All posts in East

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Shedding Light on the Future

The oracular visions of Agnes Denes are on display at The Shed
Agnes Denes’s watershed retrospective at The Shed, the sliding art hall at New York’s Hudson Yards, Absolutes and Intermediates (open through March 22), feels at times audaciously oracular. With its global environmental themes, conceptual graphs of the totality of human knowledge, and exaggerated post-human scale drawings, the exhibition speaks to a millenarianism powerfully present today among anyone paying attention. Yet, much of it she conceived a half-century ago. At times, it makes Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion domes and the previous heroic gestures of land art look like frivolous child’s play. “I asked her once how she knew in the early ’60s what we know now about this place, where in the early ’60s you didn’t have phrases like climate change,” said curator Emma Enderby, who organized the show. “She just said that it was there. Scientists were talking about it. You just had to have your ears open and your tentacles out. You had to be reading the texts and reading between the lines.” Before joining The Shed as a curator, Enderby worked at Public Art Fund, where she became familiar with Denes through her landmark Wheatfield—A Confrontation (1982), which the organization sponsored. Back in 1982, Denes planted two acres on landfill dug up from the World Trade Center while the site sat empty waiting to be developed into Battery Park City, arguably her most famous work. Enderby suggested a retrospective, along with the idea of commissioning unrealized pieces, in line with The Shed’s mission to support original cross-disciplinary work. The work is well organized and emphasized thanks to the work of the New York-based New Affiliates, who designed the exhibition. Photographs of Wheatfield staged by a TIME Magazine photographer show Denes standing Moses-like with a staff in the field of golden wheat, the gray towers of Wall Street on the horizon, contrasting the subduing, objectified, and commodification of the built environment with an image of resurgent nature. The figure of a woman projected as a life-giving force alongside one of the earliest human technologies, agriculture, hinted at a possible regeneration of incessant urban verticality and sprawl. “It was insane. It was impossible,” Denes wrote. “But it would draw people’s attention to having to rethink their priorities and realize that unless human values were reassessed, the quality of life, even life itself, was in danger.” The exhibition sprawls through two floors of The Shed’s double-height galleries, taking its title from a radically-scaled parametric chart Denes plotted on a sheet of AT&T Bell Labs graph paper in 1970. Absolutes and Intermediates visualizes nothing less than the history and future of the universe, from its formation to its disappearance into nothing, sweeping through the emergence of human life, the development of abstract reasoning, the creation of superintelligent machines and artificial life forms, and the evolution of a future species of homo sapiens. Expansive, minutely detailed drawings of Denes’s grand alternative systems and condensations of knowledge are displayed in long vitrines—some of them longer than 20 feet—beside study models and video interviews that show Denes as much a thinker as a visual artist. Another uncanny early piece from 1970, Matrix of Knowledge, predicts information overload in ways that are halfway too optimistic, halfway right on the mark. Charted using dialectic triangulation, in which Denes represents interconnected fields of knowledge as intersections of that construct larger geometric structures, she wrote that the sum of accumulated information doubles every ten years, more than the mind can handle. In the future systems will have to be set up to preselect and reduce incoming data, leading to loss of freedom. “Mass media is already making choices for us,” she wrote at the time, “a[nd] specialization is also leading in that direction by trapping valuable data within each specialty where it remains undigested, hindering accurate deductions and combination as the flow of communication is blocked.” A maximalist ecological intervention conceived in 1982, Tree Mountain-A Living Time Capsule—11,000 Trees, 11,000 People, 400 Years is breathtaking in its ambition and gets a dedicated display room at The Shed. Commissioned on the occasion of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and realized by 1996, 11,000 trees were planted in a gravel pit in Ylöjärvi, Finland, that was being reclaimed from environmental destruction. Each tree was assigned a dedicated custodian, along with a certificate naming its owner. Planted in a swirling pyramidal pattern, Tree Mountain would take on its full meaning over the course of centuries, Denes wrote, changing from a shrine to a decadent era to a monument of a great civilization to benefit future generations. The entire second floor is devoted to a large number of Denes’s conceptual pyramidal drawings, along with three special commissions created for the show. The pyramids are largely thought experiments expressed as drawings on a crazy scale, such as her iteration of Pascal’s Triangle, no. 3 (1974), which extends halfway across the gargantuan Shed gallery, displayed in a glass case, all drawn by hand in painstaking detail. Others use dots, thin lines, and stick figures to sketch out eccentric forms—probability, a flying fish, silk, reflection, a flexible space station—creating pyramids in which slight individual variations result in reverberating distortions in the whole. The gallery commissioned a version of the probability pyramid, Model for Probability Pyramid—Study for Crystal Pyramid (2019) and built it from nearly 6,000 3D-printed corn-based bricks, taking advantage of the venue’s unusual ceiling height and technical capacity. Illuminated from the inside, the crystalline structure stretches to 30-feet-by-22.5-feet at its base and reaches 17 feet in height. As originally conceived, the pyramid would be constructed of 100,000 glass blocks, rivaling the ancient pyramids and carrying mathematical information into the future. Another special commission was a translucent, teardrop-shaped object, also lit from inside, and hovering mid-air. A custom electromagnetic circuit in the base and a magnet within the sculpture suspends the teardrop as if by magic. It’s a model for a monumental architectural structure, a floating city conceived in 1984 as a part of a series of organic forms. The structures reference back to 4000 B.C Egyptian pyramids and were created for a future in which their inhabitants live in space or self-contained floating environments. They’re intended as mandalas that define benevolent destinies: The structures “break loose from the tyranny of being built,” Denes wrote, becoming “flexible to take on dynamic forms of their own choosing. At this point they decide to fend for themselves and create their own destiny.” The other special project, Model for a Forest for New York (2014— ), is a much more recent one: A plan to plant 100,000 trees in a form that looks like a flower from the sky on a 120-acre landfill in Edgemere, Queens, with support from the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance. The forest’s conception is also more straightforwardly contemporary, appealing to public health concerns, as it would address asthma problems in the adjacent neighborhood, remove carbon dioxide from the air, and help clean the groundwater. That makes the project somewhat more prosaic, and in a way disappointing—in the same manner as a waterfront berm with a park on top, which suggests the greater truth of her aesthetic project. Well-known ecological artists like Peter Fend have complained for ages that artists are not taken seriously when proposing environmental interventions because they are not trained engineers, and the resultant projects are often wildly out of scale and untested. But with the world as we now know it is coming to an end, be it the current political order or via the climate crisis, Denes’s visionary planetary-scale retorts have a fitting rejoinder: Absolutes and Intermediates suggests the potential of aesthetic imagination—not just quantitative trading and tech engineers—to regenerate it anew.
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Minimal Me This

