As the days grow colder and shorter, Tsao & McKown staff look forward to one of the most anticipated celebrations of the year. On November 18 we all gathered for our 15th Annual Pie Day. Everyone made a pie: Savory pies were served at noon and sweet pies at 4:00!
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
“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.
Tsao & McKown are featured in The Wall Street Journal online and in print on Saturday 12th of October. The article written by Karen Stein references the offices past experience designing in China and addresses design methodologies for the future.
“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.
Mel Bochner: Strong Language, The Jewish Museum
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)
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.
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.
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.
Our backgrounds, our interests, and our idiosyncrasies converge in our life in the studio. Together, we seem to have shed the capacity to distinguish between what’s serious and what’s fun. The serious business of architecture is fun in our experience. The fun stuff, like our annual “Pie Day,” we take seriously.
The birth place of the Wangchuck dynasty, the Wangduecholing palace in Bumthang, would be restored to its former glory as one of the most significant heritage sites, and established as a museum and centre for cultural activities in Bumthang.
The Bhutan Foundation (FB) based in Washington D.C. has started work on securing fund for the project in the United States and other countries, and the government has committed to match funds, according to the BF president, Dr Bruce W Bunting.
The FB also submitted nomination to the World Monuments Fund (WMF) for watch listing. Dr Bunting said, once Wangduecholing palace is registered under the WMF watch list, the project will qualify for additional matching funds from the WMF. The nomination result is expected to be declared later this year. Last year, WMF included Phajoding lhakhang in the watch list. “If not listed, WMF won’t be directly involved,” Dr Bunting said. The BF has already started work on securing other support including the planned visit in May of Zack McKown from TsAO & McKown Architects in New York. Zack will be working with the culture department to help Bhutanese architects and planning and designing the project. TsAO & McKown Architects were involved in restoring the Jainful Palace (palace of established happiness) in the Forbidden City in Beijing, China.
The three-year project, to be carried out in two phases, is estimated to cost more than USD 5.328M.
The first phase of the project includes survey, documentation, condition assessment, meeting with stakeholders, preparation of restoration and project proposals, approvals from authorities and establishment of project team. It will cost USD 0.28M. The second phase, which includes restoration work on the structures, landscaping, establishment of management plan and opening of the museum, is estimated to cost about USD 5.1M. The division of conservation of heritage sites of the home ministry will coordinate and manage the project. Dr Bruce Bunting said, after the project is completed, the new museum will not only provide educational opportunities, but will also boost the local economy of the community through heritage tourism. Gallery and office will be provided to local artists and other members of the community to encourage the development and conservation of arts and crafts.
The initiative to restore the Wangduecholing palace, Dr Bunting said, was taken to preserve the aura and the grandeur of the palace that has remained neglected for over 50 years. “Lack of resources for maintenance has left the palace in a “precarious state”, according to the BF report submitted to WMF. The report stated that the stunning carvings and paintings on the façade of the palace, and the timber frames of the windows and walls have deteriorated and are in danger of being damaged beyond repair. “New development, including hotels, that are being built right next to the palace has created challenges to the significant and beauty of the site,” stated the project document.
Brief History: Wangduecholing palace was constructed in 1857 as a private mansion by Jigme Namgyal, who unified the feudal regions of Bhutan, and laid the grounds for the election of his son Ugyen Wangchuck as the first King of Bhutan.
The location of the palace in the Jakar valley is said to be on the very grounds of one of his most famous battle camps. Born in this mansion, GongsarUgyen Wangchuck established the first historic offices and courts of the Wangchuck dynasty when he became the first King in1907.
As the first palace of the Wangchuck dynasty, the palace is one of the most beautiful and significant representatives of 19th century Bhutanese architecture and craftsmanship that continues to influence design even today. Built mainly as a residential mansion, the palace is also unique compared to similar monuments in Bhutan that were usually designed as fortresses. The layout and design of the rooms are fascinating reflections of the life of the first monarchs of the Wangchuck dynasty.
The central temple in the courtyard built by the first King is a treasure trove of ancient murals, texts, sculptures, and textiles and an exceptional museum in its own right.
