In an effort to encourage locals to reduce landfill waste and pollution, Washington, D.C. has relaunched a beloved program that wraps recycling trucks in brightly-colored art. The “Designed to Recycle” initiative, put on by the Department of Public Works, selected 15 local artists this year to design graphic artwork for the trucks this summer. Last week, the city released the first two of the newly-wrapped trucks and will continue to launch them in weekly pairs through September 6. The program, which started in 2015, also plans to rewrap and “refresh” five of the trucks that received the treatment during the inaugural year. The project is funded by the Commission on the Arts and Humanities and is part of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s commitment to expanding the creative economy in the city. “Through the Design to Recycle Project, we are able to support and showcase the talent of our local artists, further enhance the visibility of the city’s recycling efforts, and add to the creative landscape of the District in all eight wards,” said Angie Gates, interim director for the commission, in a statement. As one of the country’s leaders in sustainability and efforts to address climate change, D.C. has worked tirelessly to advance its zero waste goals and introduce green building laws into its current construction market. Here are the 15 selected designs along with the artists: Waste Not by Nicole Hamam; Recycle Now by Michael Marshall Design; Urban Jungle by Jackie Coleman; Nurturing Nature by Kofi Tyus; Untitled by Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann; Untitled by Dean Kessman; Recycled Fish by Carly Rounds; Evolution with an “R” by Gordon Steven Spencer Davis II; Mapping by Santiago Flores-Charneco; Inform, Reduce, Recycle by Minsoo Kang & Andre Sanchez-Montoya; Untitled by Anne Masters; Pop District by Sarah, James & Parvina Gilliam; Recycled Flowers by John Gann; Nuestra Terra I recycle DC by Nicolas F. Shi; and Fair Chard Value by Michael Crossett.
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The 2018 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Washington, D.C. may have already passed, but the MLB Assembly, a weeklong collection of art, architecture, fashion, and food projects centered around baseball, is worth revisiting. New York-based Snarkitecture contributed to the Assembly, which ran from July 13 through July 16, with their Field installation. Visitors to the Wharf’s District Pier were greeted with a rising forest of baseball bats supported on white plinths and arranged into four diamonds that referenced the layout of a baseball field. At the beginning of Field’s four-day installation, 1,100 baseball bats were mingled with 200 billets, or unfinished raw wood cylinders. A woodturner was stationed in a booth behind the installation and using a lathe, they converted the billets into fresh bats. The project was envisioned as an interactive exhibition, where visitors would enter the rising arrangement of baseball bats and uncover the performance on the other side. Field was constantly evolving and on the last day of the exhibition, the billets had all been swapped out for finished bats. Field was not the only immersive Snarkitecture installation available to those in D.C. Fun House, the sprawling 10-year retrospective of the firm’s work, is on display in the lobby of the National Building Museum for the rest of the summer, and the same sense of spontaneity brought to Field permeates that show.
The largest public art campaign in U.S. history features 52 artist-designed billboards and will commence in September in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, thanks to more than 2000 backers across 52 Kickstarter campaigns. The publicly-funded campaign is part of the 50 State Initiative, organized by For Freedoms, a project sponsored by non-profit arts service organization Artadia. The 50 State Initiative also amasses more than 200 institutional partners and 250 artists to produce “additional billboards, lawn signs, town hall meetings, and special exhibitions to encourage broad participation and inspire conversation around November’s midterm elections,” according to a statement from the organizers. Kickstarter Director of Arts Paton Hindle explained that he was pleased to help the For Freedoms team with their first step. “At their core, both For Freedoms and Kickstarter seek to make art an integral part of society. Having all 52 projects succeed on Kickstarter is an affirmation that the greater global community believes in the power of art to spark dialogue and participation.” The billboards will tackle nationwide topics such as democracy, religion, sexual orientation, expression, and systemic oppression. Through the launching of the 50 State Initiative, For Freedoms hopes to create “a network of artists and institutional partners," as well as to “model how arts institutions can become civic forums for action and discussion of values, place, and 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.”
Makeup brand Il Makiage has opened up a new Soho pavilion designed by Zaha Hadid Architects to coincide with the launch of their new 800-product collection. The pavilion’s angular tunnel of ribbons with alternating gloss and matte finishes mimics the makeup’s packaging in exploded form. Each of the ribbons is slightly different and lighting is installed in them and around the mirrors, helping shoppers accurately choose the right color and tone. Kar-Hwa Ho, head of interiors at Zaha Hadid Architects, said that they “wanted to create an environment defined by the woman celebrated by Il Makiage,” adding that the pavilion is intended to be a “personal space that’s all about her.” The mobile pavilion will be open in Soho for six months and a second New York City pavilion will be opening in Flatiron this summer. Zaha Hadid Architects is also developing the permanent Il Makiage New York boutique, as well as locations in D.C. and Miami.
