Search results for "whitney"

Placeholder Alt Text

Dog Days Dawning

Weekend Edition: Architecture and activism, Brooklyn business building, candy-colored communism, and more
Missed some of our articles, tweets, or Facebook posts from the last few days? Don’t sweat it—we’ve gathered the week’s must-read stories right here. Enjoy! AIANY’s Whitney M. Young Jr. exhibit calls architects to action A new exhibition at the Center for Architecture in New York celebrates the influence of civil rights activist Whitney M. Young Jr. and details demographics that reveal the critical gaps within New York's design profession. WeWork is using user data to chart their meteoric expansion With the company’s first ground-up building, Dock 72, nearly complete in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, AN spoke with the designers and researchers who are making WeWork’s growth possible and tried to divine where the company is going next. Federal Transit Administration cuts funding for mass transit projects The Federal Transit Administration has pulled back on funding many existing expansion projects throughout the U.S. through its Capital Investment Grants program. Inside North Korea: A candy-colored fever dream In Wainwright's forthcoming book, Pyongyang embodies North Korea's approach to self-presentation: Big Brother-esque images that project the state's power and ability to protect its citizens amplified at a bombastic scale and sweetened with saccharine pastels. Lincoln Yards could bring an “instant neighborhood” to the Chicago River Developer Sterling Bay released additional details and renderings by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill for the Lincoln Yards mega-development during a packed public meeting in Chicago’s 2nd Ward on July 18. Enjoy the weekend, hope you're not in the office, and see you next week!
Placeholder Alt Text

A(rch)tivism

AIANY's Whitney M. Young Jr. exhibit calls architects to action
If we’ve learned anything this year, it’s that time is up for professional industries that ignore inequality and underrepresentation. Within the practice of architecture, that means taking on diversity and inclusion while addressing uncomfortable challenges in education and workplace culture in a profession with deeply established patterns. Times are changing in this aging, white male-dominated field, and architects of all backgrounds are being celebrated for their contributions to design. At the forefront of this heightened awareness is a new exhibition from AIANY at the Center for Architecture in New York titled, A Call to Act(ivism): Echoing Whitney Young, 50 Years Later, now on view. The exhibition comes on the heels of the AIA 2018 Conference on Architecture in June, where current AIA president Carl Elefante reminded the audience of Young’s influence on the profession. In his renowned and heated speech at the 1968 AIA National Convention in Portland, Oregon, the former National Urban League executive director questioned the industry’s lack of integration and pushed for architects to take a stand and involve themselves more seriously in the turbulent political climate of the 1950s and '60s. The exhibition displays key moments in Young’s career when his charismatic voice put him on the national stage, putting the spotlight on issues of urbanism. The small but powerful show suggests that the dialogue surrounding diversity within architecture is not new and that the critical words of Whitney M. Young Jr. are just as relevant as ever to the profession. Curated by Danei Cesario, AIA NCARB and associate at Array Architects, the show identifies a parallel between Young’s work and the calls-to-action resonating among practitioners today. “There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to improving things in the industry,” said Cesario, who also co-chairs the AIANY’s committee on diversity and inclusion. “There are personal approaches and things happening within larger groups. We wanted to show how people viewed these issues in 1969 versus how we’re tackling them nowadays.” Today, it’s necessary for architects to be broadly aware of the issues affecting the world and the development of its major cities. The idea that architecture is separate from politics was absurd, according to Young, and to be integrated into the public discourse, architects must not stay silent as they build out communities. A Call to Act(ivism) urges architects to challenge the status quo still existing within the profession and details current data on the local industry by dissecting the demographics of New York’s design community.  The data on display was collected in the 2017 AIANY Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Member Survey put together by the committee. Cesario hopes the information, which will be followed-up with additional surveys over the next two years, can serve as a showcase for how the profession is annually progressing. The committee will put out a report on its initial findings at the end of this year. “We want to build infrastructure that will be sustainable year to year,” she said, “and we want to find and publish actionable steps that firms can take to become more inclusive.” The graphic information currently on display in the exhibition reveals that there’s much more work to be done for architecture to become the inclusive profession that Young imagined. The show invites everyone from students and newly-licensed architects to veteran firm principals to reflect on their own call to activism by asking visitors two crucial questions:
What do you personally do to promote diversity and equity within architecture? What can be done collectively towards this goal, within our industry and beyond?
Visitors can share their own perspective in a digital survey and listen to the views of leaders like Sharon Sutton, Beverly Wills, Jack Travis, and Guy Geier. Unfortunately, we’re still struggling with iterated versions of the same issues Young called out fifty years ago, but the show encourages you to consider how you might be an activist within your own firm in order to eradicate these issues once and for all.  A Call to Act(ivism): Echoing Whitney Young, 50 Years Later is on view at the Center for Architecture through September 15. It was curated by Danei Cesario, AIA NCARB and designed by graphic artist Manuel Miranda.
Placeholder Alt Text

A Call to Act

AIA Baltimore to recognize projects that advance social equity
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Baltimore recently added a new category to its Excellence in Design Awards Program: the Social Equity Design Award, which will be given out in collaboration with the Neighborhood Design Center (NDC), an organization that promotes community-engaged design. The award was created in honor of the 50th anniversary of the non-profit’s establishment and the civil rights leader Whitney M. Young’s landmark speech at the 100th Convention of the AIA. In his historic 1968 keynote address, Young urged architects across the country to address social issues and diversity in the profession. Later that year the NDC was founded by a group of Baltimore architects mobilized by Young’s speech to rebuild their communities following the riots following Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. The Social Equity Design Award is meant to recognize projects that “promote social equity and align with NDC’s values,” according to a statement by AIA Baltimore. The statement goes on to say that, "Healthy places are built with consideration of social justice, environmental sustainability, and the true character of a place and the people who live, work, worship, and do business there.” "Architecture is about people, and the Social Equity Design Award celebrates that architecture can and should improve quality of life for everyone," said Laura Wheaton, AIA, program manager at the Neighborhood Design Center and member of the AIA Baltimore board of directors. This award coincides with the exhibition A Call to Act(ivism): Echoing Whitney Young, 50 Years Later, which is being put on by AIA New York to commemorate Young's speech and its implications for architects today. It is currently on view through September 15 at the Center for Architecture. The judging panel will consist of local architects and community leaders. The awards will be given out at the 2018 AIA Baltimore Excellence in Design Awards Celebration, which will be held at Center Stage on October 19. The deadline for submission is September 4. Click here for details.
Placeholder Alt Text

Culture vulture

NYC library cardholders can now visit dozens of museums for free
This summer, New York City is launching a new program to explore the city and save money. If you are a Brooklyn, New York, or Queens Public Library Cardholder aged 13 or older, you can reserve a Culture Pass to gain free access to more than 30 cultural institutions, including “museums, historical societies, heritage centers, public gardens and more.” Reservations should be made ahead of time, and a limited number of passes are available on each date. Here is a list of participating organizations: Brooklyn: Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Brooklyn Historical Society, Brooklyn Museum, New York Transit Museum Manhattan: Children’s Museum of the Arts, Children’s Museum of Manhattan, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, The Drawing Center, The Frick Collection, Historic Richmond Town, International Center of Photography, Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, The Jewish Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Morgan Library & Museum, Museum of the City of New York, Museum of Chinese in America, Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, Museum of Modern Art, Rubin Museum of Art, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Society of Illustrators, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art and Storytelling, Whitney Museum of American Art Bronx: Wave Hill Queens: Louis Armstrong House, Noguchi Museum, Queens Historical Society, Queens Museum, SculptureCenter Staten Island: Historic Richmond Town, Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art Check out this link for more details.
Placeholder Alt Text

