July 2nd, 2012

Oscar Tuazon and Elias Hansen at Balice Hertling

Artists: Oscar Tuazon, Elias Hansen

Venue: Balice Hertling, Paris

Exhibition Title: We’re Just in it For the Money

Date: June 3 – August 4, 2012

Click here to view slideshow

Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.

Images:

Images courtesy of Balice Hertling, Paris

Press Release: 

THE NUCLEAR REACTOR BUILDING ON THE CAMPUS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON IN SEATTLE, DESIGNED BY THE ARCHITECT ARTIST GROUP (TAAG) WAS ONE OF THE FIRST, AND MAYBE THE ONLY, NUCLEAR REACTORS SPECIFICALLY CONCEIVED TO BE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. THE REACTOR WAS DESIGNED AS A TEACHING TOOL, THE CENTERPIECE OF THE UNIVERSITY’S NEW NUCLEAR SCIENCE DEPARTMENT, AND IT WAS RUSHED TO COMPLETION IN TIME FOR THE 1962 WORLD’S FAIR. IN FACT, THE REACTOR CORE ITSELF, RATHER THAN BEING ENCLOSED IN CONCRETE, WAS VISIBLE THROUGH THICK WALLS OF GLASS, DISPLAYED AS THE WHITE-HOT HEART OF THE BUILDING.

THE BUILDING IS ONE OF THE EARLIEST EXAMPLES OF BRUTALIST ARCHITECTURE IN THE UNITED STATES, CHARACTERIZED BY THE CAST IN PLACE POST AND BEAM STRUCTURAL SYSTEM, AND MORE EXTRAVAGANTLY IN THE OVSERVATION DECK OVERLOOKING THE REACTOR ITSELF. IF THE NUCLEAR REACTOR BUILDING STANDS AS SOME KIND OF APEX IN THE MODERN ROMANCE WITH NUCLEAR ENERGY, IT ALSO SEEMS TO DISTILL THE VARIOUS STRAINS OF SEATTLE’S CONTEMPORARY HISTORY IN AN ALMOST COMICAL WAY–A PIECE OF CUTTING EDGE TECHNOLOGY, HOUSED IN GLASS, DESIGNED BY A GROUP OF BEATNIKS. TAAG, UNABLE TO WIN ANOTHER COMPETITION AFTER THE NUCLEAR REACTOR BUILDING, DRIFTED APART SOON THEREAFTER.

BUT THE GROUP’S PRINCIPAL ARCHITECT, WENDELL LOVETT, WENT ON TO BECOME ONE OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT ARCHITECTS IN THE AREA, DESIGNING DOZENS OF HOUSES AND DEVELOPING A DISTINCTIVE, IDIOSYNCRATIC MODERNISM. LOVETT’S USE OF INDUSTRIAL MATERIALS AND METHODS IS BALANCED BY HIS ACUTE ATTENTION TO HANDCRAFT, WHICH YOU CAN SEE EVEN IN EARLY WORKS SUCH AS THE ICONIC BIKINI CHAIR OR THE PREWAY FIREPLACE. LOVETT IS PERHAPS BEST KNOWN, HOWEVER, FOR VILLA SIMONYI, THE 19,000 SQUARE FOOT MANSION HE BUILT FOR MICROSOFT SOFTWARE ENGINEER CHARLES SIMONYI ON THE SHORE OF LAKE WASHINGTON. RUMORED TO HAVE 2000 WINDOWS IN REFERENCE TO THE OPERATING SYSTEM WINDOWS 2000, THE COMPLEX GEOMETRY OF THE STRUCTURE’S STEEL AND GLASS FACADE WAS INSPIRED BY MR. SIMONYI’S COLLECTION OF VICTOR VASARELY PAINTINGS. INSIDE, THERE IS A ROTATING CIRCULAR BED. “I LIKE THE IDEA THAT A HOUSE SHOULD TAKE CARE OF YOU,” SAYS LOVETT, “IT’S A LIVING THING. THE BASIS OF WHAT HAPPENS THERE IS PHYSIOLOGICAL. IT’S THE ESSENCE OF WHAT AN ARCHITECT SHOULD BE CONCERNED WITH.”

Link: Oscar Tuazon and Elias Hansen at Balice Hertling

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