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TAKK Your Time

Swatch’s new store embraces delicate craft and crude informality
  Spanish firm TAKK, led by Mireia Luzárraga and Alejandro Muiño, recently completed a new space for Swatch that doesn't neatly conform to what people might typically associate with Swiss watchmakers. Grotto, as the designers call the project, is an unconventional retail space that can also be used for "public activities such as lectures, workshops, or debates," according to the architects. The project is meant to be informal both programmatically and aesthetically. The cave-like spaces are roughly finished with highly-textured white walls that bend and slope over the interiors, deforming to create seating in some places and openings in others. The domed spaces are capped with lace-like grills that, along with ornamental chains draped throughout the space, add a "feminine" touch, according to the designers. The overall look is meant as a sort of rebuttal to highly-polished environments typically used to sell goods to "virile" consumers.
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So Sarasota

At Sarasota Modernism Weekend Paul Rudolph dazzles—for a price
Sharp winter sunlight pours over the Umbrella House on Lido Key in Florida as a group of modern architecture enthusiasts begin their morning yoga class with a sun salutation. Shadow and light battle beneath the 3,000 square-foot wooden canopy of the house, casting a latticed reflection on the pool below. Built in 1953 by the modern architect Paul Rudolph while living and working in Sarasota, the Umbrella House would become a centerpiece of the Sarasota School of Architecture: a localized architectural movement that brought the aesthetic of midcentury modernism to the beach—and keeps the tourists coming every year for a Palm Springs–inspired Modernism Weekend. Sarasota today is a characteristic American town of some 50,000 year-round residents. Concentrated around a polished 9.5-square-mile built-up downtown area, it unfurls outward into an eclectic 25-square-mile collage of gated communities, strip malls, white sand beaches, marshy swampland, and rustic cow pastures. Unlike the Sarasota of Rudolph’s time, there is ample air conditioning (some would argue too much), a plethora of open-air campuses, and a constantly expanding cluster of high-rise condos dotting the shores of downtown and Siesta Key: the once-barren strip of fine quartz sand beach where Rudolph built several of his chic micro-cabin guest houses in the 1950s. Also unique to the present is a clear, defined interest in Sarasota’s modern architectural heritage. The Sarasota Architectural Foundation (SAF) was founded in 2002 to bring local and international awareness to the rich legacy of Sarasota Modern. Every November since 2013, a couple hundred tropical modernism buffs make a beeline for the Sunshine State or stir from their Sarasota siestas to attend Sarasota MOD. This year’s MOD Weekend marks Paul Rudolph’s centennial, for which SAF tapped Pulitzer Prize–winning architecture critic Paul Goldberger to deliver a keynote presentation on Rudolph, prefaced by a screening of Bob Eisenhardt’s short film Spaces: The Architecture of Paul Rudolph, and a panel discussion titled “Reassessing Rudolph” featuring Rudolph experts and academics Brian Goldstein, Eric Paul Mumford, Ken Tadashi, and moderated by local architect Timothy M. Rohan. As Goldberger emphasized in his keynote lecture, the '50s architecture culture in Sarasota was a “rare moment with an extraordinary meeting of minds”—minds that, conveniently enough, came to town with a lot of money. For Rudolph, fresh out of Harvard's GSD following a two-year intermission in the navy, this meant the opportunity for hands-on building experience in his 30s, when he designed several guest houses that helped anchor the Sarasota Modern style, including the iconic curving Cocoon House and yoga-friendly Umbrella House. He even pioneered a new building typology, the lamolithic house. Made from poured concrete slab walls and a steel-reinforced roof, key features of the lamolithic house were untempered (and certainly not hurricane-proof) glass windows, a roof encased in four to six inches of crushed coral that provided waterproof insulation, and