Exhibition for Equality

Traveling exhibition covers 50 years of activism in architecture and asks, 'Now What?!'
A pop-up exhibition showcasing the little-known history of civil rights movements within architecture is on view at the Pratt Institute through Friday. Now What?! Advocacy, Activism and Alliances in American Architecture since 1968 shines a light on the work of the architects and organizations who have advocated for equality and social justice in the profession over the last 50 years. Organized by ArchiteXX, a nonprofit that promotes gender equity in the architectural profession, the exhibit covers groups that have sought racial, gender, and LGBTQ equality. ArchiteXX’s primary initiatives revolve around highlighting the roles women play in the field, but for Now What?!, the group wanted to take on a broader series of issues including gay marriage, Black Lives Matter, and feminism in modern America. The show moves in chronological order, starting with civil rights leader Whitney Young Jr.’s influential speech at the 1968 AIA National Convention in Portland, Oregon. Angry at the scant attention the nearly all-white, male-dominated profession was paying to the civil rights movement, his powerful words challenged the attending architects to speak up and serve as leaders within the heated political climate. The exhibition connects that exhortation to the present day. While the industry has made great strides toward the inclusion of people of different races, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds, it still remains less diverse than the general population. Sarah Rafson, an architectural editor and curator who serves on the board of ArchiteXX, says the exhibit was inspired by Susana Torre’s 1977 exhibition for The Architectural League, Women in Architecture: A Historic and Contemporary Perspective. “That was the first comprehensive history of women’s achievements in the built environment,” said Rafson. “It radically opened up the topic of how feminism could impact architecture and design. For this exhibit, we thought, how can we replicate it in 2017? So we decided to include many marginalized groups, not just women, and show that their struggles in architecture have been quite common.”   The exhibition includes never-before-seen content that is rarely taught in architectural education. One of ArchiteXX’s core goals is to bridge the gap between the study and practice of architecture, and the group looks at the exhibit as part of an expanded curriculum that engages both students and practitioners with historical and contemporary activism.    “We saw an opportunity to create a program that forces the discipline to acknowledge these different groups that have had incredible impact within architecture and design,” said Rafson. “It’s also become a chance for us to collaborate with other organizations and groups who are working towards solving social justice issues,” said ArchiteXX founder Lori Brown, “and it’s becoming a really important venue to build solidarity across many different areas of architecture.” Now What?! can be seen at Pratt’s Robert H. Siegel Gallery through Friday and is scheduled to appear in at least four more cities across the U.S. and Canada. New content will be added as it stops in each city to reflect the local people and events within those architectural communities. Its first stop is at Woodbury University in Los Angeles.
Placeholder Alt Text

Pier-less Art

David Hammons' ghostly pier to rise in the Hudson after all
The skeletal recreation of Pier 52, an abandoned industrial shed that once jutted into the waters next to the High Line, will rise courtesy of the Whitney Museum, artist David Hammon, and a recent legislative victory in the New York State Senate. The pier was once a hub of for artistic intervention and under-the-radar sexual liberation, and Hammon has titled his “new” Pier 52 sculpture Day’s End after Gordon Matta Clark’s 1975 transformation of the building. The public piece was first announced in October of last year, and the Whitney has taken pains to avoid the mistakes of the adjacent Pier 55 by engaging with the local community boards at every step of the planning process. Complicating the sculpture’s installation has been the Hudson River Park Act, which established the Hudson River Park Trust’s stewardship of the waterfront and environmental protections for the river. Now, after the passage of legislation by New York State Senator Brad Hoylman yesterday (S8044A), the Hudson River Park Act has been amended to allow Day’s End to rise after all. While the Whitney will construct the stainless-steel sculpture offsite over a period of eight to 10 months and maintain the piece, the museum will be required to donate the sculpture to the Hudson River Park Trust under S8044A. While there are still regulatory hurdles to get over, Day’s End recently cleared a vote in the State Assembly and is likely to breeze to fabrication.
Placeholder Alt Text

