Posts tagged with "Robert A.M. Stern":

Placeholder Alt Text

Product> Tread on Gehry, Zaha, Tigerman, and Friends

ARZU STUDIO HOPE and live/work furniture company Coalesse have teamed up with six leading architects to design a series of bold rugs and also provide economic opportunities for Afghan women. Chicago-based ARZU first approached Stanley Tigerman and Margaret McCurry  to design a collection of contemporary rugs, the proceeds of which support hundreds of rural women and their families through economic activity, and educational and health services. Rug weaving, which takes place in private homes, is one of the few industries where women can work safely. Tigerman and McCurry were so taken with ARZU's mission that they agreed to recruit high profile friends to contribute designs, including Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Michael Graves, and Robert A.M. Stern. The resulting Masters Collection ranges to from historically inspired designs that evoke both Louis Sullivan and Islamic art to contemporary, abstract works. The hand-knotted rugs are available to order now.
Placeholder Alt Text

Postmodernism Post-Denial

Postmodernism, the exuberant, eclectic, and ironic style born out of the death of the modernist dream in the 1960s and 70s, was the subject of the two-day-long "Reconsidering Postmodernism" conference last weekend, presented by the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York. The two marathon days of lectures, panels, and videos was filled with the original rock stars of the postmodernist world, including architects Robert A. M. Stern and Michael Graves, theorists Charles Jencks and Tom Wolfe, urbanists Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and a small but passionate younger crowd who couldn’t help but revel in the rambunctiousness of their vaunted forebearers. The beginning of postmodernism, an active topic at the conference, was assigned multiple dates. It was either with the demolition of the Pruitt-Igoe low-income houses in 1972, which Charles Jencks defines as “the day modernism died,” with the publication of Robert Venturi’s Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture in 1966, perhaps with the opening of Morris Lapidus’ first bodacious beach resort in 1949, or it even could have been at the beginnings of modernism itself, when hairline cracks in the modernist utopian vision had already begun to form. There were even Italian precedents: in the 1950s Torre Velasca, designed by Ernesto Rogers in Milan, and the Venice Architectural Biennale of 1980. Something about the conference compelled people’s interest in the big, chronically under-discussed themes of architecture. Andres Duany championed a broader classical canon, through his 175 (and counting…) orders of classicism. A discussion of stylistic evolution was continually present, causing architectural writer Witold Rybczynski to come to the conclusion at one point that taste is more important than style. “This is something we don’t discuss, but should” was a phrase uttered by many over both days. The conference showed that postmodernism is still controversial, but also that it is extremely alive today, proving to be a resilient and long lasting force in architecture. Reasons for this were debated. Barry Bergdoll, the Phillip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at MoMA, asked if postmodernism was an attitude or a movement, suggesting the possible eternality of the mode, and that PoMo is not only analogous with the Mannerist or Hellenistic phases of architectural history, but actually the same thing. If modernism discarded everything that came before it, and began from “level zero,” as Gropius said it did, then postmodernism is letting everything flood back in, picking up where the world left off, and making a joke of it to lighten the mood. The “joke” of postmodernism was an important conference theme and recurred frequently. Humor mitigates the promotion of dogma, which was seen as a cause of modernism’s failure, and forces postmodernism to embrace its own flaws. Jokes also accept the world for what it is. As one conference-goer said, “The world isn’t as black and white as it used to be.” Humor was fantastically present over those two days. ICAA president Paul Gunther’s opening remarks on the morning of day one called postmodernism “A case of multiple personality disorders” before becoming a bit more serious and stating, correctly, that the purpose of the next two days was to “overcome the denial of postmodernism.” If not completely embraced by all in attendance, the conference at least succeeded in doing that. At the end of day two, with everything having been said, the final panel was oddly mellow and subdued. Perhaps nobody wanted to leave the reunion, or perhaps the gauntlet was being handed to the young people in the room, like Sam Jacob of the U.K. architecture firm F.A.T., architect and writer Jimmy Stamp, or any others of the wacky new generation of postmodernists.
Placeholder Alt Text

