“The United States faces two immense and inextricable challenges: how to reimagine the American way of life to address the impacts of climate change, and how to build a new and robust economic structure that offers viable and sustainable livelihoods and lifestyles across the income spectrum for all Americans. The Architectural League today launches The Five Thousand Pound Life—an initiative of public events, digital releases, and a major design study—as a contribution to what must be a broad collective effort, spanning geographies, generations, occupations, disciplines, and ideologies, to address those intertwined challenges.”
– Rosalie Genevro, Executive Director, The Architectural League
Design for Eternity: Architectural Models from the Ancient Americas runs at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City until September 18, 2016. From the first millennium BCE until the arrival of Europeans in the sixteenth century, artists in the Americas created small-scale architectural models to be placed in tombs. These miniature structures convey a rich sense of ancient ritual as well as the daily lives of the people of Central and South America.
The Urban Design Forum announces Calvin Tsao & Zack McKown as part of the 2016 Class of Fellows, a group of designers, planners, developers, public officials, scholars, activists, lawyers and journalists shaping “dynamic, equitable and resilient cities around the world.”
SuralArk is the winning entry in Folly, an annual competition co-sponsored by the League and Socrates, which invites emerging architects and designers to propose contemporary interpretations of the architectural folly, traditionally a fanciful, small-scale building or pavilion sited in a garden or landscape to frame a view or serve as conversation piece.
Folly was established by Socrates, in partnership with the League, to explore the intersections between architecture and sculpture and the increasing overlaps in references, materials, and building techniques between the two disciplines.
Design Trust for Public Space: Under the Elevated
The Design Trust for Public Space released its latest report Under the Elevated: Reclaiming Space, Connecting Communities.
Underneath New York City’s 700 miles of elevated bridges, highways, subway and rail lines lies millions of square feet of public space – nearly four times the size of Central Park – with the potential to radically transform life in the city. Under the Elevated presents an in-depth plan for how, and why, this massive inventory of residual space must be reimagined.
A.O. Scott writes for the New York Times: “As befits a movie about a composer, the music (by David Lang) makes its presence felt in more than a merely decorative manner. It carries the intimation of something deeper and grander…”
“Allowing viewers to become more aware of their built environment” – Interior Design Magazine
An article on the Interior Design Magazine website documents Tsao & McKown’s Re[Framing] Provincetown installation as a way to “spark a conversation about the area and what once existed there”.
Please click here to read the full article.
To find out more information about the project please click here.
After ten years of creative exploration, Proteus Gowanus closed its doors on June 28th, 2015. From the beginning, Proteus Gowanus was an inclusive place of creative collaboration. The organization has preserved its website as an archive for those who wish to review the hundreds of interdisciplinary exhibitions and events that unfolded at on the Gowanus Canal. The website is an inspiration to others to create and collaborate freely. Click here to view the site archive and recapture those memories and/or read Proteus Gowanus’ closing letter.
Writing for 1stdib’s online publication Introspective, Fred Bernstein explains, “Not surprisingly, Tsao & McKown’s success with residential interiors has led quickly to larger projects — first the luxurious Wheatleigh hotel in the Berkshires, then an amenity-laden Manhattan condo building called the William Beaver House (for which they designed both the interiors and the startlingly bright yellow façade). They have also been tapped for other high-profile projects, including the restoration and repurposing of a group of historic buildings in Beijing’s Forbidden City.”
Condé Nast Traveler includes the Wheatleigh Hotel (Lenox, MA) in the magazine’s 2016 Gold List, a directory of the magazine’s “Favorite Hotels in the World.”
In our renovation of this historic family estate, we created a broad set of visual cues, imagining that the house had remained in the continuous ownership of one family with each succeeding generation contributing to its décor. Interiors are at once diverse and luxurious, historically evocative and comfortably familial. The result is a thoroughly modern and luxurious interpretation of Gilded Age grandeur in the Berkshires.
Interior Design features Tsao & McKown’s new office in Brooklyn’s Old American Can Factory. Here is the article published in the November 2014 issue. Click here for an extended look into the space and collection.
“Moving offers a chance to reflect on how far we’ve come and where we’re going. We feel we’re maturing, not just as professionals but also in how we look at the world.” – Calvin Tsao
Calvin Tsao in The New Yorker on design and homelessness
The New Yorker’s Culture Desk features the final presentations of Kevin Waltz and Alex Schweder’s interior design studio Housing the Homeless in NYC (taught jointly at Parsons The New School for Design and the Pratt Institute). Calvin Tsao, Cindy Allen, and Susan Sarandon served as guest critics.
“The class comes at a grim juncture in the history of New York City housing and its fraught relationship with homelessness. The number of homeless people in the city is the highest it’s even been – in March, the Coalition for the Homeless, a leading advocacy organization, placed the number of people living in shelters at just above sixty thousand, including almost twenty-five thousand children.”
