Search results for "morphosis"
Charting uncertain territory is an architect’s primary function. Sites are investigated, plans are drawn, and structures are built—although not always as depicted or intended. Sometimes mere sketches depict a framework for improvisation where one can find success or get lost.
Novelist Tom McCarthy introduces this collection, which emerged from the Map Marathon at the Serpentine Gallery’s 2010 annual pavilion programming. Hans Ulrich Obrist, one of the event’s curators, edited the tome of maps, ranging from didactic to imaginary and from concrete to abstract. As McCarthy reminds us, “Cartographies can be altered endlessly to reflect different priorities...[and] challenge with which maps depict the ‘truth.’”
Referencing György Kepes, Obrist identifies the book as both an investigation and conversation of mapping and a “pooling of knowledge” that can help readers understand and navigate “the increasingly complex terrain that is contemporary life.” However, more than a few maps indicate life is tied to a cyberspace between land and imagination, rather than terra firma.
Each of the book’s five sections addresses a different theme. In the first, “Redrawn Territories,” Jonas Mekas interprets Manhattan by whiting out the area between 14th and Murray Street and projecting his memory of the locales of his friends, bars, and film houses. At another scale—to make people realize the size of Africa—Kai Krause stuffs foreign countries into the continent’s outline. The combination of the U.S., China, India and Eastern Europe leaves plenty of room for much of Western Europe. Phillip Hughes’ Ingleborough (1998) is a bit more interpretive and representational of land formations, while Doug Aitken’s Manhattan Metamorphosis (2008) is an abstract array of red lines and planes.
The section “Charting Human Life” swerves all over, attempting to “point toward a land of the future.” Tim Berners-Lee navigates “influences in the World Wide Web technology,” although his Dungeons & Dragons–style illustration belies its high-tech content. Tom Standage goes back in history with a “map of the internet in 1901,” which traces that year’s international telegraph system, from which Internet connections eventually sprung. Conversely, Emanuel Derman in Pleasure Pain Desire: A Map of Emotions uses a simple, box-laden flow chart to relate human psychology. Attempting to make the politics of architecture visible in domestic interiors, architect Andres Jaque provides Fray Foam Home (2010) to illustrate the origins and use of the building’s resources, but without details, it appears as mere decoration. Meanwhile, the red-lined detail of Tehching Hsieh’s One Year Performance (1981–82) does not enhance the original information. Claude Parent’s heavy ink sketches in the Le Tsunami Humain series take us far from the his utopian 1960s oblique to suggest fragmentation and disarray that humanity needs to overcome.
The cartographers in section three, “Scientia Naturalis,” use their work “to reach some truth of the natural world,” whether it’s genomic, DNA, charting worms and wasps, or explorations of space-time continuum. Dave McKean’s map juxtaposes an image of a human heart over London’s M25 motorway in a particularly Ballardian
move, though it is inspired by Iain Sinclair’s book London Orbital rather than Crash. More naturalistic, both Albert-László Barabási and Yong-Yeol Ahn categorize a number of maladies and food flavors, respectively, and network their relations in bubble diagrams, the latter in relationships among tastes and frequency of use.
“Invented Worlds” opts for complete imagination. Opening the section, John Baldessari’s Swamp (2010) humorously speculates that a “found photograph” could depict the location of comic character Swamp Thing’s home. Yona Friedman follows with the word-based A Map to the Future (2010). David Adjaye’s Europolis (2012) collages the European Union’s capital cities into a single “imagined, phenomenological city...[that] explores extremes of scale and the diversity of grain” that reveals a simultaneous density and emptiness.
The final section, “The Unmappable,” attempts to visualize an abstract idea or an event that has not yet happened. Toyo Ito supplies a porous sponge-like graphic that suggests a more complex, heterogeneous, and diverse direction. What it charts is unclear, perhaps it’s a map in search of a place. Some cede to colorful scribbles, while text dominates others in a reminder of verbal directions, such as Philippe Parreno’s discussion of mapping and invisibility and Tris Vonna-Michell’s page. Oraib Toukan’s 20/20 is a simple and subtle combination of a concrete poem and a collage studying distance, size, and scale.
The book design by Daniel Streat of the provocative studio Barnbrook, is on par with the maps. Each section launches with a topographic spread depicting chapter number and contours organizing the contributors. A title block accompanies each contribution with the artist’s name and occupation, and then title and text if they exist. Each is designed as an interpretation or key to the map, an admirable feat considering there are 120 maps. With such diversity in the atlas, I often found the title blocks interesting—repetitive in language yet different in form.
