Search results for "morphosis"

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New York Design Commission Announces Excellence in Design Winners
Winners of the 32nd Annual Awards for Excellence in Design were announced last night at the Thomas Leeser–designed BRIC Arts Media House in Brooklyn’s emerging Cultural District. Mayor Bill de Blasio was on hand to honor the winning projects, which were selected by the city’s Design Commission. "While Brooklyn is my home borough, I am proud to be awarding a diverse group of projects representing all five New York City boroughs," the mayor said in a statement. "This year's winners exemplify the Design Commission's mission to enhance every New Yorker's quality of life through public design, regardless of their size or location of the project."  The 10 winning proposals are all unbuilt, but two special recognition awards were awarded to Tod Williams Billie Tsien’s LeFrak Center in Prospect Park and Louis Kahn’s Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island. Cornell Tech's First Academic Building According to the New York Design Commission:
Cornell Tech's first academic building establishes an inspiring atmosphere for graduate-level research that will foster interdisciplinary collaboration with shared work areas and flexible learning spaces. The dynamic facade features bronze-colored perforated metal panels with strategic openings to the glass curtain wall beneath to control natural lighting and capture views of Manhattan and Queens. A monumental stair tower extrudes from the main structure above the lobby space to unmistakably mark the entrance along the central pedestrian walkway. The expansive undulating canopy does double duty in shading the roof surface to reduce thermal load and supporting an array of photovoltaic panels. At the ground level, an outdoor cafe offers views south to the central plaza and lawn, which will ultimately form the heart of the campus.
Four Directions from Hunters Point According to the New York Design Commission:
Whether tucked between book shelves, pushing up through the roof deck, or peeking out of the Q in the library's sign, Julianne Swartz's portal lenses serve to engage, orient, and disorient the viewer. Each lens presents a different optical distortion of the vista beyond-capturing a wide angle of the sky, inverting the Manhattan skyline, or multiplying focal points of the library's garden. Taken together, the portals mirror the fundamental purpose of a library, where visitors seek out information, find themselves transported to new realities, and come away with a different perspective.
Sunset Park Playground Reconstruction According to the New York Design Commission:
This sensitive playground reconstruction maximizes play value while respecting the aesthetic established in the 1930s, when Robert Moses included the original playground as part of the Works Progress Administration reconstruction of Sunset Park. Within an enlarged footprint, undulating pathways define the perimeter, separate play spaces by age group, and unite all users at a central spray shower with in-ground jets. By incorporating grade changes, these paths double as play features-challenging children to climb, balance, and explore. The planting palette adds multi-stem trees, shrubs, and groundcovers to complement the mature shade trees and incorporate seasonal interest.
Peace Clock According to the New York Design Commission:
Located across First Avenue from the United Nations headquarters, Lina Viste Grønli's sculpture celebrates the legacy of Trygve Lie, the first Secretary-General of the United Nations. The Peace Clock is a 17-foot-diameter brass kinetic sculpture that functions abstractly as a clock. Twice a day, the hands of the clock form the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament Symbol-more colloquially known as the Peace Sign. Inspired by the history of the UN's formation and Lie's dedication to peace and fundamental human freedom, Grønli's clock stands as a reminder that time is both fleeting and infinite, always offering the opportunity to achieve world peace.
Joseph A. Verdino Jr. Grandstand According to the New York Design Commission:
Since its inception 60 years ago, the South Shore Little League has been a vibrant community institution, enriching the lives of thousands of children. The new grandstand, named in memory of a young player, is formed by a series of glue-laminated bents clad in a perforated metal screen with white painted supergraphics and a standing seam metal roof. With covered seating for 275 spectators, an elevated press box, a conference room, and protected dugouts, this simple yet elegant structure is a home run!
Conference House Park Pavilion According to the New York Design Commission:
Perched at the water's edge, not far from the 17th-century stone Conference House, the pavilion presents a simple yet contemporary complement to the historic structure. Set atop piles to raise it out of the floodplain, the structure forms a light and airy overlook and event space. The pavilion's arched canopy layers translucent fiberglass over naturally moisture-resistant, glue-laminated cedar rafters to maximize natural light while shielding visitors from sun or inclement weather. A series of stone walls set into the upland lawn offers an attractive seating option but also works to control runoff along the slope.
New York Botanical Garden's East Gate Entrance, Edible Academy, and Family Garden According to the New York Design Commission:
The redesign of the east entrance literally bridges the gap from the neighboring community to the Botanical Garden's horticultural collections and programming. Visitors follow a winding path through a verdant slope and cross a domestic hardwood pedestrian bridge over the valley to find the state-of-the-art Edible Academy and Family Garden. Employing simple shed structures, the design showcases sustainable features, including a greenroof system, solar panels, and geothermal heating and cooling. With classrooms featuring glass hangar doors for easy access to the garden plots and a decked overlook with views of the Bronx River, the Edible Academy and Family Garden promises to be an engaging and bucolic learning space.
Alley Pond Environmental Center According to the New York Design Commission:
Set back from the busy thoroughfare of Northern Boulevard, the environmental center is nestled at the edge of Alley Pond Park. The redesigned center nearly doubles the size of the current facility, enhancing the staff's ability to serve the 50,000 schoolchildren who visit annually. While a glazed brick facade presents a buffer to the road, the classrooms have large windows providing views into the park, and access to an exterior deck. The two facade treatments are unified by a sloped standing-seam metal roof, which folds down to drain water into an adjacent rain garden. By incorporating good environmental building practices, the Center's new home is itself a teaching tool, helping the Center achieve its mission to preserve the city's natural landscape.
SPECIAL RECOGNITION FOR COMPLETED PROJECTS  FDR'S Four Freedoms Park According to the New York Design Commission:
Four Freedoms Park commemorates President Franklin D. Roosevelt and celebrates the freedoms articulated in his famous 1941 State of the Union speech: Freedom of Speech and Expression, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear. Designed by Louis I. Kahn, the project was only realized nearly 40 years after his death. The design capitalizes on the island's thin, triangular tip with a tapered lawn extending from the top of a grand entry stair, flanked with allées of littleleaf linden trees. The symmetrical plan focuses the visitor's gaze toward the threshold of an openair room partially enclosed with monumental slabs of granite, which contain an excerpt from Roosevelt's speech. A master statesman and a master architect have, between them, given us a remarkable public space in which to contemplate these four essential freedoms.
LeFrak Center at Lakeside According to the New York Design Commission:
Constructed of rough-hewn granite and cloaked in earthen roofs, the LeFrak Center maintains a respectful low profile within the surrounding landmarked park. The one-story structures are linked with a bridge at roof level and frame an open-air elliptical skating rink and a regulation sized hockey rink. The hockey rink's monumental canopy features a midnight blue ceiling carved with silver shapes inspired by figure skating footwork. In the warmer months, the rinks are thawed out for roller skating, special events, and a water play feature for children. Combined with the restoration of the lakeside landscape, the construction of the LeFrak Center is the most ambitious capital project in Prospect Park since the park was completed in 1867.
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Visions of Los Angeles
Los Angeles Fine Arts Squad (Victor Henderson, Terry Schoonhoven), Isle of California, 1971.
Joshua White/Courtesy of Sheila Schoonhoven

