What do green architecture and photography have in common? Traditionally, not much, but in a unique pairing of exhibitions, the Tyler Museum of Art
has linked these two seemingly unrelated subjects to create an unusual fine arts experience that will capture the interest of a large audience.
Formed in the spirit of good stewardship and conservation, 4 Salvaged Boxes: Sustainable Creative Design and Light Footprints: New Museum Site Photography by Robert Langham are joined together to take a local look at two international endeavors. 4 Salvaged Boxes aims to demonstrate the sustainable design features of the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) which was designed by TMA project architect, wHY Architecture. The GRAM was the first new art museum in the world to receive the Gold LEED certification when it opened in 2007 and has received international accolades for its innovative green design. The joint exhibitions open Saturday, October 10, 2009 and will be open to the public through February 21, 2010 in the Museums Bell Gallery.
The 4 Salvaged Boxes is an exhibition about the approach and process of creative sustainable design, says Aaron Loewenson, wHY Architecture Associate and 4 Salvaged Boxes team leader. Each of the 4 boxes was created from materials salvaged from the construction of the Grand Rapids Art Museum and function as a traveling 'cabinet of curiosities', telling the story of sustainable design. When closed, the boxes function as their own traveling crates. When opened, the boxes unfold to present information about the sustainable design features of the Grand Rapids Art Museum and other innovative green projects, through the use of diagrams, models, material samples and video. The exhibition has traveled from the GRAM to several venues in Asia, back to the United States to the Speed Museum in Louisville, Kentucky and now to Tyler, Texas.
In 2008, TMA Director Kimberley Bush Tomio announced that the Museums Board of Trustees had named the award-winning team of wHY Architecture, led by Yo-ichiro Hakomori and Kulapat Yantrasast, as its principal design architect on the new TMA facility. Hakomori and Loewenson will make appearances during special events held in conjunction with the exhibit at the Tyler Museum of Art.
While the 4 Salvaged Boxes exhibit suggests design techniques and aesthetics that characterize projects by wHY architecture, including the future home of the Tyler Museum of Art, Light Footprints: New Museum Site Photography by Robert Langham documents and elevates to art form the current state of the new museum site. Through this collection of images taken over the course of two years in spring, summer, fall and winter, Langham has created visually arresting images of the almost undisturbed East Texas nature currently on the property. When the new museum is built, it is these images that will greet museum visitors from inside and outside the building. The evergreens and the deciduous trees, the blooming flowers and brushes as well as the meandering creek and grass that grows on its banks are all examples of what wHY Architecture and the Tyler Museum of Art aim to preserve by utilizing the sustainable design techniques demonstrated by the exhibition.
Langham is a native of Tyler and has been photographing East Texas and Western landscapes since 1971, when he took a photojournalism class at Tyler Junior College. He has pursued his interest in fine art photography to wide acclaim while maintaining a successful commercial photography business right here in the community. Langham has dedicated a large part of his focus to the East Texas region in order to create an iconic vision of the landscape.
wHY Architecture is a Los Angeles-based firm with a stellar track record in design on projects including Michigans Grand Rapids Art Museum, the Art Bridge spanning the Los Angeles River in southern California, and numerous gallery renovations for the Art Institute of Chicago. Yantrasast, the firms executive/creative director, previously served as project architect on the team of Pritzker Prize winning design architect Tadao Ando for the 153,000-square-foot Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, which opened in 2002 to international acclaim.