a passive cooling sprinkling system on the roof. The open plan was designed to capture the cross-winds pouring in from the Gulf. Rudolph built four out of the five lamolithic houses he had planned on Siesta Key. At their public debut, over 100 visitors came and demanded he begin building identical structures for them. Following the success of these homes, Lamolithic Industries, Rudolph’s partner in the project, pioneered a prototype of a two-bedroom home costing $8,900 that never fully materialized. While touring the lamolithic and guest houses on a three-hour trolley bus tour of Paul Rudolph’s projects on Siesta Key, it became evident that this model was meant as a base that owners could pimp out at their discretion. Swanky circular pools and exotic cactus gardens materialize underneath the lanai: Florida’s unique netted cage of a semi-enclosed garden. The contemporary extensions hit an all-time absurd in Revere Quality House (c. 1948), whose owners added a three-story modernist mansion onto the humble dwelling in 2007, courtesy local architect Guy Peterson. Sarasota has always been one of the wealthiest counties in the Sunshine State; current residents of Siesta Key, one of the most expensive areas of the city and where many of Rudolph’s commissions were realized, earn an average income of $62,000 per resident (more than twice the national average). Rewind back to Rudolph’s stint in Sarasota and the story is much the same. The influx of new residents in postwar Florida melded with a burgeoning middle class that had money to burn, plus opportunistic property developers eager to turn Sarasota into a destination point, all while reaping the state’s status as a tax haven on investment properties. This placed a large demand for infrastructure and culture to fill up this sleepy town on the Gulf of Mexico—and fast. Key businessmen-cum-patrons like Lido Shores–developer Philip Hiss were instrumental in giving the cluster of Sarasota-based architects who would later be known as the Sarasota School their first shot at building. For Rudolph in particular, this was a total boon and laid the foundation for the future of his career. But for today’s architectural enthusiasts without such deep pockets (including students) this creates an area of friction in the SarasotaMOD festivities. For cultural interest events such as these, this translates into $250 dinners, $150 trolley tours, and $30 yoga classes—or a $6,000 overnight stay in Rudolph’s Umbrella House, if you’re feeling inclined—and precludes access to the Sarasota School from a much larger, and probably much younger, audience. It is true that when most people think of Paul Rudolph, they tend to think about the radiant play of light within his Interdenominational Chapel (1969) at Emory University, the menacing melancholia of the Art & Architecture building at Yale (its ugliness, it is said, led to the arson of 1969), or that overwhelming behemoth of Temple Street Parking Garage (1963), its shadowy mass swallowing up 6 blocks nearby in New Haven—and not so much his quaint beach houses dotting Siesta Key. But it is also true that Sarasota gave Rudolph the jump-start that electrified his tumultuous career. Where patrons and projects abound, the little town on the Gulf allowed Rudolph to become a principal at Ralph Twitchell’s firm in under four years (the same firm he interned at before Harvard). It enabled him to become an independent architect, ditching Twitchell in 1958 to build two major high schools in Sarasota where he grew into his own style. Sarasota was the springboard that catapulted Rudolph into the Chair of Yale University’s Department of Architecture in 1960, where he would experience another pivotal moment of divinity and fall from grace in the now-infamous Brutalist masterpiece of the Art & Architecture Building at Yale. Although Rudolph was later condemned by critics who predicted his conservative style would be left in the dust by slick and jazzy postmodernism, he always responded best when placed in the pressure cooker. Which is why what happened nearly seventy years ago in this sleepy Floridian town feels like such a special occurrence and the ultra-steep price tag of its discovery such a shame.
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Cooking with Gasolina

