Posts tagged with "SFMOMA":

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Making it look easy: Snøhetta posts time-lapse video of SF MoMA’s two-year expansion

If constructing a museum were this effortless, there might be one on nearly every street corner. Norway-based firm Snøhetta recently posted a time-lapse video of the ongoing expansion of SF MoMA, compressing a two-year effort into a roughly 7-second breeze-through akin to folding origami: “2 years of construction over in the blink of an eye—time flies when you’re having fun and we can’t wait for Spring 2016!” The caption on the Instagram video reads.
After winning an international competition in 2010, the firm was selected to design a 235,000-square-foot expansion of SF MoMA to accommodate its growing audience, educational programs, and collection. The goal of the new wing is to increase public circulation between the museum and the city through free public galleries at ground level, new entrances for accessibility from different directions, and a central public gathering space. The architects deployed glass throughout the building to foster a welcoming, transparent aesthetic, further opening up the building with the addition of two outdoor terraces and a vertical sculpture garden on the third floor, which offers views of Alexander Calder’s work in an adjacent gallery while overlooking bustling Howard Street. The expansion promises a total of 15,000 square feet of art-filled, free-access public space, including a large, glass-walled gallery at ground level. Though designed to be “forward-looking,” the modern concrete structure respectfully complements the red-brick, Mario Botta-designed main building, which opened in 1995. At its heart is seven levels of flexible, performance-based gallery space for live art programming, and an additional 130,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor gallery space. A versatile, double-height “White Box” space on the fourth floor is equipped with cutting-edge lighting and sound systems for live performances. Meanwhile, a new outdoor terrace on the seventh floor offers dramatic city views, accomplishing SF MoMA’s long-term goal of integrating the urban indoor/outdoor experience.
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Design Assist Pushes the (Building) Envelope

In recent years, architects and fabricators in the field of facade design and construction have formed new collaborative relationships through the design assist model of contracting. Under design assist, the fabricator contributes their know-how throughout the design process, not just during building. A couple of factors have encouraged the shift to design assist. On the one hand, "the recent increase of building skin complexity has been a driver of this new way of working," explained Enclos’ Luke Smith. "But I think budget and schedule demands have also played an important role." Next week, Smith will moderate a panel on design assist contracting, "Delivering Complexity," at Facades+ LA. With panelists Bill Kreysler (Kreysler), Paul Martin (Zahner), and Kerenza Harris (Morphosis), Smith will explore several case studies of architect-fabricator collaborations, and will examine the benefits and challenges of these new alliances. (Smith is also leading a dialog workshop, "Material Explorations: The Resurgence of Wood," on the second day of the workshop.) Because design assist encourages early and frequent communication between architect and fabricator, said Smith "all of the involved parties feel invested in the project." Collaboration also improves the likelihood that a design is actually built. "Working together toward a buildable solution can often mean the difference between whether a project moves ahead or not," said Smith. "At Enclos we’re seeing that the discrepancy between design intent and budgetary restrictions can be minimized through early involvement on a project." As for the criticism that design assist removes control from the architect, he argued, "given the intricate knowledge required, the facade is no longer simply a byproduct of design, but is a specialty of its own." Smith and the rest of the panel will focus on two examples the group knows well: Morphosis' Emerson College Los Angeles Center (with Zahner), and Snøhetta's San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The museum expansion, said Smith, "has been a great opportunity for Enclos, partnering with Kreysler, to explore solutions with Snøhetta from a very early stage of facade conception." Regarding the future of design assist, "increased communication between the two 'sides' of architecture and construction will only benefit everyone in the long run," said Smith. "Whether we need to collaborate on all projects is another question. Where we really see the process take center stage is when a new challenge arises." To hear more about design assist from some of the AEC industry's top experts in building envelope design and construction, register today for Facades+ LA. More information, including a complete symposium agenda and lineup of tech and dialog workshops, is available online.
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Annual Ranking Lists the Top Architecture & Design Exhibitions of 2013