Everything Loose Will Land
Graham Foundation
Madlener House 4 West Burton Place
Through July 26

Frank Lloyd Wright famously quipped, “Tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles.” Thus the title of Sylvia Lavin’s exhibit on view at the Graham Foundation in Chicago now through July 26. But the art on display in this exhibit, most of which was previously shown at LA’s MAK Center for Art and Architecture and the school of architecture at Yale University, betrays no looseness of concept or execution—it’s a tight-knit assemblage of work that could only have sprung up from the fertile intersection of art and architecture in LA during the 1960s and 1970s.

The 120 drawings, photographs, sculptures, models, and other media on view at 4 West Burton Place include work from Morphosis,  Frank Gehry, Richard Serra, Ed Ruscha, Denise Scott Brown, Archigram, Bernard Tschumi, Cesar Pelli and others. Lavin, the show’s curator, is a widely published design critic, historian, and a head of the Ph.D. in Architecture program and Professor of Architectural History and Theory at UCLA. But she wanted Everything Loose Will Land to reach beyond Southern California.

“I was aggressively on the hunt for a broader geographical context,” said Lavin. “The last thing I wanted was to describe an LA school of architecture.”

Take Grupo 9999, an Italian group of paper architects whose Los Angeles Megastructure (1966) imagines a self-replicating city assembled from modular units. The people among LA’s cultural ecology it seems were equally fascinated by natural systems and machine-loving futurism. That’s true whether you look to Florence-based Grupo 9999 or just down the road to the LA Fine Arts Squad. Victor Henderson and Terry Schoonhoven’s “Isle of California” (1971) uses the staid visual language of lithography to render fantastical visions of a city on the verge of environmental disaster. The utopian promise of America’s cultural frontier also gets a wry treatment from Denise Scott Brown, whose mirage-like city in the Mojave desert lures settlers from the highway with flowery facades and promises of cheap land bought on credit.

Womanhouse, catalog, version 2 (left). Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro, Womanhouse, 1971 (right).
Joshua White / Courtesy California Institute of the Arts, Institute Archive

That’s just the room Lavin has labeled “ENVIRONMENTS”. The other rooms are “PROCEDURES,” “USERS,” and “LUMENS”—four primary means by which she said architects and artists found themselves working together. In a stroke of artistic serendipity, the show’s rooms are unified by Judy Ledgerwood’s Chromatic Patterns, a site-specific installation of vibrant floral wallpaper throughout the historic building.

As artists and architects alike pushed the image of LA beyond the clean modernism of Richard Neutra, they increasingly found themselves in unfamiliar territory. Carl Andre’s Cuts (1967) was a blueprint for moving work from New York to LA, looking within the context of this exhibit more like an architectural drawing than a sculpture. Meanwhile, the architects of Morphosis acted like artists when they drew up farcical plans for their modular 2-4-6-8 House, a model of which could be folded up from a box of “assembly parts” or mailed around the world.

Designers of all backgrounds experimented similarly with ideas of space, time, and materiality, too, as when Peter Alexander trapped evaporating water in a cloudy resin box—an ethereal event captured in time. A piece of Cesar Pelli’s “blue whale” curtain wall for the Pacific Design Center sits nearby, attesting to a “finish fetish” Lavin said pervades the time period.

