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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
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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.”
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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.
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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)
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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.
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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
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Seeing and Believing

Leandro Erlich's uncanny work now on view at Tokyo's Mori Art Museum
It is a wise old adage that the better the architecture, the harder it is to photograph. The same could be said of installation art: the spatial, immersive, physical experience of the building or environment is impossible to capture in imagery, one has to be there with one’s own body, and all one’s senses, to feel its real resonance. This is particularly true of the art of Leandro Erlich, the Argentinian master of metaphysical trompe l’oeil whose work is among the most photographed, but yet it cannot be fully enjoyed, or even just understood, by images alone. Erlich is already a superstar in Japan, so it makes complete sense that his first major retrospective, the most complete exhibition of his oeuvre, should take place at the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo’s most prestigious contemporary art center. The show, Leandro Erlich: Seeing and Believing, is already a jam-packed mega-hit, with a projected total of 400,000 visitors by the time it closes, appropriately, on April Fool’s Day 2018. Most visitors take photographs, yet even as the circulation of images on social media reflects the success of contemporary exhibitions today, it is difficult to genuinely experience Erlich’s works through Instagram (or through reading a review like this one). For example, the last and most dramatic work of the show, Building, appears entirely dependent upon photography. First created in 2004, the work depicts a classic Parisian apartment block laid out on the floor, and visitors are encouraged to strike poses and disport themselves on the facades while a giant angled overhead mirror reflects them in defiance of all gravity. At the beginning of the show, the Mori Museum provided special photographers to take pictures for visitors on the work, as obviously they could not otherwise capture themselves in action. These images serve as the successful culmination to the show, proof of participation and obligatory digital souvenir. As the title of the exhibition makes clear, however, you really have to see Building yourself, and enjoy the actual physical interaction for it to mean anything, to transcend Photoshop trickery and move beyond the flat photographic plane. The Mori is an appropriate venue for Erlich because all his work is predicated around ‘architecture’ in the widest sense, the profession practiced by both his father and brother, which he himself extends into ambiguous, ambitious zones of the ‘reflective’ and uncanny, somewhere between Piranesi, Dan Graham, and M.C. Escher. The Mori was created by a great lover of architecture, indeed the very next exhibition at his museum is Japan in Architecture. This was the eponymous Minoru Mori who, as one of Tokyo’s most successful builder-developers, also created the most important private collection of works by his hero Le Corbusier, some of whose paintings are on display at his Ark Hills Club. For his Tower, famous for the best observation deck over the entire city, Mori chose retail architect Jon Jerde, (who collector Steve Wynn called "the Bernini of our time"), a designer whose practice could be profitably compared to that of Leandro Erlich. Indeed Jerde, who spoke about himself as a place-maker or a creator of experiences rather than a builder of buildings, could almost be describing Erlich’s work when he stated that his own work "[put] people in a popular and collective environment in which they can be most truly and happily alive." For people are indeed clearly happy, vocally alive, as they move through Erich’s lavish exhibition, enjoying one surprise after the other, a quite literal buzz of disbelief and delight at each mind-boggling encounter. Here no expense has been spared, with each work built just for this show and each given sufficient room to breathe, properly separated from the next. There is also a new work specifically made for this occasion, The Classroom, where thanks to a sheet of ultra-reflective glass, visitors find themselves, or their ghostly echo, sitting in the middle of a typical Japanese school from their youth. Another highlight in a show which is nothing but highlights, is Changing Rooms which are exactly that, an extensive labyrinth of boutique cells, some of whose mirrors turn out to be empty doorways through which one can climb, others of which are actual mirrors, producing the most baffling and exhilarating of journeys as one apparently clambers through oneself. Every architecture student, or indeed amused elder practitioner, should have the chance to experience Erlich’s work, which is the most literal and resonant demonstration of the transformative psychological possibilities of built space. Although he starred in the Whitney Biennial back in 2000, a proper American exhibition is long overdue, ideally with an essay by Anthony Vidler, that fellow wizard of the uncanny. Leandro Erlich: Seeing and Believing, is on view at the Mori Art Museum through April 1. For more information, visit mori.art.museum/en
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Out of the Box

