Thursday, June 23, 2011

Living in the Brownfield

INFESTATION - Call it performance art. Only in this exhibition the performers have three pairs of legs and tiny wings.  Many thanks to Wayne Stitt of Spillman for all of his hard work making 3rd Street in Easton the place to be with his leadership on the Lafayette College Arts Plaza project and for bringing this great event to our attention.  You can see a video of Brandon Ballengee's concept here:

The following news story emanates from the Lafayette College website and we're reposting it here for our readers.  Welcome to Brandon Ballengée’s Love Motel for Insects: Easton Variation. Ballengée’s sculptural installation at the Williams Visual Arts Center on North Third Street uses ultraviolet lights to attract insects for public observation. The black lights combined with a reflective polyester fabric creates a glowing habitat that draws nocturnal bugs such as moths and mayflies for lively arthropod nightlife and mating. Inspired by microscopic details, the sculpture will resemble scales of moth wings made enormous and glowing.

The Love Motel for Insects is designed to give audiences a better appreciation for local ecology and insect biodiversity. Insects and other arthropods “make up 80 to 90 percent of the species on our planet but there is still so much to learn about them,” Ballengée says. “Unless they are somehow useful to us like honey bees or aesthetically pleasing like butterflies, we don’t normally have reason to be looking at them.”

Ballengée seeks to change that with his outdoor installation that is the antithesis of a Bug Zapper. Instead of attracting bugs to harm them, the installation creates a compelling microhabitat that’s good for breeding. The sculptural canvas can take on interesting colors as female moths release chemical pheromones to attract males and “paint” the piece.  “The surfaces get little tiny dots,” he says. “It’s like arthropod expressionism made by mini segmented Jackson Pollocks.”

Observers don’t have to worry that the Love Motel will attract the riff-raff of bug life. The structure doesn’t lure many mosquitoes, ticks or other insects that bite.  Ballengée built his first Love Motel for Insects in Costa Rica in 2001, where it quickly attracted moths, beetles, and other arthropods – and students who were fascinated by them. Since then, the Love Motel installations have appeared on boats in Venice, moors in Scotland, London roof tops, Korean mountaintops, Irish bogs, summer camps in New England and inner-city bus stops, among other sites. Ballengee recently returned from New Delhi, India where he joined with the Ecohaven Project of Chicago to construct “Econnect Love Motel for Insects” at the outdoor plaza of a busy shopping center.

Based in New York City, Ballengee is working towards a trans-disciplinary doctorate in exploring environmental art and primary research biology with Plymouth University in England in collaboration with the Zurich University of the Arts in Switzerland.

The Williams Center for Visual Arts was completed by Joseph N. Biondo, Design Principal at Spillman Farmer Architects.  The building has aged incredibly well over it's first decade of use and is the artistic epicenter for the City of Easton.  You can see a 10 years after video of the building and the process of making it here:

Go check it out people - the installation should be complete on thursday June 30th.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

SFA News - Prague Quadrennial

DOUBLE PLAY - Two Spillman Farmer projects will be representing the United States at Prague Quadrennial 2011. Every four years, the Prague Quadrennial transforms the city of Prague into the center of the performing arts universe for 11 days: this year from June 16 to 26. Lafayette College Arts Plaza and the Artsquest Center at SteelStacks will both be exhibited as part of the Architecture Section's National Exhibition, showcasing the architecture of performance around the world. The United States' entry into the National Exhibition was curated and designed by Scott Georgeson of Workshop Architects. The photos below show the US exhibit prior to its installation in Prague. We appreciate how the U. S. exhibit captures the multidimensionality, complexity, and diversity of the architecture of performance in America today.

exhibit and installation by

From the Prague Quadrennial website - "The aim of the PQ ‘11 Architecture Section is to provoke architects, theatre-makers, and the public into re-thinking the potential of performance space in the new century by creating a dynamic meeting space at the PQ for presenting, representing, and discussing new ideas.  Is performance space new, found, recycled, old, fresh, safe, or dangerous? Is it inside, outside, traditional, or radical? Is it a purpose-built venue, a found site, a virtual world, or simply any space creatively claimed by performance?"

Site Plan and Section of the Lafayette College Arts Plaza

King Ubu, directed by Suzanne Westfall, at the Lafayette College Arts Plaza

Mass Ensemble playing the Artsquest Center at SteelStacks

You can see more performances at both venues in the following video links:
Lafayette College Arts Plaza
Artsquest Center at Steelstacks

Thursday, June 9, 2011

SFA News - Award

TECHVENTURES2 is #1! - Ben Franklin TechVentures2® has received first-place national honors in the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2011 ENERGY STAR Challenge Facebook Favorite Contest. The contest recognizes projects that combine energy-saving features and sustainability with architectural appeal. Ben Franklin TechVentures2 was selected from 79 entries exhibited at the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) recent national conference.

Sponsored by the EPA and the AIA, the contest featured the 2011 ENERGY STAR Challenge design projects intended to achieve carbon reductions of 50 percent or better. The design of Ben Franklin TechVentures2 demonstrates the benefits of green building and energy efficiency through a variety of measures, such as a rooftop solar photovoltaic system and energy-efficient lighting fixtures. The design incorporates energy-efficient building materials such as high-performance windows, walls, and high-reflectance roofing. Also included are daylight-harvesting lighting controls and an automated window shading system by Coopersburg-based Lutron Electronics.

Located on the campus of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA, TechVentures2 will be a 47,000 square-foot expansion to the original, award-winning Ben Franklin TechVentures business technology incubator/post-incubator facility. It will include wet labs, office/meeting space, and parking. The addition is registered with the US Green Building Council’s Leadership Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) green building certification program and is seeking LEED Gold certification.

Spillman Farmer Architects is the building’s designer and architect of record and an official ENERGY STAR Partner with the US EPA and the US Department of Energy. We're excited that Facebook Fans across the country voted TechVentures2  #1! 

photograph by Halkin Photography

Monday, June 6, 2011

Speaking of Architecture - Scot Horst of the USGBC speaks with Spillman Farmer Architects

Christa Kraftician, Principal at Spillman Farmer Architects, caught up with Scot Horst, SeniorVice President of LEED, from the Unites States Green Building Council (USGBC) recently and had the opportunity to talk with him about green schools and creating "green natives".  See the video on youtube at: