Cities

How TRUCK Built a New Housewares Line

Four years ago, architects Jennifer Carpenter, Jonathan Marvel, and Rob Rogers founded TRUCK in order to create architecturally inspired furniture and products. This year, the company partnered with Studio Nova, one of Mikasa’s brands, to produce its first line of tableware. “When we make products, we’re thinking about the same things that we think about when we’re designing a space…

Design Locally, Think Globally

It is easy for design to be provocative, and it is easy for it to challenge our perception of ordinary objects. But can design do more than that? Can it go outside the safety of the studio, of the comfort of the home, and address the world and its 21st century challenges, like bio-terrorism, the AIDS epidemic, and refugee crises?…

Is Open Space What Inspires L.A. Designers?

Like contestants in a never-ending high school popularity contest, insecure Angelenos and jealous New Yorkers continue to fuel the century-old debate about which is better, L.A. or N.Y.? Admittedly, the latest round of the fight, which occurred as part of the Art Center Design Conference, held March 18-21 in Pasadena, California, was rather one-sided. Led by UCLA professor of architecture…

Architecture is the Star of This Film Festival

When Matt Pearson, a young associate architect in Norfolk, Virginia, began hosting a film series at Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas + Co., the firm where he works, he certainly didn’t expect that, a year later, the series would become a public festival, running as part of the state’s annual Architecture Week. Titled “Architecture + Film,” the film series runs from…

A Pavilion Where Memory and Modernity Meet

Medhat Salam and Donato Giacalone, principals at New York firm Medhat Salam Associates, have recreated a much-missed waterfront pavilion in Staten Island, New York’s Conference House Park. Rather than a replication, the reconstructed pavilion is a conjuring of sorts, a structure blending past and present, and which was based solely on two blurry photos taken at least 60 years ago….

Artspace Helps Artists Remain in Neighborhoods They Revitalize

It’s a paradox that artists who pioneer the renaissance of blighted industrial neighborhoods often are displaced when the areas become gentrified. Artspace Projects, Inc., a non-profit, real-estate developer, offers an alternate solution. The organization, which was founded in Minneapolis in 1979, rehabilitates and manages mixed-use buildings in rundown areas, paving the way for neighborhood revitalization but ensuring that affordable work…

An Unlikely Village Marked by Eco Prowess

“Ecovillage” is not a term that comes to mind when describing Shaw, a low-income neighborhood in northwest Washington, D.C. For starters, there aren’t any lush vistas and protected natural areas—this is the inner city—nor are there brightly colored roofs with glinting, environmentally friendly solar panels. There’s no clearly organized “village” center, unless you count the Metro stop. Yet Shaw does…

Gae Aulenti’s Theater of Italian Design

Architect, industrial and interior designer, curator, urban planner, lecturer, theorist, and author: There are few design professions that Gae Aulenti has not practiced. Among the prodigious Italian’s works are the FIAT showrooms in Brussels and Zurich (1969-70); the Musée d’Orsay (1980-86) and reinstallation of the Musée National d’Art Moderne at Centre Pompidou (1982-85), both in Paris; the Pipistrello lamp for…

Architecture Takes Center Stage

Regardless of what you think of the schemes presented on December 18—whether you find them glorious or ominous, whether any of the ideas make their way into the final plan or are used to distract—last week’s unveiling of new plans for the World Trade Center site at the Winter Garden was a remarkable event. Architecture took center stage in an…

Righteous Duo Preserves, Adapts Buffalo’s Architecture

If Ani DiFranco left Buffalo, N.Y., she’d be following a trend: The population of the blue-collar town has been shrinking for years. But singer/songwriter has never followed the crowd. With longtime manager Scot Fisher, DiFranco started an independent music label, Righteous Babe Records, and based it in Buffalo. Thirty releases and 13 years later, she and Fisher are still there,…

CASA Latina: A Home for Seattle’s Day Laborers

Immigrant day laborers are the shadow people, a peripatetic tribe who exist on the edges of society. Uncertainty govern these workers’ lives, for their constantly uprooting isolates them and leaves them at-risk for problems ranging from financial exploitation to inadequate health care. It was to help counteract these troubles that Seattle’s CASA Latina was created. A non-profit organization, CASA (Centro…

Libeskind Meets Metropolis

Earlier this month, architect Daniel Libeskind, his wife and partner Nina Libeskind, and their public relations agent came to visit Metropolis’s offices here in New York City. During our luncheon of pasta and sandwiches, Libeskind discussed the exacting research process he uses for every public project, including his front-running scheme for the World Trade Center site. He told us about…

Using a B.U.G. to Promote Urban Design

Is city life just a big game? From Sept. 3-7, it was for Minneapolis and St. Paul’s residents and visitors, who found themselves following three 25-foot-tall game pieces through the streets of the Twin Cities. The event, called the Big Urban Game (B.U.G.), urged participants to use their familiarity with the area to choose the fastest course through the streets….

Urban Cycling: A Tale of Two Cities

Picture yourself walking in a city where the predominant sounds are the rotational clink of chains and the whir of spokes punctuated occasionally by bells ringing or warning calls when you’ve drifted into a bicycle lane. You can hear the sounds of conversation down the block, of doors onto the street opening and closing, of footsteps. Now imagine standing on…

Santiago Calatrava at Metropolis: His Work and His Inspirations

We were eager to engage Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava in conversation when he came to Metropolis’s New York City offices recently while in the United States working on various projects and speaking engagements. Here was the man whose ability to combine natural form with high technology has been memorably realized at the Milwaukee Art Museum among other buildings, and whose…

Exhibit Visits Urban Renewal’s ‘Scenes of Crime’

In retrospect, Urban Renewal, the post-World War II program that demolished undesirable urban areas in an attempt to heal cities, has a lot in common with the old medical practice of leeching. Contemplating each, you’re first relieved the idea is no longer popular, then you can’t help wondering, “What the hell were they thinking?” A new exhibit on Urban Renewal…

Can Grain Elevators Resuscitate Buffalo’s Economy?

If you find yourself at the right place along Buffalo, New York’s waterfront, and the wind cooperates, you can still detect a tinge of sugary sweetness in the air, floating, it seems, off the banks of the Buffalo River. It is the aroma of industry, and it comes from one of the two grain elevators that still operate here at…