Point of View - Point of View February 2012

 

New York Impressions

Empire State Building Photo: Joseph G. Brin © 2012 Have you ever seen someone do a bad impression? It’s kind of embarrassing. You either have the gift or you don’t. Philadelphia should just give it up, stop trying to be New York City or wishing it was New York City. We already have two fake Chrysler Buildings (Liberty Place I…

Architectural Storytelling vs. Public Relations

Since we’re on the topic of design technology, we may as well start talking about the holidays. In the last 5 years or so online videos have become de rigeur for company holiday cards. Like the switch from paper towels to air blowers in the washroom, it’s a move that undoubtedly makes a lot of sense from a sustainability standpoint,…

Timeline: A Decade of Gehry’s Missed Changes

Even a starchitect like Frank Gehry can’t completely escape the hair-pulling vicissitudes of the profession.

Leon Krier’s recent broadside against Frank Gehry’s proposed design for the Eisenhower Memorial in Washington, D.C., had me thinking about the world’s most famous architect. For a man who created one of the most important buildings of the 20th century, Gehry, who turns 83 in a couple of days, has hit a fair number of potholes in recent years. Here’s…

Lab Report XXII

Portland State University is an educational institution that believes in engaging the community, in a multitude of directions and capacities; the entire state of Oregon is their classroom, as they like to say. What’s more, they value collaborating with local organizations to improve the overall quality of life, not just of Oregonians, but people everywhere, domestically and abroad. Take the…

Profile: Charlie Miller, Green Roof Pioneer

Charlie Miller, P.E., has been fomenting a quiet, green roof revolution in this country for years.

Charlie Miller, P.E., has been fomenting a quiet, green roof revolution in this country for years. So quiet that you may not have heard of it, or him. It’s a steep climb up narrow, carpeted stairs to the modest Roofmeadow office on historic, cobble-stoned Germantown Avenue in Philadelphia–a great metaphor for what Charlie Miller, P.E., internationally regarded green roof pioneer…

Bjarke Ingels Co-Teaches Class at Yale with the Developer of West 57th

Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Christoffersen of BIG are co-teaching an advanced studio with one of the developers of BIG's West 57th "Court Scraper."

Bjarke Ingels (left), Doulas Durst (right), photo by James Andrachuk This semester at the Yale School of Architecture, Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Christoffersen of the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) are co-teaching an advanced studio with Douglas Durst of the Durst Organization. While Yale has hosted developer studios in the past, this particular pairing is unique, in that the Durst Organization is…

Profile: Richard A. Glaser, Timeless Landshaper

Richard A. Glaser is an urban planner and landscape architect who's worked on everything from backyard swimming pools to entire cities in the Middle East.

Richard A. Glaser is an urban planner and landscape architect. He’s worked on everything from a landscaped backyard swimming pool to entire cities in the Middle East. He worked for large Philadelphia offices like Lou Kahn’s and for Marcel Breuer (planning Sadat City in Egypt). He worked in partnerships and as a sole practitioner.   Swimming pool & landscape: Richard…

Fab.com’s Co-Founder on Living in a Culture of Savvy Design Enthusiasts

Bradford Shellhammer talks the e-commerce site's expansion into fashion design and how high-end, niche markets are now increasingly more accessible.

When I heard that Fab.com, a flourishing e-commerce site that recently reached the 2 million mark in membership and that this month, the site is introducing five new vertical shops, I wanted to get a peek behind the scenes. So I went to Bradford Shellhammer, co-founder with Jason Goldberg, the business genius behind the success story of Fab.com, a site…

Pier to Pier Networking

From the air, a series of flat, gray, industrial looking waterfront piers jut out into the Delaware River in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “MetroZepp,” our aerial historic tour blimp, hovers as it suddenly detects the distinct emergence of Design. We crowd to a small window as our captain promises to give us a closer look.   Photo: DRWC (Field Operations) We drift…

