Metropolis Magazine - Metropolis Magazine January 2010

 

Dual Flow

Held in drought-plagued Phoenix, Greenbuild 2009 had water on its mind.

Bjarke Ingels

The founding principal of BIG talks about refurbishing the surface of the planet, the big question, and the runner’s high.

Back to the Future

A school dedicated to design-based learning opens in the very building where GM’s legendary Harley Earl became the father of the modern car.

Grand Obsession

Parcours Muséologique Revisité, Robert Polidori’s new, 744-page, three-volume set from Steidl, traces the photographer’s 26-year journey capturing the Palace of Versailles. “I am dealing with a collective superego,” Polidori says in the introduction, “documenting the way a whole society decides to see itself.” Since becoming a historical museum in 1837, the former royal palace has been turned into a curated…

Teatime

Dries Verbruggen has long been fascinated with an object that doesn’t actually exist: the Utah teapot. Designed in 1975 by Martin Newell, a computer scientist at the University of Utah, the digital vessel was the first complex 3-D computer model. It has since become a standard computer-graphic reference, and animators often use it as an inside joke. (It popped up…

What’s Next: Retail

Shopping as we know it is dead. Unsightly malls and big-box inefficiencies are giving way to a more sophisticated kind of retail as families and retirees increasingly trade the suburbs for city life, and digital tools seamlessly insinuate themselves into our daily rituals. “The world of retail is going to change more in the next ten years than it has…

What’s Next: Landscape Architecture

As climate change threatens to reshape our world, landscape architecture seems poised to play a leading role in creating an environmentally sound and effective response. We’ve asked a landscape designer, a landscape architect, and a Dutch civil engineer to discuss strategies for the future. All are in broad agreement that lasting and sustainable solutions should circle back to the land….

What’s Next: Energy

During the last century, our electrical grid was a symbol of progress, bringing cheap and abundant power to cities and towns across the country. The system was fed by a small number of large plants that distributed energy in one direction. “Today, we’re moving toward a much more highly distributed, dynamic, and interactive grid that will manage a global network of…

What’s Next: Green Building

Despite all the talk about net-zero and net-positive architecture, green buildings remain elusive for the mainstream. There are, however, some promising developments: state and municipal tax incentives, stricter building codes, and commercial real estate honchos who have finally figured out that sustainable design stuffs cash into their pockets. Progress hangs on the tricky interplay of public policy and technology. Here…

What’s Next: Design Education

Mark Wigley, dean of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, believes his school has a mission to act as a laboratory for other institutions. And he thinks that task will take on greater significance as universities become increasingly globalized. “At Columbia, we have no interest in the Starbucks model of the branch campus, where you distribute good…

What’s Next: Urban Planning

The 21st-century city faces a host of daunting challenges: projected scarcities of water and energy, rising sea levels, and, ultimately, more people. But the seeds of fairly radical change have already been planted. “I’m convinced we’re in the midst of a transformation that is probably as profound as what happened immediately after the Second World War, when we got all…

What’s Next: Lighting

For many of us, lighting is just a matter of wattage and bulb type. Maybe we’ve grappled with the question of whether an inefficient incandescent or a CFL, with its trace mercury content, is the lesser of two evils. But Dr. Mariana Figueiro, the program director of the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, thinks the way we design…

What’s Next: Workplace

Baby boomers are marching into their sixties and seventies; and soon—faster than you can say “Fiber One”—we’ll have the oldest workforce in the history of work. What does that mean for workplace design? “Companies will want older people because they’ve got knowledge and experience, so there is going to be a big emphasis on creating the right settings for them,”…

What’s Next: Transportation

In the last 50 years, U.S. transportation policy has been overwhelmingly focused on highway construction. Funding was so automobile-centric that it wasn’t until the 1990s—when Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan established a new “80/20” spending formula—that mass transit was seriously included in appropriations bills. Congress is currently working on a new appropriations bill that will have crucial implications on that spending….

What’s Next: Health Care

Health-care design, once the province of sterile, faintly inhumane patient wards, is finally developing a bedside manner. Thanks to a field known as evidence-based design, we now know that how a hospital looks and feels plays a big role in how well it treats patients. That research, which details the environmental particulars of recovery down to the best floor pattern…