What was the most popular architecture or design exhibition in 2013? If you guessed MoMA's Le Corbusier spectacular or SFMOMA's landmark Lebbeus Woods: Architect (coming to New York's Drawing Center April 15) you're close but off the mark. In fact the most popular architecture exhibition in the world, according to The Art Newspaper's 2013 Visitors Figures was MoMA's Henri Labrouste exhibition that drew 438,680 viewers (4,100 a day) compared to the Le Corbusier show that had 405,000 visitors (4,010 a day). In fact, MoMA had the top three architecture exhibitions in the world last year with their 9+1 Ways of Being Political the third most attended exhibition with 2,594 visitors a day during its eight-month run on 53rd Street. Lebbeus Woods: Architect was the fourth-most-attended architecture exhibition with 210,122 (2,287 a day). With both Le Corbusier and Henri Labrouste in the top fifty exhibitions of any kind worldwide, clearly MoMA curator Barry Bergdoll has done something right in his time at the museum.
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Q+A> Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher, SFMOMA Architecture & Design Curator

Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher was recently named the head of the department of architecture and design at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), filling a position vacated by Henry Urbach more than two years ago. Fletcher just completed a assessment of the museum’s architecture and design collection, and, most recently, she co-curated the exhibition Lebbeus Woods, Architect. She sat down with AN editors Nicole Anderson and Alan G. Brake to discuss her plans for the department. The Architect’s Newspaper: What direction do you plan to take the architecture and design department? Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher: The collection just turned 25 and so I think it was important that my colleague Joseph Becker and I, along with Henry Urbach, really undertook a collection analysis and are trying to draw on the identity and strengths of the collection: the experimental and conceptual architecture, the iconic chairs that capture every 20th century design movement, and then the Bay Area collection. We’ll definitely continue with focusing in those areas, and in this interim period, spend some time drilling down on some connections between the two like Bay Area experimental architecture like Ant Farm and some of the architects coming out of California. Thanks to Aaron Betsky we happen to have some great early drawings by Morphosis and Thom Mayne, and Neil Denari and want to revisit those moments. We’ve definitely been in dialogue with those guys. Also through this Lebbeus Woods show, kind of looking back at that moment around the founding of the Storefront for Art and Architecture. That seems a little under collected and something that because of the architecture department coming around in the late 80s, it is what Aaron and a lot of people were very interested in. We want to explore product design, but produce design where it merges with technology because of our obviously being embedded right there in the Bay Area. And it is infiltrating every field. You see it even in the graphic design and the architecture, with responsive buildings. I think just what we want to do with product design is not just collect it, but probably take the time working with our conservation department and interpretation department to figure out how to not just maintain it and upgrade it, but how to display it. Because all of a sudden, the moment of just displaying the hardware, the iPhone just as hardware, has passed. Any specific ideas about how you will display the product design? We haven’t landed on any clear avenue to take yet because we also recognize within product design there is the extra challenge of how to deal with a commercial product. Film or these kinds of media that we’re used to, marketing departments already use. And it is very expensive to invest in yet another film. Maybe in 20 years from now, the marketing itself will be kind of interesting. It is a challenging question given the rate that technology is developing and changing. How do you evaluate what is going be influential? It seems that we as even as museum professionals and media are so quick to identify something that could potentially be a game changer. I feel like at the museum we really need to take the time to say why is this culturally relevant? And interpret it in that context. There is also a side of me that