Of course the roiling creativity of artists and designers during the 1960s and 70s was more than just a collection of formal and conceptual ruminations. It was often acutely political. Judy Chicago’s dry ice mall installations speak of the same “light and space” movement of Peter Alexander’s resin box, while plans for a Womanhouse (1971) housing female artists are as pointed as they are architectural.

Lavin’s collection is engrossing, and more than a little enjoyable. The mixed media, which includes a video installation and several freestanding sculptures, helps bring the era in question out of the past. A celebration of the artists’ often whimsical humor helps—Alison Knowles’ 1967 House of Dust was a computer-generated poem that the artist’s collaborator Norman Kaplan arranged to have dropped from a helicopter over area campuses and museums.

Well aware that the artist/architect binary is a forced division, Lavin doesn’t make too much of such crossovers for crossover’s sake. Instead such work emerges  as a natural condition of creative exploration from the time. But tackling urbanism, environmentalism and individuality in a postmodern city, the work in Everything Loose Will Land doesn’t feel like a geographic or historical oddity. It’s alive, still inspiring experimentation today in points far beyond LA.

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Emerson Los Angeles
Curving academic buildings are framed by orthogonal residential ones.
Iwan Baan

Construction cranes are filling Hollywood these days as if it were the second coming of Dubai. But most of the new architecture here is a depressing sign of the times—significantly less remarkable than that of that hyper-hyped, hyper-speed, desert metropolis.

One obvious exception is Morphosis’ new Los Angeles headquarters for Boston-based Emerson College, which opened on the south side of Sunset Boulevard last month. Unlike the bland structures around it, it emerges from the block as if a square building had been chopped in half with a meat cleaver and metallic worms were spilling out. So yes, it is remarkable.

Emerson has long had a west coast presence, hosting classes and internships related to the media world. The program used to be based in scattered, banal facilities around Burbank.

Iwan Baan

The new ten-story facility is a campus and not just a building, and that is what is best about it. It combines residential, administrative, academic, open space, and film and TV production uses into one square block; creating a rich variety of program, human interaction, and visual stimulation. Lots of outdoor spaces connect the building to LA’s great weather, and Morphosis’ trademark roughness gives it a very urban feel, which makes sense in Hollywood.

While it looks complex from the street, the campus arrangement is straightforward. Two rectilinear towers on the east and west sides of the block contain mostly residences. Inside, the void between these blocks is a series of curving structures containing classrooms and administrative spaces, interspersed with large public plazas and stairways. In all, the complex contains about 30,000 square feet of classrooms and offices, 70,000 square feet of student and faculty housing, and 6,400 square feet of ground floor restaurant space.

Iwan Baan

Walking through the campus can feel a little maze-like at first (for instance finding the entry can take some time), but you get the hang of it. The flanking buildings are clad to the east and west with bands of extruded aluminum sunshades that automatically move according to light and temperature conditions. The dorms inside—suites ranging from three to six beds—are a bit spartan, but that is fine for these artsy students, who are not looking to stay at the Ritz. And as you move higher the views from these spaces are remarkable—at least until something bigger goes up nearby.

But the central buildings and their public spaces are Emerson’s active heart, surrounded and framed by the structure’s hard outer shell. It all resembles a giant stage showcasing Morphosis’ architecture and planning.

Iwan Baan

Floors two and five contain open-air plazas and floors three through five are connected by a large concrete stair, for congregating and for film and video shoots. The sixth floor plaza, with its two large Sycamore trees, clustered tables, and sweeping views, is by far the most usable. The second floor space — while blessed with futuristic views of the building's complex steel work and its space aged bridges — in some spots feels claustrophobic, with heavy walls rising around it like a prison. It lends fewer chances to congregate, and those that do exist feel less intuitive. The grand stair also feels too hard and bare, but the uniqueness of its design—how many schools would allow an open stair used as a stage set to be built over their buildings?—make up for that.

Metallic plates cladding interior structures seem to move like waves.
Iwan Baan

The undulating structures in this core are clad with either smooth, standing seam aluminum panels or textured, silvery, folded aluminum plates. The smooth panels create a shimmering topography while the folded ones create a mesmerizing sense of movement, light play, and dimensionality. It is also photogenic. I dare you to look up at them and not take at least one picture.

The metallic structures vigorously reach and twist their way to the street, and their connection to Sunset Boulevard provides a constant reminder for the kids of where they will likely end up after they graduate. Luckily, glass technology has progressed to the point where the noise of Sunset Boulevard does not seep into these rooms. And from the street they create a Sci-Fi composition (evocative of futuristic Hollywood blockbusters?) that captures the eye and has already drawn more attention than Emerson even anticipated (tours are overbooked).

Roland Halbe

A steel bridge above the courtyards—intended for emergency helicopter landings—can hold lighting and rigging, making the open space underneath an effective filming or outdoor screening location. In fact, the whole building, which is wired throughout with rigging and with “media hydrants” for A/V and electrical feeds, looks and feels like a set or a sound stage, a smart and novel use that Emerson demanded from the beginning. It infuses the space with LA’s creative energy, making it the “machine for living” (or in this case filming) that architects have long salivated over.

While the heavy surfaces and high walls at times feel ominous, the interplay of structures, the movement throughout the building, and the campus’ utility as a theatrical backdrop makes for a one-of-a-kind experience for students and visitors, complementing constant connections to Hollywood and to the outdoors.

