Saturday, November 24, 2012

Discovering Columbus - Tatzu Nishi

Anything that is a physical, built environment, that causes a shift in our perception of something we previously took for granted, is definitely important.  That is something that all architects are searching for in some way or another.  And last week, in Columbus Circle in New York City, I found it in Tatzu Nishi's installation that entirely encompasses the Christopher Columbus statue in Columbus Circle.  

After climbing up 4 flights of stairs, with great views of the city along the way up, you enter what looks like an apartment corridor, which leads to a very comfortable living room.  The only thing out of the ordinary is that Christopher Columbus is standing on the coffee table.  

To me, what is so important about this project is that by simply changing the backdrop of something we completely alter our perception of it.  I have walked past this memorial statue countless times.  But now it stands out in my mind in a different way.  I now have a greater appreciation for this object that is much more a part of my daily life than I realized previously.  

Sunday, November 18, 2012

More Movie Theater Musings

Last week I went to the movies with some friends.  It reminded me of everything I hate about the movies - Cheaply built spaces designed to herd people in, then herd them back out, and get them to spend more money in between.  Ugly carpets, bad lighting, nothing really feels clean, unhealthy food, the list goes on.

But ultimately, most of these problems stem from the fact that the typical movie theater typology actually doesn't fit with our movie watching experience.  The first movie houses were designed to simply look like other theaters.  They just replaced the stage with a screen.  To me, that is the beginning of all the problems.  I would like to build a cinema one day that starts at the beginning, and considers movies, how and why we watch them, separately from other forms of theater and performance.

Until then, you can read here about a cinema i designed in school, which I hope one day will become real.  And you can see some photos of this beautiful, but antiquated theater where I was last week.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Jungle Gym Circus Inspiration

A few years ago, I helped design and build this:

(You can read more about it here.)  That has led me to develop a fascination with the circus, acrobats, and their equipment they climb on, as a great way to learn about architecture, and how the forms of things inform certain choreographies.

So now I find myself working on the design of another climbing structure, this one much bigger, and for now top secret.  But I can tell you that I have found a great source of inspiration in the most obvious but overlooked place - the playground.

This particular playground, recommended to me by a friend, has all of its jungle gyms build from basic industrial materials, and I think its great. 

If you're interested in learning more about playground design, I recommend the blog Playscapes.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Paranorman in the Windows!

As you know from previous posts, I hate going to the movies.  (read more about that here) But I do really like the Loews Movie Theater near Lincoln Center, because they always have some interesting artifact in the window from the making of the latest movie showing there.  In this case, a few months ago, they had the dolls that were used in the  making of the stop motion animation ParaNorman movie.  To give you a sense of scale, each one of those characters is about as tall as my forearm, if not smaller.  The detail is amazing, and it is invigorating to know that this intricate art of stop motion animation is still alive and well.  I was happy to have this little window (pun not intended) into the world of the making of one.