SCI-Arc design faculty members Eric Kahn and Russell Thomsen, founders of IDEA Office, are among the 2013 recipients of a Graham Foundation for the Arts grant to support their ongoing project, Thinking the Future of Auschwitz. The project will be exhibited at SCI-Arc in the fall of 2014, accompanied by a public discussion with Director Eric Owen Moss.
Thinking of the Future of Auschwitz | IDEA Office | www.ideaoffice.net
Thinking the Future of Auschwitz (shown here) is an architectural proposal for the future of the Nazi concentration camp in Poland. While the original concentration camp and Polish State Museum at Auschwitz maintain their status as a narrated, didactic experience, this proposal transforms the extermination camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau into a Tel Olam.
Originally cited in Deuteronomy, a Tel Olam marks a place of unspeakable evil, blotting out and rendering a place inaccessible. Translated as a perpetual heap—in contemporary terms, a machinic field—it produces an indeterminate traumatic figure, steadfastly delimiting a perimeter. Proper to its unutterable status, Birkenau becomes perpetually indeterminate, generating a probing, hermeneutic experience without immediate answers, withholding solace and defying (convenient) philosophical closure.
While the project is unique to Auschwitz, it tests architecture's own particular agency in the twenty-first century and contributes significantly to an expanded discourse on the conventions of catastrophe.
Eric A. Kahn and Russell N. Thomsen are licensed architects and partners in IDEA Office. In addition to teaching at SCI-Arc, they have held chairs at the University of Michigan, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Arkansas, as well as visiting professor positions at the Royal Danish Academy of Art in Copenhagen. The work of IDEA has been recognized and published internationally and is part of the permanent collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, as well as private collections. The partners are recipients of the Young Architects Award and the Emerging Voices Award, both sponsored by the Architectural League of New York.
SCI-Arc design faculty Herwig Baumgartner and Scott Uriu, partners in the Los Angeles practice Baumgartner + Uriu (B+U), are exhibiting their work in a solo show opening June 8 at the InCITE Gallery in Bangalore, India. Titled Animated Apertures, the exhibition will be complemented by a presentation led by Baumgartner on opening night.
Through its exhibitions and publications centered on contemporary architecture, InCITE aims to create an open platform that allows for critical exchange, dissemination and recording of emerging architectural attitudes and sensibilities. Previous InCITE exhibitors include MVRDV, Mecanoo, Cloud 9, Kas Oosterhuis, and Brett Steel, among others.
Set on a continuous mission to research and experiment with new building materials and construction techniques, Baumgartner and Uriu use 3-D technology and manufacturing techniques employed outside the architectural profession. Their firm utilizes the techniques and resources of new technologies which are unique to Los Angeles and are a confluence from the movie industry, aerospace engineering, medical technology and manufacturing, automotive industries, as well as a subculture of craftsman, inventors and entrepreneurs. This mixture of cutting edge technology and individual resourcefulness influences their design and construction process.
B+U’s exhibition at InCITE remains on view through June 22. www.incite.co.in.
More about B+U at www.bplusu.com.
SCI-Arc faculty member Erick Carcamo and partner Nefeli Chatzimina of X│Atelier are hosting three intensive workshops of advanced architectural design this summer, one in Istanbul, Turkey and two in Athens, Greece.
Part of an ongoing academic research which introduces participants into contemporary discussions of formal exploration in Architecture and Art, the workshops explore innovative, potential architectural expressions of the current discourse around form through computational tools such as Autodesk MAYA.
The workshops focus on technique elaboration, material intelligence, formal logic efficiencies and precision assemblies as an ultimate condition of design. They introduce a discourse based in the use of multi-layered techniques and production processes allowing for control over intelligent geometries, calibration of parts, and behavioral taxonomies, normalizing an innovative held of predictability.
Within this context, each student will operate within an expertise towards intuition by means of software and advancement of the discipline through a precise contemporary understanding of architecture’s reliance on surface performance, unspecified systems, scale within scale, mechanical parts and absurd precisions to expand its discourse.