Despite their buildings’ stunning shapes, and their effective sense for drama, Morphosis has proven time and again that it is not just a form maker. While the line between cool and cold is occasionally crossed, the gap between this building and anything built within twenty years of it in Hollywood is not even close.

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French Artist Turns Iconic Architecture into Quirky Animated GIF's
The French “GIF artist”—welcome to the 21st century, everybody—Axel de Stampa has officially made time-lapse videos look like child’s play. In his new project, Animated Architecture, de Stampa spins, shifts, tops, and deconstructs some of the most visually distinctive contemporary buildings—all in endlessly entertaining GIF format. "In Architecture Animée, Axel de Stampa uses GIF format to develop a different approach. While the visitor doesn’t move, the building offers different perceptions, comes alive and reveals additional evidence," explained the artist in a statement. [h/t ArchDaily]
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Critical Condition
Courtesy The New York Review of Books

Makers of Modern Architecture, Volume II
Martin Filler
The New York Review of Books, $30

This is the second anthology of essays about the lives and careers of distinguished architects who have practiced in the last 150 years by architectural historian and critic Martin Filler for The New York Review of Books (NYRB). The earlier collection, published by NYRB in 2007, established the form and purpose that Volume II follows. This book deals with a different set of makers, but included once again are Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, and Renzo Piano.

Filler deftly places his subjects in the aesthetic, theoretical, historic, and political life of their time, as well as in his. He pays attention to significant architectural events—the celebrated opening of a new and noteworthy building, a collection of new books with an architectural and urban theme, a well-staged exhibition of the work of emerging talents, the death of a master at the age of 105. Volume II opens with Charles McKim, William Mead, and Stanford White who practiced during the half century between the Civil War and World War I. Among the others are Oscar Niemeyer, Edward Durrell Stone, Eero Saarinen, R. Buckminster Fuller, and Rem Koolhaas. The last essays are devoted to architects relatively new to the scene.

The New York–based husband-and-wife team Tod Williams and Billie Tsien designed the Barnes Foundation Gallery in Philadelphia (2004–2012). This commission came to them by means of an international design competition that solicited portfolios from about 30 firms. There were six finalists: Tadao Ando; Thom Mayne of Morphosis; Rafael Moneo; Diller, Scofidio + Renfro; Kengo Kuma; and the winners—Williams and Tsien. Filler notes that this pair belong to the second generation of high profile pioneering couples that were preceded by Alison and Peter Simpson in Great Britain and Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown in the U.S. His description of the Barnes favors its every aspect while revealing his own mastery of the art of critical praise. He writes, “It must now be included among the tiny handful of intimately scaled museums in which great art and equally great architecture and landscape coalesce into that rare experience wherein these three complimentary mediums enhance the best qualities of one another to maximum benefit. Such institutions include, for example, Jorgen Bo and Vilhelm Wohlert’s Louisiana Museum of Modern Art of 1958–1966 outside Copenhagen, Louis Khan’s Kimbell Art Museum of 1966–1972 in Fort Worth, and Renzo Piano’s Nasher Sculpture Center of 1999–2003 in Dallas.”

Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa are the principals of the Tokyo-based firm SANAA. Sejima was a protégé of Toyo Ito, winner of the 2013 Pritzker Prize, and worked with him before she founded the partnership with Nishizawa who in addition has a separate practice of his own. They are best known in the United States for two exceptional museum commissions: the Glass Pavilion (2002–2006) at the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio and the New Museum (2003–2007) on New York City’s Bowery. Given that they are pioneers in the new generation of Minimalists, Filler takes care to distinguish them from those gone before. The Minimalist master Mies, early and late, whenever he could, built with costly materials, meticulously joined, finished, and detailed. He did so, Filler believes, to compensate for the restrictions of the style itself.

The two small museums consist for the most part of simple, rectangular, flat-roofed forms. The walls have no tilts; surfaces do not undulate, and are without multi-faceted geometric patterns. Most interiors are painted white. The one-story Glass Pavilion is partially enclosed by stretches of mullion-free clear glass. The street facade of the seven-story New Museum is veneered with an outer skin of perforated light grey metal. Filler notes “the remarkable breadth of expression [SANAA] is able to wrest from the restricted Minimalist palette.”

In 1979 Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio established their office in New York City. In 2004 they made Charles Renfro a full partner. In the early years of their association the two were best known as theoreticians and educators in the recondite world of their Cooper Union colleague John Hejduk. They designed exhibitions, miscellaneous installations, and objects, but built little. In 1999 they were awarded a McArthur Foundation grant. This was followed by one of the first significant structures they actually made happen, the Blur Building (2000–2002) on Lake Neuchatel for the Swiss national exhibition Expo.02. What Filler calls an “aqueous caprice,” it consisted of a wraparound cloud of mist more than 300 feet wide, nearly 200 feet deep, and 66 feet high. Water, pumped up from the lake, became a fine spray from 31,500 high-precision, high-pressure water jets attached to a lightweight metal framework placed upon an ovoid platform at some distance from land. The so-called pavilion was big enough to hold as many as four hundred visitors at one time. They crossed from the shore by way of two separate long gangways and were given waterproof ponchos upon arrival. This immense free-form blob of seemingly weightless water made possible by computer technology but never before or since used in such a manner, was the hit of the fair. Filler writes that the making of such a place “has fascinated visionaries for centuries, especially writers in Islamic Spain, who during the Middle Ages fantasized about fountains with liquid domes that one could enter. That evanescent dream was finally brought to dazzling life in this triumph of the architectural imagination.”

