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Close to the Edge at the Center

Archtober 2018 kicks off with Hip-Hop Architecture exhibition
New York City’s eighth annual Archtober, a month-long design festival hosted by the Center for Architecture, will begin Monday, October 1, with Close to the Edge: The Birth of Hip-Hop Architecture, an exhibition exploring hip-hop culture’s impact on the built environment. “Over the last five decades, hip-hop’s primary means of expression—deejaying, emceeing, b-boying, and graffiti—have become globally recognized creative practices in their own right,” reads the graffiti-tagged press release. “Hip-Hop Architecture produces spaces, buildings, and environments that embody the creative energy evident in these means of hip-hop expression.” Close to the Edge, which was curated by Sekou Cooke, an assistant professor at Syracuse University’s School of Architecture, is the first exhibition dedicated to the hip-hop architecture movement. It will include projects by a diverse group of architects, academics, and students presented alongside paintings by legendary graffiti artist David “Chino BYI” Villorente. The opening will also feature extended hours with a live DJ performance. According to Cooke, the exhibition is not meant to identify hip-hop architecture as a particular style of building, although he welcomes debate from those who disagree, but it is meant to show how architecture can embrace the culture of hip-hop to become a more inclusive and constructive practice. “I want people to come who may not even know what hip-hop is,” Cooke told The Architect's Newspaper. “When people hear ‘hip-hop architecture’ they imagine buildings that are dancing to a specific genre of music, but hip-hop culture goes much deeper than that. It’s really about having people consider the work that they do in a more humanistic way, so that they’re thinking about the people that their work is affecting, the culture of the people they’re working for, and the ways a typically marginalized group of people sculpt their built environment as architecture.” Close to the Edge: The Birth of Hip-Hop Architecture will be on view through January 12, 2019, at the Center for Architecture in New York City. The exhibition will be accompanied by speaking events, panel discussions, and workshops by BlackSpace and the AIANY.
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It's a Process

