Posts tagged with "Peter Cook":

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Check out the best architecture book releases of the fall

As the leaves change color, the nights lengthen, and the temperatures drop, a crop of new book releases are hitting the shelves with fall reading that's are guaranteed to keep readers warm for the winter. Want to learn more about Philip Johnson’s bombastic early life and work for Donald Trump? How about a deep dive into the history of modernism and a treatise on how it’s ruined society, or a look into stark, cold concrete buildings around the world (for when the weather gets unseasonably warm)? AN has compiled a list of the hottest new releases for autumn, so pour a glass of cider, light the fireplace, and dive in—or better yet, start your holiday shopping early. The Man in the Glass House: Philip Johnson, Architect of the Modern Century Mark Lamster Little, Brown and Company MSRP $35.00 Nine years in the making, Lamster’s deep dive into the life and career of Philip Johnson pays off in spades. Johnson is presented as a quintessential American architect and a walking mess of contradictions throughout the book; a populist born to an upper-class family who was a millionaire before the age of 25, a gay man who fervently supported the Nazis, and a patron of the arts who ultimately went on to help Donald Trump leave his signature across Manhattan. Lamster’s meticulously researched biography also entwines itself with the history of modern art and the life of the Museum of Modern Art, much as Johnson himself did. Atlas of Brutalist Architecture Phaidon Editors Phaidon Press MSRP $150.00 More than just the ultimate coffee table book, the Atlas of Brutalist Architecture claims to be a final compendium on built, and demolished, brutalist structures. At a whopping 10 by 14 inches, the atlas features 878 buildings from 798 architects across 102 countries, reproduced in high-contrast black and white photos. The oversize collection puts each building’s distinctive shape front and center and creates a study of form across the entire Brutalist movement. Cocktails and Conversations: Dialogues in Architectural Design AIA New York $25 in-person pickup, $30 shipped For the last six years, the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) has been hosting a Cocktails and Conversations series, treating guests like Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, Signe Nielsen, and Daniel Libeskind to custom-crafted cocktails and engaging them in conversation about the state of architecture. In Cocktails and Conversations (the book version), AIA New York has reproduced all of their dialogues since 2012 and included the accompanying cocktail recipes. Ever want to drink like Morris Adjmi or Charles Renfro? Now you can. And keep an eye out for moderating appearances from AN’s William Menking and Matt Shaw. Exhibit A: Exhibitions That Transformed Architecture, 1948-2000 Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen Phaidon Press MSRP $79.95 In today’s world of constant architectural biennales, biennials, showcases, retrospectives, and pop-up shows, it’s fair to say that exhibition architecture is a language all of its own. In Exhibit A, Pelkonen charts a decade-by-decade breakdown of the 80 most important shows from 1948 to 2000 in a lavishly illustrated compendium. The book’s scope is worldwide, tracking the evolution of exhibition architecture as well as how that language eventually bled back into the architectural mainstream. Syria Before the Deluge Peter Aaron Blurb $149.00 Architectural photographer Peter Aaron is no stranger to capturing the essence of a building, a task he took up whole-heartedly during a 2009 tour through Palmyra, Aleppo, Damascus, and other important archeological sites throughout Syria. Unfortunately, as Aaron notes, those places are all notable today for having been totally destroyed, with most of their ancient treasures lost, looted, or inaccessible. Using an infrared camera, Aaron shot ancient ruins and modern Syrian cityscapes in vivid black-and-white, capturing both a long-gone world and contemporary life in a place that would soon after be changed forever. Michael Webb: Two Journeys Edited by Ashley Simone Lars Müller Publishers MSRP $45.00 As Peter Cook noted in his review of Two Journeys, Michael Webb’s life, much like the book itself, is rich in anecdote and nuance. The biography celebrates Webb’s life as a polymath who dabbled in art, drawing, and design in equal measure, painting the founding Archigram member as more of an eclectic inventor than architect. Two Journeys is an exercise in showing, not telling, using Webb’s work and particularities to paint a fuller picture of the man himself. Much like the gathering held to celebrate the launch of the book itself, Two Journeys is full of fond memories about Webb from his contemporaries and friends. Archigram - The Book Warren Chalk, Peter Cook, David Greene, Reyne Banham, Michael Sorkin, Michael Webb Circa Press November 14, 2018 MSRP $135.00 Functional meets fun in this comprehensive retrospective of London’s most famous avant-garde design collective. Archigram’s theoretical work paved the way for some of the most influential works of the late-twentieth century, including the Centre Pompidou, and the group was ultimately recognized for their contributions with a RIBA Gold Medal in 2002. Archigram, designed by member Dennis Crompton and featuring essays from all of the collective’s members, is as psychedelic and forward-thinking as the work contained inside. The large-format monograph is a celebration of the collective’s 14 years together and includes well-known projects such as the Living City as well as lesser-known projects and concepts. With the advantage of time and foresight, the collection puts Archigram’s ‘60s and ‘70s work in an entirely new context.
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Peter Cook’s Obituary of Zaha Hadid

