Posts tagged with "Toshiko Mori":

Women in architecture make their voices heard in Venice

This morning at 11:00 AM, a large crowd of women (and male supporters) met just inside the entrance gates of the Biennale’s garden to protest a lack of recognition of “woman in architecture.” The fan waving crowd cheered as co-organizer Martha Thorne read a prepared statement asking for women to receive more recognition and support from the profession and the media. The event, according to Thorne, Odile Decq, and Toshiko Mori, three of the original organizers, started with this small group but has quickly developed into a network of “hundreds of supporters!” The only slip up was that the protest took place inside the gates of the Biennale and thus many young supporters were denied entrance to participate as they did not have a ticket on this media-only preview day. Still, over 100 people participated, including Francine Houben of Mecanoo, Farshid Moussavi, Jeanne Gang, and curators from The Met and MoMA. The organizers claim that architecture school students are now 60% female, so that today’s "Giardini" protest is only recognizing what will become a reality tomorrow. Below is the prepared statement that the group read: “MANIFESTO We as Voices of Women are building conversations and taking actions to raise awareness to combat pervasive prejudices and disrespectful behavior that appears to be systemic in our culture and discipline. We are united in denouncing discrimination, harassment and aggressions against any member of our community. We will not tolerate it. We will not stand silent. Women are not a minority in the world, but women are still a minority in the architecture field and we want it to better reflect better the world in which we live. The Venice Architecture Biennale 2018 FREESPACE is a crucial moment of awakening to promote equitable and respectful treatment of all members of the architectural community irrespective of gender, race, nationality, sexuality and religion. We will join hands with co-workers, students, clients, collaborators, and our male colleagues to create a new path forward toward equitable work and educational environments that promote respectful discourse and open exchange of ideas. Be a fan of voices of women. Make a vow to uphold fairness, transparency, and collaboration in Architecture NOW.”

Jury is announced for Adelaide Contemporary museum competition

The Adelaide Contemporary International Design Competition has announced the jury members selected to judge the competition, which will commission a new contemporary art museum and public sculpture park dedicated to Australian, Aboriginal, Asian and European art in Adelaide, Australia. Last December, the shortlisted firms were announced, and among the 13 firms grouped into six teams were Adjaye Associates, SO-IL and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, along with Australia-based firms BVN, Hassell, Woods Bagot and Durbach Block Jaggers. The nine-person jury is comprised of leaders in the arts, architecture, culture and business, including Walter Hood and Toshiko Mori. The competition jury will be chaired by Michael Lynch and advised by the competition director, Malcolm Reading. The full jury is below:
  • Michael Lynch AO CBE (Chair), Chair, Sydney Community Foundation and Chair, Circa
  • Lee-Ann Tjunypa Buckskin, Deputy Chair, Australia Council for the Arts, Managing Director, L-AB & Associates and Executive, Aboriginal Strategy, South Australian Film Corporation
  • Beatrice Galilee, Associate Curator of Architecture and Design, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
  • Walter Hood, Creative Director and Founder, Hood Design Studio
  • David Knox, Deputy Chair, Economic Development Board of South Australia and Member, Adelaide Botanic Gardens Foundation Committee
  • Nick Mitzevich, Director, Art Gallery of South Australia
  • Toshiko Mori, Founder and Principal, Toshiko Mori Architect and Robert P. Hubbard Professor in the Practice of Architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design
  • Sally Smart, Vice-Chancellor’s Professorial Fellow, University of Melbourne and renowned contemporary artist
  • Tracey Whiting, Chair, Art Gallery of South Australia Board

In eleven weeks, the six teams will present their conceptual designs, with an honorarium of approximately $72,000 dollars (AU $90,000) to complete this stage. In April, these designs will be shown to the public at an exhibition in Adelaide as well as online. Details about that exhibition will be released then. The jury will decide upon the winner in May and the winners will be announced by mid-June of this year. Further updates to the competition can be found at the competition's website.

Toshiko Mori unifies Breuer home with diaphanous glass “bridge and break” staircase

