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Espace-Temps

Arata Isozaki receives 2019 Pritzker Architecture Prize at Versailles
The awarding of the 2019 Pritzker Architecture Prize to Arata Isozaki at the Château de Versailles on May 24 marked a crowning moment in the laureate’s prolific career bridging East and West and embracing the past and future. Spanning six decades and four continents, the 87-year-old laureate’s work encompasses more than 450 built and unbuilt projects, from the design of the megastructural City in the Air (1960-3) to address rapidly urbanizing Tokyo, to the Palau Sant Jordi (1983-1990 Barcelona, Spain) for the 1992 Summer Olympics, all the way back to his Parisian debut at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, with his 1978 exhibition design: “Ma: Espace/Temps” as an interdisciplinary/intermediary presentation of the artistic culture of Japan through the unifying notion of “MA: Space-Time” in which time is relative, cyclic, and constantly evolving in space. The presentation of the Pritzker Prize itself follows an evolving “space-time” in selecting spectacular sites for each year’s ceremony. These venues have included Prague Castle (1993), the Campidoglio in Rome (2002), and Pritzker Prize–winning architects’ designs such as the Guggenheim Bilbao by Frank Gehry (1997) or the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto by Fumihiko Maki last year. The 2019 ceremony followed the 1995 ceremony for Tadao Ando at the Grand Trianon and Chateau of Versailles, with the formal dinner served in the Hall of Battles. This year’s ceremony was held in the main hall of the 17th-century Orangerie with its immense 490-foot-long, 42-foot-high barrel-vaulted space in golden limestone as a stunning backdrop for the ceremony and dinner. This space could also be seen to be especially resonant with Isozaki’s own barrel-vaulted designs including his Kitakyushu Central Library (Fukuoka, Japan, 1973-4) and Fujimi Country Clubhouse (Oita, Japan, 1973-4). In accepting the Pritzker Prize, Isozaki noted how he had been part of early discussions with Jay and Cindy Pritzker about the nature of the prize in recognizing global excellence in architecture, and Isozaki served on the initial juries (1979-84). Isozaki praised the contributions of the Pritzker family, likening them to the Medici family in its patronage of arts and humanism. Isozaki compared his own pursuit of architecture to the mindset of the literati (bunjin) in the pursuit of an enlightened culture. He acknowledged the generosity and confidence of his many clients, many in attendance. The Pritzker jury noted Isozaki’s own generosity in supporting other younger architects as a juror for design competitions and as commissioner for projects, including the Fukuoka Nexus World Housing (1988-91, Rem Koolhaas, Steven Holl, et al.) and Gifu Kitagata Apartments (2001, Kazuyo Sejima, Elizabeth Diller, et al.). In looking to the meaning of architecture in 2019, both Stephen Breyer, Pritzker Jury Chair and U.S. Supreme Court Justice, and Thomas Pritzker, president of the Pritzker Foundation, paid respect to Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris following the devastating fire in April. For Isozaki, the first structure that dominated his thinking in his work as an architect was that of the ruin, as he witnessed cities of Japan decimated by war and pursued his worldview that “the future city lies in ruins” as a basis of his life’s work.
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In Memoriam

Eminent Chicago architect Stanley Tigerman dies at age 88
The Chicago architect, educator, and establishment antagonist Stanley Tigerman died yesterday at the age of 88. Tigerman was a member of what came to be known as the Chicago Seven, a group of architects who rebelled against the high modernism of Mies van der Rohe. (Tigerman greatly admired the master architect's work, though, and he lived full-time in a Mies building.) He gained a reputation as an iconoclast with works like the Daisy House, a 1972 Indiana family residence that resembles complementary male and female anatomy in plan. Works like Daisy House, the Lakeside Residence, and the Formica Showroom launched him into the director's role at the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Over the course of his almost six-decade career, Tigerman wrote seven books and designed around 450 buildings in Chicago, Japan, and beyond. He and architect Margaret McCurry, his second wife, co-founded Tigerman McCurry in 1986. They only designed as a team when clients asked for joint services, however. "'It's just that it's easier to not have anyone question what he draws except for the client,' McCurry told the Chicago Reader in 2003. '[and] this is like having two clients.'" In a 2015 exhibition at the Chicago Architecture Club, Tigerman unveiled a follow-up to The Titanic, seen in the top image here. The Epiphany drops a hydrogen bomb on Mies's Crown Hall as well as Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Bilbao to protest what Tigerman characterized as a fixation on architectural icons. At the opening, the elder statesman praised today's up-and-coming young architects: “I am very pleased with the current generation. I feel good. I can go now.”
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The Weight of Sacrifice

