on march 31, 2016, world renowned architect zaha hadid passed away at the age of 65. born in baghdad in 1950, she studied mathematics before enrolling at london’s architectural association in 1972. by 1979 she had established zaha hadid architects, and quickly rose to global prominence. working with office partner patrik schumacher, the studio utilized a host of innovative technologies that often resulted in unexpected and dynamic architectural forms.
Zaha was an outsider and upfront about the unfair treatment she experienced as a woman, a foreigner and a designer of expensive, weird-looking buildings – a triple whammy. She did not fit the stereotypical white male profession of registered architects. Jealousy and prejudice failed to bar her way, but it took its toll.
Theaster Gates’ practice includes sculpture, installation, performance and urban interventions that aim to bridge the gap between art and life. Gates works as an artist, curator, urbanist and facilitator and his projects attempt to instigate the creation of cultural communities by acting as catalysts for social engagement that leads to political and spatial change.
Mr. Burton, a small, wiry man known for his erudition, verbal precision and explosive laugh, worked as a critic and an editor for Art News and Art in America before becoming a full-time artist.
He was inspired by tensile chairs and tables of Rietveld, the Dutch De Stijl designer who, like Piet Mondrian, specialized in simple geometries and primary colors. Further inspiration came from the round stone table and stools that Constantin Brancusi created as a memorial for the fallen of World War I in Tirgu Jiu, Rumania. But he also took ideas from Art Deco designs, the common American lawn chair, as well as rustic or Adirondack furniture made from bark-covered tree trunks and branches.
His wide-ranging body of writing, which often champions positions thought to be antagonistic and advocates for underdogs, is united by a strong and consistent underlying philosophy—his belief that art should be accessible, personal, and affective, that it should challenge the elitism, exclusivity, and hierarchies that plague the art world in favor of producing subjective and eclectic emotional responses and direct connections with viewers. He sought to dissolve the boundaries between art and life, placing emphasis on temporal and performative works because they are subject to the same mortal span as the viewer and deny the impossible permanence of the object.
She should be world-famous for her innovative designs—and would be, had Le Corbusier not intervened. But, as Michael Watts reports, her story now has a happy ending, thanks partly to a new film
Gray was a bisexual Anglo-Irish aristocrat who became a free-spirited member of the bohemian classes. She is said to have driven around Paris, where she spent most of her life, in a Chenard-Walcker roadster with Damia, her celebrity girlfriend, and Damia’s pet panther. Even at the age of 80, Gray thought of buying a Vespa scooter. When she died, in 1976, she was 98 and still painting and experimenting with materials such as Plexiglass.
28 million dollors chair.
The unique and remarkable ‘Dragons’ armchair was acquired from Miss Gray by Suzanne Talbot, the first patron to provide her with an opportunity to create a complete environment. The exotic, symbolist character of the piece situates it conceptually within the first phase of Miss Gray’s creative cycle. The Mad Tea Party (previous post)
Frei Otto has just been named the 40th recipient of the Pritzker Prize – two weeks prior to the expected official announcement. The abrupt news has been released early due the unfortunate passing of the German architect and structural engineer, who was best known for the 1972 Munich Olympic Stadium. The pioneering tensile structure, which stood in considerable contrast to the strict, authoritarian stadium that was its predecessor, was meant to present a different, more compassionate face for Germany.
“Throughout his life, Frei Otto has produced imaginative, fresh, unprecedented spaces and constructions. He has also created knowledge. Herein resides his deep influence: not in forms to be copied, but through the paths that have been opened by his research and discoveries,” says the Jury.
When I entered the first meditation
I escaped the gravity of the object,
I experienced the emptiness,
And I have been dead a long time.
When I had a voice you could call a voice,
My mother wept to me:
My son, my beloved son,
I never thought this possible
I’ll follow you on foot.
Halfway in mud and slush the microphones picked up.
It was raining on the houses;
It was snowing on the police-cars.
The astronauts were weeping,
Going neither up nor out.
And my own mother was brave enough she looked
And it was alright I was dead.
When I read of the sacrifice of Jan Palach, I was reading of a heroism toward which I had aspired but recoiled. But it is not for everyone to be such a sacrifice, as many have said, it is not even easy to be a disciple of such a hero. Indeed, Palach finally asked others to refrain from a mechanical martyrdom.
On the art of collaboration
He is perhaps most proud of his long collaboration with the late architect John Hejduk, who served as dean of Cooper Union’s school of architecture for many years. In 1991, a poem Shapiro had written about the Czechoslovak student Jan Palach, who set himself on fire in 1969 to protest the Soviet invasion, was engraved on a plaque as part of a memorial designed by Hejduk and mounted on the grounds of Prague Castle in the Czech Republic.
My student Shigeru Ban wins the Pritzker for his work in temporary structures. Look up his curtain house blowing in wind. And for his tubes of cardboard. I loved a poem he wrote that was about being confused at 20 by going from Japan to New York all the time. His embrace of victims of the storms. Proud of his clear architecture.Another example of the greatness of John Hejduk’s conception of the social contract which is, after all, architecture. The fantasies at Cooper became the poetry within disaster. Cardboard !
Forget the damned motor car and build the cities for lovers and friends.
Lewis Mumford (October 19, 1895 – January 26, 1990) was an American historian, sociologist, philosopher of technology, and literary critic. Particularly noted for his study of cities and urban architecture, he had a broad career as a writer.
It’s a postcard-perfect day on Suomenlinna Island, in Helsinki’s South Harbor. Warm for the first week of June, day trippers mix with Russian, Dutch, and Chinese tourists sporting sun shades and carrying cones of pink ice cream.
“Is this the prison?” asks a 40-something American woman wearing cargo pants and a floral sleeveless blouse.
Today the world has lost one of its great minds. Paolo Soleri, architect, builder, artist, writer, theorist, husband, father, born on Summer Solstice, June 21, 1919, has died at age 93.
Soleri spent a lifetime investigating how architecture, specifically the architecture of the city, could support the countless possibilities of human aspiration. The urban project he founded, Arcosanti , 65 miles north of Phoenix, was described by NEWSWEEK magazine as “…the most important urban experiment undertaken in our lifetimes.”
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Paolo Soleri used to host Italian night, where he cooked for a few hundred people at Arcosanti. We will miss him and his dinners greatly. We all bought his bells and enjoyed taking visitors to Cosanti or Arcosanti.
“My position is not reductionist; my position is minimalist. Nothing is or becomes outside the big bang. Each organism is the big bang in action.” Paolo Soleri
“In nature, as an organism evolves it increases in complexity and it also becomes a more compact or miniaturized system. Similarly a city should function as a living system. Arcology, architecture and ecology as one integral process, is capable of demonstrating positive response to the many problems of urban civilization, population, pollution, energy and natural resource depletion, food scarcity and quality of life. Arcology recognizes the necessity of the radical reorganization of the sprawling urban landscape into dense, integrated, three-dimensional cities in order to support the complex activities that sustain human culture. The city is the necessary instrument for the evolution of humankind.” —Paolo Soleri