Feuerstein Quagliara puts its own twist on the traditional side-gable house
Deep within New York’s Catskills region, this reinterpreted American side-gable house casts an impressive profile. Set back on a 45-acre lot, the black-stained, pine-clad structure incorporates a diverse set of interior environments with expansive views of pastoral farmland. Brooklyn-based firm Feuerstein Quagliara implements a so-called “program bar” that makes the most of the site’s undulating perch and southern exposure. Extruded along an east-west axis, the house segments into six equal blocks: a guest bedroom, entry foyer, dining room, kitchen, living room, and master suite. As the more intimate bedrooms offset from the central array, residual alcoves and impromptu patios form within the core’s recesses. Tying the home together, the gabled roof evenly covers both indoor and outdoor spaces and creates a crystalline mass. Sliding glass doors maintain an even flow throughout the entire interior and forge a strong connection with the exterior. Anchoring both bedrooms on either side is a central communal core. This main, open-plan living space has large skylights and vaulted ceilings. Two Baltic birch kitchen islands float in the center of the space and delineate between a lounge and dining room on either side. A clever interplay of stark white walls, wooden built-ins, and polished concrete floors and countertops makes for a minimalist yet inviting interior scheme. The same contrast of materials and textures carries through to the home’s bathrooms, where custom wooden cube tubs sit pretty in the white-tiled volumes. Read the full article on our interiors and design website,
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Roll Out

