2005 Annual Design Review Environments Design Distinction

Garden of Lost Footsteps
Though the Annual Design Review competition is judged blindly, the panel almost immediately guessed who was behind this project, a daring postmodern intervention at the Castelvecchio Museum in Venice. Only New York—based Eisenman Architects would dare violate the Castelvecchio, a medieval military fortification famous for its historically authentic early-’60s renovation by Carlo Scarpa. And only Eisenman could get away with it, the jurors agreed.

The project riffs on Scarpa’s project by placing at-scale replicas of his striated concrete floors in the garden as if they were medieval artifacts, then cracking them open to reveal new sculptures. Mahar argued that the intervention, which to her looked like “a put-put golf course,” was an affront to Scarpa’s famed attention to craft and material. But Pasquarelli insisted that violence was the issue: “It’s definitely about inciting debate and argument. It’s about collision; it’s about anger.” Dochantschi, meanwhile, found continuity where the others saw disruption. “Look at the drawings,” he said. “It’s so consistent. There’s no randomness—just like Scarpa had a very rigorous way with details.” Only when Pasquarelli noted the garden’s kinship with Rockwell Group’s Team America entry (both projects subvert icons) and argued that it deserved to be shown alongside the film set (see opposite page) did Mahar give it her blessing. “We’ve talked about this project more than any other,” she admitted, “which is exactly the point.”

Design Eisenman Architects (New York): Peter Eisenman, design principal; Richard Rosson, associate in charge; Pablo Lorenzo-Eiora, project design architect; Julia Choi, Neeraj Bhatia, project design team; Larissa Babij, Claudia Gerhh?user, Murali Nallamothu, Jens Riehl, Emanuel Sousa, Florencia Vetcher, Federica Vannucchi, project assistants
Client Museo di Castelvecchio (Verona, Italy)
Materials Concrete; stone; steel
Software AutoCAD; Rhino

Garden of Lost Footsteps

Team America: World Police
Built at a reduced scale for a cast of puppets, Rockwell Group’s sets for the film Team America: World Police are environments only in a symbolic sense, but that symbolism powerfully impressed the jury. By grossly stereotyping famous cityscapes—which were systematically destroyed in the film—the architects firmly established Team America as a satire on the age of terrorism. Dochantschi saw the film as a cultural correction: Even in a post-9/11 world, he pointed out, architecture’s iconographic power is still underrated. Pasquarelli concurred: “We think architecture is slow-moving and doesn’t have the mass appeal and power of books or film or television. But if you’re going to attack a civilization, do you burn their movies? Do you burn their books? No, you burn their buildings.”

Design Rockwell Group (New York): David Rockwell, visual consultant; Barry Richards, associate designer; Angela Hurley, Rodrigo Tisi, Robert Pyzocha, design assistants; Stephen J. Joyce, Tomas Pedrasa, Noel Cuvin, Chris Morris, Kinnaresh Mistry, John Prada, Dina Muraca, Mike Fukuyoshi, Michael Dereskewicz, Hilary Carlson Verni, Gretel Schwartzott, Rachel Janocko, Erin Moore, Kevin Leddy, Luke Raymond, Caroline Kim, Craig Byers, staff
Client Paramount Productions (Culver City, CA)

Team America: World Police

Chigasaki-Gikyoku
Yokohama firm S. Nakae & E. Fukunishi Design charmed the jury with a steel-and-cedar cube that sits on a beach in Chigasaki, Japan. The structure is a theater designed for Away at Performing Arts, an organization that focuses on contemporary dance. But performances do not take place within it: The audience sits inside and the dancers perform outside, turning the beach into a stage. The jurors appreciated that the design takes advantage of weather, time of day, and changes in light through the cube’s pivoting acrylic panels, which act as a curtain. “It’s very modern, but it connects with the whole history of Japanese culture,” Mahar said. “It can separate itself from its environment but still be an integral part of it—creating a box and letting it be about the environment and not about the object itself.”

Design S. Nakae & E. Fukunishi Design (Yokohama, Japan): Shinya Nakae, Eichi Fukunishi, designers
Client Office Kiriko (Miura, Japan)
Materials Steel panel; acrylic panel; cedar
Software Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop; Form-Z; VectorWorks

Chigasaki-Gikyoku

McCormick Tribune Campus Center, Illinois Institute of Technology
Inspired by the new IIT campus center’s use as a multipurpose space, 2×4 developed a graphics system based on generic “man” and “woman” icons representing more than 200 student activities. The figures engage in everything from studying and sports to sexual experimentation and binge drinking. Printed on the center’s walls, the small icons become pixels within murals of IIT’s founders, as well as one of Mies van der Rohe, architect of the original campus. Dochantschi praised the three-dimensional effect of the graphics, which have a texture similar to terry cloth or flocked wallpaper. Overall, the jury agreed that the project’s greatest strength was its seamless stylistic integration with the building, designed by Rem Koolhaas’s firm, OMA. “As an architect I would hire 2×4,” Pasquarelli said. “They’d understand what I was doing and would make a graphic that would completely fit in.”

