Sperone Westwater Lands on Lubetkin Prize Shortlist


Norman Foster has earned a place on the shortlist for the Royal Institute of British Architects Lubetkin Prize for his Sperone Westwater tower on the Bowery, architecture website Dezeen reports. The Lubetkin celebrates RIBA members working outside Europe and the nomination comes on the heels of another Sperone Westwater accolade, the RIBA International Award, which Foster and Partners won for the building in June. Read More


Roger Duffy’s Art Houses: A Dozen Designs From Dia’s Daring New Architect

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The international architecture firm SOM is best known for its stolid glass towers, but partner Roger Duffy has shown that is not the only way. One of his favorite modes is collaborating with the Minimalist artists he admires to create experiential (and experimental) spaces, buildings not unlike the installations of these artists—James Turrell, Lawrence Weiner, Rita McBride. But that is not the only work this daring designer has created. Here are a dozen of his projects from the past decade, ranging from schools to luxury condo towers and international airports. Read More


The Art Handler: SOM’s Roger Duffy, With the Help of His Artist Friends, Thinks Outside the Old Glass Box


When he was 11, Roger Duffy had his first encounter with art. It was 1966 and he was thumbing through one of those big Time-Life picture books about America at his home in Oakmont, a town on the outskirts of Pittsburgh famous for its golf course of the same name. He came across a picture of a drawing by Diego Rivera hanging in the guest room at Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright’s wooded retreat 60 miles away. Mr. Duffy asked his father what it was, and Duffy père responded laconically, “It’s art.”

Even today, as one of the most canny combiners of art and architecture, Mr. Duffy, in his reserved way, said he saw no great significance in this awakening. He had come to realize the power of a piece of art, as well as that of its surroundings, even though he did not know it at the time. “I thought of art as magic, and I still do,” he said. “But the two of them together, in that moment, I never really thought of that, now that you mention it. I was just focused on the picture in the picture.”

It would take a few decades for his appreciation of art to develop, and years more for him to incorporate it into his work as a partner at Skidmore Owings & Merrill, but his focus never really wavered. “He may not have known it, but I think this sensitive genius was always there inside him, just waiting to come out,” said Robert Whitman, the renowned multimedia artist and friend and collaborator of Mr. Duffy. Read More


Architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien on the New Barnes Foundation

Tod Williams and Billie Tsien (Courtesy Architectural Digest)

The design of the new Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, the husband and wife architecture team, is a hot topic these days. Critic Justin Davidson called it ‘virtuosic,’ while Christopher Hawthorne likened it to a “paint-by-numbers exercise.” Architectural Digest has an interview with the duo, whose 28-person Manhattan firm is unveiling four buildings in 2012, from Hong Kong to Washington, D.C. While there’s a slide show of their other projects as well, it’s the controversial Barnes site that’s on our minds. Read More


Architect Charles Renfro on Designing Museums, ‘Profound’ Rejection

Architect Charles Renfro on Designing Museums, 'Profound' Rejection

Architect Charles Renfro was standing on conquered territory Thursday night, as he lectured in a screening room at Lincoln Center. The firm where he is a partner, Diller Scofidio+Renfro, reworked parts of the campus a few years back, slicing open some of the stolid modernist buildings, expanding others. “We like it!” he told the crowd of about 50, of the performing-arts Mecca. “That’s why we got the job!” (David Rockwell designed the lecture room.) Read More


BMW Guggenheim Lab Finds New Home in Berlin

The BMW Guggenheim Lab is headed to Kreuzberg. (Dan Nguyen/Flickr)

Earlier this year, the temporary BMW Guggenheim Lab set up shop in a lot at the corner of Bowery and Houston, delighting New Yorkers with a variety of public programming, innovative and ephemeral architecture and food from Roberta’s. Now it is on its way to Berlin, where it will be housed in the gallery-rich Kreuzberg neighborhood, according to the museum. Read More