Friday, December 08, 2006


an update on post-occupancy blues at the libeskind designed denver art museum:
those DAM leaks...
NO! not the karl rove kind. the type of roofing concern.
and if you happen to be walking by the hamilton building after a heavy snow-
head's up. you might be caught in an avalanche.
here's what they plan to do about it..
also, the artist for a piece slated near the denver justice center has been selected, in one of the largest subsidized artworks in the history of the "denver percent for art program". the budget is reported as being an easy $1.2 million. new york sculptor dennis oppenheim is known for his abstract conceptual sculptures and land art.

Monday, December 04, 2006

houses at sagaponac

photo by jparchitectus

houses at sagaponac is the dream of the late developer harry j brown. the project consists of 34 houses, each designed by its own starchitect, on a 65 acre site in the hamptons, new york. some notables include: richard rogers, carlos jimenez, eric owen moss, stan allen, samuel mockbee, MVRDV, zaha hadid, steven holl, and the hariri duo.

here's a link to pushpullbar for an inside peek at the ban project under construction called the 'furniture house'. the "walls" are composed of customized cabinetry, intead of conventional framing techniques, for structural support. also-the entire roof is pitched 1/8" per foot in one direction, so there are none of those pesky scuppers or downspouts all over the place.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

ghost in blueprint

featured in the most recent issue of BLUEPRINT magazine is an article on canadian architect brian mackay-lyons. he is best known for his book plain modern, on the subject of "regionalism in architecture" and the abstraction of the nova scotia housing vernacular into a modern idiom. every year, mackay-lyons holds a 2 week design-build seminar, dubbed the "ghost lab", on his coastal farmland located 1 hour south of halifax, ns. yours truly had the honor of being a part of ghost lab 8 this past summer, building a permanent structure only known to us as "the studio". the article's photos explain it best, but being apart of this phenomenal gathering was similar in spirit to programs like sam mockbee's rural studio. here are some scans of the article by oliver lowenstein.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

self "gratification" and the nasty-ness of it all

it's snowing outside, the roads are treacherous, it's blistering cold & windy [14 degrees F], and everyone's in a nasty mood. not just because of the weather, but because of the news-reeling from the new denver justice center design proposal.

after the recent firing of architect steven holl- this is the design that the local architecture firm klipp has been furiously trying to complete. a denver post article reports on the "gratifying" effort that have gotten the city officials' rocks off. architect dennis humphries states that the building:
"doesn't quite have the spirit" of the previous Holl design...

but forges on with the cliched sound-bites saying the design is:
"bold, fresh" and "a step in the right direction."

and since we're in a nasty mood here today [and eager to spread it], here are some images of the detention center slated to be adjacent to the courthouse. inspiring for all the kids, right?

and in an affort to make it an EXTREMELY nasty day for all...we seem to remember a previous design for the courthouse not long ago [2004] in a galaxy not too far away that was similar.


people must be wondering:
"...why did the city pay all the money and time to select a 'signature' architect, only to fire the architect, and end up with a similar design [with the pieces jumbled around] already done 2 years ago by yet a different firm?"
the answer is not yet clear.

maybe this design is good enough to arouse city officials [and get them out of hot water], but sorry guys-we've had clean up the mess.

Monday, November 27, 2006

allied works selected for clyfford still museum

it's official:


November 27, 2006 -- DENVER -- The Clyfford Still Museum announced today that it has selected Allied Works Architecture, led by Brad Cloepfil, to design its future home in Denver, Colorado. The approximately 30,000-square-foot museum will accommodate galleries for the legendary artist’s work, including some 2,400 paintings, works on paper, and sculptures that have not been seen by the public for over 25 years. The building will also feature an education center, library and archives, collection storage, a conservation laboratory, and public areas.

