Manifesta 12’s The Planetary Garden. Cultivating Coexistence, which opened on June 16 in Palermo, Sicily, is a sprawling and at times fragmented series of venues and events. But unlike other art and architecture biennials whose main purpose is to deliver trends, Manifesta 12 is the real thing. This is an exhibition that’s been hardwired into the city’s fabric, and while undeniably the city of Palermo completely upstages the Manifesta exhibition, this must have been the prime intention of the curatorial team from the start. Manifesta 12 is Palermo, and therefore the exhibition is a diagram to explore the city and to discover some of the most fascinating and haunting architectural spaces anywhere in the European-Mediterranean region. It is precisely this urban-based formula that the Dutch-based Manifesta “franchise” is best known for, and therefore the impressive success of this exhibition has much to do with the way the curators have been able to weave their fertile themes into the city’s fabric. There is art, there is architecture, and there is the city. Given how much there would be to cover in a review of this size, I will try to present some of the biennial’s bolder highlights. Much of the credit for Manifesta’s achievements is thanks to OMA’s partner Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli who led the curatorial team. Laparelli succeeds in cracking Palermo’s urban code, precisely because he trains his lens on Palermo’s convoluted urban fabric, its magnificent cardo and decumanus, the overgrown gardens, the abandoned urban masterplans, and melancholic housing estates. As Laparelli notes in the opening introduction to OMA’s Palermo Atlas, “the Biennial’s thematic and geographic organization are intertwined, triggering a journey through the city like a section through anatomy; from the abandoned and derelict heritage of the old town to the failed utopia of the outskirts; from the glorious history of its Gardens to its neglected and toxic coast.” This is especially true of the city and its dramatic relationship to its old town, one of the largest historic city centers in Europe. And yet this impressive segment of the city lies in some kind of lethargic black hole when compared with the adjacent districts of Palermo that grew in the thirties and then expanded exponentially in the sixties. The one constant is the draw of the periphery, which serves as the cash cow for the city’s black economy while the old town lies in neglect and disrepair—a condition the city continued to submit to well into the nineties. In order to better comprehend where Palermo was headed, Manifesta enlisted politicians, local associations, patrons of the arts, and institutions to suggest ways to engage the city, to establish new routes of access, and to generate new kinds of cultural experiences. By and large, it’s a project that has pervaded into different levels of society, and it’s not uncommon on the streets to hear locals discuss Manifesta’s merits or problems. And there are viable results: Massimo Valsecchi and his wife Francesca have made it their mission to restore the magnificent Palazzo Butera in the heart of the city. Valsecchi, whom I spoke with during Manifesta’s opening, saw the renovation of Palazzo Butera as a stopgap measure, a way to decisively reengage the city’s historic axis by reasserting the building’s role as both palatial seawall and monumental gateway to the ancient city. For what turns out to be the price of a single Gerhard Richter painting, the purchase of Palazzo Butera by these important Lombard contemporary art collectors could impact the city’s future. But for now, the palace’s impressive interior renovation, in preserved ruin style, frames Manifesta’s verdant exhibition Garden of Flows. Not far from Palazzo Butera one can enter the historic Botanical Gardens, another destination in the procession of Garden of Flows, to become entangled in the rhizomatic plant cultivations. Much of the same could be said about another architectural monument, Palazzo Forcella de Seta, an old bastion with a casino built above it from the 17th century. It’s aligned perpendicularly with the seafront and is just as mesmerizing a stage for this exhibition. This Moorish-influenced venue is one of the spaces around the city that are assembled together and are “Out of Control,” along with the Palazzo Ajutamicristo where we are confronted with projects investigating different conditions on immigration, data, and identity. There are projects by Forensic Architecture’s offshoot, Forensic Oceanography, where they investigate the militarized control of the Mediterranean, and Tania Bruguera’s look at the Mobile User Objective System, known as MUOS, the cordoned off American base in southeastern Sicily directing remote drone warfare. But it’s the urban conundrum