The Shed, DS+R and the Rockwell Group's slick ETFE-padded arts building in Hudson Yards is a solid year away from hosting performances. In the meantime, The Shed's curators are teasing the public with Prelude to The Shed—Prelude, for short—a temporary pavilion for dance, theater, and art right across the street from its still-under-construction sibling. Today The Architect's Newspaper got a first look at the structure and its inaugural exhibit on the Fun Palace, the conceptual 1960s theater that inspired The Shed. While the Shed was conceived by two large New York firms, Prelude was designed by Kunlé Adeyemi of Amsterdam- and Lagos-based NLÉ Works in collaboration with Tino Sehgal, an artist from Berlin who's also one of the event's programmers. The building, a reconfigured steel shed crossed with a party limo, is separated from 10th Avenue by an open plaza and a short flight of black stairs. To give performers an abundance of flex space, the front entrance is completely open to the elements, but the approach is staggered by oversized, movable Chesterfield chairs. Ultra-cushy seating wraps the interior and most of Prelude's exterior, a must for a initial 13-day free events program that's sold out its entire run. Its roofline is defined by a simple gable, a humble dwelling amid the towers of Hudson Yards. The structure backs onto a site that feels like an afterthought. A café is connected to Prelude by a standard-issue wheelchair ramp, and from its slightly elevated perch, visitors can gaze across a gravel lot where scattered potted plants suggest an attempt at landscape design. REX's crystalline 5 Manhattan West and Hudson Yards beam reflections onto each other from across the avenue, disorienting the eye a hundred feet above ground level. Blessedly, there are public restrooms. Prelude's seven programmers are engaging the public beyond architecture, and a packed events schedule promises to keep the space brimming with visitors. Today, volunteers stood around hospital carts filled with Hudson Yards ephemera, part of A stroll though the fun palace, an exhibit on Cedric Price and Joan Littlewood's never-built idea for a democratic performance and community gathering space. For the next two weeks, the programmers have tapped artists across media for a series of public performances. Each afternoon into evening, choreographer William Forsythe's Pas de Deux Cent Douze alternates with Sehgal's This variation. Beginning Thursday, Prelude will host evening shows by artists across genres (Atlanta's ABRA kicks off the festivities her signature take on R&B). Prelude's pre-opening program will run through May 13. More information on hours, performances, and events can be found here.
Posts tagged with "Kunlé Adeyemi":
Kunlé Adeyemi, of the firm NLÉ, is perhaps one of the most widely acclaimed architects practicing today. Among his renowned projects was a floating school in Makoko, a slum on the fringes of Lagos. It was so well regarded that it was reprised and built in the canals of Venice for the 2016 Venice Biennale of Architecture, curated by architect Alejandro Aravena. Completed in 2013, the school was not long for this world. In the summer of 2016, it collapsed. For the Atavist Magazine, Allyn Gaestel traces the intertwining narratives of power, ego, and money that led to the lauded project quite literally falling apart. Despite the media painting the project as a roaring success (an image NLÉ was very happy to maintain), Gaestel's reporting reveals the school was rife with problems from the get-go. The school was originally begun as an extension to the Whanyinna school. Initially a collaboration between Adeyemi with Lagos native Isi Etomi, who had herself spent a year teaching at the Makoko school, their partnership fell apart as Adeyemi’s proposals grew more and more grand, and in Etomi’s eyes, more unrealistic and detached from the needs of students. The Stiller Foundation (the namesake of actor Ben Stiller), who had been funding the school, seemingly agreed with Etomi and pulled out of the project. Adeyemi, alone, secured funding from the United Nations Development Program and the Heinrich Böll Foundation. Construction began on a floating multistory A-frame structure. While there was funding for the extravagant building, none was put in place for basic supplies or teachers. Photos were staged for the press. Two and a half years after opening, classes began. The school, arguably neglected from the beginning, eventually fell into disrepair. Students were afraid to attend, as water entered the structure and wind rocked the school. Instead, they returned to the original Whanyinna, crammed together in the miniscule space. When confronted about the state of the floating school, NLÉ replied that it was the responsibility of the community to maintain the school, not them. Eventually the school fell into itself. A press release from NLÉ spun this as a “decommission...in anticipation of reconstruction.” If a “decommission,” it was a rather inelegant and unexpected one. No one involved with the school had heard anything of this supposed reconstruction. For many residents and onlookers, the school functioned as a vanity project. In a searing op-ed, architect James Inedu wrote “All the school did was to blow up the designer’s ego and to give him highly coveted international attention...It was simply bad architecture done iconically.” Etomi responded by setting up a GoFundMe to raise money to build a more durable solution for students. The school’s director Noah Shemede has disagreed with her approach and the renovation and extension remains in limbo. Read the full story online at the Atavist Magazine.
While Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Rockwell Group's The Shed might not open until spring 2019, its creative team will be hosting nearly two weeks of free arts events this May to build anticipation for the ribbon-cutting. A Prelude to The Shed, held on a vacant lot at 10th Avenue and 30th Street in Manhattan, will feature live concerts, dance battles, art-focused political panels, and experimental classes that foreshadow offerings of the under-construction telescoping arts venue in Hudson Yards. From May 1 until May 13, visitors can experience Prelude in and around a reconfigured steel shed designed by architect Kunlé Adeyemi of NLÉ Works and artist Tino Sehgal. Prelude’s smaller shed will echo its larger counterpart by being fluid and transformable, with elements of the building able to move in response to the dancers within. “Using simple technologies, we made the structure so that it can be moved and transformed by people, enabling its participation in different formats of art, education, events, and public life,” said Adeyemi, in a press release. Each day of Prelude will bring a different program, though everything will be connected through Sehgal’s curation. Every morning, artist Asad Raza will lead experimental classes, based on his ongoing “Schema for a school” work, while panels on art’s role in social connectivity and the politics of ritualized gatherings will be hosted every other evening. Bolstering the series’ connection to The Shed, Prelude will host reproduced ephemera from architect Cedric Price’s Fun Palace, an unrealized moveable and multi-purpose venue that heavily influenced The Shed. Mobile exhibition carts stocked with artifacts from the Fun Palace will move around the temporary space to encourage public interaction. “Like The Fun Palace, Prelude is a hybridization of exhibition and performance, functionally structured to encourage open engagement with audiences and fresh, collaborative approaches from artists,” said Hans Ulrich Obrist, The Shed's artistic advisor. “It is emblematic of our own era in that it lends itself to the choreography of 21st-century time-based exhibitions.” A full schedule of Prelude’s programming can be found here, including a lineup for the concert series.
The 2016 Venice Biennale is now open to the public until November 27, 2016. "Reporting From the Front" is Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena's manifesto of sorts, a gorgeous aesthetic project with a slightly less clear political overlay. In this Biennale, he was looking to share success stories from engaged practitioners who are working to address the problems facing the world, such as inequality, crime, waste, traffic, and segregation. AN had three editors and a cadre of writers scoping out all of the main exhibition, the national pavilions, auxiliary events, and any other interesting things happening in the city during the opening. We selected 20 of our favorite moments and have awarded them AN Lions, a different take on the Biennale. This collection should also serve as a guidebook of sorts so that visitors throughout the summer can get some perspective on what to see, and how to get to the good stuff, without taking a whole week! 1. Pavilion of the Western Sahara In one of the bolder moves of the Biennale, Aravena assigned Swiss architect Manuel Herz and the Western Sahara a small spot on the lawn where last year sat a wooden replica of Le Corbusier’s Maison Dom-ino, constructed by the Architectural Association. This year’s small, tent-like structure occupied a prominent space in the Giardini, giving the contested nation-state of a place alongside Belgium, the Netherlands, and Finland. The Western Sahara is a region that has been occupied by Morocco, so Herz commissioned a set of photos by Iwan Baan, and a set of large carpet-like tapestries produced by National Union of Sahrawi women in the “permanent” refugee camps where the Sahrawis have been living since the occupation forty years ago. 2. A World of Fragile Parts — Special Project Applied Arts Pavilion A project of the Victoria and Albert Museum and curated by Brendan Cormier, the exhibition shows the complex history of copying, including its role as a form of preservation, museological imperialism, resistance, and reportage. Starting from the plaster casts of the V&A’s 19th century Cast Courts, Cormier gathered contemporary projects that explore copying as an active engagement with the geopolitics of art, architecture, and culture. An illegally scanned bust of Nefertiti is on display, made possible by two artists who “took” it digitally from Germany’s Neues Museum in solidarity with Egypt’s pleas to return it to its original location. 3. Zaha Hadid Retrospective — Palazzo Franchetti If you have been wondering why the passing of Zaha Hadid was so important, then this show will let you into the discussion. If you already loved her work, this show will make you love her more. With original paintings, models, and drawings filling every inch of a baroque palazzo, this show presents Hadid's work that has rarely been seen anywhere else. 4. Bravoure — The Belgium Pavilion The Belgium Pavilion takes a look at the effects of scarcity on architecture. The pavilion, which has not been completely refinished since the last biennale, is filled with projects that blur the lines between built and speculation. The large images by Filip Dujardin are a highlight. 