Posts tagged with "Postmodernism":

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Could L.A. get a second Hollywood sign?

A newly-released report aimed at finding ways to increase public access to Los Angeles’s Hollywood sign without impacting surrounding residential neighborhoods has made a few surprising recommendations, including the potential of erecting a duplicate sign on the opposite slope of the Hollywood Hills favoring the San Fernando Valley. The report, released earlier this week, was drafted by consultants Dixon Resources Unlimited at the behest of Los Angeles City Council District 4, amid complaints from local residents who would like to see public access to the site restricted. Homeowners in the areas surrounding the sign have complained of higher rates of traffic over recent years, as the sign’s popularity has boomed in the fitness-crazed Instagram age. The sign itself is not formally recognized as a public space, but many people access the grounds via a network of public hiking trails throughout Griffith Park. The sign—visible from across the region and perhaps best seen in sequence, coming in and out of view from twisty Mulholland Drive—is widely photographed from within surrounding neighborhoods, creating traffic and endangering pedestrians. In 2017, the city closed the popular Beachwood Canyon trailhead that leads to the sign, due to neighborhood outcry. Although vehicular access has been maintained to the trailhead, hikers and sign watchers traveling on foot are now instructed to use alternative entrances to the park. Still, however, demand to reach the site is ever-increasing and the City is searching for potential solutions that benefit both sides. The report recommends 29 potential fixes. Many of the proposed solutions involve instituting common sense improvements like additional wayfinding and pedestrian-friendly designs. Other potential solutions, like increasing parking fines and blocking views of the sign from residential streets using new plantings, are directly aimed at making it more difficult to see or access the sign at all. Several suggestions, however, stand out as more highly visible initiatives that would represent substantial investments in public infrastructure while also re-tooling the Hollywood sign’s significance in the city’s urban imaginary as a physical place rather than simply something to observe from afar. Among the larger-scale potential solutions in the report, perhaps most radical is the notion of creating a second Hollywood sign along the northern slope of the Hollywood Hills overlooking the San Fernando Valley. The duplicate sign, the report contends, could “spread out the impact of photo-seekers to both sides of the park.” The report also suggests the potential of adding more than one replica, as well as several ideas for creating a visitor center, viewing platform, transportation terminal, and even a network of gondolas to reach the sign. For now, the recommendations will be taken under consideration; a timeline for the final selection of actionable concepts and their implementation has not been released.
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Halprin’s Heritage Park Plaza in Texas will receive complete restoration

Landscape architect Lawrence Halprin loved cities, so it was only fitting that his cliffside Fort Worth, Texas, commission, Heritage Park Plaza (HPP), was the first-ever item on the National Register of Historic Places designated solely as landscape architecture.

Located on the northern edge of downtown Fort Worth, on a half-acre atop a bluff on the Trinity River, HPP is a series of concrete walls, a rambling collection of ceiling-less rooms on the original site of the 19th-century military fortification for which Fort Worth is named. At one time, water, funneled through concrete channels, unified the design and offered a symbolic connection to the river. If you’ve been to the FDR Memorial in Washington, D.C. (unveiled in 1997), the design here will ring familiar to you; Halprin applied the approach honed in Texas to honor the 32nd president.

Completed in 1980, Heritage Park Plaza was the first project where Halprin began to think in a postmodern way. On-site, he worked with artisans to interpret the location’s history and, by extension, the city’s heritage. In a 1971 master plan for the City of Fort Worth, Halprin originally conceived of HPP as one of a series of public spaces linking the Trinity River to Philip Johnson’s Water Gardens, fewer than five miles away.

The city-owned parklet had deteriorated badly by 2007, when it closed to the public. But why was such an important work allowed to fall apart in the first place?

Reasons abound. Unlike the Water Gardens downtown, HPP’s relative remoteness makes it harder to visit, while people who do come must cross roads and traffic to access the site. The original concrete, though, is in pretty good shape. The real problem, surprisingly, came from the trees themselves. Halprin planted a central bosque with 11 live oaks, a species that sheds its leaves gradually, and consequently a basin for the water feature’s mechanical system became clogged with debris. The new trees proposed for the site—cedar elms—drop their leaves all at once, making cleaning easier to plan.

To address these issues and others, the city hired two local firms to collaborate on a comprehensive restoration: Landscape architects at Studio Outside and architects at Bennett Benner Partners will restore the park, using Halprin’s original specifications (some unrealized in the final built form).

