Posts tagged with "ruins":

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On View> Glimmering light installation recalls the destroyed baronial towers of Bannerman’s Castle near New York City

We head home: through the gloss of rain or weight of snow, or the plum blush of dusk, but always—home, … facing the stars hope—a new constellation waiting for us to map it, waiting for us to name it—together. —One Day, by Robert Blanco. Written for the second Inauguration of President Barack Obama, January 21, 2013. Melissa McGill's light-based public art project, Constellation, arises from the romantic ruins of Bannerman's Castle on Pollepel Island, a mysterious sight glimpsed from trains heading north 50 miles from New York City just shy of Beacon, and nearby to West Point and Storm King. If you’ve ever wondered about this fleeting apparition, this art installation, which will be up for two years, is the perfect vehicle for visiting the island or gazing from the riverbank. Video shot by drone of Bannerman Castle. (John Huba) Starting in 1884, Francis Bannerman VI, a pacifist who hoped that future wars were unnecessary, was the world’s largest dealer of used military items, operating the first Army/Navy surplus stores through purchases of enormous quantities of government surplus goods at auction. After his largest purchase of 90 percent of the captured goods from the Spanish-American War in 1898, he had a dilemma—storage space was limited in New York City and authorities frowned on housing his vast cache of explosives at the company headquarters on lower Broadway. So he purchased Pollepel Island from Mary Taft of Cornwall in late 1900 and constructed a series of arsenals and houses of his own design in Scottish baronial style with Belgian influences, and a coat of arms with an invented crest including the Scottish flag, a grappling hook, and a flaming bomb. There was even a working drawbridge. Bannerman designed his castle as an optical illusion: it looked bigger than it actually was. In the spirit of surplus, he built it out of scrap metal, blasted rock, brick, and concrete, and used old bedframes as rebar, and buoys as decorative balls. Cannons were placed throughout the island. Two years after Bannerman’s death in 1918 (two weeks after the end of World War I), the castle’s powder house exploded. According to the New York Times the reverberations were heard 75 miles away and windows were blown out in towns along the east side of the river. Nearly 50 years later in 1969, most 
of the rest of the complex burned in a fire lasting three days, leaving only the remains seen
 today. What remains are thin stage-set facades seen from the riverbank, propped up by slanted long metal rods behind. Adding to the magic lantern quality is appearance by the Bannerman ruins in Alfred Hitchcock’s North By Northwest (1959) flashing by from a train; a two-second appearance in Michael Bay’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), along with Angkor Wat and the skyscrapers of Hong Kong, which serve as transporters to the inhabitants of the planet Cybertron to Earth; swum past by Joseph Fiennes in Against the Current (2009); and the secret location of George Washington's tomb built by the Masons in FOX TV’s Sleepy Hollow. It was also the site of the April 2015 death of kayaker Vincent Viafore, while out with his fiancé Angelika Graswald. Constellations are our ways of creating narratives to connect the dots—or stars—giving the seemingly random order in the form of a figure, an action, or a myth. McGill has created her own Constellation with lighted points referring to the Bannerman castle structure still standing, as well as components that no longer exist, thereby connecting past and present. She also delves even further back to the Lenape, the indigenous Native Americans of the area, referencing their term Opi Temakan which means the White Road or Milky Way. In McGill’s reading, the natural and manmade are intertwined. She says it is absence and presence; fragments and pauses. Booking Boat and Kayak Tours, and Best locations to see Constellation on land here. Audio Guide, Video, Tour Information and more can be found here.
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3D projection technology fleetingly brings back the Bamiyan Buddha that was destroyed by the Taliban

