Archive for February, 2009
The concrete panels making up the shell of the Hilton hotel near Dupont Circle mesh nicely with the unique overall plan of the building. In footprint the building is quite nimble, leaving a large protion of the site for a landscaped entrance and an outdoor pool area that is privatly tucked into a busy part of the city.
Located at the intersection of 11th Street and W Street NW, this fine modern house was designed by Washington DC architecture firm Division1. http://www.division1architects.com/
On the same block and worth a look is another Division1 building called The Lacey, housing luxury condos:
Just having opened in the summer of 2008, the embassy of China is a bold statement by the emerging superpower on the global stage. It was designed by two sons of the famous Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei and his influence can be seen in the geometrical similarity to his National Gallery on the Mall. The 250,000 square foot building is one of the biggest foreign embassies in Washington, taking up almost an entire block just off Connecticut Avenue. The Chinese government stirred some controversy when they imported hundreds of their own workers to construct the building, rather than employ local labor. Security concerns were noted, but American labor leaders point out that hundreds of Chinese workers were employed by the construction of the sprawling $464 million US embassy in Beijing.
Right now at the Corocoran Gallery of Art there is a much hyped exhibition of Richard Avedon’s work entitled Portraits of Power. The show spans the prolific photographer’s career as he photographs elite government, media and labor officials, counter-cultural activists, writers and artists, as well as ordinary citizens caught up in national debates. The show itself is worth seeing, but I was particularly interested in a corresponding instalation in the main entrance hall called The Corcoran Portrait Project. This interactive, user-generated art project makes available a professionaly-lit photo booth equipped with a high resolution camera. Members of the public step up to the camera and click the shutter, and then look up at a large screen in the center of the room to see their self portrait inserted into a running slideshow of the hundreds of other images already taken so far. The cumulative effect is quite captivating. The lighting and reproduction of the images is of a high quality, and almost every protrait is captivating in a way that suprises one to learn that they were not taken by a professional photographer. It makes one wonder “who is the artist?” There is an individual or small group who is responsible for setting up the technology, but without the participation of the public, there is no art being created. It could be said that each individual is performing a creative action when they click the button and record their face, but they are also clearly not responcible for the art project as a whole.