The week on the net - September 08 Print
Sunday, 28 September 2008 19:00

Interesting articles published around the Internet.


de Meuron’s Le Projet Triangle, Herzog & de Meuron
architect studio in architect studio
Herzog & de Meuron's new project raises up in Paris, by lifting of a ban on tall buildings in the city Paris reveals its first inner city tower since 1977.
Waterford Crystal's History Made Clear
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
Glass master Miroslav Havel (pictured at right, holding a cat that may or may not be made out of glass), the longtime chief designer of Waterford Crystal, died earlier this month in Waterford, Ireland at the age of 86.
Other Bathing Machines
Alexander Trevi in Pruned
(The bathing machine of King Alfonso XIII: conspicuous consumption as spatialized on the Basque coast.
A Look Inside Renzo Piano’s California Academy of Sciences
Jimmy Stamp in Life Without Buildings
Life Without Buildings’ Man-On-The Street Ethen Wood stopped in to Renzo Piano’s New California Academy of Sciences, a building described by New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff as “a blazingly uncynical embrace of the Enlightenment values of truth and reason.
Samsø Gaining Recognition for Off-Grid, Carbon-Free Way of Life
Preston D K in Green Building Blog - Jetson Green
A few months ago, I became interested in Samsø after reading Elizabeth Kolbert's column in The New Yorker entitled The Island in the Wind.
New Mexico EcoSteel House - ready to move in
lavardera in LamiDesign Modern House Plan Blog
This is it! There are only a few items left to complete and correct in the New Mexico EcoSteel House.
Baghdad Finds Safer Streets with Solar-Powered Streetlights
Alex Felsinger in Green Options
While most Baghdad residents still do not have reliable electricity inside their homes, Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity has begun to install solar-powered streetlights in the country’s war-torn capitol.
Urban Revival, Suburban Form and Divergent Innovation
Alex Steffen in WorldChanging
A thought's been bugging me lately, seeping up through the subconscious and nagging at me, and recently, as I do my horizon-scanning, I think I've started to figure out what it is: I think we're beginning to see a serious case of divergent innovation based on geography in the United States.
"The Showplace of the '70s"
Lee Bey: The Urban Observer
My three daughters and I were driving through Calumet City a few days ago when we passed the shuttered River Oaks Theater on Torrence Avenue.

de Meuron’s Le Projet Triangle, Herzog & de Meuron
architect studio in architect studio
Herzog & de Meuron's new project raises up in Paris, by lifting of a ban on tall buildings in the city Paris reveals its first inner city tower since 1977. The design was showcased by Deputy Mayor, Anne Hidalgo said in her blog: “Paris is indeed now part of the first world capitals in tourism business, trade fairs and exhibitions. Since 2001, the City of Paris has always radiated at the heart of its priorities economic development, employment and innovation. In a context of European and global competition increased, this ambition must now be translated in concrete by reinforcing its economic attractiveness.”

Waterford Crystal's History Made Clear
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
Glass master Miroslav Havel (pictured at right, holding a cat that may or may not be made out of glass), the longtime chief designer of Waterford Crystal, died earlier this month in Waterford, Ireland at the age of 86. Today's New York Times obituary of Havel provides a fascinating glimpse into how in 1947 a pair of Czech immigrants (Havel and Karel Bacik) brought back to life an Irish crystal manufacturing business founded in 1783 (and defunct since 1851). It all started with a few blatant lies:

Other Bathing Machines
Alexander Trevi in Pruned
(The bathing machine of King Alfonso XIII: conspicuous consumption as spatialized on the Basque coast. Notice first its opulence: the beach as contested terrain of privilege and leisure. And then notice the rails and steam-powered pulley system: proto-Smout Allen. See also this three-quarters profile and this photo as it hovers above the surf. Photo courtesy of George Eastman House. Source.)

