Ahead of its June 2018 opening date, Domino Sugar Factory developer Two Trees Management has released new renderings of the project’s forthcoming park, as well as opened the site up for a tour. AN had a chance to check out the James Corner Field Operations-designed Domino Park, as well as the completed 325 Kent Avenue and the ongoing interior demolition at the Domino Sugar Refinery. The SHoP Architects-designed 325 Kent, a doughnut-shaped rental building set back from the Williamsburg waterfront, was the first building to reach completion at the SHoP-master planned site. The 16-story, 500-unit rental building (105 of them affordable) began welcoming residents back in September of 2017. As the weather warms up, residents will get to make use of the rooftop amenities on display, such as curved concrete furniture, lounge chairs, and the central strip of courtyard that runs between the building’s central arch. Domino Park is taking shape at the foot of 325 Kent and is on track to open in only 8 weeks. The quarter-mile-long park breaks its programming into “active” and “passive” activity spaces, with the more active areas located closer to the thrum of the Williamsburg Bridge. The second Domino Sugar Factory tower, the mixed-use, COOKFOX-designed 260 Kent, is on track to open in 2019. A dog run, two bocce ball courts, a 6,300-square-foot “flexible playing field” and a volleyball court make up the more energetic half. At the other end, a Japanese Pine garden, 80-to-100 person picnic area, and the Danny Meyer-run taqueria, Tacocina, will sit at the quieter half of the park. A technicolored children’s play space designed by artist Mark Reigelman, with industrial pieces inspired by the sugar refining process, can be found at the passive end of the park, as can 585-linear-feet of elevated walkway. The walkway sits directly on top of Tacocina, and incorporates 21 steel columns from the former Raw Sugar Warehouse into its superstructure; the sight will be a familiar one to visitors familiar with Kara Walker’s The Sugar Sphinx. Linking each area along the waterfront will be the Artifact Walk, a five-block-long stretch that proudly displays historical refining artifacts salvaged from the site. Four 36-foot tall cylindrical syrup tanks embedded in the Syrup Tank Garden, mooring bollards, signage, and corkscrews have been installed across an elevated platform on the water’s edge. Damaged during Hurricane Sandy, the existing platform was raised to a uniform height above the river, and the new piles have been encased in concrete. To build a historical link to the pre-existing structure, a hole has been cut in the platform and visitors can view the existing wood posts and river below. Work on gutting the Domino Sugar Refinery is still ongoing, in anticipation of the PAU-designed glassy office space that will soon sit within. While the exterior of the factory has been landmarked, preserving the interiors would have been impossible due to the interconnected nature of the refining machinery. Even though the factory shut down in 2004, the thick smell of molasses is still hanging around the building at the time of writing. As for the park, although it’s technically private, Two Trees has opened the expanse to the public and is working closely with the New York City Parks Department. A representative from the development company has stated that James Corner Field had their designs reviewed and approved by Parks, that the stretch will operate on normal NYC park hours (dawn to dusk), and that they’ve given the city permission to claim the park if maintenance falls behind. AN will provide a final look at the finished Domino Sugar Park once the project is completed this summer. COOKFOX's 260 Kent will be featured in detail at the upcoming Facades+ workshop "K. Domino Site A: Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) & When and Why to Use It" on April 20.
Search results for "waterfront"
Sasaki and Studio-MLA to redevelop Port of L.A. waterfront
Designs for a transformative make-over of the Wilmington waterfront at the Port of Los Angeles are steadily moving forward as new renderings for the project offer a glimpse of what will soon be two of L.A.’s newest public spaces. Renderings unveiled by the Port of Los Angeles showcase views of the Avalon Promenade and Gateway and the Wilmington Waterfront Promenade projects, two new open spaces designed by T.Y. Lin International and Boston-based Sasaki, respectively, on adjacent sites in conjunction with the Wilmington Waterfront Masterplan project. L.A.-based landscape architects Studio MLA is assisting with the design of the Wilmington Waterfront Promenade project. The two public spaces will cap off an L-shaped spine of new open space and future commercial development envisioned by the master plan for the formerly-industrial areas that ring the port. The nine-block plan area includes the 30-acre Wilmington Waterfront Park, also designed by Sasaki, which opened in 2011. For T.Y. Lin International’s Avalon Promenade and Gateway component, plans call for vacating sections of three streets and removing a pair of storage tanks to create a large landscaped open space that will connect the city’s urban fabric with the Wilmington Waterfront to the south. The 13-acre site will contain a public plaza at its northernmost point and will be traversed by a sculptural promenade that runs to the waterfront. The project would involve constructing a new bridge over an existing depressed rail yard, with renderings showing a new cable-stayed pedestrian bridge crossing the gap. The nine-acre Wilmington Waterfront project will be located at the end of this path abutting the harbor. Here, Sasaki and Studio MLA are working to craft an interconnected series of plazas, piers, and restaurants, including a four-acre event space and playground, according to Curbed. A below-grade section of the park will contain a cluster of accessible bathroom facilities. Renderings for these areas showcase a central lawn and plaza fronting the ocean, with active uses located at the site’s corners. The central plaza area gives way to rough-hewn boulders that step into the water, according to the renderings. The developments join a cluster of recently-announced waterfront redevelopment efforts, including the Altasea development by Gensler. Both projects are well into design and are expected to break ground later this year, in anticipation of a 2019 opening.
