A Week of Architecture & Design
The AIA 2012 National Convention and Design Exposition was held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., which meant a train ride from New York City was in order (the previous convention was a plane-ride away in New Orleans).. Architects from all over the United States attended the convention to rack up learning units for continuing education, walk the expo floor, network with other architects, and of course, party. W-A focused on the Expo, but we did manage to attend a couple of seminars: one on blogging (no surprise). and one on publishing (again, no surprise) ... and we made it to one or two parties.
The expo floor had a bit more foot traffic compared to previous years, and manufacturers had plenty to offer in terms of new products for us to feature in this eMagazine's product spotlight. Prominently located in the center of the expo floor was the Open Source Office (OSO), a joint project by AIA, Hanley Wood, and BNIM that aimed to "serve as a forum for exchange and collaboration among attendees and the general profession participating through crowdsourcing tools and social media." After the sun went down, it was time to head to the Hirshhorn Museum overlooking the Mall and take in Song1, Doug Aitken's installation that covered the exterior concrete walls of the donut-shaped building with moving images and music. Needless to say, "I Only Have Eyes for You" was stuck in our heads for the remainder of the trip.
At a dinner at the National Building Museum on Thursday evening, the Hanley Foundation honored Sam Rashkin with the third Hanley Award for Vision and Leadership in Sustainable Housing. Rashkin currently works at the U.S. Department of Energy, in their "Building America" program, but it was his efforts as the founding director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's "Energy Star for Homes" program that led to the award. Under his leadership, more than 1.3 million residences have been qualified under the voluntary program. Rashkin acceptance speech he gratefully acknowledged his staff and collaborators in his 15-year tenure with Energy Star, and then outlined his current work at the DOE, which is requiring more stringent guidelines for Energy Star homes, among other building-science initiatives. Edward Mazria, founder of Architecture 2030, and Alex Wilson, who founded and leads BuildingGreen LLC were previous recipients of the award.
Overlapping with the AIA Convention was the International Contemporary Furniture Fair back in New York City, which meant heading over to Javits Center right after the train pulled into Penn Station. While the floor for ICFF is much smaller than the AIA expo, it's a more enjoyable stroll, thanks to the effort put into the design of the booths by some manufacturers. Like the AIA expo, W-A homed in on products for spotlighting in the eMagazine, but we also took in the ICFF Talks and, of course, headed out to a few of the many parties swirling around ICFF. In the latter camp, on Saturday was Foscarini's cool Inspire video installation in their SoHo showroom, and on Sunday was a packed party at the Vitra+AXOR showroom in the Meatpacking District.
The highlight of ICFF Talks was a panel presentation by team members of the U.S. Pavilion for the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale, which will run from August to November. Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good is the theme developed by curator Cathy Lang Ho and the Institute for Urban Design. She moderated a panel that included Michael Sorkin (advisor, IFUD), Paola Antonelli (advisor, MoMA), Daniel D'Oca (participant, Interboro), Gordon Douglas (project manager, writer), and John Hartmann (exhibition design, Freecell). The panelists discussed their varied approaches to the exhibition, which will present more than 120 projects that directly engage the city through design initiatives that "deploy fresh tactics to make cities more sustainable, accessible, and inclusive."
World-Architects returned to Vitra on Monday evening, holding a presentation of our new eMagazine for some architects, manufacturers, and friends. We took over part of the REV space in the lower level to hold the presentation. REV is a new workspace that invites "the hippest mobile professionals around town" to work flexibly and collaboratively in their space decked out with Vitra furniture. Like the Open Source Office at the AIA Expo, collaboration and indepence are balanced through the design of the space, which includes lounge seating, a conference table, workstations, and "work sofas" for a little more privacy.
We took over the long conference table and took advantage of the AirShare collaboration technology to wirelessly broadcast a presentation from our iPad onto a large monitor. CEO Renato Turri, Managing Director Charles Ganz, and eMagazine Editor-in-Chief John Hill walked through the history of World-Architects.com, the new eMagazine, and the goals for the future.
The lousy weather may have kept many of the invitees at home, but the attendees were treated to prosecco and some food after the presentation. It was an informal (yet hopefully informative) evening that marked the beginning of our World eMagazine and its role in expanding editorial coverage on the World-Architects platform.
Capping our busy week of architecture and design was an opening night party in the Shigeru Ban-designed Camper store in SoHo. Ban, working with local architect Dean Maltz, designed a space with diagonals alternately hiding and revealing the store's logo and its shoes, depending on one's vantage point. The small store is capped by a temporary art installation, a gable roof of Ban's signature carboard tubes, making it truly a "house for shoes." Shigeru Ban was on hand for remarks (most illuminating was his statement that all design work is equal for him, be it a store, a house, or refugee housing) along with a swarm of architects and fashionistas cramming into the space for the party. Luckily we were able to talk briefly to Mr. Ban between trips to the bar for beer and wine.