Last week, we came across illustrator James Gilliver Hancock's series of playful block elevations titled "All the Buildings in New York." It turns out this impulse to sketch block upon block of New York's architecture has been around for quite some time. In 1899, the Mail & Express newspaper company published a graphic journey down Manhattan's Broadway in a book called A Pictorial description of Broadway now archived at the New York Public Library. The stroll down Broadway 112 years ago reveals just how much New York has evolved over the past century. As the NYPL says, "The result, as you can see here, is a 19th century version of Google's Street View, allowing us to flip through the images block by block, passing parks, churches, novelty stores, furriers, glaziers, and other businesses of the city's past." Two of the most dramatic plates in the series show Times Square, above. Quite a striking difference to the neon canyon we know today. Below, you can see the lush Madison Square, also with significantly fewer high rises, and below that is a stunningly underdeveloped 59th Street showing vacant lots and buildings of only a few floors. Click on the thumbnails below to launch a gallery.
Posts tagged with "art":
Ever hit a WiFi dead spot when moving about the city? A new visualization project called Immaterials: Light painting WiFi by Timo Arnall, Jørn Knutsen and Einar Sneve Martinussen reveals the hidden landscape of digital signals though long-exposure photography and a stick equiped with a WiFi sensor and LED lights. Here's more from YOUrban.no:
The city is filled with an invisible landscape of networks that is becoming an interwoven part of daily life. WiFi networks and increasingly sophisticated mobile phones are starting to influence how urban environments are experienced and understood. We want to explore and reveal what the immaterial terrain of WiFi looks like and how it relates to the city.Looks like this project could feel right at home with the upcoming MoMA exhibition, Talk to Me, exploring the feedback of our environments. (Via information aesthetics.) Check out more photos over here.
LA starchitect Thom Mayne recently took some time to share his art/sculpture with our friends at Form magazine. The three-dimensional pieces reveal his love for investigating hard-edged metallic shards, architectural movement, faceted surfaces, hovering forms and general chaos; all major forces in his architecture. It makes us think of the other architects who are also sculptors, and just what the difference is between architecture and sculpture these days anyway? (Since software does so much of the heavy lifting now, many would say there isn't any difference.) Here are a few of our other favorites, whose art often informs, and sometimes mirrors, their architecture: Santiago Calatrava Zaha Hadid Frank Gehry Maya Lin Oscar Niemeyer
Buffalo-based architect Dennis Maher has devised his own version of adaptive reuse - he's remaking abandoned buildings into sculptures. Inspired by the shrinking Rust Belt city where he lives and works, his sculptures "honor the former lives of these raw materials" in a way that is striking and thought-provoking. The large works of art in Undone-Redone City are complex, and offer us a new way of seeing buildings, or at least their elements. In Maher's creations, a door and some flooring and a window frame might all mesh together to form a new shape and a new function that the original builders probably never imagined.
It's official. The multi-decade restoration of the historic Eldridge Street Synagogue is now truly complete with the recent installation of the new rose window that we told you about last February. Designed by architect Deborah Gans and artist Kiki Smith, this contemporary update of the Gothic staple employs cutting-edge lamination techniques, using silicone to fuse the colorful shards of glass. The result is stunning - the window appears to float above the sanctuary - and is a wonderful capstone to the award-winning restoration of a structure that has literally stood the test of time.
Upon first stumbling across this massive array of 2,000 LED lights encased in standard light bulbs in Madison Square Park a few weeks ago, I thought holiday decoration had come a little early to the Flatiron's front yard, but as shadowed figures began moving across the field of light, it became apparent that this installation by artist Jim Campbell was something special. Situated on Madison Square Park's Oval Lawn, Scattered Light consists of a three-dimensional grid of light spanning roughly 80 feet by 16 feet and standing 20 feet tall. When viewing the installation from the front, programmed LED lights flicker in sequence to create the illusion of shadows walking through the park. Moving around the artwork causes the image to blue and abstract as the grid moves in and out of focus. Scattered Light video by specialkrb / YT: Scattered Light video by Craig Dorety / Vimeo: The installation is one of three public art projects by Jim Campbell on display in Madison Square Park. Here's more information about the other two from the Madison Square Park Conservancy:
Broken Window, the second installation, will be situated near the main entrance to Madison Square Park at 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue. An array of LEDs encased in a glass-brick wall (70”h x 70”w x 10”d) will create illuminated images that appear to glide across the glass plane, reflecting the movements of the city around them and echoing the aesthetic poetry of the Scattered Lightinstallation. Situated on the eastern lawn adjacent to Madison Avenue between 24th and 25th street, Voices in the Subway Station, the third installation, will feature LEDs encased in two dozen glass tablets (14” x 18” each) arrayed across the lawn at ground level. The light pulses emanating from each tablet will be rhythmically modulated to represent the voices of individual travelers as recorded in conversation on a subway platform, combining to create a visual symphony rendered in light.Each of the three installations offers an abstracted experience drawn from the urban environment that's at once distant but right at home and it's worth an evening stroll through the park to experience them for yourself. The installations will be on display through February 2011. Interview with Jim Campbell from Switched: Voices in the Subway video by Craig Dorety / Vimeo: Broken Window video by lessthanrita / YT:
The cult of decay is an enthralling topic. This inevitability of time serves as the inspiration of Italian artist Daniele Del Nero's new project "After Effects" consisting of a series of model houses in advanced states of decay. Del Nero covered the models in flour and mold which then grew to nearly consume the models. These eerie miniatures appear strangely similar to plant-strewn ruins of many ailing rustbelt cities that have captivated public imagination as cities continue to wrestle with abandonment and revitalization. [ Via designboom. ]
Artist Nils Völker has created a breathing wall comprised of trash bags and cooling fans. One Hundred and Eight selectively inflates a grid of, you guessed it, 108 bags to create a strikingly simple yet poetic result. The softness of the trash bags rising and falling is really something to see. The installation can also interact with the viewer, sensing a person's presence before the wall. From the artist:
Interactive version: More footage of the installation:
Although each plastic bag is mounted stationary the sequences of inflation and deflation create the impression of lively and moving creatures which waft slowly around like a shoal. But as soon a viewer comes close it instantly reacts by drawing back and tentatively following the movements of the observer. As long as he remains in a certain area in front of the installation it dynamically reacts to the viewers motion. As soon it does no longer detect someone close it reorganizes itself after a while and gently restarts wobbling around.Can you imagine this idea translated to the scale of architecture? Cloud-like hallways - or even full facades - might actively follow passers by with a gently inflating and deflating rhythm. [ Via Today and Tomorrow. ]
Interactive version: More footage of the installation:
Brooklyn-based artist Leeza Meksin plans to give an historic brick structure in St. Louis a new skin - or rather a new set of clothes. House Coat proposes wrapping over 800 yards of spandex around the two-story building, complete with stylized "corset-like fixtures in the back, weights, [and] leather." Several unique challenges arise when trying to clothe something as large as a building. Meksin says ready-made patterns for such a House Coat tend to be scarce, but instead is spending two months preparing the bespoke garment in her Brooklyn studio. She chose an oversized print - large gold chains on semi-transparent white field - to relate back to the building's scale.
The logic behind this pattern is multifold: (1) Cosign Projects of WUSTL's Art Program is located in a depressed area of St. Louis, with multiple boarded-up houses surrounding it; (2) The gold on white motif makes frequent appearances in hip hop and pop culture as a sign of wealth and fabulousness; (3) The house, wrapped in gold chains, will flaunt itself to locals, while simultaneously finding itself bound and gagged by its own design.Meksin is inspired by the fluid elegance of fabric installations by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude but diverges as her preferred medium of stretch fabrics evokes the more modern dress of "drag queens and super heroes."
HOUSE COAT, as the pun implies, refers both to the literal fact of the house getting a new covering (a face lift of sorts) as well as to the garment often worn by people indoors (i.e. the outfit that is specifically designed for a private sphere and not permitted an exterior use).The installation will take place in Spring 2011 during the Southern Graphics Council International Conference with support from Washington University in St. Louis. While much of the $13,000 budget has been raised, Meksin has established a Kickstarter campaign to finish raising funds. Via Lost at E Minor.
Artist Jenny Odell has created a six-print series of collages comprised of cut-outs from Google satellite imagery that show the great variety present in the built and natural landscapes. By repeating the same typological elements, Odell's collections offer astounding simplicity and beauty. Prints are available for sale on the artists's web site. Via Lost at E Minor.
Hypothetical Development Organization hopes. The group, created in 2010 by author and New York Times Magazine columnist Rob Walker, examines what the future might hold for some of the hidden, and underused, architectural gems in New Orleans by creating renderings of what the buildings could be, you know, hypothetically. In a city that is still trying to piece itself together after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, this is a creative way to draw attention to buildings that are being overlooked. Walker told the Huffington Post that he sees this project as something of a public service.
"If they're not going to be developed, then let's have fun with them," he said. "It's a pleasure-giving response to this crummy situation with the economy, where development isn't happening. But this is not mean or depressing -- it's joyous.The Hypothetical Development Organization is planning a gallery show planned at the Du Mois Gallery in April 2011. There will even be a specially designed Hypothetical Development Trip, courtesy of Gowalla, which makes a travel-oriented app for smartphones.
Last night, the 1500 Gallery in Chelsea held an opening for Brasilia, a show of iconic photographs dating from the creation of the freshly minted Brazilian capital. Indeed, the show is meant to be a celebration of the Semicentennial of Oscar Niemeyer's city in the jungle. The show was organized by Brazilian photographer Murillo Meirelles and will be up through November 27. Pictures of pictures, and more from the opening, after the jump.