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.
I love bookstores. Nothing compares to wandering the aisles, scanning the shelves, or flipping through art tomes on a meandering afternoon. Yes, many of us lead busy lives and favor the lure of the online book purchase arguing that there’s just as much discovery the further you fall down the “Other Recommended Titles” rabbit hole. But I beg to differ. Holding a book in your hand, feeling a page slide under your fingertips, or even engaging with your local bookseller for recommendations trumps the online experience every time because it’s human. I have hope for the local bookstore industry, though, and even more hope for the future after discovering the wonders of Japan’s Izu Book Cafe.
Before a roller coaster starts, there’s a wonderful moment of anticipation. It’s the time when you might be a bit anxious, although some folks are very anxious, and you’re uncomfortable maybe because of your own anxiety, but probably because you’re tightly tucked between a hard plastic seat and the bar that keeps you from falling out of the plastic seat and dying. You can’t know the first time you ride the coaster what it will be like to fly through space on the track ahead of you. The possibilities are endless.
I haven’t seen any images of David Chipperfield’s expansion to the Saint Louis Art Museum since they loaded it with the art, so I was very happy to bump into a video where the curator of the museum talks about the new space while cameras glide smoothly through the pristine, day-lit galleries. It’s really an impressive space.