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architecture

New Architecture Prize Honors Year’s Best Public Library: Australia’s Craigieburn

Craigieburn Library

You need only browse a Candida Höfer monograph to realize that Denmark knows good libraries. It’s a strength that the Danish Agency for Culture—in partnership with Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects—has seized upon to create a new award recognizing the best public library of the year. The inaugural winner, announced earlier this month in Lyon, France (bibliothèque country!), is Australia’s Craigieburn Library, located in Hume City, Victoria and designed by Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp.

The Aussie institution bested fellow nominees in the United Kingdom (the Library of Birmingham, designed by Mecanoo Architecten), the Netherlands (De Boekenberg, a.k.a. Book Mountain, in Spijkenisse, designed by MVRDV), and Denmark (Copenhagen’s Ørestad Bibliotek, designed by KHR Arkitekter). The judges settled on Craigieburn because it “distinguishes itself as a significant modern construction with a strong, recognizable architectural concept” and “with its open and flexible space…creates a democratic meeting place, open to diversity and interaction.”

Merrill Elam, Jeanne Gang Among Winners of New ‘Women in Architecture’ Awards

(Timothy Hursley)

There’s a new set of design honors up for grabs, and those with a Y chromosome need not apply. Architectural Record is recognizing the design leadership of women architects with its Women in Architecture Awards, which will be presented on October 9 in Manhattan following the magazine’s Innovation Conference. The five inaugural recipients, selected by an independent panel of architects, scholars, and critics, and announced this week, are:

  • Design Leader, honoring an architect with significant built work and influence: Merrill Elam of Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects
  • New Generation Leader, honoring an architect who is rising in the profession: Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang
  • Innovator, honoring an architect who has made a mark in innovative design, materials or building type: Sheila Kennedy of Kennedy & Violich Architecture
  • Activist, honoring an architect who has used her skills to design for social change, effect the public realm or perform pro bono work: Erinn McGurn of SCALEAfrica
  • Educator, honoring a professional who has helped the advancement of women: Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, former dean of the University of Miami’s School of Architecture

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First Look: Top Architects Share Selfies with Elle Decor

selfies
From left, selfies from Lise Anne Couture and Hani Rashid; Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Christoffersen; and Sou Fojimoto.

elle_decor coverThe ides of August are nearly upon us and with them the September issues. Among the first to hit newsstands is Elle Decor, which is seizing its twenty-fifth anniversary moment not to look back in reverie (the magazine did that earlier this year in charming video form) but to focus on the future. The just-published anniversary issue, fronted by a creamy Upper East Side living room designed by Steven Gambrel, features a look at the next twenty-five years of design and catches up with a range of leading architects via their selfies and Instagram posts. Japan’s Sou Fojimoto poses before a mound of cardboard boxes and architectural models, Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture of Asymptote Architecture grin under a sculptural light fixture, while Bjarke Ingels and BIG partner Thomas Christoffersen appear to have snapped their selfie in the midst of a rainforest excursion.
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Smells Like…Architects! Sneak Peek at New Scent from Arquiste

architects club

Lions travel in prides and coyotes in bands, while owls gather wisely in parliaments and crows take flight in murders that are only occasionally bloody. But what is the appropriate collective when referring to architects? A pilaster of architects, perhaps? Or a cantilever? A keystone, maybe, or a spandrel? Mexican-born, New York-based Carlos Huber has settled on club, presumably the kind for belonging to rather than brandishing. The architect-turned-fragrance entrepreneur, who holds a master’s in historic preservation from Columbia, is preparing to launch the latest addition to his Arquiste line of scents: “The Club of Architects,” a woody-vanilla blend created by perfumer Yann Vasnier. The fragrance, now available for pre-order from the fine-smelling people at Aedes De Venustas, is meant to evoke a group of architects gathering in days gone by for a drink (or six) in the Fumoir Bar at Claridge’s in London. Think Art Deco splendor—dark woods, leather, velvet—meets gin fizz, a splash of citrus, and peals of laughter at jokes in which curtain walls figure prominently.

Billie Tsien and Tod Williams, James Turrell Among National Medal of Arts Recipients

medal_bigBillie Tsien and Tod Williams are heading to the White House. The architects are among the just-announced recipients of the 2013 National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the federal government. “Whether public or private, their deliberate and inspired designs have a profound effect on the lives of those who interact with them, and their teaching and spirit of service have inspired young people to pursue their passions,” reads the official citation. They will receive their Robert Graham-designed medals (pictured) from President Obama at a ceremony in the East Room on Monday afternoon.

Williams and Tsien will be joined by fellow 2013 medalists artist James Turrell, documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles, director and Dreamworker Jeffrey Katzenberg, representatives of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, dancer and choreographer Bill T. Jones, writer Maxine Hong Kingston, musical theater composer John Kander, novelist, poet, and essayist Julia Alvarez, musician Linda Ronstadt, and arts patron Joan Harris.

Watch the ceremony live on Monday at 3:00 p.m. EST here.

Steven Holl, Martial Raysse Among Praemium Imperiale Laureates

Steven HollThe Japan Art Association has announced the winners of the twenty-sixth Praemium Imperiale, the international arts prize established “in memory of His Imperial Highness Prince Takamatsu to celebrate the human spirit as expressed through the genius of the world’s artists.” The 2014 laureates are Steven Holl (architecture, pictured), Martial Raysse (painting), Giuseppe Penone (sculpture), Arvo Pärt (music), and Athol Fugard (theatre/film).