Through subtle shifts in color, scale, perspective, and composition, Morandi was able to convey everyday objects with both monumentality and intimacy.
The Brooklyn Museum has great public programs in addition to their exhibitions, performances, movie screenings and some particularly intriguing tours of “hidden Brooklyn” including a private collection of automobiles in Gowanus and now-empty convent in Fort Greene.
The Design Trust For Public Space “are a nationally-recognized incubator that transforms and evolves the city’s landscape with city agencies and community collaborators. Our work can be seen, felt and experienced throughout all five boroughs–from parks and plazas to streets and public buildings” in New York.
Phase II, conducted in partnership with the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, built on the policy and metrics recommendations developed in the first phase in order to strengthen and expand urban agriculture in NYC.
The Design trust for Public Space are now in Phase III of the project and are working towards increasing the quantity of of data on urban agriculture in NYC and identifying sustainable funding models for urban agriculture. The number of food producing farms in New York has increased by 28% in the last two years and The Design Trust for Public Space hope to create the available infrastructure for this number to continue to rise in the future.
Scenic Hudson works to protect and restore the Hudson River and its majestic landscape as an irreplaceable national treasure and a vital resource for residents and visitors. Its team of experts combines land acquisition, support for agriculture, citizen-based advocacy and sophisticated planning tools to create environmentally healthy communities, champion smart economic growth, open up riverfronts to the public, and preserve the valley’s inspiring beauty and natural resources.
This year’s theme is function, which asks entrants to fuse form with utility, creating designs that explore the intersection of art and architecture while durably addressing and improving the conditions of the park.
More on the competition and entry requirements here.
“What’s a fence between good neighbors? To the United States government in considering Mexico, it’s sophisticated but pretty straightforward: the plans may incorporate so much high technology that the fence is more virtual than real, but in the end it is an imposing barrier, intended to repel, not attract. To architects and designers, such a fence poses a different challenge, but one they often face in their line of work: making the unwelcome welcoming”.
William L. Hamilton, a reporter for The New York Times, asked a handful of designers to devise a fence for the border.
Tsao & McKown’s response looked at developing the border as an economic zone, removing the need to cross the border, even eradicating the effect of the border.
“As development along the border matures, the need to cross the border diminishes”, Calvin Tsao.
The American Academy in Rome supports innovative artists, writers and scholars living and working together in a dynamic international community. Tsao & McKown principal Calvin Tsao sits on the Board of the American Academy in Rome.
“For the Academy” – Jenny Holtz RAAR’04
Annually they award the Rome Prize to a select group of artists and scholars. The winners are invited to Rome to pursue their work in an atmosphere conducive to intellectual and artistic freedom, interdisciplinary exchange, and innovation.
The Singapore Government’s Building and Construction Authority granted our recently completed Astrid Hill House a BCA Green Mark Gold Plus Status, a LEED Gold equivalent.
This private residence is an eco-friendly, site responsive interpretation of a traditional Chinese courtyard house. More on the project here.
Photo by Richard Bryant/arcaidimages.com
We completed the exhibition design for Beauty, the fifth installment of the Cooper Hewitt, The Smithsonian National Design Museum’s contemporary design exhibition series. The exhibition runs February 12 through August 21, 2016.
“Featuring recent work from the most outstanding voices in the global design scene, ‘Beauty’ will expand the discourse around the transformative power of aesthetic innovation,” said Caroline Baumann, director of the museum. “The exhibition will celebrate design as a creative endeavor that engages the mind, body and senses with works of astonishing form and surprising function.”
The canelé de Bordeaux (a.k.a cannelé bordelais) is a magical bakery confection, a cake with a rich custardy interior enclosed by a thin caramelized shell. It’s a brilliant construction developed long ago by an anonymous Bordeaux cook, whose innovation has been subjected to 300 years of refinements.
Nearly black at first sight, bittersweet at first bite, the crunchy burnt sugar canelé-shell makes an exquisite complement to its smooth, sweet filling, fragrant with vanilla and rum.
Small enough to eat out of hand, these little cakes have recently gained cachet after years of neglect to the extent that they may one day rival the popularity of crème brûlée in the category of caramelized French sweets.
Many recipes don’t carry a tale; the canelé carries many. One of the oldest refers to a convent in Bordeaux, where, before the French Revolution, the nuns prepared cakes called canalize made with donated egg yolks from local winemakers, who used only the whites to clarify their wines. Any records that might verify this were lost in the turbulent revolution, thus relegating the convent story to legend.
Tsao & McKown are the exhibition designers for the current Mel Bochner: Strong Language exhibition at the Jewish Museum in New York.
