Posts tagged with "London":

DS+R wins competition to build new V&A collections center in east London

Sited in the former London Olympic park, Diller Scofidio + Renfro have won a competition to build a £25 million ($33.7 million) collection and research center for the Victoria and Albert Museum, part of a broader expansion of the museum into East London. The center will feature facilities for research and education and is to be built in the former Olympic Media Center, which is being redesigned and rebranded as Here East. The V&A’s new outpost is part of what is being called the Olympicopolis arts district, a burgeoning waterfront development at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Apart from the V&A, as well as expected office and retail space, the Olympicopolis will be home to new expansions from Sadler’s Wells Theatre, the London College of Fashion, and the University College of London. The project is in part being led by the London Legacy Development Corporation, a city organization focused on adapting the structures from the 2012 London Olympics for continued use. The V&A was forced to create an additional space for their V&A East outpost after height restrictions required that the museum downsize its plans for their central building. The new locations will allow the V&A to display even more of their collection to the public and facilitate more research. The plan for the collection center came on the heels of the 2015 announcement by the government that they would sell the Blythe House, which currently serves as storage and archive for some of the V&A’s immense collection. DS+R, which won the competition ahead of four other shortlisted teams, will be working with British firm Austin-Smith:Lord and Studio Adrien Gardère to realize the center. In a press release, DS+R says that the space will be designed “from the inside out” and will be like an “immersive cabinet of curiosities.” No designs have yet been released to the public.  In addition to the V&A collections center, DS+R also has a major concert hall, The London Center for Music, underway in London.

British architect Will Alsop has died at age 70

British architect and academic, William Allen Alsop, has died aged 70. Alsop was born on December 12, 1947, in Northampton, England and died on Saturday, May 12, 2018. The architect was a graduate of the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London and at the time of his death, was Director of the London-based studio, aLL Design, which he set up in 2011. Alsop is most well-known for his design of Peckham Library in Southeast London, a project which he designed with German architect, Jan Störmer. The building won the RIBA Stirling Prize in 2000 and is known for its "L" shape and use of pre-patinated copper cladding which gives it a striking turquoise color. The architect designed in North America as well. Projects include the Glenwood Power Plant in Yonkers, New York and the Sharp Centre for Design for the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto. The former was designed in 2007, but plans fell by the wayside, despite being hailed in the press as "new proposal to rescue Yonkers' Waterfront." Prior to his death, Alsop was on the architectural advisory boards for Wandsworth and Kensington & Chelsea Councils in London as well as being Professor of Architecture at TU Vienna and Professor of Architecture at Canterbury School of Architecture in Kent. Alsop had previously lectured Stateside too, serving as a Visiting Professor for the San Francisco Art Institute and Ball State University, Indiana in 1977. He was also The Davis Professor of Tulane University in New Orleans in 1982.