Gerard & Kelly: CLOCKWORK at Pioneer Works
My body is the first architecture* The centerpiece of the exhibition Gerard & Kelly: CLOCKWORK is a 35-minute film called Schindler/Glass (2017) depicting performances at the Philip Johnson Glass House (1949) in New Canaan, CT and the Rudolph Schindler House (1921) in West Hollywood, CA. Shown in a round pavilion on the ground floor of the converted industrial hall that is cultural center Pioneer Works in Red Hook, Brooklyn, this installation is part of an ongoing series by the duo Brennan Gerard and Ryan Kelly called Modern Living which explores the effects of Modernism on domestic spaces: ““What would a home have to be today to shelter intimacies that do not fit within dominant narratives of family, marriage, or domesticity?” Whereas the transparent, open-plan Glass House was inhabited by a gay couple, Philip Johnson and David Whitney, the Schindler House was created as a communal residence for two young families, the Shindlers and the Chases, who shared common spaces in addition to their two interlocking L-shaped apartments, “homes the architects built for themselves to shelter relationships as experimental as their designs.” The house is a blueprint for memory* According to Glass House curator Cole Akers, Johnson and Whitney “upended conventional notions about domesticity and architecture, particularly as they relate to sexuality.” The campus was a gathering place for the gay avant-garde (Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Merce Cunningham) in the pre-Stonewall era, and has a history of engaging with dance across the campus including Cunningham dance company’s 1967 performance at the site, and both the Monument for Lincoln Kirstein (1985), a founder of New York City Ballet, and the Lake Pavilion (1962) which are virtual maquettes for Johnson's New York State Theater at Lincoln Center. Relationships like clockwork* In the film, nine dancers from L.A. Dance Project (Benjamin Millepied’s company) explore “hidden choreographies” by showing a “family” in various configurations — 2 men, 2 women, a male/female couple — calling out the time of day and related activities. The just distribution of two men and two women* Accompanying the film are visual and sculptural elements placed throughout the Pioneer Works space, inspired by elements from these houses as well as two additional buildings: the Farnsworth House by Mies van der Rohe in Plano, Illinois, a weekend retreat for the single occupant, Dr. Edith Farnsworh; and the Pioneer Works building itself. There is no front—space is the medium* Untitled (Edith) (2018) is a curtain made from vintage sheer, light blue nightgown fabric that flutters in the breeze, her revenge against Mies who objected to her desire for heavy curtains. Farnsworth said, “Mies talks about his ‘free space’: but his space is very fixed. I can’t even put a clothes hanger in my house without considering how it affects everything from the outside…because the house is transparent, like an X-ray.” The disagreement led to lawsuits; Farnsworth complained about her uninhabitable “glass cage.” skin and bones (2018) are two sheets of glass, which together are the size of one Farnsworth House pane, each mounted onto white I-beams and subwoofer speakers that transmit the sound of the Fox River that runs below the house, which is so loud that the glass visibly vibrates, echoing another complaint of the resident. A home is a mathematical equation* When Gerard and Kelly started working in the Red Hook building, they grappled with the 1880s architecture that originally housed the manufacturing of large-scale machinery for railroad tracks and sugar plantations, since it was not Modern. Instead, the daily geometric display of light raking through windows fit their aesthetic and is captured in silkscreens called Light Studies 4:33 made from photos taken at 4:33 PM on the first day of the month over a one-year period, named in homage to John Cage’s composition 4’33” (incidentally, Cage was a resident at the Schindler House in 1934). This work is echoed by Relay (2018), colorful transparent vinyl strips placed on the building’s windows, which echo the costume hues of the nine dancers in the film Schindler/Glass. Private (2018), is a sculptural object outlining the Glass House’s layout that features a page from Franz Schulze’s biography of Johnson, sandwiched in sandblasted glass. It quotes a Lincoln Kirstein letter acknowledging Johnson’s Nazi sympathies and later remorse. The title “Private” plays on the multiple meanings of the word, “the secret testimony, the formal reference to one another as Private soldiers in the US Army, and the open secret of their sexual orientations.” They quote Johnson: “I mean the idea of a glass house, where somebody just might be looking…That little edge of danger in being caught.” The family is a system of regeneration* The family is a system of regeneration (2018) are folded wooden panels painted with colorful double-helixes in the same materials and sizes as the Schindler House, and mark the dancers’ steps in the film. The curators stated, “CLOCKWORK explores how the passage of time underlies these sites, their intimate histories, and the occasion of the exhibition itself…transforming Pioneer Works from a space in which machines were built into a machine for keeping time.” While in Red Hook, stop by roodgallery for Alexandros Washburn’s painting exhibition including David Childs and Capitol Hill 4. Washburn is the Founding Director of the Center for Coastal Resilience and Urban Xcellence (CRUX) at Stevens Institute of Technology and former Chief Urban Designer in the NYC Department of City Planning. Gerard & Kelly: CLOCKWORK, Pioneer Works, 159 Pioneer St, Brooklyn, NY 11231, through July 1. https://pioneerworks.org Lux Figura, Alexandros Washburn, roodgallery, 373 Van Brunt St.,Brooklyn, NY 11231, through June 30. http://www.roodgallery.com
  • Axioms for Modern Living, Gerard & Kelly
Placeholder Alt Text

