What is it about Alexander Calder sculptures that makes them irresistible to the artists who create architectural renderings? Calder is apparently the industry standard — with distant seconds Mark di Suvero and Louise Bourgeois — for lending airs of cosmopolitanism and permanence to any given school, museum, condo, park, office, library, or airport project, while also providing a sense of scale and burst of color. Want to lend your sleek, monochrome office park a touch of whimsy? Calder! Light-filled airport terminal looking a tad sterile? Calder! Public plaza feels a little empty? Calder!
But how did Calder’s sculptures come to be the architecture industry’s go-to signifiers of worldly sophistication? In addition to their recognizability as iconic modern art objects, their bold colors and geometric forms make them eminently easy to turn into digital 3D objects. A search of readily downloadable architectural models reveals many Calder sculptures ready to be dropped into the architectural rendering program of your choosing and then sited in luxury housing complex and urban park mockups.
If the following selection of architectural renderings — all posted within the past year on architecture blogs including Designboom and World Architecture News — is to be believed, the world’s cities will soon feature as many public sculptures by Calder as they have Starbucks franchises.
A broad swath of society seems to feel more welcome in a public library rather than a museum. I examined the Brooklyn Public Library as a model of heightened engagement through collective knowledge creation.