George Lucas revealed first renderings of his Ma Yansong-designed Museum of Narrative Arts along the Lake Michigan shore in Chicago last week, and the momentum against the proposed structure and its siting is building locally. A Chicago nonprofit organization called Friends of the Parks has filed a lawsuit against the Chicago Park District and the city of Chicago, saying the site allocated to Lucas’s museum is a lakefront spot that cannot be given to a private entity, reports Reuters. The group’s president Cassandra Francis spoke out against the design and siting of the Lucas museum when renderings were released, and has followed up with a suit that argues the proposed museum building violates the Constitution’s equal protection and due process clause in an effort to prevent the city from transferring land to the museum. (more…)
OBJECT LESSONS: Architecture & Design News
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Karim Rashid isn’t one to shy away from a challenge. Having established himself as the most successful brand in industrial design throughout the aughts, Rashid now pursues bigger projects while championing old agendas. He still insists on the primacy of pink, but is now designing new, architectural-scale projects — one of which features a controversial pink-and-white color palette, albeit one familiar to Rashid’s acolytes. In an interview with the New York Times, Rashid reveals details about the five New York City buildings he’s working on for real estate developer HAP Investments, his industrial designer’s approach to architecture, and his persistence in wearing pink. He’s also designing a sixth, faceted building for HAP on the Upper East Side and designing buildings in Memphis and Latvia, a mall in St. Petersburg, Russia, and a hotel in Malaysia. Read below for highlights. (more…)
The renovated and expanded complex now known as the Harvard Art Museums building won’t open to the public until November 16, but journalists were treated to a preview of the space with Pritzker-winning architect Renzo Piano on Friday, November 7. The six-year project sees the Cambridge, Massachusetts university’s three art exhibition spaces — the Fogg Museum, the Busch-Reisinger Museum, and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum — for the first time unified under one roof. That roof, made of glass like the arcades immediately below it, will contain some 255,000 objects that belong to the university’s art collection. Among these are Mark Rothko’s Harvard Murals, on view after a noninvasive conservation procedure was performed by Harvard experts to restore their original colors.
The composite building’s amenities reflect the educational mission of the combined space. One upper floor is devoted to the Art Study Center, where students are able to examine pieces from the museum collections, and the highest floor contains the Lightbox Gallery, where visitors use digital resources to explore and study the collections. Lower levels contain spaces for seminar courses and lecture classes, and a materials lab. Exhibition galleries are located on mid-level floors, and contain the University Galleries that allow Harvard faculty to set aside particular works of art to be studied and referenced by their students. [Boston Magazine]
— Anna Kats (@fortunaviriliis)
Image courtesy Harvard University.
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum announced today that its newest curatorial post has been filled: Troy Conrad Therrien is the museum’s first Curator of Architecture and Digital Initiatives, a position created this past spring.
Therrien’s past experience includes curatorial endeavors, consulting, and architectural design. “He has worked on exhibitions at the Berlage Institute, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Columbia University, MoMA PS1, and the New Museum,” reports ArtNews. He also serves as Assistant Professor at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University, where he received his M. Arch. after studying History and Theory of Architecture at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London and training as a computer engineer at the University of British Columbia. He is also a founding partner in research and design office, Therrien Barley LLC.
Much of Therrien’s work at the Guggenheim, at least for the immediate future, will revolve around the museum’s contentious, controversial plan to build an outpost in Helsinki, where locals have protested against plans for a Guggenheim Helsinki. “A major and immediate component of Therrien’s work will be related to the Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition,” explains a statement from the museum on the occasion of Therrien’s appointment. “His appointment follows the announcement of a record-breaking number of architectural submissions to the open and anonymous competition and the launch of the project’s popular, interactive, online gallery of entries. Therrien will help organize an exhibition of six shortlisted submissions to be held in Helsinki in the spring of 2015, and he will play a key role in developing and articulating the programmatic elements of the proposed museum.”
— Anna Kats (@fortunaviriliis)
Image courtesy of the Guggenheim.
At a press preview yesterday for the new photography galleries at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the museum’s president revealed that the institution likewise has plans to open a new architecture and design gallery. “During his speech, the president of Paris’ premier modern and contemporary art museum, Alain Seban, announced that a gallery dedicated to design and architecture will soon also be added the Centre,” reports Coline Milliard for ArtNet. Seban revealed little else about the forthcoming exhibition space, save for the fact that it will be located inside the Pompidou’s famed 1977 building, designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers. The Pompidou president also noted that the main structure will be emptied of the administrative offices it currently houses to create additional space for displaying the museum’s collection.
