Posts tagged with "Le Corbusier":

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Female-ness, Corb, and Contraband

Andreas Angelidakis and Juliana Huxtable kick off the first in a series of partnerships between AN and Façadomy, a contemporary journal that reflects on issues of identity through the lenses of art and architecture.

The portmanteau of Façadomy’s title is mimetic—it’s contents and practitioners are brought together from seemingly unrelated fields. Each issue is based on the work of a non-arts based professional, and the responses by a diverse panel of cultural producers. The result is a polytonal visual essay on a relevant contemporary topic. Gender Talents, Façadomy’s inaugural issue, presents gender at the intersection of art and architecture. Gender Talents begins with the work of Grimstad, Norway–based sexologist and Transgender icon Esben Esther. P. Benestad who has observed seven unique genders in their work as a doctor and therapist in Scandinavia. The issue is composed of reflections on these categories by Andreas Angelidakis, Kimberly R. Drew (@museummammy) and Juliana Huxtable. A selection from the first of these 7 genders follows below: Female (as defined by Façadomy) Femininity can be accentuated with ornaments, but it is not essential to femaleness. A Female is an individual who describes herself as Female and can be considered one of the gender majorities. Femaleness derives most of its conventions from the characteristics attached to individuals that are chromosomally XX: production of ova, milk-producing mammary glands (after childbirth), a higher ratio of fat to body weight than Males, fairer voice, motherhood and caregiving. When an XX individual with the conventional characteristics of Female also perceives herself as Female, this is understood as Cis-Female. Females may have another chromosomal constellation or may not possess any of the traditional characteristics at all. La Tourette by Le Corbusier. She looks like a nest. Once you start to go inside, she is gorgeous, a hallucinogenic beauty of proportion, warmth, and detail. She is the most caregiving of buildings, with spaces that are sensual, protective, welcoming and, at times, inspire awe. And if La Tourette is a female, the dark blue and red chapel is her womb. You can glimpse at the sky, sense distant sunlight from within, and you never want to leave. La Tourette is the mother you always wanted: flamboyant, caring, generous and superior. She may not be ornamental, or visually glamorous in her facade, but she is thoughtful and smart. —Andreas Angelidakis FEMALE THE OTHER SEX. NOT I, BUT SOMETHING OTHER. SCALING THE FOLDS OF LABIA THAT STAND AGAINST THE UNKNOWN. I CLOSE MY EYES AND SEE FLASHES OF OTHER SILHOUETTES, FORMS GENDERED THROUGH RELIEF AND IN THE REMAINS OF NEGATIVE SPACE. I STRUGGLE TO MAKE OUT THE FORMS OF WHAT SEEM LIKE HIPS, BREASTS, BUT THESE POINTS FAIL TO SIGNIFY FULLY, AND HAVE BEEN SHUT OFF; CONTRABAND. SHE IS PERHAPS INSOFAR AS HER WOMB BEARS CERTAIN POTENTIALS FOR RE-PRODUCTIVE LABOR; IF BARREN—SAINT OR NON-ENTITY. A HOMOCHROMOSOMAL RELATIONSHIP THAT (THEY’D LIKE YOU TO BELIEVE) FORGOES THE FIRST WHY OF SUBJECT FORMATION. THE TECHNOSCIENTIFIC CODES CREATED BY THE WRITERS OF CERTAIN MYTHOLOGY REFLECT THEIR BIASES. THEY LOOK AT THE 3-D STRUCTURES FROM ABOVE, ANTHROPOMORPHIZE THEIR CURIOUS “APPEARANCE” WITH AN ALPHABET WHOSE HEGEMONY RESTS ON FORCED SEXUAL ENCOUNTERS. “SHE” DESIGNATES ALL THAT IS NOT “HE,” A SEMIOTIC ZONE OF ABJECTION RENDERED EVERYTIME HE SAYS “BITCH.” TO SAY NOT MALE DOESN’T SUFFICE, THE TENSION BETWEEN THE TWO PARTIES; SPECTACLE DISTRACTION FROM THE KNIFE; CLITERECTOMY. A SPACE OF SHELTER AND COMMUNION FOR ALL WHO “SHE” ASSUMES AND ALL WHO ASSUME “SHE” —Juliana Huxtable
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Alpine Factory by Barkow Leibinger

A geometric corrugated metal and glass facade integrates industry and nature.

