Point of View - Point of View October 2010

 

It Started With the Booth House

The Glass House’s forgotten older brother re-enters the architecture world thanks to a real estate advertisement. The Booth House, Phillip Johnson’s first commissioned home, was recently put on the market by Sirkka Damora, an architect and editor who lived there for fifty five years with her husband Robert, a renowned architectural photographer. So thank you William Raveis Real Estate for…

Landscape Architecture for Dummies

As mediators between the built and natural environments, landscape architects have come to play a critical role in creating vibrant, sustainable public spaces. Recent successes like the High Line Park and the Brooklyn Bridge Park have put the spotlight on landscape architecture, and leading practitioners like Michael Van Valkenburgh have come to enjoy a certain celebrity. But while I know…

The E-Bike and The City

We listed the Copenhagen Wheel, designed by MIT’s SENSEable City Lab, in The Green Vanguard, our A-to-Z list of sustainable design in this month’s issue of Metropolis. The device not only converts a standard bicycle into an electric cruiser, but can also upload information on air and noise pollution, traffic, and road conditions to the rider’s smart phone. And if…

Places that Work: A Room at the Met

Places succeed when they support people’s activities. An office works when employees can collaborate and concentrate, whenever they need to do so. A concert hall performs well when the whole audience can see and hear. Such places are designed to support people who use them, psychologically and physically. They are honest expressions of need and intentions. One such supportive space…

Japanish History

In this month’s issue of Metropolis, Mason Currey wrote about the fantastic story behind Made in Japain, the exhibition of Spanish design at this year’s Tokyo Designer’s Week. In a bid to make the Japanese see Spain in a new light, the work of big design names like Manolo Blahnik, Jaime Hayón, Lladró, David Delfín, Nani Marquina, Camper , and…

Yves Behar Talks

When he was approached by Jack Schreur, the vice president of North American Seating at Herman Miller, Yves Behar finally felt he was ready to take on the “the hardest industrial-design project” – an office chair. The SAYL chair, designed by Behar’s studio Fuse-project, made it to Metropolis’s The Green Vanguard, our A-to-Z list of sustainable design. At $399, SAYL…

Telling Stories

Green media maven Simran Sethi believes journalism can change the way people think—and so teaches students to be storytellers for the environment.

Green media maven Simran Sethi believes journalism can change the way people think—and so teaches students to be storytellers for the environment.

Dads and Birth

Every year on my birthday my grandparents regale me with the story of my birth. Their overly-enthusiastic tale resembles the beginnings of a Roman epic about a god-sired hero’s journey through life. Theirs is certainly not the gushy, stressful, crying mess that my birth probably was. My parents, on the other hand, are largely silent on the subject, except for…

People Power

Empty sky captured within the courtyard of a residential building in Hong Kong. Thomas Kong, an architect and educator in Chicago, explores the informal use of empty sites in the Asian metropolis. His year-long Zero Project, supported by the Jaap Bakema fellowship, seeks to uncover the meanings and opportunities of urban spaces formed by social processes, rather than top-down design schemes….

International Biennale of Landscape Urbanism

On the Way to the Beach, by Derman Verbakel Architecture. Photo: Yuval Tebol. The global cycle of recurring architecture exhibitions—biennales, triennales, and expos—has a nearly impossible balance to manage. Installations can be dismissed as too artsy, but technical presentations aren’t exactly crowd pleasers.  To make matters worse, these exhibition programs send projects hurtling through a flash-in-the-pan lifecycle: design, build, exhibit, deconstruct,…

Q&A: Prefab

Casa Chiara, Photo: Jim Turley/SweetWater Photography At West Coast Green this year, architect Michelle Kaufmann of Michelle Kaufmann Studio, hosted a panel called “The Future of Prefab,” in which she discussed the topic with Ann Hand, CEO of Project Frog and Jennifer Siegal, founder and principal of the Office of Mobile Design. Kaufmann’s Casa Chiara, the first phase of an…

Accessibility Watch: Gorgeous Canes

You may recall seeing Omhu canes on other blogs, or as a nominee for the People’s Design Award at this year’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Triennial. With their glossy, colorful painted shafts and blonde wood handles they’re a refreshing take on a product that’s seen little innovation in generations, and certainly has never been this good looking. Omhu (Danish for “with…

Places that Work: Palmer House Lobby

Privacy, both physical and electronic, is a hot topic these days. The recent uproar surrounding Google’s changes to their privacy policies shows just how much it matters in virtual space. So does the continuing battle we wage to keep our electronic data and e-mail addresses safe from hackers. In the physical world, tussles over allowed fences regularly enliven neighborhood association…

Letter From Pakistan

My travel to Pakistan, in the wake of the deluge, is sponsored by some of my architecture firm’s clients and hosted by Pakistan’s Dawood Group. I’m here to gain a sense of the issues on the ground and to learn how we might help in relief and recovery efforts.  After two days of meetings in Islamabad with several organizations including…

Building New Skins

The curtain-wall is perhaps the defining innovation of twentieth century architecture. Since the heyday of high modernism, a search for new building forms has usually meant grappling with a glass and steel grid. But as the demands on architecture have changed, in terms of energy performance and sustainable materials, we’ve had to completely rethink the role of a building’s skin….

Milestones in Sustainability

Something truly monumental happened this week. The Living Building Challenge℠, the world’s most rigorous green building performance standard, crossed the divide that separates compelling ideas from proven strategies. Omega Center for Sustainable Living: Farshid Assassi, courtesy of BNIM Architects. Two projects, the Omega Center for Sustainable Living (designed by BNIM Architects) and the Tyson Living Learning Center (designed by Hellmuth…

Design Conference, Tweeted.

There were too many things vying for the audience’s attention at the “Why Design Now?” conference hosted in New York City on October 1st by the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum and GE. It was hard enough staying focused on the speakers, when you could see the dramatic vista of Columbus Circle behind the stage. But my attention also kept wandering…

Living Walls Take on Size and Creativity

Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA, can pat themselves on the back on Earth Day next year, even if they choose not to pull out the shovels and saplings. Without digging a single hole into the ground, they have added the equivalent of 90 fourteen foot-tall trees when they unveiled the largest living wall in North America on October 9th….

No Pollution Please

It is hard to think of a competition more symbolic of our times than the CoolClimate Art contest – which uses the internet to put art in the service of climate change awareness. In July, the organizers of the contest spoke to Metropolis’s editor-in-chief Susan Szenasy about their mission to galvanize public opinion through iconic images that communicate the tragedy…

The Eco Granny Flat

This fall John Quale and his University of Virginia students are proving that “extra small” may be the next big step in green and affordable living. The ecoMOD XS project—the fifth to come out of Quale’s ecoMOD studio class, which was established after the university’s triumph in the 2002 Solar Decathalon Competition—asked students to design small, environmentally-friendly Accessory Dwelling Units…

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