Alberta-born, New York–based artist Elaine Cameron-Weir has made a name for herself with her sculptures in all variety of scale, shape, and material. Most recently, she was commissioned by Storm King Art Center as part of their now annual Outlooks series, which invites an emerging or mid-career artist to devise a temporary site-specific installation for the art park. AN sat down with Cameron-Weir to talk about her new sculpture, the problem of design, and, naturally, the apocalypse. Architect's Newspaper: Can you remind me of the title of your installation at Storm King; it's quite a title. Elaine Cameron-Weir: It’s A toothless grin. A STAR EXPANSION! GLOBE OF DEATH A graveyard orbit. “A toothless grin” is kind of like a play on a colloquial saying, something about missing teeth and death—with connotations of something unsettling, like decay. And then “A STAR EXPANSION!” comes from this fastener company that the people who started Storm King had, the Star Expansion Industries Corporation. I thought that was a beautiful name. The “GLOBE OF DEATH” is what this spherical cage is called that stunt motorcyclists ride around in during shows. And then ‘A graveyard orbit’ is a phrase for the orbit of a satellite that extends beyond its useful orbit; when the satellite is no longer to be used, they send it into a graveyard orbit. It just keeps circling the earth as space junk. AN: The shelter is a found piece; is the globe also found? ECW: No, the globe was fabricated specifically for the piece, but it's based on objects that already exist. So it’s about the same dimensions as the globes of death that are generally the ones that travel to county fairs and other venues. AN: What was it like working in that sort of scale, at a scale that's not intended to be experienced in a room but in a landscape? ECW: The absence of surrounding architecture for art is really strange. I didn't expect it to be so…it wasn't difficult, and I wouldn't say it was easy. It was just there was the removal of the constraints of a room. There's such a specific way that people behave in an art space. I've done projects where it's been in an environment that's not specific to looking at art, like abandoned buildings, but you're still dealing with something that's around you. And the scale is really different. Something huge does not necessarily look huge outside. And you have to think about the weather and transparency; if the piece itself is partially transparent and if you look at it from a certain angle, it disappears into the trees behind it, whereas in a clean white space, nothing disappears in the same way. It was interesting and I'm really glad I got the chance to do that. Because those things are so obvious after the fact, but until you do something like that, you don’t think about it the same way. AN: You don’t realize that you were designing objects for a room the whole time. ECW: Or you do realize it, but then that relationship is removed and you realize that you were operating in a system that’s actually largely invisible to you until you don't have it, even though you were addressing it. AN: Part of what you engage with is not just the space in its physicality but also the history of that physical site. Could you give a bit of background of this? ECW: Con Ed was trying to build a power plant in Storm King Mountain from the early 1960s to 1980, which would’ve totally altered it. There were all these protests and it went to court and eventually, the environmentalists won. It’s not super related to the piece in the end, but I was researching some materials about it: the court documents, reading the transcripts of the people testifying against the project. Basically, they're just giving these apocalyptic scenarios of what would happen if the power plant were built. It totally reads like science fiction, a hyperbolic vision of the future. I found that really important because I write a lot surrounding my work. It's kind of like sketching; a way to keep track of ideas. The fact that these documents alluded so much to the future that it became science fiction, that's kind of what connected this mountain to the project. AN: There’s an element of fictionalization in the piece, as well, in that you’ve totally detached these objects from their original context. You’re imagining these possible reuses. But it also is a bit apocalyptic. For example, there’s, of course, a repurposed bomb shelter. How do you get things from the military? ECW: I bought it from some guy in the Midwest on the internet. I didn't really ask how he got it. But a lot of times people, like resellers, will buy stuff like this at auction in lots. And they'll resell it to people like me or to people that are making doomsday preparations. Generally, in fictionalized versions of the future, people just get their hands on this kind of equipment somehow because the government’s been destroyed or something and it’s anarchy. There’s a feeling of that kind of future projection in the work for sure. AN: It's a bit of a harsh object in some ways. It's not, like, a pretty thing. I don't want to harp on the apocalyptic, but are you interested in violence? It is, after all, literally a military object. ECW: I am a nonviolent person when it comes to confrontation. But I think that most people are interested in violence. And by interested, it doesn't mean you’re… AN: Going to go on a killing spree or anything. ECW: Yeah. It just means you are perhaps terrified by it or you are curious about it, you've been a victim of it, you've inflicted it. And I don’t think it’s all a bad thing; there are people who are very much devoted to the application of the potential of violence in measured instances. I’m thinking of things like BDSM, or even skydiving. It's a force of human life, for better or for worse. And I think that what