Fall—and nearly-winter in some parts of the U.S.—has reared its ugly head again, and AN has prepared a list of books to hunker down with as the weather turns. Impress your relatives on Thanksgiving by brushing up with these books on edible architecture, living as a digital citizen, squatting, and Ezra Stoller. Architecture of Appropriation: On Squatting as Spatial Practice Edited by René Boer, Marina Otero Verzier, and Katía Truijen Het Nieuwe Instituut MSRP: $28.75 Centered around the urban life of the Netherlands, this new book brings together a non-author-based approach to discussions surrounding spatial takeover by city residents. The documents, photos, and stories of these squatters transforming their city and spaces through a grayscale of ownership and legality, assert an argument that squatting is a form of architectural practice: an alternative to our contemporary housing systems. Avant-Garde in the Cornfields: Architecture, Landscape and Preservation in New Harmony Edited by Ben Nicholson and Michelangelo Sabatino University of Minnesota Press MSRP: $40.00 An unassuming yet magnetic town in the cornfields of Indiana, New Harmony has been home to two iconic utopian settlements, the Harmonists and the Owenites. However, the Cold War years ushered in a new sort of spiritual “living community,” one to which many renowned artists and designers contributed—from Philip Johnson to Richard Meier. This book surveys not only the history of New Harmony but the social and preservationist forces that kept it on the map. The role of modernism in the American imagination, as well as the cornfields as a blank canvas for many starchitect-type figures, make for powerful imagery and archival material, cleverly organized for clarity as well as surprise. Cyberwar and Revolution: Digital Subterfuge in Global Capitalism By Nick Dyer-Witheford and Svitlana Matviyenko University of Minnesota Press MSRP: $17.23 In an increasingly digitized moment, technology is not only empowering us but implicating us, as explained by partners Dyer-Witheford and Matviyenko. The adverse psychological effects of social media are well published, but technology and its leanings into a subconscious “cyberwar” over the internet have brought entire countries into the fold, including the United States, notably amidst allegations of Russian interference in the presidential election. As professionals often pushing the boundaries of technology, architects should be aware of the impact of technology on their practice, work culture and academia. As creatives working toward the creation of a marketable product with technology as a tool, architects may find that this book opens awareness into the subtleties of the web. Eco-Visionaries: Art, Architecture and New Media After the Anthropocene Edited by Pedro Gadanho Hatje Cantz MSRP: $35.14 Gadanho begins this book with a question: “Are we just secretly yearning for an endless summer?” An endless summer for the few, the privileged, those whose money or upbringing situated them in the technological havens of the developed world and its iPhone app-coordinated climate controls. Architects, artists, and designers are thinking beyond this bubble, though, and timeliness in the efforts of built environmentalism in the 21st century has led to some of the most adventurous experiments in egalitarian ecological thought yet. Eco-Visionaries is asking and drawing up the big questions and projecting the messages of artists around the world telling us to wake up. Le Corbuffet: Edible Art and Design Classics By Esther Choi Prestel MSRP: $26.14 While Ina Garten might label you low-brow for not crushing your olive oil from scratch, photographer Esther Choi’s cookbook of celebrity pun recipes will bring the high-brow clout of art and architecture into any kitchen. From Rem Brûlée to the Robert Rauschenburger, there is a recipe for everyone’s favorite artist, and some you can test your friends with. (Anri Dammi i Colori Sala(d)?) Modern Management Methods: Architecture, Historical Value, and the Electromagnetic Image By Caitlin Blanchfield and Farzin Lotfi-Jam Columbia Books on Architecture and the City MSRP: $25.19 An X-ray look at the UN Building, a structure iconic in its metaphors of organization and management, directs the new narrative of this book. Dense with images of x-rayed architectural details, the new book adds to the arguments made by Beatriz Colomina in her work, X-Ray Architecture, and is inspired by the document archive by Frau Anja Kramer of the Weissenhofmuseum im Haus Le Corbusier—a standardized set of information existing to correct the eventual and inevitable repair, replacement, and maintenance of a built environment. Modern Management Methods recontextualizes the active archive of architecture by experimenting with a new narrative of archive and visual media. Read the full AN review here. Signal. Image. Architecture. By John May Columbia Books on Architecture and the City MSRP: $18.00 In this slim volume, MILLIØNS cofounder John May tackles the culture of digital images that architecture is immersed in and simultaneously creating. Dipping into philosophical pondering, Signal. Image. Architecture. explores how an experiment in images is shaping how we perceive ourselves, our world, our politics, and our aesthetics. These are questions that are unique in that we are already living their effects, but that we have no idea how to interrogate them. Ezra Stoller: A Photographic History of American Modern Architecture By Pierluigi Serraino Phaidon MSRP: $87.69 In a monumental visual homage to the power of architecture under a lens, this largely black-and-white coffee table tome leaves nothing out. A pioneer in the use of photography to inform the world’s knowledge of architecture and design, Stoller brought the greatest American experiments to life. This collection of over 450 images documents the prolific output of the photographer, spanning subjects from the desert of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesen West to the Nordic woods of Alvar Aalto’s Villa Mairea.
