Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum 2 East 91st Street, Manhattan Babb, Cook & Willard (1902) Gluckman Mayner Architects with Beyer Blinder Belle (2014) Part a historic house tour and part a lesson on material culture and curatorial practices, today’s Archtober lunchtime session packed a ton of information into 60 minutes. Brooke Hodge, deputy director of the Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum, showed us around one of the finest mansions of Manhattan. Designed by Babb, Cook & Willard in 1902, the Carnegie Mansion’s most recent renovations were completed just last year. Executive architect Beyer Blinder Belle developed the master plan, while Gluckman Tang Architects (formerly Gluckman Mayner Architects, the firm responsible for the Staten Island Museum at Snug Harbor that we’ll be touring on Thursday) oversaw the historic preservation aspects of the project. Diller Scofidio + Renfro worked closely with the museum’s curators to develop the display cases and exhibition design. The firm also oversaw the plan of the garden, which, once complete, will open at 8:00a.m. to welcome visitors onto the property even beyond hours of admission. Our dear friends at Pentagram worked on the graphic identity together with the typographer Chester Jenkins, who developed an open-source typeface called the Cooper Hewitt. This initiative was yet another way to make the museum more inviting to the public, and to encourage people to feel connected with design. The renovation added 7,000 square feet of exhibition space to the mansion without expanding the building’s envelope. Offices and the library were relocated to adjacent townhouses, and part of the collection was moved to offsite storage. Other smaller pockets of space were carved out: a former powder room is called the “Teaspoon Gallery,” a play on its location next to the Spoon Gallery, which was named after a donor family. Visitors are encouraged to grab a Pen (note the capital “P” since we still never take ink into exhibitions) at the admissions desk and keep track of their favorite objects. These electronic styluses turn visitors into collectors, and encourage creative moments of exploration. One gallery features a projection screen that covers two walls, reproducing visitor-drawn forms as wallpaper. The digital transformation of these designs into large-scale patterns help visitors connect with the objects on display. Fragments of wallpaper that might otherwise be interpreted as whole objects unto themselves can now be understood as part of repeating patterns that set the tones of entire rooms. Julia Cohen is the Archtober Coordinator at the Center for Architecture.
Posts tagged with "Brooke Hodge":
Q+A> Thomas Heatherwick talks about architecture, being an outsider, and his new exhibition at the Hammer Museum
The new exhibition Provocations: The Architecture and Design of Heatherwick Studio opened Friday at Los Angeles' Hammer Museum. The show, curated by Brooke Hodge, explores the firm's creative process and the remarkable scope of its work, with a particular focus on public scale projects. AN West Editor Sam Lubell talked with Thomas Heatherwick about the exhibition, his outsider approach, and where he's heading now. Sam Lubell: There doesn't seem to be a category for your work. You're a designer and you're an inventor. Thomas Heatherwick: It surprised me, when I was growing up the word inventor was always connected to the word mad—mad inventor. And you couldn't study it. But the paintings we valued had an inventive move, the pieces of writing would have an inventive something in them. Sculpture, science, transportation. We're all curious about what the future will be, and the future is made from ideas. But you couldn't study that. The world of developing, evolving ideas was chopped up into these different things with titles. So I was quite surprised. I've always been motivated by where can you make a difference. In a way I'm a problem solver, that's what interests me. The thing is trying to find which problem, and your analysis of what a problem is and where it is. It's all problem solving. It's trying to work out the order to solve those in. You've called your firm "experts in not being experts." To me that's so fascinating. To not be stuck in the expected ideas of what you should be doing. It seems very challenging to maintain that. Especially when you get to be more of an expert in something. Luckily the world is big. Life is relatively short. Projects take so long to actually do that I don't feel worried about it. My studio's been going for twenty years, but you're seeing photographs of our first completed building project in Singapore. (The UK Pavilion is technically a big bungalow.) I think within everything, why waste your time copying yourself or others? There's an attempt to try to hunt down what the solution is. To me with each project, I feel like not that we're generating a solution, but that we're trying to find it. Which means it helps it to be broader than just myself. It really is we're together trying to solve a crime somehow. Often we'll do development work knowing it's not right. But you're needing to eliminate from your enquiries a strand of your ideas to see if they'll teach you something that might work. You've moved from smaller work to buildings and bridges. What's the next frontier? I feel I've barely scraped any frontier. This is going to sound very dull, but my grandmother at the end of her life was in a nursing home. We found the best nursing home we could for her, but it was a really poor environment. But the most alarming part of it was for the staff. We are all going to be that person one day who's there. I want to know society thanks them. I know I'll be old and rotting. It felt to me there's something really wrong in that. You feel you could make a real difference with relatively little resource. Another example is the prison system. Do you really