Metropolis Magazine - Metropolis Magazine January 2010

 

What’s Next: Health Care

Health-care design, once the province of sterile, faintly inhumane patient wards, is finally developing a bedside manner. Thanks to a field known as evidence-based design, we now know that how a hospital looks and feels plays a big role in how well it treats patients. That research, which details the environmental particulars of recovery down to the best floor pattern…

What’s Next: Public Health

America is getting fat fast. Between 1980 and 2004, obesity doubled among adults. As a nation, we now spend as much as $147 billion annually on associated health-care costs. The epidemic has obvious implications for the built environment: manufacturers are now producing chairs that can support 750 pounds, while the public-health community has issued a cry for a corrective: walkable…

What’s Next: Retail

Shopping as we know it is dead. Unsightly malls and big-box inefficiencies are giving way to a more sophisticated kind of retail as families and retirees increasingly trade the suburbs for city life, and digital tools seamlessly insinuate themselves into our daily rituals. “The world of retail is going to change more in the next ten years than it has…

What’s Next: Materials

Tomorrow’s materials will be cleaner and greener than today’s: long-lasting biopolymers, LEDs in unexpected places, and products that give new meaning to the adage that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Andrew Dent, vice president of library and materials research for Material ConneXion, has the details. ONE year: DURABLE BIOPOLYMERS “Newly developed biopolymers that tout compostability have had a…

What’s Next: Landscape Architecture

As climate change threatens to reshape our world, landscape architecture seems poised to play a leading role in creating an environmentally sound and effective response. We’ve asked a landscape designer, a landscape architect, and a Dutch civil engineer to discuss strategies for the future. All are in broad agreement that lasting and sustainable solutions should circle back to the land….

What’s Next: Infrastructure

The nation’s infrastructure faces a grim future. Last year, the American Society of Civil Engineers looked at bridges, roadways, drinking-water systems, and other civic works and graded them a cumulative D. Getting to a B, ASCE estimated, will cost $2.2 trillion over the next five years. (President Obama’s less than $100 billion stimulus was a mere down payment.) So while…

Bjarke Ingels

The founding principal of BIG talks about refurbishing the surface of the planet, the big question, and the runner’s high.

What’s Next: Energy

During the last century, our electrical grid was a symbol of progress, bringing cheap and abundant power to cities and towns across the country. The system was fed by a small number of large plants that distributed energy in one direction. “Today, we’re moving toward a much more highly distributed, dynamic, and interactive grid that will manage a global network of…

What’s Next: Hospitality

The sector that once seemed to crank out a new Nobu each week has had to learn to make do with less. Much less. To hear David Rockwell, the high priest of chichi hospitality design, tell it, that’s a good thing. “There is a greater opportunity to be more imaginative and experimental with fewer resources,” says Rockwell, whose portfolio incidentally…

Back to the Future

A school dedicated to design-based learning opens in the very building where GM’s legendary Harley Earl became the father of the modern car.

What’s Next: Green Building

Despite all the talk about net-zero and net-positive architecture, green buildings remain elusive for the mainstream. There are, however, some promising developments: state and municipal tax incentives, stricter building codes, and commercial real estate honchos who have finally figured out that sustainable design stuffs cash into their pockets. Progress hangs on the tricky interplay of public policy and technology. Here…

What’s Next: Preservation

The future of preserving the past has arrived. Whether it’s green retrofitting, safeguarding ancient trades, or preparing buildings for the next Katrina, conservationists are finding smart ways to salvage the existing building stock. “Preservation means preserving what’s there, but it also means you can preserve the life of buildings if you make them more sustainable,” says Richard Moe, president of the…

What’s Next: Design Education

Mark Wigley, dean of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, believes his school has a mission to act as a laboratory for other institutions. And he thinks that task will take on greater significance as universities become increasingly globalized. “At Columbia, we have no interest in the Starbucks model of the branch campus, where you distribute good…

Grand Obsession

Parcours Muséologique Revisité, Robert Polidori’s new, 744-page, three-volume set from Steidl, traces the photographer’s 26-year journey capturing the Palace of Versailles. “I am dealing with a collective superego,” Polidori says in the introduction, “documenting the way a whole society decides to see itself.” Since becoming a historical museum in 1837, the former royal palace has been turned into a curated…

What’s Next: Urban Planning

The 21st-century city faces a host of daunting challenges: projected scarcities of water and energy, rising sea levels, and, ultimately, more people. But the seeds of fairly radical change have already been planted. “I’m convinced we’re in the midst of a transformation that is probably as profound as what happened immediately after the Second World War, when we got all…

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