Search results for "wHY"

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Why a florist in Detroit filled this abandoned house with flowers
Detroit florist Lisa Waud wants to give abandoned homes in her city a chance to bloom once more before they are demolished. Her project, The Flower House, had its trial run this month, when the Huffington Post reported she leaned out the second-story window of an abandoned house overlooking a Detroit freeway, and sprinkled white flower petals on spectators gathered below. Inside, the house was festooned with mosses, ferns, seasonal flowers and vines—more jungle than junk property—a visually arresting living art installation that Waud hopes will raise as much as $50,000 for future work. She says she will use the donations to repeat the project at other abandoned homes in the Detroit area and then deconstruct the buildings to salvage their materials. Waud bought two foreclosed structures in Detroit's Hamtramck area for a total of $500, and invited 13 florists (Waud runs the studio Pot & Box) to help her arrange about 4,000 flowers in 48 hours. She told The Huffington Post, “It was the best week of my creative life.” Heather Saunders Photography snapped an engrossing gallery of The Flower House, which you can see below.
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PlanPhilly leaving PennPraxis for WHYY
PlanPhilly, the non-profit site that covers all things planning and urbanism in Philadelphia, is leaving PennPraxis at the University of Pennsylvania for WHYY, a public media outlet that brings the world Terry Gross. The site was launched in 2006 and has been reporting on the city's dramatic evolution ever since. "Following the move, PlanPhilly will help WHYY and its website deepen its coverage of civic issues and promote public dialogue about the future of the Philadelphia region," WHYY said in a statement. "Becoming part of WHYY’s public media operation will enable PlanPhilly to broaden its reach beyond its web audience through radio and television reporting."
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Sunday> Panel asks, “Why Isn’t the 1947 Neutra Kaufmann House on the National Register?”
Palm Springs Modernism Week is in its tenth year of celebrating the city's architectural masterpieces and tracts of mid-century modern houses. The Architects Newspaper is, for the sixth year, a media sponsor of Modernism Week, and we are here in the Mojave desert reporting on its numerous events. One of the highlights is the Sunday discussion and round table, "Why Isn’t the 1947 Neutra Kaufmann House on the National Register?" This working panel hosted by the California State Historic Resources Commission’s (SHRC) Modernism Committee will look at the Kaufmann house and other case studies in order to challenge "the integrity and standards used to evaluate National Register nominations" and ask whether they need to change when evaluating "the material realities of mid-century modern structures; materials that were often mass-produced, vulnerable, and easily replaced." The panel will include: architectural historian and California State Historic Resources Commission Beth Edwards Harris; well-known historian Alan Hess; Michigan preservationists Brian Conway, Katie Horak, Christine Lazzaretto. I am also on the panel and will discuss the research and remaking of the Lever Houses curtain wall. There are still a few tickets available for the event. Why Isn’t the 1947 Neutra Kaufmann House on the National Register? Hilton Palm Springs, Horizon Ballroom 400 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs, CA 92262 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM, $12
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It’s Friday, so why not let this drone give you a birds-eye tour of New York City?
We know, we know, we know—the internet is being overrun with drone-photographed, time-lapse videos of cities and ruins. They are like cat videos, or BuzzFeed quizzes, or thought-pieces on Hillary Clinton's ground game in 2016: they're everywhere and they're unavoidable. But sometimes they're pretty great. This five-minute video by Victor Chu is called “Ultimate Aerial Video of NYC!," and, well, yeah, it kind of is! The video starts with a quote from (who else?) F. Scott Fitzgerald and then finds its way through the five boroughs with the help of an agile drone. Some architectural highlights include Four Freedoms Park, Hunters Point South Waterfront Park by Thomas Balsley Associates, and pre-demolition 5Pointz. The drone also travels directly through the Unisphere, which is known best from the 1964-65 World’s Fair and second best from Men In Black. [h/t Gothamist]
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At SCI-Arc, the Magic is Inside the Box; Eric Owen Moss Explains Why
“Actually, the box isn’t magic, so don’t be disappointed you didn’t get ahold of Merlin the Magician,” Eric Owen Moss said at the start of a recent interview. Moss, director of the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), was referring to the school’s new digital fabrication lab. Dubbed the Magic Box, the two-story, prefabricated steel structure will be constructed at the south end of the SCI-Arc building. But Moss didn’t want to focus on the laboratory itself, which was designed by several architects affiliated with SCI-Arc (including Moss's own firm). Instead, he said, “the game is, what’s inside is magic. It’s not so much the object, but what the object contains." The Magic Box will house state-of-the-art tools for digital prototyping and fabrication, including CNC machines and 3D printers. Together with a remade Analog Fabrication Shop and the existing Robotics Lab, the Magic Box will be a key component of the school’s new RAD (Robot House, Analog Shop, and Digital Fabrication Lab) Center. According to Moss, the Center is designed to teach students how to interrogate the technologies and materials they encounter. “SCI-Arc is not interested in producing people who can just go into an office and use digital tools,” he explained. “We’re interesting in producing students who have a critical and intellectual perspective on this.” As an example of the kind of creative discovery he expects will take place inside the Magic Box, Moss cited the school’s Robot House, the 1,000-square-foot laboratory comprising a five-robot workroom and a Simulation Lab. “Robots are usually used in [a chronological sequence], but we don’t use them that way,” Moss said. “The robots evolve: as the program changes, the robots start to do something else.” He also pointed to the history of CATIA, visualization software originally marketed to aerospace engineers but now in widespread use among architects. “A lot of these [digital] tools have been made by other characters that may have different motives,” Moss explained. “We want to make sure that the imaginative motive is introduced as part of the [architect’s] education.” In the end, Moss said, the new workspace at SCI-Arc is named the Magic Box to reflect the optimistic spirit in which it is being introduced. That storyline will begin next spring, when construction on the Magic Box starts. The 4,000-square-foot space is expected to be ready for students at the opening of the 2014-15 school year.
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wHY Architecture to Convert Masonic Temple Into a New Art Museum in Los Angeles
Culver City firm wHY Architecture has been selected to design a new art museum in Los Angeles for Maurice and Paul Marciano, the founders of clothing empire Guess? Inc. The museum will be located inside a marble-clad, four story Scottish Rite Masonic Temple on Wilshire Boulevard near Lucerne Boulevard. When retrofitted in 2015, the austere building, originally designed by legendary artist Millard Sheets, will contain 90,000 square feet of exhibition space, showing off the Marciano's impressive collection, which will be open for "periodic exhibitions for the public." wHY has also designed L&M Arts and Perry Rubenstein Gallery in LA, an expansion of the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, and the Tyler Museum of Art in Texas. They're also working on a Studio Art Hall at Pomona College outside of LA.
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Why the Thin Skin, Frank?
The Gehry-designed Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, where the exhibition will take place.
Courtesy MOCA

