Concerns regarding the environmental sensitivity of George Lucas’ proposed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Chicago has caused the project to halt, and may even prevent it from being realized. According to a suit filed against the museum by the Friends of the Parks, environmentalists believe that the “mountainous” lakefront proposal, designed by MAD Architects, will disrupt the site’s ecosystem.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, Lucas’ hasn’t given up on Chicago yet. However, considering that Lucas wants to see the museum built within his lifetime, the 70-year-old Star Wars director is starting to reconsider a University of Southern California (USC) campus site in Los Angeles.
Berlin Art Link recently sat down with Russian-born, German architect Sergei Tchoban. In the interview above, he discusses his career, including working on the design for the Vostok Tower, Europe’s tallest skyscraper, and the recent opening of the Tchoban Foundation Museum for Architectural Drawing. This building houses his extensive personal works, as well as exhibitions by other artists. “What is very important for me is the quality of all details, so you create a building from outline, from the silhouette, to the door lever. This building brings out a lot of our and my personal ideas about architecture and about details in architecture,” Tchoban said regarding his design for the Museum for Architectural Drawing. The exterior of the building expresses Tchoban’s devotion to draftsmanship– the facade of the building is etched with a graphic pattern based on sketches from artists Angelo Toseli and Pietro di Gottardo Gonzaga. “I’m very active in drawings, as a draftsman myself. Drawing is a result of our thinking process and our thinking process is not only a thinking process with the head, with the mind, but also the process where you think with the whole body.”
The Dallas Holocaust Museum and Center for Education and Tolerance has officially gone public with plans to build a new permanent home in the city’s West End, across from the museum’s current location. Preliminary designs, by Texas-based Omniplan Architects, indicate a modest concrete and weathered steel structure with expanded galleries that would be built on parcel bound by Ross Avenue, Houston Street and the Dallas Area Rapid Transit light.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) has released plans for an ambitious $450 million expansion that will transform it into one of the largest art campuses in the US. The 14-acre masterplan will include three new buildings – one by Texas-based Lake|Flato Architects and two others by museum aficionado Steven Holl Architects - connected by a pedestrianized landscape of reflecting pools and gardens.
The first scheduled to break ground (this year) is the Steven Holl-designed, 80,000-square-foot new home for the Glassell School of Art. The L-shaped, pre-cast concrete structure will, as MFAH describes, pride itself as an extension of the campus landscape, featuring a stepped amphitheater that leads up to a walkable, trellised roof garden.
There are 207 branch libraries in the city of New York, each providing a number of services to city residents. From the simple lending of books to adult technical literacy classes, these institutions are as vital as they were before the advent of the internet, and their attendance numbers prove it. Between the years of 2002 and 2011, circulation in the city’s library systems increased by 59%. Library program attendance saw an increase of 40%. In spite of this, library funding was cut by 8% within this same timeframe, which has made it difficult to keep many of the system’s buildings in good repair. To spark interest and support from city leaders, The Architectural League, in collaboration with the Center for an Urban Future, instigated the design study Re-Envisioning New York’s Branch Libraries.
Sponsored by the Charles H. Revson Foundation, the study is the effort of five design teams chosen by the League. These teams – including MASS Design Group and SITU STUDIO - were charged with proposing exciting new library designs that follow the League’s themes of “integrating libraries into the city’s housing and community development goals, reconfiguring libraries to meet community needs, and developing new ideas for expanding the impact of branch libraries.” The teams presented their work at a January 4th symposium. See each of the proposals, as well as video footage of that symposium, after the break.
London’s National Maritime Museum is looking for an architect to revamp its West Central Wing building. As the Architects’ Journal first reported, the 1807 Daniel Asher Alexander-designed structure will be given £2 million to upgrade its facilities and establish new galleries, as well as connect the West Central Wing to the museum’s BDP and Rick Mather-designed Neptune Court podium via a bridge. All requests to participate are due January 20, 2015. Find more details, here.
Work has begun on the demolition of the UK city of Birmingham’s former Central Library, designed by home-grown Brutalist architect John Madin. The move by Birmingham Council to not retain the structure of the library, in spite of ideas and petitions put forward by numerous public groups (including one titled Keep The Ziggurat), has been widely met with disappointment among the architectural community. The BBC recently compiled some of the most interesting ideas for reuse which included, among others, transforming the concrete structure into a new English Parliament, an international trade centre, and an enormous space for rock climbing.
Madin, who passed away in 2012, had at least three of his major Modernist projects demolished during his lifetime. His design for Birmingham Library had been met with criticism from the likes of the city’s Director of Planning and Regeneration of the time who described it as a “concrete monstrosity.” Prince Charles famously described it as “looking more like a place for burning books than keeping them.”
See photographs of the former library under construction and in use after the break.
Of the four locations that are under consideration to host the future Barack Obama presidential library, two have released visions of what could be if their sites were selected – the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and the University of Hawaii at Honolulu (UH). UH, who’s offering a stunning oceanside site on Waikiki Beach, paired Snøhetta, MOS, and Allied Works Architecture with local architects to draw up proposals, all of which share a deep connection to nature. UIC, on the other hand, has proposed an idea that reinterprets the library as a systemized network of public infrastructure focused on revitalization.