I'm interested in more is the latency of that and the potential. The piece for me is more about potential energy, and I think that there could be a certain amount of violence inherent in potential energy because it's something that is yet to happen. But I don't think that my stance with the piece would be that it’s a warning about aggression or that it's aggressive. I think the violent feeling comes in part from it being human-sized. AN: Which is actually what I was about to ask you about, the relation to the body and personal scale. ECW: One way to make something, at least how I’m working right now, is to make it body-sized or relatable in scale, and things that are designed to protect the body also carry a suggestion of violence because they're preventing harm. If you suggest protection, you suggest violence. And that has to do with the fact that we're physical animals and we have a body that's susceptible to all sorts of things. AN: You just used the word “designed.” You recently spoke on the issue of design and its separation from art proper in Art Forum, saying about the work that “It’s almost like designing. That’s a dirty word, maybe. But my work is related to design.” Of course, you went on to say “Personally, I don’t think design is a dirty word. It really just means making something work.” How do design and architecture intersect with your practice, or diverge from it? ECW: Some people still don't love when art and design sit next to each other. It could be seen as disparaging just to say, "Oh, that piece of art looks like design.” I meant it was a dirty word if you look at it from this narrow-minded perspective of thinking that design means shiny plastic objects in a store and maybe an Eames chair. Basically, believing that the need for function kind of upsets the “purity” of our art, which I disagree with. I think that when something has a function or requires a function a lot of interesting things can happen. But it's not that you need parameters to do something interesting. Earlier we were talking about not having architecture around me to respond to at Storm King. That absence of architecture didn’t make way for some kind of purity, it was just replaced with another set of parameters involved with working outside. With design, things also change. I'm not an architect and I'm not a designer, but I could imagine that making something with a function you would be solving so many different problems all the time. I find that there still could be so much potential for freedom in that. Outlooks: Elaine Cameron-Weir Storm King Art Center 1 Museum Road, New Windsor, New York Through November 25
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Apply now for the 2019 Art Omi: Architecture Residency
Art Omi: Architecture is accepting applications through Saturday, October 20, for its 2019 Architecture Residency in Ghent, New York. The program, which launched last year, gives 10 architects the chance to develop their personal work and receive feedback from expert critics during a two-week stay at their Hudson Valley campus. This exclusive residency program is completely free to attend and is open to architects from around the world who’ve been professionally active for at least the past six years since receiving a license or an M. Arch degree in the U.S. or the international equivalent. Applications will also be accepted from early- and mid-career architects in academia who are teaching architectural design. Directed by Manhattan-based architect Warren James, the Art Omi: Architecture program supports its residents as the develop their own projects exploring the intersection of architecture, art, and landscape. Art Omi’s expansive campus features The Fields, 60-acres of space dedicated to the build-out of large-scale installations, landscape interventions, pavilions, and more. The program was started at the nonprofit arts organization to help foster emerging talent in a solitary but beautiful working environment. “There was a void within the United States for an architecture residency,” said James in a press release. “Previously the only options were for architects to apply to artists' residencies. Once there, of course, they were outnumbered and often felt like visiting guests in a community of artists…At Art Omi the focus is on giving architects the time and the space to work on their own projects while on campus. We create a new community of international peers and this allows for new perspectives and insights into their work. Nurturing and untethering creativity is integral to advancing the practice of architecture today.” If selected, residents will have access to shared studio space, private accommodations, and chef-prepared meals throughout the program. Residents will also meet the guest architecture critic (past critics include Curbed’s Alexandra Lange and former AN editor Julie V. Iovine), who will lead a public presentation of the various projects at Art Omi’s Benenson Center during the program’s final weekend. Past residency alumni include Jennifer Newsom and Tom Carruthers of Dream the Combine, who won this year’s MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program. Jesús López, a 2018 alumnus, said his time at the program was essential to getting a fresh perspective on his work. “It’s necessary to take time off from the routine, and to create some breathing room away from the professional practice,” he said. “Being part of Art Omi: Architecture gave me the opportunity to work on that specific project, that one with no client, the one that I hadn’t found the chance to develop or even to start. Applicants must submit and describe the non-client-based project they’d like to focus on at Art Omi. To learn more about applying before the October 20 deadline, see here. The program runs from February 22 to March 10, 2019.