“Today’s announcement of Allied Works as the architect for the future Clyfford Still Museum marks yet another milestone in the Mile High City’s growing cultural prominence,” said Mayor John Hickenlooper. “The Still collection is of tremendous international importance, and its presence in Denver will help further establish the city as a destination for those interested in 20th-century art.”

Based in Portland, Oregon, Allied Works Architecture is a globally recognized architectural firm with wide experience in the design of cultural, educational, and art institutions. Recent and current museum projects include the Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis, the Seattle Art Museum, the University of Michigan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Arts & Design’s new facility at Two Columbus Circle in New York. The Clyfford Still Museum Architect Selection Committee chose Allied Works Architecture for its demonstrated ability to design inspiring buildings and museum spaces that are responsive to the needs of the institution, its collection, and community, and that provide visitors with a premium experience for viewing works of art.

“Throughout the selection process, Brad Cloepfil impressed the Clyfford Still Architect Selection Committee with his past museum experience, strong architectural vision, and shared respect for the artist, his work, and the mission of the Museum,” said Dean Sobel, Director of the Clyfford Still Museum. “We are pleased to be partnering with Allied Works Architecture in the design and creation of this world-class institution, dedicated to showcasing Still’s artistic brilliance and legacy.”

Allied Works’ proposal expressed a deep understanding of the Still Museum’s goals and collection needs as a single-artist institution, while thoughtfully responding to the surrounding architectural environment of Denver’s growing cultural center, which includes the new Libeskind-designed expansion for the Denver Art Museum. With roots in the Pacific Northwest of the country, Cloepfil also conveyed a profound sense of insight into the landscape that surrounded and influenced Still, who also spent time in that region.

Allied Works Architecture was selected from three finalists, including Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Ohlhausen DuBois Architects, who conducted public presentations to the Denver community and in-person interviews with the Clyfford Still Museum Architect Selection Committee in early November. The Clyfford Still Museum Board of Directors had initially invited 23 local, national and international firms to submit credentials by issuing a request for qualifications (RFQ) in June 2006. Museum officials plan to unveil concepts on the building design in the coming months.

About Allied Works

Founded in 1994 by Brad Cloepfil, Allied Works Architecture is a firm of 40 architects and support staff with offices in Portland, Oregon, and New York City. Known for the integrity of its design and detailing, Allied Works creates dramatic, involving and moving spaces. Recent and current museum projects include the Contemporary Museum of Art, St. Louis, the Seattle Art Museum, the University of Michigan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Arts & Design’s new facility at Two Columbus Circle in New York. In addition to its work on museums, other Allied Works projects include the Weiden + Kennedy Advertising Agency headquarters in Portland, Oregon, and the Sun Valley Residence in Sun Valley, Idaho. Projects currently in design include a major renovation and expansion of the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, in the Dallas Arts District, Dallas, Texas, and a weekend home, guest house and gallery for prominent art collectors, to be located on 350 acres in Dutchess County, New York.

About The Clyfford Still Museum

The Clyfford Still Museum was founded to promote public and scholarly understanding of the late artist’s work and legacy, through the presentation and preservation of the Clyfford Still Estate, totaling approximately 2,400 artworks bequeathed to the City of Denver in 2004. Considered one of the most important painters of the twentieth century, Still (1904-1980) was among the first generation of Abstract Expressionist artists who developed a new, powerful approach to painting in the years immediately following World War II. Still’s estate—now understood to be 94 percent of the artist’s total output—as well as his extensive archive, have been sealed off from the public since 1980.

