Prototypes and Experiments, the latest exhibition in a series of shows in its tenth year at the Aram Gallery of London, showcases physical models by internationally-renowned names like Mary Duggan Architects and Adjaye Associates, alongside emerging practices like HASA Architects and vPPR Architects. The show will display models of a range of types, from finely detailed presentation pieces to study models and abstracted constructions that evoke the feeling of a space. The exhibition looks critically into the model’s role in the creative process. The gallery asked each exhibitor to present the design process of one particular project and write a commentary explaining the intentions of each exercise and its relation to the final product. London-based design and architecture studio PUP is one of the exhibitors, displaying models from their H-VAC project, which won the inaugural Antepavilion competition in 2017. H-VAC features a snaking linear form that serves as both rooftop ducting and air handling plant. On view at Prototypes and Experiments is a stick model that explores the structure of the sculptural form, as well as a facade study model that illustrates the reversible Tetra-Pak shingles clad on the exterior. Interdisciplinary practice HASA Architects will also participate with their Lone Lane project, which is what they're calling a "contemporary replacement building” for a demolished warehouse. The attention to brickwork is shown in the facade model on view. In a massing model the brickwork is abstracted but the openings and apertures are well detailed. In a stair model the cast stairs are painted in gold to highlight the circulation. The Aram Gallery is an independent gallery directed by Zeev Aram focused on contemporary design. The exhibition is curated by Riya Patel. Architecture Prototypes & Experiments 2 August - 1 September 2018 The Aram Gallery 110 Drury Lane, Covent Garden, London, WC2B 5SG +44 (0207 557 7526)
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I put an oversized plastic key into an illuminated lock, turned it, and out popped Queen Elizabeth II from Buckingham Palace. Another lock summoned Scotland's Loch Ness Monster and another sent a helicopter flying above New York City's skyline. Where was I? Gulliver's Gate. Inside the former New York Times office building, there's some large-scale small-scale building going on. Today, Gulliver's Gate opened its doors to the public, unveiling a $40 million new tourist attraction to Times Square. On show is a 50-nation display with 300 small-scale scenes, covering more than 6,500 square foot. The first location visitors encounter after receiving their own key at the ground-floor reception is a miniature Manhattan. The model was made in Brooklyn by a team of 16 who took 358 days to craft the 950-square-foot scene. The almost year-long effort, though, was worth it. Details down to vases for bars and free standing coffee machines can be seen if you look close enough, meanwhile, New York's skyscrapers, truncated by the ceiling, are exhibited as light forms. "These are an interpretation, New York is a city of light," a spokesperson told The Architect's Newspaper (AN) at the opening ceremony. Additionally, visitors can see a myriad of dramas (almost all transport-based) played out on New York's down-sized streets: from an overturned flatbed truck to fire engines rescuing people stranded on rooftops. These scenes are static, though the overall experience is kinetic and interactive. A section of Manhattan cuts through Grand Central Station, highlighting the station's ornate interior complete with its signature ceiling. Below, the story continues as Amtrack and MTA Subway trains pass underneath, travelling surprisingly freely without interference of train traffic or other bizarre disturbances. The selling point (or rather, key to success) for Gulliver's Gate, however, is its interactivity—an unusual quality for a miniature model exhibition, where typically no touching is ever allowed. Of course, the same applies here, but to quell the thirst of your inner five-year-old yearning to play, keys handed out to each visitor allow you call all sorts of moving diorama's into action. Sadly (though probably for the best) the moving trains, cars, and boats are not controllable. New York City may be the first location visitors see, but it is certainly not the only one on display. The Middle East, mainland Europe, Britain, Niagara, Russia, South America and Asia all feature, boasting their most iconic architecture. OMA, I.M. Pei, Moshe Safdie, Daniel Libeskind, Santiago Calatrava, Bjarke Ingels, Pelli Clarke Pelli, Frank Gehry, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and Gensler just to name a few, all have their buildings on display at 1:87 scale. An odd number, the scale is used in conjunction with the H0 Gauge model railroad locomotives on display—the gauge (gap between the tracks) is per the standards set by the National Model Railroad Association. The only location not to adhere to this is Britain, where the standard scale is 1:76, a