Thursday, February 26, 2015

Firm Faces #21: JGMA

Many of the recent "firm faces" I've featured have been fairly humorous, evidence that architects don't always take themselves so seriously. I think that can be safely applied to Chicago's JGMA, headed by Juan Moreno.

This screenshot shows the cartoon visages of Moreno and other executives and leadership in the firm:

Clicking on any of the cartoon faces brings one to a page with a b/w portrait and a bio...but a mouseover of the photo reveals a full-color cartoon. Here, I've stitched three in the top row together and animated them with their cartoon likenesses:

I must admit, one of my first questions is, "How do they draw with those 'hands'?"

Following 432

Although far from planned, yesterday I snapped three photos of the Manhattan skyline as seen from Queens, each one of them anchored by Rafael Viñoly's 432 Park Avenue nearing completion on 57th Street.

Here it is in the morning, seen from the Court Square 7 stop in Long Island City:

Here it is in the evening, seen from the Queensborough Plaza stop in Long Island City:

And here it is a few minutes later, seen from the Ditmars stop in Astoria (Time Warner is visible in the lower-right and One57 pops up near the center of the frame, below the cloud; ):

Many people are calling 432 Park Avenue a new compass for the middle of Manhattan, but it is also true for people, like me, who live in western Queens.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Mark Your Calendars, Hamptonites

Parrish Art Museum just announced three years worth of exhibitions to be held at their Herzog & de Meuron-designed building in Water Mill, New York, from next month until 2017. A few of them are architecture-related and those are highlighted below.

Platform: Tara Donovan
July 4, 2015 to October 18, 2015

["Untitled (Mylar), 2011" by Tara Donovan, at Pace Gallery, 545 West 22nd Street | Photograph by John Hill]
Tara Donovan creates large-scale installations and sculptures made from everyday objects. Known for her commitment to process, she has earned acclaim for her ability to discover the inherent physical characteristics of an object and transform it into art. Tara Donovan, the Parrish Art Museum's 2015 Platform artist, will develop a new installation that relates to the space, context, and environmental conditions of the museum. Donovan poetically transforms accumulated materials such as drinking straws, index cards, slinky toys, and other surprising objects into formations that appear geological, biological, or otherwise naturally occurring.

Platform is an open-ended invitation to a single artist per year to present a project within the building and grounds of the Parrish Art Museum. Platform invites artists to consider the entire museum as a potential site for works that transcend disciplinary boundaries, encouraging new ways to experience art, architecture, and the landscape.

Andreas Gursky: Landscapes
August 2, 2015 to October 18, 2015

[Andreas Gursky, Engadin 1995 C-print 160 x 250 cm 63 x 98½" | Image via Saatchi Gallery]
German visual artist Andreas Gursky is renowned for his monumentally scaled photographs—grand urban and natural landscape vistas and large format architecture—created from a dispassionate, omniscient point of view. Highly detailed, Gursky's images are at once dead-pan observational and transcendent. He rigorously composes his expansive views to envelope viewers with dizzying scale, detail, and color—effects he often heightens through digital manipulation of the image. Gursky has been instrumental in defining contemporary German art in the 1990s. The exhibition focuses on some of his most enigmatic images of landscape, water, and architectural detail.

Image Building: How Photography Transforms Architecture
July 30 – October 15, 2017

[Iwan Baan, Torre David #2, 2011]
Image Building explores the complex and dynamic relationship among the spectator, photography, architecture, and time through the lens of architectural photography in America and Europe from the 1920s to the present. Organized by guest curator Therese Lichtenstein, Image Building will survey the ways in which historical and contemporary photographers explore the relationship between architecture and identity, featuring contemporary photographers Iwan Baan, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer, Thomas Ruff, Stephen Shore, and Lewis Baltz, and earlier modernist architectural photographers like Julius Shulman, Ezra Stoller, Samuel Gottscho, and Berenice Abbott. The influential works of all these photographers transformed our vision and concept of architecture.

What 20th Century?