OLIN receives design approval for D.C. Desert Storm memorial
Plans are well underway to build a National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial in Washington, D.C., now that OLIN has taken over as lead designer. On November 21, 2019, the memorial’s design concept won approval from the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA), a milestone that helped push the memorial closer to the goal of completion by the end of 2021, as basic items such as the layout and structure were determined. The design approval from the CFA on January 17 of this year, but the National Capital Planning Commission still needs to review and approve both preliminary and final plans before construction can begin. Early efforts are owed to Indianapolis-based CSO Architects, who since 2012, dedicated much of their time (pro bono) in developing design concepts for the memorial. “If it wasn’t for CSO’s participation, this wouldn’t be where it is right now and in fact, it wouldn't have even got off the ground,” Scott Stump, president and CEO of the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association (NDSWMA), told the Indianapolis Business Journal Since 2010, the NDSWMA has secured a site for the monument, received concept approval, and raised almost a quarter of the $40 million needed before construction could begin. Stump is responsible for the idea of the memorial, wanting to preserve the memory and military significance of the Desert Shield and Desert Storm operations so it wouldn’t be perceived as a “footnote in history.”  It was the American Institute of Architects that recommended some “veteran-friendly” firms to Stump when he realized he was lacking in the visual representation needed to get the project moving. CSO had done numerous projects for military clients and principal Randy Schumacher took lead on the project. Landscape architecture firm Context Design has also contributed to the original design. Schumacher worked alongside Stump to develop ideas and also solicited feedback from veterans. The result was a design that featured a curved wall ranging in height from six to sixteen feet meant to suggest the “left hook” military maneuver. Once the site was secured (a location just north of the Lincoln Memorial and west of the Vietnam War Memorial) adjustments needed to be made to the design. The new design has lower walls that meld into the ground and includes a central water feature, which symbolizes a desert oasis as well as the international coalition that participated in the operations.  With OLIN’s work on the National Veterans Memorial and Museum in Ohio (which also features a similar swirling site plan), the U.S. Air Force Memorial in Arlington, and the grounds of the Washington Monument, they seem like a natural pick to take over as lead designer. CSO and Context still remain involved and Schumacher is honored to play a part in the project, saying, “It’s the most important thing I’ll ever do, as an architect and as an American.”  A few elements in the design are still awaiting approval and the push to raise the 110 percent of the funding required by law to begin construction is an ongoing fundraising effort. The association’s goal is to complete the fundraising by March.
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Concrete Treat

Thomas Phifer and Partners’s Glenstone Museum rises from the landscape with subtle monumental tectonics
Brought to you with support from
With an extensive private collection of contemporary art ranging from the large-scale sculptural work of Michael Heizer to the oil-on-canvas abstracts of Mark Rothko, the new Glenstone Museum addition—opened in Fall 2018 and located in suburban Potomac, Maryland, just 15 miles from the city center of Washington, D.C.—is a testament to the role of placemaking as a tool of monumentality. Designed by Thomas Phifer and Partners in collaboration with facade consultant Heintges, the expansion of the Glenstone Museum consists of a single interconnected structure built of gargantuan precast concrete blocks semi-submerged into the landscape and illuminated by deftly placed moments of curtain wall. The project, formally dubbed The Pavilions, is a significant expansion of the preexisting Glenstone Museum and adds 204,000-square-feet of built space to the complex. Although one continuous structure, the varying heights of the pavilions and their position within the surrounding landscape lend an illusion that each exhibition space is an independent pavilion.
  • Facade Manufacturer Gate Precast MBM Konstruktionen GmbH
  • Architect Thomas Phifer and Partners
  • Facade Installer National Enclosure Corp Gate Precast
  • Facade Consultant Heintges
  • Structural Engineer SOM
  • Location Potomac, MD
  • Date of Completion October 2018
  • System Hand-set, monumental architectural precast units Moment-Clamped and bi-directional offset glazing units
  • Products Custom Gate Precast concrete blocks Laminated, double glazed units with flush stainless steel finish plates
For Thomas Phifer and Partners, the choice of precast concrete stemmed from the client and design team’s intent to work with materials that clearly expressed the museum’s construction and structure. The concrete blocks were produced by manufacturer Gate Precast, who developed a custom blend of sand, fine aggregate, and a consistent mixture of white and gray cement. The design team collaborated closely with the manufacturer, testing a range of concrete mixes and forming techniques, and ultimately traveled to Gate Precast’s plants in North Carolina and Tennessee for review of the 26,000 concrete blocks prior to the shipment to the site. “The beauty and diversity that is evident in the finished blocks were a true expression of the variability of working in concrete,” said Thomas Phifer and Partners director Michael Trudeau and Heintges associate principal Aaron Davis. “The vagaries of casting, stripping, seasonality of fabrication, temperature and humidity during curing are allowed to express themselves in the overall palette of the installed facades.” The precast blocks were arranged in a standard running bond pattern—every succeeding row of bricks is offset from that below—and typically measure 12"-by-12"-by-6". The weight of each block is formidable; each weighs approximately 900 pounds and were craned into position individually. While the monumentally-scaled masonry appears load-bearing, the design team utilized various subtle structural techniques to offset the overwhelming mass of the project. The blocks bear onto a concrete haunch rising from the foundation wall and are further held by continuous bands of spliced stainless steel rebar. A thin layer of mortar was applied between the narrow joints of the running bond to allow for setting and leveling, while concealed breaks mitigate expansion and contraction. Natural light for the museum primarily derives from two sources; monumental glass walls and fogged skylights. For the former, the design team hoped to blend the characteristics of both unitized curtain walls and storefront facades—a high-performance enclosure with maximum transparency. The solution is remarkably complex—the glass panels measure 9'-by-22' and cantilever from the floor and ceiling slabs, and are moment-clamped at the base of the panel and framed in steel. “The outer-most glass plies on both inner and outer laminated layers of the IGU are offset from one another in plan, providing recesses where the stainless steel plates can be connected—gaskets sit between the inner face of the stainless steel plates to protect the glass from contact with the metal and providing a high-performance dual-deal connection between units,” continued Trudeau and Davis. “The poetic rigor of the design is revealed here again; the width of the stainless steel plate is identical to the depth of the IGU. In plan, the unit-to-unit joint is a perfect square.” Thomas Phifer and Partners director Michael Trudeau and Heintges associate principal Aaron Davis will present the Glenstone Museum at Facades+ Washington, D.C., on February 20 as part of the “Placemaking and Monumentality: Opaque Facade Strategies” panel.
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New York Clearing highlights the East River, with help from K-pop band BTS

