Posts tagged with "Smithsonian":

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Design for Native American Veterans Memorial reflects “very deep kind of patriotism”

Few know that Native Americans are more likely than any other population group to serve in the U.S. armed forces. A new National Native American Veterans Memorial spotlights the contributions and sacrifices of Native Americans who have served. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. has recently selected the design by artist Harvey Pratt titled “Warriors’ Circle of Honor.” The memorial will break ground in 2019 and is expected to open in the following year. According to a statement from the Smithsonian Museum, Pratt designed “an elevated stainless steel circle” built on a stone fountain in the shape of a drum. The water symbolizes the blessing of holy ceremonies, and a fire will light up at the base of the circle during Veterans Day and other holidays. Pratt is a self-taught Oklahoma-based artist and a Vietnam War veteran. As a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes, his work deals with the history and traditions of those people and other Native American communities. Pratt partnered with Hans and Torrey Butzer of Butzer Architects and Urbanism in designing this memorial. Last year, Congress commissioned the museum to build the memorial to honor “the contributions of American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians who have served in the military since colonial times.”
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BIG reveals sweeping changes to Smithsonian campus master plan

After facing criticism over an initial 2014 master plan for renovating the historic southern campus of the Smithsonian Institute, the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has revealed a sweeping overhaul of its original design. The firm presented their new scheme in front of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA), a federal agency responsible for reviewing design proposals in Washington D.C., and were told to go back to the drawing board. The Smithsonian Institute’s southern campus runs alongside D.C.’s National Mall, one of the most iconic stretches of park in the country. Any changes to the surrounding landscape, especially when it involves renovating the Smithsonian’s Castle, which opened in 1855, and the adjacent four-acre Enid A. Haupt Garden, were bound to be controversial. The largest addition, and the one that drew the most ire from preservationists, would have replaced the roof of the sunken Quadrangle Building under the Haupt Garden with a glassy, upswept volume, and built a new subterranean auditorium, gallery space, café, and store. Bjarke Ingels was on hand to personally present the “Smithsonian's Preferred Alternative F” to the CFA yesterday. Among the biggest changes to the original scheme was the toning down of the buried gallery’s corners, so that a new Haupt Garden could be built on top of the space. A sloping entrance to the Castle had been included in the original plan, but was left out of this revision, although the underground space will still be ringed with skylights at the ground level. The entrance to the Castle would be moved closer to the Mall, and Ingels stressed that the new garden topping the Quadrangle building would retain “the character and feel” of the Haupt. He defended the new roof's design, saying "we also want to make more accessible some of the hidden treasures underneath the Haupt Garden – the National Museum of African Art and the Sackler Gallery – which are so well hidden that they’re under-enjoyed compared to the value they represent. If we can make them more accessible, more people might be tempted to explore." The Hirshhorn Museum, which also sits on the campus, will expand underground as well, although plans to remove the walls enclosing the site have been scrapped. Community input over the original design has reportedly played a large part in the new design. The CFA took umbrage with the plan’s demolition of the existing garden and entrances, as well as BIG’s lack of use for the existing Arts and Industries Building on the campus. Some of the commissioners in attendance were particularly harsh. “This is a redesign,” said Elizabeth Meyer. “It has nothing to do with preservation and it’s not good design.” Ultimately the CFA took no action, and told BIG to come back with alternative schemes and more information at a later date. Regardless of the final design, the southern campus will need extensive renovations. The initial 2012 existing conditions survey discovered that all of the buildings on the campus are in need of a mechanical systems upgrade, that the roof of the current Quadrangle building leaks, and that the Castle needs to be better protected against seismic events. The first stage of the $2 billion plan, the renovation of the Castle, is expected to begin in 2021, and the entire campus renovation should finish in 2041.
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34 Nations to submit works for the Inaugural 2016 London Design Biennale