The Clyfford Still Museum will be located in Denver, Colorado, in the heart of the Civic Center Cultural Complex, near the Denver Art Museum and its new Daniel Libeskind-designed building, the Denver Public Library designed by Michael Graves, and the Colorado History Museum. For more information about the Clyfford Still Museum, please visit

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Sugar³ architect eyes the justice center

yesterday, a press release announced that bruce kuwabara of the firm Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects, will head up a "peer review panel" for the flailing denver justice center. this is an attempt by the mayor's office to inject the project with some life after a collaboration breakdown with architect steven holl [see previous]. kawabara's firm is based in toronto, and just recently broke ground here in denver for a multi-story residential project being dubbed: Sugar³. an article on its green intentions here.

oh...and i guess if you're interested- The Real World: Denver premieres tonight at 8pm on MTV. The only reason we're even mentioning this is because the loft [formerly "B-52" pub at 19th & Market] that was used is for sale at a very cool price of $3.3 million [complete with full size b-ball court and pool].
Here's a slideshow of the living quarters. some of the odder amenities include a jeep, ski lifts hanging from the ceiling, and yup...gang showers.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

bloch building blog

despite the obvious flaws of kansas city's nelson atkins website-bloch building blog -one being the backwards chronology of the posts-it is a priveliged glimpse into the final stages of construction and curation of the new building[s] by steven holl.

other photos of the nelson atkins at flickr

Friday, November 17, 2006

T_REX up and running

today at 11am, the $1.75 BILLION, 19-mile light rail expansion project-T_REX- will open it's rails to the first commuters along the I-25 and I-225 corridors. RMN has a story.
over a span of 5 years, the project was contracted out under a design-build delivery method, allowing the schedule to be cut down to one-third of the time compared to traditional methods. trip fares will range from $1.75 to $2.75, depending upon distance.
along with the new light rail expansion, the corridor gained 17 new miles of 2-lane highway on each side, making it one of the largest civil engineering projects in the nation. Other articles here and here.

denver plans to expand its light rail even further to connect denver with municipalities as far as boulder, longmont, golden and westminster under the name of the FasTracks Plan.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

life, truth & light

an upcoming film by darren aronofsky-the fountain- has been long awaited [by at least one person], and now finally has a new engrossing website with stunning visuals. the film includes topics such as: mayan mysticism, the tree of life, the fountain of youth, space/time travel, terminal illness, and of course-love.

in aronofsky's films, he takes the viewer to the extreme edges of known perception with the aid of obsession [pi], and manipulation of the senses [requiem for a dream] . the films are incredibly specific tales of the individual characters, yet vastly universal in the relevance to humanity. this one is no different, with the latter obviously standing out prominently. to tell his stories, the environment in which his characters reside make a huge impact on the experience of the film. for example, in pi, the director chose to limit the perception to very tight camera angles of only the protagonist's apartment, the subway, and of the protaginist himself when outdoors.

one intriguing aspect of the new film is that aronofsky decided to utilize footage of motion induced fluids at a microscopic scale, in lieu of digital cgi, to portray deep space environments.
whether this is a film you will see and enjoy or not, aronofsky presents an interest in the distortion of space and how that manipulation of reality can result in a new way of perceiving our world. and that is something all architects should be interested in.
the fountain opens november 22
image above from the film's website

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

[updated] friendly reminder

from a previous post
a guide to choosing your own adventure...

the clyfford still museum shortlist presentations will be airing on denver's local channel 8, rocky mountain pbs. check the website for upcoming scheduled broadcasts. let all your friends know that they have the option to see tod williams speak at cu denver monday night, and then watch the still museum presentations on tv later in the week.
that feels much better!

but you still have to choose...

thanks to epicureofepicures for the heads up

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

building new ideas: the art of progressive urban design

image of alvarez morris' work from campodf's photostream

from the aia calendar:

friday.03.november.2006 5.00pm-9.00pm
location: 1150 Delaware st.denver.CO

SOLiD architectural design and Sprocket Design Build announce the opening of
"Building New Ideas," an exhibition featuring the work of eight emerging architectural firms working at the forefront of Denver’s internationally renowned design scene.

These mixed-media installations are certain to spark dialogue about urban design and its impact on our lives.

