Wednesday, June 16, 2010

PB Social Diary - Architects converge on Miami Beach

The Eden Roc Hotel’s lobby bar reflects the Mad Men era’s taste for Manhattans, Martinis and Bloody Marys, as designed in 1955 by architect Morris Lapidus. Disparaged and discredited during much of his lifetime, Morris Lapidus’ works were popular Miami Beach attractions for the AIA’s 18,000-plus convention attendees.
Design for the New Decade: 2010 National AIA Convention, June 10-12
by Augustus Mayhew

During the past several days of driving back and forth amidst I-95’s scenic mix of asphalt, concrete and glass to the nation’s architectural convergence at Miami Beach, touted as “the world’s greenest meeting,” it gave me the chance to reflect on my generation’s great contributions to the 20th century, including subdivisions, strip centers, shopping malls, condominiums, office parks, and McMansions. Add to this surreal tableau, the ongoing catastrophic Gulf of Mexico oil disaster — thousands of floating platform oil rigs were designed and built without any known caps? — and the Florida peninsula may be faced with a perilous new decade more in need of better planning than design.

Nonetheless, I survived daily 100-degree heat, parking meters and the big-box Convention Center’s air-conditioning system cooled by blasts of Arctic air pipelined no doubt from melting glaciers. And, I must confess a short attention span for torturous PowerPoint presentations, no matter how enthralling the subject. So I skipped many of the lectures, opting instead to review their virtual online presentations.
Above, Roy Lichtenstein’s Mermaid sculpture next door to the Convention Center, as seen from my old front office window at the Theatre of Performing Arts, now the Fillmore. A reminder of when my life was 8 o’clock curtains, midnight dinners, dancing all night and cheeseburger lunches with Ann Miller.
With the economy still in a mop-up stage, this year’s AIA meet-up explored design’s various roles for “the building, the city and the world,” while the Expo’s 800+ exhibitors showcased “the best and the brightest ideas,” with timely emphasis on sustainability and LEED, the standard for the Green Building industry, making for years of work retrofitting buildings, hopefully including the Miami Beach Convention Center.

This year’s gold medal awards went to Peter Q. Bohlin and the Pugh + Scarpa firm. The Twenty-five Year Award honored Skidmore Owings & Merrill’s (SOM) Hajj Terminal at the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Saudi Arabia.

Along with a toast and homage for the resort follies of Morris Lapidus and Michael Graves, creators of Modernism’s great amusements, here is a narrative collage of the personalities, parties and places that made my f-stop among this year’s starchitects.
The nearby Publix grocery store, Carlos Zapata, architect, 1998, was convenient.
Each day I walked through the Miami Beach City Hall annex and breezy bamboo garden park (Perkins & Will, architects), of far more visual interest than the massive Convention Center building located on the other side.
George H. Miller, president of the National AIA, is the first New York architect to head up the national since 1971. A Pei Cobb Freed partner since 1975, Mr. Miller is the 86th president of the American Institute of Architects. Paul Segal, AIA, New York.
Keynote speaker Daniel H. Pink, a Yale Law and former Gore speechwriter, spoke on "The Role of Right Brain Thinking in a Modern Economy."
Kristen Richards, editor of Oculus magazine, the AIANY chapter publication, with Editorial Advisor, James Russell, architecture critic for Bloomberg News.
The AIA Book pavilion offered an array of selections:
Peter Q. Bohlin.
Morris Lapidus & Michael Graves:
Resort Modernism’s great amusements

Resort Modernism’s escapist follies extend from Morris Lapidus’ eloquent Eden Roc and Fontainebleau hotels on Miami Beach to Michael Graves’ Swan and Dolphin hotels at Walt Disney World. Although the works of these two accomplished architects are separated by nearly a half century, they share the essence of Modernism’s more carefree spirit.