View all four proposals, after the break.
Steven Holl Architects has been selected to design a new extension to one of India’s oldest museums, the Mumbai City Museum, also known as the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum. Selected over OMA, Studio Mumbai Architecture, Zaha Hadid and four others, Holl is now the first architect ever to be chosen through an international competition to design a public building in Mumbai.
Continue reading to learn more about Holl’s winning design.
The question of whether the traditional museum survive in the digital age has been bounced around since the dawn of digital art and archiving. In an article for The Independent, Christopher Beanland examines the issue of a global “museum boom” (especially in China where a new one opens every day), and how this is having an undoubtedly positive impact on people’s quality of life. For Beanland, it’s curious that “we don’t splash out on council houses or universities or hospitals any more – but we do build museums and galleries.” Perhaps it’s because they are “a reliquary for our collective memories” and “a triumph of our collective will” or, in most cases, because they employ excellent PR and branding strategies. He notes that “despite being swamped by possessions, we’ve changed our views towards those things. In the second half of the 20th century, people defined themselves by what they had. But today people increasingly define themselves by what they do.”
The Israeli National Library has released images of Herzog & de Meuron’s design for the library’s new home in Jerusalem. The six-story building, awarded to the Swiss practice over five others following an extensive interview process conducted last year, will be built by 2019 on a prominent site at the base of the Knesset building and adjacent to the Israel Museum, Science Museum and Hebrew University.
More image and information about the new library, after the break.
An international jury behind Budapest’s new National Gallery has launched a second and invited competition for a select few of the industry’s best after the first, open competition lead to “disappointing” results. Jean Nouvel, David Chipperfield, Mecanoo, Nieto Sobejano, Renzo Piano, SANAA and Snøhetta have been asked to submit proposals for a 5-building museum complex on the edge of Városliget, one of the city’s main parks. It will house the new National Gallery, the Ludwig Museum, an ethnography museum, architecture museum and photography museum.
The competition, known as the Liget Project, is being directed by jury members Wim Pijbes, the director of the Rijksmuseum, and Henri Loyrette, former director of the Louvre in Paris.
A team of architects from Rome have been announced as winners of CTRL+SPACE’s ideas competition for a digital arts museum in central Madrid. The competition challenged teams to envision a 21st-century contemporary arts museum that embodies technology as an “integrated medium of work” and questions the meaning of “public access.”
The winning proposals, after the break.
Following a national search, the National Medal of Honor Foundation has selected Safdie Architects to design its new museum and education center at Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. Safdie was selected for their “extensive experience with cultural projects and national monuments across the U.S. and abroad.” The National Medal of Honor Museum will bring the stories of the Medal of Honor recipients to life for visitors.
The Medal of Honor was created in 1861 and is the nation’s highest military honor. It is awarded by the President of the United States on behalf of the United States Congress for valor in combat. The Museum is the first part of a multi-phase development of the site on the eastern shore of Charleston Harbor and will become an iconic destination in the region.
According to the BBC, Frank Gehry’s Biomuseo in Panama City, Steven Holl’s Sifang Art Museum in Nanjing, and BIG’s Danish National Maritime Museum in Helsingør are among the top eight greatest museums recently completed. Do you agree? Let us know which recently completed museums tops your list in the comment section after the break and review the BBC’s complete selection here.
Barack Obama still has two years left in his presidency, but speculative planning for his Presidential Library has already begun for each of the four possible final locations. Just as the election of President Obama broke down historical precedents for who could hold office, could the design of his dedication library represent an architectural shift from previous libraries? This article by Lilah Raptopoulos from The Guardian presents four unofficial visions for the design of the new library, each of them from award-winning architects. Their bold design sketches expand our perceptions of what a presidential library could be, and explore new ways in which these libraries could serve their communities. See all four designs and read the full article from The Guardian entitled, “Obama’s presidential library: four radical visions of the future from top architects.”
In an article for the Financial Times, Edwin Heathcote asks “what are design museums actually for?” Noting that we are living through a “boom time” for the typology, Heathcote argues that when we are overwhelmed by design in our day to day lives, what will fill these spaces? London’s Victoria & Albert Museum sprouted from the legacy of the 1850 Great Exhibition, where the concept of a design museum originated, as an attempt to “display the fruits of Britain’s industrial revolution.” Ironically in the very same museum in 2013, curator Kieran Long acquired a print of the world’s first 3D printed gun for the permanent collection. Will the ubiquity of ‘design’ soon negate the need for dedicated spaces? Read Heathcote’s conclusions in full here.
Take a tour inside ALA Architect’s Helsinki Central Library with a new animation and set of images revealing the project’s spacious interiors. The project, which was awarded to ALA through an international competition, boasts a unique set of programs, such as a ground floor cinema, second story sauna, “Nerd Attic” and dreamy “Book Heaven” that is topped with a cloud-like undulating roof and includes a distinctive outdoor “Citizens’ Balcony.”