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August 08 Blog Articles - Page 3 Print E-mail
Thursday, 31 July 2008 19:00

“Architecture School” Reality Show Premieres on Sundance
Adrianne Jeffries in Inhabitat
With the current vogue of reality tv shows sweeping the networks, we’re excited to see one with an admirable humanitarian design mission. Architecture School is a new series that follows twelve architecture students at the Tulane University School of Architecture as they design and build a low-cost sustainable home for a family returning to New Orleans. An excellent example of integrating students within a community, the three year venture will join the architecture school with URBANbuild and the nonprofit Neighborhood Housing Services

An Old Theater Grows in Brooklyn
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
For more than 40 years, the Brooklyn Paramount Theatre has been used an athletic gymnasium for Long Island University. Thousands of seats were removed in 1962 to make room for basketball games, which were, oddly enough, accompanied by the original Wurlitzer organ, one of the world's finest, according to this web site. Now the university has announced that a theater will once again grace the premises since it has built a new athletic facility elsewhere. Apparently the grand lobby, now the student cafeteria, and the original ceiling remain, giving movie theater buffs hope that the building can be restored to its 1928 appearance.

Eric Lombardi's Zero Waste Park
Julia Steinberger in WorldChanging
Eric Lombardi, the waste-management guru behind Boulder, Colo.-based recycler Eco-Cycle, is fighting incinerators around the world with a vision. Although his Zero-Waste Park may never be built, he has been able to use the artistic plan as an effective tool for discussion that has allowed city planners to consider alternative solutions. The Zero-Waste Park was originally conceived by Lombardi when he was working with a Hawaiian community group called Zero Waste Kauai (we originally mentioned the design in our post on Vancouver's RCBC conference). The island of Kauai was facing a landfill closure, and considering building an incinerator to handle waste disposal. The park is sized to handle solid waste from about 300,000 people (about the size of Boulder County, or the entire island of Kauai).

Can Landscape Architecture Really Help Manage Traffic?
ASLA.org - The Dirt
I have just begun Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) by Tom Vanderbilt and I'm already hooked. He thus far has tagged just about every bad driving habit I've ever adopted and puts the act of driving to work into frightening and fascinating perspective. Which leads me to think about the role landscape architects can play in minimizing bad behaviors through the use of natural design. Is it possible, in the face of the conflicts inherent in human nature, for streetscapes and transportation corridors to use design and nature to eliminate or at least alleviate traffic woes? If so, what does it look like? I think of the Taconic Parkway in New York State. A seriously beautiful road that drivers nonetheless want to treat like I-95. I should know. It's the site of my one and only speeding ticket. 

We Are All Googie Now
owen hatherley in sit down man, you're a bloody tragedy
Further to the claims at Voyou that an investigation of the politics and aesthetics of the fifties might make some sort of sense of our own times - I've been reading Alan Hess' monumental study of 1950s Pulp Modernism, Googie - Ultramodern Roadside Architecture. This was a specifically southern Californian style, used to draw attention to burger bars, car washes, coffee shops (the name comes from one such, designed by John Lautner). Hess places the style in direct opposition to the 'high-art Modernism' of Mies van der Rohe and his disciples, the classicist glass skyscraper school that became the spatial lingua franca of even the most conformist parts of American capital. What's interesting here is that the debate was purely aesthetic

Design Decisions
Ugo Okafor in African Architecture and Design
Their website says "...Design Decisions is an interior design firm established in California in 1990. Our Lagos office opened in 1993 and has grown to be recognized as the leading interior design consultants in Nigeria. In 2007, we expanded our services to South Africa. We are influenced by the grand scale and fantasy of Californian style, the business savvy required to do business in Nigeria, and the creative blend of African motifs in South African interiors. These global influences reflect in our projects and give them a unique approach to making critical design decisions.

architecture against itself
admin in varnelis.net - network culture
Yesterday, 10:37 AM
The ponzi scheme created to sell real estate at preposterously inflated levels during the last eight years is now having a new feedback effect. Just as it drove rampant construction, producing far more housing than anybody will need any time in the near future, it is now undoing that housing. Once foreclosures happen, houses and apartments are not only neglected, they become the focus of their occupants' rage.

On Lebbeus Woods and Architecture
admin in varnelis.net - network culture
In an article in yesterday's New York Times, Nicolai Ouroursoff paid homage to Lebbeus Woods. Ouroussof suggests that "Architecture is big business today. … But that he now stands virtually alone underscores a disturbing shift in the architectural profession during the past decade or so. By abandoning fantasy for the more pragmatic aspects of building, the profession has lost some of its capacity for self-criticism, not to mention one of its most valuable imaginative tools." Has the profession (and increasingly architecture is a profession not a discipline, incapable of a critical or even intelligent discourse) produced any architecture of value in the last decade? Not much. I can think of Casa da Musica, which is a great building, and perhaps the Seattle Public Library, which is a good building, but OMA's well has run dry.



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