Richard Meier & Partners Architects today announced that Richard Meier "will step back from day-to-day activities" at his firm after a year in which he was accused of exposing himself to young employees and groping people in public. Bernhard Karpf has been promoted to managing principal and will oversee the firm's operations. Michael Palladino will be in charge of the firm's West Coast office in Los Angeles. Richard Meier founded the practice in 1963, and the office has since completed over 130 projects around the world and won numerous awards, including the 1984 Pritzker Prize for Meier. He became the youngest person to receive the award. Meier rose to fame as part of the New York Five, a group of East Coast architects that included Peter Eisenman, Michael Graves, Charles Gwathmey, and John Hejduk. Meier rose to national attention thanks to early residential and cultural projects, like the addition to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia, but it was his design for the Getty Center in Los Angeles that propelled him to the highest echelon of architectural fame. Meier's reputation was clouded earlier this year when several female former employees accused the architect of sexual harassment and assault in The New York Times, after which Meier took a six-month leave of absence and left Vivian Lee, Reynolds Logan, Dukho Yeon, and Bernhard Karpf to oversee the firm's New York office and Michael Palladino to oversee work in Los Angeles. The firm was criticized for their response to the accusations, which alleged that Meier exposed himself to young female employees and publicly touched another inappropriately. The firm announced that after Meier steps back, Vivian Lee, Reynolds Logan, and Dukho Yeon have been promoted to principals. In a statement, Meier's office said that Meier "will remain available to colleagues and clients who seek his vast experience and counsel," and that "the firm will maintain and develop the rigorous design philosophy that Richard pioneered."
Richard Meier & Partners Architects today announced that Richard Meier "will step back from day-to-day activities" at his firm after a year in which he was accused of exposing himself to young employees and groping someone in public. Bernhard Karpf has been promoted to managing principal and will oversee the firm's operations. Michael Palladino will be in charge of the firm's West Coast office in Los Angeles. Richard Meier founded the practice in 1963, and the office has since completed over 130 projects around the world and won numerous awards, including the 1984 Pritzker Prize for Meier. He became the youngest person to receive the award. Meier rose to fame as part of the New York Five, a group of East Coast architects that included Peter Eisenman, Michael Graves, Charles Gwathmey, and John Hejduk. Meier rose to national attention thanks to early residential and cultural projects, like the addition to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia, but it was his design for the Getty Center in Los Angeles that propelled him to the highest echelon of architectural fame. Meier's reputation was clouded earlier this year when several female former employees accused the architect of sexual harassment and assault in The New York Times, after which Meier took a six-month leave of absence and left Vivian Lee, Reynolds Logan, Dukho Yeon, and Bernhard Karpf to oversee the firm's New York office and Michael Palladino to oversee work in Los Angeles. The firm was criticized for their response to the accusations, which alleged that Meier exposed himself to young female employees and publicly touched another inappropriately. The firm announced that after Meier steps back, Vivian Lee, Reynolds Logan, and Dukho Yeon have been promoted to principals. In a statement, Meier's office said that Meier "will remain available to colleagues and clients who seek his vast experience and counsel," and that "the firm will maintain and develop the rigorous design philosophy that Richard pioneered."