New York City’s High Line renovation began in 2004 after a successful five-year public fight to save the defunct early 20th-century railroad cargo viaduct by giving it a viable new use. Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, and landscape architects Field Operations with the Dutch plant specialist Piet Oudolf, designed the linear park that sits atop it. Filler writes, “Seldom in modern city planning has a single work of urban design brought together and synthesized so many current concerns, including historic preservation, adaptive reuse of obsolete infrastructure, green urbanism, and private sector funding and stewardship of public amenities.”

The firm’s architectural and urban transformation of New York’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (2003–2012) is extensively described and interpreted by Filler. Surprisingly he ends the Diller, Scofidio + Renfro essay by noting, “There was well-founded dismay among their admirers when in 2013 they accepted the Museum of Modern Art’s controversial commission to replace Tod Williams and Billie Tsien’s former American Folk Art Museum building (1987–2001) contrary to a long-standing ethical tradition among high-style architects not to abet the destruction of living colleagues’ work.” It makes a good story, yet the possible existence or effectiveness of such high-minded rectitude anywhere in today’s world of architecture will seem unlikely to readers of a book so revelatory as Filler’s about the hard-nosed realities of successful practice.

When Israeli-American Michael Arad won the competition to design the National September 11 Memorial (2003–2011) at Ground Zero, he was an obscure 34-year-old working as an architect for neighborhood police stations in the design department of the New York City Housing Authority. The Memorial was completed when he was 42. Maya Lin was a leading and appropriate member of the jury that selected his preliminary design from a field of 5,201 entries. She herself was 21 and a student of architecture at Yale when she won the competition to design the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (1981–1982). It was completed when she was 23.

Filler concludes: “The nature of architectural practice has changed enormously in recent decades, yet it remains as much as it always has been in its wild unpredictability. The fates that befall even the most inspired master builders can be so capricious and cruel that one cannot predict whether Arad’s youthful masterwork will be seen in due course as his lift-off point or apogee. But just as the test of time has already proved the validity of Maya Lin’s insights into the wellsprings of mourning in the modern age, Michael Arad’s profound variations and expansions on her themes have in turn ratified him as one of the signal place-makers of our time.”

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Sacrificing Modernism
Sean Khorsandi

As New York continues to evolve into a city catering to outsiders—courting the science and technology industries and luring foreign tourists from every corner of the globe—politicians stupefied and in awe of their development prowess congratulate one another: this, is progress! (Sorry Emma Lazarus, no tired and poor here—just give us your caffeinated and moneyed huddled masses!)

Soon, Roosevelt Island’s Coler-Goldwater Hospital for chronic diseases, a herringbone plan, designed with Deco patient wards capped by rounded day rooms and circumscribed by deep balconies for roll-out patient beds, will be absorbed into the greater NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC). Chevron-like gold brick wings, carefully offset to not cast shadows on neighboring patient areas will give way to Cornell’s twerked glass campus from a panoply of A-list architects including Weiss/Manfredi, Field Operations, Morphosis, SOM, and others.


As visitors to Louis Kahn’s FDR Memorial often pay homage to the James Renwick Small Pox Hospital ruin during their pilgrimages, most all unknowingly pass by two chapels—a synagogue and a mosque—within the hospital’s 1971 addition, the Activities Building. This structure was completed posthumously by Swiss-born American pioneer of Modernism, William Lescaze (1896–1969). Adorned with colorful mosaics and Emanuel Millstein-designed stained glass windows, these barely published, publically inaccessible spaces will soon be lost.

Over on Manhattan, where recent shuffling has finally consolidated Parsons, Mannes College, and various sundry divisions of the New School into the 16-Story Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill combination University Center/Kerrey Hall on 14th Street, another Lescaze building faces demolition. In the wake of the consolidation, parcels of the campus were de-accessioned, including the polite, oft-over looked Brotherhood in Action building on 7th Avenue at 40th Street. An understated box set atop a synagogue and held back from the avenue by a raised pedestrian plaza, this “building-next-door” gained national facade recognition through its many cameos for Project Runway.

After open bidding, it was sold to Soho Properties and MHP (the former Murray Hill Properties), and is destined to become a new Dream Hotel. Early renderings by SOMA show a Jenga-stack of glass volumes. Restrained, human-scaled, and civic minded buildings will again cede to denser development with less cultural purpose.

The first phase of Cornell NYC Tech is slated to open in 2017. Dream Times Square has no check-in date listed. As of press, both Lescaze buildings are still standing.

