The Brooklyn Based Architectural Firm Bureau V Pushes Art Beyond the Blueprint
Words by Eric Newill
We know what you’re thinking, so here’s the answer upfront: It’s a drawing. But the back story is so much richer than that.
Created by the genre-bending, Brooklyn-based architectural firm Bureau V, Everything Ornament was originally conceived as a three-dimensional performance space for the 2008 Buckminster Fuller retrospective at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art. In collaboration with Lars Jan, BV produced this design as the set for a play to be presented in the institutions courtyard. Sadly, economics prevailed and the piece was never built, but, rather than put the idea back in the box, the firm found a new use for it. “We pursued our architectural vision for the project in the realm of drawing, pushing further into a reflective, refractive, and glowing atmosphere,” says Alexander Pincus, on of Bureau V’s principals alongside Peter Zuspan and Stella Lee. “We were after something like a Rococo Buckminster Fuller, where the rigor of formal organization meets over-the-top atmospheric effects.”
Physically enhanced and reworked with painted gold and silver leaf, Everything Ornament is in the tradition of architectural drawings designed to, in Pincus’ words, “anticipate the new, explore the unimaginable and project into the future.” Today, however, as most firms create “glossy renderings and advertising-ready images,” Bureau V embraces a more intellectual spin: “We find it more interesting to explore the potential of drawing. Not so much as a tool to sell a project, but as a means to find, develop and exploit more expansive opportunities in architectural possibility.”
Founded in 2007, Bureau V is now undertaking its most ambitious and complex project to date in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Inside a former sawdust factory, the Original Music Workshop will serve as a venue for composers of new classical, jazz, and experimental music to perform and record their work. The centerpiece is a 200-seat, double height auditorium, combining “the crafted beauty of a European concert hall with the experimental programming and roughness of a blackbox theater.”
Meanwhile, at 30 x 60 inches, Everything Ornament is available to collectors hungering for a bit of smart bling. And at $6,000, it’s a bargain compared to Cartier.
Notes from Bureau V and its friends.