Posts tagged with "Connecticut":

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Be the one to restore Stamford’s fish-shaped First Presbyterian Church

Design professionals are being sought for a consulting role to provide a conditions assessment of the historic First Presbyterian Church complex in Stamford, Connecticut. As part of a multi-year campaign to repair, conserve, restore, and upgrade the complex, the selected team will be expected to complete an architectural analysis of the current conditions of the building and provide recommendations for its rehabilitation and restoration as part of Phase I. Phase II will see the implementation of these concepts by the same selected team. The complex in question includes the magnificent Wallace K. Harrison-designed sanctuary, completed in 1958, the 56-bell carillon tower, a community/education wing, and the surrounding 10-acre grounds. Over 20,000 pieces of faceted glass dapple the hushed sanctuary with its vaulted roof in sun-drenched color. The church itself is often likened to a fish, a symbol of early Christianity, and it, along with its sweeping complex, occupies an eminent spot on the Connecticut State Register of Historic Places. The conditions assessment in Phase I will help anticipate capital needs and outside grant funding needs in 2016 from the State Historic Preservation Office of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, as well as private foundations. Specifically, the chosen architect should earmark and document comprehensive repair needs for the envelopes, structure and MEP systems, and the interior finishes, and then also provide recommendations and a phasing framework for the restoration. The facade itself is notoriously water-permeable and lacks weatherproofing, made from béton glass secured to side wall concrete panels with caulking. As such, high on the checklist for the chosen architect is to examine the extent of moisture infiltration of the sanctuary Dalle de verre and improve climate control in the sanctuary to facilitate summer use. The architect should also observe the structural movement of the Carillon Tower, with the end objective of establishing a preliminary project scope and expected cost of repairs in compliance with SOIS, budget, and schedule. The Highland Green Foundation and Fish Church Conservancy will oversee the entire multi-year restoration campaign, and will provide the architect with digital files of the original construction drawings of the complex. Leaders of the proposed teams must attend a mandatory walk-through at the church on July 9, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. RFQs must be received at the church office (1101 Bedford St) by 3:00 p.m. on July 24, 2015. For more information about entry requirements and the judging panel, click here.
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You’ll want to be in New Canaan on October 9 for the opening of SANAA’s Grace Farms pavilion

Today, the Grace Farms Foundation announced artworks by contemporary artists that will be unveiled for the October 9, 2015, opening of the SANAA-designed pavilion at Grace Farms in New Canaan, CT. The works are a textile work by Olafur Eliasson, an outdoor sound installation by Susan Philipsz; photographs of SANAA’s Grace Farms models by Thomas Demand; and a mural by Teresita Fernandez. Grace Farms is a 75-acre open space with programming focused on nature, arts, community, justice, and faith that will include the purpose-built, 86,000-square-foot multi-use building that snakes through the surrounding woodlands, wetlands, and meadows. The landscape includes walking trails, picnic areas, an athletic field, and food from community purveyors. It was designed by SANAA in collaboration with Philadelphia–based landscape architecture firm OLIN. The list of artists was made in consultation with Yuko Hasegawa, Chief Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo. “Collaborating with Grace Farms Foundation and SANAA on this project has been highly rewarding,” stated Hasegawa.  “The concept of Grace Farms is unique.  I believe it will serve as a great example of how art, architecture, nature, and meaningful programs can all come together to inspire people.” Eliasson will also produce another site-specific light-based installation, and Beatriz Milhazes will build a collage, both of which will be unveiled in spring 2016. Eliasson explained why he is excited to work at Grace Farms: “I was moved by Grace Farms’ vision of an inclusive, non-commercial space to create a work of art that resonates with the architecture, the surrounding parkland and the people who breathe life into it. My work will offer visitors an ephemeral experience dedicated to embodied spirituality.”
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Henry Urbach leaves directorship of Philip Johnson’s Glass House

Henry Urbach, Director of the Philip Johnson Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut, since 2012, has left the National Trust Historic site. Urbach came to the house from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He departed that job in 2011, in part to pursue a research project on the Johnson house, which he classified as “as a laboratory for curatorial experimentation.” As Director, Urbach launched a series of art and architecture installations on the 49-acre property. Urbach, who once had a gallery in New York City that showed architecture as well as art installations and drawings, said he now intends to pursue “research and writing projects.”
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Van Alen and National Park Service select finalists to re-imagine visitor experience at national parks

