After a bitter fight at Bergamot Art Station, the Santa Monica Museum of Art is decamping to Downtown Los Angeles. Reports of an eastward move come with hints of a necessary name change as well a shortlist for its new space in the Arts District. Players are tightlipped, but AN’s sources say Gensler, Zellner Naecker Architects, and wHY (a longtime museum collaborator) have been invited to submit design proposals.
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When MoMA debuted its Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R)–led expansion and renovation plans in 2014, the reaction from the public was overwhelmingly negative. Those plans called for demolishing the Tod Williams and Billie Tsien–designed American Folk Art Museum and creating a glass curtain wall that would open MoMA's entire first floor to the public, for free. It's not the free part critics took issue with: It was the perceived chaos of the museum-goer experience and wholesale destruction of the folk art museum. MoMA took note, and pulled plans back. This week, revised plans were revealed. DS+R is still the architect (with Gensler), and the original objective—to create unfettered movement between galleries—remains. But a lot has also changed. Plans call for connecting galleries in Jean Nouvel’s planned residential tower at West 53rd Street, the new DS+R addition, galleries in the site of the former American Folk Art Museum, and the current MoMA building to broaden public access and accommodate skyrocketing attendance. Renovations and new construction will add 50,000 square feet of exhibition space, and expand the lobbies. When construction is complete, MoMA will be 744,000 square feet, or 17 percent, larger than it is today. The fluidity of the program, museum officials and observers contend, signal MoMA’s move away from traditional departmental categories towards more interdisciplinary collaboration. Martino Stierli, the museum’s chief curator of architecture and design, told the New York Times that MoMA is “really using this moment of renovation to explore other ways to see our collection—looking at how media can interact. We want to make use of this time to try new things.” Given the museum's increasing popularity, more people will see these new concepts in practice. Since 2004, the year that Yoshio Taniguchi's $858 million addition opened to the public, the collection has grown by 40 percent, the number of yearly exhibitions has increased from 15 to 35, membership has reached 150,000, and attendance has doubled to three million annual visitors. The project is being split into three phases so the museum will not have to close completely. DS+R’s structure will be the last of the three: The first phase will be changes to the Lauder Building, where audiences now enter for film screenings, followed by renovations to the Taniguchi building. The Lauder building's east lobby will be expanded to improve crowd flow to the main lobby, and the gift shop and bookstore will be moved below ground to facilitate the expansion. Broadening public access will be achieved by different means than those put forth in the plan's first iteration. A new public entrance to the 54th Street sculpture garden was nixed due to security concerns. The “Art Bay," a retractable glass door would have allowed museumgoers to enter ground-floor galleries straight from the street, has also disappeared from plans. Instead, the first floor will have a free gallery with two exhibition spaces (one double height, for MoMA's Project Series) that's open to the public, but accessed through the museum lobby. A new canopy and a double height ceiling at the 53rd Street entrance will give extra visibility to the museum's main entrance. The double height ceiling will displace the media gallery, whose contents could be moved to a fourth floor gallery for media and performance. To accommodate larger pieces, or pieces of the future whose spatial requirements cannot yet be determined, none of the new galleries will have permanent walls, and collections galleries will be almost column-free. The four third-floor galleries (including galleries for architecture, photography, drawings, and special exhibition) will be merged into two galleries of 10,000 and 5,000 square feet. Glass, steel, and stone will be traded for a warmer palette to unify the changes. Construction on the $390 to $400 million project will begin next month. Although completion is contingent on the project timeline of the Nouvel building, all construction is expected to be complete by 2019 or 2020.
