Joseph Brin

What Do Comics Have to Do with Medicine?

“I believe this medium is the new literacy in this country. Words themselves are not able to keep up with the speed of information. This combination of words and images will continue to grow and it will dominate.”                         —Will…

Stick-lets: Bringing Urban Kids Back to Nature

  Children are destined to inherit the planet – but they already inhabit our cities. So how can we nurture and protect a child's infinite capacity for play in the big city?   “Grasshopper Green” Stick-let In Philadelphia, Stick-lets industrial…

Stoking the Furness

Philadelphia played a large role in ushering in an age of modernism, and architect Frank Furness was a major part of the movement.

Moonrise Over Architecture

Design me a structure that is open to the sky, partially enclosed, all natural materials, fragile, permeable, no heat, no electricity, no plumbing...and only lasting 7 days. What? Simple structures, complex and rich with meaning can still be irresistible to…

Noguchi Museum Digitizes Isamu Noguchi's Body of Work

Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988) Photo: Anzai “Sculpture to be Seen From Mars” Model (left)1947 (destroyed) Photo: Soichi Sunami Isamu Noguchi's prodigious and expansive artworks spanned the world of sculpture in stone, metal, paper, wood, and ceramics. His striking vision conquered territory…

Design as Destination

Hilary Jay presides over DesignPhiladelphia at the University of the Arts and has seen exponential growth in programming as well as attendance since its 2005 debut.

The Prescience of Richard Neutra's Theory of "Biorealism"

Illustration: “Nature Near” Joseph G. Brin © 2012 Talk about biophilia, biomimicry, or biodiversity and another "bio" comes to mind—that of late architect Richard Neutra. He himself coined the term "biorealism" to connote “the inherent and inseparable relationship between man and…

An Uncommon Common Man

Charles A. Bangert, Jr. was the kind of fellow you don't come across every day, possessing qualities you don’t always find in one person. He was down to earth, accomplished, meticulous, organized, humble, good-natured, good-humored, and kind. Charlie was an…

Beautiful End of the World

“Safe Harbor” Joseph G. Brin © 2012 You may have already had an end of the world experience – and just didn't know it. I'm not talking about a disaster by any means. Instead, this is about a soaring, heightened…

Paris on the Parkway

There's something about quality that will not be denied. As the new Barnes Art Museum recently opened to great fanfare on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, you couldn't help noticing the petite Rodin Museum next door, waking up, rubbing…

Portrait of a Neighborhood Park

  Cianfrani Park is a small, scruffy but much loved park in Philadelphia – small enough that you can sometimes take in a multi-stage theater of human activity. The Cianfrani name has a connection to Henry "Buddy" Cianfrani, the late…

Q&A: Who Needs Industrial Design?

“Early Industrial Designer” Joseph G. Brin © 2012 “Fluid, intuitive, plug and play, out-of-the-box” - all characteristics of user friendly experience endlessly hyped by many companies these days. However, they remain elusive – an industrial designer is one person actually…

Snowy Farmstead in the Big City

Only this afternoon I was tramping through snow covered hills and steep woods in Western Massachusetts... Sounds of a sparkling creek deep in the valley rose up, ricocheted off tree bark and splintered into sunlight. We came upon an old,…

Word on the Street

Walking down South St. in Philadelphia on a warm, winter night (yes, a warm, winter night), I saw an attractive young lady seated at a small table with a small, manual typewriter. A blank sheet of white paper was flopping…

Queen of Hearts: Heather Ujiie

“Resurrection” ©2011 Heather Ujiie Heather Ujiie is an impassioned, collaborative designer with silvery hair in two tight buns, one securely fastened on each side of her head. Her mode of dress is arresting, often strong combinations of red, black and…

New York Impressions

Empire State Building Photo: Joseph G. Brin © 2012 Have you ever seen someone do a bad impression? It's kind of embarrassing. You either have the gift or you don't. Philadelphia should just give it up, stop trying to be…

Profile: Charlie Miller, Green Roof Pioneer

Charlie Miller, P.E., has been fomenting a quiet, green roof revolution in this country for years. So quiet that you may not have heard of it, or him. It's a steep climb up narrow, carpeted stairs to the modest Roofmeadow…

Profile: Richard A. Glaser, Timeless Landshaper

Richard A. Glaser is an urban planner and landscape architect. He's worked on everything from a landscaped backyard swimming pool to entire cities in the Middle East. He worked for large Philadelphia offices like Lou Kahn's and for Marcel Breuer…

Pier to Pier Networking

From the air, a series of flat, gray, industrial looking waterfront piers jut out into the Delaware River in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “MetroZepp,” our aerial historic tour blimp, hovers as it suddenly detects the distinct emergence of Design. We crowd to…