A Mexican food-themed museum is coming to downtown L.A. in 2019
The Downtown Los Angeles-based LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, a cultural center located in L.A.'s El Pueblo Historical Monument, is pushing for a new Mexican food-themed museum to open in early 2019. The museum, dubbed La Plaza Cocina, is slated for the forthcoming LA Plaza Village, a new, mixed-use affordable housing development designed by Johnson Fain. The 355-unit complex has been under construction since 2016 and is nearing completion. Designed with landscape architects SWA, the development will bring 71 low-income units to the area, as well a variety of neighborhood-serving retail and cultural spaces, including La Plaza Cocina. The Los Angeles Times reported that the new 2,500-square-foot museum will focus on the history and evolution of Mexican food, with a particular emphasis on the development of Mexican-American cuisines in the Southern California region. It will also house a demonstration kitchen and host programs, events, and exhibitions associated with Mexican food and culture in L.A. L.A.’s Rodrigo Vargas Design is designing the interiors for LA Plaza Cocina. “Los Angeles is the Mexican food capital of the country, and it deserves a place that celebrates the history and culture that we have with Mexican food.” John Echeveste, CEO of LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, told The Los Angeles Times. “It’s important, not only to Latino families, but anyone who eats.” Echeveste described the museum as a “multipurpose space centered around Mexican cuisine in all of its ramifications." It will even feature a separate specialty store on site where visitors can buy spices, foods, and cultural media. According to the report, the museum will offer a slate of cooking and history classes taught by some of the region's best and most well-known Mexican chefs. In the future, it will provide cross-cultural programming with Mexican chefs via live broadcast in Mexico. The entire development is slated for an early 2019 opening.
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Cantilevered Construction

University of Miami School of Architecture completes its new concrete studio
The University of Miami School of Architecture has added a concrete home for design research and collaboration to the institution’s Coral Gables campus. Designed by Arquitectonica, the 20,000-square-foot Thomas P. Murphy Design Studio features a new digital fabrication lab and ample collaborative space. It’s the first construction completed on the site in the past decade. The project broke ground in October 2015 and opened to students this fall semester. Located on the edge of the campus, the stark structure stands out among a swath of palm trees and nearby boxy buildings. Though it may look dramatic, its design centers on a simple geometry, according to Arquitectonica principal Raymond Fort. It’s a single, oversized shed featuring two main materials and a southern sloping edge that blocks harsh sunlight while aligning the building with Southern Florida’s modernist architectural style. “Even though the forms appear to be expressive, we wanted to keep it as simple as we could with the components of the architecture visible,” he said. “The 25-foot cantilever curves at the bottom to address the portico of the nearby Perez Architecture Center, designed by Leon Krier, which is the center of the architecture campus.” From the exterior, Arquitectonica’s dynamic design studio looks sleek and shaded. But inside, loads of daylight seep into the structure through glass window walls, and an exposed ceiling showcasing the building’s mechanical elements gives away its structure. The open plan studio is designed around a 25-foot square module that allows up to 120 students to rearrange workstations as they see fit. For private meetings, juried critiques, and seminars, students can utilize scattered cubes with glass walls or curtains running through the center of the nave-like space.  Showing off the structure’s core through a transparent layout was a deliberate design decision—one that was lauded by both the students and the university administration. Previously, students were confined to cramped studio space within the old, Marion Manly–designed buildings, which were originally built to house returning veterans from World War II. Arquitectonica envisioned a modern and industrial open plan for the Thomas P. Murphy Design Studio to directly fix the spatial constraints architecture students faced within the old facilities. While each of the school’s buildings features one-of-a-kind designs, none brought together studio space under a single roof. “It complements the school’s constellation of buildings that constitute a campus-within-the-campus,” said Dean Rodolphe el-Khoury in a statement. “The vast studio space designed to enhance co-creation and the digital fabrication lab, among several other features, are welcome additions to our beloved historic and award-winning facilities.” Not only was the structure designed to elevate the students’ daily experience, it was built to serve as a teaching tool by showcasing the basics of modern design, construction, and sustainability. It can operate during the day without any artificial light thanks to the 18-foot-high hurricane resistant glass panels and remain cool at night due to the large envelope of thin concrete covering the interior. These materials ensure the project will remain durable for years to come. An official dedication ceremony for the Thomas P. Murphy Design Studio, named after the late father of Coastal Construction CEO and President Tom Murphy, Jr., will be held on November 29.
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Roundup

