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Los Angeles As Architectural Study: An Interview With Peter Zellner | Los Angeles, I'm Yours
"Peter considers himself a Los Angeles architect, which is distinctly different in style and attitude from architects of other cities. The tie to this city offers a much more unique, often collaborative, approach to making. Other cities do not have this specific, relaxed air of community to them. “I am a Los Angeles architect. I’m not a New York architect or a Paris architect or San Francisco architect. In a lot of other cities, architects have a much more formalized relationship to their community. They are far less casual, in a way. My work is fundamentally grounded in this groundless place. The degree to which I’m interested in things like the ordinary or the instantaneousness of a space like Night Gallery, which came out of a communal model of bottom up instead of top down organization is important. That can only happen in LA.”

“If I look at a lot of the work that I do, a lot of my interests focus around trying to translate this place. I’m not trying to concretize it but I’m trying to make something new out of it. I can’t imagine operating somewhere else as an architect. So much of East coast architecture has an Atlantic and Eurocentric focus. In LA, most of my interests come from the global South (since I’ve been working in Mexico) and half of my identity is from there (since my mother is Nicaraguan). I also look over to Asia as I’ve lived and worked in Tokyo.”

“I’m very interested in a Pacific-centric discussion. I’m much more interested in that circuit,” Peter asserts, alluding to the larger architectural community Los Angeles is a part of. Given that we are on the edge of the Pacific and communicating across to Asia and Australia and beyond, what could Los Angeles possibly provide to these much older and much more celebrated architectural cultures?

“Two things,” Peter answers. “I feel like there is a long history of ideas transiting back and forth across the Pacific. When Frank Lloyd Wright went to Tokyo to design the Imperial Hotel and came back, it was clear—at least to me– that his protégé Rudolf Schindler was exposed to the Japanese idea of interior spaces opening onto the exterior. This idea later flowed through the architectural work of Ray and Charles and Eames. This is West Coast Modernism as we know it.”

“If you look at European Modernism and how it was interpreted on the East coast, most of the classic examples—Philip Johnson’s house—are sealed off from the environment or placed above it. If you look at West Coast or Asian Modernism, there’s much more of an interest in integrating the building into the landscape, whether it is ideas that came from traditional Japanese architecture that infiltrated West coast 1950s Case Study architecture or the influence of somebody like Mexican architect Luis Barragán, who made massive, thickened, insulated, deep structures that allow interior spaces to remain open even when it’s hot. That is what I call a conversation about a Pacific architecture that goes back and forth between the Americas and Asia.”

“For instance, I know that Japanese architect Tadao Ando was very influenced by Barragán’s work and that Kenzo Tange’s architectural work in Mexico City influenced architects in Mexico and, I would argue that if you look at Thom Mayne or Neil Denari’s work in LA, you would see an interest in the Japanese Modernism and Metabolist movement of the 1960s. There’s always been this discourse over the Pacific and, and having lived in Australia, it’s not just East/West but North/South too.”

“And not one culture is dominant,” he adds, something that most people in this city can agree with. It’s a unique challenge that we all embrace in this city. “Los Angeles, despite its degradations, allows for you to cross borders. You can engage with it from so many different areas be it cuisine or music or art, which is the space that we are in right now. There’s so much to absorb. It’s interesting because, in reference to what the culture of LA is and the criticism that there is no culture here, I think quite the opposite has occurred: there are so many cultures that it is hard to figure out which one to pick.”"
peterzellner  architecture  design  interviews  losangeles  california  pacificrim  tadaoando  kenzotange  luisbarragán  rudolfschindler  thommayne  neildenari  japan  mexico 
november 2013 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Journal: Fabrica
"a type of school, or studio, or commercial practice, or research centre. Fabrica, hovering between all these things yet resisting the urge to fall into becoming any one of them, is perhaps genuinely without parallel. This makes it a little tricky to explain, but this ability to avoid pigeonholes is also to its credit."

"hybrid organisation—part communications research centre…but also part arts and design school, part think-thank, part studio. My kind of place."

"While I might occasionally characterise Fabrica as the pugnacious upstart, or startup, whose agility might challenge the established institutions, it’s clear we also have a lot to learn from the likes of the exemplary creative centres like the RCA, and from Paul in particular. His experience across the Design Museum, Cooper Hewitt and the RCA will be invaluable, and he’s beginning to draw together a great advisory board. Watch that space. I’m also exploring various newer models for learning environments, from Strelka and CIID to MIT Media Lab and School of Everything, alongside the centres of excellence like the RCA and others. My father and mother, more of an influence on me than perhaps even they realise, were both educators and learning environments and cultures may well be in my DNA, to some degree."

"…the other idea that I’m incredibly interested in pursuing at Fabrica is that of the trandisciplinary studio."

"With this stew of perspectives at hand, we might find project teams that contain graphic designers, industrial designers, neuroscientists, coders, filmmakers, for instance. Or product design, data viz, sociology, photography, economics, architecture and interaction design, for instance. These small project teams are then extremely well-equipped to tackle the kind of complex, interdependent challenges we face today, and tomorrow. We know that new knowledge and new practice—new ideas and new solutions—emerges through the collision of disciplines, at the edges of things, when we’re out of our comfort zone. Joi Ito, at the MIT Media Lab, calls this approach “anti-disciplinary”."

"And living in Treviso, a medieval walled Middle European city, our new home gives me another urban form to explore, after living in the Modern-era Social Democratic Nordic City of Helsinki, the Post-Colonial proto-Austral-Asian Sprawl of Sydney, the contemporary globalised city-state of London, and the revolutionary industrial, and then post-industrial, cities of the north of England."
1994  australia  uk  finland  venice  helsinki  london  sydney  domus  josephgrima  danielhirschmann  bethanykoby  technologywillsaveus  tadaoando  alessandrobenetton  rca  schoolofeverything  strelkainstitute  joiito  medialab  mitmedialab  ciid  paulthompson  nontechnology  crossdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  marcosteinberg  jocelynebourgon  culturalconsumption  culturalproduction  code  darkmatter  fabricafeatures  livewindows  colors  andycameron  richardbarbrook  californianideology  discourse  sitra  italy  treviso  helsinkidesignlab  benetton  culture  culturaldiversity  socialdiversity  diversity  decisionmaking  sharedvalue  economics  obesity  healthcare  demographics  climatechange  research  art  design  studios  lcproject  learning  education  2012  antidisciplinary  transdisciplinary  cityofsound  danhill 
november 2012 by robertogreco
Museum peace: Japan's Naoshima island | Travel | The Observer
"Japanese cool has, for decades now, been associated with everything fast, hi-tech & jangly; it's the TVs on taxi dashboards, the control-panels on toilets, the underground universes around major train stations that keep buzzing even after a natural calamity that stunned the rest of us. And if you're looking for a world-defining Japanese art form, you're more likely to turn these days to anime and manga than to any of the country's classical painters or mock-European forms. So it was shocking for me to go to the sleepy, faraway island of Naoshima – now turned into an "art island" rich with museums and installations – and find the coolest thing I've seen in my 24 years of living in Japan. It was, in some ways, the reverse of technology…"

"Naoshima is not like anything in the west, but more an ultra-cool reference and homage to what Japan has been doing all along, in cutting away distraction and using frames and light and silence to still the mind and train one in attention."
picoiyer  japan  naoshima  naoshimaisland  art  museums  technology  simplicity  tadaoando  chichumuseum  parks  benessehouse  jamesturrell  leeufan 
july 2011 by robertogreco the making of: And What Do You Do, Mr. Ando?
The most dazzling, sophisticated and successful spatial element of Yu-un, the guest house he built for a longtime friend, is not by the architect; it's an art installation by Olafur Eliasson.
art  design  olafureliasson  tadaoando  architecture  japan 
january 2008 by robertogreco the making of: And In Further Platinum Rhomboid Tessellation News...
"multiple shots of the making of for the quasi-brick tile installation in Tadao Ando's Yu-un house project for Japanese collector Takeo Obayashi"
architecture  art  craft  olafureliasson  design  tadaoando 
january 2008 by robertogreco

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