In July 2018, Collective-LOK (CLOK) unveiled their Roche/Dinkeloo Double, a temporary installation located below a cantilevered section of UMass Amherst’s Fine Arts Center. CLOK is a collaboration formed by architects Jon Lott, William O’Brien Jr., and Michael Kubo. The Fine Arts Center, designed by firm Roche-Dinkeloo in 1975, is located on the border of UMass Amherst’s campus. According to architect Jon Lott, the structure was conceived as “a bridge to the Mass campus, operating as an entry point between the town of Amherst and the academy’s campus. An arcade of V-shaped pillars line the structure’s south and north elevations, supporting studio space above and providing glimpses of the campus’s central quadrangle. The Roche/Dinkeloo Double is a two-sided wooden frame, measuring 24 feet in all dimensions. To match the scale of the abutting concrete structure, CLOK bundled their Douglas Fir 2 x 4’s to effectively create 4 x 8 super studs. The wood-framed structure meets the corners of the V-shaped pillar, resulting in a diamond-shaped room. A walkway diagonally runs through the installation, embedding it within an actively-used campus thoroughfare. Drawing on the familiar vernacular of wood-framed construction, CLOK views their installation as questioning the relationship between Roche-Dinkeloo’s brutalist intervention and the largely Italianate and Colonial Revival character of the surrounding context. From within the installation, the view upward is sliced in two. Half of the structure is weighed down by a looming triangle of concrete, while the other faces the open sky. Past work by Collective-LOK includes Heart of Hearts, a circle of nine, ten-foot-tall golden hearts installed in Times Square in 2016, and the Van Alen Institute’s 2014 redesign. The installation is in place until October 2018.
Posts tagged with "Collective-LOK":
In Times Square, art and architecture converge during the last week of Collective–LOK's Heart of Hearts installation
Every winter, the Times Square Alliance and the Center for Architecture choose a team of architects to design an installation for Times Square that a) has to both dialogue and compete with the pageantry of Times Square and b) is heart-themed for Valentine's Day. AN visited this year's Times Square Valentine Heart Design competition winner, Collective-LOK's Heart of Hearts, during its final week to speak with the architects and an artist/composer duo who created an interactive sound and visual piece within the installation. Formally, Heart of Hearts is a circle of aluminum–paneled hearts planted in the center of Father Duffy Square, a public plaza between 45th and 47th streets at Seventh Avenue and Broadway. Joshue Ott and Kenneth Kirschner, Times Square Alliance artists-in-residence, installed variant:breaker, a one-day interactive audiovisual installation that used four LED arrays and speakers that plays on Heart of Hearts' reflectivity to create an outdoor theater of sound and light. The partnership came about when Ott and Kirschner met Collective–LOK at a party, and, like Heart of Hearts, variant:breaker had to both survive and outperform the chaos of Times Square. The installation, Kirschner explained, was inspired by his young son's enthusiasm for his drum machine. Users created a sequence of randomly generated sounds by manipulating an iPad in the middle of the installation to activate the LED panels. The video below shows how the installation performed in action: https://www.flickr.com/photos/136339520@N03/25298776750/in/dateposted-public/ Conceptually, the objective of Heart of Hearts was to "out Times Square Times Square," explained Michael Kubo, one of three members of Collective–LOK. The trio wanted to take the hilarious spectacle that is Times Square and reflect it back onto itself, while creating inviting spaces for the more intimate spectacle of the kiss-and-selfie. The architectural renderings that accompanied the rollout of the project depicted a wedding, the Naked Cowboy, the famous llama, and the other happenings that give Times Square its weirdness. It turns out that the renderings were predictive: on Valentine's Day, despite the chill, multiple weddings were staged in Heart of Hearts. The architects were keenly attuned to the project's second life online, positioning their installation as the critical interface between the inherent narcissism of the selfie and an acute awareness of one's surroundings. The results would make Guy Debord proud. "The reflection was used to both embrace the context and have the thing and the space defined strictly by the context, but also, making people even more aware of the 'selfie moment' that we knew happened anyway," fellow collective member Jon Lott explained. "We were thinking about selfies from the beginning of the project," Kubo noted. "We asked, 'How do you build something that's an apparatus for people to take pictures of themselves but then decontextualize themselves, or make the things around them seem different?'" To find out, this normally selfie-averse reporter cozied up to a heart for a snap: In reviewing the photos, it was uncanny to see the the fragments and reflections (those pink fists!) that accompanied my image. The image could hardly be called a selfie, as Times Square inserted itself as a subject from all angles. Although the installation commands attention in the physical and virtual worlds, it had to make a minimal impact on the plaza. Drilling into the ground was verboten, so Collective–LOK designed an installation that was self-supporting. To give the installation its necessary rigidity and weight, the segmented hearts, which weigh a few hundred pounds apiece, were made from a quarter-inch-thick aluminum core sandwiched between eighth-inch gold acrylic mirror panels. Working with Brooklyn–based Kammetal, Collective–LOK had around one month to fabricate the piece and, due to the 24/7 activity in the square, an overnight installation timeframe a day before the unveiling. Although the collective would like to do more work in the public realm, there are no plans right now for Heart of Hearts to be installed elsewhere. When asked to name another space that would suit the installation, Kubo credited the essence of the installation to its context: "The particularities of the Times Square context are just unrepeatable."
The Times Square Alliance takes "I ♥ New York" quite literally. For the past eight years, the nonprofit organization has invited architecture and design firms to create public art that responds to a Valentine's Day theme. This year the Times Square Alliance partnered with the Center for Architecture to administer the competition. Collective-LOK stole the hearts of jurists to win the 2016 Times Square Valentine Heart Design competition. Collective-LOK's submission, Heart of Hearts, is a circle of nine, ten-foot-tall golden hearts that reflect the lights and the goings-on of Times Square. The installation will be on view at Father Duffy Square, between 46th and 47th Streets, from February 29 through March 6. The sculpture is interactive, balancing private and public space in one of the world's busiest pedestrian plazas. Within each heart is a "kissing booth" that encourages intimate but performative affection. “[We] are thrilled to create the Heart of Hearts for Valentine’s Day, an engagement ring for our love affair with the spectacle of Times Square," Collective-LOK declared in a statement. "It’s truly a special opportunity to provide a space for intimacy and performance in the heart of the city, one we hope visitors will love.” The featured rendering certainly captures the ballet of a good city sidewalk—a llama stares contentedly at its reflection, a lonely man flouting blue laws drinks champagne from the bottle, while the Naked Cowboy jams on, stage left. Why is that man staring into that woman's white skirt? It's all part of the spectacle, apparently. For more heartwarming displays of public art, see AN's coverage of past competition winners here.
Archtober Building of the Day #25 Van Alen Institute 30 West 22nd Street, New York Collective-LOK Three friends from architecture school, Jon Lott (PARA-Project), William O’Brien Jr. (WOJR), and Michael Kubo (pinkcomma gallery), joined forces to form Collective-LOK in 2013. Together, they entered the Van Alen Institute’s Ground/Work competition to redesign the organization’s office and programming space on West 22nd Street. Their proposal, Screen Play, linked the institute’s headquarters with the surrounding urban realm using screens to bracket the front and back facades: one just beyond the sliding glass door in the back wall, and the other, ultimately unrealized, that would have expanded into the street as part of a Department of Transportation initiative to transform and activate parking spaces. Those who recall the Van Alen Institute’s brief foray into the world of book selling might be disappointed to see this domain relegated to a single bookshelf at the entrance and a mini-library in the smaller of two conference rooms. This was an intentional decision, however, because the retail activity was distracting from the organization’s programmatic mission. Now, books on display at the front are carefully curated, and a book club continues to engage design-oriented bibliophiles. Screens of all types in the interior provide flexible pockets of space within a small footprint. The “bulge,” an enclosed area that houses fixed programs, including bathrooms, a kitchen, and conference rooms, faces a content wall that, when in use, draws passersby into the multipurpose space. This wall, which was given a subtle dado of glossy paint to protect it from the constant activity, will display a continuous projection along its upper matte section. Wiring for this projection is already in place in yet another screen, in this case a ceiling composed of oblique metal coffers that shield, but do not completely mask, the lighting and audio-visual systems. The acoustical insulation above was left in its original, textured state, and will eventually be touched up to blend more seamlessly into its surroundings. Lott mentioned that some items on the punch list are still being resolved. As one visitor remarked, “This is the most beautiful popcorn ceiling I’ve ever seen.” We can’t wait to come back and see the space transformed during the Van Alen’s fall events, when the office desks and chairs will be relegated to the basement to make way for screenings, cocktail hours, and performances. Tomorrow, we’ll visit El Barrio’s Artspace PS109.