Weekend Edition: Schumacher sues, Björk debuts, and more
Missed some of this week's architecture news, or our tweets and Facebook posts from the last few days? Don’t sweat it—we’ve gathered the week’s must-read stories right here. Enjoy! Patrik Schumacher sues to become sole executor of Zaha Hadid’s estate Seeking to oust the other three executors of Zaha Hadid's $90 million estate, Schumacher has filed a claim with London's High Court. Björk announces new show for The Shed in New York City Icelandic pop pioneer Björk will be world premiering Cornucopia at The Shed, the cultural institution set to open in Manhattan's Hudson Yards. Michael Graves Architecture completes the world’s tallest statue The nearly 600-foot-tall Statue of Unity in Gujarat, India, depicts Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, an integral figure in the independence movement. Atlanta council members green light controversial $5 billion Gulch project Last Monday, in a midnight vote before election day, the Atlanta City Council approved a proposal to redevelop “The Gulch,” a 40-acre swath of the city. AIA outlines 6 key post-election issues to pursue with new Congress Following last week’s midterm elections, the AIA held a “Post-Election Debrief” to outline six key issues it’s set to focus on with the new U.S. Congress. That's it; have a great weekend!
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Washington's Technicolor Dream Coat

MVRDV’s first U.S. project breaks multicolored ground at the top of Manhattan
A flash of rainbow is set to touch down in Manhattan’s Washington Heights, as MVRDV’s first project in the United States broke ground earlier today and released a swath of new renderings. The technicolor 22-story Radio Tower & Hotel will be sure to stand out for better or for worse once it’s finished, as it’s springing up in a neighborhood mainly known for blocks of low-slung, turn-of-the-century brick Renaissance Revival–style buildings. Rotterdam-based MVRDV is no stranger to stacked, staggered, and carved forms and bright splashes of color, and from the renderings, it appears that Radio Tower will keep true to that tradition. The mixed-use tower, described by MVRDV as a “vertical village,” was designed to “pull” office, residential, and hotel space off of the ground level and onto a single building. Each of the staggered volumes, about the size of a typical building in the neighborhood, has been assigned a different color and corresponding unique use. For instance, the horizontal blue box at the tower’s center will be reserved for event space. The 234,000-square-foot building is set to rise at the base of the Washington Bridge on 181st Street and Amsterdam Avenue, right where the street grid drops off into Harlem River Park. Because the site is at the edge of the Harlem River and none of the adjacent buildings come close to reaching the same height, Radio Tower should contribute significantly to Washington Heights’ skyline. MVRDV has used colored ceramic brick for the building’s facade, and the firm states that the color of each box is a reference to a typical fixture in the predominantly-Hispanic neighborhood—a design diagram cites brick, murals, supermarket and bodega canopies, and local restaurants as informing their palette. The staggered massing will also preserve views for residents and guests, as well as carve out rooftop terraces atop each of the volumes. A coffee shop and community garden in the building’s communal internal courtyard will be open to the public, as MVRDV has wanted to create both a “welcoming beacon for people entering Manhattan” as well as a community amenity. Still, it remains to be seen how the Washington Heights community will react to the announcement. A proposed rezoning of Inwood a bit further north drew furious protests from uptown residents, as has the Columbia University Medical Center’s previous expansion plans. No information on the affordability of the complex's residential portion has been revealed as of yet.
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Like a Diamond

