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Everson Finalists

Finalists named in café competition at I.M. Pei’s Everson Museum
On the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the iconic, I.M. Pei–designed Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, New York, the museum announced a shortlist of firms that will compete to redesign the café in the building’s lobby. The new café space will also serve as a display space for The Rosenfield Collection, a newly acquired collection of ceramic art brought to the Everson by Dallas-based Louise and David Rosenfield. The four finalists are FreelandBuck (Los Angeles/ New York), MILLIØNS (Los Angeles), NATURALBUILD (Shanghai), and Norman Kelley (Chicago/New Orleans). In September they will travel to Syracuse to give presentations of developed proposals to an international jury of leading professionals in architecture, ceramics, and the culinary arts. “This competition provides a tremendous opportunity for some of the world’s most talented emerging architects to propose an intervention in what is undoubtedly one of the late I.M. Pei’s greatest works,” Kyle Miller, Syracuse Architecture assistant professor, said. Miller and Syracuse Architecture dean Michael Speaks are working with the Everson Museum to organize the competition. “This unique project proposes new ways of thinking about the integration of art and architecture, which is a critical component of Pei’s original design,” said Everson director and CEO Elizabeth Dunbar. “This café will be unlike any other in the world.” The projected date of completion for the café is summer 2020.
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CAB Drivers

Chicago Architecture Biennial announces this year’s participants
The 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial, titled ...and other such stories, will present work that explores architecture as it relates to social, political, and environmental issues. Curators Yesomi Umolu, Sepake Angiama, and Paulo Tavares have invited more than 80 architects, artists, researchers, and activists from around the world to converge on the shores of Lake Michigan, where their multidisciplinary collaborations will show the public how design can transform lives. The curators want collaboration and dialogue to be at the center of this year’s event, which gives contributors the opportunity to “expand [their] inquiries by connecting practices to each other and to visitors during the biennial’s run,” said Umolu. The planned collaborative projects include local firm Borderless Studio working with the Istanbul-based Herkes İçin Mimarlık (Architecture For All), studioBASAR of Bucharest, and Berlin’s Zorka Wollny to develop inclusive strategies for repurposing civic spaces on the site of the historic Anthony Overton Elementary School, and Keleketla! Library of Johannesburg which, working with Chicago’s Stockyard Institute, will be creating a space to discuss the importance of heritage sites and public housing at the site of the National Public Housing Museum. The Chicago Architecture Biennial was founded in 2015 to bring the global architectural vanguard to a city celebrated for its legacy of architectural innovation, and to give the public an opportunity to engage with architecture in new ways. It’s a lot like the Venice Architecture Biennale, but instead of a drinking Prosecco in an impossible city built on marshy ground, attendees drink Goose Island 312 in an inevitable city built on railroads and stockyards (or so I’m told—I’ve never been). The inaugural event, The State of the Art of Architecture, was curated by Joseph Grima and Sarah Herda who challenged contributors to take on pressing cultural issues, and 2017’s MAKE NEW HISTORY, curated by Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee, which highlighted various modes of production from book to burg. This year’s event, …and other such stories, runs from September 19, 2019, through January 5, 2020. It is free and open to the public across all citywide locations. Without any further ado, here are your contributors to the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial:

