My recent posts at World-Architects

      

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Spring Break

With a major deadline approaching, I'm taking a break from this and my other blogs. Posts will resume the week of April 10th.

Tulips

Monday, March 27, 2017

Today's archidose #955

Here is a photo of MVRDV's Roosevelta 22 (aka BAŁTYK) nearing completion in Poznań, Poland. Photographer Przemysław Turlej has many more photos of the project in his Poznan - R22 Flickr set.



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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Spring 2017 Architectural Walking Tours

I have four architectural walking tours in April and May, including a brand new one taking place along 57th Street. Click on the links below to purchase tickets from the 92Y.

Saturday, April 1, 11am - 2:30pm
Brooklyn G Train Tour
Hop on and off the G train from Carroll Gardens to Clinton Hill and Dumbo, taking in townhouses, campus facilities and other buildings along the way.
Junction

Saturday, April 8, 11am - 1:30pm
Columbia University
Look at recent additions to the campuses of Columbia University and Barnard College in Morningside Heights, take a sneak peek at Columbia’s expansion into Manhattanville and head up to Inwood to see Columbia’s new athletics complex.


Saturday, April 22, 11am - 1:30pm
The High Line and Its Environs
Trek the High Line taking in the park and the surrounding buildings and step off to get a closer look at select buildings.
High Line Section 2

Saturday, May 6, 11am - 1:30pm
57th Street, River to River
This architectural walking tour looks at the changing landscape of Manhattan’s Midtown architecture by focusing on the street that has become known as Billionaires’ Row.
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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Today's archidose #954

Here are some of my photos of Renzo Piano Building Workshop's Lenfest Center for the Arts (2017) on Columbia University's Manhattanville Campus in New York City. The photos were taken during yesterday's press preview of the building, which opens to the public next month. For more photos and information on the project check out my tour at World-Architects.

The 8th floor:
Lenfest Center for the Arts
Lenfest Center for the Arts
Lenfest Center for the Arts

The 6th floor:
Lenfest Center for the Arts
Lenfest Center for the Arts

The 4th floor:
Lenfest Center for the Arts
Lenfest Center for the Arts

The 2nd floor:
Lenfest Center for the Arts
Lenfest Center for the Arts
Lenfest Center for the Arts

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Where's Nouvel?

Today a rendering of Zaha Hadid Architects' design for the redesign/extension of Kushner Companies' 666 Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan has been making its rounds in many of the usual places. The 1,400-foot-tall tower, if built, would sit prominently on Fifth Avenue between 52nd and 53rd Streets, about a half-block from the Museum of Modern Art.

Which made me wonder: Where is Jean Nouvel's 53W53 in the rendering? Now under construction, the 1,050-foot-tall skyscraper will tower over Cesar Pelli's Museum Tower, which is visible to the right of ZHA's tower. So in the interest of seeing how these two supertalls designed by celebrity architects would interact, I Photoshopped a side elevation of Nouvel's tower into ZHA's rendering:



Now, does anybody know the mystery of the magic park that appears in front of ZHA's tower?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Today's archidose #953

Here are some of my photos of the New York City AIDS Memorial (2016) at St. Vincent’s Triangle in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, by Studio AI Architects.

NYC Aids Memorial
NYC Aids Memorial
NYC Aids Memorial
NYC Aids Memorial
NYC Aids Memorial

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Monday, March 20, 2017

25 Reasons to Keep the NEA

Last week Donald Trump released a proposed budget that would nix the National Endowment for the Arts and other government sources for arts programs. A few weeks before that, with hints that he would be including such cuts, I put together a piece at World-Architects, "25 Reasons to Keep the NEA," in which I waded through about 15 years of architecture-related programs funded by the NEA and found 25 highlights. There are a number of New York-based institutions, such as the Storefront for Art and Architecture (pictured), but also many examples in other parts of the country.

Past Futures, Present, Futures

Although architecture would not take as big a hit as other arts, many great exhibitions, publications, and programs would not exist without the NEA, whose annual budget is $148 million – or 41 presidential weekend trips to Mar-a-Lago (he's already gone their five times since his inauguration).

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Book of the Moment: A Forward-Minded Retrospective

On Thursday evening I attended a book launch for Cedric Price Works 1952-2003: A Forward-Minded Retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. The event, which took place in MoMA's library, celebrated the release of the huge, two-volume, 1,400-page monograph written and edited by Samantha Hardingham and published by AA Publications and the CCA.