Two tries are better than one
Oakland makes a two-pronged pitch to keep the Athletics
There is hope yet that despite losing the Raiders to Las Vegas and the Warriors to San Francisco, Oakland will be able to keep its professional baseball team in the city over the coming years. Oakland mayor Libby Schaaff signed a select agreement today with the Oakland Athletics that would position the city to deal exclusively with the team as they look for a new home somewhere along the Oakland waterfront. The agreement was announced during a press conference attended by the mayor and team president David Kaval. The Oakland Athletics are currently in the process of figuring out what to do and where to go as their aging stadium—currently shared with the Raiders—prepares to lose the football team in either 2021 or 2022. “We are trying to make sure we retain as many options as possible so we can remain ‘rooted in Oakland,’” Kaval said, according to Mercury News. The city of Oakland currently owns the site of the Oakland Coliseum, the last remaining dual-purpose professional sports stadium in the country, which the Athletics are interested in purchasing outright. The team has expressed interest in the 120-acre site, including the adjacent Oracle Arena basketball stadium, in an effort to establish ownership of their playing facilities. The current facilities are easily accessible to the region’s mass transit system and feature extensive surface parking. Estimates put the cost of buying the property at $135 million. But the athletics are also interested potentially in relocating entirely to a site roughly two miles away called Howard Terminal. Howard Terminal is an existing shipping port that is due for redevelopment. The team has been scoping out a variety of sites in the area as well, including a recently abandoned plan to potentially relocate to the nearby Peralta Community College campus. The scheme was abandoned when its announcement drew forth a great deal of heated opposition when first made public earlier this year. The city’s exclusive agreement allows the municipality to help the Athletics pursue both options concurrently. After today’s meeting, Schaaf said, “I am so excited to be supporting exclusive negotiating agreements at both the Coliseum and at Howard Terminal so that we double our changes to [keep the team].” City and team leaders are hoping to have a final purchase agreement for one of e sites by the end of the year.
Ahead of a presentation before the full Community Board 3 (Lower East Side) tonight, March 27, planners from the East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR) Project have released new details and renderings for an updated "resilient park" along the shores of the East River. The Mayor’s Office of Recovery & Resiliency is hoping to receive approval for the snaking project before the end of 2018, though the combination of seawalls, berms and levees hasn’t pleased everyone. The updated concept, a joint venture between AKRF, One Architecture and Urbanism, the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects (MNLA), and several city agencies, was unveiled at a CB3 Parks Department meeting on March 15. The proposed park would stretch from East 25th Street down to Montgomery Street, and would fortify the existing green space, but also include new parks, lawns and nature walks. Rather than installing hard infrastructure that would block off the waterfront from the public, MNLA attempted to expand out the usable parkland where possible. In the narrowest areas between FDR Drive and the East River, a flood wall gate would swing (or possibly slide) into action to cordon off stormwater. Several bridge upgrades have also been included, as well as new footbridges at Delancey Street and on 10th Street that would loop into the park. The approximately 2.5-mile-long stretch is just one part of what was once the BIG-U coastal resiliency plan (neé The Dryline), which has been broken up into the aforementioned ESCR and the Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency (LMCR) Project. The ESCR’s southern counterpart will stretch 3.5 miles, from the northern tip of Battery Park City to the Lower East Side’s Montgomery Street. Once completed, the entire system should be able to protect (though mitigate would be a more apt phrase) southern Manhattan from the likes of a 100-year storm. Time is quickly running out for the ESCR to reach approval and hit its accelerated 2019 groundbreaking target. The $335 million distributed by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) in the wake of Hurricane Sandy for the construction of the ESCR must be spent by September of 2022, and with the project a year-and-a-half behind schedule, the city is hoping to move through the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and ULURP process quickly. AN will follow up this post with more information about the outcome of tonight’s CB3 board meeting. The feedback gleaned from community boards 3 and 6 will help the city inform changes that they may need to make before presenting to the Public Design Commission in the coming months. The full March 15th presentation can be viewed here.
