09.29.08 Request for Proposals: 2009 Mies van der Rohe Award
The biennial Mies van der Rohe Award is hosted by the European Union and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe, Barcelona. The jury will select two works: one that receives the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture (cash prize of 50,000€ and a sculpture evoking Mies van der Rohe’s German Pavilion) in recognition of its conceptual, technical, and constructional qualities, and the other that receives the Emerging Architect Special Mention (10,000€ and a sculpture). The jury also selects a set of finalist works to be included in both the Award catalogue and exhibition.
11.07.08 Call for Entries: The Buckminster Fuller Challenge
This annual $100,000 prize program seeks comprehensive anticipatory design solutions with integrated strategies dealing with key social, economic, environmental, and cultural issues. Entries should be regionally specific yet globally applicable and backed up by a solid plan and the capability to move the solution forward.
12.12.08 Call for Entries: Exhibit Design Awards
EXHIBITOR magazine’s 23rd Annual Exhibit Design Awards honor the world’s best trade show exhibition designs. Designs debuting between 12.01.06 and 12.01.08, are eligible for the 2009 competition. One EDGE Award (for Exhibit Design and Graphic Excellence) and multiple Gold, Silver, and Special Merit Awards are offered. Each winner receives a feature in EXHIBITOR‘s May issue, and winning entrants receive a trophy and a posting on the Awards Wall at the EXHIBITOR conference.
01.13.09 Call for Entries: WOOD, PAPER, CHECKMARK Competition and GOING WITH THE GRAIN Challenge
Created by DESIGN 21 with co-beneficiaries Forest Stewardship Council-US (FSC-US) and The Nature Conservancy, these events were developed as a means to inform the public about FSC-certified wood. To be considered for Wood, Paper, Checkmark, entrants must provide: a message that sparks an interest in FSC and drives people to a consumer-searchable website; a campaign design for online and print ads; and a clever URL name for FSC’s website. The winner will receive $5,000 in prize money. The prototype of the winning design will be auctioned in concurrence with the May 2009 opening of The Nature Conservancy’s Design for a Living World traveling exhibition featuring sustainable materials.
01.30.09 Call for Entries: 2009 Metropolis Next Generation Design Competition: Fix Our Energy Addiction
Metropolis magazine challenges young designers to rethink the broken energy models that represented 20th-century life and work. Open to all designers in practice for 10 years or less, as well as to students, the magazine seeks entries at all scales of design and for every aspect of the man-made environment. The prize is a $10,000 award.
02.06.09 Call for Entries: Ceramic Tiles of Italy 2009 Design Competition
This competition, now in its 16th year, celebrates examples of contemporary American design featuring Italian ceramic tiles. An international jury looks at the overall design of the space and how the tiles meet their functional and technical requirements. Winning architects/designers receive $5,000 per category, presented at Coverings 2009, Chicago, IL, plus a five-day trip to Italy to attend Cersaie 2009 (Additional $1,000 to be shared by distributor/contractor team).
Center for Architecture Gallery Hours
Monday-Friday: 9:00am-8:00pm, Saturday: 11:00am-5:00pm, Sunday: CLOSED
Join an Architalker for a Hosted Tour of Center for Architecture
Join us for free Architalker-hosted tours of the Center for Architecture exhibitions Fridays at 4:00pm. To join one of these tours, meet in the Public Resource Area on the ground floor of the Center for Architecture.
October 1 — January 19, 2009
2008 AIA New York Designs for Living Exhibition
In the coming decades, New York will confront the challenge of housing another million people in a built-up city with limited area for new construction. Aging infrastructure and environmental concerns pose additional impediments to growth. Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC addresses the need for housing, and targets eight other quality-of-life issues including open space, air and water quality, and contaminated sites. Public and private developers have also begun responding to, and even anticipating, these concerns with mixed-use, hybrid designs. +Housing focuses on eight current examples which illustrate this phenomenon: public uses combined with, and often financed by housing. The essential urban institutions – parks, schools, places of worship, museums, and hospitals – are being combined with residential developments, fusing diverse typologies and increasing density. This observation creates the rubric, [fill in the blank] + Housing. The phenomenon is observable at multiple scales, from infill Hybrid Buildings with condos sitting on top of a public space, to Transformed Blocks rebuilt and rearranged into places for living, performing and gathering, to New Neighborhoods that attempt to remediate and improve old sites, shaping parks, creating spaces for culture and childcare, adding new density.