Snarkitecture makes a Fun-House mini-retrospective for the National Building Museum’s Summer block Party
For its 2018 Summer Block Party exhibition, the National Building Museum reenlisted Snarkitecture to create Fun House. The New York-based architecture firm also designed the museum’s 2015 Summer Block Party; BEACH, which covered the 10,000-square-foot Great Hall in white plastic balls, and proved to be one of the most popular Summer Block Party exhibitions ever. This year, Snarkitecture worked with curator Maria Cristina Didero to take a different approach with Fun House, a full-size house with over 50 objects and installations that reference some of the firm’s previous work. Eleven different rooms, a front yard, and a backyard invite visitors to explore and play. “We wanted to make the objects and environments in the show as accessible and interactive as possible, while also respecting the nature of some of the pieces as fragile design objects and ensuring the safety of visitors,” said Alex Mustonen of Snarkitecture. “In the end we've aimed to create a balance between moments that are playful and interactive with ones that are reflective and visually engaging.” In the front yard, people will find soft, oversize upholstered letters derived from A Memorial Bowling—a sculptural artwork completed in 2012 for Miami’s Orange Bowl Stadium—while a pool filled with white balls— “a domestic version of BEACH” explained Mustonen—occupies the backyard. Inside, functional items and accessories such as Broken Mirror and Pillow as well as limited edition pieces like Break and commissioned works like Beach Chair, provide moments of delight and discovery. “We wanted people to experience the projects in the same direct and tactile way that they would have with the original [versions],” Mustonen said. “With that as a starting point, we worked with Maria Cristina to develop the concept of the house as a framework that would organize the display objects and installations within an environment that would feel both familiar and unknown as visitors explore and discover the different rooms. Maria Cristina's proposal to reframe much of our work within an emotional context was something new for us, but also an idea that resonated with the way that we approach creating unexpected and memorable experiences.” “Fun House represents a unique opportunity for us to bring together a number of different Snarkitecture-designed interiors, installations, and objects into a single, immersive experience,” said Mustonen in a press release. “Our practice aims to create moments that make architecture accessible and engaging to a wide, diverse audience. With that in mind, we are excited to invite all visitors to the National Building Museum to an exhibition and installation that we hope is both unexpected and memorable.” Fun House opens at the National Building Museum on July 4 and will run through September 3, though Mustonen hints that it may travel to other locations in the future.
Washington D.C's Hirshhorn Museum has announced a site-specific commission for the Korean artist Lee Ufan that will debut in fall 2019. Approximately ten new sculptures related to the artist’s “Relatum” series will be installed across the museum’s 4.3-acre sculpture garden. An exhibit of Lee’s abstract painting within the museum will accompany the outdoor installation. This is the first time in the institution’s half-century history that its sculpture garden will be dedicated entirely to a single artist. A founder of Japan’s Mono-ha, or "School of Things" movement, Lee’s work emphasizes the relationship between site, materials and the viewer. This holistic treatment of artistic elements appeals to a contemplative and dynamic engagement with the work rather than static perception. The poignancy of Lee’s work derives from the thoughtful assembly of contrasting materials, which are subject to minimal alteration. Lee, who lives in Kamakura, Japan and Paris, will spend the next year conducting site visits to the Hirshhorn Museum. Additionally, Lee will visit individual quarries across the East Coast to source local materials to construct his work. Each sculpture constructed for the installation will relate to the museum’s unique circular form, allowing visitors multiple vantage points from above to view Lee’s work in the plaza below. While the installation will be Lee Ufan's first exhibition on the National Mall, the artist has conducted over 140 one-artist exhibits across the globe. These stand-alone works include 'Resonance' at the 2007 Venice Biennale, a major retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum in 2011, and a sprawling display of sculptural works on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles.