Barkow Leibinger's original scheme for HAWE-Werk Kaufbeuren, developed for a competition several years ago, was "a completely crazy origami thing," recalled partner Frank Barkow. But upon winning the commission and learning that the factory's owners wished to build it in a single phase, "we had to be careful not to kill them with the budget," he said. "We really dumbed it down." The architects did, however, hold on to their original pinwheel plan, with production wings rotating around a communal courtyard. Inspired by Le Corbusier's "green factory"—a humanizing alternative to the "black factories" of the nineteenth century, which prioritized the flow of goods over the experience of the workers—Barkow Leibinger's design opens the HAWE plant to the Bavarian countryside with a geometric facade of corrugated metal and glass. In addition to drawing upon Le Corbusier's "green factory" concept, Barkow Leibinger also looked at industrial designs out of northern Italy in the 1960s and 70s, which in turn led them to experiment with a prefabricated concrete frame. "Usually we do steel," explained Barkow, "but in this case the client liked the precast concrete. It's a dirty industry—there's a lot of milling going on." The factory's exposed mechanical systems are integrated directly into the structure, passing through perforations in the horizontal beams. "It's not a very finicky factory," said Barkow. "We just put it where they needed it."
  • Facade Manufacturer Schüco (post-and-beam construction), Pilkington (channel glass), Lamilux (shed glazing)
  • Architects Barkow Leibinger
  • Facade Installer Pröckl GmbH
  • Facade Consultant Priedemann Fassadenberatung GmbH
  • Location Kaufbeuren, Germany
  • Date of Completion 2014
  • System steel-framed shed roofs with skylights and PV panels, corrugated sheet metal, channel glass, vision glass
  • Products Pilkington figured glass, Lamilux glazing, Warema sunshades
Steel-framed shed roofs sit atop the concrete. Skylights look to the north, while the roof's south slopes are designed to accommodate photovoltaic panels. "The north-facing shed is a classical industrial solution," noted Barkow. "It brings in a lot of light, and saves a lot on artificial lighting." The arrangement of solids and voids on the facade emphasizes the resulting sawtooth profile. The architects carved the envelope into a repeating pattern of triangles and trapezoids, clad in glass and corrugated sheet metal, respectively. Most of the building's glazed surface is translucent white channel glass, with vision glass in the sliver of space closest to the ground. At the end of each wing, a broad horizontal window features a larger central section of channel glass framed by floor-to-ceiling panels of transparent glass to either side. "This is a kind of Corbusian idea: large end facades that look into the countryside," said Barkow. The factory wings are designed to be expansible, the end facade deconstructed and then rebuilt after the installation of additional bays. Barkow Leibinger gave HAWE-Werk Kaufbeuren's extra-production facilities distinct treatments. The lobby and office area is "a more blocky structure," said Barkow, with a transparent curtain wall. The cafeteria, too, plays up the connection to the courtyard with plentiful glazing. The architects designed the "edge spaces'" facades to contrast—but not clash with—the factory floor, explained Barkow. "They're adjacent spaces, but quieter and cleaner." HAWE-Werk Kaufbeuren earned a silver rating from the DGNB (German Sustainable Building Council) thanks in part to the architects' emphasis on daylighting and use of triple glazing, plus careful attention to the window-to-wall ratio. "Nothing spectacularly complex" was involved in the sustainability strategy, said Barkow. Indeed, the very simplicity of the design led to its success, practically and conceptually as well as in terms of environmental performance. From a complicated initial scheme to their final, streamlined, solution, Barkow Leibinger pared the plan and material palette to the bare essentials, with an eye to speeding construction while keeping the "green factory" ideal at the fore. "It's a large project in this landscape," said Barkow. "It's at a different scale, and more robust, than the factories we typically work on."
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On View> This might be your only chance to see this rare Le Corbusier tapestry commissioned by Jørn Utzon

