My recent posts at World-Architects

      

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Peek Inside the Shed

A slideshow of photos from today's hard hat tour of The Shed designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro and the Rockwell Group:
The Shed

And a video of the 100-foot-tall shed in action:

The Shed -- it's alive!

A post shared by John Hill (@therealarchidose) on


The building will open in 2019.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Cards of the Moment



A+T – publisher of books and magazines on public spaces, work places, renovations, and collective housing – has just released 50 Urban Blocks, a "set of cards containing 50 examples of how to design an urban block."



Unlike previous titles from a+t, the deck of cards are hypothetical designs rather than specific case studies. Each scenario is given the same rectangular area, so they can be compared and contrasted easily.



As in other a+t publications, the illustrations are accompanied by data, so each can be evaluated in terms of density, height, and other factors.



I could see the 50 Urban Blocks being particularly helpful for students as well as young architects in need of some ideas on how to move forward with a project. Although they might not be faced with such a straightforward block, the cards offer plenty of ways to think about solid/void, site coverage, and other considerations.

Monday, May 22, 2017

El Helicoide

Head over to World-Architects to read my recap of the small but illuminating El Helicoide: From Mall to Prison exhibition at the Center for Architecture. The show focuses on the El Helicoide building in Caracas, which was built as a mall in the late 1950s but never used as such; it now functions as a prison – an illegal one at that.



The exhibition will be joined in the summer by the book From Mall to Prison: El Helicoide's Downward Spiral, published by Urban Research; it will be celebrated with a book talk on July 13th at the Center. Further, a complementary program, Modern Architecture and Design in Venezuela, will be held with exhibition curator Celeste Olalquiaga and others at the Center on May 30th.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Storefront's ARTIFACTS

On Tuesday, May 23, the Storefront for Art and Architecture is holding its spring benefit, ARTIFACT, at Federal Hall in Lower Manhattan. Storefront will be honoring Denise Scott Brown and Murray Moss, and will be launching New Artifacts, specially commissioned pieces by Adam McEwen, LOT-EK, and Murray Moss with Lobmeyr.


[LOT-EK's LITE-SCAPES SF, 2017]

ARTIFACT takes place from 7pm to midnight at Federal Hall, 26 Wall Street. Tickets can be purchased here. Although it's the same evening as my book talk at the Skyscraper Museum, there's plenty of time to do both – that's my plan.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Descension

Anish Kapoor's Descension is on display at Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 1 until September 10th. I visited yesterday and made a short video of it (turn up the volume for best effect):

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Today's archidose #964

Here are some of my photos of Pierhouse and 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge by Marvel Architects.

Pierhouse and 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
Pierhouse and 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
Pierhouse and 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
Pierhouse and 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
Pierhouse and 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
Pierhouse and 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
Pierhouse and 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
Pierhouse and 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
Pierhouse and 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
Pierhouse and 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge

To contribute your Flickr images for consideration, just:
:: Join and add photos to the archidose pool
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:: Tag your photos #archidose

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Reminder: '100 Years, 100 Buildings' Book Talk

On Tuesday, May 23 I'll be giving a book talk at the Skyscraper Museum in Lower Manhattan. The event takes places from 6:30pm to 8pm and is free. Head to the Skyscraper Museum website to reserve a ticket.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Book Review: The Experience of Architecture

The Experience of Architecture by Henry Plummer
Thames & Hudson, 2016
Hardcover, 328 pages



Although usually overshadowed by form, material and technique when it comes to books on architecture, experience seems to be making a comeback. Recent years have seen a few books with an emphasis on experience: Architecture and Movement: the Dynamic Experience of Buildings and Landscapes by Peter Blundell Jones and Mark Meagher, The Space Within: Interior Experience as the Origin of Architecture by Robert McCarter, and Welcome to Your World: How the Built Environment Shapes Our Lives (review forthcoming) by Sarah Williams Goldhagen. Add to those Henry Plummer's The Experience of Architecture and there's a small-scale trend taking place, one where ideas from the 1970s are popular once again.


[Spread with Pierre Chareau's Maison de Verre]

This book being authored by Henry Plummer means "experience" is firsthand; as in all of his books, his own beautiful photographs accompany his words. It's clear that for Plummer the camera is a tool for capturing not only what he sees, but also how he experiences spaces. As the spreads from The Experience of Architecture here reveal, he trains his lens on details, paths, frames and vistas. To put it another way, he's not interested in overall shots of buildings or the images that make them recognizable; he'd rather hone in on the parts of buildings that people interact with: the paths they choose, the mechanisms they operate, or the steps they ascend or descend. More than his other books I've reviewed previously, the text and the photographs in The Experience of Architecture work together extremely well, only occasionally departing ways (his descriptions of buildings not accompanied by photos – and therefore not visited by Plummer – don't hold up as strongly in their arguments as those that share both words and images).


