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The Brow Forman studio at the U. of Kentucky College of Design is having their opening show for their project at the Deborah Berke designed 21C hotel Wednesday from 5-9. The thing will start at 5 with a discussion of the project from Julien De Smidt (JDS Architects, Brussels), Gary Bates (Space Group, Oslo), Joshua Prince-Remus (REX, New York), Michael Speaks (U. Kentucky) and Jason Scroggin (U. Kentucky).
If you're anywhere in the area, come and check it out.........
Here's some links:http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2009905240307http://www.21cmuseum.org/museum/events/052709-shippingport.aspx
I'll be there!
damn, can't make it. perhaps someone at uk could tape it and post to their website? :)
not sure what time the reception/discussion will finish but, if it's not much later than 7 - 7:30, there would still be time to walk down to waterfront park to catch the end of the free broken spurs/features/meat puppets show.
will probably miss broken spurs, but it looks like features are 7:30ish and meat puppets at 9ish.
some of the work that will be discussed at 21c:
...and the press release: UK College of Design Proposals to Revitalize Shippingport, Louisville
May 25 – June 8, 2009, atrium gallery
Reception: May 27, 2009, 5pm
Reception May 27th, 5pm followed by Discussion at 6pm
With visiting architects: Gary Bates, Julien De Smedt, Jason Scroggin, and Josh Prince Ramus
June 5th: Trolley Hop 6-9pm
21c Presents a special exhibition with University of Kentucky College of Design.
During this past academic year, the College of Design at the University of Kentucky conducted a year-long research and design study of the Shippingport area in Louisville. Shippingport located just west of downtown Louisville, has significant waterfront and extensive infrastructure and enormous potential for future development. Development has been limited, however, because the entire area is cut off from the rest of the city by the freeway.
In fall 2008, students analyzed and made strategic design proposals for the Shippingport area intended to stimulate economic development and bring much-needed jobs. Proposals included developing a complex of business incubators and needed vocational schools, including a culinary school with a restaurant; developing a centralized hospitality complex served by light rail that would tie together the many entertainment "events" hosted by the city; creating a network of pocket parks that connect to the existing Olmstead Park system; and developing a new Green Ford Motor Company Campus where a new line of hybrid and electric products would be designed, developed and built. This past spring, students developed these into design proposals. For the exhibition the students have created a 50’ scale model of Shippingport and downtown Louisville and several video projects to depict the research and design proposals.
The fall semester research studio of architecture students was led by Gary Bates, Brown Forman Visiting Chair in Urban Design, and principal of Spacegroup Architects in Oslo, Norway. The spring studio was led by Julien de Smedt, Brown Forman Visiting Chair in Urban Design, and principal of JDS Architects in Copenhagen. Professor Jason Scroggin from the School of Architecture is co-teaching both fall and spring semesters.
About the Brown Forman Visiting Chairs in Urban Design
Gary Bates is the principal architect of Space Group Architects and was the Brown Forman Visiting Chair in Urban Design for the fall 2008 semester. The firm, based in Oslo, Norway embraces a straightforward and effective attitude to architecture and urbanism, and engaging both research and project development; Spacegroup approaches small and large projects with similar ambition. They have been the recipients of the first price for the 2006-7 Brattøra Hotel competition and were awarded the first prize for both the 2005 Norwegian and European steel award competitions for their "V-House project", a private residence located on an island west of Oslo.
The spring 2009 semester was led by Julien de Smedt, principal of JDS Architects, Copenhagen, Denmark. During 1997-9 and 2000-1, Smedt has worked with the Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), Rotterdam, since 2001, he served as principal architect with PLOT Architects where he accrued numerous competitions and awards including Young Architect of the Year 2002 and nominator for the Mies Van Der Rohe Award 2004.
wish i could make it, even just to see that 21C waitress that we had when we were there for IdeaFest! Have a bourbon(or two) for me.
event was good.
a couple of hundred people showed, lots of non-architect-types because it was basically an exhibition in a public venue, but the conversation was pretty broad-ranging, big picture, and 'provocative'. ('provoke' was a word used a lot.)
there was NOT a united front among the critics, making the whole thing much more engaging. and there were a good number of questions from the crowd - questions which were taken seriously and which added to the texture of the discussion.
i'll write more when i get a chance.