The Lumiere Residences in Taipei wins the 2012 Interior Design Magazine Best of Year Award for the Residential Public Space Model category.
Merit was also awarded to Gary Morgenroth and Tsao & McKown for the Beresford Residence in the large apartment category.
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.
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.
“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
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.
IMC Octave was founded as a platform to explore the serious challenges we face as a society in the 21st century: the new realities of urban and rural life, the endless consumption of elective commodities, and the spiritual and cultural void that has resulted. Our mission is to enrich people’s lives with meaningful experiences that provide the tools for individuals to cope with the consequences of our new modernity, to elevate their overall quality of life.
With roots in Asia, Fred Tsao, Chairman of IMC Pan Asia Alliance Group, along with his brother, Calvin Tsao, Principal of Tsao & McKown Architects, saw an opportunity to challenge the norm in China as the country confronts a critical juncture in its course of development. China’s long-term stability is not just an issue for the nation; it is a global challenge. The brothers’ partnership brings together design, design-thinking, politics, culture, and economics, creating a synergy that guides Octave’s approach to the research and development of new models for 21st century living.
Through a tripartite venture with non-profits, businesses and government bodies, we are exploring initiatives in sustainability, health and wellness, learning, arts, agriculture, and new models of consumerism. These initiatives serve as the foundation of our holistic communities.
The collaboration between Tsao & McKown and Octave is a hybrid designer-developer relationship. This partnership draws on the expertise of teams with a variety of perspectives; teams that can exchange ideas and share resources on how to integrate our initiatives into the built environment.
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.
Tsao & McKown are currently working with the Bhutan Foundation on the Renovation & Rehabilitation of Wangduechhoeling Palace In Bumthang. Zack McKown is also a board member of The Bhutan Foundation.
Tsao & McKown presented four concepts for lipstick covers to the Shu Uemura creative team. Each was meant to explore and reinterpret what a lipstick cover could be, beyond the constraints of typical appearance and formal function. View full project here.
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.
Architectural Record: Making Extra-Large The Right Fit
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.
Jianfu Palace Museum: Tradition and contemporary intervention peacefully coexist in an icon of Chinese culture and memory.
The project involved adaptive reuse of four historic buildings at the Forbidden City’s Jianfu Palace Garden of Established Happiness Museum and Visitor’s Center in Beijing.
Preservation of the past was achieved through resurrection of historic buildings and furniture-making techniques.
Jianfu palace now serves as both a reception center for visiting dignitaries and as a museum of Chinese architecture with flexible exhibit space for artifacts, photos, and drawings. Central to the permanent exhibit are the ‘bones’ of the main pavilion which were purposefully left exposed to reveal the beauty of traditional engineering and techniques of craft.
OPEN was a dyptical exhibition held in 2012 at Syracuse University School of Architecture, in which the gallery space is devoted to use by the students, and the materials are primarily viewed on a website created for the exhibition: sevenprojects.net
For the exhibition Tsao & McKown Architects explored the myriad layers of contexts, collaborations, and other considered complexities inherent in their approaches to eight projects ranging in scale from an urban plan in Chengdu, China to the design of a lipstick case for the Japanese cosmetics master Shu Uemura.
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.
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.
Since 1990 Tsao & McKown has been working with museums and galleries as an exhibition designer on a range of international installations, from the McCord Museum of Canadian History in Montreal to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.
The firm has also had the rare opportunity to create a sequence of exhibitions for The Jewish Museum in New York, including the acclaimed Action/Abstraction exhibition in 2008 and the museum’s current show Mel Bochner: Strong Language.
As a result Tsao & McKown have worked with a variety of art work, artists and designers and have drawn great inspiration form a range of work over the years. A few of the artists which have inspired the firm are listed below:
de Chirico, Giorgio
Proteus Gowanus is an interdisciplinary gallery, reading room and cultural provocateur.
Their program includes “Projects in Residence”, effectively an incubator for small unique museums, collections and archives. We particularly like Morbid Anatomy; a collection of curiosities from the interstices of Art and Medicine, death and culture. We also like the Reanimation Library!