David Zwirner taps Renzo Piano to design new $50 million Chelsea gallery
Art dealer David Zwirner has announced plans for a new, five-story, $50 million gallery to be designed by Renzo Piano. The gallery will rise on a corner lot at 540 West 21st Street that is currently under demolition. The developer is Casco Development, and the gallery will be linked to a 20-story residential tower but stand as a separate structure. The gallery building will be constructed close to Zwirner's current galleries in Chelsea, which includes one on West 19th Street and one on West 20th Street. Zwirner also owns a gallery on the Upper East Side, and is set to expand in Asia, with a gallery opening in Hong Kong on January 25th. Including the West 21st Street gallery, this would bring the total number of his galleries to seven worldwide. Zwirner indicated that after the opening of his new gallery, he would probably close the gallery space on 19th Street, which he rents. As Zwirner told The New York Times, Piano is "one of my great heroes." Zwirner, who previously worked with Annabel Selldorf on his current galleries, also said that Piano was the developer's choice. While Piano is well known for his museum projects, this will be the architect's first commercial gallery. Zwirner is one of the art world's most successful dealers. This five-story building, with three floors dedicated to gallery space, would serve as a kind of calling card and headquarters for his art empire. While the design process is in the early stages, Piano told the Times that his design would emphasize “a visual psychological connection between the building and the street,” as in his design at the Whitney Museum of Art. The news comes as Zwirner prepares for a 25-year anniversary exhibition, opening this weekend on January 13th. The new gallery is scheduled to open in the fall of 2020, with groundbreaking expected sometime this spring.
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City Construct

DPMT7 design collective explores entropy at Cincinnati's Aronoff Center
Work by DPMT7, a Cincinnati-based architecture/design collective, is now on show at The Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Art Gallery in downtown Cincinnati. DPMT7: Un Teatro Del Nuovo fills the gallery with a scaffolding structure and examines the “role of Architecture (“A” for emphasis) in a world of entropy.” The unprogrammed web of frames and lines divides the two-story gallery into smaller intimate spaces. On the lower level, construction scaffolding, safety nets, and other rough materials define the space. “The simplicity of the line moves through the city,” reads the gallery statement, “reinforcing the degradation of the existing without masking it.” The upper level is filled with models of multiple scales, including a set of large columns built from numerous raw construction materials. These elements are augmented by large scale drawings and collages. DPMT7 is a collective based at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning. Led by Vincent Sansalone, the team also includes Ryan Ball, Kory Beighle, Sean Cottengim, Nicholas Germann, Whitney Hamaker, and Joseph Kinzelman. DPMT7: Un Teatro Del Nuovo Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Art Gallery Aronoff Center for the Arts 650 Walnut Street Cincinnati, Ohio Through August 27th
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LADG

Inside the diverse practice of the Los Angeles Design Group

The offices of the Los Angeles Design Group (LADG) are located on a sleepy street in Venice, California, that even on cloudy days looks a bit sun-bleached. There, a few blocks from the ocean in a diminutive storefront open to the street, one can find Claus Benjamin Freyinger, Andrew Holder, and their small team of designers charting a unique trajectory in what one might call “disciplinary architecture.”

“[Things like] structure are always subordinate to the [disciplinary] agenda we are trying to pursue,” Freyinger said, describing a vibrant grid of project views organized neatly along the main studio wall. He continued, “We are trying to work against the understanding of a building as a collection of integrated systems, one piled on top of the other.” Which is not to say that the firm does not consider structure or systems, but rather that it focuses instead on subverting the all-too-easy tendency those components have of making themselves apparent in the final work. Instead, LADG explodes the building process horizontally and explores each component—drawing, model, and detail—individually, in pursuit of “what happens when each idea develops independently of hierarchy,” as Holder put it.

After 13 years, the firm has produced a compellingly diverse collection of work ranging from installations to interiors to complete structures, swapping disciplinary and professional focus with each project.