New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo last week announced a $13-billion plan to transform John F. Kennedy International Airport into a modern 21st-century facility anchored by two new world-class international terminal complexes on the airport's north and south sides. This record investment, which includes $12 billion in private funding, will advance Cuomo’s vision for a unified and interconnected airport system with best-in-class passenger amenities, centralized ground transportation options, and vastly improved roadways that collectively will increase the airport's capacity by at least 15 million passengers a year. The governor's Vision Plan, initially unveiled in January 2017 and based on the recommendations from the governor's Airport Advisory Panel, calls for an overhaul of JFK’s eight disparate terminals into one unified airport. The plan also calls for increasing the number and size of gates, improving parking availability, adding an array of airside taxiway improvements to allow for bigger planes and reduced gate congestion, upgrading the AirTrain JFK system to handle increased passenger capacity, and enhancing roadways on and off the airport. The announcement followed the selection last September of a master planning team for the redevelopment of the airport, led by Mott MacDonald and Grimshaw Architects. Grimshaw's portfolio of prior master planning and redevelopment projects includes airports around the world. The proposed new $7-billion, 2.9-million-square-foot terminal on the airport's south side will be developed by the Terminal One Group, which is a consortium of four international airlines: Lufthansa, Air France, Japan Airlines, and Korean Air Lines. The plan calls for replacing JFK's Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, as well as the area left vacant when Terminal 3 was demolished in 2014. When completed, the terminal will yield a net increase of over 2 million square feet from the existing terminals and provide 23 international gates, 22 of which will be designed to accommodate larger, wide-body aircraft. The complex will be operated by Munich Airport International and also be connected to the existing Terminal 4, which initially opened in 2001 and has been expanded twice since then, most recently in 2013. On the airport's north side, the proposed new $3-billion, 1.2-million-square-foot terminal will be developed by JetBlue. JetBlue plans to demolish Terminal 7 and combine it with the vacant space where Terminal 6 was demolished in 2011 to create a world-class international terminal complex that would be connected to the airline's existing Terminal 5 and be occupied by the airline and its various partners currently spread throughout the airport. The plans for the two terminals announced yesterday will now be submitted to the Port Authority's Board of Commissioners. Once lease terms are finalized, the leases will be subject to final board approval. Construction is expected to begin in 2020, with the first new gates opening in 2023 and substantial completion expected in 2025. The Port Authority also will seek proposals to develop the new Kennedy Central hub, issuing a request for information in coming months.
As the sun sets each night over Manhattan’s High Line, the sounds of 1,000 opera singers waft through the streets of Chelsea, at least until October 8. The Mile-Long Opera: a biography of 7 o’clock, a co-production between Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang and Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R), one part of the High Line's design team, sets human-scale stories against the elevated park’s environs. Poets Anne Carson and Claudia Rankine provided the text for each of the opera's 26 sections, which was distilled in part from interviews with New York City residents on what the twilight period means to them, and DS+R partner Elizabeth Diller directed the show’s staging. The opera, a 90-minute linear amble from the High Line's 14th Street entrance to its West 34th Street terminus, is in content, tone, and setting, about transition: the changing time of day, evolving domestic duties, and the shifting character of New York itself. Audience members are encouraged to walk slowly and weave their ways between the groups of singers, each belting out—or whispering, or chanting—their specific role on loop, unfolding the full experience for guests as they move forward. With each performer cloaked in white light from a luminescent hat, smartphone, backpack, or other piece of everyday wear, the experience can feel at times dreamlike. But the surrounding sounds of the city, walls of new development around the High Line, and Hudson Yards’ looming presence on 34th Street ground the performers in a material setting. Gentrification is not explicitly the Mile-Long Opera’s purview, but, as Diller recently relayed to the New York Times, the changes in the Meatpacking District (some caused by the High Line itself) are highlighted as wistful background threads. The mingling of old and new construction along the park with song lyrics about friends moving away, the L Train shutdown, and passing strangers on the street, are meant to make the audience consider change as a process and not simply get nostalgic for “the good old days.” DS+R and Diller’s involvement in the show’s staging (choreographer Lynsey Peisinger served as co-director) shines through, as both are intimately familiar with the challenges and opportunities of staging a show on the High Line. Marriage proposals waft up from beneath the elevated walkway and flyover, and for the spiraling spur at the park’s end, which butts up against the West Side Highway and an active heliport, performers are clad in reflective jumpsuits and have their voices amplified, one of the only times they compete with the noises of the city. This push and pull of the city, according to Diller in the playbill, makes New York both a backdrop and an antagonist as the audience travels the 30-block-long urban stage. Standby tickets to the Mile-Long Opera are free, but for those who can’t make it before the show closes, a 360-degree virtual reality version of the performance is being uploaded in parts online.