The 4th Istanbul Design Biennial focuses on the future of the process of design
The 4th Istanbul Design Biennial started this week, welcoming visitors to exhibits organized around the theme A School of Schools. Pieces are divided among thematic "schools," the names of which—Unmaking, Earth, Currents, Scale, Time, and Digestion—anchor the projects while slightly defamiliarizing what is commonplace. This becomes especially clear when one thinks of alternatives: Earth School could have been “World School,” or Currents School could have been “Networks School,” but the chosen names allow the visitors to see familiar concepts in a different light. The Currents School brings together a number of projects that are based on different definitions of currents: currency, voltage, sea currents, information, and migrations. For example, Stitching Worlds, an art-based research project led by Ebru Kurbak shows the ways in which textile crafts like crochet, embroidery, and knitting can inform the electronics industry. Another work by Kurbak, Lonely Planet hacks the travel guide's book on Syria with first-person interviews with people who fled Syria. Fugu School by åbäke traces the fugu fish to the Bosphorus while uncovering histories and intersecting fields of knowledge. Open Sesame by CMP office underscores an alternative network to Alibaba by bringing together research on the migration of Aleppo soap factories, leather craftsmen producing replicas of luxury brands, and street vendors. What unfolds through these projects is an expanded “philology” of networks and world wide webs. One realizes that there can be alternative networks and that different internets can be constructed. In the Earth School, what could have been a generic “world” becomes very specific, geological, and material in projects that address earthquakes, survival, and the harnessing of new materials. As one moves through the school's different galleries, one can imagine Istanbul in the aftermath of an earthquake with Hope on Water from the Istanbul-based team SO? that proposes a temporary floating city on the Bosphorus. SulSolSal’s Staying Alive is part a “wunderkammer,” and part a survival guide for natural and social disasters. On the uppermost floor, one finds alternative futures with Atelier Luma’s Blooming Algae, a project that explores the potential of algae biopolymers as a material for everyday objects designed in collaboration with designers in Cairo, Arles, and Istanbul. Meriem Chabani and Maya Nemeta of New South reimagine the Mediterranean with If Algae Mattered, a fictional map where Algeria becomes a new geopolitical center as the balance of power shifts from North to South with algae becoming a main resource. In the Unmaking School, we see the relationship between humankind and technology, and unmaking becomes a condition of both making and learning. Post-laboratory by Ottonie von Roeder involves a series of robots that are designed after workers. The teamaker robot is designed for the Istanbul Biennial in conversation with three teamakers in the city, who then reflect on their labor and what they would do if robots could complete their tasks. WaterSchool by Studio Makkink and Bey is a speculation on a primary school based on water as a material and theme, bringing together a wide array of projects as part of its curriculum. Refreshingly, the works in the biennial display a mixture of techniques, processes, modes of production, and temporalities, including digital and analog methods. Ana Peñalba’s Istanbul Techno-Tourist is a series of hand-made drawings based on the images of Istanbul’s iconic architecture found in social media. Emelie Röndahl’s Google Weaving Stop-Time includes 20 hand-woven carpets that are based on images found in Google searches. Although the same words enter the search engine, the results vary because of the different algorithms that Google uses in different places. The carpets tie the images to specific places and slow down the time in which they are consumed. If Peñalba’s and Röndahl’s works incorporate the digital ecology of images to their modes of production, there are also works that question the role of the designer in this new environment. For example, Crossing Parallels explores the possibilities of orchestrating a basket weaving technique and 3-D printing by closely working with an artisan and a craftsperson. Throughout the exhibitions, every project is presented as a process rather than a finished product, accompanied by a strong narrative component in audio, video, or text. The emphasis on the project as process makes the biennial difficult to photograph, which comes as a relief in the age of Instagram. In line with the emphasis on process, several projects are results of collaboration and fieldwork. There is a strong ethos of thinking about labor and work throughout the works in the Biennial. Boelen calls this a “new way of empathy and of sharing knowledge.” The biennial's press conference ended with a performance by Vivien Tauchmann titled Textiles. Members of the press were invited to join in a performance which at first seemed like a stretching exercise but the gestures were those specific to menial tasks in the textile industry. It is useful to compare the performance to an earlier one like Diller Scofidio’s Bad Press (1993), where the labor-intensive task of ironing is employed to produce shirts in states that are not stackable or utilizable. If in the earlier work, discipline was the keyword, in Tauchmann’s design-as-performance, embodiment and empathy are keywords. Presenting Tauchmann’s work as part of the press conference also suggests that criticism or response to the works in the biennial requires empathy as well. Indeed, it is through empathy we can start discussing education anew. The biennial presents one of the best ways of learning by design: seeing links between things that were not necessarily obvious and rethinking current notions that make up the contemporary world. If there is a pedagogy of curation, this could be it. As Boelen explains, curation is about translating a project and sharing it with the public. This is not a school and visitors to the exhibition are not students, but what we see is curating as a pedagogical effort. When I asked Boelen what is missing in this “school of schools,” his answer was “I hope a lot” in the sense that this school, and, in a way, every school is an open work. Instead of a comprehensive disciplinary curriculum, the “school of schools” is project-based, unfinished and always under construction. He hopes the biennial will inspire other people to think of other schools and to add to the “school of schools.”
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Atypical Design

An exhibit in Berlin details a new prototype for prefab housing
A new exhibition at Architektur Galerie Berlin SATELLIT details the Polish firm BBGK Architekci and their recently completed Sprzeczna 4 apartment building in Warsaw, Poland. Manifesto of Prefabrication, on view through Saturday, September 29, explains why this multifamily complex is an innovative prototype for modular housing in the country. Most housing estates built in Poland during the communist period feature large-panel concrete in prefabricated designs. This typology is ubiquitous throughout the country, especially in the capital city of Warsaw, and it has a poor reputation for being ugly, impersonal, and unsustainable. BBGK constructed Sprzeczna 4 in protest against this conception and to show that prefabrication is a valuable construction method for 21st-century housing. The complex utilizes low-cost technology, prefabricated elements, and heated ceiling systems to achieve a cohesive, contextually appropriate design. Ample light infuses the apartments through large windows framed by exposed colored concrete. Sprzeczna 4 not only flips stereotypes about traditional modular construction in Poland, but it also sheds light on past improper building practices. Historically these buildings were built by poorly paid immigrants through a semi-feudal system, but BBGK implemented fair business practices and social responsibility to create this contemporary twist on conventional Polish housing. According to the curator, Marcin Szczelina, the project is a proposal for a new way of using the prefabrication method not only in Poland, but in Europe and beyond. Manifesto of Prefabrication can be seen this week only at the Architektur Galerie Berlin SATELLIT. It is open Tuesday to Friday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
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Digestion School