Exhibition Contributors

Adrian Blackwell (born in Toronto, Canada; lives in Toronto, Canada) Akinbode Akinbiyi (born in Oxford, England-UK; lives in Berlin, Germany) Alejandra Celedon (born in Edmonton, Canada; lives in Santiago, Chile) & Nicolas Stutzin (born in Santiago, Chile; lives in Santiago, Chile) Alexandra Pirici (born in Bucharest, Romania; lives in Bucharest, Romania) Avijit Mukul Kishore (born in Lucknow, India; lives in Mumbai, India) & Rohan Shivkumar (born in Hyderabad, India; lives in Mumbai, India) Black Quantum Futurism (founded in Philadelphia, USA) Borderless Studio (founded in Chicago, USA) CAMP (founded in Mumbai, India) Carolina Caycedo (born in London, England–UK; lives in Los Angeles, USA) Center for Spatial Research (founded in New York, USA) Chicago Architectural Preservation Archive (founded in Chicago, USA) Clemens von Wedemeyer (born in Göttingen, Germany; lives in Berlin, Germany) Cohabitation Strategies (founded in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and New York, USA) & Urban Front (founded in New York, USA) ConstructLab (founded in Berlin, Germany) DAAR (Sandi Hilal & Alessandro Petti) (founded in Beit Sahour, Palestine) Detroit Planning Department (founded in Detroit, USA) Do Ho Suh (born in Seoul, South Korea; lives in London, England–UK) FICA–Fundo Imobiliário Comunitário para Aluguel (founded in São Paulo, Brazil) Forensic Architecture (founded in London, England–UK) & Invisible Institute (founded in Chicago, USA) Herkes İçin Mimark (Architecture For All) (founded in Istanbul, Turkey) Jimmy Robert (born in Guadeloupe–France; lives in Berlin, Germany) Joar Nango (born in Áltá/AltaÁltá, Sápmi/Northern Norway; lives in Romssa /Tromsø, Norway) Jorge González (born in San Juan, Puerto Rico; lives in Puerto Rico) Keleketla! Library (founded in Johannesburg, South Africa), in collaboration with Stockyard Institute (founded in Chicago, USA) Maria Gaspar (born in Chicago, USA; lives in Chicago, USA) MASS Design Group (founded in Boston and Poughkeepsie, USA, and Kigali, Rwanda) MSTC (founded in São Paulo, Brazil), in collaboration with Escola da Cidade (founded in São Paulo, Brazil) and O Grupo Inteiro (founded in São Paulo, Brazil) Ola Hassanain (born in Khartoum, Sudan; lives in Khartoum, Sudan and Utrecht, Netherlands) Oscar Tuazon (born in Seattle, USA; lives in Los Angeles, USA) Palestine Heirloom Seed Library Project (founded in the northern West Bank, Palestine) Raumlabor (founded in Berlin, Germany) RIWAQ - Center for Architectural Conservation (founded in Ramallah, Palestine) RMA Architects (founded in Mumbai, India and Boston, USA) Sammy Baloji (born in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo; lives in Brussels, Belgium and Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo) & Filip de Boeck (born in Antwerp, Belgium; lives in Brussels, Belgium and Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo) Santiago X (lives in Chicago, USA) Settler Colonial City Project (founded in Ann Arbor USA and Guayaquil, Ecuador) in collaboration with American Indian Center (founded in Chicago, USA) Somatic Collaborative (Felipe Correa & Devin Dobrowolski) (founded in New York, USA) studioBASAR (founded in Bucharest, Romania) Sweet Water Foundation (founded in Chicago, USA) Tania Bruguera (born in Havana, Cuba; lives in New York, USA) & Association of Arte Útil (founded in Havana, Cuba) Tanya Lukin Linklater (born in Alaska, USA; lives in Ontario, Canada) & Tiffany Shaw-Collinge (born in Alberta, Canada; lives in Alberta, Canada) Territorial AgencyJohn Palmesino & Ann-Sofi Rönnskog (founded in London, England–UK) The Funambulist (founded in Paris, France) Theaster Gates (born in Chicago, USA; lives in Chicago, USA) Usina - CTAH (founded in São Paulo, USA) Vincent Meessen (born in Baltimore, USA; lives in Brussels, Belgium) Walter J. Hood (born in Charlotte, USA; lives in Oakland, USA) Wendelien van Oldenborgh (born in Rotterdam, Netherlands; lives in Berlin, Germany) Wolff Architects (founded in Cape Town, South Africa) Zorka Wollny (born in Kraków, Poland; lives in Berlin, Germany)

Catalog Contributors

American Indian Center (founded in Chicago, USA) Aviwe Mandyanda (BlackStudio) (born in Mdantsane, a township in East London, South Africa; lives in Johannesburg, South Africa) Carmen Silva (born in Santo Estêvão, Brazil; lives in São Paulo, Brazil) cheyanne turions (born in High Prairie, Canada; lives in Vancouver) Dr. Denise Ferreira da Silva (born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; lives in Vancouver, Canada) ELLA (founded in Los Angeles, USA) Emmanuel Pratt (born in Virginia, USA; lives in Chicago, USA) Eduardo O. Kohn (lives in Montreal, Canada) Inam Kula (born in Gugulethu, a township in Cape Town, South Africa; lives in Cape Town, South Africa) Lesley Lokko (born in Dundee, Scotland – UK; lives in Johannesburg, South Africa) Mario Gooden (lives in New York City, USA) Pelin Tan (born in Hilden, Germany; lives in Mardin, Turkey) Stephen Willats (born in London, England–UK; lives in London, England–UK) Vincent Tao (born in Scarborough, Canada; lives in Toronto, Canada) Virginia de Medeiros (born in Feira de Santana, Brazil; lives in São Paulo, Brazil) Vivien Sansour (born in Beit Jala, Palestine; lives in Bethlehem, Palestine and Los Angeles, USA) Columbia Books on Architecture and the City (founded in New York City, USA)
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Congrats!

