Exhibition design is never straightforward, but that is especially true within the highly unconventional architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum. Hanging a painting in a traditional “box” gallery can be literally straightforward, whereas every exhibition at the Guggenheim is the reinvention of one of the world’s most distinctive and iconic buildings. The building mandates site-specific exhibition design—partition walls, pedestals, vitrines, and benches are custom-fabricated for every show. At the same time, these qualities of the building present an opportunity for truly memorable, unique installations. Design happens simultaneously on a micro and macro scale—creating display solutions for individual works of art while producing an overall context and flow that engages the curatorial vision for the exhibition. This is why the museum’s stellar in-house exhibition designers all have an architecture background. They have developed intimate relationships with every angle and curve of the quarter-mile ramp and sloping walls.
A new landmark on the Brooklyn skyline, TEN Arquitectos’ DBCD (Downtown Brooklyn Cultural District) South building at 300 Ashland, is nearing completion, with tenants expected to move in by the end of the summer. The mixed-use building will feature 379 apartment units and will also become the new home of a number of cultural tenants, including the performing arts organization 651 Arts, MoCADA, Brooklyn Academy of Music cinemas, and a new branch of the Brooklyn Public Library.
Founded in 1986 in Mexico City, Enrique Norten's practice TEN Arquitectos is not known for a signature style, preferring to make each project a modernist-infused response to its own specific conditions. Nonetheless, they have become one of the most widely-recognized architectural practices emerging from Mexico, with projects throughout North America. In the latest interview in his "City of Ideas" column, Vladimir Belogolovsky speaks with Norten in New York to find out how the architect's past has influenced his current design work, and to discuss the future trajectory of architecture.
Vladimir Belogolovsky: How busy are you now, what kind of projects are you working on?
Enrique Norten: Fortunately, we are very busy. Half of our work is for such clients as cultural institutions, education, and government. The other half is for private clients – developers and homeowners. TEN Arquitectos maintains around 75 to 85 architects between our two offices in Mexico City and here in New York, from where we are working on projects in many major cities in the US and now in Toronto, and in the Caribbean. Two thirds of the work is handled by our Mexico City office, from which we work on projects all over Mexico and in Central America.
TEN Arquitectos have been selected as the winner of a competition to design a luxury, mixed-use resort at St. James Point, Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands. Set to open in the fall of 2018, the resort is situated on a 16-acre property and includes a private beach as well as a 200-room hotel. TEN Arquitectos’ design seeks to both “contrast and compliment the surrounding tropical environment.”
“Providing more integrated environments for living and travel, without losing connection to nature or sense of place, is key to the success of a project like this,” said principal of TEN Arquitectos, Enrique Norten. “We have a unique concept here that will fit harmoniously within the landscape.”
Learn more about the project after the break.
CENTRO University, a premier university for creative studies in Mexico City, will celebrate the opening of its new campus this September. Designed by TEN Arquitectos, the 5,600-square-meter campus aims to embody CENTRO's "dynamic and inclusive atmosphere" with a cluster of intersecting, LEED Platinum buildings centered around a 450-seat auditorium and public park. With an ideal mix of indoor studios and outdoor work areas, the scheme hopes to offer a variety of collaborative and stimulating learning environments.
On a recent trip abroad, architect and urban planner José Castillo was struck by a conversation with Mexico’s tourism attaché in Asia. Mexican tourism, the attaché remarked, has changed; it was the ancient pyramids and sandy beaches of the country that once drew visitors to it. Today however, architecture and design—and food—prevail.
The issue of food may be of little wonder. Mexican cuisine has indeed become more popular than ever in both the high and low ends of the culinary spectrum, and food in general is not only what one eats for dinner but also a hobby and an obsessive conversation topic. Yet for local design to come to the same level of acclaim and reputation is, at any rate, quite astonishing. It may be, though, that food and architecture are not so far apart. These are both highly creative and productive professions, as well as ones with a rich history, a theory, and many layers of tradition.
LocationParking Lot 51, Rutgers–New Brunswick, Piscataway Township, NJ 08854, United States
Design TeamEnrique Norten, James Carse
Executive ArchitectRichard Bienenfeld Architect, PC
In recent years Downtown Brooklyn has become somewhat of a hub of cultural activity. Just past the triangular intersection of Flatbush Ave and Fulton Street, a high density of cultural buildings, expansive retail, and entertainment exists. Mayor Michael Bloomberg of NYC announced in late November that the city and private companies will be partnering to produce three new projects in this area that will bring affordable housing and additional cultural and community spaces to Downtown Brooklyn. This last city-owned parcel will be developed into mixed use facilities: a 515,000 square foot building at Fulton St, Rockwell Place and Ashland Place; a 32-story mixed use building on Flatbush and Lafayette to be designed by Enrique Norten of TEN Arquitectos and a third building currently in the RFP stage of development at Ashland Place and Lafayette.
Join us after the break for more.
Metro officials have released six conceptual visions that suggest how the historic Los Angeles Union Station could be transformed by 2050. Preliminary “Vision Boards” were released in a public forum at Union Station last week, and although they are not part of the formal evaluation process, they have ignited an immense amount of public interest in the competition.
In an article posted on The Source, Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Antonio Villaraigosa described that this competition is “about preparing for the future.” As plans for the California High-Speed Rail System evolve, it is imperative that Union Station is redeveloped to meet the standards of a 21st century transportation hub.
Continue after the break to view each Vision Board provided by the six well-known practices shortlisted for the competition.
Over 1,200 entires from 30 states and 10 countries submitted applications for the National Mall competition. Late last month fifteen design teams were chosen as finalists to advance to the second stage of this prestigious contest.
Hosting 25 million visitors annually, the National Mall will undergo an estimated $700 million restoration beginning in 2012. The competition has been broken down into three areas of restoration: Union Square including the Reflecting Pool and the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial, Sylvan Theater on the Washington Monument Grounds, and the Constitution Gardens between the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial.
Among the finalists to move on to stage two of the competition, Diller Scofidio Renfro, Weiss/Manfredi, and Rogers Marvel Architects who are shortlisted for two out of the three areas of restoration, as well as Snohetta, Michael Maltzan Architecture, Ten Arquitectos, and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson who are finalists for one area of restoration.
“Entrants were evaluated on past design performance, philosophy, design intent, thoughtfulness, creativity and overall resume,” according to a release from the Trust of the National Mall. The jury, compiled of architects, professors and other members of the architecture community, included Michael Gericke of Pentagram NYC and Pritzker Prize Laureate Thom Mayne founder of Morphosis.
The second stage of the competition includes interviews of the teams conducted by the Trust for the National Mall and the National Park Service, and the last stage will include proposed plans for the restoration. The competition will culminate in May 2012 and the proposed designs from stage three of the competition will be available to the public prior to the winning design being selected.
Follow the break for a complete list of design finalists for the National Mall Competition.