The hollow in the sandstone cliffs of Bamiyan, central Afghanistan, still harks back to the looming Bamiyan Buddha statues that once emerged from the cliff-face, before they were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. A Chinese couple has created 3D projection technology to holographically recreate the destroyed statues which, standing at 180 feet and 120 feet respectively, lorded over the Bamiyan valley for 1500 years. Representing the classic style of Gandhara art, the monuments withstood the armies of Genghis Khan and the introduction of Islam to the region, as well as multiple artillery rounds by the Taliban, which eventually deferred to explosives when their firing failed to make a dent. “These idols have been the gods of infidels,” Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar reportedly declared in marking the statues for destruction. In 2005, Japanese artist Hiro Yamagata proposed a laser show system to recreate the Buddhas, but the project was never implemented. On display for two days in June, the holograms were cast from projectors mounted on scaffolding, the work of a Chinese couple who are traveling the world to film a documentary. Moved by the legacy of the statues and their destruction, they decided to add Bamiyan to their itinerary and provide the projection as a gift from the people of China to the Afghan people.
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Take a tour inside the under-construction Empire Stores in Dumbo, Brooklyn

Over the weekend, AN joined Open House New York on a tour of the under-construction Empire Stores warehouse in Dumbo, Brooklyn. The old coffee bean warehouse was built in the 1870s, but has been sitting empty along the East River for decades. By next fall, though, the Empire Stores will have been transformed with all the Brooklyn-type fixings you'd expect. Yes, there is an artisanal Brooklyn market featuring local purveyors. And office space for tech and creative companies. And cafes, restaurants, and beer gardens. Included in the mix is also a rooftop public park and a museum focused on New York City's waterfront. “What we’re looking at creating is something that is not only unique to the history of these remarkable buildings, but also speaks to the culture of the neighborhood and this community,” said Jay Valgora, the founder of Studio V Architecture, the firm that is overseeing the transformation. With this type of project, the first task was to secure the building and bring it up to code. That meant laying a new floor, creating a new foundation, and repointing the massive nearly three-foot-thick masonry walls. There is also the issue of resiliency. The complex, which is actually seven buildings, sits right next to the East River and took in about seven feet of water during Sandy. Since the building couldn’t be lifted or moved, the most practical solution, explained Valgora, was to fabricate an "aqua fence" that could be stored in a nearby warehouse and deployed before of a storm. The idea is that there will be enough lead time to get everything in place. Valgora said the main challenge of this project was to bring light and air into a structure that was built to block out both—the warehouse doesn't even have windows, but rather arched openings and shutters. The firm wanted to create that type of sleek, airy space, while preserving the building's history. Along with new glass stairways, and a glass and steel rooftop addition, the firm is preserving much of the Empire Stores' masonry, yellow pine beams, and schist walls. Studio V's plan to cut an open-air courtyard into the center of the structure is designed to meet both needs of the project: create a light-filled, modern space while showing-off the structure's original details. “We’re going to create a public passage throughthe entire building that reveals and shows the nature of how it was made, as well that brings you into the 21st Century as you go to this rooftop park," said Valgora. As for the windows, the firm is installing large square panels that sit behind the arched frames to preserve the feel of the original facade. No additional openings are being cut into the structure and shutters are either being restored or replicated.  The Empire Stores is one of the development sites along the Brooklyn Bridge Park that has been leased to fund its maintenance costs.
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Peek Inside Ellis Island’s abandoned hospital before it opens for tours next week

In the early 20th Century, the sprawling, 29-building Public Health Service hospital on the south shore of Ellis Island was the biggest federal hospital in the country—and possibly its most state-of-the-art. The comprehensive medical institution treated over one million newly-arrived immigrants ill with diseases like tuberculosis, measles, trachoma, and scarlet fever. Designed as a series of pavilions, the hospital has long, window-lined corridors that brought in fresh air and maximized natural light. To keep dirt and dust from piling up up in these narrow halls, concrete floors were raked in the middle and lined with drains on either edge. And to stop contaminates from drifting from room to room, no door directly faces another. In the 60 years since it closed, the former vanguard of modern medicine has been abandoned, looted, and turned into a decaying, inaccessible, ruin. But that that changes next week when the National Park Service opens up the hospital for public tours. Before that happens, AN got a sneakpeak of the fascinating, and unnervingly stunning, relic. The Public Health Service campus has not necessarily been restored, but rather preserved in a state of “arrested decay," according to Jessica Cameron-Bush who recently guided media outlets through the space. Inside the raw building, concrete is chipped, windowpanes are cracked, wood is splintered, and weeds have gained ground. But the hospital is structurally sound says the National Park Service and the non-profit Save Ellis Island which raised funds to reopen the structure. Together, these groups have also commissioned an art installation called "Unframed - Ellis Island" to coincide with the public tours, and serve as a reminder of what the space once was. Throughout the hospital, artist JR has stuck life-size recreations of historic photographs that depict the doctors, patients, and families who walked the halls long before any of us showed up. Hard hat tours of the hospital start on October 1st and will be limited to 10 people per group. Currently, there will be tours four days a week, but the schedule could expand next year. Proceeds from tour sales will go toward the complex's continued restoration. Tours will be organized through Statue Cruises.
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Detroit’s infamous theater-turned-parking garage sold at auction

