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The METROPOLIS Blog

April 2012

Places that Work: A Generative Space

04/29/12

Places that Work: A Generative Space

Wilson Hospice House, designed by Perkins + Will, won the 2011 Caritas Project’s Generative Space Award. It is definitely a space that works. The recognition the hospice has received is appropriate because its design has a special psychological effect on the people who spend time there. We need to see more examples of healthcare spaces that work. And so I call your attention to the June 15 deadline for submissions for the 2012 Generative Space Award. Generative space, as the website explains, satisfies the following criteria: “It improves the health and well-being of all. It improves the performance and effectiveness of the provider organization. It produces systemic and sustainable improvements over time. Improvements are measurable and demonstrate documented evidence...

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Places that Work: National Museum of the American Indian

04/25/12

Places that Work: National Museum of the American Indian

The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) is a place that works because it attempts to reflect the cultures of those who first inhabited the Western Hemisphere. Located on the National Mall in Washington DC and operated by the Smithsonian Institution, the NMAI opened in 2004. There were many Native American architects affiliated with the project, initially lead by GBQC and Douglas Cardinal, Ltd. and included consultants representing various nations--Douglas Cardinal (Blackfoot), Johnpaul Jones (Cherokee/Choctaw), Donna House (Diné/Oneida), and Ramona Sakiestewa (Hopi). These architects saw the importance of designing a space that supports the cultures of its primary users; their approach is in line expert findings that say that culture-place design alignment is key for...

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Science for Designers: The Transformation of Wholes

04/13/12

Science for Designers: The Transformation of Wholes

The most commonly held and influential idea about design, that it’s the art of bringing unrelated parts into a composition, is not accurate.

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Lab Report XXVI

04/05/12

Lab Report XXVI

Among the best and most interesting examples of successful crowdsourcing is the reCAPTCHA project by Carnegie Mellon University’s CyLab. In it, indecipherable words from old manuscripts are used as part of the CAPTCHA identification strings. The goal here is to help scholars, through crowdsourcing, as they try to decipher these old texts. If enough people identify an indecipherable word as “butterfly” for example, then the researchers know there is a good chance that word is, indeed, “butterfly.” At the University of California, Berkeley’s Institute of Design (BID), the value of crowdsourcing has taken another turn. A communitysourcing vending machine, created by computer scientists and information scientists, harnesses the unique skills of students for specific...

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Places that Work: The East Building at the National Gallery

04/01/12

Places that Work: The East Building at the National Gallery

The East Building at the National Gallery in Washington, DC opened in 1978. It’s a place that’s been working for the past three decades because the building’s structure literally supports the art it houses and aids its viewing. The architect, I.M. Pei, developed a structure that can share large artworks with the public. Unfortunately, this is not the case at other museums where it can be difficult for the public to experience the art on display. With its modern and contemporary art collection, the East Building’s design recognizes that such art is meant to unsettle, and yes, disturb the middle classes. So the linear design elements energize the atmosphere, as do the walls that meet at less than 90 degrees. The fact that some corners have acute angles is due to the triangular...

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Examining contemporary life through design, architecture, interior design, product design, graphic design, crafts, planning, and preservation.