The Kid Cambridge, Massachusetts

The Kid Gets out of the Picture, installed at Loeb Library at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 2016, was developed in concert with architects First Office, Hirsuta, and Laurel Broughton / Andrew Kovacs for Materials & Applications. The contemporary interpretation of an English picturesque garden is based on priest and artist William Gilpin’s travel sketches, which LADG mined for symbolic and literal inspiration in its attempts to explore “topics left unfinished by the picturesque.” With the installation, the designers explored “clumps,” the collections of heterogeneous objects and plants used by picturesque designers to organize their compositions. Here, the designers arrange a collection of plaster-coated, plywood-rib-framed drapery atop wooden-beam and stacked-block bases.

Surefoot Santa Monica  Santa Monica, CA

The interiors for Surefoot Santa Monica are a creative solution for an abstract programmatic challenge: Create a storefront for a shop with no inventory. The ski-boot store acts as a fitting room mostly, where patrons pick out and get sized up for new custom-made ski boots produced off-site. The firm toyed with the formal complexities of lofted and faceted finishes for the project, creating a collection of object-like surfaces that act independently of one another. Gable-shaped plywood display walls—punctuated by boxed-out display cases—hold forth under a billowing plaster tent.

Oyster Gourmet Los Angeles

The Oyster Gourmet is a mechanical kiosk designed to house a champagne and oyster bar in L.A’s Grand Central Market. The structure’s operable walls fold up and down via hand crank, creating an awning for the bar below when fully extended. The structure is made out of plywood ribs, canvas cloth, and steel supports. But the built form of the mollusk-shaped eatery is but one manifestation of the kinetic kiosk—the pink-hued worm's eye axonometric and gray-scale floorplan drawings are also of merit.

Armstrong Avenue Residence Los Angeles

The Armstrong Avenue Residence is a 1,894-square-foot renovation of an existing split-level house in Los Angeles. The charred cedar-clad “upside down house” is organized with a top-floor living room located above an unceremonial set of bedroom, study, and garage spaces. The setup ensures the living areas have the best view of a nearby reservoir, which can also be seen from a cyclopean bedroom window that has been torqued to be in line with the water feature. The inset bay window is mimicked along the back of the house via Marcel Breuer–inspired massing, creating a house that steps out in parallel with the scrubby hillside behind.

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Happy July 4!

America's biggest and best upcoming sports stadiums
There’s nothing more American than sports, so just in time for America's birthday, here’s a look at some of the biggest stadium projects in the works—from the world's most expensive stadium to a celebrity-backed soccer field. Ford Field (Detroit Lions) The Lions’ Ford Field Stadium will be undergoing a $44 million renovation of its interiors in a project led by Detroit-based Rossetti. “Our goal has been to bring the fan experience up to standards and beyond while customizing the design for Detroit,” said Jim Renne, sports principal at Rossetti and lead designer of the original stadium. Banc of California Stadium (Los Angeles Football Club) The 22,000-seat and $250 million stadium for the LAFC is now under construction. Designed by Gensler in a "European-style" arrangement with steeply-raked and sweeping seating areas, the open-air stadium is meant to bring viewers in a closer relationship to the field and players. Oakland Raiders stadium The Oakland Raider's have purchased a 62-acre-site in Las Vegas for their new stadium, which will be designed by Kansas City, Missouri–based Manica Architecture. The stadium, which is expected to cost $77.5 million, will seat up to 65,000 people. The NFL team's move to the new stadium follows two years of drama and they plan to move in 2020, just in time for the start of the season. Quicken Loans Arena (Cleveland Cavaliers) As one of the oldest National Basketball Association (NBA) stadiums in use, the Quicken Loans Arena will get a $140 million refurbishment from SHoP Architects and Rossetti. The new design will see a new glazed facade which stretches the stadium’s footprint closer to the street edge, as well as an increase in space at the entrance and exit gangway areas. “The $140 million transformation, half of which the Cavalier’s will be paying, ensures that this public facility will remain competitive in the future,” Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said in a press release. David Beckham's Major League Soccer stadium Soccer star David Beckham is making moves with a Populous-designed, 25-000 seat stadium. What's catching attention, however, is not the celebrity attachment: it's that there won't be parking. Instead, fans are expected to use Metromover, Metrorail, water taxis, ridesharing, and plain-old walking to get to the stadium. LA Rams stadium Once completed in 2019, this stadium will be the world's most expensive, clocking in at a whopping $2.66 billion. Dallas-based HKS designed the new LA Rams stadium with more than 36,000 aluminum panels, which will have 20 million perforations punched into them. The perforations in the metal skin respond to the variable Southern California climate without the need for an HVAC system. This creates an effect of being outside, according to HKS. RFK Stadium In a $500 million vision to revamp the sites around the RFK Memorial Stadium after it's demolished in 2019, Events D.C., the city’s semi-independent convention and sports authority, unveiled plans to build it up with three multi-purpose athletic fields, a 47,000-square-foot food market hall, and a 350,000-square-foot indoor sports complex. “The RFK Stadium Armory-Campus—currently under-utilized—is poised to be transformed into a vibrant place that connects D.C. to the Anacostia River,” OMA partner Jason Long told the Washington Business Journal. Villanova University basketball stadium The university's basketball fans will have a new stadium to cheer on the Wildcats for the 2018-2019 season (in time for March Madness) when the renovation designed by Philadelphia-based EwingCole is completed. There will be a new lobby, concourse, and hall of fame greeting visitors. “It was important to Villanova that we celebrate the uniqueness of The Pavilion while creating an unmatched Division I basketball experience for the players and the fans,” said Bill McCullough, principal of EwingCole’s sports practice, in a prepared statement. The Texas Rangers' new Arlington, Texas ballpark Dallas-based architecture firm HKS has been chosen to design a new ballpark for the Texas Rangers baseball team. The stadium will be constructed as a public-private partnership between the team and the City of Arlington: It will serve as the Rangers’ home field and as a multipurpose arena for high school, college, and international sports. The Portland Timbers' stadium expansion Allied Works Architecture (AWA) has unveiled designs for a $50 million expansion to the 91-year-old soccer stadium in Portland, Oregon’s Providence Park, home to the Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns soccer teams. The stadium expansion, according to information on the AWA website, is conceptually inspired by William Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London and will aim to add roughly 4,000 seats to the existing stadium complex.
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Hot Art in Cold Springs