says the museum—this holder of objects—and maybe we’re already moving towards no objects. Maybe we should not even be trying to go in that direction. If we are beholden to our 5000 objects that we already have—we may land on this might not be appropriate for us to pursue because we have this building and this collection and it would be abandoning this past. I don’t know, but this is what is exciting to me—what lies ahead. And in the meantime while the building the expansion is being completed, are you working on any with other cultural organizations collaborations outside of the museum? We are part of this project in Los Altos in the middle of Silicon Valley. It is the neighbor city to Palo Alto. It is also one of the wealthiest cities, wealthier than Beverly Hills. Downtown has State and Main Streets—so it’s a classic American city and there are a number of empty storefronts, so the city invited the museum to occupy temporarily these storefronts in order to show some works of art that dealt with the context of Silicon Valley. I am already working with Mike Mills, the filmmaker and graphic designer. He has done a couple of videos and films on suburbia and identity. He has proposed a piece that deals with the past but starting in 1976, the moment when the first Apple computer was built in a garage there in Los Altos, to the present and then the future. He has proposed interviewing children of employees of some of the tech companies and asking them about the future—what would you design for the future? It is a little revisiting Buckminster Fuller when he invited children to ask him about the world and the future. Is there anything you’re particularly excited about in terms of using the new building? We have a set architecture and design gallery which we have always had in the existing building, but also we will have more opportunities to use the larger temporary exhibition space on the 4th floor to do larger exhibitions that would travel. And be more collegial with peer institutions. Really get the SFMOMA collection in conversation with other collections and share the scholarship. Also at the same time, accept exhibitions. We have affinities with the FRAC and the Pompidou with the experimental architecture and our interest in product design relates to MoMA. Look at LACMA and their California emphasis and our Northern California emphasis. I am not really ready to talk about this other proposal we have in the city—because we really want to do something that is not in the gallery at all but in the city. In your analysis of the collection, were there any happy discoveries that you weren’t aware of or things that struck you in a new way? I think looking at the kind of beginning why every curator has continued this strand of conceptual architecture and where Paolo Polledri was the first A&D curator—really looking locally and inviting architects to address the Bay area. Aaron Betsky was sort of voraciously looking outside the Bay area and seeing this moment in Los Angeles and in New York happen. So looking at that strand of where I think Paolo called it visionary and Aaron was calling it conceptual and Joe Rosa was calling it un-built works. Can you comment on at all where you see the architecture scene in the Bay Area today? There seems to be a lot of built work happening. There is a lot of built work happening. There is a lot of repurposing happening. We are going to be right next to the new Yelp headquarters, which is in the Timothy Pflueger building from 1927. Particularly in the Bay Area because a lot of the practitioners have access to tech companies and robotics that responsive architecture is emerging here—which we are so well positioned to look at with our interest in technology—architecture that is not just fabricated in a new method but responds to occupancy and climate. And also recognizing that these were early hopes from architects of the 1960s. This kind of Ant Farm movement, but ok now we know what technology can do. Is there anything else you would like to comment on? I don’t want to ignore our iconic chair collection. Along with our look at how to display product design. I think we’re also thinking will this trickle down into the pre-software products. We have all recognized that when you put a chair on display in a museum, you’re taking away its function. But maybe what we learn from how to display software maybe that would inform how we might display a chair.
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SFMOMA Planning Posthumous Lebbeus Woods Exhibition