The fourth Istanbul Design Biennial questions how we learn design
A School of Schools, the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial, is opening its doors to the public this week. Curated by Jan Boelen with associate curators Nadine Botha and Vera Sacchetti, the biennial is spread out to six different venues in the Beyoglu district of Istanbul. Each venue houses a different “school” and brings together a number of works that explore a specific theme: Unmaking School, Currents School, Earth School, Scales School, Time School, and Digestion School. Walking from one venue to the next, one engages with one of the busiest parts of the city, and this experience of moving between urban space and “schools” is critical to the biennial’s theme of rethinking education through design and design through education. The distinct spaces at the heart of the city constitute an “educational web” where visitors can think and experience the relationship between design and learning through encounters with projects. The works presented at the biennial display a variety of scales, techniques, media, processes, and temporalities that highlight several aspects of design as a project. With the strong curatorial text that underlies and organizes them, the biennial makes a convincing argument that education is the urgency of design, and that design is critical in learning and unlearning how we live and make things, how we communicate and build communities, how we create environments and respond to changes. The biennial will be up through November 4, 2018.
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Architecture’s Gilded Cage

Augmented environments come alive in a riotous exhibition in Stockholm
The streets of Stockholm are still littered with the fading colors of campaign posters from an undecided election. From the pink backdrop of feminist candidates, to progressive reds, conservative blues, and the struggling greens, to the slippery, slick gradients of the neo-nationalists. The politics of the public sphere have been unavoidable lately in Sweden, but a couple of heavy rains are slowly turning what’s left behind back into grey pulp. Meanwhile, Value in the Virtual, an exhibit by London-based Space Popular, blossoms with a polychrome array of signs, patterns, and symbols. The show has just opened at Sweden’s national center for architecture and design, ArkDes, under new its director Kieran Long. A new feature of the museum is a smaller gallery space—Boxen, a steel box designed by local practice Dehlin Brattgård—inside one of the two main exhibition halls. It is intended for fast-paced architecture shows curated by former ArchDaily editor James Taylor-Foster, and Value in the Virtual is the first display of work by a contemporary design practice in the new setup. The Space Popular duo, Lara Lesmes and Fredrik Hellberg, have grabbed the opportunity to build what they describe as their manifesto. It consists of six "typical" Stockholm environments—a downtown apartment, a vintage-styled coworking café, an exclusive nightlife district, a banquet hall, an iconic subway station, and a royal park—retrofitted with an added layer of augmented reality. They are rendered in 1:1-scale elevations printed on tapestries and hung from scaffolding in cornered-off spaces. Each corner is a mash-up with "walls" from two or three locations. Entering the exhibition space, you are invited to take your shoes off (to experience the printed carpets on the floors), and once inside, to put on a pair of virtual reality goggles. They are a window into Voxen, a parallel version of the same gallery space produced for Sansar, a social virtual reality platform. During the press preview, an online visitor had already found his way there for a peek. The avatar, dressed in a black bodysuit and a Daft Punk motorcycle helmet, showed up out of nowhere, mumbled a distorted "nice to meet you," and soon disappeared. In this realm, you get 3-D views of some of Space Popular’s scenarios: one is a version of Stockholm where public art is updated by the minute; in another the allegorical wall mosaics of the Nobel Prize venue are adjusted to tout recent scientific achievements; and in another a selective nightclub bouncer might actually let you in after all, if you upgrade to a nicer-looking "skin." For a casual visitor to be able to follow the narratives, though, some additional guidance would be welcome. Instead, the dense 3-D visuals are trusted to speak for themselves. An argument underlying Value in the Virtual is that architects could, and should, engage with the potential digital depth of architectural surfaces, as well as what comes with it: cognitive psychology, color theory, and the techniques to manipulate it. The exhibit seems to say, "Get on with it and design your own digital tapestry for the scaffolding that is, for lack of a better word, the real world. And if you don’t," the argument is, "somebody else will." And when augmented reality hardware moves from "a drawer on your face" to a casual pair of glasses, virtual dressing of space, and the market for virtual real estate, could become a big deal. “What is the role of the architect and designer in this transition?” a section of the wall text