American Academy of Arts and Letters announces 2019 Architecture Awards
Last night the American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded its 2019 Architecture Awards to five teams and people. Selected by jurors Annabelle Selldorf (chair), Henry N. Cobb, Kenneth Frampton, Steven Holl, Thom Mayne, Laurie Olin, James Polshek, Billie Tsien, and Tod Williams from 33 nominees, four winners will receive a $10,000 award from the Academy, and Eduardo Souto De Moura will receive $20,000 for the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize. The winners are: Hernan Diaz Alonso The director of Sci-Arc and principal of Xefirotarch, Alonso was recognized by juror Thom Mayne as occupying “a pivotal position from which to influence the future of architecture,” through his educational involvement. Mayne also praised Alonso's combination of animation, architecture, and design that results in “a dark and aesthetic edge.” His proposal for the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Patagonia received the AR+D Award for Emerging Architecture and a Progressive Architecture Award in 2013, and he has also worked on product design, collaborating with Alessi and others. Mario Gooden and Mabel O. Wilson Co-directors of the Global Africa Lab at Columbia University, the duo has focused on the history and complicated politics of placemaking through their work and writings. Juror Billie Tsien said that the work of the Lab “reminds us that architecture and design can and should be a participant in the struggle for a just world.” Dark Space: Architecture, Representation, Black Identity and Begin With the Past were published by Gooden and Wilson, respectively, in 2016, exploring the intersections of African American identity and architecture, and the history and complexities that surround the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Eric Höweler and Meejin Yoon The principals of the firm Höweler + Yoon have created “some of the most formally innovative and beautifully crafted work today,” according to juror Tod Williams. Shadow Play, a pedestrian-focused public space project, and the Collier Memorial both received an American Architecture Prize in 2016, with Shadow Play tacking on a 2018 AIA Small Project Award as well. Williams called the memorial “a tour de force, integrating innovative structure, form, and meaning.” Anne Rieselbach The program director for the Architectural League of New York has “dedicated her life to architecture,” as said by juror Steven Holl. Rieselbach encourages engagement and architectural discourse through the Current Work lecture series and has overseen the Emerging Voices program for over three decades. “She has continuously advocated for the exploration of new ideas in urban design and architecture,” Holl said. Eduardo Souto De Moura The recipient of the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize, de Moura will receive $20,000 as the architect honored for advancing the practice of architecture as an art. Juror Annabelle Selldorf cited the “distinct sense of materiality” inherent in his works, like the Paula Rego museum in Portugal and his 2005 Serpentine Gallery, designed in partnership with Alvaro Siza. His architecture “feels inevitable,” said Annabelle Selldorf, and has “a timeless and profoundly humanist quality.”
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Re-Imagining the Modern