— Anna Kats (@fortunaviriliis)
Image via Flickr user Campobaeza.
Next year’s inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial will be called “The State of the Art of Architecture,” announced the exhibition’s co-artistic directors Joseph Grima (of Space Caviar) and Sarah Herda (of the city’s Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts) in a statement yesterday. The biennial also revealed that it has made a first commission of work to premiere next October at the festival, that will also be featured in the exhibition’s catalogue. Iwan Baan, the most prominent architectural photographer working today, will produce a series of photographs examining the urban landscape of contemporary Chicago.
Baan’s photograph of Chicago, part of a series that will be on view at the Chicago Architecture Biennial next October. (more…)
George Lucas shocked fans when he announced in June that he plans to build his Museum of Narrative Arts in Chicago. Though the filmmaker had previously announced plans to locate the institution in San Francisco near his film and television production company, Lucasfilms (which is based in Marin County), the West Coast city rejected his proposed site earlier this year. Chicago, observers noted, seemed to make little sense — Lucas didn’t have substantial personal ties to the city before the announcement. Location wasn’t the only shock the “Star Wars” auteur had in store: he and architect Ma Yansong revealed renderings for the Chicago waterfront museum yesterday, thereby bringing architecture critics and Windy City locals into a growing group of observers who are finding it difficult to make sense of Lucas’s decisions.
Xi Jinping, the president of China, has taken on the task of architectural criticism, castigating the architects at home and abroad who are responsible for the country’s bizarre buildings — of which there are very, very many. “During a two-hour speech at a literary symposium in Beijing earlier this week – a rare attendance for a Chinese president – Mr. Xi discussed how art should serve the people,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “Fine art works should be like sunshine from the blue sky and the breeze in spring that will inspire minds, warm hearts, cultivate taste and clean up undesirable work styles,” he is reported to have said at the symposium. (more…)
Soon, you’ll be seeing the Sistine Chapel from a whole new light. Next month, the Vatican is installing 7,000 LED lights around the perimeter of Michaelangelo’s masterpiece 6,135-square-foot ceiling painting to improve visitors’ views of the piece, reports the Atlantic. The LEDs will replace low-energy halogen light bulbs, which were installed in the 1980s to preserve the painting’s pigments but which, as a result, took a toll on the work’s visibility for squinting viewers down below. Last year, LEDs were also installed at the Louvre to better light the Mona Lisa.
Though Michaelangelo was illuminated by light that streamed in from the chapel’s windows while working on the ceiling, Vatican officials blocked off the natural sunlight for fear of its deleterious effects on the painting’s already-fading frescoes. This time around, they will use custom-designed Osram LED bulbs, which will brighten views of the painting and consume 60% less energy (and therefore also last longer) than the halogen lights, according to LEDs Magazine. Michaelangelo’s frescoes are attuned to the ceiling’s curvature and to the previous natural light sournces, which drove Osram technicians to perform elaborate tests before developing the new lighting scheme. According to the Atlantic, “Technicians analyzed 280 patches on both the chapel’s ceiling and its wall frescos, creating a spectrum map of the colors Michelangelo used in decorating the Sistine’s surfaces. From there, they designed an interactive system of LEDs that blend red, blue, green, and white shades of light—each combination meant to optimize the display of the frescos.”
— Anna Kats (@fortunaviriliis)
Image via Wikimedia Commons.
It’s been a rumor for quite some time, but SCI-Arc has finally made the official announcement: professor Hernan Diaz-Alonso takes over as Director of the Los Angeles architecture school from Eric Owen Moss, who officially stepped down in June after 13 years in the post. “I am pleased that the SCI-Arc Board of Trustees at its quarterly meeting [on Wednesday, September 10] approved the contract with Hernan Diaz Alonso as the next Director of SCI-Arc. Hernan will assume this role beginning September 2015…It is my honor to announce that the Board of Trustees has finalized its search for the next Director of SCI-Arc, and after over a decade of extraordinary service by Eric Owen Moss, we are placing SCI-Arc’s future in the amazing mind, heart and hands of Hernan Diaz Alonso,” wrote SCI-Arc board chair Jerry Neuman in a letter published on Archinect. Owen Moss would appear to agree with the appointment and the high regard: “SCI-Arc’s task, in perpetuity, is to go where we haven’t been, and report on what we find,” he said in a press release on the occasion. “Hernan Diaz Alonso is the perfect architect to continue this expedition.”