It will cost an estimated $3 million just to repair HPP, but plans are on hold—for a good reason. Although almost all of the construction documentation for the restoration was complete, stakeholders realized that to ensure the park’s long-term survival, a master plan was needed for attracting people to and rebuilding the landscape of the whole area.

Among the changes, the team is moving Main Street and adding a forecourt that can be used for events. The move, said Tary Arterburn, principal of Studio Outside, “will bring life to the park that it never really had.”

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WeWork takes over London’s iconic Number One Poultry building

Co-working company WeWork has added London’s iconic Number One Poultry to its growing roster of historically significant buildings, and will reportedly convert all 110,000-square feet of the postmodern landmark into creative office space. Clad in alternating bands of pink and yellow limestone and most recognizable for its periscope-shaped tower above the main entrance, One Poultry has been a distinctive part of London’s urban fabric since its completion in 1997. Completed five years after the death of its architect, James Stirling, the building has gone from being an object of public scorn to being designated as a historical structure worthy of preservation. Earlier this year the building became the youngest ever to win Grade II* historical preservation status, even as the Financial Times reports that it was “voted as the fifth-worst building in London by Time Out in 2005.” The site itself has a contentious history, as Stirling’s playful scheme famously beat out a modernist tower proposed by Mies van der Rohe after public opposition scuttled Rohe's 18-story glass and bronze building. One Poultry is currently undergoing an interior and lobby renovation by London-based BuckleyGrayYeoman Architects in an attempt to attract new tenants. The re-situated office space seems like a natural fit for WeWork, as BuckleyGrayYeoman has managed to fit a more conventional design into Stirling’s bulging and unequal volumes by opening up the floors and exposing the concrete columns and trusses. The new plan also calls for an underground bicycle storage center, a new 4,000-square foot double-height lobby, a reception area, and a locker room. A grand staircase that had been closed off will also be reopened as a separate entrance for private members. WeWork has been on an aggressive expansion lately in both the architectural and business worlds. Earlier this month it was revealed that the company had launched WeGrow, an education-based offshoot, and had hired the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) to design their flagship school. This week alone has seen WeWork readying itself for a foray into retail, as well as a $32 million investment in the women-only co-working group Wing. As the company continues to grow, it will be worth keeping an eye on what other notable buildings it acquires in the future.
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Adam Nathaniel Furman designs hyper-vibrant furniture installation for Milan Design Week 2017

London-based Adam Nathaniel Furman once described a project of his as "eye gougingly colorful." The work in question was a conceptual reaction to the monolithic concrete Corviale housing scheme in Rome. A designer, critic, and champion of postmodernism, Furman has now designed four equally colorful works with an Italian inflection. This time, however, no eye gouging is necessary. Furman was commissioned by Camp Design Gallery for the Milan Design Week/Fuori Salone 2017 to create this new installation, titled 4 Characters in the First Act and curated by Marco Sammicheli. It comprises furniture described by Furman as "bursting with personality." The four pieces are all named. Introducing: Angiolo (aside unit); Anselmo (a table); Annibale (a cupboard with legs); and Augusto (a triangle cupboard). Drawing inspiration from Italy, and what Furman describes as "its incredible ability to always mix, and synthesize, influences from all around the world," the highly decorative pieces draw from Korean, Balian, Thai, and Chinese imagery. Furman continued, noting how the styles he draws upon have been "updated with a bright, glowing, and joyful 21st century aesthetic." The four A's (Angiolo, Anselmo, Annibale, and Augusto) have been made with traditional Italian craft, using hand-made Lombard timber carpentry and painted steel. "Imagine a Thai business lady, and an Italian backpacker, spending a long, exciting, passion and drug-fuelled night together in a Chinese club," said Furman. "Well these pieces are the embodiment of this kind of wonderful, sensual and aesthetic trans-continental exchange." "In an age of increasing isolationism and gloom, this is a collection that picks up on Marco Polo's legacy, and is the celebratory, colorful expression of a desire to travel, and to meet and make exciting, strange new things," he added.
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Peter Corrigan, rebellious voice in Australian architecture, passes away

Dr. Peter Corrigan, AM, the dean of a vigorous and difficult brand of Australian architecture passed away on December 1, 2016. His passing marks the end of an era—one in which, initially by his own doing, the Melbourne wing of Australian architecture refused the polite modernist postures of a Seidler or the pastoral narratives of a Murcutt and became a full-throated and, one might say angry critique of post-colonial culture. Corrigan was only 77 but had fought illness for a decade. In a half century Peter Corrigan, with his life and work partner Maggie Edmond, had achieved a career that would be enviable on any continent, but especially in Australia. Australia is a country as challenging as any to establish an architectural practice, let alone one with such a passionate and some might say rebellious voice. Corrigan leaves behind a grand legacy: of many buildings and countless awards received; of numerous protégés and perhaps some enemies; of wild ideas shared selflessly with many students in Melbourne and elsewhere; of an architectural voice in the wilderness built of dreams and hopes set against the small-mindedness of the local political leadership and the usual numbing logics of the construction market. There are few parallels to Corrigan’s work anywhere in North America or Europe left to mention these days, especially in light of the limited recent output of Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi. Corrigan was a student of Venturi’s at Yale in the late 1960s and yet somehow also a lifelong admirer of Aalto and Schraroun. Despite his vast output he remains, perhaps by design, an internationally undervalued pioneer of what later would be called Postmodern architecture. Charles Jencks and Kenneth Frampton never sang his praise and Corrigan never sought it. However, the life-work speaks to something more than what came to pass as Postmodern in the United States: faux historicism and silly façade games. If Corrigan’s early work too often took up the challenges posed by Kahn’s late work or Venturi’s Guild House and Mother’s House then the mature work extended a unique voice and timbre—as if by kaleidoscopic projection—into an idiomatic and local Australian expressionism. Wildly regional and local in its references and in-jokes, the oeuvre remains oddly imbued with the cosmopolitan and intellectual generosity that characterized the man as a teacher and a scholar. Indeed, Peter was no ordinary architect. His “Cities of Hope,” buildings as varied and often incongruous as suburban churches and fire stations, oddly iconic small home additions, schools, university buildings, galleries, and many designs for single family homes (designed and built or sketched and unexecuted) seem, in retrospect, too provocative for our age. In the place of the needless and endless banality of “next-generation,” technologically-generated, parametric or now object-oriented, nonsensical and mean baubles that get paraded around the schools and the competitions, Corrigan offers us only the sort of aesthetic charms that a Bertold Brecht could understand. Edmond and Corrigan’s work was unstylish, unrefined and lowly (for a love of the Untermenschen and not the Superman). It was sometimes poorly made but never boring, never inoffensive, never generic. The work was ridiculous in the best possible way and always theatrical. In fact, Corrigan spent a great deal of his career designing for the theater and opera, working recently with Barrie Kosky on Falstaff in Graz. His sets were otherworldly. Peter Corrigan was difficult in an age that demands smoothness of both architecture and architects. He was sometimes horrible, even terrifying. He remained a challenging character well into in a time in which upsetting the commons by speaking honestly was increasingly frowned upon. His exhortations to his students were searing and scathing and his demands as a teacher were unrelenting because he knew the world is always so much crueler than the classroom. “Symmetry is Asinine!” he roared one late afternoon to my class. “Architecture is not for Philistines! Next time you come to class bring your brain!” Corrigan was not politically correct but neither was he a bigot. He was usually irate and sometimes publically inebriated, even when he taught a now infamous design studio at Harvard. Yet, as a teacher he supported and nurtured the weakest voices and endured, with patience, the slowest students. As long as his students showed up with work, had hope, or could dream, Peter was their champion as he guided them with a genuine kindness so that they find might their own voices, their own resolve. It would be odd, perhaps, to conclude this dedication without explaining my personal connection to the man and my memories of him, formed over the decade I spent in Melbourne, studying at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT, previously a night school: the Working Men's College of Melbourne where my father studied architecture and design as a European refugee). RMIT, like other independent schools of architecture that formed new voices in the 1980s, was Peter’s laboratory and his ideas were lightening rods for a generation of Melbourne architects who have since reshaped the city. That said, I was never his student or a follower and I never had the desire (or perhaps the will) to endure one of his now famously grueling design studios. In retrospect, I regret the lost opportunity. I did, however, have a few run-ins with Peter. As a first-year or second-year student, I was asked to use some crude and slow early version of CAD to draw up a small project of my choosing. I decided, wrongheadedly, to try draw up one of Edmond and Corrigan’s most complicated projects, the Athan House in Monbulk, Victoria (1986-1988) and I approached his office to acquire the plans. Invited to meet him and then, not surprisingly, made to wait in his remarkable studio library for what seemed like hours, he arrived after what must have been a very long lunch. Corrigan vigorously quizzed me about my intentions and then after vaguely explaining the project to me he instructed me to return for the copies of the plans. I picked them up a few days later but we didn’t speak again for half a decade. The next time we spoke was at an exhibition after party in St. Kilda, a beachside suburb of Melbourne. I don’t recall our conversation exactly but I do remember he and I mixing some red wine and white wine to extend our evening’s merriment. He called it Rose. I thought we were just making do with the night’s leftovers. The house itself is mysteriously a chevron in plan that decided to sprout a series of neo-expressionist spikes, bizarre decks, outriggers, a small masonry bridge and various other unnecessary but crucial appurtenances. Naturally, the house turned out to be nearly impossible to document digitally. While I did eventually manage to faithfully draft up the plans and I returned copies on a floppy disk to his office, I don’t think he ever bothered to review them. Perhaps Peter suspected this would be the case given his suspicions of technology. His office has already painstakingly produced ink on vellum plans and perspectives that were infinitely more refined than anything I could conjure on the computer. Later, as a teacher, I spent the better part of half a decade in RMIT’s Building 8 on Swanston Street, a riotous and rude imposition on an earlier unfinished building by John Andrews (the architect of Harvard’s Gund Hall). At the time I found Corrigan’s polychrome masterwork to be ugly and challenged. But in retrospect I was perhaps too callow to understand his work and even more that a little scared of it as a symbol his formidable and restless intellect. Peter’s impact remains with me over half a globe away and almost two decades on. When I drive or ride around Southern California’s suburbs and communities I have often wondered why so many architects here have elected to see them only as blank canvases for various futurisms or nostalgic recreations instead of places imbued with an extraordinary, beautiful, and melancholy ordinariness. Sometimes I daydream about what an evocatively idiosyncratic but generous architecture might look like in place of the saccharine and anodyne nonsense we render and reproduce, relentlessly in the name of advancing architecture. Last week I looked again with new eyes at Peter Corrigan’s work and I remembered an architect who accepted and valorized the local and the ordinary, an architect who made the most use of the poorest and most mundane materials, accepting the ersatz and kitsch as a good things, not as repulsive things, making the most with the least. Vale Peter Corrigan.
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Fate of the glamorous postmodern Ambassador Grill still perilously unclear

Today the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) solicited input on the future of the city's best-known—and most threatened—postmodern interior.

The commission heard testimony from its research department and members of the public on ONE UN New York Hotel's (formerly the United Nations Hotel) Lobby and Ambassador Grill & Lounge, two glittery disco-era spaces designed by Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo Associates

As recently as January, the spaces inside the Midtown East building were set to be demolished by property owner Millennium Hotels and Resorts.

Local luminaries like Robert A.M. Stern, Belmont Freeman, and Alexandra Lange, as well as a bi-coastal Docomomo contingent spoke in favor of landmarking. The item would be the first postmodern interior to be designated a New York City landmark, and the "youngest" after Roche and Dinkeloo's Ford Foundation (1963-68) which has interior and exterior landmark status.

The Ambassador Grill & Lounge, a small U-shaped restaurant in a windowless basement (1976), sports inset light fixtures, vaulted faux skylight clad in trellised mylar panels, and more shiny surfaces than Studio 54, all of which create the illusion of capaciousness and light. Along East 44th Street, the hotel lobby (1983) features a stepped glass dome roof accessed via a freestanding marble-columned hallway. The LPC’s research department called the connected rooms some of the "best public spaces" of New York from that period. 

The researchers' conclusions were reflected in public testimony that invoked the glamour of the rooms and their role in the see-and-be-seen public life of the city. Liz Waytkus, executive director of modern architecture preservation organization Docomomo, called Roche and Dinkeloo's interiors “among the best” public spaces of the era. In contrast to the severity of modernism, the fluid spaces reflect a “humanistic” energy not often associated with the architecture of the time.

Docomomo’s Jessica Smith read a statement on behalf of Robert A.M. Stern. Stern offered “strong support” of designation, noting that Roche designed both the building itself and its interiors. He called the grill and lobby “masterworks of modernism produced by a master at his prime,” comparing them to surviving postmodern peers like Sir John Soane's Museum in London and Adolf Loos’s American Bar in Vienna. Smith also read a statement for Curbed architecture critic Alexandra Lange, who said her research on postwar American corporate design suggests the rooms represent a “key moment” in late modern design. "The interiors change scale and increase the sensuality of a pair of large skyscrapers that draw the prismatic curtain walls of the UN buildings inside, creating a total work of architecture."

