Issuu on Google+

USA SAMPLE ISSUE


ARCHITECTURE IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

CONTRIBUTORS

THE ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW

This special sample issue of The Architectural Review focuses on work emerging from the United States of America. As one of the only truly global architecture magazines, The AR seeks to publish a diverse selection of projects from all backgrounds, and the US is no exception.

Emmanuel Petit is a partner in Jean Petit Architectes

EDITORIAL

With a wide range of features and articles, such as building studies, essays, viewpoints, and reviews, The AR provides readers with a wholistic look at the current architectural profession. This sample issue includes a short selection of pieces from AR’s recent past. With three cultural building studies, an Emerging Architecture competition entry, a Folio feature on Lebbeus Woods, and a Reputations review on the great urban critic Jane Jacobs, this issue is both a compilation of architecture and design from the US, and an introduction to the critical thinking of The AR.

Raymund Ryan is an architect and Curator at the

and Associate Professor of Architecture at Yale University. His forthcoming book Irony, or, The Self-Critical Opacity of Postmodern Architecture will be published in May 2013. Here he reports on the Parrish Art Museum by Herzog & de Meuron

Editor

Catherine Slessor catherine.slessor@emap.com

Deputy Editor

Will Hunter will.hunter@emap.com

Creative Director Simon Esterson

Heinz Architectural Center at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA. He is a regular contributor to architectural publications and in this issue he visits the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland, Ohio by Farshid Moussavi Architecture

Art Editor

Michael Webb is a long-standing contributor to the

Julia Dawson Tom Wilkinson

AR. An architectural writer and critic, he lives in a Los Angeles apartment originally designed by Richard Neutra. In this issue he reports on the new Clyfford Still Museum in Denver by Allied Works Architecture

Sharon Zukin is professor of sociology at Brooklyn College and Graduate Center, City University of New York, and author of Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places (Oxford University Press). Here she assesses Jane Jacobs’s legacy

Alexander Ecob

Editorial Assistant

Phineas Harper phineas.harper@emap.com +44 (0)20 3033 2740

Production Editors Editorial Interns Akua Danso Taylor Davey Nick Pocock

US Contributing Editors Michael Webb Mark Lamster

Associate Editor Rob Gregory

Editorial Director Paul Finch

PUBLISHING

International Account Manager Tom Rashid +44 (0)20 3033 2942 tom.rashid@emap.com

UK Account Manager

Keshena Grieve +44 (0)203 033 2947 keshena.grieve@emap.com

Group Advertising Manager

Amanda Pryde +44 (0)20 3033 2945 amanda.pryde@emap.com

Business Development Manager Nick Roberts +44 (0)20 3033 2940 nick.roberts@emap.com

Business Development Manager Ceri Evans +44 (0)20 3033 2943 ceri.evans@emap.com

Commercial Director

James MacLeod +44 (0)20 3033 2939 james.macleod@emap.com

Group Head of Marketing James Merrington

Senior Marketing Executive

Anthea Antoniou +44 (0)20 3033 2865 anthea.antoniou@emap.com

Marketing Executive

Alex Themistos +44 (0)20 3033 4327 alex.themistos@emap.com

Italian Advertising Sales Milan

Carlo Fiorucci +39 0362 23 22 10 carlo@fiorucci-international.com

US Advertising Sales New York Kate Buckley +1 845 266 4980 buckley@buckleypell.com

List Rental

Jonathan Burston +44 (0)20 8995 1919 jburston@uni-marketing.com

Managing Director

Robert Brighouse

Emap Chief Executive

Natasha Christie-Miller

2 AR | SAMPLE ISSUE

SUBSCRIPTION BASE RATES AND BACK ISSUES Please visit architectural-review.com/ subscribe or call 0844 848 8859 (overseas +44 (0)1858 438 804) and quote priority code asem UK direct debit £93 UK credit card £99 UK Student £55 Europe €138 Americas $138 Americas Student $89 Japan £115 Rest of World £115 Rest of World Student £65 American copies are air speeded to New York Back issues £12 in UK 0844 848 8859 £16 overseas +44 (0)1858 438 804 are@subscription.co.uk

Non-delivery of issues and changes of address

AR Subscriptions Tower Publishing Tower House Sovereign Park Market Harborough LE16 9EF, UK +44 (0)1858 438 804 are@subscription.co.uk US subscribers contact: The Architectural Review c/o PSMJ Resources PO Box 95120, Newton MA 02495, USA +1 617 965 0055 The Architectural Review (ISSN 0003-861x) is published monthly for $199 per year by Emap, Royal Mail International c/o Smartmail, 140 58th Street, Suite 2b, Brooklyn NY 11220-2521 USA Periodicals postage paid at Brooklyn NY and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: send address changes to The Architectural Review c/o PSMJ Resources PO Box 95120, Newton, MA 02495 USA ABC average circulation for July 2011−June 2012 11,089 © EMAP Publishing 2013

The Architectural Review 69-77 Paul Street London EC2A 4NW, UK architectural-review.com Twitter: @ArchReview


SUBSCRIBE TO THE AR TODAY AND SAVE

25% £88 UK $119 US £108 ROW

CRITICAL THINKING FOR CRITICAL TIMES architectural-review.com/subscribe


Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas, Texas, USA, Morphosis

4 AR |  SAMPLE ISSUE


CANYON TO COSMOS Rising above the distracting blare of its surroundings, the new Perot Museum is an eloquent paean to the cosmic and geological forces that shape our planet and buildings

AR | SAMPLE ISSUE 5


Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas, Texas, USA, Morphosis

CRITICISM

NICHOLAS OLSBERG It is now 40 years since Morphosis first began its critical and unsentimental interventions into the urban fabric. Thom Mayne has never lost sight of the original agenda of the firm’s collective sensibility, continuing to cast his work into disjunctive conversation, critical dialogue or combinatory discussion with the urban context, but never deferring or merging into it. For the most part that visual commentary on the setting has been so determinedly and ruggedly urbanist that it has been hard to make connections to the sensory, to the dynamics of the body and its comprehension of space and light, or to nature and the larger landscape in which all buildings sit. Now, in a most unlikely setting, with a Dallas museum of science and nature that rises into a sky punctuated by a hundred lonely glass and concrete boxes, on a forlorn site beneath a downtown flyover, abutting a wilderness of parking lots on three sides and a sentimental neo-Victorian apartment complex on the other, he seems to have found a voice for the poetics of the city. Dense, opaque and monochromatic, conceived at the wonderfully satisfying scale of a castle keep and cast in a gorgeous concrete skin whose narrow extrusions evoke the strata and striations of the natural world, the Perot Museum tower comments on the arbitrary, mis-scaled flimsy lucent high-rises around it with an almost visceral solidity, while the folds of the shallow concrete skirt that falls from it to the street and flow around the visitor in its plaza are positively melodious. The whole scheme, not only in its didactic programme but in such factors as its studied attention to conserving resources, and to bringing light into a closed container, talks to the planet and its crisis. Some steps in this