By now most of us in the LA architecture world have heard about the troubles surrounding the upcoming MOCA exhibition A New Sculpturalism: Contemporary Architecture in Southern California. Just before press time the show had been reinstated, although delayed from June 2 to June 16. This piece of news came after the show had been put on hold for weeks, its future very much in doubt, and after LA’s best-known architect, Frank Gehry, had already pulled out. It’s still unclear what role, if any, the show’s curator, Christopher Mount will hold. Rumors have been swirling that he has been replaced and that Thom Mayne is "facilitating" the exhibition, although nothing has been confirmed.

Frank Gehry.

Full disclosure: I was one of a group of advisors on the show, although I had no role in its curation or execution.     The combination of problems says so much about the trouble with Los Angeles architecture and the trouble with one particular Los Angeles architect.

For architecture, there’s no reason for a show of this scope, with this many resources, to be in such a precarious position just a few weeks before its opening. No matter what really happened, and who was truly at fault—be it curator Christopher Mount, MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch, others at MOCA, or some combination thereof—for the sake of our architecture community such a show needs to be settled and in good shape at this stage of the game. We need more of these types of shows, not less.

As Neil Denari told me, the doubts about the show raised “questions about the ability to have a public discourse about architecture, which I think LA desperately needs.” Indeed, for architecture to break out of its insulated shell—in which the best architects often get sidelined doing houses and other private work while the jumbo, well-connected firms do the major civic projects—the talent here needs to have an interaction with the community.

The show is part of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in Los Angeles series, and for all of that initiative’s brilliant scholarship and excitement, this is the only show that showcases what is current in Los Angeles. For a place where the future is so important, that investigation is a much needed complement.

As for that one architect, Frank Gehry told the LA Times that he was leaving because “it didn’t seem to be a scholarly, well-organized show.” He added: “I’m subject to misunderstanding about the seriousness of my work. People assume I am just crumpling paper, and so forth. This was feeling a bit that way, a trivialization.”

Gehry of course has the right to pull out of whatever exhibition he wishes, and he certainly raises valid questions about the show's focus. But even if he finds the show unscholarly and unfavorable to him, does that give him the right to jeopardize the work of so many others? The show includes a lineup of more than 150 projects from more than 30 of the city’s firms. Its catalogue totals more than 250 pages. Sure, any endeavor of this scale will miss architects and get things wrong, and this one seems to do both. A debate about its merits is not just allowable, but necessary. That doesn’t seem trivial.

Have star architects reached the point where they can dictate—like star athletes and star actors—everything that’s said about them and revolves around them? You would think someone with a career as illustrious would be a little more resistant to criticism and interpretation. It seems that one man’s insecurity, and his intellectual differences with the show, are enough to jeopardize a whole community, in particular the generations to follow him. It’s a classic act of selfishness that only reconfirms people’s stereotypes about architects.

That being said, this show shouldn’t need Frank Gehry. One entry, even as prestigious as his, shouldn’t be able to jeopardize an entire exhibition. None of us have seen the final result, but we have seen a museum whose commitment to architecture is still in doubt, and an architect with a lack of commitment to the architecture community at large.