Steven in this day and age we are really expecting up to the minute tweetering!
sorry so late getting back to ya’ll.
so, last wednesday’s presentation: i arrived at 21c a little after the 5o'clock scheduled start of the reception and met jason scroggin, kentucky-based instructor of the 2008-2009 shippingport studio. his tip: look down on the model from the stair landing before you head down into the gallery. a great suggestion for a couple of reasons.
1: the model - probably 25' long or more - looked great from above, underlit, illustrating a series of proposals stretching from downtown louisville's w 9th street west to about w 22nd street. this was the best vantage point for an understanding of the breadth of the studio's proposals - really a redevelopment of a huge swath of west louisville. also, the forms of the proposals were very clear from above (boeing-view), making them more easily comprehensible when viewing them from cessna- or balloon-view instead.
2: looking down on the room gave a great view of the people hovering around the model, their responses and/or their grouping for conversations. this was a good opportunity to see who came, too: people from the university, but also people from the local arts community, some from the metro planning office, local architects, a local design/development blogger…
the atrium gallery at 21c was a perfect venue for this kind of event. for those who don't know, this is a contemporary art museum (always open, always free!) in the lobby of a boutique hotel in downtown louisville (w 7th and main), a project by deborah berke in conjunction with louisville architects k. norman berry associates. the primary gallery space – ‘primary’ because, really, art is on display throughout the whole place - is divided between the main entry lobby of the hotel and the connected atrium accessed via an exquisitely detailed stair that makes moving down into the gallery feel like a promenade or, really, a personal debut. you get to peer down, get the lay of the land, and make your move.
the model was obviously the focus of the event, given its presence in the space, but it was necessary to read it as sort of an overview, with some sections of it being more detailed but others being painted with a very broad brush. in addition to the model, repeating slide presentations of the year's work were projected up onto the soffit overhead, filling out a more detailed picture of what was proposed.
the presentation started with jason scroggin talking through the WHAT: description of each of the six projects proposed and how they were meant to work. though there was some overlap, the projects were discrete proposals, not necessarily meant to add up to a single masterplan, though certainly with some symbiotic relationships.
1 – a new ford production plant, replacing (?) the existing louisville plants with a new, more easily re-tooled and sustainable plant, reintroducing this level of industry to this historically industrial part of the downtown. the plant’s location and elliptical form were generated by its ability to tie into available infrastructure (immediate access to the shipping channel, the freeway, and the freight rail lines, all of which the plant would bridge), provide public access across the channel, and accommodate a test track and green space on the roof and a full production line spiralling down through the facility.
2 – just east of the ford plant, a campus of vocational schools was proposed, encompassing blocks of the existing neighborhood and (despite appearances from the model) taking the form of a sort of stacked block pattern of infill, working in and around the mixed residential/commercial neighborhood fabric.
3 – bridging through the vocational neighborhood, a large slab stretched across several blocks, connecting and plugging in to certain of the educational and community resources – this was the business incubator, meant to work in tandem with the vocational schools below, providing support and space for those educated in the variety of trades offered below. the form of this intervention was like a string of 2d ziggurat forms, presumably responding to provision of natural daylighting, but also clearly about making a strong profile on the skyline.
4 – the entertainment district east of the vocational/incubator zone was conceived as a series of hubs in which different kinds of retail and venues would each become focal points for activity around them. diagramming/generating this focal structure was a platform of circle paths that climbed from grade at the city/main street side (south) and stretched north across the channel as a pedestrian bridge providing access to the undeveloped island across the water. the new circle bridge was built intertwined with the existing/retired rail bridge at this location.
5 – nearing downtown, the next swath of several blocks was presented as a more residential zone. there was less said about this and, per jason scroggin, the decision to make a proposal at this area came later than the other proposals. the wedge shapes stretched between main street and the river, basically appearing as megablock housing structures meant to provide a populated link between the historic and cultural district already thriving to their east and the new proposals to their west.