Come On In
Open House San Diego opens this weekend
This coming weekend, the San Diego Architectural Foundation (SDAF) will present its annual Open House San Diego (OHSD) program, a sprawling showcase that will open up 84 architecturally significant sites across the city for public viewing. The ever-expanding geography of OHSD will run March 24 and 25 and will encompass sites located throughout the city’s core downtown neighborhoods like Barrio Logan, Gaslamp Quarter, and the waterfront, as well as locations in several peripheral areas like Bankers Hill, Balboa Park, and the newly-added Point Loma neighborhood. This year’s OHSD program is spearheaded by SDAF honorary event co-chairs Gordon Carrier of Carrier Johnson+ CULTURE and Jennifer Luce of Luce et Studio. OHSD founder Susanne Friestedt explained to AN, “We are hoping to elevate the city’s aesthetic and design tastes with the number and diversity of OHSD sites,” explaining that the broad mix of projects and venues represented a cross section of the city’s history and social make-up. Included on that list are the Balboa Park cultural complex, the studios of RJC Architects in Bankers Hill, the John Rhoades Federal Judicial Center downtown, the new Makers Quarter in the East Village neighborhood, the Woodbury University School of Architecture campus in Barrio Logan, and Point Loma Nazarene University in Point Loma. Various architectural offices will also be open to the public this weekend, including studios for Gensler, BNIM, and AVRP Skyport. The Open House concept began in London in 1992 with the goal of promoting a finer understanding for that city’s urban architecture among the general public and to spur debate on the nature of development, architectural design, and urban planning, generally speaking. In the years since, Open House events have spread around the world and now take place in over a dozen cities, including New York City, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, and Melbourne, among many others. Efforts are currently underway to start a Los Angeles showcase, as well. For more information on this weekend’s festivities and tours, see the OHSD website.
Perkins Eastman sued by The Wharf's general contractor in D.C.
Clark Construction Group, the general contractor responsible for realizing the $2.5 billion The Wharf in Washington, D.C., is suing project architect Perkins Eastman over claims of seriously flawed design documents. As first reported by Bisnow, the contractors are seeking $5 million in damages after the recent completion of the project’s first phase, claiming that issues and omissions in the drawings necessitated numerous on-site fixes. The Wharf, a massive mixed-use development spread across a mile-long stretch of D.C.'s southwestern (and formerly industrial) waterfront, opened the doors of its first phase back in October of last year. After completely replacing the existing seawall and promenade, 1.2 million square feet of office space, hotel rooms, retail, luxury and affordable residential units, a marina, and waterfront parks rose on the Perkins Eastman-master planned site. A two-story underground parking garage also runs the length of the development. When complete, The Wharf will encompass 3.2 million square feet in total. According to the complaint levied by Clark Construction, Perkins Eastman either submitted incorrect details in their design documents or omitted portions of their drawings and failed to respond to inquiries in a timely fashion. The suit alleges that the architects misplaced structural columns, designed exterior retail doors that were unable to open, placed concrete beams too low to achieve the correct clearance, and made mistakes in coordination that resulted in slabs being too thick to install already-purchased doors. Even the coordination of structural rebar and foundation piles are cited as having contained significant errors, and Clark Construction claims they were forced to take on material losses as the result of correcting the defects in the field. Clark Construction is suing for a breach of written contract, professional negligence, and negligent misrepresentation as a result. Because of the project’s tight timeline, “The errors and omissions complained of herein did not arise and were not known, knowable, discovered, discoverable, appreciated, or appreciable until various points within the past three years,” the lawsuit claims. “It remains possible and likely that errors and omissions will continue to arise and become known, discovered, and appreciated in the future as discovery in this matter proceeds including, without limitation, expert discovery.” The second phase of The Wharf is scheduled to break ground later this year, and finish construction in 2022. Perkins Eastman declined to comment.
