Happy Big 125 to the Origianl Crow -We celebrate the birth of a legend tonight: Le Corbusier. Born this day, 125 years ago. He is as influential and relevant today as he ever was. Happy Posthumous Birthday to Charles-Édouard Jeanneret (better known as Le Corbusier or The Crow).
Last night VMZINC had the distinct pleasure of hosting a small dinner for Dr. Raymond Neutra (son of the other R. Neutra), and his lovely wife, at 18 Seaboard in Raleigh, NC.
The meal was the preemptive warm-up for Dr. Neutra’s speaking gig later on in the evening -an event put on by Triangle Modernist Houses. (www.trianglemodernhouses.com) It was also the celebration of Dr. & Mrs. Neutra’s wedding anniversary, which they were gracious enough to share with their dinner guests. (Congratulations!)
The dinner guests included Marvin Malecha, FAIA -Dean of the College of Design at NCSU and former president of the AIA, (Pictured to the left of Raymond Neutra in the above photo), Dean Malecha’s spouse, local architects, landscape architects and fans of Richard Neutra and architecture in general. We came to meet the man and hear him speak. We wound up listening to a lively conversation at times, and feeling like we were in on a sublime secret at other times. The setting lent itself to both, and was very intimate.
This intimate setting allowed us to listen clearly as Dr. Neutra recounted his experiences with his father, and, moreover, with his father’s work. At one point in the conversation, Dr. Neutra’s humble and gentle spirit came to light as he recalled individuals telling him how his father’s work had impacted them in a positive way. It was obvious at that moment that we were not only listening to someone who had received a love for the built environment, but someone who had also received an obvious care for his fellow mankind. The impact was understated and like most understated moments carried much more weight than the shouted or overtly celebrated. This moment alone was worth the price of admission and defined the link that we often miss between great architecture and daily life. It also defined the good doctor.
We are looking forward to meeting Dr. Neutra’s brother, Dion, in November -hopefully, like last night, it will be over dinner. -VM
Speaking of Music -Our earlier post today went all disco on itself. This post will be short and sweet and will not have too many music references. But, hey! Speaking of music… check out our new newsletter. (Click on the sweet picture above).
Lucky Seven -There is an old quote that says that good things come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle. Well, at VMZINC, we often work quietly but diligently behind the scenes to bring new products and services to the architectural community. Such is the case with our newest product. We difinitely did The Hustle on this one. What is “this one?”
Well, this beauty is Pigmento Brown -the lastest product offer in our very popular Pigmento series. This makes the seventh color of zinc that we offer to architects and other designers. For us, this brown-eyed girl is reason to celebrate -perhaps all night. So come on! We’re going to have a good time tonight. Celebrate! (We assure you) It’s alright!
Please forgive the Kool-and-the-Gang-meets-Van-Morrison mixed metaphor, but we can’t help it. Not to mention the Van Mccoy reference earlier. But, this baby makes us proud -perhaps even… dare we say… “You make me feel like dancing.” Yes! With all due deference to Leo Sayer and the 1970’s, this is a product that we can dance to. And, unlike the disco era, this is one of those products that you just know will go on to bigger and better things as time goes by. It will age gracefully and stand strong against passing fads and fancy.
Some parents, like their children, are just lucky. -VM
Last night -one week ago in Paris, we celebrated the best of the best with our Trophy Zinc Award ceremony. This ceremony takes place once every two years and is judged by an international jury of architects. The ceremony itself is preluded and followed by events that circle the sun of architecture and art. This blog entry is a quick recap of the event.
Before the ceremony began, we took the winners on a little Paris sight-seeing trip. First stop was lunch on top of Jean Nouvel’s Musee du quai Branly. (http://tinyurl.com/2oykwm) The museum is one of the newer additions to the city of lights, and is located close to the Eiffel Tower. One notable feature of the restaurant, out of many, is the attention to detail that Mr. Nouvel extended to the interior finishes. Like, for example, applying permanent shadows to casework and carpet that reflects the skeletal frame holding up yards of glazing for the restaurant. As the skies move from zinc-colored drama to full-tilt sunshine, the real shadows ebb and flow as they overlay the permanent (created) ones and the whole ensemble starts to dance. It is dynamic, but in an understated way that could easily be missed without inspection. With a room full of architects, very little was missed.
Of course, the views are also notable. The shot above of the Eiffel was taken from the restaurant’s exterior deck. The shot was taken from in front of a wide gutter that warns one of the edge and possibly death below. It is slightly visible in the lower right-hand corner of the shot. (Lautner-esque in execution. Think: Marbrisa in Acapulco http://tinyurl.com/7cwet9n) Whereas other parts of the restaurant deck have low rails and glass partitions.
The scale, the massing of the housing blocks, and the rich texture pulls one forward -there is little choice in the matter. Perhaps, subsequently, someone at the museum decided that more of previously seen glass partitions should warn patrons of a drop beyond the wide gutter-slash-water feature. We slipped passed these glass warnings easily and grabbed myriad shots with cheap (as is the case with the above shot) or expensive cameras. (Note: No participants in the Trophy Zinc Award program were hurt in the filming of this event. However, very few participants could resist the promise of memories of the view.)
From Nouvel’s aerie, we traveled to a newer neighborhood surrounding Mitterrand’s National Library -The Bibliotheque Nationale de France. To be honest, this was unexpected by the group. Most tours of Paris involve the more well known landmarks and monuments. This tour included this up and coming neighborhood, the library itself, the School of Architecture nearby, and tons of projects covered in glorious zinc. (Sorry. Shameless self-promotion.) One of Corbusier’s buildings was swathed in the clothing of remodeling -otherwise this blog post would have been easily overrun with a tribute to the master. Instead, we looked at the byproducts of modern masters and enjoyed every moment of it. We did in hours what could have been done (enjoyably) in days.
