Point of View

The METROPOLIS Blog

January 2012

Q&A: Tom Darden

01/31/12

Q&A: Tom Darden

On my second week in New Orleans, on a sweltering August day, I went on a bus tour of the Lower Ninth Ward, sponsored by the local AIA chapter. It was a dispiriting experience. While much of the city had seen its fortunes rise, the Lower Ninth, the neighborhood most affected by Hurricane Katrina, was still a kind of lunar landscape, desolate and depopulated. There were, however, two notable exceptions: the Holy Cross neighborhood (which had seen about half of its residents return) and Brad Pitt’s Make It Right development, a bright cluster of about 75 houses, designed by a veritable who’s who of contemporary architecture: Kiernan Timberlake, Shigeru Ban, Graft, Morphosis, as well as a number of notable local architects. Make It Right remains an active construction site, the...

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Places that Work: The Airport in Jackson Hole

01/26/12

Places that Work: The Airport in Jackson Hole

The airport in Jackson Hole, Wyoming is a place that works for a very simple reason: it connects with nature. Here, while waiting for your flight you get a magnificent view of snow capped mountains, vegetation, and the big sky of the American west. A giant wall of windows in the departure lounge opens up a panorama of the Grand Teton Range. It’s a last minute reminder of what you’re leaving behind, a kind of punctuation to added to your trip. This isn’t one of those view-less, bland exits we usually get subjected to at airports. Here the stress of air travel, especially for nervous flyers, is eased as the view eases us back into our fast-paced lives. It confirms the findings of researchers--views of nature are proven stress-busters. Unlike its counterparts almost everywhere...

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Lab Report XIX

01/24/12

Lab Report XIX

In this series of posts I have primarily focused on the of research technologies, either on the verge of being developed or currently available, technologies that will improve the lives of architecture and design professionals as well as other interested adults. On occasion I did look at innovations focused on children. Columbia University’s Institute for Learning Technologies (ILT) belongs to this category. Each project uses advanced technology to promote better teaching and learning tools for grade school students. All of them use “embodied cognition” to foreground their research efforts. The theory is that concepts are more deeply grasped through a combination of visualization and an ability to “mentally animate” physical and visual entities. LEGO Mindstorms NXT 2.0,...

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Lab Report XVIII

01/20/12

Lab Report XVIII

Those who occupy commercial and residential buildings outfitted with photovoltaic panels are a hopeful lot. For some time now they have looked forward to a moment when their PVs will ultimately pay for themselves. Beyond that, they’re looking forward to getting to the point when they can sell back the extra electricity generated to the local utility. Solar advocates see themselves on the vanguard of promoting an ecologically conscientious way of working and living. Costs are an obstacle to their dreams. The panels are expensive. Then there’s the issue of incorporating them—both design and installation—into a structure, also expensive. But now two teams at MIT, one from the engineering department and one from the physics department, think they may have discovered how to build a...

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The Projected Story

01/17/12

The Projected Story

What you see in the video above is San Francisco-based Obscura Digital’s six solid weeks of content development, countless hours of production, and invaluable cultural awakening coming to life on the exterior surface of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. This 17-minute long show of architectural projection animations replayed every 30 minutes for 5 days starting on November 29, 2011 to mark the 40th Anniversary of the United Arab Emirates National Day. The experience brought together over 1,000 people from all over the world and from the most modest to the most extravagant backgrounds—a very appropriate tribute to the values that Sheikh Zayed built the Mosque and the UAE on. Sheikh Zayedʼs vision for the Grand Mosque was a gathering, collaboration, and learning space for...

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Q&A: Suzan Tillotson

01/12/12

Q&A: Suzan Tillotson

Suzan Tillotson's lighting design at the Lincoln Center, New York. Photo courtesy Suzan Tillotson Associates. The work of lighting designer Suzan Tillotson is no doubt quite familiar to Metropolis readers. She collaborated with Rem Koolhaas, Josh Prince-Ramis, Petra Blaisse and the designers of OMA on the now seminal Seattle Central Library. She worked with Diller Scofidio + Renfro on the School of American Ballet, at Lincoln Center, and teamed with SANNA on the New Museum of Contemporary Art, in New York. Recently Barbara Eldredge spoke to her for our Leading Luminaries story. An edited version of their conversation follows. –Martin C. Pedersen A while back Metropolis identified day lighting as the next big thing in the field. What is today’s next big thing? It’s definitely...

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Frontiers of Design Science: Computational Irreducibility

01/12/12

Frontiers of Design Science: Computational Irreducibility

No matter what we do, we will always have to leave something out.

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What's Good for Manhattan Must Be Good for Queens

01/11/12

What's Good for Manhattan Must Be Good for Queens

The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, which might be razed and replaced by a new development in Queens. For almost two decades, The Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) has advocated for the transformation of the Farley Post Office into a new Penn Station to be called Moynihan Station. Governor Cuomo’s recent State of the State address suggests that 2012 could be the station’s moment. The immediate story is, of course, the possible razing of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and its replacement, at the site of the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, by what the Governor describes as the nation’s largest convention center. Before moving ahead, however, we must make sure that what’s good for Manhattan is equally beneficial for Queens. Getting rid of Javits is a great idea...

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Q&A: James Benya

01/04/12

Q&A: James Benya

About seven years ago James Benya, the Portland, Oregon-based lighting designer, introduced us to daylighting. Much to his chagrin, daylighting subsequently became one of the most popular and most commonly misapplied green building strategies. When we decided to interview leading lighting designers for our Leading Luminaries story, we knew the outspoken Benya would be one of our subjects. An edited version of his conversation with Derrick Mead follows. –Martin C. Pedersen About five years ago, you helped us identify daylighting as the next big thing in the field. What’s happening now? More and more, we’re seeing every project come in with LEED aspirations. People are looking into daylighting. I got a call yesterday from a professor at the University of Texas Austin School of...

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