Bertrand Goldberg: Architecture of Invention

Currently on exhibit at the The Art Institute of Chicago, is the first comprehensive retrospective of the work of Chicago Architect Bertrand Goldberg. His design style is highly recognizable and sculptural, in the Chicago skyline. Marina City, pictured above in both sketch and model form, were considered “ground breaking” design  (1959-1967). The exhibit has more than 100 drawings, models and photographs on display. An impressive collection, it is definitely worth the trip.

Built in 1975, Prentice Women’s Hospital pictured above, is currently in danger of demolition, as it is not protected under Chicago Landmark status. In partnership with Preservation Chicago, DoCoMoMo, and the Midwest Office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a coalition has been formed to advocate for the preservation of this irreplaceable Modern building.

“Drawn from the museum’s Bertrand Goldberg collection and archives, the Harvard Art Museums, and several private collections, the exhibition features over 100 original architectural drawings, models, photographs, and little-known examples of his graphic and furniture design. The trajectory of this thematic exploration of Goldberg’s work mirrors the changing priorities of American culture at large: his early work with prefabrication and low-cost housing, his projects for middle class leisure culture in the 1950s, his expanded engagement with new cultural programs throughout the 1960s, and then finally his large-scale projects for hospitals and urban planning in his later practice.  Goldberg developed relationships with some of the most prominent modern architects in the United States including Buckminster Fuller, George Fred Keck, and his mentor, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. As his practice increased in scale, Goldberg’s alternative urban model for “the city within a city” found a strong following of international architects and critics including Reyner Banham, the Japanese Metabolists, and members of the British Archigram group. A fitting homage to one of Chicago’s great builders, this exhibition showcases Goldberg’s work at its most inventive and progressive, and resonates with the multidisciplinary practices of today’s architects and designers.” The Art Institute of Chicago

Excerpts from the exhibit page at the The Art Institute of Chicago , and images found here.

Bertrand Goldberg: Architecture of Invention

The Art Institute of Chicago

111 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago

Through January 15, 2012


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Jayme Plensa

Spanish artist Jayme Plensa is a familiar presence to those who have visited Millenium Park in Chicago. He is the creator of Crown Fountain, an interactive art installation which opened in July of 2004. The two glass brick towers, act as a display for digital videos on their facing planes. It appears as it water is spraying out of the mouths of the people displayed on these blocks. Visitors can be found splashing around in the pool of water on the beautiful black granite plaza, framed by Plensa’s towers.

Jayme Plensa has a new exhibit in the Yorkshire Sculpture Park which certainly looks like it is worth a look. I find these sculptures below to have such expressive and ethereal qualities. The forms of these objects become architectural, as they invite us to not only view, but to experience the piece three dimensionally. I am taken by the incredibly modern and minimal approach, and yet each piece is layered with significant detail, drawing me in for a closer look. The proportion is dead on, the play on scale effective, and the simplicity allows for the artists statement to be heard.  On view now through September, a stroll through the beautiful grounds in Wakefield England, would no doubt be a thought provoking experience.

“2011 will also see Plensa’s first public art project in New York City. Echo will be presented from 5 May – 14 August 2011 by the Madison Square Park Conservancy. In the UK, Chichester Cathedralrecently announced Plensa’s winning proposal for the Hussey Memorial Commission, Together, expected to be unveiled in the Cathedral in 2012″. Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Crown Fountain Image by Brandon Farley

‘irma’ by jaume plensa at the yorkshire sculpture park in wakefield, england
image courtesy YSP / © jonty wilde via Designboom




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Eco Inspiration

Smart Home: Green + Wired
I recently visited the Museum of Science + Industry Chicago, to find design inspiration at the Smart Home: Green + Wired exhibit. Designed by Architect Michelle Kaufann, the home is full of ideas for living life with eco principles in mind.
The Smart Home debuted in 2008, and has recently been redesigned for 2010. I visited with my family, to explore the new design elements, and technologies.  As a family we perform the expected rituals of environmental stewardship well, such as recycling, composting, water conservation and reuse. We even grow our own food, when the Chicago climate permits. We came to the museum looking for new ideas and new challenges to fuel our life choices.
The Smart Home is a modular, pre-fabricated structure.  The exhibit displays concepts and technologies which reduce both energy use and footprint.   The Smart Home was constructed off site, in about eight weeks. The module was built on an assembly line in a climate controlled environment. Architect Michelle Kaufman has stated this is 60% faster, and more environmentally friendly than traditional on site construction.

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