Oculus - Summer 2012 - (Page 49)
LETTER FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
The Jury is Outed
©Etain Fitzpatrick, AIA, AIA–UK President
Bell & di Suvero waiting for the Hirshhorn expansion.
What is our innocence, what is our guilt? All are naked, none is safe…. The very bird, grown taller as he sings, steels his form straight up.
—Marianne Moore in “What Are Years?” 1941
The skylark and thrush, The birds of the bush, Sing louder around To the bells’ cheerful sound, While our sports shall be seen On the Echoing Green.
—William Blake in “The Echoing Green” in Songs of Innocence, 1789
It is now your duty to sit down to try and separate the facts from the fancy… Whichever way you decide, the verdict must be unanimous. I urge you to deliberate honestly and thoughtfully. You are faced with a grave responsibility.
—Instructions to the jurors in Twelve Angry Men, by Reginald Rose, 1954
he AIA New York Design Awards jurors, 12 in number, don’t always see eye to eye, like the jurors in many courtroom dramas. In Twelve Angry Men, for example,, Henry Fonda played an architect and Juror No. 8, who wore white and held out for innocence. The film was made in 1957, the AIA’s centennial year. This year, 12 distinguished practitioners and theorists debated the merits of 391 entries and ultimately agreed upon conferring 36 awards. For those of us listening in the spectator gallery, the Design Awards jury deliberations were strikingly similar to courtroom proceedings. Jurors are selected in a transparent process of voir dire led by the AIANY Design Awards Committee. The committee picks the best and brightest – so long as they do not live or work in New York and are willing to fly coach. Committee co-chairs can exercise a few juror-selection vetoes, like trial lawyers. But after that, the juries are autonomous, sequestered at the Center for Architecture until irreversible decisions are reached. How do their decisions uphold the values of the institution that creates the tribunal? For the last few years, projects have been electronically transmitted to jurors in advance, allowing for pre-reflection. Just as important are the morningof-jury-day “Instructions to the Jurors,” which are identical to the published judging criteria. Before deliberations, jurors are advised to focus on achievement within a particular typology, along with technical advancement, innovation and research, preservation/restoration, and sustainability. The results should reflect a “strong sense of place or of purpose” and demonstrate “exemplary skill and creativity in the resolution and integration of formal, functional, and technical requirements, including ecological stewardship and social responsibility.” In her summation, one juror this year noted that these instructions were essentially ignored. But what does the evidence show? The first honor award for Unbuilt Work was for the Hirshhorn Museum Seasonal Inflatable Pavilion by Diller Scofidio + Renfro and KlingStubbins. The long-awaited temporary performance space is expected to be realized in 2014 for the 40th anniversary of the donut-shaped structure by Gordon Bunshaft, FAIA, of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.
Innovation combines with technical advancement to give the well-rounded museum a new edge, an enhanced identity, and a radically provocative character. The bubbles will stretch towards the National Mall, itself the subject of new design investigation, and engage with the adjacent topical sculpture “Are Years What? (for Marianne Moore)” by Mark di Suvero in the museum’s sculpture garden. Closer to home, Farnaz Mansuri, Assoc. AIA, a winner of the inaugural 2007 New Practices competition, and her firm de-spec inc, with architect Brian Gillen, AIA, won an Interiors Merit Award for the Xocolatti store in SoHo. It is characterized by its ingenuity in the collection, storage, and distribution of chocolate. In Urban Design, Honor Award accolades went to Frederic Schwartz Architects, Ken Smith Landscape Architect, and Mary Miss for the Santa Fe Railyard Park and Plaza, and to Cooper, Robertson & Partners with KieranTimberlake for Philadelphia’s Master Plan for the Central Delaware. Both projects cross-pollinate compelling theoretical propositions with placemaking of the highest order. The two Urban Design Merit Awards conferred, to LTL Architects for its Rising Currents collaboration at MoMA, and to Interboro Partners for Holding Pattern at PS1 in Queens, embody the AIANY Chapter’s enthusiastic support of the 2030 Challenge and the NYC Vision2020 Waterfront Plan. And Brad Cloepfil, AIA, of Allied Works Architecture, recently completed the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver. Winner of an Architecture Honor Award, the two-story, 28,500-square-foot structure is organized around a beautifully-crafted wood stair, encouraging physical activity and demonstrating the visually-compelling relation of open gallery space to mobility. Well-designed stairs redefine how we move through architecture and experience social space. If a fit and healthy city is a goal of the Chapter, and the NYC Active Design Guidelines are the means by which implementation is measured, then perhaps next year’s jurors should receive this guidebook in advance. Was the juror correct in second-guessing this year’s instructions? Her objection is sustainable.
Rick Bell, FAIA Executive Director, AIA New York Chapter
2012 AIANY Design Awards
Summer 2012 Oculus
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Oculus - Summer 2012
First Words Letter from the President
Center for Architecture
Last Words Letter from the Executive Director
Index to Advertisers
Oculus - Summer 2012