Oculus - Summer 2016 - (Page 28)
2 0 1 6 AI ANY
DESI GN AWARD S
From Responsive to Responsible
o work of architecture and design is ever static. And,
indeed, what propels this year's AIANY Design Awards
winners is the circulation and movement of ideas across scales,
times, and contexts. For what they described as a "record year
for architecture," the jury reviewed an unprecedented 366 entries
resulting in 31 awards, including 20 for Architecture, five for
Interiors, two for Urban Design, and four for Projects. Given the
strength of submissions in each category, the projects that sought
to reconcile problem-solving with performative aesthetics were
among those chosen for their principled designs. What is evident
among the award winners is a departure from restrictive notions
of form and materiality while embracing experience as a catalyst
to create contemporary buildings, landscapes, and spaces.
This year's winners are most compelling by the range of scales
presented. The projects sought to situate design and building
as part of a process toward integrating those who most come in
contact with their buildings, whether as occupant or app-happy
voyeur. We have seen how the intensive emergence of cultural
capital is deployed as a means to consider the city as a space of
multiple, often conflicting forces. With the impeccable Whitney
and The Broad museums, both Renzo Piano Building Workshop
and Diller Scofidio + Renfro respectively rethink how an institution reveals itself to locate art and viewers in an ever-unfolding
technology. Similarly, the Susan T. Rodriguez team's Chipakata
Children's Academy in Zambia, Todd Williams Billie Tsien
Architects' Lefrak Center in Brooklyn, and Adjaye Associates'
Sugar Hill Housing present how a community interacts with
and domesticates a city. And we can all take note of the social
processes found in a chicken coop designed by Architecture
Research Office. If aesthetics are a register of subjective conditioning, so too can we begin to understand how all of this year's
projects cultivate value through extensive research into the
architecture of interface and play.
For each project, the architects and designers asked, "What are
the agents of the program, and how do typologies drive design?" Dattner Architects and WXY architecture + urban design's
sanitation garage and salt shed, Thomas Phifer and Partners'
Corning Museum of Glass, and the interior explorations of A+I's
Horizon Media expansion focus on detail to further challenge
how spaces are integrated and invented. Moreover, sensitivities
to context and scale do not hinder provocative design, as shown
by Selldorf Architects' elegant David Zwirner gallery, Marvel
Architects' St. Ann's Warehouse, and TEN Arquitectos' Centro
University and Mercedes House. Experimentation in and out of
Oculus Summer 2016
©Courtesy of Sean Anderson
By Sean Anderson
the city occurs whether we are marveling about the minimum
size of an apartment with nARCHITECTS' Carmel Place, or the
interplay and potential of interior and exterior landscapes found
within WEISS/MANFREDI's Novartis Pharmaceuticals Building, or W Architecture's plans for Plaza 33.
This movement is emblematic of a renewed vision for
New York architects practicing in the 21st century. No longer
conditioned by any "ism," architects and designers have been
emboldened not only by remarkable contexts in which to work,
but also by the courage of clients who aspire to equity in all
aspects of design and production. The result across the winning
projects is a collection of propositions mediated by a sense of
responsibility. Rehabilitative strategies for both individuals and
multiple communities are advanced by the renovation of St.
Patrick's Cathedral and the new Public School 330Q by Murphy
Burnham & Buttrick, as well as educational projects such as the
Ryerson University Student Learning Center by Snøhetta, and
Ernie Davis Hall at Syracuse University by Mack Scogin Merrill
Elam Architects. Writ large, the abundance of exemplary design
this year points toward architecture that is actively confronting
program with innovative purpose.
We must begin to ask how contemporary architecture resolves the nexus of responsibility and responsiveness. If time is
context, architecture demands us to ask, "Who are we today?"
and, more importantly, "Who will we be tomorrow?" A pervasive
curiosity is found in multiple scales across this year's winners,
with each project yielding generative moments: welcome opportunities to slow down, lift one's eyes, and think. None of the
projects say, "Look at me," but rather, they urge, "Look within." \
Sean Anderson is the associate curator in the Department
of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art.
He was this year's moderator for the AIANY Design Awards
Jury Symposium. His book Modern Architecture and its
Representation in Colonial Eritrea was published in 2015.
2016 AIANY Design Awards
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Oculus - Summer 2016
First Words Letter from the President
Center for Architecture
Urban Design Honor
Last WordsLetter from the Executive Director
Index to Advertisers
Oculus - Summer 2016
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