Unfortunately for such a beautifully designed and interesting atlas, the five themes create an uneven organization. Perhaps the answer lies with polar explorer Erling Kagge, included in “Charting Human Life,” who implores us to engage our inquisitiveness and exploratory intuitions: “It can feel both unpleasant and somewhat risky to explore the world. But perhaps it’s even more risky to do nothing.”
Two long-vacant Julia Morgan–designed buildings are moving forward this fall with plans for renovation, restoration, and adaptive reuse. The architect, famously known for the expansive Mediterranean Revival Hearst Castle estate, also designed the Downtown Los Angeles headquarters for the Hearst’s sixth newspaper, the Herald Examiner Building, and the progressive YWCA in Pasadena. Both structures will take on new uses and re-engage their urban settings in the coming years.
Opened in 1915, the Moorish-style Herald Examiner Building at Broadway and Eleventh stopped printing in 1989. Located at the juncture of two rapidly-developing downtown areas—Broadway Corridor and South Park—there’s been much speculation as to its eventual redux. Properties on either side of the building have been sold off and at one time it was speculated that a Morphosis-designed high-rise would fill one lot. As of 2014, Forest City was developing two seven-story mixed-use buildings for the flanking properties.
Prior to its close, nine years of worker strikes led to the newspaper boarding up the building’s street side arcade facade. In the years since, it has hosted film and television shoots—uses that kept the building from falling into total neglect. Development partners Georgetown Company and Hearst Corporation have partnered to redevelop the historic building, bringing in Gensler to transform the structure into more than 100,000 square feet of mixed-use retail and office space. The hope is to capitalize on the area’s revitalized street life and L.A. real estate’s demand for creative workspace.
Robert Jernigan, architect and Gensler principal, noted the building’s singular ceramic domes and terra-cotta details, vowing to approach the renovation carefully and “with a high degree of honesty.” He pointed out the potential of the largely intact, roughly 1,500-square-foot lobby to become a bar, cafe, or lounge area leading for a ground floor restaurant. “It’s a building that went through a lot, but it wasn’t a precious building,” he explained. “There’s an internal stair that has a brass railing that is dimpled because the strikers took sticks and beat the railing.”
He relayed a story about how the sawtooth skylights over the printing floor were blacked out during World War II and never uncovered. He suggested that the restoration will bring back the natural daylight.
“The cultural history is important,” said Michael Fischer, vice president of Georgetown Company, explaining that there are plans to also work with historical consultant. “The Hearst Corporation is staying in the deal with us. This building was very important to them and they will remain as stewards. There are a lot of stories in this building. We’re thinking about the history and how to incorporate it into the old new design.” He anticipates that the building will reopen in the middle of 2017.
In Pasadena, a proposal to convert Morgan’s 48,000-square-foot YWCA building in the city’s civic center into a Kimpton Hotel is working its way through approvals. Architectural Resources Group is leading the effort, which also includes an adjacent 87,000-square-foot, six-story building. Pasadena citizens are carefully watching the design development of the addition, which sits across the street from Pasadena’s Beaux Arts City Hall. According to Kevin Johnson of Pasadena’s Design & Historic Preservation Section, an environmental impact report is expected to be released at the end of October.
Combined, the new hotel buildings would feature 179 guest rooms and suites, meeting rooms, and a 140-seat restaurant. The design also converts the old gym into a large event space. Morgan’s YWCA buildings were known for their beautiful indoor swimming pools. Here, the pool will be kept intact, but covered and used for a ballroom.
In the late 1980s, the YWCA left the building, finding that the upkeep and maintenance of the historic structure was beyond the organization’s mission. It sat empty for decades, with some promising change in ownership, but little came of those efforts. The City of Pasadena, who now owns the building through eminent domain, is leading the current proposal. There’s been some opposition to the new building component, which sits on land that—while not an official park—is considered by many a public green space. The city’s proposal notes that the nearby Robinson Memorial is unaffected by new construction.
Conservation non-profit Pasadena Heritage has long been interested in Morgan’s Mediterranean gem and helped to protect the structure during its 100-year history. “Pasadena was a progressive community in the 1900s and local women were part of having a vision for the city—one of the things to happen was to have Julia Morgan design our YWCA,” explained executive director Sue Mossman. “Pasadena was on the cutting edge of hiring a woman architect. We are lucky to have this building and have it largely intact with very little change over the last 100 years.”
Cooper Union Board, Committee to Save Cooper Union, and NY Attorney General reach agreement on how to manage school
The Segerstrom Center for the Arts announced three new initiatives poised to transform cultural life in Orange County: two programs—the Center for a Dance and Innovation and the Center Without Boundaries—and a new plaza designed by Michael Maltzan Architecture (MMA).