Until July 2016, Plexus A1, an art installation comprising of nearly 60 miles of handwoven threads by Mexican artist Gabriel Dawe, will be exhibited in the Smithsonian American Art Museum's newly renovated Renwick Gallery. Dawe's installation consists of 15 hues to mimic the full spectrum of visible light. Curator-in-Charge at the Renwick, Nicholas R. Bell, said, “I was immediately drawn to [Dawe’s] work, the ethereality of it, and the illusion that the material—cotton thread—is anything but that. In the long history of our relationship with textiles, how many creators have successfully changed the way we think about the very nature of the material?" Gabriel Dawe spanned the sewing thread from Renwick's 19-foot-tall ceilings and worked layer by layer, gradating hues to resemble visible light. Dawe completed the installation in ten days. Dawe said, "Once I have an idea of what I want to do in a space, it’s just a matter of attaching hooks and stringing them on site, one thread at a time. I use a tool I’ve developed that works as a giant needle that takes the thread up and down. In a space like the Renwick, which is rather big, I also rely on a lift and helpers to be able to reach over such a big span of space.” The Renwick Gallery opened last fall, after two years of renovations. Dawe is one of nine artists displaying works in the exhibition, WONDER, as the gallery gradually bring in the permanent collection. For more information on the WONDER exhibition visit the Smithsonian American Art Museum's webpage here.
Following in the stead of Snarkitecture and Bjarke Ingels, New York's James Corner Field Operations will create the National Building Museum's summer 2016 installation. The landscape architecture firm is best known for its outdoor projects such as the High Line, Santa Monica’s Tongva Park and Ken Genser Square, Race Street Pier in Philadelphia, and Seattle’s Central Waterfront. Field Operations will likely bring a fresh perspective inside the building's four-story Grand Hall. The National Building Museum opened in 1985 in the Pension Bureau building, originally built in 1887 and designed by Montgomery C. Meigs, the U.S. Army quartermaster general during the Civil War. Notably, the Italian Renaissance–style building features 75-foot-tall Corinthian columns in the Grand Hall and a 28-panel frieze by American sculptor Caspar Buberl. A design will be revealed in the spring and the exhibition will run in tandem with the museum's summer block party series. “We are very excited about this opportunity to once again transform the Great Hall for summer spectacle and pleasure,” said James Corner, founder of James Corner Field Operations, in a press release. “It will be a great challenge to surpass the genius of previous installations, but also an opportunity to explore something new and unexpected.” Snarkitecture opted for a giant, monochromatic ball pit (Click to see AN's report on this installation) in 2015 and the year before, Bjarke Ingels took advantage of the hall's height to craft a giant maze (Read more about the maze here). Stay tuned to learn what Field Operations creates for the space. To learn more about Field Operations and its projects, check out the Miami Underline and Great Falls State Park.
The 35,000 sq. ft. building celebrates three artisanal crafts significant in Bulgaria: textiles, wood carving, and glazed ceramics.Lee H. Skolnick Architecture and Design Partnership has designed a new children’s museum called "Muzeiko" in Bulgaria’s capital city of Sofia to balance complex form, regional relevance, and whimsical fun. Their client, the America for Bulgaria Foundation, wanted international expertise paired with state of the art materials. The architects responded to the geography of the Sofia Valley, a region surrounded by mountain ranges, with abstracted forms referring to the nearby Balkan mountains, triangulated in a "scientific" manner. This thematic element, coined “Little Mountains” by the architect, is composed of a rainscreen assembly consisting of high pressure laminate (HPL) panels with printed graphics clipped onto a wall system framed by a combination of a primary steel framework, and a fiber reinforced concrete shell. The panels are differentiated with color and patterns unique to traditional artisanal Bulgarian crafts. Textiles and embroidery, wood carving, and glazed ceramics were studied by the architects, and reduced into three color-saturated patterns which were ultimately applied to three forms. Another feature of the building is a “super insulated” curtain wall assembly of triple glazed low-e glass, custom built locally by TAL Engineering. The glass panels were some of the largest available in the