6 – the easternmost anchor, but also an element which threads through several of the other proposals, was an exploration of what could be done to mitigate the impact the downtown freeway has had on waterfront development in louisville. the first move appeared to be a decision to make the hardscape below the freeway on-ramps into a skate park, leveraging the existing character of the cavernous space for a complementary use. springing from there were a few expansions of the idea, including tenting the areas between the on-ramps to provide shade, some support facilities, and – ultimately – the decision to take the freeway between 9th street and 2nd street out of service completely, transforming it into a high-line-like linear park strung across the waterfront.
all of these the proposals were generated over the course of a year, a first semester of research into the neighborhood, the city's development history, and what's happened in similar situations in other cities' development of their waterfront neighborhoods, and then a second semester developing physical proposals for the projects the studio decided to pursue.
the research semester was directed by scroggin and gary bates of spacegroup, the next presenter. following scroggin’s WHAT descriptions, bates began to fill in the background behind a lot of the studio’s decisions – the WHY. he described the zone’s history as an industrial center, the hub of freight movement and manufacturing for louisville’s booming 18th/19th/early 20thC industrial economy, and summarized the relocation of industry and population and the emptying out of the neighborhood – leaving a lot of underutilized ‘brownfield’ open space and dormant (but still valuable) infrastructure.
the studio looked at local business drivers like bourbon, distribution (ups), ford, humana, glass arts, etc, and how they could be both reintroduced to the neighborhood and how they could both support and be supported by adjacent activities. among the vocational educations would be training in distilling, for instance, feeding trained workers into nearby distilleries. the ford plant had come out of their learning that ford is about to retro-fit the two local plants at a huge cost, and the proposal that a new, easily re-fitted plant might actually cost less and be a more visible urban amenity through utilization of green technologies rather than remain an exurban dirty industry.
obviously, some attention was paid to museum plaza and what it would bring to the area of downtown immediately east of the subject neighborhood, and there were several instances of campaigning for public support of museum plaza getting built. among the program pieces in museum plaza that were discussed (housing, offices, hotel, art center…) was the university of louisville art programs that plan to move in, especially those that would increase the glass arts activity downtown, supplementing the neighborhood’s glassworks, eastern downtown’s cressman center, flameworks, and others. the vocational campus was talked about as a seed bed for additional artisanal training and shop sites. big picture, just the catalytic value of museum plaza’s construction was touted as a valuable piece of developing downtown farther west.
bates’ presentation made clear that the discussions in the studio were of a very broad scope and that, as he described, there was a certain angst among the students about the number of things they might be expected to try to address in pursuing any holistic project proposal, from sustainability and the perils of gentrification in an area of limited incomes to preservation, local economy, dislocations of residents, public transit, and traffic planning.
more soon…including joshua prince-ramus, crowd responses, and my personal reactions.
link to keep you busy in the meantime: http://www.spacegroup.no/index2.html
oh, and, pix not by me but provided by uk college of design.
who are the students? Credits?
Most important: what was JP-R wearing?! ;-)
(I actually don't expect you to have noticed, Steven, since I know you were focused on what was being said, which is of course really the most important thing. I'm just getting a red-carpet vibe from the description of the entry sequence to the space and my own knowledge of the gallery arrangement.)
An innocent question: are cars still manufactured in an assembly line? I LOVE the elliptical building: bridging the river, encompassing the delivery of goods from different modes, with a test track on the roof, it's so cool! But I'm not clear that an assembly line is still relevant to automotive production, or if it will be in 20-30 years, which one would hope would at LEAST be the useful life of this building. I'm thinking of Ford's original Highland Park assembly line in Detroit, abandoned for decades: if cars are still being built on an assembly line, why couldn't that building - functionally, not economc/politically - still be used, and what can be learned about its abandonment, thus avoided in this elliptical building?
As I said, a naive question to which the answer may be a simple "Yes, the assembly line is still the best way to build a building."
i've got more pix (including at least one with jpr for lb) and more to write, but i'll go ahead and share student credits: brown forman chair in urban design studio 2008-2009, shippingport, louisville, kentucky
i'm pretty sure the assembly line is still the way. i don't know about highland park, but the old river rouge plant was completely redone (under the watch of wm mcdonough) and put back into more 'green' service just a few years ago. what alternative to a line did you have in mind, lb?
