Point of View - Point of View January 2011

 

Wanna Buy Some High-Speed Rail?

The writer argues for a sustainability movement that creates an image of hope and possibility, but also does not shy away from the urgency and moral imperative of our dilemma.

The writer argues for a sustainability movement that creates an image of hope and possibility, but also does not shy away from the urgency and moral imperative of our dilemma.

Touching Light

Spanish lighting designer Arturo Alvarez experiments with materiality in new objects.

Spanish lighting designer Arturo Alvarez experiments with materiality in new objects.

A Very San Franciscan Transit Center

The new Transbay Transit Center offers a wide range of possibilities to California transit while integrating sustainable features.

The new Transbay Transit Center offers a wide range of possibilities to California transit while integrating sustainable features.

Behind the Scenes

Experiencing historic spaces, and sometimes just gaining access to them, can be a journey itself.

Experiencing historic spaces, and sometimes just gaining access to them, can be a journey itself.

A Postscript

In our January 2011 issue, we featured just a few of the works included in Postcards of the Wiener Werkstätte, a recent exhibition at the Neue Galerie of about 500 postcards from the Leonard A. Lauder collection. If you missed the show, which closed a few days ago, take heart: the curator Christian Witt-Dörring has edited the museum’s visual feast…

The Marine Stadium’s Makeover

Since we last heard from them two years ago, the Friends of Miami Marine Stadium have been making slow but steady progress.  In 2009, the volunteer group was still fighting to get local and national support for preserving this remarkable building on Miami’s Virginia Key Island. Since then, they’ve achieved something of a turnaround, with a new design proposal, partial…

Why We Look at Architecture

The Broad Art Foundation with its parametric concrete “veil”.  Courtesy Diller Scofidio + Renfro “It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.”  — Oscar Wilde I’m drawn to John Berger’s essay “Why Look at Animals” for many reasons but primarily because it takes something obvious and…

Defining Roles

Those of us who watch the architecture and interior design professions from the sidelines can’t help but feel that we’re witnessing a squabble between a brother and a sister. Perhaps their contentious history can be attributed to growing pains, or it may be a result of poor definitions. After all, the skills necessary to design and erect a memorable building,…

Construction Toys Make Better Boys

Every year the National Building Museum in Washington, DC offers one accomplished researcher the opportunity to study its full collection in order to expand  the practitioner’s work while he or she learns more about the collection. So I was pleased to have been selected as the 2010 Field Fellow, and am examining thousands of building and architectural toys in their…

Adventurous Student Work

Trawler jig, Silvertown Ship Breaking Yard, by Jonathan Schofield. It’s brilliant, even breath-taking at times – the current exhibition of the best students’ work at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London. RIBA, the self-proclaimed “oldest and most influential architectural institution in the world,” has been awarding its President’s Medals, commendations, and cash to the most talented students since…

Elephants in the Classroom

Some design concepts never stop making sense. Elephants are always an extraordinarily good fit for children’s products – they are large, kind-hearted creatures, with just the right eccentric features to make them instantly loveable. And for Indian and Nepali children, elephants are omnipresent in their mythology and folktales, where they have a much deeper cultural significance, not just as playful…

Designing to Heal: Luxury Healthcare

Where can one find world class doctors, highly customized medical plans, a five star spa, health club, and restaurant? The Chaum Center, in Seoul, Korea, designed by KMD architects, combines all these things in an attempt to transform health care. Housed in a futuristic building with lavish amenities and design elements, the Chaum Center is certainly a far cry from…

Q&A: Emerging Talent

In today’s cloudy economic market, there is a silver lining. In the midst of the downturn, a remarkably bright and capable crop of new design talent has emerged. These young designers have proven to be willing and able to assume the responsibilities handed to them by senior designers. As a result, the young guns are deeply involved in a broad…

The Farnsworth’s Sustainable Descendant

The Lumenhaus in Chicago. VirginiaTech’s Lumenhaus – the solar-powered house that won the International Solar Decathlon in June 2010 – is now biding its time in a cornfield. Before you think that’s a step down from the South Promenade of Chicago’s Millenium Park – where it was proudly displayed in conjunction with the GreenBuild Convention in November – you should…

Places that Work: Art Gallery in Christchurch

Courtesy of The Buchan Group. Photographer: Murray Hedwig At the Christchurch Art Gallery in New Zealand, you can observe how the building’s   design connects to the natural environment that surrounds it, as well as its cultural ties to the town after which it’s named. The shimmering, undulating glass façade is reminiscent of the ripples in the winding River Avon which…

A Philatelic History of Design

We can thank the United States Postal Service’s art director Derry Noyes for once again putting some design history on our mail. After the Masterworks of Modern Architecture stamps in 2005 and celebrating Charles + Ray Eames in 2008, its time for the golden age of American industrial design to get some philatelic love. The new issue is a set…

Lost Generation

An upbeat article in a 2008 architectural magazine featured chirpy stories of enterprising young architects who, unable to find positions in their chosen profession turned to alternative professions.  Now, twenty months on, it’s doubtful they’ll ever come back. Many economists predict a slow, plodding recovery beginning in the third quarter of 2011. Others are less sanguine. In either case, the…

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