Daily digest: Studio Gang tapped for Women’s Leadership Center in Wisconsin, Maya Lin goes to the National Portrait Gallery, and more

And In (Mostly) Non-Monarchy-Related News...

Daily digest: Studio Gang tapped for Women’s Leadership Center in Wisconsin, Maya Lin goes to the National Portrait Gallery, and more

Maya Lin looking over designs for a mobile at her studio in Manhattan, New York, 1989. (Adam Stoltman/ Courtesy of Adam Stoltman)

Happy Friday! Albeit a short workweek for many American AN readers, it’s been a markedly busy past few days in terms of notable news in the world of architecture and design (and really outside of it).  That being said, let’s dive right on in:

The life and career of Maya Lin takes center stage at biographical exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery

At the end of the month, the Smithsonian Institution will debut a sprawling exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. focused on Maya Lin, the celebrated designer, sculptor, and founder of New York–based multidisciplinary art and architecture practice Maya Lin Studio. As noted by the Smithsonian, the upcoming show, entitled One Life: Maya Lin, is the first biographical exhibition dedicated to Lin’s life and work, which includes the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and a sculptural water feature at the forthcoming Obama Presidential Center in Chicago. It’s also the first exhibition in the museum’s One Life series dedicated to an Asian American.

Per the Smithsonian, One Life: Maya Lin will highlight the development of Lin’s “approaches and processes through a variety of three-dimensional models, sculptures, sketchbooks and photographs,” and also include a number of family photos and personal ephemera. Also featured will be an interactive installation designed by Lin as part of What Is Missing, Lin’s “ongoing, multimedia memorial to the environment” that invites “viewers to share memories of natural elements that have vanished during their lifetimes.”

“Maya Lin’s extraordinary career stems from her commitment to history, human rights and the environment,” said exhibition curator Dorothy Moss. “The exhibition will reveal the roots of her interests. As a very young child growing up in rural Ohio, Lin developed what she describes as ‘a strong love and respect for the land,’ and this focus on the natural world has translated into a profound body of work that is grounded in empathy.”

One Life: Maya Lin opens at the One Life gallery on the second floor of the National Portrait Gallery on September 30 and will run through April 16, 2023.

Studio Gang selected to design lakefront home for newly formed Women’s Leadership Center

Studio Gang has announced that it will design the Women’s Leadership Center, home base for a recently established organization of the same name recently established by Chicago business leader Ann M. Drake. The facility is planned for a bucolic 9-acre site in Williams Bay, a small village along Lake Geneva in Walworth County, Wisconsin, that’s perhaps best known as home to the historic Yerkes Observatory. As Studio Gang detailed in its announcement, the center will “create a unique destination designed to foster conversation and collaboration among women leaders at the forefront of public and private enterprise, global supply chain, engineering and technology, infrastructure and design, and space and astrophysics. In this special setting, women leaders can spark the high-impact ideas and connections that lead to global solutions for complex problems.”

“As a place where women of diverse backgrounds and expertise will come together, the Women’s Leadership Center builds on the rich history of Williams Bay as a place for knowledge sharing and interdisciplinary exchange,” elaborated Jeanne Gang, founding principal and partner of Chicago-based Studio Gang. “We are excited to explore ways to realize Ann’s ambitions through architecture that fosters creativity and collaboration and embraces the natural beauty and ecology of Lake Geneva.”

“Jeanne’s sensibility for sustainable design that’s both beautiful and inspiring is extraordinary,” added Drake. “Her team is developing concepts that mesh perfectly with the history and feel of this special piece of land.”

The project is expected to be completed in 2024; we’ll circle back when a finalized design for the center, which was first proposed in May 2021, is unveiled.

BIG’s 50 Queens installation in Copenhagen honors notable women in Danish history

In royal news not related to the passing of the longest-reigning British monarch, 50 Queens, an outdoor sculpture sculptural installation by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) is now on view in Copenhagen, which is gearing up for its time to shine in the spotlight as the 2023 UNESCO World Capital of Architecture.

The work celebrates 49 trailblazing Danish women—author Karen Blixen, first minister Nina Bang, actress Trine Dyrholm, and zoologist Marie Hammer among them—to mark the 50th Jubilee of 82-year-old Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. 49 statue-less, QR code–equipped white pedestals honoring notable, jury-selected Danish women are arranged in a circular formation around Kongens Nytorv (King’s New Square). A final 50th pedestal is intentionally left unnamed to serve as a tribute to “anyone you’d like it to be,” per a press announcement from Copenhagen’s tourism bureau. Located in the historic heart of Copenhagen, the square itself has been temporarily renamed as Dronningens Nytorv, or Queen’s New Square, during the Jubilee festivities.

Curated by Kunsthal Charlottenborg and designed by BIG partners Giulia Frittoli and David Zahle, 50 Queens remains on view until September 18.

a sculptural installation with unadorned white pillar
BIG’s 50 Queens on view in Copenhagen (Giuseppe Liverino/Courtesy Wonderful Copenhagen)

Heatherwick Studio opens Shanghai outpost

British designer Thomas Heatherwick’s eponymous design and architecture practice has opened a permanent outpost in Shanghai. The office is located at a leased space within the first completed phase of the city’s sprawling, vegetation-shrouded 1,000 Trees development designed by the London-headquartered firm. Establishing an outpost in China is a practical move for Heatherwick Studio considering that half of its annual income comes from the region, Building Design recently reported. Meanwhile, its work in the U.K. has fallen by 22 percent. In addition to 1,000 Trees, completed projects in Asia include EDEN and Learning Hub, both in Singapore, and Bund Financial Centre in Shanghai. In April, it was announced that the firm had been commissioned to design China’s Hainan Performing Arts Center, a major cultural project dubbed as a “tropical opera house.”

H/t to Building Design

KPF completes first phase of sprawling mainland campus for Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

In other news related to firms working on major projects abroad in China, New York–headquartered Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) has announced the opening of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST)’s satellite campus in Guangzhou, a massive port city just northwest of Hong Kong. The first phase of the carbon-neutral campus was planned, designed, and built at an astonishing speed of just three years; the nearly 6 million-square-foot campus will host 4,000 graduate students and several hundred faculty members. Subsequent phases will see the campus expand even further and include retail, housing, a hotel, athletic facilities, and more.

“Our team operated non-stop through the pandemic to help this extraordinary campus come to life,” said James von Klemperer, president of KPF, in a statement. “Working from KPF offices in New York, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, we pursued HKUST’s goal of making an institution of scientific learning and research that meets the highest of global standards. The focus of our architectural design was to encourage collaboration through marrying functionality and efficiency with the beauty of the place. Landscape and building spaces come together to create an atmosphere where scientists will be energized and inspired to innovate.”

It’s been a busy late-summer season for KPF. In addition to the first phase completion of HKUST’s Guangzhou campus, earlier this week the firm announced the groundbreaking of Waterline, a mixed-use supertall tower that will rise over 1,000 feet along the Waterloo Greenway in downtown Austin, Texas. When completed, the tower will be the tallest building in the Lone Star State. The firm’s London office also announced that it was selected out of competition to helm the design of Lorenzini 8-10-12, a mixed-use office complex in Milan’s Porta Romana District that blends new construction with the adaptive reuse of a historic building at the development site.

a large education campus in china
The KPF-designed Hong Kong University of Science and Technology campus in Guangzhou. (© Zhang Chao/Courtesy Arup)