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Lawsuit Filed to Block Cooper Union Tuition
A group of Cooper Union professors, alumni, and students has filed a lawsuit against the school’s Board of Trustees over its decision last spring to start charging undergraduate tuition at the school. At the time, the board said the cash-strapped institution had no choice but to break their long-held tradition of offering free arts and architecture education. They announced that the change would go into effect this coming fall, and that tuition would be set on a sliding scale. The group who filed the suit—the Committee to Save Cooper Union—is attempting to block this change before new students arrive this fall. The committee is also calling for an audit into the school’s finances, which they allege have been grossly mismanaged. According to the New York Daily News, "the scathing Manhattan Supreme Court documents accuse the school’s leaders of spending on fancy new buildings, borrowing more money than the school could afford and losing tens of millions by investing in a trustee’s own hedge fund." One of those "fancy new buildings" is the school’s gleaming, 175,000-square-foot structure designed by Morphosis that opened five years ago. A spokesperson for Cooper Union said, in part, "we are disappointed that the Committee to Save Cooper Union would choose costly litigation over constructive conversation."
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On View> Chicago's Graham Foundation Presents "Everything Loose Will Land"
Everything Loose Will Land Graham Foundation 4 West Burton Place, Chicago Through July 26 Everything Loose Will Land explores the intersection of art and architecture in Los Angeles during the 1970s. The show’s title refers to a Frank Lloyd Wright quote that if you “tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles.” This freeness alludes to the fact that this dislodging did not lead to chaos but rather a multidisciplinary artistic community that redefined LA. The exhibition features one hundred and twenty drawings, photographs, media works, sculptures, prototypes, models, and ephemera. The presentations function as a kind of archive of architectural ideas that connect a variety of disciplines. Projects by Carl Andre, Ed Moses, Peter Alexander, Michael Asher, James Turrell, Maria Nordman, Robert Irwin, Frank Gehry, Richard Serra, Coy Howard, Craig Ellwood, Peter Pearce, Morphosis, Bruce Nauman, Craig Hodgetts, Jeff Raskin, Ed Ruscha, Noah Purifoy, Paolo Soleri, Ray Kappe, Denise Scott Brown, Archigram, L.A. Fine Arts Squad, Bernard Tschumi, Eleanor Antin, Peter Kamnitzer, Cesar Pelli, Andrew Holmes, Elizabeth Orr, and others are explored. Curated by Sylvia Lavin, Director of Critical Studies in the Department of Architecture and Urban Design at UCLA, the show began its journey at the MAK Center for Architecture and then traveled to the Yale School of Architecture before arriving at the Graham Foundation.
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Adventurous Los Angeles
Courtesy Lars Muller Publishers

L.A. [Ten]: Interviews on Los Angeles Architecture 1970s-1980s
By Stephen Phillips
Lars Müller Publishers, $35

Cal Poly professor Stephen Phillips interviewed nine of the ten Los Angeles architects featured in the new book L.A. [Ten]. Frank Gehry, the most notable of this loosely linked pack that came to prominence in the 1970s and 80s, is absent. The majority of these mavericks were featured in A Confederacy of Heretics, the exhibition that SCI-Arc presented last year. As with the New York Five, and other ad hoc groupings, each went in a different direction. As Phillips observes in his introduction, “The group as a whole seemed less important to them than their own individuality… LA was a place of free expression.” The label originated with a series of lectures and exhibits, inspired by the European Team X, which Thom Mayne organized in his Venice home-studio in 1979.

Pictures of each of the architects in the L.A. Ten.

These interviews, a group endeavor by the Cal Poly LA Metro Project and the Getty Research Institute, constitute an oral history of a turbulent and creative era. Even Mayne, whose career has burgeoned in the past three decades, looks back on that time with wistful nostalgia. He recalls the genesis of SCI-Arc as a throwaway remark by Ray Kappe, who gathered the dissident faculty of Cal Poly Pomona and said “Let’s start a school.” Forty senior students signed up for a penniless institution operating out of an empty warehouse; five faculty worked long hours without pay for the first two years. Against all the odds, SCI-Arc flourished, while keeping its edge. That provided a hub for experimentation that channeled and stimulated the talents of young architects who wanted to break away from the stale conventions of modernism. It helped that there was a confident mood in LA leading up to the 1984 Olympics, and the Los Angeles Times gave architecture critic John Dreyfuss a prominence unthinkable today. UCLA’s School of Architecture under Tim Vreeland was another incubator. Excitement was in the air, and it is fascinating to hear how these ten architects saw their contribution, then and now.

And how they talk! Mayne and Eric Owen Moss are celebrated for their 30-minute responses to simple questions, and the way they leap around from one book or movie to an abstruse theory, and on to a personal anecdote without a pause for breath. Phillips, former Getty Architecture Curator Wim de Wit, and other participants in the discussion offer a few cues, but these sections are essentially monologues. In contrast, Michael Rotondi talks up a storm, but the tone is radically different from that of his former partner at Morphosis—friendlier and much more accessible. He recalls the evolution of 72 Market, a sadly short-lived restaurant, and the way he learned by doing. Many of the LA Ten came to the city from back East; Rotondi confesses that he has always lived within two miles of where he was born, in Silver Lake—the neighborhood that was home to Richard Neutra for four decades. And he provides the best response to the question of what makes building in LA different from other places. “Simply said, I see unity and diversity all around,” he said. “And I always believed that the umbilical cord from Europe never made it over the Rockies…That’s why things became hybrid in LA. That’s why fusion begins here.”

The other architects—Neil Denari, Frederick Fisher, Craig Hodgetts, and Ming Fung, Wes Jones, and Coy Howard are more conversational, recalling their first encounters with LA and especially with Venice, which was then a cheap, seedy backwater, beloved by impecunious artists. It is the LA that is 98 percent mundane with a few scattered sparks of brilliance and eccentricity that nurtured Reyner Banham, the Eameses, and a long succession of architects who found opportunities here they would never have enjoyed in conventional cities. The perspective of the LA Ten is invaluable—as social history and as a spur for another tide of talent to ameliorate the mediocrity.