Please join Sprocket Design Build, SOLiD architectural design, Bothwell Davis George Architects, Groundworks design, studiotrope, in-situ DESIGN, AlvarezMorris architectural studio and Michael Tavel Architects as they discuss and present their work in an open forum at the opening of the exhibit.

Monday, October 30, 2006

george hoover-advocate for public architecture

here's a well-written perspective by a local denver architect, george hoover. he is an active member of the architecture faculty at CU Denver and has been practicing architecture in denver since 1961-establishing his firm, hooverdesmond architects ar7] founded in 1976. in his article, "an architect's drive for excellence", he states that:
Many of us who live in Denver have designed and built in distant cities and countries, generally because our clients found we were best suited to help meet their aspirations, regardless of our place of residence. Design talent exists both within and beyond city limits. Those who seek genuine architectural excellence do not allow arbitrary boundaries to limit their search for the right match.
Thus, hyperbole such as "ego- driven icons designed by the famous" is not only misleading, it distracts from the core issue here: how we define, value and realize excellence.

his article not only outlines a manifesto for collaboration, and also wards against the pitfalls of making decisions based up on expediency.

maybe george should make his way out of [semi-]retirment...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


photo taken by bysevensixfive
PLOT, [was] one of the most intriguing young architectural practices around, and now the two principals of each firm have split to form their own practices-JDS [Julien De Smedt] architects, and BIG [Bjarke Ingels Group]. they both originate from denmark, but have worked under the likes of rem koolhaas' OMA. PLOT initiated as a frantic and almost desperate attempt to enter as many architectural competitions as possible. some bit, but most didn't go past the conceptual stage. they even went as far as proposing [without being prompted *gasp*] a super-harbor that concentrated all shipping docks on denmark's entire coast into on giant station in the middle of the sea. this "superharbor" would also have a hybrid bridge/tunnel that would link denmark to the netherlands. see the entire video here. the music is a testament to these guys and that they don't take themselves too seriously.

what does this have to do with architecture, you say? easy: after all the old harbors have been redeveloped into housing, ALL danes can live on the coast. the danish government wasn't as intrigued with this idea as china. so now it has taken off to land in the east, in the shape of the country's 5-pointed star, rather than a 6-pointed starburst.

the rest of this article is excerpted from domus magazine [italy]:

After five years, three buildings, countless designs and much critical acclaim, Bjarke Ingels and Julien De Smedt of PLOT have decided to go their own ways, founding BIG and JDS respectively. Domus presents PLOT’s most recent works. Text by Joseph Grima. Photography by Gaia Cambiaggi
News that their competition entry for Helsingør Psychiatric Hospital had won first prize came as something of a godsend to Bjarke Ingels and Julien De Smedt, co-founders of the now defunct architecture practice PLOT. It was February 2003, and the office’s other projects were either finished or on hold; office staff completed the competition entry as a gap-filler during their last three months of notice before closure. It was a hard-earned victory that followed an extensive period of visits and telephone calls to consultant psychiatrists, doctors, patients and hospital staff; Ingels describes the result as a “long list of conflicting desires, with no clear requirements”. Even the competition brief itself was an exercise in ambiguity, calling for a building both centralised and non-hierarchical, protected and secluded but open to its surroundings, introverted but not carceral, two-storey but with external access from every room. “After all,” Ingels quipps, “Helsingør is the hometown of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The brief was to be and not to be.”

The result is a low-slung starburst, a bundle of rectilinear wards and treatment facilities that meet in a central point of intersection. The sculpted landscape surrounding the building dips to reveal a lower floor where the patient’s rooms and additional accommodation for staff are located; the upper floors of the three wings are devoted to the treatment of the hospital’s patients. The architect’s main objective was to do away with the clichès associated with hospital design, such as dark, claustrophobic corridors crossing tightly-packed, symmetrically-arranged wards. Here the long, brightly-coloured corridors are lined with glass to allow maximum light penetration and to afford the occupants a “gallery of views”, a condition of constant visual contact with the exterior. Dotted around the three wings are a number of sunken courtyards that offer patients secluded and protected open-air spaces.

