Posts tagged with "Carlos Arnaiz Architects (CAZA)":

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How James Ramsey of RAAD Studio, Carlos Arnaiz of CAZA, and BalletCollective turned design into dance

Troy Schumacher is a soloist with New York City Ballet, one of the most prestigious dance companies in the country. And while a job as a full-time athlete might be enough for some people, Schumacher is also the artistic director and choreographer for his own chamber-sized troupe, BalletCollective. All of its members are Schumacher’s fellow dancers at NYCB.

For the company’s latest performance at the New York University Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, Schumacher explored his observations of how human bodies respond to built space. He approached architects James Ramsey, founder of RAAD Studio, and Carlos Arnaiz, founder and principal of CAZA, to collaborate on a project that would turn design into dance. “Last season, I was already sold on the idea of working with architects because I thought our processes would be very similar,” said Schumacher. “Whether you’re creating performance or buildings, you’re thinking about something that has a larger scope but shows details. You’re thinking on two scales.”

Schumacher and his team took care to thoroughly investigate how the two disciplines could come together for a final project. “We discussed how our respective disciplines are organized, how we record our work, how we make changes to our work as we go, and how our respective practices overlap,” said Arnaiz.

It’s not unusual for architecture and dance to go hand in hand. Just last year, Steven Holl created set pieces for Jessica Lang Dance, while the Guggenheim Museum frequently holds performances in its iconic rotunda. But these dances coexist with built architectural elements—not so for BalletCollective. Instead, Schumacher chose to feature the dancers in a stripped-down environment. The stage at the Skirball center was entirely bare, with curtains lifted to reveal the dancers waiting on the sides, and their costumes were casual rehearsal wear. Until they started moving, there was no indication of the evening’s architectural component.

One of Schumacher’s strengths as a choreographer is his unusual way of using formations. He often asks one dancer to move against the group or pairs a tall woman with a short man. Trios and duets are widely spaced around the stage, playing out contrary to the traditional ballet structure of a principal couple and a shifting background of corps dancers. In Until the Walls Cave In, Ballet Collective dancers moved through lines, boxes or huddles that washed across the stage. Ramsey’s work, in comparison, also carves out space where heretofore there was none. “James’s work is about restoring or facilitating life in a place where it wouldn’t normally exist,” said Schumacher. “We were really driven by light, concrete spaces and the growth happening within them.”

For his part, Ramsey entered the collaboration unsure of what to expect. “I had little to no idea about the creative process for dance,” Ramsey said, “and I was completely blown away by how naturally our processes were able to mesh. Our conversations had to do with the life and death of human spaces, renewal, and the idea of tension as a dramatic architectural design tool.” Here, though, Schumacher might have picked something up from his collaborator. The start-stop energy of his choreography makes it nearly impossible to establish dramatic tension.

Arnaiz’s contribution involved one specific drawing, resulting in The Answer, a duet for Anthony Huxley and Rachel Hutsell. “Choreographers are always looking for new pathways,” said Schumacher. “Carlos emailed us a sketch on top of a photo of Allen Iverson. I was floored by the energy and idea behind it, and we just went with it.” Arnaiz wrote about Iverson in his recent monograph, reflecting on how static geometric forms are brought to life by the creative process of architecture. As a result, The Answer plays off friendly competition.

Huxley is an elegant dancer who, while still able to have fun, is quite serious onstage. Hutsell, who is just beginning her professional career, might be expected to be timid, especially dancing with Huxley (he is several ranks higher than her at NYCB). Instead, she’s remarkably grounded for a woman dancing in pointe shoes, which can complicate quick direction changes and off-balance steps. She eats up space with infectious energy. The dancers’ darting limbs seem to leave trails of lines and spirals across the stage, reminiscent of Arnaiz’s drawing.

Schumacher wasn’t worried about disappointing audiences who might have expected structures or set pieces designed by Ramsey and Arnaiz. “All the artists who contribute to BalletCollective are a source,” he said. “But invariably, the starting and ending point aren’t the same place. Asking for architectural input is about giving us a place to start.”

Arnaiz and Ramsey were both surprised at what that starting place was able to yield. “I’ve worked with musicians, but never with dancers,” said Arnaiz. “It was fascinating to see how something transformed from concept to physical performance.” Ramsey agreed: “Troy brought a level of clarity and rationalism to the projects that was startling, and even led me to understand my own work more succinctly.”

What Comes Next BalletCollective The NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts Fall 2017 season to be announced late April.

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Brooklyn-based CAZA is designing a modular hospital and trauma center in the Philippines

Construction is set to begin this month for a joint hospital and trauma care center in Baler, Philippines. Designed by Brooklyn-based Carlos Arnaiz Architects (CAZA), the Ospital Pacifica de Juan and Juana Angara will be the firm’s first healthcare design project and the first hybrid hospital and trauma center for the Pacific island nation. The $8 million, 65,817 square-foot medical complex will have a daily patient capacity of 75 and will offer an array of services, including maternity wards, imaging, operating rooms, a chapel, and a café. The proposed facility will also seek to foster the therapeutic presence of Baler’s natural, tropical aesthetic, by incorporating a series of undulating canopies that will also shelter an extensive courtyard, surfaced with tiles and grass, in the center of the hospital.  According to a press release, CAZA designed the hospital and trauma center in three parts, with “adaptable modularity and operational growth” in mind, offering an array of different arrangements for patient and examination rooms. The first modular form is the structural skeleton—a prefabricated concrete structure that’s bolted into place and organizes the facility at an infrastructural level, weaving gas, plumbing, and ventilation ducts through its beams and columns. The second modular aspect is the facility’s doors, walls, and windows, which are made of lighter materials, that fasten into the concrete. Insulating packets inserted where the wall structures meet the concrete create a seal that permits higher levels of hygiene, for example, in an operating room where sterility is a matter of life and death. The perimeter of the building will be produced onsite—a series of awnings and gardens built locally, with rather inexpensive materials and where labor is also affordable.  “Normally trauma centers in urban areas are big and separate from hospitals,” principal architect Carlos Arnaiz said. “The idea of doing a small scale trauma center for rural communities and small towns was really unusual,” and given that there was no “precedent or case study, we had to really hybridize techniques and knowledge from different sectors.” Research for the project spanned over the course of half of a year, during which time the firm consulted with different trauma center specialists on both the planning and operations side in the United States, as well as a host of contacts in the Philippines who would provide culturally specific insights. “In the Philippines, we talked to a number of people in the government, people in the [Department] of Health with familiarity about health and trauma centers, and people at the university level,” Arnaiz said. The University of the Philippines School of Health Sciences has a campus located adjacent to where the hospital is set to be built. Anraiz said he's excited to be the first boutique firm to design a health and trauma center and take a different approach, saying that healthcare in the design and architecture world has “been monopolized by large corporate firms that have a lot of experience doing this.” “Given the fact that it’s being done in a community where costs will be a major factor, we’re not focused on high-end finishing, or focused on the 1%. We’re focused on communities where healthcare doesn’t exist,” Arnaiz said.  Arnaiz also said the chapel is an important part of the design, allowing "space to retreat from the intensity of a hospital and to commune in silence." While the non-denominational meditation space is removed from the central facilities, it's the first thing one sees upon entry. The chapel is clad in the stone used for the landscape walls, while custom-designed screen bricks were used to wrap the apse and admit light in an ethereal manner. "The intent here is to fuse the ground with the sky and connect people with the dual belief that our souls come and go to both places upon death," Arnaiz said. CAZA has set March 2018 as an anticipated date for medical center’s completion.