Design Miami, the high-design fair that runs with the giant, Art Basel Miami Beach, exhibited two objets d’architecture over the Miami Art Week, and named an architect, David Adjaye, as its 2011 Designer of the Year. Both objets were sculptural pavilions: one is an installation by Adjaye, commissioned for the fair, and the other a restored modernist icon with a utopian agenda. Adjaye’s pavilion Genesis was sited just outside the entrance to the Design Miami fair tent. Constructed with digitally cut timber planks, Genesis is triangular in plan, with an ovoidal interior space that opens to two sides, a smaller window on the third side, and an oculus above. Called by Adjaye “architectural furniture” because it’s not exactly a building, but almost a sculpture meant for human occupation, Genesisbecame a civic amenity for fairgoers, and gave the parking-lot site a feeling of a plaza. The other pavilion was in a vacant lot in the Design District. Buckminster Fuller’s Fly’s Eye Dome prototype was an early experiment in inexpensive prefab shelters and environmental, off-the-grid living. The dome, one of only three ever made by Bucky, was restored by Design Miami’s founder, Craig Robins. It was joined by the Fuller’s “omni-directional transport system”, the Dymaxion 4, restored by Lord Norman Foster using his own original Dymaxion as template. The 24 foot-wide prototype dome is a tessellation of hexagonal fiberglass panels with plastic bubble dome windows that seem to radiate from refracted light. It appears strong, but lighter than air, as if a white cloud of geometric purity is floating just along the ground. It was paired with Fuller’s Dymaxion Car as part of the traveling exhibition, “Architecting the Future: Buckminster Fuller and Norman Foster” curated by Lady Elena Foster (Long before he was knighted, Foster worked with Fuller.) The dome will be permanently installed in Miami’s Design District, in a plaza being developed by Robins. The Miami fairs have always been cross-disciplinary, beginning in the early years with the spontaneous creation of the “Miami model”: part serious fair, part social event, part bacchanalian party, part educational experience, and part clearing house for other creative media. Design Miami showed how naturally design-as-art can fit into this maelstrom. Perhaps architecture, although it has always played a cameo role during Basel week, will move in the same direction.
Posts tagged with "Buckminster Fuller":
The conservation group Blue Ventures won the Buckminster Fuller Challenge in a ceremony at the CUNY Graduate Center on Friday night. The group took home the $100,000 prize, edging out FrontlineSMS, Rainforest Foundation UK, and TARA Ashkar+. The project caught the attention of the judges for its work with impoverished communities along the coast of Madagascar. To solve the problem of overfishing and biodiversity, the group delved into the root causes on land, such as overpopulation and a lack of birth control (an increase in population exacerbates overfishing). The strategy was to stabilize the population and shift toward alternative economic resources. Conservation in the water depends heavily on human behavior on land. Encompassing 25 fishing villages along the more than 200 miles of Madagascar coast, the project spurred one of the strongest Marine Protected Areas in the region. By providing the locals with knowledge on subsistence fishing, the group helped shift the traditional ways the communities have interacted with the ocean for generations. The techniques gave the marine environment, particularly the fish and coral reef, a chance to rebound. While the fish were regaining their population, back on land the opposite was needed. Empowering the women in the community became key. Blue Ventures counseled the women on family planning, which the group sees as a basic human right.
If you couldn't make it down to D.C. last month for the Environmental Film Fest, it's still not too late to catch one of the entries, A Necessary Ruin. The movie tells the story of the untimely destruction of Buckminster Fuller's Union Tank Car Dome, a piece of railroad infrastructure that was the largest clear-span structure when it was completed in 1958 before being summarily destroyed three years ago. Its epic story will be told
tomorrow night next Friday at the Center for Architecture, followed by a lively discussion with Jonathan Marvel, all part of the current show, Modernism at Risk. You can watch the trailer after the jump.
Archi-docs (TM) seem to have become an ever-more popular film form, from My Architect to Sketches of Frank Gehry and Snakebit. Starting tonight, the National Buildings Museum in D.C. is hosting an entire film festival dedicated to the archi-doc. The festivities kick off tonight with a screening of Moving Midway, about one relatives plans to move the family's plantation home away from the sprawl encompassing it while at the same time selling the land to developers while others—including some former slaves—try to stop the move. On Monday, there is the debut of A Necessary Ruin, the work of LA-based filmmaker Evan Mather about the destruction of Fuller's Union Tank Car Dome, the largest free-span structure in the world at the time of its completion in 1958 with a diameter of 384 feet (trailer above). And a week from tonight, the festival closes with a screening of Megamall, which is about the rise of the film's titular developments across the country, with a particular focus on the Palisades Center in West Nyack. And before each film, a different short will be shown. Meanwhile, the fest has been excepting videos of "great green spaces," which you can watch on Vimeo or even submit your own.