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Architecture

Architecture Replaces Authority On Chinese Currency

[AP photo via Daylife]

Just how popular is Beijing’s Birds Nest? The Herzog & de Meuron designed stadium has replaced Mao Zedong on China’s 10 Yuan note. Unfortunately, the change is only temporay, with a limited edition of six million bills thrown into circulation. So save ’em for eBay or wait for the mythological Freedom Tower to show up on the U.S. $10 bill and start a construction and currency collection.

(Excuse any wonky formatting on this post. Life Without Buildings is iPhone-ing it in live from jury duty today. Justice!) UPDATE: Justice Served!

Categories
Architecture

Herzog & de Meuron Unveil Tate 2: Electric Boogaloo

[left: original rendering. right: revised rendering]

Revised plans and renderings were recently unveiled of Herzog & de Meuron’s addition to London’s Tate Modern Museum, aka Tate 2. The original design (above left) was a little perplexing: a loosely stacked pile of metal and glass boxes, referred to by architecture critic Hugh Pearman as a “joyous asymmetrical gothic (composition).” The design was all the more striking in that it bore little relationship with the much-lauded original power station renovation. Even Pearman, in his joyous exuberance, questioned the additon’s cladding. “You have to wonder,” he wrote in 2006, “about the wisdom of a glass-clad building facing south – especially given that most of the gallery spaces inside will have to have solid walls. You wonder equally about the energy efficiency of all that broken-up surface area.” It seems that someone involved with the project agreed, as the new renderings reveal a structure that has seen a complete reskinning and has been smoothed out into less of a…heap.

Categories
Architecture

Photo Shoots and New Museums

I love/hate photos of Herog and/or de Meuron. They’re always dramatic and self-imporant, and just seem to be saying “oooh… we’re just so Swiss.” The photo at left was taken from Artinfo.com with the perfectly succint caption, “Jacques Herzog poses for a photo.” And boy does he! That guy has more poses than the Kama Sutra. Every time I see these staged photos of him – or any architect, really – I find it a little silly, but also incredibly…well, encouraging, sort of. I’m given hope that I won’t always remain a faceless, unappreciated, civil servant. God willing, I might someday pose for my own ego boosting glamor shot. Who am I kidding? I’ve already been practicing. The best part of all this? The whole phenomena is by no means a response to our current celebrity (and design) obsessed culture. Like all things in architecture, there’s precedent, dammit! (this example is the worst. Gwathmey! I still think that pic’s photoshopped! Get your Mr. – Burns-looking ass up to the top floor next time! you make the scultpure for living look more like the sculpture for dying.)

I hate that building…but I’m rambling and I really did intend to post a news bit here. In yet another successful bid for an American Museum, H&dM have been chosen to design the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton, New York. Although it seems that people disagree, I found their near-complete de Young Museum to be a thoughtful intervention into Golden Gate Park. Hopefully, the new Parrish Museum will show the same unique sensitivity. I couldn’t find images of the proposal, seeing how thehamptons.com is a completely useless website and Herzog & de Meuron don’t have one, (although I suspect that Pierre secretly wants one), but Museum Director Trudy Kramer had this to say about the selection:

“During our search for an architect to design the new Parrish, we saw the work of more than 60 talented regional, national, and international architects and designers. Ultimately, it was the combination of innovation and tradition, of bold and subtle, that we saw in the work of Herzog & de Meuron, and the fact that each project was unique and attuned to the client’s needs, that was so powerful. Additionally, the firm’s sensitivity to site, including not only landscape but also light—one of the great qualities of eastern Long Island that has inspired generations of artists—promises to make the design for the new Parrish truly outstanding.”

Here’s to poses yet undiscovered! cheers.