Saturday, March 19, 2016

ODD BITS: "Freeze/Thaw": Magical weather stations for fun and refuge in Toronto

The city of Toronto, in celebration of its spectacular waterfront landscape, recently 
held a second annual Winter Stations Design Competition -- a contest through which 
seven existing lifeguard stations were transformed into vibrant and playful temporary installations. Organizers of the competition, which was open to design professionals 
and students, wanted to add "color and refuge" to the winter shoreline, and to 
encourage the community "to come out of hibernation and go back to the beach!"

designed by Calvin Fung and Victor Huynh, Toronto, Canada

This year’s theme was “Freeze/Thaw,” which asked participants to address 
the changing climactic conditions of Toronto's winter. All the installations had
to conform to basic rules: that they be built on the skeletons of existing steel-pipe 
lifeguard stands, that they not permanently alter or damage them,
and that they be completely recyclable when the exhibition closed.
The temporary installations have no power or other utilities. 

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Left and below:
 In the Belly of a Bear
by Caitlind R.C. Brown, 
Wayne Garrett, and 
Lane Shordee.

Images by Ben Rahn/
A-Frame Studio

Stargazers are invited to climb in and look out the circular window atop the sphere. 

“Inventive, playful and irreverent, all of the installations can be read like 
pieces of poetry on the beach,” Winter Stations jury 
 chairwoman Lisa Rochon said in a press release.

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Below: Aurora Borealis
by Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario
 image by Ben Rahn

Made from fabric, LED lights, and a welded aluminum frame, 
this kinetic sculpture floats above the lifeguard station 
like a whirling chandelier.

 "Designs have the opportunity to observe, reflect or contrast the immediate waterfront landscape, with its banks of snow and frozen ice. To this end, they should expect to be playful and provocative, creatively utilizing materials and site to inform concepts 
that echo the freeze/thaw narrative and will be engaging to the public."

Left: Floating ropes 
by MUDO (Elodie Doukhan
and Nicholas Mussche)

Image by Ben Rahn 

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       Above: Sauna on a starry night 

 Sauna at sunrise 
 by Kent, U.K.’s FFLO (Claire Fernley and James Fox)
Image by James Fox 

The project also includes a community fireplace,
 designed by Ottawa architect Douglas Cardinal.
Mr. Cardinal's Aboriginal heritage influences his designwork, 
in its use of undulating lines and integration with nature. 

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For more information on this whimsical project,
link here or here

Update: These temporary installations have now been taken down.
Look for a new set of designs in the winter of 2017. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

ODD BITS: The "Tent of Tomorrow": A Modern Ruin in NYC

If you're ever driven on the Grand Central Parkway near Corona Park in Queens, NY,
you've probably wondered what that colossal, bizarre structure is that you're seeing 
but not quite believing. It's in fact the ruins of a building designed  by modernist 
architect Philip Johnson for the blockbuster 1964 World's Fair. 
The futuristic "Tent of Tomorrow" -- the expo's New York state pavilion -- 
 now stands crumbling, having garnered the dubious distinction of being named 
one of the world's top 100 endangered monuments.

Left: The New York State Pavilion in its heyday. The venue included observation towers, a
multi-colored glass ceiling,
and terazzo flooring.

“a sophisticated frivolity…seriously and beautifully constructed … a ‘carnival’ with class.”

Critic Louise Huxtable called the structure
“a sophisticated frivolity…seriously and beautifully constructed … 
a ‘carnival’ with class.”

Since its demise 50 years ago as a going concern, it has been used as 
a concert venue (1960s), a roller rink (1970s) and a film set. 
(The observation decks were re-imagined as spaceships in 
the original Men In Black.)

The New York branch of the AIA (American Institute of Architects)
will screen "Modern Ruin: A World's Fair Pavilion", a 2015 film about the 
building and recent efforts to repurpose it, on Wed., Feb. 10 at 6PM.  
Link here for details.


"The dreamers see beyond the cracks, rust, and neglect to a 
thriving community space that will serve New Yorkers for generations."
                                                                      ... Matthew Silva, filmmaker and
                                                               co-founder of People For the Pavilion 

The public is invited to submit ideas for the repurposing
of the 1964 World's Fair NYS Pavilion. Link here
for more information about the Pavilion Ideas Competition, "an
'anything goes' approach to radically reimagine one of NYC's most 
iconic buildings and a defining landmark of Queens."

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