+Housing helps keep the city affordable, accessible, sustainable, and architecturally ambitious. Projects that include cultural institutions, new schools, improved infrastructure, and green roofs are often built faster and more efficiently. That said, all pluses have their minuses, and this exhibition looks beyond the benefits of the +Housing formula, examining its potential impact on the look, economy and public life of New York City.
Exhibition Curator: Alexandra Lange
Exhibition Designer:Pro-Am Inc.
Champion: Studio Daniel Libeskind
Supporters: HumanScale Corporation; James McCullar & Associates; Gensler
Benjamin Moore & Company
Costas Kondylis & Partners
Forest City Ratner Companies
Frank Williams & Associates
Hugo S. Subotovsky Architects
Ingram, Yuzek, Gainen, Carroll & Bertolotti
Magnusson Architecture & Planning
Ricci Greene Associates
Skidmore, Owings and Merrill
Syska & Hennessy
Trespa North America
Anchin, Block & Anchin
Consolidated Brick & Building Supplies
Cross Construction Company
DeLaCour & Ferrara Architects
Domenech Hicks Krockmalnic Architects
IBEC BUILDING CORPORATION
Levien & Company
Michael Zenreich, AIA Architect
Myron Henry Goldfinger, FAIA
New York Building Congress
Porter & Yee Associates
Robert A.M. Stern Architects
Roberta Washington, Architect
Rothzeid Kaiserman Thomson & Bee
Shen Milsom & Wilke
Skanska USA Building
Strategic Development & Construction
Swanke Hayden Connell Architects
Theo. David, Architects
Wednesday, October 1, 2008, 6:00 — 8:00pm
Saturday, October 11, 2008, 11:00 am — 5:00pm
Tuesday, November 18, 2008, 6:00 — 8:00pm
September 10 — October 4, 2008
Memorial Sites: New York to Nairobi
Memorial Sites: New York to Nairobi is an exhibition of photographs by Julie Dermansky which reflects on the meaning and history of memorials while addressing site specificity and the culture of place. “History belongs to all of us,” says Dermansky, “but it is the memorial site commemorating a particular historical moment and connecting it to the present that infiltrates our being and transcends history.” Dermansky has documented memorials in diverse locations, from the site of the destroyed US Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, to the Valhalla, New York 9/11 memorial by Frederic Schwartz. Her global perspective explores the range of realized memorial design solutions. Memorial Sites: New York to Nairobi engages issues of injustice and genocide, while capturing the irony of sacred sites converted to tourist destinations.
Exhibition Curator: Tracey Hummer
Image caption: Oklahoma City National Memorial
September 5 — January 3, 2009
New Practices New York 2008
New Practices New York 2008 is the second juried portfolio competition and exhibition in a new biennial tradition sponsored by the New Practices Committee of the AIA New York Chapter. It serves as a platform for recognizing and promoting new, innovative and emerging architecture firms within New York City that have undertaken unique and commendable strategies – both in projects and practice.
From the 52 portfolios submitted, the New Practices Committee – consisting of Amale Andraos (Work AC), Jennifer Carpenter (TRUCK), Peter Eisenman (Eisenman Architects), William Menking (Architect’s Newspaper) and Charles Renfro (Diller Scofidio + Renfro) – was expected to choose the six most promising firms. The competition winners, all of whom will be participating in our exhibition are:
The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of programs organized by the AIA New York Chapter in collaboration with New Practices Committee
Exhibition organized by the AIA New York Chapter and the Center for Architecture Foundation
Exhibition Design: We Should Do It All
Media Partner: The Architects Newspaper
Lead Sponsors: Ibex, MG & Company, Poliform, Thornton Tomasetti
Supporters: Fountainhead Construction, FXFOWLE Architects
Beverage Sponsor: SAAGA Vodka
Wednesday, October 15, 2008, 6:00 — 8:00pm
Each firm will have a six-week exhibition and will be delivering a Hafele NY Showroom at 25 East 26th Street. For more information, visit Hafele’s New York showroom listing at www.hafele.com/us
July 17 — October 1, 2008
South Street Seaport – Re-envisioning the Urban Edge
The Emerging New York Architects Committee (ENYA) presents the Third Biennial Ideas Competition, South Street Seaport | Re-envisioning the Urban Edge. This competition encouraged participants to envision new connections, both material and metaphoric, between this richly historic neighborhood and Manhattan’s contemporary urban fabric.