that remains most compelling, and beyond the layers of 16th, 17th, and 18th century buildings, streetscapes, and gardens. There is also a ponderous stratum of Fascist-era buildings, many in near states of abandon, but all intriguing for what they once represented in the time of Fascistization when Sicily’s mafia was subjugated and Mussolini’s regime added its symbolic stamp to the island. One building in particular, the Casa del Mutilato, stands out for its unfinished beauty and troublesome iconography. Designed by the architect Giuseppe Spatrisano in 1939, the modern rationalist style building remains surprisingly intact with most of its original statues, icons, murals, furniture, and memorabilia. Inside its main interior hall is Cristina Lucas’s Unending Lightning, a mapping of the long and fatal history of aerial bombing. There’s also an intervention by Alessandro Petti’s "De-colonizing Architecture” developed by the students attending the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm. Their workshop and symposium, “The Afterlife of Colonial-Fascist Architecture,” featured a scissor lift that extended up into the open dome of the central courtyard, inserted there to disrupt the building’s regimented spatial order. When I asked Petti about their intentions, he responded by saying: "With the re-emergence of today’s fascist ideologies in Europe–and the arrival of populations from north and east Africa–we have had to ask ourselves: how do the material traces of the Italian empire today acquire different meanings in the context of migration from the ex-colonies?” This point is especially onerous because not much inside this building has changed since its opening, and the building still features the original Fascist era maps of Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia. Petti went on to note: “We have had to ask who has the right to reuse this fascist colonial building? Shouldn’t people arriving today from these countries that suffered fascist colonial occupation have the right to re-inhabit these kind of buildings?” But it doesn’t end here. Post-war Palermo continues to be fraught with good architectural intentions gone sour. Nothing encapsulates this urban dilemma more than ZEN (Zona Espansione Nord), a public housing expanse from the late sixties designed by Vittorio Gregotti with a team that included Franco Purini. Like many of these largescale mass housing projects built from this era, ZEN’s reputation belies its origins. According to an interview with Purini from 1998, the strength of this project was in its desire to replicate regional territorial characteristics, specifically the fenced citrus groves found all around the area. Purini, who would go on to develop the master plan for earthquake-devastated Nuovo Gibellina, recalled Gregotti’s close relationship with the Sicilian publisher Sellerio, who sought to ground Gregotti in the island’s local building culture, which resulted in the project’s unusual compactness. Evidently, the project stripped of its amenities was doomed to failure. But here is where Gilles Clément, author of The Third Landscape and guru behind Manifesta’s Planetary Garden concept, is making a significant comeback, precisely in these original disaffected groves. To get the perfect overview of Palermo, one can make his or her way up to the top of the peak Pizzo Sella, where the group Rotor has transformed one of the many unfinished and illegal private homes, basically a concrete frame into a spectacular viewing platform. Manifesta 12 is worth the time and the space. Some might worry it prefigures a wave of gentrification that will certainly kill all that is so enchanting about this city: the entropic streets and gardens, the ruined palaces, the many multi-cultural public spaces, polyvalent cuisines, and the sublime beauty of the city. But I don’t think so, or not just yet given the unusual political direction the city is taking under its current mayor. Leoluca Orlando, a veteran of previous campaigns against the Mafia, sees a bright future for the city in welcoming new immigrants. Palermo should not be considered a European peripheral city, but rather the center of the greater Mediterranean region: Sicily is at the crossroads of Africa, the Middle East, and the Ionian islands with a centuries-old history of multi-ethnicism and multi-culturalism. I see Palermo as an alternative model for living, outside the tired economies and nationalistic concerns of an older Europe. It will be interesting to see if Manifesta 13 will keep this kind of critical edge when it lands in Marseille in 2020. Manifesta 12’s The Planetary Garden. Cultivating Coexistence is curated by Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, Mirjam Varadinis, Andrés Jaque, Bregtje van der Haak and is on view through November 4.