Stern’s Revolution Museum Silences QEII Bell

After rejecting two plans for the Museum of the American Revolution at Valley Forge, the American Revolution Center (ARC) made a land swap with the National Park Service to secure a prime location in Center City Philadelphia. In exchange for donating their 78-acre property at the Valley Forge site, the Park Service will give the museum nearly two-thirds of the space of the former National Park Visitors Center near Independence Mall on Third Street. ARC selected Robert A.M. Stern to design the $150 million building. Stern told ThePhiladelphia Inquirer he plans to use “the language of traditional Philadelphia architecture.” The 1970s era building designed by Cambridge Seven and its redbrick modernist bell tower holding the Bicentennial Bell, a gift to United States from Queen Elizabeth II, will be demolished, and critics worry the future of the bell itself is uncertain. ARC plans to demolish the northern section of the center as well as the bell tower. The complex remains one of the few vestiges of the national park's bicentennial architecture, with Mitchell/Giurgola's Liberty Bell Pavilion now long gone and Venturi Scott Brown's Ghost House facing a facelift.  The old visitors center was never fully embraced, excepting the day of its commemoration when all the world watched as the monarch let bygones be bygones in the former rebel capitol. The bell was forged at Whitechapel Foundry in London, the same as the Liberty Bell, and it apparently works just as well. To be fair, it's the mechanism for the clapper that's out of order in the 1976 bell. The body of the bell remains solid. Its warm, low tone held a respectable sway over its stately neighbors for years, but all that will likely come to an end when the bell is moved. Independence National Historic Park spokesperson Jane Cowley told AN that the park is tentatively working on relocating the bell near the new museum at Dock Street, but it probably will not be hung from the rafters. It will be brought closer to the street-level for tourists to see rather than for the neighborhood to hear. "It's odd that one of the few remaining traces of the American Bicentennial celebrations is a bell that few visitors can see and none can hear and that was given by the country from which we fought for independence," one long time urban historian wrote in an email. The historian, who requested anonymity, also called into question status of the bell.  "If it's an artifact accessioned by the Park Service, there's a huge number of formal protocols that have to be followed," wrote the historian. "If it's not, it will be hugely easy for the bell to become mysteriously lost in the shuffle." The Queen, for one, had very specific intentions for the bell. It was to be rung with the inauguration of a president and the coronation of the British monarch, thus the bell’s inscription “Let Freedom Ring.” For some reason the Park Service began ringing the bell at 11AM and 3PM, which led Park employees to quip, “Let Freedom Ring, at 11 and 3.” The tower and visitors center complex were one of the more subtle examples of late modernism in the Society Hill section of the city.  The restored former slum is now what one pictures when imagining Philly's ubiquitous colonial charm. The tower's red brick planes somewhat obscure the bell, but pierced openings allow the sound to escape. Sidewalk access allows visitors to step beneath the bell to hear it ring--when it works. The old Park Service visitors center, along with much of the bicentennial architecture, brought a contemporary aesthetic to a national park commemorating forward-thinking forefathers. Nearby, dozens of discrete 1970s modernist interventions of quiet courtyards and low-slung row homes linked the 18th century to the 20th; one hopes that Stern's "language of traditional Philadelphia architecture" will speak as well to the twenty-first.
Placeholder Alt Text

Quick Clicks> Capping Highways, Flying Meteors, Infrastructure Pop, Old School Ivy

Capping Santa Monica. Curbed LA got some great renderings from students at USC who where charged with imagining even more highway caps for the Pacific Coast Highway, this time from Arizona to California Avenues. Beyond freeway parks, the students proposed housing, hotels, and community centers. Breaking Whitney. With the deal signed for the Met to take over the Whitney's Breuer building on Madison, directors at the ground breaking for the new branch at the High Line had all the more reason to celebrate. DNA reminds readers that the museum is actually retuning home. Ol' Gerty got the ball rolling on 8th Street way back in 1930. Dylan Sings. Happy B-day Bobby! Bob Dylan turned 70 on Tuesday and in celebration the Infrastructurist presents Dylan's Ten Best Infrastructure Songs, including "The Levee's Gonna Break" and "Marchin' to the City." Old School. Design New Haven has the Robert A.M. Stern drawings for "street calming measures" at Yale that are part of the $600 million for renovations, including two new residential colleges. The plan includes mixed use buildings intended to encourage street life at all hours and improved access to the Farmington Canal Greenway .
Placeholder Alt Text

