Lecture: Designing an Institute for Performance Art

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Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) recently held a lecture featuring performance artist Marina Abromović alongside principle Shohei Shigematsu in the anticipation of the Marina Abromović Institute for the Preservation of Performing Art (MAI) 2014 opening. In the lecture, Shigematsu speaks about the process in which they transformed a former theater in Hudson, New York, into a structure that’s capable of assisting the institute’s mission to develop new kinds of performance, while functioning as a space for preserving and hosting historic performance pieces. Shigematsu references OMA’s of designing spaces that combine architecture and art, such as the Quebec National Museum and a recent collaboration with Kanye West.

More on this discussion after the break…

Exhibition for Frank Gehry Prints and Sculpture

© Chris Santa Maria

On view now until April 13, is the Stamberg Aferiat + Associates designed for Frank Gehry prints and a sculpture for the Los Angeles-based artists’ workshop Gemini G.E.L. at Joni Moisant Weyl in . The exhibition celebrates architecture, a more than ten-year collaboration with the renowned architect, and their one-year anniversary in a designed space by architects Peter Stamberg and Paul Aferiat. The exhibit features a newly editioned sculpture and an enlarging of Gehry’s Marques de Riscal Winery image. More images and description of the exhibition after the break.

Shelter Island House / Stamberg Aferiat

© Paul Warchol

Architects: Stamberg Aferiat
Location: Shelter Island, , USA
Design Team: Peter Stamberg, Paul Aferiat, Keith Tsang, Joshua Homer, Ryan Harvey, Josh Lekwa, Anna Portoghese, Michael Bardin, Adam Greene, Jasmit Rangr
Area: 1,100 sq ft
Year: 2010
Photographs: Paul Warchol

Postcard from Roosevelt Island, New York

© Hassan Bagheri

This text was provided by San Francisco-based writer Kenneth Caldwell. Photos by Hassan Bagheri.

One friend said, “It looks a bit austere.” At first glance, it probably is. But like so many great minimal environments, it asks for patience and generosity. You give, and in turn it gives back.

This is also what the artists Mark Rothko, Richard Serra, Donald Judd, and, more recently, Olafur Eliasson ask. Trust them with your time and you may be rewarded with a small measure of serenity—perhaps even with the connection between art and the divine that Dominique de Menil was so focused on.

Designed by Louis Kahn, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park is an outdoor sanctuary at the southern tip of what is now called , created as a memorial to FDR. The park opened last fall. Kahn’s gift took 40 years to be realized, but it presents a path for human beings to treat each other to peace.

Continue reading after the break…

Domino Sugar Factory Master Plan Development / SHoP Architects

© Architects

Last Summer, Two Trees bought the Domino Sugar Factory site in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn to be developed into a new mix-use master plan. The previously proposed scheme by Rafael Viñoly Architects (seen here) consisted of four large towers along the East River water front, but the design was largely disliked by the community, and as a result Two Trees hired SHoP Architects along with James Corner Field Operations to have a go at the design. The result is a wildly different scheme, consisting of five towers with 60% more open space along the water front, 631,000 square feet of new office space (versus the previous 98,000 square feet), and over two-thousand new apartments. This marks a huge change for what could be considered as the most important waterfront in Brooklyn, and potentially become the new image of Brooklyn for the whole world.

‘Frank Gehry At Work’ Exhibition

Courtesy of the artist and Leslie Feely Fine Art, LLC.

On display at Leslie Feely Fine Art in New York from April 11 to June 30, 2013, the Frank Gehry At Work  features a selection of over 30 diverse process models by Gehry, which are drawn from significant constructions and concepts of the architect’s prolific career. These organic forms, which consist of a wide array of materials, stand as testament to Gehry’s tactile approach, enhancing our perception of this sculptural architect and his work,  illuminating the subtleties of Gehry’s thought—and working—process. More images and information on the exhibition after the break.

Beyond New York: Organic vs Geometrical Context Lecture

Basket Apartments in Paris by OFIS Architects / © Tomaz Gregoric

Coming up this Friday, March 8th, at the Center for Architecture in New York, the ‘Beyond New York: Organic vs Geometrical Context’ lecture is part of the Architecture Dialogue Committee’s on-going series to introduce the next generation of architects not practicing in . For this event, they have invited Spela Videcnik from OFIS arhitekti of Ljubljana, Slovenia to share insights about architectural and urban design from 6:00pm-8:00pm. Videcnik, who is currently teaching Architectural Design at Harvard’s GSD, will present OFIS’s design approach through their most recently built projects, such as the Basket Apartments (Paris) and The Cultural Centre for Space Technologies (Slovenia), and how these different geometries inform their current work. For more information, please visit here.

Queens Museum of Art Expansion / Grimshaw Architects

Courtesy of Grimshaw and the Queens Museum of Art

Originally constructed for the 1939 World’s Fair, the resilient structure of New York’s Queens Museum of Art has been undergoing its fourth and most ambitious since April 2011. This $68 million , designed by Grimshaw Architects, will double the institution’s size, expanding the museum to a total of 105,000 square feet upon its completion in October 2013.

MoMA PS1 Call for Ideas: Rethinking Post-Sandy Rockaway

Courtesy of MoMA PS1

Architects, artists, and designers are invited to participate in the competition to Rethink the Post-Sandy Rockaway.  MoMA PS1’s Young Architects program is seeking ideas for alternative models, creation of social spaces, urban interventions, new uses of public space, the rebuilding of the boardwalk, protection of the shoreline, and actions to engage local communities and to aid in the effort to rebuild from Hurricane Sandy. Judges will be selecting 25 proposals to be displayed on  Beach in April. The deadline for submissions is March 15. For more information, please visit here.