Posts tagged with "MILLIØNS":
MILLIØNS, the young Los Angeles–based firm headed by Zeina Koreitem and John May, has won the competition to design a cafe at Syracuse’s I.M. Pei-designed Everson Museum of Art. Thus ends an invited competition led by Michael Speaks and Kyle Miller of Syracuse University that solicited proposals from around the world before narrowing the field to four semifinalists, which included FreelandBuck, NATURALBUILD, and Norman Kelley. In addition to housing a cafe and event space, the renovation will also display selections from a 3,000 piece ceramic collection donated by artist and collector Louise Rosenfield. Renderings show a double-height feature wall made of open shelving with pottery arranged informally throughout, as well as display tables composed of clusters of inverted pyramids, a potential nod to the monumental geometries of Pei. The translucent wall of shelving will visually connect the museum’s atrium to the cafe on an upper level. Besides referring to Pei’s work, the design also evokes some of MILLIØNS’s earlier creations. Renderings of the new cafe show a ridged, mirrored wall and an ethereal bath of colors, as though the room were filtered through dichroic glass, which the duo used in the New York flagship for shoe retailer Jack Erwin. The design is centered around these few, big moves; detailing is sparse and most materials in the rendering are left abstract and flat, perhaps in keeping with the Everson building’s austere forms. Pei, who died earlier this year, designed the museum’s late-modern, brutalist home in the 1960s with the idea that the structure would sit like a sculpture on the surrounding plaza. It features a pinwheel plan and cantilevered galleries clad in brushed concrete, all signature features of the time. The building, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, was a relatively early project for the architect. The renovated spaces are scheduled to open in 2020.
Last May, Zeina Koreitem and John May of the experimental Los Angeles architectural practice MILLIØNS conducted a weeklong workshop for Space Saloon, a “community in residence” design-build festival in Morongo Valley, California. While the small-scale structure they oversaw in the desert landscape was novel in form, spatial sequencing, and coloration, its most stunning aspect was perhaps the fact that it was primarily built with hempcrete, a material virtually nonexistent in the American construction industry. Currently, both the production and application of concrete is woefully unsustainable. As the world’s most common building material, the production of the ancient compound requires a tenth of the world’s industrial water production and produces 2.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide annually. Once a concrete building is completed, its exterior envelopes absorbs and retains the sun’s heat, contributing to rising temperatures in urban areas (known as the heat island effect). If the biggest global cities, including those in India and China, continue to rely on concrete to meet the demands of their increasing populations, an additional 470 additional gigatons of carbon dioxide will be released into the atmosphere by 2050, according to the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. All of that's before even taking into account the material's deadly human cost of production. First developed in France in the 1980s, hempcrete appears to be a miracle material in contrast to its traditional cousin, beginning with how it's produced. Not only do the hemp fields from which it originates absorb airborne carbon while they grow, but the crops continue to absorb greenhouse gases after they are harvested and transformed into building materials—287 pounds of airborne carbon dioxide are estimated to be captured by one cubic meter (35 cubic feet) of hempcrete, while a half-ton is emitted into the atmosphere by each ton of cement, according to the European Cement Association. Hempcrete is also up to eight times lighter than concrete, meaning it takes significantly less energy to transport, minimizing its carbon footprint even further. When the inner woody core of hemp plants, known as hemp hurds, is mixed with lime or clay as a binding agent, the fibrous consistency of hempcrete has demonstrated better ventilation, fire resistance, and temperature regulation properties than its predecessor. Although the material doesn't offer the same load-bearing capabilities of traditional concrete, developers throughout Europe have made great efforts to test its limits and have so far produced buildings as high as ten stories (which could, of course, be improved with increased research and application). Despite all of the apparent benefits of hempcrete, the North American construction industry is only beginning to take note. Following the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp's cultivation under certain conditions, there are only about 50 homes throughout the U.S. built at least partially with hemp, while the practice has become relatively common in Canada and Europe. As marijuana production becomes a more regulated industry, and hopefully the production of hempcrete and other hemp materials could become the building blocks of America’s future as the material becomes less stigmatized.
