Posts tagged with "Steven Holl":

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Steven Holl’s amble-worthy Hunters Point Library is finally open

Steven Holl has faced some real challenges with the Hunters Point Library in Long Island City, Queens—both artistic and pragmatic. Its completion after nine years can now be celebrated (construction began in 2015), but it’s a long time to wait for the $40 million, 22,000-square-foot-project, built by the city’s Department of Design and Construction (DDC). For the last year, precautions were made to adjust balconies off the central atrium space to prevent any suicide attempts. Nevertheless, it has been well put together by Steven Holl Architects, with Olaf Schmidt in charge, and opens today, September 24. Holl points out that what makes the library tick is its connection between what it looks like and how it’s experienced. He sums it up as a “browsing circuit,” comparable to his plan for an earlier unbuilt American Memorial Library in Berlin. For both there was the open stack, finding your own books, and seeing what others of interest were there at their side. In Queens, this is accomplished by suggesting readers movement along a multitude of stairways that are punctuated by levels with select bookcases off the sides, designed with shelves which accommodate readers’ books and/or their computers. Holl favors both artifacts, but he insists on the continuing presence of books. Holl also sees this space as a community center for presenting lectures, reciting poetry, or offering philosophical views. The latter can take place below, in the meeting room, or on the roof level at an outdoor setup with its dark wood seats. Literature for the earlier Berlin library tells of its fulfilling an aim of John Cotton Dana (1856-1929), the American librarian’s officiation of the open stack. Dana wasn’t alone, but the Americans open stacks library was actuated by him. Coming upon more than the original call number gives the reader a wider choice, a chance to browse. Inside—the exterior views have already been discussed—the good number of stairways suggest the presence of a Gianbattista Piranesi’s Carceri second state etching, Pier with a Lamp (1761). In 2007 Holl had rendered a watercolor painting based precisely on this print, transforming it over from a typical dark, mysterious, and haunting Piranesi to a brightly lit, upbeat image. This changeover in mood to a cheerful interior is the kind of atmosphere which John Cotton Dana prescribed for his ideal public library. He said,
Let the shelves be open, and the public admitted to them, and let the open shelve strike the keynote of the whole administration. The whole library should be permeated with a cheerful and accommodating atmosphere.
I would say that Holl has unknowingly fulfilled Dana’ s goal and maybe consciously paid homage to Piranesi. The cheerfulness of Holl’s library is—in spite of his knowledge of the persistence of doubt and uncertainty in our world–due to strong light coming in from the huge windows (modulated by metallic curtains) and enhanced by artificial lighting; LED and canisters lights provided by Dove and other companies. Answering Piranesi and some Cubists intents, there are theatrical views in addition to Holl’s fully tectonic field: A bold, slanting north/south white form resembling a beam (but is in actuality the underside of the egress stair clad with sheetrock) moving through a portion of the building is perpendicularly met by a curved mass and sheaved with bamboo, allowing for flickering light and shadow earth color effects, like early Cubist still lifes and landscapes. The photos above by Paul Warchol show how the library presents an ambiguous spatial field; the fragmented mass is a typical Cubist formal language. One other especially noteworthy interior view is the vaulting of the children’s area into an atrium space. The children’s area is across to the south, shielded by a curved vault of rounded steel tubes bent with metal decking spanning between, as observed by Justin den Herder of Silman, the engineering firm who helped realize the job. This structural element is also clad with bamboo panels allowing for a billowing curvature. The teen section is tucked away on the 5th level, off the atrium, and, above, on the roof deck, is the small outdoor theatre for lectures and cafe treats. Other contributors to Holl’s design were Michael Van Valkenburgh’s landscaping and Julianne Swartz’s optical devices. Van Valkenburg was hired to design a much more complicated scheme but the budget was sharply reduced, allowing only for several Honey Locust trees. Swartz’s four sculptural lenses were placed strategically along, and inside, the library to control views, echoing the playfulness of the sixties-era lens boxes designed by Mary Bauermeister. According to Swartz, “I make sculpture because it relates to the body.” This, in extension, is incredibly fitting for a design by Holl, since his work is ultimately tied to phenomenology. Alongside Holl’s sublime measures of the atrium, is his human scale and measurement throughout. Libraries around the globe have proliferated recently; they’re increasingly offering more than borrowed books. Is it too much to say, that our new community library in Queens, complete with its 50,000 books, now provides usefulness and beauty, equal to any of these others or even greater than some?
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Want to own a house designed by a renowned architect? Here are seven options currently on the market

