I haven’t quite known what to think about Peter Zumthor’s proposed overhaul of the LACMA campus, ever since I saw it described as a “black flower.” It confused me. I know black flowers exist, but the architect’s nickname for the project doesn’t help me understand this enormous, amoeba-shaped slab of concrete that the architect has plopped down onto the sunny Los Angeles terrain. And aren’t flowers, even black ones, usually delicate? This project is something much sturdier and larger, and when it’s done, will probably smell a lot more like the neighboring La Brea tar pits than a flower.
When I saw Alex’s post earlier today it reminded me of an older project which also did a good job of giving new life to an old structure. Back in 2009, the folks at Haworth Tompkins took an old, rundown brick building on the site of the Aldeburgh Music campus and turned it into a contemporary space suitable for rehearsals, meetings, or even an exhibition space.
Do you like surprises? Architect Raffaello Rosselli probably does, as is evidenced by this surprising piece of architecture. The project, a house in the suburbs of Sydney, has an unique facade which references the neighborhood’s industrial history. A lowly tin shed used to stand where Tinshed (the name of the home) stands now, but it was razed and rebuilt using sturdy materials and amenities like insulation.
Before we talk about the future of Penn Station, we have to briefly consider its past. In 1963, the Penn Station above was demolished. This was after much protest by the architecture community and historic preservationists. The original 1910 structure by McKim, Mead and White exemplified Beaux-Arts architecture and it was razed to make way for the squat concrete cylinder that is Madison Square Garden. This week, the Municipal Art Society of New York released the results of their challenge to four teams of architects to imagine a new future for the site.
The Draftery is all about contemporary graphic work as it relates to architecture. Mostly concerned with drawings (as distinct from models and renderings) that may be touched up with digital tools but are mostly executed using manual ones. In the Draftery’s own words, their goal is to “promote graphic works by lesser known architects, artists, students, and other practitioners. It is a place for the analysis and presentation of architectural drawings—a place to learn how each practitioner’s personal reasoning develops a distinct process.” And it’s where I found these fantastic watercolors– er, watergrays- by Mentor Noci.
This past March, Ball-Nogues Studio consumed nearly one million linear feet of metal chain. Well, they didn’t eat it, they used it in their projects. I’ve been thinking about the studio’s work since we posted about the handmade work of THiNG THiNG, which reminds me of B-N’s paper pulp experiments. More broadly, the firm has an approach to craft that seems appropriate to point out during a week devoted to things handmade… plus they have a great new project.
These people certainly look ready to party. But because their work is a bit hard to describe, I’ll use their own words: “Somewhere between architecture and a party, THiNG THiNG designs objects, interiors, events, and maybe food. Bonkers is our aesthetic; we hope you like it.” THiNG THiNG is a collaboration of four designers (Simon Anton, Rachel Mulder, Thom Moran, Eiji Jimbo) who recycle plastic by hand. They then use this recycled plastic to make… things.
So a week of handmade stuff? Well, lucky for us, most architecture projects rely on intensive bouts of construction by hand. Some projects are hand-ier than others, and there’s hand-y news about a very public work currently being pieced together by hand in Hyde Park. This Saturday, the latest iteration of the Serpentine Pavilion will open to the public. The temporary structure is commissioned each year by the Serpentine Gallery and this year’s Pavilion is designed by Sou Fujimoto.