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architecture

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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Frieze Taps Barber and Osgerby’s Universal Design Studio to Design London Fair

frieze art fairNow in its eleventh year, Frieze London is getting a new look. This year’s fair, which runs October 15-18 in leafy Regent’s Park, will be designed by Universal Design Studio. The creative consultancy, founded in 2011 by designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby to focus on architecture and interiors, takes over from fellow Londoners Carmody Groarke, who handled the fair’s architectural aspects (read: supercool megatent) for the last three years. Frieze has previously employed Caruso St John (2008-2010), Jamie Fobert (2006–2007) and David Adjaye (2003-2005).

“The architecture and design of the fair have always been an important part of our identity,” say Frieze founders Amanda Sharp and Matthew Slotover. “This year we were drawn to Universal in particular due to their work on interiors and focus on materials. As some of the best designers working in this area, their lateral thinking has been demonstrated by some of their great furniture and even their design for the Olympic torch. We’re really looking forward to them bringing this sensibility to Frieze.” Among Universal’s recent projects are Google Web Lab at London’s Science Museum, exhibition design for Vitra’s Vitrahaus exhibition, and both the interior and exterior of the London outpost of the Ace Hotel.

Chicago Getting Its Own Architecture Biennial

chicago archWatch out, Venezia. The Windy City is getting a biennial of its own. Announced this week, the Chicago Architecture Biennial—billed as the largest international survey of contemporary architecture in North America—is set to open October 1, 2015 in and around the Chicago Cultural Center. The three-month-long event, presented by the City of Chicago and the Graham Foundation, will be funded through private donations (BP has already chipped in $2.5 million).

“Chicago is the birthplace of modernism in architecture and every architect in the world knows our city’s history of innovation in the field through the work of architects such as Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Mies van der Rohe,” says Graham Foundation director Sarah Herda, who will serve as artistic director of the Biennial with architect, writer, and curator Joseph Grima. “The Biennial will place Chicago, once again, at the forefront of the architectural imagination.”
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Gehry-Designed Fondation Louis Vuitton Set for October Opening

1-Fondation Louis Vuitton @ Iwan Baan, 2014
(Photo: Iwan Baan)

Once upon a time, LVMH honcho Bernard Arnault announced his grand plan for a Frank Gehry-designed home for the Fondation Louis Vuitton: it would hover over a 2.5-acre swath of Paris’s Bois de Boulogne like a contemporary art-filled cloud of glass, it would cost around $127 million, it would be open by…2010. No word on the final budget, but opening day is finally in sight: October 27, 2014 will mark the public debut of the 12,600-square-foot building, according to a statement released today by LVMH.

Gehry looked to the lightness of late 19th-century glass and garden architecture in designing the structure, which is perched like an articulated nimbostratus in the leafy Jardin d’Acclimatation. Comprised of a dozen glass “sails,” it is covered in 3,600 panes of glass. The eleven galleries it contains will be dedicated to the permanent collection, temporary exhibitions, and artists’ commissions. Among the opening exhibitions will be one showcasing Gehry’s architectural project for the foundation and timed to coincide with the architect’s first European retrospective, which goes on view in October at the Centre Pompidou.

A Forest Grows at Ground Zero

The 9/11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan is a living memorial in more ways the one. Approximately 400 swamp white oak trees were transplanted from the New Jersey countryside to the Memorial Park, which also happens to be one of the largest and most complex “green roofs” in the world—planted atop a seven-story, below-ground museum. Brooklyn-based filmmaker Scott Elliott seeks to explore this confluence of remembrance, monumentality, and landscape architecture in a feature-length documentary, The Trees, and he’s looking to Kickstarter to help cover post-production costs in time to get the film on next year’s festival circuit. Learn more about his project in the below pre-trailer of sorts.

The Frick Collection Plans Expansion, Renovation

frick interior

How do you expand a museum renowned for its “jewel-box” exhibition spaces and intimately scaled rooms? Very carefully, not at all, or with the starchitectural zeal of the likes of Renzo Piano, depending on who you ask. The Frick Collection is leaning toward the first approach, with a scheme announced today that would add a six-story addition “in keeping with the scale and design of the original house and the library wing” (goods news for purveyors of Indiana limestone) while renovating and expanding the interior spaces added in the 1930s and 1970s.

The proposed plan would allow the Frick to open its second floor to the public but also require it to fill in the space currently occupied by a gated garden. The museum has tapped New York-based Davis Brody Bond to design the project, which would increase space by nearly a third. Get the full scoop in the Frick’s press release, take deep cleansing breaths, and then relax by watching director Ian Wardropper‘s recent chat with artist Ed Ruscha about some of his favorite Frick masterpieces.

Quote of Note | Daniel Libeskind

Daniel_Libeskind“People used to say, ‘Why don’t you design products also,’ and I would say, ‘I am designing buildings, big projects.’ Then one day a company asked me to design a door handle, and I started laughing because it is the smallest object. But I kept thinking about it and suddenly I had a revelation—why not? I mean, it is something that is part of everyday life. So I said, ‘Sure I’ll design the door handle.’ And I did, and I thought that was it. Then months later I was asked to design a door. And I had this other revelation—first I had the door handle, then a door, then you have to open the door. Then suddenly I realized what an incredible thing I had come across, something that I had never thought about. And that’s how I began designing all type of objects. Large or small, all the things that have to do with design are things we have to use everyday. From there grows the whole idea of the environment. I was lucky to come across these opportunities. And like Frank Lloyd Wright said, ‘To design a chair it is as difficult as to design a city.’”

-Architect Daniel Libeskind

Hauser & Wirth Has Big Plans for Los Angeles

hauser wirth schimmelHauser & Wirth is heading West. Nearly a year to the date that the gallery announced the hiring of Paul Schimmel, formerly chief curator of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, comes word that the planned Left Coast outpost—Hauser Wirth & Schimmel—will occupy a historic 100,000-square-foot flour mill complex in L.A.’s downtown arts district.

The site, located a few blocks from The Broad in progress, is home to seven late 19th and early 20th century buildings and outdoor spaces. The gallery promises “innovative exhibitions, museum-caliber amenities, and a robust schedule of public programs that contextualize the art on view,” beginning with a pop-up exhibition in January of next year. The L.A. venue is slated to have its grand opening in January 2016.
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Biennale Bling: Rem Koolhaas and Swarovski Sparkle in Venice

(Gilbert McCarragher)
(Photo: Gilbert McCarragher)

The long-awaited Rem Koolhaas-curated Venice Architecture Biennale is upon us. Along with a newly cohesive approach to the national pavilions, in which the 65 participating nations each address a “key moment from a century of modernization,” and the central “Elements of Architecture” exhibition (spoiler alert: “It is nothing to do with design,” Koolhaas explained yesterday), there is “Monditalia,” a multidisciplinary portrait of Italy in the form of 82 films, 41 architectural projects, and a merger of architecture with the Biennale’s dance, music, theater, and film sections. Mamma mia!

Visitors enter Monditalia through a dramatic illuminated archway, which is saved from smacking of Vegas or Disney by its setting in the augustly industrial Arsenale. Dubbed Luminaire, the sparkling facade—spanning nearly 66 feet in length—was created in collaboration with Swarovski using thousands of colored light bulbs and a generous dusting (read: 33 pounds worth) of Swarovski crystals, all encrusting an elaborate wooden frame. Koolhaas describes what lies beyond the gate as dealing with “the current state of Italy, between treasure and crisis, knowledge and controversies, history and politics.”

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