While summer may be drawing to a close, daydreaming about beautiful houses has no season. For those who are particularly discriminating about architecture, and who happen to be in the market for a multi-million-dollar listing, there are plenty of options to run through. AN has rounded up seven houses designed by nationally and internationally renowned architects that are for sale right now. Do some window shopping below:

Marcel Breuer’s Gargarin House I Litchfield, CT

Between 1956 and 1957, the celebrated Bauhaus architect Marcel Breuer, whose masterpieces include New York’s Met Breuer museum (formerly the Whitney), designed a stunning home for Andrew and Jamie Gargarin in Litchfield, Connecticut. Sitting on 1.7 acres of gently sloping land, the low-slung house was constructed with steel, reinforced concrete, stone, and glass. Its styling is decidedly modern both inside and out, with materials and vistas that are sure to please any buyer with money to spare.

Perhaps the most unique feature in the Gargarin House I is the bush-hammered concrete fireplace. Its irregular form rises in the middle of the glass-walled living room, providing the home with one of its only architectural elements that is not strictly rectilinear. The fireplace and the storied house it occupies can be yours for $3.8 million.

Arthur Cogswell, Jr.’s Durham dream house Durham, NC

As the only house on this list priced under one million dollars (and still by only $50,000), Arthur Cogswell, Jr.’s midcentury modern design in Durham, North Carolina offers a comparatively affordable option for those looking to own property crafted by a notable architect. Cogswell is best known as a residential architect with modernist proclivities. Most of his projects have been completed for private clients in North Carolina.

This particular home is 3,259 square feet with four bedrooms and three full bathrooms. Because it has only had one owner since its initial construction, the house is remarkably well preserved. Images show that many of the rooms have maintained their original wood cabinetry, while the back deck is still covered by a geometric pergola. The room that has changed most significantly is the kitchen, which underwent a complete renovation to meet twenty-first-century standards of living. Built in 1966, the home sits on 2.33 acres and is listed for $950,000.

Steven Holl-designed Catskills getaway Middleburgh, NY

Nestled in a heavily wooded area in New York’s Catskills region, Steven Holl’s bright red “Y House” has hit the market for $1.6 million. The two main sections of the house (there is also a detached garage and a boathouse) branch off from one another to form the shape of the letter “Y”. They both terminate in outdoor spaces—balconies on the second floor and small patios on the ground floor. The roofline of the structure slopes upward toward this point, creating a volume that appears to open up to the mountain views.

Constructed in 1999, the house takes full advantage of its surroundings. From the interior, irregularly shaped windows frame the landscape in unexpected ways, while communal spaces benefit from larger, floor-to-ceiling glass. The 33-acre site also has a minimalist, glass-walled boathouse perched at the edge of a serene pond.

Richard Neutra’s midcentury masterpiece Weston, CT

In the quiet town of Weston, Connecticut, Betty Corwin is selling a house designed for her and her husband by Richard Neutra in 1955. Situated on a 4.3-acre lot above the Saugatuck River, the five-bedroom Corwin House is surrounded by mature trees and lush landscaping. With many of its original finishes still intact, including the yellow kitchen cabinetry and plenty of built-ins, the home is a particularly well-preserved example of midcentury modern residential architecture. Corwin, now in her 90’s, has made only a few changes to the kitchen appliances and bathrooms.

Perhaps best known for his extensive portfolio of house projects in California, Neutra built a number of modern residential structures throughout the mid-twentieth century. Listed at $2.7 million, the Corwin House is one of the architect’s two remaining homes in the state of Connecticut, presenting East Coast buyers with a rare chance to purchase a piece of his legacy.

Wine country stunner by Michael Palladino of Richard Meier Partners Santa Ynez, CA

Designed by Michael Palladino of Richard Meier Partners, this six-bedroom, eight-bathroom house sits in the Santa Ynez Valley northwest of Santa Barbara, California. Buyers of Son Sereno will have no shortage of space, inside or out. The home itself boasts 8,000 square feet of living space, while the 116-acre lot includes an olive grove and several riding trails. The scenery surrounding the contemporary structure is characteristic of this region of California—mature oak and sycamore trees dot a landscape of rolling green hills and vineyards.

Built in 2005, the building uses a combination of stucco and stone walls to support a high, curvilinear ceiling over the main living space. There is a wealth of amenities, including an attached three-car garage, two fireplaces, and panoramic views of the valley. The asking price is currently set at $7,900,000.

Paul Rudolph’s Milam Residence Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

As AN reported earlier this summer, Paul Rudolph’s beachside Milam Residence outside Jacksonville, Florida hit the market for $4,445,000. With a distinctive geometric facade that lends visual depth to the building, the Milam Residence presents potential buyers with the opportunity to own something that stands out in the coastal neighborhood, where most residential architecture prescribes to a more Mediterranean aesthetic. With 6,800 square feet of living space spread between the main building and a separate guest house, there is no shortage of space, either.

While Rudolph is better known for his institutional projects, including the Yale School of Architecture’s Paul Rudolph Hall, the Milam House is still a piece of history. Built in 1961 for the attorney Arthur Milam, the residence is being sold by the family of the original owners.

Rafael Viñoly-designed head-turner Ridgefield, CT

Rafael Viñoly’s most famous residential project may be his gleaming tower at 432 Park Avenue in New York City, but for those who prefer a more tranquil setting, a house he designed in Ridgefield, Connecticut is now on the market. Built in 1990 for Alice Lawrence, whose late husband Sylvan Lawrence was a real estate mogul in Manhattan, the house is a dramatic contemporary design composed primarily of concrete and glass. Designed for Mrs. Lawrence’s extensive art collection, the house comprises one part of a listing that includes a farmhouse next door and a total of 16 acres of land.

With three bedrooms, four bathrooms, and both indoor and outdoor pool options, the Lawrence House offers a taste of luxury to anyone who can afford its $9.8 million price tag.

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Rome and the Teacher brings roofscapes to Rhinebeck

‘T’ Space 137 Round Lake Road Rhinebeck, NY Through August 24 This summer, ‘T’ Space, a gallery and performance venue established by Steven Holl, will present the work of Holl’s former professor and inspirator, the architect and academic Astra Zarina, in the exhibition Rome and the Teacher. Guest curated by Alessandro Orsini, the show is inspired by Zarina’s 1976 book on Roman roofscapes, I Tetti di Roma, and her contributions as a groundbreaking female figure in the profession. Photographs by the architect Balthazar Korab, who coauthored I Tetti di Roma, as well as theoretical writings, models, and historical maps relay the Latvian-born Zarina’s professional journey, including her experience as the American Academy in Rome’s first female architecture fellow and her lifelong project of restoring the “città che muore” (dying town) of Civita di Bagnoregio. Photographic prints will wrap the gallery space, and a video created by Columbia architecture students will align the exhibition material with newer concepts about design’s engagement with public life—a theme central to Zarina’s work, teaching, and legacy.
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A closer look at Steven Holl's completed ICA in Richmond