Daniel Libeskind designed a Swarovski star to top the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree
Swarovski Crystal first announced that it had chosen Daniel Libeskind to overhaul the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree star back in May, and the massive ornament was swung into place early this morning. Libeskind, no stranger to projects with jutting angles, designed a spherical crystal bonanza, radically updating the original, two-dimensional Swarovski star (which hadn’t seen a design change since its original unveiling in 2004). While the previous star was large—nine-and-a-half feet in diameter by one-and-a-half feet deep and decked out in 25,000 crystals—Libeskind's is even bigger. The new star is a radiant ball made up of 70 triangular spikes, completely covered in three million Swarovski crystals, and measures nine feet and four inches in diameter. Each spike is attached to its own light, and the electrical component forms the core of the star. When fully lit up each spike is meant to glow from within, with the light ultimately refracted by the topper’s crystal facade. All told, Libeskind’s star weighs 900 pounds, easily dwarfing the previous 550-pound version. Libeskind met with Nadja Swarovski, a member of the Swarovski executive board, in Rockefeller Plaza to watch the star-raising ceremony this morning. “The new Swarovski Star for the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is inspired by the beauty of starlight,” said Libeskind, “something that radiates meaning and mystery into the world. The Star is a symbol that represents our greatest ambitions for hope, unity, and peace. I am tremendously honored to collaborate with Swarovski on the Star, and with the entire design team, to bring cutting-edge innovation and design to crystal technology.” The Star Boutique, a 200-square-foot Swarovski popup also designed by Libeskind, will open later this month in Rockefeller Plaza. The interior and branding will all reference the crystalline form of the star itself, and a life-size replica of the Rockefeller Center Star will be on display outside for guests to examine close-up. This year’s Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting ceremony will take place on November 28.
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Heavenly Photography

Swedish photo museum plans its first New York City outpost
The Church Missions House, a historic, Renaissance revival building located at 281 Park Avenue South in New York City, will soon be the new home of Fotografiska. The Stockholm-based photography museum is scheduled to open an outpost in New York in spring 2019. The organization has chosen New York–based CetraRuddy to lead the design makeover and restoration of the landmarked space. Other collaborators on the project include Roman and Williams, which will design an avant-garde restaurant and bar on the second floor, Higgins Quasebarth & Partners, which will preserve and restore the stained-glass windows and limestone and granite facade of the building, and Linq, a tech firm that will design a multi-sensory experience for visitors using flavor, scent, and art. Fotografiska, which views sustainability as a core part of its philosophy, strives to use the power of photography to leave a significant impact on the world. “By following our vision of inspiring a more conscious world, we aim to raise the level of awareness and question what we eat, drink, and take for granted—nudging society towards more sustainable habits,” states Fotografiska on its website. The six-story Church Missions House building will further enhance the cultural significance of Fotografiska and the surrounding Gramercy neighborhood. Built toward the end of the 19th century, the extravagant facade embodies an era in which New York City became a center for art, architecture, and creativity, and it has housed numerous offices and non-profit organizations in the years since. The building is also recognized for its role in the Anna Delvey story, where in 2017, the New York City socialite was arrested on six charges of grand larceny for trying to swindle her way into owning the building by scamming wealthy business acquaintances and hotels. The building’s Italianate style is evident in its arched windows, elegant columns, and decorative enrichments—including elaborate cornices and balustrades. Although the building is located in the midst of lofty skyscrapers and bustling city blocks, it conjures images of the elegant Italian villas of the Renaissance, while at the same time providing the city with valuable restaurant, gallery, and exhibition space. As swaths of Midtown Manhattan continue to disintegrate beneath the rapidly expanding, corporate-run metropolis, the landmark building at 281 Park Avenue is becoming more prominent than ever before. “We have been looking for the right New York location for a while, and the Park Avenue South space is a great opportunity for us to finally start to change the world in the spirit of Fotografiska,” said Geoffrey Newman, project manager and shareholder of Fotografiska New York, in a recent press release.
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Another Rail Yard Story

