The illustrious 19th century Qing dynasty politician, Zhang Zhidong, is primarily remembered for modernizing the Chinese army and for establishing the steel industry in Wuhan. It seems appropriate then that the new Shang Shidong Industrial Museum, designed by Daniel Libeskind, should be built in the city of Wuhan. Even more fitting is that the museum, which will celebrate the city’s iron and steel culture, will be built on the manufacturing site of the Hanyang-made rifle and will preserve the famous Hanyang ironworks and Hanyang arsenal. The architect’s plans for the industrial museum divide the structure into three levels, each highlighting a different aspect of the steel industry: the Modern Industrial section, focusing on ironworks history, the Heavy Industry section, focusing on military machinery and transportation, and the Light Industrial section, dedicated to advances in water, power, textiles and food processing. Other smaller buildings pertaining to the museum will honor prominent figures involved in the history of the Chinese industrial work force. The bold design of the building accurately reflects the force with which Wuhan was able to establish itself as a primary manufacturer of steel and iron in China while simultaneously accentuating the city’s promising future. The museum, located in a suburban site surrounded by greenery, is dominated by a thick arching curve that forcefully reaches for the sky. This domineering structure rests on two geometrically shaped structures and is supported by a complex steel frame. The highest peak of the museum offers occupants views of the city while the museum floors overlook the gardens. The museum is currently under construction and is expected to be completed by the Chinese New Year (January 31st, 2014). [ Via Designboom.]
Posts tagged with "Museums":
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Wahington D.C., designed by SOM in 1974, is undeniably striking in its design—the distinctively cylinder shaped structure is unlike anything else in the city. In 2009 Richard Koshalek, director of the modern and contemporary art museum, in a bold effort to place the museum at the forefront of our nation’s cultural institutions, came up with a radical new plan that would make the building stand out even more among the countries’ leading museums and significantly augment the city's arts culture. Koshalek proposed his new vision for a 15-story inflatable balloon, designed by Diller Scofidio & Renfro, that would bubble out of the donut-shaped museum’s central courtyard twice a year. The project, dubbed the “Seasonal Inflatable Structure,” would serve as a unique space for installations and performances. The idea was never realized, and as of this June the project was abandoned. Richard Kurin, the Smithsonian's undersecretary for history, art, and culture, attributes the desertion of the project to financial challenges. The construction of the bubble relied solely on private funds, but donors prefer contributing money to a permanent structure rather than a temporary project, and after four years of fundraising, more than half of the necessary $15 million funds were lacking. The Smithsonian’s decision to terminate the project was not supported by all, however, and resulted in a sort of domino effect of negative outcomes. Immediately following the decision to terminate Koshalek resigned as director and Constance R. Caplan stepped down as board chairwoman, but not before delivering a harsh critique of the museum and the Smithsonian Institute’s power over the board. As reported by the New York Times, Ms. Caplan said, “When you ask people to raise money you have to give them more of a say in what happens at the institution.” Since members must donate $50,000 upon joining the board and are also expected to actively raise funds, she holds that they should have more power when making decisions about the museum. Mr. Koshalek advocates that the future success of the museum relies on the use of novel technologies and creative programming, but others, such as 13-year board veteran and former chairman J. Tomilson Hill feel strongly that projects like the bubble will take away from the museum’s impressive collections and exhibitions, which should remain the institution's focus. The Hirshhorn is home to modern and contemporary works by renowned leaders of 20th century art and sculpture including including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Jackson Pollock, Ellsworht Kelly, Edward Hopper, to name only a few. On June 29th Koshalek officially stepped down as director, but it seems like his forward thinking may prevail after all. Kerry Brougher, chief curator, has temporarily taken Mr. Koshalek’s place. At the moment Brougher’s primary concerns are the collections and exhibitions, but he shares Mr. Koshalek’s opinion that digital technologies, public programming, and thematic exhibitions will be instrumental to The Hirshhorn's future.
In August the Columbus Museum of Art will break ground on the third and final phase of its renovation and expansion project: a new 50,000-square-foot wing that will bring the facility up to par with other major art museums in Ohio. “In 1931, when we owned 500 pieces of art, we had 10 gallery spaces,” reads a statement on the museum’s website. “Today our collection numbers more than 10,000, yet those same 10 galleries remain.” Columbus-based architecture firm DesignGroup is heading the $37.6 million project, which also includes renovations to the nearly 40-year-old Ross Wing and lobby area.