region at the time, sized at 7’-4” x 10’-10.” A custom ceramic frit pattern, developed by the architects, creates a “cloud-like” effect while establishing view control and addressing solar gain concerns on the south facade. The curtain wall extends beyond the roof to form a parapet guard at the roof deck, where the frit pattern dissolves enough to catch a glimpse of the sky beyond the facade from ground level. Also notable is a custom gray coloration on the mullions, which is the result of numerous mockups studying the least visually distracting color to the overall system. Beyond the curtain wall assembly, notable sustainable features include solar panel array on the south wing, recycled grey water for irrigation, and interpretive sustainable features on display throughout the interior of the building. A key precedent for the project is the University of Mexico City, says Lee Skolnick, FAIA, Principal of LHSA+DP, which has an “incredible facade of mosaic tile.” Skolnick says the project was an attempt at the time to marry modern architecture with cultural significance. "It’s a concept that has been used rarely throughout recent architecture history. 'Interpretive content' on the face of the building is coming back, but it is not universal. We much more often see patterning that is geometric or structural — a geometric blanket that wraps a form. We are looking for something that is more highly specific than that.” At key moments along the building envelope, the colorful “little mountain” forms visually penetrate beyond the curtain wall system into the interior, establishing specialized programmatic spaces such as a gift shop, cafe, eating area, restrooms, and multipurpose workshops. One challenge the design team faced was developing a patterning for the rainscreen panels. They began by considering a variety of materials and fabrication methods available, from ceramic materials, to fabrics, to etched metal panels. Ultimately the architects chose a high pressure laminate (HPL) material for maintenance, manufacturing quality and consistency, detailing control, and lifespan of material. Through a process of "continual sampling, processing, and refining," the architects arrived at a set of patterns which boldy abstract the colors, patterns, and textures of Bulgarian artistry.
It’s a bird, it’s a plane…. it’s a soaring, white Calatrava design in Rio de Janeiro. The Museu do Amanhã (The Museum of Tomorrow) opens December 18 on Maua Pier in the up-and-coming Puerto Maravilha neighborhood. Inspired by the endemic Carioca culture, "The idea is that the building feels ethereal, almost floating on the sea, like a ship, a bird or a plant. Because of the changing nature of the exhibits, we have introduced an archetypal structure inside the building. This simplicity allows for the functional versatility of the museum, able to accommodate conferences or act as a research space," Santiago Calatrava said in a press release. The museum’s content will focus on answering five questions: Where did we come from? Who are we? Where are we? Where are we going? And how do we want to live together over the next 50 years? The 5,3820-square-foot structure is surrounded by an additional 8,1806-square-foot plaza that wraps around and extends out to the water, connecting it to the Guanabara Bay. A cantilevered roof extends into 246- and 148-foot-long overhangs facing the square and the bay respectively. Constructed in relation to the nearby UNESCO World Heritage Sao Bento Monastery, the height of the building was capped at 32 feet to protect the view monastery’s views of the surrounding landscape. In the museum, Calatrava created multiple opportunities for panoramic views of the monastery. The Museu do Amanhã is oriented on a north-south axis to create additional outdoor space along the pier for gardens, paths, green spaces, and a reflection pool. The pool will be used to filter water that is pumped in from the bay and then released back in. Water from the bay will also be used to regulate the building’s temperature, while solar panels will generate energy for the museum. A permanent exhibition, located on the second floor, will be curated by physicist and cosmologist Luiz Alberto Oliveira and designed by Ralph Appelbaum with Andrés Clerici. In addition, there will be temporary exhibitions, a 400-seat auditorium, a cafe, a restaurant, a gift shop, an educational lab, and the Observatory of Tomorrow, which will be a place for technological and scientific research. "The city of Rio de Janeiro is setting an example to the world of how to recover quality urban spaces through drastic intervention and the creation of cultural facilities,” Calatrava said in a press release.
