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News Highlights of the Week: July 19 – July 25, 2008

July 25, 2008

By Jenna M. McKnight

Designs for a new skyscraper to be built atop a midtown Manhattan transit center were unveiled on Thursday, reports The New York Times. Three competing firms have submitted schemes for the 1.3 million-square-foot office tower, which would rise above the north wing of the Port Authority Bus Terminal on 8th Avenue, across the street from Renzo Piano’s New York Times Building (RECORD, February 2008). For the Port Authority project, Kohn Pedersen Fox Architects has designed a 48-story glass tower “whose surface has an almost icy gleam,” while Pelli Clarke Pelli envisions a 47-story monolithic structure with a curtain wall that evokes waves. Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners, a UK-based firm, proposes a 42-story constructivist tower, which The Times says is “easily the most striking” of the three. The developers, Vornado Realty Trust and affiliates of the Lawrence Ruben Company, will work with the Port Authority to select a winning design, hopefully within 60 days. Construction is slated to begin in late 2009 or early 2010.

Photo © Karl Wolfgang / Courtesy Aspen Art Museum

Aspen Art Museum board of trustees president Nancy Magoon, museum director Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson, and Shigeru Ban.

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The Japanese architect Shigeru Ban has been hired to design his first museum in the United States: a new, 30,000-square-foot facility for the Aspen Art Museum, in Colorado, reports ArtInfo.com. The institution currently is housed in a 7,000-square-foot, former hydroelectric plant, and hopes to move into its new digs by 2012. Ban was the unanimous choice for the project, according to a statement the museum released this week. “His designs show a profound sensitivity in creating spaces that resonate with both elegance and purpose in relationship to their environs and the environment itself,” says Frances Dittmer, chair of the museum’s board of trustees. “And his visionary choices of materials and their inspired uses infuse each project with a unique presence and balance in relation to their surroundings." A pavilion designed by the Tokyo-based architect recently sold for $600,000 at a Sotheby’s auction (RECORD, June 2008).

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), in New York City, is adding a curator to its architecture and design department. The institution announced this week that Juliet Kinchin, an accomplished art professor and design historian, is joining the staff. Kinchin currently is a senior lecturer in the art history department at the Univeristy of Glasgow. She has held faculty positions at the Glasgow School of Art, in Scotland, and the Bard Graduate Center for Study in the Decorative Arts, in New York, in addition to curatorial positions at Glasgow Museums and at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. At MoMA, she will organize exhibitions, work on acquisitions, and manage the collection, according to The New York Sun. Her appointment is yet another indicator that MoMA is putting increased focus on its architecture and design department, which The New York Times architecture critic once called “sadly adrift.” The department’s newest exhibition, Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling, which opened last week, is receiving heaps of publicity and rave reviews. Read RECORD’s take on the show.

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