For a dead architect, Marcel Breuer is blowing up the news this year: After the Whitney decamped to the Meatpacking, the Met annexed Breuer's signature Upper East Side museum building, honoring the architect in a suave rechristening. Virginia's only Breuer building was headed for the wrecking ball, but saved; this year, too, his Atlanta Central Library was scheduled to meet its end, but will not be demolished thanks in part to the dedication of Brutalism preservation activists. Now, Toshiko Mori has revamped a 1951 Breuer project in New Canaan, Connecticut, unifying a two-building complex with a "bridge and break" angular glass staircase that honors Breuer's forms while flooding the home with light. The New York–based architect updated the home's interiors to Breuer's original specifications, save the elimination of a ground-floor bedroom and a skylight she added to the main circulation corridor. "Visually, the skylight connects the original structure to the new addition and connecting stair," Mori told Dezeen. "The massing of the addition takes its cues from the original Breuer house, adhering to the orthogonal lines and modest proportions of the existing site." Like a modernist caterpillar cozying up to a choice leaf, the staircase, diagonally sited between the two original structure, rises gradually from the partially sunken lower level and switches back sharply to take residents to the upper floor. Mori's work adds 3,000 square feet of living space to the original 2,200: Three bedrooms occupy the home's top story, which is clad in transparent glasses and cantilevers out over the lower floor, while a garage, service area, and common rooms round out the program on the ground floor. New York–based Quennell Rothschild & Partners restored and updated the landscape to dialogue with Mori's work.

Toshiko Mori–designed contemporary art museum to open in seaside Maine town this summer

Each August, hoards of crustacean-aficionados descend on Rockport for the town's famous Maine Lobster Festival. You can do like David Foster Wallace, but why not head north to neighboring Rockland a little earlier to catch the opening of the Toshiko Mori–designed Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA)? The former chair of the Department of Architecture at Harvard GSD was tapped to design the CMCA's new home three years ago. Although Mori has designed for museums (including a 7,300-square-foot canopy at the Brooklyn Children's Museum) before, this is her first full-scale museum commission. The 11,500-square-foot building's wall-to-wall glass and corrugated metal exterior is designed to optimize Maine's "legendary light." In addition to 5,500 square feet of gallery space, the structure features an ArtLab and a 2,200-square-foot public courtyard. Currently under construction, the museum is slated to open on June 26, 2016. Founded in 1952 as an artists' cooperative, CMCA eschews a permanent collection in favor of providing a forum for living artists with ties to Maine to display their work. The museum operated out of a downtown fire station livery stable for fifty years as Maine Coast Artists before the museum assumed its current name and program under former director Mildred Cummings. Despite (or in spite of) its distance from major population centers and small size, Rockland is an arts hub: CMCA is across the street from the Farnsworth Art Museum, another art museum dedicated to Maine, and adjacent to the historic venue Strand Theatre.

Fumihiko Maki says architects who know better should speak up in the public’s interest

Octogenarian Fumihiko Maki shows no signs of slowing down, based on his presentation last night at the Japan Society in New York City. Going back as far as only the mid-1990s, the Pritzker Prize winner showed a handful of projects that, as moderator Toshiko Mori said, eschew a signature style yet are identifiably Maki buildings. From the beautiful Kaze-no-oka Crematorium (1997) in Nakatsu (which Maki reported a townsperson complimentarily said, "Now we can die in peace.") and the equally off the beaten path Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo (2006) to international projects in New York, Toronto, and Patna, India, Maki showed a wide range of materials, forms, and conceptual reasoning that went into each, but mostly it comes down to the context. “Architecture must establish a rapport with the people, that’s more important than architectural critique,” professed Maki. Maki explained that his influences were a combination of fellow countryman Kenzo Tange and his professor at Harvard, Josep Luis Sert, of course with a dash of omnipresent Le Corbusier, who Maki noted “was always wearing bowties.” These connections to the Metabolists and CIAM helped launch Maki’s lifelong career as a theorist and commentator, most recently in his highly public opposition to Zaha Hadid’s design for the New National Stadium in Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics. Maki defended his position saying, “An architect who knows better has a responsibility to point out to the public” faults of scale, cost, context and the limited time to develop the design. Also of timing, Mori and Maki discussed the imminent demise of the classic Hotel Okura Tokyo. The mid-century icon designed by Yoshiroo Taniguchi is slated for demolition in September to make way for a new hotel to service Olympic tourists. The pair hope that minimally the lobby could be relocated and preserved.

Toshiko Mori Comissioned to Redesign Center for Maine Contemporary Art

With strong architectural ties in Maine and an interest in cultural building design throughout her career, New York City–based architect Toshiko Mori has been chosen to redesign the Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA). Currently in the same historic Rockport firehouse since 1967, the Mori-designed CMCA will move the arts center to a larger site in the city of Rockland and update it with a building contemporaneous to the art it houses. Work on the project is set to begin as soon as environmental and engineering tests are completed at the museum’s current site. The new center in Rockland plans an opening in time for the 2015 museum season. Of the commission, Mori stated: “I have been associated with mid-coast Maine in the last thirty years, and I am especially excited to make a contribution to promote contemporary arts in Maine."

