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Robert Landon

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Tippet Rise Art Center Combines Architecture, Art, Music and Mountains in Montana

What do Frederic Chopin, Alexander Calder and Montana's Bear Tooth Mountains have in common? A long summer day at Tippet Rise Art Center seeks to make the connections audible, visible, tangible.

Founded by philanthropists and artists Cathy and Peter Halstead and inaugurated in June 2016, Tippet Rise began as—and largely remains—a working ranch. It sprawls across 11,500 acres of rolling hills and alluvial mesas of southwestern. To the west rise the snowy heights of the Bear Tooth Mountains. Off to the east, hills give way to golden prairies that stretch out to the horizon.

Into this privileged landscape, the Halsteads and team have strategically inserted massive outdoor sculptures by Alexander Calder, Mark di Suvero, Stephen Talasnik, plus three specially commissioned works by the Spanish architectural firm Ensamble Studio. And hidden in a small depression near the entrance of the massive ranch, the LEED Platinum-certified Olivier Barn serves as both base camp for visitors and a state-of-the-art concert hall.

Beartooth Portal / Ensamble Studio. Image © Iwan Baan Domo / Ensamble Studio. Image © Andre Costantini Olivier Barn / Alban Bassuet with Laura Viklund and Arup engineering. Image © Andre Costantini Inverted Portal / Ensamble Studio. Image © Andre Costantini + 52

Aravena's "Reporting From The Front" Is Nothing Like Koolhaas' 2014 Biennale—But It's Equally as Good

As director of the 2016 Venice Biennale, Alejandro Aravena has sought to shift the very grounds of architecture. Rather than an inward-looking interrogation of the profession's shortcomings, as Rem Koolhaas undertook in 2014, the Chilean Pritzker Prize-winner asks us to gaze in the opposite direction—to the vast swathes of the built horizon that traditionally lay beyond the profession's purview: urban slums, denatured megacities, conflict zones, environmentally compromised ports, rural villages far off the grid.

"We believe that the advancement of architecture is not a goal in itself but a way to improve people’s quality of life," states Aravena in his introduction to event. In other words, his biennale does not ask what architecture ought, yet often fails, to be, but rather what it could, yet often forgets, to do.

The "Reporting From the Front" exhibition. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu Gabinete de Arquitectura's contribution to the "Reporting From the Front" exhibition. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu Vo Trong Nghia's contribution to the "Reporting From the Front" exhibition. Image © Francesco Galli The Spanish Pavilion. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu + 14

The Met Breuer: A Loving Restoration of a Mid-Century Icon

The New York art world let out a collective cry of grief when the Whitney Museum of American Art abandoned Marcel Breuer's iconic 1966 building on Madison Avenue at 75th Street. Whether New Yorkers loved, loved to hate, or hated to love the old Whitney, Breuer's building suddenly became the building that evoked more passion than any other.

Now, thanks to a restoration led by New York City firm Beyer Blinder Belle, the iconic building has been transformed into the Met Breuer—the bold new showcase for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's renewed embrace of modernist and contemporary art. It will open to the public on March 18, 2016, and as the crowds ready to descend, the curators and architects are no doubt anxious to see whether, by faithfully adhering to Breuer's original vision, the restored building will succeed in both delighting museum-goers and helping redefine the Met's public image.

© The Metropolitan Museum of Art 2016 © The Metropolitan Museum of Art 2016 © The Metropolitan Museum of Art 2016 © The Metropolitan Museum of Art 2016 + 20

Non-Stick PAMM

Rio de Janeiro-based writer Robert Landon has shared with us his experience exploring Herzog and de Meuron's Perez Art Museum Miami.

I am standing with Christine Binswanger, senior partner of Herzog & de Meuron, a few hours before the Perez Art Museum Miami opens it doors to the public for the first time. All around us, construction workers are making last minute adjustments, while troublesome clusters of VIPs take their first peak into the museum's airy, austere galleries. The excitement is palpable.

And yet I can't unpeel my eyes from the huge, hurricane-proof window before us. They offer enormous views of resplendent Biscayne Bay and the six-lane, 5.6km Macarthur Causeway that crosses it. Throbbing with traffic, the causeway is the kind of thing that, I imagine, people come to museums to forget. So I ask Binswanger, the museum's project architect, how her team approached this design problem.

"Problem? What problem?" says Binswanger. "That is what Miami is about. Anyway, I find it beautiful. Don't you?"

Suddenly I do. Or at least I find beautiful the building's wide-open embrace of Miami, causeways and all. And I suspect that this visual (and programmatic) permeability to the city's realities—natural and manmade—will define PAMM's institutional success.

Piano Takes on Kahn at Kimbell Museum Expansion

For architects, Louis Kahn's Kimbell Museum has long been hallowed ground. For Renzo Piano, who designed the museum's first major expansion, it was also an enormous difficulty to overcome. His addition to the museum could be neither too close to Kahn's building, nor too far. It had to solve a parking problem, yet respect Kahn's distaste for cars. It had to respond to Kahn's stately progression of spaces—and that silvery natural light that make architects' knees go wobbly. And yet it could not merely borrow from Kahn's revolutionary bag of tricks.

Museu Brasileiro de Escultura (MuBE) / Paulo Mendes da Rocha

Keep an eye out, or you might miss the Museu Brasileiro de Escultura (a.k.a. MuBE, pronounced MOO-bee). Widely considered the masterpiece of Pritzker Prize-winner Paulo Mendes da Rocha, the building was in fact born out of the desire to have no building at all. When in the 1980s an empty lot in Sao Paulo's mansion-laden Jardins district was slated to become a shopping mall, wealthy residents successfully lobbied to create a public square instead. To sweeten the deal and ensure the land stayed commercial-free, they hired Mendes de Rocha to create MuBE. Completed in 1995, the 7000-sq-meter museum hunkers down beneath ground level, thus preserving what in Sao Paulo is that rarest of luxuries: a public green space.