Usually, strong smells wafting from the Hudson River are bad news. This time, though, there's nothing to worry about: household fragrance maker Glade has partnered with the Rockwell Group to create a pop-up branding exercise on the waterfront outside of Brookfield Place. The Museum of Feelings ask visitors to reflect on how the senses, especially smell, contribute to emotion. It's like raving with James Turrell at the Yankee Candle factory outlet store—plus crystals. Like a groovy mood ring, a board on the exterior of the museum changes colors to reflect the current mood of the city. Rage triggers like the weather forecast, stock market indices, and flight delays are tracked in real time. The "mood" is translated into color and light. On opening day, the colors, pale blue and deep purple, indicated calm. This being New York City, one wonders whether "calm" is a proxy for "low-level resentment and deep-seated apathy," a more ambiguous emotion that often masquerades as serenity. Inside, feelings are compartmentalized into five zones, each themed with a different emotion and corresponding scent. The first room, Feel Optimistic, is inspired by the soon-to-be-released Radiant Berries fragrance. Before entering the room passageway of hanging cloth panels, staff members hand out reflective (and scented) cards that trigger and reflect bursts of pink and blue light reflected off of strategically placed interior crystals. Ambient music, not dissimilar to Music for Airports, is intensified or diminished as visitors enter or leave the space. The "Balsam & Fir" room invites you to Feel Joyful. The hanging LED light forest invites comparisons to Yayoi Kusama's installations. The strands emit a piney scent when touched, and it's impossible not to touch. According to a museum staff member, Blue Odyssey, the "marine scent" of the next room, is designed to invigorate. Upon entering the space, an oscillating LED halo encircles the floor around each visitor. The halo moves with its owner, vibrating as subwoofers beneath the floor thump with a bass-heavy beat. Visitors can swap halos by jumping into someone else's halo. The scent in this, and other rooms, was released through wall-mounted scent diffusers that resemble tissue under a microscope. "Feel Exhilarated" is a kaleidoscope of floor-to-ceiling video screens that project patterned peony and cherry blossoms, the base of the room's fragrance. Touch screens arranged around a central panel allow visitors to manipulate the floral patterns. One visitor remarked, "if you stare at the ceiling long enough, you feel nauseous, in a good way!" After exhilaration comes calm. "Lavender & Vanilla" fragrance permeates a candy purple and pink space. The powerful fog machine creates a sight radius of approximately three feet, giving visitors ample opportunity to bump into one another or trip over small children rolling on the heavily carpeted floor. What museum would be complete without a gift shop? The "retail lounge" gives visitors the opportunity to buy small and large Glade candles. The true treat, however, is the "MoodLens." Visitors place their hand on a sensor connected to a large screen and camera. The sensor allegedly reads emotion and generates a "mood selfie" based on that emotion. The selfie is printed out (for free!) on scratch-and-sniff paper that matches the emotion. Selfies are uploaded to the museum's website to create an archive of feelings. The Museum of Feelings is open through December 15th.
Annals of Computing: “Silicon City” exhibition at the New York Historical Society questions origins of the digital era
Radical inventions that lead to profound societal transformations tend to be accompanied by founding myths and overlapping claims for authorship. Once a certain founding story has been widely accepted, research will periodically uncover it as being false, and the evidence for an alternate narrative will emerge. Trying to change accepted founding myths is notoriously difficult: Gutenberg built his printing press after centuries of development in printmaking across the world, but his name is strongly tied to the advent of the printing revolution. Importantly, the significance of a figure like Gutenberg and the related story becomes a point of local pride. The founding myth of computing is a multifaceted story still in the process of being created. Since the invention of computing simultaneously challenged notions of collaboration and the concept of individual authorship, tracing the genesis of this technology is particularly demanding. Silicon City: Computer History Made in New—an exhibition that opened recently at the New York Historical Society—finds the roots of the digital era in the New York region. The curvilinear exhibition design is anchored by three bulbous spaces housing thematic multi-screen installations. The first spheroid is a mini- recreation of the egg shaped IBM pavilion at the 1964–1965 New York World’s Fair. The original Information Machine designed by Eero Saarinen allowed 400 guests to view a show directed by Charles and Ray Eames—a spectacle on twenty-two screens of various shapes and sizes. A second cavern, reminiscent of Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic domes, is housing a video reel showing pioneering collaborations between artists and engineers in the 1960s. These include 9 Evenings: Theater and Engineering, a series of large scale performatic live events at the Armory. Engineers worked with artists from various disciplines—including Robert Rauschenberg, Steve Paxton and John Cage—to create custom technical equipment including responsive systems and participatory apparatuses. These early experiments in digital art were certainly enabled by a convergence of artistic and technological talent only possible in New York. Meandering between these video installations, the core of the exhibition is tracing local achievements of the history of computing from the 1800s to the 1980s, showcasing a number of stunningly beautiful technological artifacts. Highlights include a IBM SSEC console, a large table with hundreds of regularly spaced knobs originally located in the IBM headquarters on Madison Avenue. Another fascinating device is a matrix of jacks connected by plug-in cords, programmed by making physical connections. These objects are accompanied by image documentation, in some instances highlighting the undervalued role of female engineers. Images of exceptional figures like Grace Hopper—a native New Yorker—teaching the coding language COBOL she helped to develop at IBM, reinstate the importance of women in the early development of computers. A section on identity branding and design highlights the work of Paul Rand and Eliot Noyles at IBM and a gallery on graphics, music and games presents a medley of various gaming consoles and cultural artifacts. A third immersive capsule ends the show with a multimedia showcase highlighting current tech companies and startups in New York, providing a uplifting outlook reinstating New York as a city thriving with digital technologies. Focussing on the development of technology from a local perspective produces some astonishing omissions—the military, a driving financial and ideological force behind the development of computers is barely mentioned. Nevertheless, filled with fascinating objects, the show presents one facet of a transformative global invention. Mythicizing the development of early computing as a New York story, it delivers a rich kaleidoscope of locally based innovation.