As with most of their work, the clover-leaf plan underwent innumerable alterations, adjustments, amputations and improvements during project development. This approach to design, which obstinately subjects as wide as possible a range of formal and programmatic iterations to a Darwinian fitness test, was inherited from OMA, where Bjarke Ingels and Julien De Smedt first met. Their design strategy posits that every constraint exerts a force on the architectural artifact, and not necessarily for the worse; on the contrary, “optimised constraints” are seen as the tools that sculpt the unique identity of a successful design. Counterpart to this approach is the willingness to dispassionately substitute one programme with another while carrying out relatively minor alterations to the architecture itself: the design for Helsingør Psychiatric Hospital, for example, began its life as an unrealised proposal for an aquacentre.

The results of this anti-dogmatic process of tireless experimentation undermine the assumption that certain building typologies are incompatible with creative architectural expression. A recently-completed scheme in Ørestad, one of Copenhagen’s fastest-growning suburban neighborhoods, takes on the bête noir of contemporary European architecture: high-density, affordable, privately-funded housing developments.
The VM Houses (so called because in plan the south-facing block forms a “V” and the north-facing block an “M”) are the result of a very unexceptional brief calling for 230 residential units in 2 blocks combined with the constraints imposed by zoning height requirements, optimisation of views towards the nearby canals and sightlines from the surrounding residential neighbourhoods. The success of the project took even the Danish developer Per Høpfner by surprise: all units were sold out in just three weeks, most going on the first day they were put on the market. This exceptional result might well have something to do with the fact that PLOT’s design overcomes one of the less appealing characterstics of most housing developments. Rather than replicating the same apartment module throughout the blocks, the VM Houses constitute a 3D jigsaw puzzle of sorts, offering a bewildering variety of different floorplans (75), none of which is repeated more than a dozen times. Several, especially those on the top floors dissected by the sloping roof, have unique features such as outdoor terraces. Were it needed, more proof that the accepted rules of working with developers are not necessarily inflexible is granted by humourous touches such as the pixelated portrait of the developer (executed in brightly-coloured bathroom tiles) on the walls of the entrance lobby.

The architectural solutions proposed in the past five years by PLOT - and now carried forward separately by the offices of Ingels and De Smedt (BIG and JDS respectively) - habitually and ingeniously undermine the customary approach to urban intervention, as the unrealised projects on the following pages demonstrate. In addition to this, they are exploring new realms of intervention by taking a proactive stance in seeking new commissions: rather than relying on competitions or direct commissions to feed the office’s workflow, PLOT frequently offered univited proposals for large urban interventions to municipal authorities in Denmark and elsewhere, which were often received surprisingly warmly. Some, such as a proposal for a three-kilometre wall of apartment blocks that would surround an open area devoted to sports in the Klovermarken area of Copenhagen (quenching the city’s thirst for housing in one fell swoop), became the focus of heated political debate and petitions both in favour and against. PLOT’s great achievement is to have succeeded - in its brief five-year lifespan - in offering an example of an architecture practice capable of reconciling avant-garde design with the real needs of clients both public and private. It’s now up to BIG and JDS to find new areas of intervention and write the next chapter of the story. J.G.

Works In Progress
A selection of projects conceived by PLOT and now being developed independently by BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) and the practice of Julien De Smedt, JDS Architects

Mountain Dwellings, Ørestad
Mountain Dwellings is the second phase of the completed VM Houses project, and will be built on the same site by the same developer. Composed of 2/3 parking and 1/3 residential units, it merges these two programmes into a single building optimising views, daylight exposure, accessiblity and density. The apartments are arranged in a south-facing, sloped array supported by 11 storeys of car parking: the result takes on the appearance of a mountainside, standing out in stark contrast to Copenhagen’s flat landscape. Bjarke Ingels and Julien De Smedt describe the project as an excercise in “suburban living with urban density”.

