Posts tagged with "Austin":
According to the League of American Cyclists, Austin is the only “Gold Level” city in Texas. The cycle group, Bike Austin, currently boasts approximately 13,000 members—more than one percent of Austin’s population. So perhaps a sculpture titled Forever Bicycles has found the right home.
Forever Bicycles comprises, well, you guessed it, a lot of bicycles—1,200, to be precise.
The large-scale work from Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is part of The Contemporary Austin’s Museum Without Walls program and its ongoing partnership with Waller Creek Conservancy. It can be found adjacent to the Waller Creek Boathouse at 74 Trinity Street.
The steel bikes have not been painted or colored, resulting in a gray monolith that recalls Weiwei’s childhood memories and dadaist principles. In particular, it seems to reference Marcel Duchamp’s subversions of the everyday object such as the Bicycle Wheel, one first of the French artist’s “readymades.”
However, while Duchamp toyed with the mode transport in a singular fashion, Weiwei exhibits it in excess, recalling the bike brand “Forever” that dominated the streets of China during his childhood, yet were out of his, and many others’, price range.
The bikes are connected and arranged in a seemingly disorderly manner, yet this pattern of partially tessellating bicycles is repeated 11 times, with each iteration being equidistant from the next. From certain angles, the density of the sculpture obscures the cycle motif and the artwork is instead perceived as a metal mesh. However, this isn’t putting off Bike Austin, which says it will be incorporating the sculpture into the daily cycle routes.
Forever Bicycles is actually one of two Weiwei works that now fall under the Museum Without Walls program. The second, titled Iron Tree Trunk, is located at the museum’s Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria and sees a replica dead tree trunk rise 15 feet.
On a visit to the Chinese town of Jingdezhen, Weiwei observed how locals trade dry wood by basing the value on the wood’s form and general aesthetic. This inspired Weiwei to experiment with wood in a large-scale format. By 2009, he was exhibiting works that used twisted timber, and Iron Tree Trunk, conceived in 2015, continues this thought. The sculpture uses the remains of a large tree that have been pieced together to form a new “tree” that, at a glance, looks as if it is from oxidized iron.
“With beautiful and outspoken conceptual work fused to his own larger-than-life persona, Ai Weiwei has become one of the most important artists working today,” said Louis Grachos, executive director of The Contemporary Austin in a statement. “And his relevance is only deepening given the current political climate in the United States and throughout the world.”
With more than 40 prints examining the antiquities and architecture of Rome, along with large-scale maps of the city, books, and plaster casts of Greek and Roman architectural fragments, Piranesi’s Rome celebrates Giovanni Battista Piranesi, regarded as one of the greatest printmakers of the 18th century. Piranesi, who considered himself an architect as well as an artist, is best known for his use of the etching medium to create prints of Rome’s architecture, including the ancient Roman aqueduct system, and fantastical buildings that could only exist in the dream world.
Austin, Texas is a hot place to be. In fact, according to Arthur Andersson, it's "hotter than the hinges of hell." The Austin-based architect is a principal at Andersson-Wise Architects and will be speaking at this month's Facades+ AM conference in the city. He spoke to The Architect's Newspaper (AN) about a recent Austin project, Block 21, and how he combated the city's climate.
Though its official name doesn't give much away, Block 21 incorporates a W Hotel, residences, retail, offices, and a recording studio for KLRU where the show Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater is filmed. The building was Andersson's first ever high-rise (Block 21 climbs to 37 stories) but the architect was committed to producing a "useful" rather than a "pure" building.
"Many architects would have put protruding balconies on both sides of the building," claimed Andersson, who instead, opted to recess some on one side. "I posed a question to the Mayor, 'do you ever see people on those north balconies?'" Mayor Will Wynn's response was predictably a "no." Subsequently, Block 21's balconies provide shade in the summer and let the sun in and heat condos in the winter. "None of the four are sides doing the same thing, they're all different and based on the sun’s position," Andersson added. "Recessing balconies is like giving the building sunglasses."
Another method of tackling Austin's climate was through color. "Here, for some reason, a lot of the taller buildings are either beige or brown—or at least they were," said Andersson. "All these colors made you feel hotter than you already are! In Austin the sky gets super blue, so we wound up with a color scheme that almost disappears into the sky."
"The second thing that we did, and we the first building in Austin to do this, was to use a curtain wall so the structure was all inside and you couldn't see any mullions. As a result, the glass can have a very minimal connection, you just see [a] sheer face." As for the rest of the facade, particularly at the base of the building where the recording studio is located, compressed cement panels from Swisspearl acted as a rainscreen and provided a matte finish—a contrast the reflective glass.
Staying with the lower portion of the building, Andersson explained how Bill Zahner, president and CEO of A. Zahner Company, helped with the sheet metal work to create pre-finish weathered steel look for the car park, lobby, and base, which came across to Andersson as being like "ruins" when twinned with concrete.
Andersson will be speaking at Facades+ AM this July 18 in Austin. There he will discuss Block 21 in greater detail and joining him (albeit on a different panel) will be Anthony Birchler, vice president of engineering at A. Zahner Company.
Seating is limited. To find out more, please visit am.facadesplus.com.
In West Austin along the Colorado River, a 44-acre site has been suggested as a home for the Holdsworth Center—a non-profit organization that aims to improve the quality of state school education in Texas. The center will invite staff from six districts and work with Texas school district superintendents, principals, and administrators as part of the program.
At the time of writing, the project is currently going through planning, and a Planned Unit Development (PUD) application was submitted earlier this month to the city of Austin. Speaking to The Architect's Newspaper, Justin Garrison of Lake|Flato Architects, the San Antonio firm behind the scheme, said they were trying to "change the current zoning of single-family residential to make this project feasible in the future."
Of the large site, only half the land will be developed on while the rest of the natural landscape will be preserved. "The master plan aims to create an innovative retreat and educational center where users will be exposed to various collaborative learning and research opportunities within the facilities, as well as the freedom to engage the outdoors and surrounding landscape," said Garrison who added the design will "strive to be light on the land.... The Holdsworth Center aims to maintain the existing ecological zones on the site including the riparian and wetland edge along Lake Austin."
Along the waterfront is a thicket of cypress trees which visually separate the development from the water. Garrison explained further, describing how a few structures such as pavilions, day docks, and boat docks will protrude from the wooded riparian and upper bluff edges to give users 180 plus degrees of views overlooking the Pennybacker “360” bridge and surrounding hill country. "Within the project boundaries, the various buildings are located and oriented to frame various types and scales of open space, provide vistas across the natural meadow, allow a sense of the landscape, natural ecology, and water collection and treatment flow through the site, as well as provide optimal natural daylight within the buildings and solar energy collection," said Garrison.
Programmatically, the center will include an: educational learning center with classrooms and event spaces; administration offices for Holdsworth Center staff and visiting researchers; an academic village where users will be housed on site with a few casitas for extended stay users and various pavilions and day/boat docks (as mentioned above) to be used for educational, recreational and event purposes.
Austin-based Ten Eyck Landscape Architects are also working on the project. So far no dates for completion can be confirmed as the city is yet to vote on the PUD process. Lake|Flato also said they could not determine the project's cost.