Critics' Corner

What do architecture critics think of the state of architecture criticism today?
As Christopher Hawthorne moves on from the Los Angeles Times and as new forms of criticism proliferate, we asked the architecture community what the role of the critic is today, and what it might be missing. What do you see as the role of the critic in architecture today? Why is it important? What aspects of architecture are not being addressed today by critics? What are the problems with criticism today? Here are the responses we received from critics across the country and abroad. This article was originally published in our May print issue. Stay tuned for further perspectives from practitioners, emerging architects, and scholars. Mark Lamster The architecture critic of The Dallas Morning News and a professor at the University of Texas at Arlington. His biography of Philip Johnson, The Man in the Glass House, will be out this November. “I think there was a sense, in the 1990s and early aughts, that criticism had become too absorbed with signature buildings by the architectural jet-set, mainly because that was what was coming out of the New York Times under Herbert Muschamp. But over the last decade or so, the field has expanded to address a broad spectrum of urban issues, as it should if it’s going to keep the public engaged. The irony here is that the backlash to the era of ‘starchitecture’ (and I hate that term) has meant a certain vilification of and disregard for the discipline. So I think it’s important to celebrate quality architecture and to make clear how important it is to making places that can improve people’s lives every day.” Alexandra Lange The architecture critic for Curbed. Her newest book is The Design of Childhood: How the Material World Creates Independent Kids. “These questions, and this debate, make me tired. What other critics are asked to justify their existence time and again? I believe my work is valuable, and I choose to believe an ‘architecture critic’ can write about almost anything at the intersection of design and the public. The problems of criticism are the problems of journalism: lack of resources, a flocking to the popular, and lack of diversity.” Witold Rybczynski Architecture critic for Slate, WigWag, and Saturday Night. His latest book is Now I Sit Me Down. “I’ve always thought that journalistic architectural criticism was an odd bird. Compared to restaurant, book, or theater reviews, reviews of buildings have little immediate effect on the public. Once a building is built, it’s there, for better or worse, and we must learn to live with it. In any case, reviews based on press kits, guided tours, or interviews with the architect are unlikely to yield profound insights. Theoretically, reviews of as-yet-unbuilt work might be more influential. The problem is that critics generally don’t have the information, resources, or time to make considered judgments. These limitations are compounded when criticism is driven by the need to produce up-to-the-minute newsworthy copy. Having said that, writing about architecture can be valuable. Buildings last a long time, and it’s useful to reflect on their utility—what works and what doesn’t—and their meanings in our lives. Of course, this is best done in the fullness of time, decades after the building opens, when the sharp corners have been knocked off, so to speak. The result is more like cultural observation than reporting. A word about the internet, whose many architectural websites have resulted in a boom in architectural criticism. Sadly, it has also produced more hurriedly written, harshly polemical, and poorly researched prose than ever before.” Frances Anderton Writer, curator, and host of DnA: Design and Architecture, a weekly radio show broadcast on KCRW public radio station in Los Angeles. “It was easier to be a critic when you were crusading for modernism, or another -ism, from a podium at a highly-regarded publication. Whether that ultimately gave society better buildings is an open question.” Barry Bergdoll Meyer Schapiro Professor of Modern Architectural History at Columbia University and curator in the Department of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art. “The role of the architecture critic has not shifted in its most vital importance since the first evidence of it as a professional activity commanding respect and authority in the public sphere with articles criticizing the urban policies of Louis XV in Paris in the mid-18th century. Namely, the architecture critic sets out to forge a bridge between the professional activity of the designing architect and the role of a citizenry by having an informed opinion about the changing environment in which they live. Of course, like an art critic, the architecture critic can contribute to the acclaim of a specific designer; but that is only the beginning of the capacity of the architecture critic