In mid May, New York City will be over run with fairs, exhibitions, and trade shows dedicated to design and art. The big events are the International Contract Furniture Fair (ICFF) and the Frieze Art Fair, but there will be literally scores of smaller spin-off events taking place that will be of interest to the architecture community. The Architect’s Newspaper will highlight all of these events in a special May 6 issue. One exhibit and show not to miss is Collective Design’s display—for the first time in a public venue—of a 1960 Le Corbusier–designed tapestry, Les Dés Sont Jetés. This rare tapestry has been in the collection of architect Jørn Utzon, who as an early admirer of Corbu. Utzon commissioned Le Corbusier to design tapestries for the Sydney Opera House. It was at this time that Utzon bought the work for his private collection. It will be auctioned at Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers in June in Denmark, making the 2015 fair a singular opportunity for the public to view the work. Collective Design’s 2015 fair will take place May 13–17 at Skylight Clarkson Sq, 550 Washington Street.
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Dress like an architect for halloween, if you so choose

Given that you're reading The Architect's Newspaper right now, there's a very good chance you're an architect. If that's true, then dressing up as an architect on Halloween would be a pretty lame costume idea. That is, unless you went as one of The Greats—we're not saying you're not one of them...but, you know what we mean. If dressing up like a starchitect sounds appealing to you, then Curbed has a great guide on how to make it happen. If you want to go as Le Corbusier, all you need is "a double breasted, yet perfectly, tailored suit, long tobacco pipe, mean upper lip, a crisp white pocket square, and a pair of stark oval glasses." Or how about dressing as a living starchitect like Zaha Hadid? To pull that off, make sure your costume has a "swoop" and includes a "Darth Maul cape and purple lipstick." (Note: In the off-chance you're reading this, Zaha Hadid, then you probably shouldn't dress up as yourself. You should go as someone else like, maybe, Daniel Libeskind who's also included in the guide). If you're wondering what the starchitects, themselves, are dressing up as, well, Building Satire has some ideas...    
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Alexander Gorlin Wraps Supportive Housing in a Binary Skin

An aluminum rain screen and locally-sourced brick articulate a two-part program.

The Brook, developed by Common Ground and designed by Alexander Gorlin Architects, is part of a new wave of affordable housing communities popping up all over the United States. Unlike the public housing projects of the mid-twentieth century, which focused exclusively on housing and tended to suffer from a lack of routine maintenance, The Brook, located in the Bronx, combines apartments and support services under one roof. This duality is manifested in the envelope’s contrasting material palette—dark grey brick for the residential spaces, raw aluminum over the community facilities. “The idea of the exterior was to symbolize, as well as reflect, the internal program of Common Ground as supportive housing,” said Alexander Gorlin. “It’s inspired in part by Le Corbusier and his idea of expressing the program on the facade, and expressing the public functions as a means of interrupting a repetitive facade." The Brook’s communal areas, which are clustered at the corner of the 92,000-square-foot, six-story building, are marked on the exterior by ES Tolga Dry Seal System aluminum panels from Allied Metal. In addition to articulating the change in program, the metal facade “represents coming together, creating a landmark for the neighborhood as well,” said Gorlin, who noted that Common Ground “liked from the beginning marking the corner as a special symbolic place.” The metal-clad corner also functions “urbanistically, to break the building into three parts, break down its scale,” he explained. A series of inset terraces interrupt the grey aluminum walls with splashes of red. “At one level it’s a bright color to be cheerful and optimistic,” said Gorlin. “In China, red is a symbol of good luck. It also symbolizes the heart of the program and the community.”
  • Facade Manufacturer Allied Metal
  • Architects Alexander Gorlin Architects
  • Facade Consultant Justin Henshell
  • Facade Installer Mountco Construction
  • Location Bronx, NY
  • Date of Completion 2011
  • System prefabricated aluminum rain screen
  • Products ES Tolga Dry Seal System aluminum rain screen, locally-sourced brick
The Brook’s 190 studio apartments are distributed to either side of the community facilities, along wings punctuated with square and rectangular windows. “We decided to vary the window placement so it would create a more lively asymmetrical pattern. It’s not just a simple grid,” said Gorlin. The designers clad the housing areas in locally sourced dark grey brick. “Brick is a very noble, ancient material,” observed Gorlin. As a good insulator, it also contributes to the building’s LEED Silver status. Other sustainability strategies include a green roof, a special boiler system, building management technology that turns off the lights when a room is not in use, and the use of recycled and non-offgassing materials. The Brook was erected on a vacant lot in a neighborhood once known for pervasive blight. Early in the design process, said Gorlin, the architects and developers discussed installing bars over the lower windows. “It was determined very consciously not to do it, even though there’s glass on the corner,” he explained. “We decided not to put bars up or make it look in any way prison-like. In fact, by not doing so it’s been maintained in perfect shape. People in the neighborhood think it’s a high-end condo.” Gorlin calls Common Ground “a miraculous kind of client in terms of what they do and the manner in which they deal with the community.” The Brook, he said, represents a new approach not just to affordable housing, but to homelessness. “To actually build permanent housing for homeless people” is a unique opportunity, he said. “It’s not just a shelter, but a place to start over in life.”
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On View> Amie Siegel’s “Provenance” Explores Furniture Made For Corbu’s Chandigarh

