When the Twin Towers came down 11 years ago (almost to the day), the world was struck numb. Even New Yorkers, who felt the trauma rumble through their veins, couldn’t get past the initial disbelief: how can this be happening? How can something so big, so invincible, actually be so vulnerable?
Hundreds of comments have been hurled at Renzo Piano’s “Shard,” the massive, reflective skyscraper that hulks over the London skyline – it’s big, no, huge; it’s out of the context of its Victorian neighborhood; its exclusive price tag could only be footed by Qatar royalty (as it is) – but few, beyond writing off the tower as a symbol of arrogance or hubris, have stopped to consider its impetus.
For that, we must look at the Shard in the context of 9/11. Only then can the Shard be understood for what it is: the amplification and perfection of the glass tower Piano began in post-9/11 New York, a utopian vision that stands defiantly in defense of the city itself.
Yesterday, a good friend of mine wrote “It doesn’t count, unless it’s built.”
I read this, and thought. “I completely agree with this”. And, then my head began to hurt. More.
Because, what does that say about my work? (I don’t mean the obvious reference to my lack of built work the last few years). No, I mean in general, my work isn’t about a built project. It’s about a vision of an unbuilt project. Or more specifically, my work is about visualizing an as yet realized building. My work isn’t a physical thing that you can order from Amazon. My work is not a thing at all. It’s a path to a thing.
I meet with a client. I listen to them describe their idea of this thing that doesn’t exist yet, and then I begin to work. I slowly use the tools of my trade to bring into focus an image of what that idea can become. It’s a poetic endeavor really; making these images of forms and light that point towards someone else’s hopes for their future. It’s a translucent profession, not an opaque craft.
more after the break
In honor of Renzo Piano’s 75th (gasp!) birthday, we offer an update on his latest projects. The septuagenarian has several large-scale works in various stages of construction scattered across the world, and has celebrated the opening of others within this past year. While we have been continuously following the conceptualization, construction and completion of the Shard, Renzo’s talent is sweeping across major cities both in the States and Europe, including: a satellite museum in New York; a cultural hub for Athens; an urban cultural catalyst for Santander, Spain; an interior renovation for Los Angeles; a recently completed museum wing for Boston; plus, a redeveloped brownfield site turned science center for Trento, Italy. No matter the project location, scale, or program, Piano’s ability to craft an architecture with a sense of lightness, strong attention to detail and overall aesthetic elegance sets him in a very particular category of the profession.
So, here’s to a happy 75th and 75 more years of great architecture, Renzo!
More after the break.
Nanjing Ecological and Technological Island / AAUPC Agence Patrick Chavannes + G.C.A. Design Consulting
Located on the Yangzi River to the north-east of Nanjing in Jiangsu Province, the proposal for the Nanjing ecological and technological island, by AAUPC Agence Patrick Chavannes + G.C.A. Design Consulting…, consists of a development strategy for the Yangzi
Santa Fe University of Art and Design and the Santa Fe Art Institute recently announced the Ricardo Legorreta Tribute event, a weekend of activities across the city honoring Legorreta’s influence on Santa Fe design. Taking place October 19-20, the event…
Venice Biennale 2012: Le quattro stagioni. L´architecttura del Made in Italy da Adriano Olivetti alla Green Economy / Italy Pavilion
The theme of the 13th International Architecture Exhibition, Common Ground, seems particularly apposite in describing the sense of rapport and relationship that is one of Italy’s primary characteristics in the development of cultural research and inquiry. This relationship has always been attained through reference to and an exchange between not only the purview of the contemporary, but also the past and our always compellingly tangible history.
The Austrian Pavilion for the 2012 Venice Biennale is a collaboration of Wolfgang Tschapeller, Rens Veltman and Martin Perktold, a team that consists of interdisciplinary fields of study, thought and action from architecture and art. The contribution, entitled “Hands have no tears to flow. Reports from / without Architecture” invites visitors to comprehend architecture as a social and cultural phenomenon and to experience it from different perspectives and views. It explores this year’s theme, Common Ground, with a discourse on the sociopolitical function of architecture. The exhibit will be on view at the Biennale until November 25th.
The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.
- Ludwig Wittgenstein, 1921)
The limits of our minds are reflected by the limiting capacity of our language. All the world we know is shaped by our external circumstances, which can be expressed through thoughts and outward expressions – our voices. The voice is typically regarded as a vocal manifestation; but it can also be visual and literal.
Studio Gang Architects and Kalamazoo College have announced plans to break ground October 9, at 4PM, on a new campus building to house the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership in southwest Michigan. The 10,000 square foot, wood masonry center will be the world’s first purpose-built structure for social justice leadership development, integrating a study, meeting, and event space where students, faculty, visiting scholars, social justice leaders, and members of the public will come together to engage in conversation and activities aimed at creating a more just world.
Set to be completed in Fall 2013, the Arcus Center is targeting LEED Gold certification. Continue after the break to learn more.