The Year in Review

What are the most important buildings, products, or events of 2013 that have ramifications for the future?

(page 2 of 6)

Activism and Design

While billions of dollars were being spent on sporting events, the city of Rio announced a hike in public transit fares in June, sparking widespread protests.

Courtesy Alex Carvalho

This summer’s protests in Rio spoke volumes about the way cities are made. A million people took to the streets to protest against poor public services. Many find it galling that billions are being spent on World Cup and Olympic sites when public services are in a parlous state. The protests asked: Who is the city for? Is it for FIFA and the International Olympic Committee? Rio, with its 1,000 favelas, ought to be an exemplar of how sporting mega events can benefit the host city, but the opportunity is passing.
McGuirk is a London-based writer, critic, and curator.

Christoph Gielen’s Untitled XV Arizona is part of his “American Prison Perspectives” series.

The U.S. has an entire shadow population in prison. How we treat that population is one of the great questions before us. Raphael Sperry and Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility are doing incredibly important work on the ethical implications of building solitary confinement cells and prisons. America has to address this issue. We have privatized prison construction, and the results of that business model have been destructive to both families and our culture. We need to rethink our obsession with putting more people in prison, because it doesn’t work and it’s morally indefensible.
Lamster is the architecture critic at the Dallas Morning News.

The Zimba automatic chlorine dispenser is capable of delivering clean water to both urban and rural populations. It mixes chlorine into drinking water at the safe, required levels.

Courtesy Zimba and Laura Stupin

Water purification really equates to medicine in large parts of the world. Delivering clean water to communities is a serious design challenge. While there are many solutions, I admire Zimba’s automatic chlorine dispenser, designed by Suprio Das. The device delivers clean water by precisely mixing chlorine at the required levels. The scale, safety, simplicity, and low cost of this initiative is impressive.
Baumann is the director of the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.


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Dec 3, 2013 07:08 pm
 Posted by  raphaelsperry

Thank you Mark Lamster! If you agree with him, please sign ADPSR's petition, urging AIA to uphold human rights by banning the design of execution chambers and supermax prisons:

Dec 4, 2013 01:36 pm
 Posted by  JoshUrsoDesign

Designs like the Zimba water purification system remind us that as individuals in the field of design, we can make a huge difference in the world. Sometimes we get caught up in the design scene and forget that there are real problems out there that simply need our attention and our creative minds to address.

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