For 2 weeks, two exhibitions in NY about Corbusier overlapped. In addition to the MoMA retrospective that closed on September 23, Amie Siegel’s Provenance at the Simon Preston Gallery on the LES (through October 6) examines a rather different slice: from the point of view of the furniture created for Chandigarh, the Indian planned city of the 1950s. The film that forms the core of this installation travels in reverse, de- and re-contexualizing the objects. It starts with Chandigarh chairs, settees, and tables in their new homes in the West from apartments to lofts to townhouses and even yachts seen in slow tracking shots and lockoffs by cinematographer Christine A. Maier. These are perfectly crafted interiors that are pristine, light, airy, signaling the curated good life as seen in Architectural Digest. Peeking out are the inventory numbers, like a Holocaust tattoo or cattle branding. Does it give the furniture a limited-edition cache? The pieces are like adopted children who have been lucky enough to be given a new life, but they are out of their native culture and are isolated from their tribe. Even in their new surroundings with other treasures, one can always pick out the Corbusier piece, with the sharply angled forms—triangles are a distinct feature—and geometric planes, even in their new clothes of reupholstered checks, squares and luxury leather. Questions about preservation, neglect, restoration, reinterpretation, and fetishism arise. We then peel back to a photography shoot for an auction catalogue that isolates the furniture in a neutral white space and shows off its best side. We visit the auctions which fetch high prices: $60,000 for a pair of armchairs, and a manhole cover for $24,000. The settees, floor lamps and desk chairs look perfectly at home in the Paris Beaux Arts auction house Artcurial in the 1844 Hôtel Marcel Dassault off the Champs-Élysées. Dialing back further, we see damaged, frayed, ripped furniture waiting to be restored. Like a patient, an armless black settee is carried to the `operating theater’ where it is gently stripped of its leather upholstery and padding, and taken down to its wooden bones. Container ships have brought over this furniture, piled high, like refugees in steerage. Winding back the clock to the city of Chandigarh is a site to behold. A vision from afar, as we get closer the city’s architecture is revealed to be weathered, rusted, and sad, an elegant but faded dowager. Think Miss Havisham in Great Expectations. Monkeys climb with abandon, mildew blackens the concrete. Inside, bundles upon bundles of paper are crammed into cubbyholes amidst tangles of computer wires on metal shelves as well as the original wooden units and desks. Stacks of disused, cobwebbed original furniture are everywhere -- outside and inside. The complex has been modified: satellite dishes on the roof, pre-fab office dividers creating cubicles, turquoise office chairs on wheels, metal filing cabinets, dropped ceiling with fluorescent lights, space-saver storage systems in addition to the original furniture models we’ve seen in Western luxury homes at the beginning. Although the General Assembly and Library are more intact, the furniture is largely unloved. Have generations of users modified the work as they needed? Nehru, who commissioned Corbusier to create Chandigarh, said the new metropolis was to be of a design "unfettered by the traditions of the past, a symbol of the nation's faith in the future," and the team designed everything from the vast sculptures outside to the door handles within. (Much of the furniture was created with his cousin, Pierre Jeanneret, and not Charlotte Perriand.) Many of the items for sale in the U.S. and Europe came from stock "condemned" as unfit for use by the local administration and sold off at auction to dealers, often unaware of their value. Protests have been unheeded. It’s a complicated question. One is reminded of Corbusier’s declaration: “Space and light and order. Those are the things that men need just as much as they need bread or a place to sleep.” At the back of the gallery is a second filmed installation of a 360-degree loop of the Chandigarh’s Natural History Museum cyclorama “Evolution of Life, "furthering what Siegel calls the “economy of objects." Siegel’s photographs, sound, video and film installations have long focused on architecture and ideology. Black Moon, 2010, is set in the post-apocalyptic landscape of foreclosed housing developments in Florida and California. The Sleepers, 1999, features the architecture of city windows at night, lives glimpsed at a distance. Berlin Remake, 2005 and DDR/DDR, 2008, both deal with East German architecture, representation and surveillance, while Deathstar tracks down early German modernist buildings of the Third Reich including Templehof Airport. And she is currently in two other exhibitions, City of Disappearances at CCA in San Francisco and Mad, Bad and Sad at the Freud Museum in London. Provenance has one more stop. On October 18 and 19, the film itself will be auctioned at Christie’s in London in the Post-War & Contemporary art sale. That event will be filmed, too, and become part of this project.
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Le Corbusier’s Carpenter Center for Visual Arts: Fifty Years Later