Driehaus Awards the Much-Awarded Stern

The University of Notre Dame School of Architecture announced that Robert A. M. Stern has been named this year's Richard H. Driehaus laureate. The prize, which comes with a $200,000 purse, "honors the best practitioners of traditional, classical, and sustainable architecture and urbanism in the modern world," according to a statement. Founded in 2003, the prize has previously honored lesser known architects such as Rafael Manzano Martos of Spain and Abdel-Wahed El-Wakil of Egypt in addition to marquee American traditional and classicist architects like Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk and Allan Greenberg (several Driehaus recipients have also won or been involved in the National Building Museum's Vincent Scully Prize). Stern's office told AN that he will donate his award to Yale, where he is the Dean of the School of Architecture. Stern's career has covered furniture design, residences, skyscrapers, civic buildings, and town plans, in a variety of historical and modern styles. He is also a noted architectural historian, particularly for his collection of books on New York City. The Comcast Center in Philadelphia is Stern's tallest building to date, and one of his most unabashedly modern designs, though the Driehaus committee was quick to point out its resemblance to an obelisk. Stern designed the masterplan for Celebration Florida, a New Urbanist community originally developed by Disney. Detractors have called the project "sprawl in drag." 15 Central Park West is now one of the New York's most expensive addresses. Stern adapted the forms and style of early classic 20th century apartment houses for contemporary life. The Nashville public library was completed in 2001. A neo-classical residence in Seaside, Florida, the first New Urbanist community, completed in 2006. Robert A. M. Stern.
Placeholder Alt Text

Americans at the Door

Last night at Material ConneXion Italian door manufacturer Lualdi unveiled its first collection of doors designed by U.S.-based architects. Dror Benshetrit's lacquered red Davina door stole the show with a diagonally folded design that makes the door appear slightly ajar when closed. Benshetrit explained to that the idea for the design came from the diagonal line that architect's use to indicate a reflective surface in sketches. The secret to the door's off-kilter appearance? A special hinge at the top that keeps the pivot points in line. The door, also in black or white, had a magnetic closure and a slim stainless handle, but the designer mentioned that another handle based on the door's design was in the works with Valli & Valli. David Rockwell presented a robust walnut design with a leather-wrapped bar inspired by his hand-carved Chambers Hotel entrance doors. The design has several options, with a thin metal frame and a horizontal stripe that can be customized. Robert A.M. Stern also delivered his take on modern-traditional style with three doors that reinterpret the classic New York pre-war apartment entrance. The full collection is available for pre-order now, and Lualdi plans to come knocking for more American designs in the future.
Placeholder Alt Text

Eavesdrop NY 16

WE SMELL RATS Really? The British tabloids (all of them) are reporting that architectural fetishist and actor, Brad Pitt, has built a gerbil “Neverland” for his six children’s herd on his and Angelina’s estate in the South of France. If you believe what they’re reporting, Pitt paid somewhere between $50,000 and $80,000 on an “elaborate gerbil run [that] has a maze of tunnels, seesaws, and platforms for the pets to live in,” according to ever-present anonymous sources. Pets? Gerbils are rodents. Besides, what do gerbils know about architecture? Eavesdrop wants to see the Rodentia brief, renderings, reflected-ceiling and sprinkler plans, specs, etc. YOUNGER THAN SPRINGTIME According to The Yale Daily News, Robert A.M. Stern, dean of the School of Architecture and septuagenarian, has announced that the school will be featuring younger lecturers. “We want to highlight the work of younger faculty on the ladder for promotion,” Stern said. “We would like to hear from the young ones.” What about the conventional wisdom that says, “Architecture is an old(er) person’s profession?” Youngsters Hilary Sample, Mark Foster Gage, and Vikram Prakash are scheduled to lecture this fall. Send hamster wheels and viagra to shart@archpaper.com
Placeholder Alt Text

Bette Midler, Gardener

Bloomberg Networks' architectural critic James Russell writes today about Bette Midler's continuing commitment to beautifying some of New York's derelict open spaces (with the unintentional side effect of reducing the number of "Law & Order" crime-scene sites). The Divine Miss M is in New York "to open a community garden next to an abandoned tenement, the 33rd oasis her New York Restoration Project has transformed from garbage-strewn wasteland." You remember the Peter Jay Sharp Boathouse by Robert A. M. Stern with Armand LeGardeur on the Harlem River in Swindler Cove Park, one of the Restoration Project's most lauded transformations.

