Wednesday, November 25, 2015

AnnMarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center

TGIF to the viewers!

Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center is located in scenic Solomons, Maryland, where the Patuxent River meets the Chesapeake Bay.  The sculpture garden features a 1/4 mile walking path that meanders through the woods past permanent and loaned sculpture, including over thirty works on loan from the Smithsonian Institution and the National Gallery of Art.  Artists in the collection include:  Antonio Tobias Mendez, Barbara Hepworth, Cesar, Robert Engman, Jean Arp, Kenneth Snelson and Fransisco Zuniga. The award-winning Arts Building includes rotating exhibition space, a gift shop, and a sunny patio.  Annmarie presents a variety of popular annual festivals, rotating exhibitions, family activities, and creative public programs.  The Studio School offers classes for all ages and abilities - from pottery to dance - taught by professional artists and arts educators.  Come explore this special place where art and nature meet!

 Who is Annmarie?
Francis and Ann Marie Koenig first came to Calvert Count y in 1955 seeking a retreat from his career as an architecht/builder/developer in Washington, DC. They quickly fell in love with the area and in 1956 built a beach house in Long Beach. Soon they became avid sailors and could often be found heading out of Flag Harbor Marina on their sailboat, "Annmarie." As an investment opportunity in 1960, Francis and Annmarie Koenig purchased 30 acres of land in Solomons, Maryland. After thirty-two years and many offers from developers, Fran began to see his investment as a unique opportunity to give something back to an area that he loved.In 1991, the Koenig family donated this property to Calvert County with the intention that it be developed into a sculpture park. Named after Fran's wife, Mrs. Ann Marie Koenig, the Garden began to take shape over the next decade as six permanent works of art were installed.Francis and Ann both passed away in the 1990s, but their dream lives on. Today, Annmarie Garden stands as a gesture of the gratitude that the Koenigs felt for the years spent at their beach home on the Chesapeake Bay. Their generous and precious gift provides a unique setting in Calvert County for visitors to explore a place where art and nature meet.

From Washington DC (about 60 minute drive): Take Route 4 South, Exit 11 off Capital Beltway (to Prince Frederick). Continue on 4 South, following signs to Solomons. Left on Dowell Road at Hilton Garden Inn and Rudy Duck. Garden is less than 1/4 mile on left.

From Annapolis: Follow Route 2 South towards Prince Frederick/Solomons. Left (South) onto Route 2/4 at Sunderland light. Left on Dowell Road at Hilton Garden Inn and Rudy Duck. Garden is less than 1/4 mile on left.



Friday, November 13, 2015

Pratt Institute

Cool New Film/ Video Department

Pratt Institute, a renowned New York City-based college that educates creative thinkers from around the world, recently opened a new home for its Film/Video Department: a state-of-the-art facility in the former Pratt Store building at 550 Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn. The 15,000-square-foot facility, designed by architect and Pratt alumnus Jack Esterson, is located in close proximity to Steiner Studios in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and contributes to the expanding presence of motion media in the Borough of Brooklyn. 
“Brooklyn has emerged as the hot new destination for television and film production," said Carlo A. Scissura, President and CEO, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.
Anchored by stunning interior architectural features, Esterson designed independent volumes that either seem to float or, in some cases, actually do in order to create acoustical separation.  To give the volumes their own identities, he turned to his long-ago teacher Haresh Lalvani, now a Pratt architecture professor and sculptor. Lalvani used algorithms to devise a series of shapes that could be cut out of the aluminum now wrapping each volume, reflecting the activity within. Shapes for the recording studio’s panels, for instance, suggest sound waves. Installing the aluminum 1 1⁄2 inches away from the supporting walls, then lighting the perforations from below, also creates depth.  In contrast to the opaque aluminum compositions, the volumes’ upper levels and the mezzanine’s offices and classrooms are all fronted in translucent glass.
The new space gives faculty and students access to a 96-seat screening room; one large soundstage (capable of being converting into two) and a second, smaller soundstage that together comprise 3,000 square feet; a sound recording studio with surround-sound capability; and two high-end color grading and post production suites.
The project was recognized with a citation award in the 2015 American Institute of Architects New York State Design Awards.
A building for filmmakers should reflect different ways of using light, Esterson explains, adding that there’s a reason he chose mostly grays for the interior: “The color in a film school really needs to come from the students’ films.”


In the film and video department at Pratt Institute. CNC - cut aluminum wraps a corner of the screening room.

Maple (more commonly used for flooring) clads the underside of the screening room's enclosure where it faces the lobby.

Aluminum frames the front of spaces including the screenwriters' classroom, set on top of the recording studio.

Animation and video have become like the written word. Whatever field you’re in, you’ll need them to communicate,” Jorge Oliver says.

PRATT website
ARCHITECT magazine

Friday, November 6, 2015

"New Mobility"

London’s Oxford Street in 1965.

Gilles Vesco calls it the “new mobility”. It’s a vision of cities in which residents no longer rely on their cars but on public transport, shared cars and bikes and, above all, on real-time data on their smartphones. He anticipates a revolution which will transform not just transport but the cities themselves. “The goal is to rebalance the public space and create a city for people,” he says. “There will be less pollution, less noise, less stress; it will be a more walkable city.”

Image result for bike shareVesco, the politician responsible for sustainable transport in Lyon, played a leading role in introducing the city’s Vélo’v bike-sharing scheme a decade ago. It has since been replicated in cities all over the world. Now, though, he is convinced that digital technology has changed the rules of the game, and will make possible the move away from cars that was unimaginable when Vélo’v launched in May 2005. “Digital information is the fuel of mobility,” he says. “Some transport sociologists say that information about mobility is 50% of mobility. The car will become an accessory to the smartphone.”
Vesco is nothing if not an evangelist. “Sharing is the new paradigm of urban mobility. Tomorrow, you will judge a city according to what it is adding to sharing. The more that we have people sharing transportation modes, public space, information and new services, the more attractive the city will be.”

Pedestrian-friendly central Lyon, on the banks of the River Rhone.

The Vélo’v scheme is being extended, car clubs that use electric vehicles are being encouraged, and what Vesco calls a “collaborative platform” has been built to encourage ride-sharing by matching drivers with people seeking lifts. There is, he says, no longer any need for residents of Lyon to own a car. And he practices what he preaches – he doesn’t own one himself

The number of cars entering the city has fallen by 20% over the past decade, without even a congestion-charging scheme (Vesco says it would impose a disproportionate burden on the less well-off, who tend to drive higher-polluting vehicles). And even though Lyon’s population is expected to rise by more than 10% over the next decade, he is targeting a further 20% drop in car use. The car parks that used to run alongside the banks of Lyon’s two rivers have already been removed, and human parks opened in their place. Vesco says someone returning to Lyon for the first time in a decade would barely recognize the city.

To put it more bluntly: many city developments are now predicated on there being no car spaces for residents. Developers worried about this initially, but have come to realize it doesn’t pose a problem for the young professionals likely to be buying their flats, so have accepted the demands of council planning departments.

Walthamstow Village has seen a 20% drop in vehicle numbers since trialling its cycle-friendly neighbourhood scheme.

This model of denser, less car-dependent cities is becoming the accepted wisdom across the developed world. “The height [of buildings] is going up; density is going up; borough policies and London plan policies are all about intensification and densification of land uses,” explains Ben Kennedy, Hackney’s principal transport planner. “We’re probably going the way of Manhattan. People live very close and they don’t travel at all because everything is on their doorstep; the population in one block is so high, it can support all the amenities you could ever want. We’re slowly going in that direction in London.”

Aleksanterinkatu, Helsinki.