Inspired by Matthew Desmond’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, the National Building Museum (NBM) in Washington, D.C. will be hosting Evicted, an immersive exhibition meant to expose visitors to the causes and fallout of eviction. From April 14 through May 19, 2019, guests can see original photography, audio interviews, and new data from Desmond’s Eviction Lab for free. The act of eviction can be a destabilizing force on families, as the evicted are thrust into uncertainty over their housing situation and marked with a blemish on their records that landlords can use to turning them down on rental applications. According to the NBM, “More than 11 million Americans are extremely low-income renters,” and 75 percent of qualified renters don’t receive federal aid. “Until recently, we simply didn’t know how immense this problem was, or how serious the consequences,” said Desmond in a statement. “Eviction does not simply drop poor families into a dark valley, a trying yet relatively brief detour on life’s journey. It fundamentally redirects their way, casting them onto a different, and much more difficult, path. Eviction is a cause, not just a condition, of poverty.” Evicted will convey this hardship through photographs of the eviction process, interviews with those affected, and infographics specifically commissioned for the show. The Eviction Lab’s repository of national eviction information will be packaged for visitors in an easily digestible manner, as the sheer facts and figures involved are typically overwhelming. Far from simply presenting the problem of eviction in a void, Evicted will highlight affordable housing projects and how local and state governments–as well as nonprofits–are tackling the issue. Ultimately, the museum wants to empower patrons to leave with ideas on how to help those on the precipice in their own neighborhoods and lift up those who have already felt the sting of eviction. “Homes form the building blocks of community life,” said executive director of the National Building Museum, Chase Rynd, in a statement. “We have to reveal what happens when this stability is threatened, as eviction looms—as well as ways to help stem this crisis.”
The psychedelic stylings of Burning Man will be reaching a wider audience with the installation of No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man in the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C. Visitors can enjoy photographs, sculptures, and interactive installations from the annual festival, usually just ephemera, only a stones-throw away from the White House. The challenges of translating a massive outdoor festival (where sculptures are designed to be burnt to the ground at the end) to a museum setting wasn’t lost on the curators. Art cars and sculptures, some originally on display on the Playa and others commissioned for the show, jewelry, and even experiences–through VR–in an institutional setting reveals an underlying tension between the disposable, freewheeling nature of Burning Man and the typically more stoic nature of museum exhibitions. Large-scale installations in the gallery form the heart of the show, but the Renwick has partnered with Golden Triangle Business Improvement District to spread six outdoor pieces throughout the neighborhood. From March 30 through December 2018, residents can spy:
- The enormous bronze head of Maya Angelou (Maya’s Mind by Mischell Riley),
- A 14-foot-tall bear made of pennies (Ursa Major by Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson),
- An abandoned tech temple (Future’s Past by Kate Raudenbush),
- Enormous bronze crows (Untitled by Jack Champion),
- A 3-dimensional, laser-cut “gem” that diffuses light from within (Golden Spike by HYBYCOZO),
- And a monumental metal “XOXO” sculpture (XOXO by Laura Kimpton with Jeff Schomberg).
Snarkitecture will build full-sized "Fun House" in the National Building Museum for 2018 summer season
The National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. has announced that the New York-based Snarkitecture will be designing the 2018 Summer Block Party exhibition for the museum’s Great Hall. Fun House will put a full-sized, freestanding house on display for visitors to explore, with the intent of explaining how Snarkitecture understands and reinterprets the built environment. Snarkitecture is no stranger to the National Building Museum, having lit Instagram ablaze with their 2015 Summer Block Party installation The BEACH. After filling 10,000 square feet of the museum’s Great Hall with enough translucent white balls to swim through, the studio will be taking a different tack this summer. The museum's four-story hall and its massive Corinthian columns will instead play host to Snarkitecture’s first full museum exhibition, with each room of Fun House containing environments and objects from the firm’s ten-year history. The house will also feature several new concepts developed exclusively for the museum, and a front and backyard with recognizable “outdoor activities” for guests to enjoy. “Making architecture and design approachable and fun is at the heart of the success of our summer series,” said Chase Rynd, executive director of the National Building Museum, in a statement. “Snarkitecture really understands our mission of inspiring curiosity about the world we design and build, and we’re excited to be working with them for the second time. We know our visitors will be thrilled to immerse themselves in Snarkitecture’s world yet again.” The program is only in its fifth year, but Fun House follows a series of ambitious Summer Block Party exhibitions, such as Hive by Studio Gang, ICEBERGS by James Corner Field Operations, and the BIG Maze by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). Fun House will be open from July 4 through September 3, 2018. AN will update this post when more details of the installation become available.