The Van Alen Institute and the National Park Service (NPS) have announced four finalists in their competition to modernize visitor experience at four national parks. While the National Parks Now competition aims to "[design] the 21st Century National Park experience,” it’s about more than launching an app or two and boosting WiFi signals. Each interdisciplinary team—which is comprised of young architects, landscape architects, graphic designers, urban planners, branding experts, engagement specialists and educators—was handed a $15,000 stipend to develop strategies to connect national parks with a new generation of visitors. This includes launching hands-on workshops, self-guided tours, interactive installations, engagement campaigns, and developing tools to give the parks a larger, and more diverse, audience. The strategies would be implemented at one of four New York City-area parks: Sagamore Hill National Historic Site in Oyster Bay, New York, the estate of President Theodore Roosevelt; Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, Pennsylvania, a monument to the steam locomotive; Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park in Paterson, New Jersey, a birthplace of American textile manufacturing; and Weir Farm National Historic Site in Ridgefield, Connecticut, the summer estate of artist Julian Alden Weir. Next spring, one team will be crowned the winner and be given an additional $10,000 to implement one of its strategies over the summer. That prototype will serve as a model for the NPS as it celebrates its centennial in 2016. “As we look back at the 100-year legacy of the National Park Service, it’s also a perfect time to look creatively at the visitor experience at several select park units and consider new ways to share park stories and respond to audience needs," Gay Vietzke, the deputy regional director of the NPS Northeast region, said in a statement. “National Parks Now is a truly innovative—and necessary—effort to ensure national parks are relevant in the 21st century.” More on each team, and their individual proposals, courtesy of the Van Alen Institute.   Sagamore Hill:
According to the Van Alen Institute: Team Wayward / Projects is led by Putri Trisulo with Prem Krishnamurthy, Katie Okamoto, Alfons Hooikaas, Ben DuVall, Heather Ring, Amy Seek, Thomas Kendall, and Jarred Henderson. Their project, OKParks!, will create a symbiotic partnership model capitalizing on the existing audiences and curatorial resources of prominent cultural institutions to reinterpret histories and reinvigorate Sagamore Hill.
Steamtown:
According to the Van Alen Institute: Led by Abigail Smith-Hanby of FORGE with Ashley Ludwig, Andrew Dawson, Max Lozach, and CJ Gardella. Team FORGE proposes to weave together stories and information in order to root Steamtown within the larger American cultural landscape.
Paterson Great Falls:
According to the Van Alen Institute: Led by Manuel Miranda of the Yale School of Art with Frances Medina, Mariana Mogilevich, Valeria Mogilevich, June Williamson, and Willy Wong. The team will explore retrofitting the park to engage the city, retelling the site’s history to engage contemporary audiences, and representing the site to new publics.
Weir Farm:
According to the Van Alen Institute: Led by Aaron Forrest of the Rhode Island School of Design and Principal of Ultramoderne with Yasmin Vobis, Suzanne Mathew, Noah Klersfeld, Dungjai Pungauthaikan, and Jessica Forrest. The team will look at introducing site-specific, contemporary artistic practices to Weir Farm in order to develop new perspectives on the site and the region’s history and ecology.
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Robert A.M. Stern stepping toward stepping down at Yale

Robert A.M. Stern has indicated he will step down as dean of the Yale School of Architecture in Spring 2016, according to the Yale Daily News. During his tenure, Stern has reinvigorated the School, restored its home, expanded its faculty, and brought through a roster of prominent guest critics from around the world. Stern has taken an eclectic view of architecture, bringing in practitioners of various styles and pedagogical viewpoints, and reinvigorated the study of architectural history with a new Ph.D. program. As dean, he has also helped guide the University's building program, including the restoration of Louis Kahn's Yale Art Gallery with an expansion by Ennead, a new home for the School of Management by Foster + Partners, and a highly sustainable building for the School of Forestry by Hopkins Architects, among many other projects. He also helped select the late Charles Gwathmey to lead the restoration of Paul Rudolph's Art + Architecture building, which was applauded, though Gwathmey's addition for the History of Art Department proved controversial. His own firm—which has expanded exponentially in during his 16 years as dean—is designing two new residential colleges (Oxbridge-style dorms), which will allow the undergraduate population to expand for the first time in decades. Though located in provincial New Haven, Connecticut, Stern has made the school a social and cultural hub, hosting and organizing ambitions exhibitions and symposia, always followed by martini-fueled receptions and private dinners in his stylish apartment. Students are encouraged to mingle with faculty and visiting guests—indeed developing the social aspects of the school, as training for the profession, has been one of the hallmarks of his deanship. Alternately imposing and highly personal, Stern's personality marks each event, and has left an indelible mark on the school.
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Permanent Vacation, Anyone? Illinois & Connecticut Residents Would Prefer a Move

gallup-moving-poll Gallup pollsters recently asked Americans if they had the opportunity to move, “would you like to move to another state, or would you rather remain in your current state?” Well, Illinois and Connecticut earned the dubious distinction of having the nation’s most restless residents. About half of the surveyed residents in Illinois wanted to bounce, but don’t expect an influx of moving boxes. We’ll probably just ride it out and complain. Case in point: another Gallup poll found 25 percent of Illinoisans surveyed said their state is “the worst possible place to live in”—second only in self-loathing to Rhode Island.
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Rebuild By Design> Waggonner and Ball, unabridged Architecture’s Plan For Bridgeport, CT

In early April, the ten finalists in the Rebuild By Design competition unveiled their proposals to protect the Tri-state region from the next Sandy. And in the near future, a jury will select a winner—or winners—to receive federal funding to pursue their plans. But before that final announcement is made, AN is taking a closer look at each of the final ten proposals. Here's how Waggonner and Ball, unabridged and Yale ARCADIS' team plans to create a more resilient Bridgeport, Connecticut. Waggoner and Ball, unabridged Architecture, and the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio propose "Resilient Bridgeport"—a framework of design and planning principles to protect the Connecticut region. "The design proposals are place-specific design solutions ranging from green streets in upland areas to wetland park buffers in coastal areas," explained the team in a statement. "Included, too, are places throughout the city that provide safety and services in times of storm and instruct people on how to transition to a way of living and thriving with water." Specifically, the team protects Bridgeport's South End with a new waterfront berm and offshore breakwaters. At this site, they also create the South End Resilience Education and Community Center—a hub, which includes a co-op, job training programs, a healthcare clinic, and childcare services. During sever weather, the Center transforms into a shelter. The full team includes Waggonner and Ball, unabridged Architecture, the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, Yale's Urban Ecology and Design Laboratory, and ARCADIS. 03-wb-yale-rebuildbydesign-nyc-archpaper
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Edward Durell Stone House in Darien, Connecticut Under Threat

A house designed by Edward Durell Stone, located in Darien, Connecticut, is under threat of demolition to make way for a developer’s vision: a neocolonial pastiche home. The 2,334-square-foot home is sited on a 1.1 acre wooded lot in the private community of Tokeneke. The house represents a transitional moment in Stone's multifaceted career.  Constructed for client Walter Johnson, an IBM executive, the house is one of only two Stone-designed homes in the Constitution State. Designed in 1953, the house marks a pivotal turn in Stone’s architectural career. It was the end of what is defined as his austerely modern, “hair shirt” phase, a term loosely borrowed from a monastic practice of wearing horsehair shirts as repentance. Secondly, this was the year that the famously drunk architect committed to sobriety, at the behest of his second wife. Finally, the Darien house was his final work to outwardly emulate Wrightian detailing, a practice that began with Stone’s visit to Taliesin in 1940. “This is one of the last of father’s rustic vernacular homes that emulates the work of Frank Lloyd Wright,” his son, Hicks Stone, recently told AN. “The house is based on a dog trot house, which is common in the southern central U.S., but it’s a unique fusion of American vernacular and Wrightian style with Japanese elements.” Original finishes and detailing still exist in the home, such as textured rice paper shoji screens. Ornamental lighting and wood paneling also remains in good condition. At press time, sale of the home through Halstead Properties had not been finalized.
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Calling All Deconstructivists: Eisenman’s House VI About to Hit the Market

If any admirers of deconstructivism are in the market to buy a house, they will be curious to learn that Peter Eisenman’s iconic structure, House VI, will be up for sale in late May or early June. Owners Suzanne and Richard Frank commissioned Eisenman—a member of the New York Five—to design and build a house on their 6-acre property in Cornwall, Connecticut. Suzanne Frank had previously worked as a researcher and librarian for Eisenman’s Institute for Architecture & Urban Studies. The house, completed in 1975, is an unconventional play on a grid and intended to be a “record of the design process.” The house stands out for its unusual, and often non-functional, features such as an upside down staircase and a column that separates diners at a dinner table. The upkeep hasn’t been easy for the Franks—the house, while an ambitious conceptual undertaking, has required substantial repairs over the years. The Franks discussed their experience with house in a book entitled Peter Eisenman's House VI: The Client's Response.  
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Unveiled> SANAA Meanders Through What Could Have Been a Subdivision

