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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Book Review: Roberto Burle Marx: Brazilian Modernist

Roberto Burle Marx: Brazilian Modernist by Jens Hoffmann, Claudia J. Nahson
The Jewish Museum / Yale University Press, 2016
Hardcover, 224 pages



One of the must-see exhibitions in New York right now is Roberto Burle Marx: Brazilian Modernist, on display at the Jewish Museum until September 18th. Although known primarily for the more than 2,000 landscape designs he executed in Brazil and beyond, the exhibition "showcases the full range of Burle Marx's output across nearly 140 works, from landscape designs and sculptures to textiles and jewelry," as I wrote in a review at World-Architects. The exhibition is accompanied by a handsome catalog by the show's curators, Jens Hoffmann and Claudia J. Nahson.

Like the exhibition, the book is primarily visual, presenting the show's numerous drawings, maquettes, models and photographs in thematic sections: Private Gardens, Tiles and Mosaics, and Burle Marx in Brasília among them. Most interesting among these is Burle Marx's Home and Collections (aka Sítio Roberto Burle Marx), which served as a repository for plants, a laboratory for his landscape designs, and a museum of sorts for his art collection. Now open to the public, the house and studio is possibly the best way to understand Burle Marx, since it expresses his views on botany, design, art, and the mutli-faceted output that the show captures.

The roughly 135 pages of works is accompanied by a couple essays: an introduction by the curators, and "A Tree in Search of Its Roots" by Nahson, which focuses on "Jewish sites and meaning in late commissions." Following this essay, which is born from the fact Burle Marx was born from a German Jewish father and a Brazilian Catholic mother, is a section with a unique aspect of the exhibition: contributions by seven artists on the legacy of Burle Marx. Pieces of various media by Arto Lindsay, Nick Mauss, Beatriz Milhazes and others are interspersed among Burle Marx's artifacts in the ground-floor gallery at the Jewish Museum. In the book, their contributions are explained through conversations with Hoffmann alongside images of their work.

As I mentioned in my review at World-Architects, Roberto Burle Marx: Brazilian Modernist is the first exhibition in New York City on the influential designer since 1991, when MoMA mounted a show, The Unnatural Art of the Garden, on his landscape designs. Given Hoffmann and Nahson's embrace of all Burle Marx's output, their companion book is a great introduction to his multi-faceted career. Those wishing for something honed on his gardens and other landscapes will find more information in other volumes, though unfortunately those are hard to come by and tend to be expensive (a case in point). This exhibition and book, therefore, reveal that, in the English-speaking world at least, there is still plenty to be done to reckon with the legacy of one of the world's most influential modern landscape designers.


Monday, June 27, 2016

Today's archidose #910

Here are some of my photos of Andrés Jaque's Hänsel & Gretel's Arena now on display (until July 30) at the Cara Gallery as part of the "Relevant Notes" group exhibition.

Hänsel & Gretel
Hänsel & Gretel
Hänsel & Gretel
Hänsel & Gretel
Hänsel & Gretel
Hänsel & Gretel

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Art Under the High Line

The High Line might be known for, among other things, the seasonal artworks that spring up amongst the plantings, but this morning I noticed a couple buildings that reveal the desire to squeeze art into the spaces beneath the elevated park.

The new Lisson Gallery at 504 West 24th Street, designed by Studio MDA:


And right across the street from Lisson is Boesky East, an extension of Marianne Boesky's gallery designed by Deborah Berke...though I'm guessing she did not design Boesky East:


Speaking of High Line and art, this weekend is the last one to see Spencer Finch's The River That Flows Both Ways," which has been on display at the Chelsea Market since the first section of the park opened in 2009:
The High Line

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Today's archidose #909

Here are some photos of Hal Ingberg Architecte's Chromazone installation inside the New Cultural Centre in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (designed by Atelier Big City, Fichten Soiferman et Associés, and L’ŒUF) in Montreal. (Photos: Steve Montpetit – many more photos can be found in Hal Ingberg's Chromazone Flickr Set)

Untitled
Untitled
Photo: Steve Montpetit
Photo: Steve Montpetit
Photo: Steve Montpetit
Untitled
Photo: Steve Montpetit
Photo: Steve Montpetit

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Mangled Moore

In architecture school the only projects by Charles Moore that I learned about were Sea Ranch and Piazza d'Italia; the former is a landmark of California regionalism, while the latter is the same for Postmodernism. So it was not until reading, around the time of its 2001 release, Mechanics and Meaning in Architecture by Lance LaVine that I became aware of Moore's own house in Orinda, California.