An eye-catching proposal for a pair of interlinked skyscrapers that would have reshaped Portland’s skyline won’t be realized after all. While renderings of the twin towers from William Kaven Architecture (WKA) captured the internet’s attention when they were released earlier last month, economic redevelopment agency Prosper Portland’s three chosen finalists for the downtown post office site leaves the towers off their list. Prosper Portland was seeking to fill a 32-acre hole in the fabric of Portland’s Pearl District, as well as redevelop the 14-acre Postal Service headquarters site within, which will soon sit empty. In the agency’s RFQ, the project is pitched as the “Broadway Corridor” which would link Chinatown to the Pearl District, and the winning developer would be given the right to purchase the land before enacting any redevelopment. Although Prosper Portland had only asked interested firms to submit their qualifications, not full proposals, Portland-based WKA responded with plans for two towers, one of which topped out at 970 feet, linked with high-flying skybridge. The plan was pitched as a potential tourist attraction, and in an Op-Ed for DJC Oregon, WKA principal Daniel Kaven defended the grandiose scheme as necessary for pushing Portland into the 21st century. “The city of Portland, currently, is devoid of iconic buildings – at least any that a tourist or foreign architect might recognize,” argued Kaven. “It is easily established that great buildings drive tourism and generate money. Every year millions of people make trips to destination cities just to see towers, memorials, skyscrapers and art institutes.” Instead, Prosper Portland, who purchased the site for $88 million with the intention of turning it into a mixed-use hub, has chosen Denver-based developer McWhinney, the San Francisco-based office of Related Companies, and Denver developer Continuum Partners. WKA’s proposal would have brought 5 million square feet of developable space to the site and included condos, apartments, hotel rooms, offices and retail space, though whatever eventually lands there will likely be more subdued. It’s expected that the final plan will include around 500 units of city-owned public housing and 2,000 private units, with 10 percent set aside for low-income residents. The next step for the three finalists will be a presentation to the public on their plans on March 21 at 5:00 PM, at Leftbank Annex, 101 N. Weidler St. in Portland.
Welcome to AN Interior's inaugural top 50 interior architect and designer list, featuring emerging and established firms across the U.S. While these architects' and designers' talents certainly go beyond interior work, they are deftly pushing the boundaries of residential, retail, workplace, and hospitality spaces and cleverly reimagining the spaces we inhabit. Ensamble Studio Boston, Madrid With a distinct focus on the process of making, Ensamble Studio leverages material technologies to produce dramatic spaces and forms. 64North Los Angeles Multidisciplinary studio 64North provides branding, interiors, website, and product design services. Architecture is Fun Chicago
As the name implies, Architecture Is Fun produces playful designs, frequently working with children’s museums; it won AIA Chicago’s 2017 Firm of the Year award. UrbanLab Chicago, Los Angeles
UrbanLab’s highly graphic design sensibility brings together smart solutions and visual identity in projects ranging from small storefronts to urban infrastructures. Design, Bitches Chicago, Los Angeles
The irreverent work of Design, Bitches employs layers of color, light, and material to build engaging interior spaces across Southern California. LADG Los Angeles
LADG produces uncanny forms and clever spaces by leveraging common construction materials.
Toshiko Mori Architect New York
Tacklebox’s interiors are filled with “ordinary” materials deployed in unexpected ways, recontextualizing the quotidian.
Michael K Chen Architecture New York
MKCA’s puzzle-like built-ins make the most of tiny living spaces. NADAAA New York, Boston
NADAAA’s work engages with high-tech material investigations and form finding. LOT New York, Athens
The influence of LOT’s Greek office is clear in its mellow, refined interiors and the firm’s furniture line, Objects of Common Interest. MOS Architects New York
The highly intellectual work of MOS plays on contemporary and historical architectural philosophies. Norman Kelley Chicago, New York
A self-described superficial practice, Carrie Norman and Thomas Kelley explore the concepts of play, illusion, and flatness, all within an often tongue-in-cheek understanding of historical precedent. Snarkitecture New York
Part think tank and part design firm, every INABA Williams project is rooted in an in-depth research process.