Posts tagged with "Exhibitions":
April 9–May 11, 2018 Exhibition Opening: April 9, 5–6pm Princeton University School of Architecture The Princeton University School of Architecture, Media + Modernity Program, Program in Latin American Studies, and Mellon Initiative announce the opening of LIQUID LA HABANA: ICE CREAM, RUM, WAVES, SWEAT AND SPOUTS curated by Beatriz Colomina, Ivan L. Munuera, and Bart-Jan Polman and designed by Diana Cristobal and KnitKnot Architecture. The exhibition research team includes Ingrid Brioso Rieumont, Gillian Shaffer and Eda Yetim. Graphic design by Fru*Fru. Architecture in La Habana, Cuba is usually understood from the point of view of colonialism, whether Spanish or North-American, Cold War politics, or tourist economies and ideologies. But it could also be seen as generating wholly new points of view – more fluid and less familiar. Liquid La Habana presents 5 different case studies from the late 19th century until today and challenges their common interpretations. The exhibition explores the ways in which these fluid projects of ICE CREAM, RUM, WAVES, SWEAT AND SPOUTS reshuffle social contracts, radically confronting ideas of modernity, society, economy, sexuality, privacy, diplomacy, aesthetics, geopolitics, race, and development.  Coppelia, the ICE CREAM parlor of 1966 that became a symbol of the new revolutionary society, is discussed as a laboratory in which the creation of a new species, the “Ubre Blanca,” a super cow that would produce more milk than any cow before, went hand in hand with international agreements and socioeconomic aspects.  Mies van der Rohe’s unbuilt 1957 project for a Bacardi Building in Santiago de Cuba is not presented as the work of an international architect that created a decontextualized object for promoting RUM, but for how it was closely tied to La Habana’s existing architecture and led several afterlives around the world, reshaping the architect.  The Malecón, La Habana’s 5 mile long sea walk begun in 1901, is an engineering work of both concrete and silicon, a Wi-Fi spot in which the notion of public space has been redefined by electronic WAVES and the public sphere has been extended through the paquete semanal (a weekly terabyte of digital information).  The Tropicana Night Club is not simply a glistening stage for tourist entertainment, but a place where the bodies in motion and SWEAT relocate the conception of political architecture in a simultaneously capitalist and socialist spectacle.  The National Schools of Arts deployed the sensuality of waterworks and forms, such as the so called “vulva” SPOUT, as a controversial architectural symbol of revolution.
Pratt Manhattan Gallery presents Albers, Lustig Cohen, Tissi, 1958-2018, an exhibition that explores sixty years of graphic design and art work by three influential women artist-designers: Anni Albers, Elaine Lustig Cohen, and Rosmarie Tissi. Connected by shared circumstances of identity, each is a 20th century woman connected to a well-known male artist or designer and business partner, with mutual friends, patrons, places, and communities. Working through and inspired by constraints, all three demonstrated an affinity for geometric, hard-edged forms. They made work with a common ideal, exemplars of the Bauhaus ethos: unity in art and design. In the work is a vivacity that feels always new, timeless, and individual. Albers, Lustig Cohen, Tissi, 1958-2018 features a selection of art and design objects –typography, textiles, prints, paintings, posters, sculptures, trademarks, and books, design and/or art—in chronological order beginning in 1958. The three women’s overlapping careers span the arc of the Modernist era—from the Bauhaus, to mid-century Pax Americana, to Postmodernism, and into the present. Curated by Phillip Niemeyer, a graphic designer and director of Northern—Southern, a gallery and art agency in Austin, Texas. Anni Albers (1899–1994) began her career as a textile designer at the Bauhaus. She freelanced in Germany until 1933, when she emigrated to America with her husband, Josef. She taught at the Black Mountain School (1933-49). She was the first woman designer to have a one woman show at the Museum of Modern Art (1949). Her book of collected writings On Designing (1959) is considered a classic in design thought and an important text in the lineage of the "design thinking" discipline. Later in life she explored print as a medium for design and art work. She worked and wrote until her death. Elaine Lustig Cohen (1927–2016) learned graphic design working with