Here is a view of the house that adorns the cover of The Place of Houses by Moore, Gerald Allen and Donlyn Lyndon:

[Photo found at Metropolis]

LaVine's thorough analysis of the house focuses on the interior, where Moore created two aedicules – one for a large bathtub – below skylights:

[Drawing found at UTA]

The interior of the house, which receives attention from others addition to LaVine, is also notable for the way the corners slide away to open up the house to the landscape:

[Photo found at Archiscorpio]

I'm writing about Moore's Orinda house now because I recently came across a 2011 post at Bay Region Style indicating that the house was disfigured beyond recognition. Per that post, at some point this century the house ballooned from 1,545 to 3291 square feet through the addition of two wings flanking the original structure, which is barely discernible in the center here:

[Photo via post at Bay Region Style]

From above, the original roof shape and skylight can be ascertained amongst the McRanch:

[Image via Google Maps]

But most unfortunate is that all of the interior qualities of Moore's house were ruined. Per Bay Region Style: "The entire interior has been drywalled over and whitewashed, and glazed walls have been replaced with clusters of vinyl windows and doors."

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Giving Architects Their Due

In November 2014 I visited the just-opened Fulton Center in Lower Manhattan, snapping this photo and wondering why Grimshaw, Arup and James Carpenter weren't included on a plaque near the entrance:
A photo posted by John Hill (@therealarchidose) on


It wasn't long ago that even the least exceptional city building was adorned with the name of the architect, such as this 1973 fire station in Astoria (plaque that includes architect is at bottom-right):
E262 FDNY Firehouse Engine 262, South Astoria, Queens, New York City

So with a $1.4 billion transit center in Lower Manhattan not acknowledging the designers that made it happen, it appears this is the norm in NYC. With that in mind, I was heartened to read this morning that "A new policy prepared by city planners will ensure new buildings over 1,000 square meters include a prominent credit to the architect near the main entrance or on the main facade." Unfortunately, this news applies to Toronto, not New York. Nevertheless, it's a good start – or, I should say, a good return to form – for giving architects credit where it's due. Let's hope the practice trickles down from Canada to these 50 states.

Update 06/23: On the way to work this morning I snapped a photo of the plaque on the Astoria fire station pictured above. Last but not least is the name of the architect:

Monday, June 20, 2016

Today's archidose #908

Here are some photos of Walden 7 (1975) in Sant Just Desvern, Barcelona, Spain, by Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura. (Photos: Martin Maleschka)





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Saturday, June 18, 2016

My 18 Favorite Instagrammers

I've been meaning to compile a list of my ten favorite Instagrammers for a while, but when I finally got around to it this morning I could not limit them to ten. So here's my top-18 list, selected based on these criteria:
  • Original photos (ideally taken and posted with a phone, but that's hard to tell sometimes)
  • Public profiles, obviously
  • Fairly regular posts
  • Unpredictable content
  • Less than 100k followers
  • I find myself liking almost every one of their photos that I come across
  • Feed is a document of what they see, not just what they do
  • Little to no selfies (feet are OK)
  • And of course a good eye

Here's the list, in order of the number of followers as of today, with some brief commentary and one indicative photo:

@cvwphoto (Chuck Van Winckle - 259 followers)
NYC architect with access to a lot of rooftops.


@carlyostnyc (Carl Yost - 511 followers)
NYC writer with a sharp eye.
A photo posted by Carl Yost (@carlyostnyc) on


@jazzyli_nyc (Yueqi "Jazzy" Li - 543 followers)
NYC architect who likes to travel.
A photo posted by Jazzy Li (@jazzyli_nyc) on


@mariofaranda (Marco Ferrari - 1,240 followers)
Italian designer capturing all sorts of things.


@ikergil (Iker Gil - 1,801 followers)
Greetings (mainly) from Chicago.
A photo posted by Iker Gil (@ikergil) on


@claudialorux (Claudia Lorusso - 1,802 followers)
"Human behind archiproducts and archilovers" with lots of SF.
A photo posted by claudialorux (@claudialorux) on


@julesricci (Giulia Ricci - 1,942 followers)
Great takes on "mostly architecture."


@swank_e (Kevin Hui - 1,981 followers)
His guess-the-project "archimarathons" are fun.
A photo posted by Kevin Hui (@swank_e) on


@timothyschenck (Timothy Schenck - 2,360 followers)
NYC art/architecture photographer with lots of surprises.


@noah_walker (Noah Walker - 4,421 followers)
The architect's own great houses interspersed with travel shots.


@peterbbennetts (Peter Bennetts - 4,828 followers)
Australian photographer documenting his travels.


@pietoudolf (Piet Oudolf - 15.4k followers)
The great planting designer's own Hummelo and landscapes elsewhere.
A photo posted by Piet Oudolf (@pietoudolf) on


@alice.rawsthorn (Alice Rawsthorn - 16.9k followers)
Although not her own photos, Rawsthorn is here because of her great 7-day thematic series exploring design; this photo is from "Design and Gardens."


