Can architecture foster better relationships between people, creating an equalized and respectful use of space? Can tools be designed that strengthen the bonds between humans and objects? BAAG (Buenos Aires Arquitectura Grupal) studio explores the architectural elements that mediate between people and objects, the natural and artificial, public and private, individual and collective, and humans and other living things.
Art Installations: The Latest Architecture and News
Etherea, the installation conceived by Edoardo Tresoldi for the Coachella festival in 2018, has landed in Rome for "Back to Nature”, an exhibition project curated by Costantino d’Orazio. The large transparent mesh sculpture will dialogue with the trees of the Parco dei Daini, in Villa Borghese, until December 13, 2020.
Studying the data that indicates a climate crisis that has been affecting the whole planet for the last decades, the reactionary attitudes may sound disappointing. However, at the same time that the news indicates a global average temperature rise, the political focus on the climate crisis is also intensified, according to the UN Environment report released in 2019, which is a reflection not only of the occurrence of manifestations and protests around the world but also of the so-called activist art expression.
Geometry of light, is a multimedia intervention by Luftwerk in collaboration with Iker Gil, exhibited in October, during the third edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, at the Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois.
OMA and Inside Outside have collaborated on the design of a vast monument in Dubai, titled “Ethar – Honoring Generosity.” The installation consists of a field of 1,680 triangular-shaped recycled aluminum columns arrayed like a magnetic field, engraved with stories from Arabic scholars, scientists, and thinkers.
The installation was designed to celebrate the “unique culture of charitable giving in the United Arab Emirates with a physical installation that is part of the urban landscape of Dubai.” Designed for a site on Jumeirah Beach, the monument’s character can also be adapted for various contexts, whether dispersed throughout the city or appearing in key urban locations as a symbol of Emirati culture.
19 installations have been unveiled across the California Desert as part of the Desert X international contemporary art exhibition. The second edition of the exhibition, running from February 9th to April 21st, 2019, is free and open to the public, and seeks to “activate the desert landscape through nineteen site-specific installations and performances by some of today’s most recognized international contemporary artists.”
Co-curated Amanda Hunt and Matthew Schum, the exhibition explores ideas of site-specificity, framing post-industrial art and the interactive possibilities it contains. The 2019 edition includes film projects and process-driven works, spanning 50 miles across the Coachella Valley into Mexico.
Architecture as a profession today struggles with questions of relevance, with core questions surrounding the issue of whether it can create cultural vibrancy and meaning for the diverse world it serves. Within our own design community, we tend to give a lot of sway to an “exclusive tier” of architects who provide leadership and vision. While this leadership is critically important to the profession, it only corresponds to 2% of what gets built. Take it from Frank Gehry, whose 2014 comment still rings in our ears: “98% of everything that is built and designed today is pure sh*t. There is no sense of design, no respect for humanity."
If we embrace the importance and unique value of all things built on a wider range, we need to ask ourselves: how have we served and rewarded our peers responsible for creating this other 98%? Where should we set the bar for the emotional-artistic qualities of mainstream architecture?
Cristopher Cichocki's Places Art in Architecture to Spark a Discussion About Environmental Sustainability
Cristopher Cichocki's Root Cycle combines installation art with existing architecture in an effort to spark a discussion regarding the relationship between design, both contemporary and historical, and environmental sustainability.
Cichocki partnered with Geoplast, a local Italian designer and manufacturer dedicated to producing innovative sustainable design products. The artist uses a particular Geoplast elevator product and Aloe Vera plants as the main components for the artwork.
RAAAF and Atelier de Lyon's Monumental "Deltewerk //" is a Tribute to the Majesty of Dutch Flood Defenses
Amsterdam-based RAAAF and Atelier de Lyon have completed an imposing Dutch monument paying tribute to the country’s centuries-old flood defense systems. “Deltawerk //” appropriates the enormous decaying test models in the Waterloopbos national monument, a former Dutch Hydrodynamics laboratory.
Deltawerk //, which opened September 27th, is envisioned as a “tribute to the majesty and seemingly indestructible power of the Dutch delta works,” shedding new light on the “practice of preserving cultural heritage.”