St. Matthew Passion at The Park Avenue Armory
Peter Sellers is staging Bach’s revered account of Christ’s Passion from the Gospel of Matthew at the Park Avenue Armory this October. Don’t miss it ……. see the program listing here.
“Regarded as one of the quintessential masterpieces of classical sacred music, Bach’s revered account of Christ’s Passion from the Gospel of Matthew is detailed through sublimely beautiful music that is eloquent and profoundly moving, both in its humanity and spirituality. While a highlight of concert seasons and festivals around the world for more than 150 years, Bach’s final and most dramatic Passion was never intended to be staged.”
Country in City
China Daily, Liu Yujie
As China becomes increasingly urbanized, it has to find space for its urban and rural citizens as both groups become increasingly integrated. Experts suggest a possible model may be “re-inventing” a “garden city”. Liu Yujie explores the concept.
Ali Farka Touré
Antonín Leopold Dvořak
Arnold von Bruck
Belle & Sebastian
Edward Kennedy Ellington
Franz Joseph Haydn
George Frederic Handel
Giovannie Battista Pergolesi
Hildegard of Bingen
Johann Sebastian Bach
King Sunny Adé
Manuel de Falla
Monsters of Folk
Screamin Jay Hawkins
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture
Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture is a non-profit farm and education center located just 25 miles north of Manhattan in Pocantico Hills, New York. Stone Barns operates an 80-acre four-season farm and is working on broader initiatives to create a healthy and sustainable food system. Through our Growing Farmers Initiative, children’s education programs, and diverse public awareness programs, we aim to improve the way America eats and farms.
Public School Libraries: Modular components visibly combine, engaging students’ minds and forming libraries that otherwise would not exist.
Tsao & McKown faced the challenge of having to meet two contrary programmatic demands: the need for group instruction and activities, versus the need for there to be individual, solitary paths for intellectual discovery.
Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Robert Wiene, 1920 Battle Ship Potemkin, Sergei M. Einstein, 1925 Metropolis, Fritz Lang, 1927 Pandora’s Box, George Wilhem Pabst, 1929 Gold Diggers of 1933, Erwin S. Gelsey, 1933 The Bitter Tea of General Yen, Frank Capra, 1933 L’Atalante, Jean Vigo, 1934 It Happened One Night, Frank Capra, 1934 Top Hat, Mark Sandrich, 1935 Dodsworth, William Wyler, 1936 Modern Times, Charles Chaplin, 1936< Things to Come, William Cameron Menzies, 1936 La Grande Illusion, Jean Renoir, 1937 Olympia, Leni Riefenstahl, 1938 Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Frank Capra, 1939 Fantasia, Walt Disney, 1940 Grapes of Wrath, John Ford, 1940 To New Horizons, Handy (Jam) Organization, 1940 Citizen Kane, Orson Welles, 1941 Gang’s All Here, Busby Berkeley, 1943 Les Enfants du Paradis, Marcel Carne, 1945 Rome, Open City, Roberto Rossalini, 1945 Le Belle et la Bete, Jean Cocteau, 1946 Bicycle Theives, Vittorio De Sica, 1948 Xiao Cheng Zhi Chu, Mu Fei, 1948 On the Town, Stanely Donan, Gene Kelley, 1949 Third Man, Carol Reed, 1949 Rashomon, Akira Kurosawa, 1950 Sunset Blvd., Billy Wilder, 1950 Roman Holiday, William Wyler, 1953 Rear Window, Alfred Hitchcock, 1954 La Strada, Federico