1. (Previous page) bordered by freeways and parking lots, the museum confronts the distracting urban blare of Dallas 2. Jurassic car park – within this disconnected milieu, the building has the presence and solidity of a modern castle keep 3. A glazed bar containing an escalator is clamped to the side of the building, offering views of its dystopian environs 4. The green podium ripples above pedestrians

2

location plan 6 AR |  SAMPLE ISSUE

direction are less successful than others. The sloping podium from which the concrete container of the museum rises wraps around it an arc of the geological and living environments of Texas. Where this undulating sequence becomes a roof, a layer of shale flagstones and grasses is laid down, the orientation allowing it to shed and capture water. This didactic and rather ghastly demonstration of natural living environments along the roof of the plinth becomes visible from many points, including the adjacent freeway. As a result there has been much discussion of the concrete forms and other fabricated elements of the building that were very oddly scattered among the rocks at a late stage of design. To some − including the architects − a positive symbolic message seems plain enough: that buildings grow from the shaping of materials drawn from nature. But the idea is growing that they represent shards that fell from the great slash in the side of the building during some recent fictive catastrophe, and that, as memories of rupture, they are therefore predictive of cataclysms to come. Where the approaches are less didactic or self-conscious and grounded in the experiential, they have real clarity and force. Some sensory moments are positively luxurious in their attention to the body and its awareness of motion. The main entry is the

‘[The materials] represent shards that fell from the great slash in the side of the building ... memories of rupture, they are therefore predictive of cataclysms to come’


3

4

exploded projection AR | SAMPLE ISSUE 7


10

Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas, Texas, USA, Morphosis

11

10

9

1 concourse 2 café 3 kitchen 4 theatre 5 shop 6 lobby 7 roof deck 8 landscape plinth 9 atrium 10 gallery 11 office

9

third floor plan

fourth floor plan

10

10

9

9

9

lower second floor plan

9

upper second floor plan

C B

D

7

7 8

6

6 9 A

A 5 1 2

3

4

B lower ground floor plan 8 AR |  SAMPLE ISSUE

C

D

20m upper ground floor plan


AR | SAMPLE ISSUE 9


5. (Previous page) gigantic concrete beams strewn across the podium seem to presage some terrible cataclysm 6. Or perhaps they record the titanic tectonic forces that might have shaped this jutting cliff

section BB

section AA 6

10 AR |  SAMPLE ISSUE


Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas, Texas, USA, Morphosis

section DD

section CC pedestrian equivalent of an on-ramp. A sweepingly curved walkway, under a luminous canopy, skirting a forest glade, and broken by a stream of the museum’s circulating water system, guides your feet to the entrance. The initial entry comes where these fluid lines converge on the base of a great glazed shaft cut up through the dense container. Such splittings are now a signature Morphosis gesture. They have a ‘combinatory’ intent, connecting the life inside the building to that of the city outside by unveiling each to the other, drawing in forms and materials from the exterior language and exposing to the world at large elements and activities on the inside. Here the open shaft is also used to display − as if it were a kind of science in itself − all the varying heights, scales, materials, shapes, systems and lines with which the building operates. Thus we are welcomed to the museum by an anatomical section of the structure and its armatures

‘Morphosis leads us ... to a world in which the body and mind pace movement and recognise the moments of wonder that come with the slowing of motion’ rather as if it were the skeleton of a dinosaur. In another nod to the morphology of buildings and towns, a busy and brightly lit ‘entertainment’ district − the museum’s store, café and theatre − spills off from this, settling under the gently rising landscaped roof that serves as a watershed. It is all a little too compressed and complicated, but both the compression and the complexity have their points, especially in nudging visitors − like the bridge at Breuer’s Whitney or the great steps of a 19th-century

gallery − into the change of speed and gaze that has to mark the transition from street to sanctum. In this case Morphosis leads us from an automobile city in which the privilege of motion is almost entirely granted to the machine to an alternate world in which the body and mind pace movement and can recognise the moments of wonder that can come with that slowing of motion. One of those moments comes very soon in a vast, shockingly dim basement lobby. It is a sudden explosion of space, undulating surfaces and visible structural members, covered by a high web of starlights beyond which it is impossible to exactly discern the finite ceiling. Morphosis says only that the lobby’s patterns ‘reflect the dynamism of the exterior landscape, blurring the distinction between inside and outside and connecting the natural with the manmade’. But, decorated with a single giant dinosaur, this evocation of the ‘great hall’ seems to say much more. It could AR | SAMPLE ISSUE 11


7. Interior spaces juxtapose organic and angular forms to Scharounian effect 8 & 9. The epic sweep of the concrete facade is broken up by irregular striations that recall the geological strata of a cliff-face

cutaway projection 7

12 AR |  SAMPLE ISSUE


8

9

Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas, Texas, USA, Morphosis

AR | SAMPLE ISSUE 13


14 AR |  SAMPLE ISSUE


10. (Opposite) layered walkways and bulbous concrete piers imbue the mechanics of circulation with a powerful spatial and experiential drama 11. The low, dark lobby is the lair of a solitary dinosaur: a reminder, along with the star-spangled ceiling, that the cosmos is more awe-inspiring than our car-strangled cities

Architect Morphosis Associate architect Good Fulton & Farrell Task lighting/exterior Erco Acoustic ceilings Hunter Douglas: Techstyle Structural glazing Novum Structures Locks and door closers Dorma Photographs Iwan Baan

Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas, Texas, USA, Morphosis

be seen as a lovely and mysterious reminder, as the museum’s tale of the planet begins, not simply of how one’s journey began in the great halls of the traditional natural science museum but of the smallness of the human place in our universe and of the vastness of the human capacity to comprehend it. This is one of a number of points at which Mayne’s work transcends the determinedly virile and unlyrical manner in which his team describes it. The second moment of intended amazement is less successful. Taking its cue from Wright’s Guggenheim, the Perot addresses the problem of the vertical museum both aesthetically, by celebrating the vertical circulation, and pragmatically, by carrying you first to the top and allowing for a gradual descent. Models show an extraordinary amount of attention to the huge glass escalator shaft that breaks out from the most visible facade of the museum. It follows the same lines and serves much the same purpose as a giant telescope, taking visitors to the roof of the building and − with vistas of the city along the route − leaving them at the end of its trajectory among a discussion of the stars in the museum’s gallery of the universe. Yet so much has been done by the time one takes this ride to introduce this experience − the most

