Jean Nouvel’s Tower Verre Finally Ready to Break Ground

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Jean Nouvel‘s long-awaited 53 West 53rd Street, also known as the Tower Verre or the Tower, may finally be ready to move ahead with construction after the project’s developer Hines purchased $85.3 million worth of air rights from its neighbors MoMA and the St Thomas Episcopal Church and arranged the $860 million construction loan required for the project.

Originally proposed in 2007, the design has been plagued by problems, including significant delays due to the financial crisis and a difficult approval process which resulted in the building’s height being slashed from 1,250 feet to its current planned height of 1,050 feet. However, according to a statement from Hines groundbreaking on the project is now “imminent.”

Spatial Relations Take Centre Stage in MoMA’s Newest Architectural Exhibition

Herzog & de Meuron’s National Stadium, Beijing. 2008. Image © Iwan Baan

What influence do art and space have on the contemporary architectural design process? MoMA‘s most recent on architecture and design Conceptions of Space strives to answer this question. Themed under the umbrella of spatial relations, Curator Pedro Gadanho ruminates on the subject in a broad and philosophical sense. The exhibition delves into the topic using an interdisciplinary approach, incorporating research from French philosopher Michel Foucault on the subject of the expanded field. The exhibition aims to explore the relationship between the development of space and its deep-seated roots in the creative arts.

MOMA Announces Barry Bergdoll’s Successor for Chief Curator of Architecture & Design

, The Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design, MoMA. Image Courtesy of MoMA

Martino Stierli, a Swiss architecture and art history professor interested in ”how architecture is represented in the media and intersects with art,” has been named Barry Bergdoll’s successor as the chief curator of architecture and design at (MoMA).

In a Press Release, Stierli comments upon his appointment: ”Since its inception, MoMA has presented groundbreaking exhibitions that promote and critically reflect upon modern and contemporary architecture. By continually expanding its comprehensive collection, the Department of Architecture and Design has been pivotal to the preservation of modernism for the future, and to making that heritage accessible to scholars and the broader public alike. I am excited to continue this tradition at MoMA and look forward to working with the Museum’s extraordinary team to contribute to shaping the current discourse on architecture and the city—locally, nationally, and globally.”

He will begin his new role in March 2015. Learn more about Stierli, and how his appointment will influence the MoMA’s exhibitions, at The New York Times’ Arts Beat Blog.

Hy-Fi, The Organic Mushroom-Brick Tower Opens At MoMA’s PS1 Courtyard

Last night, the organic brick structure known as ‘Hy-Fi‘ opened in the courtyard of MoMA’s PS1 space in New York. Designed by David Benjamin of New York architects The Living, the tower was designed as part of ’s Young Architects Program, and its construction centers around the use of an innovative building material: organic, biodegradable bricks consisting of no more than farm waste and a culture of fungus that is grown to fit a brick-shaped mold.

Acting as the centerpiece for MoMA‘s Warm Up music festival on Saturdays throughout the Summer, the temporary structure will provide shade, seating and water until September 7th. Read on after the break for more on the design.

Exhibition / Conceptions of Space: Recent Acquisitions in Contemporary Architecture

Herzog & de Meuron’s National Stadium, Beijing. 2008. Digital C-print, 36 x 54″ (91.4 x 137.2 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the artist. Photograph © Iwan Baan

Focusing on recent acquisitions in MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design, Conceptions of Space addresses how contemporary architects continue to embrace spatial creation as a fundamental focus of their work. The exhibition reveals how, beyond formal traits and functional needs, the conception and articulation of architectural space still defines architecture as an artistic endeavor, and a response to wider cultural issues.

In the early and mid-20th century, the concept of space was critical in defining the modern movement in architecture. Notions of architectural space related to the coherence between the interior and exterior of buildings emerged as a new feature. Counteracting previous understandings of architecture as a progression of styles, space became a privileged quest of architectural practice. In time, however, space was actively reclaimed by artists, geographers, sociologists, and others as their domain of intervention and reflection. As proposed by French philosopher Michel Foucault, ours is the epoch of space, an expanded field imbued with complex meanings.

Twenty international projects by architects and artists, in large-scale models, drawings, photographs, videos, and even a room-sized installation, survey how architecture addresses this expanded field. Spatial conceptions in the exhibition range from “assemblage” and “envelope” space, to “fictional” and “performative” space. Participants offer a global panorama of architectural practice today, from acclaimed architects such as Herzog & de Meuron, Álvaro Siza, and Kengo Kuma, to young, emergent practices such as Pezo von Ellrichshausen, Chile; Ryue Nishizawa, Japan; Ensamble Studio, Spain; and the New York-based SO-IL and MOS Architects.

