Monday, October 8, 2012

Inside Studio Gang and Museum Visitors!

Looking from inside the exhibition out to Griffin Court

"Why couldn't you make me an architect? You know I always wanted to pretend that I was an architect."  
~ George Costanza, Seinfeld, episode"The Marine Biologist"

Early last week I made it to the "Building: Inside Studio Gang Architects" exhibit at The Art Institute of Chicago. As you may recall from previous exhibition visits, I sometimes procrastinate and catch the show just before it closes. I actually made it to this one fairly early in the run. I was curious about the "rope rooms" I had heard about from my colleagues.

First, a little about Studio Gang.  Founded by Jeanne Gang in 1997, "Studio Gang is an international practice whose work confronts pressing contemporary issues. Conceived as a collective of architects, designers, and thinkers, the studio acts as a lab for testing ideas on varying scales: from cities to environments to individual buildings’ unique material properties."  Studio Gang is based here in Chicago.  They work both locally and internationally.  One of their recent buildings, Aqua Tower, is a fun addition to the Chicago skyline.  And, if I may speak frankly, Jeanne Gang is younger than you might think (according to Wikipedia she was born in 1964).    

Aqua Tower is the "shorter" building (it's 86 stories) to the right 
behind Pritzker Pavilion (by architect Frank Gehry).
This photo doesn't capture the building's fluidity. 

This exhibition was not in the "big" "main" Regenstein exhibition hall in the Rice Building, but the rotating galleries the Architecture and Design department gained for this purpose upon the opening of the Modern Wing.  

The exhibition has two main areas.  The first is devoted to some of the recent projects of the firm.  Projects were further divided into four categories:

  • Nature | Northerly Island, Chicago
  • Density | Aqua Tower, Chicago
  • Community | Hyderabad Tellapur 02, Hyderabad, India
  • Performance | Kaohsiung Maritime Museum and Popular Music Center, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

A whole city of models from their projects!  

In between the two areas was a brief display on Studio Gang solutions for problems created by architecture.  

The second area of the exhibition focused on the how - methods the studio uses to realize their projects.

Looking back at the exhibition from the staircase in Griffin Court

A benefit of being employed at a city landmark is that now and then friends and family come and see you at work!  In the later part the week my sister-in-law brought her kids to visit on a day off school.

Kevin's favorite part of visiting Aunt Tara at work - the model of the museum
and Millennium Park.  Kevin demonstrates where "The Bean" 
would be, if the model had a Bean.

The view from the conference room.

More view.

Looking at more models.

Michael goes Godzilla on the museum.

Genevieve is a natural teacher!

Obligatory pose on the Grand Staircase.

So much museum!

Michael checks out the newest paperweight addition,
Honey Bee Swarm with Flowers and Fruit, by Paul Stankard

I wasn't able to stay with Genevieve and kids the entire visit, but suggested they check out the Studio Gang exhibit, based on how much the boys liked the architectural models.  It was a big hit, kid approved!  The boys can't wait to build their own models.

I will leave you with a short time lapse video of the Studio Gang installation, with an audio segment by Jeanne Gang.   

"Architecture defines who we are."  

How are you defining the environment?

Until next time!


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