Cities

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….

42nd Street Subway Station’s Supergraphics

At 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue, for example, all trains are stopping on the express track so that workers can finish retiling the walls. The station is scheduled for completion in December. Squire J. Vickers designed the Independent System (IND) in 1925 and, according to architectural historian John Kriskiewicz, its Machine Age aesthetic represented a design departure for Vickers, the…

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…

Looking Up at 55 Water Street

New York City is filled with privately owned public parks and plazas provided by real estate developers in exchange for permission to build taller skyscrapers. More a business tactic than a public service, these exchanges are often grudging concessions, the price of building huge amounts of rental space on a crowded island. No wonder, then, that the city’s public spaces…

Food Sculpture in Boston

CANSTRUCTION is a national community service project sponsored by the Society of Design Administration. Designers create sculptures using non-perishable foods-principally cans-and the food is donated to local charities. In Boston, 19 sculptures have been on display since October 28 at the Boston Design Center, the Museum of Science, and South Station—all in Boston. The sculptures were created out of 40,000…

Peddling a Fiction

How should New Yorkers greet the news that the United States Olympic Committee last week selected our city as the American candidate to host the 2012 summer games? With a great deal of skepticism, a sigh of relief upon realizing this is only the first hurdle for local Olympic boosters, and an obvious question: how can a city facing multi-billion…