Preston Scott Cohen – New Building, TAMA and Other Forms (Works)

Selected Works

Preston Scott Cohen

New Building, TAMA and Other Forms
March 6 - April 17, 2004

Preston Scott Cohen – New Building, TAMA and Other Forms Press Release

Thomas Erben Gallery is very pleased to announce an exhibition by Preston Scott Cohen featuring digital renderings, plans and diagrams of his team’s winning design for the New Building, Tel Aviv Museum of Art (TAMA), as well as stereo lithographed 3D objects of geometric anomalies that Cohen has yet to transform into architecture.

The forms presented in the exhibition represent Cohen’s recent investigation of anomalous geometric hybrids. Primitive geometric forms, ruled surfaces, and minimal surfaces are combined to create unpredictable lines of intersection between curved surfaces. The usually disagreeable geometries are synthesized in an apparently inexplicable way. Cones, cylinders, paraboloids, cross caps and triple point twists are combined such that they produce new species of combinant forms.

In TAMA, ruled surfaces create a twisting light well that disguises a geometric and architectural problem as a solution. This vortex-like space reflects light into the lower reaches of a building largely required to be submerged below the ground plane due to site constraints. The site is a triangle, insufficient in area to accommodate the museum’s program. Moreover, its triangularity is incompatible with the demand for large, flexible, rectangular galleries. The ruled surfaces are generated from the edges of the galleries. The galleries rotate into positions that define the geometry of the lightwell while adhering to the limits and angles imposed by the site. Like the light well, the exterior facades unify the conflicting angles, appearing to twist and stretch in order to adhere simultaneously to the edges of the site and the adjacent rectangular galleries.

The other forms in the exhibition are fabricated by opposing means that bring to light the perennial tension in architecture between geometry and its material manifestation. While digital renderings exhibit a remarkably smooth resolution of the peculiarly curved lines and surfaces, stereolithographic models present the astonishing effects that result from the confrontation between these curves and the construction process. The low resolution surfaces of the models and their polygonized, faceted, roughly textured finish, combines contradictorily with the unmistakable fact that the models are produced by a machine. The effect is a paradoxical synthesis; the exceptional and singular rarity characteristic of the forms does not seem to be commensurate with the traces of a manufacturing technique more often associated with mass produced objects.

Cohen, author of “Contested Symmetries and Other Predicaments in Architecture” (Princeton Architectural Press, 2001), is the Gerald McCue Professor of Architecture at Harvard Design School and holds the 2004 Frank Gehry International Chair at the University of Toronto. Among his most acclaimed projects are the Montague, Torus and Goodman Houses, and short list proposals for the Temporary Museum of Modern Art and the Eyebeam Atelier, Museum of Art and Technology, both in New York.

His work and research has been published and exhibited widely internationally and is in the collections of several museums including the Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Harvard’s Fogg Museum of Art, and the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh.

Exhibitions include: “Drawing by Numbers” Whitney Museum of Art (2004); “Up, Down, Across: Elevators, Escalators, and Moving Sidewalks” National Building Museum Washington, DC (2004); “Intricacy” ICA, University of Pennsylvania (2003); “A New World Trade Center” Max Protetch Gallery New York (2002); “Folds, Blobs and Boxes” Carnegie Museum of Art (2001); and “The Un-Private House” MoMA New York (1999). He was one of four representing the US in “Emerging Voices” at the Venice Biennale International Exhibition of Architecture (1996).

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