Ahead of its official opening on April 21, AN toured the luminescent Steven Holl Architects-designed Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond. Though the ICA uses a simple material palette–zinc, raw concrete, translucent glass, and splashes of wood–it becomes more than the sum of its parts thanks to smart siting decisions that put natural light on display as much as the artwork. The concept of the past, present and future mingling together informed the “branching paths” shape of the building, the dual entrances (one towards the VCU campus and the other towards the city itself) and the finish details. In Holl’s own words, the building was conceived as a nexus between past and future, with “forking time” as the project’s central design tenant. Across the 41,000-square-foot space, each of the three gallery spaces, one on each floor, extend and rotate as they rise. From the exterior, the ICA can appear monolithic, as the distinction between its horizontal zinc panels and vertical frosted glass windows can disappear on cloudy days. At night the building glows from within and casts light from the ends of its rectangular volumes into the sculpture garden and the campus beyond. The project sits on the northeastern corner of VCU’s campus, both on top of the historic Elba train station and next to Richmond’s busiest intersection. That embodied kinetic energy extends to the building itself and into dramatic upward-flowing curves, whether in the 33-foot-tall Royall Forum at the entrance or the 33-foot-tall True Farr Luck capstone gallery that’s bounded by a swooping arch. Holl is obviously no stranger to designing light-filled art institutions; this year is the 20th anniversary of the semi-circular Kiasma Museum in Helsinki. As a result, the ICA is designed with exhibitions and flexibility in mind, from the terrazzo ground concrete floors to unfinished concrete-beam-ceilings, affording artists the chance to anchor pieces as they see fit. It’s impossible to separate the institution from the art on display within. The ICA will hold no permanent collection and will instead feature rotating shows of various sizes throughout the year. Not having to worry about how light would affect the art afforded Holl the opportunity to design around the natural daylight cycle, instead of creating diffused, even light throughout. The light from the skylights piercing the first and second-floor galleries ebbs and flows as the sun moves overhead. Many of the installations in the ICA’s inaugural exhibition, Declaration (an examination of how artists can address contemporary social issues), are arranged around these windows, using them as spotlights or for increased ambiance. Nowhere is this usage of light more prominent than in the top-floor gallery, which is sandwiched between a wall of glass on the western front and an elevated window on the eastern side. Besides the space’s enormous height, the most striking feature is how the sun moves from one window to the next over the day, creating a dynamically-lit space that sheds new light on the oversized installations within, depending on what time of day it is. The auditorium stands apart in its material palette, wrapped in cherry wood panels. The building also includes a sculpture garden and reflecting pool, and 8,000 square feet of greenery that covers three of the four gallery roofs. Sustainability considerations also factored heavily into the design, and the ICA is heated and cooled entirely through the use of 43 geothermal wells which radiate warmth up through the floor. The $41 million building is designed to attract passerby with its ground-level clear glass facade at ground level and the zinc-clad building volume lifting up over the entranceway. It also happens to take on new shapes depending on which direction it’s approached from. While it might seem imposing from the sidewalk, visitors will find an organic, constantly changing embrace within. Declaration will run from April 21, 2018, through September 9, 2018, and admission to the ICA is free.
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Steven Myron Holl Foundation concludes summer fellowship program

The Steven Myron Holl Foundation launched its summer fellowship program this past July at the ‘T’ Space Gallery in Rhinebeck, New York. The 25-day intensive studio program offered a unique educational experience to five students of architecture and practicing architects in an exploration of space and light. With a mission to push architecture toward “future alternatives of quality before quantity,” the program encouraged fellows to explore Rhinebeck's local ecology and the Holl-designed Space T2 for inspirations for their designs of a 20-person seated chapel. The classes were instructed by Eirini Tsachrelia and Christoph Kumpusch with Tom Mayne, Michael Bell, Stan Allen, Steven Holl, and several others serving as critics. The program, entitled “Rural Compression,” ended on August 2, 2017, with a small graduation ceremony that took place in the Ex of In House (also designed by Holl) in Rhinebeck. The Steven Myron Holl Foundation is a nonprofit initiative that supports projects in the arts and aspires to educate students on contemporary architecture, facilitate spaces of engagement with the natural landscape and design, and make an impact in the future of cities.
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Neil Denari: Displaced Buildings in The Aperiodic City

