Lina Bo Bardi Draws at the Heinz Architectural Center

Exhibit Features Nearly 100 Drawings by Inspirational 20th-Century Architect

By Maya Henry Posted on December 19, 2019

Lina Bo Bardi, Study for furniture design at Milan Triennale (detail), ca. 1946. Courtesy of Instituto Bardi / Casa de Vidro “Drawing, with its slow and intimate gestures, was her way of dwelling in the world. Drawing was one of her solitary anchors in a constantly transforming existence. Drawing conveyed, at the tip of her hands, a representational purpose and also a somewhat magical realism spell.” —Zeuler R. Lima, introduction to Lina Bo Bardi, Drawings In need of some color during these cold winter days? Lina Bo Bardi Draws is open now at the Heinz Architectural Center and brings together nearly 100 drawings by one of the most inspirational twentieth-century architects.  This whimsical exhibit is open now through March 29, 2020, so, just enough...

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Review of The Pritzker Architecture Prize Exhibit at the Heinz Architectural Center

By Bea Spolidoro, AIA Posted on May 23, 2019

Jean Nouvel, Competition Entry: Central Berlin, 1990, Carnegie Museum of Art. Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris. Influencers: The Pritzker Architecture Prize, is now on display at The Heinz Architectural Center recapping 40 years of the prestigious prize. Following a nine-month hiatus in programming due to the Carnegie International, this inspiring exhibit is a great comeback. The exhibit is smaller than others in the past with two areas of the HAC dedicated to the annual architecture summer camp for kids, rather than the exhibition alone. Still, the pieces on display are mighty, and the variety of the techniques presented is very entertaining. Founded in 1979 by the Pritzker family, the international prize is awarded annually to a living...

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Shelter: Crafting a Safe Home

A Conversation with Contemporary Craft Executive Director Janet McCall

By Maya Henry Posted on February 1, 2018

Holly Grace. Round Mountain Hut, 2015. Blown glass kiln formed with glass powder and metal leaf surfaces, sandblasted imagery – with internal light. 7.5″ x 13.75″ x 8.6″. Photo courtesy of Holly Grace. Shelter is universally identified as a basic human right, yet refuge and protection are out of reach for millions worldwide. To bring this subject to light, Contemporary Craft (CC) opened Shelter: Crafting a Safe Home, a socially engaged art experience, in September 2017, to focus public attention on the basic human need for safe housing. The exhibition will be on view through Saturday, February 17th at CC’s Strip District gallery located in the Produce Terminal at the intersection of 21st and Smallman Streets. Featuring more than 40...

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Plaster ReCast at the Carnegie Museum of Art

Augmented Reality App Provides New Look at Old Technology

By Maya Henry Posted on November 16, 2017

Plaster ReCast app in use, photo by Bryan Conley Augmented reality app Plaster ReCast has launched for play-testing in Carnegie Museum of Art’s (CMOA) Hall of Architecture. The Hall is the world’s third-largest architectural plaster cast collection, which includes monumental replicas of portions of buildings and fragments from across the Western world. When it opened in 1907, the Hall of Architecture brought portions of important monuments to the public and allowed them to be viewed in 3-D.  Plaster ReCast brings new life to these objects and connects them not just to their geographical context but also gives historical context to their selection.  Plaster casts were also used regularly in architectural education because the models allowed architects see true proportions in 3-D. Carnegie Museum of Art’s collection survives today as...

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Architecture That Sparks Conversation

Action, Ideas, Architecture: Arthur Lubetz/Front Studio at the Heinz Architectural Center

By Bea Spolidoro, AIA Posted on May 1, 2017

The Heinz Architectural Center is currently displaying an exhibit covering five decades of work by Arthur Lubetz. Lubetz, fully active and with no intention to retire, is one of the principals at Front Studio, an award-winning firm based in Pittsburgh and New York City. It is rare to see the work of an active architect being celebrated in a museum, but if you visit the exhibit, you will immediately understand why. The architecture of Arthur Lubetz is always provocative, even when it’s only proposed, and sparks conversation. That conversation typically involves colorful,  modern architecture, but in a more traditional context. Although Arthur Lubetz says “I learned a long time ago that red paint doesn’t cost any more than beige,” the...