National WWI Memorial moves ahead with controversial Pershing Park plan
Years ago, Frank Gehry asked sculptor Sabin Howard to help him design a memorial to Dwight D. Eisenhower in Washington, D.C. Though the job didn’t pan out for “stylistic reasons,” Howard said, it planted the seed that grew his interest in creating commemorative spaces. “I proved to have too much of an opinion,” Howard told AN. “I said to Frank, ‘Look, do you want me to be your in-house sculptor or you want me to tell you what I really think?’ He goes, ‘Shoot,” and I said, “Well it looks like you designed the Natural History Museum here.” Had he taken the job, Howard would have been engulfed in what’s turned out to be a two-decade-long controversial battle to get the memorial built ahead of the 2020 Victory in Europe Day. While he didn’t end up on this monumental project in the nation's capital, he did venture into the complexities of another. This spring, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) approved Howard’s sculptural contribution to the upcoming National WWI Memorial in Pershing Park, a 1.76-acre landscape set along Pennsylvania Avenue in D.C. Designed by Joseph Weishaar,The Weight of Sacrifice” is the result of another two-decade controversial effort to pay tribute to an often overlooked period of history. A Soldier’s Journey, Howard’s massive, 60-foot-long, 10-foot-high bronze figure sculpture, will be the centerpiece of the renovated landscape, and a major component of the project that took years for preservationists and the U.S. government to sign off on. “As an entire team, we struggled with the urban context at the beginning,” said Weishaar, who was selected for the project just a few years after graduating from the University of Arkansas’s Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design in 2013. “Where do you draw the boundaries between urban park and memorial?” This was one of the biggest questions that needed to be answered. Unlike most major war memorials in Washington, D.C., this one is not located on the National Mall, though in late 2017 it was hoping to be moved there. It’s slated for Pershing Park, steps away from the White House. Opened in May 1981, the park was an instant success, featuring a design by award-winning landscape architect M. Paul Friedberg. Among its most distinctive features is a monumental fountain that flows into a pond that becomes an ice rink every winter, protected by subtle grade changes from the surrounding hustle and bustle. In recent years, the revered landscape had begun suffering from neglect and underuse. The new plan to restore 95 percent of the protected urban park has been met with major contention, despite the efforts of Weishaar and The U.S. World War One Centennial Commission, the group created in 2012 to fundraise and lobby for the project, to respect the site’s historic legacy and help it stand out. “We want to recapture some of the energy the park had when it was first completed and then overlay this new design element of the memorial so that it won’t take away from the landscape,” Weishaar said. “If you make memorials too big and too oppressive, then that’s all anybody can focus on. They won’t sit there and eat their lunch. They’ll always feel like they have to be reverent.”
Everything visible in current renderings of the memorial is the result of several redesigns, all to make the architectural intervention smaller and smaller. Since Weishaar’s design was selected out of 360 entries in January 2016, he’s reworked the scheme to appease preservation groups as well as the CFA, National Capital Planning Commission, and the National Park Service. Though the largest addition to Pershing Park will be the memorial sculpture itself, not everyone is satisfied with the final look. Charles Birnbaum, president and CEO of The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF), has both testified before the CFA and submitted a letter to NPS about his concerns. “I’m about as glass-half-full on this as I could probably be, but I’m proud of the public process that TCLF participated in,” he told AN. “At the end of the day, it’s unfortunate that the central water feature will not remain and I still believe that having a wall of this length and height will significantly alter the visual and spatial relationship between the upper and lower plazas.” Weishaar’s plan integrates water as a focal point but has significantly reduced the size of the park's existing water feature to allow people to walk up close to the relief sculpture—a moment on the site that Howard was keen on highlighting. The story unfolds before the viewer’s eyes—a person of average height will see the knees of the figures straight on. “I want people to have a visceral reaction to this,” Howard said. “It reads like a film.” Though the sculpture seems traditional, Howard utilized a contemporary process called photogrammetry to create it. He took images with his cell phone of actors portraying scenes from wartime and then combined the individual shots to find the pattern that would create the best flow for the visual story. It took him 12 versions, done over nine months, to determine the final relief. From there, he spent 700 hours over two months drawing a detailed mock-up of the piece. “For this part, I wasn’t even sculpting,” Howard said. “I was creating a hierarchical construction, a system of design that we could break down to do the sculpture quickly.” This kind of commission, he said, is something that would have taken him 15 years to complete, but he’s been charged with doing it in four. He begins sculpting in August now that nearly all approvals have gone through, and he'll be working with the Pangolin Editions sculpture foundry in England to assemble the figure molds. “I’m trying to be as disruptive as possible,” Howard said. “I never thought my career would take this kind of turn into using tech to create classical figurative art, but I don’t think I can go back now.” As for the potential collaboration with Gehry, Howard's not sure where that journey would have taken him. In working with Weishaar, however, he's impressed himself with the lengths at which he and the design team have been willing to go to make this memorial happen.  “To me, art is not democratic,” he said. “But the park is. I was very stubborn with the sculpture design, but Joseph had to be very flexible with the landscape.” When Weishaar submitted his design for the commission, he was just 25 years old, about the average age of a soldier who fought in the war. While making his proposal, he learned more about the history of WWI than he ever did in grade school, he said. It's become his mission—and his job—to spread the word.  “Not only are we turning this park into a memorial, we’re also putting both the landscape and the war back on the map and on the minds of people.” Originally, the National WWI Memorial was supposed to be completed by November 2018 ahead of the war's centennial. Now, the project is estimated to be done in late 2021, pending fundraising. The design team will meet with the CFA again this summer to further discuss the site plan.
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Selling Sunset

