shu and joe

Posts filed under ‘Architecture’

The Power of Architecture

September 5, 2008

Amazing and beautiful Bird’s Nest “homage” in a farming village in China.

via Virtual China

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In the Desert of Modernity – Haus der Kulturen der Welt

September 2, 2008

aka House of World Cultures

“In the Desert of Modernity” investigates cities in North Africa and their attempts at modernization following European colonization. The exhibition is unsurprisingly dense, housing a maze of easels holding various charts, images, and historical ephemera relating to post-war Africa to the present day. From the website:

The exhibition reveals the ambivalences in the relationship between colonial tyranny and the utopias of modernity, showing the degree to which civilising and modernist utopias are grounded in colonialism, the ruptures within colonialism and resistance to it. It also vividly displays the events, projects, activities and visions which, at the time of decolonisation between North Africa and Europe, once played – and continue to play – such an important role. The exhibition traces the histories of inhabitants, architects, colonialists and scientists involved in the debate over modernity and modernisation.

Unforgivingly dubbed the “Pregnant Oyster” by locals, the building was the USA’s contribution to the INTERBAU 1957 building exhibition. The architect was Hugh Stubbins, a former assistant to Walter Gropius. Stubbins described his design as being “completely free.” By this he implied that “there would be no restrictions on the freedom of intellectual work” that would no doubt flourish inside the structure.

The exhibition had some nice projections displayed on ordinary-looking pieces of cardboard.

Sidi Othman, Casablanca, 2008 (Photo & (c) Marion von Osten)

Cité Verticale im Carrières Centrales, ATBAT-Afrique, Casablanca, 1953

Carrières Centrales, Casablanca, ca 1953. (c) Photothèque de l?École Nationale d’Architecture de Rabat, Maroc

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The Postmodern City

August 24, 2008

Excerpt from a BBC feature in which Ed Soja discusses postmodern space in regard to the Bonaventure Hotel in LA.

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Megastructures Reloaded

Looking forward to the opening of Megastructures: Reloaded at the former State Mint in Berlin. From the press release:

Archigram’s Plug-in City, Constant Nieuwenhuys’ New Babylon and Yona Friedman’s La Ville spatiale rank among the incunabula of the 1960s. Combining visionary architecture, pop culture, art, and situationist rebellion, they became known far beyond the narrow confines of urban planning. Till now, however, there has been no exhibition dealing explicitly with megastructuralists’ vision. MEGASTRUCTURE RELOADED seeks for the first time to show them in context. Aside from Archigram, Constant, Friedman, the radical Florence groups Superstudio and Archizoom, whose designs at the end of the 1960s constituted an ironic response to the megastructuralists, will be included. The exhibition is not intended as a documentary representation; instead the megastructuralists are to be tested for their currency and relevance for the problems of contemporary urban design and mega cities. We will focus on the connection between architecture and visual art, as well as on actual architectonic and urban-design issues.

Yona Friedman, Extension du Centre Georges Pompidou
Courtesy: Yona Friedman, Paris

Victor Nieuwenhuijs & Maartje Seyferth, Gele sector, film still from New Babylon de Constant, 2005. Film 13’, digi betacam
Courtesy: Victor Nieuwenhuijs & Maartje Seyferth, Amsterdam

Archizoom, Aerodynamic City, 1969
Courtesy: Centro Studi e Archivio della Comunicazione, Università degli Studi di Parma

Superstudio, The Continuos Monument: Rockefeller Center, 1969
Courtesy: Archivio Superstudio, Firenze

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Capsule Housing

August 22, 2008

Kisho Kurokawa designed the Nakagin Capsule Tower in 1970 and completed its construction in 1972. It was the first structure to use prefabricated, self-contained units (capsules) that can be added or removed from a superstructure. Located in Tokyo’s Ginza district.

(Found at gluon.symmetry)

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July 15, 2008

I was checking out some renderings of the Field Operations / Diller Scofidio + Renfro Highline renovation project that’s underway on New York’s west side, and was reminded of some photos I shot up on its formerly-abandoned tracks in the winter of 2001 I believe:

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Berlin Transport

July 14, 2008

Came across this archive of subway seating in Berlin. Photos aren’t of the highest quality, but still a nice visualization of an urban topology I think.

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Sugimoto in Berlin

July 13, 2008

The Hiroshi Sugimoto retrospective at the Neue Nationalgalerie is stunning. The work is of course impressive, but its situation in Mies’ “temple of light and glass” really brings the spare lines of Sugimoto’s shadow studies, seascapes and architectural images to the fore.

Ohio Theater, Ohio, 1980, Gelatin silver print, 119.4 x 149.2 cm, Private collection, © Hiroshi Sugimoto, 2008

Mediterranean Sea, Cassis, 1989, Gelatin silver print, 119.4 x 149.2 cm, Private collection, © Hiroshi Sugimoto, 2008

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Burden of Infamy

July 11, 2008

Chris Burden’s 65 foot tall model skyscraper composed of one million enlarged Erector Set pieces was unveiled in Rockefeller Center in June and will be removed a week from today. The piece, titled What My Dad Gave Me, is in line with Burden’s more recent acts of boyish engineering fantasy turned material, but seems quite removed from the 1970s performances of acts of personal risk that established his reputation.

Chris Burden, “What My Dad Gave Me” (2008) at Rockefeller Center. Photo by Stuart Ramson, courtesy Public Art Fund, Gagosian Gallery, and Tishman Speyer

There was a nice piece by Peter Schjeldahl in the New Yorker last year that made sense of this division, suggesting that after Burden’s Doomed (1975), there was no more territory for him to explore in terms of the absolution of ethical responsibility for viewers when confronted with works of art. And so a new course was in order. Most of the canonical pieces from Burden’s early phase can be seen in a 35 minute video that is online at UBUWEB.

One more clip: this is Burden talking about my favorite piece from his oeuvre, Samson (1985), which was installed at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle. The piece consists of a 100 ton jack and a turnstile that, with each revolution, slowly applies pressure to the gallery walls. In theory, if enough viewers enter the gallery space, the walls would collapse.

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Updating Germany

July 7, 2008

Nice article about Matthias Böttger and Friedrich von Borries’ upcoming contribution to the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale over at the Goethe Institute site. They have been commissioned to produce the German pavilion for the event, and have chosen to present 100 projects from various German studios that aim at “Updating Germany“.

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