‘The museum succeeds in ... the many moments of almost loving, sensuous spatial poetry with which its supposedly cool, proudly prosaic, rugged, critical and urbanistic architect has endowed it’

conspicuous feature of the building and its most touted − that there is very little surprise or excitement in the short journey; positive disappointment in the dismal vista of parking lots and banal office towers it affords along the way; and no excitement at all in the final meagre and vertiginous little observation deck it takes you to (with an urban view of next to nothing). The best views by far are actually those looking down and around, to the very elegantly crafted and beautifully lit white stairwells, the simplest and clearest passages in the entire building and the least cluttered with ideas. The memory of those stairs becomes an essential counterpoint to the overwhelming visual noise of so many of the galleries, in which the spiral scheme, the architecture and especially the unfortunate specimens themselves, all become lost in a garish forest of labels, billboards and flickering backdrops. The few points of focus and repose in this busy scene − the quietly glowing hall of minerals is one − serve only to point out where the museum best and most surprisingly succeeds in arousing a desire to keep this earth intact, which is not in its displays, nor in the rather fierce and didactic xerigraphy of its landscape scheme − but in the many moments of almost loving, sensuous spatial poetry with which its supposedly cool, proudly prosaic, rugged, critical and urbanistic architect has endowed it. The museum’s conversations between straight line and curve, softly dense wall and decisive cut, completed box and open cylinder are too abrupt at times. But there is in that abruptness something true to how nature shows itself in an urban setting; so that one walks away rather moved by the memory of this fiercely lovely silo settling onto its wandering plinth like a morsel of gravel onto an oily raindrop, catching the light and casting reflection in a thousand ways.

11

AR | SAMPLE ISSUE 15


16 AR |  SAMPLE ISSUE


HORIZON LINE Synthesising allusions to the vernacular with contemporary abstraction, the new Parrish Art Museum encapsulates the changing dynamic between art, landscape and architecture

Eli and Edythe Parrish Art Broad Art Museum, Museum, Long Island, Lansing, New York, USA, Michigan, USA, Herzog & Zaha Hadid de Meuron Architects AR | SAMPLE ISSUE 17


2

3

4

5

1. (Previous page) set in the bucolic coastal landscape of the Hamptons, the new Parrish Museum is a long, precise bar, its scale and abstraction apparently at odds with its rural milieu 2. Yet at ground level, the building evokes the familiar qualities of vernacular structures such as barns and houses 18 AR |  SAMPLE ISSUE

3. The Parrish is a riposte to the idea of the museum as art work, typified by Jean Nouvel’s Musée du Quai Branly in Paris 4-6. Herzog & de Meuron’s recent museological antecedents: de Young Museum in San Francisco, Museum der Kulturen in Basel and London’s Tate Modern conceived as a giant mineral landform

6


Parrish Art Museum, Long Island, New York, USA, Herzog & de Meuron

section AA

CRITICISM

EMMANUEL PETIT Opened last November, the new Parrish Art Museum displays works from the museum’s permanent collection of American art, encompassing paintings, works on paper and sculpture amassed over its 115-year history. The building is sited next to the village of Southampton, one of Long Island’s most affluent communities and a weekend refuge for many Manhattaners who periodically flee the island for the bucolic idyll of the Hamptons. A 90-minute drive takes you from the traffic-congested city to the serene dune-and-shrub landscape of Long Island. Amid the disjointed, small-scale beachside buildings, Herzog & de Meuron nest an abstractly detailed, longitudinal bar with a double-pitched roof set on a strict east–west orientation to catch north light for galleries through rhythmically-placed skylights. In this project, H&dM revisit two of the key themes that have come to define their architecture. On one hand, they see architecture as emerging from the genius loci, and on the other, they interpret it as the tautological tectonics of the ‘house’. While these two aspects reconfirm their own penchant for a phenomenological architecture, perfected over the years and shared with contemporaries such as Steven Holl and Peter Zumthor, in respect of this latest project, one consequential question

remains. What should one think about the harmonious, attuned and seamless coexistence of art and architecture at the Parrish Museum and the insistence on genius loci at a time when notions of local materials or crafts, and the unmediated and genuine access to both nature and art seem to have been displaced for good in our culture? For all the tectonic perfection of this building and the elegance of its materiality and detailing, the architecture of the Parrish has an orthodoxy and sternness which seems atypical of both contemporary museum architecture and of H&dM’s own work. Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim in Bilbao (AR December 1997) challenged the orthodoxy that a museum had to be a neutral backdrop to suspend art in an autonomous, conceptual, ‘zero gravity’ space. In the face of contemporary art, which abandoned its more traditional ‘object’ status and now claimed to be spatial in its own right, Gehry’s riposte involved making architecture even more sculptural and object-like. Similarly, Jean

‘For all the tectonic perfection and elegance of its materiality and detailing, the Parrish has an orthodoxy and sternness atypical of both museums and H&deM’

Nouvel’s Musée du Quai Branly in Paris (AR October 2006) explored the fundamentally mediated nature of exhibits (in this case anthropological artefacts). Here, architecture engages art in a spatio-geometric dialogue by immersing it in a sensually intense and formally complex experiential milieu that exploits to great effect the superposition of reflections, transparencies, textures, colour and light. On the building’s facade, Nouvel devised a vertical garden (mur végétal), which transformed nature itself into an artefact and object of the manmade environment. Arguably, these two buildings are emblematic of what came to be called the era of postmodernity, where the belief in the essential differentiation between medium and content, between container and contained, and between architecture and art object, has been suspended. Not so in the Parrish Museum. On Long Island, H&dM’s earnest take on the interaction of museum, art and nature is surprising, especially in light of their own repertoire of museum projects. Take the Museum der Kulturen, which plays with the traditional iconography of Basel’s medieval roofscape and wittily invokes nature when suggesting (at least rhetorically) that part of the building is supported by ‘inverted’ columns made of hanging plants. Every element is treated without any pathos about the alleged genuineness of nature or tectonic authenticity of architecture. Similarly, the AR | SAMPLE ISSUE 19


Parrish Art Museum, Long Island, New York, USA, Herzog & de Meuron

1 auditorium 2 terrace 3 entrance 4 café 5 galleries 6 administration 7 archive 8 art loading 9 works on paper

roof plan

A

1

3

2

4

‘It’s conceivable that the passive and conventional role H&dM’s architecture assumes in relation to the art it houses comes with the territory’ ongoing extension to London’s Tate Modern likens architecture to a gigantic mineral landform, so severing the romantic connection between natural environment and architectural form. And at the de Young Museum in San Francisco (AR October 2005), architecture and nature are integrated in diagrammatic and abstract ways that largely deny all sentimental apprehension of the genius loci. A satellite image reveals the Parrish Art Museum’s autonomous scale and orientation in the landscape and points up one of its most important characteristics, the silvery metal roof, which makes the structure stand out against the dark ground plane. Standing in front of the building, you immediately grasp the phenomenological intention. The long roof reflects and merges with the bright and luminous sky, the cast concrete sidewalls are rooted and terrestrial. Architecture is seen as a meeting point between sky and earth; a sort of horizon in its own right, or at least an expressive interpretation of this notion. 20 AR |  SAMPLE ISSUE

5

5

ground floor plan

5

5

6

A

7

9

6

5

7

8

20m


8

9

7. Conceived as a horizon in its own right, the long, silvery bar of the building is transformed into an evocative meeting point between earth and sky 8. Materials are treated with great finesse and precision. Concrete walls are rooted and terrestrial, while the metal roof merges with the sky 9. The roof oversails at each end to create sheltered spaces under its double-pitched canopy

AR | SAMPLE ISSUE 21


10

The typological choice of a long linear structure, which exceeds the possibility of being apprehended as a finite object, confirms this intent. Unlike the small houses that seem whimsically scattered around the landscape, this building wants to be a matrix of the landscape itself: it makes visible what is otherwise only conceptually accessible. In one of his more famous essays on the onto-phenomenological role of architecture, Heidegger likens architecture to a longitudinal structure − a bridge: ‘The bridge does not just connect banks that are already there. The banks emerge as banks only as the bridge crosses the stream ... The bridge gathers the earth as landscape around the stream ... a location comes into existence only by virtue of the bridge.’ In other words, nature does not simply predate the insertion of the architecture/bridge, but architecture frames the landscape so that it becomes, for the first time, visible with all its inherent qualities. Architecture is a bridge that connects the human to his/her environment − it is an Auslegung, interpretation, or ‘lay-out’, which makes things accessible to consciousness and thus renders them intelligible. The Parrish Museum can certainly be conceptualised this way: its horizontality makes visible the smooth topography of the dunes; its hard geometry explicates by contrast the soft forms of the vegetation; its framed views of the landscape reveal the long-drawn-out spaces of the fields and the 22 AR |  SAMPLE ISSUE

‘Architecture frames the landscape so that it becomes, for the first time, visible with all its inherent qualities’ beaches. H&dM’s own precedent to the theme of building-as-horizon is to be found in the Dominus Winery in Yountville, California (AR October 1998), where they made horizontality itself into the very theme of their architecture. The Parrish is essentially an extruded bar, cut off to reveal a double-pitched roof which runs with the grain of the building and thus evokes the imagery of a double house or barn on both end elevations. This architectural two-sidedness is reminiscent of John Hejduk’s IBA projects in Berlin, where Hejduk gave his buildings one figural facade with a sort of inverted roof obliquely referencing the iconography of the traditional house. He then extruded this architectural sign into deep space to create abstract and ‘modern’ side facades. Hejduk designed a whole series of conceptual ‘double houses’, and also ‘half-houses’, suggesting that architecture had a double grounding in the symbolic and allegorical realm of the human imagination and, at the same time, in the material and pragmatic logic of the ‘real’ world. These ideas resulted in a two-and-a-half dimensional architecture that suggested the domestic

scale of the individual dwelling and the scale of the urban apartment house could paradoxically coexist in the same building. At the Parrish Museum, H&dM deploy the symbolism of the house in many different ways. The entrance to the building is marked by a missing section of the long bar, which takes on the shape of the ‘absent’ barn. At this point, the visitors set foot in the architectural thematic of the shed even before they proceed to enter the actual building. The entrance door is made of a very sophisticated black textured wood, which is more reminiscent of the small doors of a jewellery chest than of a building. Inside, the cafeteria and galleries are defined by the contours of the house, lined with white walls but opening the space to the whole height of the pitched roof. The exposed, untreated wood construction of the timberwork emphasises the reading and reinterpretation of a vernacular structure. H&dM have previously turned to the symbolism of the traditional house. Projects such as the recent VitraHaus in Weil am Rhein (AR March 2010) make clear how the iconography of the gable roof and Urhut have determined their architecture. With both the VitraHaus and the Parrish Art Museum, they are less mythical about the motif of the house than Hejduk, but it similarly helps them to reconcile the institutional scale of a museum with the domestic reality of the local architecture. The tectonic meeting point of


Parrish Art Museum, Long Island, New York, USA, Herzog & de Meuron

1 2 3 4

10. Benches are cast into the external walls, a device also employed at the VitraHaus

5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

corrugated metal roofing waterproof membrane roof deck assembly timber purlin spray foam insulation batt insulation metal fascia steel welding plate and steel angle in wall cavity rigid insulation cast concrete wall plywood lining external light timber rafter cold joint cast concrete bench expansion joint composite concrete slab on metal deck polyurethane foam foundation wall precast concrete slab

14 15 16

17 18

19 16 20

detailed wall section AR | SAMPLE ISSUE 23


11

Parrish Art Museum, Long Island, New York, USA, Herzog & de Meuron 24 AR |  SAMPLE ISSUE


12

Architect Herzog & de Meuron Associate architect Douglas Moyer Architect Photographs All photographs by Iwan Baan apart from: Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Philippe Ruault, 3 Paolo Rosselli / RIBA Library Photographs Collection, 4 Herzog & de Meuron Basel, 5, 6