New contemporary Italian art museum opens in Hudson River Valley
Magazzino, a postwar and contemporary Italian art museum, opens June 28, joining the ranks of MASS MoCA, Storm King Art Center, and Dia:Beacon in the Hudson River Valley. The museum will house works collected by Giorgio Spanu and Nancy Olnick, who own one of the largest collections of postwar and contemporary Italian art in the U.S. and have been collecting these works since the 1990s. Featured artists include Giovanni Anselmo, Alighiero Boetti, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Luciano Fabro, Jannis Kounellis, Mario Merz, Giulio Paolini, Giuseppe Penone, Michelangelo Pistoletto, and Gilberto Zorio. The museum itself was 10 years in the making and will feature over 400 artworks from the Olnick Spanu Collection and 5,000 books on Italian art. Magazzino, which means “warehouse” in Italian, is comprised of an old farmers’ warehouse (later turned into a dairy distribution center and then a computer factory) and a new building by Spanish architect Miguel Quismondo. “We said, the new space had one protagonist: The art. [The building] had to be a container that could explain its content,” Spanu said. This is Quismondo’s first major completed project; he worked under Alberto Campo Baeza on Spanu and Olnick’s home in Garrison, New York. He became involved with Magazzino in 2014, but completed construction (doubling as the general contractor) in 20 months, a process that he described as “very intense” but “a labor of love.” The architect mirrored the existing L-shape configuration to create a rectangle with a courtyard in the center, allowing copious light to infiltrate the 20,000-square-foot structure. “The container had to be as discrete and humble and mute as possible, but I still played with the dialogue between the existing 1964 structure and the new 2017 structure. The light works in different ways throughout,” Quismondo explained. Open glass hallways connecting the buildings as well as varied ceiling heights offer visitors moments of compression and expansion. The older works, an homage to Italian curator, collector, and gallery owner Margherita Stein in the inaugural exhibition Margherita Stein: Rebel With a Cause are displayed within the smaller of the two buildings, with lower ceilings and an open layout. The newer works, from the late ‘80s onward, are presented in a much larger room with a central axis running through it. Translucent fiberglass ceiling tiles offer diffused, equal lighting that is akin to the now-famous illumination at the Whitney. Magazzino (2700 Route 9, Cold Spring, NY, 10516) is free to the public by appointment.