South Street Seaport | Re-envisioning the Urban Edge provided an opportunity, uncommon for students and young professionals in the field of design and architecture, to engage the ongoing evolution of the South Street Seaport. More than 200 participants entered the competition, representing a broad spectrum of domestic and international architects, landscape architects, urban designers, and graphic artists. From over 100 entries, a jury selected four top prizes, five honorable mentions, and additional Jury Selections, all of which are presented in this exhibition.
ENYA partnered with the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI), whose headquarters have been in the neighborhood since 1832. The principal element of the program is a community center for local residents and gallery space to house the SCI’s collection of maritime art and artifacts. In addition, competitors were encouraged to make community-building interventions in open spaces throughout the site in order to preserve the neighborhood’s intriguing history, while re-imagining its future edge condition on the downtown New York waterfront.
Exhibition organized by the AIA New York Chapter and Center for Architecture Foundation in collaboration with the Emerging New York Architects Committee (ENYA)
Megan Chusid, Assoc. AIA
Harry Gaveras, AIA
Exhibition and Competition Developers:
Anne Leonhardt, Assoc. AIA
Joel Melton, Assoc. AIA
Sean Rasmussen, Assoc. AIA
Emerging New York Architects (ENYA)
Underwriter: F.J. Sciame Construction
Sponsor: Gensler; Propylaea Architecture; Richter+Ratner
Service Point USA and A. Estéban & Company
Food Sponsor: Acqua Restaurant
Beverage Sponsor: Barefoot Wine and Brooklyn Brewery
Competition Catalog ON SALE NOW
ONLINE PURCHASES: http://www.acteva.com/booking.cfm?bevaid=163907
CATALOGS CAN ALSO BE PURCHASED AT THE CENTER FOR ARCHITECTURE. (CASH ONLY)
*For a limited time, a COMPLIMENTARY copy of the 2006 Southpoint: From Ruin to Rejuvenation Catalog will be included with each purchase.
Fashioning the Modern French Interior: Pochoir Portfolios in the 1920s
Over 70 prints selected from four French interior design portfolios produced in the 1920s are on view. Using a technique known as pochoir, highly skilled artisans manually colored the prints with the aid of carefully cut stencils. Organized by The Wolfsonian-Florida International University in Miami Beach, the exhibition promotes the Style Moderne, later known as Art Deco. A complementary photography exhibition entitled Art Deco New York will be on view in the school’s anterior gallery space as well.
The New York School of Interior Design
170 E. 70th Street
10.02.08 through 10.14.08
Architects Draw — Freeing the Hand
To celebrate the launch of Architects Draw and to honor Sue Ferguson Gussow, professor at the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union, a symposium on the subject of drawing in architectural education will be held in The Great Hall of The Cooper Union on 10.02.08 at 6:30 pm. Following the panel discussion, the Architects Draw – Freeing the Hand exhibition opens and will feature many original illustrations from the book.
The Cooper Union, Houghton Gallery
7 East 7th Street, 2nd Floor
10.02.08 through 12.31.08
Tadashi Kawamata: Tree Huts
Japanese-born artist Tadashi Kawamata’s public installations, also known as “displacements,” transform the spaces they occupy; complex and chaotic architectural growths of raw lumber, found objects, and construction scraps bloom around existing aspects of the urban landscape. Tree huts are a crystallization of Kawamata’s interest in the architecture of shelter and the insertion of private objects into public spaces as a method of renegotiating the meaning of both. This marks the artist’s first exploration of this theme on a North American site. Check out the Tree Huts blog [http://madsqhuts.wordpress.com/] for daily updates and images.
Madison Square Park
Fifth Ave. at 23rd Street
Stephen A. Kliment, FAIA
We are sad to inform you of the recent passing of Stephen A. Kliment, FAIA. For a special tribute to be featured in an upcoming issues of e-Oculus and Oculus, we’re seeking personal anecdotes, images, and remembrances — any and all are welcome. Please e-mail them to email@example.com by Friday, 10.03.08.
– Rick Bell, FAIA, Kirsten Sibilia, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, Kristen Richards, and Jessica Sheridan, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP
Passing: Stephen A. Kliment, Architect and Writer
Stephen A. Kliment, FAIA, an architect and writer whose work influenced what was built and how buildings were received, died on September 10, while traveling in Ebersberg, Bavaria. He was 78. The cause was cancer, his wife Felicia Drury Kliment said.