11. Gallery spaces are defined by the contours of the two ‘houses’ and the double roof structure 12. The meeting point of the twin roofs itself reads as inverted roof which compresses space and forms the building’s long circulation spine

the double roof is also spatially interesting − especially on the inside. Where the two roofs connect and their beams structurally and expressively cross over, their interior surface reads as an inverted roof, which compresses the space inside the building. At the same time, the ridge of this upturned ceiling becomes the spatial guide for circulation throughout the museum, granting access to galleries of variable size on either side. On the whole, it’s hard to miss the careful and subtle details that are so masterfully deployed, such as the way the building sits on a thin concrete surface which appears to float above the natural ground by just an inch or so. The shadow joint between this surface and the ground is minute, yet it elevates the building into a realm determined by precision and meticulousness that is largely unknown to the American construction industry and is, at the same time, a trademark of Swiss architectural culture. Similarly, the exposed ceilings throughout the museum exhibit a sense of careful carelessness when electric cables are nailed to the timber beams or sprinkler pipes run along rim lines. H&dM’s Parrish Art Museum is an extremely skilled and artful essay on the tectonics of timberand-concrete construction and on the genius loci and it’s conceivable that the passive and conventional role their architecture assumes in relation to the art it houses comes with the territory. AR | SAMPLE ISSUE 25


26 AR |  SAMPLE ISSUE


Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, Ohio, USA, Farshid Moussavi Architecture

2

BLUE STEEL

Seductively reflecting the city and the seasons, the crystalline pavilion of Clevelandʼs new contemporary art museum is a radical exploration of geometry and materiality

AR | SAMPLE ISSUE 27


CRITICISM

RAYMUND RYAN The Bilbao Effect has come and gone, at least for the moment. The Bilbao Effect, that is, as demonstrated by architects less gifted than Frank Gehry attempting statement buildings, with wishful cultural programmes, on marginal or peripheral sites. Yet that doesn’t mean that the post-industrial city has given up on culture and on investigative design. If the signature meta-project is associated with recent excess, emerging cultural phenomena are frequently accommodated by architecture that takes a reciprocal attitude to existing fabric and is comparatively open in terms of solution. Modest size and modest budgets may yet allow for new forms of experimentation. Cleveland is one of several Rust Belt cities witnessing signs of rebirth or stabilisation. The new pavilion designed by Farshid Moussavi Architecture to house Cleveland’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is certainly a sign, a propelling urban element that is dramatic yet subtle. Set on an axial boulevard − the appropriately named Euclid Avenue − a few blocks from Gehry’s School of Management for Case Western Reserve University, MOCA’s immediate neighbours include a massive healthcare facility and a mixed-use development designed by Stanley Saitowitz as urbane extrusions to either side of Euclid. To make its presence felt, and to help consolidate the neighbourhood, MOCA exploits its site, budget and programme with economy and skill. To date, Moussavi is best known for the Yokohama Ferry Terminal (AR January 2003) realised in partnership with Alejandro Zaera-Polo between 1994 and 2002 as Foreign Office Architects. Her architectural projects and her teaching at Harvard are concerned with mathematical exploration, with new forms of landscape, and − as evinced by Moussavi’s presentation at this year’s Venice Biennale − with tectonic ornament and affect. Her building for MOCA Cleveland results from a geometric construct. A hexagon at ground level, it splays and mutates into a square four storeys above. Draped in elongated panels of black stainless steel, MOCA emerges in its context of much larger buildings as a beguiling pavilion, both meteorite and tent, a kind of tailored Dark Star with an internal logic that nevertheless results from local conditions. The immediate site is at the intersection of Euclid and a side street that cuts through the urban grid on a diagonal. MOCA’s form

‘A beguiling pavilion, both meteorite and tent, a kind of tailored Dark Star with an internal logic that results from local conditions’ 28 AR |  SAMPLE ISSUE

3


Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, Ohio, USA, Farshid Moussavi Architecture

1. Stairway to heaven: the ceilings in Cleveland’s Museum of Contemporary Art are painted a richly mystical Yves Klein blue 2. The exterior, ‘wrapped like candy in a pure blue neon glow’ (as Debbie Harry once sang), shimmers with light 3-5. The exterior has been designed to continually change its appearance by reflecting the shifting context of the city and the altering light conditions of the day and seasons

site plan 4

5

AR | SAMPLE ISSUE 29


6

Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, Ohio, USA, Farshid Moussavi Architecture

7

6. Appropriately intangible, a yellow glow invites visitors into a space dedicated to sound art installations 7. The building’s interior is clothed in blue and white stripes, like a Breton shirt

emerges from a negotiation between these axes. In that sense, Moussavi’s building is analytical and rational. MOCA, however, is also unorthodox and enigmatic. A century ago, such sites were allocated to libraries and banks. By the 1960s, gas stations and other drive-through facilities had typically usurped the old neighbourhood plan. MOCA seems less interested in the drive-by legibility advocated by Robert Venturi (indeed it avoids representation entirely) than some of the symbolic presence associated with previous architectural eras. Moussavi achieves this by fusing contemporary formalism and lean engineering. The rotation from hexagon to square results in a crystalline, prism-like form with eight facades: two rhomboids and six triangles. Four of the triangles rise from the pavement to a sharp apex against the sky; the other two triangles are equilaterals descending from the parapet to a point at street level. Seven facades are skinned in precisely aligned, stainless-steel panels set in parallel runs that change direction from one facade to the next. The eighth, facing north

‘This combination of geometry and materiality results in a building with a vivid personality’ 30 AR |  SAMPLE ISSUE


1 entrance lobby/atrium 2 café 3 multipurpose room 4 shipping/receiving 5 store 6 gallery

7 clean workshop 8 wood workshop 9 back of house 10 services 11 offices 12 education workshop

A B

7

6

B

6 9

8

10

A first floor plan

third floor plan

1 12

5

2

3

11 4

10

5m ground floor plan

second floor plan AR | SAMPLE ISSUE 31


8

5. Tincillab ium volore reribus rectatq uassimin comnis natissi to con rendit digent, sent, ute et et volessit quost optassit, con everoribus. Ro omnimax imintur, opta cus andam, sit eos dolorioria dit ommoluptas etur moloritem que nonsed ea id eumquidipsam de nonsequi quaturia doles et

9

32 AR |  SAMPLE ISSUE


Us eume num rero magnis adistrumet et expersp erferum

Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, Ohio, USA, Farshid Moussavi Architecture