While the two centers plan to focus on creativity through movement and civic engagement, MMA’s design for the Julianne and George Argyros Plaza sets the stage for these activities by reinventing the existing Arts Plaza as a public gathering place with a public stage ready to host free events for up to 2,000 people.
More ambitious than a simple plaza, as the initiative’s title may suggest, MMA’s scheme is a comprehensive reworking of the outdoor spaces around Segerstrom Hall. The campus was originally master planned by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, who also designed the adjacent Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, with landscape by Peter Walker’s PWP Landscape Architecture. A street once passed through the campus, and while it has long been closed, it left behind a public space out of scale with the surrounding buildings.
“The street made the plaza difficult to occupy in a full range of different programmatic possibilities,” said Michael Maltzan. “Our work was to imagine and expand the range of activities to take place there, which included large public performances such as a 1,000 person movie night, but also still be comfortable for couples, families, and individuals.”
According to Maltzan, the design responds to the need for outdoor areas at a number of scales and includes intimate seating, as well as a large public space and multi-purpose community stage. Renderings of three shaded green spaces—the Plaza Entry Grove, the Amphitheater Grove, the Community Picnic Grove—show casual public seating areas and pedestrian paths tucked under the tree canopy.
The main architectural component of the scheme is a circulation sequence that connects the main parking lot (via a sweeping ramp) to a walkway that passes through Segerstrom Hall and connects patrons via a grand staircase to the plaza.
“It’s a gateway and entry into the plaza,” said Maltzan. “The walkway cuts through the whole facade and creates a loose threshold. Choreography is an important thing in my work. Here, because there are many ways you can enter and leave the hall, we tried not so much to create a geometrically formal plaza but to think about how different itineraries and movements could be choreographed.”
These circular set pieces are signature Maltzan—a combination of gestural form and circulation seen in microprojects like the John V. Tunney Bridge at the Hammer Museum or at the infrastructural scale, like the Sixth Street Bridge. Programs such as an outdoor cafe and an observation deck are also integrated into the stair form to compliment the strong geometries of the existing building.
This is not the first time a top firm has been asked to enhance the arts campus. It’s a tough suburban setting to perk up: the site is indecorously located across the street from South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. In 2008, Morphosis was selected to design the new Orange County Museum of Art to be located on a parcel across from the concert hall. That plan for a 72,000-square-foot building stalled out due to the economic downturn, but there are still hopes it will move forward.
Support for plaza project and programming comes from The Segerstrom Center for the Arts’ $68 million Next Act Campaign. This fundraising includes a $13.5 million gift from Julianne and George Argyros. Construction starts on the plaza early 2016, with completion slated for fall 2016.
“A future where we work seamlessly with connected systems, services, devices, and ‘things’ to support work practices, education and daily interactions.” -in a statement by Google’s Open Web of Things.Carnegie Mellon’s enviable task is to become a testing ground for the cheap, ubiquitous sensors, integrated apps, and user-developed tools which Google sees as the key to an integrated machine future. If that sounds like mystical marketing copy, a recent project by CMU’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute sheds light on what a sensor-saturated “smart” city is capable of. The team headed by Anind K. Dey has created apps like Snap2It, which lets users connect to printers and other shared resources by taking photos of the device. Another application, Impromptu, offers relevant, temporary shared apps. For instance, if a sensor detects that you are waiting at a bus stop, you’ll likely be referred to a scheduling app. “The goal of our project will be nothing less than to radically enhance human-to-human and human-to-computer interaction through a large-scale deployment of the Internet of Things (IoT) that ensures privacy, accommodates new features over time, and enables people to readily design applications for their own use,” said Dey, lead investigator of the expedition and director of HCII. To create the living lab, the expedition will saturate the CMU campus with sensors and infrastructure, and recruit students and other campus members to create and use novel IoT apps. Dey plans on building tools that allow users to easily create their own IoT scripts. “An early milestone will include the development of our IoT app store, where any campus member and the larger research community will be able to develop and share an IoT script, action, multiple-sensor feed, or application easily and widely,” Dey said. “Because many novel IoT applications require a critical mass of sensors, CMU will use inexpensive sensors to add IoT capability to ‘dumb’ appliances and environments across the campus.” Researchers at CMU will work with Cornell, Stanford, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to develop the project, code-named GIoTTo. The premise is that embedded sensors in buildings and everyday objects can be interwoven to create “smart” environments controlled and experienced through interoperable technologies.