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Monday, May 21, 2012

Atlanta dancers to collaborate with world-renowned architects Scogin and Elam

PAPER HOUSE: Atlanta-based architects Mack Scogin and Merrill Elam are known for their innovative designs such as their proposal for the Kaohsiung Maritime Cultural & Pop Music Center. This summer, the team will design a cardboard house for a performance by Atlanta dancer Blake Beckham.
  • Image: Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects
  • PAPER HOUSE: Atlanta-based architects Mack Scogin and Merrill Elam are known for their innovative designs such as their proposal for the Kaohsiung Maritime Cultural and Pop Music Center above. This summer, the duo will design a cardboard house for a performance by Atlanta dancer Blake Beckham.
Imagine dancing in a house where the walls, the roof, the floor, and everything from the couch and the kitchen table to the toaster and the doorknobs are entirely made of cardboard. That's the vision that Atlanta dancer Blake Beckham plans to turn into reality this summer

To that end, Beckham has enlisted the help of Atlanta's foremost experts at creating unusual buildings.

Beckham and her small dance organization, The Lucky Penny, recently approached the world-renowned Atlanta-based architectural firm Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects to discuss her vision of a structurally-sound cardboard house built for dance performance. She was primarily seeking a bit of advice about how to construct such a space, but the two principal architects were so excited and intrigued by the idea that they immediately signed on to design it for her.

From August 16-19, Atlanta audiences will be able to check out the results of the unusual collaboration as Beckham and a team of dancers perform the new work Threshold in a cardboard house designed by the architectural super-duo. The set will be built during a month-long residency by the Lucky Penny at Georgia Tech's DramaTech Theater beginning July 16.

"Threshold will examine the home as both a sacred and profane place," says Beckham. "It will use movement to explore liminal space and the psychological boundaries of dwelling spaces." The performances will also feature original sound, interior design, video and sculpture by a host of independent Atlanta artists and designers

Merrill Elam and Mack Scogin
  • Merrill Elam and Mack Scogin
Husband and wife Mack Scogin and Merrill Elam are the two principals of Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects and have worked together in architecture for over forty years on award-winning projects around the world. Scogin and Elam are perhaps best-known in Atlanta as the designers of the Buckhead Branch Library. Other buildings in the Atlanta area include the Clark Atlanta University Art Galleries, the Don and Sylvia Shaw Salon Spa, the Carol Cobb Turner Branch Library in Clayton County, Emory University's Turner Village at the Candler School of Theology, and the Clayton County Headquarters Library. A complete list of the firm's award-winning projects is available at the website.

Atlanta dancer Blake Beckham
  • Atlanta dancer Blake Beckham
Blake Beckham and Malina Rodriguez of The Lucky Penny are the artistic team behind last summer's PLOT, an elaborate site-specific dance performance that took place at the Goat Farm. The production was voted Creative Loafing Readers' Pick for Best Dance Performance of 2011 in this publication's annual "Best of Atlanta" issue. Rodriguez is also the driving force behind Atlanta's Dance Truck, a presenting organization that brings the work of local dancers and choreographers to Atlanta audiences using the back of a flatbed truck as a mobile stage.

Like last year's PLOT, the new production will involve a small army of artists, designers, volunteers and supporters. "Last summer, with PLOT, we went site-specific," explains Beckham. "This time around, it's set-specific. What the two projects share is a commitment to engaging the community in our process."

For more information or to get involved, visit The Lucky Penny, and check Creative Loafing for updates.

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