Elliott + Associates Architects Oklahoma City
Rand Elliott has been focusing the country’s attention on Oklahoman design for the past 40 years. SPAN Architecture New York
SPAN creates high-finish spaces full of carefully chosen materials and details. Home Studios New York
Home Studios produces polished, finely detailed commercial and hospitality interiors filled with fine wood, stone, and metal detailing. Architecture in Formation New York
AiF brings together eclectic styles for a wide range of projects, from large hospitality to urban lofts.
Only If— New York
Only If— fuses smart geometries with clever materials for striking interiors.
Ezequiel Farca + Cristina Grappin Los Angeles, Mexico City, Milan
Ezequiel Farca and Cristina Grappin draw from their collaborations with Mexican artisans and use local materials to create contextual works for high-end clients. Bureau Spectacular Los Angeles
The comic book sensibility of Bureau Spectacular delves beyond the superficial with spaces that encourage the occupants to live a less ordinary life. Barbara Bestor Los Angeles
Between her many residential and commercial projects across L.A. and her book, Bohemian Modern: Living in Silver Lake, Barbara Bestor is an influential force on Southern Californian design.
Johnsen Schmaling Architects Milwaukee
Johnsen Schmaling translates the beauty of the rural upper Midwest into site-specific residential projects.
Morris Adjmi Architects New York
Carefully proportioned spaces and forms—and a sensitivity to history— define Morris Adjmi’s elegant work.
Neil M. Denari Architects Los Angeles
Teaching at UCLA in addition to running his practice, Neil Denari is a perennial thought leader in the space where technology and architectural form meet. WORKac New York
With clever twists on typical programs, WORKac’s interiors are unexpected and playful. archimania Memphis
The progressive Memphis-based firm is taking a leading role in redefining what architecture can be in the Southeast through its numerous projects and help in redeveloping its city’s waterfront.
Shulman + Associates Miami
Shulman + Associates draw on the history, materials, and culture of South Florida to formulate vibrant, innovative commercial and residential interiors. Clive Wilkinson Architects Los Angeles
Focusing on workplace and educational facilities, Clive Wilkinson has helped define the aesthetics of contemporary creative professional and learning spaces.
The workspaces designed by Studio O+A express its clients’ stories and personalities, pushing the envelope of the modern office.
New Affiliates New York
New Affiliates works in “loose forms and rough materials” to create elegant spaces.
Biber Architects New York
James Biber approaches every project with a fresh vision, letting design and function guide the form.
Olson Kundig SeattleOFFICIAL Dallas
With a dedicated interiors studio, Olson Kundig has redefined the Pacific Northwest architectural typology.
OFFICIAL designs bright interiors with pops of color and custom furnishings. The two-person studio also has its own furniture line.
Aidlin Darling Design San Francisco
Materials are at the forefront of and celebrated in each project by Aidlin Darling Design. Leong Leong New York
Brothers Christopher and Dominic Leong use broad, decisive formal moves to organize space into crisp, refined interiors. Alexander Gorlin Architects New York
For the past two decades, even when minimalism reigned, Alexander Gorlin has been layering colors and patterns with great success. Craig Steely Architecture San Francisco
Craig Steely celebrates the tropical locales of his projects with interiors that reflect and embrace the native flora.
Aranda\Lasch New York, Tuscon
Truly experimental, Aranda\Lasch explores pattern and fabrications as easily as space and form.
Andre Kikoski Architect New York
Known for creating everything from architectural interiors to furniture and finishes, Andre Kikoski consistently delivers refined designs. SO-IL New York
Airy and ethereal, yet highly programmatic, the formal and material exercises by SO-IL are unmistakable. Peter Marino Architect New York
Leather-clad Peter Marino is the go-to for sumptuous interiors in high-end retail and hospitality around the world. Slade Architecture New York
Slade’s lighthearted approach brings together form, color, pattern, and material. Charlap Hyman & Herrero Los Angeles, New York
Bold interior forms with a refined material palette typify the work of RISD graduates Andre Herrero and Adam Charlap Hyman.
BarlisWedlick Architects New York
BarlisWedlick produces super-efficient, passive projects without neglecting aesthetics. Schiller Projects New York
Schiller Projects works through analytic research to design everything from architecture to branding.