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the construction of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts. Completed in 1963, it is Le Corbusier’s only major building in the United States, and one of his final commissions before his death in 1965. The renowned modernist architect envisaged a "synthesis of the arts," the union of architecture with sculpture, painting, and other arts. In the spirit of Corbusier’s unique style, the building stands out among the more traditional architectural prototypes of the Harvard campus. This is evident right from his initial concept sketch of the building, where Corbusier utilized bold colors to denote the new building, while shading the surrounding Harvard campus in dark brown—a color not typically part of his visual palette. The Center is unmistakably Corbusier, and reminiscent of the Villa Savoye with its smooth concrete finish, thin columns which break up the interior spaces, and a great curvilinear ramp which runs through the heart of the building, encouraging public circulation while providing views into the design studios. This achieves visibility and transparency of the creative process taking place within. To mark the anniversary of the buildings completion, Harvard displayed new material that revealed the evolution of this unique five-story structure. While Le Corbusier was never able to see his preliminary sketches come to fruition, the Carpenter Center for the Arts successfully unites a range of art disciplines, and continues to maintain the largest 35mm film collection in the New England region, as well as housing Harvard’s historic film archives.
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Unveiled> OMA Master Plan Wins Bogotá’s International Design Competition

OMA has been selected to design the Bogotá Centro Administrativo Nacional (CAN) new civic center, situated at the heart of the city’s main axis, Calle 26. Steered by partner-in-charge Shohei Shigematsu, the 680-acre mixed-use design occupies a footprint as large as Washington, D.C.’s National Mall and will operate as the city’s government headquarters with intermixed residential, educational, retail, and cultural developments, all which encourage continuous activity within separate districts. The design intends to integrate civic and public life while connecting to local destinations. CAN will form a new public axis in Bogotá, unifying green, infrastructural, and programmatic networks. The site is divided into three districts, including an institutional/governmental area that connects to the current cultural and park spaces, an office zone linked to the current financial district, and an educational campus that links to the University City of Bogotá. The multi-use program will be tied together by a green path that extends into Bogotá’s decidedly popular pedestrian and cycling CicloVia system. Shigematsu described the development as one that attains “clear urban density while accommodating programmatic diversity.” The winning design will move Bogotá’s historic downtown center, master-planned between 1947 and 1951 by Le Corbusier. CAN will be the second largest constructed institutional master plan in Latin America, with Oscar Neimeyer’s 1960s Brasilia being the largest. The project will be carried out in partnership with local architect Gomez + Castro, mobility consultant Carlos Moncada, financial consultant Oscar Borerro, and sustainability consultant Esteban Martinez. [beforeafter]oma-masterplan-bogota-archpaper-09 oma-masterplan-bogota-archpaper-10[/beforeafter]
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Letter to the Editor> Is Stoner Stoned?

