Janelle Zara
Architecture & Design News

OBJECT LESSONS: Architecture & Design News

Martino Stierli Named 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

San Francisco Named America’s Leading Design City

It’s not uncommon to hear talk of “New York architects” or “L.A. architects,” or even “Chicago architects” (the city recently announced a new architecture biennial to claim its status as a design capital). Though the local design cultures of Minneapolis, Seattle, and even San Francisco don’t get quite as much popular attention as the coastal megalopolises, a new study conducted by the labor data and market research firm EMSI (that data was then interpreted by scholar Richard Florida) shows that these smaller cities are also design industry hotspots. San Francisco, in particular, has the highest concentration of employed design professionals in the United States, reports Citylab. Surprised?

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Frank Lloyd Wright’s Filling Station Comes to Life at Buffalo’s Pierce-Arrow Museum

In recent years, Buffalo, in upstate New York, has emerged as an unexpected capital of historic preservation. Long gone are the days the yore, when the city allowed the demolition of Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1906 Larkin Building in 1950. Architectural landmarks, such as  H.H. Richardson’s 1870 Olmsted Complex and Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1905 Darwin D. Martin House, are now undergoing comprehensive restoration programs devoted to making the city’s most historically significant buildings accessible to the public once again. The Pierce-Arrow Museum in Buffalo has taken the city’s devotion to historic architecture one step further, by resurrecting a 1927 Frank Lloyd Wright design for a filling station — originally intended for a street corner in Buffalo and later incorporated into the architect’s sprawling, unrealized plans for Broadacre City.

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Chicago Plans to Host an Architecture Biennial in 2015

As if the ongoing Donald Trump vs. Blair Kamin brawl and the upcoming annual convention of the American Institute of Architects didn’t provide enough architecture news from Chicago for the week, the city has just announced that it plans to start an international architecture expo in 2015. “Aiming to boost tourism and elevate its status as a design center, Chicago next year will mount a global exhibition of cutting-edge architecture that will strive to duplicate the cachet and commercial success of a cultural spectacle in Venice, Italy,” writes Kamin in the Chicago Tribune, where he serves as staff architecture critic.

The Chicago Cultural Center will start hosting the city’s forthcoming Architecture Biennial in 2015.

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Brought to Light: Knud Lonberg-Holm, the “Invisible Architect” of Information Design

Knud Lonberg-Holm’s propsed design for the Radio Broadcasting Station, Detroit, circa 1925.

“The really great architect will be the architect who produces the invisible house where you don’t see roofs or walls,” designer Knud Lonberg-Holm told a young Buckminster Fuller when they first met in 1929. Though the advice deeply impressed the future geodesic dome innovator, who cultivated a lifelong friendship with Lonberg-Holm and even hoped in the 1960s to pen a book about the Danish-American designer’s ideas and oeuvre, the fame and notoriety accorded to Fuller have eluded his mentor’s legacy. Never one for self-promotion, Lonberg-Holm eschewed the aesthetic and personality flourishes that made contemporaries like Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright ubiquitous names the world over. Modern architecture, believed Lonberg-Holm, should be defined by its mode and scale of production, not a conspicuous style (International or otherwise). Yet for all his forward-looking ideas about “invisible” buildings, and research into designing systems for organizing and disseminating information about architectural production, Lonberg-Holm eventually became invisible himself — his work occasionally uncredited, his name and innovations largely absent from narratives of design history. Continue Reading

Donald Trump Throws Shade at the Chicago Tribune’s Architecture Critic

The American Institute of Architects’ annual convention opens in Chicago this Thursday, but the Windy City is already hosting a vociferous design debate courtesy of none other than Donald Trump. It turns out that almost everyone in Chicago hates the 141-foot-long sign that spells out Trump’s surname currently being installed on the riverfront facade of the Donald’s Trump International Hotel & Tower building, which opened in 2009. “The sign is an on-steroids version of Trump’s ubiquitous logo and its bold serif typeface,” writes Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin. But it’s not like Trump has ever been one to back down or acquiesce to what his detractors think. Continue Reading

New Renderings Revealed of Tadao Ando’s First NYC Building

Ando’s planned low-rise building will incldue a rooftop reflection pool.

Foster’s got one, Hadid’s got one, now Ando’s got one: Tadao Ando’s first luxury condominium building in New York City’s NoLIta neighborhood sums up the architect’s hallmark formal flourishes in an urban, residential typology, as evidenced by the first renderings of the project which were released on Thursday. Construction is expected to begin on the poured-in-place concrete, galvanized steel, and glass tower before the fall, with a completion date scheduled for 2016. The 7-story, 32,000-square-foot building at 152 Elizabeth St. will contain 8 residences, with local architects Michael Gabellini and Kimberly Sheppard of Gabellini Sheppard Associates both designing the interiors and serving as the Architect of Record. The project has yet to break ground but developer Sumaida + Khurana are already promising a monumental result: “We intend to establish a new paradigm in terms of the relationship between architecture, art, craft and global luxury real estate development,” the firm said in a press release.

— Anna Kats (@fortunaviriliis)

Image courtesy of Sumaida + Khurana.

Xavier Veilhan Sets the Melnikov House on Fire

On May 15, French artist Xavier Veilhan set fire to the 1929 Melnikov House in central Moscow. Despite the premise of destruction that inspired the latest iteration of Veilhan’s Architectones project, the event was orchestrated to build support for the landmark residence’s restoration. Over the course of the evening, Veilhan used a five-foot-tall metal model of architect Konstanin Melnikov’s personal home to grill meat for guests and onlookers inside the garden of Melnikov’s full-scale original. The mock-up featured the home’s distinctive diamond-shaped windows and interlocking double-barrel frame, but Veilhan was inspired to use it for cooking by a stove on the home’s second floor, much like the stoves built by Melnikov after he was prohibited in the late 1920s by the Soviet state from practicing as an architect. Continue Reading

Richard Meier Remembers the Late Massimo Vignelli: “He Made Me Look Twice”

Massimo Vignelli, January 10, 1931 – May 27, 2014

The world of design, across nearly every discipline, experienced a great loss on Tuesday when Italian-born, New York-based icon Massimo Vignelli passed away at the age of 83. On May 9, son Luca had announced that his father was terminally ill, and invited fans to send letters of support and well wishing. Vignelli received thousands, according to fellow modernist and longtime friend Richard Meier.

Meier, who moved his office to 10th Avenue at Vignelli’s suggestion and refused to publish a book unless his upstairs neighbor would design it, spoke to ARTINFO over the phone about one of his best friends. His full, uninterrupted reflections are below.

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Wang Shu and Lu Wenyu, Sou Fujimoto, and More Design Bespoke Bus Stops

Sou Fujimoto’s ethereal bus stop in Krumbach, Austria.

Waiting, waiting, and waiting some more for the bus to arrive — who hasn’t been there? The residents of Austrian hamlet Krumbach (population 1000) in the Bregenzerwald district can now while away the wait in high style, thanks to a coterie of international architects, including husband-wife team Wang Shu and Lu Wenyu, former Serpentine Pavilion designer Sou Fujimoto, and this year’s Serpentine Pavilion designer Smiljan Radic. The architects and four others designed inventive and unusual bus stops for the village and its surroundings, partnering with local design firms to utilize the resources of numerous handcraft-based businesses in the vicinity. Much like the project brief and end results, the payment plan is far from typical: Designers received a holiday in the Bregenzerwald in exchange for their services.  Continue Reading