Like so many cities, Memphis, Tennessee, is imagining the future of one of its largest natural assets, its waterfront. The Home of the Blues marks the approximate midpoint of the Mississippi River, and until recently, it has mainly utilized it for industrial purposes, like many other American waterfront cities. While the river has been home to casino riverboats, and a riverfront park does exist, plans are now underway to turn the area into a full-fledged cultural destination. Memphis-based archimania, in collaboration with Peter Chermayeff and BWS&C have put forward a plan called the Mud Island River Park + Cultural Center, which aims to bring the public closer to the water and provide educational opportunities. The scheme calls for cultural facilities linked by a pedestrian path that would also connect Mud Island (a peninsula edging the city and the river) and the city’s riverfront to the adjacent redeveloped Fourth Bluff Civic Commons. The centerpiece of the project is the Aquarium Museum, a complex on Mud Island that will show off aquatic species and focus on the city’s long history with the river as well as contemporary water studies. On the other side of the river, the complex will likely include a reimagined Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. The Brooks is currently located outside of the downtown area. The past few years have seen a number of proposals for Memphis’s downtown and waterfront, with an eye on the city’s bicentennial in 2019. Just northeast of the proposed Mud Island project, a building and development moratorium for the downtown Pinch District is being reassessed through a planning and architecture study led by the Division of Housing and Community Development and the Memphis office of Looney Ricks Kiss. Chicago-based Studio Gang Architects have also produced a Riverfront study for the city, which was released in mid-2017. The Mud Island proposal was informed by the Studio Gang research, which called for any projects along the river to foster, restore, and connect the city, the river, and the larger ecology of the area. Considering the numerous proposals, it is likely that we will see multiple developments and amenities coming to Memphis’s extensive riverfront in the coming years. To get the wheel turning, fundraising is set to begin for the Mud Island River Park + Cultural Center in 2018, with construction starting within the next four years.
Chicago’s historic Merchandise Mart (rebranded as theMART), a massive art deco design center on the bend of the Chicago River, will play host to a 2.6-acre art installation come fall of 2018. At a press conference this Sunday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, city cultural officials, and representatives of building owners Vornado Realty Trust’s Chicago branch announced a plan to convert the front wall of The Mart into a canvas for large-scale, projected art. “Art on theMART” will paint the river-facing wall of the Mart with high-resolution images and videos, including indie works, through an open-source software. Mart Chief Operating Officer Myron Maurer has promised that the project would never be used to display ads. A curatorial board would be set up as early as this spring to select which works would be screened, including holiday-specific pieces and work from student art shows. First proposed in March of 2017 as a joint effort between the Mayor’s office and theMART, the project was envisioned as a “large-scale architectural projection” that would contribute to the ongoing revitalization of the Chicago waterfront. Vornado had reached out to New York City-based A+I Architects and San Francisco-based Obscura Digital to conduct the feasibility study and will be paying the $8 million installation cost and $500,000 yearly maintenance costs out of pocket. Obscura has worked on enormous projections and screen-related art projects at Grand Central Terminal, the Empire State Building, and at the Sydney Opera House. With the project moving forward, Mayor Emanuel is advancing an ordinance to the City Council that would allow for the installation of the 34 necessary projectors under a 30-year license. If the City Council approves, theMART’s light shows could begin by October of this year, and works would be projected for two hours a night, five days a week, for up to ten months a year. “It brings two great strands of the city of Chicago together,” Mayor Emanuel told reporters on Sunday. “What we all know as the Merchandise Mart will now become the largest canvas in the world.” Art on theMART is the latest in a continuing transformation for the building, which has recently shifted from housing wholesale retailers and showrooms into a tech hub and office building. A video mockup of the installation is available here, courtesy of The Chicago Sun Times.