Like I said, I asked naively; I don't have an alternative. Just thinking about how dispersed the supply chain is, and finding it somewhat amazing that the manufacturing process for this object hasn't changed in 100 years - is that possible?
is the big step forward that the japanese introduced to production; it still uses the assembly line, but transformed how the parts arrive on-site to meet changes in demand.
Thanks, jafiler. The question arose in my mind because the elliptical shape os both wonderfully gorgeous and really resistant to modification.
i think i remember the kieran/timberlake book talking about what jafidler posted. and the june issue of wired had a lot about how the big auto makers could benefit by dispersing their supply chain, design, component development/manufacture and their r&d further, but no mention of replacing the need to pull it all together in one place at the end.
Having worked on an assembly line back in the late '70's. It was typical for companies to build up inventory with summer and part time help then lay them all off after compiling what they needed. my brother is an exec with a parts supply company and gm owes them several hundred million dollars. maybe he'll get paid just in time. wouldn't an elliptical shape increase travel distances for the line, the people who work on the line etc quite a bit? and shouldn't it be blue since Ford is blue? It also just sort of looks plopped there and not integrated into the land/city scape? and that part circular path that looks like a head gasket that straddles the bridge, how is it supported? is it hung off the bridge or would it need piers? if so, what about boats? what kind of boats are on that river? just canoes or are there real boats? the kind that have to maneuver through and around piers? just wondering?
more coverage, woo hoo!:http://www.archinect.com/features/article.php?id=89153_0_23_0_M
I am kind of hesitant to comment on this work since I am only going off of pictures. Maybe steven can enlighten me since he was actually there, but it feels like the work of their instructors.
I don't want to take anything away from the students' work (gorgeous stuff!!!!), but it feels like the modeling technique, concepts, presentation were JDS/BIG/Spacegroups' investigations that were executed by students.
I have always had a problem with students just producing work that is identical to their professor's (being in that situation myself in the past).
Having said this, it is a beautiful project and anything that gives southern architecture programs much needed coverage/respect, is a positive in my book.
hahahaha @ bluesman
i helped some of the kids do the modelling (though i'm not in that studio) and that was largely their complaint as well (mostly jds cause he was the second semester/ form instructor while bates was the research instructor for the first semester). the modelling technique was strictly controlled by jds... those damn trees... my fingers are still green........
haha! clearly the modelling is the most obvious.
Do you have any input on the actual concepts being investigated? I have seen those same pyramid structures and circular spiral spaces floating around JDS/BIG/PLOT's work for years.
I always felt cheated with projects like this, b/c at the end of the day, i never really felt the accomplishment of poducing my own work.
Just my 2 cents!
i wasn't in the studio... the prof. (jason scroggin) just called me to help his studio meet their deadline.
from what the peeps in the studio said, they spent a semester working on concept with gary bates of space group, then when JDS became involved, all their concepts and programs were dramatically changed to reflect what he was interested in... i doubt some of the people in the studio would have typically done work like this (the scale alone was something new for most i think) but its probably good they got the experience and were introduced to that style of design. my motto is "can't knock it till you try it."
when it comes down to it, i'm not sure if any of the work i did as an undergrad could be considered my own work... the only projects i'm truly proud of in my portfolio are two competitions i did and a random project that i did as a counterpoint to my studio's required project. the rest just seems too professor-ey (and strangely enough, are typically the projects most criticized by employers/ grad schools) if that makes sense...
so yeah. i think they had a say in terms of what they did, but it was a very rigorously structured studio, more so than what is normal at UK.
one of the things a studio professor is teaching you is representation. while this may surprise a number of students, the instructor is almost always guiding the "look" of the body of work produced in the studio. i would in fact consider this a major advantage of having these instructors at uk. you are learning the same representation techniques that many of the most forward offices in the world are using. that is a good thing that your future work will benefit from. i hate to tell you this, but it's the same reason why students want to go to the gsd and yale.
ah, correction jafidler....students want to go to yale because it blows...at least that's why i wanted to go there
also, i'm not 100% sure that the "assembly line" is still incorporated...i toured the revised ford river rouge plant by mcdonoagh a few years ago and (although my memory of the details on this point is fuzzy) i seemed to recall that it wasn't really a line any more...maybe instead something like grid layout where the cars (actually pickup trucks at that plant) were moved between various stations by a kind of overhear crane system that could pick up & move the cars under construction. but don't quote me on that...i might be totally off since the rum has been eating my memory for breakfast lately
peedy's certainly a better witness than i am, bluesman. the feature article is told mostly from de smedt's perspective, so speaks more to the goals of the studio. for what it's worth, de smedt did try to draw the students out in the presentation and get them to describe process some.
