Posts Tagged ‘architecture’
“I thought a museum was a concept that people already bought into about 200 years ago. They’re having us do as much work as we can hoping that we will give up. […] They hate us.” – George Lucas
Like the Fishers, filmmaker George Lucas wanted to build a museum in San Francisco’s Presidio. Lucas wanted to bring his Lucas Cultural Arts Museum to Crissy Field – a beach-front portion of the Presidio National Park with killer views of the Golden Gate, Alcatraz, and the Bay. Lucas must be reading Eli Broad’s museum-building playbook: After Lucas’s proposal was rejected he threatened to take his museum and collection to another city. Will billionaire Lucas get what he wants by leveraging cities against one another? Remember those sweet deals Santa Monica and Beverly Hills offered Eli Broad when he was “considering” them instead of Downtown for his museum? We know how that turned out.
Lucas was making plans for his museum in 2009, but didn’t make a formal proposal until the Presidio Trust, which oversees and maintains the Presidio, sent out an RFP for the Crissy Field location. By March of 2013 16 proposals had been submitted, and by September those had been narrowed to three including Lucas’s museum. Lucas’s proposal was for a new Beaux-Arts-style museum to house his collections of illustration (lot of Norman Rockwell) and film ephemera (heard of Star Wars?). Lucas was willing to spend $700million: $300M for construction and $400M to endow it–he was good for it too, having sold the Star Wars franchise and Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012 for $4.05 BILLION dollars… Read the rest of this entry »
SFMOMA, Cantor Arts Center, LACMA
This week, SFMOMA released additional renderings of its eminent expansion including new views of the interior. Snohetta (the chic, Norwegian architects) and SFMOMA haven’t been apologetic or really skirted the issue about plans to basically gut the entire existing building, keeping only Mario Botta’s postmodern façade. Climbing SFMOMA’s imposing stairs is literally my first memory of being in a museum. As a kid, I tried to recreate the alternating bands of polished and flame-finished black granite of these stairs with a set of sleek dominoes on my living room floor. A friend and I lamented the demise of Botta’s staircase the last time we visited SFMOMA and we brainstormed potential artist projects that might utilize the soon-to-be-dismantled stairs. (The SFMOMA expansion is going to be LEED Certified so maybe some of the black stone will be reclaimed.)
Alas, the released images show all of this will be eliminated in the expansion, sacrificed for the sake of greater street presence and improved openness to pedestrian traffic flow. (The $555 million expansion will also double the current amount of gallery space, so there is that.) New public space includes a multi-storied, glass-fronted gallery open to Howard Street. In the renderings, this gallery space is filled with a massive Richard Serra corten-steel sculpture. This isn’t just a filler “scalie” artwork; Serra’s Sequence (2006) will be installed in the new space when the Snohetta expansion opens in 2016. Sequence is part of the Fisher collection, the donors who generous donated many buckets of ducats for the expansion, and who are kinda-sorta donating their incomparable trove of contemporary art to the museum.
Recognize this image? You might, it’s been featured in numerous movies. On the right is a concrete textile block from the Ennis House in Loz Feliz, on the left is what the brick originally looked like. Suffice to say this brick, and the Ennis House at large needs lots of conservation, and I’m not just a little nip tuck. How much is this browlift going to cost?—Well a bunch of stabilization work was done by the Ennis House Foundation to keep the house from slipping down the hill, but there is still an additional $5-7 million needed. The additional conservation cost is probably the reason why the house sold for WAY below its initial asking price. The Ennis House Foundation made the decision to sell the house to a private owner way back in June 2009 and put it on the market for $15 million. There weren’t any biters, so in February 2010, the price was chopped to $10.5 million. Still no takers, and another chop in May 2010 to $7.5 million. The Ennis House has sat on the market at the price since. Until last week when it was announced that supermarket magnate Ron Burke had purchased the Ennis House for just under $4.5 million. Thanks Ron, one more price cut, and it could have been in my price range. (Yes, all of these links have been to curbed, and here’s another one, full of pretty pictures.)
And in case you still don’t recognize the Ennis House, here are some of the Ennis House’s onscreen appearances:
AAM Conference Expo
Everyone knows the United Arab Emirates are going through some serious development. Dubai first captured my imagination when “The World” was featured (years ago) on Vh1’s Fabulous Life Of series. Currently Abu Dhabi and Qatar (not an emirate) are going head-to-head to see who can build the most and more lavish museums. In Doha, Qatar, there is the Museum of Islamic Art, designed by I.M. Pei, and the National Museum designed by Jean Nouvel. In the other corner is Abu Dhabi where a whole island of museums is being constructed. Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island (now just a glorified sandbar) will get not only a Performing Arts Centre designed by Zaha Hadid, and a Foster+Partners-designed Zayed National Museum, but also a branch of the Guggenheim (designed of course by Frank Gehry), and a branch of the Louvre (also designed by Nouvel). I wrote a piece about an artists’ boycott of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi over immigrant labors rights, or lack thereof. You can read the whole story here.