People’s Building, Shanghai
The RÉN building is a proposal for a hotel, sports and conference centre for the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai. The tower, developed in association with ARUP, is conceived as two buildings that merge into one over a waterway. The first is devoted to the body and houses a sports centre and water culture centre, the second to the mind, with a conference centre. The point where the two buildings merge into one is devoted to a 1000-room hotel. After completing the design, the architects discovered a fortuitous likeness between the building and the Chinese character meaning “the people”, thus giving the building its name.

The Battery, Copenhagen
The Battery is a large-scale project for urban intervention that seeks to integrate three disjoined neighbourhoods of Copenhagen (Islands Brygge, Amagerbro and Ørestaden) by overlapping them in an “urban activity centre”. The new neighbourhood, several blocks in length, comprises all the basic elements of urbanity: apartments, offices, shops, child care and sports facilities and cultural institutions. By including a mosque (the first in Denmark), it also aims to favour the cultural integration of the city’s minorities. Although the new neighbourhood’s architecture appears to be of geological inspiration, the mountain-like buildings trace exactly the maximum buildable height of each plot, thus optimising the site’s density.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Mijn bureau, uw bureau

in keeping with the post on danny's blog werlew, here is a picture of the hell which never stops burning. this is the job site office-not as colorful as the hq office, butit will do.

description from left to right, clockwise:
drawing rack, "meeting" table with redline drawings & sunglasses, office calendar [beyond], shelves for mostly crap [product samples & such] but some useful things like: IBC codebook, safety vest [for site visits], trace paper. on the desk: computer with dual monitor [must have], hard hat-black [sweet], polyester work chair which is definitely not an aeron, acting as rack for sweater made in italy.



Monday, October 23, 2006

friendly reminder[s]...

don't forget that the presentations by the clyfford still museum shortlist architects will be at the denver convention center [ballroom 8] next week november 6th @ 6.00pm.
The three finalists [in order of appearance] are:

Allied Works Architecture
Ohlhausen DuBois Architects
Diller Scofidio + Renfro

as if that day [nov 6th] wasn't exciting enough, tod wiliiams from TWBT architects in new york will be lecturing at the UC Denver auraria campus. Room 400 @ 5.30pm. There is a rumour that this might be re-scheduled due to the still presentations, but no word yet.

for now, you must choose your own adventure...


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

civic [in]justice: lamenting loss

who killed the justice center?

it looks like a protest of sorts- RMN.

freedesign, a local group of young architects, along with is sponsoring a "lament" for architect steven holl's lost design for the denver justice center. the event will take place thursday 19 october, 8pm-10pm at the recently completed DAM hamilton building near 13th and bannock.
the group has started a blog called "Thank You Steven Holl..." to mark the occasion.
Westword has some coverage entitled sometimes there is no justice, and the event marks the date to which holl was supposed to present his design to the public. the invitation is here.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

ground control to mayor john...

the latest debaucle in the resignation of architect Steven Holl from the Denver Justic Center Project resides here [RMN]. according to mr. holl, he tried to reach out and touch the mayor of denver for his patronic blessing, but alas he couldn't get through on the red bat-phone.
"I couldn't get through to the mayor," Holl said from his New York office. "I said the city needs an advocate for public architecture within the city. The mayor didn't have the time to be an advocate."