A distinguished architect, author, teacher, and editor, Stephen Kliment touched the lives of many, as a colleague and mentor. He was born in Prague, Czech Republic, on May 24, 1930, and was raised in England, immigrating to the United States in 1950 to study architecture. His primary and secondary education was received in Prague and in the United Kingdom. He received architectural degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (a BA in 1953), and an M.Arch. from Princeton University in 1957. He also studied architecture at l’Ecole Speciale d’Architecture in Paris and at the University of Havana, Cuba.
A long career straddled architectural practice and criticism, with notable projects undertaken as a partner with Caudill Rowlett Scott (1968-1980) and at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Previously, he was editor-in-chief of Architectural & Engineering News (1960-1968), a magazine dedicated to the technical aspects of architecture at a time when the subject was not covered in the major architectural journals. Subsequently, he was acquisitions editor of architecture books at John Wiley & Sons (1987-1990) before becoming editor-in-chief of Architectural Record (1990-1996), where he helped develop it in into the premier architectural magazine in the United States. Most recently he served as editor of Principal’s Report, published by Newark, NJ-based IOMA (Institute of Management and Administration).
At the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, Mr. Kliment served on the Board of Directors and became the Editorial Director of Oculus and e-Oculus, helping to re-launch the print magazine in 2003 and overseeing the development of the electronic journal. In each quarterly issue of Oculus he reviewed current architectural literature, with book reviews that stood out for their eloquence and wit. In his review of Romy Wyllie’s architectural biography of Bertram Goodhue, Mr. Kliment might have been describing his own writing style, comprising a “singular synthesis of his life and work” with “broad scholarship distilled into lucid, jargon-free prose.”
As a teacher, he gave courses on writing for the design professions, including architecture, engineering, interior design, landscape architecture, and graphic design. These courses were legendary at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, and at City College of the City University of New York where he was an adjunct professor. He was a prolific author, best known for Writing for Design Professionals (WW Norton), and as the series founder and editor of the Building Type Basics Series for John Wiley & Sons.
At the time of his death he had been working on a book on African-American architects, representing a long-time commitment to making the architectural profession more diverse and inclusive. He was an honorary member of NOMA, the National Organization of Minority Architects. NOMA President-Elect R. Steven Lewis, AIA, said, “He will certainly be missed by all who came to know him and to appreciate the support that he gave as a champion of black architects.”
He leaves his wife, Felicia Drury Kliment, a nutritional consultant and author, and daughters Pamela Drury Kliment and Jennifer Kliment Wellander, both of Seattle, two grandchildren, and a brother, architect Robert Kliment, FAIA, of New York.
To read David Dunlop’s tribute in the New York Times, see S. A. Kliment, 78, Architect and Editor, Is Dead.
To read the tribute in Architectural Record, see Stephen A. Kliment, Former RECORD Editor in Chief, Dies at 78.
To commemorate the seventh anniversary of 9/11, this issue of e-Oculus includes articles, news items, and commentary on some of the events and developments at Ground Zero. Be sure to check out “9/11 Remembered,” the third annual installment by photographer Frank Ritter, who attended the ceremonies and documented the day.
– Jessica Sheridan, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP
Note: In the Summer 2008 Design Awards issue of OCULUS, Farnaz Mansuri, Assoc. AIA, was inadvertently omitted as a De-Spec Inc. design team member in the credits for the Interiors Honor project Banchet Flowers (page 22). In the same issue, Gary Haney should have been included on the Skidmore, Owings & Merrill team for Project Merit winner Al Rajhi Bank Headquarters (page 36).
CLICK ON BLOG CENTRAL: AIANY BLOG: The AIANY Chapter has launched a new blog. Blog Central features opinion pieces on architectural issues relevant to NY-based designers, firms, and projects, along with spotlights on debates and discussions at the Center for Architecture and AIANY, and is an informal discussion board. Be sure to check it out regularly and contribute to the dialogue.
Some of the recent debates include:
· 6 Month Rule. NCARB passed a rule that requires a six-month regulated reporting period for intern architects enrolled in the Intern Development Program. Read how this affects firms and schools as well as individuals.
· AIANY Policy. Have you wondered how AIANY establishes its policy positions? Laura Manville, the AIANY Policy Coordinator explains all.
To become a regular contributor to Blog Central, please e-mail e-Oculus. Pen names are welcome.