Eavesdrop NY 10

We know you love the gossip. AN aims to satisfy that itch in print, online, East Coast, West Coast, whatever, wherever, whenever. So here comes Eavesdrop to our blog so you can get it faster, feistier, anywhere you are. Plus, we will be posting Sara Hart’s online-only EAVESDROP ALERTs. But the real fun begins in the comments section, where you can lay on your own gossipy tidbits. And Sara will be sure to respond. For Whom the Buell Tolls There are some whispers coming from the Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture at Columbia University’s GSAPP. Our ears immediately perked up, because we never hear anything much from that stone corner of the academic groves. Founded in 1982, the center’s first director was Robert A.M. Stern, who was followed by Gwendolyn Wright, Richard Buford, Joan Ockman (who stepped down about a year ago), and Reinhold Martin, who currently holds the post. The whispers have it that Professor Martin is changing the center’s mild mission to a more politically left-leaning agenda. Some female members of the 12-person board of advisers are also miffed that he’s held boys-only dinners, like a recent bash with board members Peter Eisenman, Stern, and GSAPP Dean Mark Wigley. Could another Penguin Club be in the making? Furniture Fanfare? So, was this year’s ICFF a bust? It depends on whom you ask. One exhibitor told Eavesdrop that traffic to his high-profile booth was off 50 percent from last year, and noted a dearth of posses from the architectural giants. Not so, said PR maven Beth Dickstein. Her math suggests that while some huge manufacturers bowed out this year, there were more smaller exhibitors, and overall the quality of the goods was better. As sales and marketing consultant to the show’s producer, George Little Management, she admits that overall attendance was down about 12 percent. But, she cites numbers from major exhibitors—including Pablo, Chilewich, and Trove—who claim to have written big orders from big firms with big projects. And Make Ours a Double Here’s a twist on surviving the recession. Gensler associate Judy Cheung brought a new client called Flex Mussels to the firm. Her reward was getting laid off. Now she’s a bartender at the Gensler-designed Upper East Side eatery that specializes in the aforementioned bivalve. Her current gig sounds more gratifying. And more tough breaks: A loss on the left coast could be an opportunity for an enterprising museum in the East. Brooke Hodge, the much-admired curator of architecture and design at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, was laid off along with several other staffers, with senior curators taking a 5% pay cut. Another casualty of the institution’s weak finances was Hodge’s long-planned show on Morphosis, now cancelled. Eli Broad, not surprisingly, is also involved. To get his $30 million bailout, the museum has to make good on spending cuts while redirecting its focus to the permanent collection. Send frites and oyster shooters to eavesdrop@archpaper.com [This originally appeared in AN 10_06.03.2009 (NY)]

Esto-ordinary Videos

"Everybody's doing it." That's how Erica Stoller of Esto described the august architectural photo agency's foray into web video. Now don't fret. At the heart of these videos remains Esto's unparalleled still camerawork, but given these changing times, experimentation is in order. And, as Stoller's colleague Joel Sanders explained, the philosophy remains the same. "Esto has always been about expressing architecture in its truest, purest, most honest form," Sanders told us over the phone. "We see these videos simply as an extension of that. It's a means to describing the architecture." For its first two videos, Esto showcases the work of photographer Albert Vecerka. One documents the restoration, more than 13 years later, of P.S. 70, a burned out Bed-Stuy school that was transformed by Robert A.M. Stern into the Excellence Charter School. The other presents a time lapse installation from last summer of KieranTimberlake's Cellophane House at MoMA's prefab show, Home Delivery.