To the frustration of many who testified, including Docomomo and the preservation advocacy organization Historic Districts Council (HDC), the commission did not include the lobby’s sunken seating area in the designation. The LPC said it believed the relative lack of original elements in the seating area merited exclusion, as the main lobby and hypostyle corridor under consideration offer a “processional experience” to and from the grill. 

The iconic interiors have attracted attention beyond New York City. Daniel Paul, a Southern California–based architectural historian and expert in late modern glass skin architecture, flew in from L.A. to attend today’s meeting. Early this morning, he went to the hotel to check on the state of the interiors. Millennium, he said, has altered the space substantially but not irreversibly. In the grill, the faux skylight is covered in a semi-opaque “cheap-looking” plastic, while the neon acrylic wine racks were replaced by wood features. The bar’s tivoli lights are gone, and its mirrored backdrop has been replaced with wallpaper. 

Despite the recent changes, Paul, a Docomomo member who with Waytkus drafted the RFE (a Request for Evaluation, the first step in the landmark process), said that Roche and Dinkeloo’s work is one of the most intact “high design” spaces of the era. “Taste goes in cycles,” he said. "When the cycle of appreciation takes a dip, that’s when these spaces are the most vulnerable." Roche has offered to work with the property owners pro bono to see how the distinctive features could be preserved while updating the space to their satisfaction. (Update: In an email to Paul during the hearing today, Roche stated that his office would be willing to do an initial consultation pro bono but then "see where it goes.")

Representatives from Millennium did not comment at today's meeting.

As the discussion concluded, LPC chair Meenakshi Srinivasan stated that the commission would do further research and vote at to-be-determined meeting.

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Ricardo Bofill’s Postmodern La Muralla Roja stars as backdrop for Martin Solveig music video

Martin Picandet, or as he is better known, Martin Solveig is often partial to PoMo imagery in his music videos. A headband, a healthy dash of color, and the odd animal or tennis player are also commonplace. For the French artist's latest hit Do it right ft. Tkay Maidza, the accompanying music video is set at the La Muralla Roja (The Red Wall) in Alicante, Southeast Spain. Designed by Catalan Postmodernist Ricardo Bofill, the 1973 building made arguably as big of a splash in the industry as Solveig does in his music video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQRV5omnBBU Solveig and Maidza pay compliemt to Bofill's use of color, donning the pastel hues of La Muralla Roja's interior, though that's as far as the architectural references go. Seen as a counter to the Spanish political climate at the time, Bofill’s structure distances itself from the modernist buildings that were synonymous with the period. Housing 50 apartments, the building rises up like a fortress from the landscape, taking a form reminiscent to that of North African architecture on the Mediterranean Sea. Bofill employs an array of staircases, platforms, and other connecting devices to create shadow and define the structures spatial qualities. In doing so, the building at times recalls M. C. Escher's illusion lithograph Relativity which depicts an impossible arrangement of staircases and orientated spaces. Do it right, despite not linking back to Bofill's political motives, does do some things right. Overhead shots highlight the building's complex orthogonal floor plan and roofscape, meanwhile other angles, albeit sadly short-lived, show Solveig traveling through the structure. Seen walking across a bridge and running up a fair few stairways (it looks quite the work-out), Do it right does well to showcase Bofill's interlocking volumes and the iconic cross-shaped swimming pool.
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Live: Postmodern Procedures at Princeton