In May 2019, Southern California’s “community in residence” design-build festival, Space Saloon, is returning to the desert highlands for its second incarnation. Titled Fieldworks, the elbow grease-fueled festival will take its inspiration from “cumulative methods of scientific field research—the approaches, techniques, and processes used to collect raw data outside of a laboratory setting” by staging a series of desert constructions that focus on imbuing quantified data with cultural meaning. The eight-day workshop is open to anyone age 18 or older and will cost between $1350 and $1500 to attend; the program price includes room and board, three meals a day, and all of the necessary construction materials. As with the previous iteration of the festival, organizers hope to draw an interdisciplinary group of students that will complement the diverse set of practitioners leading the project. Project leaders for this year include architects Andrew Kovacs (Office Kovacs), Zeina Koreitem and John May (MILLIØNS), Kyle May (KMA), as well as workshop leaders Alex Braidwood (Listening Instruments), Noémie Despland-Lichtert and Brendan Sullivan Shea (Roundhouse Platform), Lena Pozdnyakova and Eldar Tagi (the2vvo), among others. According to a press release, program participants will work to undermine the “constructs and apparatuses through which we perceive a place,” investigations that could include questioning how knowledge is produced, manipulating one’s perception of the desert landscape, and creating “new methods for presenting subjective realities.” The workshop joins an ever-increasing number of arts- and architecture-related events taking place across the desert regions surrounding Los Angeles, including the Desert X art biennial, the High Desert Test Sites program, and the Coachella Arts and Music festival. For a collection of last year’s projects, see the Space Saloon website. Applications for the program will be accepted through April with the workshops taking place in California’s Morongo Valley between May 25 and June 1, 2019.
At Cooper Square, the act of architectural drawing is bring re-analyzed in the context of a new era of computations and code-based processes. An exhibition, Drawing Codes: Experimental Protocols of Architectural Representation Volume II, presented by the Cooper Union School of Architecture, in conjunction with the California College of the Arts' Design Lab, questions how rapid innovations in design and production technologies impact the ways architects engage with traditional drafting techniques. Participants, such as firms Aranda\Lasch, MILLIØNS, and T+E+A+M, among many others, investigated the act of drawing with a nod to certain prompts laid out by curators Andrew Kudless and Adam Marcus. These prompts were: the psychology of rules, and whether they create room for design opportunity, or are factors which constrain; language, and theorizing whether writing and drawing engage with each other in architecture; and cipher, or the exploration of how drawings engage with and portray hidden messages. All of the 24 entries on display were held to strict rules: they use consistent dimensions, the same black and white palette, and are all two-dimensional, and relate to at least one of the prompts written above. And yet, even with such strong guidelines, the differences and creativity in each piece are astonishing. Curator Andrew Kudless stated, “Even when there are constraints and guidelines, there are loopholes and variances that open up new potentials for architectural design and representation.” The exhibition runs from January 23 to February 23, 2019.