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Massive Monsanto expansion in St. Louis suburbs has urbanists asking, “Why not downtown?”
Agribusiness titan Monsanto has pledged hundreds of millions of dollars in upgrades to its research facility outside St. Louis, and design details are starting to pop up. Cannon Design will plan, design and engineer a new 400,000 square foot center for life sciences research. The expansion will bring 675 new employees to Chesterfield, on the western fringe of the St. Louis metropolitan area. Those jobs will be mainly high-paying research positions, encouraging for suburban Chesterfield after tax revenue sagged following 2009 layoffs at Pfizer, another major tenant of the business complex. But, as NextSTL points out, some urbanists would rather see such development closer to the urban core—namely in the CORTEX bioscience district in the city’s Central West End neighborhood. CORTEX would turn an old telephone factory and other industrial buildings into a biotech business district along Duncan Avenue.
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Did wHY Architecture’s Speed Art Museum Expansion Fell a 309 Year Old Tree in Louisville?
[Editor's Note: Following the publishing of this story, the Speed Art Museum and tree researchers studied the tree, determining that it was, in fact, not three centuries old, nor a Valley Oak. The tree in question is now believed to be a 60-year-old English Oak. Read the update here.] The Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, is currently closed to visitors until 2015 while a dramatic stacked-box addition is built to the north of the institution's original 1927 neo-Classical building on the University of Louisville's Olmsted-designed Belknap Campus. The $50 million expansion, designed by Culver City, CA-based wHY Architecture with Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architects, who were later dropped from the project, will triple the museum's gallery space and add to the already robust arts scene in Louisville. This week, one alert writer at the student newspaper, The Louisville Cardinal, noticed something missing at the construction site: the University's oldest tree. The approximately 309-year-old Valley Oak had been cut down when the site was cleared late last year. Only a stump now remains behind the construction fence. The author, Wesley Kerrick, noted the tree pre-dates not just the University, but the city, state, and country in which it resides, as it sprouted sometime in the late 17th or early 18th century. Kerrick expressed frustration over the fact that the tree couldn't have been saved. Dr. Tommy Parker, Director of the Urban Wildlife Research Lab (UWRL) at the University of Louisville, has been observing the University's urban forest for the past several years. The University's 309-acre Belknap Campus contains over 2500 trees, which Parker and his students have been studying and mapping to build a Tree App that geo-locates every tree on campus with information on each tree's species, age, height, environmental contribution, and even monetary value. The mapping project has documented 1,140 trees on campus so far. "This project is useful for understanding wildlife habitats," Parker said. "It allows for real-time analysis in the field." Dr. Parker and his students first collect measurements of each tree, feeding the information through a computer program that estimates its age, value, and environmental benefit. Next, teams geo-locate each tree, finding the exact coordinates using a GPS device. The mapping process helped Parker and Kerrick recognize the Valley Oak's history and that it had been removed. "She was a beautiful tree. I just happened to come in one day and it was gone," Parker said of the three-century-old tree. He lamented the loss of such a historic tree, but noted, "I didn't have a problem with removing the tree. Just that there was no conversation about it. That was the only problem I had." Parker explained that, like other living things, different tree species have different lifespans, and at the end of their prime they can become susceptible to root rot and disease, sometimes requiring removal. "Many people think all trees are like Sequoias," Parker said, "but most trees have a distinct lifespan." For instance, Oaks and Maples, Parker said, can readily live to be 200 to 250 years old, depending on the region in which they're growing. In a southeastern city like Louisville, trees can grow even older. Parker estimated that if the Valley Oak had not been cut down, it could have lived for decades to come. "It was in good shape," Parker said. "That tree could have lasted easily another 50 years." In human terms, Parker said the tree would be about 50 years old given an average human lifespan of 72 years. To replace the old tree with new young