The exhibition that opened on May 27 at the Steven Holl–designed 'T' Space Gallery in Rhinebeck, New York, is one of the most imaginative achievements ever made by Neil Denari. Neil M. Denari Architects (NMDA) has created a series of projects over the last seven years ranging from port terminals to museums. Each project originated and was designed for a specific context in various cities. Some of the drawings here were made in an intense period of work in the last six months. Seen together they present the designs of Neil Denari in a completely new light. Free of earlier preoccupations such as the transfer of technology and industrial design to architecture, here in Rhinebeck we are witnessing a fully imaginative leap into terra incognita. We are launched into the world of imaginative architecture, into the architecture of the possible. Not far from Piranesi etchings, and as far away from the inevitable pragmatic constraints of the here and now. This is an invitation to reimagine an urban landscape that has never been and never will be. Taking us into completely unknown territories, these works constitute a ‘salto mortale’ that will certainly inspire generations of young architects before giving into the expediency of clients and banal programs. Never before have Neil Denari's drawings have inspired us so much as these displaced buildings in an aperiodic city. Indeed, they bear their own time capsule within their own imaginary places.
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The Architectural League Prize turns 35

It was 1980 and New York City was experiencing its highest crime rate and worst recession since the 1930s. In spite of the doom and gloom that had set in, some were optimistic about the city’s future. One was a young architect who recently arrived to New York from San Francisco. That year, he entered a competition for young architects by proposing a fantastic village of houses atop an abandoned elevated rail line. The competition was the inaugural Young Architects Forum, and the visionary dreamer who saw potential in the rusted viaduct for a thriving community was architect Steven Holl.

Holl’s now legendary Bridge of Houses, the first suggested revitalization of what is now the High Line, was one of 12 winners that year. It was profoundly poetic, hugely influential, and it made the case for both an ideas-based architecture and for having a prize for young architects. The Architectural League of New York couldn’t have wished for a better start for its new program.

Now in its 35th year, the Architectural League Prize (formerly the Young Architects Forum) is a prize with gravitas for young architects that rewards winners with a plum lecture opportunity and a part in an exhibition in New York. It is highly sought after by promising young guns and for good reason. Of the prize’s 200-plus winners, only a small percentage have drifted into obscurity. Most are heading up significant practices and running design schools. Some, like Holl, Billie Tsien, Rick Joy, and Neil Denari are truly famous, bringing to fruition buildings of extraordinary quality that are making their marks on history and influencing generations of architects to come. The prize is not a perfect predictor of future prominence, as it casts its net widely and is open to all architects in North America out of undergraduate or graduate school fewer than 10 years. However, it’s been a pretty good indicator of the people and the ideas likely to matter next.

When it began in 1981, the League Prize was an oasis in a desert of opportunity for young architects. “There was really nothing like it,” said Anne Rieselbach, who as program director for the Architectural League of New York, has shepherded the League Prize program for the past 29 years. There was the P/A Awards sponsored by Progressive Architecture magazine, but that was a different opportunity. And some, like architect Claire Weisz, who won the prize in 1991, considered the P/A Awards to be “out of reach and unattainable.” Weisz credits the League Prize as being hugely influential and an important forum where architects just starting out could get validation amongst their peers. Her winning project, “Beg Borrow and Steal,” which was conceived from borrowed and bartered materials sourced from a closing fashion store and cleverly exhibited on clothes hangers, was her first public collaboration with Mark Yoes, now her partner in WXY.

Architect James Sanders got the program up and running. Prompted by the dearth of opportunities for young architects in a city that was coming out of a recession, Sanders and others established the inaugural competition, which had many of the hallmarks of the current one. There was a poster to get the word out, a competition theme around which contestants organized their work, and a jury. The poster the first year was designed by a young Michael Bierut. And the theme was “Dwelling in the Cracks: Responses to the City.” Like all of the competition themes to follow, it was topical, reflecting current concerns and issues confronting architectural practice, this one being the state of the city. In addition to Sanders, who teamed up with Roy Strickland, the winners that year were Dodie Acklie, David Cagle, Steven Forman, Robert Grzywacz, Alexander Gorlin, Ralph Lerner, Michael McDonough, Mark Schimmenti, David Spiker, Donna Robertson, and Holl. Holl and Gorlin went on to have distinguished careers as designers and Robertson and Lerner (now deceased) made their marks in education as deans: The former at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and the latter at Princeton.