Dubbed Prothesis, the three workshops are organized under the auspices of the Benaki Museum, the Helenic Institute of Architecture, the Athens School of Fine Arts and the Istanbul Technical University, respectively.
Workshop sessions are scheduled June 17-28th in Istanbul, Turkey and July 1-12th and July 15t-26th at the Benaki Museum in Athens, Greece.
More information is available at http://www.xatelier.com/xaworkshops2013.
Faculty member Florencia Pita is the recipient of a Graham Foundation grant to support a solo exhibition and catalog presenting a comprehensive survey of her work. Organized by the University of Michigan’s Museum of Art (UMMA) and curated by Joseph Rosa, Florencia Pita/fpmod explores the provocations and intersections of digital technology, material experimentation, femininity, and ornament in the work of Argentina-born, Los Angeles-based architect and designer.
Florencia Pita, Machinic Tendencies installation at the Beijing Architecture Biennial, 2010, Beijing. Lapset Playground Competition, Finland, 2009. fpMod Team: Ed Kim.
The exhibition, on view at UMMA from January 19 to June 16, and its related publication trace the evolution of Pita’s design ideology through installation pieces, urban design, tableware, furniture, and architecture, as well as small adornments. Pita’s boldly colored works draw from literary, art, and biological sources; employ cutting-edge architectural fabrication techniques; and cross borders of visual art, architecture, and design.
A fundraising campaign to reprint “Instrumental Form,” the first monograph of J,P:A and SCI-Arc design faculty Wes Jones, has been launched by the Los Angeles architecture firm on kickstarter.com with the goal to print a second edition of the sought-after out-of-print book. Originally published in 1999 by Princeton Architectural Press, “Instrumental Form” is the first publication of “Words, Buildings: Machines” produced by Wes Jones and the office of J,P:A.
Instrumental Form: Words, Buildings, Machines│Jones, Partners: Architecture, 1997
The publication, whose bold graphic design won an AIGA award, documents the work of the office and its unique ongoing engagement with technology, from the office’s inception in 1993 until 1997.
The ideas and works presented in this volume have been influential not only to J,P:A’s continuing practice, but to a wider cultural discourse within architecture. Including both essays and projects, as well as built work, this book traces the evolution of a uniquely consistent approach to technology and its relation to architecture.
SCI-Arc design faculty and alumnus Ramiro Diaz-Granados (B.Arch ’96) has been selected a 2013 COLA Fellow and was awarded an Artist Grant by the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. His work will be part of a group exhibition at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (LAMAG), on view May 19- July 7, 2013.
Diaz-Granados is principal of Amorphis, a Los Angeles architecture practice that pursues an overt interest in materiality, visuality, and sensuality towards the production of the contemporary sublime. Previously, he has worked as a project designer for the award-winning firm Gnuform and has participated in collaborations with distinguished practitioners that have yielded winning competition entries such as the 21st Century Park competition, organized by the Graham Foundation in Chicago, and a Board Room & Conference Table for SCI-Arc.
In 2008, he placed second in two competitions, one for the Mercedes-Benz National Tradeshow pavilion, and the other for the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design. From 1997-2002, Diaz-Granados was a co-principal of the L.A. firm Arxis, which has built several private residences and apartments in Los Angeles and Mexico. His work has been published in Architectural Record, I.D. Magazine, Icon-Eye, Futures Arquitectura, Mobility: A Room with a View, and 100 of the World's Best Houses.
Diaz-Granados holds degrees from SCI-Arc and UCLA, and is currently on faculty at SCI-Arc as a Design, Visual Studies, and Applied Studies instructor. He is also Undergraduate & Graduate Portfolio Coordinator.
B+U, the Los Angeles practice of SCI-Arc design faculty Herwig Baumgartner and Scott Uriu, received a Special Mention in the Architizer A+ Awards’ Architecture + Sustainability category for the “Animated Apertures” housing tower in Lima, Peru.
Arguably one of the fastest growing websites for architecture, Architizer has launched its A+ Awards program with 50+ categories and an international jury featuring more than 200 architects and cultural leaders. Entries representing some of the best in architecture and design were received from more than 100 countries.
