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Michael Webb
writes on modern architecture, design, and travel. He is the author of 26 books, most recently Modernist Paradise: Niemeyer House, Boyd Collection (Rizzoli) and Venice CA: Art +Architecture in a Maverick Community (Abrams). He travels widely in search of new and classic modern architecture and contributes to magazines around the world. Michael lives in the Neutra apartment that Charles and Ray Eames once called home.

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Monday
Jan242011

REVIEW: SCI-Arc Gallery 2002-10

SCI-Arc Gallery 2002-10
(AADCU SCI-Arc Press, $50)

For the past eight years, SCI-Arc has invited a succession of avant-garde architects, many of whom practice and teach in LA to create an installation as a collaborative venture in the SCI-Arc gallery. This handsome paperback documents 35 structures, and reprints the discussions between the participants and Eric Owen Moss—who contributed an installation of his own. The gallery is an awkward space, skinny and tall, and that challenges architects to defy its limitations. Each project is fabricated by students in-house and becomes an extension of the studios that give this school its reputation for turning out hands-on problem solvers.

Some of the structures are pieces of buildings in the making: Michele Saee tested his concepts for the swirling glass facades of the Publicis drug store in Paris, and Jakob & Macfarlane were clearly thinking about their City of Fashion on the Seine. Others are largely conceptual, including Steven Holl’s elegant Porosity and Griffin Enright’s Keep Off the Grass. There’s a wonderful mix of ideas and it should encourage more aficionados of the new to venture downtown and see each project as it is staged. Joshua White has done a good job of documenting process and the final product in his photographs, but nothing beats the experience of walking through these high-tech follies.

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