Janelle Zara
Architecture & Design News

OBJECT LESSONS: Architecture & Design News

You Could Curate the Next Oslo Architecture Triennial

Though it’s highly unusual for a biennial, triennial, or n-ennial to issue an open call for curators, the Oslo Architecture Triennial is doing things differently for its fall 2016 edition. The Norwegian architecture festival announced the competition on Monday, inviting English-language applications for individual curators or curatorial teams from any country through October 17, 2014. “The Curator will have primary academic and artistic responsibility for OAT 2016, including the development of its conceptual and thematic framework, research and programming, exhibitions and events,” explains the competition brief. Responsibilities also include fundraising and developing two publications — one catalog ahead of the triennial’s opening (to be determined), and the other a post-triennial book that presents and analyzes the three-month festival’s events and exhibitions.

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Graphic Designer Deborah Sussman Passes Away at 83

Pioneering Los Angeles-based graphic designer Deborah Sussman passed away on August 19 at the age of 83, reports the Los Angeles Times. The infamous designer, whose notable projects include the graphic identity for the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, died of breast cancer, according to the newspaper. “[Sussman] used her signature combination of bright hues such as magenta and chrome yellow, sometimes mixed with pastels, to create graphics and signage that can be found in buildings and cityscapes worldwide,” explains the Times, which also notes that she leaves behind her husband and business partner, Paul Prejza. With a combination of bright hues and witty historical references, her work embodied the graphic design iteration of the postmodernism that held sway in the Southern California design world in the 1980s and 1990s.

Her first major project and the commission that shot her to renown in the graphic design world, Sussman’s identity and signage for the Olympics were highly controversial. She was largely unknown when her rainbow-hued visuals were first unveiled, to largely negative feedback. Writing in the Los Angeles Times, one critic called her work “a disappointment. It could very well be representing a trendy Melrose Avenue emporium or a traditional Little Tokyo restaurant.” Ultimately, her final designs would prove wildly popular, encapsulating the city’s free-spirited attitude in the early 1980s. Frank Gehry, who spoke to the newspaper on account of her death earlier this week, explained: “That’s what the Olympics were about — to put Los Angeles at the center of attention,” Gehry said. “Deborah put that into a visual.” Continue Reading

Moscow City Hall Landmarks the Shukhov Tower

Finally, good news from Russia.

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Amale Andraos Appointed Dean of Columbia Architecture School

Amale Andraos has been appointed the new dean of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, the school’s Buell Center announced on Twitter. A principal at New York-based Work Architecture Company and an Associate Professor at GSAPP since 2011, Andraos replaces outgoing dean Mark Wigley. Having helmed GSAPP for nine years, Wigley revealed in September 2013 that he would retire at the end of the 2013-14 school year. Columbia president Lee Bollinger announced today that Andraos’s promotion would be effective September 1, in a press release published shortly after the Buell Center broke the news. In her new capacity, Andraos joins Sarah Whiting, dean of the Rice University School of Architecture, as one of the most prominent female figures in architectural education. Continue Reading

Calatrava Charged in Spanish Court Case

Santiago Calatrava is no stranger to legal troubles. In 2013, he was sued by Spanish winemaker Domecq Wines for constructing a leaky roof, then failing to repair it; late that year, his native city of Valencia sued him for building it a white elephant of a performing arts center, where Christmas performances had to be cancelled when visitor safety was threatened by tiles that fell from the structure’s facade. And he was fined $4.5 million by a court last year for faulty construction at a conference center in the northern Spanish city of Oviedo.

Yet while they were deeply problematic, none of his previous offenses actually broke Spanish law. Now, Calatrava faces charges in a court case regarding the awarding of construction contracts in Spain, reports Reuters. Continue Reading

Norman Foster’s Gherkin Goes on Sale

London’s Norman Foster-designed Gherkin skyscraper, infamous for its various resemblances, has been placed on the real estate market, reports the BBC. After one of the building’s former co-owners, German company IVG Immobilien, filed for insolvency, joint responsibility for selling off the building was transferred to financial firms Savills and Deloitte in April.