More about B+U >>
Animated Apertures, Lima, Peru, B+U Los Angeles, Herwig Baumgartner & Scott Uriu
SCI-Arc design faculty Tom Wiscombe of Los Angeles-based Tom Wiscombe Design participates in the “COLD War COOL Digital” symposium hosted this week by Pratt Institute. Organized in conjunction with the exhibition of the same name, this symposium moderated by Pratt professor Catherine Ingraham explores the technical, aesthetic, and political aspects of prototyping and pre-construction in architecture.
Mass Painting Pavilion, Tom Wiscombe Design, MOCA, A New Sculpturalism: Contemporary Architecture from Southern California, Los Angeles, 2013 (upcoming show)
Alongside Wiscombe, symposium panelists include: Adrian Forty of the Bartlett School of Architecture; James Garrison of the Pratt Institute School of Architecture, Hugo Palmarola Sagredo of Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico; and Pedro Ignacio Alonso of Pontifica Universidad Catolica de Chile.
Moving beyond mechanistic thinking and minimalist tendencies, Tom Wiscombe Design advances the notion that the beauty of architecture resides in simultaneity, hybridity, and part-to-whole relations, models for which can be found in biology and the natural world. Its work collapses parts into heterogeneous wholes through fusing, pressing, and embedding, creating rich, irreducible relationships across assumed architectural hierarchies and categories.
Earlier this week, Wiscombe lectured on his work part of the spring 2013 public lecture series at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design.
The 2009 design proposal for a mixed-use, retail palladium in Downey, Calif. designed by SCI-Arc faculty Herwig Baumgartner and Scott Uriu is slated to be included in an upcoming show at the A+D Museum, Never Built: Los Angeles. A highlight of the exhibition, B+U's proposal will be showcased by a large model, animation and images on view in the exhibit opening July 2013.
B+U, Herwig Baumgartner & Scott Uriu│Firestone Mixed-Use Office Building │Downey, CA
In a recent Los Angeles Times feature, exhibition curators Greg Goldin and Sam Lubell mentioned B+U's design among several other proposals for the city of Los Angeles, going back 100 years. Had they been realized, these designs would have completely changed the city scape. "Los Angeles would now include a ring of thousands of acres of urban and regional parks, a bold, space-age airport, a winged nature center for Griffith Park and hillside housing developments sculpted to the contours of the landscape rather than sitting on graded and terraced scars. We would be living in a very different city."
B+U's design for the Firestone office building aimed to revitalize an industrial area of Los Angeles County located about 12 miles southeast of downtown LA, with Firestone Boulevard as its main artery connecting the city center to two major freeways. Envisioning a unique, elegant office environment that responds to its urban setting, the proposal features an envelope of ornately braided layers of semi-transparent fabric, able to adjust to the different exterior light conditions. While the more delicate fabric encloses the two upper office levels, the restaurant and retail spaces on the ground floor open up to the street with a glass envelope. The project is scheduled for completion in 2017.
To learn more about B+U, visit their website at www.bplusu.com.
Click here for more about the A+D Museum exhibition, Never Built: Los Angeles.
SCI-Arc design faculty Eric Kahn and Russell Thomsen of IDEA Office in Los Angeles will present their project, "Thinking about the Future of Auschwitz" on Sunday, January 27, starting 2:30pm at the Colen Center at the American Jewish University. The event features a conversation with Eric Kahn, Russell Thomsen, Jeffrey Kipnis, Michael Berenbaum and Mark Smith.
"Thinking about the Future of Auschwitz" is a response to a manifold dilemma: how can the disappearing evidence of the Shoah at Auschwitz Birkenau be contemplated in perpetuity without resorting to expedient—and highly problematic—mandates for the maintenance of its fragile physical status and the interpretation of its profound historical implications?
The event is hosted by the Sigi Ziering Institute at the American Jewish University; RSVP at 310-440-1279 or email@example.com. The American Jewish University is located at 15600 Mulholland Drive, Bel Air, CA 90077.