chicago’s Studio Gang Architects announced plans for their New York debut in late 2012. The proposed building, located near the High Line along 10th Avenue between 13th and 14th streets, features a serrated edge that maximizes daylight on the elevated park next door—Jeanne Gang called it “solar carving.”
But the legal path to realizing that faceted glass facade had some unexpected kinks of its own.
Brooklyn, New York
Through March 2, 2014
Traverse is an exhibition of new works by Melissa Murray and Erica Stoller at A.I.R Gallery in Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood. Murray’s work focuses on pausing her daily life to examine personalized images that are swiftly tucked away in her subconscious. Stoller makes wall related sculptures that relate to the plane of the wall and garners meaning from the surrounding area.
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An abstracted version of a street tree, a canopy of tessellated irregular polygons balances atop slim steel posts.
When Public: Architecture + Communication visited the site of the transit shelters the University of British Columbia had asked them to design, they found that something was missing. The main point of entry to the campus, University Boulevard is lined with trees—except where the bus shelters would go. “There was this language of gaps that we noticed,” said Public’s Christopher Sklar. The shelters themselves, they decided, should fill in the tree line. The designers were left with a question, articulated by Sklar: “How does it be a quiet piece but also something interesting and unusual that relates to its surroundings?”
Grand Central has always been more than a train station. It’s an architectural and cultural touchstone for New York City. Even the most hurried commuter will stop to admire the building’s impressive scale and immaculate detail, before making their next transfer or stepping onto the crowded Midtown streets.
On View> Doris Duke’s Shangri La: Architecture, Landscape, and Islamic Art at the University of Michigan Museum of Art
Doris Duke’s Shangri La: Architecture, Landscape, and Islamic Art
University of Michigan Museum of Art
525 South State Street, Ann Arbor, MI
Through May 4
Following a 1935 honeymoon that brought her to Morocco, Syria, Iran, Pakistan, India, and Indonesia, enigmatic heiress Doris Duke began work on Shangri-La, her paean to Islamic art and architecture. The Hawaiian estate features rich tiling, carefully manicured grounds, and innumerable design flourishes all meant to evoke Duke’s own vision of the Islamic world. It also acted as the resting place for much of the heiress’s extensive art collection.
The University of Michigan Museum of Art has launched an exhibition featuring examples from this collection along with extensive documentation of the estate and Ms. Duke’s international travels. These photographs, films, art objects, and correspondences will be joined by work from eight contemporary artists of Islamic background.