Fellini, 1954 Pather Panchali, Satayajit Ray, 1955 Bob le Flambeur, Jean-Pierre Melville, 1956 Invasion of the Bodysnatchers, Don Siegal, 1956 The Seventh Seal, Ingmar Bergman, 1957 Mon Oncle, Jaques Tati, 1958 400 Blows, Francois Truffant, 1959 Black Orpheus, Marcel Camus, 1959 La Dolce Vita, Federico Fellini, 1960 Last Year at Maienbad, Alain Resnais, 1961 An Autumn Afternoon, Yasujiro Ozu, 1962 Jules and Jim, Francois Truffant, 1962 L’Eclisse (The Eclipse), Michelangelo Antonioni, 1962 Mondo cane, Paolo Cavara, 1962 8 1/2, Federico Fellini, 1963 Contempt, Jean-Luc Goddard, 1963 High and Low, Akira Kurosawa, 1963 The Leopard, Luchino Visconti, 1963 Dr. Strangelove, Stanley Kubrick, 1964 Woman in the Dunes, Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1964 Faster Pussy Cat Kill Kill, Russ Meyer, 1965 Pierot le Feu, Jean-Luc Goddard, 1965 Andrei Rublev, Andrey Takovskiy, 1966 Blow-up, Michelangelo Antonioni, 1966 Farenheit 451, Francois Truffant, 1966 Persona, Ingmar Bergman, 1966 Belle du Jour, Luis Bunnuel, 1967 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick, 1968 Easy Rider, Dennis Hopper, 1969< Midnight Cowboy, John Schlesinger, 1969 The Conformist, Bernardo Bertolucci, 1970 Garden of the Finzi-Contini, Vittorio De Sica, 1970 Woodstock, Michael Wadliegh, 1970 Clockwork Orange, Stanley Kubrick, 1971 The Last Picture Shows, Peter Bogdanovich, 1971 The Sorrow and the Pity, Max Ophuls, 1971 Walkabout, Nicholas Roeg, 1971 The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, Luis Bunnuel, 1972 Amarcord, Federico Fellini, 1973 Barry Lyndon, Stanley Kubrick, 1975 Lancelot of the Lake, Robert Bresson, 1974 Fox and His Friends, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1975 The Nail of Brightness, Severino Manotok, Jr., 1975 The American Friend, Wim Wenders, 1977 Being There, Hal Ashby, 1979 Manhattan, Woody Allen, 1979 Blade Runner, Ridley Scott, 1982 Fanny & Alexander, Ingmar Bergman, 1982 Stranger Than Paradise, Jim Jarmusch, 1984 Ran, Akira Kurosawa, 1985 Tampopo, Juzo Itami, 1985 Carravaggio, Derek Jarman, 1986 Down by Law, Jim Jarmusch, 1986 Stand by Me, Rob Reiner, 1986 Babette’s Feast, Gabriel Axel, 1987 Red Sorghum, Yimou Zhang, 1987 The Dead, John Hastor, 1987 Wings of Desire, Wim Wenders, 1987 Akira, Katsuhiro Ohtomo, 1988 Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Pedro Almadovar, 1988 A City of Sadness, Hsiao-hsien Hou, 1989 My Own Private Idaho, Gus Van Sant, 1991 Raise the Red Lantern, Yimou Zhang, 1991 Farewell My Concubine, Kaige Chen, 1993 The Piano, Jane Campion, 1993 Thirty-two Short Films About Glenn Gould, Francois Girard, 1993 Chungking Express, Kar Wai Wong, 1994 Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino, 1994 Vive L’Amour, Ming-liang Tsai, 1994 Cyclo, Anh Dung Tran, 1995 Fractals: The Colors of Infinity, Nigel Lesmoir-Gordon, 1995 The Ice Storm, Ang Lee, 1997 Princess Mononoke, Hayao Miyazaki, 1997 Beau Travail, Claire Denis, 1998 Happiness, Todd Solondz, 1998 Run Lola Run, Tom Tykwer, 1998 Not One Less, Yimou Zhang, 1999 Amelie, Jean Pierre Jecunet, 2000 In the Mood for Love, Wong Kai Wei, 2000 Memento, Christopher Nolan, 2000 Yi Yi: A One and A Two, Edward Yang, 2000 City of God, Fernando Meirelles, 2002 Samurai 7, Akira Kurosawa, 2004 Brokeback Mountain, Ang Lee, 2005 Pan’s Labyrith, Guillermo del Toro, 2006