Architecture

ARTFUL DWELLINGS: SUKKOT AT THE SKIRBALL

Sukkot1 Los Angeles—Artful Dwellings: Sukkot at the Skirball—an exhibition of three large-scale installations by contemporary artists Sam Erenberg, Therman Statom and Marlene Zimmerman—is now on view at the Skirball Cultural Center through November 11, 2007. These specially commissioned works, all belonging to the Skirball’s permanent collection, represent the artists’ interpretations of a sukkah. Evoking the fragile shelters built by the Israelites in biblical times after their liberation from Egypt, a sukkah is the temporary structure traditionally used during the annual Jewish holiday of Sukkot, which celebrates the fall harvest.

Inspired by the artists’ personal experiences and reflecting their individual aesthetic sensibilities, the three sukkot in the exhibition are compelling works of art familiar in form but unique in interpretation. They provide an occasion for visitors from diverse communities and cultures to reflect upon the themes of shelter, hospitality and thanksgiving.

Sam Erenberg, tabernacle
Mahogany, alder bench and pedestal of birch and pine

MUSEUM PURCHASE WITH FUNDS PROVIDED BY AUDREY AND ARTHUR GREENBURG IN MEMORY OF THEIR SON, DANIEL GREENBERG

tabernacle
, a work by painter, photographer and book artist Sam Erenberg, was commissioned by the Skirball in 1985 and demonstrates Erenberg’s contemporary vision of a sukkah. On the exterior walls of the sukkah, Erenberg painted a mural cycle that is meant to be read from right to left like the Hebrew language. The abstract landscape images on the walls deal with creation and fertility, invoking universal themes and recalling the origin of Sukkot as a harvest festival.. Each wall has a triangular cut-out representing a portion of a disassembled six-pointed star. Inside the sukkah is a peaceful area for quiet meditation.

This installation by Erenberg reflects his exploration of light and space, prominent concerns of many Southern California artists. His life’s work is characterized by aspects of Minimalism, an art movement focusing on pure color and shape. Erenberg’s wide-ranging interests—historical, philosophical, religious and literary—have also helped to shape his art.

Therman Statom, To Dwell in a Glass House
Glass, metal and fiberglass, with acrylic and oil

GIFT OF ALPERT & ALPERT IRON & METAL, INC.

For his sukkah, Therman Statom, one of America’s most significant experimental glass artists, used plate glass to which he attached shards, blown glass forms and found objects. Not being of the Jewish faith, Statom came to this project in 1997 without knowledge of what the holiday of Sukkot or its symbolic structure meant. In learning about the holiday, he found that families often design the decorations for their own sukkot using fruits and vegetables of the harvest season or plaques depicting symbolically invited biblical ancestors. Taking inspiration from this, Statom’s installation reflects the bounty of the autumn harvest.

Statom has said that glass, for him, is like a canvas. As demonstrated in his sukkah, he paints some portions of his “glass canvases.”  The paint often appears suspended in space, creating a gleaming inner realm for the viewer. Though his is a very non-traditional interpretation, the creation of a sukkah was a natural progression for Statom, since he had often used the basic forms of houses in his work.

Marlene Zimmerman, Joyful Visions: An American Sukkah
Acrylic on pine with 1997 cuttings of 100-year-old grape vines from Rancho Cucamonga

MUSEUM COMMISSION WITH FUNDS PROVIDED BY THE CARYLON FOUNDATION IN MEMORY OF CARYLON HEMMELSTEIN (1925–1996)

When requested by the Skirball in 1997 to create a sukkah with an Americana theme, Marlene Zimmerman began the project by putting out a call in newspapers across the country and on the Internet for individuals and institutions to send her photographs of their own sukkot. Responses were abundant and the photographs became sources of inspiration for the artist. The interior back wall is filled with more than 70 individual scenes of Sukkot celebrations sited in their relative locations across the United States. Among the numerous images are the sukkah of Or Hatzafon (Light of the North) in Fairbanks, Alaska, a congregation which calls itself the “Frozen Chosen” and a sukkah in St. Paul, Minnesota based on an ancient Mongolian structure, the yurt. Painted with lively color, which characterizes Zimmerman’s folk-art style, she has presented in this work the diversity of American life. 

