5 Women Changing the Face of Architecture

In a profession all-too-often associated with and dominated by men, women have begun to carve a space for themselves in the architecture world – but still few are recognized as they deserve. 

So Alice Shure and Janice Stanton, the founders of Amici Productions LLC, began work on a new documentary, : a visual register for future generations of architects that will document what is changing in architecture today and how these changes are affecting women. 

After interviewing over 30 architects, Shure and Stanton selected five women, five “rising stars” to hi-light. The documentary will show their day-to-day lives as well as tell the stories of how they achieved success. 

Thanks to a recent Kickstarter campaign, this project will soon be a reality. But to get your sneak peek into these five female pioneers, read on after the break.

Update: MOCA / Farshid Moussavi

© Dean Kaufman/Courtesy MOCA

Just a short time since its public opening celebration, Farshid Moussavi’s Museum of Contemporary Art is already a dynamic hub of activity for the city of Cleveland.  A three-day festival in early October welcomed museum members, out-of-town guests and the general public with a series of art installations, music and entertainment, to showcase the city’s newest icon.  Moussavi joined in the festivities and was honored for her sleek faceted form at the museum’s three-tiered party.   Although we have been following the progress of the project since its conceptual phases, we have yet to see what the mysterious black cube has to offer in terms of interior gallery spaces and public gathering zones… until now! Check out a great series of interior photos plus beautiful exterior photos by photographers Dean Kaufman and Duane Prokop to compliment our set from the summer time.

More after the break. 

Venice Biennale 2012: Architecture and its Affects / Farshid Moussavi

© Nico Saieh

Continuing our coverage of the Venice Biennale, London-based Farshid Moussavi’s installation at the Arsenale explored different experiences within everyday life and culture that are the result of architecture accepting certain “common grounds.”   Entitled ‘Architecture and its Affects’, viewers were surrounded by changing projections of textures and patterns, structural configurations and facades, which were organized in such a manner as to highlight their affects, rather than their chronological existence or historical references.

More about Architecture and its Affects after the break.

In Progress: Cleveland Museum / Farshid Moussavi

/ . © Dan Michaels/Westlake Reed Leskosky
Nearly two years ago, we introduced Farshid Moussavi’s first major US building – a sleek geometrical design for Cleveland’s Museum of Contemporary Art.  With its strong formal moves, the museum intends to aid the city’s urban-revitalization efforts by shaping an iconic cultural destination alongside its neighboring concentration of museums, such as the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.   MOCA Executive Director Jill Snyder says, “We believe MOCA is contributing a great building to  Cleveland, one that will stimulate critical thinking and animate social exchange. MOCA is expanding its scope and activities on all fronts, supported by new architecture that allows for flexibility, unconventionality, and technological capacity in the presentation of contemporary art.”  The 34,000 sqf building is nearing completion, and a public opening will be celebrated in early October with the inaugural exhibition, Inside Out and from the Ground Up, featuring an in-depth look at how international artists engage with architecture and spatial ideas.

More about the project, including facade photos, after the break. 

St. Petersburg Pier Design Competition Announces Semi-finalists

Photo by Matthew Paulson - http://www.flickr.com/photos/matthewpaulson/

The St. Petersburg Pier, a long-adored and long-outdated West Florida cultural attraction, has unveiled the semi-finalists in its international redesign competition. Of the twenty-three qualified inquiries received, nine were chosen to move forward in the contest. The competition attracted big names in the architecture world; BIG, West 8 Urban Design, James Corner Field Operations, and HOK Architects were among the participants.

More on the St. Petersburg Pier after the break.

Update: MOCA Cleveland / FOA

© FOA

A few months ago, we first introduced Farshid Moussavi’s design for the new Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland.   This past week, the museum’s board voted to approve the project – a decision that will allow Moussavi and the London office of Foreign Office Architect to jumpstart their first US structure. The new museum, a strong geometric volume dramatically sloping upward, will provide a much needed permanent home for Cleveland’s contemporary art.  Moussavi also revealed more details of her design at Hunter College recently, which has developed to include a plaza designed by Field Operations, a cobalt blue inner skin beneath the black stainless steel structure and a ceremonial entry stair.

More about the updated design after the break.

MOCA Cleveland / FOA

© FOA

Residents are hopeful that Foreign Office Architects (FOA)’s first museum design (and the firm’s first major US building) will help Cleveland’s urban-revitalization project move forward.  Farshid Moussavi of the FOA London has designed a geometric volume that dominates the Uptown area’s site, creating a bold icon for the new Museum of Contemporary Art.  Prior to this, the MOCA rented a 23,000 square feet of space on the second floor of the Cleveland Play House complex, but with this 34,000 sqf new home, the museum will be able to showcase a bigger selection and accommodate more visitors.

More images, a cool , and more about the project after the break.

The Function of Form / Farshid Moussavi

After “The Function of Ornament“, comes again with another useful book published by and Harvard GSD.

The book is the result of a series of seminars Moussavi taught over 2 years at the GSD, and in over 500 pages it describes the most common material systems and its sub-systems: Grids and Frames, Vaults, Domes, Folded Plates, Shells, Tensile Membranes and Pneumatic Membranes.

Each of these systems are presented first on its most basic unit, which is then tessellated into three  directions (horizontal, vertical, curved) exploring the full potential of these combinations, either trough completed buildings, proposals or just proposed structures by the author and her team.

For example, the Diagrid (interconnected support beams that form a diagonal grid) one of the systems included in the book, starts with the basic unit (as seen on a photo below) with a description of the forces and how flexible the system is in terms of scale, angles, depth, profile, etc. Then, it is described in its horizontal tessellations exemplified through the Smithsonian Reynolds Center for American Art by Foster + Partners, the Milan Fair Center by Fuksas, or the Great Court at the British Museum by F+P. On the vertical, we have 30st Mary  Axe by F+P, the Hearst Tower by F+P, the Lotte Super Tower Hotel by SOM, Elisabeth House by FOA and even the Glass Pavilion by Bruno Taut, among others.  Every example has very good drawings and explanations (see photos below).

Also, the matrix incorporates affect, defined by Deleuze “as the pre-personal intensities transmitted by forms”, ranging from freedom to centrality, and other several terms that further extend our conception of these systems.

This exercise, starting from the basic unit and then expanded according to its possibilities, repeated in a rigorous matrix for all the systems, makes this book a valuable resource for almost everyone: from students, to architects who need to deal with a structure in early stages of design, up to someone dealing with parametric tools for complex structures, because at the end the systems are the same: from Bruno Taut to SOM, to FOA.

More info after the break.