With Few Changes City Planning Passes NYU Expansion

In a 12 to 1 vote this morning, City Planning approved NYU’s Core expansion plans for two superblocks in Greenwich Village designed by Grimshaw with Toshiko Mori and Michael Van Valkenburg. In slow and deliberative pace, City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden read from a prepared text that included several aesthetic and few programmatic changes to the proposed plan. The new plan will reduced the size of the overall project from 2.47 million square feet to 2.1 million. All four proposed buildings were approved with tweaks here and there. Both of the so-called “Boomerang Buildings” will be reduced in height that will not exceed the slabs of the Washington Square Village buildings that frame them. The “Zipper Building” will not be allowed to include a hotel component as part of its programming. The proposal for a temporary gym was also nixed. Of the changes to the nearly four acres of public space the most significant is that the university will not be permitted to build beneath the green strips on the northern superblock, thus saving the mature trees that are on the site. The proposed light wells that allow natural light to flow to the massive subterranean structure will be reduced on the Mercer Street Boomerang Building so as to create more open space at grade. The creation of the an Open Space Oversight Organization will be set up to insure public oversight, and allow for future modifications, “especially as the space is not to be built until 15 years from now,” said the Commissioner. As the lone commissioner to vote against the proposal Michelle de la Uz praised the university’s “laudable efforts,” but noted that it was done to address the impression that “their growth thus far has been haphazard and insensitive.” She also voiced concern, shared by many in the community, that the programming for the northern superblock is still too vague. She added that a lack of affordable housing and a public school were also troubling. In the end Uz concluded the project’s size has not dramatically changed, as indeed it hasn’t. For their part NYU seemed pleased with the outcome, with NYU’s vice president of government affairs Alicia Hurley finding most of the changes as “not an impediment” to the university’s overall goals. The one building that seemed to get lost in the shuffle was the  building replacing the Morton Williams super market on the southern superblock. That building is supposed to house the public school which sparked Commissioner Uz’s concern. Hurley said that ongoing talks with the Department of Ed are going well. “They are interested,” she said. After the hearing, Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, employed the shoehorning-the-Empire-State-Building-into-the-Village phrase he’s used throughout the process to describe the plan. He did not seem particularly surprised by the outcome, saying that every major development application that went before this commission was approved. Still, he held out hope that the next stop for the application at City Council will put a halt to the project. “Hopefully City Council will show some independence from the mayor,” he said.

Poe Visitor Center Void to be Filled

Toshiko Mori's Poe Park Visitor Center may finally get staffed. (Courtesy Iwan Baan) The Parks Department is looking to fill the brand new, but vacant Edgar Allan Poe Visitor Center that was left empty after a funding feud between Parks and the Bronx County Historical Society.  Parks anticipated that the society would run the Toshiko Mori-designed center, but the society balked. Now, it appears as though Parks is looking for a coordinator to run seasonal programing through January 2013.

CB2 Votes Unanimous Nay on NYU Expansion

Manhattan Community Board 2 unanimously voted against the NYU expansion plan in Greenwich Village last night citing the impact its scale would have on the neighborhood. Grimshaw with Toshiko Mori designed four of the proposed towers and Michael Van Valkenburgh designed the landscape for the 2.4 million square foot expansion. The plans were set within two superblocks that sprang from Robert Moses-era urban renewal projects that featured buildings by I.M. Pei, Paul Lester Weiner, and a garden by Hideo Sasaki. Of the many proposed elements that the board took issue with, density topped the list. Nearly one million square feet would sit below grade. “They kind of gamed the zoning resolution,” said David Gruber, co-chair of CB2’s NYU Working Group. “The zoning talks about density, but that only counts above ground. There was so much underground but that doesn’t get picked up in the zoning resolution.” Even with the below grade component going under the FAR radar, Gruber said that the plan still needs six zoning changes. And though half of the project wouldn’t be seen from the street, the 12,000 extra pedestrians coming to and fro would be. NYU’s vice president of government affairs, Alicia Hurley said that the university was unique in their ability to utilize windowless, underground space, as they can use it for lecture halls, classrooms, auditoriums, and studios. “The thing we’re trying to have people understand is that we know we’re going to have needs for facilities, we’re already thinking of other parts of the city,” she said, referencing downtown Brooklyn and the hospital campus on Manhattan’s East Side. “We are trying to do as much on our own footprint, to limit the spread out into other communities.” After several months of shepherding the proposal through contentious committee meetings, Hurley said that she wasn’t surprised by the vote. Andrew Berman for the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation said the vote revealed larger problems with zoning. “It seems counter intuitive and an enormous loophole that underground space is not counted as zoning square footage,” he said. “It points to the need for reform.” The irony amidst the “Save the Superblock” t-shirts is that the same preservationist crowd may have likely stood in front of bulldozers to thwart Moses’s urban renewal that created the superblocks in the first place. That  blocks are now considered an asset, argued Tom Gray, executive director of the Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce. “I think that the preservationist angle is not as pure as it sounds; it's used as a club to stop development which I think is a bit disingenuous,” he said. “Robert Moses put the superblocks in place and it worked. It doesn’t mean it has to stay that way forever.”

