As real-life primary season slowly draws to a bone-aching close, one race for the White House has already been decided. The White House Redux competition—sponsored by the Storefront for Art and Architecture, Control Group, NRI, Surface and yours truly, AN—has chosen its winning proposals to redesign the White House. Judging for the competition took place on May 29, when jurors including Beatriz Colomina, Stefano Boeri, John Maeda, Geoff Manaugh, Mark Wigley, and Laetitia Wolff examined more than 450 entries by taping over 5,000 pieces of paper around the 47th floor of World Trade Center 7, giving it a nice white collar for the day that was visible from the street. As expected, our mole reports, many entries portrayed George Bush “not in a kind light,” but one featured Barack Obama in a rather inspiring image: “In an oratorical pose at the focal point of a giant architectural cone structure.” Deliberation became heated toward the end of the 10-hour day, and at one point juror Liz Diller was down on her hands and knees, reading out loud from the fine print from one submission. Winners will be announced in September and flown to New York, where they’ll be awarded cash prizes and a night at the White House. Hotel. In the Bowery.
Simply handling a restoration of the Old Lion House in the Bronx Zoo wasn’t wild enough for a team at FXFOWLE. They also helped to architecturally integrate a new exhibit opening on June 20 and focusing on Madagascar, including an “immersion” feature where visitors can step inside the pitch black, hollowed-out trunk of a simulated baobab tree. As your eyes adjust you notice that things are starting to move…because you’re sharing the trunk with over 100,000 cockroaches! They’re actually Hissing Cockroaches, indigenous to Madagascar and—so they say—completely harmless. Even more disturbing, it seems Bronx Zoo director Jim Breheny has become fond of carrying a few in his pocket and bringing the little buggers out in public for show-and-tell. During one such outing, one crawled through a hole in his pocket and down his leg! “People get skeeved out when they think of cockroaches and they get turned off,” said Breheny. “But these are really pretty.” Uh huh. We’re sticking to the Children’s Zoo.
AIA GETS AN F
We’ve been hearing reports that range from “boooooooooooring” to “spent most of it at Fenway,” but it seems the biggest problem for AIA’s Boston bonanza was just bad timing: Not only did the dates overlap with the ICFF in New York, they also coincided with another industry-heavy event: the Hospitality Design expo in Las Vegas. It also took place the same week as graduation for many architecture schools, meaning it was a no-go for diligent students and their loyal professors. A spokesperson from the AIA said everything went smoothly; they attracted almost 23,950 attendees, up from last year’s 21,640. But while we’re on the topic, we have one phrase of unsolicited advice: Please get rid of those annoying Architect Magazine–sponsored flashing martini glasses at the happy hours! What are we, 12?
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