Atlanta council members green light controversial $5 billion Gulch project
It’s official. Atlanta is about to take on one of the most ambitious and controversial building projects in its history. Last Monday, in a midnight vote before election day, the Atlanta City Council approved a $5 billion proposal to redevelop “The Gulch,” a 40-acre swath of sunken rail yards and parking lots in downtown Atlanta. Thanks to the decision, CIM Group, the Los Angeles-based agency that’s been eyeing the site for some time, will now likely receive a large government subsidy as the sole bidder on the project. CIM’s big plans for The Gulch came to light last November when people started speculating the meaning of an impact fee assessment filed with the city that month, which proposed the redevelopment of over 10 million square feet of publicly-owned land next to the Philips Arena. Over time, it became evident that CIM, a company founded by the brother of Atlanta Hawks owner Tony Ressler, was responsible for the filing and wanted to offer The Gulch to the city as part of Atlanta’s bid for Amazon’s HQ2. Despite news that Amazon will definitely not be coming to Atlanta, it seems that CIM’s plans to revitalize The Gulch are still underway. The scope of the project is nearly unparalleled, comparing only in size to Manhattan’s 28-acre Hudson Yards neighborhood and CIM’s 27-acres Miami Worldcenter development. Within The Gulch, the developer aims to create 9 million square feet of office space, one million square feet of retail, as well as room for residential and hospitality. The “mini city within the city” will sit atop a podium of parking garages and connect with a new grid of streets and parks. It could include more than a dozen new buildings, completely reshaping the city’s skyline. Newly-elected Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is a large supporter of the project. Leading up to last week’s vote, she started a massive campaign to “Greenlight the Gulch,” asking for the public and the city council to approve the around $1.9 billion subsidy package for the private project. In a tight 8-6 vote, her plan won out. Though the government is now on board, many locals aren’t game. Critics of the project say the area should be dedicated to a new transit hub (an idea that started in 2012), while others argue that an increase in luxury housing will raise rents and property taxes in low-income communities near downtown. While Bottoms's proposal requires CIM to build at least 200 units of affordable housing within The Gulch and invest $28 million into a citywide trust fund for affordable housing, some still hope for a better deal. Many say the process for approvals has been rushed and the public hasn’t gotten enough say. Since CIM’s plans were unveiled last year, things have moved at an unprecedented speed. Even opponents seem eager to build something in The Gulch, but only if it benefits the city, not the just owners who develop it. Given CIM’s large-scale goals for the site, this will be a fight with the public for decades to come.
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Sounds of Silence

These acoustic solutions will silence even the noisiest offices
Stuck in an office with noisy desk mates? Raging brainstorming sessions? Over-enthusiastic lunch meetings? When sounds disturb your workflow, acoustic solutions can make all the difference. Designed to absorb noise and separate spaces (acoustically and sometimes spatially), this mix of office furniture will make the sounds from the conference room go from noisy to hushed.

BuzziMood BuzziSpace

It’s alive! American designer Cory Gross collaborated with the Belgian furniture purveyor on a noise controlling green wall system that doesn’t have to be watered, ever. Clothed in reindeer moss, the wall panels naturally absorb sound and simultaneously assimilate water from the air.  Even better, you can mix and match seven different geometric shapes to create designs with two moss colors in a powder-coated metal frame, which can be painted any color under the sun. Jetty Table Abstracta Tired of sharing spaces with noisy coworkers? Unlike like typical large tables whose hard tops actually amplify noise, Jetty features a tabletop made of several layers that soak up sounds. Unusually large, the table is available in two titanic lengths: eight and fifteen feet. Island Wall System Rockfon Curtail noise in spacious spaces! Containing up to 41 percent recycled content, Rockfon’s stone wool wall panels absorb sound and diffuse light. The smooth surfaces actively reflect light and absorb sound in large, open spaces (e.g. lobbies, atriums, reception areas, etc.). Ideal for renovations and new projects alike, the panels can be installed in various sizes to make custom configurations. Gazebo Nienkämper Ever wish you could work outside? Employees can seek refuge in Nienkämper’s indoor “gazebo.” Outfitted with biophilic acoustic wall panels and wooden ceiling slats, the enclosed space is perfect for private meetings or individual retreat. Paravan Arper Last week at Orgatec in Cologne, Germany, Arper debuted the Paravan collection, a series of colorful modular partition walls. Creating a space for meetings, dining, and other purposes somewhere in between, the collection not only absorbs sound but defines space. Available in three curved and straight sizes, the panels can be arranged in endless configurations to foster privacy or collaboration. Philips Large Luminous Surfaces Soft Cells by Kvadrat Pairing Philips LEDS and Kvadrat textiles, these large surfaces control noise and provide ambient lighting. Comprising a multi-colored LED swathed in a textile panel, the system is available in standard as well as custom sizes and can be used individually or in groups. Outfitted with digital connectivity, Philips Luminous Textile Panels can be remotely controlled and managed by smart building systems. Vee Q Design for Allermuir Enclosed by a sound absorbing partition, this chair is an inviting place to work with built-in USB and electric ports, as well as under seat storage. Be it a traditional finance office with tufted chairs, or, perhaps, a slick technology start-up in a We Work-style open-office plan, Vee can fit in contemporary and traditional spaces alike. Allermuir offers a range of colored upholstery from the most sumptuous textile names, including Kvadrat and Maharam.