Postmodern Procedures is a two-day conference at Princeton School of Architecture that offers an alternate history of Postmodernism. The goal is to find something that is less about signs and symbols or historic references, and more about longer-form processes that produced the visual syntax of some of the most interesting projects in architectural history. Follow along as AN will be posting updates all day on Saturday, December 5. 9:25 James Wines gets day 2 started off with a series of stories about 1970's New York and a group of architects and artists who lived near each other on Greene St. in Soho, many of which worked in between architecture and art. He calls this Arch-Art, drawing upon the interdisciplinary contributions made by his firm SITE, as well as artists like Beuys and Henry Moore. There was a comment about rejecting "Plop Art" or "The Turd in the Plaza," favoring a process, such as in his Ghost Parking Lot, a public art project where SITE paved over a parking lot full of cars. Wines calls big box stores the ultimate found object that everyone recognizes. Wines used the BEST Stores to put art where you would least expect it. "It was a transformation," he said, explaining that the stores were a process of making the usual shopping center into something new and fantastic, through process. As for the Indeterminate Facade, the first BEST store, "There was alot of 'not getting it," he said, "Saying that this store was about destruction was like saying that a Giocometti sculpture was about starving people." "Not getting it" became his theme as he showed how many of his ideas became Pomo tropes, such as "tilting" and "falling apart." Some other highlights of his career were shown, including the process behind Shake Shack and the bookstore at MAK Vienna, both of which pushed the limits of building codes, legal contingencies, and historic landmark rules. 10:15 Amale Andraos of WORKac is giving a presentation of their work, with clear echoes of many of the issues that Wines introduced. Slicing, peeling, and the relationship of interior and exterior become organizing principles. "Collage Garage" is a facade for a parking structure in Miami. A four-foot wide ant farm for people includes circulation functions as well as environmental features like ventilation and water collection. The thickness produces a new way of inhabiting a facade, through a process of pushing the limits of the thin slice of space. 10:31 Mark Lee of Johnston Marklee remarks that he saw Wines speak at Sci-Arc 25 years ago when he was young and impressionable. "Seeing him speak again today made me feel young and impressionable," Lee said. Collage and layering are just a couple of the processes that Lee sees as valuable takeaways from Wines' work. Lee showing examples from photography and film to illustrate his concept of "loose fit," including John Baldessari's experiments with throwing balls in the air to approximate geometries. Their Vault House is a beach house that uses this concept to arrange a series of vault-like sections into a long passage of ill-fitting vaults. this process creates a long series of overlapping forms in a complex whole. 10:44 Panel starting off with Lavin asking Wines about living in Soho in the early days with artists like Bob Smithson and Alice Aycock. There were complex relationships between art and architecture, and the lines were not always clear. Wines speaks of it in a very pragmatic way, saying that on Greene St., artists were simply trying to see what they could get away with. Andraos makes the connection that this is probably how SITE shifted the boundaries of what could be considered architecture. "If it looks normal, you have something that is really avant-garde," said Wines. 11:48 And we're back with Diana Agrest, architect and urbanist. She is tracing the procedures that lead to retention and transference of ideas, both in her own work, and in the academic world, especially at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, where a group of non-commercial young architects were trying to find themselves and figure out how to engage with the city and their own practices. 12:27 Erin Besler takes the podium to discuss her intellectual project that deals with problems of construction and participation, a term that she is suspicous of. In her practice, Besler and Sons, she and her husband Ian Besler work with the conventional tools and resources of the everyday architect. At the Chicago Architecture Biennial, they looked at BIM as an open platform of participation that the public can engage with by sketching a wall that is produced by software in 3D. Studfindr.org is a kinkily-named platform that displays the creations of Biennial-visitors. Parallel to the open BIM project, a physical constructed light steel-framed wall system interrogates the space within the pedantic construction we might find in a big box store. Each step of the process is reflected upon. The unusual construction produced a set of operational follies along the way, The end project is a hand-scale sight gag—a set of off-kilter details that act visually much like Wine's Best Stores, but at a small scale. Lavin asks, "Who and What is communicating?" She says that in the original Postmodernism, there was architecture communicating with broader audiences, while today, it seems like the work is attempting to communicate with a smaller cadre of people. Agrest says that the work of Venturi and Scott Brown among others was looking for more direct communication, while Besler and Sons' project is communicating both inside and outside and outside of the profession. 2:09 Andrew Holmes explaining how he made a drawing of The Pompidou Center in 1972 while at Piano Rogers Architects. The competition-winning, 36-foot long drawing was made entirely by hand with multiple mediums. Rapidographs, blueprint machines, and a host of other now-arcane drawing techniques came together for the intensive representation. This live blogger is fascinated, but utterly lost in the process of this drawing. Is that ok? Ok, now talking about the relationship of line weights and the finished project. A .8 Rapidograph produces a thicker piece of metal, for instance, while a thinner one is nearly invisible in the final table. During high school, Jimenez Lai got a co-op placement at an animation studio. This was nearly 20 years ago. This is where he developed his relationship to ink, which is the topic of the pairing of Lai and Holmes. This is a thinkpiece about ink. From more recent copies of Noguchi and Tschumi, to living in a gallery in London, Lai is always pushing the boundaries of drawing in social contexts. There are not only physical boundaries in the galleries, but also limits on the audiences and spectators that might enter the space. I remember that London project in 2012 where Lai asked the gallery to buy him a robe. I was there, man. "Yes, I do do sloppy work," he said, referencing Norman Kelley (NK) and Speedism. On one end of the spectrum is NK's immaculate craft of incorrect compositions, while Speedism's fast and dirty accelerationist collages thrive on sloppiness as a political stance within internet culture. Holmes is promiscuous and boring to watch draw, while Lai is "very committal," and more fun to watch draw, as his practice of spectacular public drawing. Holmes says that his drawings are love objects for him, that have supported him throughout his life. 3:10 Wondering what it means to liveblog an event if no one is watching. Will people read it later? Is it still a live blog? Wonder what James Wines is thinking right now. 3:45 Chad Floyd up next. He is going to mix it up with some urbanism. Talking about the components of making a design process work for multiple parties. Floyd worked with Charles Moore to facilitate public TV programming that included a general population in the design process. They even built a storefront office that gave them a presence in Dayton for meetings. As ideas would come in, they would write down ideas on large papers on the wall. They also had a TV Show that broadcast the plans, while accepting calls from the public. Concepts, zoning plans and models were on TV throughout the communities where they were developed. Roanoke Design 79, Riverdesign Springfield, and were the most robust program. "This is not avant-garde architecture. It is bringing back a city that has been down, and doing it in a real way that people appreciate," Floyd said. This is one of the babies that was thrown out with the bathwater of Postmodernism. The engaged process of including local agencies and publics is a lost art. There are examples of firms doing it today, most notably FAT and the AOC in London. 4:16 Andrew Kovacs takes the stage to talk about making architecture from architecture. First, there is a two-part process, which I will reductively describe as collecting and editing. An analysis of Jencks's charts led into Kovacs's own analysis of internet searches and file management. The searching an browsing is compared to persistence hunting, a technique of outlasting your opponent. It leads him to libraries and trashcans and dollar stores. By scanning books and objects in the same scanner, it levels them all out, and allows the Photoshop arrangements to become the narratives (or lack thereof) that animate the work. Appropriating objects becomes a way of animating space. Although it is very Postmodern, "the dogs don't know the difference." Michael Meredith sits facing the screen to scroll through his website. "This is a little wierd for me too." The talk is called "Indifference as a Posture." The talk scrolled slowly through the website while describing the connections he sees through Pop and minimalism that make his practice. 4:58 Final discussion has Denise Scott Brown talking about participation and her experiments with including inner city people in the process.
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Postmodern Purgatory: Illinois Governor announces plan to sell Helmut Jahn’s Thompson Center

ILLINOIS GOVERNOR RAUNER ANNOUNCES STATE’S PLAN TO SELL CHICAGO’S POSTMODERN ICON. (Photo by Rainer Viertlboeck) ILLINOIS GOVERNOR RAUNER ANNOUNCES STATE’S PLAN TO SELL CHICAGO’S POSTMODERN ICON. (Photo by Rainer Viertlboeck) Hot on the heels of round table discussions of the preservation of Postmodern monuments at the Chicago Architecture Biennial. One of Chicago’s most iconic and controversial Postmodern landmarks finds itself on unsure footing. The James R. Thompson Center, designed by Helmut Jahn and constructed in 1985, was the site of a press conference held by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner to announce the proposed sale of the building. According to Rauner the building is “ineffective” as an office space for state government, and was “just not useable for much of anything.” Standing in the grand circular public atrium, Rauner focused on the financial burden of the building and the financial possibilities of razing the structure. According to the Governor the building has a deferred maintenance bill of over $100 million, and costs the state upwards of $12 million in operating costs every year. Conversely he speculated that a new development could produce 8,000 new construction jobs and $20 million a year in tax revenue. His comments on the architecture of the building were limited except to say it would “not cost much to take down.” He left the judgement to of the buildings aesthetic to the “eye of the beholder.” Having been previously notified by the Governor’s office of the impending sale, architect Helmut Jahn responded in writing on Tuesday. Jahn was critical of the subsequent administrations since that of Governor James R. Thompson, the original client and building namesake, for not upholding the “vision… of building a symbol for the openness and transparency of the state government, an active urban center, and a lively urban and public place.” In his letter, Jahn seemed resigned to the fact that there was little chance the state government would save the building. Instead he optimistically offered a path forward for the building through repurposing. He stated, “This requires upgrades to the retail and foodservice, marketing the large floor plates to innovative tech-companies…adding 24 hour uses… making it the most exciting place in the city.” In the past, other possible reuse plans have been put forward for the building to little avail, including a proposed casino. Governor Rauner’s hope is to sell the site within the year to the highest bidder in a public auction. Considering the building's location and access to public transportation, having multiple train stops in and under the building, it is expected to fetch a large sum. With that said, government land has not always found the anxious buyers it anticipates in Chicago. The South Loop’s U.S. Post Office being a case in point. And though the final story has not been written about this intensely maligned building, it is looking as though the city may soon be losing a large interior public space of architectural significance.
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There’s a Michael Graves–designed apartment hidden in the Brooklyn Museum