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News Flash
Building 11 as seen from Hill Street.
Courtesy Forest City

Julia Morgan’s magnificent but dilapidated Herald-Examiner Building, located on the long-neglected south end of Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles, is about to get the attention it has deserved for decades. The Hearst Companies have awarded Los Angeles firm Omgivning the commission for its renovation and redevelopment. Meanwhile, Harley Ellis Devereaux (HED) will design two adjacent mixed-use buildings, tentatively called 11 x 12, for Forest City.

The opulent, Spanish Revival style Herald-Examiner (1914) was designed for William Randolph Hearst’s newspaper of the same name. The publication closed in 1989 and the edifice, with its terra cotta rooftops, tiled domes, and elegant archways, has been suffering from serious neglect since. The architects will install retail and restaurants on the ground floor and creative office and commercial spaces above. The building’s ornate lobby remains in tact, said Omgivning principal Karin Liljegren, but the remaining interior consists mostly of a raw concrete shell. The developer for the renovation is the Hearst Companies. Completion dates have not been finalized, said Liljegren.

View of Building 12 from the street  (left). View of new building and paseo behind the Herald-Examiner (right).
Courtesy Forest City

HED’s nearby buildings include “11,” a red-colored linear building behind the Herald Examiner near 11th Street, and “12,” a blue-colored cube-shaped building one block south near 12th Street. 11 contains 178 residential units and about 6,000 square feet of retail, while 12 houses 214 units and 8,000 square feet of retail. Both designs have large podiums and are “ragingly contemporary,” said HED principal Daniel Gehman. Still, 11, its red color inspired by the Herald-Examiner’s auburn tiles, is slightly more muted when facing the historic building, so as to “be a good, poetic neighbor,” said Gehman.

HED is designing a narrow, heavily landscaped paseo behind the Herald-Examiner, giving the buildings breathing room and providing outdoor dining and congregation space. The buildings and the paseo are expected to break ground by the end of this year and be completed by late 2016 or early 2017.

Floyd B. Bariscale

Hearst almost redeveloped the Herald-Examiner in 2007, commissioning Morphosis to design two jagged residential high rises behind the Julia Morgan building. The recession killed that scheme.

Omgivning is also designing a boutique hotel across the street from the Herald Examiner in a historic 13-story high rise that once contained the Case Hotel.

“It’s such an important thing for Broadway to get that bookend,” said Liljegren, referring to filling out the south side of a street that is finally emerging from years of slumber. Liljegren has been involved with reforming the area’s sign ordinance to allow for a much wider variety of signs on Broadway, from open panel roof marquees to long, narrow blade signs, rising up the side of the street. “This is long overdue, what’s happening here,” agreed Gehman. “It’s all coming together.”

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Back from the Dead
Gehry Partners' Grand Avenue Project.
Courtesy Related Companies

As Downtown Los Angeles’ comeback continues at a rapid pace you can add another category to the area’s new residences, offices, hotels, shops, and restaurants: projects back from the dead. In recent months a flurry of all types of development once considered lost in the last economic downturn have come back online, albeit often with very different teams and looks.

“We felt very strongly that the demand would come right back once the recession started to ease,” said Carol Schatz, president and CEO at the Downtown Center Business Improvement District (DCBID). Unlike the previous recession, she added, “everyone knew something was going on downtown. It didn’t erode the confidence people had in downtown as a new market.”


The timing couldn’t be better. According to DCBID’s 2013 Development Market Report, Downtown LA is now seeing construction of 5,000 residential units and 1,474 hotel units, while over 70 new retail businesses opened in 2013 and millions of square feet of office space were leased. Another important factor in the projects’ return: the city’s multiple approvals ordinance, which, among other things, helped extend the length of development entitlements to keep them alive.

The most high profile return is Related Company’s and Frank Gehry’s Grand Avenue Project in Bunker Hill, whose new scheme—now centered around a staggered, u-shaped plaza—was approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on January 14 and by the Grand Avenue Authority on January 15. That $750 million, mixed-use project was left for dead after close to a dozen extensions, but received a shot in the arm when potential partners—particularly Hotel operator SLS—expressed interest, according to Related’s Bill Witte. The scale of the project is significantly reduced from the original one. “It’s a better and more appropriate plan this time around,” said Witte.

Shimoda Design's 695 Santa Fe development.
Courtesy Shimoda Design

In the super-hot Arts District AMP Lofts by Koning Eizenberg (2008) is now 605 Santa Fe, with architecture by Shimoda Design. The project—whose look will be inspired by the area’s industrial setting, with a concrete podium and corrugated metal clad units—includes 240 apartment units and 20,000 square feet of restaurant and creative office space designed around 25,000 square feet of park space. “We’re very bullish on Los Angeles,” explained Ryan Granito, Senior Project Manager for the developer, Bolour Associates. The site’s entitlements were already in place, and only need to be adjusted.

On the other side of town another raised ghost is Metropolis, a mega-scale mixed-use project in South Park that has seen more iterations than any other in the area, including plans by Michael Graves in the 1990s, and another by developer IDS in 2011. The $1 billion hotel, residential, office project is being led by Shanghai-based Greenland Group and by Gensler. The project will start with a 19-story hotel and a 38-story apartment building. Applications were filed in December.