her first husband, Alvin Lustig. Alvin lost his vision before he passed—Lustig Cohen would create his designs based on his spoken instructions. After Alvin's death in 1955, Lustig Cohen worked as a freelance designer in New York. She designed the typography for Philip Johnson's Seagram Building (1956) and the iconic graphics for the seminal Primary Structures exhibition at the Jewish Museum (1966). In the 1970s she painted, often large and subtle geometric compositions. A group of her paintings were recently shown at Philip Johnson's Glass House (2015). Rosemarie Tissi (1937–present) was published in the Neue Graphik (1957) while still at student in the Swiss School of Art and Craft. She founded the studio O&T with Siegfried Odermatt in 1968. Tissi has been a member of AGI (Alliance Graphique Internationale) since 1974, and ADC (Art Directors Club) since 1992. She is the recipient of numerous awards and prices including three Swiss Federal Scholarships for Applied Arts. She still works today. Opening reception: March 1, 6-8 PM
The practice of architectural drawing has changed dramatically over the past twenty-five years. The traditional pro forma of the sketch (or parti) that would eventually lead to a plan, section, and elevation has given way to exploratory forms of representation. Similar to many postmodern visual arts, architectural drawing has sought to challenge or engage existing paradigms. It often obfuscates or blurs the norms of didactic drawings through inversions, transgressions, and multiplicities of scale, thickness, clarity, measure, shading, and composition. Unlike studio art, however, architectural drawing is defined through its conventions. It conforms to certain rules of presentation—in particular, the use of the line as delineation (a boundary); the preference for flatness, even when drawing in advanced computer-aided programs; the labeling of elements; and the use of representational syntax such as directional arrows, alpha-numerical call-outs, and highly developed decorative and or applied textures. The drawings in the show are not very alike, similar only in that they are situated between the conventions of architectural drawing and the terms of engagement in the arts. While many students of architecture are familiar with this kind of creative exploration, it is less common within an architect’s practice. The works shown here are all from architects who employ exploratory drawing as part of their practice, identifying and furthering their work through these media. This exhibition is only a small sampling of the many works that fall into this relatively new category of exploratory drawing, and because few of these drawings result in “buildings,” these works are often not seen. The concern over the perceived divide between drawings produced by hand and those rendered by computer can be effectively subsumed by the much larger problem of representation in drawing. While the newer tools have been instructive (for example, in turning the line into more of a spline), the computer ultimately does not kill the ambitions of the continuing drawing project. Instead both traditional and digital methods contribute to larger issues: plan-ness instead of plans, sectioning as a dynamic activity, thickening the dimensions of the plane, modeling as a form of drawing, and lightness and shadowing as techniques to produce new fictions rather than techniques of truth-telling. —Dora Epstein Jones
The Dorsky Museum’s Hudson Valley Masters series continues in February 2018 with Steven Holl: Making Architecture, an exhibition examining the work of one of the world’s foremost architects. Architect Steven Holl has realized numerous commissions from private houses to major urban projects. Despite the demands of a highly successful office, he has managed to maintain the integrity and quality of his work by resisting corporatization. His practice reveals an inextricable link between his art and architecture. Holl draws with watercolors everyday, a solitary and hermetic practice from which each of his projects emerges. He also develops conceptual ideas in sculpture. Steven Holl: Making Architecture will reveal Holl’s intricate and distinctive process of making architecture through approximately one hundred models and related sketches and other studies created for nine recent projects, among them the Arts Building at Franklin and Marshall College, Pennsylvania; The Kennedy Center Expansion, Washington D.C.; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and Maggie’s Cancer Care Center in London.