while most were hesitant to speak much, it was pretty clear that they had developed strong ownership of the effort as an intervention in the community and that there was some level of individual investment in certain of the projects. i can't really speak to the authorship any more than that, but i also agree with peedy's and jafidler's comments: when a student is taken so far out of the personal comfort zone, strong instructor influence is bound to creep in. i don't think that's a bad thing. i'd still look at this as essentially a student accomplishment and a hugely educational endeavor for them.
i promised to write more - and i will - but i have to note that having an event like the one described above, in which an out-of-town studio's work is presented a block or so from the site and to an audience of a couple hundred of the general public HAD to also be hugely educational (if daunting, from appearances).
they got to hear from the audience a little of the underlying tensions associated with race, socio-economic position, inactivity and inattention, bad traffic planning, and lack of educational opportunity that have kept the project zone from developing in the past - and in the context of their own work!
jafdler, when you said "...many of the most forward offices in the world...", what did you mean by "forward?" What are they in front of? What direction are they facing?
Sure, the offices whose style the Shippingport project evokes (JDS, REX, BIG) are hip these days, but is there much substance behind their trend-du-jour style?
I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that the real excitement about the Shippingport studio is that it has brought UK students into direct contact with a few of the architectural taste-making gods. A privilege usually only available at the likes of Harvard, Columbia, and Yale is now available in Lexington. That's improtant because it will let a few students make a good impression on the trend-masters, go work in their offices after graduation, and eventually if they're lucky, inheret the status of starhitect design god. That's wonderful for the careers of these lucky (and undoubtedly hardworking) few, and for the UK CoD's reputation. But is this really something to get excited about?
Inheriting style, rhetoric, and taste, and in turn status, from an established 'master' is a long tradition in architectural education - arguably it's THE tradition in architectural education. But I think it's finally beginning to go out of fashion. A variety of alternative approaches to both the practice of architecture and the teaching of architecture are emerging. And I am afraid that by enthusiastically embracing the celebrity-studio-instructor-as-demi-god model, UK is heading down a pedagogical path that will soon be overgrown with weeds.
The model does look gorgeous. And congrats to ashley gallaher, eric huelsman, ian mchone, hilary shea, teddi hibberd, sarah keys, andrew owens, rebekah schaberg, katie howell, joy leonard, derek phillips - and peedy - for the skillful work. And congrats too for dealing with whatever exactly happened when JDS said his decisions "caused some friction among the students."
But to be honest, I just don't see a lof of interesting or relevant ideas at play in the final project. It's all so general and so far removed from the nuances of urban development and economics. (Correct me if I'm wrong here, I'm just going on what I've read on Archinect!) It looks so indicative of a strong-willed celebrity studio instructor who wants students to design like he or she designs. I can't help but suspect that some of the most ineteresting ideas were left out of the final project. Hopefully the bright and talented students whose proposals were edited out won't let the prestige of their instructor and jurors overwhelm their own ambition.
are you kidding me? this seems to be exactly what the studio was about and why it was relevant. i don't know how close you are to academia, but how many studios do you know that engage a real client and make contemporary issues facing that client and the urban context of the project the focus of the design? i can only think of a handful of urban design programs in the u.s. doing this type of work, and most are operating under a very traditional new urbanist model, none that are pushing a strong design sensibility in the same way this studio was. you really have to go to europe these days to find that.
scottaway, to me, it seems in your glass half empty post that you are only interested in writing a diatribe against "starchitects" teaching in academia (and i'm not sure you can really even calls these guys that), and not focusing on the very positive things that came out of this studio.
"Sure, the offices ... (JDS, REX, BIG) are hip these days, but is there much substance behind their trend-du-jour style?"
If you look 'beyond' the hype of firms like BIG, you will find some crazy projects but also some project that actually challenge conventional notions of urbanism, of housing prototypes and of formal developments. sure it's flashy, but it is as much a deception to NOT see the relevant spatial and organisational invention in their work as it is to be seduced by a supposed "trend-du-jour style".