British sculptor Antony Gormley’s large-scale installation at Brooklyn Bridge Park is now open to the public. New York Clearing (2020) consists of an 11-mile continuous “line” of square aluminum tubing that loops and coils without a beginning or endpoint. Standing nearly 50 feet at its tallest point, the sculpture welcomes visitors to interact with its swooping lines from a variety of perspectives, and walking through New York Clearing is encouraged. Born in London in 1950, Gormley has had a number of high-profile solo exhibitions of work that grapples with the relationship between self and spatial environment. “This is the first time that I have attempted to make Clearing without architectural support,” said Gormley in a press statement. “I am enormously excited about the opportunity of making this energy field in conversation with Manhattan across the waters of the East River. It can be seen as an evocation of human connectivity, a materialization of the energy of the people that view it and the people that made it.” Appropriately enough, the sculpture resembles a frenetic line drawing, with swoops and curves that flow into the Manhattan skyline. Gormley’s commission is part of CONNECT, BTS, a global art initiative launched by the Korean boyband BTS. The project aims to create a more connected world through collaboration with curators across five cities on four continents: London, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Seoul, and New York. Drawing from the work of 22 contemporary artists, CONNECT, BTS hopes to create a self-described “cross-pollination” between the visual arts and pop music under the artistic direction of independent Korean curator Daehyung Lee. Brooklyn Bridge Park President Eric Landau welcomed New York Clearing to Pier 3 on Tuesday, saying that “we have a long history of incredible art installations in the Park, and can’t think of a better place than Pier 3 for this amazing piece.” New York Clearing is on view at Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 3 from February 5 to March 27, 2020. Viewing is free and open to the public.
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Join Us!

Apply for a paid internship at The Architect’s Newspaper
Calling all architecture writers! If you are interested in:
  • All things architecture, urbanism, and design
  • Immersing yourself in a fast-paced publishing environment
  • Seeing your byline attached to articles in print and online
  • Unlimited espresso
…then you may be a good candidate to join The Architect’s Newspaper as an editorial intern! AN is a national publication with a dynamic online presence that publishes breaking news, reviews, and features on what matters right now in the world of architecture, urbanism, and design. We’re looking for a New York-based intern who will be available to work with our editorial staff in AN’s Tribeca offices two days per week. Ideal candidates will be strong writers with an eye for detail, game for covering breaking news, openings, and announcements, and knowledgeable on the basics of WordPress and Photoshop or quick to learn. Interns will be expected to write both for web and print as well as update the website with events and competitions postings. Duties may also include fact-checking, event support, and photo research. Internships are paid on an hourly basis. The duration of the internship is flexible, from a few months to a semester, and we are looking for interns who can start this summer (around May 1, 2020). Interested? Please send your resume/CV and three short (no more than 1,000 words each) writing samples to Jack Balderrama Morley at
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Apply to Affected Area

