It’s good to see some good old-fashioned roasting, and that’s what the Westside Urban Forum’s WUFFIES awards are all about. This year’s event, held earlier this month at the Los Angeles Times of all places, was full of the usual snipes on botched RFPs and difficult County Supervisors. But it also got in some good jibes at architecture’s expense. Our favorite: the Darth Vader Award, which went both to Peter Zumthor’s foreboding, jet black LACMA expansion and to Renzo Piano’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Museum with its helmet-looking theater bulging out of the old May Company Building.
Posts tagged with "Peter Zumthor":
The Los Angeles Board of Supervisors yesterday approved the contribution of $125 million in bond funds to LACMA's $600 million makeover, which, under the guidance of Peter Zumthor, would tear down most of the campus and snake over Wilshire Boulevard. The new 410,000 square foot building would open in 2023, with the remaining funding coming from private donations. According to the LA Times, LACMA director Michael Govan told the Board of Supervisors that the museum's older buildings “are really ailing. They are not worth saving. The new building will be much more energy efficient and accessible to a broad public.” According to LACMA the campus' existing buildings would need $246 million to $320 million for upgrades. And so in a city of teardowns, the biggest museum in town seems to be clearing the way for one of its own. Meeting their demise would be William Pereira's Ahmanson, Hammer, and Bing buildings, as well as Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer's 1986 addition. Buildings remaining would include Renzo Piano's new BCAM and Resnick buildings and Bruce Goff's Japanese Pavilion. The project is still far from moving ahead. LACMA spokesperson Miranda Carroll recently told AN that there is close to a year remaining before the project's feasibility concludes, and the museum's board still must vote to proceed. The agreement (PDF) with the supervisors also provided about $7.5 million for feasibility and planning studies.
The surprises keep coming at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). After learning that the museum plans to shift its proposed Peter Zumthor–designed building southward (partially bridging Wilshire Boulevard) to avoid damaging the La Brea Tar Pits, now comes news that the museum is hoping to partner with LA's transit agency, METRO, to build a tower across the street. LACMA Director Michael Govan's choice for an architect? Frank Gehry. "That's my dream," Govan told the LA Times' Christopher Hawthorne. "I'm jealous that New York has a Gehry tower and we don't." The tower would be located near Wilshire and Fairfax, near the site of the current A+D Architecture + Design Museum, which is being torn down to make way for a staging ground for Metro's Purple Line expansion. Ironically Govan said he hopes to build his own Architecture and Design wing there. No word on the tower's design or height, or on whether it will even happen. But Gehry has acknowledged discussing the plan with Govan. "I'm open to it," he told Hawthorne. So far Govan and Gehry have been unavailable for comment to AN. There are so many obstacles standing in the way of these grand schemes. But a post on LACMA's blog points out that if they go ahead, one block of LA's Miracle Mile will contain designs by three Pritzker Prize winners— Gehry, Zumthor, and Renzo Piano, who not only designed two new buildings for LACMA, but is designing (now solo) the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences museum.
Building the Picture National Gallery London April 30 through September 2014 At the end of April, the National Gallery will present a new exhibit spotlighting the handling of architecture in various paintings by prominent Italian renaissance artists. Building The Picture will feature works by Duccio, Botticelli, Crivelli and others chosen from the museum's permanent collection along with paintings gathered from other institutions in the U.K. These 14th, 15th, and 16th century images will be complemented by a series of five films that offer contemporary ideas on the theme of real and imagined architecture from Peter Zumthor, filmmaker Martha Fiennes, art historian T. J. Clark, film historian John David Rhodes, and computer game cinematic director Peter Gornstein. The Renaissance bore witness to several breakthroughs in terms of realistic representation, particularly in the realm of architecture. Techniques like perspective enabled artists to depict increasingly life-like architectural compositions. Such skills were used towards the rendering of real structures or the creation of imagined and compelling architectural scenes that still maintained believable spatial qualities. Despite these developments, the period was still largely lacking in the concept of an architectural education, meaning that prominent figures like Brunelleschi and Michelangelo trained in other artistic fields before venturing into building design. Exhibit curators see a contemporary resurgence in these blurred boundaries between art and architecture, a fluidity that is reinforced by the diverse roster of figures contributing to the show's film program. Within Renaissance Art History, architectural compositions traditionally receive second billing to the human figures that populate them. Building the Picture hopes to show how in many cases, buildings acted as foundations for the resultant paintings, dictating the layout and direction of the remainder of the work. The exhibit opens in London on April 30. It will be accompanied by an online catalog permanently available on the National Gallery website.
The rumor-mill has been churning non-stop over LACMA director Michael Govan’s and architect Peter Zumthor’s plans for the museum. Basically it looks like they are planning to take LACMA apart and start over; an effort that failed when attempted by Rem Koolhaas and OMA back in the early 2000s. The full scope of the plans will be unveiled in June, with LACMA’s exhibition The Presence of the Past: Peter Zumthor Reconsiders LACMA. But for now we’ve gleaned that under Zumthor’s plan, not only would there be a new indoor/outdoor art park, but four of the museum’s midcentury structures would be replaced by “curvaceous modern glass structures.” That basically includes everything but the Bruce Goff pavilion and Renzo Piano’s new structures. Let’s see if the second time’s the charm.