2018 Best of Design Award for Interior — Retail: Jack Erwin Flagship Store Designer: MILLIØNS Location: New York For Jack Erwin’s first brick and mortar retail space in Midtown Manhattan, MILLIØNS designed the men’s shoe boutique by employing a series of elements that oscillate between symmetry and asymmetry. The store features a white raw concrete central stage for display, along with seating, fitting areas, and storage solutions. A set of reconfigurable aluminum units for exhibitions are accompanied by a white, scalloped wrap desk. The white pearlescent and satin finishes of the furniture pieces are set against blue-teal gradient, powder- coated aluminum curtain surfaces. Together, these elements form a dynamic and immersive environment for this Madison Avenue flagship. Honorable Mention Project Name: Valextra Bal Harbour Shops Designer: Aranda\Lasch Location: Miami
Who are the names you need to know? Who are the designers to watch? These six up-and-coming talents in architecture and design should be on your radar. Alda Ly New York City Alda Ly likes a good piece of custom millwork. “I like to think about the purposefulness of each cut,” she says. Her namesake practice is built around a similar mission. “We’re pursuing end-user research to develop a more human-centered approach with our designs.” For Ly, both qualitative and quantitative data are imperative to design spaces that break the molds of conventional architectural programs. She designed the Wing’s private women-only professional clubs for flexibility, knowing that users might be recording a podcast on one day, and on another, working solo on their laptops. In this way, she sees herself beholden not only to the client, but also to the client’s stakeholders. Ly has made a name for herself by designing shared spaces, from incubators to offices and apartments. Most recently, the firm designed Bulletin, a store merchandising products from female-led brands that features a social area and a venue for live programming. “There are an infinite amount of situations you have to plan for, but a key point is knowing how to make people feel comfortable.” –Jordan Hruska Brian Thoreen LA/Mexico City “I didn’t really know what I was doing,” said Brian Thoreen. Reflecting on the first show where he unveiled his namesake furniture company at the Sight Unseen outpost during Collective Design in 2015, he admitted: “I was thrown in the deep end—I didn’t even know how to price the pieces.” Since then, Thoreen has gone on to show his works several times at Design Miami, create custom commissions, and be the subject of the first solo exhibit at Patrick Parrish. All of this was born out of his new focus on furniture and a recent move to Mexico City—both of which he was able to fully commit to after leaving his L.A.-based architecture practice, Thoreen+Ritter. In the context of “being somewhere else,” Thoreen now finds himself collaborating with local artists, including Hector Esrawe and Emiliano Godoy on a sculptural series of metal furnishings accentuated by hand-blown amorphous orbs of glass. The material will continue to be at the heart of his future work in a new studio, which he formed with Esrawe and Godoy to continue to collaborate their collaboration on glass and metal projects. As for his own studio, Thoreen also plans to design installations, spaces, and architecture where he can continue work with local artists. –Gabrielle Golenda CAMESgibson Chicago CAMESgibson is a Chicago-based partnership between Grant Gibson and the fictitious late T.E. Cames. Gibson, also a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) School of Architecture, works at multiple scales, from small residential rehabs to a popular community arts center. The practice is not limited to conventional built work. Some of the office’s exhibition work includes a 20-foot-tall quilted column installed in the Graham Foundation foyer and a skyscraper design in collaboration with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill at the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial. In each of its projects, a playful sensibility fills spaces with color and soft forms. A recent project involved converting a laundry room into a cool ethereal lounge for the UIC basketball team. Deep blue tones and carefully controlled lighting brand the space instead of the typical kitschy, logo-laden locker rooms of most teams. It is this approach to cleverly transforming spaces, whether they are institutional or private, that sets CAMESgibson apart from the average small practice. –Matthew Messner Material Lust New York City Partners in life and partners in practice, Lauren Larson and Christian Lopez Swafford are indifferent to mass production timelines and trends. Together, they work with artisans to conjure otherworldly objects that cross the boundary between sculpture and decorative art, producing a series of furniture with true grit. Known as Material Lust, their Lower East Side-based company was officially established in 2014 but began long before that. It has been producing works that reflect the historical context of design, including the Alchemy Altar Candelabra inspired by pagan and alchemical symbolism; and the Fictional Furniture Collection of gender-neutral, monochromatic children’s furniture inspired by surrealism. Now the pair is venturing into lighting with their new sister company, Orphan Work. As the story goes, it began when they found lost designs from the Material Lust archive and after they visited Venice’s Olivetti Shop, by Carlo Scarpa. The result? A collection that is somewhere between Scarpa’s richly layered forms and the couple’s unapologetically “metal” aesthetic, with