Cities

The New ‘21’ Club

On a recent hot summer night METROPOLIS and a host of New York’s design insiders gathered at the R20thcentury gallery to celebrate the magazine’s 21st anniversary. Surrounded by the cool lines of vintage mid-twentieth century furniture, METROPOLIS staff and friends discussed the future of twenty-first century design over the evening’s official drink, the “21.” While “21” was the buzzword throughout…

What Exactly Is a Design Study?

The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) held a strange press conference today at the New York Design Center. The accompanying press release announced “an invitation to the most innovative architects and planners around the world to participate in an LMDC design study regarding the future of the World Trade Center site and surrounding areas.” If you read that quickly, you…

New Wadsworth Worthwhile

If a museum expansion were measured by its Bilbao effect alone, UN Studio’s design for the expansion of the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Conn., would register only a small blip on the iconographic radar screen. It doesn’t rise up from the ground in a titanium spiral nor does it sit on a riverfront, poised to take flight over a city….

Who’s Listening to Whom

I arrived at the “Listening to the City” event at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City on Saturday , armed with my notebook and my cynicism. I was anxious to see the reaction of the “public” to the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey plans of last week, but suspicious and…

The Not-So-Loyal Opposition

Saturday’s event at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City was almost a case study in what the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and developer Larry Silverstein face should they try to dictate the tenor and pace of development at the WTC site. Now I’m not so naïve as to I…

Double Dutch Summer

If you’re in search of a primer on the recent history of typography and magazine layouts, get yourself to the American Institute of Graphic Arts. Through August 23, the AIGA hosts “Roadshow: Dutch Graphic Design 1990-2000,” just one in a flurry of Dutch design events taking place in New York City this summer. By exhibiting Dutch graphic designers’ work from…

Renzo’s Charm Offensive

Renzo Piano was in San Francisco to unveil the schematic design for his newest project—and he poured on the charm as only the Italian architect can.

Renzo Piano was in San Francisco to unveil the schematic design for his newest project—and he poured on the charm as only the Italian architect can.

Tschumi Steps Down

On June 30, 2002 Bernard Tschumi, dean of Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation announced he will step down from his position next year. “Fifteen years is an architectural generation,” said Tschumi in a press release put out by the university. “It is time for a new person to take over, and for the school to enter a…

Lab Specimens

When the World Trade Center came down, architects were suddenly thrown into the public spotlight to offer insight, and many of their imaginations ran wild. In contrast, the Canadian Centre for Architecture’s “Laboratories,” on display until mid-September, tries to achieve public catharsis through introspection. The CCA chose six Montreal firms, each less than 15 years old, to construct installations that…

Illuminating San Francisco

Metropolis was in San Francisco for Lightfair International 2002, the annual architectural and commercial lighting trade show, June 2-5 at the Moscone Convention Center. The conference is sponsored by the International Association of Lighting Designers and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America. There were more than 400 exhibitors from around the globe with a range of lighting products, many…

Tracks are Tracks?

At a recent event sponsored by the American Institute of Architect’s New York chapter, Robert Davidson, chief architect for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, uttered what I sincerely hope is not a prophetic line. “Tracks are basically tracks,” he said at one point in his PowerPoint presentation, describing the Port Authority’s current effort to restore downtown…

The Forgotten Resident of Lower Manhattan

Residents from Chinatown and the Lower East Side held a rally on June 5th in Foley Square, protesting the city and federal government’s response to 9-11. They carried placards reading, “Rebuild NYC, Rebuild Our Lives” and “Health Care NOT Toxic Air.” The chants—in both English and Chinese—singled out the Federal Emergency Management Administration (“F-E-M-A, Fema’s got to pay!”) and the…

Antique Modern

Modernist architecture enthusiasts are still reeling from the recent destruction of Richard Neutra’s Maslon House in Rancho Mirage, California. The demolition captures the central paradox of preserving modernist homes: even when designed by greats like William Lescaze, Albert Frey, or Pierre Koenig, they’re still, well, modern. Their relative lack of age, as well as their dissimilarity from the typical landmarked…

Taming the NYPL’s Lions

According to librarian Rodney Phillips, the most frequently asked question at the New York Public Library is, “Where are the books?” Patrons already intimidated by the Beaux Arts building and its stone lions can’t always figure out how to use this public service when all of its offerings are kept in stacks behind closed doors. Is this any way for…

MVRDV Wins NAi Prize

Dutch architects MVRDV won the 2002 NAi Prize for their Hageneiland housing project, the Netherlands Architecture Institute announced this month. The prize salutes the best buildings by Dutch architects who are younger than 40. While architects elsewhere often wait years to realize their designs, this is not so in the Netherlands where young designers are given opportunities to turn their…

Designing Blast Protection

A test explosion shockwave, expanding, then engulfing and destroying two structures, was shown on a video clip at a recent meeting of the Greater New York Construction User Council, a group of building owners and users of construction services focused on improving the management and cost effectiveness of construction. The clip underscored the event’s topic: the vulnerability of buildings to…

Of Waves and Wood

Rem Koolhaas’s “Wave” floor at the new Prada store in New York’s Soho may have caused a giddy ripple in design circles, but according to environmentalists it’s a wave of destruction. The building’s ground floor—which undulates to create a combo seating area/shoe rack—is made of zebrawood, which is logged illegally in the threatened rainforests of Cameroon in Africa. While it’s…

Seven to Save

The Preservation League of New York State announced its third annual Seven to Save list for 2002 at a recent Municipal Art Society (MAS) press conference. Two New York City sites are on it: Eero Saarinen’s TWA terminal at JFK and the High Line, the abandoned elevated freight line that snakes 1.45 miles through the lower west side of Manhattan….

Moss Wins Queens Museum of Art Competition

Eric Owen Moss Architects of Culver City, CA, won the Queens Museum of Art (QMA), Queens, NY, design competition. The jury winnowed the 198 entrants down to five finalists in early September. Located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, site of the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs, the museum sits next to the Unisphere and served as fair pavilion in 1939….

Miami’s Hidden Metropolis

This past October Metropolis was invited to Miami, to celebrate the 2002 release of Design Is… Words, Things, People, Buildings, and Places, the first book produced by the magazine. Hosted by Kartell at their new showroom in the Miami Design District, the evening was a mixture of design, culture, and fun. Guests mingled while Susan S. Szenasy, Metropolis Editor in…