Point of View - Point of View December 2009

 

Our Most Popular Stories of 2009

With only about a dozen hours to go before the Champagne corks start careening for the New Year and a new decade, now seems like a good time to look back on some of the highlights of dear, dwindling ’09. Here, then, are our most popular stories of the year–both those that were first published in the magazine and those…

Architects and Third-Graders Agree …

We knew architects liked the Chartwell School after it was voted one of the Top Ten Green Projects for 2009 by the AIA. Apparently, students like it too. Last week, UC Berkeley’s Center for the Built Environment (CBE) picked Chartwell, an elementary school in Seaside, California, as the recipient of its 2009 Livable Buildings Award. The prize, given for outstanding…

Letter from Baltimore: Press Credentials

In her monthly “Letter from Baltimore,” Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson writes about architecture, culture, and urbanism in a city more often associated with violent crime than with good design. Click here to read her previous posts. For more by Dickinson, visit her blog, Urban Palimpsest. In 2004, the graphic designer Kat Feuerstein gathered a group of friends, rented a U-Haul, and…

Winter Books Roundup

. Learning from Hangzhou By Mathieu Borysevicz Preface by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown Timezone 8, 330 pp., $45 China is urbanizing at an astounding rate. Those of us who don’t live there might know this from statistics (like: the country consumes more than half the world’s concrete.) Borysevicz, an artist, writer, and filmmaker who splits his time between…

Q&A: Andres Duany and Jeff Speck on The Smart Growth Manual

Who dares say what counts as “smart” when neighborhoods evolve? Look no further than the beige-and-black cover of The Smart Growth Manual. That’s the guide to repurposing American land use, not a guide. Who could claim such authority? Look down the cover for the author credits: this is a volume “from the authors of Suburban Nation,” Andres Duany and Jeff…

NYC Has a New Energy Conservation Code

Click the play button to view the beginning of last week’s “Show Snapshots” event. (Watch parts two and three of the video on our Multimedia page.) Last Wednesday, news was made at the Davis & Warshow bath products showroom. Hilary Beber, a policy analyst in Mayor Bloomberg’s office of long-term planning and sustainability and a panelist that evening, came to…

The Metropolis Minute: An Obama Executive Order

In her monthly editor’s letter, Susan Szenasy presents opinionated takes on some of the most pressing issues in the industry today. After the jump, she discusses a recent executive order by President Obama that promises exciting opportunities for design collaboration. To get this kind of critical, cross-disciplinary design coverage in your mailbox every month, click here to subscribe to Metropolis…

Happy Birthday, Oscar Niemeyer!

Niemeyer in 2005. Photo: Camilla Maia The great Brazilian architect turns 102 today–and, according to an Associated Press report last month, he is already back at work following his recent surgery for gallstones and an intestinal tumor. “I needed to keep busy, keep in touch with friends, maintain my rhythm of life,” he told a local newspaper. Read about Niemeyer’s…

Loving Panton

For more than three decades now, two bright-orange Panton Chairs have graced my apartments in New York City. They started out in the living room, then migrated to the bedroom, and now they’re my dining chairs, to be seen clearly from every angle of my tiny downtown loft. And I love looking at them—their shiny, smooth, sensual plastic forms, their…

Sky Lanterns and Wind Choreography

Back in 2005, we wrote about the artist Janet Echelman’s remarkable textile sculpture installed over a small traffic island in Porto, Portugal. Now we’ve received photos of two more public sculptures by Echelman that again create “wind choreography” through colorful netted forms suspended in the air. After the jump, slide shows of her new work for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic…

Accessibility Watch: Play Time

This week’s Accessibility Watch is travelling south to Rutledge, Georgia. About 50 miles outside of Atlanta, it is home to Camp Twin Lakes, where children with serious illnesses and other life challenges can still enjoy the summer-camp experience, thanks to amenities like climate-controlled cabins, fully accessible recreation facilities, and an on-site medical center. Last summer, the camp opened a monumental…

The Wright Stuff

Last night was the press preview for The Wright, a sleek new restaurant shoehorned into a tiny space at the southwest corner of the Guggenheim Museum. For anyone who remembers its former manifestation–a maroon-walled café crowded with tables and framed photographs–the new interior will seem like a major departure, and an appealing one at that. Designed by the New York…

Drum Roll, Please

It’s been over a year since the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt announced the departure of Paul Thompson and formed a search committee to find a replacement. No official announcements have been made and the staff members I’ve spoken to have either been clueless or mum. So, while doing the rounds in Europe this week, the subject came up again. Names bandied about…

Q&A: Dean Kamen on Sustainable Technologies and the Smart Grid

Dean Kamen is best known as the inventor of the Segway, but lately he has been tinkering with an ambitious array of technologies related in some way to sustainability. His distributed power generation and water purification systems, for instance, might help developing countries leapfrog the need for conventional infrastructure. He’s also delving into small-scale combined heat and power (CHP) systems,…

Recycle Your E-Waste in Manhattan—For Free

If you live on Manhattan island and you’re feeling as guilty as I am for throwing out your old laptop and other electronic devices–or hoarding them in your small apartment because you don’t want to add toxic chemicals to landfills here or in China–relief is coming soon. Starting January 4 and continuing all month, you can opt in to free…

The Metropolis Holiday Gift Guide

A bit belated, perhaps, but here it is: your guide to the gifts guaranteed to impress the design devotees and architecture aficionados in your life, organized into four convenient categories: For Kids, or Kids at Heart Workaholic Chic Books (and One DVD) For the Proverbial “Person Who Has It All” . For Kids, or Kids at Heart Muji’s City Stencil…

E-Wall

This morning I dropped by Pike Loop, a temporary installation in downtown Manhattan designed by the Swiss architects Gramazio & Kohler and fabricated by a large industrial robot that goes by the name R-O-B. Unfortunately for a robot lover like me, R-O-B had decamped the site weeks earlier, after having carefully stacked and epoxy-glued more than 7,000 bricks into a…

Accessibility Watch: Cities Crying Out for Simple Fixes

I have never before muscled in on presentations when I’ve been asked to moderate a panel, but this time I did. It was last week at Build Boston, during a full-day symposium on socially sustainable design, when I broke my neutrality rule and showed some examples that make New York City–and other American cities too–an obstacle course for people with…

Book Review: Not Your Typical Landscape Photography

Aperture has released three photography books that, each in its own way, talk about development, the environment, and the human relationship to the landscape.

Aperture has released three photography books that, each in its own way, talk about development, the environment, and the human relationship to the landscape.

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