Manhattan's East River Park is expected to receive a massive facelift—and sooner than expected. Last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration announced an update to nearly 70 percent of the design for the long-awaited East Side Coastal Resiliency Project (ESCR). The new $1.45-billion-plan will not only speed up the construction process and shift heavy construction work away from residential areas and closer to the waterline, it will also improve access to East River Park while transforming it into a world-class parkland. According to a press release, the purpose of the redesign is to allow flood protection to begin one year ahead of schedule. In addition, the entire project is now slated to be completed six months earlier than previously determined. By pushing back the flood walls from FDR Drive toward the East River along the water's edge, there will be fewer barriers between East River Park and the local community, giving the 40-acre green space a more open and welcoming appearance. The flood walls will be directly integrated with the bulkhead and esplanade. Plans are also underway to create a spacious entry plaza at Houston Street with a direct passageway to the water, where pedestrians can stumble upon views of the East River with ease. The new plan will also add 12 tennis courts, eight baseball fields, four basketball courts, three soccer fields, a multipurpose field, and a running track to Lower Manhattan’s largest park. The ESCR is a $335-million proposal to construct flood barriers along the coast of Manhattan, from Midtown East to the Lower East Side. Bjarke Ingels Group and One Architecture & Urbanism conceived the idea in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in 2013. ESCR is only the first of three stages of Ingels’ vision for the Big U, which in total comprises a 10-mile-long flood barrier that doubles as public space, extending from West 57th Street to East 43rd Street, curving around the southern tip of the Financial District and Battery Park. The radical plan for flood-prevention will protect the most vulnerable, low-lying areas of Manhattan, while also providing residents with public spaces to relax, socialize, and sightsee. Construction on ESCR is expected to begin in spring 2020.
Put Your Faith in Money
Historic midtown N.Y.C. church to transfer air rights to JPMorgan
JPMorgan Chase is one step closer to constructing its new headquarters atop the footprint of the soon-to-be-demolished Union Carbide building in New York City. Since February, the bank has successfully initiated the transfer of development rights from the adjacent Grand Central Terminal and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. On Tuesday, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission signaled the third major structure to give over rights in the deal—the 100-year-old St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church. The commission voted unanimously to approve a master plan for the restoration and continued maintenance of the historic church, pending the planned transfer of air rights to JPMorgan. Commissioner Michael Goldblum called the decision a “joyous day” for St. Bart’s and acknowledged the success of the many buildings that have begun a revival process due to the deal, some of which would “never have had the ability to raise adequate funds” for themselves. The financial giant has agreed to purchase at least 50,000-square-feet of development rights from St. Bart’s for $20.7 million, which the deteriorating church will use to underwrite countless renovation projects on site. At the end of June, The Real Deal reported that the bank is also considering buying 505,000 square feet of additional development rights for seven times the current price. This is all part of JPMorgan’s plan to secure the initial air rights needed to build out its new, 70-story headquarters at 270 Park Avenue. The tower would replace its current home, formerly known as the Union Carbide building, completed in 1961 and designed by Gordon Bunshaft and Natalie Griffin de Blois of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Though it’s not designated as a historic landmark, the building is considered one of New York’s most classic Modernist structures and preservation advocates are criticizing JPMorgan’s attempt to take it down. Under the Midtown East rezoning plan, which passed in August of 2017, the bank is allowed to build a larger office building as long as it contributes to a “public realm improvement fund.” This includes buying the air rights from various neighboring institutions in order to assist them in carrying out their own structural work. Since it received status as a New York City landmark back in 1967, the Byzantine-style St. Bart’s Church is eligible for both the city’s and JPMorgan’s help. Representatives from the church touted the importance of yesterday’s LPC vote, calling it a transfer that “needs to happen” for the building to continue functioning properly. In addition, the New York Landmarks Conservancy as well as Community Board 5 recommended approval. “The only break in the skyline as you walk along Park Avenue is St. Barts,” said the church’s building committee chairman Peter Sullivan. “This beautiful building gives the eye a much-needed break amidst all the skyscrapers, but any person will tell you it needs a lot of work to fix.”