@ollywainright (Olly Wainright - 38.5k followers)
The UK architecture critic with a sharp eye.


@langealexandra (Alexandra Lange - 40.7k followers)
The NYC architecture critic capturing design details.


@johnpawson (John Pawson - 52.9k followers)
The UK architect's simple yet beautiful photos.
A photo posted by @johnpawson on


@cb (CityBoy - 68.2k followers)
An anonymous Instagrammer who loves modern designs with clean lines.
A photo posted by CityBoy (@cb) on


@iwanbaan (Iwan Baan - 72.7k followers)
The one and only, shooting with his phone.
A video posted by Iwan Baan (@iwanbaan) on

Friday, June 17, 2016

Book Review: Log 37 and MAS Context 27

Log 37: cataLog
Spring/Summer 2016
Paperback, 240 pages

MAS Context 27: Debate
Fall 2015
Paperback/PDF, 288 pages



Log 37
In June 2015, the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, with curators Cynthia Davidson and Monica Ponce de Leon, were selected to organize the U.S. Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale. Ponce de Leon was dean of Taubman at the time (now she's dean at Princeton) and Davidson is best known as the director of the Anyone Corporation, which hosted and published the ANY symposia and books back in the 1990s, and now publishes Log. Therefore it's not surprising that the official catalog of the U.S. Pavilion is published by Anycorp and playfully worded as cataLog.

In addition to presentations of the twelve projects that make up "The Architectural Imagination" – the pavilion's attempt at sparking debate around the future of Detroit through speculative architectural projects by the likes of Greg Lynn, MOS, and Stan Allen – the 37th issue of the thrice-yearly Log includes essays by the curators, as well as Robert Fishman (interim dean at Taubman), a couple names that will be familiar to regular Log readers – K. Michael Hays and Sylvia Lavin – and a few others. The issue is most valuable as a documentation of the pavilion and its twelve projects, but also for contextualizing the pavilion through Davidson's and Fishman's essays – on "The Architectural Imagination" theme and Detroit's history, respectively – and grounding it in some practical issues. The last comes primarily from an interview with the curators and Maurice Cox, the director of the City of Detroit's Planning and Development Department; here the economic, social and racial issues that Detroit faces come to the fore, issues that are buried beneath avant-garde architectural forms in the projects.

MAS Context 27
The 27th issue of MAS Context, the quarterly journal overseen by Chicago architect Iker Gil, takes as its theme "Debate," focusing on "ones that have taken place as well as ones that should take place." It's a timely theme, given the lengthy presidential campaign that started before the issue even came out last fall, but also with the debates that have fired up around architecture in recent years, most notably in regard to gender and income equality. Of all the copies of MAS Context I have in print (all of them can be downloaded as PDFs, it should be noted), this one is the biggest – or at least it looks the biggest thanks to some thick pages. Whatever the case, it's clear there is some passion around the theme, not to mention some great contributions inside.

The issue starts, appropriately enough, with an essay by a few members of The Architecture Lobby, "an organization of architectural workers advocating for the value of architecture in the general public and for architectural work within the discipline." The essay comes with a list of demands ("enforce labor laws that prohibit unpaid internships," "enforce wage transparency," etc.) but also some sobering statistics about unpaid overtime and the need to supplementary income. An essay by Denise Scott Brown logically follows: "Room at the Top? Sexism and the Star System in Architecture." Even though it was originally penned in 1989, her prescient words ring all too true today.

With MAS Context based in Chicago and the issue focused on debate, Stanley Tigerman was bound to make an appearance. And there he is, near the middle of the issue, interviewed by Iker Gill and Ann Lui. It's typical Tigerman – "mean, tough, straightaway" – and is issue's must-read. Other highlights in Debate include Zoë Ryan's interview with MoMA's Paolo Antonelli about design and violence; Chris Grimley, Michael Kubo and Mark Pasnik's compilation of statements about Brutalism, what they call "Heroic"; photos and text on Dennis Maher's intricate Fargo House; and Christina Shivers's Vocalization Machines, a project that looks like it could be its own Pamphlet Architecture.

The most recent issue of MAS Context is number 28, Hidden, which "explores the aspects of our built environment that are hidden, overlooked, not readily apparent, forgotten, and conceptually of physically removed from our sight, whether intentionally or not." Like the other issues, it can be downloaded in PDF form via the MAS Context website.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Today's archidose #907

Here are some photos of Herzog & de Meuron's Tate Modern Project, which opens to the public tomorrow in London. (Photos: GethinThomas)

The Switch House, Tate Modern, London
The Switch House, Tate Modern, London
The Switch House, Tate Modern, London

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