Subterranean Homesick Alien
Gordon Matta-Clark’s legacy comes home to roost in the Bronx
Disclaimer: AN is the media partner for Gordon Matta-Clark: Anarchitect The Bronx Museum of the Arts’ Gordon Matta-Clark: Anarchitect is sprawling, playfully curated, free to enter, and well suited for display in the borough that inspired so much of the artist’s work. Showcasing over one hundred of Matta-Clark’s pieces, the exhibition features films, prints, sculptures, and a series of interactive dialogues. Matta-Clark’s art, centered on a ravaged New York City in the 1970s, gains power when viewed in the proper historical context. As abandoned properties were torn down across the Bronx and crime rates soared, residents felt disempowered; Jonathan Mahler famously wrote that the city was in the middle of "fiscal and spiritual crisis." Trained as an architect, Matta-Clark lashed out at gentrification, economic stratification, and the physical divisions caused by capitalism in the ways that he knew best. A founding member of Anarchitecture, a group that criticized the excesses of architecture, Matta-Clark’s work frequently critiqued the historical destruction caused by modernist architecture as an outgrowth of capitalism. The show’s organizers are no strangers to the material. Antonio Sergio Bessa, writer, poet, curator, and the Bronx Museum’s director of curatorial and educational programs, partnered with Jessamyn Fiore, the co-director of the Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark and frequent exhibitor of his work, for Anarchitect. Anarchitect may be a linear show, but that only enhances the experience. Each room progressively builds upon the last, and the importance of Matta-Clark’s reverence for cuts, holes, and site-specific installations and his focus on exposing the hidden reveals itself over time. Following a gradual introduction to the artist’s fascination with negative space, spontaneity, and the emergence of chaos from ordered systems, the show’s layout pushes viewers along an entwined timeline of Matta-Clark’s work and the evolution of his political views. Perhaps the best primer on Matta-Clark’s worldview is the film that visitors must pass through before reaching the main gallery. Substrait, a 1976 consolidation of shorter works, follows the artist and collaborators as they spelunk below the Croton Aqueduct, Grand Central Terminal, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and other New York landmarks. Despite the crushing darkness and massive, alien scale of the infrastructure surrounding them, the film emphasizes the essential nature of these spaces. New York, so frequently thought of as a “vertical” city, relies on the horizontal voids below; one guest describes them as the hot arteries of the city, delivering life. Without the foundations, steam systems, and tunnels that deliver clean water, upward expansion would be impossible, much in the same way that the rich rely on the working class “beneath” them. Inside the main gallery space, Bronx Floors sees Matta-Clark’s usage of geometric holes cut in the floors or walls of condemned Bronx buildings to examine the building from angles unintended by their designers. In altering the “ideal” form of the building, Matta-Clark attempted to show Bronx residents that they could reclaim some form of control over the built environment, even as the city was indifferently tearing it down around them. The contrast of horizontal and vertical is repeated here, as holes intersect with “established” doorways and windows, giving viewers the impression of seeing from a mystical, impossible viewpoint. Wrapping the edges of the exhibit are rarely seen black-and-white prints of the artist’s graffiti photography, many of which he colored by hand after developing. The placement is a neat trick, and creates an interior-exterior contrast that enhances the message; the graffiti, like the voids they surround, were used to reclaim slivers of a city that seemed actively hostile to its poorest residents. The most monumental of Matta-Clark’s work is saved for last, as the final room contains photos, diagrams and large-scale projections of both Conical Intersect and Day’s End, presented back to back with emphasis on the connection between both projects. Conical Intersect, one of Matta-Clark’s most famous works, saw Anarchitecture carving a conical hole through a pair of abandoned 17th-century buildings in Paris, with the rising Centre Georges Pompidou as a backdrop. Through stitched-together panoramic photos, viewers are able to understand both the massive scale of the carvings, as well as the specifically constructed views they afforded. This protest against historical destruction in light of France’s drive for “urban renewal” drew obvious parallels with development in New York. Realized the same year as Conical Intersect (and part of the reason Matta-Clark fled to France in the first place) and placed next to it, Day’s End saw the artist cutting massive holes in an abandoned warehouse on the Hudson pier. Envisioned as a “sun-and-water temple,” Matta-Clark’s attempt at reclaiming an unused plot of land as a public park was adaptive reuse before the term went mainstream, guerrilla urbanism done literally under threat of arrest, meant to expose the hypocrisy of keeping the waterfront inaccessible to the public. Now, over 40 years later, the Whitney Museum is resurrecting an ethereal version of the project to float over the Hudson River. At the end of Anarchitect, one faces a troubling truth. Although the Bronx’s fortunes have improved since the 1970s, artists and politicians are still debating how to address the same issues of inequality and urban policy failures that Matta-Clark sought to highlight. As New York enacts urban renewal programs in an effort to curb an affordable housing crisis, and homelessness rises to historic levels, Anarchitect’s look back at the city’s troubled past is startlingly relevant. Gordon Matta-Clark: Anarchitect The Bronx Museum of the Arts 1040 Grand Concourse Through April 8, 2018