To commemorate its 120th anniversary, the Van Alen Institute is opening a new street-level space in New York City next Tuesday. The space, designed by Collective–LOK and located at 30 West 22nd Street, functions as a programming hub, event space, and gallery. Collective–LOK is a collaboration between Jon Lott (PARA-Project), William O’Brien Jr. (WOJR), and Michael Kubo (over,under). The team's proposal, called "Screen Play," won the Institute's 2013 Ground/Work competition, which received over 120 design submissions. "Titled Screen Play...is a highly flexible space utilizing a subtle interplay of surfaces and screens to allow for the diverse range of uses demanded by the activities of the Institute, from multimedia exhibitions and lectures to workshops and private meetings," Van Alen said in a statement. "Each changing function of the bowtie-shaped floor plan will be partitioned by silver accordion walls and a series of four semi-transparent curtains that descend from discreet tracks embedded within the perforated metal mesh ceiling." The opening of this street-facing space comes as the non-profit works to broaden its audience in New York City and build its online presence. The Institute has recently adopted a new visual identity designed by Bruce Mau Design and is set to launch a new website by Helios Design Labs and Laurel Schwulst. The new space kicks off with Elsewhere: Escape and the Urban Landscape, a multi-year initiative that will explore "escape in the urban environment." A public celebration for the opening will be held on December 12 at 10:00p.m.
The Van Alen Institute, a non-profit organization devoted to public realm improvements in New York City, has announced Collective-LOK as the winner of its Ground/Work competition. The winning team—a collaboration between Jon Lott (PARA-Project), William O’Brien Jr. (WOJR), and Michael Kubo (over,under)—was selected from a pool of over 100 applicants, and beat out two other finalists: Of Possible Architectures and EFGH. The competition called on designers to re-imagine the ground floor level to accommodate new offices, bookselling platform, galleries, and event and programming space. Collective-LOK’s proposal uses a variety of screens to keep the space flexible and open: “To accommodate this range of possibilities within a limited square footage, we propose a Screen Play; a mechanism to order these spatial, curatorial, and temporal scenarios through a subtle interplay of surfaces that creates a complex and ambiguous presence in the city.” Next year marks the 120th anniversary of the institute, which has a long history of research, competitions, and programming, and will now gear up to refocus its efforts on consulting and implementing public realm programs.
New York City's Van Alen Institute (VAI) is turning 120 next year, and to celebrate, the institute is taking its message of inspired architecture and urbanism to the street. The storefront space on West 22nd Street has been home to the institute's popular LOT-EK–designed bookstore and event space, organized around a stack of bleachers made from reclaimed wooden doors painted highlighter yellow. VAI's new director, David van der Leer, is tackling the redesign and expansion of the sidewalk space to maximize the organization's public visibility as it evolves its mission into the 21st century. Three finalists—Collective-LOK, EFGH Architectural Design Studio, and Of Possible Architectures (OPA)—were selected from over 120 respondents to VAI's "Ground/Work" competition earlier this year, and now their schemes have been revealed. EFGH Architectural Design Studio Hayley Eber, Frank Gesualdi, Spencer Lapp, Pat Ruggiero, and Ani Ivanova. Project statement from the Van Alen:
A microcosm of the space of the city, the new Van Alen Institute is imagined as a container for dynamic life. As an institution committed to the expansion of the definition of “public architecture” and the processes that shape the public realm, the VAI needs a home that embodies that ambition. Recognizing the dramatic proportions of the existing site as an opportunity, the proposed new Ground/ Work space turns a long skinny ground floor volume into a virtue: it maximizes the street level space, creating a single room - a large “grand hall” - that strives to reach the scale of the street, and extend the life of 22nd Street into the heart of the Institute. Through the easy manipulation of three mobile components in the space, The Media Wedge, The Bleacher and the Hinge Table, the VAI can be radically transformed by a few employees in a short amount of time. When one asks “What is the new space of the Van Alen Institute; A Workspace, Exhibition space, Lecture Hall, Book/ Media Outlet, Public Forum, Conference space, Performance Space or Party space?” The only suitable answer is All of the Above.View more information on the proposal at the Van Alen website. Collective-LOK Jon Lott, William O’Brien Jr., and Michael Kubo Project statement from the Van Alen:
The new institutional home of the Van Alen has to be many things at once. The brief requires curatorial flexibility for a breadth of public programming including exhibitions, lectures, reading groups, and book launches; a comfortable and efficient office environment for different scales and modes of work ranging from formal to casual; a framework that can grow to include the second floor and basement as the institution expands in the future; and a mobile street seat that will bring the Van Alen’s mission into the urban realm. To accommodate this range of scenarios within a limited square footage, we propose a Screen Play: a mechanism to order these spatial, curatorial, and temporal scenarios through a subtle interplay of surfaces that creates a complex and ambiguous presence in the city. The project proposes five strategies of screen play to enable and give shape to the broadest possible range of uses.View more information on the proposal at the Van Alen website. Of Possible Architectures Vincent Appel, Ethan Lay-Sleeper, Jaime Magaliff, Paul Miller, Heather Murtagh, Franklin Romero Jr., and Emily Ruopp, in collaboration with Jay Atherton. Project statement from the Van Alen:
The VAI has developed a legacy of architectural projects through competitions and commissions. The Van Alen Stairs, inspired by the TKTS Steps, capture this legacy most succinctly. The Stairs achieve an architecture of relational tectonics. We have identified relational tectonics as the dimension of architecture which intentionally provokes relationships between people, their behavior, and their environment...For the next iteration of the Van Alen Institute, we propose a translation of the Van Alen Stair into the Van Alen Table. The dimensions of the Table are precisely calibrated to the VAI's space. The Table allows for the full gradient of programs to easily expand and contract along, around, and in between its 70' length. This table presents those using it — whether reading, lounging, working, etc. — in a way that is both comfortable, natural, and uncanny. The experience is just off-center from typical expectations.View more information on the proposal at the Van Alen website. The public is invited to weigh in on their favorite designs through September 10, which will be evaluated by a jury later this month. The competition jury includes Stephen Cassell (Architecture Research Office), Winka Dubbeldam (Archi-tectonics), Mark Gardner (Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects), Mark Robbins (International Center of Photography), Ada Tolla (LOT-EK), Marc Tsurumaki (LTL Architects), David van der Leer (Van Alen Institute), and Marc Kushner (Hollwich Kushner). The winning design team will be announced in late September and construction is expected to begin by the end of the year.