THE MEMORY OF ZAHA

Zaha : the Great Light extinguished. From every point of view exceptional : As a direct, original, fearless personality. With a more than adequate supply of charm and humour. Used with more discretion than blandness. IMMENSE talent. Such that it either inspired, bewildered, or caused deep jealousy (that manifest itself in lesser talent to pick away at her motives, reputation or personality)

Thirteen years ago, the other Giant : Cedric Price, died. Different animal, but leaving a similar void. London – and the architecture world – now seems lost : we are now berift of that most precious and mysterious quality : power through inspiration and talent plus bags of personality that rendered both of them as beacons of hope for architecture. ‘Sticking to one’s guns’ is an amazing gift. Zaha told it as it is : she had the priority of a clear, powerful and ever-poetic architecture. Many tried to copy it but lacked her deftness of line. And the line was MORE than a line : it so easily and frequently resulted in a spatial exploration of extraordinary newness : the wonder of the interior of the Alyev Centre in Baku remains in one’s mind as a dream. The sharp, clean, razor-like dart of the Vitra Fire Station has the purity of an ‘early period’ Zaha building – but you’re actually inside it, living the dream of the drawing. From the first years when this conspicuously talented recent student became the lively attachment to Rem Koolhaas and Elia Zenghelis’ young OMA setup, you were aware of a strength of talent bursting out. Her trajectory and example stands there beckoning the many women (now maybe a majority) who work in architecture : if she can do it, they can do it . Let’s hope one or two of them out there can blend talent with personality – the latter gift being a necessary factor in order to sustain the pressure in this, most contrary, profession. A loyal friend who could also be a good laugh. Peter Cook 4.1.16 Editor's note: This piece will also appear in The Architectural Review.
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Peter Cook shares his hand drawings of the newly opened drawing studio at Bournemouth University

The new drawing studio at Bournemouth University, designed by CRAB (Cook Robotham Architectural Bureau), is the first of its kind to be built in the U.K. for 100 years. It aims to be accessible to all students form across the university “to share and observe others’ work and interact with those from other creative fields.” The building, as AN reported yesterday, is designed to reflect the central theme of light and as its architect Peter Cook claims “in the tradition of looking and drawing.” There is no better architect than Peter Cook to design this artists' space since he has been breaking down academic disciplines for decades and has deeply held and thoughtful ideas about the role of drawing in contemporary production. His book, Drawing: The Motive Force of Architecture, details the rapid change in drawing technique in the contemporary world due to “the increasing sophistication of available software and also the ways in which ‘hand drawing’ and the ‘digital’ are being eclipsed by new hybrids – injecting drawing with a fresh momentum.” He has thought a great deal about the act of drawing and CRAB has designed a building of simple construction that foregrounds in a simple and direct way this primal act of creativity. This is a building one wants (we have not yet) to see in the light of day. In the meantime, we have been sent a series of drawings by Peter Cook on display here.
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Peter Cook’s first building in the U.K. celebrates hand drawing with a bright blue studio space

