Point of View - Point of View April 2012

 

The Tiny Streets and Trinity Row Houses of Philadelphia

Trinities, built to house the artisan classes of the 18th century, and the narrow streets that contain them, warrant a closer look.

Some of America’s first urban workers lived in a unique type of Philadelphia home called a Trinity. Examples date from 1720. Trinities were built to house the artisan classes flocking to a burgeoning city; but while these workers moved on to populate America, the Trinity House didn’t follow them. But the Trinity and the narrow streets that contain them warrant a…

Racing Past a Gigawatt

The college experience,  a quintessential right of passage, has always been about camaraderie, experiences, and learning. Whether your experience was full of all-nighters, hair-pulling group projects, or last page computer crashes; in the end college prepares us for the “real world” and all its challenges. On some campuses, learning to deal with real world challenges includes tackling issues surrounding sustainable…

What’s Happening in the Workplace?

“May you live in interesting times.” So goes the Chinese curse.  And make no mistake, ours is one of the most “interesting times” we’ve ever experienced. I’ve been around long enough to remember working pre-computer, Internet, email, Apple products, and even pre-fax machines. The amount of change in my lifetime has been staggering and the pace of that change is…

Behind the Scenes at Salone Satellite

It had been five minutes and still I could hardly breathe. The Alps were right there, outside the airplane’s windows and they were spectacular. When I finally resumed breathing—the turbulence also played a role in my bated breath—it occurred to me that here we were, three Americans setting siege upon Italy in hopes of staking some claim in the Mecca…

Frank Gehry: “There’s not Enough Humanity in Buildings”

In conversation with Paul Goldberger at the Yale School of Architecture, the master blob-maker suggested that technology could be used to humanize the profession.

Disney Concert Hall Sometimes, you need to hear what you already know. A nightcap on the Open House events last Thursday, a conversation between Paul Goldberger and Frank Gehry didn’t bring to the fore any new insights on illustrious Gehry’s career, let alone reveal some new trajectory of the profession. Yet the themes that arose in their casual chatter—insecurity, intuition,…

Places that Work: National Museum of the American Indian

The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) is a place that works because it attempts to reflect the cultures of those who first inhabited the Western Hemisphere. Located on the National Mall in Washington DC and operated by the Smithsonian Institution, the NMAI opened in 2004. There were many Native American architects affiliated with the project, initially lead by…

The Price of an Experience

Earlier this month, visitors to PS1 in Queens could find a particularly immersive multimedia experience in the white geodesic “performance dome” currently occupying the museum’s courtyard. Inside, four large video projections circled the dome around a central DJ stand and drum kit. Around that stood the audience, who soon found themselves lying on the ground for a better view of…

Seattle Undergrads Challenge Design Students Everywhere

Artificial turf is an ecological nightmare, and it often goes straight to the landfill when it's replaced. How can designers make better use of it?

As a child growing up in the damp Pacific Northwest, I assumed that playing in mud was a part of going outdoors. Whether I hiked up trails or played flag-football at the playing field, slippery conditions were a part of the game, and we all expected to come home a muddy mess. Then, towards the end of my adolescence, many…

“Park” Proposes A Topographical Link Across Seattle’s City Parks

A finalist for the URBAN INTERVENTION ideas competition, "Park" proposes combining the disparate parts of the Seattle Center campus into a unified solution.

“Park” team: Koning Eizenberg and Arup In response to the design brief for Urban Intervention, a design ideas competition being hosted  Seattle Center and AIA Seattle, “Park”, one of the three finalists proposes just what its name implies: a park-like setting that addresses the 9 acre Memorial Stadium site and provides a new organization for the many disparate parts of…

Where Do Politics, Architecture, and the City Intersect?

For architects, engaging politics seems inevitable.

Courtesy Shanghai Expo Imagine the bubble architecture students find themselves trapped in while pursuing higher education: long hours cradling a mouse demote food and sleep, much less investigations of non-disciplinary theory. How wonderful, then, that the Roth-Symonds Memorial Lecture Fund supports lectures and small-group meetings to expose Yale School of Architecture students to speakers outside architecture; past lecturers have included…

Metropolis’ Dream Hotels Directory

As a companion to our April issue cover story, The Dream Hotel, we have created a Directory of the most interesting, designer-approved hotels around the world.

