Point of View - Point of View July 2011

 

New Practices Sao Paulo

The exciting and educational exhibit, New Practices Sao Paulo, on view at the Center for Architecture, sheds light on the rising new wave of architects building the new Brazil, more specifically its sprawling urban epicenter Sao Paulo. The talented group includes Metro Arquitetos Associados, 23sul, ARKIZ, PAX.ARQ, Yuri Vital Architect, Vazio S.A Arquitetura e Urbanismo, Triptyque Arquitetura. New Practices Sao…

Remembering Sylvia Harris

The Metropolis office was saddened this week to hear of the sudden loss of a visionary leader in the design community. Sylvia Harris, the founder and principal of Citizen Research & Design and a designer at the Public Policy Lab, passed away on Sunday. Harris is remembered for her pioneering approach to improving the usability of public spaces and programs…

Design Competition with a Difference

For the past few months, Metropolis has had a ringside view of the first ever Core77 Design Awards—but so has everyone else! In an age that is so unfortunately obsessed with “vote for your favorite online,” the recently concluded awards program has pulled off a class act, making the act of judging design an open, inclusive experience that truly celebrates…

Q&A: Pliny Fisk III & Gail Vittori

We at Metropolis have a great fondness for Pliny Fisk III. When we first visited him at his nascent experimental compound on the outskirts of Austin, TX there was no USGBC, no LEED, no Energy Star, and only a few of us talked about environmental sustainability and the necessity for great and far-reaching innovation in everything from building materials to…

Places that Work: The Urban Garden Room

The Urban Garden Room at One Bryant Park (Bank of America Tower by Cook + Fox Architects) in New York City is a place that works – and not simply because of its greenery and daylight. These elements appeal to our senses and emotions in a deep, primal way. Extensive writings on psychological value of being in spaces with green…

Towards a Car-less California

Traffic ahead of the I-405 shutdown, photo via the Daily Mail. When America’s busiest freeway, Interstate 405, closed temporarily for mandatory construction from July 16-17, all of Los Angeles broke out in panic as drivers canceled weekend plans and signs flashed on every freeway in the region preparing locals for anticipated delays. The LAPD even recruited popular celebrities on Twitter,…

Two RIBA Shortlists

The Guangzhou Opera House, by Zaha Hadid, photo: Virgile Simon Bertrand Among the recognitions and awards given by the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Stirling and Lubetkin prizes are the most prestigious. The Lubetkin prize, in honor of the Tecton Group founder Berthold Lubetkin, is given to the best international building outside the European Union. The Stirling prize scarcely…

Three Novel Lighting Designs

Even with the necessary emphasis on LED technology and efficient materials, many lighting designers can’t resist experimenting with products that are just, for lack of a better word, cool. While strict functionalists may cringe, I admire this vein of creative conceptual design, in the tradition of Isamu Noguchi’s sculptural Akari lamps. Last week saw the debut of three new lighting…

Smart, and on the Move

Portable Spot Cleaner, designed by Adrian Mankovecky, Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Bratislava, Slovakia If the Electrolux Design Lab competition were given charge of the future of our home appliances, all our gadgets would be monochrome, have oversize back-lit interfaces, and be either rounded or flexible. Since its inception in 2003, the competition has been asking industrial design students to…

Another Film on Design Thinking in the Oven

Just as the film makers at One Time Studio are rallying up supporters and funding for their documentary, Design & Thinking, another group of designers are working on their own film, also eager to investigate the meaning behind the overused buzzword “design thinking.” Initiated by Erik Roscam Abbing, Design the New Business is a collaboration with Erik van Bergen, Esra…

Hand Illustrating a World War

German Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, March 22, 1944 Pavel Petrovich Sokolov-Skalya Multicolor brush stencil on newsprint (pieced), laid down on tan Korean lining paper, 1872 x 845 mm (click on images to enlarge). While here in the United States, the Bureau of Graphics at the Office of War Information was cranking out World War II posters by the hundreds of…

Mapping the Cityscape

The Commissioners’ Plan of 1811 was a visionary approach that reshaped New York’s underlying structure, separating Manhattan from the old organic cities, while still defining it today. To acknowledge the success of the grid model made possible by John Randel, Jr., and celebrate its 200th anniversary this year, The Center for Architecture opened an exhibition, Mapping the Cityscape, on July 6, exploring…

The Big Urban Apps

Mayor Bloomberg at the NYC Big Apps 2.0 awards ceremony, photo: Kristin Artz/Office of the Mayor, via the New York Times. How do you take the enormous amount of critical information gathered every day by city agencies and make it actually useful to citizens? On the City of New York’s DataMine web site, just looking through the list of datasets…

Sylvan Poetry

Le Nichoir: Matali Crasset’s first feral house in France, photo: Lucas Fréchin The last time we checked in with Matali Crasset, she was coming up with names like The Troglodyte for the ecolodge she had designed in the Tunisian desert. Now we find her deep in the forests of France, building little camper’s retreats. Six villages in the region of…

The Power of Speculation

It turns out that the 1939 World’s Fair in New York was only the culmination of what seems to have been a veritable craze for International Expositions in the United States. Designing Tomorrow: America’s World’s Fairs of the 1930s, on view at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., until September 5, presents astounding evidence of America’s world-fair-mania: posters, architectural…

The Bowery Hustle

The never-ending building boom continues on the Bowery and in NoHo in New York, and for the most part it is a good thing.  Neighborhoods will and should evolve. The East Village and NoHo are about to gain two new buildings, both of which are meant to look toward the future. One succeeds and the other fails.   51 Astor Place,…

Design Thinking on Film

As we discovered at the Architecture and Design Film Festival in New York last year, good films about design are few and far between. Even among these, it is easier to find films about designers, design disciplines, or objects. But a film about design theory? Now that’s a truly ambitious project. In March this year, Yuhsiu Yang and Melissa Huang…

Chipperfield Receives Mies van der Rohe Award

© Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz / David Chipperfield Architects, Photo: Jörg von Bruchhausen On June 20, British architect Sir David Chipperfield took center stage at a ceremony in Barcelona to officially receive the much-coveted European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award. Aside from having the longest name imaginable—henceforth shortened by this author to “Mies Prize”—it is…

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