Tower project pits Gehry against the father of the L.A. Conservancy

It’s not often that Los Angeles moves to demolish one of its 1,158 Historic-Cultural Monuments (HCM), a list of relics that includes Simon Rodia’s Watts Towers, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House, and three of the city’s majestic Moreton Bay Fig trees. But if developers Townscape Partners had their way, their Gehry Partners–designed 8150 Sunset project could do just that.

The controversial three-tower 8150 Sunset development aims to bring 229 apartments—including 38 low-income homes—and 60,000 square feet of commercial programming to the site of the Lytton Savings bank, a commercial structure with a folded concrete roof designed by local architect Kurt Meyer in 1960, an advocate for architectural preservation in L.A.

Designated HCM no. 1137 on the HCM list, Lytton Savings was recognized in 2016 after Gehry’s project was initially proposed. If demolished, it could be the first time a city monument is intentionally destroyed in 27 years, following the demolition of the A. H. Judson Estate—HCM no. 437—in 1992. The site of the Judson Estate, a mansion designed by George H. Wyman, the architect of L.A.’s Bradbury Building, remains empty to this day. In 1985, the deliciously gaudy Philharmonic Auditorium—HCM #61—in Downtown Los Angeles was also reduced to rubble and remained vacant until 2017.

This troubling legacy haunts Steven Luftman and Keith Nakata, two preservationists fighting to save Lytton Savings. They have been trying to work out a way to relocate the structure, though a new site and funds to relocate the 180-foot-long building have yet to materialize.

“It's a long shot, but it's important to make a try,” Luftman explained while highlighting the lengthy and complicated effort, adding, “The biggest obstacle to moving it is the building’s sheer size.” A recent 180-day grace period to create a plan to move the building expired on April 30, clearing the way for the developers to seek a demolition permit.

Like many buildings in Los Angeles, Lytton Savings has a hotly contested history that goes back to its prior incarnations. The structure was built atop the site of the former Gardens of Allah, a collection of bucolic hotel villas frequented by famous personalities, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Greta Garbo, and Ronald Reagan.

Frank Gehry, however, has no nostalgia for Meyer’s bank. “I came to L.A. when the Gardens of Allah were still there and was witness to [Bart Lytton] tearing them down,” Gehry said. “The way it was done was ruthless.”

Gehry explained that he was bothered by “the history of [how Lytton Savings] got there” and that he “didn't feel compelled to fight to keep it,” adding, “I offered to live with it, but the client did not want to.”

“Four of my buildings have been torn down without anyone asking,” Gehry added. “It’s kind of a better way to have it happen.”

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A GAY OLD TIME

The Glass House celebrates its 70th anniversary with retrospective of gay artists
Gay Gatherings: Philip Johnson, David Whitney, and the Modern Arts, now on view at Philip Johnson’s Glass House, explores the untold history of the iconic home, which served as a retreat for eight of the 20th century’s most culturally influential gay men. The exhibition coincides with the 70th birthday of the Glass House and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising—a pivotal moment in the gay rights movement. Its subjects include the home’s architect, Philip Johnson, and his partner of 45 years, art collector David Whitney, as well as six of their favorite guests: composer John Cage, choreographer Merce Cunningham, producer Lincoln Kirstein, and artists Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, and Andy Warhol. “As gay men,” explained Donald Albrecht, who curated the show alongside Thomas Mellins, “they presided over an intellectually adventurous site during a period when the artistic contributions of gay men were prevalent and increasingly acknowledged within mainstream culture.” Gay Gatherings occupies two locations on the historic Johnson estate—the Frank Gehry–inspired Da Monsta building and the subterranean Painting Gallery. Inside, the working and personal relationships of the men are revealed through artworks, writings, photographs, postcards, and a digital presentation, created specifically for the show by Pure + Applied. Visitors are also encouraged to explore the bucolic grounds, guided by maps that detail where interactions between the famed guests took place. The landscape, which served as Johnson’s laboratory for 56 years, is peppered with his sculptures and architectural follies, including a towering monument to Kirstein, who died in 1996. Gay Gatherings: Philip Johnson, David Whitney, and the Modern Arts is on view at the Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut, now through August 15. More information on the show can be found here.
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And the winner is...