New book grapples with ambitious, contentious moment in Pittsburgh’s urban history
Imagining the Modern: Architecture and Urbanism of the Pittsburgh Renaissance Rami el Samahy, Chris Grimley, and Michael Kubo The Monacelli Press List Price: $50.00 In times of cynicism, revisiting more optimistic moments in architecture can conjure mixed emotions. Mid-century architects, designers, and planners exuded the optimistic belief that architecture and design could solve social ills worldwide—a spirit celebrated in recent exhibitions of Latin America and Yugoslavia at MoMA, and new books on Miami’s modernism. In a new book, Imagining the Modern: Architecture and Urbanism of the Pittsburgh Renaissance (Monacelli Press), Rami el Samahy, Chis Grimley, and Michael Kubo paint a vivid picture of the mixed emotions evoked by the changing urban landscape in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a city heralded as a role model of rustbelt reinvention. The book functions as an introduction to a complex moment in the city’s history, looking at Pittsburgh as a case study in a broader moment of urban renewal in many U.S. cities. Pittsburgh was deemed “the Mecca of urban renewal” in Architectural Forum in 1957, and yet Imagining the Modern is the first book to chronicle the city’s modernist history in a comprehensive way. The book emerged from a 2015–2016 curatorial experiment at the Carnegie Museum of Art’s Heinz Architectural Center, overseen by curator Raymund Ryan. Ryan invited the book’s authors, principles of the Boston-based studio OverUnder, to be architects-in-residence in the museum and explore Pittsburgh’s contentious relationship to urban renewal in an exhibition. The trio went to great lengths to dig up photography, publications, ephemera, and other documents around five Pittsburgh neighborhoods and projects: Gateway Center, the Lower Hill, Allegheny Center, East Liberty, and Oakland. The exhibition’s walls were plastered with unsung gems from local archives, and a series of panel discussions affiliated with the exhibition added to the cacophony of voices measuring the legacy of urban renewal and how architects ought to respond. Imagining the Modern distills this rich material in a manageable way, in the spirit of the authors’ reappraisal of Boston’s mid-century concrete, Heroic: Concrete Architecture and the New Boston (Monacelli Press). Their new book specifically deals with the built and imagined architectural transformations of Pittsburgh in the 1950s and ‘60s, and with even a quick flip through the book one can see the changing urban fabric of the city. Imagining the Modern includes a wonderful array of high-quality images and well-designed diagrams—from archival documents to photographs to city maps, the stunning visual display is captivating and invites the reader to explore “the manifold ways in which the modern was imagined in Pittsburgh.” Imagining the Modern offers several modes of engagement rather than taking a strong position on Pittsburgh’s modern legacy. Scholars Kelly Hutzell, Caroline Constant, and Martin Aurand provide historical context and analysis for the development of Pittsburgh’s urban form and infrastructure. The book includes a series of diagrams entitled “Modern Networks” by Aurand that map the extensive networks of public and private entities that commissioned local modern architecture. The diagrams reflect the complexity of the patronage that funded this “Pittsburgh Renaissance;” one could spend hours trying to decipher the often confusing lines between architects, buildings (both built and unbuilt), commissions, and patrons. At the heart of the book are archival documents, which the authors present as evidence for readers to arrive at their own conclusions. A section of the book is devoted to reproductions of excerpts from two “Visionary Documents” that outlined the challenges for modernist designers to solve—pollution, traffic congestion, housing, parking, urban blight—while also suggesting ways to remedy such issues through architecture and design. Imagining the Modern goes on to show readers how plans for Pittsburgh neighborhoods and infrastructure were marketed, sometimes successfully, to respond to these issues through superlatives and dazzling renderings. Pittsburgh positioned itself as a “Cinderella City,” as a headline put it in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on June 30, 1953: “Ridiculed, scorned and snubbed for over a century and a half, Pittsburgh throws off her pall to become the ‘City of Tomorrow.’” As steel production left the region and factories closed in the 1950s and ‘60s, dazzling buildings of mid-century modern buildings by leading architects rose with a zeal unfathomable today. Harrison & Abramovitz, Mitchell & Ritchey, Simonds & Simonds, and Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), to name a few, all built memorable works in Pittsburgh around this time. Imagining the Modern shows the development of the city’s most iconic buildings alongside ambitious plans that remain unbuilt, including one scheme that proposed filling the Oakland neighborhood’s Panther Hollow ravine with a mile-long research facility to bridge the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. Rather than allowing the beautiful architectural renderings and photography to simply seduce the reader—which, occasionally, they do—Imagining the Modern also shows a collection of excerpts from the architectural and popular press responding to these proposals. The book juxtaposes the cheerleading coverage of The Pittsburgh Press alongside the coordinated, albeit unsuccessful, campaign by The Pittsburgh Courier to thwart plans for the displacement of thousands of mostly Black residents of the Lower Hill. The book’s photography also humanizes the actors on both sides of the city’s transformation, with moving images of people designing, building, debating, celebrating, protesting, photographing, and using the new works. Refreshingly, the book complexifies the role of architects in this transformative moment as well. Interviews and works by Troy West, for example, show that architects weren’t only the handmaidens of the powerful—his teaching and collaborative practices, which he operated as Architecture 2001 and Community Design Associates, offered an alternative model to the top-down design and planning approaches that often mar the legacy of postwar design. Instead of staking claims about the history of Pittsburgh’s modernism, Imagining the Modern showcases the debate that optimistic work by designers and planners continue to provoke. At a time when cities across the U.S. are working tirelessly to reverse the effects of urban renewal—understood as a pseudonym for “Negro removal,” as Dr. Mindy Fullilove suggests in her book Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America, And What We Can Do About It—this book asks readers to take a closer look at a few urban visions through a mix of historical essays, sexy images, riotous press clippings, enlightening diagrams, insightful interviews, and informative project descriptions that offer everyone an entry into a fraught urban and architectural moment.
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Design for Extremes