Films & Architecture: “The Fifth Element”

Last week, our latest featured film showed New York in the ’60s - this time we move to the future, about 200 years from now. This film, directed and co-written by Luc Besson, shows a with flying cars and technological systems applied all around the human environment.

Enjoy and let us know your thoughts of how our cities will look in the next century!

Event: Pratt Explores the Importance of Cold War Era Pre-Fabricated Building Systems

Housing Prototype Systems; Courtesy of Pedro Alonso

’s School of Architecture will present “ COOL digital,” an exhibition of 20 scaled prototypes of modernist, pre-fabricated, and globally-distributed era housing systems that were created using contemporary 3D printing technologies (opening reception 2/18 at 6:15, details below). The exhibition will investigate architectural modernism and its global influence and will connect with contemporary prototype pre-fabrication methods and digital research in housing and skyscraper design. A symposium that explores the technical, aesthetic, and political aspects of prototyping and pre-construction in architecture will be held tonight in conjunction with the exhibition.

Continue reading for more details…

Where Does Zoning Fit Into Our Future City Planning?

NYC.GOV – Department of Planning

“Let’s dump the word “,” as in ordinances that govern how land is developed and how buildings often are designed. Land-use regulation is still needed, but increasingly has become a conceptually inappropriate term, an obsolete characterization of how we plan and shape growth.” - Roger K. Lewis 

Zoning, a concept just over a century old, is already becoming an outdated system by which the government regulates development and growth.  Exceptions and loopholes within current zoning legislation prove that city planning is pushing a zoning transformation that reflects the current and future goals and needs of city building.  To determine how zoning and land use needs to evolve we must first assess the intentions of future city building.  

Planners, architects, legislators and community activists have already begun establishing guidelines and ordinances that approach the goals of sustainability and livability.  For example, the AIA has established Local Leaders: Healthier Communities through Design and has made a commitment to the Decade of Design: Global Solutions Challenge. has come up with Active Design Guidelines: Promoting Physical Activity and Health in Design and its Zone Green initiative in regards to updating its zoning resolution. In addition, Philadelphia has augmented its zoning to include urban farms and community gardens and it is safe to assume that many other cities will follow this precedent.  

So what is it about current zoning codes that makes it so outdated?  Follow us after the break for more.

NYC’s Union Square in 1828

‘Painting the Town’ via Business Insider

Can you imagine the intersection of Broadway and the Bowery in lower Manhattan as sparsely populated “Uptown” used as a burial ground for indigent people? Well, according to the the book Painting the Town by The Museum of the City of (via Ephemeral New York), this scene painted from memory by Albertis Del Orient Browere in 1885 depicts what Union Square used to look like back in 1828 – just 20 years before this area started to transform into the bustling, concrete jungle we know today. 

Compare it to an updated photo of Union Square after the break. 

‘White Noise’ YAP MoMA PS1 Proposal / French 2Design

Courtesy of

White Noise (or The Buzz) reveals the latent potential of the community. It is the sound of the talent and value around us. The installation harnesses this latent value with an interactive sound environment (a collaboration with ARUP Acoustics) embedded in a playful series of figural abstractions, clad with white synthetic turf. The foregrounded backdrop of the architecture highlights the project’s main event, sharing and exchange among the people in the space, and manipulates readings of scale.

Films & Architecture: “North by Northwest”

Our latest movie in our Films & Architecture series is another ’60s classic, this time by the master filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock. In North by Northwest we see a New York in the heyday of its architectural glory, with one scene taking place at a newly constructed building. In fact, the last scene takes place in a “house” that, under Hitchcock’s instructions, was meant to seem designed by Frank Lloyd Wright (in reality, the house was just another set design). The film shows a variety of urban spaces, and puts special emphasis on the contrast between the densities of  urban and rural realms.

As always, enjoy and comment!

Event: Buell Center at Columbia University presents “Comments on Comments”

Courtesy of The Buell Center

How do we talk about architecture? Housing? Cities? Culture? ? And, equally important, how don’t we talk about them? Comments on Foreclosed, a forthcoming book and online archive of public reactions to Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream, a 2012 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in that was co-curated by the Buell Center, has been produced to document just this kind of public discussion and the various platforms that shape it.

On February 18th, The Buell Center will mark the completion of the book and website, www.commentsonforeclosed.com, with a public event, “Comments on Comments”.  A performance of excerpts from the archive will open a multimedia panel discussion and Q&A.  In so doing, certain gaps in the public conversation on American housing and urbanism will be identified, and systemic deficiencies called out.

Ezra Stoller: Beyond Architecture

McMath Solar Telescope, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Kitt Peak, AZ, 1962 Gelatin Silver Print © Ezra Stoller, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery,

Now on view at the Yossi Milo Gallery through March 2, rarely-seen images by modernist architectural photographer Ezra Stroller (American, 1915-2004) captures a Post-War American landscape with stunning images of industry, technology, transportation and working class Americans. 

Beyond Architecture covers the full range of Stoller’s work, including photographs commissioned by Fortune, Architectural Forum, and House Beautiful magazines in the 1940s and for commercial projects for IBM, Upjohn Pharmaceuticals and CBS in the 1940s and 1950s. Included are photographs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s John Hancock Building, Chicago, and the United Nations Headquarters, designed by an international team of architects led by Wallace K. Harrison and including Oscar Niemeyer and Le Corbusier.

A selection of these images after the break…

100 Norfolk Street / ODA

Courtesy of

Designed by ODA, 100 Norfolk Street expresses the unlimited potential and ambition hidden in the Block as it stands significantly taller than its neighbors. Located within the Lower east side Manhattan, the design creates a rather unusual condition, a mid-block – freestanding building overlooking the area, offering strong light exposure for the interior residential spaces and direct views of Downtown, Midtown and the Williamsburg Bridge. More images and architects’ description after the break.