WTC Memorial's Price Chopper


Miss Representation calls it like it is, mostly, about the choice to let a contractor lead the value engineering (read: redesign) team for the World Trade Center Memorial. It needs little comment.

Tropolism Exhibitions: Alvaro Siza At SMMOA


Alvaro Siza, “Drawings, Models, and Photographs”

Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica, California

May 13th-August 19th, 2006

The big problem with Los Angeles for most of us “culture vultures” is the distance: We can’t seem to bridge it. Many of the critics I know are ensconced in their own individual locales and are unable to figure out exactly what’s going on at any one point in time in the City. Despite my reputation for being an “East-side snob” I do venture to the Westside when events warrant and was thus drawn to Bergamot Station (Imagine a two star version of Chelsea with a parking lot) last weekend to catch the visual delights of Alvaro Siza at the Santa Monica Museum of Art.

Click Continue Reading for the full review

Toronto Waterfront Gets West8


The Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation has announced that West 8 Urban Design and Landscape Architecture, based in Rotterdam, has won the Innovative Design Competition for Toronto’s Central Waterfront. We're not sure what's going on with the maple leaf, but the rest of it is pretty fierce. Makes the lovely Hudson River Park look really safe and, well, boring.

Via Archinect.

Zaha/Diva: Reprise


Our Zaha/Diva entry got several replies. Most of them were speculation, or unsupported hearsay, so we decline to publish those comments. However, we do point out an anecdote that we suppose someone else saw at the press conference prior to the press preview of the Guggenheim show.

Pretty Pictures, Olafur Eliasson Edition


We here at Tropolism like Olafur Eliasson. Not just because we know and work with O, but because we are continually entranced by his projects. A sampling of some new work can be seen in the Flickr collection of O's last show at Galery Aedes in Berlin, posted by Republish, including a pattern we used in an unbuilt commission for a Chicago residence (pictured above).

Liberty Park: Thriller In The Dark

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File under "Light-up Parks In Lower Manhattan": A Test Of Will turns it out with a spread of night-shots of the new Liberty Park. Thriller set, indeed. We'll be dancing down there soon. Even though it is weirdly called "Zucotti Park".

Via Curbed, the best architecture weblog NYC has to offer.



Does Zaha Hadid ever get tired of being called a Diva? As in "just because I'm a famous female architect and I'm plus sized and I'm a little older than the rest doesn't automatically make me a diva"? Just curious.

Tokyo Meets Berlin


We all know that Toyo Ito designed an installation for Mies Van Der Rohe's Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, for their upcoming Berlin-Tokyo/Tokyo-Berlin show. Right? Keep up speedy: We Make Money Not Art has a Flickr pool showing the installation in progress. Tropolism will bring you more as it develops.

Berlin's Central Railway Station Now Open


Something new to report from Gemany's capital:

On May 26, after ten years of construction, and a whooping 950 Million dollars later, the "traffic cathedral", Berlin's new central railway station will be opened to the public, just in time for the opeing of the world soccer championship in June.

From then on, 1,100 daily trains will approach the new station from all directions, carrying an expected 300,000 travellers: a 1000-ft long east-west commuter train station crosses the 500-ft long station for the long-distance railway, which cuts through the city from north to south. Two office buildings, approx. 140ft tall, arch over the commuter rail station. Also part of the project were a new subway line and station, a road tunnel and the need to divert the nearby river Spree to make room for the new buildings.

Throughout the entire construction, commuter traffic was not interrupted (the long-distance rail line is new). The parts of the building arching over the railroad tracks were originally build vertically, on the sides, and then slowly lowered into position, similar to a draw bridge.

For a full-blown information site with history, facts, architectural details and progress reports - all in English language, click here. Also, a nice spread of pictures of the project.

Translation of the texts from the German picture site:

1 - Harry Anzer, construction site manager. The construction job brought him a heart attack - he then quit smoking.

