To get a sense of Jason Kelly Johnson’s vision for buildings of the future, drop by the Buckminster Fuller show on view at SFMOMA through July 29. Johnson’s San Francisco-based studio Future Cities Lab was one of the firms chosen to represent Fuller’s legacy in the Bay Area. You’ll see the motorized model for the HYDRAMAX Port Machine, a waterfront “urban-scale robotic structure” that harvests rainwater and fog, designed by Johnson and his partner Nataly Gattegno—a dynamic concept that makes today’s built environment look positively lazy by comparison.
Posted on Thursday, June 21, 2012 by Allison Byers
Posted on Wednesday, June 20, 2012 by Allison Byers
The research Proposal by Michael Ippolito from the California College of the Arts proposes a radical rethinking of architecture and landslides. The Marin Headlands is home to over twenty landslides. The most notable and fastest acting landslide in the Headlands is located on the Oceanside of the park between rodeo cove and Tennessee Valley. It is known as place that has been left behind and rendered a volatile wasteland. This wasteland has consumed many man-made structures including eight abandoned military buildings, and two roadways.
Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 by Allison Byers
The Society of Architectural Historians has awarded the 2012 Spiro Kostof Book Award to Katherine Wentworth Rinne, a member of CCA's Architecture faculty, for her book, The Waters of Rome: Aqueducts, Fountains, and the Birth of the Baroque City.
Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2012 by Mitchell Schwarzer
Mitchell Schwarzer gives his introduction at the CCA faculty retreat
On February 4, 2012, the faculty at California College of the Arts gathered at the college's San Francisco campus for a retreat focused on the state of the arts across our many disciplines. In the morning, 25 short presentations offered insights into challenges and opportunities faced by practitioners and thinkers in recent times. The word aired most frequently was crisis: the crisis of the Great Recession; the crisis of Global Climate Change; the crisis of understanding and working within a discipline in our digital age.
The economic downturn has produced an economic squeeze within most of our disciplines. Art directors, as Alexis Mahrus remarks, have diminished roles in shaping an illustration. Smaller profit margins reduce the flexibility and time given over to experimentation. Branding and celebrity worship take up a larger slice of the creative pie. Some presenters, like Sue Redding of Industrial Design, see no problem in this conflation of art and business and, furthermore, dispute the notion of a crisis. Yet many presenters feel that the economic crisis is not only real but wielding dangerously asymmetrical impacts. Demand remains strong for high-end craft goods and blue-chip fine art. Some small nonprofits are struggling to survive. To Ignacio Valero of Critical Studies, the priority given over to luxury items can be attributed to the ongoing influence of classical economic policies that privilege individual decision making over collective social and natural needs. Likewise, Sandra Vivanco of Diversity Studies notes that economic inequalities have greatly worsened over the past few years, especially in the developing world. Contemporary society is forging a timeless, spaceless way of conducting business, a race for lucrative and short-term gains that concentrates investment more than ever in the hands of a few.
Posted on Thursday, March 29, 2012 by Allison Byers
If you've ever imagined plunging into a Mobius strip, I have just the exhibition for you: "Architecture in the Expanded Field," at the San Francisco campus of the California College of the Arts.
Posted on Thursday, March 8, 2012 by Lindsey Westbrook
Hardcover, 68 pages, $25
Refract House explores the evolution of CCA's solar-powered house (a joint project with Santa Clara University) that competed in the 2009 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. The competition brief was to design, build, and operate a maximally energy-efficient, attractive, and comfortable solar-powered house. Every detail was considered by the CCA student team, from the landscaping and the solar collection arrays to the furniture and plateware (made of California mud). CCA's house was awarded first place in architecture and communications, second in engineering, and third overall. It outperformed contributions from such renowned schools as Cornell and Virginia Tech.
The Refract House book reframes the team's efforts within a larger context of contemporary architectural practice. It is divided into four parts, addressing the conceptual trajectories underlying the project, the different design strategies that were explored, the integration of technological systems, and the material fabrication. It also discusses the implications of the project in terms of architectural education today. It features full-color photographs and renderings of every phase of the house's development. There is an introduction by CCA Architecture Director Ila Berman and essays by Ila Berman, Nataly Gattegno, Andrew Kudless, Tim Hight, Kate Simonen, Peter Anderson, Matt Hutchison, and Oblio Jenkins.
Purchase a copy by emailing Lia Wilson in CCA's Architecture Program: firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on Monday, February 20, 2012 by Allison Byers
Hard to say which came first, the metaphor or the stairs. When local textile maven Susan Chastain decided to transform her 1928 Marina-style Potrero Hill home into what she calls a grown-up dwelling (that is, on a par with the high-class abodes she's outfitted with her custom-made draperies, pillows and headboards for the past two decades), she may not have truly comprehended the symbolic implications of new staircases.
Posted on Monday, February 6, 2012 by Lindsey Westbrook
Fifty Years of Bay Area Art: The SECA Awards
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 2011
Hardcover, 168 pages, $29.95
Tanya Zimbardo (MA Curatorial Practice 2005), SFMOMA's assistant curator of media arts, coauthored this book chronicling and illustrating more than 100 SECA Award recipients from the late 1960s to the present, including CCA alumni Squeak Carnwath, Desirée Holman, Mitzi Pederson, Laurie Reid, Leslie Shows, and Kathryn VanDyke, among others. Featured faculty include Rebeca Bollinger, Kota Ezawa, Thom Faulders, Chris Finley, Donald Fortescue, Amy Franceschini, Clay Jensen, Jordan Kantor, Shaun O'Dell, Maria Porges, and Mary Snowden.
Posted on Monday, January 30, 2012 by Allison Byers
Places, an interdisciplinary journal of contemporary architecture housed on the Design Observer Group website, recently featured the work of CCA’s URBANlab. Nancy Levinson reports, “Bridging multiple programs and formats, URBANlab is dedicated to connecting the intellectual and disciplinary resources of the academy with the practical spheres of public planning and municipal institutions in order to investigate the challenges and potentials of the urban environment in the 21st century.”
Posted on Monday, January 30, 2012 by Simon Hodgson
Joseph Becker in the Dieter Rams exhibition at SFMOMA [photo: Michael Armenta]
Joseph Becker (BArch 2007) comes from a creative family: In the 1980s, his parents combined their film and education backgrounds to open Southern California's first Gymboree kids' program, and his sister has her own fashion line. His North Hollywood high school actually offered classes in set design, and he further developed what he calls "a taste for space" with classes in architecture and design at UCLA and Art Center College of Design. He arrived at CCA in 2002 to formally begin his undergraduate studies with a plan to become a product designer, but he switched to architecture during his first year. He is now an assistant curator of architecture and design at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
How would you sum up your CCA experience?
There was a real sense of connection to San Francisco. With the Architecture faculty made up of professors who were also designing independently, I knew I was learning from people who were actually doing things. The studio environment, with late late nights and a palpable energy buzzing around you, was catalytic. You could get everything out of it if you put in the work, and if you were motivated by your own inquisitiveness.