8. Unlike many museum builders, Moussavi does not allow geometrical exuberance to detract from the functional display of art 9. The deep blue ceilings and walls break open the white cube, providing a contrasting backdrop to the works displayed within

and containing the principal entrance, is entirely of glass. Some of these facades tilt with the panel grid at an angle to the vertical axis. The black metal surfaces are not uniformly flat so that light and reflections fall irregularly to further animate the skin. Modular glazing components are inserted into the grid to function as skinny diagonal windows, flush and almost invisible in the building carapace. This combination of geometry and materiality results in a building with a vivid personality. It stands there at the intersection on Euclid constantly changing due to the ambient effects of both natural and electric light. Indeed the stainless steel seems to magnify different colours at different times of day. The structure evokes contemporaneity both in the sense of new design thinking and engaging with fleeting moments of time. The surrounding plaza, stretching north-east towards one of Saitowitz’s buildings, is planted and paved in geometric patterns by New York-based landscape architects, Field Operations. There is a service entry from the south, from the side street; otherwise the ground surface extends contiguously about the museum. ‘Museum’ is in fact somewhat misleading. MOCA exhibits cutting-edge art but does not collect, therefore the architect did not have to deal with the vexing issues of storage faced by collecting institutions. There is no basement. One of Moussavi’s generating ideas is to mix back-of-house facilities (loading dock, workshop, offices) with publicly accessible galleries, classrooms and foyer spaces on each of the building’s four levels. Visitors enter from Euclid through the sole glass facade into a narrow chasm of space between these stacked interior volumes and the origami-like outer wall. A complex open staircase with white plate balustrade leads upward, turning back on itself in order to reach the relevant upper rooms and offer unexpected prospects through the entire institution. MOCA’s industrial aesthetic results from considerations of economy, the demands of changing installations and Moussavi’s design philosophy. At street level, the polished concrete floor flows, in one direction, into a lounge and then a double-height space that can be used for exhibitions or performance and, in the other, into a store whose modular cabinetry can be pushed into a flush inner wall. MOCA charges for admission; however, non-paying visitors can access far into the building, climb the enticing sculptural staircase, and catch glimpses of exhibitions and interior workings of the museum. On the morning of MOCA’s inauguration, Moussavi denied her design had voyeuristic intent, stating that her aim is for engagement between institution and public. MOCA’s interior walls, and occasional suspended ceilings, are white. The architect has, however, scrambled established notions AR | SAMPLE ISSUE 33


of the ‘white cube’ gallery by unexpectedly painting the overarching roof and enveloping outer walls a uniform dark blue. The structure, angled like the exterior, is exposed and painted to match the interstitial panels. On inauguration day, Moussavi noted that inside the white cube art floats, whereas with the dark ceiling at MOCA art appears grounded. Certainly these galleries are seldom neutral; the visitor experiences a sequence of spaces and volumes to provoke artist, curator and visitor alike. Beneath the open staircase, for instance, an enclosed exit stairway is painted a brilliant yellow and intended for sound installations such as that currently on show by Korean artist Haegue Yang. There is one further, and entirely unexpected, detail. The sloping slots of glass function as windows to admit light when desired and to offer glimpses to the exterior, to the life of the street and to Gehry’s billowing metal structure across Euclid Avenue. The glass is forward of the structure so that floor slabs are mere shadows on the exterior, aiding an enigmatic or scaleless impression of the building. The reveals are lined in mirror. The mirror reflects curious snippets of street and sky, and dematerialises the thickness of the exterior envelope so that MOCA reads even more as a kind of industrial tent. Through Moussavi’s resolution of form and detail, Cleveland now has a vanguard facility offering spatial and optical surprise.

10

11

34 AR |  SAMPLE ISSUE

Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, Ohio, USA, Farshid Moussavi Architecture 10. Visitors climbing the grand stair see flashes of the exhibition spaces, drawing them upwards through the museum 11. From above, the cascading stairs reveal a complex tiered geometry

Architect Farshid Moussavi Architecture Photographs Dean Kaufman, 1-9 Duane Prokop, Getty Images, 10 Farshid Moussavi Architecture, 11


perspective section BB

perspective section AA AR | SAMPLE ISSUE 35


36 AR | SAMPLE ISSUE


1. (Opposite) the sober, elemental materiality of the museum exterior is continued into the internal spaces. Perforated ceilings diffuse Denver’s clear mountain light into the galleries 2. The rough texture of the concrete walls evokes Clyfford Still’s energetic, impassioned brushstrokes

2

A major new art museum dedicated to the life and work of Clyfford Still draws on the expressive energy and elementality of the painter’s oeuvre

NATURAL FORCES Clyfford Still Museum, Denver, USA Allied Works AR | SAMPLE ISSUE 37


Clyfford Still Museum, Denver, USA Allied Works

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Clyfford Still Museum Denver Art Museum, Hamilton Building (Daniel Libeskind) Denver Art Museum, North Building (Gio Ponti) City Library (Michael Graves) City and County Building Civic Centre Park Parking Structure

5

6

3

3

4

2

REPORT

MICHAEL WEBB Clyfford Still belonged to that heroic generation of American artists who made Abstract Expressionism the dominant movement of the 1950s. But he was also a loner, who withheld his work from galleries, moved from New York to a rural retreat, and retained most of the paintings he created over six decades. In his will, he stipulated that his estate be given to an American city willing to establish a permanent home for the study and exhibition of his art. Some 31 years after his death, that wish has been fulfilled in Denver. The Clyfford Still Museum is a tough fusion of art and architecture, rooted in the earth and open to the sky. Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture worked closely with director Dean Sobel to create an ideal viewing environment for huge canvases that explode with energy, and smaller early works. The austere concrete block, holding storage, conservation and service areas on the ground floor and galleries above, is a quiet riposte to the irrational exuberance of Denver’s cultural district. The structure backs up to Daniel Libeskind’s homage to The Cabinet of Dr Caligari 38 AR | SAMPLE ISSUE

with jagged metal shards on the outside, tilted walls and acute angles inside − an ostentatious and dysfunctional extension to the Denver Art Museum, which already has to cope with Gio Ponti’s eccentric castle. Beyond is Michael Graves’s colourful confection for the Denver Public Library, a PoMo assemblage of Platonic forms. Cloepfil wisely ignores these distractions, drawing his inspiration from landscape and light, as Still did, to serve the art. Although the artist spent most of his working life in San Francisco and on the eastern seaboard, he grew up on the Prairie and that experience shaped his vision. Denver is set on a mile-high plateau surrounded by the snow-capped Rocky Mountains, a spectacular setting that is mimicked in the white Teflon peaks of the Stapleton Airport terminal. Cloepfil preferred the elemental to the picturesque, starting with a concept model of rammed earth, and planning to clad the building with obsidian slabs. That proved infeasible, since the glassy fragments would not bond with concrete, and budgetary cutbacks narrowed the range of possibilities. Allied Works was determined to achieve a