Milan shows examine design in the face of disaster
The much anticipated Museo del Design Italiano opened its doors to the public in the same week in April as the Salone del Mobile.Milano. Housed in the storied Milan Triennale, this carefully assembled selection of design artifacts is curated by Joseph Grima, who began his tenure as the museum’s first director. This collection, housed in the Italian Design Museum, is a preeminent example, according to the Triennale Foundation’s president Stefano Boeri, of Italy’s rich post-war cultural heritage. Grima’s formula for the permanent exhibition is to parcel the Triennale’s significant archive into limited sets or editions, that he characterizes as “episodes,” with the first episode serving as the premiere event. Episode 1 is a survey of the postwar years between 1948 and 1981 and is housed in the first half of the curved gallery that winds around the ground floor. Each progressive installment will expand deeper into the Triennale’s bowel-like interiors. The ultimate goal for the Design Museum is to expand beyond Giovanni Muzio’s original 1930s architectural masterpiece. The intention, according to Boeri, is for the museum to grow out by dipping below the rear gardens. An international competition for this future wing will soon be in the offing. It should be pointed out, however, that the exhibition on Italian design is concurrent with, if only through a programming coincidence, a major traveling exhibition located on the second floor above: Broken Nature, curated by Paola Antonelli, the highly successful senior curator of architecture and design at MoMA. Subtitled Design Takes on Human Survival (open through September 1, 2019), this detailed survey of critical strategies dealing directly with the plight of the planet and its increasingly fragile ecosystems aims to be the last word on what is possible through human action in the fuzzy realm of the “technosphere,” a term coined by Peter Haff and adopted by Antonelli’s curatorial team. An impressive number of prominent international designers, thinkers, visual artists and craftspeople share the extensive second-floor space in a sprawling display of human invention and earthly ingenuity. The two inadvertently overlapping exhibitions bring up the question of mutual relevancy, precisely because the similarities between these two exhibitions are much more marked than one would first assume. Looking at the two epochs under consideration, one postwar, the other very recent, both shows are reactions to extreme geopolitical contexts. Italy in the immediate postwar period had to overcome severe wartime devastation; while today, we are evidently firsthand witnesses to a ballooning climatic disaster. Why push the comparison? Because Joseph Grima’s vision of the late fifties to the early eighties serendipitously provides us with a collection of object-time-capsules, or packaged narratives, where we come face to face with an Olivetti typewriter, a pair of Moonboots, a miniature Brionvega television set. These items are neatly arranged alongside related prototype wooden models, publications from promotional advertising campaigns, and in some cases original cardboard packaging. True, as Stefano Mirti, the Milanese designer and critic who was one of the earliest to comment on the exhibit over social media, put it, the objects are readied as if for Instagram shots, but Mirti also took great delight in the immediacy and directness with which these objects are allowed to communicate with us. The famed folding clamshell Grillo telephones, designed in 1965 by Marco Zanuso and Richard Sapper, are featured. Pick up the phone, try to remember or guess how to use the dial, and you are connected to the designer’s voice responsible for creating the object in front of you. It’s a pretty direct message, with no middleman. Why is everyone still so mesmerized with this by-now relatively familiar collection of top Italian design objects? The something else that characterizes this permanent collection is the inherent irony, cynicism, and deep criticality that underlies almost each and every one of these impressive designs. What could possibly be the reason we are ensnared by Archizoom’s relatively uncomfortable looking Poltrona Mies chair built by Poltronova in 1969 to take just one example? Most of these pieces, developed with sparse financial support from the manufacturers, represent lengthy developments by trial and error, long personal commitments, and rare commercial successes—at least when they first came on the market. A case in point are the colorful names of these creations, Papillon, Rossocactus, Shanghai, CuccioloTrigger of the SpaceVertebraAtollo, etc. The pieces are much more than merely functional objects; they act as totems for a new society. Behind these designs are a nest of ideological structures that reject standardization, often embrace handcrafts and experimental materials, and evidently abandon the strict tenets of modernist rationalism. The pieces are in turn self-ironic, cynically auto destructive, or perversely inefficient. Enzo Mari is the master of this kind of design game, as so many of his pieces in this collection exemplify, like his Box from 1971 for Anonima Castelli, a chair that is its own carrying case, or his Modelli in scala Serie Proposta per autoprogettazione (Scale models for self-design Proposta series), 1973, for Simon International, conceived to empower the user to rethink one’s own domestic environment. The transition from postwar reconstruction to the threat of nuclear annihilation remains all the while a running subtext among these objects. Looking at Broken Nature, one could only hope that there would be an equivalent level of meta-awareness. To be honest, several of the featured designers and creative thinkers in this exhibit do reach these heights, but they are drowned out by the sheer volume of participants. There are the overarching (or overreaching) categories, including “A Changed Climate,” “Complex Environments,” “Made and Unmade,” “More of the Times,” and “Bridges,” and some truly great projects for sure: beginning with the exhibition’s graphic icons, designed by Anna Kulachek. There are many impressive designs, fluent in the parametric, the biomimetic, the diagram, the transgenderative, the playful, but at the end of the day, what can you take away from all these projects, besides a deeply unrequited experience? This is not to slight the many amazing designs featured in Broken Nature, but it calls to question the primary curatorial position, which attempts to be so all-inclusive that there remains little room for personal absorption or reflection on the part of the viewer. There is no way to digest all this comprehensive information into a personal action, or to urge us on as individuals to become more aware or rebellious. The lack of self-reflection, self-criticism, or even some kind of cynical self-abdication leaves the viewer with simply too much useful information to process. Broken Nature is not the only one among these hugely impressive, uber-intelligent, mega-exhibits to come on the circuit in these recent years. But I fear the effects are ultimately counterproductive. In a way, we become frustrated in our attempts to make sense of these works. Go downstairs, to the Museo del Design Italiano, to experience how irony, satire, and self-deprecation draw your curiosity and fuel your imagination. This is what we need more of today.
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The Influencers