want to hurt someone more and then they come out and sit next to you on the bus? Most people in British prisons have not had the benefits in their life that you and I have had. The notion of a prison as a learning place and not a hurting people more place is exciting. If there's a way to politically enable that to happen when the public wants to condemn. If you hurt them more it's not going to help you. You seem to have this spirit that anything's possible. People are resigned to these areas that you've mentioned. For you it's like no, it doesn't have to be that way. People are cynical, and you guys have this idealism that is really refreshing. I think I've been lucky that for some of the early projects, there were people who supported them and allowed them to happen. That gives you more encouragement to keep going and to believe the best in people. I've trained around some really hard-bitten architectural characters, and you understand why. Because it's very hard to make a building at all, let alone one with any value or quality. And it's really easy to get downtrodden and bitter. I suppose I've very consciously put that in my brain and tried to protect that, and not fall into that trap. Because it's like an itch that's easy to scratch. And as soon as you start scratching, if you don't believe the best of the people around you, then they will conform to being the worst. I see there's a lot of that idea of protecting and not allowing in the forces of cynicism. We're in an interesting time. Particularly in America there's a culture of entrepreneurial optimism and societal improvement in entrepreneurship. So I don't feel alone, I feel particularly inspired by the extraordinary examples of people pursuing an idea and believing something can happen, and there's no reason something shouldn't. Not blaming the world for ideas not happening. Since you're willing to rethink these processes, sometimes people get rubbed the wrong way. There's been some backlash about your attempt to move up in scale. People saying "he's not an architect." How do you respond to that? The studio has 120 architects, and it's a brilliant training. I'm very lucky to work with people who've trained in that way. There's always some friction in change. It would be very weird if there wasn't. The public area between all the private zones is the bit we all share. As we all know, some people are good at adapting to change and others are very fearful of it. You can't predict and control how people feel about things. But I'm very lucky to have this team, and I'm very lucky to have the support that I do. Any innovation I see happening is when people step outside their bubbles. And it seems like that's what you're willing to do. I've never been in a bubble. Maybe I've deliberately protected that. But I've also tried to bring in people who have that expertise to work with us. These designs are very provocative and complex, but they're very human. They're always grounded and approachable and understandable somehow. It's a very real interest. I'm very influenced by the Jane Jacobs book The Death and Life of Great American Cities. It almost made me fall in love with public-ness. With the bit we share together, and the subtle chemistry existing in the social interactions in public space. And William White, who analyzed public space so well in the 70s. Lessons that haven't been learned since. It's just re-tuning in to thinking that's already there, but trying to synthesize and bring that to bear on projects now. Do you think you have more interest now in the public realm than in doing projects for individuals? I've always had that. In a sense you can make more difference. We already know peoples' private homes can be sensational and gorgeous and impressive and that things in art galleries can be stunning and wonderful and in fact you're positively disappointed if they're not. Whereas we have very low expectations of public space. People really don't expect much at all. Having scaled up, are there any major lessons you've learned from working with architects? I built my first building when I was 21 at university, so this isn't new territory. But it takes years to be trusted by cities and property developers and cultural institutions. To be an architect is an impossibly big job. A really good architect is a collaborator, and harnesses the brainpower and brilliance of others. And I feel a strong sense that my role is to try to harness the brilliance of others, and to synthesize and bring that together into projects that have some meaning. I don't see myself so much as an author, I see myself as a "bringer-togetherer" of things. It's deep in me, the passion for both the space and the materiality. And I'm lucky to work with such good people.
As the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum gears up for its reopening later this year, the museum announced today it has hired Brooke Hodge, a widely respected curator and museum administrator, as its new deputy director. Hodge is currently the director of exhibitions and publications at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. She was previously the architecture and design curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles, where she organized shows on Frank Gehry, the automobile designer J Mays, and Skin + Bones: Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture. She was let go from MOCA amid financial and organizational disruptions at that museum, which lead to several changes in leadership and the near closure of the museum. Hodge is currently working on an exhibition of Thomas Heatherwick, which will open at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas in September. “Brooke will be diving into preparations for our opening later this fall, while partnering with me and museum teams on the exciting, future plans for the nation’s design museum,” Caroline Baumann, director of the Cooper-Hewitt, said in a statement.