to form public opinion. The role is not precisely the same for a critic writing in a publication—printed, broadcast, or on the internet—that primarily serves the profession, and the unfortunately much smaller set of architectural criticism that is aimed at the general public. The paradox nature of architecture is that it is the most omnipresent of art forms and yet the one that the non-professional audience often has the least capacity to judge. This puts a huge responsibility on the shoulders of the ever-rarer figure of the architecture critic with a broad mandate, namely the shockingly small handful of critics writing in the daily press of national and local record. Here the critic serves to educate at once public and public officials. It is the role of the critic to raise the issues that matter, to frame them in a way that both voters and elected officials and private sector actors in shaping the public realm can understand not only what is at stake but the vital relationship between intelligent design and enhanced environments. It is the difficulty of this task that makes so many nostalgic for a handful of legendary figures like Ada Louise Huxtable at the New York Times or Allan Temko of the San Francisco Chronicle, brilliant writers and thinkers whose texts were easy of access and whose capacity to craft public opinion inspired admiration, awe, and even fear where needed. Few critics are able to achieve the needed balance between the appreciation of the formal invention of architecture and the public issues at stake in most projects.” Oliver Wainwright Architecture and design critic of The Guardian. “The role of an architecture critic is not simply to critique architecture, providing an opinion on the quality of the latest buildings, but to unpick and expose the planning policies, funding sources, and political agendas that shape the built environment and frame projects in their wider societal contexts. Architectural publishing is facing a number of hurdles, not least in the dwindling number of advertisers paying ever less for space in magazines with shrinking circulation figures, wounded by the rise of free online content. Magazines are increasingly reliant on sponsored advertorials, lucrative awards programs, and other commercial partnerships to stay afloat, while many national newspapers have given up on covering the subject—of the eight national broadsheet papers in the UK, only three now have a regular architecture critic.” Justin Davidson Author and architecture and classical music critic for New York magazine. His latest book is Magnetic City: A Walking Companion to New York. “Construction always involves tradeoffs and often emerges from an adversarial process, fueled by agendas that are both overt and hidden. The reporter/critic is in a unique position to ask questions of all sides, absorb the technical detail, and pass on to the public a point of view that is backed up by clarity and explanation. My hope is that when readers don’t agree with me, at least they know why. In order to be effective, architecture critics have to look beyond architecture. I got into this business because I loved writing and I loved beautiful buildings. The deeper I dive, the more aware I am of the overlapping areas of expertise that get called into play every time the easy equipment shows up: finance, planning, zoning, activism, preservation, politics, performing arts, engineering, retail, gentrification, transit, industry, the waterfront, housing policy, climate change, social history, literature, psychology, acoustics, and more. I’m gratified to see that critics for general interest publications (as opposed to specialized ones) have a broad sense of their field. It’s rare these days to see a review that focuses on the building as aesthetic object, the exemplar of a style, or the incarnation of a theory. I also think that most critics consider themselves reporters, too, which is essential. What’s missing is numbers: every city builds, people in every city live and work in works of architecture, and yet the number of papers that cover this crucial element of local news is tiny. The perception that architecture is a specialist’s turf - and therefore of little interest to most readers - is contradicted by the passionate feelings that so many residents have (and express!) over what does and doesn’t get built in their community. The other thing that’s missing is a willingness to revisit buildings a year or two or more after they’ve opened to see how they fare in the real world. Too often, we see buildings in their pristine (or even incomplete) state, empty and theoretical. When I first visited the Whitney, for example, I missed a lot of the basic circulation and functionality problems that materialized later. I didn’t notice how maddening the coat check system was until I saw 100 people trying to check their coats at the same time.”
Placeholder Alt Text