Video> Toshiko Mori on Poe Park

On October 25 the New York Times reported on vandalism and closed bathrooms at the Toshiko Mori-designed Poe Park's Visitor Center, but today a Parks Department spokesperson told AN that bathrooms were reopened and that the vandalism has been addressed. The late October report marred what had otherwise been a stellar week for the neighborhoods along the Grand Concourse nearby. Earlier in the week, a good chunk of the boulevard was landmarked and over the weekend, the Bronx Museum hosted Beyond the Super Square, a conference on mid-century Latin American and Caribbean architecture. However, the Poe Park Visitor Center itself still sits on shuttered while Parks and the Bronx County Historical society wrestle with how to staff the place. For now, a Parks' video tour starring Toshiko Mori will have to suffice...

Grand Concourse Discourse: Rosenblum on a New Landmark

Shortly after the Landmarks Preservation Commission declared a section of the Grand Concourse an historic district on Tuesday, New York Times columnist Constance Rosenblum  received a call with the news. Walking down Montague Street near her home in Brooklyn Heights, the usually unflappable writer burst into tears. When it comes to the Concourse, Rosenblum wrote the book. Her 2010 chronicle of the corridor, Boulevard of Dreams (NYU Press, $20), played a significant role in calling attention to the plight and promise of the neighborhood. “It was notable day,” she said in a phone interview in reference to the announcement. “It wasn’t easy for the Bronx, and the stigmas will remain for a long time.” Thick with Deco and Moderne, to say nothing of early twentieth century Tudor and Renaissance, the district also showcases work of a few contemporary firms as well. Architectronica’s Bronx Museum of Art sits just down the street from Rafael Viñoly’s Bronx Housing Court. But not all of the 78 properties within the district are knock-out architectural gems. “It’s a little pockmarked,” said Rosenblum. “It’s not cute brownstones, one after the other.” Rosenblum profiled Sam Goodman in the book.  He lives, works, and grew up on the Concourse. He said that should the Bronx's fortunes swing up or down, the redistricting will deter owners from abandoning the neighborhood. “Now they'll say, ‘I’m not going to sell to Donald Trump or to the city,’” said Goodman. “So let’s do what we can to keep the buildings attractive.” Goodman pointed out that the landmarking is for a very small section of the Boulevard. Plenty of wonderful buildings sit just to the north, including Emigrant Savings Bank, Paradise Theater and the freshly restored Edgar Allan Poe House. Even with a new visitors center by Toshiko Mori, recent vandalism at Poe Park show that the bad old days aren’t necessarily over. Funding and maintenance remain key issues that preservation alone can’t solve. To that end, Rosenblum believes that the designation goes beyond the bricks and mortar. Landmarking can provide pride of place. “Living in a place that’s important can make you feel good about yourself,” she said. “It’s more than protecting a gorgeous building, it’s giving imprimatur to a very important idea.”

New Practices Sao Paolo

Though a bit more sedate then the previous night's party, where copious amounts of caipirinhas were consumed, the New Practices Sao Paolo panel discussion on July 15 was not without its own fireworks. Toshiko Mori and José Armenio de Brito Cruz  moderated the panel which was preceded by presentations from the ten winners. A strictly enforced ten-minute time limit made presentations feel like the Oscars when the orchestra music begins to swell. Though each presenter struck an distinct note, one could pick up on a few common threads.  I certainly wouldn't call it anti-green, but a few presenters markedly pointed out that there are other immediate matters in Brazil that compete with sustainability. "We didn't want to create a green building," said Triptyques' Carolina Bueno, when describing her building, which, oddly enough, included "pores" in the facade for plants to grow. More to the point, Arkiz's Rafael Brych  questioned whether "green demagogical discourse" shaping the architectural discourse fully represented what was needed in Brazil. No one disputes that Brazil is going through a huge transition period. But while the economy booms, extreme poverty and crime persists. For all its extraordinary architectural history, it's a place where the field of architecture is still evolving.  Armenio de Brito Cruz pointed out that Brazil has 100,000 architects and 5000 more graduate every year. "But architecture in Brazil is not as established as it is in the U.S.," Armenio de Brito Cruz said before asking the panel, "Am I lying?"  Mori didn't mince words about the problems of "impossible claustrophobia" and crime. Mori was in Brazil as a juror for Harvard GSD's Green Prize when she had to duck behind a car as bullets flew. "It's not New York," she said. But despite the problems "there's this amazing sense of optimism" which she credited two solid presidential administrations. While there were interesting images tied to the 2016 Olympics, Mori pointed out that it's the community and cultural centers in the poorest areas that make the biggest difference. "When architecture enters enters these communities there's a sense of peace."