A London startup wants to bring Adjaye-designed housing to the masses

Catalog homes could soon be seeing a resurgence, as London-based startup Cube Haus has enlisted several big-name English architects to design modular, off-the-shelf homes for design lovers on a budget. Adjaye Associates, Skene Catling de la Pena, Carl Turner Architects, and furniture designer Faye Toogood have all signed on to design high-density housing that will infill “awkward” sites throughout London. London homeowners have the option to subdivide their property and build on the unused portions, resulting in awkwardly shaped plots. Cube Haus claims that its modular designs can be scaled to fit these unorthodox lots and infill areas naturally and that their homes will cost 10 to 15 percent less than a conventional model because of their off-site manufacturing. Each home will be framed from solid sheets of cross-laminated timber and moved into place at the construction site, then clad in sustainable materials. Cube Haus is also offering up its designs for consumers building in more traditional lots as well. Adjaye Associates is no stranger to residential housing in London, and their rectangular Cube Haus design closely resembles Adjaye’s 2007 Sunken House in Hackney. Excavated gardens in the home’s yard plays a central role in this scheme, as do tall windows and ample natural light. Everything else about the timber-clad home’s layout is up to the landowner, and all of the rooms have been designed for a plug-and-play approach. Carl Turner has brought two schemes to the table. The first is a two-story house with a flat courtyard area on the roof, which splits the upper level into two pitched volumes. Cube Haus notes that the pitch of the roof can be adjusted, rotated, or flattened out according to the client’s whims. The second model is single-story slab pierced with a square courtyard, with the home’s programming arranged around this space. Consumers have the choice of cladding their homes in opaque glass, zinc, charred timber, or dark brick. Skene Catling de la Peña engineered their scheme as a “building within a building,” designing a masonry-clad central column that serves as a fireplace, staircase, hot water heater, and storage space around which the rest of the rooms are organized. Homeowners have several options for how they can clad the shaft, from tile to marble–or it can be left undecorated, exposing the precast concrete structure below. The homes themselves will be malleable to the irregular sites, linked through their spacious rooms and ubiquitous views of the main column. Faye Toogood has offered up a simple scheme in two material palettes; one light and one dark. A central garden placed between two pitched peaks breaks up the rectilinear massing of the house, creating a form suitable for both the urban environment as well as the countryside. Cube Haus is the child of entrepreneurs Philip Bueno de Mesquita (himself an owner of an Adjaye-designed home in London) and Paul Tully. The company is already building, with two sites in Forest Gate, London under construction and others in pre-planning throughout the city. Cube Haus hopes that its three-bedroom homes will sell for anywhere from $880,000 to approximately $1 million.

Sam Jacob presents the power of perspective with a new show at RIBA in London

With perspective comes power, and a fun-filled, quirky demonstration of this can be found in Disappear Here at the Royal Institution of British Architects (RIBA) in London, courtesy of British architect Sam Jacob and curator Marie Bak Mortensen. Disappear Here greets visitors with a vestibule of turquoise tones. Faux entrances, layered like a theatre set, recede in height and hue in a nod to the techniques employed by Renaissance painters who used light shades of blue to indicate depth in paintings. Before this, however, it was Florentine architect Filippo Brunelleschi who, in the 1400s, discovered linear perspective as a system of drawing and thus brought science and art in a collision that gave birth to the Renaissance. However, none of Brunelleschi's work is on display. Half a millennium after the Italian master's existence, Florence, his home town, had produced more architectural superstars: Cristiano Toraldo di Francia, Adolfo Natalini, Gian Piero Frassinelli, Alessandro Poli and brothers Roberto and Alessandro Magris who comprised Superstudio. The firm's work, earmarked by grid motifs, is featured throughout Disappear Here with two mirrored wells (great for peering into and taking a selfie), and two drawings: Un Viaggio nelle Regioni della Ragione (A Journey to the Realm of Reason) and Graz. The latter links up with a rare, albeit mediocre, perspective drawing done on the back of another—supposedly much more impressive piece—from Andrea Palladio. For one wall, Jacob and Mortensen's method was to marry drawings through their lines of perspective, imagining their continuation off the page. This link would be easily missed if not for an explanation in an accompanying leaflet, which also provides a tutorial on linear perspective drawing. Jacob, though, was excited by what he could do using this method of arrangement. "It's brought together works which should never belong next to each other," he told The Architect's Newspaper (AN). Case in point: a pair of trolls urinating into a castellated fountain, drawn by British architect John Smythson, sits below Superstudio's Un Viaggio nelle Regioni della Ragione, which in turn lies left of a sketch by Edwin Lutyens portraying an unrealized memorial in France. The eclectic trio of drawings makes for remarkable viewing, and the wall throws up some humorous examples of failed attempts at perspective representation, such as another drawing by Smythson, this time of a skew-whiff house. However, the arrangement system means Palladio's drawing is placed awkwardly high. For those taking their children, you can tell them not to lose sleep over missing out on this one. However, shift your gaze down, and you'll find that the baseboard is mirrored. This has the effect of making the floor seem like an infinite plane, an effect which is amplified by a grid of yellow dots that Jacob has added onto the floor. In another room, the fun for all ages continues. Fifty objects fly towards and past the viewer on three projections cast onto walls in front and on either side of you. The objects follow lines of apparent linear perspective and create the sensation of hurtling through a drawing. To Jacob, who worked with game developer Shedworks for the exhibit, "it feels like experiencing a drawing through time." Here, the impact would be far greater had projections filled the floor and ceiling or virtual reality headsets been used. Jacob told AN that he explored the possibility of using the latter, but in the end, decided against it. A final room presents a collection of six books on perspective drawing, all from RIBA's rare books collection. Abraham Bosse's Mr. Desgargue's Universal Method of Practicing Perspective (1648) is opened up to show a drawing of three figures looking down with pyramids coming from their eyes and making a square on the floor: a view of their perspective, so to speak. Jacob, when showing AN around Disappear Here, argued that this depiction of perspective mimics the view from a modern-day military drone. Sadly, this connection isn't made in the actual show, and other ties to more contemporary takes on perspective, besides the collaboration with Shedworks, are awry. Jacob and Mortensen's insight into the history of perspective, intertwined with quirky illusory tricks, fails to exhibit work of any contemporary architecture firms. Jacob, who is more than aware of contemporary architectural techniques of representation, particularly collage, even noted that a few pasted people could turn one drawing into a typical piece from Portuguese firm Fala Atelier or architects Point Supreme from Greece. For all the allusion to progressing off the page and into the infinite, the supposed "power" of perspective, well documented in an essay by Jacob found inside the exhibition's leaflet, is also found wanting. Aside from the discombobulating decor, which does make Disappear Here fun to navigate, French architect Étienne-Louis Boullée's fantasy cathedral (see lead image) is the only piece that shows audiences the awe-inspiring power of scale and perspective at work. Superstudio's arguably most famous conception, Il Destino del Monumento Continuo (Destiny of the Continuous Moment), would fit nicely here. It, along with other works from Superstudio and other Italian radicals of the era, however, can be found at the Canadian Center for Architecture in Montreal where Utopie Radicali: Florence 1966–1976 is currently on view. For more exercises in disorientation, Sean Griffiths, a co-founder alongside Jacob of now defunct British studio FAT, has also been exploring perspective techniques in London and Folkestone.