Expo-presentation

Who's missing from this AIA Conference promo video? (Hint: It's not men)
Usually I speed past ads on social media as quickly as possible without breaking my infinite scroll, but when I saw the video ad for the AIA Conference on Architecture 2018 pop up, I was curious to see what the all-knowing algorithms had deemed worthy of my consumption. I expected a standard promotional video highlighting familiar New York City landmarks mixed in with information about conference dates, parties, keynotes–all that good stuff. Something to get me excited about what the AIA describes as the “architecture and design event of the year!” The video is only one minute long. It’s a lighthearted, fast-paced overview of exciting things to come. But it is also a visual, visceral reminder of the status quo of architecture in the United States. Here’s the video. For those of you who cannot view it, a summary of key scenes will follow, with a general description of those present in these scenes. I’ve assumed the genders of the people in the video. At 11 seconds: shot of the Expo floor, approximately 14 cisgender men. Cisgender (or simply "cis") denotes a person whose gender identity corresponds with their birth sex. At 12 seconds: shot of the Expo floor, 1 cis man. At 14 seconds: shots of a panel consisting of 3 cis men and 1 cis woman. The woman’s gender expression, which refers to her appearance in this case, is masculine. At 21 seconds: scene of 5 cis women exercising in a park. At 45 seconds: 2 cis women sitting in front of the Whitney Museum. Did you catch it? A total of at least 18 cis men are shown attending the Conference, while only one cis woman makes a fleeting appearance on a panel (where she is outnumbered by three cis men). No women are shown on the Expo floor otherwise. When cis women do show up, there are only 7 of them, and they are represented as mere consumers of architectural designs by cis men. They’re leisurely exercising at Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island, designed by Louis Kahn, and enjoying the view out in front of the Whitney Museum designed by Renzo Piano. The numbers are telling: roughly 70 percent of people in the ad are cis men, while only 30 percent are cis women. 100 percent of the cis men are depicted as architects. 0 percent of the cis women are. Let’s face it: this advertisement mirrors architecture’s long-running and notorious gender diversity problem. According to Equity by Design, the organization formerly known as The Missing 32%, in the United States, cis women represent less than 50 percent of students graduating from accredited architecture programs, and the number of cis women who are AIA members, licensed architects, and senior leadership fluctuates between 15 to 18 percent of the total. The data gathered from their surveys in 2014 and 2016 confirm what we already know about the architecture profession: women and non-binary people (those who do not identify as male or female) are pushed out of the profession at certain points in their careers, and decision-making power is still largely in the hands of cis men.   What does a one-minute video have to do with it? The AIA is aware of its gender diversity problem and, to the Institute’s credit, has been hammering away at it for several years. In 2011, the AIA Diversity Council was formed to confront issues such as the shortage of minority representation in leadership roles, unconscious bias, and sexual discrimination. In 2014, architectural organizations conducted an industry-wide study, Diversity in the Profession of Architecture, which highlighted the gross disparities in the field and the urgent need for a profession that more accurately reflects the demographics of our nation. The results led the AIA to issue a call to action by ratifying Resolution 15:1,“Equity in Architecture,” at the 2015 AIA National Convention. The resolution established the Equity in Architecture Commission. In 2017, the Commission released a report with five “keystone” areas of focus: leadership development; firm and workplace studio culture; excellence in architecture; education and career development; and, last but certainly not least, marketing, branding, public awareness, and outreach. This video, then, is part of the fifth “keystone” area of focus identified by the Equity in Architecture Commission. But the AIA seems to have lost its focus on working toward equity in this arena. Given all of the time, energy, and institutional power that has been invested in increasing gender equity in architecture, this ad betrays the AIA’s appalling lack of intention and commitment to doing the necessary work that the Equity in Architecture Commission recommends. This is disappointing for an organization that has extensive data on its own gender diversity problem and is keenly aware of its own representation to the public. The way architects are portrayed reveals a disturbing image of how the profession views itself. I understand that representation in an AIA Conference ad is not likely to affect gender diversity in architecture. Change doesn’t happen overnight, much less through algorithmically-placed adverts. But this ad does have a real effect on how women and non-binary people (like me!) feel about our inclusion within the architectural profession. Watching the video made me feel invisible, as though I’m not a real architect and I’m not invited to the conference. Barely seeing any women in represented in the ad was a shocking, surreal experience. During my second viewing, I was acutely aware of the implicit message: even if I do attend the conference, people like me don’t visit the Expo floor. I recalled attending the 2016 AIA Convention in Philadelphia and feeling wildly out of place. I could feel my hope for a better, more inclusive experience at A’18 drain away as the messaging sank in. The AIA, despite all of its efforts and good intentions, should do better. As a historically (and currently) cis male-dominated profession, the structure for supporting architects who are not cis men is severely lacking. Women and non-binary people face professional and academic settings that are hostile towards their career advancements. We receive messages in so many ways that we should not be architects. Just last year, a group of more than 50 architectural professionals wrote a letter to the Architect’s Newspaper imploring the AIA to reevaluate their keynote speakers (6 out of 7 were cis men; one was a cis woman and not an architect). We need a cultural change in architecture that also goes beyond representation.The architects who are honored by the AIA and other organizations merely reinforce dominant, patriarchal power structures. When will the five keystones for equity in architecture become a serious priority? When will architectural education become accessible enough to reflect the gender and racial diversity of the country? When will women and non-binary people finally feel represented and welcome at all stages of their architectural careers? I’m tired of having the same diversity and inclusion conversations. We have announced ourselves and have been speaking out. The future of the architectural profession lies in how well it welcomes the next generation. The next generation is here, but we don’t see ourselves reflected and seen. We need you to do better. See you on the Expo floor. A.L. Hu is an architectural designer, organizer, and activist living in New York City.
Placeholder Alt Text