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Seeing the Impact of a Public Architecture

A Look at "Building Optimism" at the CMOA

By Brian Gaudio, Assoc. AIA Posted on November 4, 2016

As I walked into the Heinz Architecture Center I was greeted by large 4’ x 8’ sheets of finished plywood leaning against the wall. On them was printed in bright blue letters, “Building Optimism: Public Space in South America.” The exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Art showcases “the powerful public role of architecture and urban design.” Many of the projects are located in informal portions of the city where residents use found materials and repurpose them in meaningful ways (hence the plywood title boards seen throughout the exhibit). The show features innovative public space and infrastructure projects in Chile, Brazil, Venezuela, Peru, and Colombia. El Equipo de Mazzanti’s awe-inspiring Biblioteca España, ELEMENTAL’s incremental housing project Villa Verde, and Urban...

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The Story of Collapse

The Art of Seth Clark

By Bea Spolidoro, Assoc. AIA Posted on August 18, 2015

The first time I viewed Seth Clark’s work, the intern architect in me felt threatened. What loss and shame in all of these collapsing architectures! Clark’s collages, though, are too mesmerizing to be dismissed that easily, and I couldn’t resist that attractive pull of something that scared me. I decided to learn more and set up an interview with Clark, who has been named the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts 2015 Emerging Artist of the Year. I started with a joke about the fact that, initially, he could be seen as a nemesis of architects, and believe it or not, that broke the ice. While also working as a graphic artist, his installations and collages focus on collapsing buildings and...

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90 Neighborhoods

Ron Donoughe's Love Letter to Pittsburgh

By Becky Spevack Posted on May 12, 2015

“What is around here that I should paint?” That is the question Ron Donoughe found himself asking a lot last year. In the summer of 2013, he undertook his ’90 Pittsburgh Neighborhoods’ project, committing to paint a scene from each and every one of Pittsburgh’s 90 unique neighborhoods, in alphabetical order, within a year. And he quickly found that reaching out to those who lived there helped guide his brush. “If you humble yourself to ask, it makes a stronger connection to the neighbors, to the community.” THE STUDIO VISIT I find myself hunched against the wind as I wait at the backdoor to a large brick building in Lawrenceville. It’s a grey-skied day… typical Pittsburgh. The solid wood opens...

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Sketch to Structure: For the People

Seeing How Buildings Take Shape at The HAC

By Bea Spolidoro, Assoc. AIA Posted on March 1, 2015

The process of architecture is not linear, with much back and forth happening before getting to the built product. Nevertheless, Curator Alyssum Skjeie was able to capture interesting architectural moments – and deliver them to the public – with the Heinz Architectural Center’s latest exhibit ‘Sketch to Structure,’ a collection of drawings, sketches, and architectural models that show how architects work. “The goal is to keep it broad and accessible,” Skjeie points out as we start the visit together… All the pieces displayed are from the HAC collection, some donated by architects, and others obtained over decades, with a couple of purchases made as recently as last year. Some historic drawings, already part of the museum’s Fine Arts department before...

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Message of Hope, pt. 2

Maggie's Centres: A Blueprint for Cancer Care

By Raymond Bowman, Assoc. AIA Posted on November 18, 2014

In 1988, Maggie Keswick Jencks was diagnosed with breast cancer. For four years she battled, seemingly successfully, but in 1993 the cancer roared back. She was given two months to live. Crushed, she returned home, despondent. And that’s how she may have lived her last two hopeless months. But with her husband Charles Jencks, she assembled a “pile of hope” from popular news at the time. Every day details came out about some new treatment or another. People all over were cheating their own two month death sentences, through treatment, diet, exercise. Empowered by this information, she took charge of her treatment and sought advanced chemotherapy. She also connected with fellow cancer patients for support and community. She lived two full...

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