Here are the improvements that residents want after the Grenfell tower fire

In the wake of a horrific fire that killed dozens, a team of six London architecture firms are reimagining Grenfell tower as a public housing development for the 21st century. The 24-story apartment building, a social housing estate in west London, was consumed by fire in June 2017. A subsequent investigation revealed that the tower's  new cladding fueled the destructive blaze, which killed 71 people and left many others homeless. After the tragedy, residents and public officials came together to improve the rest of the development. They selected Levitt Bernstein and Penoyre & Prasad to lead a re-design team that includes MaccreanorLavington, Murray John ArchitectsCullinan Studio, and Adjaye Associates. The firms divided the Lancaster West Estate into nine areas, and the teams created a "Book of Ideas" (PDF) based on residents' feedback from workshops earlier this year. The estate includes more than 1,000 households. In some of the nine areas, residents would like to see private front-yard gardens, new balconies and elevators, rooftop solar panels, and community gathering space. Residents voiced support for security cameras and better lighting, as well as an updated assessment of fire risk, in all areas of the estate, the Architect's Journal reported. Along with these and other stakeholders, landscape architects at Andy Sturgeon Design and consultants at Twinn Sustainability Innovation are working with the six firms on the proposals. The government is putting £15 million (around $20.7 million) towards the redesign, a figure the council has pledged to match. The next phase of the project asks residents to chose which designers will bring these ideas into reality.