2 - A model of the station: Roughly $950M are estimated to be spent on the construction, Deutsche Bahn has not yet published the exact cost. Plans were made in the heyday of the post-reunification frenzy. Nobody would have guessed that Berlin, instead of growing, would shrink to 3.4 million inhabitants.

3 - A model of the arch buildings. In order to not interrupt the commuter trains for months, the parts were built vertically and then lowered like a draw bridge.

4 - six meters per hour - the speed with which the steel constructions, 1,250 tons each, were lowered.

5 - The construction area in July 2005: Site Manager Anzer considered it the largest challenge of his life.

6 - In the background is the Reichstag, Germany's parliament building. Also visible: Deutsche Bahn's headquarter.

7 - The Entrance, shortly before the May 26 opening. All boxes and paint buckets should be removed by then.

8 - A Berliner just relaxing. Locals are already used to the glorious view.

9 - Commuter track. Approx. 1,100 trains per day are expected to stop at the station once it is completed. Deutsche Bahn is expecting some 300,000 travellers per day.

10 - Workers cleaning the glass roof: A machine for the cleaning job is being developed. Until it is completed, the 9,100 windows have to be polished manually.

Update Bonus Add-On pictures: Laser Light Show (Lichtspektakel) at the opening!

Contributed by Berlin correspondant Georg von Braunschweig.

WTC Memorial Foundation Leader Quits


Last Friday, hours before the end of business on Memorial Day weekend, the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation president and chief executive, Gretchen Dykstra, resigned. We totally didn't see that one coming, particularly after every public official in the state gave the Foundation such a hiding over the cost estimate that had "reached" one billion dollars.

Mayor Bloomberg, in an unusual display of horses gone, close barn door activity, said that "I don't know that her leaving is going to solve any problems. Quite the contrary, it just makes it more complex because you don't have her." Thanks Mayor, that totally helped. Why don't you do what all great New York mayors do: put a contractor in charge. Just appoint Frank Sciame of Sciame Construction to head the Foundation? Will totally streamline the process.

Thursday Is New York City As Sculpture Day


(photo via Curbed, by plemeljr)

Today, Thursday is New York City As Sculpture Day. I missed the memo:

1. Miss Representation comes back from a quiet spell to chat about the progress at Ground Zero. And to comment on 7WTC, which we like too. And to give us this golden, priceless bit of blogging: "Every once in a while I want to feel the strange mixture of dystopian social evolution and sexual awakening that was Logan’s Run, and now I have a place to go (though, unfortunately, Jenny Argutter won’t turn up in a pelt)."

2. Lisa at Polis gives us a bit of irony, and seredipity, worthy of a great Situationist.

3. Greg Allen remixed Curbed today to create, what else, a meta sculpture about a sculpture and something people mistook as sculpture.

Paper Topography


When I was in school, there were no computers to draw with. We were intimately familiar with the material qualities of paper and graphite. So it is with no surprise that I am struck dumb in admiration by the gorgeous origami techniques of Eric Gjerde. His blog gives us a regular stream of love, as does his Flickr sets. Pretty pictures with instructions, our idea of a good time.

Via the ever-folding BLDGBLOG.

Tropolism Films: Sketches of Frank Gehry


Los Angeles Correspondant John Southern reports on the LA premiere of "Sketches of Frank Gehry".

There comes a time in an architect’s career when self-preservation (in an archival sense) begins to seep into the sub-conscious like water under a dam. Building great works of architecture can only provide one with the fleeting feelings of monumentality in as long as they are left standing. Film, however, is easily reproducible and thus may well exist for eternity. All you need to complete the equation is a friend with a movie camera and a penchant for probing questions and its “Lights! Camera! Action!”.

The last phrase invariably came to mind on Monday evening when I attended the LA Premiere of “Sketches of Frank Gehry” directed by his good friend, Sydney Pollack. The film was shown at an event entitled “Reel Talk” hosted by Vanity Fair and Tiffany’s at the Directors Guild Of America building- a piece of architecture so banal that it almost does injustice to the artists it seeks to unite.

Click Continue Reading for more screening shots and review...