Though the companies have announced that they plan to sell the 2004 tower, they refused to set a starting price; instead they’re asking bidders to name a sum. “We could see offers in excess of £650m,” said Stephen Down of Savills to the BBC (about $1.1 billion). The sale will likely make a very handsome profit — the Gherkin cost approximately $240 million to construct. Down explained that the companies have started marketing the building, which currently rents offices to approximately 20 tenant, and are already seeing interest from potential buyers in the Middle East, Far East, and North America. “I suspect there will be an iconic element to this [sale],” said Down. A website is taking registration from interested bidders through August 16, and after a vetting process, the winner will be announced in late September or early October, he added.  And that’s how you get out of a pickle.

— Anna Kats (@fortunaviriliis)

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

NYC Luxury Condo Will Have a Separate Entrance for Low-Income Residents

When developer Extell’s latest luxury condo building opens at 40 Riverside Drive on the Upper West Side, only wealthy residents will be allowed to enter through the front door. New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development has officially approved plans for a separate entrance that will divert lower-income residents to enter through a side entrance, reports the Huffington Post. The “poor door,” as the New York Post calls it, will prevent owners of the building’s lavishly appointed full-price units from sharing public spaces with residents of low-income apartments mandated by the city. Entrances and elevators will be separated in the building according to income status, prompting incredulity among critics. When the plan was first announced last August, Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal drew comparisons to the ‘separate but equal’ rhetoric of segregation in the West Side Rag. “A mandatory affordable housing plan is not license to segregate lower-income tenants from those who are well-off,” she said at the time. Continue Reading

Herman Miller Buys Design Within Reach for $154 Million

The Eames Chair, manufactured by Herman Miller.

Herman Miller, the famed manufacturer of mid-century furniture, is buying modern furnishings retail chain Design Within Reach for $154 million, reports Bloomberg Businessweek. Announcing its “lifestyle brand ambitions,” Herman Miller posted a statement to its website on July 17 that clarifies the deal’s intended results: the creation of a consumer business unit headed by DWR’s current leadership, meant to increase Herman Miller’s presence (and revenue) in the “higher margin consumer sector.” In purchasing the chain of retail outlets, Herman Miller plans to expand its share in the home furniture market through DWR’s popular in-store and online retail outlets. But the retailer also comes with a troubled past: DWR faced a series of lawsuits in recent years related to trademark infringement on European designs.

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Dubai’s Climate-Controlled Indoor City Will Sprawl Across 48 Million Square Feet

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid of Dubai presents a maquette of the the Mall of the World.

Climate control systems revolutionized architecture when they first debuted in the early 1950s. Those curtain-wall facades that made the Lever House and Seagram Building international style icons? They were made possible by the invention of air conditioning, which allowed buildings to systematically control air flow and thus remain hermetically sealed. Dubai, however, is taking air conditioning one (or maybe a few) steps further, with plans to build the world’s first entirely sealed and climate-controlled city. The development, announced on July 5 as the “Mall of the World,” will be devoted to shopping and luxury living. Occupying 48 million square feet, the mall-city is still smaller than the emirate’s maximalist consumer culture.  Continue Reading

Martino Stierli Selected as MoMA’s New Chief Architecture and Design Curator

MoMA has appointed Martino Stierli its new Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design, the museum announced today in a press release. Stierli, like his predecessor Barry Bergdoll, comes to the museum from academia; he currently teaches architectural history at the University of Zurich. Bergdoll remains a part-time curator at MoMA since he stepped down last July to serve full-time as the chair of the Art History department at Columbia University. Stierli will assume his new role at MoMA in March 2015, when the museum is due to open a retrospective on Latin American architecture since 1955, organized by Bergdoll. Continue Reading