Slab LED Baffle Turf

Made from 99 percent recycled felt, Turf’s LED lighting system actively absorbs sound. The slabs can be installed in a mix of both felt and LED-lit configurations, creating a landscape of sound absorbing ceiling tiles. Available in a range of warm and cool hues, the felt is accentuated by a pleasing heathered effect. Sponsored Product: Accurate Lock

SilentPac by Accurate is a suite of acoustically engineered door hardware designed to soften noise from opening and closing doors, ultimately resulting in more peaceful and quiet environments.

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Knit Nature

Anticipated Incarnations of Jenny Sabin Studio’s LUSTER
Nature as a model for architectural forms has been mimicked as imagery since the first archetypal building, and now, natural biological systems are reaching a heightened interest in emerging fields of architecture, science, and material structures as biomimicry. In Metamorphosis of Plants, Goethe’s scientific understanding of “dynamic archetypes” focused on transformation and evolution rather than fixed forms and species – notions undeniably reimagined in the adaptive system of variant cellular structures and surfaces of Jenny Sabin Studio’s LUSTER. Rather than imitating nature, scaling up data or images found in nature, a canopy structure is created through an understanding of morphology relationships between generative and computational design. Building on her previous collaborations with biologists, Sabin’s representation of nature, as in in Sir D’Arcy’s “On Growth and Form,” is recast using 3d seamless knitting developed with Wholegarment technology. As an engaged visitor immersed from dusk to nightfall in Sabin’s knit structures at House of Peroni New York debut exhibition of LUSTER curated by Art Production Fund, variable instances of growth are staged, playing out in a luminous performance of surfaces, rising and falling, as if inverted stalagmites captured in-formation. Like Goethe’s “sensuous dynamic archetype,” Sabin’s co-evolutional structure and materiality is animated by an opening and closing cellular system, distressed and stretched into unique yet familiar shapes. The systematized fabric sprouts a second life with striation patterns coming alive in alternating light and color transformations, where, one by one, photoluminescent knit fiber links are activated to release light. Sabin’s sensory and material choreographies create haptic desire. They set up responsive behaviors between the naturally swaying textured archetype and the human body, finding semblance in Tropos, Ann Hamilton’s topography of irregular patterned variegated horse-hair fibers’, or more closely in habitus’s gigantic hung textiles twirling in perpetual motion to the sound of their own mechanism. Moving beyond the organic, Sabin’s ethereal fabric surfaces dislodge the static experience to engage the body as perceptual devices - a testimony to human curiosity, sensory indulgence, and bodily silhouettes. Similar to spherulite formation in crystalline cell structures that start as circular forms and collide and transmute into morphing geometries due to different growth rates, Sabin’s geometric assembly of parts to whole appear as mutations of the circle. Each part, either growing slowly in the canopy above, or rapidly descending as a figure hovering above the ground. Moving away from masculine, formulaic, cartesian space that relies on mathematical principles, Sabin refers to more feminine, systemic, network assemblies that don’t follow a rigid order. The porous, soft, intimate nature of the knit engages the visitor’s desire to touch and peer into. Non-programmed openings generate organic distribution of holes, giving the cone’s structures a degree of autonomy. Sabin’s approach blurs the boundary between the objectivity of science and subjectivity of our perception. Originally an error in the calculation of density of holes, a tightly stitched ring around each individual hole produced “knots,” offering added rigidity to the overall forms and becoming a design parameter to eliminate unwanted sagging. Soon to be transported to 3 distinct environments and contexts, perhaps LUSTER’s most transformative power aims beyond its luminous essence through its formally responsive capacity for site-specific conditions. Adjustable distribution tension in the nylon webbing that supports the stretchy knit surfaces, along with zipper seam joints in areas that anticipate alternate configurations, the adaptive nature is masterfully built into her piece - transforming as a whole through its parts. House of Peroni’s 1-day lifespan installations and local artist interventions curated by Art Production Fund, incite visitors to witness how this ephemeral canopy might yield reincarnations of itself as a responsive archetype. From New York’s West Village industrial building at the edge of the Hudson river, to a converted indoor/outdoor warehouse in Los Angeles, an exterior waterfront space in Miami, and historic property in Washington, perhaps this project’s greatest luster is achieved by remaining in flux, shifting our perception of light and space as if the knitting machine was compelled to stop at its own intrinsic interval of time, capturing the beauty of the unfinished work of nature. Exhibition dates and collaborating artists: Nov. 8th.: Jeanette Getrost, Los Angeles; Nov. 14th:  Michelle Weinberg, Miami; and Nov. 28th Lu Zhang, Washington.
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Drawing on Experience