The St. Louis Science Center is adding its first new major exhibition space in 25 years with the 2016 summer opening of GROW, a permanent interactive agriculture exhibit. The exhibition design by Oakland, California–based Gyroscope will be complemented by a pavilion designed by HOK founder Gyo Obata along with St. Louis–based design firm Arcturis. The Agriculture Pavilion, the main interior space of the project, takes formal cues from typical farming implements, such as plow blades or scythes. The building will house exhibitions, event space, and a set of underground classrooms forming the Ag Learning Center. The 50,000-square-foot, $7.3-million-dollar, project focuses on the latest in agricultural technology, economics, science, and culture. Many of the 40 planned exhibits, much like their topic, will change seasonally, highlighting the growing and harvest cycles of the Midwest. “This will explore new ideas, new thoughts, and new ways of looking at things. And they’ll change with some level of frequency,” explained Bert Vescolani, CEO and president of the Science Center, in a statement. The main focus of exhibits in this space will be on agronomics and the relationship of produce, commodities, and consumer practices affecting the food supply. Every aspect of the pavilion is also designed to contribute to the learning environment, to include bathrooms which graphically interpret water resources. The project sits on the former site of the now-deflated Exploradome, and will include indoor and outdoor exhibits. Along with working farming equipment such as tractors and automated milking machines, live chickens, honey bees, and a working greenhouse will allow visitors to get their hands dirty learning about backyard farming. The greenhouse will include hydroponics and aquaponics, using live fish in a closed system of feeding, fertilizing, and growing food. The Fermentation Station will highlight the farm to mug journey of beer, in a working brewery, along with cheese and wine making. Other spaces include an orchard, two beehive areas, a seed library, large scale photographic farming map of Missouri and Illinois, and a Rain Cloud Room, where it rains every day, rain or shine.
On Sunday, November 22, twenty four teams from architecture and design firms in Washington, D.C. built sculptures out of canned food inside the National Building Museum. The theme this year is transportation and sculptures included the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine, a full-size smart car, a Mayflower bean soup ship, CAN-nook Chopper to the Rescue, a Lunar module, and more. Canstruction is a national food drive for the Capital Area Food Bank. Last year, Canstruction teams donated 56,000 pounds of food and $18,000—the equivalent of 42,000 meals. More than 275 tons of food has been donated through CanstructionDC since the event began in 1998. The sculptures will be on display until Monday, November 30, and visitors can vote for their favorite to win the “People’s Choice Award” by donating a can of food in the “ballot box” next to each sculpture. For those who can’t make it to D.C. (or who want to see more) Work Zone Cam created a time-lapse video for the event. To get completely up to speed on National Building events, check out The Beach by Snarkitecture from this past summer and The Maze by BIG, both in the National Building’s great hall. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrixcmmsP3s To learn about Canstruction in your area, check out this website.