5. Fair Building — The Poland Pavilion This pavilion highlights the dirty little secret of architecture: The workers who build (and sometimes die) in construction. Architecture is social in construction, reception, and use, yet those who actually construct buildings are invisible to most architects. This pavilion, appropriately installed inside a grid of scaffolds, calls for “Fair Trade” buildings that recognize the value of construction labor. 6. Our Amazon Frontline — The Peru Pavilion In this pavilion titled "Our Amazon Frontline," the Peruvians highlight the traditional native visions of the ecologically valuable Amazon with modern ones and try to restore dignity to the native peoples of the region. A beautiful pavilion with an elegant-but-cheap display system of ropes holding plywood displays that focus on modular schools for the children of the region. It’s easy to miss but don’t! 7. Baltic States Pavilion — The Baltic Pavilion One of the most interesting venues—the spectacular Palasport gymnasium just around the corner from the Arsenale entrance—was the perfect venue for a sprawling, three country Baltic exhibition. The three countries banded together to display the history of resource extraction in their region. The display of post-Soviet infrastructures and the geologies, for some, will be a welcome large-scale project in the sea of smaller interventions at the Biennale.
8. Aires Mateus — Central Pavilion Mezzanine This installation is a response to those critics who argue that, while they agree with Aravena’s crises theme, there is no beauty in this biennale. This small, easy-to-miss installation tucked away in the Central Pavilion mezzanine is all about beauty. It argues that beauty is not an added layer of good taste but the capacity to capture and express human desires. The dark space was an inspiration to stumble into after a long day of forensic research.
9. The Class of 6.3: Rebuilding Nine Schools after the 2014 Chiang Rai Earthquake — The Thailand Pavilion This beautiful installation hidden in the back of the Arsenale takes the "building on stick" trope to a new level by suspending hundreds of wooden buildings that are attached to a spring-loaded plywood floor. This produces a chilling, quaking effect that provides the underlay for the nine projects. The earthquake-proof educations facilities are models above the sea of shaking buildings. 10. Home Economics: Five new models for domestic life — The British Pavilion Led by Jack Self, Shumi Bose, and Finn Williams, the British Pavilion addresses structural problems in the late capitalist housing market. It is a slightly more cynical version of Aravena’s position on scarcity. They propose new models of living that are rooted in real estate models and lifestyle arrangements. While it is impossible to escape the logic of the market, the British Pavilion looks at its structural foundations, from mobile technology to minimum furnishings to getting a mortgage, and projects possible futures ranging from inflatables to a bunk-like unit. 11. The Architectural Imagination — The U.S. Pavilion If only because of, or in spite of, the controversy surrounding the U.S. Pavilion, it is well worth seeing. Controversy aside, the pavilion holds some of the most beautiful drawings and models in the entire biennale. If you don’t agree with what you see, simply download the augmented reality app from Detroit Resists to see the pavilion through a new lens. 12. Makoko Floating School by Kunlé Adeyemi/NLÉ — Arsenale We have all seen Kunlé Adeyemi’s floating school barge on the internet for the last couple of years. It makes a celebrity appearance at this year’s biennale after a trip down the Grand Canal. Perhaps it's like the “Reporting From the Front” version of Aldo Rossi’s Teatro del Mundo, the floating companion to Strata Novissima (1980). Adeyemi originally designed the floating school structures for the lagoons of Lagos, Nigeria, where access to education is an ongoing struggle. The version that appeared in Venice is actually a second generation Floating School that has bigger structural members. The original was decommissioned and has since come down in Lagos. 13. Masonry arch by Solano Benítez/gabinete de arquitectura — Central Pavilion A spectacular start to the Central Pavilion, this brick structure hovers over visitors, giving a beautiful form to what Aravena calls “scarcity.” The architects claim it is built with just bricks and unqualified labor, which might be an exaggeration, but nonetheless, it is a stunning piece of architecture, and it won the Golden Lion for a reason. 14. Heroic: Free Shipping — The Serbian Pavilion The sublime Serbian Pavilion takes a look back in on architecture and critiques the treatment of freelance and intern workers. The boat shaped blue room is devoid of architectural proposals, and instead is meant to be a respite from the rest of the show. The pithy description and pile of thousands of intern rejection letters at the entrance give you something to read while recharging in the space. 15. Making Heimet. Germany, Arrival Country — The German Pavilion The German Pavilion is a must-see, especially if you have been to a past biennale. Winning a battle to alter the historic building, the curators cut four large entrances in exterior walls, changing the entire space of the pavilion. The wall graphics are a bit heavy handed and the message of openness is a bit literal, but it is a great place to rest and congregate. 