Fun fact: there's a set of fully furnished rooms, designed by Michael Graves, that lives in storage at the Brooklyn Museum. Built between 1979 and 1981 for Susan and John Reinhold, the suite within their duplex at 101 Central Park West was donated to the museum when the couple divorced in 1986. Preserved in situ, the rooms are a rare surviving example of interior postmodern architecture. The couple, prominent members of the art world, asked Graves to turn a bedroom into a playroom for the couple's daughter, and remodel the guest suite into a library. Prior to Graves, however, the Reinholds gave their apartment star treatment: the first renovation was done by Robert A.M. Stern and John Hagmann in 1971.  Stern and Hagmann removed walls, ceilings, and thresholds in the unit to create a smooth, all white interior. Graves' renovation complemented the previous one with a pale blue, yellow, brown, and white palette. The library was modeled on a basilica, the central nave flanked by aisles of bookcases. Except for one, the bookcases are styled into pared-down columns. The top of each column conceals a light fixture, adding a soft glow that is complemented by the coffered ceiling, its topmost section painted blue. Graves placed a Corbusier-inspired mural of his own design in the space where an alter would have been. The materials throughout were ordinary plywood and sheetrock. In the bedroom, the bookcase/pilasters theme from the library carries over. Segmented columns separate lightly delineate the space while still maintaining an open flow. The Reinhold's daughter praised the design overall, but complained that the shelves were not wide enough for her records and books.  See the gallery below for more images of Graves' suite.
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For the first time in 43 years, the Vanna Venturi House is for sale!

The Vanna Venturi House in Philadelphia is for sale. That’s right, the Vanna Venturi House. Robert Venturi’s 3 bed, 2 bath, 1,986-square-foot work of seminal Postmodern architecture can be yours for only $1,750,000. Located in a quiet Philadelphia neighborhood, the house is for sale for the first time in 43 years. The house was built in 1965 and is best known as “Mother’s House,” Robert Venturi’s manifesto that exemplified many of his concepts outlined in Complexity and Contradiction. Many consider it the first self-consciously Postmodern building in the world. The subtle changes in composition and the juxtaposition of classical forms and contemporary language are classic, playful Venturi. Take a look around the interior in AN's tour of the house from 2011. Inside, original Carerra marble floors remain in the entryway, while an oversized fireplace warms the living room, which also features built-in bookcases and a Venturian chair rail. Skylights and shifting volumes give the rooms plenty of light and shadow. The house is located in Chestnut Hill and has been featured on a 2005 postage stamp. The house is also in the school district of Jenks Elementary, which is an ironic and double-coded bonus.
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On View> Catch “Times Square, 1984: The Postmodern Moment” before February 15

Times Square, 1984: The Postmodern Moment The Skyscraper Museum 39 Battery Place, New York Through February 15 Once a seedy, crime-ridden corridor, Times Square has since been transformed into a vibrant and safe, neon-lit entertainment hub for theatergoers. But in 1984, the future of The Great White Way was uncertain. A proposal to erect a set of four skyscrapers and demolish the 1904 Times Tower jump started a debate between urban renewal advocates and preservation-minded urbanists, and gave way to an “ideas competition” for the site, organized by the Municipal Art Society and National Endowment for the Arts. The Skyscraper Museum’s Times Square, 1984: The Postmodern Moment highlights 20 drawings from the juried competition, showcasing a real assortment of ideas, ranging from passionate declarations to more eccentric architectural proposals.