1

rough texture that would have a random, undesigned quality, and the practice went through myriad tests and mock-ups with the contractor. The solution proved simple: bevel the boards in the formwork to allow the concrete to leak out and break off. The deep fins capture the light, and enliven the windowless facades, as do the iridescent tiles that clad the Museum of Arts and Design in New York (AR February 2009). A grove of plane trees will partially conceal the museum from the street, casting shadow patterns over the walls. Galleries are cantilevered over a recessed corner entrance, and a staircase draws visitors up from the long, low-ceilinged foyer,

7

3. The new building takes its place in Denver’s central cultural district, in the ostentatious shadow of Daniel Libeskind’s extension to the Denver Art Museum 4. (Opposite) galleries cantilever out over the recessed corner entrance. Light catches the fin-like texture of the concrete, animating the building's impervious facades

0

50’

100’


AR | SAMPLE ISSUE 39


40 AR | SAMPLE ISSUE


6

5. (Opposite) inside the museum, a double-height corridor orientates visitors with displays of archive material, and biographical and contextual timelines 6. One of the more intimate galleries for the display of smaller works. Galleries respond to the evolving nature of Still’s art, changing scale and proportion, while varying the intensity of light

Clyfford Still Museum, Denver, USA Allied Works

15

1 entrance terrace 2 reception 3 conservation lab 4 research lab 5 service 6 painting storage 7 mechanical 8 administration 9 visitor services 10 library 11 orientation 12 gallery 13 terrace 14 education gallery 15 conference

12

12

12

12

5

14

12

11

12

12

12 13

first floor plan 0

8

7

2

6

10m

5

1

10 9 4

3

ground floor plan AR | SAMPLE ISSUE 41


Clyfford Still Museum, Denver, USA Allied Works

7

ascending into the light. There they move through a grid of nine rooms − defined by poured concrete slabs and drywall − which open into each other and offer oblique views across the floor. A central well and the main staircase provide visual links to the ground level. The feeling is intimate and fluid, and there are two outdoor terraces screened with wooden battens. Wall openings frame canvases, allowing you to approach them from afar and then to immerse yourself in the explosive colours and forms. Two galleries have 3.8m diagonally boarded ceilings for smaller works, while the others rise 5.5m to a perforated concrete ceiling. The concrete fins are carried inside, but walls supporting the art have a rough-textured surface, offering a tactility complementing the impassioned brushstrokes. The perforated ceiling is set 1.3m above the walls holding the art, and the same distance below the filtered skylights, diffusing the clear mountain light through oval openings. The perforations are set at the same angle to the walls as the boarded ceilings, playing off the vertically marked walls and white oak floorboards. ‘It was very important that the museum be monolithic,’ says 42 AR | SAMPLE ISSUE

‘The Museum is a tough fusion of art and architecture, rooted in the earth and open to the sky’ Cloepfil. ‘In the US, buildings are assembled from parts. It took a while for the contractor to realise we wanted him to make things.’ There were repeated tests and one wall was torn down, but the effort paid off, for the 12m pours are as impeccable as the detailing. In mass and natural lighting, the building is a worthy heir to Louis Kahn’s Kimbell Art Museum − Cloepfil’s model of what an art museum should be. Cutbacks were turned to advantage. As an economy, the block was set back from the street and a third floor was eliminated, but the display area was only slightly reduced. The resulting delay gave everyone time to perfect the execution. About 70 paintings and sketches, hung chronologically with brief text panels, comprise the inaugural exhibition. Still’s art is so powerful and little-seen that even a small sampling of the 2,400 works in the collection is an unforgettable experience,

and this is enhanced by the architectural frame. Cloepfil drew on his long experience of designing museums and his familiarity with the key works, to calibrate the proportions of each room. As he observes, ‘elemental language can create spaces that are resonant and feel infinite.’ It is rewarding to compare the rigour and subtlety of this building with David Adjaye’s Denver Museum of Contemporary Art to the north (AR April 2008). Both architects have an innate respect for artists, and an intuitive understanding of how to enhance the experience of viewing their works. Adjaye provides a multi-layered complex of versatile display spaces for temporary exhibitions within a translucent envelope; a cabinet of curiosities that feels airborne. In contrast, Cloepfil has created a massive, impermeable block that appears to hide in plain view and will soon be embowered by mature trees. The archives and storage areas beyond the foyer are equally shadowy. Above, the art is washed with natural light and appears to float free of the walls that act as frames. There is an alternation of rough and refined, radiant and crepuscular, contained and free-flowing; above all, a pervasive serenity.

8

7. Early massing model showing the building’s relationship to site, as well as a sense of the ribbed and riven external walls 8. Detail of facade. Concrete was allowed to leach out of the formwork to create the roughly bevelled texture


9

9. Concrete walls and white oak floors form a neutral backdrop to the display of Still’s vibrant paintings. A leading exponent of Abstract Expressionism, Still was among the first to embrace the movement. The new museum re-acquaints the public with his impressive body of work

Architects Allied Works Architecture Structural engineer KPFF Consulting Engineers Services engineer Arup Landscape consultant Reed Hilderbrand Associates Photographs Jeremy Bittermann

section AA

section BB AR | SAMPLE ISSUE 43


1

EMERGING ARCHITECTURE

SHADOW PAVILION PLY ARCHITECTURE ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN, USA

44 AR | SAMPLE ISSUE

Space frame pioneer Robert Le Ricolais once said: ‘The art of structure is where to put the holes.’ So perhaps he would approve of this experimental project to make a structure composed of nearly all holes by Karl Daubmann and PLY Architecture. Over 100 laser-cut aluminum cones of varying sizes form the building blocks for a freestanding pavilion set in the University of Michigan’s Botanical Gardens. The organisational scheme for the cones explores the botanical concept of phyllotaxis: the dynamic process by which plants ‘self-organise’ to create specific forms. Beyond testing the limits of sheet aluminium, the cones also funnel light and sound to the interior, so that visitors can absorb the atmosphere of the surrounding gardens. Framing views out while taking the shape of an object in its own micro landscape, the Shadow Pavilion elegantly emphasises the immutable relationship between digital design processes and the growth patterns of living organisms.