Pirelli Believe It

Breuer's Pirelli Tire Building will be reborn as a hotel
One of Marcel Breuer's two New Haven, Connecticut buildings will be preserved and converted into a hotel. When it was finished in 1969, researchers and administrators at Armstrong Rubber worked out of the company's Pirelli Tire Building, a Brutalist structure whose office tower core is bisected by beguiling angled windows. The building—vacant since the 1990s—is now owned by IKEA and sits aside a store parking lot. IKEA is in talks with a developer to convert the I-95-adjacent concrete building into a hotel, the New Haven Independent reported. AN IKEA spokesperson told the paper that the company hasn't gone public with its plans for the structure yet. The conversion scheme were revealed at a meeting of the city's development commission. Breuer's work is enjoying a strong revival, thanks in part to renewed popular interest in Brutalism. In Atlanta, city officials are looking to revamp the Breuer-designed main library, while back in 2016, the Metropolitan Museum of Art restored the Whitney's former home and re-christened it the Met Breuer. (H/T NHVmod and Docomomo US)
Placeholder Alt Text

Manitoga Party

Russel Wright's renovated Manitoga shines with hand-crafted details
In 1942, the industrial designer Russel Wright and his wife, Mary Small Einstein, purchased a 75-acre abandoned stone quarry in Garrison, New York, on the eastern side of the Hudson River. The wooded site has a spectacular view down to the river, and Wright lived on the property until his death in 1976. He chose a dramatic spot above and adjacent to the deep stone quarry to build a home he called Dragon Rock, and spent the rest of his life refining and redesigning the terrain. For example, he redirected a stream to fill the quarry with water, creating an idyllic swimming pond.     The house itself, designed by the architect David L. Leavitt, is a straightforward midcentury-modern glass-and-wood-frame structure tucked into the steep stone hillside with an early green roof, but it is in its details, surfaces, and wall treatments that one can sense Wright’s creative genius as a designer. He found iron tools and large stones in the quarry and used them as door handles. The house has a distinctive Japanese sensibility in its handcrafted details and choice of materials. We examine nine of Wright’s handmade details in order to better understand the famous designer. The house, now called Manitoga, The Russel Wright Design Center, is open for public tours May 18 to November 12. Check visitmanitoga.org for details.
Placeholder Alt Text

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 ArtsGordon 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