A Stroll, A Fun Palace – Interactive Installation

This work is a collaboration between Sandro Marpillero and a group of students of the Master of Interactive Arts at the Università Iuav di Venezia, coordinated by Cristina Barbiani.

The project is about activating the Swiss Pavilion at the 2014 Biennale, with an interactive installation in relation to Cedric Price’s project for the Fun Palace (1961-64).

Sandro initiated this project as a parallel activity to his role of design instructor (with Angela Vettese, Valeria Burgio, Renato Bocchi) at the Biennale-related post-graduate level Iuav/Workshop If Clause – Archiving the Impossible, which was connected to the Swiss Pavilion’s “School of Tomorrow” directed by Lorenza Baroncelli.

View the exhibition booklet.

GSAPP Faculty Projects + Publications

MPA’s model of the Elmhurst Public Library (Queens, NYC), to be completed in six months, is on display at Columbia University in the 400 Level Gallery of Avery Hall, as part of an exhibition of faculty projects and publications. The new 30,000 sf building addresses the complex urban situation created by a 15-story apartment building that had obscured the site’s historical park, by re-establishing the institution’s visibility on Broadway. The project is the largest building realized by a small firm within the DDC’s Design and Construction Design Excellence Program.

OHNY 2014: MPA Live/Work Loft

MPA is participating in the 12th Annual Open House New York Weekend on October 12, 2014. For two days every October, OHNY Weekend unlocks the doors to New York’s most important buildings, offering an extraordinary opportunity to experience the city and meet the people who design, build, and preserve New York. Through the unparalleled access that it enables, OHNY Weekend deepens our understanding of the importance of architecture and urban design to foster a more vibrant civic life and helps catalyze a citywide conversation about how to build a better New York.

Lecture: New York City’s Inner Periphery

In partnership with three Italian Schools of Architecture (Venice, Ancona, Reggio Calabria) and the Parsons School of Design Strategies, Sandro presented the works that MPA have realized in context of the Bloomberg administration’s reshaping of New York City, referencing a recently published article on Lotus International: “Changing New York 2001-13. Design as Competitive Advantage.” Sandro’s lecture followed the one given by David Burney (past-Commissioner of the NYC Department of Design and Construction, now Professor at Pratt Institute). The title “An Inside Narrative in Two Acts: A Public Space + An Institution” referred to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvement Project at Queens Plaza and the Elmhurst Public Library (both in Queens), which include collaborations with artists Michael Singer and Allan McCollum. Public commissions at urban design and institutional scale were also discussed through other MPA  projects under construction, such as the New Stapleton Waterfront, and the Children Museum’s Lightweight Structures at Sag Harbor (both in Staten Island).

New York City’s Inner Periphery (Full Presentation)

The Guggenheim’s Architectonic Futurisms

Italian Futurism 1909–1944: Reconstructing the Universe is a groundbreaking exhibition that endeavors to “convey the spirit of Italian Futurism in all its complexity.” 1 This objective is particularly important in the case of architecture, allowing it to expand its reach beyond the modernist teleology that had boxed it (architecture) within the temporal limits of Antonio Sant’Elia’s exhibition of his Città Nuova drawings of 1913–1914 (the most significant architectural event of the movement) and his death in 1916. At the Guggenheim, a range of Futurist approaches to architecture are on view in a variety of formats: Fortunato Depero’s stage designs, his advertisements inspired by New York, and a large model of his 1927 Bestetti Treves Tumminelli book pavilion, built with oversized typography; Virgilio Marchi’s Fantastic City (ca. 1919), whose scenographic vernacularism accommodates trains and planes; the sophisticated temporary structures by Enrico Prampolini, including his Terminal for a Civilian Airport (1933); the mechanical art and abstractions of Ivo Pannaggi, one of only two Futurists to attend the Bauhaus; and the axonometric drawings of Alberto Sartoris, whose object/buildings float on the white page, promoting an ambivalent agenda for a rationalist avant-garde.

Read more

The Killer Assessment

Two Fifth Avenue was featured in the Sunday edition of The New York Times’ Real Estate section: The Killer Assessment MPA was involved in refurbishing the forecourt, lobby, and elevators.

The facade is fixed now, but not long ago, bulging bricks spelled trouble for 2 Fifth Avenue, between Washington Square North and West Eighth Street.

Two Fifth Avenue, designed in white brick by the firm of Emery Roth & Sons, was completed in 1951. Its facade, all 900,000 bricks, was replaced after a $30.7 million assessment.

After the facade was replaced at Two Fifth Ave, money left over went to refurbishing the elevators, the entrance and the lobby.

Green roofs take urban gardening to new heights

Whitcomb Roof Terrace was featured in the WSJ’s MANSION: Lavish Gardens Sprout Up on Luxury Penthouse Roofs

David and Henrie Whitcomb’s vertical garden redeemed a chunk of unusable space on their 2,500-square-foot wraparound terrace in New York’s Greenwich Village. Their penthouse, which public records show was purchased for $8.7 million in 2007, had “a great big 15-foot-high, 15-foot-wide ugly tan brick wall” that ruined the view from the master bedroom, said Mr. Whitcomb, who founded Automated Trading Desk, one of the first high-frequency trading firms.

The Whitcombs, who own a second home in Hawaii, couldn’t tear down the wall: It is the 1928 building’s chimney. So they transformed the eyesore into the centerpiece of their terrace garden, which also features a grove of Japanese maple, gray birch and serviceberry trees, and an evergreen that can be pushed on a built-in track to a prime spot at their living room window at Christmas.

During the 26-month remodeling project, the Whitcombs’ architect, John Tinmouth, and landscape architect, Linda Pollak, designed a wall of panels with a water feature and recessed slots for 600 plants to bracket to the chimney. Future Green Studio, a New York-based firm specializing in green roofs and green walls, embedded the panels with ornamental grasses and trailing plants in shades of green, silver and purple. The plants are watered by a drip irrigation system.

Bronx Lab: Performing the Library

An exhibition is currently on display at the Bronx Museum (May 1-31 2014) about a 3-week university-level studio entitled “Performing the Library,” held in the Summer of 2013 at the University Institute of Architecture in Venice, under the direction of Sandro Marpillero. The studio was part of the initiative Workshop Architecture Venice (W.A.VE) with the goal of exploring new notions of the library in the context of processes of industrialization and de-industrialization of Porto Marghera, the industrial periphery of Venice.

The workshop relied on preparatory studies conducted by teens from the Bronx/NY and Mestre/VE (coordinated by the Bronx Museum’s Teen Council and the Guggenheim Foundation in Venice), which explored new self-expressive identities and contemporary modes of communication.

Bronx Lab: Performing the Library Exhibition


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