Point of View - Point of View October 2011

 

Curious about…Learning

I just finished reading Lucy Kellaway’s acerbic-but-true piece (free registration required) in the FT about management consultants and all their related jargon landing in China.  And it immediately brought to mind an evening I spent in Shanghai a few months ago, where we invited a group of young Chinese female entrepreneurs to come into our office to have dinner with…

Bienvenue a Haiti!

This October 5, Project Haiti was announced at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre to an audience of 15,000 during the keynote at Greenbuild 2011. HOK is the USGBC’s official design partner for the project, the redesign of an orphanage and children’s center badly damaged in the 2010 earthquake in Port au Prince. The importance of this project was stressed by both…

Q&A: Susan Chin

Shortly after finishing up her duties the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, architect Susan Chin started in her new position as Executive Director at the Design Trust for Public Space, a switch she says, was both “exhilarating and exhausting, like running at 100 miles per hour”. “As I was going through my DCA files, I felt so fortunate to have…

Eating Real

Only a species as clever as ours would need to designate a “Food Day” to celebrate and promote the prospect of “eating real food.” Seriously. But the problems with our food system are, as we know, very serious indeed. I stopped by the Bioneers annual conference (Bioneers is a non-profit organization that functions as a hub for education about living…

Places that Work: An Alpine Gem

Prestigious hotels often feature formal common spaces with high ceilings, stylishly uncomfortable furniture, and a stuffy staff. So I was delighted to experience the unexpected recently, when I happened on the library at the Four Seasons in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. This is a place where you feel comfortable sitting with a small group of your friends.  A wall of windows…

A Day at the (Lovell) Beach (House)

Newport Beach, California, Sunday, October 16, 2011–Around 200 Southern Californians enjoyed an extremely rare opportunity today, to enter the avant-garde Rudolf Schindler Lovell Beach House (1926). The MAK Center for Art and Architecture sold $80 and $100 tickets to raise money for its operations–based in Schindler’s own “King’s Road” house in L.A. Some walked past unaware With other things to…

#artdesignbrazil Energizes the World

Warm and exhibition-happy, the Brazilian art and design world is showing the rest of us that the moment is theirs now, a samba way past the Campanas and green and yellow T-shirts at H+M. A steady stream of art and design events plus the country’s booming economy are just two reasons Brazil is hot and visible now. These include the…

Steve Jobs’ Lasting Lessons

Since news came of his death on October 5, much has been said about Steve Jobs’ influence on who we are, what we do, what we do it with and how we do it in the 21st century.  To these many accolades, I would like to add something about what educators can learn from this truly unique man. Steve Jobs taught…

Revenge of the Plaza Bonus

Zuccotti Park, before and after Occupy Wall Street, image via Curbed NY If you believe that good and bad intentions eventually circle around to some sort of cosmic resolution—karma, if you will—then the Occupy Wall Street protests in Zuccotti Park are sweet indeed. Why? Zuccotti Park (named for John Zuccotti, former deputy mayor, former planning commissioner, chairman of the real…

Reimagining the Waterfront

Southern view from 114th Street The waterfront park along Manhattan’s East River Esplanade (60th to 125th Streets) is in disrepair, even sinking into the water in spots. An ambitious redesign is called for. Last month, CIVITAS’, a non-profit organization that works to improve land use and zoning policies on the Upper East Side and East Harlem, announced an ideas competition…

Infrastructure, Interrupted

In 1859, game hunter, sheep farmer, and horse trainer Thomas Austin released twenty-four wild rabbits on his estate in Western Australia. In ten years, those rabbits had become several million, denuding a landscape that had never before faced the scourge of such determined herbivores. The Royal Commission formed to deal with “The Rabbit Question” came up with a solution called…

Job Creation

“Frozen Skyline” and “Layoffs Sweep Architecture Profession as Economy Worsens” were the headlines in 2008. Architects watched projects put on hold, hoping for a more favorable financial climate even as projects in the pipeline dissolved. In 2009, one article listing architecture as the Number One hardest hit profession, described the situation: “it was the worst of times, and it was…

Radical Spaces

For a month now New York’s Zuccotti Park has been a digitally radiating lamentation of capitalism’s cruelest traits. The Great Recession, the park’s inhabitants say, made it impossible to mask hypercompetitive, socially atomizing forces inherent in the status quo. It’s an odd scene set against the forbidding façade of World Trade Center One, rising comically out of proportion to every…

LA’s Powerful Past

By co-opting a time zone as its title, the multi-venued, collective event called Pacific Standard Time demonstrates its dynamic breadth and depth. Beginning with the post-war year 1945, it encompasses exhibits that span 35 years to 1980. The shows, exhibits, and events explore not simply art, but politics and social movements as expressed by activists, artists, community leaders, filmmakers, and…

A Personal Vision

The stunning Apple store on New York’s Fifth Avenue–the 28th most photographed built landmark in the world–designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson. We met Steve Jobs at NeXT and in 2000 we shaped Pixar’s home. Steve said he selected our firm because of our “great houses,” and we have been involved at Apple since the beginning of its retail spaces.  We…

And the Winner Is!

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, left, celebrates with the University of Maryland team after they placed first in the overall U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011, alongside Richard King, right, Director of Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C., Saturday, Oct. 01, 2011. (Credit: Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon) The Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon 2011 is now officially…

City Building Through Art

SiTELAB ArtPrize may be a catalyst for making Grand Rapids into a great Michigan city. With a total of $470,000 in prize moneys ($250,000 of it going to the first place winner), the grand sum lures artists from all over the world and, in turn, their work pulls in Michiganders and others into the city. Each artist enters a piece,…

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