[ Editor's Note: The following is a reader-submitted letter to the editor that ran in print edition, AN 05_04.10.2013. Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com] It is hard to believe that The MIT Press published Jill Stoner’s Towards a Minor Architecture based on the kind of prose indicated in Jeffrey Hogrefe’s review of the book (Literary Unbuilding AN 03_03.06.2013). Stoner writes, “Architecture can no longer limit itself to the aesthetic pursuit of making buildings; it must now commit to a politics of selectively taking them apart.” Really? We think we know what she “means,” but this really is bad writing. There is no architecture, only works of architecture. People are involved in aesthetic or other pursuits, not architecture. She’s also quoted writing, “Le Corbusier’s Towards a New Architecture, which heralded a century of formalism.” This is certainly not what Towards a New Architecture did. Perhaps Stoner doesn’t like the work of Richard Meier. Towards a New Architecture was probably the most important book on architecture written in the twentieth century. Do not confuse one chapter on Regulating Lines for formalism. Remember the blunt conclusion of that book: “Architecture or Revolution.” Corbu certainly made his choice. Further on in the review Kafka is described as “the Jew and Czech, as outsider in the fervent Germany of the early twentieth century.” He was an “outsider” in Prague (he had a very well paid civil service job and was known to frequent a lot of women in his hometown), where the dominant German language was part of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire… not Germany. Yet further on we read about a collective thesis project, which undertook to “dismantle and rewrite a chain of abandoned Circuit City Stores.” And then there is something called the “new nature of entropy.” This is nothing but the jargon of authenticity. Adorno must be rolling over in his grave. Jeff Kieffer Architect, New York City Department of Design and Construction
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PRODUCT> “Le Corbusier and the Power of Photography”

Though books typically fall outside the scope of what we consider to be architectural products, we're making an exception for Thames & Hudson's new publication, Le Corbusier and the Power of Photography. Those familiar with Corbu's much photographed architectural work may not know that he was something of a shutterbug himself. According to the publisher, he not only "harnessed the power of the photographic image to define and disseminate his persona, his ideas and buildings," but his influence on the medium led to the rise of photography in general. From another perspective the book provides a more intimate way to access Le Corbusier's creative process and some of the surprising inspirations behind his work, including images of him in his preferred office attire—his birthday suit. Images courtesy of It's Nice That.
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Corb’s Unité d’Habitation Damaged By Fire

The Guardian is reporting that one of Le Corbusier's most famous works, the Unité d'Habitation in Marseille, France, has been damaged in a fire. Three apartments were gutted and many other units were damaged by the fire, which took 12 hours to contain. Five people were being treated for injuries. Originally built as low-income housing between 1947 and 1951, the Unité is now a protected landmark in France and home to approximately 1600 residents in 334 apartments.
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Dutch Dream Team to Redesign United Nations Lounge

Rem Koolhaas has been thinking about the United Nations since his early Delirious New York days. Earlier this century, he even made a bid to design a new Secretariat. While that project didn’t pan out, the Dutch architect is joining a team of countrymen and women to “reconceive” the North Delegates Lounge in the Conference Building. In addition to OMA, the team will include designer Hella Jongerius, graphic designer Irma Boom, artist Gabriel Lester, and “theorist Louise Schouwenberg.” Occupied since 1952, the original space is sandwiched between the Secretariat and General Assembly; it is a magisterial double-height room hundreds of feet long with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the East River. A swank bar at one end was replaced in 1978 with a mezzanine and smaller bar that will be removed to take advantage, once again, of the room’s corner views. Keenly aware of the complex’s complex identity and Le Corbusier’s grab for design credit, Koolhaas who once wrote that the U.N. was a building that “an American could never have thought and a European could never have built” has described the team’s approach as the “preservation of change.” The renovation will include handmade bead curtains, new carpets, a combination of original Knoll club and Eames lounge chairs with new furnishings, and a new installation for artworks donated by member states. The fate of a 300-foot tapestry of the Great Wall of China (50,000 yards of wool; 600 pounds) that once hung in the lounge and was donated during the ping-pong détente of the 70s was not mentioned in the press release. The project sponsored by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs is scheduled for completion in 2012.