nods to both the musical genre and the material itself. –GG MILLIØNS Los Angeles Los Angeles–based MILLIØNS dubs itself an “experimental architectural practice” that liberally explores space-making as a “speculative medium” that can be manifested in any number of objects, structures, or experiences. Founded by Zeina Koreitem and John May, the growing practice recently designed a communal wash basin that aims to reintroduce shared social interactions into the act of bathing for an exhibition at Friedman Benda gallery in New York City. In the show, a 3-D printed mass reveals itself as a fluted drum containing a sink and a slender, brass spigot that is approachable from all sides. Though better known for writing heady treatises and engineering glitchy, digital media works that use televisions and closed-circuit cameras to create new spatial dimensions, MILLIØNS has some more grounded works on the way. A forthcoming, Graham Foundation–supported exhibition designed and curated by the duo that aims to revitalize the experimental spirit of modernist housing, for example, is headed to L.A.’s A+D Museum early next year. MILLIØNS also has several brick-and-mortar projects on the way, including a retail storefront in Manhattan and a lake house in upstate New York. –Antonio Pacheco Savvy Studio NYC/Mexico City Savvy Studio, an interiors and branding firm with offices in New York City and Mexico City, has been busy this summer with an array of projects popping up in New York. It has just launched a Tribeca seafood restaurant (A Summer Day Cafe) which features a beachy interior with light woods, primary-colored metal accents, and of course, nautical stripes. The studio also redesigned Alphabet City mainstay Mast Books using plywood to elevate the space, making it a “gallery of books, rather than simply another bookstore.” And by combining interior architecture with visuals befitting a fashion campaign, Savvy Studio developed branding language, communications, and interiors of the rental offices and showrooms for the Mercedes House, a Hell’s Kitchen luxury condo designed by TEN Arquitectos. Founder and creative director Rafael Prieto points out that there are “no specific boundaries” between branding and interior design. “The reason we do both is based on our interest in creating and designing experiences, and being able to make an impact in every interaction.” For Savvy Studio, their multifaceted practice is about making sure each space or branded element is simultaneously “emotional, aesthetic, and functional.” –Drew Zieba
The bust, the sculptural counterpart of the portrait that dates back to classical antiquity, immortalizes not only the likeness of a person from the chest upwards, but the values of both the sculptor and the era in their concepts of beauty and nobility. An object no bigger than a head and a pair of shoulders, centuries later, is a relic embedded with cultural meaning—the preference towards an aquiline nose, for example, or a fixation with youth. With BUST, a group show on view at Jai & Jai in Los Angeles, curator William O’Brien, Jr. asked designers to apply the titular sculptural form to architecture. “Broadly speaking, the primary motivation for the exhibit is to provide a forum for the declaration of new cultures of form-making in architecture,” said O’Brien, a MIT professor and principal of WOJR. He commissioned busts by 11 firms: Andrew Kovacs, Bureau Spectacular, CODA, First Office, MILLIØNS, MOS Architects, Norman Kelley, PARA Project, Pita + Bloom, SO-IL, and WOJR (his own). The design brief asked that each practice take the notion of a basic architecture feature and reinterpret it as a figure of human scale that could be displayed on a plinth. Specifically, he was looking for individual interpretations of “characteristics associated with the facade,” according to the design brief: frontality, proportionality, symmetry, as well as anthropomorphism and zoomorphism. “The conception of a bust within an architectural context privileges certain architectural concerns—such as those related to form, figure, facade, hierarchy, orientation, exteriority, interiority—while diminishing many other architectural considerations that must ordinarily be addressed when designing buildings,” he explained. Each firm was given a relative autonomy to their approach, and in the absence of the real-world constraints typically posed by architectural-scale construction, the resulting works of sculptural abstraction lining the walls of the gallery in pantheonic rows are purely expressive. Wide variations in material and form reflect the varying mindsets. SO-IL’s Losing Face, an object of protruding surfaces shrink-wrapped in a semi-translucent plastic, brings to mind their recent Blueprint project, in which they used a similar wrapping method not to conserve the Steven Holl- and Vito Acconci-designed facade of the Storefront of Art and Architecture, but to “reinvigorate” it. Bureau Spectacular’s Contrapposto Institute cheekily takes the signature S-curve posture of Michaelangelo’s David and applies it three-story building, a tripartite stack with dangerously sloping floors. “This group represents the widest possible spectrum of contemporary architects thinking about form in new and as-of-yet-uncodified terms,” said O’Brien, with little exaggeration; other busts include a deflated Tyvek sac; a composition of mirrors and faux fur; and a humanoid bust studded with matches. “It’s my belief that the “center of gravity” of the discipline has become increasingly clouded. My feeling was that this array of contributors could help us understand the landscape of architecture-as-cultural-production ongoing today.”