Title: Exhibition / Conceptions of Space: Recent Acquisitions in Contemporary Architecture
Website: http://www.moma.org/visit/calendar/exhibitions/1485
Organizers: Pedro Gadanho, Phoebe Springstubb
From: Fri, 04 Jul 2014 
Until: Sun, 19 Oct 2014 
Venue:
Address: 11 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019, USA

Moon Ji Bang Wins Inaugural MMCA Young Architects Program in South Korea

YAP 2014: Shinseon Play / Moon Ji Bang. Image Courtesy of MoMA

The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 has announced a partnership with the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) in Seoul that has expanded the international Young Architects Program (YAP) to South Korea. Just as YAP presents opportunities for emerging architects to design and build temporary installations in New York, Chile, Rome and Istanbul, YAP Korea will offer the MMCA’s outdoor Museum Plaza as the summer site.

Already, a winner has been chosen from 26 submissions to serve as the inaugural YAP Korea installation. With completion planned for July 8, winning team Moon Ji Bang (Threshold) is amidst the final preparations for mystical, mythology-inspired installation that will transcend visitors from the daily hustle into a cloud-like landscape of air balloon structures.

The Future of Brick: Biodegradable And Bacterial

Biodegradable Brick Is The Featured Material In This Years PS1 Exhibit, But Is It Suitable For Housing? . Image Courtesy of The Living

MoMA’s PS1 exhibit in Queens is a showcase for young architects with lofty ideas. This year’s winning firm “The Living” designed “Hi-Fy” – a biodegradable brick tower. Although the idea might seem far-fetched for housing, the idea is gaining traction. North Carolina start-up bioMason, recently won the Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Challenge for their “biodegradable bricks.” So Kieron Monks at CNN had to ask the question, would you live in a house made of sand, bacteria or fungi? Find out the benefits of these modern bricks here.

What If MOMA Had Expanded Underground (And Saved The American Folk Art Museum)?

Sculpture Garden, MOMA. Image © Andrew Moore, http://andrewlmoore.com/

In January of this year, the latest work by Smiljan Radic, the Chilean architect chosen to design the next Serpentine Pavilion, opened to public acclaim. The Museum of Pre-Columbian Art (Museo de Arte Precolombino), located in de Chile, is a restoration project that managed to sensitively maintain an original colonial structure  – all while increasing the space by about 70%.

Two days before the The Museum of Pre-Columbian Art opened, the Museum of Metropolitan Art (MOMA) in New York issued a statement that it would demolish the American Folk Art Museum (AFAM), designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, in order to accomplish its envisioned . Two weeks ago, preparations for demolition began.

Some background: MOMA had hired Diller Scofidio + Renfro a year earlier to design the expansion. The office asked for a period of six months to consider the possibilities of integrating the American Folk Art Museum into the design. After studying a vast array of options (unknown to the public) they were unable to accommodate MOMA’s shifting program needs with the AFAM building. They proposed a new circulation loop with additional gallery space and new program located where the AFAM is (was) located.

What appears here is not strictly a battle between an institution that wants to reflect the spirit of the time vs a building that is inherently specific to its place. It represents a lost design opportunity. What if the American Folk Art Museum had been considered an untouchable civic space in the city of New York, much like the The Museum of Pre-Columbian Art is for the city for Santiago? Then a whole new strategy for adaptive reuse would have emerged.

MoMA PS1 YAP 2014 Runner-Up: Underberg / LAMAS

Looking back from the stage to the barrel vault, the party’s in full swing. Image © LAMAS

Wouldn’t it be nice to save a little cold for when it’s hot (and maybe a little warmth for when it’s cold)? This was the premise of LAMAS’s MoMA runner-up proposal, UnderbergUnderberg is an urban iceberg. Though it isn’t a native New Yorker, it has adapted to its new home in New York City and its crevasses take on the form of the avenues and streets of the gridiron.

Underberg was one of five proposals shortlisted for the annual MoMA PS1 Young Architect’s Program (YAP) competition, which was won by the Living’s compostable brick tower. More on this proposal, after the break…

MoMA PS1 YAP 2014 Runner-Up: Mirror Mirror / Collective-LOK

© Collective-LOK

A vision by Jon Lott (PARA-Project), William O’Brien Jr. (WOJR), and Michael Kubo (over,under)Collective–LOK’s compelling proposal to reimagine MoMA ’s triangular courtyard with a billowing “urban mirror” was one of five finalists shortlisted for the annual competition’s 15th edition. Though the Living’s compostable brick tower was ultimately crowned winner, the Collective-LOK’s Mirror Mirror was an intriguing proposal that transcended the boundaries of the site.

Dear MoMA, Couldn’t the Nouvel Tower Save the American Folk Art Museum?

© Flickr CC User Dan Nguyen

In this Metropolis Magazine post on MoMA‘s planned demolition of the American Folk Art Museum, Karrie Jacobs asks a strangely unasked question: How has the Nouvel Tower – in its day the most controversial of MoMA’s expansion plans - not been brought into the debate? The Jean Nouvel-designed tower was predicated up a circulation plan that, by necessity, ignored the (then occupied) Folk Art Museum entirely. Why is this plan no longer possible? Read the fascinating argument here.