Zimmerman’s art evokes the simple, direct, self-taught tradition of 19th-century folk art.  Yet she is very much a 20th-century artist who experiments with color and composition and uses photography as source material for her work. Her creative approach is to combine historical research and collected images and patterns with her own artistic style.

Skirball Cultural Center
2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, California 90049 (Exit Skirball Center Drive off the 405)
(310) 440-4500, fax (310) 440-4595
Contact: Stacy Lieberman (310) 440-4578, or Mia Carino (310) 440-4544
Email, communications@skirball.org
Web site, http://www.skirball.org
Please direct e-mail inquiries about the exhibition to the Center’s address (above); DO NOT use “Reply” button, it will send to ArtScene.
To view formatted version of this announcement online: 
http://artscenecal.com/Announcements/0907/Skirball0907.html

Waiting; Roland Barthes

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I am waiting for an arrival, a return, a promised sign. This can be futile, or immensely pathetic; in Erwartung (Waiting), a woman waits for her lover, at night, in the forest; I am waiting for no more than a telephone call, but the anxiety is the same. Everything is solemn; I have no sense of proportions.(…)
Waiting is enchantment: I have received orders not to move. Waiting for a telephone call is thereby woven out of tiny unavowable interdictions to infinity: I forbid myself to leave the room, to go to the toilet, even to telephone (to keep the line from being busy); I suffer torments if someone else telephones me (for the same reason); I madden myself by the thought that at a certain (imminent) hour I shall have to leave, thereby running the risk of missing the healing call, the return of the Mother. All these diversions which solicit me are so many wasted moments for waiting, so many impurities of anxiety. For the anxiety of waiting, in its pure state, requires that I be sitting in a chair within reach of the telephone, without doing anything.(…)

The being I am waiting for is not real. Like the mother’s breast for the infant, “I create and re-create it over and over, starting from my capacity to love, starting from my need for it”: the other comes here where I am waiting, here where I have already created him/her. And if the other does not come, I hallucinate the other: waiting is a delirium…. (more)

via the incomparable wood s lot

Frank Stella discusses his ‘Failed Architecture’ on the Roof of the Met

Theship_stella_05Frank Stella’s architectural projects have never been built. Not a single one. ArchRecord does a fine job of covering the obvious issues in the trajectory of Stella’s career, but sheds no light on the details of his failure to realize these fantastic designs. I’ve always assumed his work is not taken seriously by architects who may be more than a little envious of his vision and independence.

Regardless, the interview is fantastic, and the supporting media is a treat!

BR: What if I just say the word “curves”? How do you respond? 

FS: One way or the other, the issue of compound-curved surfaces somehow just dug in, and then that’s probably where the computer came in—when everyone decided that they can do curves and they can do blobs and anybody can do it. But not just anybody has been able to actually build them because they still are a problem.

But you know with Nervi and Le Corbusier, the curved forms, they’re there. It’s not that they haven’t been around. But the more complex versions of the curved forms have been sloughed off. You can see it even in Frank. Yes, he has the curved surfaces, but, by and large, they’re dealt with in quite a traditional way. It’s not that easy to make the surfaces run. But Nervi certainly and Corbusier did do it.

read the rest HERE

Technorati Profile

X-Seed 4000; Architectural Self-Abuse

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Now this is fabulous, in every sense. The X-Seed 4000, a 13,000 ft. building which would house up to a million residents! What do you think? Not currently feasible, but a nice exercise in green-thinking. Not that I’m normally given to fits of claustrophobia, but the thing kind-of freaks me out. Maybe I’m spending too much time fishing…

There’s a lot of debate about what the tallest tower in the world currently is. Some say the Taipei 101, at 1671 ft to the tip of it’s spire, is the world’s tallest tower, whereas we might argue that the Sears Tower, at a whopping 1731 ft (and 110 stories), still takes the prize. However, if the enormous, 13,000 ft X-Seed 4000 structure ever gets built in Tokyo – it will win the worlds-tallest-building competition hands down and leave its puny competitors in the dirt.