When Rieselbach took the reins in 1987, five years into the program, she ushered in some changes: She limited past winners from entering the competition again (Denari was one of two people who won it twice), introduced a publication of the winners’ work in 1999, and secured a new venue for the program in 2010. Prior to 2010, the projects were exhibited at the Villard Houses in the Urban Center’s galleries on 30-by-30-inch boards. Since 2010, Parsons has hosted the show at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center.

Rieselbach recalled some interesting moments. “2006 was a watershed year where everyone did CNC milling. It was really quite amazing.” In terms of where people are from, “A lot of people teaching at Michigan, a lot of interesting young architects from Canada, and plenty of women,” she continued. Most recently, Rieselbach observed a return of the hand in the work, a hybridization of digital and manual techniques. She went on to say that recent winners like Jenny Sabin (2014), Skylar Tibbits (2013), Sean Lally (2012) and, Michael Loverich (2010), in particular, are doing work that tests the boundaries of architecture.

The prize has nurtured many hook ups both personal and professional: Dan and Marie Adams of Landing Studio (2015), Lisa Iwamoto and Craig Scott of Iwamoto Scott (2002), Eric Bunge and Mimi Hoang of nARCHITECTS (2001), Shih-Fu Peng and Roisin Heneghan of Heneghan Peng (1999), David and Paul Lewis (1997) and Marc Tsurumaki (1992) of LTL Architects; Stephen Cassell and Adam Yarinsky, of ARO, (1996); Weisz and Mark Yoes of WXY Studio (1993); and Mónica Ponce de León and Nader Tehrani,(1997), formerly of Office dA. Especially interesting are the three deans of Princeton’s School of Architecture: Ralph Lerner (1981), Stan Allen (1988) and Monica Ponce de Leon (2016).

Many of the winners are now dominating the headlines. nARCHITECTS’s Carmel Place, WXYs’ Salt Shed (with Dattner Architects), and City View Garage in the Miami Design District designed by Dominic Leong (2007) of Leong Leong, and Iwamoto Scott (2012) have been in the pages of many national and international publications, including AN. Without a doubt, the League Prize winners are a fascinating group of mavericks most likely to shape architecture’s future.

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Princeton University forges a new relationship with its surroundings

Like many universities situated in the heart of their communities, Princeton is grappling with the enormous challenge of growing its campus to accommodate new and expanded programs. Some of the strategies to expand include selective densification of the core and the renewal and repurposing of existing facilities. But longer range, the university will have few options but to expand at the periphery. While densification risks upsetting the delicate balance between buildings and open space that defines Princeton’s campus and grants it a majestic beauty, the ability to craft large swaths of land in the image of itself is also a welcome opportunity.

Recent examples include the new sciences neighborhood at the campus’s southern border, where new buildings by Hopkins Architects and Rafael Moneo join a genomics facility by Rafael Viñoly, and an expanded engineering precinct at the campus’s eastern side, which just welcomed the new Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment by Tod Williams Billie Tsien.

Located on a 23-acre site at the campus’s western edge, the arts and transit neighborhood is an exercise in forging a more engaged relationship between the university and town with new arts facilities, a transit hall and rail station, and various eateries, including a Wawa. Planning the precinct was tasked to Beyer Blinder Belle Architects and Michael Van Valkenburgh, who were working with the university at the time on a ten-year plan to guide campus growth through 2016. Scheduled to be complete in 2017, the $300 million project is the largest expansion project in the university’s 265 year history.

The new facilities inscribe themselves into the fabric of the campus by integrating the language of the neighborhood and surrounding courtyards in their form, scale, and materials. Steven Holl’s Lewis Center for the Arts anchors the precinct and creates a new campus gateway. It provides performance and teaching spaces for the theater and dance program, the department of music, and the arts in three buildings organized around a three-sided courtyard that opens to the community.

In the center of the courtyard a shallow pool defines a main public space. The buildings’ Italian limestone exteriors reference the early stones and bluestone paving used elsewhere on campus. The arts tower is scaled to Blair Arch. Rick Joy’s transit hub creates a chapel-like space that is washed in natural light. One of Joy’s big place-making gestures was putting the transit hall and the Wawa in two separate buildings to shape a new public space. “We had a program for it and the Wawa but we never conceived of splitting it apart,” said university architect Ron McCoy.