Forensic Architecture is shortlisted for the Turner Prize

The London-based Forensic Architecture, a research agency that uses architectural thinking and modeling skills to investigate crimes and disasters, has been shortlisted for one of the art world’s most prestigious prizes. Forensic Architecture joins artists Naeem Mohaiemen, Charlotte Prodger, and Luke Willis Thompson in the running for the Tate Britain’s 2018 Turner Prize. Started in 1984, the Turner Prize is open to any British artist, whether that artist (or group) is living abroad or is simply working in the country. While the tradition of nominating artists under 50 was amended last year to allow those over that number, all of this year’s shortlisted entrants happen to be younger than 50. The Turner Prize is designed to stimulate the creation and discussion of new art by emerging artists, and past winners have often gone on to successful careers in the art world, including Damien Hurst (1995), director Steve McQueen (1999), and Anish Kapoor (1991). Winners also receive approximately $35,000 in prize money, while the runners-up are given approximately $7,000. Forensic Architecture, founded in 2010 and based out of southeast London’s Goldsmiths, University of London, includes a multidisciplinary team of scientists, journalists, architects, software developers and artists. Blurring the line between architecture, investigative reporting and art, the group has uncovered evidence of human rights abuses and extrajudicial killings all over the world. Using social media and eyewitness accounts, the group is recreating the Grenfell Tower fire timeline; has contradicted the official account given by a German undercover officer who claimed to have not witnessed a nearby murder in an internet café; and uncovered the U.S. bombing of an active mosque in Syria. These investigations have been turned into exhibitions shown all over the world, and the Turner Prize nomination is for their recent shows in London, Mexico City, and Barcelona. Nominee Naeem Mohaiemen’s varied, research-led work examines the transitionary period for left politics following World War II, and has been shown in solo exhibitions around the world, including MoMA PS1. His nomination follows his participation in the currently ongoing Documenta 14. Charlotte Prodger, a video and mixed-media artist, has been nominated for her solo show examining the autobiographical intermingling between humans and technology at the Bergen Kunsthall in Bergen, Norway. At 30 years old, Luke Willis Thompson is the youngest of this year’s nominees. His work examines the histories and traumas of class, race and social injustice. This year’s jury includes Oliver Basciano, critic and International Editor at ArtReview; Elena Filipovic, Director of the Kunsthalle Basel; Lisa LeFeuvre, Head of Sculpture Studies at the Henry Moore Institute; and Tom McCarthy, novelist and writer. The winner of this year’s Turner Prize will be announced in December 2018.

Ian Ritchie advocates for subtlety and organic geometries in glass architecture

On April 19, for the afternoon keynote of The Architects Newspapers Facades+ conference in New York, architect Ian Ritchie discussed his decades-long involvement in forward-looking glass architecture. Beginning with the tongue-in-cheek statement, “Glass is the answer; what was the question? the British architect detailed the technological specifications and design considerations behind his projects. Ranging in size from personal residences to convention centers, the projects convey his expertise with manufactured materials.

As head of his own practice, Ian Ritchie Architects, Ritchie’s process is influenced by a range of fields, from neuroscience to poetry.

Ritchie began with one of his earliest projects, the self-constructed Fluy House (1976). Composed of a prefabricated set of materials, including a lightweight steel frame and pre-cast concrete floor slabs, Ritchie described his early curtain wall as glass acting as a windbreaker, a thin protective barrier between shelter and the sites surrounding countryside.

Ritchie also described projects he worked on as a founding partner of the engineering firm, RFR Engineers. For example, he talked about unique projects such as engineering I.M Peis Louvre Pyramids, which entailed the creation of a full-scale Kevlar mockup and the use of "phantom fixing to insure the transparency of the glass structures final design.

Next, in talking about the design of Reina Sofia Museum of Modern Arts circulation towers and the Messe-Leipzig Glass Hall, Ritchie described how unique engineering devices such as externally suspended and grid-worked glass panels bring the tectonics of design and engineering into public view while creating open and accessible spaces.

In line with his firm’s straightforward forms, Ritchie was critical of the contemporary trend of hyper-engineered glass facades with multiple curves and contortions, asking, "Is architecture intelligence or indulgence?" Instead, he emphasized the natural, biological forms that influence his creative process and, ultimately, his firms output.

Ritchies drive to bridge the highly technical, manufactured character of glass with natural objects and processes was also highlighted by his presentation of the firms recently completed, 150,000-square-foot Sainsbury Wellcome Center.