Looking eerily like Mt. Doom in the above rendering, the mountain-like X-Seed 4000 represents a utopian eco-vision for a self-contained high-rise city in the Tokyo harbor – powered mainly by solar energy. Aesthetically inspired by nearby Mt. Fuji, the behemoth building would measure 13,123 feet tall with a 6 square-kilometer footprint, and could accommodate five hundred thousand to one million inhabitants.

via the always fabulous Inhabitat

Zigloo Domestique by Keith Dewey

Zigloo2 This one seems to be generating a bit of buzz over at Inhabitat; Zigloo Domestique is another ‘pre-fab’ house that uses shipping containers. Aesthetics aside [opinions are like 'noses'; everyone has one, right?] the sticking point seems to be the $180/sq. ft. price tag.

Personally, I think he’s done a fantastic job of incorporating DIY/Green concepts in a real-world situation–and by this I mean not simply a concept or ‘project’ house, but an actual home in an established neighborhood which conforms to the myriad building codes, permits and other hurdles that always accompany such a project.

Nice work!

From Inhabitat:

The home is located in Fernwood, one of Victoria’s oldest and funkiest areas, and proves that shipping containers are more than just modules for cargo transport or emergency housing. The designer has done a wonderful job of documenting the entire design process, from initial plans to delivery of the containers and final construction and furnishing. The project spans almost two years, and the final residence consists of 8 containers, 1800 square feet, and 3 stories of homey prefab space. Keith’s family home design is a great example of shipping containers and prefab techniques as a viable and accessible building approach for just about anyone.

via Inhabitat

DIY Windmill by William Kamkwamba, Malawi, Africa

William_kamkwam This story was so inspiring to me that I had to post it in its entirety. It’s short. Read it. You’ll be inspired too!

"With all the sobering news lately about global warming and war, it’s important to remember all the positive things that are ALSO going on in the world at any given time. Case in point: the story of intrepid Malawi youth William Kamkwamba who, despite having no formal education or training, recently engineered and built a windmill to power his house. It’s certainly the most inspiring story we’ve read this month, and we think you’ll agree…

After having to drop out of school due to lack of funds, William Kamkwamba from Malawi decided to learn as much as he could from books that had been donated to his primary school’s library. One of the books detailed how to build a windmill that generated enough electricity.

With much trial and error, some local materials, and an investment of about 16 dollars, William constructed a windmill that could generate enough energy for a few light bulbs and a radio. While a few bulbs might sound insignificant, the difference changed William’s and his family’s life entirely. Instead of using expensive paraffin candles, which produce smoke and irritate the eyes, William and his family now use the energy generated by the wind to light up their house. The engineering youth also hooked up a car battery to his generator to use as a backup in case of a non-windy day.

The 12-meter tall windmill (it was originally only 5 meters) is made out of scrap timber. The blades, originally made from PVC, now steel, power a bicycle dynamo, the type that power a bicycle headlamp, which in turn provides electricity to the battery. William uses this energy for his house, as well as to help others recharge their batteries. Just recently, he moved from a car battery to a deep discharge battery, which will help improve with the power storage of his house.

William’s story does not end here. After appearing in the local papers, and blogged by Soyapi Mumba, he was contacted by Emeka Okafor, the recent curator of the TED Global Conference in Arusha. Okafor invited William to speak at the conference as one of the 100 other prestigious presenters. It was there that William was first introduced to computers, the internet, Google, and the blog (he now has his own blog, in which he writes about his experience).

What does the future hold for this local green hero/inventor/entrepreneur? He has made recent modifications to the windmill and completed a second installation at his primary school. He also plans to modify his windmill to include the ability to pump water from his well and irrigate his garden.