For addressing what some consider to be an extremely niche topic, As Seen: Exhibitions that Made Architecture and Design History makes a convincing argument for the importance of exhibitions in broader design. While the book may not convince those who are already skeptical of the role of exhibition in the design fields, those who are at all interested will find it an invaluable resource for understanding historical and contemporary exhibition practices. Using 11 benchmark exhibitions, editor Zoë Ryan builds a conversation between a number of today’s most noted curators, architects, designers, and academics through a series of essays. The end result is a brief critical history of historic and contemporary exhibitions that changed the way architecture and design are understood. Ryan, the John H. Bryan Chair and curator of architecture and design at the Art Institute of Chicago, opens the book with an argument for each of the exhibitions and their places in history. These exhibitions include: This is Tomorrow (1956), the IBM Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair (1964), aper22 (1970), Italy: The New Domestic Landscape (1972), Man Transforms (1976), Memphis (1981), Droog (1993), Mutant Materials in Contemporary Design (1995–97), Massive Change: The Future of Global Design (2004– 06), Sense of the City: An Alternate Approach to Urbanism (2005), and Super Normal: Sensations of the Ordinary (2007). The remainder of the book is divided up into sections covering the exhibitions themselves, their catalogs, their critical reception, and thoughts on their lasting impact on the design fields. Interestingly, as is pointed out multiple times in the text, many of these exhibitions were not necessarily popular or critically successful when they were first on show. This is Tomorrow, which was shown at the Whitechapel Art Gallery (now the Whitechapel Gallery) in London, was covered extensively by the press, and called everything from confusing to exciting. Memphis—which ran in what would now be called a collateral gallery, located at the edge of the Salone del Mobile in Milan—caused a stir among critics and designers alike, some feeling like the show was some sort of media stunt to elevate the career of Ettore Sottsass. Notably, there are no photographs of the Memphis show. The IBM Pavilion structure, designed by Eero Saarinen and Roche Dinkeloo was not altogether loved, but the interior exhibition, Think, produced by Ray and Charles Eames, received rave reviews and a constant stream of visitors. In all cases, the book lays out why we should care about these shows today, despite or thanks to their initial reception. It is carefully pointed out early in the book that the most recent show was over ten years ago, in order to maintain a critical distance from early reactions. Even with this distance, the book does bring some of the shows in very close with its choice of contributors. In more than one case, curators from the shows covered are given a chance to comment on the larger topic of exhibitions, if not their own work. Mirko Zardini outlines (in a text originally published in Log 20) what it means to show architectural work in Montreal, where his show Sense of the City was exhibited at the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA). Paola Antonelli talks more directly about the role of digital content and how it relates to her show Mutant Materials, which was the first show at the Museum of Modern Art to be accompanied by a website. A prevailing theme throughout the essays, if not the book as a whole, is the changing nature and role of exhibitions throughout time. Sylvia Lavin discusses the allure of contemporary exhibitions thanks to their blend of demonstration (full-scale architecture-artifacts), aesthetics (design as art), and information, all of which developed in design and architectural exhibitions in stops and starts in the past century. Meredith Carruthers dedicates an essay to the exhibition catalogs, another topic that pops up throughout the book. Stepping back even further from the exhibitions themselves, Penelope Dean and Alice Rawsthorn specifically discuss the changing shape of design criticism in the form of exhibition reviews over time. The physical book, designed by Project Projects, is appropriately reminiscent of a museum catalog. Highly stylized graphic design, rich imagery, and bold use of multiple paper stocks and colors make it an artifact in itself, an idea discussed extensively in the text about catalogs. This is doubly fitting, as the genesis of the book was a research project conducted by Ryan and displayed at the 2014 Istanbul Design Biennial and eventually as a show at the Art Institute. While not actually a catalog of that show, the meta idea of a book about an exhibition about exhibitions seems fitting for the topic, more so than a simple catalog. As Seen is not for everybody. Those who believe that the field of architecture and design is most importantly a professional one will likely find the conversation about long over exhibitions esoteric if not unnecessary. This book is not for them, though. For those who are interested in the expression of theoretical and avant-garde design concepts through exhibitions (which seems to be a growing number, considering the recent explosion of biennales and triennials around the world), As Seen: Exhibitions that Made Architecture and Design History is the closest thing to a textbook on the subject. As Seen: Exhibitions that Made Architecture and Design History Zoë Ryan Art Institute of Chicago, $30.49
