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
This set by acclaimed designer Isamu Noguchi, used in Martha Graham’s ‘Embattled Garden,’ was damaged when basement storage of the Martha Graham Dance Company, located in the West Village, flooded in late October 2012. The company said it is still assessing the extent of the damage.
See Isamu Noguchi design from The Appalachian Spring..
Lebbeus Woods died this morning at the age of 72. Woods was
an anomaly in the contemporary architecture scene, producing
work almost exclusively in the form of architectural
drawings (in great volume) and sustaining a distinctive
reputation as a visionary who, by inhabiting the lofty
theoretical stratosphere of imagining over constructing
buildings– a space so distanced from the vitiating
constraints of capital — remained something of an
uncorrupted, almost sanctified presence in the field. -Alan Sondheim (via netbehaviour)
Architecture and war are not incompatible. Architecture is war. War is architecture. I am at war with my time, with history, with all authority that resides in fixed and frightened forms. I am one of millions who do not fit in, who have no home, no family, no doctrine, no firm place to call my own, no known beginning or end, no “sacred and primordial site.” I declare war on all icons and finalities, on all histories that would chain me with my own falseness, my own pitiful fears. I know only moments, and lifetimes that are as moments, and forms that appear with infinite strength, then “melt into air.” I am an architect, a constructor of worlds, a sensualist who worships the flesh, the melody, a silhouette against the darkening sky. I cannot know your name. Nor you can know mine. Tomorrow, we begin together the construction of a city.
Gaudi not only had a profound impact on Teshigahara’s work, but it was Gaudi who planted the seed of a cross-disciplinary approach to the arts. “Gaudi worked beyond the borders of various arts,” said Teshigahara, “and made me feel that the world in which I was living still left a great many possibilities.”
Nature and landscape were of central importance to Hiroshi Teshigahara, even as a young boy. He was born in Tokyo, son of Sofu Teshigahara, founder and grand master of the Sogetsu School of ikebana. Sofu championed the idea of ikebana as an art form rather than a decorative craft, and he bucked tradition by including materials besides flowers in his work.
As Dore Ashton explains in an excellent essay on the Criterion website, when Hiroshi Teshigahara was a schoolboy, Japan’s cities were firebombed during the Second World War. He “returned to a landscape of bleak ruins.” Teshigahara’s generation “was charged with building a way to exist in the desperate circumstances they had inherited,” says Ashton. “Prominent survivors of the prewar avant-garde, who had spent all their youth in Paris, exhorted young artists to build a totally new culture, expunging all memory of the militaristic milieu of their childhood.”
“If any film could be described as an architectural symphony, it is Hiroshi Teshigahara’s 1984 movie ANTONIO GAUDI. Much of the imagery in GAUDI is nothing less than astounding in its beauty and boldness, and the blending of a neo-Gothic mysticism and grandeur with an Art Nouveau line and a surreal apprehension of the power of nature. The erotic connotations of much of the work are so blunt as to be almost shocking.”– Stephen Holden, The New York Times