The Wall Street Journal recently published a confirmation of two things we've been hearing whispers of for years: One, Michael Govan is more of a builder than a museum director; and two, that Govan and Peter Zumthor are planning to basically take LACMA apart and start over. The full scope of the plans will be unveiled in June, with LACMA's exhibition, The Presence of the Past: Peter Zumthor Reconsiders LACMA. But for now the story has gleaned that under Zumthor's plan, four of the museum's midcentury structures will be replaced by "curvaceous modern glass structures." Other new pieces will include an "indoor-outdoor art park," while many of the new glass facilities—which could allow art to be seen from Wilshire Boulevard—will be contained under one roof and be covered with solar panels. As much as 80 percent of the art, Govan hopes, will be on display to the public. Stay tuned, Angelenos. It's about to get crazy out here.
Pritzker winner Peter Zumthor will be awarded the 2013 Royal Institute of British Architects Gold Medal, according to Building Design. Known for his meticulously-wrought projects like the thermal baths in Vals, Switzerland, the Brother Klaus Field Chapel in Eifel, Germany, the Bregenz Kunsthall in Austria, and the witch trial memorial in Norway, Zumthor is now designing a major expansion at LACMA. “We debate each of the six shortlisted candidates in turn then look at their writing and their influence in acadaemia, but there wasn’t one clear person who stood out,” RIBA president Angela Brady told BD. Zumthor was chosen for his body of work and his influence on architects around the world, which, given his singular status and almost hermit-like reputation, speaks to the power of his architecture.
This year’s Serpentine pavilion by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor opens on Friday, July 1. The first images reveal not just a simple structure of humble materials but also a new type of collaboration for the Serpentine series. Zumthor invited the Dutch planting designer Piet Oudolf to join the project, and although Zumthor retains top billing, his design gives Oudolf center stage. Oudolf recently shared a plan with us of his vibrant garden scheme that forms the heart of the timber-frame structure. Oudolf’s garden is in the center of the pavilion, whose walls are wrapped with burlap and coated in a grainy black paste. Visitors enter through doorways staggered along a set of exterior and interior walls, moving from the dark, shadowy hallway into a bright, flower-filled atrium that is open to the sky, with Prussian blue benches running around the perimeter and scattered folding chairs and tables designed by Zumthor. Over 20 varieties of densely packed plantings, from elegant irises to untamed grasses, will grow to various heights, said Oudolf, with some chosen to add “vertical accents” and act as a screen, alternately obscuring and revealing activity on the opposite side of the atrium. And while the blooms will be visually arresting, they will not be overly fragrant. “Scent attracts bees and insects, so we really thought of scent as secondary rather than as a key part of the design. There is scent of course, but it’s just a backdrop to the experience,” said Oudolf, noting that the 1200-square-foot garden should comfortably accommodate 30 to 40 visitors at a time, and that the multiple entrances will ensure easy circulation around the garden bed. Oudolf said that Zumthor, who received the Serpentine commission last October, contacted him in January while visiting the Netherlands. The two had never worked together, but “He already knew he wanted to do something that created a particular atmosphere, and he had an idea for a kind of closed pavilion with a garden inside,” said Oudolf of Zumthor’s concept for a “hortus conclusus”—a secluded garden within a garden. Julia Peyton-Jones, director of the Serpentine, said the project “brings to mind Zumthor’s Bruder Klaus Chapel in Germany, which he’s called ‘a small space to be quiet,’” while co-director Hans Ulrich Obrist compared the context of the Zumthor-Oudolf collaboration to a Russian matryoschka doll: the pavilion garden sits within the larger grounds of the gallery, which itself is tucked into Kensington Gardens. Oudolf is best known in the U.S. for his planting design for the Phase I of the High Line in New York, where an unmanicured mix of indigenous grasses and flowers almost appear to grow wild. While the plants differ, Oudolf said that his garden for the Serpentine has a similar “unorganized, spontaneous” effect. For more details on the opening, check out Daniel Ayat's on-site coverage.
Today the Serpentine Gallery released the first renderings of Swiss architect Peter Zumthor's plans for its annual 2011 pavilion. Zumthor has recruited Piet Oudolf, the Dutch landscape designer who helped transform the High Line in New York, to work with him on the concept of a "hortus conclusus" (in case you skipped Latin class, that's a secret garden within a garden). Oudolf's garden will form the heart of an atrium-style building constructed of a "lightweight timber frame wrapped with scrim and coated with a black paste mixed with sand" that is intended to be a cloistered retreat removed from the noise and smells of London's urban environment, according to a press statement. Visitors will process through doorways staggered along exterior and interior walls, moving from the dark, shadowy space into the bright, flower-filled landscape."This experience will be intense and memorable, as will the materials themselves--full of memory and time," said Zumthor. The pavilion will be the first building by Zumthor, 2009 winner of the Pritzker Prize, to be completed in the UK and will only be open to the public from July through October. Sure to be a summertime attraction, rather than a serene garden visitors might find a not-so-secret hortus populus.
Increasingly, the architects chosen each year to design the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London hail from a pool of the usual suspects. This past summer, it was Jean Nouvel. SANAA, and Frank Gehry ran up the mast in 2009 and 2008 respectively. The 2011 pavilion, we hear, will be by Swiss mystic architect, Peter Zumthor. There’s certainly abiding fascination in a series of heavyweights forced to design a lightweight structure on the double-quick (about six months) but the young and restless might actually have more to explore and certainly more to gain than the big names. Then again, more than most, Zumthor has maintained his mystique as an architect. Lightweight he is not: For the 2002 Venice architecture biennale, he submitted a six ton concrete model of his Cologne museum that was too hefty to be contained in the vast Arsenale.