Park Fifth, a 76-story condo tower designed by KPF in 2008 (as the largest tower west of the Mississippi) on the corner of 5th and Olive, next to Pershing Square, is now being developed by MacFarlane Partners at a much more manageable size. The new project, about half the scale of Park Fifth, will include 600,000 square feet of retail and residential space.

Finally comes the redevelopment of the Herald Examiner development on Broadway, centering around Julia Morgan’s grand-but-dilapidated former headquarters for the Herald Examiner newspaper. Morphosis had designed two residential towers that were killed by the last downturn. Now developer Forest City plans to develop two mixed-use buildings on lots adjacent to the Morgan Building. The Hearst Corporation also intends to renovate the Morgan building, with plans for ground floor retail and creative office space above. No architects have been chosen for the project yet.

As Downtown becomes more attractive, more projects will rise from the dead, adding to a cityscape that is already unrecognizable from just a decade ago. “We have lots of projects being discussed but I’ve learned from experience that you don’t count them until they’re under construction,” said Schatz.

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Architectural League Names 2014 Emerging Voices
Today, the Architectural League of New York revealed its selections for the 2014 class of Emerging Voices, a distinction that honors young firms "with distinct design voices and the potential to influence the disciplines of architecture, landscape design, and urbanism." This year's pool of winners demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit, according to the League, "pursuing alternate forms of practice, often writing their own programs or serving as their own clients." Winners are selected by a jury from a pool of invited firms. This year's international group of eight includes The Living (which just this week was also named winner of MoMA PS 1's Young Architects Program), Surfacedesign, SITU Studio, Ants of the Prairie, Estudio Macías Peredo, Rael San Fratello, TALLER |MauricioRocha+GabrielaCarrillo|, and Williamson Chong Architects. A lecture series is planned in March where each firm will present their work and design philosophy. Betsy Williamson, Shane Williamson, and Donald Chong Williamson Chong Architects Toronto According to the League:
“Context, materials research, economies of construction, building performance, and client-based collaboration” all shape the design approach of Williamson Chong Architects. Their work ranges in scale from furniture to master planning, including the House in Frogs Hollow and the Abby Gardens Food Community master plan.
David Benjamin The Living New York According to the League:
New Yorkʼs The Living explores – through installations such as Mussel Choir, exhibited at the Venice Biennale, and the NYCEDC project EcoPark – “how new technologies come to life in the built environment.” The Living was just named as the winner of the MoMA/PS1 Young Architects Program.
Geoff di Girolamo, James Lord, and Roderick Wyllie Surfacedesign San Francisco According to the League:
The landscape architecture and urban design practice Surface Design, Inc. focuses on creating landscapes that emphasize “personal histories and connections between culture and natural environment” with projects ranging in scale from domestic projects, to San Franciscoʼs Golden Gate Bridge Plaza, to Stonesfields Quarry Park in Auckland, New Zealand.
Basar Girit, Aleksey Lukyanov-Cherny, Wes Rozen, and Bradley Samuels SITU Studio Brooklyn According to the League:
The firmʼs Brooklyn-based studio, divided between design and fabrication spaces, enables their goal to “leverage fabrication efficiencies, material re-use, flexible assemblies, and community involvement to create spaces that engage in living relationships with the urban context.” Projects have included the ReOrder installation in the Brooklyn Museum Great Hall; Heartwalk, installed in Times Square; and mapping and analysis projects.
Joyce Hwang Ants of the Prairie Buffalo, NY According to the League:
Ants of the Prairie is an arts and research practice “dedicated to developing creative approaches in confronting the pleasures and horrors of our contemporary ecologies,” as seen in work such as Bat Cave and Bat Cloud and the currently under construction bird and bat Habitat Wall.
Salvador Macías Corona and Magui Peredo Arenas Estudio Macías Peredo Guadalajara, Mexico According to the League:
Estudio Macías Peredo, acknowledging “the understanding of our regional situation (geographically and socio-culturally), where [a] craftsman is part of the building process,” embraces ideas of critical regionalism, as explored in the residences Casa Atlas and Casa Arenas.
Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello Rael San Fratello Oakland, CA According to the League:
Rael San Fratello shies away from working within a set philosophy, trying rather “not to define, but rather to constantly redefine ourselves” with projects, ranging from the art installation Prada Marfa to their winning entry in the Sukkah City competition, “Sukkah of the Signs, aka the Homeless House,” that “try to do the most with the least.”
Mauricio Rocha Iturbide and Gabriela Carrillo Valadez TALLER |MauricioRocha+GabrielaCarrillo| Mexico City According to the League:
TALLER IMauricioRocha+GabrielaCarrilloI focuses on “the importance of the vernacular, craftsmanship, sustainability, and socially-responsible design” in projects such as Plastic Arts School, Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca and the Hall for the Visually Impaired, Ciudadela.
The League's Emerging Voices lecture series will take place at the Scholastic Auditorium located at 557 Broadway, New York. For exact dates and ticket information, visit the League's website. The 2014 jury included Fred Bernstein, Paul Lewis, Kate Orff, Thomas Phifer, Annabelle Selldorf, and Adam Yarinsky. Previous Emerging Voices winners include Jeanne Gang, Morphosis, Steven Holl, Tod Williams, Deborah Berke, Brad Cloepfil, Michael Maltzan, and many others.