trees of the same species and maintain what Parker called the tree's "environmental services" (it's ability to absorb cardon dioxide), the University would have to plant 35 new two-inch-diameter trees. The old tree's diameter measured 51.5 inches, but Parker said the real benefit of such a large tree is its crown, where the leaves are scrubbing the air. Still, Parker is less concerned with the loss of one iconic tree and is helping to push a tree-planting campaign to keep the University's urban forest healthy. In the past two years, the University added 380 trees to its campus, and Parker said it's on target to plant another 300 this year. "We need to think of tree turnover and plan for the next 50 years," he said. "We can't have ten or 15 year gaps in the tree canopy" from trees dying and no new trees being planted. He hoped the loss of the Valley Oak might inspire others to get involved in taking care or and expanding Louisville's urban forest.
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Videos> 32 Years After Whyte, Seagram Plaza Still a Flurry of Activity
For the past eleven years, photographer Jesse David Harris has had unfettered access to two of the most architecturally significant buildings in New York: the Seagram Building and Lever House, both owned by RFR Holdings. As staff photographer for the Lever House Art Collection he began to shoot the Seagram Building with deference to Ezra Stoller. The photographer’s familiarity with the building evolved alongside technology. Last year, Harris began a time-lapse project that reflects his time with Mies van der Rohe's masterpiece. The project took ten days to shoot over the course of 8 months on a Canon 5D MarkII. Harris bounced between a 17mm and a 24mm tilt-shift lens. Three streams of bracketed exposures were edited during four months of postproduction. To achieve the stunning effects in the film, the photographer designed a time-lapse dolly with a slow servomotor that gently pushed the camera along a forty foot track. The time lapses ranged from four to 24 hours. It’s not the first time that the Seagram has received this time lapse treatment. The late urbanist William Holly Whyte used time-lapse recordings of the building's plaza to hash out theories on the use of public space for his landmark book and film, The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces. Harris and Whyte shared the same elevated vantage point from which to observe the flurry of activity in the plaza below. Harris’s work seems to buttress Whyte’s appreciation of a “friendly kind of congestion” that forms on Seagram’s plaza. Until recently, people were often swept away from architectural photography as blemishes obscuring the masterpiece, but Harris’s film takes a kind of Satyagraha joy of people in motion. The result is a wholly public yet intimate observation that only an eleven-year photo veteran could make. “In the beginning, I was intimidated by it,” Harris said of the building. “On first look it can be standoffish, but it’s actually very soft. It sounds silly, but it’s become my friend in a way.”
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Video> wHY Architecture Reveals Speed Art Museum Design for Louisville (Updated)
Louisville's Speed Art Museum has unveiled plans for a new addition designed by Culver City, CA-based wHY Architecture with Reed Hilderbrand landscape architects. Located on the campus of the University of Louisville, the museum hopes to increase connections with the city and the university along with increasing gallery and educational space. The scope of wHY's work includes 200,000 square feet of new and renovated space in three phases valued at $79 million. The first phase including the new north structure will begin construction this year. A fly-through (after the jump) offers a peak at the design, which calls for a simple monumental form next to the 1920s-era Beaux-Arts main building that cantilevers over a stand of trees forming an outdoor room and cafe on the campus facing side. A large garage-like door opens out to the garden. The street facing side features an outdoor amphitheatre-like seating set in the ground and a large reflecting pool. A cantilever staircase will be visible through the street facing facade. While the designers said they were seeking to practice "architectural acupuncture" on the site, it appears that earlier additions will be cleared away entirely. The contrast between the original neoclassical building, which is largely windowless, and the highly transparent new wing is fairly stark, though the integration of landscape elements and water features makes the building seem rooted in the campus site.
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wHY Architecture’s Makeover Magic at L&M Arts
A WPA-era power plant is transformed into a modern gallery space.
Kelly Barrie

