New York-based architect John Szot believes there is a better way to build suburbia. While much of the architectural community has ceded the suburbs to home builders and tract home developers, Szot has a plan to take back some agency for designers. In his show, Mass Market Alternatives, he outlines how mass production and digital algorithms can be used to produce healthy and architecturally diverse suburbs. Currently on view at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s (SAIC) Department of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects (AIADO) in collaboration with MAS Context, Mass Market Alternatives shows how the American home building system could be subverted to produce nearly endlessly diverse housing plans. Yet Szot’s motivations for the project are greater than just formal or programmatic; he believes the state of architecture in the suburbs is fundamentally detrimental to the country – that the repetitive homogeneity of suburban housing leads to political and social conformity. "For better or worse, suburbia has provided us with an extraordinary example of how industrialization and economics shape cultural values through architecture and urban planning," Szot explained to The Architect's Newspaper. "Large collections of similar homes ultimately become political blocs, making a suburban subdivision a powerful means for testing the relationship between aesthetics and politics at a civic scale." Leveraging the already common practice of using algorithms to economize the design and construction process, Szot has developed a system which can be used to produce floor plans and overall style. From there, the hand of a human designer can adjust accordingly. Through models, videos, and drawings, Szot shows the possibilities of the system in action. "The call for diversity is pretty benign in and of itself and could be handled in any number of ways, but we're proposing to do it via a serialist exercise that turns the whole effort into a running experiment in domesticity. We were inspired by the audacity of current practices to choose variety over coherence when it comes to the looks of the homes," added Szot. Mass Market Alternatives is on show at the AIADO gallery located on the 12th floor of the Louis Sullivan-designed Sullivan Center at 33 South State Street, Chicago, through October 2. Along with the exhibition, which has also been shown in Boston, Szot will be giving a public talk on September 26 at SAIC.
Posts tagged with "School of the Art Institute of Chicago":
As part of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Spring 2017 Mitchell Lecture Series, the school’s Architecture, Interior Architecture and Design Objects (AIADO) Visiting Artist will moderate discussions about the afterlife of architecture. Entitled "Trash Talks," the panel discussions will take place on Thursday, April 4th and Saturday, April 8th. The first panel entitled, "Trash Talks: Re:Industrial City," will be moderated by FT Visiting Artist in architecture/interior architecture Eric Rothfeder. Participants will include Dora Apel, Clare Lyster, and Brian Rosa. "Re:Industrial City" will explore the post-industrial city through strategies of preservation and demolition. The discussion will address the effect of imagery of industrial ruins on our relationship to the post-industrial city, and the potentials of new modes of urbanism. The second panel will be moderated by FT Visiting Artist in architecture/interior architecture Ang Li and will include Andrew Balster, Dennis Maher, Thom Moran, Eric Nordstrom, David Schalliol, Anne Sullivan, and Chicago artist/architect Amanda Williams. The discussion, "Trash Talks: The Afterlives of Buildings," will be an open conversation among artists, designers, and thinkers hoping to find a more optimistic dialog concerning the architectural refuse. Participants will share their thoughts through built and unbuilt works, ranging “from second-hand salvage economies to the political agency of ruins.” Trash Talks: Re:Industrial City will be held on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 from 4:15pm to 5:45pm in the SAIC Ballroom at 112 S Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL. Trash Talks: The Afterlives of Buildings will be held on Saturday, April 8, 2017 from 1:00pm to 5:00pm at the LeRoy Neiman Center at 37 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago, IL.
Students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) have designed and built a temporary installation in Chicago’s Homan Square Park. The installation, entitled bLUMEN, is the result of a summer course taught by architectural light artists Luftwerk and Chicago-based MAS Studio. The course was organized by the SAIC Department of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects (AIADO) and the Shapiro Center for Research and Collaboration. bLUMEN takes its name from the German word for flower, blume, and the latin word for light, lumen. The installation is comprised of six 10-foot tall hexagonal steel canopies. The canopy supports fifteen interconnected horticulture LED grow lights that help grow a handful of plants and vegetables. Situated on an underutilized site, bLUMEN was envisioned as a catalyst for community activity and social interaction. The West Side community of Homan Square is one of Chicago’s neighborhoods that suffers from a lack of access to healthy and fresh food. bLUMEN spotlights this issue, while providing a space for existing or new programs to gather, by day or night. The 10 students involved with the project worked with engineers from Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and metal fabricators, Active Alloys.