Behind “Hy-Fi”: The Organic, Compostable Tower That Won MoMA PS1′s Young Architects Program 2014

The Living’s Hy-Fi, winning design of the 2014 Young Architects Program. and MoMAPS1. Image © The Living

This article, published by Metropolis Magazine as “Behind the Living’s “100% Organic” Pavilion for MoMA PS1“, goes behind the plans for this year’s MoMA Young Architects Program’s winning design, “Hy-Fi” – looking at the compostable eco-bricks which make the design possible.

“It all starts on local farms with waste corn stalks,” says Sam Harrington of Ecovative, who will help build this year’s winning entry for the MoMA PS1 Young Architect’s Program. Hy-Fi, designed by the New York-based firm The Living, will be made of bricks that are entirely organic and ultimately, compostable. A good chunk of that material is corn stalks, stained clay-red with an organic dye from Shabd Simon-Alexander and Audrey Louisere . The rest is mycelium—mushroom roots to you and me—that will hold the corn stalks together as they cohere into a molded shape. The technology, developed by Ecovative in 2007, has so far been used as a packaging material. “But we love the chance to try something bold, and that’s what PS1 is all about,” Harrington says.

Read more about the bricks behind Hy-Fi after the break

MoMA to Preserve Folk Art Facade

© Flickr CC User Dan Nguyen

Though it has been confirmed that Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Museum of Modern Art expansion will result in the demise of Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects’ American Folk Art Museum, the New York Times has confirmed that the beloved copper-bronze facade will be preserved.

“We will take the facade down, piece by piece, and we will store it,” Glenn D. Lowry, the director of the Museum of Modern Art, said in an interview. “We have made no decision about what happens subsequently, other than the fact that we’ll have it and it will be preserved.”

Glenn Lowry on American Folk Art Museum: The Decision Has Been Made

Rendering of the garden entrance of the new MoMA, by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Image Courtesy of MoMA

Yesterday, Glenn Lowry, director of (MoMA), and , principal of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, presented their plans for the MoMA expansion to an audience in New York City, insisting  - once again - that they require the demolition of the American Folk Art Museum

The presentation was part of a larger event, “A Conversation on the Museum of Modern Art’s Plan for Expansion,” presented by The Architectural League, the Municipal Art Society, and the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter. After Lowry and Diller reiterated their case, a panel of experts – including the editor of Architectural Record, Cathleen McGuigan, and critic Nicolai Ouroussoff – gave their opinions on the subject (some panelists spousing particularly anti-MoMA sentiments). ArchDaily was there to catch the conversation; read on after the break for the highlights. 

Liz Diller on MoMA Expansion: We’d Be Against Us Too “If We Didn’t Know All the Details That We Know”

Image of Liz Diller / One of DS + R’s early renderings of the . Image © Iwan Baan / Courtesy of

In a must-read interview with Christopher Hawthorne of the Los Angeles Times, Liz Diller defends her firm, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and their design of the MoMA expansion.

Hawthorne asks some great, insightful questions: from whether or not architecture should be considered ephemeral to whether or not idiosyncratic architecture is more vulnerable to change. Diller responds with some fascinating points, claiming that if DS+R’s ICA museum in Boston faced demolition, she’d understand because of the possibility that “at a certain point [a building] takes on another identity.” But perhaps the most poignant response is the one that she gives regarding the maelstrom of negative criticism surrounding the demolition of the Folk Art Museum, saying, “We would be on the same side if we didn’t know all the details that we know.” To learn more about those “details,” read on for excerpts from the interview…

Critical Round-Up: Reaction to the Folk Art Museum’s Demolition, MoMA’s Expansion

American Folk Art Museum exterior. Image © Flickr CC User Dan Nguyen

The flurry of criticism that erupted when announced its plans to demolish the American Folk Art Museum (in its new plans for expansion, designed by ) has yet to settle. After the break, we offer a more complete round-up of the critics’ reactions – including Paul Goldberger’s of Vanity Fair, Michael Kimmelman’s for The New York Times, and more…

YAP 2013: bam! Debuts ‘He’ at MAXXI

He has made his debut in the MAXXI piazza. As the winner of the Young Architects Program (YAP) in Rome, Turin-based studio Bottega di Architettura metropolitan has transformed the concrete facade of the Zaha Hadid-designed museum into a visual spectacular with the of a yellow, translucent and aerostatic prism. 

MoMA Enlists Six Architect Teams to Develop Proposals for Expanding Megacities

Morro do Alemão, Rio de Janeiro. 2012.. Image © Pedro Rivera, RUA Arquitetos

(MoMA) has collaborated with Vienna’s Museum of Applied Arts (MAK) to launch a 14-month initiative that will examine new architectural possibilities that address the rapid and uneven growth of six global metropolises: New York, Rio de Janeiro, Mumbai, Lagos, Hong Kong, and Istanbul.

Organized by Pedro Gadanho, Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanisms for Expanding Megacities enlists six interdisciplinary teams of international architecture and urbanism scholars, experts, and practitioners to participate in a series of workshops, with each team focusing on a specific city.