Detroit’s Michigan Theatre remains iconic, but not for the reasons that made it so during its early 20th century heyday. Now the opulent 1926 concert hall holds parked cars instead of theater-goers. Will it remain a symbol of Detroit’s struggle to recover from long-term disinvestment, or could it become emblematic of the city’s resilience? This week ArchDaily looked at what might become of "Detroit's most remarkable ruin" in an article that was also published on The Huffington Post. Last month, wrote Kate Abbey-Lambertz, the building was pulled from public auction and was purchased by developers Boydell Group for an undisclosed amount. Though its infamous use as a parking garage has grabbed headlines (and its crumbling beauty served as a backdrop in Eminem’s 8 Mile), the building still hosts events. Just this weekend a skateboarding competition and concert took over the space. (One band's bassist knocked an event photographer's drone down with a beer can.) But what would it take to turn the Michigan Theatre into something more permanent than a makeshift rock club? Wondered ArchDaily:
Will it ever again look like it did in 1926? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean it won’t have a vibrant future. “Creative destruction is very much a part of our history,” [Preservation Detroit’s executive director Claire] Nowak-Boyd said, “and is perhaps more central to our story than that of any other American city… This site encapsulates that.”
Another symbol of Detroit’s bygone glory days recently got a second look from designers. A "Reanimate the Ruins" competition envisioned a brighter future for the massive Packard Plant site.
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Philly’s Divine Lorraine Hotel Coming Back to Life

One of Philadelphia’s most impressive old ruins might be coming back to life. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that a New Jersey real estate lender is providing  $31.5 million to convert the decaying Divine Lorraine hotel into luxury apartments and commercial space. This is not the first attempt to transform the Lorraine, but it just might be its best. The 120-year-old Romanesque structure that was once a symbol of opulent luxury has been abandoned for the past 15 years—save for the ghosts who are rumored to wander its halls. But that could soon change. According to The Inquirer, this influx of cash could help developer Eric Blumenfeld "kick-start a conversion of the graffiti-scarred historic building." He bought the Lorraine for $8 million in 2012, but hasn't been able to finance a full transformation. If all things go according to plan, the Divine Lorraine will be just one of the new projects coming online along Philly's North Broad Street corridor. The building was designed by Willis G. Hale and opened as the Lorraine Apartments back in 1894. “The Lorraine was the true pinnacle of luxury in its time, boasting full electricity, two gigantic penthouse ballrooms, and a talented staff that pushed private servants into a state of obsolescence,” reported Curbed Philly. A few years later, it was turned into a hotel, which was successful up until the Depression. In 1948, the founder of the International Peace Mission Movement, Reverend Major Jealous Divine, bought the building and renamed it the Divine Lorraine Hotel. The Reverend welcomed anyone into the Lorraine, making it America’s first racially integrated hotel. All were welcome, but according to Curbed, guests had to obey Divine’s rules: “That meant no drinking, no smoking, no profanity, and sharing quarters with the opposite sex was forbidden. The two penthouse ballrooms were transformed into worship halls while the ground floor kitchen was opened to the public as a low-cost alternative for hungry Philadelphians.” And that’s just the start of it. Jim Jones—yes, Jamestown Jim Jones—used to kick it with the Reverend inside the hotel. After Divine’s death in the 1960s, Jones unsuccessfully tried to continue leading his friend's movement. Instead, Jones started his own thing, which you may have heard about. Fast-forward to 2002 when the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and then to 2006 when Philly developer Michael Treacy Jr. bought the building with a promise to preserve its historic integrity. According to Untapped Cities,  that didn't happen; “instead the interior of the building was scavenged for everything from marble and alabaster to radiators and old mattresses. Afterward, it was left abandoned, windows shattered, the interior exposed to the elements." After many years of change, this abandoned, graffitied, possibly haunted, formerly-cultish, beautiful hotel is prepping for its next guests.
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Pictorial> Kara Walker Creates a Sugar Sphinx for Domino Sugar factory