Get out your Palm Pilots and Seinfeld DVDs—it’s time to start appreciating the 1990s. Time travelers can start their pre-Millennial studies by visiting the Skyscraper Museum’s new exhibition, Millennium: Lower Manhattan in the 1990s. The show, which runs through April, explores civic plans, architectural schemes, and urban legislation that proliferated in this time of simultaneous optimism and anxiety for Manhattan's southern tip. As the Financial District recovered from recession, and reckoned with a building stock and location that were becoming less desirable, the area was in need of new ideas and policies to enact them. In the museum’s mirrored galleries visitors come face to face with urban prescriptions, some successful, some not. Those that came to be included the J.M. Kaplan Foundation's Heritage Trails, walking tours guided by colorful signpost sharing the stories and significance of local buildings and sites. Most no longer stand, but thanks to the museum, you can now view them all online. There's also a massive model of Battery Park City, which added half a dozen buildings as well as significant new public space—like Machado Silvetti’s Wagner Park. Failed plans included SOM’s proposal for a revamped New York Stock Exchange, with a 51-story office building above, and Smith-Miller+Hawkinson’s Museum of Women—The Leadership Center, a nine-story institution just up the block from the Skyscraper Museum. Visitors should also take a look at James Sanders + Associates project for Liberty Plaza, now Zuccotti Park. Commissioned by Heritage Trails New York, the scheme was intended to inject the frenetic activity of the area's financial markets into its relatively sleepy urbanscape, with undulating stock tickers, interactive charts, full color LCD TV displays (a new technology at the time), learning kiosks, and even a beacon sending a beam of light high into the air; an early precursor to the Tribute in Light. The show methodically pinpoints other vital 1990s benchmarks: the crafting of a new neighborhood plan, the landmarking of dozens of buildings, the establishment of the Downtown Alliance, the first bombing of the World Trade Center (1994), the founding of the Skyscraper Museum itself, and the birth of a residential boom in the area thanks to residential conversions and financial incentives. It clearly paints a picture of how pivotal this period was in establishing contemporary New York, and how radically the area, and the country have changed since, as downtown has—for better and worse—morphed under the effects of global capital, real estate, and terrorism perhaps more profoundly than anywhere in the world.
Most New Yorkers know Housing Works though cheerfully crammed thrift stores where vintage blazers, crystal candy dishes, and nice books can be had for good prices. Yet the storefronts are infrastructure for a larger mission: As its name suggests, Housing Works provides housing and social services to homeless New Yorkers living with HIV and AIDS. A new project by a Columbia curator teases many stories out of the documents stretching back to its founding in 1990, when the city had few of supportive housing for an estimated 13,000 homeless citizens with HIV/AIDS. Housing Works History is a meticulous digital archive that covers the organization from its founding 27 years ago to its work today in a multimedia timeline that's as elegant as it is thorough. Timed to the 30th anniversary of ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), the grassroots group and Housing Works precursor that formed in response to government inaction around HIV/AIDS, Housing Works History speaks to the past and future of supportive housing in New York for the most marginalized groups. That housing, and the activism that made it happen, shaped the city subtly but profoundly. "Focusing on physical spaces gave me a way in, a way to talk about the history, the stories, and the different voices from those spaces," said Gavin Browning, the curator behind Housing Works History. Drawing on his academic background in urban planning and his work at Columbia University (he's the director of public programs and engagement at Columbia University School of the Arts, and the inaugural director of Studio-X), Browning's project provides a forum for a distinctly New York story. Inspired by oral history and the Howard Zinn–esque bottom-up approach to historiography, Housing Works History sorts each significant event, program, or housing milestone chronologically along with links to important court rulings, scanned newspaper clippings, photographs, video, and other ephemera, grounded by parallel timelines of diagnosis and infection rates. The juxtaposed timelines, Browning said, help connect data to lived experience to "expose an archive that wasn't being seen or used, or really acknowledged. Most people don't know this history, and how it's connected to the development of the city. It's really essential New York City history." A click on the year 2000 brings viewers, via archival footage, to the Housing Works Gay Pride parade float, and to the organization's stewardship of two brownstones on West 130th Street, a project started by community group Stand Up Harlem. The project is a platform for collective voices that have shaped the organization and the movement it foregrounds, as well as a window into how a social movement shaped architecture and design in New York. Long abandoned, those brownstones were transformed into supportive housing for substance users. Designed by architect