Amangiri, Canyon Point, Utah, picked by designer Amy Lau for its great view (photo courtesy Kempinski Hotels) I have many pet peeves that, I wager, are shared by most travelers today. Among these moments of discomfort are the endless security lines and rude TSA agents, tight seats on planes, indifferent service, noisy and hyper active hotel lobbies, rooms with inoperable windows…

Gerding Edlen on The Softer Side of Real Estate Development

Portland-based developer Gerding Edlen on the importance of designing for the “software” side of a building--the occupants and community.

Living in a big city can be hard. If you live in New York, you have probably quoted the famous song, “If I make it there, I can make it anywhere.” But Portland-based developer Gerding Edlen recognizes the need for giving a softer side to the city. They develop buildings that, from my perspective, promise to be soft on communities,…

The Not-So-Hidden Agenda Against Gehry’s DC Memorial

The project may become a victim in a culture war, where ideas like Modernism, abstraction, and uncertainty are perceived as products of “liberal elites.

Images courtesy Eisenhower Memorial Commission This morning I received a breathless (as in, accusatory! alarming!) press release from an organization called the National Civic Art Society. They’re the Washington-based group that’s orchestrated much of the opposition to Frank Gehry’s proposed design for the Eisenhower Memorial. “National Civic Art Society Calls Attention to Conspicuous Gap in the Eisenhower Memorial Commission’s Meeting Minutes,”…

Design-friendly, Creation-friendly, Innovation-friendly

Economic and industrial models are crumbling. Economists everywhere seem incapable of predicting or solving problems facing Western countries. The reality is that universities of economics, recently recognized by the Shanghai ranking for the quality of their research, have not turned out the “finders”, who alongside researchers, are expected to provide solutions to calm the stormy seas that lie ahead. Moreover,…

Q&A: Kevin Theobald

We at Metropolis have a longstanding interest in lighting design for obvious reasons. Without lighting excellence—be it subtle, dramatic, tech-savvy, or just plain old fashioned, depending on what’s being lit and for what purpose—our appreciation of the built environment would be primitive indeed. From the urban street to the building’s form and facade to the interior—and all details and scales…

NYU’s “Scale Back” Is Just Part of Developer’s Long-Game

NYU's announcement to scale back back its controversial expansion may seem promising, but this is a move straight from the developer’s playbook.

New York University announced yesterday that it was scaling back its controversial plans for expansion by “almost a fifth.” Wow, now that’s a significant number, you might think, if you didn’t already know how these cynical games are played. The school had originally proposed adding 2.5-million-square feet of dorms, classrooms and commercial space to the two superblocks it owns south…

Science for Designers: The Transformation of Wholes

The most commonly held and influential idea about design, that it’s the art of bringing unrelated parts into a composition, is not accurate.

The most commonly held and influential idea about design, that it’s the art of bringing unrelated parts into a composition, is not accurate.

In-Closure: A Park for Seattle That Any Citizen Can Claim

One of the three finalists for the URBAN INTERVENTION ideas competition proposes an enclosed bucolic landscape where local groups can claim territory.

“The -closure project goes far beyond a plain “public space”…it is the place where urban micro-events happen…conveying a social and interdependent economy based on time – a new type of commodity money to chat, debate, help ideas to germinate, be involved in community service, help, learn, play, relax, stroll, improve…” (ABF narrative) What is the nature of public space in…

The New Architect Is an Anti-Establishment, Problem-Solving Entrepreneur

Or so says François Roche, the head of Paris-based practice R&Sie(n), known for its syntheses of digital media, nanotechnology, and botany.

Portrait of Roche This past Monday the anti-establishment infiltrated Yale School of Architecture in a dashing gold scarf. Seducing the audience with a breathless stream of Franglais, whose charm derived from the speaker’s sheer enthusiasm for his subject, François Roche rose to a god-like status typically only afforded movie stars. And if there were a god in whose likeness he…

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