Pritzker winners go on view at Carnegie Museum of Art

Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) presents a new exhibition celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. Established in 1979 by the Pritzker family of Chicago, the prize has become the world’s most respected award in architecture. The exhibition, organized by Raymund Ryan, curator of the Heinz Architecture Center, encompasses the work of over half of the honorees of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, including Jean Nouvel (whose competition entry for Central Berlin, 1990, is pictured above) and the 2019 laureate, Japanese architect Arata Isozaki.

The show features works spanning four decades of architectural talent, vision, and dedication, with detailed drawings, models, and photographs from the museum’s extensive collections. It also overlaps with the museum’s annual summer camp, where children and families can visit the Heinz Architectural Center for inspiration from both the objects on view and the architecture graduate students who lead the camp.

Influencers: The Pritzker Architecture Prize Carnegie Museum of Art The Heinz Architectural Center 4400 Forbes Avenue Pittsburgh Through September 2, 2019

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Appropriate Culturalization

Herzog & de Meuron will design new home for Tennessee’s oldest museum
Herzog & de Meuron beat out 22 design studios, including Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Johnston Marklee, and OMA, for the chance to design a new building for the Brooks Museum of ArtTennessee’s oldest and largest art museum—in downtown Memphis. The Swiss firm will work alongside local powerhouse archimania to bring the cultural institution into the 21st century with a new, $105 million facility. Slated to rise on top of a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River, the upgraded Brooks Museum will be part of an ongoing six-mile development aiming to activate the riverfront with parks, walking paths, as well as civic and recreational structures. Studio Gang is at the helm of reimagining the 30-acre industrial site and the museum will serve as its anchor. According to Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, the chosen site will be a major economic stimulus for the city and signals its embrace of the Mississippi River as its greatest local asset. Herzog & de Meuron's plan for the Brooks Museum, which is expected to be unveiled early next year, will be 112,000-square-foot in size—a quarter larger than the existing facility in Overton Park—and will feature double the amount of storage and art handling space. It will also include expanded public galleries with room for its prestigious permanent collection as well as temporary exhibitions. Classrooms, a theater, a dining area, and a museum store will also be integrated into the design, along with an outdoor sculpture park that’s set to feature rotating public art. In a statement, Executive Director Emily Ballew Neff said the reenvisioned Brooks Museum aims to become a new landmark for the city and she believes the architects will create a “fitting formal response” to the riverfront site and approach the project with “unrivaled sensitivity to materials and craftsmanship.” “Herzog & de Meuron is exceptional among the architectural firms that design art museums for the way it creates galleries for a whole range of art,” she said. “Several architects (at the firm) also happen to have spent formative years in and around Memphis. These team members will provide a kind of local knowledge that will surely contribute.” A strong understanding of this unique western Tennessee landscape will be key in designing the Brooks Museum’s new identity. The building will be constructed on the corner of Front Street and Monroe Street, one block from Memphis’s Main Street to the east and one block from the river to the west. Members of the mound-building Mississippi Culture and, later, the Chickasaw Nation used to occupy the bluff before the Europeans settled the area. In the 19th century, this area served as the city’s old Cotton Row. Today the area is emerging with the rest of downtown Memphis as a major educational, cultural, and business district in which the Brooks Museum is expected to not only spur new development in the urban core, but also attract visitors from all of Tennessee, Northeast Arkansas, and Northern Mississippi.
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1917–2019

I.M. Pei passes away at 102
Legendary architect, founder of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners (originally I.M. Pei & Associates), and 1983 Pritzker Prize winner I.M. Pei reportedly passed away last night at age 102. Pei’s influence could be felt all over the world, from the National Gallery of Art, East Building, in Washington, D.C., to the iconic pyramidal glass entrance to the Louvre in Paris, to the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong. Pei’s lesser recognized, but still no less impressive, Brutalist museums like the 1968 Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, New York, or the 1973 Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art in Ithaca, New York, reflected Pei’s relationships with modernists like Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer and their work, and introduced groundbreaking modern architecture to smaller cities. Not all of Pei’s most notable work still stands, and some of his grandest designs stayed on the page. Sunning Plaza in Hong Kong was demolished in 2013, Terminal 6, the Sundrome of New York’s JFK International Airport was pulled down in 2011, and the 102-story, nuclear bomb-resistant Grand Central replacement, the Hyperboloid, never got off the ground (but was later immortalized in Never Built New York). Pei, originally born in Guangzhou, China, in 1917, moved to the United States in 1935 to attend architecture school at the University of Pennsylvania. Pei was unsatisfied and eventually left for MIT, before graduating and later attending the Harvard Graduate School of Design. AN will follow this announcement with a longer obituary.
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Canopy Connections