Just weeks after architect Lebbeus Woods' death at age 72, SFMOMA is getting the word out about a new exhibition of his work that will run from February 16th through June 2nd, 2013. The show, entitled Lebbeus Woods, Architect, will feature 75 pieces from the eccentric designer's portfolio—most of them mutating forms in pencil— including Nine Reconstructed Boxes (1999) and High Houses (1996), which are currently in the SFMOMA collection. From SFMOMA's exhibition description:
Acknowledging the parallels between society's physical and psychological constructions, architect Lebbeus Woods (1940 - 2012) depicted a career-long narrative of how these constructions transform our being. Working mostly with pencil on paper, Woods created an oeuvre of complex worlds—at times abstract and at times explicit—that present shifts, cycles, and repetitions within the built environment. His timeless architecture is not in a particular style or in response to a singular moment in the field; rather, it offers an opportunity to consider how built forms are transformative for the individual and the collective, and how one person contributes to the development and mutation of the built world.
See more images from the museum's impressive Woods' collection below.
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On View> Naoya Hatakeyoma: Natural Stories at SFMOMA

Naoya Hatakeyoma: Natural Stories San Francisco Museum of Modern Art 151 Third Street San Francisco Through November 4 Naoya Hatakeyoma’s award winning photography contrasts the reciprocal impact of human industries on the natural world and that of natural forces on human activities. His photographs, ranging in topic from German coalmines to the underground Tokyo sewer systems, chronicle manmade industrial formations from their time of creation to their degeneration and ultimate decay, all captured in a seemingly objective yet sublime manner. Through this impartial method, devoid of speculation and sentiment, Hatakeyoma’s images garner the greatest impression on the viewer. Hatakeyoma was born in Rikuzentakata in Iwate Prefecture in 1958. His latest work, Rikuzentakata illustrates the devastation caused by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in his birthplace. In the first ever solo U.S museum exhibition, curated by Lisa J. Sutcliffe, SFMOMA showcases more than 100 photographs and 2 video installations spanning Hatakeyoma’s entire career.
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On View> Field Conditions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Field Conditions San Francisco Museum of Modern Art 151 Third Street, San Francisco, CA Through January 6, 2013 Blurring the distinction between conceptual art and theoretical architecture, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art investigates the conception and experience of space by using the notion of “field” as a reference. Curator Joseph Becker describes the pieces in the exhibition as “spatial experiments,” united by the use of architectural devices to describe a spatial condition. The term “field conditions” derives from the 1996 essay by architect Stan Allen in which he describes a shift from traditional architectural form toward an understanding of systems and networks, a “field” being described by the interconnections of discrete points that constitute the whole. Many works in the exhibition deploy a process of serializing and accumulating, describing spatial qualities through deformation (such as Conflict Space 3, 2006, by Lebbeus Woods, above).
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Bummer. SFMOMA, soon closing for several months for its Snøhetta-designed expansion, was hoping to keep things interesting by hiring Greg Lynn to design a floating exhibition in the San Francisco Bay. The project, coordinated with sail maker North Sails, would have included 200 sculptural chairs (made out of carbon fiber—the same material used in America’s Cup boats’ sails) under a large canopy on a large barge, providing clear views of the America’s Cup, which will soon be held in San Francisco. According to North Sails, Lynn may now produce some of the chairs for Vitra instead.
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QUICK CLICKS> Altophobia, Old Archphobia, Parkphobia, Sunset

High up. The New York Times' Edward Rothstein went out on a ledge for the paper today. The critic took on the glass boxes that protrude from the Willis Tower in Chicago known appropriately as the Ledge. The critic waxes poetic about the vulnerability of the city and the fully human sensations that occur when floating some 1,353 feet above the street. He also takes the opportunity to point out the redundancy of the Ledge's cousin, the Grand Canyon Skywalk. Tear Down. Christopher Hawthorne balked at SFMOMA's public relations campaign to portray the museum's new Snøhetta-designed wing as a wallflower respecting its Mario Botta-designed neighbor. But as Hawthorne points out in the LA Times, the new building is anything but quiet. Rather it's more a "chiseled behemoth."  Hawthorne finds the museum's affront to its Botta as part of a larger trend in the American museum world where the tendency is to drop good, but alas, old architecture in lieu of ever newer names and trends. Read: Whitney, MoMA, Barnes, to name but a few. Put a Lid on It. In a totally biased and unabashedly opinionated piece for City Watch, Jack Humphreville writes that a back room deal may have LA ratepayers of the Department of Water and Power footing the bill for a new twelve-acre park designed to cap the underground reservoir replacing the Elysian Reservoir. Humprhies argues that the $85 million park should fall under the auspices of the City and the Department of Recreation and Parks. Manhattanhenge. Gothamist reminds us that tonight at 8:17PM the full sun will set in perfect alignment with east west axis of Manhattan's street grid. Remember not to stare, mesmerized, for too long.      
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Event> Tobias Wong at SFMOMA

  • Tobias Wong
  • 151 3rd St.
  • San Francisco
  • Through June 19
Tobias Wong, the so-called "bad boy" of design, has his first solo show at SFMOMA. The honor comes posthumously, as Wong died in 2010 at the age of 35. Henry Urbach, SFMOMA’s Helen Hilton Raiser Curator of Architecture and Design, developed the exhibit, which features over 30 works by the late artist/designer. Wong’s designs, which he commonly referred to as “postinteresting” and “paraconceptual,” often played with the subversion of today’s consumer culture and the obsession with wealth and the toys that often accompany it, as well as post-9/11 American anxiety and its material manifestations. Wong also took pleasure in appropriating, some would say misappropriating, the works of others, which resulted in his being labeled a provocateur, ruffling the feathers of even large corporations like McDonald’s, who wasn’t thrilled with Wong’s gold plated version of its coffee stirrer (above).