Yale and Architecture Office explore the building codes of a Swiss-themed Wisconsin town
Interested in the architectural transformations that occur in towns founded by European immigrants in the United States, Swissness Applied, curated by Swiss-born architect Nicole McIntosh, cofounder of the Texas and Zurich-based firm Architecture Office, focuses on one in particular—New Glarus, Wisconsin, the self-proclaimed “Little Switzerland” of America. With similarly themed towns in Michigan and California, the exhibition, currently on view at the Yale Architecture Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut, investigates the appropriation of imagery and translation of architectural styles into mutant cultural heritage sites.  Through models, drawings, and photographs, Swissness Applied describes the codification of cultural heritage into building law. Founded by Swiss immigrants in the late 19th century, New Glarus capitalized on its Nordic connection by converting the town's storefronts into the classic “Swiss Chalet '' style. The drive to preserve a traditional national architectural style in New Glarus, ironically, has simplified and combined many varied forms of Swiss architecture in a completely novel and artificial architectural style. Rather than critiquing the appropriation of Swiss architectural styles, the exhibition instead uses the building codes as a generative tool to imagine and design new forms of Swiss architecture.  The exhibition is split into three sections that each document New Glarus’s unique style. In Tell no Cabbage, 10 intricate wooden models show the construction style of New Glarus’s buildings. Folding paper models document the facades of 14 existing buildings in John what Henry. The section subtitled It has as long as it has is comprised of 18 fictional New Glarus buildings, all designed by Architecture Office, that offer a new interpretation of the town’s building codes.  This is the third presentation of the exhibition, having previously shown at SARUP Gallery at the ­Milwaukee School of Architecture & Urban Planning and at Kunsthaus Glarus Güterschuppen in Switzerland. Swissness Applied is on view at Yale until February 15. The exhibition will also take part in a gallery talk and panel discussion on February 13th.
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Teen dies after jumping from the Vessel
A 19-year-old New Jersey resident died this past Saturday evening after jumping from the Vessel, the Heatherwick Studios-designed climbable sculpture in New York City’s Hudson Yards. The New York Police Department confirmed to AN that the person was found unconscious and unresponsive and was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased. The New York Times and New York Post first reported that the person jumped off of the sixth story of the Vessel around 6 p.m. while the structure was still open to visitors. Onlookers reportedly tried to stop the person from jumping and Hudson Yard employees quickly shielded the body from view. Since opening last year, the Vessel has received its share of criticism from architects, urbanists, and critics, as has the rest of the Hudson Yards development. Wachs and others have questioned the sculpture’s placement and scale, noting that the artwork, which is meant to provide views of the area, is dwarfed by the office and luxury condo towers surrounding it. The $150 million, 150-foot-tall artwork is composed of a honeycomb-like mesh of stairs with viewing platforms along the way up. In its coverage, the Times included an excerpt from former AN editor Audrey Wachs’s 2016 article “What do New Yorkers get when privately-funded public art goes big?” In her pointed critique of the then-unfinished sculpture, Wachs wrote: “As one climbs up Vessel, the railings stay just above waist height all the way up to the structure’s top, but when you build high, folks will jump.” She related the design to the Elmer Holmes Bobst Library at New York University (NYU), which was the site of so many suicides that NYU eventually installed large screens in the building’s soaring central atrium to block people from going over the edge of the railings. In the Times article, Wachs said, “I feel terrible for this person and his family and friends…This is not a critique that you would like to be proven right.” AN has reached out to Related, the developer of Hudson Yards, for comment.
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The Ruins of Babel