Studio Gang and SCAPE team up for Arkansas cultural project
MacArthur Fellows Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang and Kate Orff of SCAPE Landscape Architecture are teaming up to re-envision the prestigious Arkansas Arts Center (AAC) and adjacent MacArthur Park in Little Rock, Arkansas. Set to break ground this fall, the 127,000-square-foot project—both a renovation and new construction effort—will help clarify the 104-year-old cultural institution’s interior organization, while also amplifying its presence in the historic landscape with a contemporary visual identity. Gang said the firm’s vision will “unlock new connections” between the existing programming on site, which includes a renowned Museum School, Children’s Theatre, and a gallery space that hosts the AAC’s permanent art collection. Since the Center opened on this site in 1937, several major additions have been built. By 1963, the museum had five galleries, four studio classrooms, sculpture courtyards, an art library, and a 381-seat theater, but according to Studio Gang, the AAC suffered from inefficient operational adjacencies—meaning it’s hard for visitors to get from one area to the other. To fix this issue, the design team will create what they call a “stem” that cuts through and “blossoms” to the north and south of the Center. A pleated, thin-plate structure that appears to lightly undulate across the site and into MacArthur Park, the new architecture will not only anchor new visitor amenities but also define a new public gallery and gathering space while simultaneously weaving together the AAC’s various programs. “New daylit spaces linked through the core of the Center will facilitate movement and create a series of vibrant, new public spaces for social interaction, education, and appreciation for the arts,” said Gang in a statement. Initial aerial renderings reveal the way this simple architecture intervention will strengthen the Center’s programming and relationship with the park. Located on the south side of the museum on a current parking lot, Studio Gang has designed a 10,000-square-foot outdoor pavilion underneath the structural canopy with room for dining and respite in the shade. The transparent skin of the structure will provide visitors with a direct connection to nature. In time, SCAPE’s landscape addition, which will include 2,200 linear feet of new paths and trails, as well as 250 trees, will merge with the Center’s canopy to become a parkland forest. Just as important to the revitalization project will be the renovation of all existing facilities on site. Studio Gang will renovate the original 1937 Museum of Fine Arts facade (the AAC’s former name) which serves as the northern entrance. According to the architects, from there they will “excavate” the existing building—a series of fortress-like spaces—by opening up the lecture hall, theater, and studios, among others parts to the new public areas. For example, on the north end, there will be a 5,500-square-foot "Cultural Living Room" that can be both a flexible gathering space or play host to special events. The massive cultural project is being backed by an ambitious $128 million fundraising campaign. So far, $118 million has already been raised, including a $31,245,000 commitment from the City of Little Rock. The new Arkansas Arts Center is expected to be complete in early 2022.
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IN PLAIN SIGHT

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners cloaks spy museum in pleated “veil”
The International Spy Museum opened its doors to the public on Sunday, May 12, for the first time since closing its original location last January. The new facility, a not-so-inconspicuous design by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP), is located at L’Enfant Plaza in Washington, D.C., between the National Mall and the Southwest Waterfront. As the country’s only freestanding museum “solely dedicated to the tradecraft, history and contemporary role of espionage,” and RSHP’s first cultural building in the United States, the project had few precedents to follow. Instead, the architects blended their usual display of sophisticated engineering with tongue-in-cheek references to espionage and intrigue. The majority of the program, including 35,000 square feet of exhibition space and a 150-seat theater, is concealed within the “black box,” a slightly sinister-looking building clad in corrugated metal. Suspended in front the box is the "veil," a 60-foot-tall, pleated glass curtain wall that encloses the lobby and public circulation. The black box cantilevers past this veil dramatically on one side, bringing to mind the trope of the spy peeking out from behind a newspaper to surveil the world around him. The fritted-glass-and-perforated-metal structure was designed to “hide in plain sight,” explained the architects. It reveals just enough of its internal activity to pique the public’s curiosity, enticing crowds from the Mall to come snooping. Their hope is that the museum will play a vital role in the revitalization of L’Enfant Plaza and, in turn, the surrounding waterfront. “It has been an absolute delight to have been involved in the design of the International Spy Museum,” said Senior Design Partner Ivan Harbour. “It is a building for the future that will bring its neighborhood to life; a celebration not only of the long-standing human activity that it showcases but also of the city around it. A landmark for 21st-century D.C.”
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Ready for her Close-up

