Texas Architect March/April 2012: Destinations
Destinations represent different points of arrival, whether a temporary stopping place during a student’s busy day on campus or destinations for entertainment and cultural events.Of particular note is the destination for dignitaries from around the world who will travel to Houston in mid-April for the official unveilingof the Asia Society Texas Center, previewedon page 44. Yoshio Taniguchi’s design for the$48.4 million building establishes the New York based Asia Society (founded in 1956 by John D.Rockefeller III to educate the public about Asia)with its first branch between the two coasts. Thefour-day celebration culminates with a free openhouse on April 14-15 for the public, featuringtours, food, and performances, as well as theopening of Treasures of Asian Art: A RockefellerLegacy, a temporary exhibition of works from theMr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller Collection atAsia Society New York.
photo by paUl bardaG J y; (paGe 25) photo by JaCob termansen 24 Texas Architect 3/4 2012 Essay M odernist sculptor Constantin Brancusi famously said, “Architec- ture is inhabited sculpture.” That raises the question: Is sculpture uninhabitable architecture? At the very least, his statement draws a direct compari- son between the two disciplines and invites spec- ulation about the relationship between sculpture, architecture, and the open spaces between. In 2008, the University of Texas at Austin launched a program to develop a collection of public art to enhance the architectural fabric of its campus and to bring art, particularly sculpture, out into the open. The very name of the program, Landmarks, was carefully crafted by Andrée Bober, the program’s director, to take on multiple meanings. One reading suggests that the outdoor sculpture pieces are intended as physical landmarks across the campus that signify an association with a specific place. Another reading refers to a landmark event or landmark case, an occurance that changes one’s understanding of the world. The program’s tag line – “See All Sides” – implies yet another meaning that fits nicely under the same concep- tual umbrella. This unique public arts initiative aims to carefully select and place art pieces according to guidelines set forth in the university’s Public Art Master Plan. That document, designed by Peter Walker Partners Landscape Architects, proposes locations for public art installations, while also adhering to the intent of Paul Cret’s UT campus master plan of the early 1930s, as well the 1999 modifications by Cesar Pelli and Associates. Cret’s master plan emphasized Beaux-Arts inspired formal relationships between architec- ture, open space, and reinforced symmetrical relationships, particularly with the layouts of the axial malls – effectively serving as the cardo and decumanus in Roman city planning terminol- ogy – all terminating in the Main Building. The Public Art Master Plan respects this historical spatial order, particularly in the original Forty Marking the Land by Matt Fajkus, AIA