Design 2×4 (New York): Michael Rock, principal; Alex Lin, lead design; Karen Hsu, Conny Partill, Alice Chung, designers
Client OMA (Rotterdam)
Materials Glass; ceramic frit
Software Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop; Custom; Form-Z

McCormick Tribune Campus Center, Illinois Institute of Technology

Ini Ani Coffee Shop
New York firm Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis made the disposable coffee cup an aesthetic springboard for a cafe on the Lower East Side. Interior walls are compressed strips of corrugated cardboard (the stuff used to insulate takeout cups), and the wall next to the entry is a plaster cast of 479 plastic coffee-cup lids. “Think about what most coffee shops look like,” Pasquarelli said. “Swirly Formica in different colors at the one end, macramé and hanging plants at the other end. They took a typology that’s 50 years old and did something new.” Dochantschi called the 350-square-foot space “refreshingly sophisticated low-tech. It doesn’t look cheap, and it’s done with a great sense of humor.” Most remarkably, the firm undertook the project with a $40,000 budget and a three-month deadline for design and construction.

Design Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis (New York): Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, David J. Lewis, partners; James Bennett, Lucas Cascardo, Alex Terzich, designers
Client Ini Ani (New York)
Materials Steel; plaster; cardboard; oak; Cor-ten steel
Software Adobe Photoshop; VectorWorks

Ini Ani Coffee Shop

DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park Visitor Station
The experience of a sculpture park begins when you reach the property. At the DeCordova, in Lincoln, Massachusetts, Urban Instruments created a guard station that sets the museum’s tone by looking like a work of art itself. The station is a 60-foot-long wedge of bead-blasted aluminum that appears to float above the lawn, providing both a visual gateway and a glass-enclosed office for park attendants. Though the jurors felt that a tapered aluminum pole used for external support compromised the structure’s visual airiness, they found some compensation in the after-hours use of dramatic lighting on the building’s exterior. The programmable color-changing LED system gives the museum staff a way to announce special exhibitions and can even be set to fade, presenting a building of a different hue from the one visitors first encounter. “Its strength is that it’s a powerful structural form within the landscape,” Mahar said of the project, “and that form is most striking at night, when it’s lit.”

Design Wellington Reiter, principal, Urban Instruments (Phoenix). Greg Russell, project manager, Urban Instruments (Newton, MA). Mystic Scenic Studios, Inc., fabrication (Dedham, MA)
Client DeCordova Museum (Lincoln, MA)
Materials Steel; aluminum; concrete
Software AutoCAD

DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park Visitor Station

Conversation Piece
What makes you wealthy? Organizers of the 2004 Interior Design Show in Toronto asked three local firms to answer that question with “concept spaces” presented at the National Trade Centre. Insisting that true wealth comes from people and things that surround us, Plant Architect created a room for eating and socializing—a reaction against the “complexity, instability, formlessness, contradiction, and digital density” of the global economy. A long table and benches in Douglas fir contained drawers for holding both cutlery and memorabilia; paper “bookplates” at each place spurred conversation; and stacked red oak firewood—fuel for the communal fireplace—doubled as an interior wall. Dochantschi found the solution predictable, but Mahar argued that the project was a keen example of its type. “A lot of the work that looks like this doesn’t have such a strong concept,” she said. “Even though it’s a minimal space, it’s very warm in the sense of the materials, the fire, and the people.”

Design Plant Architect Inc. (Toronto): Chris Pommer, Lisa Rapoport, Mary Tremain, partners; Tao Cheng, Dan Kronby, designers; Monica Adair, Brandon Cunningham, Rachel Delph, Stephen Kopp, Dave MacHenry, Andrew Macpherson, Larry Norris, Lyn Northey, Rochelle Ornstein, Steve Sopinka, Patrick Wheeler, construction volunteers; Brian Davis, construction
Client MMPI Canada (Toronto)
Materials Cedar and spruce structure with luan and favera plywood panels; Lexan mirrors with applied vinyl stripes; polyester chiffon banners suspended from spruce beams and steel columns; iPod with Yamaha amp and Mission speakers; halogen spots in forest, custom-built steel track light with Edison bulbs; red oak firewood; natural grass mat and Interface recycled carpet tiles; hand-rendered plaster; solid Douglas fir table with blued steel connectors; mill finish steel box with hand-charred firewood; hand-trimmed books from the public library discard bin
Software Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop; VectorWorks; Word

Conversation Piece

Skyfloor
Three days, 10,000 disposable black plastic bowls, and enough water to fill them: That’s all there was to Skyfloor, a temporary installation in Brooklyn’s Fulton Ferry State Park, designed by the New York firm Peel. Placed in the empty shell of a former tobacco warehouse, the bowls reflected fragments of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan skyline, and the warehouse itself, an effect Mahar compared to pixelation, “reminiscing on the digital but using water.” The aesthetic bounty also reminded her of a camera obscura. “It takes the Brooklyn Bridge and all these things and brings them into the space,” she said. Though the jurors were perplexed by the bowls’ pattern on the warehouse floor, they agreed that the effect must have been remarkable in person. “When you go to that site, that’s the only thing you do, you look up and over,” Dochantschi said. “I like that this makes you look at the floor. The only thing that is cutting your view is the path you walk on. It’s almost like walking through the skyline.”

Design Peel (New York): Rise Endo, Thomas Shea, principals; Asako Mizuno, Daelyn Short, Hidekazu Minami, Joe Shea, John Garrison, Maureen Shea, volunteers
Client D.U.M.B.O. Art Under the Bridge Festival (New York)
Materials 6-inch black plastic containers; water
Software AutoCAD

Skyfloor

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