Point of View - Point of View January 2010

 

Facade Follows Function

If you think Thom Mayne designs buildings that stand out for the sake of standing out, you’re only partially correct. Last week, at the Center for Architecture in downtown Manhattan, Mayne gave a talk on  “performalism,” a portmanteau that describes how architectural form can influence building performance–the way, for instance, the scrim-like façade of Morphosis’s San Francisco Federal Building effectively…

How Tomorrow Looked, Yesterday

Last week, General Motors’ design manager, Susan Skarsgard, spoke at the Museum of the City of New York on her book Where Today Meets Tomorrow, a monumental tome devoted to Eero Saarinen’s design of the GM Technical Center, in Warren, Michigan. Before her talk, Skarsgard was kind enough to give me a close-up tour of what is literally a one-of-a-kind…

Letter from Baltimore: A New (Art) Hybrid

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. On January 16, Baltimore’s Contemporary Museum kicked off its 20th year in the city with a…

Denise Scott Brown’s Advice to Young Architects

Scott Brown in 1966, looking impervious to the hardships of the architecture profession In a recent interview with the Yale Daily News, Denise Scott Brown was asked if she had any advice for aspiring young architects. Her reply: Architecture is a difficult career. You probably shouldn’t be an architect unless you absolutely have to because it’s a hard career, you…

My Banal Neighborhood

Click the play button to watch Metropolis’s executive editor, Martin Pedersen, deconstruct the “strange, almost mutant form” of a building in his Yorkville, Manhattan, neighborhood–one that appears to have been designed entirely by real estate lawyers. (Click here to watch the first installment of “My Banal Neighborhood.”) January 26, 2010 Categories: Uncategorized

Next Gen Countdown

OK, let’s be honest: if you don’t already have an idea for this year’s Next Generation Design Competition, it’s probably too late to think of one now. But, for those of you who have a brilliant scheme lurking on your hard drive–or a fully-formed idea in your head, just waiting for the right impetus to get the thing on paper–well,…

Q&A: Ken Greenberg on the Future of Urban Planning

One of the great treats in working on our “1-5-10 Issue” was talking to experts and inviting them—urging them, really—to speculate on the future. Toronto-based Ken Greenberg—our urban-planning talking head—is currently working on a book, due out next year, on the future of cities, and he took the opportunity to ruminate on all of the changes he sees on the…

New Sheds for New York

Yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg and the Department of Buildings commissioner, Robert Limandri, announced the winner of the urbanSHED competition,which, last summer, asked for redesigns of the city’s sidewalk sheds (the plywood constructions that shield pedestrians from exterior building renovations). The winning project, Young-Hwan Choi’s* Urban Umbrella, beat out 163 designs, including those by the two other finalists, the New York firm…

Get Well, Ray! We Need You.

If you’re in any way part of the American environmental movement, you love and admire Interface’s Ray Anderson, like I do. He’s been the leading voice in putting our carpet industry on a sustainable course, as everyone will admit. His thoughtful, provocative, and evocative speeches have inspired designers, architects, manufacturers, and other CEOs alike, and his books continue to help…

Skyline by Committee

At the newly unveiled Web site Shape Vancouver 2050, users are given a digital model of the Vancouver skyline, the ability to extrude buildings upwards, and a visual gauge of the resulting effects on the city’s downtown. As the user drags the digital towers higher and population density increases, meters at the bottom of the screen go up too–energy saved,…

How Are Architects Responding to the Haiti Disaster?

Photo: Reuters/Eduardo Munoz, via Flickr In the aftermath of Haiti’s devastating earthquake, countless relief organizations have stepped up to provide immediate aid to the Caribbean nation. Architects and designers are contributing as well, and with good reason: Since much of the damage could have been avoided with strictly enforced building codes or earthquake-proof structures, the architecture community will play a…

Book Review: The SANAA Studios

The book's focus is not so much what the Princeton students learned from SANAA, or how they learned it, as what the rest of us can learn from the firm’s work and Japanese architecture in general.

Architecture-school crits are a famously bruising rite of passage for aspiring design professionals—unless, apparently, your professor is from the renowned Japanese firm SANAA. In the introduction to The SANAA Studios 2006–2008 (Lars Müller Publishers), the Dutch architect Florian Idenburg recalls a crit from his student days in Rotterdam, conducted by SANAA’s Kazuyo Sejima: I remember Sejima sitting, quietly smoking, listening…

Emily Pilloton on the Colbert Report

. The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c Emily Pilloton www.colbertnation.com Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Economy Last night, Project H Design founder and Design Revolution author Emily Pilloton appeared on the Colbert Report to talk about humanitarian design, the Spider Boot, Adaptive Eyecare, the “triple bottom line,” and more. Watch the complete interview above (or click…

Burbs from Above

Christoph Gielen has a unique perspective—literally—on the sprawl that has taken over so much of the American built landscape since the 1960s. As someone who has spent a lot of time in helicopters, looking down on the eerily perfect geometries of the nation’s suburbs, the German artist knows just how artificial, and unsustainable, these communities really are. With his Arcadia…

The Metropolis Minute: Designing the January Cover

. . . . We’ve nicknamed the January issue of Metropolis the “1 – 5 – 10 Issue” for its cover story, called “What Next,” in which architecture and design leaders forecast events in their fields–one, five, and ten years from now. After the jump, watch Metropolis’s creative director, Criswell Lappin, talk about this month’s cover-design process. . . To…

Tea Party

In the magazine this month, Paul Makovsky writes about the Utah teapot–the world’s first complex 3-D model, which, in the years since its design in 1975, has often been used as an inside joke among digital animators. The teapot has made its way into Pixar’s Toy Story, an episode of The Simpsons (above), and a video by the Norwegian synth-pop…

NYC E-Waste Pickups Expand to Brooklyn

Recently, our editor in chief wrote about a free e-waste pickup program put into effect in New York this month by The 4th Bin. Considering that the city threw out some 250,000 tons of electronic waste in 2005, it’s an important and much-needed service. There was only one hitch with the initial plan: the pickups were limited to Manhattan. This…

New Continuing-Education Course Available

Did you know that you can earn continuing-education credits just by reading Metropolis stories? It’s true! Simply visit our CE page, pick a course–there are AIA registered ones for architects and IDCEC approved choices for interior designers–and complete an online participant exercise. Just this afternoon we added a new course that is AIS/CES registered for one learning-unit hour: “Radical Green,”…

Ear to the Ground

Photos: Bureau for Open Culture Drivers delayed by the red light on the corner of East Long and North Washington Streets, in downtown Columbus, Ohio, may hear more than just the hum of idling vehicles. If they crack their windows this winter, they are likely to catch a disembodied voice emanating from a nearby parking lot. “Parking lots,” the voice…

Chicago Takes Climate-Change Action Online

Just before Christmas, the Chicago Department of Environment launched a redesigned Web site for its Chicago Climate Action Plan. The new site details some of the city’s goals for greenhouse-gas reduction (an 80 percent decrease from 1990 levels by 2050, with incremental reduction markers in the meantime), and it provides informational resources to residents: PDFs on the effects of climate…

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