First, there was the steampunk reality of No. 15 Renwick, a residential project near SoHo by ODA Architecture:

And now, in this entry (1 of 86) from the Nine Elms to Pimlico Bridge Competition, there's even more of a sense that the 20th century never happened:

Perhaps, 19th-century entourage is just one way of softening the edges of modern architecture.

Book Review: Workforce

Workforce: A Better Place to Work edited by Aurora Fernádez Per, Javier Mozas
a+t, 2014
Paperback, 160 pages

[All images courtesy of a+t]

Recently I picked up a couple used books that are all about work: Nikil Saval's Cubed: The Secret History of the Workplace, published last spring, and Studs Terkel's 1972 classic Working. These two books, combined with a+t's first installment in its Workforce Series, paint a picture of how work and the workplace itself has changed over the last century or so. Being that this is a blog about contemporary architecture, I'm therefore focusing on a+t's collection of recent workplace designs, but I think the book is a bit more meaningful in my mind thanks to reading parts of these other books simultaneously. Overlap can be found, for example, between Workforce and Cubed in the former's "A short history of the development of the office" by Caruso St. John Architects; in brief text and floor plans it parallels the social history that Saval delves into at length. Both books also bring us to a situation today that is much different than the one covered in Terkel's book, which is varied in trade and venue (from farmers and nuns to auditors and baseball players), but which echoes from a time when the white-collar workforce and workplace were narrower and more well defined. Now we work from home, co-work in shared spaces and work in other less traditional ways thanks to technology, increased freelancing and the rise of the creative class. This is the context that a+t tackles in Workforce.

Like other a+t books, the meat of the issue is the projects, in this case 25 office spaces designed by 18 firms. Most of the projects are in mainland Europe and the UK, but some are found in the United States (San Francisco and New York City, not surprisingly) and there is one each in Japan and Australia. But outside a fairly wide if Eurocentric geography, the projects share many traits in common. First, they are exclusively interiors projects, not buildings (perhaps a future installment in a+t's series will feature buildings). Second, many of the buildings/containers are old and formerly industrial, with the architects choosing to leave the "old bones" exposed. Third, there is a focus on the fun or casual, such that the workplaces often feel home-like and unlike traditional office environments of the 20th century (the cover photo is a clear indication of this shared trait); no wonder that the a+t editors call this section of the book "Workspaces: from fun to focus." And fourth, shared, or common spaces are more important than the individual workspaces and often the shared spaces are the locus for the fun and casual.

The shift to environments that are fun, casual and more home-like reflects the trends that are shaping work today, most of them coming about thanks to telecommunications. Laptops and smartphones enable work to take place anywhere, so instead of intense eight-hour days (four in the morning, four after lunch), the workday is longer, less intense and dispersed. As Javier Mozas explains in the critical history that introduces the issue, "The liquid nature of the workplace," companies are responding to the implications of technology by creating spaces that put people at ease and therefore keep them in the office longer. Companies, always aware of the bottom-line, are also devoting more space for common uses (leisure, dining, circulation) and thereby shrinking workers' own desks. Common space is seen nowadays as a space of interaction, which has been elevated to an almost absurdly high status, as it is seen as the place where innovation and creativity occurs. The design of schools, with more attention given to circulation than classrooms, echoes this approach, and one could see the design of public spaces in cities today, with pop-up spaces and the like, as an extension of this thinking. Where work was, in Terkel's day, a task segmented in time and space, it is increasingly one that is fluid, leaking through the borders that have become more and more porous over the years, such that work encompasses more and more of our waking lives. It's only appropriate that architects have responded in kind to create spaces that, if anything, don't remind us of this fact.

Purchase at Amazon: Buy from

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Vote for a Daily Dose

A Daily Dose of Architecture is one of ten blogs nominated in the Architecture category of the 6th Annual JDR Industry Blogger Awards. Given the list of great blogs in contention, I don't really stand a chance of winning, but if you like this little 'ol blog, head over to JDR's website and cast your vote, taking a look at the other contenders while you're at it.


Thanks to Jackson Design and Remodeling for this opportunity. Voting ends April 10 at 4pm PST.

