Point of View - Point of View August 2012

 

The Responsibility of Discarding Materials Belongs to Everyone

A recent panel discussion explored the necessity of thinking holistically about the life cycles of the materials we regularly throw away.

Rose Tourje, in a screenshot from the short documentary “ANEW: doing what’s right with what’s left.” In the inaugural post of our series on social sustainability, we featured John Peterson of Public Architecture, who had participated in a panel discussion titled “Sustainability Without Borders” at this year’s NeoCon. In this follow-up, we’ll focus on the two other participants in that…

Envision Design Founder Ken Wilson Breaks Down Perkins + Will Acquisition

It seems nary a week (or two) goes by without news of yet another “strategic partnership” or acquisition involving Perkins + Will (P+W).  Last week brought news that Envision Design—the Washington, D.C.-based architecture firm founded by Ken Wilson and Diana Horvat—had joined the P+W fold. For 13 years, Envision carved out a rather impressive niche as green interiors specialists. They…

Smart Things

A hot button topic in architecture and design is intelligence; making cities, cars, products – even our wrists – smarter. What if your air conditioner was smarter? What if your smart phone could tell you when someone was in your apartment? What if your iPad told you that it was raining at home, but no worries, your windows are closed?…

Q&A: Architect & Novelist Peter Wheelwright

His brave foray into the fictive environment from the built environment inspired me to talk to Peter about architecture, creativity, and new worlds.

I read fiction whenever I can carve out a quiet hour or two, which I must admit ruefully, is very hard to find in my frenetic metropolitan life. But when I come across a narrative that provides a richly grained context of place, time, connectivity with human foibles and a linkage to well-defined segments of humanity’s accumulated body of knowledge,…

Civic Waterfronts

Shimmering water stretches out before you. In the backdrop the city glitters and the stones whisper to the waves. A warm breeze blows through the trees while you, from your perch on a slab of granite, cool your heels in the flowing waters and admire the stars you rarely see. That’s what I imagine when I think of a waterfront…

The Center for Architecture’s Director on Redesigning New York’s Scaffolding

Rick Bell talks a new competition to replace the city's protective scaffolding system, Archtober, and bringing down disciplinary boundaries.

This fall season’s shows and programs promise to bring important educational opportunities for anyone interested in the built environment. The most intense learning opportunities in New York City are coming to the Center for Architecture, home to the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIANYC). Among the upcoming programs is the exhibition Beyond Zuccotti Park, September 10–22, looks at…

How a Realtor Fell in Love With Eichler Houses and Made a Film About Them

There are 11,000 extant Joseph Eichler homes in the Bay Area. One woman's life changed when she drove by one.

Courtesy Chris Wehling I first noticed Eichlers in Sunnyvale while driving around looking at homes. When I came upon them and felt like I had landed on the moon. They were the most interesting houses that I had ever seen! And I didn’t know anything about them. I immediately drove back to my real estate office and asked people what…

Revealing Details

As a “trigger happy” photographer, aided by the convenience of the digital camera revolution, selecting images from my extensive archives for an exhibit is a challenge. Most recently this challenge came when I was offered a show at a prestigious design showroom in Sao Paulo as part of the BoomSPdesign/DesignWeekend. I began the assignment by gathering clues, first from the…

Q&A: Laurie Kerr, Deputy Director of Energy for the City of New York

Laurie Kerr discusses a first of its kind report on the energy and water use of larger buildings in New York City.

Earlier this month the folks in Mayor Bloomberg’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability released a first of its kind report on the energy and water use of larger buildings in New York City.  The benchmarking report is the result of Local Law 84, which was enacted in 2009 as part of the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan. The legislation requires…

Design as Destination

Hilary Jay presides over DesignPhiladelphia at the University of the Arts and has seen exponential growth in programming as well as attendance since its 2005 debut.

Hilary Jay presides over DesignPhiladelphia at the University of the Arts and has seen exponential growth in programming as well as attendance since its 2005 debut.

To Preserve or Demolish? The Challenge of Owning Modern Buildings

In many cases, the demolition of modern buildings could certainly seem simpler than renovation. But there are some key questions that need to be asked.

