Daily digest: Winy Maas will overhaul his former high school, a gold cube draws internet ire, and more

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Daily digest: Winy Maas will overhaul his former high school, a gold cube draws internet ire, and more

The new addition to Gymnasium Beekvliet stretches from the existing building to the school’s plaza (© MVRDV)

Good afternoon and welcome back to another survey of the daily news landscape. Here’s what’s going on today:

MVRDV will overhaul Gymnasium Beekvliet with a colorful new wing in the Netherlands

MVRDV founder Winy Maas and Theobert van Boven of Van Boven Architecten both attended the same high school, Gymnasium Beekvliet in Sint-Michielsgestel, the Netherlands, and now they’re returning to overhaul their alma mater.

Yesterday, MVRDV and Van Boven Architecten pulled back the curtain on a flowing new addition to the school that will be clad inside and out with colorful murals. An auditorium, stage, kitchen, new main entrance, and improved circulation path to the school’s outdoor plaza will all be contained within the new wing, while the original building will be restored.

A gold cube popped up in Central Park as a cryptocurrency promo, and the internet had strong words

German artist Niclas Castello installed a 24-karat gold cube in Central Park on Wednesday weighing 410 pounds and valued at $11.7 million—was it a pointed criticism of wealth inequality in a city where 1 in every 106 residents are homeless? A commentary on gold’s enduring value and beauty of the material? No, it was a promotion for the artist’s proprietary cryptocurrency, Castello Coin (Castello claimed the installation was funded through pre-sales of the coin before it launched.)

Of course, the internet was quick to lambast the project (the cube was only installed for a day and was moved to a pricey Wall Street dinner after its stint in the park), and plenty of people cracked jokes about stealing the cube in a heist—it even had its own security guards.

H/t to the New York Times

BIG’s Wildflower Studios film complex in Queens wins construction approval

The Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) revealed an overhauled version of Robert De Niro’s Wildflower Studios film campus in Astoria, Queens, back in July of 2021, and today the project received a building permit from the Department of Buildings, meaning construction is officially on. The 775,042-square-foot building, which will hold New York City’s first purpose-built soundstage, is expected to open late next year.

New Jersey’s American Dream is nearly out of cash

In a story that’s probably a bit too on the nose, the American Dream is nearly out of money. The $5 billion mall is reportedly down to only $820 in its reserve account, putting it in danger of missing its next debt payment on August 1. The Gensler-designed megamall in New Jersey, opening after 20 years delays and straight into a global pandemic that destroyed retail foot traffic, has faced an uphill battle both as individual tenants and mall owner the Triple Give Group have struggled to survive.

H/t to The Real Deal

KPF’s One Nine Elms London megaproject put on hold over a payment dispute

Speaking of funding issues, construction workers at Kohn Pedersen Fox’s $1.2 billion One Nine Elms development in London have reportedly walked off the site for the next few months over a failure by developer China-based R&F Properties UK to pay the principal contractor, Multiplex. The two mixed-use towers, once complete, will provide 487 apartments, a 172-room hotel, and plenty of office space. Work has been underway since 2018, and it’s unclear how this funding failure will affect the construction timeline.

H/t to the Architects’ Journal

Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s posthumous final project will be their largest yet

The late Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s largest unrealized work, the towering Mastaba, a monolithic mound built from 410,000 colorful barrels, will finally be realized in the United Arab Emirates as a permanent installation. The duo conceived of the project all the way back in 1977, and although the smaller The London Mastaba was floated in London’s Serpentine Lake in 2018 as part of a Serpentine Galleries show, it was only about one-eighth the scale of the full-sized Mastaba.

A site has been chosen about 100 miles south of Abu Dhabi in the Liwa desert, and if government approvals are received, the project will take at least three years to built. If the Mastaba does come to be realized, it will be the largest contemporary sculpture in the world at 492 feet tall, 984 feet long, and 738 feet wide, towering over even the Great Pyramid of Giza.

H/t to Archdaily