Three exciting shows are opening this weekend across New York, DC, and Chicago. Opening Friday at New York’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum is Design USA: Contemporary Innovation. The museum named the winners of its National Design Awards for the tenth time in August—Dwell was named a finalist for corporate and institutional achievement at this year’s awards. This exhibit will showcase the works of the last decade of award recipients from all categories: architecture, landscape design, interior design, product design, communication design, corporate design, interaction design, and fashion.
Inside the Beltway, the National Building Museum presents House of Cars: Innovation and the Parking Garage, opening Saturday. I automatically think of highways, Los Angeles, and Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown when I think about the effects of cars on our built environment but another result has been parking garages. This show takes these structures out of their role as eyesores and offers a glimpse into what garages of the future can be and how they can enhance our surroundings. If you don’t catch the show this week, you still have plenty of time: It doesn’t close until July 11, 2010.
Last of these openings is Actions: What you Can Do With the City, on display beginning Friday at the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in Fine Arts gallery in Chicago. The show comes from the Canadian Center for Architecture in Montreal and presents a collection of ways in which one can interact with their surroundings to create positive change, from moss graffiti to urban farming on shipping pallets to abandoned railways turned to parks and pathways (the High Line!).
There are also a couple shows closing this weekend worth catching before the doors are shut one final time.
In London, it’s the final weekend to catch Radical Nature, Art and Architecture for a Changing Planet 1969-2009 at the Barbican Art Gallery. The exhibition includes trees growing parallel to the ground, nature dioramas installed on trailers, and a double-domed pavilion in which you can go drink hibiscus tea.
In New York, it’s the last chance to see Ron Arad: No Discipline. The show, on display at the Museum of Modern Art, is the first major retrospective of the Israeli-born British designer in the United States. If you’re not in New York, check out our preview of the show as well as an extensive slideshow of the exhibition space that Arad designed himself as well as pieces on display.
Finally, rounding out this week is the Solar Decathlon, also in DC. Throughout the weekend—and a continuation from last weekend—the Mall will be filled with net-zero-energy homes designed by 20 college teams selected by the U.S. Department of Energy. The teams participating in this fourth Solar Decathlon vie for top scores in ten contests: architecture, market viability, engineering, lighting design, communications, comfort zone, hot water, appliances, home entertainment, and net metering. The winner will be announced Friday at 8 am and the homes will be open to the public from 10 am to 5 pm both Saturday and Sunday.
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