asks, when designers are “not bound by a requirement to shelter" nor “to the various physical limitations” we are used to? Either way, many architects are already engaged. Architecture school graduates, especially in the United States, are increasingly recruited by software companies before they even contemplate a career as licensed master-builders. Architecture is already part of the $137.9-billion gaming industry market, but perhaps not in familiar ways. The exhibition wants to look at what is going on while augmented reality is still in its infancy and to figure out the consequences of the tech before it is sitting on everyone’s face. Will visitors get it? Do the chosen scenarios illustrate what is actually claimed to be at stake? What is the real promise here? What is the threat? This stuff is touched upon in the exhibition brochure but not very evident in the exhibit itself. And if the argument is made more clearly in writing in Space Popular’s ten-point programmatic declaration, what does the gallery display add, except a VR demo and an institutional seal of approval? Maybe that’s enough. It’s a start to the conversation Space Popular wants us to have. Stockholm is normally very neat. Putting up posters is prohibited, and the rules are generally abided by. Political campaign material is the exception, and come election season, the city is carpeted with colorful platitudes and slogans. Public space is already a kind of virtual real estate, a moderated social medium that is regulated, traded, and hacked. It always has been, you could argue. Sure, the visual exploitation of it is augmented by new technologies, but the question, then, is if that augmentation does something that didn't happen before. The politics of augmentation are not that different to the conflicts of interest, power plays, and negotiations of spatial politics already being debated. A peephole into another world can make you forget where you are standing at the moment. Sometimes, a mirror would perhaps be more useful. Space Popular: Value in the Virtual, curated by James Taylor-Foster, is on view at ArkDes, Sweden's national center for architecture and design in Stockholm through November 18, 2018.
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Newcondo64

Princeton exhibition breaks down the language of housing
The house is one of the most common architectural typologies and has been reinvented over and over throughout history. Whether they are adaptations of the local vernacular to protect against a harsh climate, or experimental, quick-to-be-demolished single-family homes found across Japan, houses have always been fertile playgrounds for architects, status symbols, design objects, dwellings, and hurdles for urban planners. From now until November 9, the Princeton University School of Architecture will host 44 Low-Resolution Houses, a public exhibition in the North Gallery that attempts to quantify what makes a house a house. The show brings together 44 different architecture studios, each of them contributing a unique model of a “low-resolution” home. These houses reduce homes to the common elements that can be found throughout vastly different structures such as pitched roofs and typical massings, though some are scaled back to simple geometric shapes. All of the houses were removed from any context and materiality and were oriented north to enable an objective comparison between each model. Each home is treated as an individual object, to be evaluated solely on form, and many resemble existing or theoretical projects (keep your eyes peeled for a triangular model of WORKac’s take on the Earthship). All of the models have been elevated and appear to “float” against a black curtain bearing the name of the architects responsible. As part of the prompt, each team contributed a construction element, material, or product that would best represent their home at full scale. The full list of contributing offices is as follows: “6a, Adamo-Faiden, Angela Deuber Architect, Atelier Barda, Atelier Bow-Wow, Besler & Sons, Brandlhuber+, Bruther, Bureau Spectacular, architecten de vylder vinck taillieu in collaboration with Joris Van Huychem, Edition Office, Ensamble Studio, Fake Industries Architectural Agonism in collaboration with Aixopluc, fala atelier, First Office, GAFPA in collaboration with Stabico Ingenieurs, OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen, Go Hasegawa and Associates, Hans Tursack, HHF and Ai Weiwei, Independent Architecture, Johannes Norlander Arkitektur, Johnston Marklee, The LADG, Lütjens Padmanabhan Architekten, MAIO, Monadnock, MPdL Studio, MOS, New Affiliates, OFF-OFF, Outpost Office, PARA Project, Pascal Flammer, Paul Preissner Architects, Pezo von Ellrichshausen, Point Supreme, PRODUCTORA, Stan Allen Architect, Tatiana Bilbao Estudio, Tato Architects, T+E+A+M, Tham & Videgård Arkitekter, and WORKac.” The show was curated by associate professor of the Princeton University School of Architecture, Michael Meredith. MOS designed the exhibition space and Studio Lin contributed the graphic design. The fashion elements were designed by the New York-based Slow and Steady Wins the Race.
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Continental Culture

Austin's Blanton Museum surveys the state of African design
Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design, an upcoming exhibition at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas, takes a broad look at the state of design across Africa. Rather than trying to catalog every aesthetic movement across a land mass of over one billion people and dozens of countries, the show instead focuses on designers and artists who are challenging negative narratives about the continent. The show's curators have taken the position that the region is a contemporary hotbed of architecture and design, one that mixes cultures and influences to create optimistic ideas about the future. The show mixes photography, furniture, and a range of other media to explore a rich and expansive cultural mood. The show is divided into four sections. The first, Prologue, attempts to "provide counter-narratives that challenge preconceived notions of the continent," according to a statement from the museum. Through imaginary maps and reworked Renaissance paintings, artists imagine alternative histories for the continent and rework traditional imagery. The next category, I and We, looks at personal style and the fashioning of subcultures. Space and Object tackles the continent's architecture and urbanism, bringing up the work of familiar names like David Adjaye and Diébédo Francis Kéré. Finally, the show collects work that reflect on Africa's colonial past and its lasting impact in Origin and Future. For those interested who cannot make it to Austin, the show's website collects much of the work on view and supplements it with interviews and added information. The show was created by the Vitra Design Musem and the Guggenheim Bilbao and was previously on view in the U.S. at Atlanta's High Museum of Art and the Albuquerque Museum. Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design Blanton Museum of Art Austin, Texas October 14, 2018, to January 6, 2019
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Off Pitch

A new house in Atlanta raises the potential for roof-oriented design
A new exhibit at the Yale School of ArchitectureAdjacencies uses a multi-media approach to tell the story of various strange and tactile projects from 14 emerging firms around the country, and the show highlights a one-of-a-kind, ground-up residential project that’s set to open in Atlanta later this fallHaus Gables, designed by Jennifer Bonner of MALL, is a single-family home under construction along the Atlanta Beltline and a playful and surprising reinvestigation of the architectural zeitgeist using an exaggerated roof plan. The house is broken down in detail at Yale through a series of bright models, drawings, and ephemera that unveil her design philosophy for this inspired and irregular building. According to the architect, the project was influenced by Le Corbusier’s free plan and Adolf Loos’s raumplan—both residential design methods that called for unconventional interior spacing. Bonner’s aim was to “rework the spatial paradigms of the past” by organizing her architecture solely around the roof. She designed Haus Gables, a 2,100-square-foot structure, with six gable roofs that form one elongated canopy. The unique shapes of the resulting ceilings produced an interior filled with oddly-sized rooms, catwalks, and double-height spaces that are confined to the steep ridges of the pitched roofs. The idea for Haus Gables formed out of a 2014 course she taught at Georgia Tech School of Architecture, according to an interview with Curbed Atlanta. Bonner worked with students to imagine designs centered around individual architecture components. This exercise led Bonner to create her massive Domestic Hats exhibition for Atlanta's Goat Farm Arts Center, for which she studied Atlanta’s various roof typologies and created 16 models with alternative roof forms that challenged traditional domestic design. While Adjacencies provides a behind-the-scenes look at how Bonner specifically conceived the Haus Gables project, the real-life version is nearly complete on an 18 foot-wide plot of land in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward. Not only is the design itself unusual, but so are the materials specified for the project. Most notably, it features a cross-laminated timber (CLT) structure, the second of its kind in the United States, and prefabricated components that were quickly put together on site over the last year.   Haus Gables, once complete, will also include extensive faux finishes on the exterior and interior. From the black terrazzo to the marble and brick, nothing will be real, but everything will be cost-efficient. Bonner even plans to conceal the CLT in an effort to mimic, yet bring a contemporary twist, to the Southern architectural tradition of DIY and “faking it.” An inside look at the production of Haus Gables will be on view in Adjacencies, curated by Nate Hume, at the Yale Architecture Gallery through November 15. Bonner will give a gallery talk alongside the other featured designers this Thursday, September 13, at 6:30 p.m.
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Architecture-Inspired Art

New Landon Metz exhibit uses art to frame architecture
Asymmetrical Symmetry, an exhibition by Brooklyn-based artist Landon Metz, is now on view through October 20 at Manhattan’s Sean Kelly Gallery. His latest body of work unveils a series of site-responsive paintings that were created to directly complement the massive, Toshiko Mori-designed art space. Inside the 22,000-square-foot, white-box gallery, Metz has placed five distinct groups of paintings. Using the walls, floors, and even the ceiling as display spaces, Metz forces the viewer to contend with his unorthodox arrangement of the art. The architecture of the room, from its industrial concrete flooring to the white paint-covered mechanical systems overhead, is on full display as part of the artwork’s narrative, according to Metz. “Here you’ll see that nothing is covered up in this room,” he said. “The natural tone of the primed canvas as well as the object on the canvas itself merges with the other panels and with the environment to become one. I wanted to emphasize the subtleties of the space so people could create their own authorship over the art.” The pieces on display are rendered in four unique colors mixed by the artist using watered-down dye. Metz outlined the shape on every canvas and then poured the color into every figure, allowing the color to fill uniquely every time. Gravity forced the dye to create surface tension on the canvas and form different gradients within the shapes. Metz noted this material-focused painting method made him relinquish his own authorship over the art as well, especially since from a distance, the imperfections of the paintings aren’t as easily visible, but closer up the differences are more clear. The show also highlights his tendency to paint between canvases, allowing one whole form to be articulated across two panels. By hanging the panels in a series, he aimed to enhance the framework of the room. “It now becomes more of a choreographed dance when you enter the gallery and see the repetition combined with the negative space,” Metz said. “Even the columns become sculptural objects. The works aren’t just isolated to the walls, but the entire room becomes an object as well and contributes to the sound of the space.” Metz likened the architecture to a musical composition with the panels laid out as long and short notes with breaks in between where the white wall takes over. “I was working to create sounds that rise out of silence, kind of like the way architecture unfolds from something that was once nothing and becomes a form of measure we inhabit,” he said. “The rhythm in this gallery allows you to move freely throughout the space in a way that can be different from a traditional exhibition. There are preconditioned expectations as to how to act in a place like this, but I wanted people to have authority over it and choose where they want to go, even if they want to stand in the middle and take it all in.” Metz’s meditative approach to painting allows his practice to be both concentrated and methodical, but without total control over the end result. As a new addition to the Sean Kelly Gallery, he’ll have the opportunity to create new works that further tell the story of the space. Metz will lead a walk-through tour of the exhibition this Saturday at 11 a.m. with a live stream on the gallery’s Instagram Story.
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This Ain't Your Parent's CAF

The new Chicago Architecture Center offers informative, tangible experiences
Chicago’s long-salient architecture non-profit, the Chicago Architecture Center, formerly the Chicago Architecture Foundation, has swapped out its old digs at the Railway Exchange Building for a high-visibility space just steps from the south end of Michigan Avenue. With the fresh location in Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s 111 East Wacker Drive, the Center's new home sits just ashore of where the world-famous architecture boat tour has launched since 1983. Designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture with exhibit designer Gallagher & Associates, the Center's spaces are designed to expand and contract with current and future exhibits, but also across Chicago’s long and continued dialogue with architecture and design. The Chicago Gallery is located inside a cavernous interior space, with a newly expanded model of the city, which has grown from 1,300 to 4,500 3-D-printed resin buildings and now includes subtle topographic features and neighborhoods as far south as Cermak Road and as far west as Sangamon Street. Interactive touch screens are positioned around the model, where visitors can search for buildings by architect or style, view data about changing land use, or explore the “10 Buildings You Should Know” feature. A film playing at intervals behind the model provides a dramatic narrative of the city's built history and is heavy on neighborhood content. This emphasis on everyday architecture continues across the rest of the Chicago Gallery, where Chicago’s vernacular architecture gets some significant airtime along with familiar names like Wright, Sullivan, and Burnham. Exhibitions continue upstairs, where the Skyscraper Gallery riffs on the Chicago invention and studies its international forms. The Building Tall exhibit features 23 skyscraper models at the scale of 1:91, including a composition of five models of buildings all of which were, at one time, the tallest in the world. These models are offset by a 40-foot-tall wall of glass where one can get up close and personal with some of Chicago’s most iconic and notorious buildings, including the Wrigley Building, Trump Tower, and the new flagship Apple store across the river. New exhibits at the Chicago Architecture Center draw from contemporary issues and reflect the profession's desire to draw in a wider audience. All are heavy on technology, but here there is a marked absence of Instagrammability, even in the supersized models of the Skyscraper Gallery. Whether intentional or not, this emphasis on physical experience over social media photo ops feels freshly genuine in contrast to made-for-Instagram museums. Exhibits are readable and tangible, but are also adaptable and future-forward, with enough variety in content to appeal both to visitors who know everything about architecture and those who know nothing at all. There is an emphasis on current and future projects, with not only Adrian Smith + Gordan Gill, but with other architects influencing the shape of Chicago to come, including Studio Gang and Goettsch Partners, as well as Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, whose design for 400 North Lake Shore Drive on the former Chicago Spire site when completed in 2023 will do more to change the skyline of Chicago than any other structure in fifty years.
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Labor Day Plans

Check out these exhibits this weekend before they close for the fall
Looking for something to do this Labor Day weekend? Check out some of our favorite architecture and design exhibits from across the country that we've covered over the summer. They're all closing this fall, so don't wait. Go get inspired! Donald Judd: Specific Furniture SFMOMA The exhibition presents a mix of his work and his acquired pieces that served as major influences. “The difference between art and architecture is fundamental,” Judd once wrote. “Furniture and architecture can only be approached as such. Art cannot be imposed upon them. If their nature is seriously considered the art will occur, even art close to art itself.” 50 Years After Whitney Young Jr. On view through November 24, 2018 The Octagon Museum 1799 New York Ave NW Washington, D.C., 20006 Thursday–Saturday, 1–4 p.m. Fifty years ago, civil rights leader Whitney M. Young Jr. stood before a crowd of mostly white and male architects as he delivered a historic speech that called out racism and other issues of diversity in the architecture and design industries. Today, the profession has arguably improved thanks to his words and subsequent leaders. A new exhibition, 50 Years After Whitney Young Jr., at the Octagon Museum in Washington, D.C., surveys the legacy of the National Urban League, which Young led for a decade, and his impact on the AIA. Poetic Structure: Art + Engineering + Architecture MAK Center for Art and Architecture Los Angeles, California The widely-traveled exhibition titled Poetic Structure: Art + Engineering + Architecture showcasing the engineering and design legacy of Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill (SOM) will be on display at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture in Los Angeles through September 2. Hyperobjects Ballroom Marfa 108 E. San Antonio St., Marfa, Texas Through October 14 Hyperobjects is co-organized by philosopher and Rice University professor Timothy Morton and Ballroom Marfa Director and Curator Laura Copelin. It looks at Morton’s theory in addressing the prevalent ecological crisis faced by the world today. With immersive video and sound installations, landscape interventions, and other direct sensory experiences, the artists’ pieces seek to challenge the way the audience sees and experiences the universe. GlassBarge The Corning Museum of Glass has tapped the McLaren Engineering Group’s nautical and entertainment departments for the creation of GlassBarge, a mobile glassworking studio set to travel from Brooklyn across the state.
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In-Cret-ible Design

