Yes â€“ Red Bull held a cliff diving competition in Boston last weekend, where the divers jumped into Boston harbor (really?) from a perch attached to the Diller Scofidio + Renfro designed Institute for Contemporary Art.
My ninjas, please. Ridiculous.
I don’t really think I’m a fan of the museum as a whole [link below], but this staircase is SICK! Too bad they’ll have to give it some handrails – you know, to keep people from falling to their death and all that…
This weekend I made it out to NYC for the Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward exhibit at the Guggenheim. I had hoped to get there sooner, as the exhibit closed on Sunday [making a Saturday visit, the second-to-last day, quite crowded] – but I couldn’t, and so I’m sorry for talking about it here on AMNP now that the exhibit has ended. Those of you who were in or around the NYC area and slept: sorry, but you missed out, my ninjas. You’ve got to be on top of this kind of thing.
While any student of architecture – and many casual observers of the profession, especially here in the US – are pretty well acquainted with the work of FLW, I think that even Wright enthusiasts would have been impressed by the collection on display. For starters – it’s Wright’s work, exhibited in one of his most famous buildings. I think that’s pretty dope. Aside from the collection, though, the collection of work was really quite impressive to see. Unlike seeing his work in a book, a lecture hall, or on a computer screen, his actual sketches + drawings – when seen in person – demand a whole new level of attention. Now, I’m no huge fan or Wright necessarily, nor do I think that I learned a great deal of new information about his work and concepts from the exhibit – but being able to examine so much of his work, close up and in detail, was a fantastic experience. And in addition to his own drawings, sketches, and models, the Guggenheim commissioned a number of new models built by Situ Studio – which were fantastic, especially those of his un-built projects. From a sectional model of the Pittsburgh Point Park Civic Center to an exploded, large scale model of the Herbert Jacobs House, they were stunning and really added an extra level of intricacy to the entire exhibit. I hope many of you were able to get there before it closed.
One thing that jumped out at me, which I had never spent much time considering before, is how unsuccessful Wright actually was with dealing with the automobile in many of his more grandiose projects. He talked of terracing, of long beautiful horizontals meant to reflect the midwestern plains, and of adding nature to buildings by integrating landscaping everywhere in many of his large scale proposals. But, looking at his designs for projects like the Living City and the Pittsburgh Point Park Civic Center, it struck me that Wright’s parking proposals weren’t particularly revolutionary. Yes, he spiraled the ramps around the entire proposed project, or added some other bit of visual interest – but at the end of the day, this sequestered the project from its surroundings in way that we now know to be undesirable [the suburban mall, etc].
In visiting the exhibit, and realizing this about his work, I was surprised that I hadn’t really considered this before – I suppose that when I was younger and my interest in Wright was greater / I was studying his work in school, I was much more focused on the architecture itself. Even when looking at his expansive planning proposals and the Living City, it was more about vision and concept [and aesthetic, I assume] to me than feasibility. Now, seeing the work again, I was struck by how many of these concepts he was working on seem to have been somewhat achieved – and how problematic [and terrible] many of them are. Sprawl. Car culture. Decentralization – with big centralized ‘public’ structures [the mega-mall, the mega-church]. That said, Wright also envisioned people living with the land, in a more agrarian and sustainable way – in addition to the invention of some kind of futuristic cars, and those helicopter-things he was always drawing.
Regardless of my opinion of his work, however, the exhibit was extraordinary.
Many of you [I hope] will remember our ninja – and self-described practitioner of ‘Aikido Architecture’ – Ivan Hernandez Quintela from AMNP’s first Ninja of the Month feature, where we looked at the work of Ludens [click those sidebar links & images, people]. I was recently contacted by Ivan about some of his latest work, which we’ll see today and next week here on AMNP.
Those of you that are familiar with Ivan’s work [familiarize yourself] will know of his interest in transformable architecture that can adapt to multiple conditions and varying needs. This is exemplified in the project featured today – an educational center for MUAC [University Museum of Contemporary Art in Mexico City], which he refers to as ‘The Box’.
Designed by Teodoro GonzÃ¡les de LeÃ³n, MUAC had a large, open, undefined space designated as an ‘educational area’ – within which a number of loosely defined activites would take place, oftentimes concurrently. Ludens was approached to design a structure that could inhabit this space and respond to the varying day-to-day needs of the ‘educational area’ – which could include several simultaneous small workshops, small lectures, interviews with local artists, and/or larger workshops/lectures/etc with more participants.
The idea was to offer a simple system of movement that could offer a wide range of spatial flexibility.
As a response, Ivan created a white box in the center of the space, made up of four large white ‘L-shaped’ sides. These ‘L-shaped’ sides can then rotate out into a number of varying configurations [seen in the plan sketch, above], accommodating the varying daily needs of the space.
Each L-shape side, white on its exterior and colored and furnished on its interior, is capable of being rotated on its intersecting axis in order to open up and create different spatial compositions, where each spatial composition creates a different scenario. One could have a completely open space, or two semi open spaces, of four small and separate spaces each being supported by whatever surface one needs, white for projections, orange or green for hanging material with magnets, or shelves if production material is needed.
View more of Ivan/Ludens’ work at his website – and / or check out coverage of other selected works here at AMNPâ€™s NotM: Ludens. And check in next week – we’ll be featuring the work of some of Ivan’s students from Universidad Ibero Americana in Mexico City, who took his “guerrilla architecture” course.
::all images + quoted text provided by Ludens::