Moscow-based designer Alex Shtanuk has launched an Indiegogo campaign for his 107,000-square-foot (10,000-square-meter) blanket woven from over 3000 NASA Space blankets, to feature at this year’s Burning Man festival at Black Rock City, Nevada.
“The Blanket” seeks to “bring the waves of the ancient Lake Lahontan back to Playa,” influenced by wind conditions to mirror surreal forms such as waves, mountains, or giant sculptures. With an exterior metallic coating, the blanket will reflect 97% of radiated heat, creating a cool, refreshing environment underneath for those seeking shelter from the hot Playa sun.
Every year in August, a temporary metropolis is erected in Black Rock City, Nevada. This is Burning Man, an annual event of art and architecture that attracts some 70,000 participants. The people who come to Burning Man come from all walks of life. What is incredible is that they come together to construct an ephemeral city that lasts for 7 days. These people assume the role of architects and construction workers and use the desert to build all sorts of shelters in a fast, sustainable way. The desert is so remote, and everything built in Black Rock City is packed and taken home at the end of the event, and some of the art is burned on site. This poses a unique architectural challenge. The people who have come to build these structures have to plan them way in advance to accommodate all the challenges of working in the desert, but the result is worth it - a striking, unique city, democratically built, set against a desert landscape, and for only one week.
We had the chance to interview Kim Cook at the World Architecture Festival in Berlin. Kim Cook is Director of Art and Civic Engagement at Burning Man. Kim Cook and her team are tasked with increasing the impact of Burning Man’s arts and civic initiatives. As part of her role, Kim engages with artists and community leaders to increase opportunities for funding, collaboration and learning.
MVRDV has won a competition for the design of an art installation in the Dutch coastal city of Den Helder, seeking to strengthen the connection between land and sea through a new public landmark. The “SeaSaw” consists of a viewing platform balanced in equilibrium atop the city’s flood defenses, a distinguishable structure praised by the jury for capturing “the energetic spirit of the city represented as an infinite form.”
Artist Christo has released images of his proposed temporary sculpture for Hyde Park, London, to become his first major outdoor public sculpture in the United Kingdom. Titled “The Mastaba (Project for London, Hyde Park, Serpentine Lake)," the sculpture will consist of 7,506 horizontally-stacked barrels floating on the Serpentine Lake throughout the summer of 2018.
“The Mastaba” will coincide with an exhibition of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s work at the Serpentine Galleries, featuring sculptures, drawings, collages and photographs spanning more than 60 years. Supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the exhibition will be the artists’ first in a UK public institution since 1979 and will showcase their long-running exploits with barrel forms, chosen initially for their sculptural effect and low cost.
On Cottesloe Beach, Gjøde & Partnere Arkitekter Create a Floating Desert Island for Sculpture By The Sea
On The Desert Island in Cottesloe Beach, Australia, a 72-meter wall of mirrors partitions out a section of the sand, creating a cove of its own. The wall faces the Indian Ocean, and the curved reflection of sand merging with the soft-blue waters and the horizon beyond creates an illusion of an enclosed space; a desert island floating in an endless sea.
Conceived of by the Danish architecture studio Gjøde & Partnere Arkitekter, the installation was part of the annual Sculpture By The Sea exhibition in Australia last month. It is the largest free public sculpture exhibition in the world, and anyone can submit their ideas. As beachgoers stumbled upon this panorama of the shore upon sand, they danced, took photos, and watched the sunset from the wavering reflections of the mythical island.
In the past, cities were often constructed in the likeness the public--the built environment reflected citizens and local culture. It is questionable whether this can be said of the modern world. Much construction today is a product of capitalism, generating buildings and areas in which local people have no attachment or sense of agency over. Artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer believes this to be a fundamental crisis within our cities, and he is committed to reestablishing the relationship and representation of people within urban space. His work is examined in a new short film by PLANE-SITE, titled Public Interruptions.
A building today does not represent a citizen, a building today represents capital.