Johnston Marklee completes the Menil Drawing Institute in Houston
The latest addition to the Menil Foundation’s sprawling 30-acre campus in Houston is now complete. The Menil Collection will welcome the opening of the Menil Drawing Institute on November 3, on a Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates-designed landscape that ties the new building to the existing collection’s grounds. Johnston Marklee’s $40 million Drawing Institute is opening a year later than originally expected due to construction delays. The low-slung, 30,000-square-foot building might appear simple—a single-story collection of rectangular volumes and three open-air square courtyards—but the highly-specific technical details contributed in part to the postponement. On a recent tour of the building by the Houston Chronicle, the extremely-thin metal roof, precisely-angled ceilings, all-custom furniture, and vertically-veined marble in the bathrooms were singled out as examples of Johnston Marklee’s attention to detail (and the lengthened schedule) paying off. The Drawing Institute is the first freestanding space specifically built to study, conserve, and display contemporary and modern drawings, and is the Collection’s first new building in 20 years. The Institute’s 3,000 square feet of gallery spaces will be inaugurated with a 50-year retrospective of Jasper Johns’s work titled The Condition of Being Here: Drawings by Jasper Johns. The Condition of Being Here will be on display until January 29, 2019, and like the other four buildings in the Menil Collection, admission to the Drawing Institute will be free. In the construction photos released today, completed pieces of the painted-steel roof, only 4.5 inches thick at the courtyard canopies, can be seen being swung into place. The roofs of the three courtyards open in the middle, exposing each landscaped area to the sky and providing a controlled moment of respite for visitors. The inward slant of the canopies redirects water into the courtyard, where it can be sequestered in the same way as in a bioswale. Resiliency and structural flood prevention were also given a high priority in the new building, especially relevant given the impact of Hurricane Harvey on the city last year. A below-ground art vault was installed to protect the Institution’s archives from water damage, and it includes a waterproof drainage layer sandwiched by two 12-inch-thick concrete walls, as well as floodgates at the vault’s entrance. A concrete curb was also installed at the ground-level slab to protect against flooding in the first-floor galleries. Interested in exploring Houston’s art scene even further? After a tour of what the Menil Collection has to offer, visitors can check out the recently completed Transart building across the street.