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Photo: A participant at Designer Camp in West Hollywood sketches out an idea. (Sarah Shreves)

A summer camp for teens with design dreams 7 MIN, 54 SEC

Girls work on their group projects at Designer Camp
Photo by Sarah Shreves

Thousands of kids are at camp for the summer. And many will be horseback riding, making crafts and singing around the campfire. But what about a camp for kids who dream of having their own fashion or interior design empire? DnA producer Avishay Artsy went to the Big Blue Whale, aka the Pacific Design Center, in West Hollywood to check out Designer Camp. He talks with the teen girls studying furniture, interior and entertainment set design and trend forecasting -- and finds they enjoy a camp where "if you're going to put glue and paper together, they're going to teach you the right way to do it."

Avishay Artsy, Producer, DnA: Design and Architecture (@heyavishay)

Racked on Designer Camp
West Hollywood Lifestyle on Designer Camp

Saving Louis Kahn's floating concert ship 4 MIN, 41 SEC

Louis Kahn's floating concert hall faces demolition
Courtesy spablab

A floating masterpiece is sending out an SOS. A concert hall on a barge designed by Louis Kahn may wind up in a Louisiana scrapyard if a buyer does not come forward with $2 million. "Point Counterpoint II" was commissioned by Robert Boudreau shortly before Kahn's death in 1974. SInce 1976, Boudreau has been taking orchestras to perform small towns on waterways throughout America. Now, at 90, he wants to sell what he calls "the last of the showboats."

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma sounded the alarm in a letter to the New York Review of Books. Now one town has expressed interest in buying it: Kingston, New York. It's in the Hudson River Valley, near Woodstock, and city officials dream of docking the barge at a former brick factory on the river that's been converted into an events space. They are looking for an angel to help foot the bill.

Blair Kamin, Chicago Tribune (@BlairKamin)
Steve Noble, City of Kingston, New York (@onekingston)

Blair Kamin: With push from Yo-Yo Ma, floating concert hall may end up in NY
NPR: The Floating Symphony
Curbed: Louis Kahn-designed floating concert hall in danger of demolition
Dezeen: Louis Kahn's floating concert hall may go to scrap

The controversial project to rethink Detroit architecture 15 MIN, 10 SEC

Zago Architecture designed "A New Federal Project" as a conceptual approach
to settling 68,000 refugees in Detroit. The project is part of
"The Architectural Imagination" at A+D Museum in Los Angeles
Photo by Avishay Artsy

Behind the mute buildings that form the backdrop to our lives you can find heated debate -- about what those buildings should be like and who they should represent.

Those questions lay at the heart of the controversial exhibition The Architectural Imagination. It first appeared in the US Pavilion at 2016's Venice Architecture Biennial, directed by Alejandro Aravena. It then went to Detroit and now it is on display at the A+D Museum in downtown Los Angeles.

The exhibition was curated by Mónica Ponce de León, dean of Princeton's architecture school, and Cynthia Davidson, a writer and editor at an architectural theory journal called LOG. The pair picked 12 design teams -- three from Los Angeles -- from over 250 applicants and gave each team one of four sites on which to conceive a speculative programs.

They directed the designers to "think imaginatively, not worry about budget. Don't worry about costs, don't worry about building regulations and zoning. Imagine what might be possible," Davidson said.

This resulted in some highly imaginative schemes -- including a cluster of civic buildings to support a Syrian refugee resettlement program by Andrew Zago and Laura Bouwman; a tubular, blob-like Center for Fulfillment, Knowledge and Innovation on the site of the defunct Packard Plant by Greg Lynn; and a Zócalo in place of a strip mall by Pita & Bloom that drew its decorative inspiration from layers of peeling paint in the decrepit relics of industrial Detroit.

Pita & Bloom's project "THE NEW ZÓCALO" is a proposal for the
Mexicantown area of Detroit and is part of "The Architectural Imagination"

However, the show drew a backlash from those, says LA Times Christopher Hawthorne, who felt "this was opportunistic. . . taking advantage of a struggling city and. . . imposing these visions of overwrought formal visions" on struggling neighborhoods.

Davidson points out the reaction has been mixed -- and recalls Detroit's Planning Director Maurice Cox telling her "we had changed the conversation in Detroit."


Florencia Pita, Pita & Bloom / FP mod
Jackilin Hah Bloom, Pita & Bloom / JHB Studio
Andrew Zago, Zago Architecture / Southern California Institute of Architecture
Christopher Hawthorne, Chief design officer for LA City Hall; Los Angeles Times (@hawthorneLAT)
Cynthia Davidson, Anyone Corporation

William Menkin critiques "The Architectural Imagination" in The Architect's Newspaper
Cynthia Davidson and Mónica Ponce de León respond to AN's review of US Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
Christopher Hawthorne critiques the 2016 Venice Biennale
What role should architects and outsiders have in reimagining Detroit?

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