Despite having an established pedigree within the creative world, London has never had its own Biennal(e)—or even Triennale, for that matter. This year however, the city is opening the Inaugural 2016 London Design Biennale, showcasing work from 34 participating countries around the theme of Utopia by Design. Set to be hosted at Somerset House, a former royal palace on the Strand in central London, the Biennale will run from September 7 to 27 this year. On display will be installations curated by leading design institutions from around the world. Participating bodies include USA's Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, DAMnation (Belgium), German Design Council, Moscow Design Museum (Russia), Triennale Design Museum (Italy), India Design Forum, Southern Guild (South Africa), The Japan Foundation, and Victoria and Albert Museum (UK). Other participating nations will be: Albania, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Chile, Croatia, France, Greece, Indonesia, Israel, Korea, Lebanon, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Palestine, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, and Turkey. Judging the contributions will be an an international advisory committee and jury comprised of established figures within the industry who will "award medals to the Biennale’s most significant national contributions." “We are delighted to announce the first ever London Design Biennale to be held at Somerset House," said Dr. Christopher Turner, Director of the Biennale. "500 years after the publication of Sir Thomas More’s classic, we are inviting countries to interrogate the contentious theme, Utopia by Design. These responses will demonstrate the power design has not only to strike up and inform debate, but also as a catalyst: provoking real change by suggesting inspiring or cautionary futures. Alongside the exhibition there will be an ambitious talks programme bringing together the very best international thinkers, and I hope that the Biennale will become a laboratory of ideas that might, in their way, contribute to making the world a better place.” London Mayor Boris Johnson also added: "Just as the London Olympic and Paralympic Games brought the world together through sport, they also inspired it through design, with Barber and Osgerby’s elegant torches and Heatherwick’s kinetic cauldron – a great unifying convergence of nations in fire and copper. In autumn 2016 the London Design Biennale will attract designers, as well as visitors, from all around the world for a vigorous exchange of ideas and ingenuity—the currency of London’s important and world-leading creative economy.”
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Gabriel Dawe’s Plexus A1 in the Newly Renovated Renwick Gallery

Until July 2016, Plexus A1, an art installation comprising of nearly 60 miles of handwoven threads by Mexican artist Gabriel Dawe, will be exhibited in the Smithsonian American Art Museum's newly renovated Renwick Gallery. Dawe's installation consists of 15 hues to mimic the full spectrum of visible light. Curator-in-Charge at the Renwick, Nicholas R. Bell, said, “I was immediately drawn to [Dawe’s] work, the ethereality of it, and the illusion that the material—cotton thread—is anything but that. In the long history of our relationship with textiles, how many creators have successfully changed the way we think about the very nature of the material?" Gabriel Dawe spanned the sewing thread from Renwick's 19-foot-tall ceilings and worked layer by layer, gradating hues to resemble visible light. Dawe completed the installation in ten days. Dawe said, "Once I have an idea of what I want to do in a space, it’s just a matter of attaching hooks and stringing them on site, one thread at a time. I use a tool I’ve developed that works as a giant needle that takes the thread up and down. In a space like the Renwick, which is rather big, I also rely on a lift and helpers to be able to reach over such a big span of space.” The Renwick Gallery opened last fall, after two years of renovations. Dawe is one of nine artists displaying works in the exhibition, WONDER, as the gallery gradually bring in the permanent collection. For more information on the WONDER exhibition visit the Smithsonian American Art Museum's webpage here.
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Architects design an interactive installation at the Smithsonian that calls for participants to overthrow dictators

Viva la revolución? A new interactive installation in Washington D.C. named Starry Heavens aims to use architecture for anarchy by unifying participants and encouraging them into carrying out collective acts of mobocracy. The brainchild of game designer Eric Zimmerman and architect Nathalie Pozzi, Starry Heavens is a quirky neo-political game (of sorts) which features a sleek white, snake-like form that sits above the participants. Below is a grid with black, grey and white interconnected bases, which if anything, is emulative of molecular lattice-like structure. According to The Creators Project, users have to stand on these bases and can only move when instructed to do so by a "central ruler," who is the only one allowed to talk. The aim of the game is for the players (who can join at any time) to overthrow the dictator. After meeting on Craigslist in 2008, Zimmerman and Pozzi have collaborated on similar projects prior to this one. In their first venture in 2009, they created BlockBall for the Come Out and Play festival. This isn't the first outing Starry Heavens has had either as the game in fact was initially designed for a MoMa event, exhibited in 2011. Speaking to The Creators Project, Pozzi explained why the exhibition space at the Smithsonian was a pulling factor. "For the installation at the Smithsonian, the white curve was very much a response to the physical space, we wanted to design a visually striking element that connected the play on the ground with the stunning Kogod Courtyard. The curve serves as a theatrical backdrop for the project and also as the 'heavens' of the title, Starry Heavens." The installation was fabricated by Erik van Dongen of Air Design Studio. Clara Ranenfir contributed to the design. Described by the pair as a "political fable" the installation seeks to use the physicality of the space to enliven themes of power and control, amplifying how this can shift via collaboration of the masses. "Starry Heavens tells an absurdist story of a pointless conflict. Players conspire with and against each other to overthrow a central Ruler, who commands where they can step. Whoever becomes the new Ruler takes over the nonsensical goal of trying to pull down a gigantic helium-filled balloon before they themselves get overthrown and replaced." "The way an architect structures space through material is very much like the way a game designer structures behavior through game rules," Zimmerman explains. "Perhaps architecture can learn to think of itself as a responsive discipline that reflects its environment and its users in a more honest and immediate way." The physicality of architecture in particular appeals to Zimmerman. "Maybe games can learn to be less disposable," he says. "I love the idea of designing a game that—like a building—is meant to last for decades or centuries."
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Pictorial> BIG’s Smithsonian Master Plan Revealed