scale that works with the established 00 Gauge for railroad models and thus British model railroad accessories. There are more than 1,000 trains on show, not to mention 10,000 cars and trucks and roughly 100,000 people. At the grand opening, AN spoke to Head of Model-Making, Adrian Davies. Davies, from England, was working on a scale airplane, but took the time to explain that he and his team of 20 are continuing to build despite today's opening. He also said that models were made using architects' plans as well as photography and "lots of Google Earth." Unlike other miniature model mega-exhibitions, Gulliver's Gate is proudly a work in progress. Such openness is usually only reserved for traveling railroad model exhibits, where community emerges from informality as enthusiasts flaunt their back-of-house rolling stock. Lighting and other electrics are managed by a nuclear-style control system, the operation of which is on view to the public. An airport scene, designed in collaboration with Ben Krone of Gradient Architecture, is in the works and can also be seen. Africa and Mars too, staff told AN, are being built, but are currently hidden away. Visitors can also make their own models... of themselves. A full-body scanner and 3-D printer allow you to create miniature versions of yourself which you can either take home or leave behind as a permanent “model citizen” of Gulliver’s Gate. Gulliver's Gate can be found at 216 West 44th Street and is open from 10 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. every day (last entry at 9:30 p.m.).
RIBA Stirling Prize—winning firm Caruso St. John is currently exhibiting Diorama at the Betts Project art gallery in London. On show is a montage of 1:50 scale models of the firm's built works, notably their Newport Street Gallery, the building which claimed the 2016 RIBA Stirling Prize. The models have been intentionally restricted to a five-tone color palette, a decision taken to draw attention to their exteriors. This move transforms a medium typically used to express three-dimensional form into one that exhibits a pictorial quality. In doing so, the pastel colors used here place emphasis on details and facade arrangements. The technique appropriately defines the exterior qualities of projects such as the Nottingham Contemporary gallery, where linear forms sync with the mint and gold coloring that comprise the building's exterior, amplifying the model's topographic form and the effects of shadow created by cantilevers and canopies. What is sadly missed, however, is the subtle detail that often hallmarks Caruso St. John's facade work. To use the Nottingham Contemporary as an example again, the building employs a skin literally laced with contextual detail: Intricate and ornate lace motifs, embedded into a series of concrete panels, reference the site's history as the heart of the once thriving lace industry. But that perhaps isn't the point of Diorama. "The buildings that are represented in the models are very different, but we have used only five colors to represent all of their details. This serves to bring together their diverse forms and scales," said Adam Caruso in a press release. Photographs of models are also included in the exhibition. Describing these, Caruso added: "They show a world where the atmosphere of our buildings are explicitly evoked at the same time as being uncanny as to the actual size and material of the models, models that have been only made to produce these images." Diorama runs through February 25, 2017, at Betts Project.
Stagecraft: Models and Photos at Columbia University's Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery will showcase newly commissioned photography of student-crafted models of major 20th-century buildings, along with the models themselves. The six models—which interpret projects by Peter Zumthor, Jørn Utzon, Gerrit Rietveld, Frank Lloyd Wright, Norman Foster, and Le Corbusier—were crafted by GSAPP students of Professor Kenneth Frampton during the 1990s through the early 2000s. Noted architectural photographer James Ewing is behind the new photography. "Experimenting with a range of photographic techniques, Ewing’s photographs of these models invite a reexamination of how architectural creativity and thinking unfold through the picturing of objects and the crafting of images," said the GSAPP in a press release. In the same release, GSAPP Dean Amale Andraos added:
This exhibition allows us to revisit a set of models that have long peppered the halls of our School.... They serve as an integral part of Professor Kenneth Frampton’s pedagogical project to teach both architecture and architectural history. While offering a critique of the ways in which architectural history is normally taught, the process of building models allows students to access knowledge about architecture through making it again.Stagecraft: Models and Photos will be on view from Feb. 9 to Mar. 10. A discussion and exhibition reception will take place 6pm on the 9th and feature Kenneth Frampton, James Ewing, Amale Andraos, and Irene Sunwoo.