Our last post, The Preservationist Perspective, addressed a key issue we typically face regarding the value of mid-twentieth century modern buildings and their reuse. Here we examine the issue of owners and occupants. To preserve their sizable real estate investments, to enhance the value of their properties, and to ensure that their occupants/tenants continue to lease their spaces, owners must…

Steven Holl Doesn’t See Himself as an “American” Architect

The recipient of the 2013 AIA Gold Medal doesn't think their is anything distinctly "American" about his career or buildings.

The Daeyang Gallery and House in Seoul, Korea, by Steven Holl Architects Courtesy Iwan Baan This year, the American Institute of Architects conferred its highest honor, the AIA Gold Medal, upon Steven Holl. I had the opportunity to talk with Steven about his sources of inspiration, a mid-career enlightenment, and his recent recognition as one of the most celebrated “American”…

Global Forum BoomSPdesign Surveys What Makes Great Design Today

In Sao Paulo, Brazil, the global forum BoomSPdesign will focus on the issues of good design, including its often ignored and less glamorous sides.

What is good design? It achieves function in an efficient and inspired way. While this formula usually makes for some unique creations it can also reduce design to something that’s “cool”. But fulfilling a function also implies that design is a service. Designers meet the needs that feed the demands of the market (or the client); a new building, a…

Pfifferling: The Deli-Cum-Restaurant Shaking Up Swiss Dining

Designer Christian Speck has used purely Swiss DNA to rather radically reengineer the way tradition-bound Basel dines out.

Pfifferling deli, photo by Paul  Clemence This summer I visited two design-obsessed friends in Basel, Switzerland. After a long morning weaving among the works of Herzog & de Meuron (the firm’s hometown brims with their buildings), all I wanted was to quiet my burning brain with a plate of food – the simpler the better. It was already past noon,…

New York City Needs Bike Laws Before Bike Lanes

As New York City prepares to unveil its bike-sharing plan, we must ask whether the laws governing the streets, and their enforcement, can keep bikers safe?

In June, 24-year-old Emma Blumstein was bicycling along Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn, in the bike lane, when a flatbed truck turned in front of her. She went under the wheels, and was killed. In May, Mireya Gomez, 50, was bicycling along Roosevelt Avenue in Queens when a car traveling in the same direction struck and killed her. In April, Mike…

Places that Work: Soundcape

In Orlando’s Peabody Hotel’s public spaces, a positive experience is created by the sounds of water flowing and splashing. Gently moving water makes us comfortable. Its rhythmic, primal sounds soothe away the everyday stresses of modern life. Though we have known, instinctively, about the psychological boost we get from listening to moving water–even before the effect was investigated by scientists…

The London Olympics Are Over. Now What?

The city has introduced concepts of temporality in its buildings, unlike previous Olympic hosts. But will they be enough?

Just as Danny Boyle’s cinematic representation of England’s transition from a pastoral, farming nation to the leaders of the industrial revolution, London’s East End has been going through a transition of its own in preparation for the Olympic Games. The next question that begs analysis, and dare I say it, the delightfully sarcastic judgment that so often begets British dialogue,…

What’s It Like to Be an Illustrator for the Mayo Clinic

In the seven weeks since I started my Maharam STEAM Fellowship at the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation. I’ve been asked that question by a lot of people. The good news is, I’m finding new answers to it every day. I’m a little more than half way done with my time here and already I’ve shadowed midwives and doctors, acted…

Lisl Close, the Twin Cities Architect With a Modernist Vision

A memorial gathering for the late architect Elizabeth Scheu Close, who would have turned 100 this month, was bittersweet.

252 Bedford Street SE, Minneapolis.  Built in 1938 for $7,643 for Ray Faulkner, E. Ziegfeld and G. Hill.  It is known as the Lippincott house and still stands. It is across the street from Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1934 Willey House. This is the first house Win and Lisl designed after going out on their own. Courtesy Tom Trow On a hot…

Radical Collaborations

I never thought that a place like the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation (CFI) could exist in the real world. Yet, as I found out, radical collaborations happen every day here. Though everyone talks about how great cross-disciplinary collaboration is, in reality, the difficulties of getting two completely different sets of people to speak the same language, much less to…

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