Johnston Marklee have won plaudits for their houses and they have now triumphed over several larger firms for a coveted commission: the Menil Drawing Institute (MDI) in Houston. The late Dominique de Menil had refined taste and great wealth—a rare combination—and she patiently sought very best in art and architecture. The main museum, which opened in 1987, is still Renzo Piano's best—for its springy grace and luminous interiors. She established a leafy campus around that building, preserved a row of old houses to accommodate visiting artists, and created several satellite galleries, including Piano's understated shrine to Cy Twombly. For its future growth, the board commissioned a master plan from David Chipperfield, which will replace three massive apartment blocks with new housing and the MDI.
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The Los Angeles Business Council recently hosted the 42nd Annual Los Angeles Architectural Awards to honor Los Angeles-based projects ranging from Best Museum to Best Affordable Housing. The awards congratulated innovative design to 33 separate projects from the previous year. In addition, 2012 marked the first year to present the “Julius Shulman Emerging Talent Award” to design students attending one of eight Los Angeles institutions. This year’s winners belonged to a team from USC for their design to revitalize the Ports O’ Call Complex at Port of Los Angeles.
Star Apartments won the “Under Construction” category for its impressive combination of LEED Platinum certification, mixed-use development, and 102 units of affordable housing. Michael Maltzan Architecture, Inc. designed the structure in partnership with Skid Row Housing Trust and Westport Construction, Inc.
The business council awarded the Grand Prize to LACMA’s Resnick Pavilion, Ray’s Restaurant, and Stark Bar. The project is part of LACMA’s Transformation Phase II, which incorporates the original building’s central plaza and creates a “town square” atmosphere within the complex. Renzo Piano Building Workshop collaborated with Gensler to design the stunning travertine space with trademark red, decorative punctuation.
The Whitney Museum of American Art is developing plans to build a six-floor, 195,000-square-foot building in downtown Manhattan. Located in the Meatpacking District on Gansevoort Street between West Street and the High Line, the new building, designed by Pritzker Prize–winning architect Renzo Piano, will provide the Whitney with essential new space for its collection, exhibitions, and education and performing arts programs in one of New York’s most vibrant neighborhoods.