Archigrammer Peter Cook has returned to his childhood home, Bournemouth, on the South coast of England, to construct his first building in the United Kingdom. The building is a bright blue drawing studio—an addition to an existing complex at the Arts University of Bournemouth, Cook’s alma mater. Built at a time when digital drawing is in the ascendency, this building returns back to support the craft and art of hand drawing. It features both “a large north-light in the studio tradition, a rear clerestory that throws a softer light back from the rear wall, as well as softer lighting from the east and a graded wash of light that comes along the curve of the entrance.” The drawing studio was opened today in a ceremony that featured one of Cook’s best known students Dame Zaha Hadid who proclaimed “I simply love this building.”
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On View> Drawings by Hadid, Tschumi, Gehry, Libeskind, and Koolhaas are being exhibited right now in St. Louis

Drawing Ambience: Alvin Boyarsky and the Architectural Association Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum Washington University in St. Louis 1 Brookings Dr, St Louis, MO Through January 4th The Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum in St. Louis is currently exhibiting early drawings from some of the world’s leading architects including Zaha Hadid, Bernard Tschumi, Frank Gehry, Daniel Libeskind, and Rem Koolhaas. The works come from the private collection of the late Alvin Boyarsky who chaired the Architectural Association School of Architecture (AA) in London from 1971 to 1990. The collection includes about 40 prints and drawings from the architects, and nine limited-edition folios published by the AA. Those folios include works from Peter Cook, Coop Himmelblau, and Peter Eisenman. “Drawing Ambience offers a rare glimpse into a pivotal moment in architectural history and the imaginative spirit of drawing that was and continues to be instrumental to the development of the field,” said the Kemper Museum in a statement. The exhibit was co-organized with the Museum of Art Rhode Island School of Design and will travel to Providence in April. This is the first public museum exhibition of Boyarsky’s collection.
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Beauty Bites Back with Peter Cook's Crab

Peter Cook--the real one from England, not the Hampton socialite architect impersonator--was in town last week and showed us some of the work from his firm Crab. Sir Peter was here to appear on a panel at Pratt Institute for the new book by Yael Reisner with Fleur Watson, Architecture and Beauty: Conversations with Architects About a Troubled Relationship. Cook and fellow beauticians including Will Alsop, Gaetano Pesce, Lebbeus Woods, KOL/MAC, and Hernan Diaz Alonso all took the subject head-on, and proved they think about aesthetics and form up front in the design process, though they seldom will admit to it. They did nothing to dispel Reisner’s thesis that even though, since the advent of modernism, only principles of rationalism are allowed to be used in explaining the building arts, architecture is still primarily a formal practice in the spirit of Einstein, who said that for him “visual imagery occurred first and words followed." The day after the symposium, I drove Cook to New Haven to see the two Stirling exhibitions currently on view at the Yale Center for British Art and the School of Architecture, and his review will appear in an upcoming issue of The Architect’s Newspaper. On the way up to New Haven, we talked about the work on his new university building in Vienna, and the unhappy state of his projects in Madrid (stopped during construction) and a theater in Verbania, Italy (stalled for political reasons), but he was pleased about his second-place scheme for the Taiwan Tower Conceptual Design international competition and its $65,000 prize. The tower, which is based on “the growing of algae in layers of droplets,” proves that after many years of producing legendary drawings and ideas with Archigram, and serving as chair of the Bartlett School in London, Cook’s Kunsthaus Graz (2000–2003) was no fluke, and that he can design powerful contemporary structures.
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Lisbon 2010> Portugal Talks Housing at 2nd Triennale