As AN reported today, the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has unveiled its master plan master plan for the Smithsonian Institute's south campus in Washington D.C. The $2 billion plan would transform multiple cultural destinations with new systems and facilities, and create a dramatic new public space. While the project isn't expected to be fully implemented until 2041, you can scroll through the gallery below to get a sense of what the Smithsonian and BIG have planned. Learn more about BIG's plans over here.
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Perkins + Will folds in Freelon Group Architects, expands North Carolina practice

  Design giant Perkins + Will has swallowed up Freelon Group Architects, one of the country’s most prominent African American–led firms. The firms announced Tuesday that North Carolina–based Phil Freelon will help lead Perkins + Will’s design efforts in the region and globally. The local head of the combined practice will have nearly 80 professionals, creating one of the largest architecture and design practices in North Carolina. Freelon started his firm in 1990, growing it from a single-person practice to 45 employees. P+W will combine 18 staff members at an office in Morrisville, NC with Freelon’s office in Durham, as well as a 15-person staff in Charlotte. Freelon Group is best known for its work on the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, which they designed with David Adjaye, Davis Brody Bond Aedas, and SmithGroup. The museum is targeting a 2015 opening. Freelon’s firm also worked on the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History and Culture in Baltimore, and the Atlanta Center for Civil and Human Rights. “There’s a sense that we’re contributing to society as a whole, and making people’s lives better through our buildings in my firm, and Perkins + Will—there’s a lot of public sector clients there,” Freelon told the Durham Herald-Sun’s Laura Oleniacz. “We feel good about creating design excellence and beauty for everyday people.”
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Cooper-Hewitt Announces 14th Annual National Design Awards Winners

Acting director Caroline Baumann of The Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum has announced the winners of the 2013 National Design Awards. The 14th annual Awards program continues the practice of acknowledging excellence and innovation across an array of disciplines. This year’s winners will be recognized during a gala dinner on Thursday, October 17 at New York’s Pier 60 in conjunction with National Design Week, where they will be presented with trophies created by The Corning Museum of Glass. This year’s Lifetime Achievement award recipient is James Wines, founder and president of New York-based architectural studio SITE, who addresses context and environmental issues in his designs. Another big winner is Michael Sorkin, who claims the Design Mind prize for his work in urbanism and green architecture. TED—the nonprofit organization devoted to "Ideas Worth Spreading"—has been selected for the Corporate and Institutional Achievement prize. For its site-specific projects that act as responses to contemporary issues, Studio Gang Architects-principal Jeanne Gang wins the Architecture Design award. Petragram principal Paula Scher takes the stage as the Communication Design award recipient. Bloomberg, Citibank, and MoMA are just a few on her impressive list of clients. Fashion Design winner Behnaz Sarafpour implements organically produced pieces in her high-fashion and affordably-priced collection. Media design firm Local Project is the Interaction Design award recipient and the Interior Design award goes to Aidlin Darling Design. Margie Ruddick, who employs an environmental approach to urban landscape design, is the Landscape Architecture category winner. The Product Design award recipient  is NewDealDesign, a San Francisco-based multidisciplinary firm. This year's jury includes Charles Adler, Gail Anderson, Gisue Hariri, Jon Kolko, Thom Mayne, Zoë Ryan, Christine Ten Eyck, Isabel and Ruben Toledo, and Gianfranco Zaccai. The 2013 winners "have made a major impact in their respective fields through groundbreaking projects and visionary ideas," Baumann said in a statement. "They have truly transformed the way we live, think, work, and communicate with each other."
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Smithsonian Taps Bjarke Ingels For DC Campus Master Plan

Since announcing his first North American project in New York and opening an office in the Big Apple, BIG-founder Bjarke Ingels has been moving fast. His meteoric ascent into a Danish-American icon is happening so quickly, that the starchitect has landed himself in the Smithsonian, in a manner of speaking. The venerable institution has just hired Ingels to prepare a master plan for the museum's Washington, D.C. campus, and we're left wondering if that might mean a new mountain range rising off the National Mall. The Washington Business Journal reported today that the Smithsonian signed a $2.4 million contract with BIG to create the first phase of the master plan, a task that is expected to take around 8 to 12 months. The project site is bounded by Jefferson Drive along the National Mall, Seventh Street SW, Independence Avenue SW, and 12th Street SW, as indicated on the map below. The study area includes many iconic Smithsonian buildings including the Smithsonian Castle (above) and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (top). According to the WBJ, the team from BIG will investigate all buildings in the area, studying the architecture, engineering, and programming of the campus in order to recommend a "gateway" that promotes rest, education, and connects with the National Mall to the north. Among the challenges the campus currently presents is a disconnected flow of public space, dark and uninviting interior spaces, and dilapidated quarters.