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Architecture Interior Architecture and Designed Objects department will be holding their first four day design symposium this week from March 8th – March 11th. The symposium, entitled Human Resources, is part of SAIC's spring Mitchell Lecture Series, and is organized by visiting faculty Ann Lui, Eric Ellingsen, Sam Stewart-Halevy, and Sara Huston. Over the four day period they will each be holding lectures and discussions, as well as engaging with a handful of artist and architects. Other participants include, Nico Dockx, Lydia Kallipoliti, Matthew Jesse Jackson, Joseph Grigley, Melissa Orlie, John Paananen, Stuart Sim, Bess Williamson, Aneesh Aneesh, Hannah Frank, Asha Schechter, Markus Miessen, Mitch McEwen, Mechtild Widrich, and Craig Reschke. “The title of the event Human Resources is a way of pulling together group of events that are all looking into, on one hand, the instrumentality of our resources as humans, but also the limitations of what we can accomplish with those resources.” Jonathan Solomon, director of AIADO explained to AN. Each day over the course of the week, teams will present work and discuss topics ranging from architectural pedagogy to contemporary modes of architectural production. Presentations with titles such as Globaloney: How the Sausage is Made will discuss systems of global production. Another Confessions from the Anthropocene looks at the role of design in global environmental crisis. “I see it as a continued investigation into some of the issues that were at play in the department in the fall, and have been for some time,” said Jonathan Solomon. “Around issues in design in a post-growth economy, the role of design in a closed system, as opposed to an open system, and the relationship of design to disciplinarity.” Some discussions will be in and around purpose built installations. On the final day, Chicago-based Future Firm will install “The Uncomfortableness of Getting Into Bed with Others,” an installation they describe as a “participatory” architectural intervention. Design practice The Last Attempt at Greatness will also be producing an installation for the event. “This is absolutely an experiment, just as our show in the fall Outside Design was an experiment,” Solomon explained “We will have a spring show called The Design Show, of graduate work, which will give students opportunity to participate in that kind of experimentation. Outcomes aren’t fixed, and that’s exciting.” Human Resources will be held as SAIC’s LeRoy Neiman Center at 37 S. Wabash Ave Chicago, IL from March 8th-11th.
An expanse of sustainable timber just clinched the Chicago Architecture Biennial’s Lakefront Kiosk Competition
Officials with the Chicago Architecture Biennial today announced the winners of the Lakefront Kiosk Competition, choosing a team whose stated goal was “to build the largest flat wood roof possible.” Dubbed Chicago Horizon, the design is by Rhode Island–based Ultramoderne, a collaboration between architects Yasmin Vobis and Aaron Forrest and structural engineer Brett Schneider. Their pavilion uses cross-laminated timber, a new lumber product that some structural engineers call carbon-negative for its ability to displace virgin steel and concrete while sequester the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide during its growth. Ultramoderne's long, flat roof “aims to provide an excess of public space for the Architecture Biennial and Chicago beach-goers,” according to the project description. Their design rose above 420 other entries from designers in more than 40 countries, and will receive a $10,000 honorarium, as well as a $75,000 production budget to realize the kiosk. BP is providing those funds as part of a $2.5 million grant to the inaugural biennial. Three teams—Lekker Architects, Tru Architekten, and Kelley, Palider, Paros—were finalists for the top honor. Fala Atelier, Kollectiv Atelier, and Guillame Mazars all received an honorable mention. The Biennial has posted a selection of submissions to the Lakefront Kiosk Competition on its Pinterest page.
After the biennial, Chicago Horizon "will find a permanent home in Spring 2016, operating as a food and beverage vendor, as well as a new public space along the lakefront.During the Biennial three other kiosks will be installed along the lakefront. Details on those are due to be announced next week, but here are the preliminary project descriptions:
The Cent Pavilion, designed by Pezo von Ellrichshausen in collaboration with the Illinois Institute of Technology, is a forty-foot tower meant to convey silent and convoluted simplicity. Rock, the kiosk designed by Kunlé Adeyemi in collaboration with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago is a pop-up pavilion a public sculpture composed from the raw and historic limestone blocks that once protected the city’s shoreline. Summer Vault, designed by Paul Andersen of Independent Architecture and Paul Preissner of Paul Preissner Architects, in collaboration with the University of Illinois, Chicago, is a lakefront kiosk that consists of basic geometric shapes combined to create a freestanding hangout within the park.