Before the old Domino Sugar factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is razed to make way for the massive SHoP-designed mixed-use complex, it has been transformed into a gallery for famed artist, Kara Walker. Inside the 30,000-square-foot space, which stills smells of molasses, she has created a 75-foot-long, 35-foot-high, sugar-coated sphinx (on view through July 6th). The work, which was created in collaboration with Creative Time, is called A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby, and according to Walker’s artist statement, it is “an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World.” Because of its sheer size, the bleached-white sphinx is impossible to fully see and comprehend from just one side; as the view of Marvelous Sugar Baby changes, so do the questions she raises. It is a work about ruins and time, female sexuality and power, and, most fundamentally, sugar and race. “A form like this form embodies multiple meanings, multiple readings all at once, each one valid, each one contrasting with the other,” said Walker standing alongside her work. Inside the cavernous space, Walker has also created a procession of figurines made of molasses and resin in the shape of smiling, basket-carrying boys who appear to be melting away under spotlights. Days before the unveiling, when two of the boys actually did melt away—or at least shatter—Walker picked up their pieces and placed them in the baskets of those still standing. For Walker, this installation was about more than creating another great piece of work and expanding her artistic vocabulary; it was about filling the factory’s final days with something grand. “It was my obligation, being given the opportunity to work in this space, to bring as much as possible into it because it is never going to happen again,” said Walker.
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Squandered Land: An Update From Architects & Urbanists Biking Across the Country

[ Editor's Note: Peter Murray, of the New London Architecture center, together with a dozen architects and planners, is biking from Portland, Oregon to Portland Place in London, studying how cities are responding to the demand for better cycling infrastructure. He reports from the start of his ride. The Architect’s Newspaper is USA media sponsor of the trip and will post periodic updates of these architects on bicycles. ] When the author Bill Bryson moved back to the US from England he wrote a goodbye book entitled Notes from a Small Island. I was frequently reminded of Bryson’s analysis as I rode through Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. By comparison to these great open spaces England is neat and manicured, with everything in its place. These huge states are shockingly profligate with their land—your barn falling down? let it, and build another next door; getting a new truck? leave the old one to rust in the field. Large areas of this beautiful countryside are disfigured by rotting trailers, wheel-less automobiles and discarded junk. Cities stretch out for miles and miles with low rise sheds and malls and scrub—Helena, capital of Montana, was probably the worst example we came across.When I get home I shall never again criticize the UK’s Green Belt policy; this key part of our planning system stops any development in a ring around the edge of major cities thus effectively restricting endless urban sprawl. To be fair to Helena they have done a pretty good job of improving their city center. Traces of the huge wealth created by the prolific output of gold from Last Chance Gulch can be seen in the heavy stone buildings of the CBD, St. Helena Cathedral, based on Cologne’s Domkirche, and the imposing State Capitol by Frank Mills Andrews. There is an open greensward outside the cathedral and Last Chance Gulch itself—now the main street—has been partially pedestrianized with spaces to sit out and for live performances. The landscapes we have cycled through have been awesome, but it is hard to say the same about the buildings. I yearn to see an elegantly detailed residence, a modern barn that has the charm of those that are now disintegrating. I long for a building positioned in the landscape with the elegance of composition of a Tuscan estate. So many buildings look like they have come out of a catalogue and just plonked anywhere. We’re a bunch of architects cycling through beautiful places, meeting friendly, welcoming people, served outsize meals, but we’re starved of ARCHITECTURE! I guess it is because there is so much space out here that development in such exquisite surroundings is taken so lightly. A map of the whole of Britain is just 1:10,000; the map I used to trace our route across the US is 1:3,800,000! That says it all really. When you’re a small island you care for every bit of it, sometimes too much, so that development is thwarted by conservation; but when you’ve got a lot of something, it’s easy to squander it.