Graham Foundation announces 2019 architectural research grants winners
The Graham Foundation recently announced the winners of 63 grants for projects that ranged from exhibits on suburban housing stock to research on the effects of MTV on postmodern space. The Chicago-based foundation awarded more than $460,000 to awardees from around the world, selected from more than 500 proposals. In total, more than 4,500 projects have been funded by the Graham Foundation since 1956. New domestic formations, the topography of epidemics, and an examination of architecture's relationship to riots are among the projects awarded Graham funding. Below is a selection of the exhibits, publications, programs, and research projects that were among this year's awardees, with text provided by the Graham Foundation. Lap Chi Kwong and Alison Von Glinow  for the exhibit Smuggling Architecture "The history of the suburban house has been and continues to be codified in a handful of builder's manuals that offer a huge selection of home plans to pick-and-choose buyers. These builder homes are living artifacts: a domestic typology rigidly embedded within the American landscape. Smuggling Architecture seeks to reclaim the suburban housing stock that has been neglected by modern architecture. The exhibition optimistically smuggles meaning and value into the interiors of generic suburban house plans through architectural orders." The Extrapolation Factory, practice founded by Elliott P. Montgomery and Chris Woebken for the public program Metro Test Zones "Metro Test Zones, a new initiative from The Extrapolation Factory, proposes studying the way think-tanks work and distilling those approaches to make them accessible to communities and individuals. Providing tools for visualizing dreams from all sorts of cultural perspectives opens up new rhetorical spaces for questioning the world with greater potential for change." Frida Escobedo and Xavier Nueno for the research project An Atlas of New Mexican Ruins "If archeological ruins were rearranged during the postrevolutionary period in museums and historical sites to construct Mexico’s postcolonial identity, “designed ruins” have become the testimony of the undoing of the Mexican nation-state under the close supervision of transnational institutions and corporations... An Atlas of New Mexican Ruins aims, through a series of visual and theoretical case studies, to explore the destructive—although productive—architectural work of neoliberalism in Mexico." Nahyun Hwang & David Eugin Moon for the exhibit: Interim Urbanism: Youth, Dwelling, City "Youths represent a dynamic yet precarious section of today’s populations. No longer belonging to safe spaces of childhood, but not yet, if ever, integrated into the expected paradigms of traditional family structures, a large portion of today’s youths, while seemingly spontaneous in lifestyle choices and welcoming mobility, occupy the vulnerable spaces of the in-between and the prolonged interim. The project investigates the spaces that youths reside in, as they intersect with sustained sociopolitical and economic uncertainties, inequalities, and emergent lifestyles." Nandini Bagchee and Marlisa Wise for the exhibit: Homesteading and Cooperative Housing Movements in NYC, 1970s and 80s "The exhibition Homesteading and Cooperative Housing Movements in NYC, 1970s and 80s, tracks the impact of collective, self-organized practices such as squatting, homesteading, and resident mutual aid in New York City and examines the way in which they have shaped the city. By analyzing ownership models, construction methods, spatial techniques, and material practices deployed by the cooperative housing movement, and presenting them through an immersive and interactive environment, the exhibition asks audience members to imagine new models for equitable development and spatial commoning." Heather Hart  for the research project Afrotecture (Re)Collection "This work is unearthing, interpreting, and constructing architectures for liminal spaces that emerge from the intersection of notable African American narratives, architectural form, and theory. What might happen if the balcony of the infamous Lorraine Hotel—the Memphis, TN, establishment where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968—was replicated in a gallery space? Beatriz Colomina, Ignacio G. Galán, Evangelos Kotsioris, and Anna-Maria Meister for the publication Radical Pedagogies "Radical Pedagogies is a collaborative history project that explores a series of pedagogical experiments that played a crucial role in shaping architectural discourse and practice in the second half of the twentieth century. As a challenge to normative thinking, they questioned, redefined, and reshaped the postwar field of architecture. They are radical in the literal meaning stemming from the Latin radix (root), as they question the basis of architecture. These new modes of teaching shook foundations and disturbed assumptions, rather than reinforcing and disseminating them. They operated as small endeavors, sometimes on the fringes of institutions, but had long-lasting impact." Sara R. Harris and Jesse Lerner  for the film These Fragmentations Only Mean ... "In the late 1980s, the artist Noah Purifoy retired from his position of many years on the California Arts Council and moved from Sacramento to a remote desert site just north of Joshua Tree National Park. There, over the last fifteen years of his life, he created a complex series of assemblage sculptures and precarious architectural constructions that sprawl over ten acres of the high desert land, administered by the Noah Purifoy Foundation. With the support of the Noah Purifoy Foundation, this remarkable site is at the center of this documentary project." The full list of grantees is below and at the Graham Foundation site. EXHIBITIONS Florencia Alvarez Pacheco, (Buenos Aires, Argentina) Petra Bachmaier, Sean Gallero, and Iker Gil (Chicago, IL) Nandini Bagchee and Marlisa Wise (New York, NY) Shumi Bose, Emma Letizia Jones, Guillaume Othenin-Girard, and Nemanja Zimonjić (London, United Kingdom and Zürich, Switzerland) Nahyun Hwang and David Eugin Moon (New York, NY) Lap Chi Kwong and Alison Von Glinow (Chicago, IL) Sahra Motalebi (New York, NY) Anna Neimark (Los Angeles, CA) FILM/VIDEO/NEW MEDIA PROJECTS Rodrigo Brum and Sama Waly (Cairo, Egypt) Dani Gal (Berlin, Germany) Sara R. Harris and Jesse Lerner (Los Angeles, CA) Sean Lally (Lausanne, Switzerland)Lisa Malloy and J.P. Sniadecki (Evanston, IL and Redmond, WA) PUBLIC PROGRAMS The Extrapolation Factory: Elliott P. Montgomery and Chris Woebken (New York, NY) Anna Martine Whitehead (Chicago, IL) PUBLICATIONS Pep Avilés and Matthew Kennedy (Mexico City, Mexico and University Park, PA) Andrea Bagnato and Anna Positano (Genoa, Italy and Milan, Italy) Claire Bishop (New York, NY) Anna Bokov (New York, NY) Larry D. Busbea (Tucson, AZ) Sara Jensen Carr (Boston, MA) Beatriz Colomina, Ignacio G. Galán, Evangelos Kotsioris, and Anna-Maria Meister (Munich, Germany; New York, NY; and Princeton, NJ) Elisa Dainese and Aleksandar Staničić (Delft, the Netherlands and Halifax, Canada) Marco Ferrari, Elisa Pasqual, and Andrea Bagnato (Milan, Italy) Natasha Ginwala, Gal Kirn, and Niloufar Tajeri (Berlin, Germany) Vanessa Grossman, Charlotte Malterre-Barthes, and Ciro Miguel (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Zurich, Switzerland) Jeffrey Hogrefe and Scott Ruff (Baldwin, NY and Lancaster, PA) Eric Höweler and Meejin Yoon (Ithaca, NY and Boston, MA) Beth Hughes and Adrian Lahoud (London, United Kingdom and Sydney, Australia) Robert Hutchison (Seattle, WA) Pamela Johnston (London, United Kingdom) Seng Kuan (Cambridge, MA) George Legrady (Santa Barbara, CA) Zhongjie Lin (Philadelphia, PA) Brian McGrath and Sereypagna Pen (New York, NY and Phnom Penh, Cambodia) Lala Meredith-Vula (Leicester, United Kingdom) Ginger Nolan (Los Angeles, CA) Todd Reisz (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) Erin Eckhold Sassin (Middlebury, VT) Steve Seid (Richmond, CA) Katherine Smith (Decatur, GA) Susan Snodgrass (Chicago, IL) Penny Sparke (London, United Kingdom) Mark Wasiuta (New York, NY) Folayemi (Fo) Wilson (Chicago, IL) RESEARCH PROJECTS Miquel Adrià (Mexico City, Mexico) Joshua Barone, Phillip Denny, and Eléonore Schöffer (Cambridge, MA; New York, NY; and Paris, France) Kadambari Baxi (New York, NY) Gauri Bharat (Ahmedabad, India) Santiago Borja (Mexico City, Mexico) Michael Borowski (Blacksburg, VA) Frida Escobedo and Xavier Nueno (Mexico City, Mexico) Assaf Evron and Dan Handel (Chicago, IL and Haifa, Israel) Beate Geissler, Orit Halpern, and Oliver Sann (Chicago, IL and Montréal, Canada) Heather Hart (New York, NY) Alison Hirsch (Pasadena, CA) David J. Lewis, Paul Lewis, and Marc Tsurumaki (New York, NY) Onnis Luque and Mariana Ordóñez (Mexico City, Mexico) Jonathan Mekinda (Chicago, IL) Giovanna Silva (Milan, Italy) Léa-Catherine Szacka (Manchester, United Kingdom) Jessica Vaughn (New York, NY) Edward A. Vazquez (Middlebury, VT)
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I Wanna Be Down

ArtCenter to take over old Main Museum space in Downtown Los Angeles
ArtCenter College of Design is making a play for the old Main Museum space in Downtown Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Times reported that the Pasadena, California-based college has signed on to take over the 6,250-square-foot facility that had been occupied by The Main Museum until late last year when the institution abruptly and mysteriously shuttered.
ArtCenter president Lorne Buchman told The Times that the new space will give the school a foothold in L.A.’s bustling downtown, which has seen a flurry of arts-related activity over the past 20 years as major cultural venues and institutions have sprung up and expanded to the area. The move, according to Buchman, will also change ArtCenter’s reputation for being located in “the hinterlands” of Pasadena, a wealthy suburban enclave located 10 miles east of Downtown L.A.
Buchman said, “I’m excited about our students being able to be in that location and engage that community—that will make a huge difference.” The announcement came roughly six months after Main Museum director Allison Agsten penned a brief letter on the museum’s website announcing that ArtCenter and The Main Museum’s founder, real estate developer Tom Gilmore, were discussing “future plans [for] the space.” The announcement scuttled expansion designs for The Main Museum by Tom Wiscombe Architecture that would have added a new roof terrace to the Hellman Building, a historic mercantile office building opened in 1903.
Under the new agreement, ArtCenter will lease the space for $1 per year for the next 10 years and will have the option to renew the lease in the future.
The ArtCenter outpost will join the Diller Scofidio + Renfro–designed Broad Museum and the forthcoming wHY-designed Institute of Contemporary Art Los Angeles as recent newcomers to the Downtown L.A. art scene. The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles recently announced that it would be relocating its architecture galleries from the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood to the Frank Gehry–designed Geffen Contemporary outpost in nearby Little Tokyo, as well.
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May Day Mayhem

