For Architects, Landscape Architects, and Planners
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It is a very impressive piece of work, and should prove a great resource.
–Paul Spreiregen, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Professional Adviser
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The Guggenheim Helsinki Winners on Stage in New York
By Jayne Merkel
The soothing circular auditorium beneath the rotunda of Frank Lloyd Wright’s New York Guggenheim Museum was an unusually suitable setting for the revelation of the winning design for the proposed Helsinki Guggenheim and a discussion of the process that led to its selection. On July 1, the winners of the competition, Hiroko Kusunoki and Nicolas Moreau, of Moreau Kusunoki Architectes in Paris, took turns describing their scheme as they showed an impressive series of drawings and models. After their presentation, they joined a discussion, moderated by Architectural Record Editor Cathleen McGuigan, with Guggenheim staff members Ari Wiseman and Troy Conrad Therrien. Wiseman, a Deputy Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, has shepherded the competition from the conception stage in 2013. Therrien, the Curator of Architecture and Digital Initiatives, has created the state-of-the-art digital archive that has brought this competition and its entries into the public domain.
By Paul D. Spreiregen
Creating the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Inside Story
By Robert W. Doubek
McFarland; 311 pages, illustrated
On any given day visitors to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington may number in the hundreds, sometimes the thousands. Immediately upon its dedication in November 1982 it became and has remained one of the most visited sites in our nation’s capitol. Extending tranquilly across a tree bordered meadow near the Lincoln Memorial, its power as a work of tribute stands among the great memorials of any time or place. It is an American icon.
Visitors to the memorial may know that a college student designed it in a nation-wide design competition and that the selected design was the subject of great controversy. Little else about its creation is known or need be known by a typical visitor. The memorial speaks for itself, honoring the nearly 58,000 Vietnam veterans who died in the war and by implication the millions of others who served. As a work of public art it honors memory and service admirably.
Mesa's Answer to Urban Sprawl
The Major Redesign of a City Center
by Stanley Collyer
Designing a city plaza as a “people place” is no small challenge. One only has to recall the various redesigns that Pershing Square in Los Angeles went through, or Seattle’s Pioneer Square, to recognize how intent and reality were often in conflict. In both of these temperate climate municipalities, the image of an otherwise welcoming destination was tarnished by an unforeseen presence of the homeless.
The City of Mesa, in sunny Arizona, believes that a new plaza, well connected to the surrounding urban environment, can present “a signature public space” that will not only serve as a destination for public activities, but also as a catalyst for downtown revitalization. It would appear that a number of favorable conditions already exist: city administration buildings are located directly within the two block site area; Arizona’s largest art center borders the area to the south; and the city library is in the block immediately facing the site to the north. With this kind of built-in pedestrian activity, the site should be well positioned to attract a higher-than-average number of locals and visitors.
Return of a Favorite Son to the Windy City?
CAC’s Barack Obama Library Competition
Winning entry by Zhu Wenyi, Fu Junsheng, and Liang Yiang (all images courtesy of the CAC)
During the 2008 presidential campaign, there was the perception that a Barack Obama presidency would usher in an era of new ideas. Years later, there has been some isolated progress, but partisan politics has limited any wiggle room an Obama presidency might have enjoyed. Still, there is a hope for a final decision by this president that could set a precedent for the foreseeable future: a design competition for a presidential library. A successful national competition for such a project could set an example to be emulated many times over at state and municipal levels by a tested democratic process.
Although the site of a Barack Obama Presidential Library has not yet been determined, the list has been whittled down to three possibilities: Chicago, New York and Hawaii. Although Hawaii is the President’s birthplace, and New York would have a large number of visitors, Chicago would seem to be the logical favorite, as it is the place where Obama’s political future began in its meteoric rise, culminating in his election to the nation’s highest office.
A Conversation with an Icon
Steven Holl Wins the Mumbai City Museum Competition
The decision to stage an international competition for a “North Wing extension” to the Mumbai City Museum had to be an interesting challenge for the organizers. The present building, also known as the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum (photos, left and opposite), was dedicated in 1872 and had a distinct English colonial flavor, with emphasis on the Victorian. It had recently undergone a major restoration, and the interior is certainly one of the major examples of architecture of the pre-modern age in India. With that in mind, the initial question for any structural addition—aside from space requirements—had to be: what should it look like, and how would it relate to the existing museum?