Actually calling the book a monograph is far from ideal, since the British architect built very little and the book collects a hefty amount of Price's writings alongside his increasingly influential projects. The descriptors "manifesto" or "biography" might be more accurate; whatever the case, even though the book is large, it seemed that those speaking on Thursday were in agreement that it would be but the first of a number of overdue publications on Price. In this case, size may equate with importance, but it is does not equal definiteveness.



One copy of the book was on display in the library; with only a few minutes to peruse over one thousand pages, only the most rudimentary of impressions could be obtained. Paired with the postcards available for people attending the launch (my take-home postcard is below), one thing that came across strongly was Price's humanity  – be it in a portrait of the architect in, of all things (considering how little he built), a hardhat, or notes on his office door, one of them reading, "He is not guilty – merely ahead of his time" – something sorely missing in architectural monographs.



With projects that placed a higher emphasis on systems, experience, ephemerality, and other less-tangible characteristics of architecture over form-making, Price was indeed ahead of his time. The book appears ready to provide a good dose of inspiration for today's young architects who are looking to make some positive change via architecture – in its various guises, not just buildings.

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Big Bend

Gotta love the absurdity of oiio's The Big Bend, a none-too-serious proposal for "the longest building in the world" that happens to look like a synthesis of Rafael Viñoly's 432 Park Avenue and a croquet wicket.


[Image: oiio]

I'm reminded of Greg Lynn's Stranded Sears Tower, not in terms of form, but in the way each project takes the skyscraper typology (and a specific example of one) and stretches and pulls it into something else.


[Image: Greg Lynn / Art Institute of Chicago]

(The Big Bend spotted at Dezeen.)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Book Review: Atlas of Another America

Atlas of Another America: An Architectural Fiction by Keith Krumwiede
Park Books, 2016
Hardcover, 272 pages


[All images courtesy of Park Books]


Opening this sizable, almost atlas-sized book from Switzerland's Park Books I didn't know what to expect. Actually I wasn't expecting a whole lot, given the subtitle, "an architectural fiction"; while I appreciate the idea of adding narrative to architecture, most of what I've encountered in the realm of "architectural fiction" has left me wanting. Yet I was pleasantly surprised with Keith Krumwiede's creation, which is more a graphical narrative than an architect's attempt to force a fictional story into an architectural wrapper.



His subject, broadly, is the United States and, more specifically, home ownership and the house plans developed by large-scale home builders. These subjects are analyzed and critiqued through a fictional place, Freedomland, whose structure follows from the "grand agrarian democratic tradition of Mr. Thomas Jefferson," but also takes "into consideration the current economic and political order." Like a traditional atlas, the Atlas of Another America moves from the large scale to the small scale, from the country cut up into six-square-mile townships to the house plans grouped onto the smallest (330-foot-square) of the nested squares. A highly rational process – what Krumwiede calls "Checkerboard Logic" – underlies the shift from big to small, but the results are unexpected.



Within each town are 36 sections that are further broken down into four estates each. The estates are based upon specific home plans by home builders whose names should be familiar to most Americans: Ryland Homes, Toll Brothers, and David Weekley Homes, to name just a few. Krumwiede calls these "[A]Typical Plan[s]," but what is surprising, and what makes up the bulk of the book, are the way he takes what are normally standalone buildings in suburban landscapes and groups them together to create recognizable shapes – places. Some are straightforward, like the perimeter block with central green space above, but a lot of them are more complex, taking fairly uninspired plans and turning them into generators of urban form and community spaces. That the home builders' plans and exterior forms harken to a time before two World Wars and the advent of the automobile is humorously critiqued in the occasional historical painting merged with a grouping of homes, as seen above.



The book, which is beautifully produced in everything from its layout to the types of paper and binding, does include some text after the presentation of the 144 estates: an appendix with a clever reworking of Rem Koolhaas's essay "Typical Plans," a critique of David Weekley's "SuperModel Homes," an analysis of prevailing house plan typologies by various home builders, 40 "notes on Freedomland" culled from a wide range of sources, and an afterword by Albert Pope. These lend the graphical fiction preceding it some scholarly backbone, but like the 144 estates these texts are equally unexpected. Together the plans and writings on "Another America" make up one of the most refreshing, enjoyable and thought-provoking books I've come across in a long time.