Gulf Labor Coalition calls for Guggenheim Abu Dhabi boycott
Although the news that the Abu Dhabi offshoot of the Guggenheim was alive and well only broke a couple of weeks ago, labor activists are proactively calling for an artists’ boycott until the Guggenheim Foundation addresses their concerns over working conditions in the Gulf state. The Gulf Labor Coalition (GLC), a collective of artists and labor activists, has been agitating for more equitable conditions for migrant workers in the United Arab Emirates since 2010. The group has sparred with the Guggenheim Foundation over its Abu Dhabi location several times, precipitating an occupation of the Guggenheim Museum on May Day in 2015 and the projection of shaming messages onto the building’s spiral in 2016. The GLC brought the Guggenheim Foundation to the negotiating table in 2015, but the foundation's Board of Trustees announced in April of 2016 that it would be walking away from any further discussions with the GLC, citing the group’s “shifting goals.” With progress on the Frank Gehry–designed Guggenheim Abu Dhabi slowed, or even stopped, the furor temporarily died down. Now that the project is actively moving forward again, the GLC has released an open letter to the Guggenheim, and any artists who would work with the museum. “We were inspired by the struggle for worker rights taking place by students and faculty around the construction of the NYU Abu Dhabi campus and asked ourselves what we as art practitioners could do to address potential labor abuses for the Guggenheim Museum’s planned Abu Dhabi branch. “What we asked was, in our eyes, quite modest. Before we agree to participate or include our works in such a collection, can you please ensure that workers are not abused and are paid fairly, that they are not indebted by recruitment fees, that they are given decent housing and living conditions, and that they have the right to address grievances or abuses individually or collectively? We also asked for an independent external monitor to be in place so that we have at least a modicum of objectivity in assuring these conditions are met. Only the last of these requests was met, and not in a satisfactory way.” The full statement can be read here. When pressed for comment, Guggenheim officials only told Hyperallergic the following: “Recent coverage of an updated timeline for the construction and opening of Guggenheim Abu Dhabi was erroneous and was corrected by multiple media outlets several days ago. There is no construction on Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, no contractor has been selected, and no timeline has been set.” It's unclear what exactly the Guggenheim officials are referring to. Their statement said that construction work was not ongoing, but the earlier Euronews interview with Richard Armstrong, director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Museum, did not say that construction was already happening, but that it would be starting "soon." While that article originally claimed a 2022 opening date, that was quickly amended. The officials did not apparently correct Armstrong's assertion that the Guggenheim Foundation is still actively pursuing the Abu Dhabi project.
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Night of the Living Gugg