Paul P. Cret, storied Philadelphia architect, highlighted in Athenaeum show
A number of local institutions are marking the 100th anniversary of Philadelphia's majestic boulevard, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, by celebrating one of its leading architects: Paul P. Cret. Under consideration since the Civil War, the development of the parkway occupied Philadelphia for the first third of the 20th century. Philadelphia and other American cities planning similar projects during the same period created the “city beautiful” movement, America’s first important contribution to urban design. In 1892 Philadelphia’s city council passed a bill to build what was then called the Fairmount Parkway, after Fairmount Park, the city’s 9,000-plus-acre green space. A parkway plan created in 1907 by Horace Trumbauer, Clarence Zantzinger, and Cret for the Fairmount Park Art Association envisioned “a direct, dignified and interesting approach from the heart of the business and administrative quarter of the city, through the region of educational activities grouped around Logan Square, to the artistic center to be developed around Fairmount Plaza, at the entrance” to the park. Parkway construction began in 1917, ten years after groundbreaking, and in November 1918, according to a local newspaper, an “uninterrupted parkway at last leads from City Hall to Fairmount’s entrance.”

Lyons, France-born Cret (1876-1945) moved to Philadelphia in 1903 to become a professor of design at the University of Pennsylvania and eventually the leader of Philadelphia’s city beautiful movement. He was in France when World War I broke out and served in the army for the next five years before returning to Philadelphia where he resumed his teaching at the University of Pennsylvania and engaged in his architectural practice. He designed bridges, such as the Delaware River Bridge in Philadelphia, as well as museums (the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia, the Barnes Foundation Gallery in Merion, Pennsylvania, and the Detroit Institute of Arts) and the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., and also worked on the architecture of campuses of the University of Pennsylvania, Brown University, and the University of Texas at Austin. In addition, he was the consulting architect for the American Battle Monuments Commission from 1923 to 1945, whose mission was to design memorials, chapels, and cemeteries in honor of the dead of World War I.

Cret’s work is the centerpiece of an exhibition at the Athenaeum of Philadelphia called Professor Cret’s Parkway: One Architect’s Legacy on Philadelphia’s Grandest Thoroughfare. The show features over 30 built and unbuilt designs by Cret, many never before exhibited. The Rodin Museum, located on the parkway and designed by Cret, is simultaneously displaying a 1927 model of its building and gardens with photographs and related material exploring Cret’s design there. Both exhibitions are on display through August 31.

 In May the Athenaeum also conducted a symposium on Cret that considered his theory, work on the Rodin Museum, and engineering collaborations, among other subjects. Architecture critic Paul Goldberger delivered the keynote address, asking, “what does the city beautiful mean for the 21st century city?”

Also in May, the American Battle Monuments Commission inaugurated the new Chateau-Thierry American Monument Visitor Center on Hill 204, at a World War I monument designed by Cret overlooking the Marne River Valley. The monument, which was dedicated in 1937, commemorates the sacrifices and achievements of Americans and French people before and during the Aisne-Marne and Oise-Aisne offensives in 1918.

In 1922, the art collector Albert C. Barnes contracted Cret to design a gallery and residence in Merion, Pennsylvania. On display through September 30 at the Barnes Foundation, which moved from Merion to Benjamin Franklin Parkway in 2012, are selected letters between the two men, related photography, and Cret’s plans and sketches for the buildings that officially became the Barnes Foundation in 1925.