For this exhibition Tsao & McKown aimed to complement the curatorial vision of the artworks’ provocative and emotive intentions through creating a sense of place cognizant of how viewers’ physical movements affect their engagement with all and each of the artworks.
The exhibition design was a highly collaborative effort between the architects, the curators, and Mel Bochner himself. After viewing the completed installation for the first time, Mr. Bochner wrote the following:
“It’s beautiful. Subtle, but powerful. Architecture-as-spatial-choreography.”
This is Tsao & McKown’s fifth exhibition design at the Jewish Museum, following the acclaimed “Action/Abstraction” in 2008.
Mel Bochner: Strong Language The Jewish Museum, New York May 2nd – September 21st 2014
Photo Credit: Installation view of “Mel Bochner: Strong Language” at The Jewish Museum in New York. (Bradford Robotham / The Jewish Museum)
The tradition of the Hudson Valley’s Sinterklaas celebration comes all the way from the Netherlands, brought by Dutch settlers who arrived in Rhinebeck over 300 years ago. The centerpiece of the festivities occurs in Rhinebeck every year in early December. Of particular delight is Processional Arts Workshop‘s parade, which includes characters like the Grampuses, the Snow King and Queen, the Blue Dog, the Chinese Lion, the Pocket Lady, and, of course, Sinkerklaas.
The building’s footprint is conceived as a movement through the Fibonacci spiral, which also dictates structure’s folded roof. The resulting plan allows the occupants and program to flow gracefully through the rooms, spiraling up to the highest point, a lookout tower.
Tsao & McKown are featured in The Wall Street Journal. The article written by Karen Stein references the offices past experience designing in China and addresses design methodologies for the future.
In 2009, Zack McKown helped to found desigNYC, a not-for-profit whose mission is to help match deserving community groups and other not-for-profits in need of design services with professional, designers willing to offer pro-bono services to help reinvigorate local communities in need.
desigNYC’s mission is to deliver the transformative power of design to nonprofits in New York. Our program connects civic-minded designers with extraordinary nonprofits for pro bono design projects. Our focus is local. Our approach is multidisciplinary. Our process is participatory, and community centric.
One of their many, ongoing programs is the Two Bridges Neighbourhood Council, which is helping residents of the Lower East Side of Manhattan understand climate change. The program is working to make Pier 42 a living laboratory, to publicly demonstrate and explore local climate impacts in a low-lying, low-income waterfront neighborhood on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
“Recognize that you don’t know where you stand, and you will begin to watch where you put your feet. That’s when a path appears.”
The New York Times reviews the book as, “[a description of] John Cage’s philosophical awakening through Zen Buddhism, which changed not only the sort of music he composed but, seemingly, everything he did and said.”
“Rudolph is often described at Brutalist, but there’s nothing severe or somber about the space. The thrusting I-beams, canopied walkways, and floating stairs create these beautiful social and living areas.”
Center for an Urban Future’s ‘Creative New York’ Report
Building on its 2015 report ‘Creative New York’ – a study of the current state of New York City’s creative sectors and their role as vital cultural and economic assets -, the Center for an Urban Future held a conference to discuss the many issues that face the city’s artists, arts organizations, and creative workers. Read a summary of that conference here.
The Residential Review was created by the AIA NY Interiors Committee to showcase New York-based architects who are designing outstanding residential spaces.
The winning projects will be on view at GD Cucine in New York City (227 W. 17th Street) from June 14 to July 2.
The Old American Can Factory is an industrial complex built between 1865 and 1901 on the Fourth Street Basin of the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, a place where things are still being made. It is home to a vital community of 120 people who manufacture a myriad of products, ideas and experiences for industry, arts and culture.
During the Summer the Can also hosts Rooftop Films, a non-profit film festival and production collective that supports, creates, promotes, and shows daring short films worldwide and in a weekly summer rooftop film festival.
Located on a steeply sloped site in a suburban area of Singapore, the Astrid Hill House is is designed for a multigenerational ethnic Chinese family who desired that their dream house be an exemplary model of sustainable design in an Asian, tropical setting.
Enjoying Vinyasa Yoga at The Old American Can Factory
Now that we are located in The Old American Can Factory, our team is able to enjoy outdoor Vinyasa Yoga on the roof!
Vinyasa yoga, specializes in linking movement to the breath. This style is sometimes also called flow yoga, due to the smooth way that the poses run together and become more like a dance. Moving from one pose to another on an inhale or exhale allows you to connect to your breath and focus on your balance and inner well-being.
Vinyasa yoga works on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels to connect the mind with the body and relieve stress and anxiety. Mindfully moving through the continual flowing poses during a vinyasa class can help alleviate the static thoughts that may be running through your head. Focusing on the inhale and exhale of your breath results in a positive, calming effect on your central nervous system.
