Today’s News - Tuesday, May 31, 2016
• As promised, lots more Venice Biennale punditry: ArcSpace brings us Q&As with the talents behind the Danish Pavilion.
• Moore says that while the Biennale's "good intentions don't always translate into good ideas - they are nonetheless engaging, enriching and sometimes enlightening."
• Wainwright finds the Biennale pavilions to be "the architectural equivalent of a UN summit," and "as kooky and curious as ever," with "a few stand-out gems amid the cacophony."
• Hawthorne x 2: he takes in Govan and Zumthor's LACMA dog-and-pony road show in Venice: the architect's "attitude toward supporters and detractors of the controversial design is the same: 'There it is: Take it or leave it, love it or hate it.'"
• He calls out the "sparse U.S. showing" that "leaves the American pavilion to shoulder a heavier weight," but its focus on Detroit is "more a playground for American architecture's digitally savvy but politically illiterate parametric wing."
• Menking also makes mention of the lack of U.S. architects in the main exhibition: "there are seemingly no 'new points of view' from America - are the solutions offered so corporate in nature that they cannot have applications outside the developed world?"
• Biennale Golden Lions go to the Spanish Pavilion and Paraguay's Gabinete de Arquitectura, and a Silver Lion for Kunlé Adeyemi and his studio NLÉ.
• King gives thumbs-up to Foster's San Francisco Apple Store for its "deceptively effortless architectural pyrotechnics," but says a bit more attention is due for Asawa's 1972 "idiosyncratic fountain."
• Suich offers a great take on three of Silicon Valley's new Versailles: "Apple's is the grandest"; Facebook wants "to capture a scrappy, start-up vibe"; and "Google's plans are the most audacious."
• Grabar cheers Saarinen's "futuristic 60-year-old" GM Technical Center in Michigan that "remains as relevant as ever" with a "sleek, renovated interior" by SmithGroupJJR (the original architect-of-record, no less) - it "hardly looks dated."
• In ARO's design for a progressive synagogue for the LGBT community in a Cass Gilbert building in NYC, "there are worship space must-haves, but you'll find no straitjacketing dogma."
• McElvoy marvels at a modern mosque in Istanbul designed by Fadillioglu, the first Turkish woman to build a mosque (it wasn't without challenges).
• A look at what went into restoring one of the world's oldest libraries in Fez, Morocco (which started out as a mosque in the 9th century) by Chaouni - a Canadian-Moroccan woman architect.
• Now that Wroclaw, Poland, is the European Capital of Culture, its (stunning) Modernist architecture is rightfully back in the international spotlight.
• Napier, New Zealand, was devastated by an earthquake 1931 - now it is "home to one of the largest - and most beautiful - collections of Art Deco buildings in the world."
• The fascinating tale of Marshall Field vs. Montgomery Ward (the moguls) and their battle over where to build the Field Museum, that must be giving Chicago history buffs a sense of "deja vu during the struggle over the proposed Lucas Museum."
• Help wanted: the GSA is looking for a Chief Architect, Public Buildings Service (to replace Les Shepherd, who is moving on to EYP).
• One we couldn't resist: Foster waxes poetic about the Boeing 747, arguing that it is "a work of architecture rather than just design. It's just that it also flies."
• Eyefuls (via links) of the 30 semi-finalists in the Memorials for the Future Competition.
• Call for entries: Iceland Trekking Cabins International Architecture Competition (earlybird registration due tomorrow!).
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Art of Many: The Right to Space: The Danish Pavilion at the 15th Venice Biennale: Arcspace.com is run by the Danish Architecture Centre, commissioner for the Danish pavilion...Q&As with leading practitioners for insight into what's planned... -- Boris Brorman Jensen; Kristoffer Lindhardt Weiss; Esben Danielsen; Nicolai Carlberg/Søren Møller Christensen/carlberg/christensen; Helle Søholt/Gehl Architects
Venice architecture biennale 2016 - ideas for real world problems: A sense of social purpose drives this year’s biennale, and while good intentions don’t always translate into good ideas, the best combine usefulness, economy and beauty: If [it] offers no more than suggestions, they are nonetheless engaging, enriching and sometimes enlightening...Although the big old names...are still there, a substantially new cast of creative characters is offered. It feels like a new world. By Rowan Moore -- Alejandro Aravena- Observer (UK)
Venice architecture biennale pavilions - a souped-up pre-school playground: Uruguay opens a swap shop, Australia makes a splash with its pool while Germany and Austria’s pavilions tackle the refugee crisis with varying success - the architectural equivalent of a UN summit is as kooky and curious as ever: ...there are a few stand-out gems amid the cacophony. By Oliver Wainwright [images]- Guardian (UK)
Venice Architecture Biennale, Day 1: Govan and Zumthor make their LACMA pitch: ...have taken their show on the road - to Italy...there was a noticeable gap between Zumthor's hopeful comments about the design nearing completion and the rather vague, impressionistic nature of the display...[his] attitude toward supporters and detractors of the controversial design is the same...as he gestured toward the model. "There it is: Take it or leave it, love it or hate it." By Christopher Hawthorne -- Peter Zumthor; Robert Irwin; Spurlock [images]- Los Angeles Times
A grassroots, handmade Venice Architecture Biennale from Alejandro Aravena: ...“Reporting From the Front"...An equally good title would be “The Borrowers.” The stars of this biennale...are those in debt, in many senses of that word...sparse U.S. showing leaves the American pavilion...to shoulder a heavier weight...Detroit’s long decline is recast as an irresistible tabula rasa, a playground for American architecture’s digitally savvy but...politically illiterate parametric wing. More effective are the national pavilions... By Christopher Hawthorne- Los Angeles Times
