Designed by Women: Architecture for All

At this point, it shouldn’t be news to anyone that architecture is a male-dominated industry. Unfortunately, research shows that, despite historically high numbers of women entering the profession, top positions are still mainly held by men. A growing number of organizations and individuals, however, are hard at work trying to right this wrong. Many of these efforts are also right on time for March, Women’s History Month.   Continue reading “Designed by Women: Architecture for All”

Inside “Prague Functionalism”

Zdeněk Lukeš, curator of “Prague Functionalism: Tradition and Contemporary Echoes,” began his tour of the exhibition on 2.13.15, with a discussion of the Tugenhadt House, a famous prototype of Modernism in the present-day Czech Republic. Designed by Mies van der Rohe in 1932, while he was director of the Bauhaus, the Tugenhadt House exemplified the cross-pollination of avant-garde design philosophy across Europe that buttressed the Functionalist movement in Prague. Continue reading “Inside “Prague Functionalism””

Thoughts on an 80-Year Life – Jordan L. Gruzen, FAIA (1934-2015), IBI Group ▪ Gruzen Samton

To describe a life justly and clearly in a limited verbal narrative illuminates the paradox of framing time past with current memory. Behind large accomplishments one finds large personalities – generally an axiomatic truth, though highly inflected by the individual. Jordan Gruzen loved the physical realm and vigorous activity in it; the operative concept is love. This man cherished life – total immersion! He embraced it with delight, consistently demonstrating the psyche of a cheerful person – one rooted in a teleology of optimism. That optimism centered on beauty; it propelled Jordan’s actions and responses. One could see his excitement percolate when the topics of architecture, New York City, design, business, sailing, painting, sculpture, music, women, and family – especially when his adored wife, Lee, two daughters, Rachel and Georgia, and son, Alex, were broached. All were entry points to the same end – an oncoming possibility of engaging gorgeous splendor. Why wouldn’t one be optimistic if that were how one perceived life; what a blessed way to live? Continue reading “Thoughts on an 80-Year Life – Jordan L. Gruzen, FAIA (1934-2015), IBI Group ▪ Gruzen Samton”

Oculus Book Review: Architecture/Astrology

The Center for Architecture’s 02.09.15 Oculus Book Talk celebrated a small and provocative book, Architecture/Astrology. Devised by artists Dan Graham and Mieko Meguro and architect Jessica Russell, this volume compiles a column Graham put forth in Domus magazine from 2010 to 2011. The small black book contains a combination of Graham’s intense and illuminating commentary on architects’ true nature via astrology, Meguro’s absorbing and succinct sketchbook drawings, and Russell’s pointed references to the stars (real, non-architecture stars), which make for a charming bonbon. In the forum of the tOculus Book Talk this cavalcade of energy was extremely entertaining. Continue reading “Oculus Book Review: Architecture/Astrology”

Fulton Center…A Vision Realized

From transportation experts to engineers and architects, everyone was in attendance at this caucus held at the Center for Architecture to speak and learn about the behind-the-scenes construction of downtown’s newest transit hub, the Fulton Center. With a successful opening on 11.10.14, little did one know about the challenges the project surmounted in order to see its completion. Thankfully, Robert Eisenstat, AIA, and Vincent Chang, AIA, RIBA, of Grimshaw Architects; Sandra Bloodworth of MTA Arts & Design, Arup’s Craig Covil, and Urday Durg of the MTA were there to share the ups and downs they encountered while planning for the construction. They also offered exclusive insights about James Carpenter Design AssociatesSky Reflector-Net installation. Continue reading “Fulton Center…A Vision Realized”

The Art Under-World: the MTA Arts for Transit Program

For me, it’s Nancy Spero’s Lincoln Center mosaics, Artemis, Acrobats, Divas and Dancers. I pass them nearly every day on the 1/2/3 line, and I always peer out the train window to look. Transit art is simultaneously hugely public and deeply intimate; the majority of the 4.3 million daily riders of the New York City rail system see the same works of art every day on their commute. “It’s a museum, with hundreds of miles of walls; it’s a museum that never closes; it’s a museum with a fairly modest entry fee,” praised Sam Roberts, New York Times Urban Affairs correspondent. The MTA’s Percent for Art Program, which dedicates 1% of the cost of city-funded construction projects to public art, has repurposed the many walls of our underground streets into a living museum. The program was instituted in 1982 by Mayor Edward Koch and pushed by Ronay Menschel, founder of MTA Arts & Design, at a time of a reinvestment in the city’s public transit. Since its inception, MTA Arts & Design has commissioned 260 works of public art. On 02.19. 15, director of MTA Arts & Design Sandra Bloodworth, artist Andrea Dezso, Sam Roberts, and Ronay Menschel, former MTA board member, gathered at the Museum of the City of New York to talk about the history and vision of MTA Arts and the Percent for Arts Program. Continue reading “The Art Under-World: the MTA Arts for Transit Program”

Infrastructure IQ

Each city uniquely defines what “smart” means depending on its own characteristics. David Klingberg, CEO of David Lock Associates, presented six guiding aspects: governance, economy, people, environment, living, and mobility. Klingberg and Ian Stott, principal consultant of Integrated Transportation Planning, addressed issues and challenges of planning for “better cities using a smart cities framework.” Continue reading “Infrastructure IQ”