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Events

Barton Myers: Works of Architecture and Urbanism
September 12–December 12, 2014
With works as varied as a Vidal Sassoon Salon from 1968, the U.S. Expo Pavilion in Seville, Spain in 1992, and his steel houses, this exhibit will present an overview of almost fifty years of architecture. Barton Myers first attracted attention in the late 1960s for his civic buildings and urban projects in Canada. He returned to the United States in 1984 to open a Los Angeles office and became known for his performing arts centers, campus buildings, and steel houses among many projects. 

The Barton Myers papers were donated to the Architecture and Design Collection of the AD&A Museum, UC Santa Barbara in 2000.  The archive covers Myers’s work from 1968 through 2002 and includes sketches and computer drawings, watercolors, images by well-known photographers, detailed study models and models of blocks-long sections of cities, as well as research notes, correspondence, lectures, and writings.

The West Hollywood Design District Presents Decades of Design 1948–2014
November 19, 2014–February 2015
The first-ever retrospective exhibition uncovering, examining and celebrating six decades of rich design history in West Hollywood. The curated ­­gallery will showcase design pioneers and present tastemakers through bold graphics, photographs and original product.

Heath Ceramics Annual Sale
November 21–25, 2014
Heath's annual sale at their locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sausalito offer deals on merchandise along with special presentations.

FOG Design + Art Fair
January 15–18, 2015
Benefiting the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), FOG Design+Art is a four-day celebration and exploration of modern and contemporary design, architecture, and art with dynamic exhibits, custom installations, art galleries, lectures, and discussions with leaders in the art and design worlds.

 

 

Competitions

Registration Opens: October 1
Breaking New Ground
The California Endowment

Deadlne: November 30
Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe Award
International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA)

Deadline: December 8

2015 Diversity Scholarship
Gensler

Deadline: December 15
2015 Preservation Awards
Santa Monica Conservancy 

Deadline: December 31
Kitchen Design Contest
Wolf and Sub-Zero 

Deadline: January 16
Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition 2015
Ceramics of Italy 

Deadline: February 23
I Like Design
Interiors & Sources 

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Wednesday
May082013

Books: Old Japan Made New

A new monograph explores the compelling work of architect Kengo Kuma.

By Michael Webb

Kengo Kuma: Complete Works.  (Thames & Hudson, $65)

In his erudite introduction, Kenneth Frampton calls Kengo Kuma “quintessentially Japanese” and the 25 projects the architect has selected are deeply rooted in the craft traditions of that country. The title is misleading: Only a quarter of Kuma’s buildings are featured, and the large commercial projects in Beijing that have sustained his practice in recent years are omitted. It’s a wise choice, for Kuma works best on a modest scale with traditional materials. In his foreword, he writes with feeling of his collaboration with traditional craftsmen in rural Shikoku and in Tohuku, a region ravaged by the earthquake and tsunami of 3/11.  “The richness and strength of that culture cannot be understood until one has worked with the people who live there—until one has eaten their food, drunk their sake, talked with the craftsmen and made things with them,” he writes.

Kuma cherishes small places over big cities and has built little in Tokyo. He prizes traditional materials over concrete, which is the default choice for most Japanese architects. Buildings are arranged in three groups: Water and Glass; Wood, Grass, and Bamboo; Stone, Earth, and Ceramics. Up first is an icon to which the architect often refers: a glass house in Atami that seems to float as lightly as a soap bubble on a reflecting pool high above the Japan Sea. The concept was reinterpreted for Z58, a small corporate showcase in Shanghai. Kuma loves to veil his structures, most notably the wood slats of the Nakagawa-machi Hiroshige museum, the checkerboard stone screen of the Lotus House, and the bamboo house he contributed to the Great Wall Commune outside Beijing, which can be rented for short stays. It has proved so popular that the developer has built several replicas.

Browsing the images and Kuma’s eloquent descriptions, I remembered past trips through rural Japan, encountering some of these buildings after a long drive. Of the ones I’ve not seen, the town hall and wood bridge in Yusuhara, a remote community on Shikoku, seem the most compelling. The intricacy of the construction, and the fusion of new and old is dazzling. Closer to home, I spent several ecstatic hours exploring an addition to a classic modern house in New Canaan. Built by John Black Lee (whose name is misspelt here) for himself in 1956, and enhanced by Toshiko Mori in 1992, it was extended by Kuma with an L-plan pavilion that recalls a flight of cranes and seems to hover above the forest floor. Kuma arrived at night in a snowstorm, fell in love with the beauty of the site, and recreated a tiny piece of Japan as his first work in the US. Anyone who admires the traditional architecture of Japan, and Kuma’s genius for reinterpreting it, should commission him to build a house in Montecito before he becomes too dependent on Chinese developers.

 

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