Point of View - Point of View June 2011

 

Big Easy Bike Boom

NOLA native Sarah Markel on the levee bike path along the Mississippi. Photo: Catherine Markel. Earlier this month, I spent a week in Madison, Wisconsin, where I sat through lectures by some of the world’s leading authorities on ways to…

+ Pool

A plus-shaped pool could make it possible to swim in polluted rivers.

Modernism Mummified

The Manufacturer's Hanover Trust Company building at 510 Fifth Avenue, New York. The lower levels are being renovated. The ancient Egyptians were the ur-preservationists, but I have always thought that there was something perverse about their method of immortalizing dead…

Q&A: Michael Braungart

Michael Braungart after meeting with legislators  in Sacramento to discuss green initiatives the state is considering. Eco-effective products and their processes should not only “do no harm,” but actually benefit the environment, people and the economy. That uncompromising design philosophy…

Too Much History

The caption was promising. “Cloud is a work of experimental architecture,” it said, “a floating roof made simply from helium gas, water and soap; an instantly deployable canopy for conversation in the shade.” In reality, it wasn’t quite so deployable.…

Places that Work: Seattle Central Library

The Seattle Central Library works so well because of something obvious: its architects carefully considered the role of a public library during its projected lifetime and designed it accordingly. When Rem Koolhaas, Joshua Prince-Ramus of OMA/LMN, and their teams set…

Holding Pattern at MoMA PS1

With an abundance of activities happening in New York all summer long, it’s hard to decide where to spend those valuable weekends. I’m told one of the hottest summer traditions though, is not a party on a roof, in a…

Q&A: David Gottfried

In 2010, David Gottfried founded his latest membership organization, the Regenerative Network; a business consortium that brings together leading green building product manufacturers and service providers and connects them to real estate portfolio owners, architects, engineers, and contractors. The mission…

The New Agro Model?

I’ve always had an obsession with abandoned buildings. Maybe that’s because they speak to the nature of change in society, and always seems to be bursting with potential. They are often reincarnated as business parks, apartments, galleries, but these transformations…

Q&A: John King

John King, the estimable architecture and urban design critic at the San Francisco Chronicle, recently published his first book, Cityscape: San Francisco and Its Buildings. Based on a weekly feature that debuted in the Chronicle more than two years ago,…

Tomorrow's Designers

I’m trying to remember, did I ever think about things like public design, civic planning, or product innovation in the eighth grade?  I’ll be honest, the eighth grade wasn’t all that long ago. I know that in language arts we…

Q&A: Jason McLennan

Jason McLennan, CEO of the International Living Future Institute (home of the Living Building Challenge, a standard launched by the Cascadia chapter of the Green Building Council in 2006 and intended to push beyond LEED at the time) has published…

The Artist in the Architect

Large Baths, Hadrian's Villa, Tivoli; Louis I. Kahn, 1951; Pastel on paper; 7 ½ x 8 ½ inches. Looking through the Metropolis magazine archives, I recently came upon a quote from Eero Saarinen, “To me, the drawn language is a…

Phyllis Wheatley Falls

Photo: Matthew Hinton/The Times-Picayune. Not even a month after we wrote about the impending demolition of the Phyllis Wheatley Elementary School, the battle over one of New Orleans’s last standing mid-century modernist schools has come to an abrupt but decisive…

America's Deteriorating Treasures

Since 1988, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has been compiling a list of national treasures, sites of architectural and cultural significance that are facing demolition or serious decay. Each year, one-of-a-kind historical places are added, cataloguing American architectural history…

Building Social Responsibility...Right

The Make It Right Foundation, established by movie star Brad Pitt, has received a lot of press. He and his equally famous partner, Angelina Jolie, are well regarded in philanthropy circles because they do so much of it. Poverty and…

Part of the Process

In our June 2011 issue, Peter Hall writes about the fascinating relationship that the giant design consultancy, IDEO, has with a very particular type of client – governmental agencies. The firm’s trademark design thinking method is showing mammoth bureaucratic juggernauts…

High Line Expansion

Like many others, I was brimming with anticipation last Wednesday to see the High Line’s recent expansion, the second section of a three-part plan to build a linear park out of an abandoned railroad on Manhattan’s West Side. Ever since…

Successful Blue Ventures

courtesy Blue Ventures Buckminster Fuller was an architect, but in the truest sense of the title, he was a problem-solver who viewed complexity with the eyes of a scientist. Upon his death in 1983, his family established the Buckminster Fuller…

New Life in the Old Plaza

Just as Seville was about to construct a new parking facility under one of its historic plazas, archeologists discovered Roman ruins below ground. So instead of digging down, officials in the Spanish city decided to build up. In this way,…