site plan


2

3

1. Vistas of the changing seasons are framed and filtered through the circular opening in the pavilion 2. Fabricated from aluminium cones of different sizes, the form of the pavilion is inspired by organic processes of self-organisation 3. The cones also funnel sound into the interior

cross section

Architect Ply Architecture Photographs Courtesy of the architects

long section AR | SAMPLE ISSUE 45


Jane Jacobs SHARON ZUKIN In the half century following the publication of The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs has become the most revered, or at least the most widely referenced urban writer in the world. Prizes and medals are awarded in Jacobs’s name and her ideas shape historic preservation laws as well as new mixed-use designs. She is taken as the patron saint of grassroots movements against bureaucratic fiats that result in residential displacement, building demolition and the boring inanity or the ‘great blight of dullness’, as she wrote, of big, ugly new construction. Jacobs’s plainspoken critique of the architectural conformity that dogged post-war Modernism challenged the prevailing wisdom about rebuilding cities for the executive class. Her advocacy of the need to maintain the patterns of the antebellum city, with its often chaotic rhythms and finely tuned local scale, contradicted the grand strategies of rationalising do-gooders who wanted to save the city by destroying it. Appearing in 1961, Jacobs’s book mobilised socially conscious intellectuals who had been skewered by McCarthyism and threatened by the Cold War. Together with the works of the environmentalist writer Rachel Carson and the feminist author Betty Friedan, The Death and Life laid the groundwork for a new kind of protest politics based on where you live, what you eat and who you are. It is not insignificant that all three authors were women. Tributes rained down when Jacobs died in 2006. In her first adoptive city, New York, where the Pennsylvania-born author and activist worked as a secretary and then as a journalist, the block of Hudson Street where she wrote 46 AR | NOVEMBER 2011

The Death and Life towards the end of the 1950s was renamed in her honour as Jane Jacobs Way. Toronto, where Jacobs and her family moved in the 1970s (so her sons could avoid being called into military service in the Vietnam War), started a free annual walking tour of the city, Jane’s Walk, on the first weekend of May. As part of the street-level celebration, volunteers now lead over 500 tours in more than 75 cities around the world. Offering equally weighty symbolic kudos, the highest appointed official in charge of land-use decisions, New York City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden, has declared herself to be an ardent champion of Jacobs’s ideas. But in concrete terms, Jacobs’s legacy is less clear. Her preference for low-rise buildings at a variety of rents is honoured more in the pages of urban planning journals than in city council chambers where zoning laws are decided. Her praise for the social vitality of districts with attractions has morphed into the universally recognised economic value of Destination Culture and the McGuggenisation of many cities. As for the self-guiding communities that she espoused, well, they have been submerged by elected officials who pay more attention to real estate developers than to community planners and torpedoed by economic recession on the one hand and citizens’ tax revolts on the other. This is not entirely Jacobs’s fault. She wrote during an age of worldwide economic expansion when governments invested heavily in building new roads, subsidising suburban development and rationalising city centres as locations for corporate headquarters − an age, in short, that was typical of the United States and Europe after the Second World War and appears a lot like China now. Some of the evils that she attacked, including the arrogance of state planners who push people out of their homes,

‘Jacobs won the admiration of Neo-Cons who could hardly have shared most of her other political opinions’

Jane Jacobs 1916–2006 Education School of Graduate Studies, Columbia University First break Joining the magazine Architectural Forum (1952) Key Publications The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961) The Economy of Cities (1969) Cities and the Wealth of Nations (1984) Dark Age Ahead (2004) Garlands American Sociological Association Outstanding Lifetime Contribution Award (2002) Rockerfeller Foundation creation of Jane Jacobs Medal (2007) Quote 'Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody'

the monolithic architectural projects that swallow old districts whole and the stunning rate of highway construction that moulds cities around space for trucks and cars, embody so much self-interest that not even a Marxist revolution could thwart their forward flow. And Jacobs was no Marx. Though she opposed the edicts of long-time New York public-sector building czar Robert Moses, and together with her neighbours won significant victories over his plans to tear down parks and buildings and run highways through Lower Manhattan, she did not attack the nexus of economic and state power that supported Moses’s vision. Instead, she attacked ‘planners’, a relatively powerless group compared to developers who build, and banks and insurance companies who finance the building that rips out a city’s heart. Neither did Jacobs, a communitarian, believe that state action could right the wrongs she deplored. Jacobs did not call for stronger zoning laws to encourage a mix of housing, factories, stores and schools. She did not support more permanent rent controls to ensure a mix of poorer and richer tenants, of successful businesses and start-ups. Jacobs neglected the economic priorities that favoured a shift of investments to suburbs over cities and left the public housing projects architecturally barren and perennially short of funds. Worse, Jacobs wrote that if financially solid families remain, troubled communities will ‘unslum’ themselves. This seems unusually naïve for such an astute activist. The idea fails to come to grips with entrenched racial bias or the systemic disinvestment that both foreshadows and deepens the ecological misery of unemployment. For these views and her distaste for state intervention, Jacobs won the admiration of Neo-Conservatives who could hardly have shared most of her other political opinions.

JOE WILSON

REPUTATIONS


Where Jacobs’s ideas work well, they focus on the social web that undergirds microcosmic urban life. Her description of the ‘sidewalk ballet’, the set-piece of the second chapter in The Death and Life, weaves a rhythmic narrative of the butcher, the baker, the bartender and other stalwarts of High Street shops who keep an eye on the street and subtly, without direction from external authorities, exert social control over the unpredictable flow of strangers and friends. Jacobs’s remarkable idea is that the street is pre-eminently a social space. If we ignore the routine interdependencies and everyday diversity a city street enfolds, we lose the qualities that give it life and guarantee its safety. There is a wonderful photograph of Jacobs in her prime, sitting at the bar of the White Horse Tavern, just down the block from where she lived in Greenwich Village. Wearing big, dark-rimmed eyeglasses and a shapeless raincoat, smiling and holding a cigarette in her right hand, Jacobs would not be mistaken for any of the legions of gentrifiers who followed her call to find the endless fascinations of the city’s historic centre. But she underestimated the strength of middle class tastes for social homogeneity and aesthetic coherence that drive gentrification. What Jacobs valued − small blocks, cobblestone streets, mixed-uses, local character − have become the gentrifiers’ ideal. This is not the struggling city of working class and ethnic groups, but an idealised image that plays to middle-class tastes. Jacobs’s challenge to maintain the authenticity of urban life still confronts the fear of difference and the hubris of modernising ambition. At a time in which local shopping streets are the target of attacks against a broader alienation, we urgently need to connect her concern with economic development and urban design to our unsettled social condition. AR | NOVEMBER 2011 47


FOLIO

Detail of UTOPa-1 (2008) from the UTOPX series by Lebbeus Woods, who died on 30 October 2012. Nicholas Olsberg and Anthony Vidler reflect on his legacy in the December 2012 issue 48 AR | SAMPLE ISSUE


The Architectural Review – USA Sample Issue