16. The War on Bending — Ochsendorf, Block, and DeJong This exhibit in the Arsenale makes a case for compression in building. Rejecting the flatness and tension, the War on Bending produces a spectacular vaulting space that is held in place completely be compression. Of many of the material-based projects in the show, this one is the clearest in showing how old and new technology can be blended to make evocative space. 17. Blue: Architecture of UN Peacekeeping Missions — The Dutch Pavilion The Dutch Pavilion is a simple but brilliant idea to highlight United Nations peacekeeping mission buildings that can be usefully repurposed if and when the peacekeepers move on. Curated by Malkit Shoshan of the think-tank FAST, it highlights the spatial challenges and opportunities of this complex situation and proposes that design be made part of peacekeeping buildings and be based on the conditions that arise post-peacekeeping mission. 18. Reboot — The Uruguay Pavilion The Uruguayans challenged visitors to don "invisibility cloaks" and steal items from other pavilions. The action is a response to the concept of informality, as the curators claim that illegality is "a main component of informality beyond its pauperism and hypocritical perception." The objects will be shipped back to Montevideo for an exhibition that reports from the front. You may have a hard time seeing the actual object, however, as the action has caused some controversy and some of the pricier booty has been returned, while the rest is hidden away. 19. Nordic Pavilion The Nordic Pavilion has a deceptively simple setup, as projects are presented bluntly on flyers. The curators constructed a wooden pyramid that acts as a social condenser and blocks the iconic trees in Sverre Finn's famous building that many call the most beautiful in the Giardini. The new construction is a metaphor for the relationship of contemporary architects with the masters of Nordic architecture's past. The pyramid obscures the trees, but still allows visitors to see them. It also gives a new perspective on the eight-foot-deep lightwell-roof-structure for which the building is known. Go climb the installation and look at the exquisite detailing of the board-formed concrete beams. 20. Wayward Eye: The Photography of Denise Scott Brown — Palazzo Mora This exhibition of Denise's photos "from Venice to Venice" shows her broad range of interests in the 1950s and 1960s: automobile cities of the American Southwest, social change, multiculturalism, action, everyday architecture, “messy vitality,” iconography, and Pop Art. There is quite a bit to see in this show, which also includes strip signs and a Rezzonico-Tourisissimo chandelier, purpose-made for the show in Murano alongside her pictures of 1950s Venice and 1960s California and Nevada.The Thailand Pavilion title "Class of 6.3", profiles 9 rebuilding efforts for schools after the 2014 earthquake. Spring loaded floors make the model shake. #biennalearchitettura2016 A video posted by The Architect's Newspaper (@archpaper) on
For the first time, the Serpentine Galleries has commissioned not a single pavilion but five separate structures by different architects for London's Kensington Gardens. For the past fifteen years, the summer pavilion has occupied a space between the gallery and West Carriage Drive in the park. This year, that primary pavilion was designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and the other four scattered behind throughout the park. The BIG pavilion is just that—big. It's a mini cathedral with a soaring interior vault that pushes the idea of a pavilion to its size limits, competing with Bjarke's former employer Rem Koolhaas/Cecil Balmond and their 2006 inflatable for height and scale. BIG claims that their pavilion is conceptually a “brick wall.” But rather than clay and bricks, the wall is erected from pultruded fiberglass frames/boxes (made by Fiberline) set back and stacked on top of each other. The wall is then “pulled apart” to form a cavity that houses events for the Serpentine's summer program. The unzipping of the wall turns the line into a surface, transforming the wall into a space. Hans Ulrich Obrsit claims that the pavilion, like the other before it, has already been sold and will be re-mounted in China and America. As for the other ‘back yard’ pavilions, they don't match the BIG project in scale or position, but they are every bit as fantastical as one would expect from a garden pavilion. The four are designed by Kunlé Adeyemi, Asif Khan, and my favorites in the show, Barkow Leibinger and 92-year-old Yona Friedman. The Barkow Leibinger structure is made of molded plywood over a steel frame and has four seating areas surrounding the central wooden core. It’s swooping and molded shapes overwhelm the other pieces in the garden. One hopes it is a rehearsal for the Berlin-based firm's securing the central Serpentine pavilion in the future. The pavilion by Yona Friedman is a typical-yet-thrilling Friedman space frame. It's so thin as to be nearly invisible until one is next to it and sees the Plexiglas images of his elevated La Ville Spatial (Spatial City) designs inserted into the pavilion's metal hoops. The Spatial City design consists of modular structures in which people could build their own hoses. This pavilion, which can be disassembled and remounted, was built with the help of young school children in London.
