Point of View - Point of View April 2011

 

Q&A: Hunter Lovins

For our 30th anniversary issue, I interviewed three pioneers in the green building movement: Bill McDonough, USGBC President and CEO Rick Fedrizzi, and Hunter Lovins. It turns out all three of them share a common approach to environmentalism. They engage with business, rather than confront it. I’d call it second (or maybe third) wave activism. And no one has been…

Q&A: Allan Chochinov

How do you give the familiar and frankly, outdated, design competition new life? We went for answers to Core 77, the popular website that takes a critical, yet supportive, approach to design reporting. Their competition, about to close for entry submissions on May 3, relies on fresh, exciting, new approaches to a long-outdated way of judging design. The competition organizers…

Plastic Pollution

Beth Terry shared these nurdles and plastic fragments found on Marin, Calif.’s Kehoe Beach in March 2010. Photo: Becca Harsch. Manuel Maqueda says we’re stuck midway. We understand plastic pollution issues, but we don’t have the solutions. The voice of the Earth is not being heard, Maqueda, co-founder of Plastic Pollution Coalition, says. He was driven to seek plastic pollution…

From Reclamation to Renewal

Hong Kong Island (view from Kowloon), photo: wired-destinations.com. Our interdisciplinary team, supported by the Runstad Center at the University of Washington, recently went on a research trip to Hong Kong. We were there to view the city through a multifaceted lens, looking to identify success metrics and their outcomes within the built environment. This led us to interview a diverse…

Plastiki

Looking at my overstuffed book shelves I wonder if and when I might join the e-reader set. Just then a lovely book reminds me how this media offers something that no digital text nor fun web site nor quality documentary nor video on YouTube can: a personal, intimate, tactile experience with printed word and image, bound together in a package…

Minnesota Students in Haiti

We are among six students and one professor, from the University of Minnesota Architecture School working in Haiti on the Collège Mixte LaConcorde Orphanage project, under the auspices of Architecture for Humanity (AFH), to design a school and orphanage complex from site-work to construction documents in Carrefour, Haiti.  AFH’s relief efforts here are currently being operated out of the Petion-Ville…

The Rocky Road to Green Design

Photo: Morley Von Sternberg. It’s ironic to think that some of the most pleasant and appealing structures in the U.S. have had some of the most painful births. Take Yale’s Kroon Hall. This $33.5 million LEED Platinum flagship building of the University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (FES), opened last spring, has the comforting exterior of a classic Connecticut…

Interior Design Films

Last month, attendees at the annual Interior Design Educators Council (IDEC) conference, were shown the best films chosen from this year’s Interior Design Education Video Competition. Aiming to change the public perception of the profession, the competition asked students to demonstrate the quality of interior design education and industry standards. This year’s theme:  “How is the public’s health, safety and…

Selling Shells

 One reason the U.S. government has been pushing for home ownership is because it’s said to reduce turnover and build strong communities. But, as I learned on a recent trip to Hong Kong, there may be other ways to get there. Some background might be helpful here: In many Asian countries, commercial building landlords don’t finance tenant improvement allowances (the…

SaloneSatellite

When forecasting the trends we’d see at Salone, we imagined that designers would invent new ways to maximize space, and that portability and adaptive re-use would be seen everywhere. But we encountered one surprising trend: designers weaving new concepts utilizing the abstractions of Space, Place and Time. Here’s what we saw at the SaloneSatellite, featuring 700 young designers, 20 international…

Taking Action

All hands on deck. The greywater install team. Photo: Simran Sethi. A consensus is emerging that water conservation is about to become one of the preeminent issues facing humanity. A recent survey suggests that 36 states anticipate water shortages as early as 2013. Parts of Africa are already experiencing deadly tribal conflicts over water rights as climate change alters access,…

2011’s Cream of the Green

The six-acre green roof of the Vancouver Convention Center, one of the Top Ten Green projects of 2011. Last Thursday was Earth Day, and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) took the opportunity to announce its list of the Top Ten Green projects of 2011. As always, the list features a diverse set…

Play at Salone 2011

Jacopo Foggini at the INTERNI exhibition. Photo: Paul Clemence. The Milan Salone is going full blast and millions of micro to macro world views can be heard there. One moment you might see the exhibit of Italy’s largest design magazine, Interni, which challenged well-known “macro” architects to create “mutant and adaptable” larger than life building forms and the next, an…

Design, Science, and Unpredictability

Tim Brown and Michael Murphy at “State of Design.” Photo: Sean Hemmerle. Assessing the state of anything, let alone the whole design profession, seems a daunting task today. But Tim Brown, the CEO of the design firm IDEO, and Michael Murphy, of MASS architects, got together to do just that at “State of Design” last month.  Responding to questions by…

From the Field

We’ve flown over Italy’s verdant fields, their shapes determined by borders of rivers and forests, a random patchwork that brings to mind a conversation between the land and its artistic expressions. In Milan, we’re set out to explore the Salone through the eyes of local artisans, those involved in creating the new neighborhoods of Isola. Designers, crafts people, and gallerists…

Places that Work: Holland’s Sidewalks

Years ago, a small town in Michigan, best known for its annual tulip festival, diverted waste heat from its power plant into pipes that run under streets and sidewalks in the central business district.  For generations Hollanders have appreciated their forefathers’ prescient decisions, especially in hard, freezing winters with their Lake Effect snow storms.  Thanks to the underground pipes, no…

Collecting Type

Photo: Irina Lee. Last week, the Metropolis art department headed up to MoMA to for a panel discussion between the museum’s design curator, Paola Antonelli and two renowned type designers, Matthew Carter (2010 MacArthur Grant recipient) and Jonathan Hoefler. The event was presented by the AIGA. MoMA recently acquired 23 typefaces for its collection, which are part of the new…

Crowdsourced and Networked

Bio-filtering canals at the Expo 2015 in Milan. Hiving together at a watercooler, a railway platform, a trade show or a World Expo for “crowdsourced” ideas and innovation is as necessary for our evolution as the ideas buzzing on Twitter. Given our lightspeed online community of ideas, some may question the relevancy of World Expos today. But let’s remember that…

Q&A: Denise Guerin

Denise Guerin at the IDEC’s annual conference, photo: Sarah R. Donahue. I recently sat down with Denise Guerin, 2010-2011 president of the Interior Design Education Council (IDEC), after the organization’s annual meeting. She shared her concerns and optimism for the education of young designers, the need for more qualified instructors, and how practitioners can make the transition into teaching. While…

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