The shadow of history looms large at Peter Freeman
When watching the Amsterdam-based Fiona Tan’s animated video installation Archive (2019) at Peter Freeman's Manhattan gallery in SoHo, one feels as though they have been transported into a visual, Foucaultian metaphor for the passage of time. Rendered in silent 3D, the camera glides across derelict stacks of virtual card catalog cabinets, with artificial shudders, dust, and scratches expertly woven into the 5-minute tour of an imaginary, panoptic archive in black-and-white. The video is just one piece of a concise selection of works on view in Archive / Ruins, Tan’s first solo show in the city since 2010. Based on the Belgian pioneer of information science Paul Otlet’s conception of an archive that contained all human knowledge—an idea with uncanny similarities to the present-day internet—Archive gives cinematic treatment to Otlet’s vision, presenting a medium-conscious vision of history. Like the larger exhibition, Archive might feel slightly anemic at first glance, but what the installation lacks in formal contrast is more than outweighed by the conceptual and technical richness of the work on display. In an accompanying booklet, A Walk Among Ruins, Tan explains in her usual clear, concise language the primary concepts and processes on display. A detailed recalling of the highly physical process of editing celluloid film is bookended by texts on the Renaissance engagement with classical architecture in Rome, and a short but poignant entry describing poet Ludovico Ariosto’s sixteenth-century epic poem about a voyage to the moon, which he imagined as a receptacle for all the structures lost to the ravages of time:
Ruins of cities and of fortresses Lay scattered all about, with precious stores, Plots ill-contrived, broken alliances, Feuds and vendettas and abortive wars…
The booklet exemplifies the multilayered experiences made possible by Tan’s presentation. Whether one reads the entire text or none of it, the images on display resonate with each other and our own experience with historical and personal ruins. As one's eye moves about the real and imagined vestiges of Tan’s historical facts and fictions, we are reminded that our knowledge of history is shaped by the texts and ruins it leaves for us, and our grasp of the past is based on the fickle lens of memory. Analog film enthusiasts will enjoy Ruins (2020), a room-sized dual projection of one high definition video and one 16 mm film, both of which project a similar, but not identical, 4-minute film on a continuous loop. Each feed is a silent amalgamation of static shots that variously frame the dilapidated arches, freestanding columns, and crumbling surfaces of the Grand-Hornu, an abandoned mining complex in Belgium—a company town (cité ouvrière)—built between 1810 and 1830. Projected onto opposite walls, the films demonstrate their inherent fragility; the HD digital video provides a cool, crisp contrast to the soft yellow images of the celluloid, subtly evoking the longevity of each medium. Where analog film can last for at least (as far as we know) 100 years, the digital film will, without being transferred to a newer memory chip, decay into an unplayable video file after less than a decade. However, Ruins simultaneously highlights an important caveat to this comparison: The 16 mm film runs through the projector on a continuous loop, the act of playing the print decaying it to the point of being unusable after a matter of days, when a new print must then be made from the master copy. The holistic conception of the exhibition, and the many avenues through which one may enter and exit the concepts in play, is characteristic for Tan, yet the austerity of her images here provides subtle emphasis on the theme of shadow and light. A set of photogravures—a type of mechanical print traditionally made from a photographic negative—are the first thing visitors observe upon entering the gallery, their high contrast, black-and-white images display screenshots from Archive’s virtual stacks. If, as Walter Benjamin (one of the many historical luminaries with whom Tan is in direct conversation) suggests, history decays into images, then Tan’s cinematic musings on the material future of architectures lays bare, with her usual deftness, the delicacy of both structure and image in the face of our eternal, ever-evolving, unavoidably-mediated future. Archive / Ruins runs through February 15.
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Heart Squared