After a $2-million total restoration, the Frank Lloyd Wright–designed George and Delta Barton House in Buffalo, New York, is once again open for visitors. The Barton House, built in 1903–1905 as one of six interconnected buildings on the Darwin D. Martin House residential compound, was Wright’s first East Coast commission and introduced the Prairie School to the public. The Barton House, a commission by millionaire Darwin D. Martin for his sister Delta Barton and her husband George, was a bit of a test-case for Wright; Martin was so impressed that he tapped Wright to later design the rest of the complex, including the larger Martin House. “The restoration of the Barton House not only invites visitors to enjoy and understand its significance as an icon of Wright’s Prairie style but also provides a window into the role of patronage in architecture,” said Martin House executive director Mary Roberts. “With his offering of the Barton House project, Martin gave Wright an opportunity to explore his strengths and creativity free from financial restraints, and its success sparked a long-lasting patron-artist relationship that resulted in some of Wright’s most important built and unbuilt works.” The Barton House restoration was some twenty years in the making and began with the founding of the Martin House Restoration Corporation (MHRC) in 1992. Renovations on the site began in 1996, and restoration of the Barton House proper began in September 2017 based on the research and plans produced by Buffalo’s HHL Architects. Only three of the six Martin House buildings currently remain standing. The Barton House, while an earlier piece of Wright’s portfolio, exhibits the unmistakable low-slung proportions, large, overhanging roof, and ribbon windows associated with the Prairie School style. The design of the house and use of gold-tinted brick in the fireplace and terracotta roof tiles share similar beats with Wright’s J.J. Walser Jr. House in Chicago, which opened the same year. The Martin House compound is open to public guided tours, but private tours are also available, and the Barton House is available to rent for private events.
Archive and Artifact: The Virtual and the Physical, an exhibition opening at the Cooper Union in New York City later this month, will showcase work from undergraduate architecture theses from the school's past 50 years. Visitors to the show will have the chance to check out the professional beginnings of bold-face names like Elizabeth Diller, Stanley Allen, and Daniel Libeskind. “The thesis year is a pivotal point in Cooper Union’s five-year architectural program, as it showcases the imagination and maturity of our students,” said Nader Tehrani, dean of The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture in a statement. “Thesis is a culmination of an emerging architect’s learning and the launchpad between life as a student and their future as a professional. It allows students to become self-driven and often serves as a touchstone for long-term research throughout their career.” The show is going up in anticipation of the school's launching of a digital archive of past student work in October 2019. The Cooper Union has been one of the New York City's top architecture schools for decades and was particularly important in the 1980s and '90s as a center of activity for architects like Peter Eisenman and John Hejduk. A symposium, Thesis Now: Pedagogies, Research, and Agency of the Architectural Thesis, will accompany the exhibition on December 1, and the show is being presented in tandem with this year's Archtober festival. Archive and Artifact Wednesday, October 24–Saturday, December 1, 2018 Tuesday–Friday 2 p.m.–7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 12 p.m.–7 p.m. The Cooper Union, Arthur A. Houghton Jr. Gallery, 2nd Floor 7 East 7th Street, between Third and Fourth Avenues New York, New York 10003
After an international design contest that drew 78 entries from 14 countries, five winning sukkahs (temporary huts built for the weeklong Jewish holiday Sukkot) have landed in Detroit’s Capitol Park. The competition was part of Sukkah x Detroit, a celebration of Jewish culture, Detroit’s status as a UNESCO City of Design, and the city’s large number of urban farms; the chosen sukkahs make reference to all three. Sukkah x Detroit was an initiative of the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue as part of Detroit’s Month of Design, and all five winning designs will be on display until the festival’s end on September 30. Sukkahs are meant to be flexible and at least partially exposed to the elements, and observant Jews are expected to eat and sleep in the temporary structures during the seven days of Sukkot. All of the