In addition to new facilities, the university is bringing in new infrastructure—reworking roads, creating plazas and circulation routes for pedestrians and cyclists, and providing for parking. 

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Steven Holl to execute master plan study for Williams College Museum of Art

This year, Williams College trumped rival Amherst in the spurious U.S. News & World Report college rankings, stealing the "#1 College" title from their neighbor to the east. Defending the crown is tough work, but an infusion of high-profile architecture can't hurt: New York–based Steven Holl Architects announced today that they will design a master plan study for Williams's Museum of Art and Art Department.Established in 1926, the Williams College Museum of Art has 14,000 pieces in its collection that range from antiquity to the present. It is a teaching museum, designed to give students firsthand access to major works of art. Steven Holl's study for the museum and the Art Department is organized around five principles: Creating spaces for exhibiting and teaching art, connecting interior spaces with the campus, making the architecture contextual and complementary, harmonizing the visual arts with other arts on campus, and expanding the presence of the museum and the department on campus. Several on-campus sites are being considered for new buildings to expand the department's footprint. "Historically one of the most important launching institutions for museum leaders around the world, Williams College extends its dedication to excellence in art education with this new campus development phase,” said Steven Holl, in a statement. Museum and education design is a well-worn path for the practice: Steven Holl has created facilities for Columbia University, MIT, and the Glasgow School of Art, among others. Currently, work in underway at Princeton University, the Kennedy Center, and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. The master plan anchors Williams as a destination in the well-established Berkshires arts scene. The college is a mile from the Clark Art Institute, with its Tadao Ando–designed expansion. It's also a fifteen minute drive from North Adams, home of MASS MoCA and two planned museums, The Global Contemporary Art Museum and The Extreme Model Railroad and Contemporary Architecture Museum, the latter two both designed by Gluckman Tang.
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Bach to the Future: Gabriel Calatrava creates malleable architecture for "The Art of the Fugue"

Like cheese and crackers, music and architecture is a natural pairing. Last November, Steven Holl debuted his ballet, Tesseracts of Time. This year is shaping up to be a promising one for synergy between the two practices: A Marvelous Orderthe opera based on Jane Jacobs' and Robert Moses' epic feud, is in previews this March, and last weekend, concertgoers at the 92nd Street Y's "Seeing Music" festival were treated to a Gabriel Calatrava–designed installation that dialogues with Bach's “The Art of the Fugue." The installation, mounted in a 24-foot-by-17-foot frame, is meant to evoke the strings on musical instruments, Bach's fugues, and a game of Cat's Cradle, the children's game played with an endlessly transfigured loop of string. While the Brentano String Quartet performed Bach's piece live, dancers manipulated Calatrava's installation in response to the music. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2ePyvNgVJA New shapes, spaces, and patterns are created as the dancers work. “My fascination with moving architecture inspired me to design a set piece that serves as both a work of art and a functional installation that reacts to music,” Calatrava said in a statement. In the video below, he dives into the design process and the challenge of syncing architecture, a medium with material products, to music, tangible but non-physical. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsHXd-8p0PE The Calatrava name should be eminently familiar to anyone who follows architecture. The younger Calatrava, trained as an engineer, is now an architect, working on his own and with his father's firm, Santiago Calatrava Architects & Engineers. An affinity for white, sinewy geometries may run in the family: the 92Y piece recalls the elder Calatrava's recently completed Museum of Tomorrow and the soon-to-open World Trade Center Transportation Hub, below. For those interested in checking out more musical pairings, the 92Y’s “Seeing Music” festival runs through February 18.
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Thinking Outside the Box: Leong Leong, Steven Holl, Levenbetts show off new collection of objects