Tokyo-based SANAA has unveiled its next U.S. project, a meandering structure called The River for the Grace Farms Foundation, a faith, arts, and social justice non-profit in New Canaan, CT. Situated on one acre of the 75-acre Grace Farms, the building is defined by its flowing roof that hovers ten feet above the landscape on slender metal posts. Interior spaces are formed by increasing the building's width and enclosing spaces in floor-to-ceiling glass, creating a seamless transition between interior spaces and a landscape designed by Philadelphia-based OLIN. The River descends from a sanctuary space for the Grace Community Church atop a hill and includes a library, meeting space, dining room, gymnasium, and children's spaces along its route. “Our goal with the River is to make the architecture become part of the landscape without drawing attention to itself, or even feeling like a building," said Kazuyo Sejima, principal at SANAA, in a statement. "We hope that those who are on the property will have a greater enjoyment of the beautiful environment and changing seasons through the spaces and experience created by the River.” On Monday, plans for the slender community and spiritual center were submitted to New Canaan’s Planning and Zoning commission for approval and is expected to make a decision by the end of the year. The landscape of meadows, wetlands, lakes, and woods at Grace Farms was preserved from development in 2008 when a 10-house subdivision was once proposed.
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Glass House: New Play Explores Fascistic Modernism

The Center for Architecture seems to be on a lively arts kick of late. After presenting Architect, the chamber opera about Louis Kahn just a couple of weeks ago, last Friday the Center staged a reading of Glass House, a new play by Bob Morris and produced by the Center’s Cynthia Kracauer. The show employs a premise that sounds like the start of an ethnic joke: an Arab and his Jewish wife move next door to a WASP and his black wife in an exclusive Connecticut enclave… In the play, Anthony (Fajar Al-Kaisi), an Arab architect pretending to be of an undetermined ethnic origin, moves into his dream house from New York City with his uber-liberal Jewish wife, Abby (Rachel Feldman). Next door lives Tad (Joe Pallister), an establishment WASP, with his African American wife, Jane (Kim Howard), a Fox News aficionado whom Abby calls “the love child of Clarence Thomas and Condolezza Rice.” Anthony is obsessed with early to mid-twentieth century design and fulfills his dream by moving into a Philip Johnson-inspired glass house. Her husband's exacting anal-retentive design aesthetic slowly becomes the bane of Abby’s existence, as do conflicts presented by her new neighbors. What on first glance might threaten to be a production filled with insidery design jargon, turns out to be a rather commercial endeavor with an unmistakable Broadway-striving sheen. The play’s clipped pace and pithy one-liners are as polished and accessible as this season’s hit Other Desert Cities. In the manner that Desert Cities handles politics via a family drama, Glass House handles architecture via neighborhood conflict. As it turns out, Morris was inspired by the work of Desert Cities author Jon Robin Baitz, who once told him that “all theater has a lie at its core.” The play separates several scenes with direct quotations from architects that support the same notion in architecture, as in Frank Lloyd Wright's comment, "The American house is a lie." Here, the lie sits within a glass house. In a phone interview, the playwright described the work as a “boulevard comedy,” a term used to describe a brisk, topical piece. He pointed to Yasmina Reza’s 1995 play Art as one example. Here the topic in question is architecture and all the tics that its practitioners bring to their everyday lives. As Morris is married to a design-obsessive, the play speaks with a certain level of authority. “With mid-century modernism everything is so carefully considered that it becomes a conflict,” said Morris. He even wove a few personal anecdotes drawn directly from scenes at home, particularly an amusing segment where Anthony perfectly repacks Abby’s haphazardly arranged dishwasher. In real life, Morris’s partner told him, “It hurts my feelings when you don’t load the dishwasher properly.” But behind the couple’s “Modernist mailbox” and “Bauhaus bird-feeder,” rests a larger drama of secrets and lies between Abby and Anthony, which a nosy Jane strives to uncover. Anthony’s lie protects his business and social standing in a post-9/11 America. By exposing the lie the play dissects conservative mores of suburban New York while laying bare prejudices hidden within middle-class urban liberalism. While minorities Anthony and Jane guffaw at ethnic jokes, Tad and Abby react stone-faced. But later, Tad admits to enjoying the comfort of an unaltered tuna salad at the town’s clubhouse which excludes Abby and Anthony, and Abby admits to not wanting to pass by black teens on her way into a local shop. “Despite her good intentions her comfort zone doesn’t want to include a bunch of black kids hanging out in front of the deli,” said Morris. Morris, who owns a clean lined house in Bellport, Long Island, said that suburban “strongholds of historic charm” fight to maintain a way of life through appearances.  “I think that’s where architecture fails,” he said. “It calms or titillates, but that’s not the form that these darkest emotional thoughts take.” For all the glory of Johnson’s glass house, the playwright reminds the audience that Johnson rarely spent the night there, preferring a windowless abode elsewhere on the compound. In a not so subtle manner, the author equates Johnson’s well documented Nazi sympathies of his early years to modernism itself:  “When you have an extreme interest in how things should be to be beautiful, there’s an element of fascism to it, and that can transfer to a home when dishes need to be loaded properly.”