The Van Alen Institute has announced three finalists for its competition Ground/Work, which called on emerging designers and architects to reimagine the institute’s New York storefront. In celebration of Van Alen’s 120th anniversary, the competition furthers the institute’s ambition to bring innovative architectural ideas into the public dialog by reframing the organization’s relation to the street. Young designers were invited to consider the Van Alen's shifting role within New York City through the redesign of its physical space, integrating all of its functions and creating a more visible and accessible presence on the ground floor of 30 West 22nd Street. From over 120 teams, representing more than 350 young designers up to ten years out of school, three finalists were selected: Collective-LOK, EFGH, and Of Possible Architectures. “We are thrilled by the jury’s selections, and look forward to the finalists’ imaginative visions for Van Alen as a center for innovative projects and public programs,” said David van der Leer, Executive Director of Van Alen Institute, in a statement. “Ground/Work is an opportunity to recognize emerging talents in architecture while bringing fresh creativity to the Institute during an exciting period of change.” Finalists were selected by a jury consisting of Stephen Cassell (Architecture Research Office, and Board of Trustees, Van Alen Institute), Winka Dubbeldam (Archi-tectonics, and University of Pennsylvania), Mark Gardner (Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects), Mark Robbins (International Center of Photography, and Board of Trustees, Van Alen Institute), Ada Tolla (LOT-EK), Marc Tsurumaki (LTL Architects), and David van der Leer (Van Alen Institute). The three chosen teams will present their proposals to the jury in September, following which the finalist will have four months to finalize their design before construction is set to begin this winter. The three winning teams each present innovative, interdisciplinary approaches that diverge from the traditional architectural practice, reflecting Van Alen’s mission to support and promote pioneering young designers. Below are self-descriptions of the three firms. Collective–LOK is a team formed by Jon Lott (PARA-Project), William O'Brien Jr. (WOJR), and Michael Kubo (over,under). Our approach is shaped by an architectural mindset, but draws on a broad range of interests — historical, conceptual, curatorial, and cross-disciplinary — in order to shape discourse on design in the public realm. Our interest in the potentials of collaboration is rooted in an engagement with the history and methods of architectural practice as scholars, educators, and practitioners. We take inspiration from the rich legacy of firms that have shared a commitment to collaboration as the means to create a socially and culturally progressive architecture. EFGH (Hayley Eber, Frank Gesualdi, Spencer Lapp, Pat Ruggiero, and Ani Ivanova) is a New York-based architectural design practice founded in 2007 by principals Hayley Eber and Frank Gesualdi. The studio actively engages projects across scales: from the projective design of large urban sites to innovation at the scale of custom furniture, and everything in between. We explore design as an extensive network of interrelated and often competing issues, interrogating them along the way. Our design process reflects an intense curiosity mixed with a drive for experimentation. Of Possible Architectures (OPA) (Vincent Appel, Ethan Lay-Sleeper, Jaime Magaliff, Paul Miller, Heather Murtagh, Franklin Romero Jr., Emily Ruopp, in collaboration with Jay Atherton) is a creative practice working across spheres of architecture, social sculpture, large scale public art, and urbanism. OPA is committed to architecture as an act of cultural production and focuses on radically innovative, often self-initiated, cultural projects. What we do is based on optimistic speculations for how people and the built environment affect one another.