Eden Roc Renaissance Hotel. 4525 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach. Morris Lapidus, architect. 1955.
The Eden Roc's Lobby Bar looking across from an upper terrace towards the arrival's desk.
The Eden Roc facade. A Lapidus-designed streetlamp adds flare to the Eden Roc's facade.
The lobby bar looking towards the photo mural.
Romero Brito's art work Rat Pack is on a lobby wall.
Another view of the artful Eden Roc Lobby Bar.
The incomparable Michael Graves
A National Medal of Arts and the AIA Gold Medalist, Michael Graves was recently inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame. As one of the design world’s leading provocateurs for more than four decades, Mr. Graves was described by The New York Times as, "the most truly original voice that American architecture has produced in some time.”
Michael Graves’ son, Michael Sebastian Graves, helps his Dad during a book signing.
Michael's mother, Lynn Min, stands nearby. Waiting on line ...
AIA New York party at Mondrian South Beach
Described by its Dutch interior designer Marcel Wanders as “Sleeping Beauty’s castle,” the Mondrian South Beach’s Sunset Lounge was the scene for the AIA New York party. The Mondrian offers “kissing corners” in its garden and “silent bell light fixtures.” The AIA party was a lively somewhere between Rio and Havana affair hosted by IBEX construction.
Anthony P. Schirripa, president of AIA New York. Bill Brody, IBEX vice president.
Andy Frankl, IBEX founder and CEO, with Marilyn Schirripa.
The Mondrian South Beach at 7:30, looking towards the Sunset Lounge. Some of the comforts at the Mondrian South Beach.
David and Linda Ziskind.
Charles Thanhauser. David Businelli, president-elect of the AIA New York State chapter.
Shelley and Jeffrey Potter.
Raquel Padilla, Mary Andrejko, LouAnn Padilla.
Alvaro Beltran, Daniel Burdett and Fernando Reartes at the AIANY party from Avila, Spain.
Adam Peloquin, Madeline Sedovic, Walter Sedovic and Jill Gottheit.
National AIA VIPs gather on the Glimmer terrace at the Fontainebleau Hotel
At the Fontainebleau Hotel, a stylized tableau on the way to the AIA VIP reception.
Karen Alexander, Elizabeth Rizo, and Sonya Sixto.
2008 National AIA president Marshall Purnell and Juanita Percentie.
Former National AIA president Ron Skaggs. Craig Bradley.
John and Flodie Anderson.
Jennifer Forbes. Jean Francois Lejeune.
Ellen and Creed Brierre.
Debbie and Wendell Burnette.
Mike and Lourdes Rodriguez with Mike Blazlavsky.
Michael Boyle. Jamie and Marta Canaves.
The Fontainebleau Hotel's Iron Chefs.
The paella valenciana at the AIA VIP party from the Fontainebleau kitchen.
AIA 2010 Expo
SCI-Arc party at Herzog & Meuron Car Park

The edgy Southern California Institute of Architecture party was staged atop the adventurous Herzog & Meuron Car Park at 1111 Lincoln Road. SCI-Arc can be found amidst downtown LA’s Arts District with its Board members comprising entertainment industry heads as well as Frank Gehry. 11 11’s visionary developer, Robert Wennett, took some time away from building the penthouse apartments to join the group.
Mario Ortega. Robert Wennett, 11 11 Lincoln Road developer who commissioned Herzog & Meuron's design for the Car Park.
Robert Wennett and Bloomberg News architecture critic James Russell.
Clockwise from above: The South Beach look at the moment; Joanne Wagner and Scott Hughes. Mr. Hughes practices in Hobe Sound and Venice; At work, Jessica Sheridan, eOculus editor, and Kristen Richards, editor of Oculus magazine. Next year, New Orleans.
Scott Hughes, HsinMing Fung, and Craig Hodgetts.
Bill Kramer, SCI-Arc's chief development director. SF and Aspen architect Chad Overway.
Kelsey Keith and Susan Welker.

Photographs by Augustus Mayhew.

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