The Foro Boca concert hall opened to the public December 1, 2017 in Boca del Río, Veracruz, Mexico, with a concert by the Boca del Rio Philharmonic Orchestra featuring acclaimed violinist Joshua Bell. Designed by Rojkind Arquitectos, the remarkable building is the central piece of a city in transformation. Iker Gil of MAS Studio and Julie Michiels of Perkins + Will spoke with architect Michel Rojkind to discuss the main aspects of the building. The Architect’s Newspaper: Can you talk about how you became involved in Foro Boca and how it related to the larger urban challenges in Boca del Río? Michel Rojkind: Miguel Ángel Yunes Márquez, the then-mayor of Boca del Río, started the Boca del Río Philharmonic Orchestra in 2014, and that has since become the heart of the cultural life in the city. The mayor asked us to design a home for the orchestra, and at the time there were three possible sites. The chosen one was located in a deteriorated area of Boca del Río where the Jamapa River meets the Gulf of Mexico. We decided then to think about the building as part of a larger urban regeneration project that also could tie to a three-mile boulevard that the mayor had already started to work on to improve the pedestrian experience along the waterfront. How does Foro Boca connect to its immediate context? One of the first key aspects was to turn the nearby breakwater into a pedestrian space. Also, the building entrance, besides being protected from the strong north winds, is connected to a series of public spaces. As the mayor had already chosen granite for the boulevard, we included it in our project so that the boulevard would go right into the building. Our aim was to make sure that the public spaces were considered as important as the building, giving back to the community by extending our plazas toward the beach, the breakwater, and the city. The building is raw, powerful, and stripped of superfluous elements. Can you talk about its overall composition and materiality? We wanted to use a material that was able to withstand and respond to the harsh conditions of the place, so we chose concrete with a texture running in different directions. We were interested in the way it would develop a patina over time, similar to the nearby rocks in the breakwater. Initially, the project started as a big box that we broke down into smaller programs to give it the proper scale toward the beach, the pier, and the city. As you move around Foro Boca, your perception of the volumes’ scales changes. And it was important for us to make a building that had no front and back. For instance, the area where the trucks load and unload the instruments becomes an exterior plaza. It is about creating overlapping uses rather than hiding them. The interior of the building also challenges our perception of scale, with an interesting sequence of compression and release. As you enter the building under a compressed space defined by a cantilevered volume that is 7.5 feet tall, you begin to understand the spatial organization around the main concert hall. The double- and triple-height spaces with skylights are quite dramatic, as you are coming from the dark compressed entrance in contrast to the exterior light and then it opens up to these spaces with light washing the walls. And there is a sense of fluidity in the spaces. You see people going up the stairs, moving through the mezzanines, and entering the concert hall through different access points. It was important for us to translate the continuous movement that is present in music or in the nearby waves. Foro Boca continues with your studio’s philosophy of providing added value to each project, envisioning new opportunities beyond the original scope of the project. Can you describe how added value manifests in this specific case? Besides the main program of housing the orchestra, we wanted to design a space that could accommodate multiple activities at the same time and host diverse cultural manifestations, not just concerts. After the opening concert, Foro Boca hosted White Canvas, an audiovisual piece by Cocolab, and a few days later the first edition of the National Book Fair in Boca del Río. Now that there is a building that can house all these activities, there will be more and more opportunities to bring interesting artistic expressions. The important thing is to maintain the quality of the culture that is inside. It is interesting to consider Foro Boca in relationship to your Cineteca Nacional project. Both public buildings commissioned by the government, they have similar ambitions as civic anchors beyond their specific programs. Can you talk about the relationship between both projects? When I started to work with the mayor on Foro Boca I was a bit skeptical because I had a really hard time with Cineteca Nacional. We were being criticized for a building that had opened to the public unfinished. But the process in this case was very different and with more time for design. Also, the mayor of Boca del Río is very passionate about art in general, and the orchestra in particular, so I knew we could work in a different way. To me, the most important part of the Cineteca project is the exterior space, the places where people gather and where unexpected things occur. For that reason, in Foro Boca, we fought to include the exterior plazas as a key part of the project. Each project creates different experiences, but both have exterior spaces that are very successful. When film director Peter Greenaway visited Cineteca Nacional, he pointed out that the gardens were his favorite area, as they were the spaces where the quotidian happens. Foro Boca is a project that synthesizes the ideas and lessons we learned from Cineteca Nacional. It is a building that is distilled to very few elements, creating a powerful experience that you feel is part of the site.