B. Free Philadelphia

2004. News spread in Philadelphia on February 17, 4:15PM, that Faheem Thomas-Childs, ten years old, was dead.  He was caught in a hail of nearly 100 bullets, crossfire between rival gangs that occurred as children streamed into school to start…

APPLIED INTELLIGENCE

    “Bike Path in Time” Joseph G. Brin © 2012 Pier 53 on the Delaware River, in Philadelphia, was the point of entry for immigrants, primarily from Eastern and Southern Europe, from the 1870's through the early 1900's. Demolished in…

Living with Guild

I had read so much, seen so much, and heard so much about Robert Venturi's Guild House in Philadelphia that when I saw it for the first time it looked like, well, just another ugly building on a wide, dreary…

Local Hero

David O'Donnell is a local, historic preservationist hero in my book. He was head of a fledgling neighborhood preservation group I joined years ago. It seemed he was running six different committees at the time, a kind of start-up, serial…

Henry Ossawa Tanner, Painter (1859-1937)

“We never speak of Tanner in terms of racial difference...The United States is very different from the French way of considering Tanner,” says Sylvie Patry, “conservateur en chef” of painting at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris, France. She's in Philadelphia…

Zagar

“Total Embellishment” Long before painter, filmmaker, showman Julian Schnabel began piling up broken tea cups on canvas, Isaiah Zagar was busy at work creating dazzling mosaics that exploded like glittering stardust across Philadelphia and throughout the world. Zagar is Philadelphia…

Two States of Mind in One

Jean Barr is living history. Every day. She may make a trip to the grocery store to pick up some fresh milk but returns to her house built in 1748, originally owned by a guy named Shippen who was an…

Party Like the Dickenses

Charles Dickens' 200th birthday is coming up soon and already, in England, they're a bit sick of him and all the fuss, says Janine Pollock, head of the Rare Book Department at the Free Library of Philadelphia. But that didn't…

ATOMIC CITY JOE

“Ghost Busters” Photo: Joseph G. Brin copyright 2012 Stroll past Lady Love Clothing & Accessories, Mr. Bagel, and Tattooed Mom's Bar... On your way up Philadelphia's South Street you'll soon hear Frank Sinatra wafting from La Fourno, the Italian restaurant.…

Preservationist on Wheels

1938 Alfa Romeo 2900B MM Anyone who mentions Carravagio, Bernini, and the Ford Motor Company in the same sentence is someone you just have to meet. Dr. Fred Simeone is a retired, world-renowned Philadelphia neurosurgeon who has amassed a car…

Designing Water

“View from Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center” Joseph G. Brin Copyright 2011 Philadelphia has always had an engineered relationship to water and the Schuylkill River. In 1812, the Fairmount Water Works, designed by Frederick Graff, opened on the eastern banks…

"Civil War Vet Builds on River"

In 1883, architect Frank Furness, whose busy office once nurtured a young Louis Sullivan, had just completed the Undine Barge Club, the finest rowing clubhouse on Boathouse Row, a winding pearl string of boathouses along the Schuylkill River of Philadelphia. His…

Warp Speed

A native of Kyoto, Japan, Hitoshi Ujiie grew up in a kimono design and manufacturing family, learning all aspects of the trade. He studied at a textile college in Japan and under Glen Kaufman, textile fiber artist, at the University…

Best Kept Secrets

Philadelphia’s best kept secrets are hiding in plain sight. In the 19th century, the city became embedded with quirky repositories of everything from dolls to dodos. City neighborhoods expanded, engulfing these manic collections as if flies in amber awaiting future…

You are "here"

“Paint Torch” Sculptor: Claes Oldenburg, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Philadelphia.  Photo: Joseph G. Brin “Hephaestus and the Garden of the gods, Snow”.  2010 Photo: Scott Hocking "I've always been interested in the periphery.” Julien Robson, British born Curator of…

Want to teach? Break a leg!

Tidal pool.  Photo: Joseph G. Brin In grade school, the rare sighting of my teacher in the grocery store, evoked intense excitement as if I had encountered something almost forbidden, an exotic bird strutting and feeding outside its natural classroom…

SPACE INVADERS

Someone is about to erect a towering, shiny mirror right in the middle of the City of Philadelphia...metaphorically speaking, that is. Outdoor art galleries will spring up for a day, on December 10, 2011. Sculpture installations will cast light on…

Knitting Philadelphia Together

On October 14th 2011, Moore College of Art & Design and Metropolis magazine presented a symposium with Editor-In-Chief Susan S. Szenasy and leading Philadelphia designers on research shaping contemporary practice. Szenasy screened the Metropolis film “Brilliant Simplicity: 15 Designers Research…