DANCING WITH STARCHITECTS Eavesdrop got all flustered when the Chicago Dancing Festival, an annual event celebrating American dance, announced the theme for its August 27 event: “The Dancing Skyline.” Could this be like Dancing with the Stars or a Pilobolus-like pile of dancers recreating buildings from Chicago’s iconic skyline? Probably neither, as the festival’s website simply describes it as “a lecture and demonstration focused on themes of architecture and dance.” Still, we would have paid good money to see Jeanne Gang paired with the likes of Jay Franke of the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company prancing off against Helmut Jahn and Fabrice Calmels of the Joffrey Ballet. A gossip columnist can dream! CURATOR SHUFFLE Ever since AN broke the news that Joseph Rosa is leaving the Art Institute’s architecture and design department to direct the University of Michigan Art Museum, speculation has abounded about who will replace him. The AIC says design curator Zoe Ryan is in the running, but Eavesdrop guesses she’s pretty happy building the museum’s new design collection. Others have pointed to Brooke Hodge, previously of LA MOCA, but might her interests overlap too much with Ryan’s? Oh, and another Ryan, first name Raymund, the architecture curator at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, could well be in the running. Then there’s John Zukowsky, the former AIC curator, who is conveniently back in town. Seems unlikely. What about Elizabeth Smith, the former chief curator at the MCA? She’s had a longstanding interest in architecture and wrote a wonderful and much lusted after book on the Case Study Houses. Eavesdrop hears that Trustee John H. Bryan, who endowed the chair, holds the key to the kingdom. Send season tickets, croquet wickets, and rusty spigots to email@example.com.
We know you love the gossip. AN aims to satisfy that itch in print, online, East Coast, West Coast, whatever, wherever, whenever. So here comes Eavesdrop to our blog so you can get it faster, feistier, anywhere you are. Plus, we will be posting Sara Hart’s online-only EAVESDROP ALERTs. But the real fun begins in the comments section, where you can lay on your own gossipy tidbits. And Sara will be sure to respond. For Whom the Buell Tolls There are some whispers coming from the Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture at Columbia University’s GSAPP. Our ears immediately perked up, because we never hear anything much from that stone corner of the academic groves. Founded in 1982, the center’s first director was Robert A.M. Stern, who was followed by Gwendolyn Wright, Richard Buford, Joan Ockman (who stepped down about a year ago), and Reinhold Martin, who currently holds the post. The whispers have it that Professor Martin is changing the center’s mild mission to a more politically left-leaning agenda. Some female members of the 12-person board of advisers are also miffed that he’s held boys-only dinners, like a recent bash with board members Peter Eisenman, Stern, and GSAPP Dean Mark Wigley. Could another Penguin Club be in the making? Furniture Fanfare? So, was this year’s ICFF a bust? It depends on whom you ask. One exhibitor told Eavesdrop that traffic to his high-profile booth was off 50 percent from last year, and noted a dearth of posses from the architectural giants. Not so, said PR maven Beth Dickstein. Her math suggests that while some huge manufacturers bowed out this year, there were more smaller exhibitors, and overall the quality of the goods was better. As sales and marketing consultant to the show’s producer, George Little Management, she admits that overall attendance was down about 12 percent. But, she cites numbers from major exhibitors—including Pablo, Chilewich, and Trove—who claim to have written big orders from big firms with big projects. And Make Ours a Double Here’s a twist on surviving the recession. Gensler associate Judy Cheung brought a new client called Flex Mussels to the firm. Her reward was getting laid off. Now she’s a bartender at the Gensler-designed Upper East Side eatery that specializes in the aforementioned bivalve. Her current gig sounds more gratifying. And more tough breaks: A loss on the left coast could be an opportunity for an enterprising museum in the East. Brooke Hodge, the much-admired curator of architecture and design at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, was laid off along with several other staffers, with senior curators taking a 5% pay cut. Another casualty of the institution’s weak finances was Hodge’s long-planned show on Morphosis, now cancelled. Eli Broad, not surprisingly, is also involved. To get his $30 million bailout, the museum has to make good on spending cuts while redirecting its focus to the permanent collection. Send frites and oyster shooters to firstname.lastname@example.org [This originally appeared in AN 10_06.03.2009 (NY)]