Posts tagged with "Richard Armstrong":

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Goth Bilbao: Moreau Kusunoki Named Winner of Guggenheim Helsinki Competition

Maybe its the extra darkness in the winter. The Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition, which famously generated an astounding 1,715 submissions, came to a conclusion today as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation announced the winner. Parisian firm Moreau Kusunoki Architectes and its “Art in the City” proposal was chosen from six international finalists. The design, which resembles a more austere, dark-but-not-quite-post-apocalyptic version of the Guggenheim Bilbao, “invites visitors to engage with museum artwork and programs across a gathering of linked pavilions and plazas organized around an interior street.” The Goth Bilbao in Helsinki is clad in charred local timber and glass. Nine volumes and a tower mimic waves and a lighthouse along the harbor, while a promenade meanders along the South Harbor’s waterfront and a pedestrian footbridge connects to the nearby park. “I extend the Guggenheim’s warmest congratulations to Moreau Kusunoki for having achieved the design goals of this competition with such elegance, sensitivity, and clarity,” said Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation. “I also want to express our admiration and gratitude to the other five finalists and to all of the architects who participated in this competition.” Jury chair Mark Wigley, professor and dean emeritus of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University, said at the announcement that “Moreau Kusunoki has titled its proposal ‘Art in the City,’ a name that sums up the qualities the jury admired in the design,” he continued, “The waterfront, park, and nearby urban area all have a dialogue with the loose cluster of pavilions, with people and activities flowing between them. The design is imbued with a sense of community and animation that matches the ambitions of the brief to honor both the people of Finland and the creation of a more responsive museum of the future."
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Frank Frank on Frank

The invitation billed it as an exclusive conversation about “the potential of architecture for urban, economic, and political change.” But when Frank Gehry and Richard Armstrong, director of the Guggenheim Museum, sat down before the mics after one and half hours of benefit chow at a new Wall Street steakhouse and just 15 minutes before the event was to end, the talk, like the $200/plate mashed potatoes and pureed spinach, was noticeably soft. With a game intro by the restaurateur of The Capital Grille referencing Gehry’s Experience Music Project in Seattle and his new project in “Abu Dhabi Dubai,” the chatter was off to an equally idiosyncratic start. Armstrong asked the famed architect about Frank Lloyd Wright. “Mostly, I stayed away from him, like everyone at Harvard and because I was a liberal do-gooder, and Wright was antithetical to all that,” Gehry said, adding that he went out of his away to avoid Wright when he came to give a lecture, citing his “totalitarian humanism.” Gehry explained that he evenutally gave in and drove off to Taliesin with his wife and two daughters all packed into the VW. They arrived and the flag was up the mast, indicating that the master was in residence. Driving up to the gatehouse, Gehry was informed that the entry fee was a dollar each for himself, his wife, and his two children. “I told them to shove off, and drove away,” Gehry said.
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To Every Season

Wednesday night the Guggenheim held a benefit dinner to honor the fiftieth anniversaries of the Wright museum and of the Four Seasons restaurant. During dessert Guggenheim Director Richard Armstrong interviewed Phyllis Lambert and critic Martin Filler about the two architects, though Lambert held sway for most of the conversation. Lambert was delightfully off the cuff throughout her remarks. When asked about meeting Wright, Lambert, she replied that she and Philip Johnson thought Wright was “from another century,” apparently a reference to Johnson’s banishment of Wright to the hall outside the famed International Style show. She was complimentary about Wright’s building for the way in which it breaks up the street wall of Fifth Avenue, an urban transformation simultaneous with creation of the Seagram Plaza on Park Avenue. Filler cited the great metaphor-maker Vincent Scully’s characterization of the Wright building as a primitive drum in the heart of Manhattan, and praised the building for being as relevant today as it was when it opened fifty years ago. Talk of Mies and Johnson, however, dominated the conversation. At one point, Filler said that Johnson could be more Miesian than Mies, citing the Four Seasons interior as an example. Lambert disagreed, saying that the interior was all Johnson and that Mies would have created an entirely different restaurant had he been in charge. Lambert’s I-was-there certainty was difficult for Filler to refute. Also in attendance were Four Seasons restoration architect Belmont Freeman, Architectural Record’s woman about town Suzanne Stevens, Winka Dubbeldam, Michael Bell, Bernard Tschumi, Peter Eisenman and Cynthia Davidson, Michael Gabellini, Gisue Hariri, and Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi.