Point of View - Point of View December 2011

 

Design-Build Students Transform Juvenile Detention Center

First year students design and build the first phase of a literacy center in Portland’s Donald E. Long Juvenile Detention Center.

Design educators and practitioners routinely assert, with remarkable assurance, that design thinking strategies can deliver the “game-changing” ideas needed to address the critical problems of our times. Frequently, it seems, we fall in love with the promise(s) of these ideas – and the god-like power their creation conveys – and are less committed to following through with the same degree…

Q&A: Herve Descottes

For our Leading Luminaries story, Barbara Eldredge and Derrick Mead interviewed eight of our top lighting designers. To create the article that appeared in our December issue, we pulled together all of their interviews and edited them into a group conversation. I think it represents a kind of state-of-the-union for the discipline. The following is an edited version of Eldredge’s…

Warp Speed

A native of Kyoto, Japan, Hitoshi Ujiie grew up in a kimono design and manufacturing family, learning all aspects of the trade. He studied at a textile college in Japan and under Glen Kaufman, textile fiber artist, at the University of Georgia in the United States. He also produced exquisite fine art textiles purchased by important museums so… What happened?…

In Defense of the Incandescent

Jennifer Tipton’s lighting design for “Spectral Scriabin” at the Lincoln Center in November 2011. Photo: Ruby Washington/The New York Times If you talk to lighting designers about new technology—as we did recently—it’s hard not to conclude that the incandescent bulb is headed for almost certain extinction. The reasons seem obvious: LEDs are a lot more energy efficient and much (much)…

Curious About…Dignity

It first hit me in Fuxing Park last spring. I was being interviewed by a journalist from Beijing. She was keen for us to get out of the office to walk and talk, to have ‘culturally immersive’ experiences together, to both react to these experiences and discuss the implications. Fuxing Park (复兴公园) lies at the corner of Shanghai’s former French…

In the Public Interest

Design is relational. It is not just about objects. It’s also about being a catalyst to change human relationships and activities. Last year, at our annual Structures for Inclusion Conference , Sergio Palleroni said that 90% of the impact of his architecture is not in the construction. The real impact is in the relationships, the empowerment, and the activities created,…

Best Kept Secrets

Philadelphia’s best kept secrets are hiding in plain sight. In the 19th century, the city became embedded with quirky repositories of everything from dolls to dodos. City neighborhoods expanded, engulfing these manic collections as if flies in amber awaiting future discovery. William Wagner (1796-1885) Philadelphia merchant, philanthropist, and amateur scientist. Some ten years after I moved to Philadelphia I stumbled…

Better Art for Better Living

Jonny Robles It was just another bright day in uptown Miami Beach, when the first art movers loaded in paintings to the 1950’s Morris Lapidus golden “Temple of Curves,” The Deauville Resort, for the Nada art show in preparation for Art Basel/Design Miami Beach. The neighborhood shop attendants at Rite Aid, Pizza Hut and bodegas, adorned with murals of neon…

Q&A: Emily Pilloton

In 2009, Project H founder/executive director Emily Pilloton and her partner Matthew Miller relocated from the West Coast to rural North Carolina to begin Studio H, an innovative design/build curriculum for high school students. Recognizing the need for a fresh approach to public education in economically challenged, rural geographies such as Bertie County, Pilloton and Miller embrace a radically local,…

Places that Work: Welcoming Canine Companions

Recently while visiting The Shops at the North Bridge mall in Chicago, I came across a kind gesture: an amenity for people’s canine companions. This pet comfort station provides water and treats and clean-up bags for the responsible parties traveling with their pets. If you visit The Shops’ website before planning a trip there, you’ll find mention of the pet…

Gimme Shelter

It is to be expected that an event that combines top art and design galleries and the wealthy crowd that attends it, would have a high index of partying, schmoozing, late nights, debauchery, and chronic overstimulation that result in a temporary state of attention deficit disorder. I am speaking of the ArtBasel/DesignMiami cultural “all-you-can-eat-buffet ” that took place this last…

You are “here”

“Paint Torch” Sculptor: Claes Oldenburg, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Philadelphia.  Photo: Joseph G. Brin “Hephaestus and the Garden of the gods, Snow”.  2010 Photo: Scott Hocking “I’ve always been interested in the periphery.” Julien Robson, British born Curator of Contemporary Art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Philadelphia (PAFA), has been all over the world — from “…

Field Notes

Recently, a prominent AEC-industry software company executive (who will remain unnamed) used a peculiar metaphor during a meeting with designers at our office.  While discussing the role of simulation in the design process – including the pros and cons of certain tools  – the executive said: “Look, we just make the weapons, but it’s up to you to wage the…

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