Clark Construction Group, the general contractor responsible for realizing the $2.5 billion The Wharf in Washington, D.C., is suing project architect Perkins Eastman over claims of seriously flawed design documents. As first reported by Bisnow, the contractors are seeking $5 million in damages after the recent completion of the project’s first phase, claiming that issues and omissions in the drawings necessitated numerous on-site fixes. The Wharf, a massive mixed-use development spread across a mile-long stretch of D.C.'s southwestern (and formerly industrial) waterfront, opened the doors of its first phase back in October of last year. After completely replacing the existing seawall and promenade, 1.2 million square feet of office space, hotel rooms, retail, luxury and affordable residential units, a marina, and waterfront parks rose on the Perkins Eastman-master planned site. A two-story underground parking garage also runs the length of the development. When complete, The Wharf will encompass 3.2 million square feet in total. According to the complaint levied by Clark Construction, Perkins Eastman either submitted incorrect details in their design documents or omitted portions of their drawings and failed to respond to inquiries in a timely fashion. The suit alleges that the architects misplaced structural columns, designed exterior retail doors that were unable to open, placed concrete beams too low to achieve the correct clearance, and made mistakes in coordination that resulted in slabs being too thick to install already-purchased doors. Even the coordination of structural rebar and foundation piles are cited as having contained significant errors, and Clark Construction claims they were forced to take on material losses as the result of correcting the defects in the field. Clark Construction is suing for a breach of written contract, professional negligence, and negligent misrepresentation as a result. Because of the project’s tight timeline, “The errors and omissions complained of herein did not arise and were not known, knowable, discovered, discoverable, appreciated, or appreciable until various points within the past three years,” the lawsuit claims. “It remains possible and likely that errors and omissions will continue to arise and become known, discovered, and appreciated in the future as discovery in this matter proceeds including, without limitation, expert discovery.” The second phase of The Wharf is scheduled to break ground later this year, and finish construction in 2022. Perkins Eastman declined to comment.
Facades+AM in Washington, D.C. to spotlight the District's particular building culture and challenges
Washington, D.C. has a vibrant architectural culture, not limited to the neoclassical masonry of government buildings and major museums. The upcoming Facades+AM conference gives the District design community a chance to share ideas on building envelopes' contributions to sustainability and occupants' quality of life. Compressed into the morning of March 15 at the Washington Plaza Hotel, the nine-presentation event will address three essential themes in facade design: transparency, opacity, and connectivity. Gathering architects, specifiers, engineers, and others in the field, this Facades+AM is Washington, D.C.'s fourth annual event in the Facades+ series. According to conference chair John Jackson, a senior facade consultant at Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, the conference's regional focus allows “a nice balance of projects to showcase–projects that we might not see every day here in DC, but also projects right here in the District which are custom, inspirational, and innovative.” He added that a knowledge transfer from “big, cool, fun projects with endless budgets” to quotidian practice is a high priority. Each panel will include an architect/designer, a consultant/engineer, and a contractor/fabricator to foster interdisciplinary conversations. Glass is the typical skin-type featured at Facades+ events and Jackson’s own specialty, but he made sure to include a broad range of facade types. The opening panel considers glass curtain walls and custom glazing systems. The second panel addresses the construction and performance of opaque walls, such as brick cavity walls, terra cotta, and metal panel rainscreens. The closing panel looks at connections between glass and opaque systems, which Jackson describes as often being a “no man's land," given the "ambiguity and lack of clarity of who 'owns' the design." Jackson anticipates lively discussion of new and innovative technologies that are advancing facade performance on multiple fronts. “The industry is constantly pushing greater improvement in the thermal performance of the envelope,” he said, and is now being more carefully looked at by code reviewers. Increasingly higher-performing building envelopes contribute to energy efficiency, occupant comfort, and control of condensation, particularly in humidified spaces. In the buildings of today and the future, “we expect to see full thermally broken aluminum-framed curtain-wall systems, for example, and high-performance insulating glass with low-E coatings, argon-filling, etc.” New materials and technologies challenge clients to balance performance, cost, and risk, drawing on both predictive estimates and direct experience; though testing using industry standards such as ASTM and AAMA are incredibly valuable, he says, “nothing will ever replace Mother Nature and the test of time.” The city poses its own unique set of climate and planning challenges. The mid-Atlantic climate of Washington, D.C. has wide temperature fluctuations from month to month and season to season, which requires careful attention to the design of exterior walls and hygrothermal performance. The swing seasons also offer ample opportunity for building users to enjoy fresh air from the outdoors with operable envelope elements, which are particularly popular in multifamily residential buildings, yet less so in commercial and institutional projects. The District's height limit also typically results in cast-in-place concrete as the structural system of choice, which results in limited building lateral movement under wind loads, for example, compared to tall and more flexible steel skyscrapers often found in other cities, which has an effect on the design of the facade joints. D.C. building owners, he adds, often with government end users, can also present unique challenges in other respects, including design of glazing systems for security requirements such as blast, forced entry, and ballistic resistance. The conference website lists the speakers and topics, along with details on registration, sponsors, and the ten other Facades+ events across the US in 2018. Bill Millard is a contributor to the AN, Oculus, Architect, Metals in Construction, LEAF Review, Icon, Content, and other publications.