Just as LACMA’s new Resnick Pavilion opened, Venice inaugurated a much smaller building impressive enough to also have a profound impact: wHY Architecture’s new L&M Arts, which opened on September 25.

The gallery, spreading out along the south side of Venice Boulevard, features copious landscaping to soften the transition from the street, and to provide a garden setting—a rarity for galleries. And it manages to combine old and new in a way that “makes the old feel alive,” said wHY partner Kulapat Yantrasast.

wHY Architecture transforms a powerplant into an art gallery.
Ample landscaping surrounds the L&M Arts, providing a lush feel to the gallery.

The project is composed of three main elements. First, the adaptive reuse of a WPA-era brick power station, which the firm fitted with pristine white walls to contrast with the building’s existing concrete slab system. Second, a tall, diamond-shaped new gallery made from an irregular pattern of recycled bricks (taken from former downtown LA office buildings) that somehow looks older than the actual historic building. And third, a sleek linear bar, clad with richly textured exposed aggregate plaster and large horizontal windows, which connects the two and provides offices and a private viewing room for the gallery.

L&M Arts by wHY Architecture.   L&M Arts by wHY Architecture.
Natural and artificial light mix inside wHY Architecture's new L&M Arts gallery.

Inside, the galleries not only merge old and new, but natural and artificial light—an ethereal element that immediately draws your eye upward before you take in the art. The new building’s giant skylight, with its exposed steel frame, is complemented by uplights that delineate the space between the white walls and the wooden rafters. The older space’s long, central skylight is fitted with a scrim, evocative of a James Turrell Skyspace. Fluorescents inside augment and mimic that skylight effect at night.

Overall, it’s a huge step for a community that, while rich in artistic talent, has few world-class galleries to show for it. The first show—a controversial set of sculptures by artist Paul McCarthy—drew huge crowds. It’s a promising start.