The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi is "on track," aims to break ground soon
After a tumultuous series of ups-and-downs, work on the Frank Gehry–designed Guggenheim Abu Dhabi is reportedly picking up steam. According to an interview with Richard Armstrong, director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Museum, given to Euronews at Abu Dhabi’s annual Culture Summit, the museum could open its doors in the next three-to-four years. The institution’s momentum had seemingly stalled in recent years. Although the project was first announced in 2006 and scheduled to open in 2012, it was repeatedly delayed. The original 2012 opening estimate came and went, as did the revised opening date in 2017, and after an interview with former director of the Guggenheim Foundation, Thomas Krens, it seemed the museum might be dead in the water. The 320,000-square-foot museum, potentially the Guggenheim’s largest outpost, is slated to open on Saadiyat Island, a ground-up cultural district that holds a number of institutions designed by big-name architects. That includes Jean Nouvel’s Louvre Abu Dhabi, which itself experienced a number of delays before opening in 2017. “It's a big building, parts of it are quite complex and it should take a little bit of time to put together as it's also quite large,” Armstrong told Euronews. However, he claimed that the project was “on track and on budget,” and that once construction was completed in four years, the Guggenheim Foundation would focus its attention on the fledgling museum over the next 10 years to ensure its success. As for programming, Armstrong envisioned displaying large-scale works from all over the world, mainly contemporary pieces from 1965 and onwards. That includes carving out space for work by younger, lesser-known artists, with "overscaled" pieces from artists such as James Turrell or Ernesto Neto being placed in the building’s upper levels. No exact opening date or new budget was given. AN has reached out to Gehry Partners for comment and will update this story accordingly.
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All Work, All Play

Gehry to design new office headquarters for Warner Bros. in Los Angeles
Gehry Partners, Worthe Real Estate Group, and Stockbridge Real Estate Fund have unveiled renderings for a new 800,000-square-foot office complex slated for the Warner Bros. studio campus in Burbank, California. Urbanize.LA reported that the developers behind the so-called "Second Century Project” aim to break ground later this year and that the project will be completed in time for Warner Bros.’ centennial celebrations in 2023. Plans for the complex call for a pair of cool, iceberg-like mid-rise office towers articulated in Frank Gehry’s signature fluted and twisted forms. One tower will rise seven stories and is set to contain 355,000 square feet of offices while the second tower will rise nine stories high and offer 450,000 square feet of office space. In a press release announcing the project, Gehry said, “Once upon a time, Hollywood Studios had an important architectural presence in the city—they were like monuments to the movie-making process. With this project, I was trying to recapture that feeling of old Hollywood splendor.” To achieve his goal, Gehry Partners has created a two-faced complex. For the more public exposure that faces an adjacent freeway, the architects have designed icy glass facades that will catch the sunlight. Renderings for the project show the towers ablaze in Southern California’s red-orange-pink golden hour light, for example. The office’s second main exposure, which the architects have wrapped in perforated metal panels, will face existing warehouse-like studio spaces. Gehry added, “We created large open floorplates with the single goal of creating the highest quality office space. From the freeway, the buildings are composed as one long sculptural glass facade that creates a single identity like icebergs floating along the freeway. On the studio side, the metal punched facade is terraced to relate to the scale and character of the existing studio buildings.” The project is the latest local proposal from the ever-busy Gehry Partners. Other projects on deck include the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles project in South Los Angeles, a planned hotel and mixed-income housing complex in Santa Monica, the controversial 8150 Sunset mixed-use complex, and The Grand, a pair of mixed-use residential towers slated for a site directly across the street from Gehry Partners’ Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown Los Angeles, among others.
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Empty Vessel

