Cities

Splish Splash: Water Recycling for Kids

Thanks to a New York City Department of Environmental Protection grant of $500,000 and some ingenuity at the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, play fountains at Seward Park, on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, ran throughout the drought-stricken summer. Artie Rollins, deputy chief of technical services for the parks department, devised an ingenious recycling system that collects runoff…

MVRDV: Beyond the Burbs

MVRDV, in case you haven’t heard, is actor Brad Pitt’s favorite architecture firm. If such a designation doesn’t brand the Dutch trio—Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, and Nathalie de Vries—as hip in your book, then their work will, based on a new exhibition at the Yale School of Architecture that runs through October 25. As “3D City: Studies in Density”…

Star-Struck Furniture Design

The furniture designer to the stars, Charles Hollis Jones, is enjoying his first retrospective at the R 20th Century’s R Gallery in New York City. Entitled “Seeing Clearly,” the exhibit runs until December 31. Hollis Jones is situated between mid-century modernism and postmodernism, and his eclectic experimentation with forms, ranging from the biomorphic (Waterfall love seat, 1968) to the popular…

Two Shows, Similar Messages

Jeffrey Kipnis, the curator of architecture and design for the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio, defines a perfect act of architecture as an “innovative design tool, as the articulation of a new direction, or as a creation of consummate artistic merit.” That definition does not necessarily include the completed structure, however. Kipnis assembled works on paper from…

Engine Co. 22, Ladder Co. 13

After taking the kids to school this morning, I decided to mark the anniversary of 9/11 at my local firehouse. By 8:30 a.m. a large group of Upper East Siders had gathered on both sides of 85th Street. The station’s garage door was open and firefighters were milling about, trying to put a normal face on the day. But their…

Point and Counterpoint with Andy Warhol

If one image persists from “Possession Obsession: Objects from Andy Warhol’s Personal Collection,” it may be of endless cookie jars. Anchoring one wall of the exhibit, which first opened at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, the cookie jars are reminiscent of Warhol’s silk screens of Marilyn Monroe. Those Technicolor faces appear repetitive and undifferentiated, but begging for closer inspection,…

At Last: Enlightened Ideas for the WTC Site

When the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. first released six plans for redeveloping the World Trade Center site in August, New York was served a heaping portion of mediocrity. The Port Authority asked us to embrace a tangle of structures surrounding a vacant lot. New Yorkers dream of a place of daylight, beauty, and grandeur. The dream is what architecture can…

Rockwell Shines in Hairspray

Tracy Turnbald is asleep in her bed. But hers is no ordinary bed. This bed is seen from a bird’s eye view of Tracy’s room, with 45-rpms and other, familiar ’60s teenage paraphernalia scattered about. Tracy unzips the bed covers, jumps onto the stage and thus begins the saga of how one teenage loser becomes queen of the hop, and…

A Day in the Country at our Printing Plant

My first job, in the summer of my 14th year, was in a New Jersey baby clothes factory. Though this was to be a short engagement—someone reported me to the child welfare people who put an end to my working days for the next two years—it made a lasting impression. And so whenever I hear of an opportunity to visit…

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….

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…

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…

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…

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.

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…