"But to be honest, I just don't see alot of interesting or relevant ideas at play in the final project. It's all so general and so far removed from the nuances of urban development and economics."
it is hardly generic. maybe the themes and format are not totally new to the world of informed architects but i would venture that in the context of Louisville, these are quite specific and quite challenging proposals. they might only be seen as "removed from the nuances of urban development and economics" in that this was only a year-long project. but as stated above by jafidler the studio seemed to engage quite in detail with the specifics of the the locale, the social and economic inputs and the consequences of their proposal. can you really ask more from a "school" project?
"arguably it's THE tradition in architectural education..."
"It looks so indicative of a strong-willed celebrity studio instructor who wants students to design like he or she designs."
actually, the current TRADITION in most schools of architecture is that each student is somehow - from 1st year onwards - a complete and inviolable font of creativity and design 'individuality'. that the 'individual' is so all important that to teach anything that might interrupt, influence or (god forbid) contaminate the student is somehow to deny him/her of their reason for living. This is the pervasive ethos that suggests that "students" are somehow complete before they start architecture and only have to spend their time in school resisting being 'influenced' by their instructors. i don't really buy that, as all evidence is to the contrary in terms of those who emerge with any really abilities.
"Reenact me, and I'll set you free!"
You're right, my previous post was basically a glass-half-empty diatribe. Rereading just now it sounds pretty harsh.
I don't want to downplay any of the creative, intelligent thinking and hard work that students and faculty clearly put into the Shippingport project.
But I did want to bring up some questions that came to mind when I was reading about the studio and the final presentation.
The press release said, "...students analyzed and made strategic design proposals for the Shippingport area intended to stimulate economic development and bring much-needed jobs." I guess it doesn't seem clear to me how the proposals will do that. Growing an urban economy and creating new jobs is a slow, incrimental process that depends on boring, on-the-ground details. Tax policies, urban services, regional competitive markets, land ownership patterns, political networks, and transportation costs are just the tip of the iceberg . Maybe the students gathered a lot of information about these factors, but I didn't see it reflected in the designs. I didn't see architectural or urban design that exploited the details of Shippingport's political and economic landscape. Instead I saw proposals painted with broad brushstrokes that seemed inspired by their location, but not born from it. (e.g. I really like the idea of letting the Ford plant be an urban amenity, but would the city's transportation, energy, water, and services infrastructure offer opperational costs that are competitive with an alternative exurban site? What are the implications for real estate values - in other words, families savings and city tax revenues - in surrounding neighborhoods, or in neighborhoods that might see increased heavy truck traffic from the new plant's opperation?)
Oh, and the other thing that seemed missing from the project was the people who live in and around Shippingport, and people who might move there to stimulate its economy. What might they think of the design proposal? Did the proposal for the "megablock housing structures" come from research into what kind of housing is most likely to appeal to residents?
But please correct me if I'm wrong about all this. I wasn't in the studio, and I wasn't at the event in Louisville. I'm going off an article and a discussion thread I read on a freakin' website.
As for architectural education, I certainly would agree that spending all your time in architecture school resisting being 'influenced' by your instructors doesn't make for a great experience. But I think the cult of the individual genius is fostered by the studio-instructor-as-demi-god mentality, not in opposition to it. A few students inherit the instructor's cultural capital (because they were complete, individual geniuses before they got to school), while those who are rejected console themselves by telling themselves they are an unappreciated genius. A much better approach is education that focuses on fostering each student's abilities and encouraging them develop their interests. I find it hard to believe that an instructor who interacts with students once a month (as JDS said he did for almost the entire semester) can really address their specific educational needs in a meaningful way.
And finally dlb, about BIG, which projects of theirs "challenge conventional notions of urbanism, of housing prototypes and of formal developments" in an interesting and useful way beyond 'challenging' for the sake of 'challenging'? And what exactly is the "spatial and organizational invention" in their work relevant to?
more time with individual students (and potentially greater influence and personal involvement with specific educational needs) was offered by their lexington instructor, jason scroggin, who was there for each studio - and then some.
he was also the constant for the whole year, from before the beginning of the bates semester and through the de smedt semester.