Lab Report XXI

Everyone involved in design agrees that he or she wants to improve and enhance people’s lives. At M.I.N.D Labs or Media, Interface, and Network Design Labs, that goal becomes eminently clear. A consortium comprised of 11 university design labs includes members from Finland, Russia, Portugal, Spain, Germany, and the U.S. Their collective directive is to research the interaction between the…

Places That Work: Hirshhorn

The building that houses the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is an exquisite disc that enhances the National Mall in Washington, DC.  Affiliated with the Smithsonian Institute, the Hirshhorn is shaped like a perfectly round donut that rests on four giant piers, 14 feet above ground level (museum visitors also have access to a lower level).  The hollow, cylindrical shape…

MoMA’s Exhibition on Housing Misses by 99%

The museum's latest exhibition, "Foreclosed," threatens to set the design discourse around housing back by ten years.

The newly opened show at the Museum of Modern Art, Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream, fails to accomplish the goal alluded to in its title. That is, to consequentially address one of the most critical issues facing the public today—foreclosures. The result is a disservice to the people the show’s organizers set out to help. What’s worse, the exhibit takes architecture…

B. Free Philadelphia

2004. News spread in Philadelphia on February 17, 4:15PM, that Faheem Thomas-Childs, ten years old, was dead.  He was caught in a hail of nearly 100 bullets, crossfire between rival gangs that occurred as children streamed into school to start a new day. Faheem Thomas-Childs held on but the wounds were too devastating and his bright light flickered out. In…

Remembering Eva Zeisel Through One Her Most Iconic Designs

The late industrial designer's Cloverware line of tabletop accessories was easy proof of her singular talent.

Early this year, when I read in The New York Times that Eva Zeisel had died, I immediately thought of my plexiglas salad bowl. It was passed down to me by my father who was very much interested in materials and design, both in his business as a seller of fine printing papers and as an individual. He believed, too,…

Krier: Gehry’s Eisenhower Memorial Is an “Anti-Monument”

Leon Krier condemns the controversial memorial design and sees a change to put an end to the decades-long "disfiguring" of the nation's capital.

Early design of the memorial Memorial design images courtesy Gehry Partners The Eisenhower Memorial competition and project have stirred a remarkable polemic, the center of which is not President Eisenhower or Washington, D.C. but Frank Gehry and the values he promulgates. I am writing not as an enemy of Mr. Gehry but as a lover of what the nation’s capital for two centuries…

Plastic “Trees” Generate Energy From Wind

A joint research team from Cornell and China's Northwestern Polytechnic University are prototyping an alternative tool for harvesting wind.

Image via creativemachines.cornell.edu There have been many suggestions on how to harness wind to power buildings or just to produce more clean sources of energy to add to the grid. The problem is that many of these technologies are prohibitively expensive, so that the cost of producing the devices is not offset by the amount of energy they produce. At…

APPLIED INTELLIGENCE

    “Bike Path in Time” Joseph G. Brin © 2012 Pier 53 on the Delaware River, in Philadelphia, was the point of entry for immigrants, primarily from Eastern and Southern Europe, from the 1870’s through the early 1900’s. Demolished in 1915, it took nearly 100 years before some smart people discovered that the remaining pile of rocks, trash and rotting…

Q&A: Tim Duggan on Make It Right’s Plans for New Orleans

Landscape Architect Tim Duggan talks with Martin Pedersen about his life, career, and whether we should rebuild New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward.

Although 2012 Game Changer Tim Duggan would never describe them that way, the series of events that led him into landscape architecture almost feels like some sort of divine intervention. Some time in the late 1990s, Duggan was working on a backyard project in suburban Kansas City (Tim’s late father was a concrete contractor). It involved moving three hundred pound…

Q&A: Phil Bernstein

  When the new book, BIM in Academia, published recently by the Yale School of Architecture, landed on my desk, I immediately thought of engaging Phil Bernstein (co-editor with Peggy Deamer), in a conversation about how technology is reshaping architecture pedagogy. (Full disclosure: Phil, a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, is also a vice president at Autodesk, the…

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