The results are in at the 15th Venice Biennale of Architecture. The Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement went to Brazilian architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha. Paraguay's Gabinete de Arquitectura, led by Solano Benitez, brought home the Golden Lion for Participant for the masonry arch that stood at the entrance to the Central Pavilion. Nigerian-born Kunlé Adeyemi, leader of Dutch practice NLÉ and visiting faculty at Columbia GSAPP took home the silver for his Makoko Floating School, which has been seen on the internet for the last couple of years, but made a cameo behind the Arsenale this year in Venice after floating down the Grand Canal. It was a fitting update of Aldo Rossi's 1979/80 Teatro del Mundo, reimagined for this Biennale. Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement: Paulo Mendes da Rocha Golden Lion for Best Participant: Gabinete de Arquitectura Silver Lion for Participant - Kunlé Adeyemi/NLÉ Golden Lion for Best National Participation: Spain Pavilion Special Mentions for National Participations: Japan Pavilion, Peru Pavilion
Bjarke Ingels and four others unveil designs for the 2016 Serpentine Pavilion and adjacent summer houses
Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) is unveiling high-profile projects at an unprecedented rate. The Copenhagen- and New York–based firm today released the rendering for its Serpentine Pavilion in London’s Kensington Gardens. The “un-zipped wall” features fiberglass, brick-like elements that pull apart to form space for visitors to stroll through. The design is more linear than most past Serpentines. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wb_zuxSzQE "As you can see from the architect's renders, Bjarke Ingels has responded to the brief for a multipurpose pavilion with a supremely elegant structure that is both curvaceous wall and soaring spire, that will surely serve as a beacon – drawing visitors across Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens to visit the pavilion, the summerhouses and our major exhibitions by Alex Katz and Etel Adnan," said gallery directors Julia Peyton-Jones and Hans Ulrich Obrist in a statement. Four the first time, the pavilion will be complemented by four summer houses. Those will be designed by Berlin architects Barkow Leibinger, Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi, Paris-based architect Yona Friedman and English architect Asif Khan. All of the designs play off of Queen Caroline's Temple, a nearby 18th-century Neo-Classical garden folly. Khan’s design is a series of undulating timber spikes, while Yona Friedman has put forth a modular design meant to reference how cities grow, a reference to his La Ville Spatiale. Barkow Leibinger’s design references a now-demolished building that once sat on the site. Adeyemi references the folly in a void-like negative impression.
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) announced a new prize at a ceremony in London today. The RIBA International Prize will go to the "world's best new building." The selection criteria are broad: the building can be "of any type or budget and in any country, which exemplifies design excellence, architectural ambition and which delivers meaningful social impact." This is the first RIBA award open to non-RIBA members. 1985 RIBA Gold Medal winner Richard Rogers will lead the judges' panel. “I’m delighted to lead the jury for the inaugural RIBA International Prize," Rogers declared in a statement. "[I] look forward to discovering how architecture is reacting to and resolving issues posed by the changing demands of a global community. We look forward to establishing the RIBA International Prize as a new standard by which to assess and promote design excellence on a global scale.” He will be joined by Kunlé Adeyemi, director of Amsterdam- and Lagos-based NLÉ Projects, as well as Philip Gumuchdjian, director of London-based Gumuchdjian Architects. Other members of the jury will be announced "in due course." The call for entries is now open, and any architect may apply. To be considered, buildings must have been built in the last three years (between January 1, 2013 and February 1, 2016). After the inaugural year, the prize will be given to buildings completed within the past two years. To winnow down finalists, shortlisted buildings (themselves winners of the RIBA Awards for International Excellence) will be visited twice by two panels of jurors. The "grand jury" will select six final buildings for a third round visit to pick the winner.