Located in Londons Fitzrovia, a central city district surrounded by architectural conservation areas predominantly comprised of Georgian architecture, Ritchie saw the Sainsbury Wellcome Center as a melting ice block spilling into the surrounding neighborhood." To fulfill this analogy, the firm opted for translucent cast glass with vertical, corduroy-like detailing that imitated the stone rustication and brick-and-mortar facades of the surrounding area.

Ritchie concluded with a call for architects to recognize that current glass design and architecture may be surpassing contemporary engineering capabilities. In his view, too many architects are acting as sculptors, an approach that will fail to make glass warm and haptically friendly to the public.

Claude Monet’s architectural paintings take center stage in London exhibit (Video)

London’s National Gallery's landmark exhibition, “Monet & Architecture," is the first exhibition chronicling Claude Monet’s career through his paintings of architecture, from humble coastal villages to ostentatious halls of government. “Monet & Architecture” features more than 75 paintings by the leading impressionist artist. Richard Thomson, a fine arts professor at the University of Edinburgh, curated the show. In anticipation of the exhibition, the National Gallery released an animated trailer that sends the viewer soaring over the artist's compositions, rendered three-dimensional in a kind of paper-cut, handmade aesthetic. Monet described his unique approach to architectural scenes as based on the desire to “paint the air that surrounds the bridge, the house, the boat – the beauty of the light in which they exist.” The architectural subject matter and the encircling environment are tied together in a mutually supportive relationship. With a career spanning from the mid-19th century to the early-20th century, the artist’s work effectively illustrates Europe’s Second Industrial Revolution and its radical reshaping of urban and agricultural life. Reflecting the societal shifts contemporary to Monet, the exhibit is divided into three sections– “The Village and the Picturesque," "The City and the Modern," and "The Monument and the Mysterious.” Urban ensembles, such as his numerous depictions of London’s smog-sodden River Thames and the Palace of Westminster, highlight the glaring contrast between historical scenes and the encroaching impact of modern society. Of the work displayed, more than a quarter are on loan from private collections across the globe. While the National Gallery possesses its own Monet collection, the museum coordinated with a broad range of institutions, such as the Brooklyn Museum and the Cleveland Museum of Art, to put the exhibition together. “Monet & Architecture” runs until July 29, and is located in the Venturi Scott Brown designed Sainsbury Wing.

Leaked Grenfell report concludes fire would not have spread prior to renovation

An investigation by fire specialists BRE Global into the Grenfell Tower disaster was leaked exclusively to the Evening Standard, and their findings singled out the building's recent renovation as a major cause of the fire’s disastrous impact. Compiled as a part of the police investigation into the June 2017 fire in London that killed 71, the 212-page report, dated January 31, 2018, claims that the poor quality of materials used and substandard installation practices during the 2014-2016 renovation turned the tower into a tragedy waiting to happen. Built in 1974, the original Clifford Wearden and Associates-designed concrete tower block had been designed to passively contain potential fires. But the BRE report claims that the refurbishment failed to meet fire safety standards, and that cost-cutting led to serious mistakes throughout. It further states that, pre-renovation, the building's original concrete facade would not have allowed the fire to spread beyond its fourth-floor starting point in Flat 16. BRE identified several damning pieces of evidence of serious incompetence in the renovation. Besides the well-publicized use of a combustible polyethylene (combustible plastic) core in the aluminum-clad facade, the report also identified alleged incompetence by the contractors. Cavity barriers, which should have expanded when exposed to heat and sealed off the gap between the new cladding and original facade, were either too small, installed upside down or back-to-back. Instead of sealing the gap off, they instead created a “chimney effect” and funneled flames higher up the structure. BRE also attributed the fire's rapid spread to the installation of window frames that were approximately six inches shorter than the span of the concrete columns they had been installed between, and the use of a rubber membrane, foam insulation, and lightweight plastic panels to fill the gap. None of these materials would have provided over 30 minutes of fire resistance. Instead of restraining the fire, these materials allegedly fueled it, and allowed the fire to re-enter the building from the facade cavity. Further compounding the issue is BRE’s finding that only 17 percent of apartments had automatic door closers that worked, which would have kept the fire from spreading to the building’s hallways and core. Other than the building’s total lack of sprinklers (a fact that caused an outcry in Britain when it was revealed), the BRE reports: “A building of Grenfell’s height ought to have been fitted with a wet rising main [which contains water at all times] as part of the refurbishment; instead the existing dry rising main [which has to be supplied from a fire engine] was extended and modified.” Because the surrounding landscaping only allowed a single fire engine at the base of the tower, firefighters were unable to create an adequate amount of water pressure to reach the building’s upper floors. While the investigation into the Grenfell fire is still ongoing, plans for the site’s remains have been moving full speed ahead. Once the forensic analysis of the building is complete at the end of this year, the tower will be razed and the site handed over to survivors of the fire, with plans to convert the site into a memorial.