[Spread with traditional Japanese architecture]

Plummer's argument for designing what he calls "truly actionable spaces" – spaces that invite people to respond creatively and promote them from "patients" to "agents" – plays out across five chapters: "Floors of Agility" on the surfaces we traverse; "Mechanisms of Transformation" on the opening and closing of doors, windows and other membranes; "Spaces of Versatility" on ambiguous spaces that invite multiple uses; "Depths of Discovery" on residual spaces and layered surfaces that provoke our curiosity; and "Fields of Action" on "open forms" that open up possibilities. In each chapter the author-slash-photographer lays out his ideas on each theme and then presents in loosely chronological order some examples that fit. He moves from traditional precedents (towns of Greece and Italy, Japanese dwellings) to some fairly obvious names (Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis I. Kahn, Carlo Scarpa, Maison de Verre) as well as some surprising ones (Wharton Esherick, ) that crop up repeatedly. His frames of reference could be seen as fairly small, but it's hard to argue with the quality of the spaces he describes and depicts – some strong arguments for architects to enrich the spaces that people live, work, and play in every day.


[Spread with Carlo Scarpa's Ca' Foscari in Venice]

Friday, May 12, 2017

Today's archidose #963

Here are some photos of the Socio-Cultural Center of Costa Nova (2015) in Costa Nova, Aveiro, Portugal, by ARX Portugal. (Photographs: José Carlos Melo Dias)

Costa Nova, Centro Sócio-Cultural. ARX Portugal
Costa Nova, Centro Sócio-Cultural. ARX Portugal
Costa Nova, Centro Sócio-Cultural. ARX Portugal
Costa Nova, Centro Sócio-Cultural. ARX Portugal
Costa Nova, Centro Sócio-Cultural. ARX Portugal
Costa Nova, Centro Sócio-Cultural. ARX Portugal
Costa Nova, Centro Sócio-Cultural. ARX Portugal

To contribute your Flickr images for consideration, just:
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Thursday, May 11, 2017

What Will the OPC Look Like?

Last week the Obama Foundation unveiled the initial design by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners (TWBTA) and Interactive Design Architects (IDEA) for the Obama Presidential Center (OPC), located on a portion of Jackson Park on Chicago's South Side. The design consists of three buildings – two low and one tall – arranged about a central plaza that faces west. Images were limited to some model shots and a rendering looking north across the plaza toward the tall museum volume. Not surprisingly, much of the criticism of the initial design has focused on the museum "tower," which readers of Blair Kamin "are likening it to a Mayan temple, a pyramid or a mausoleum ... [and] view the design as an opaque and self-important structure, not a beacon of transparency."


[Rendering of Obama Presidential Center by TWBTA and IDEA]

One side effect of unveilings like last week is that, even if renderings appear clearly as renderings, people think that what they'll see is what they get. Yet architectural designs go through sometimes dramatic changes from concept design to the final design that is built. One case in point is TWBTA's own Logan Center for the Arts on the University of Chicago campus, about a half-mile west of the OPC site. Like the OPC, the firm's 2008 Logan design featured a tower – a top-heavy one at that:

[Rendering of Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts by TWBTA, 2008]

In a short Building of the Week feature at World-Architects, the architects responded to my question about any changes in the project with: "As the project moved forward, the design evolved, but ultimately the concept didn’t change. This was based on a tower and a field. ... The tower became simpler than the competition entry which had a cantilever at the top." That change in the tower design is clear when comparing the above rendering to a photo as completed (note: rendering is from the northeast, while the photo is from the northwest):

[Photograph of completed Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts by TWBTA, 2012 | image source]

The final design of the Logan Center tower makes it clear that TWBTA design from the inside out; the openings, sections of curtain wall, and outdoor space relate to particular functions housed in the tower. And as Kamin states in his article about OPC's tower, "The contents of the museum and their display still must be worked out by the architects and the exhibition designers, New York's Ralph Appelbaum Associates." So it's highly likely that the "Mayan temple" will resemble something else – or more likely have an unanticipated appearance, in the manner of Logan – as the design advances toward construction.