There are physiological and medical benefits to vinyasa yoga. It can help to reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Additionally, it can help detoxify the body so functions, systems and organs operate more efficiently. It also can balance your metabolic system, helping you sleep better and focus.
Re[Framing] Provincetown: Animating History Through Sharing was an installation and exhibition that engaged passers-by by to focus their thoughts on the character of public space and become more aware of their built environment. On view from August 15th – October 31st, 2014, the project created links between the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, the Provincetown community, and visitors.
Luisa Cevese‘s collection Riedizioni is an innovative product and accessories line that repurposes recycled textile scraps from the fashion and fabric industries. A self taught designer, Cevese inspires us with her poetic and environmentally responsible innovations and her eye for the beauty and value inherent in “waste.”
The Architectural League of New York held its annual Beaux Arts Ball on September 30 at A/D/O, a new 23,000-square-foot space designed by nARCHITECTS. Calvin Tsao and Zack McKown were Co-chairs for this year’s ball, and the theme – Tabula Rasa – celebrates the creative act of fresh thinking, innovation, and New York’s ceaseless reinvention.
The awards recognize extraordinary contributions to design in 10 categories: Lifetime Achievement, Design Mind, Corporate and Institutional Achievement, Architecture Design, Communication Design, Fashion Design, Interaction Design, Interior Design, Landscape Design and Product Design.
The 2009 National Design Awards recipients are:
• Lifetime Achievement: Bill Moggridge
• Design Mind: Amory B. Lovins
• Corporate and Institutional Achievement: Walker Art Center
Finalists: Dwell Magazine and Heath Ceramics
• Architecture Design: SHoP Architects
Finalists: Architecture Research Office and Michael Maltzan
• Communication Design: The New York Times Graphics Department
Finalists: Hoefler & Frere-Jones and Project Projects
• Fashion Design: Francisco Costa for Calvin Klein Collection
Finalists: Thom Browne and Rodarte
• Interaction Design: Perceptive Pixel Inc.
Finalists: Potion and Lisa Strausfeld
• Interior Design: TsAO & McKOWN Architects
Finalists: Ali Tayar and Work AC
• Landscape Design: Hood Design
Finalists: Andrea Cochran and Rios Clementi Hale Studios
Co-chaired by Calvin Tsao and Zack McKown, the exhibition celebrates the queer creative networks and artistic subcultures that sprang up in the city across the 20th century, and features the work of well-known artists such as Mae West and Andy Warhol, as well as those of lesser-known figures like feminist artist Harmony Hammond and transgender artist Greer Lankton. Paintings, photographs, letters and ephemera reveal surprising relationships and personal bonds between these artists.
Whilst exploring our new neighbourhood we have discoverd a favorite … the restaurant with Chef Angelo Romano (formerly at Roberta’s and Masten Lake) creates incredible dishes, with menus altered daily.
The Museum of Modern Art (New York) presents Latin America in Construction: Architecture 1955-1980 from March 29 – July 19, 2015. The exhibition is a breathtaking reintroduction to Latin America’s often overlooked but crucial contributions to modern architectural design and planning.
From the exhibition statement: the Museum of Modern Art “returns to the region to offer a complex overview of the positions, debates, and architectural creativity from Mexico and Cuba to the Southern Cone between 1955 and the early 1980s. This period of self-questioning, exploration, and complex political shifts also saw the emergence of the notion of Latin America as a landscape of development, one in which all aspects of cultural life were colored in one way or another by this new attitude to what emerged as the ‘Third World.’…Architects met these challenges with formal, urbanistic, and programmatic innovation, much of it relevant still to the challenges of our own period, in which Latin America is again providing exciting and challenging architecture and urban responses to the ongoing issues of modernization and development, though in vastly different economic and political contexts than those considered in this major historical reevaluation.”
Calvin Tsao and Zack McKown will deliver a lecture ‘A Moving Target’ at the Harvard GSD (Graduate School of Design) on October 12, 2016 as part of ChinaGSD’s Fall 2016 public lecture series. They will discuss the firm’s current work in China as well as the political and economic conditions that drive development in that country.
Wednesday, October 12
Stubbins (Gund Hall 112)
48 Quincy Street
Cambridge MA 02138
The Bhutan Foundation serves the people of Bhutan in living and sharing the principle of Gross National Happiness. We cherish the values of the Bhutanese intention: measuring “happiness” as the highest attribute of all decision-making. We contribute to strategies of conservation of the environment, equitable and sustainable development, good governance, and preservation of culture in Bhutan. The Bhutan Foundation serves as the only American not-for-profit organization that is wholly focused on the benefit of the country and people of Bhutan, bridging understanding between our two countries and beyond.