Under the banner Let’s Talk About Houses, the second Lisbon Architecture Triennale opened last night in three different venues around the Portuguese capital. A beautifully renovated electric generating plant featured the results of two competitions: one for the low-income immigrant Portuguese community Cova da Moura, and a second for a house in Luanda, Angola. Meanwhile, a second exhibit on artists working in the realm of architecture is being staged at the contemporary Museo do Chiado (I’ll have more on these two shows in a subsequent post). The most ambitious of the three exhibitions, however, is on view at the Museu Coleção Berardo along the city’s architecturally fascinating waterfront in a district called Belem. Between North and South, as the title of that show suggests, is an exhibition that wants to highlight “housing conditions and new solutions found in various regions of the world.” But it is heavily weighted toward architectural movements and designs in the northern hemisphere, with only a general analysis of urban planning and living conditions in Portugal’s former colonial cities of Recife (Brazil), Luanda (Angola), and Maputo (Mozambique). The northern hemisphere, as conceived by triennale curator Delfim Sardo, begins with a display—or really recreated installation—of housing proposals by Alison and Peter Smithson regarding the House of the Future, their Valley Section Diagram, and best of all, a document of their Patio and Pavilion project created for the This Is Tomorrow exhibition with photographer Nigel Henderson and Eduardo Paolozzi. I enjoyed these installations, but they seem a slightly arbitrary place to begin a show on northern and southern housing in 2010. Many Portuguese architects, however, claim the Smithsons are little known in the country, and the focus on their “patio and pavilion” concept certainly has a resonance in this Mediterranean-like climate. In any event, rather than focusing on architectural ideas, Sardo smartly preferred to highlight their “inhabitation” by residents. Thus, even in the section on Portuguese housing solutions by Alvaro Siza and Soute de Moura, we are given images of views out of the houses, non-architect designed furniture (the type rarely seen in architectural renderings), and taped conversations by residents of the apartments. But the show really comes alive when one walks into the section titled The Nordic Connection. Curated by Peter Cook, who predictably goes against the grain of the show, the section features no houses but the most colorful and odd (not a glass box anywhere) collection of wonderfully quirky buildings that capture a new young Scandinavian attitude. Cook’s selection includes a playful, flat-packed, and redeployable adventure playground and a magical children’s camp built into rocks and trees, both by Norway’s Helen & Hard Architects. Snøhetta’s Peter Dass Museum and a bright orange exhibition space in Malmo by Tham & Videgard add to the fun of this exhibition. Unfortunately, the show continues with a deadly boring one-room display of Vittorio Lampugnani’s glass-box Novartis campus in Basel. The one revelation for a non-Portuguese viewer was the section on SAAL (Servico de Apoio Ambulatorio Local), a government-supported movement of radical architects in Portugal between 1974 and 1976 that brandished the slogan “Houses Yes? Shacks No!” and fought to create better housing for the impoverished population at the time of the Portuguese revolution. The only problem is that this “utopian” movement really produced very little (none of which was on view in this exhibition) in the way of architecture. Though Alvaro Siza was a participant in SAAL and produced several Porto housing projects credited to the movement, the problem for those who want to deemphasize form in favor of political and cultural analysis and critique is that they often forget architecture. The small part of the exhibition that focused on the southern hemisphere was in fact this type of architectural thinking applied to urban analysis, but while it’s interesting to read on a page and important analytical information, as an exhibition it was barely worth focusing on as a viewer. Had the show started with SAAL as a point of departure to ask all the questions that both formalists and policy analysts in the profession want to focus on today, it would have made a great triennial and Lisbon an important center of architectural thought.
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Lisbon's Next Up on the Triennale Trail

There are so many architecture exhibitions today that call themselves “biennales” and “triennales” that the words have little meaning anymore. In most cases, rather than use the vernacular local word for an every two- or three-year exhibition (say, biannual) they use the Italian word, hoping I guess that the special magic of Venice will rub off on their event. Thus I am in Lisbon, Portugal today for the Architecture Triennale that the organizers are calling “Let’s Talk About Houses.” The largest exhibition in the event at the Museu Coleccao Berardo is made up of six separate and discrete parts. This includes a recreation of Alison and Peter Smithson’s House of the Future projects from 1956, and Houses Yes! Sacks No!, the story of Mobile Local Support Service, a Portuguese movement launched by architects “responding to the struggle waged in the streets by poor residents during the hot summer of 1975.” Finally, there will be installations based on Vittorio Lampugnani’s Novartis campus in Basel, Switzerland; a show on urban development in African and Brazilian cities; and The Nordic Connection on new work in Scandinavia curated by Archigrammer Peter Cook. There seems to be a lot more going on—stay tuned for more tomorrow!
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Plug-In City Lives!