Statue of Liberty Museum by FXCollaborative opens this week
How do you design a museum that makes the most of a small plot, honors the history and spirit of the Statue of Liberty, and can handle millions of visitors a year? The FXCollaborative-designed new Statue of Liberty Museum on Liberty Island, which opens to the public this Thursday, had to address all of these concerns. The materiality of the 26,000-square-foot museum is intrinsically linked to the Statue of Liberty it lies directly across from, and the pedestrian mall it connects to. When approaching the island by ferry, the museum’s prominent 14,000-square-foot green roof and vertically-striated exterior precast concrete firmly distinguished the building from anything else in its surroundings. The most striking feature is the 22-foot-tall wing dedicated solely to the Statue of Liberty’s original torch, which was replaced in the 1984 renovation. The glass walls provide a nearly 360-degree view of the island, the Manhattan skyline, and the statue itself from inside, but also make the torch highly visible from the exterior. To enter the museum and reach the green roof, visitors must first ascend a series of steps made from Stony Creek granite, the same stone used in the Statue of Liberty’s podium. The museum’s entrances and programming are designed to be highly permeable, as they are expected to accommodate up to 500 visitors an hour. As such, the museum offers several different branching “paths” once inside. Other than the aforementioned torch room, an immersive theater, broken into three discreet rooms, is stationed near the entrance and provides an immersive, 10-minute movie on the history and impact of the statue. After filing out, guests can either move to the “Engagement Gallery,” which dives deeper into the French workshop where sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi assembled the statue, or to the "Inspiration Gallery." In that space, visitors can snap a selfie and append a note about what liberty means to them; that photo will then be added to a collage called “Becoming Liberty.” The interactive exhibitions were all handled by ESI Design. On the roof, visitors are afforded unobstructed views of pretty much everything in the area, including Manhattan, Staten Island, and New York Harbor. Eagle-eyed patrons might notice that the roof flares both upwards and downwards in certain points, including a dramatic dip over the main entrance. FXCollaborative extended the green roof along the harsh incline by using a series of tray planters smoothed over to appear as if they’re one continuous slope, protecting against any potential runoff. Liberty Island is also a hotspot for migrating birds, and the team specified a fritted glass to cut down on the reflectiveness of the windows and mitigate bird strikes. The Statue of Liberty Museum will open to the public on May 16, and admission is included in the cost of a ferry ticket: $18.50 for adults, $14 for seniors, and $9 for children.
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Books to Bricks

Apple takes over Washington, D.C.’s historic Carnegie Library
Apple has restored a cultural, historic, and civic icon in the heart of the nation's capital to serve as its newest retail store. With the recent launch of Apple Carnegie Library, the tech giant has opened its most extensively renovated retail space to date in Washington, D.C. Foster + Partners led the $30 million, two-year renovation of the historic Carnegie Library, a 1903 Beaux-Arts building in D.C.'s Mount Vernon Square. The new store aligns closely with Apple's rebranding of its retail spaces as "town squares" rather than stores, often located in historic and iconic sites and buildings, and intended to be used for more than just selling phones and computers. Apple Carnegie is the 13th such location to try to deliver on that concept. The Carnegie Library was the District's first public library and first desegregated public building and served as D.C.'s central library until 1970. It then sat as a party rental space until the D.C. Historical Society garnered a rent-free 99-year lease with the city in 1999. The society launched a City Museum of Washington, D.C., in the building in 2003, but it closed just one year later. Since then, the library building has been targeted for a range of never-built proposals, including as a music museum and an international spy museum. The new design for the Apple Store introduced a grand staircase that cascades out onto the street, removed later additions to the building, and restored the facade. Foster + Partners worked with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and other preservation experts to restore the facades and interiors, with an emphasis on reintroducing natural ventilation and bringing more daylight into the building. The retail space can be accessed by entrances on both sides of the building's north-south access, allowing for a route through the building. The central core of the building, which Apple is calling the Forum, is a double-height space topped by a skylight which is dedicated to workshops on Apple's products as well as to host performances and workshops. Apple Carnegie Library also includes new programming for several acres of Mount Vernon Square, an urban park in the heart of downtown D.C. that the library is sited on. The plaza in front of the southern entrance will be dedicated to public concerts and events. Meanwhile, the grand staircase leads visitors to the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., which will remain as the building's long-term tenant. In the basement, the Carnegie Gallery is dedicated to educating the public about the history of the building through archival materials and photographs. As Jonathan Ive, Apple's chief design officer, said in a statement, "Apple Carnegie Library will be a way for us to share our ideas and excitement about the products we create, while giving people a sense of community and encouraging and nurturing creativity." However, some in D.C. are questioning how the civic icon could be turned over to a private company like Apple. Other "town square" stores have been rejected, most notably in Stockholm and Melbourne, where Apple had proposed to build new stores in historic public plazas.