Benjamin Kracauer, the Stand Up Harlem House opened in 2008 and provides 16 units for single adults and families affected by HIV/AIDS. The design connects two adjacent brownstones but moves entryways to the garden level, providing streetscape continuity while allowing for greater accessibility. In addition to the timeline, Browning collaborated with Laura Hanna to shoot five original films featuring the architects, activists, and Housing Works employees behind five of the organization's housing projects. In one, Browning interviews, roundtable-style, a Stand Up Harlem resident, Desi Glazier, program director Ivan Gonzales, a Housing Works attorney, and Kracauer. For the spatially-inclined, there's a map, too, that organizes the group's projects and significant sites. Housing Works History, Browning said, was influenced by Group Material's 1989 installation, AIDS Timeline, which used media, artifacts, and ephemera to document AIDS's evolution from its roots as a health issue to one that shaped LGBT and dominant culture. Close to home, the project grew from a 2012 project Browning curated with Karen Kubey in New York. Living Room: Housing Works Builds Housing explored the group's activism and advocacy that led to the construction of 170 units in three neighborhoods for its target population. Despite his work, Browning isn't employed by for Housing Works; he obtained project funding from the Graham Foundation. Though the website officially debuts today, Housing Works History's official launch party is next week at the New York Pubic Library's main branch (details here). Browning sees the project as a "stepping stone" for other's work—he hopes, for example, the work could inspire others' academic research or ground perspectives on today's struggles for equity and visibility.
Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is holding dual exhibitions exploring the past and the future of the UIC campus. Back to the Future: Visualizing the Arts at UIC and The Netsch Campus: Materializing the Public at UIC bring together architects and designers to imagine a new arts site, while looking at Walter Netsch’s original vision for the campus. Back to the Future: Visualizing the Arts at UIC presents three speculative proposals by teams of architects and designers. Teams member include: Sarah Dunn, Kelly Bair, Maya Nash, and Cheryl Towler Weese; Sam Jacob, Alexander Eisenschmidt, and Mischa Leiner; Andrew Zago, Sarah Blankenbaker, and Sharon Oiga. Each team’s design engages with Netsch’s campus, while bringing together the currently separated arts programs around campus. The designs also symbolize the ambitions of the university and act as a gateway into the city. The Netsch Campus: Materializing the Public at UIC explores the Field Theory design of UIC. Opened in 1967, the complex Walter Netsch design was never completed. The exhibition displays original drawings, sketches, and watercolors of the campus’s design. Photographs by Orlando Cabanban show the portions of the campus that were completed. Complementing the new designs, the show includes never-before-displayed watercolor rendering of a consolidated arts building in Chicago’s West loop. The concurrent shows were co-curated by Judith K. De Jong and Lorelei Stewart and will run in Gallery 400 August 10th through August 27th. There will be a public reception on August 18th and guided tours are available throughout the run.
Starting this weekend, Jai & Jai Gallery in Los Angeles will be hosting a new exhibition showcasing the work of Oakland, California-based architecture firm, Endemic Architecture. The firm’s new exhibit, Mind Your Mannerisms, delves into the zany world of San Francisco architecture by examining that city’s ubiquitous corner turret morphology through drawings, scaled models, and photography. By embarking on a formal and existential exploration of quirk-heavy San Francisco Victoriana, Endemic Architecture Principal Clark Thenhaus and his team seek to analyze the turret and its multivalent tendencies. In their efforts, the design-researchers deftly use a mix of traditional architectural representation and contemporary digital manipulation to explore elaborations of the Victorian turret. The isolated corner turret is treated as representing the incongruities, complications, and controversies of Victorian era architecture. Endemic Architecture arrives at several provocations that embody what the firm calls “mannerisms,” what Thenhaus described to AN via telephone as “forms of articulation slightly strange but not so strange as the become unfamiliar.” These formal and stylistic incongruities, described as “architectural contradictions, exaggerations, and counter-intuitions” in exhibition text, are treated as bad habits, amplified, and made worse to prove a point. As the designers manipulate and exaggerate the turret’s salient qualities, fascia boards get extruded and swept across facades, rooflines pucker at their corners, newels turn parabolic, and shingle patterns shift, grow, and change in scale. Thenhaus, recent recipient of a 2015 Architectural League Prize for Young Architects and Designers, described the underlying thesis of the project one of working through a ubiquitous architectural feature of his newly adopted city, where turrets are part of the accepted vernacular, inscribed within the city’s zoning code, sometimes clashing with more prosaic urban issues like lack of affordable housing and a need for increased density. The exhibition goes on view August 13th at 6pm and runs through the summer.
