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.
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.
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).
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.
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.