winning structures put a playful spin on the typical sukkah typology but were certified by two rabbis to ensure they met biblical requirements and were fully usable. Abre Etteh of New Malden, U.K., sought to evoke the light that filters through a swaying treetop canopy with his entry, Hallel. Painted blue plywood was used to form the structure of Hallel, while 500 freshly-milled cherry shingles were hung from the ceiling. The shingles all move with the breeze, and dappled light is reflected in a brass-covered bowl of water in the center of the floor. Gamma Architects from Gibraltar focused on sharing in both the physical and spiritual sense with their Shuk-kah. This sukkah was built from recycled white vegetable crates, ubiquitous sights at food markets around the world, which were used for the structure’s walls, furniture, and central table. A “roof” of bamboo scaffolding was installed overhead that would allow visitors to see the stars, and LEDs were run through the crates making up the walls, enabling the hut to softly glow at night. Noah Ives, of Portland, Oregon, reinterpreted the sukkah as an art object with his biomorphic Seedling Sukkah, which resembles a pinecone or hive at first glance. Laser-cut plywood “leaves” were used to tile the outside of Seedling Sukkah, creating a lightweight, open pavilion that references nature in both material and form. JE-LE, the only Detroit-based winner, took cues from the vibrancy and sculptural qualities of fruit for Pocket Space, by referencing the packed fruit ornamentations traditionally hung inside of sukkahs. Sukkahs are by nature designed to be intimate spaces, but JE-LE expanded the uses of Pocket Space through a series of rotating interior nets that can be adjusted based on use. Finally, the Cambridge-based Nice One Projects embraced the inherently paradoxical nature of the sukkah (a structure that by definition must remain exposed and open to nature) with Chaffy. Nice One took the premise to its logical extreme, attempting to “dissolve” all sense of hard walls by creating a continuous wall clad in thousands of thatch bundles. Inside, guests will find a respite from the outside world, allowing them to see out while remaining obscured. Sukkah x Detroit was modeled after New York’s 2010 Sukkah City, a competition that brought 12 high-design sukkahs to Union Square and spawned both a book and a documentary on the exhibition. Unable to make it to Detroit by September 30? The Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan and JCC Harlem are presenting five sukkahs designed by artists from now until October 8, including a scaled down version of Israeli architect Avner Sher's Jerusalem 950m2 (Quarter Acre) Alternate Topographies. All 78 Sukkah x Detroit entries can be seen online here.
West Side Wonderland
New renderings revealed for western expansion of Hudson Yards park
Finally, we have a visual of what the rest of the rail yards at New York City's Hudson Yards will become. CityRealty reported that new renderings have been revealed of the expansion of the 17-million-square-foot megaproject, detailing how the development will take over the entirety of the Amtrak railyard. Phase two of construction on Hudson Yards’ intertwining parkland will add winding stone paths, a lush open lawn, food kiosks, and a bright children’s playground overlooking the Hudson River next to the High Line. Manhattan-based landscape architecture firm Nelson Byrd Woltz (NBWLA)—which also designed the currently-under-construction Public Square and Gardens at Hudson Yards—will bring more, much-needed green space to the West Side enclave that’s recently gotten flack for its record-breaking price tag. The expansion also includes the final build-out of Michael Van Valkenburgh (MVVA)’s Hudson Boulevard Park that runs directly through the site from 33rd to 36th Streets. Once complete, the extension will bring it up to 39th Street. MVVA finished the first phase of the elongated greenway in 2015, which included the MTA’s 7 train extension in what’s known as Eastern Yards. Together with the boulevard and far West Side parkland, the long-awaited landscape at Hudson Yards will cover a total of 12 acres. NBWLA’s renderings show that the park will sit on the same level as the adjacent High Line, meaning the team will likely use the same engineering to construct a ventilation cover for the rail yard below and a deck to support the landscape. Officials say groundbreaking on the second phase of parkland at Hudson Yards will begin in late 2020 and is slated to open in winter 2023. Once complete, Hudson Yards Development Corporation, which is building out the plan, will transfer care of the parkland over to the city’s parks and transportation departments.