Why are there (almost) no American architects at the 2016 Venice Biennale? Alejandro Aravena...claims that this...exhibition wants to “offer a new point of view”...Yet except for several young Americans, there are seemingly no “new points of view” from America...are the solutions offered so corporate in nature that they cannot have applications outside the developed world? A partial answer to this question might be hinted at in the 2016 U.S. pavilion...By William Menking- The Architect's Newspaper
Venice Biennale awards Golden Lions to Spanish Pavilion and Gabinete de Arquitectura: A Silver Lion was awarded to Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi and his studio NLÉ... [images]- Dezeen
In Union Square, Apple Store is spiffy but plaza needs work: It would be hard to imagine two structures more different than the triumphant Apple Store...and the idiosyncratic fountain by Ruth Asawa from 1972 nestled into the steps of the plaza behind it...the newcomer is all about contemporary sheen...The deceptively effortless architectural pyrotechnics continue inside. By John King -- Foster + Partners [images]- San Francisco Chronicle
Versailles in the valley: The world’s mightiest tech companies are building monuments to their success. What do their new HQs say about them? ... Apple’s is the grandest and – although it might not initially look it – the most traditional...Facebook is trying to do the opposite...hesitant to let go of its start-up past...Google’s plans are the most audacious. By Alexandra Suich -- Norman Foster/Foster + Partners; Frank Gehry; Thomas Heatherwick/BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group [images]- The Economist / 1843 (UK)
Resurrecting Eero Saarinen's Design Dome at GM: The futuristic 60-year-old GM Technical Center [in Warren, Michigan] remains as relevant as ever : With its sleek, renovated interior, [it] hardly looks dated...The suburban, self-contained, car-centric headquarters and campuses now being planned for today’s companies of the future...make clear that [it] still is where today meets tomorrow. And tomorrow, and tomorrow. By Henry Grabar -- Richard Kelly; SmithGroupJJR [images]- Architect Magazine
A Progressive Synagogue Finds a Home in a Historic NYC Building: Reimagining a 1929 building for 21st-century worship, education, and community outreach: ...there are worship space must-haves but...you'll find no straitjacketing dogma...for a 43-year-old synagogue, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah that has long been a champion for the LGBT members of its community and...LGBT issues. -- Cass Gilbert; Architecture Research Office (ARO) [images]- Curbed New York
Domes weren’t built in a day: Modern mosques tend to be gaudy or bulky. But...one female Turkish designer is letting in the light: Zeynep Fadillioglu...first Turkish woman to build a mosque, has struck out in a different direction with the Sakirin Mosque in Istanbul...Challenging the conformism of mosque architecture has not, however, proved easy. By Anne McElvoy -- Husrev Tayla [images]- The Economist / 1843 (UK)
The Delicate Task Of Restoring One Of The World's Oldest Libraries: At the center of Seffarin Square [in Fez, Morocco] is the Qarawiyyin Library, founded more than a millennium ago...started as a mosque in the 9th century...has been lovingly restored to protect ancient manuscripts by some of the greatest Islamic thinkers...Canadian-Moroccan woman architect Aziza Chaouni, led the restoration. -- Abdullah al-Henda [images]- NPR / National Public Radio
Wroclaw: Rediscovered avant garde: Over 100 years ago...broke new ground in modern design...Now, Wroclaw’s year as European Capital of Culture has at last brought its Modernist architecture back into the international spotlight. Once before...it played a role almost as important to the development of the Modernist Movement as that of Berlin or Frankfurt. -- Hans Scharoun; Theo Effenberger; Hans Poelzig; Erich Mendelsohn; Max Berg [images]- Deutsche Welle (Germany)
How a devastating quake gave way to this modern-day Art Deco wonderland: Once promoted as the Nice of the Pacific...Napier in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand was transformed in February 1931...now home to one of the largest - and most beautiful - collections of Art Deco buildings in the world...its simplicity and clean lines suited the holistic, safety-focused approach required for the rebuild...In less than two years 160 buildings were completed... -- E. A. Williams; Finch & Westerholm; Natusch & Sons; J. A. Louis Hay [images]- CNN Style
Why the Field Museum wasn't built on Chicago's lakefront: Devoted Chicago history buffs must be experiencing repeated episodes of deja vu during the struggle over the proposed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. It eerily mimics the struggle, more than a century ago...two local moguls squared off: Marshall Field...against Montgomery Ward... [images]- Chicago Tribune
Help wanted: Chief Architect, Public Buildings Service: to provide effective, mobile, sustainable workplace solutions for Federal agencies; serves as senior executive and advisor...on all matters concerning Federal architecture and design. Deadline to apply: June 13- U.S. General Services Administration (GSA)
Building Sights: Boeing 747: Norman Foster...is also a pilot and planes excite him as much, if not more than buildings...he argues that the Boeing 747 is, in fact, a work of architecture rather than just design. It's just that it also flies.- Reading Design
Semi-Finalists Announced for Memorials for the Future Competition: ...30 conceptual projects that imagine a modern-day memorial in Washington, D.C.: Finalists will be announced on June 8, and will each receive a $15,000 stipend to fund their project's research and design...the Van Alen Institute will lead the development of the final design.- Architect Magazine
Call for entries: Iceland Trekking Cabins International Architecture Competition: create clever and inventive designs for the trekking cabin that can be duplicated in all sorts of terrain; cash prizes; earlybird registration (save money!): June 1; final registration: July 27; submissions due August 17- Bee Breeders (formerly HMMD/Homemade Dessert)
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