Each winner receives 15 million yen (approximately $150,000 at current exchange rates) and a ticket to Tokyo, where they’ll collect their medals in an October 15 ceremony headlined by Prince Hitachi of Japan, who Wikipedia describes as “currently fourth in line to the Chrysanthemum throne.” This year’s crop of Praemium Imperiale laureates joins a roster of artists that includes everyone from Frank Gehry and Jasper Johns to Ingmar Bergman and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Artists are nominated for the prize through international committees in each of the five fields that make recommendations to the Japan Art Association’s board of trustees, which ultimately selects the winners.

MoMA Names Martino Stierli Chief Curator of Architecture and Design

martinoThe nearly year-long parlor game of “Who will replace Barry Bergdoll at MoMA?” has, at long last, come to an end with today’s announcement that Martino Stierli has nabbed the plum role of Philip Johnson chief curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art. Stierli is the Swiss National Science Foundation Professor at the Institute of Art History of the University of Zurich, where he teaches the history of modern architecture. Beginning in March 2015, he will oversee the MoMA department of architecture and design’s special exhibitions, installations from the collection, and acquisitions. Stierli has a tough act to follow in Bergdoll, who stepped down last summer in leave-’em-wanting-more fashion—and in the midst of a stellar Le Corbusier exhibition—to become Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History at Columbia University, although he remains a part-time curator at MoMA.
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At Chanel, Le Corbusier Inspires Concrete Couture

chanel set
At left, a view of the Paris apartment designed by Le Corbusier that inspired Chanel’s latest haute couture collection and runway show. (Photos from right: © FLC/ADAGP, Olivier Saillant)

chanel fw coutureHaving recently tapped into markets high (fine art) and low (the grocery store) to inspire his collections for the megahouse of Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld looked to the work of Le Corbusier to fire up his creativity for the fall couture. With the blessing of the Fondation Le Corbusier, he transformed the Grand Palais to resemble the paradoxical outdoor living room, complete with fireplace, of the long-demolished Champs-Elysées apartment that Corbu designed in 1929 for one Charles de Beistegui. “All white concrete, with some baroque elements,” said Lagerfeld yesterday in a post-show interview, as he described his architectural inspiration.

The modern material found its way into the collection via tiny tiles of gray and white concrete (pink and green are in the works) that Lagerfeld used for elaborate or starkly geometric mosaic-style embroideries that accented bodices, traced hems, and encrusted entire dresses, all shown with flat sandals and hairstyles that evoked plumage—in a nod to the rara avis who is the twenty-first century couture customer. “What I liked about this collection is that it’s really flawless, impeccable shapes,” said Lagerfeld of the 70 looks he sent down the grandly scaled runway. “They’re light, they float, they don’t walk heavily…and I think that makes it more modern.”
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Friday Photo: Tadao Ando Takes a Picture

ando 2
(Photo: UnBeige)

Clark Center from Reflecting Pool 7Tadao Ando first visited the Clark Art Institute, located in Williamstown, Massachusetts, in 2001, having emerged as the clear winner in the competition to develop an architectural master plan for the institution, known for its top-notch collection of Old Masters and Impressionists as well as a hub for art historical research and conferences. On his most recent visit from Osaka, just last week, Ando surveyed the nearly finished project, camera in hand. Trailed by a scrum of journalists and museum staff, he regarded with approval and personal snapshots the expanded Clark and its transformed 140-acre campus, which opens to the public today.

The multi-phase project combined Ando’s talents with that of Annabelle Selldorf (who expanded and renovated the Clark’s original 1955 museum building), Gary Hilderbrand (responsible for the sweeping and sustainable redesign of the Clark’s grounds), and Gensler (which served as executive architect). Ando’s 42,560-square-foot Clark Center, the new stone, concrete, and glass centerpiece of the campus, serenely fulfills an astounding array of functions spread between two levels—reception, exhibition space, dining, retail—while uniting the new with the old and the built environment with natural wonders—verdant hills, trails, and a new three-tiered reflecting pool that later this year will become an epic skating rink. In describing the project, Ando emphasized the theme of continuity: “The continuity of the Clark family, the continuity of history, the continuity of the seasons,” he said. “There really is this continuity throughout the site.”

Quote of Note | Tomas Koolhaas

(Tomas Koolhaas)
Rem Koolhaas in Venice at sunset. (Photo: Tomas Koolhaas)

“Usually architecture documentaries really only appeal to viewers with a deep understanding of architectural concepts and jargon. I think by taking a more humanistic approach my film will appeal to anyone who can relate to other people….I don’t think it’s as black and white as either ‘architecture people’ or ‘general public.’ I think there are a lot of gradations in between. For example, creative people who can appreciate architecture but maybe are not interested enough to be very well versed in technical jargon or abreast of every element of architectural discourse. I think those people make up quite a large group and most architecture documentaries fail to engage them. It’s those kinds of people that my film could manage to reach. I don’t presume to think that a large portion of my audience is going to be people who don’t care about architecture at all, but I want there to be elements of the film that anyone can enjoy.”

-Tomas Koolhaas on the anticipated audience for the documentary (view trailer below) he is making about his father, architect Rem Koolhaas. Read the full interview in the new Rem-themed issue of CLOG.
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