Design was not the issue, he said. "The design didn't shift. The attitude changed. I don't think the project manager wanted us in the picture. My communications to the mayor were blocked."

but then, when it may have still held on by a thread, it all came down to one phone call that may have hurt the project managers [at the city] and their precious feelings. to save his reputation, and perhaps to show everyone what the city would be missing, a video appeared on holl's website that showed his design for 50% through schematic design. in the video holl vaguley states that the building is "on time & on budget with all the program included", in contrast to the city's claims. the link to the video is here, but beware, it is a HUGE FILE, so go to a long lunch while downloading. if you don't want to wait, then here's some screenshots:

then comes the kicker about a call between holl & the mayor:

The two spoke by phone Sept. 20. Holl said he told the mayor that "unless (he) refreshed his management and got an advocate for public architecture, this design can't go down this path."
Holl believes the remark was overheard on speaker phone by the very managers he was criticizing.
But the mayor said the comment was made before he turned on the speaker phone for the team gathered in his office.
"(Holl) wanted to vent," Hickenlooper said. "I couldn't repeat to them what he had said. I told him I was putting it on speaker. But (Holl) may have repeated it later."
Holl and Hickenlooper spoke a couple of days later, too, Holl said. But by then, it was too late.

it was that damn speaker phone function again wasn't it?! why can't the city get those things fixed?! which button do i push to end this thing again?!!!
Ah! here it is...



Thursday, October 05, 2006

klipp to denver: "show me the money!"

confirmed from the previous post:
architect quits justice center project
all due to budget/fee constraints
"...we certainly knew there were issues for the last couple weeks," the decision to proceed without Holl was up to the Klipp team.

"We have been holding Klipp accountable for delivering the project on time and on budget," Mejía said.

also at RMN-Jail project loses Architect
Councilman Doug Linkhart, chairman of the council safety committee, was more specific. Linkhart said that Holl and Klipp had a fundamental difference over design concepts at the center, at Elati Street and West 14th Avenue.

"I'm certainly concerned about it," he said. "The schedule is a potential issue. But also, will they design as interesting a building as Steven Holl? He's a world-famous architect."

but steven, i thought we had you at "hello...nice scarf..."

and now, a lament:

As the saffron scarf sails away

a black holl is left exposed.

The Dali Lama weeps.

--Epicure of Epicures


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

holl to denver: "I QUIT!"

new york based architect steven holl, whose firm was selected in a competition to design the almost $400 million court complex for denver, has had enough. In Judicial Complex, architect part ways, it states that:
"After several months of collaboration, it was concluded that the Denver Justice Center Project objectives could not allow (Steven Holl Architects) to design a building consistent with Steven Holl's design philosophy," the local architecture firm said in a statement.

i'll bet the local associate architects for the project Klipp, are doing their end zone touchdown dance right now...

if history in this town proves correct, klipp assumes full responsibility for the design & construction of the new courthouse. besides-why would the city of denver go through another expensive search & interview for another architect? stay tuned for the next laughing stock story from denver, usa...

Saturday, September 30, 2006

the "wow-whatthefuhk?!" factor

la times art critic Christopher Knight aims his scathing, punishing lingistic skills towards the new DAM building by daniel libeskind [opening here october 7th] in the article Tilted Funhouse Ain't So Fun Inside. evidently less inclined to thrill, and more liable to spill [one's guts that is] the most pungent aromas from the western knight's article about the new DAM are these:

Suddenly, the "wow!" factor morphs into the "huh?" factor. Every tilted wall, sharp point and obtuse or acute angle visible on the building's exterior is replicated in the interior rooms, where art is displayed...

This reflects a new reality. In today's art world, big international exhibitions proliferate, while the nonstop, far-flung gallery crawls in cities like L.A., New York, London and Berlin compete with a continuous global calendar of art fairs. The new norm is to scan art in passing, the way one watches scenery from a moving vehicle or surveys fashions on the runway. The Hamilton Building may be the first to institutionalize scanning as an art museum practice.

if we are going this direction, why shouldn't we install some passing lanes on the floors of the galleries, and we can all re-create the famous scene in Bande à part by running through the museum in record time...

image courtesy of

Monday, September 25, 2006

the "cliched" sixth reich in denver

dr. no writes about revitalizing old downtowns[ including denver] in the ny times article If You Build It, Will They Come?