Eleven San Diego and Southern California cultural organizations are joining forces this fall to celebrate the life and works of Irving J. Gill. Gill, a famously overlooked San Diego architect who was responsible for introducing the beginnings of modernism to Southern California in the early 1900s. An uneducated migrant from upstate New York, Gill would eventually find himself working in the Chicago offices of Adler & Sullivan, where he worked on the firm’s designs for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. Gill left the White City for Southern California in 1893, going on to a prolific career at the helm of the firm Hebbard & Gill. A firm believer in the positive social impacts of proper architecture, Gill took on a variety of clients, providing design services for wealthy, white gentry as well as for several Native American reservations, an African American religious congregation, and the families of migrant Mexican workers. While well-known—if not more renowned—as contemporaries such as Greene and Greene during his lifetime, Gill’s reputation fell off the radar quickly after his death. With a blockbuster lineup of coordinated exhibitions, San Diego institutions are re-elevating Gill as their city’s patron saint of architecture. The San Diego History Center is leading the effort with their exhibition, Irving J. Gill: New Architecture for a Great Country, a survey of Gill’s greatest San Diego works, including many of his influential house designs as well as the La Jolla Women’s Club from 1914, considered to be the first tilt-slab construction building in Southern California. Among other institutions showcasing Gill’s work, The La Jolla Historical Society and Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego will team up to showcase an exhibition focused on Gill’s orthographic and perspectival drawings, sketches, and watercolor renderings on loan from Gill archives at University of California, Santa Barbara and the San Diego History Center. The Oceanside Museum of Art, housed in a Gill-designed structure originally used as the town’s City Hall from 1934 to 1994, will present a historical overview of the 5,000 square foot structure. In conjunction, the museum will also showcase the work by Frederick Fisher and Partners, who completed a large expansion to the structure in 2008. Lastly, the Save Our Heritage Organisation will present two exhibitions at the Gill-designed National Historic Landmark, Marston House Museum and Gardens. One, Irving J. Gill: Photographer, will showcase Gill’s previously-unknown architectural photographs as well as pictures of his buildings by other photographers. The second, Gill & the Decorative Arts, will dissect Gill’s interior and garden design philosophies through the lens of regional sustainability. The exhibitions open September 24th and run through March 31, 2017.
Exhibition on Architectural League of New York’s League Prize for Young Architects + Designers opens
The 2016 Architectural League of New York's League Prize for Young Architects + Designers focused on the theme of (im)permanence. As the League's website says, this year's competition "asks how time affects architecture’s assertion of style, methods of assembly, and relationship to program." The exhibition, open until July 30, showcases the drawings, models, and research of the winners at the Arnold and Sheila Aronson Galleries at Parsons School of Design at The New School. As The Architect's Newspaper reported in May, this year's diverse group included: Rania Ghosn and El Hadi Jazairy, DESIGN EARTH, Cambridge, MA and Ann Arbor, MI Juan Alfonso Garduño Jardón, G3 Arquitectos, Querétaro, Mexico Neyran Turan and Mete Sonmez, NEMESTUDIO, San Francisco, CA Neeraj Bhatia, The Open Workshop, San Francisco, CA Hubert Pelletier and Yves de Fontenay, Pelletier de Fontenay, Montreal, Canada Yasmin Vobis and Aaron Forrest, Ultramoderne, Providence, RI Three of the winners will also discuss their responses to the theme of (im)permanence in a June 30 lecture; the event can also be streamed live through the Architectural League of New York. The 2016 League Prize was organized by the Architectural League and its Young Architects + Designers Committee.