Daniel Libeskind has released the design for a 33,400 square-foot, contemporary art center in the heart of Vilnius, Lithuania, a city famous for its baroque architecture and medieval old town. The center, which represents Vilnius past and present, was designed by Studio Libeskind in partnership with Do Architects and Baltic Engineers. It is the first center ever to be dedicated solely to modern and contemporary art by Lithuanian artists. “We wanted to create a museum for the people of Lithuania, and also give this collection a home and an international audience," Viktoras Butkus, co-founder of the nonprofit Modern Art Center (MAC), said in a statement. "This collection is about the cultural legacy of the country. Libeskind’s work is expressive, innovative, and, most importantly, has the power to tell the story of the past while connecting to the future of the city.” The museum will house works solely by Lithuanian artists, ranging from the 1960s through the present day. Works include: Vincas Kisarauskas "Falling Broken Man" 1965; Arvydas Saltenis "Woman" 1972; and Kostas Dereskevicius "Mailboxes" 1987; photographs by Antanas Sutkus "J. P. Sartre ir S. de Beauvoir in Lithuania"; video by Deimantas Narkevicius "The Dud Effect." Being a Modern Art Center in a historic city, the design takes into account the local architecture both formally and materially, according to Libeskind. For instance, the structure is comprised of two intertwining forms that create indoor and outdoor spaces, while the exterior is clad in white concrete—already a prevalent material throughout the city. An interior courtyard cuts through the entire building, featuring a staircase that runs to a public planted roof and sculpture garden which connect to the street-level piazza. “The Modern Art Center not only creates a home for this extraordinary collection, but the design connects the galleries to the street and the urban fabric—giving the citizens of Vilnius a new cultural center infused with public space,” Libeskind said in a statement. The design calls for floor-to-ceiling glazing that will flood the interior galleries with light, and a 16-foot cantilever will provide shading, regulating the southern facing exposure. The north side has a three-story, 33-foot-tall glazed entrance, which opens into a sun-filled lobby. An open floor plan connects all the galleries, in which 10,800 square-feet are dedicated to both permanent and temporary exhibitions. The design also includes a café, bookstore, educational areas, auditorium, and a storage and administrative space. The Lithuanian Modern Art Center will begin construction in 2017 and should be complete by early 2019.
While the world has been discussing how much Drake’s “Hotline Bling” music video borrowed from James Turrell’s installations (Hint: a lot*), ARoS Aarhus Art Museum in Denmark announced that the artist is collaborating with Danish architecture firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen on the museum’s new expansion. “The Next Level” expansion project will contain a 12,900-square-foot subterranean gallery and two semi-subterranean art installations, The Sphere and The Dome. Intended to “bring the museum into the elite world of modern art museums,” the extension will cost an estimated $32 million. Schmidt Hammer Lassen originally designed the space in the early 2003 and is working with the museum and the artist to retain the building’s original integrity so the expansion will feel seamless and natural. The firm also worked with Olafur Eliasson on Your Rainbow Panorama, which opened last year. “The Next Level project will develop the museum horizontally in contrast to the existing vertical movement and it is exciting to work with the great lines spanning from the river to the square of the Aarhus Music Hall. Our studio is not just designing a new room for a new artwork, we are co-creating the space and the installation simultaneously with James Turrell,” Morten Schmidt, founding partner at Schmidt Hammer Lassen said in a press release. It seems that Turrell is having quite the week. In addition to the AroS expansion, it was also reported that Yvette Lee of the Guggenheim and Whitney Museum will be the new director of the Roden Crater in Arizona (The crater’s completion date has still not been released.) Responding to Drake's video set*, Turrell had a few select words. "While I am truly flattered to learn that Drake f*cks with me," wrote Turrell in a statement from his lawyer via Vice, "I nevertheless wish to make clear that neither I nor any of my woes was involved in any way in the making of the ‘Hotline Bling' video." If you want to decide for yourself, we recommend watching the music video below and then glancing at a few installations. (If you want to go further down the bizarre rabbit hole, AN has also previously reported rumors from CityLab that “Hotline Bling” is about poor city planning.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxpDa-c-4Mc