Truly a remarkable and inspiring story. If you are feeling as moved as we are over William’s accomplishments, you can donate directly to help William’s education and engineering projects here >

+ William Kamkwamba’s Malawi Windmill Blog

via Inhabitat

M-vironments by Michael Jantzen

Mh1 Now this is true modular building. The M-House from Michael Jantzen puts all those johnny-come-lately, greenwashing companies to shame. Framed from six interlocking cubes each panel connects via hinges that can swing the panels in or out. Some panels are insulated, some fold out to become seating and others simply provide shelter from wind and rain.

The system is called M-vironments and Mr. Jantzen sees applications not just in residential construction, but in commercial and industrial as well. From the site:

"Relocatable M-vironments are made of a wide variety of manipulatable components that can be connected in many different ways to a matrix of modular support frames. The frames can be assembled and disassembled in different ways to accommodate a wide range of changeing needs. The M-house shown here is made from teh M-vironment system. It consists of a series of rectangular panels that are attached with hinges to an open space frame grid of seven interlocking cubes. The panels are hinged to the cubes in either a horizontal or vertical orientation. The hinges allow the panels to fold into or out of the cube frames to perform various functions."

more photos after the jump. HERE

via things magazine

Join the NY Media Elite – FREE!

Nyer070430_2
This is just so much dorky goodness that I have to post the full entry. From Kottke.com:

I might be shooting myself in the foot by posting this, but the table of contents for the newest issue of the New Yorker is usually available on Sunday on newyorker.com, the day before the issue hits the newsstands and arrives in subscriber mailboxes. All you need to do is hack the URL of the TOC from the previous Monday. Here’s the URL for the April 23 TOC:

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/toc/2007/04/23/toc_20070416

“2007/04/23″ is the date of the issue and “toc_20070416″ refers to the date of the posting. This then is the URL for the April 30 issue:

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/toc/2007/04/30/toc_20070423

At right is the cover for tomorrow’s issue, which includes Adam Gopnik’s piece on the Virginia Tech shooting, a new piece by Atul Gawande, and Anthony Lane’s review of Hot Fuzz. Monday’s New Yorker on Sunday is usually only available to the select few of the Manhattan media elite who are sped their new issues hot off the presses. Now everyone can have a similar experience on the web.

Enjoy.

via kottke.org

Hudson World Bridge Proposal

Hwb

Another fabulous idea from Eytan Kaufman, Int’l. Assoc. AIA: The Hudson World Bridge. I might even consider moving in…

"The bridge, designed in consultation with Ove Arup engineers, would span the Hudson at 34th Street, and would be not so much a transportation corridor as a destination, providing the city with a gathering place like no other. The surface of the bridge, nearly a mile long and 200 feet wide, would provide more than 10 acres of green park and plaza to be used for cultural and commercial activities. Hanging above the park would be a capsule-shaped building containing hundreds of thousands of square feet of meeting and exhibition space. At either end are hotels and ramps for emergency and service vehicles. (Automobiles would not be permitted on the bridge, but there would be escalators, moving sidewalks, and cable cars.) With its 34th Street location, the bridge could supplement the Javits Center, and would do so in far more spectacular fashion than the addition now planned. It could also do something the Javits Center has so far failed to do: attract development to Manhattan’s Far West Side."

via ArchNewsNow

C’était un Rendez-vous: Filmé par Claude Lelouch

Need a little adreanaline rush? Click here to get 9 minutes a unadulterated, uncut speed with this little cult classic http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyabObFKp0s

Lelouch_mercedes_3   

A big thank you to the just discovered (to us) Studio 109. Plenty of good debate on the authenticity of speed here, here and here

According to Studio 109

"This short film by seminal French director Claude Lelouch presents a unique experience of the urban environment. A nine minute tour of 1970′s Paris from a moving vehicle. There are some pretty tense moments as the driver speeds through the cobblestone streets. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the nuts and bolts of the film. Who was driving? What type of car? Was it staged? Has it been altered to make the cars speed appear faster? But the overwhelming consensus is that Lelouch himself was driving, the roads were not block off, and he reached top speeds between 90-140 mph in a Ferrari 275 GTB before ending his voyage at the Basilica Sacre Coeur."

via Studio 109

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