Event: Memorial Sites: New York to Nairobi, Photographs by Julie Dermansky & Memorials and Meaning Panel Discussion
Location: Center for Architecture, 09.10.08
Speakers: Julie Dermansky (artist statement) — Artist; Frederic Schwartz, FAIA – Principal, Frederic Schwarz Architects and Architect, Westchester County 9/11 Memorial & Empty Sky Memorial at Liberty State Park; Michael Arad, AIA – Partner, Handel Architects and Architect, National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center; Louis Nelson — Designer, Mural Wall of the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C.
Moderator: Lance Jay Brown, FAIA — Competition Advisor, National 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center competition
Respondent: Rick Bell, FAIA — AIANY Executive Director
Organizer; Sponsor: Center for Architecture
While many see a memorial as a single object, such as a statue or fountain, Frederic Schwartz, FAIA, Michael Arad, AIA, and Louis Nelson have tried to reach beyond this notion to create unique spaces for healing and reflection. Though each memorial has a different purpose with varying site conditions, several common themes resonate through all of them.
Each project attempts to move people — both figuratively and literally. The designs guide visitors through changing levels via prescribed paths, often culminating in a moment of contemplation. Arad’s design for the National September 11 Memorial channels people down to bedrock and then back up above grade to view the footprints of the former towers from above. The linear design of Schwartz’s Empty Sky Memorial at Liberty State Park, NJ, compresses people between two abstract slabs engraved with the names of victims, culminating in a framed view of the empty space left in the Manhattan skyline by the towers’ collapse. In Nelson’s Korean War Veterans Memorial, viewers find themselves surrounded by life-size steel sculptures of marching infantry soldiers.
The experiences of these memorials don’t always reflect the processes that created them. All of the designers recalled frustrations of having their winning entries altered through the intervention of committees, juries, and government. Often the path from design to built reality is not straight, yet the interaction between designers and grievers (friends and families of the victims) is necessary for appropriate memorial design, the designers agreed. Viewing a memorial is intensely personal, as is the process of designing one. Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, described memorials as the “interplay between abstractness and figurativeness.” Arad sees memorial design as a conflict between rationality and emotion. But ultimately, “people: that’s what a memorial is all about,” said Nelson.
In conjunction with the panel, the exhibition of photographs by Julie Dermansky titled Memorial Sites: New York to Nairobi is on view at the Center for Architecture through 10.04.08. The exhibition reflects on the meaning and history of memorials while addressing site specificity, the culture of place, injustice and genocide, and the irony of sacred sites converted to tourist destinations. The exhibition catalogue is available for purchase online.
Event: The High Line: Reviving New York’s Avant-Garde Architecture
Location: Museum of the City of New York, 09.11.08
Speakers: Neil Denari, AIA — Principal, Neil M. Denari Architects; Rick Bell, FAIA — Executive Director, AIANY; Sherida Paulsen, FAIA — Partner, PKSB Architect & Former Chair, NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission
Panelists: Donald Albrecht — Curator, Museum of the City of New York; Rick Bell, FAIA; Neil Denari, AIA; Thomas Mellins — Curator, Museum of the City of New York; Sherida Paulsen, FAIA; Marc Rosenbaum — Collaborating Architect on HL23, Neil M. Denari Architects
Organizer: Museum of the City of New York
Because of a commitment to design excellence by both the architecture profession and the city, as well as advancements in CAD technology, NYC architecture has thankfully moved beyond the unmemorable designs of the 1980s, stated former chair of the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, Sherida Paulsen, FAIA. She sees HL23, designed by Neil M. Denari Architects, following in a line of radical and ambitious contemporary architecture, from the Rose Center for Earth and Space by Polshek Partnership to the Hearst Tower by Foster + Partners.
During a recent tour of the New York Fast Forward: Neil Denari Builds on the High Line exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York (now extended until 10.12.08), Neil Denari, AIA, walked visitors through his design. In trying to develop a market-friendly yet innovative design, Denari wanted to incorporate both hard-edge Modernistic and free-form Contemporary ideas. Curtain walls and metal panels are 20th century inventions, but he pushes their capabilities by fritting the glass to mimic the structure beyond and customizing the stamped panels with the aid of milling machines.