Aftertaste: Inside Imagination

Parsons SCE's Interior Design Aftertaste symposium, Inside Imagination, takes place on Friday and Saturday at Parsons the New School for Design in New York. I was lucky enough to participate in last year's event, so I can't recommend it highly enough. Details on the two-day event are below.

AFTERTASTE 2015: Inside Imagination - SCE

February 27 + 28, 2015
Friday 6-8pm, Tishman Auditorium, University Center, 63 Fifth Avenue, New York City
Saturday 10-6pm, Kellen Auditorium, 66 Fifth Avenue, New York City

What does it take to imagine? We live in an era of environmental crisis and political unrest when complex systems and data analysis dictate projections of an uncertain future. Interiorists study existing places and are charged with imagining new worlds. In AfterTaste 2015, we draw inspiration from artists, educators, writers, and scientists who work to transcend what we know, to catapult culture into areas inspired and new.

Designers and thinkers who cultivate the imagination conjure futures, thinking beyond problem solving to that which has not existed before. What is the spark that creates new possibilities? How can we promote and develop imaginations that can envision and create interiors for an unknown future, rather than being beholden to the past? How can we cultivate the unknown in a culture increasingly defined by big data and digital devices of distraction?

On February 27 and 28, 2015, imagination alchemists, designers and experts gather to think and enact new possibilities and alternative paths through the interior of the imagination. The schedule of events will be as follows; please take special note of the location changes during Saturday’s events:

6-8pm, Auditorium, University Center, 63 Fifth Avenue
Social Dynamics in Space: 3 Musical Explorations, presented by Michael Schober
Reception on Stage

10am-1230pm, Kellen Auditorium, 66 Fifth Avenue  
Kyna Leski, John Warner, and Linnaea Tillett with David J Lewis, Interlocutor

130pm-230pm, Tishman Auditorium, University Center, 63 Fifth Avenue
Experiment in Performance presented by Jean Taylor, Eric Nightengale, Andres Petruscak

245pm-600pm, Kellen Auditorium, 66 Fifth Avenue, 2:45 – 6:00
Gael Towey, Gary Graham, and Joan Richards with Shannon Mattern, Interlocutor

Participants include: Kyna Leski, Professor, Department of Architecture RISD; John Warner, PhD, Co-Founder of Green Chemistry; Gary Graham, Designer of Fashion; Linnaea Tillett, Designer of Light; Jean Taylor, Actress, Teaching Artist; Mathias Kunzli, Drummer, Percussionist; Michael Schober, Professor, School of Social Research, The New School; Joan Richards, PhD,Professor, Department of History Brown University; Gael Towey, Storyteller, Creative Director; Daniel Carter, Muscian, Writer.

Monday, February 23, 2015

A Taste of PoohTown

Recent University College London graduate Nick Elias's PoohTown is the recipient of the Silver Medal in the 2014 RIBA President's Medals Student Awards. Below is a taste of the amazing project, in which, "1920s Slough is revisited to capitalize from the economy of 'happiness' as an alternative industry using Winnie the Pooh as a metaphorical protagonist for happiness." I recommend clicking over to his project to see the rest, or if you're in London, PoohTown and other "urban tales" will be on display at Carousel from the 6th of March to the 10th of April.

Today's archidose #815

Here are some shots of the CINiBA/The Scientific Information Center and Academic Library (2011) in Katowice, Poland, by HS99, photographed by M Poplawski.







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

Friday, February 20, 2015

Mark Your Calendars, Moneybags

As spotted at Artforum, and with my emphasis:
The Skystone Foundation has announced that James Turrell’s Roden Crater project near Flagstaff, Arizona will be opened from May 14 to May 17 with limited access reserved at five-thousand dollars per person.

Roden Crater, the unfinished magnum opus of Turrell, is closed to the public, so this is one of those rare opportunities for those with both taste and wealth. On top of the $5,000, tax-deductible "donation," the travel company overseeing the package is charging an addition $1,500 to "cover a portion of visitor's expenses while they're staying on site," again per the Artforum blurb. The donation money goes toward the Skystone Foundation, "the organization responsible for the fundraising, administration and realization of James Turrell’s Roden Crater project."