Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dyer on Tarkovsky

"We are in another world that is no more than this world perceived with unprecedented attentiveness."
 Geoff Dyer 

From his book Zona, dedicated to Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker (1979), quoted in The New York Times review on March 2nd. I am not a Tarkovsky fan but this is a useful motto.

Image from Brian Dillon's interesting blog Ruins of the 20th Century

Friday, May 18, 2012

Hobbits in China

EMBT Designs Zhang Da Qian Museum in Neijiang, China
Architectural Record web page, May 15, 2012
Architecture Record, Chinese Edition

Benedetta Tagliabue is still going strong, 12 years after the death of her husband, Enric Miralles. She's a remarkable architectural survivor and a wonderful person, but..... This latest conceit reminds me of those glory days when Frank Stella briefly turned into an architect, serving up a model for an Orangerie-thing in poor-old recently-liberated Dresden, with domes of cantaloupe and trembling flan -- at least that's what they looked like to me as I contemplated them in his studio, at the urging of his loyal pal Phillip Johnson. Now the Chinese are the gumptious lot who will fall for just about anything.

As the article was a news piece and I wasn't yet quite so tired of all this, nothing of the above is reflected in the actual text. The biggest piece of news was that Zhang Da Qian, whom I had never heard of, was the top-selling artist worldwide at auctions last year, outpacing Picasso for the first time in 14 years -- a sign of the strength of the new Chinese buying public.

Here's another zinger from my text:
"Picasso's portrait of Zhang, his face surrounded by dashing blots of ink for hair and beard, inspired the layout for the pavilions' rings of structural fins. Zhang's traditional rendering of a grove of bamboo provided the concept for the pavilion's vertical development. The fins' irregular profiles, designed using folded and cut paper, derive from this drawing and other sources, including a photograph of the artist and his paintings of a woman and a mountain landscape. It also refers to a large boulder from his garden in Taiwan, which he brought from California, and under which he is buried."
I'm still looking for the stones and ladies and photographs and waving groves of bamboo in those fins.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

FAD Finalists 2012

Mansilla + Tuñón, Lalín Town Hall. © Roland Halbe
The finalists for the 2012 FAD Prizes have been announced, with winners to appear in the fall. The list of nominees, taken from the SCALAE web page, follows below. The jury was led by Seville architect Guillermo Vázquez Consuegra. Over 500 projects were presented and 36 were selected.

I know only a few of these works, so the winner will hopefully be a surprise. Two works are by architects who died this winter, Luis Mansilla and Manuel de Solà- Morales.

My blind bet on the winner?
Mansilla and Tuñón's Lalín Town Hall, a stellar project when first announced and unbuilt for years, it hasn't been getting too much attention otherwise. One possible drawback: it may represent -to some- all that is "old" and "out" in post-crisis architecture. But they sure put the circle through some hoops.

Mansilla + Tuñón, Lalín Town Hall. © Roland Halbe
Any takers?

(For the uninitiated, the FAD Awards are given each year by the venerable Barcelona-based organization  now known as El Foment de les Arts i del Disseny, or Arquinfad, or ADI-FAD or what-have-you, and originally known simply as Foment de les Artes Decoratives. Their web page is here. If you can find any hard info there on this year's prizes, and find your way around in general, let me know. For a place dedicated to design, they have the most confusing web page and organizational chart I've ever seen).

  • House in Cadaqués. Stephen Bates, Liebman Villavecchia Arquitectos.
  • Annex to the Picasso Museum, Barcelona. Jordi Garcés.
  • La Pallaresa Complex. Robert and Esteve Terradas Muntañola + Eduardo Souto de Moura. 
  • UPI ('Kid University'), Gandía, Valencia. Angela García de Paredes, Ignacio García Pedrosa. 
  • Apartment buildings on the Ria de Bilbao. Carlos Ferrater, Xavier Martí Galí, Lucía Ferrater; Luis Domínguez  (Katsura Arquitectura).
  • Lalín Town Hall. Emilio Tuñón, Luis Moreno Mansilla.
  • La Bòbila School. Baas Jordi Badia.
  • C / Z House. Inés Vieira da Silva, Miguel Vieira (Sami-Arquitectos).
  • Renovation of the former CCCB Theater, Barcelona. Elías Torres.
  • Tejado Municipal Auditorium. Francisco Mangado. (DC: Isn't this the Teulada Auditorium?)
  • Asunción Linares Infant School. Elisa Valero Ramos.
  • Agujas de Torresana. Manuel de Solà-Morales.
  • Classroom and Departmental Offices, Pablo de Olavide University, Sevilla. Jose Morales Sánchez + Sara de Giles Dubois; Miguel Hernandez Valencia.
  • Nave 16, Matadero, Madrid. Iñaqui Carnicero, Alejandro Virseda, Ignacio Villa.
  • School for Infants. Pereda Pérez Arquitectos.
  • Ágora Socio-Cultural Center, San Pedro de Visma, A Coruña. Luis Rojo + Begoña Fernández-Shaw; Liliana Obala.
  • Red Bull Music Academy. Nave de la Música del Matadero, Madrid.  María Langarita Sánchez, Víctor Navarro.
  • Logroño Train Station. Iñaki Ábalos + Renata Sentkiewicz.
  • Adega da Quinta do Vallada. Francisco Vieira de Campos, (Menos É Mais, Arquitectos).
  • Offices & housing, Guardia Civil Station. Carlos J. Meri Cucart.
  • Portalegre Hotel and Tourism School. Eduardo Souto Moura, Graça Correa.
  • Renovation of the Casa do Arco for the Casa da Escrita (House of Writing). João Mendes Ribeiro.
  • Housing unit type renovation. Iñigo Beguiristain.
  • Urban Strategies. Nuño Sampaio.
  • Tondeluna. Rubén Picada (Picaduras de Blas Arquitectos).
  • Fanqueiros. José Adriaen.
  • Project to restore the landscape of Tudela-Culip (former Club Med) in the Cabo de Creus Natural Park, Costa Brava. Martí Franch Batllori, Landscape Architect, Agricultural Engineer.
  • "Puesta En Valor" of Roman Archeological Remains at Iesso  / Sg Y Ac (Guissona-Lleida). Toni Gironès.
  • Renovation of the Paseo de San Juan (Tetuan - Arco de Triunfo). Lola Domènech.
  • San Clemente & Rua Trinidade reurbanization. Abal Alonso Arquitectos.
  • Madrid Río Park. Burgos & Garrido / Porras La Casta / Rubio & Álvarez-Sala / West 8
  • Estrutura Autoportante de Contenção da Estilha. Cristina Guedes, Francisco Vieira de Campos (Menos É Mais Arquitectos). 
Editing note: I found this list full of typographical oddities,  redundancies, errors. And why no location names for the works (the few included are supplied by me)? I have omitted finalists for ephemeral projects. Please inform if you find any errors.

Photos used with permission.