R/GA stays ahead of the curve with its global accelerator network

Meet the incubators and accelerators producing the new guard of design and architecture start-ups. This is part of a series profiling incubators and accelerators from our April 2018 Technology issue.  With a cutting-edge client list that includes Nike, Google, and YouTube, digital agency R/GA is committed to staying way, way ahead of the competition. So, when it came to the rapid rise of start-ups and disruptive technologies, R/GA was quick to jump in. “We knew we would need a platform for innovation, even if we didn’t always know which forms of innovation would ultimately take off,” explained Stephen Plumlee, global chief operating officer of R/GA and founding partner of R/GA Venture Studio, a division of the company. “In order to find more and better innovations, solve problems for our clients, and offer new opportunities to our staff, we needed to get deeper into technology and start-ups.” R/GA Venture Studio partnered with the mentorship-focused start-up accelerator Techstars and launched theR/GA Venture Studio program four years ago. The accelerator offers approximately ten-week-long thematic programs with R/GA, sharing its creative capital in terms of marketing, business strategy, branding, design, and technology; partners invest in each start-up and retain approximately 4 to 8 percent of their equities. R/GA also plays matchmaker, strategically partnering clients that have particular problems with start-ups that have potential solutions. Recent programs yielded a media technology initiative with Verizon and a collaboration with the Los Angeles Dodgers; an Internet of Things and connected devices program in R/GA’s London office has proved to be immensely popular. “We are constantly experimenting with our own program and have evolved beyond the traditional accelerator format into something unique to us,” said Plumlee. One of the things that set the R/GA Venture Studio apart is the age of the start-ups accepted into the program. Rather than limit applicants to new ventures, R/GA will accept older start-ups that are more established and have completed as late as Series B funding rounds. It is also not tied to any one location—R/GA Venture Studio spaces are available in any R/GA office—allowing start-ups to continue business as usual beyond Demo Day and other important mentoring events. To avoid being boxed in and missing potential opportunities, R/GA will also accept applicants year-round for various programs—currently it has four running simultaneously. Within this ethos of avoiding constraints, the accelerator’s start-ups and programs have varied widely and have included blockchain, pet care, smart home technologies, wearable devices, and ad tech, to name a few. Notable alumni include: Keen Home A smart vent system that allows homeowners to create climate zones throughout their houses. Clarifai Clarifai is an artificial intelligence company that empowers businesses and developers to solve real-world problems using visual recognition. LISNR A software that connects devices to speakers and/or microphones by sending data over audio waves.

Christo reveals his first major British work, to float on Serpentine Lake

On April 3, the world-renowned artist Christo began construction of his first major public work in the United Kingdom, The Mastaba. The stand-alone, pyramidal sculpture composed of 55-gallon oil barrels will be located in London’s Hyde Park, floating atop the park’s 40-acre Serpentine Lake. The temporary sculpture will be built by a team of engineers, and will consist of over 7,000 barrels placed over a floating platform. Rising at a 60-degree angle, the structure will reach a height of 65.5 feet with a 90-foot width at its base. The base’s floating platform will be constructed of weighted, high-density polyethylene cubes. These buoyant cubes will support a steel scaffolding frame serving as the structural core of the 500-ton sculpture. In terms of surface area, the footprint of the sculpture will be approximately one percent of the Serpentine. Barrels visible along the slopes and top of sculpture will be painted red and white, while those located on the two vertical walls will be a gradient of mauve, blue, and red. Following the project's decommissioning, materials such as the oil barrels will be recycled for industrial use within the United Kingdom. The project is influenced by Christo's decades-long effort to create The Mastaba in Dubai, a speculative concept utilizing 190,000 oil barrels to create the largest, permanent structure in the world. In a press release, Christo noted that the construction, maintenance and removal of his works is entirely funded by the artist through the sale of his original works of art, as well as philanthropic donations. In tandem with Christo’s unveiling of The Mastaba, the nearby Serpentine Galleries will present its first exhibition of Christo’s decades-long collaboration with his late wife, Jean-Claude. The artistic duo was known for their large-scale and public works. Past pieces such as Wall of Iron Barrels (1961) and The Wall (1998) similarly used oil barrels for massively scaled sculptures. Public parks and natural landscapes figured prominently in their partnership, with Running Fence (1976) and The Gates (2005) contrasting and drawing upon their surrounding environments. Weather permitting, construction of the sculpture will be complete by June 18, with dismantlement commencing on September 23.

Painter Carl Laubin creates meticulous architectural dreamscapes

Carl Laubin, a British-American architect turned full-time painter, has dedicated the last three decades of his professional career to the painting of architectural capricci, bucolic landscapes and portraiture. An architectural capriccio encompasses the imagined assembly of buildings across fantastic landscapes. Laubin’s choice of subject matter jumps between historical periods. What seemed chronological at first: Andrea Palladio, followed by Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor, jumped to Neo-Classicists Claude-Nicholas Ledoux, Charles Cockerell, and Leo von Klenze, then to Edwin Lutyens, with Post-Modernist John Outram and Leon Krier thrown into the mix. Currently, Laubin is working on a capriccio of John Nash’s work. On average, these capricci require one-and-a-half to three years to complete, depending on how prolific the subject was, with time split evenly between the drawing and painting periods. Although the bulk of Laubin’s capricci focus on the work of historic designers, he has produced paintings that combine a multitude of contemporary architects. A Classical Perspective comprises architectural pieces designed by the winners of the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture’s Richard H. Driehaus Prize. Beginning with the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in the foreground, the oil painting collages notable works by Robert A.M Stern, Demetri Porphyrios, Michael Graves, Abed-Wahed El-Wakil and Quinlan Terry, to name a few. Educated at Cornell University, Laubin describes his early painting as “a second, secretive life,” one conducted outside of Cornell’s then-rigid modernist education. Laubin graduated from Cornell with a B.A of Architecture in 1973, and subsequently decamped to England to join Douglas Stephen and Partners, Architects and Civic Designers (1973-1983) and later Jeremy Dixon/BDP (1984-1986). While working as an architect, Laubin painted in secret, waking at dawn to hone his craft before going to work. Seeing as how the production of capricci is a centuries-long tradition, Laubin cites a number of artists as influencing his style. To Laubin, Piranesi “was and remains an example of how to be liberated from the constraints of reality in creating an imagined world in a drawing or painting, and even how to be liberated from the constraints of drawing itself.” Canaletto’s grand paintings of Venice and London are firmly behind Laubin’s composition of urban scenes populated with bustling denizens. In his fantastical characteristics, the phantasmagoric visions of Joseph Gandy are plainly evident. While Laubin insists that there is no clear methodology to his process of creating a capriccio, he has a general approach to each project. The first step is the steady amassing of information on the subject matter. This initial creative moment includes the reading of primary and secondary sources, visiting individual sites, and sketching as much of the architect’s canon as possible. Subsequently, each sketch is collaged and re-collaged until a suitable format is found, representative of an architect’s professional timeline as well as the general hierarchy of their work. In creating the landscapes for his capricci, Laubin follows a recipe for a classical landscape given to him by postmodern architect John Outram. In Outram’s view, one always crossed a river or a bridge into a classical painting, and then ascended through various levels of civilization from cave dwellers, through agrarian societies, to urban areas, and finally places of worship at the highest point. In tandem with this formula, Laubin draws upon the landscapes surrounding individual sites and fuses them into the overarching collage of elements.