New York– and Los Angeles–based architecture firm Leong Leong's "A Toolkit for a Newer Age" is part of an exhibition at Chamber Gallery titled Unpacking the Cube which also includes work by Steven Holl and Levenbetts. Fabricated out of Himalayan pink salt, the collection of nine objects are designed to satisfy basic human needs, which "can be configured into a series of distinct constellations, alluding to ritualistic events that provide individual and communal opportunities for reflection and socialization" according to the designers. The shapes of the tools are milled by robots, which creates a juxtaposition between the ancient organic matter from which they are made and the advanced technology used to create them. Eventually the salt objects will begin to degrade, which emphasizes the nature of human tools and how quickly essential items become obsolete. The objects include a tiffin, mortar and pestle, seats, vessel, censer, salt block, candle, horn, and headrests, all of which are placed on an insulated mat. Additionally, Holl contributed three cubic sculptures made of concrete, aluminum, and walnut. Levenbetts, comprised of David Leven and Stella Betts, included a collection of hollow wedge shaped pieces that can be combined to create a cube, as well as seating and shelving units. The exhibition is curated by Andrew Zuckerman and runs through March 5, 2016.
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Day 37 & 38: The sheen of the Chicago Architecture Biennial has not worn off as programming continues to impress

Often, there's a blast of attention for the opening of a Biennial, or Biennale, or Triennale. This happens partly because the media descends on a place for the first few days while opening events abound, and then go back on their merry ways. It's also due in part to the event's programming—how much of note actually happens after the initial weekend? The Chicago Architecture Biennial, now over a month on, is bucking that trend by doing a great job of extending its initial burst of programming. AN was able to check in on the Biennial and see some of the ongoing, publicly engaging talks, lectures, exhibitions, and performances. And there were plenty. The trip started with a surreal performance by Jessica Lang Dance in collaboration with none other than New York architect Steven Holl. For 20 minutes at the Harris Theater on the northern edge of Millennium Park, Tesseracts of Time combined architecture and performance arguably the most potent way of all the Biennial's performances, as nimble bodies gracefully moved around and through stage sets designed by Holl. The most engaging parts of the Biennial are not necessarily the ones in the Chicago Cultural Center. Periphery events have a considerable range of programming, from environmental issues and Chicago-centric ones, to global questions of infrastructural inequality. The latter was on tap Saturday at "Architecture and Inequality," hosted by the history collective Aggregate. The six panels partly focused on extending the discussion from Aggregate's special issue "Black Lives Matter," which was a look at the structural challenges designers face when making cities and places for everyone. The discussions were surprisingly tailored to Chicago, and provocations from historians Meredith TenHoor, Sharon Haar, and Adrienne Brown were complemented by more contemporary presentations from Jonathan Massey and Emmanuel Pratt. TenHoor discussed infrastructure and inequality, using the unbuilt crosstown expressway in Chicago as an example of tangible inequality that galvanized a community—something that needs to happen today surrounding unequal urban spheres such as housing and transportation access. The panel was dynamic, illustrating the ways that architecture plays into uneven patterns of development and habitation in the city. At times, perhaps structural racism was over-conflated with economic inequality, but nonetheless the panels drew out the strong connections between the two. This is just one of many socially-minded panels that make the moralizing whiners sound silly when they complain that the biennial is not engaging with the city of Chicago and its unique urban problems. Switching gears very quickly, I headed to the standing-room only Chicago Arts Club to see legendary critic Bob Somol and his compadre Wiel Arets discuss with Geoff Goldberg the main exhibition of the Biennial. Somol is the former dean of the University of Illinois, Chicago, School of Architecture, while Arets is the dean of rival Illinois Institute of Technology. Goldberg is the son of Bertrand Goldberg. The three Chicago-marinated experts discussed the Biennial by choosing projects that caught their attention. Somol was especially taken in by Sou Fujimoto's submission Everything is Architecture and Atelier Bow-wow's Piranesi Circus. He compared Fujimoto's installation to Hans Hollein's Architecture is Everywhere. The Biennial's strength is in its breadth and sprawl, but on Saturday it became a weakness. We couldn't make it to a very intriguing event, "House Practices", a discussion with Amanda Williams, Julia Sedlock, and Mejay Gula about their house-based practices. It took place far form the central loop, however, so I was not able to see it or the brilliant-looking exhibition also at the Elmhurst Art Museum, Lessons from Modernism: Environmental Design Strategies in Architecture 1925-1970.