MODU and Eric Forman reveal the 2020 Times Square Valentine’s heart
An 800-lb multi-mirrored heart sculpture was unveiled yesterday as the 12th winner of the Times Square Valentine Heart Design Competition. Heart Squared was designed by architects Phu Hoang and Rachely Rotem of MODU and artist Eric Forman from Eric Forman Studios, both based in Brooklyn.  Designed to function like a kaleidoscope, multi-directional mirrors have been suspended in a thin metal space-frame to reflect the bright lights of Times Square from every angle. The 10-foot-tall sculpture prompts visitors to circle around until the frame and mirrors align to reveal a heart, creating the perfect backdrop for a New York Valentine’s Day selfie. “It is the public floor of the city, chaotic, crowded, noisy, it's a character we love about the city. In these public spaces, we feel the freedom to be ourselves amongst others who are different than us,” said Rotem at the sculpture's unveiling. “In our piece, we want to emphasize and amplify this amazing character of the city.” MODU was recognized with a Rome Prize for architecture in 2017, and in 2019 the firm was one of the Architectural League of New York's  Emerging Voices. They collaborated with Eric Forman, who founded his eponymous studio in 2003 and specializes in pieces that facilitate interaction between technology and design.  “We designed this as a balancing act between structure and air, buildings and sky, people and the city, movement, and slowness,” said Forman at the opening.  Times Square Arts partnered with the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum for this year's competition. Heart Squared was selected from a shortlist of five other New York-based firms, including Agency—Agency, Hou de Sousa, Isometric, Office III, and Other Means.  The jury selected Heart Squared because it was dynamic, animated, inclusive, and accessible, according to Andrea Lipps, associate curator of design at the Cooper Hewitt. The jury also included Sean Anderson from MoMA; Victor Calise, the commissioner from the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities; Kevin Davey from UAP, and last year’s winner, Suchi Reddy from Reddymade.  The competition was made possible from support by the Warhol Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The Ripple Foundation, Silman, and New Project. The project’s 125 mirrors will be on display in Father Duffy Square between West 46th and 47th Streets throughout the month of February. 
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Spin It Right Round

Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects completes renovation of a rotating home
The chance to renovate a rotating midcentury house is a rare opportunity to make an already groundbreaking design even more compelling. Georgia-based firm Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects accepted the challenge when they got the call to update the Round House, a home designed in 1968 by forward-thinking architect Richard Foster for him and his family on a four-acre hillside property in Wilton, Connecticut. Though the house may be likened to the world-famous Chemosphere designed by John Lautner, the Round House has the distinguishing feature of containing a large ball bearing ring base that allows its occupants to rotate the home at will. A full rotation can reportedly be performed in as little as 45 minutes. While the firm went to great lengths to bring the home’s exterior back to its original condition—including the preservation and/or replacement of its wooden shingles, its floor-to-ceiling windows, and the patio’s cobblestone flooring—the updates shine through the home’s interior spaces. The firm's goal was to bring even more light into the 2,997 square foot floorplate by removing as many partitions as possible, adding to a previous renovation that eliminated the wall between the kitchen and living areas and created an open-plan scheme. This move created space for a larger master suite and a secondary bedroom. Read the full article on our interiors and design website,
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Passive, but not “Passive”

Wayne Turett's Greenport Passive House blends North Fork-chic with modern technology

The Greenport Passive House is an energy-efficient project in the harbor town of Greenport, New York, on the North Fork of Long Island. Architect Wayne Turett designed the residence as his own home. Drawing inspiration from the local barn vernacular, the carbon-neutral project was made to show how designers can address the climate crisis without sacrificing contemporary expectations of comfort and style.

Turett considered three key elements in the design of the Passive House: “First, the building envelope, which had to be completely sealed so that there was no leakage of air; then the insulation, to ensure that heat would not escape or cold air enter; and finally, the added elements like roof overhangs that protect the house from receiving too much sunlight in the summer,” he said. As a result of these decisions, the Greenport Passive House consumes nearly 90 percent less heating energy than existing homes and 75 percent less energy than average new construction. The home also benefits from triple-glazed windows and energy-recovery ventilation, which brings in and takes out air.

The home’s exterior is shiplap gray cedar and cement with an aluminum roof. The insulation works in combination with a proprietary sheathing taped to form the air barrier, allowing for an airtight building envelope. The all-electric home is heated and cooled with a duct mini-split system aided by an ERV. Inside, a neutral color scheme and light wood materials along with white walls and upholstery create a bright, airy aesthetic. A combined kitchen, dining, living room, and porch were intentionally programmed on the second level with views to the water. Below, bedrooms and bathrooms are accessed via an outdoor shower to smooth the transition from the site’s sandy shores. As an integrated project, the home fuses Turett’s modern aesthetic with a performative building envelope.

Architect: Turett Collaborative Location: Greenport, New York Contractor: The Turett Collaborative Plumbing: Duravit, Hansgrohe Axor Exterior siding: Fabricated by Vector East Flooring: Heart Pine with Woca White Pigment Oil Hardware: Kenwa, Ranpo, Kwikset HVAC: Mitsubishi Roofing: Atas Aluminum Standing Seam Windows: Bildau & Bussmann by Eco Supply