Denver’s solution to this approach seemed to be to pile on more architectural imagery. Fifteen years ago, Michael Graves was hired to design a major expansion for the public library across from Ponti’s museum. As a composition, the project is not Graves’s worst. Its geometric forms (a cluster of cylinders and squares capped by an array of decorative roofs) has some of the haunting qualities of the designs of Aldo Rossi, who saw cities as repositories of memory as melancholy as a de Chirico painting. But the overblown scale of the library gives it a more sinister edge, like a Disney interpretation of Albert Speer’s designs for the Third Reich. When the city hired Libeskind to design the museum addition in 2000, it seemed as if it were trying to heal a deep urban wound by piling on yet more architectural forms. And Libeskind’s plan soon expanded to include an adjoining residential project, one of the clichés of contemporary urban revitalization.

hold on there doctor! who do you think we are? some kind of cowtown wasteland that would commission an artist 20 years past his prime to decorate our public space with kitschy oversized art?

oh crap...

Monday, September 18, 2006

still down to 3

from the RMN:

the short-shortlist:

1] allied works architecture [portland, or]-principal: brad cloepfil, recent works-contemporary art museum in st. louis, renovation to the face of for 2 columbus circle in new york [museum of arts & design].

2] diller scofidio + renfro [nyc], recent works- institute of contemporary art in boston, renovations of the lincoln center for the arts.

3] ohlhausen dubois architects [nyc], recent works- gatehouse performance space at aaron davis hall, & the danese gallery.

fire & brimstone

the westword arts critic, Michael Paglia is on fire and laying waste to anything/ anyone/ any writer/ any object... that stands in his way----except BOB STERN! the libeskind thrashing about his propoasl for the RE-vision of denver's civic center [and more] at WESTWORD.
it might be effective if he didn't first profess his love for the new DAM hamilton building.
special thanks to epicureofepicures for the tip and providing profound insights on meatloaf.

Friday, September 15, 2006

low income housing in downtown denver

first-an anecdote:
there are a lot of homeless people in denver who take shelter under bridges, in alleys, or in a cluster of trees. during the day, some panhandle for change to passersby, and most people choose to look away not even acknowledging their existence [including myself]. the image above is representative of an experience when briefly catching the eyes of a man sitting on the sidewalk. he did not say anything, but kept his gaze fixated, and after looking burnt an image into my memory. what is it we are afraid to discover behind those eyes? what is it we choose to ignore? the desperation of the human condition...a deep psyche within ourselves we hope to never meet.
"The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless and Renaissance Housing Development Corp. today announced plans for a $12 million, 100-unit development for the formerly homeless and working poor on the South Platte River in downtown Denver."

christopher carvell architects is heading the design of the new development dubbed the "renaissance riverfront lofts", located at the intersection of park ave and globeville road, near highway 25. it will target the formerly homeless, and people whose income is lower than $30K annually. the project is sponsored by the coalition for the homeless.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

lodo supersized

in keeping with a recent theme of all things XLarge-
a mixed use development in lodo funded by mega developer opus northwest is revealed for $125 million [making it the most expensive magic show ever performed]. the architects are shears adkins architects [opus northwest's own mega-architects], responsible for other lodo buildings like the epa building, the adams mark hotel [addition], and the waterside lofts [of which it will be a neighbor]. we can see the tagline now:

article un
article deux

Thursday, September 07, 2006

scaling the shuttlecock

sculptural artist claes oldenburg has recently completed a mock-up of his piece for the exterior of the new DAM extension by libeskind. a proposed 35 foot tall broom and dustpan, made from painted metal, will sit just below the cantilevered prow over 13th st., potentially diminishing the drama of the one of the only subjective architectural moment on the hamilton building. admire it for the pracical joke it is.
personal note-what ever happened to symbolism & subtlety? have we transgressed so far into literal allegory that we cannot escape? what's next? 13 foot tall cows to remind us of our roots!?
[too late you silly sod]