The tour cumulated in a quick stop back at respective hotels late in the afternoon. This was done so that one and all could appear freshly laundered at the big event later in the evening. The American contingency was fairly amped up. But then again, what do Parisians expect of Americans? It was a self-fulfilling prophecy. In addition to our natural outgoing, somewhat irrepressible enthusiasm, we were jazzed because three Americans won awards in this international competition. The Americans were not alone, however. The winners arrived from distant lands such as Asia, Australia, and Hoboken, NJ. (Please excuse the slight ribbing that we give our good friend from Hoboken.) Spain, Germany and France won, too. Here is a complete list of the winners:
Individual Housing: Winner — Fabien Chavignaud Architecte for a Private House in Carquefou (France); Special Mention — Brian Bell – BLDGS for the Ansley Glass House in Atlanta, Georgia (USA)
Commercial Buildings: Winner – Dean Marchetto/Marchetto Higgins Stieve Architects, for the Extension, Architecture Studio, Hoboken, New Jersey (USA).
Public Buildings: Winner – Ulrich Junk/Junk & Reich Architecten for Historical Library, Augustinian Monastery, Erfurt (Germany); Special Mention 1 – Cheng Dapeng/Beijing New Era Architectural Design Ltd., for Yungang Grottoes Museum, Datong (China); Special Mention 2 – David Mackay & Francisco Gual Trajine/MBM Arquitectes for Casa Dels Xuklis, Llars Mundet (Spain).
Sustainable Building: Jean-Philippe Thomas Architectes for Luis Ortiz Secondary School, Saint Dizier (France)
Daring: Steve Woodland, Cabinet Cox Howlett & Bailey Woodland for Entertainment Centre, Albany (Australia)
Internet Award: Diego Garcia Munoz Vaquero/Prieto + Vaquero Arquitectos y MCCL Arquitectos for Centro Sociocultural, Agron (Spain)
Jury’s Special Award: John Ronan Architects for the Poetry Foundation, Chicago, Illinois (USA).
Blurry photos above include Ronan’s presentation of the masterful Poetry Foundation -which won the “Special Award” or Grand Prize, Brian Bell and BLDG’s presentation on the beautiful addition to a home in Atlanta, and Dean Marchetto’s description during the event of his firm’s great apse addition to an existing church turned architectural office in New Jersey. It was a great night and we are looking forward to the special edition of Focus on Zinc that will cover all of the winners and their wonderful projects. More information can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/83az5e4
The venue itself provided stunning views of Notre Dame and the Pantheon/Paris (photo above.) After awards were handed out, conversation and champagne flowed on a roof deck patio in full view of these monuments, while the amazing Paris light did a slow fade into the brilliance of a Paris night, and mouths hung agape in blissful wonderment.
Jump forward two days and we could be found at CDG airport, satiated, happy and still buzzing from the high of great architecture, a great city, great conversation and great people. It has taken some time for us to come back down to earth. One week, last night, to be exact. -VM
happy belated posthumous birthday:happy belated birthday to the godfather of american architecture. 145 years and five days ago, on june 8th, 1867, frank lloyd wright’s mother gave birth to the son she preordained as an architect.
Support: part of the VMZINC team helped out at Triangle Modernist Houses’ event: Modernism at Risk at the new AIA North Carolina Design Center in downtown Raleigh. This was an important event and more can be found out about raising the public awareness of the plight of mid-century modernist houses on the TMH website: http://tinyurl.com/7dtpy3x
BON COURAGE: Yesterday the team at VMZINC officially said, “Au Revoir” to our French colleague, Laurent Heindryckx. Laurent has been in the states for around 12 years and was here when the doors officially opened on our US office.
Over the years, Laurent has performed many functions within VMZINC, has suffered through storms, celebrated the moments of sunshine, and has kept his irrepressible calm largely intact -when lesser souls have completely and utterly blown their respective cool. To say that he will be missed is an understatement.
The good news is that he will still be a part of the VMZINC family, only now he will be located in Paris, France. We are still trying to figure out why a Frenchman would want to return to the country of his birth to live and raise his family. Hmm? Strange.
To Laurent we wish, “Bon Courage” and all of our best. Laurent will be leaving the good old U.S. of A at the end of this month.
At the same time, one of our Territory Manager’s, Bryan Ninneman, will be relocating to Phoenix, AZ and opening an office for the mother ship down the road from Uncle Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home, studio, and school.
Bryan has been in Raleigh for about six years and is looking forward to the opportunity to plow new ground in the Southwest.
Bryan started with VMZINC eight or so years ago as a part-time draftsman. Over the years, he left VM, came back, did project management and has since been promoted to Territory Manager. We won’t miss Bryan, per se, because we will see him often and talk to him almost daily, but we will miss his good nature and humor in the Raleigh office on a daily basis.
Bryan will be departing for the cool winds and temperate climate of Phoenix on July 1st. We wish him much air conditioning and a sane journey with his two year old on the trip from Raleigh to Phoenix.
So, what do you do when two key players are about to leave the nest. Well, first you have an office wide lunch and invite other Umicore businesses to partake in a little Southern food and hospitality. In this case, BBQ pork, slaw, etc. (Hopefully with defib on site. CLEAR!)
Then, later in the evening, we went to a Raleigh favorite: Fat Daddy’s for burgers (CLEAR!), drinks, and to school our French friend in the fine art of billards. Our fine French friend then schooled some of our team on the fine art of Foosball.
We had a good time, but parting is, as always, such sweet sorrow. We all need a little courage for the road ahead without some of our favorite people in the office.
Good luck and safe travels to both Laurent and Bryan. -VM