SFMOMA Architects: Meet the Public

On Wednesday, SFMOMA held a press preview of its new exhibit, "Calder to Warhol: Introducing the Fisher Collection," which takes up the top two floors and features whole entire rooms of Calders, Ellsworth Kellys, Chuck Closes, Agnes Martins—a smorgasboard of modern masters, each a few steps from the next. Downstairs in the main lobby, however, there was the opportunity to get to know a different group of artists—the four candidates that are up for the job of designing the SFMOMA's new extension. A 12-minute video, displayed on the wall (and, naturally these days, on YouTube), is a terrific way to let the public in on what is going on at the SFMOMA. It opens with SFMOMA director Neal Benezra, who explains how the museum is expanding, and then there's a few choice quotes from each architect, enough to get a sense of the personalities in the mix.  David Adjaye demonstrates why he was picked to host a TV show; Sir Norman Foster is slick, eloquent and looks a bit like a Rembrandt painting; Craig Dykers of Snohetta is engagingly soft-spoken; and Elizabeth Diller of Diller Scofidio + Renfro has a great line about how galleries are "antithetical to the model of's not about getting from the tour bus to the gift shop." We learned elsewhere that after the architects had their meetings with SFMOMA brass on the top floor of the Gap, they were brought down to the basement, where a film crew was on hand to capture their thoughts. Meanwhile, as part of the museum's due diligence, Benezra is touring the architects' buildings—without them on hand—to get a fresh perspective on their work. We'd like videos of that too, please!
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SFMOMA Extension: Channeling Your Inner Maya Lin

On Tuesday, SFMOMA will reveal the final contenders for the city's most prestigious project of the moment, the extension of its 1995 Mario Botta building.  But imagine an alternate universe, where an open competition would invite a broad range of concepts from established firms and fresh talent alike. This parallel world could be experienced a couple of weeks ago, during a final review for an architecture class at CCA. Craig Scott of IwamotoScott assigned his students the challenge of designing the new building. For inspiration, they started with two artworks from artists featured in the Fisher collection (e.g., Richard Diebenkorn, Gerhard Richter), and took it from there. The results, presented to a panel that included Joseph Becker, assistant curator of architecture and design at SFMOMA, were quite diverse and offered real insight into the puzzle. Think Project Runway, but for architecture, and you'll have a sense of how the day went. Figuring out where their snazzy new building would connect to the old, fiercely geometric building was one of the bigger conundrums that the students grappled with. Dylan Barlow came up with an intricate, cellular design that connected to the existing structure through its roof garden. This got the thumbs-up from the panel. "It isn't so bad going up through the Botta," said panelist and fellow CCA professor Keith Plymale. "It's getting up to the roof garden and having to come back down through it that's not so great." Barlow also incorporated the drop-off for the W into his scheme, envisioning it as a drive-through gallery that would give hotel guests a sneak peek at the collection. A more aggressive "intervention" was proposed by Michael Wlosek, who dropped a new top floor on the old building, leaving the top of the Botta oculus peering out like a periscope. Inside, the striped walls of the oculus functioned as a sort of art piece. There were also clear sightlines through the museum to the new space behind, which solved one particular problem. The tricky infill site, coupled with the extensive additional space that the museum is calling for--100,000 square feet of galleries and 40,000 square feet of back office--meant that some of these architectural models looked a bit like cardboard Napoleon pastry. Pedro Marugan's refined model showed how everything might fit together. The new extension will have a narrow street presence, replacing the firehouse on Howard St. The architect's standard imperative--maximize natural light, create a sense of transparency--battles with the museum's need to protect artwork and hermetically sealed environments. Annie Aldrich made a virtue out of that necessity with a canyon-like entrance that keeps the facade fairly monolithic. Inside, the interior opens up with shafts of light coming through jagged skylights. At the end of the day, I had a renewed appreciation for the difficulties for the task at hand, as well as for the creativity on display. What if the general public was presented with the challenge of designing the extension, if only as a fun exercise? That many more people would have a better appreciation of what it is that architects do.  It would at once demystify architecture, but increase awareness of it. And it just might make us demand more out of our built environments.