[beforeafter] [/beforeafter] Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and LEGO have unveiled plans for the LEGO House, an experience and education museum to be built in Billund, Denmark, LEGO’s birthplace. Visitors will enter a building resembling giant LEGO stacked blocks. The LEGO-block building concept embodies the tenants of LEGO play: stimulated learning and interactive thinking. Visitors can interact with the museum by walking around, under, and over, just as they would if they were playing with the bricks. Construction is projected to begin next year. The piled bricks will stand approximately 100 feet tall and have around 82,000 square feet of exhibition areas, a cafe, a unique LEGO store and a covered 20,000 square foot public plaza. The museum and its plaza will be open to the public for free, although admission charges will apply to other areas. The project will incorporate plentiful daylighting, interactive exhibits and various rooftop gardens complete with towering LEGO trees that will expand public space and offer outdoor play spaces. LEGO owner Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen said in a statement, "the LEGO House will be a place where people can enjoy active fun but at the same time it will be an educational and inspirational experience—everything that LEGO play offers." The Museum is planned to open in 2016 and is projected to see approximately 250,000 visitors per year.
Come June 16th the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York, the only museum in the United States devoted solely to historic and contemporary design, will welcome a new director, Caroline Baumann. Baumann, who has served as acting director of the museum since September 2012, in her new role will primarily oversee the renovation of the museum and the reinstallation of its galleries, scheduled to open in fall of 2014. “The new Cooper-Hewitt visitor experience—physical and digital—will be a global first, a transformative force for all in 2014 and beyond, impacting the way people think about and understand design,” announced Baumann in a press release. (Photo: Erin Baiano)
The Art Newspaper is out with its latest listing of top exhibitions and museum attendance for 2012 and in the category "Architecture and Design" there are some surprises. MoMA, the first museum in the world to have an architecture department, has led this category for many years and in 2011 as usual had the top three architecture and design exhibitions in the survey. But for 2012 St. Petersburg's Hermitage Museum's first show dedicated to a living architect, Santiago Calatrava: The Quest For Movement, broke MoMA's monopoly of the category and became the most popular exhibit in the world. The exhibit on the Spanish architect drew 430,000 visitors or 5,217 people per day during its run in St. Petersburg—making it the 23rd most popular show overall in the survey. The next two top-drawing shows were again at MoMA with their design show Century of the Child: Growing by Design and Foreclosed: Rehousing The Dream leading the way with nearly a million visitors for the two exhibits on 53rd Street. The Cooper Hewitt made the list this year with two exhibitions: Graphic Design: Now in Production and Design With the Other 90% coming in at number six and seven in attendance. Sadly as a result of its recent financial difficulties Rome's MAXXI Museum was nowhere to be seen in this years list though in 2011 it had two exhibitions in the top ten.
Now we're really confused. Amidst reports that LA's MOCA might be taken over by LACMA or USC, now we hear via the New York Times that the struggling institution might now join forces with the National Gallery in Washington D.C. According to John Wilmerding, the chairman of the Gallery's board of trustees, MOCA is "close to working out a five-year agreement...to collaborate on programming, research and exhibitions." The deal wouldn't include fundraising assistance, but would obviously bolster MOCA's ability to raise money with the National Gallery's high profile assistance on programming, exhibitions, research, curation, and staffing. Oh, and guess who approached the National Gallery, according to the story: MOCA board chair Eli Broad, who has made it clear he doesn't want to be swallowed by LACMA. Stay tuned as this saga plays out.
The Grand, the multi-million-dollar, mixed use project on top of LA’s Bunker Hill, is finally… slowly… moving forward with an Arquitectonica-designed residential tower, which just broke ground. But it appears that Frank Gehry’s days on the project may be numbered. After a recent call with Related, we got no assurances that the starchitect was still part of the project. A report in the Downtown News got similarly uncommitted answers. Just across the street from the Grand we hear that The Broad (what’s with all the THEs?)—Eli Broad’s multi-million-dollar art museum—is getting ready to add an upscale market to its rear, just above the parking lot. If it’s even close to as successful as Chelsea Market in New York, Downtown LA could have yet another hit on its hands. Meanwhile, decking is being laid for a new park to The Broad’s south, but still no renderings of the park have been unveiled. Let’s make this public, Mr. Broad. We can’t wait to see your plans, which could single-handedly make or break Grand Avenue.
[Editor's Note: Following the publishing of this story, the Speed Art Museum and tree researchers studied the tree, determining that it was, in fact, not three centuries old, nor a Valley Oak. The tree in question is now believed to be a 60-year-old English Oak. Read the update here.] The Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, is currently closed to visitors until 2015 while a dramatic stacked-box addition is built to the north of the institution's original 1927 neo-Classical building on the University of Louisville's Olmsted-designed Belknap Campus. The $50 million expansion, designed by Culver City, CA-based wHY Architecture with Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architects, who were later dropped from the project, will triple the museum's gallery space and add to the already robust arts scene in Louisville. This week, one alert writer at the student newspaper, The Louisville Cardinal, noticed something missing at the construction site: the University's oldest tree. The approximately 309-year-old Valley Oak had been cut down when the site was cleared late last year. Only a stump now remains behind the construction fence. The author, Wesley Kerrick, noted the tree pre-dates not just the University, but the city, state, and country in which it resides, as it sprouted sometime in the late 17th or early 18th century. Kerrick expressed frustration over the fact that the tree couldn't have been saved. Dr. Tommy Parker, Director of the Urban Wildlife Research Lab (UWRL) at the University of Louisville, has been observing the University's urban forest for the past several years. The University's 309-acre Belknap Campus contains over 2500 trees, which Parker and his students have been studying and mapping to build a Tree App that geo-locates every tree on campus with information on each tree's species, age, height, environmental contribution, and even monetary value. The mapping project has documented 1,140 trees on campus so far. "This project is useful for understanding wildlife habitats," Parker said. "It allows for real-time analysis in the field." Dr. Parker and his students first collect measurements of each tree, feeding the information through a computer program that estimates its age, value, and environmental benefit. Next, teams geo-locate each tree, finding the exact coordinates using a GPS device. The mapping process helped Parker and Kerrick recognize the Valley Oak's history and that it had been removed. "She was a beautiful tree. I just happened to come in one day and it was gone," Parker said of the three-century-old tree. He lamented the loss of such a historic tree, but noted, "I didn't have a problem with removing the tree. Just that there was no conversation about it. That was the only problem I had." Parker explained that, like other living things, different tree species have different lifespans, and at the end of their prime they can become susceptible to root rot and disease, sometimes requiring removal. "Many people think all trees are like Sequoias," Parker said, "but most trees have a distinct lifespan." For instance, Oaks and Maples, Parker said, can readily live to be 200 to 250 years old, depending on the region in which they're growing. In a southeastern city like Louisville, trees can grow even older. Parker estimated that if the Valley Oak had not been cut down, it could have lived for decades to come. "It was in good shape," Parker said. "That tree could have lasted easily another 50 years." In human terms, Parker said the tree would be about 50 years old given an average human lifespan of 72 years. To replace the old tree with new young trees of the same species and maintain what Parker called the tree's "environmental services" (it's ability to absorb cardon dioxide), the University would have to plant 35 new two-inch-diameter trees. The old tree's diameter measured 51.5 inches, but Parker said the real benefit of such a large tree is its crown, where the leaves are scrubbing the air. Still, Parker is less concerned with the loss of one iconic tree and is helping to push a tree-planting campaign to keep the University's urban forest healthy. In the past two years, the University added 380 trees to its campus, and Parker said it's on target to plant another 300 this year. "We need to think of tree turnover and plan for the next 50 years," he said. "We can't have ten or 15 year gaps in the tree canopy" from trees dying and no new trees being planted. He hoped the loss of the Valley Oak might inspire others to get involved in taking care or and expanding Louisville's urban forest.
An artistic selection committee Thursday selected three semi-finalists for the Ohio Statehouse Holocaust Memorial in Columbus. Jaume Plensa of Chicago, Columbus’ Ann Hamilton, and Daniel Libeskind will visit the site, meet with the committee and then have six weeks to submit a proposal for review. The committee will pick the final project artist in May. Libeskind designed Berlin’s Jewish Museum, one of the most prominent memorials of its kind. Ann Hamilton has home-turf advantage, so to speak, and is coming off a spectacularly reviewed show at the Armory, The Event of a Thread. Spanish-born Jaume Plensa's evocative sculptures are pensive and humanistic, often involving glowing lights, and seem well suited to such a project.
The Menil Collection in Houston, Texas, has been honored with the 2013 AIA Twenty-Five Year Award. Renzo Piano designed the museum to house Dominique de Menil’s impressive collection of primitive African art and modern surrealist art in the heart of a residential neighborhood. The design respected Ms. de Menil’s wish to make the museum appear “large from the inside and small from the outside” and to ensure the works could be viewed under natural lighting. Click on a thumbnail to launch the slideshow.
Next Tuesday, January 8, The Broad in Downtown Los Angeles (not that Broad Museum), Eli Broad's new contemporary art museum with an arresting net-like "veil" facade by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, will top out at the corner of Grand Avenue and Second Street. The project is set to open next year and will contain 120,000-square-feet over three-levels, including 50,000 square feet of gallery space on two floors, a lecture hall for up to 200 people, a public lobby with display space and a museum shop. As usual, the topping-out ceremony will include a theatrical event: in this case, the "flying of the beam," in which a 294-foot crane lifts the final steel beam to the top of the structure. (In the meantime, take a fly-through of the new building in this video rendering.) In addition to Broad and DS+R, others on hand will be LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as well as 100 construction workers for the project. You can watch a live construction cam of the project here. AN also learned that Related California will break ground on its new Arquitectonica-designed apartment tower on January 10, just two days after the Broad event. The 19-story building is the first major piece of the long-delayed Grand Avenue project. No more details on the event, but there are sure to be some fancy shovels and some bigwigs on hand. That's some heavy symbolism for the transformation of downtown's long-troubled Grand Avenue. Yes, it's really happening.