Road Builders in Belize Bulldoze 2,300 Year Old Mayan Pyramid for Gravel

The small tourist hotspot of Belize, with its pristine Caribbean coastlines, lush rainforest, and ancient Mayan ruins, suffered a dramatic loss recently when one 2,300-year-old ruin was razed. The 100-foot-tall Nohmul Mayan Pyramid was bulldozed to create gravel fill for a road-building project, its hand-cut limestone construction visible as excavators tore into the structure. According to CNN, authorities in Belize will be conducting an investigation and, even though the ruin was on a privately owned sugar-cane field, criminal charges are likely. The Nohmul pyramid, lying at the northern tip of Belize, was once home to a settlement of 40,000 people in 250 B.C. It was not open for tourists but had been excavated many times throughout the past century. Under Belizean law, all Mayan ruins, even those on privately owned land, are protected from destruction, but being on privately owned land does make if more difficult to detect destruction. Thus, smaller Mayan ruins are destroyed continually across Belize and neighboring countries, though not usually at this scale.
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Pictorial> Jim Kazanjian’s Victorian Apocalypse

Jim Kazanjian doesn't make photographs of buildings, he makes photographs into buildings. His assemblages of "found" structures create fantastic worlds that resemble the post-civilization wreckage of 19th century England.  Through the collapse of time and expansion of space, each collage tells an eerie story about making the familiar unfamiliar.   Kazanjian works as a CG artist for companies such as Nike, Adidas, NBC, CBS, HBO, NASA, HP, Intel, and others, but in his spare time, he uses these talents to create digital images that resemble early twentieth century analog stills.  Some compositions require up to 50 photographs, but none use a camera as part of the process. It is a haunting, timeless collection which he describes as "hyper-collage." While the results offer a glimpse into the artist's imagination, the process offers architects another weapon for exploration. By piecing together existing pictures into something so radically different, the artist has broken from the restraints of photography, and can create whatever he can imagine. It is a technique which holds much potential. Check out more collages on Jim Kazanjian's web site or purchase a limited edition print here.
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On View> 1976: Movies, Photographs and Related Works on Paper

1976: Movies, Photographs and Related Works on Paper Paul Kasmin Gallery 515 West 27th St. Through February 11 British-born James Nares has lived in New York since the mid-1970s, when Lower Manhattan was “a beautiful ruin,” according to the artist. While most celebrated for his large, single-stroke kinetic paintings, the artist has a long track record of documenting his fascination with movement and bodies in motion dating back to the days when he delved into many other media such as films and chronophotographs. The exhibition features five films including Pendulum (1976), in which Nares clocks a large spherical mass swinging from a footbridge, against the industrial backdrop of downtown Manhattan—evocative of the foreboding, dreamlike qualities also seen in Giorgio de Chirico’s surreal paintings.
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On View> Detroit Disassembled, Photographs by Andrew Moore

Detroit Disassembled: Photographs by Andrew Moore Queens Museum of Art Flushing Meadows Corona Park Queens, NY Through January15 The Queens Museum of Art (QMA) presents the powerful photography of Andrew Moore from his three-month visit to Detroit from 2008 to 2009. Moore’s photographs are a tragic yet beautiful glimpse into the decline of a city that was once the twentieth century industrial heart of America. Michigan Central Station (above) stands empty, the organ screen at the United Artists Theater is crumbling, and bright green moss covers the floor of the former Ford Motor Company Headquarters. “Moore’s exquisitely realized visions of architecture overtaken by vegetation remind contemporary viewers that our own familiar culture is subject to the forces of entropy and the eternal strength of nature,” says a statement from QMA.