Dennis Crompton and Michael Webb plugged into the London launch of the Archigram website on Monday from New York City via a Skype connection to Westminster University. The two Archigrammers were meant to be present at the launch, but the Eyjafjallajökull volcano grounded their planes and kept them from joining Peter Cook and David Greene, who was scheduled to be at the event. So Crompton walked the assembled Londoners through the website from his Skype-enabled computer screen in Lower Manhattan. Crompton pointed out the significant but still burgeoning content to be found on the site and was able to see and hear the audience reacting to the virtual tour on his screen, while the audience watched Dennis and Michael on their large screen. Westminster organizers Kester Rattenbury, Clare Hamman, and Murray Fraser described the cross-Atlantic evening as “very Archigram,” but Cook was not sure if something was missing, and wondered if the real Archigram spirit was not more alive in various out-of-the-way pockets of experiment and energy than on this evening on Regent Street. For his part, Webb thanked those who worked on the site and came out to the event, but Greene was nowhere to be seen or heard—at least on this side of the Atlantic. A second launch in New York with Archigrammers reporting from London is in the works—and perhaps Greene might even walk us through his version of the site?
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Eavesdrop CA 06

PACKING UP CAMP Now that Donald Fisher’s CAMP project in San Francisco is officially dead, talk is swirling about where the Gap founder’s art collection will go. The whispers have focused on one obvious suspect: SFMOMA, which has already begun planning a 100,000-square-foot expansion that could get even bigger. One rumor has it that the museum is talking to the city about acquiring an adjoining fire station and building a new one elsewhere in return, in order to offer the Fishers their own digs. SFMOMA director Neal Benezra coyly parried questions with the comment: “We welcome the opportunity to partner with the Fishers to find a home for their collection as part of an expanded SFMOMA campus.” PEARLS BEFORE SCI-ARC Few talking heads can dent an architectural ego like critic, curator, and professor Jeff Kipnis, who moderated a chat at SCI-Arc on July 29 with Eric Owen Moss and Thom Mayne about Moss’ new installation at the school. Among Kipnis’ gems, he praised Moss’ garrulousness with the bon mot that he got paid by the hour for such events, and marveled at Moss and Mayne’s ability to argue with themselves—not among themselves, mind you, but each with his own self! Days later SCI-Arc hosted another panel, this time with Moss, Mayne, Hitoshi Abe, Peter Cook, Wolf Prix, and Peter Noever, among others. The event had the makings of a navel-gazing nightmare, but Eavesdrop promptly fell asleep and can’t recall a thing. Honest. RAISE HIGH THE WINDOW WALLS Everyone adores the Center for Architecture in New York, the storefront space run by the AIA New York chapter that draws more activity than any other such facility. Word has it that AIA Los Angeles is among those green with envy, which could mean a departure from its eighth-floor digs in Mid-Wilshire. The group is said to have hired a real estate consultant to scout locations nearer to Museum Mile. Will Wright, head of legislative affairs at AIA/LA, was semi-mum on the matter: “We have long-range plans to evaluate the opportunity to evolve into an Architecture Center.” Roger that, Will. Easy does it, we always say.
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Dark Days, indeed

  It seemed like a good idea at the time: After a long day looking at work and talking to folks, why not tag along with some people more glamorous than we are and head to the Dark Side Club, a nightly series of gatherings organized around the Biennale. Hard to get an invite? Cool! Starts at 11 and continues all night? We're not as old as we look, dammit! In a fantastic palazzo that no one can seem to find? Right on! Prosecco and chocolates? Hell, yeah! Lectures to a silent and reverential crowd at midnight? Ahem... We may have snoozed through much of our college art history lectures, but isn't being part of a self-consciously avant-garde group supposed to be a hell of a lot of fun? The idea behind the Dark Side Club is a solid one—interesting people drinking cocktails and talking about interesting things in a beautiful room—but in practice, it was pretty solemn and somewhat humorless. The roster for the three days includes Greg Lynn, Patrick Schumacher, Mirko Zardini, all interesting folks, and the whole shebang is organzied by Jeffrey Kipnis. We were sitting near Peter Cook of Archigram fame—and we bet those guys knew a thing or too about constructive troublemaking—and a pal asked him if the program the night before had been as dry. "This is positively WET compared to last night!" he responded, and promptly fell sound asleep in his chair.