Because the building is sited next to the High Line and adjacent to the low-rises of the Gansevoort Market Historic District, three faç ades will always be visible in the foreseeable future. Denari, therefore, approached the design as if it were a public building, considering its impact on the public realm, even though it consists of private residences. The full-floor units take advantage of Manhattan views, and the aesthetics of the faç ade will hopefully be pleasing to the public (Denari spoke of the emotive power of good design). During the panel discussion, Rick Bell, FAIA, AIANY executive director, commented on how the floor-to-ceiling glass and cantilevering floor plates make the building “of the street.” No doubt, people on the street will be able to view the interiors of the apartments at night — a fact of life that many New Yorkers are familiar with, and perhaps those prone to exhibitionism will be those who embrace and purchase the units, he said.
Not everything has been resolved, though. Paulsen brought up the challenge that all who design next to the High Line will face — how the lower floors will mediate between street level and park level. With two public rights-of-way, storefronts are not necessarily the answer. Also, Bell raised the necessity to preserve the High Line as a public park. Even though HL23 does not provide direct access to the High Line from the apartments, when private buildings are constructed along the park’s perimeter, public access must be maintained and not impeded.
Event: Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling Panel
Location: Center for Architecture, 09.02.08
Speakers: Ali Rahim — Director, Contemporary Architecture Practice; Hina Jamelle — Director, Contemporary Architecture Practice; Neil Cook — Designer, Reiser + Umemoto; Michael Overby — Designer, Reiser + Umemoto; Scott Marble — Partner, Marble Fairbanks; Karen Fairbanks — Partner, Marble Fairbanks; Barry Bergdoll — The Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design, MoMA (introduction); James McCullar, FAIA — 2008 AIANY President & Principal, James McCullar & Associates (introduction)
Moderator: Peter Christensen — Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design, MoMA
Organizers: Museum of Modern Art; Center for Architecture
Sponsors: Center for Architecture; AIANY Housing Committee
They are the only works that visitors to MoMA’s Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling exhibition inevitably see twice, remarked curator Barry Bergdoll. They’re at the heart of the show’s mission to explore evolving technological innovations in architecture fabrication and delivery. Yet the three digitally designed and manufactured walls in the vestibule have been overlooked in most press coverage, Bergdoll said, at a recent panel featuring the three NYC firms behind the creations. Calling them “among the most radical propositions in the show,” he said the museum commissioned the projects as “provocations to see where we are in the still-nascent revolution” of computer-aided design and manufacturing.
Ali Rahim and Hina Jamelle of Contemporary Architecture Practice (CAP) explored the design possibilities of rapid 3-D printing with “Migrating Formations,” a semi-opaque divider whose biomorphic forms resemble rows of bones. The printing was extremely fast, and the process obviated using molds or mechanical joints (the pieces were joined with epoxy resin). One day, similar technologies will be able to print entire homes in a day, Rahim said, which would be efficient, but not necessarily for good aesthetics. Home design is becoming easier for anyone with access to the technology — for better or worse. Therefore, CAP aimed for experimentation balanced with aesthetics. The patterns created by the wall’s curvy, bonelike pieces range between bulbous and angular forms to maximize the visual impact while adhering to the firm’s design sensibility.
The industrial looking “Flatform” by Marble Fairbanks was made, instead, of two laser-cut metal sheets that could be transported flat and then connected with foldout tabs. The result: a kind of “stainless steel Velcro,” as Scott Marble put it, where the intricate system of pinwheeling and opposing tabs provide the wall’s structure as well as its visual appeal. He was enthusiastic about how new digital fabrication techniques have inspired fresh architectural forms, seeing it as an opportunity to further architectural processes, not products, he said.
Reiser + Umemoto RUR Architecture used laser-cut steel to a different effect in “Vector Wall.” Undulating patterns of slits allowed the steel to be hammered into flowing curves, an easier installation than for Flatform, which required a squadron of students to help attach the tabs. The “Vector Wall” design process involved experimenting with variables such as the slits’ length, spacing, and patterning, said Neil Cook, one of the designers involved in the project. Like the other walls, Reiser + Umemoto is already exploring similar ideas and forms on a larger scale in projects such as the O-14 commercial tower in Dubai.
While the panels addressed technological and aesthetic concerns, the architects seemed less preoccupied with the practicality of their creations. Despite the three walls’ permeability, there was barely any talk about issues of visual or auditory privacy (apparently the designers all chose to envision their projects as decorative dividers). Bergdoll aptly observed that all three seemed more in the realm of materials research than an actual domestic program. Still, the panel justified the walls’ prominent placement, helping to elucidate some of digital design and fabrication’s advantages and pitfalls.