Hudson Yards and its Vessel open to the public
As throngs of tourists and New York City residents descend on Manhattan’s far west side for the opening of Hudson Yards’ first phase, AN joined the first tour of the Thomas Heatherwick–designed Vessel (interested visitors can reserve free tickets). Bill Pedersen, founding partner of Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF), Thomas Woltz of landscape architecture studio Nelson Byrd Woltz, representatives from Heatherwick Studio, and Related Companies chairman Stephen Ross, who paid to construct the Vessel out of his own pocket, were also on hand to dive into the design behind the development. With the first phase of Hudson Yards opening to the public today, plenty of ink has already been spilled over the new neighborhood’s “fortress-like” nature, the accusations that it intentionally and discordantly stands apart from the street grid and city as a whole, and that the development is a playground for the one-percent financed through $6 billion in tax breaks (though some might passionately dispute that characterization). Those points have been argued elsewhere. What is definitely true is that the 11-million-square-foot, $16-billion first phase of Hudson Yards is now mainly open, or will open shortly, and it’s likely to draw shoppers, tourists, and High Line hikers to what was formerly an open-air staging area for the Long Island Railroad. The second phase of the megaproject over the still-uncovered western railyard will hold five more residential towers and a commercial project from architectural heavy hitters like Herzog & de Meuron, Frank Gehry, Santiago Calatrava, and Robert A.M. Stern. Related expects that infrastructure work on the second phase will begin next year before the site is decked over. Vessel, Heatherwick’s $150 million not-quite-a-sculpture, not-quite-a-building sits at the center of Hudson Yards’ Public Square and Gardens. The climbable installation is made up of 154 flights of stairs connected to 80 landings, and it balloons up to 150-feet-wide at its 150-foot-tall summit. As project architect Stuart Wood explained, Vessel (explicitly not “the Vessel”—although Related will rename the structure later, anyway) was designed to be open in its programming while not “jamming up” the plaza. “The project was built entirely from staircases and landings. They're public, publicly accessible, free to use spaces. It's non-prescriptive. That was absolutely our intent from the outset. This should be a project that is open to interpretation. It's open to different natures of use.” The underside of the piece is clad in warm, reflective metal paneling that distorts the glass towers around it and brings a sense of liveliness to the “sculpture” as more visitors gather at its base. As visitors scale Vessel, climbers see themselves reflected overhead as the panels act as mirrored ceilings; that interactivity is intentional. On the topside, Heatherwick has used wood railings, darkened steel, and stone for the steps and landings in reference to the site's industrial heritage. With a form so often compared to a beehive or garbage can by outside observers, actually entering Vessel produces an unusual effect. Standing in the sculpture’s base feels akin to entering a towering atrium, with the glass handrails resembling windows. Climbing the structure’s numerous staircases, at least when devoid of the crowds that will surely descend on it after the official opening, felt slightly dangerous. The view of Hudson Yards, the Shed, shops and dining areas, and across the Hudson River, open up towards the top, and might induce the same sense of vertigo found on construction sites. For mobility impaired visitors, Heatherwick Studio has added a glass elevator that travels along a curving track along Vessel’s inside rim, though it only stops at one landing per story. The plaza in which Vessel sits is elliptical and gently spirals out to each of the buildings on the site, a decision that Nelson Byrd Woltz came to in tandem with Heatherwick Studio. As such, it serves as the epicenter of Hudson Yards’ public space, and its central location in the neighborhood’s main plaza visually cements that status. Vessel, for better or for worse, is intrinsically at home in Hudson Yards and wouldn’t fit anywhere else in the world. And even if it wasn’t, as Wood explained, Related has copyrighted the design.
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Archi-Talks

Annabelle Selldorf, Stefano Boeri, and Rafael Viñoly headline New York's City of Tomorrow summit
City of Tomorrow, a two-day summit in New York conceived by Hundred Stories and 92Y, will tackle timely topics like resiliency, the “we” revolution, and culinary innovation’s role in urban placemaking. Over 50 experts, including architects, local restauranteurs, city officials, designers, and real estate developers, will gather on March 15 and 16 to talk about what it’s going to take to create a healthy future for New York.   “This year’s dialogue focuses on themes none of us can afford to ignore,” said Robin Dolch, president of Hundred Stories, in a statement, “resiliency for the city, urban solutions for the decades ahead, prioritizing the people and community in our planning, the lessons biology can teach us about building better and wellness strategies at the forefront of everything in real estate and design.” Now in its third year, the symposium features a comprehensive lineup of talks led by an even more stacked list of speakers. Annabelle Selldorf and Rafael Viñoly will headline an architecture keynote address alongside principals from SOM and Bjarke Ingels Group, while emerging leaders in the field like Danei Cesario, Alda Ly, and Jenny Sabin will talk about coworking, nature, and wellness. AN’s own editor-in-chief Bill Menking will moderate a panel on innovation and the built environment, featuring speakers from Oiio Studio, ShoP Architects, and more. The discussions taking place at City of Tomorrow will cover not just buildings, but also how food, tech, nature, and art play into a city’s success. Award-winning chefs José Andres and Missy Robbins, as well as Marcel Van Ooyen of GrowNYC, will talk about creating developments with culinary destinations, while Shin-pei Tsay of the Gehl Institute and Tim Tompkins from the Times Square Alliance discuss urban planning and innovation. Architect Stefano Boeri and Martin Bechthold, PhD, Harvard’s Kumagai Professor of Architectural Technology, will also discuss what animals and plants can teach humans about building better. Panels with titles like “The Future of Retail,” “What’s New in New Development,” “Real Estate Mysteries Revealed,” and “Paint the City” allude to more of the expert knowledge on New York living that will be shared during the two-day conference. For a full listing of speakers, check out the event website. Registration is still happening and can be found here.