A Look Inside Renzo Piano’s California Academy of Sciences
Jimmy Stamp in Life Without Buildings
Life Without Buildings’ Man-On-The Street Ethen Wood stopped in to Renzo Piano’s New California Academy of Sciences, a building described by New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff as “a blazingly uncynical embrace of the Enlightenment values of truth and reason. Its Classical symmetry — the axial geometry, the columns framing a central entry — taps into a lineage that runs back to Mies van der Rohe’s 1968 Neue Nationalgalerie and Schinkel’s 1828 Altes Museum in Berlin and even further, to the Parthenon.” Continue reading for more museum photos—including the new Maya Lin installation—from last weekend’s members-only preview; surely the calm before the storm that will the insanely crowded public opening on Saturday.

Samsø Gaining Recognition for Off-Grid, Carbon-Free Way of Life
Preston D K in Green Building Blog - Jetson Green
A few months ago, I became interested in Samsø after reading Elizabeth Kolbert's column in The New Yorker entitled The Island in the Wind.  With news of this Danish Paradise chilling out in the recesses of my mind, just this week, I noticed a photo essay of Samsø in The Guardian with pictures from Nicky Bonne.  What's interesting about Samsø is that it's a producer of energy -- the entire island produces more energy from renewables than it uses.  They sell the rest and have been doing so since 2003.  Which makes me wonder, how did they get to this point?

New Mexico EcoSteel House - ready to move in
lavardera in LamiDesign Modern House Plan Blog
This is it! There are only a few items left to complete and correct in the New Mexico EcoSteel House. The owner has their CO and is moving in. They sent along one last round of photos of the empty house taken with a very wide angle fish-eye lens.
So this is it. Perhaps we will see some photos of the place with furniture, but this project is coming to a close. Its been very exciting to see it come together, and the owner has been very generous with their photos. Our thanks to them for sharing their house with us, and you our readers.

Baghdad Finds Safer Streets with Solar-Powered Streetlights
Alex Felsinger in Green Options
While most Baghdad residents still do not have reliable electricity inside their homes, Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity has begun to install solar-powered streetlights in the country’s war-torn capitol.
According to a recent NPR report, several thousand lamps have already been installed, with thousands more in the works. Anhar Abdullah, chief engineer of Ministry of Electricity, said off-the-grid street lights were important for security reasons. For over five years, the Iraqi government has done little to address their issues maintaining functional electricity inside homes.

Urban Revival, Suburban Form and Divergent Innovation
Alex Steffen in WorldChanging
A thought's been bugging me lately, seeping up through the subconscious and nagging at me, and recently, as I do my horizon-scanning, I think I've started to figure out what it is: I think we're beginning to see a serious case of divergent innovation based on geography in the United States. That is, the kinds and amounts of innovation available to a person vary significantly in urban and suburban and rural America, and the degree to which they vary is increasing rapidly. Some of those variations are really obvious: you can't get cellphone coverage everywhere in rural America, much less broadband, for instance.

"The Showplace of the '70s"
Lee Bey: The Urban Observer
My three daughters and I were driving through Calumet City a few days ago when we passed the shuttered River Oaks Theater on Torrence Avenue. Designed by Loebl, Schlossman, Bennett and Dart, the theater was a showplace when it opened in 1969 with 1,600 seats and a curved 85ft wide screen. Movies were shown with the mysterious-sounding Dimension 150 projection system.  Below is a piece from the October 13, 1969 issue of Box Office magazine, courtesy of Roland Lataille's Cinerama website



Last Week...


NYC Successfully Installs Tidal-Power Turbine in East River
Alex Felsinger in Green Options
After two failed attempts, New York City has installed a new-and-improved aluminum alloy turbine in the East River, the only of its kind in the United States. The turbine is the first of 300 which the city hopes to install in the waterway. Unlike the typical river which flows in a constant direction, the East River is a tidal straight with strong, fluctuating currents which allow for more efficient power generation. Once in place, the system could provide electricity to 10,000 households.

Architectural Balkanology
New Architecture and Urban Phenomena in South Eastern Europe
Curated by Kai Vöckler
In the western Balkans, the collapse of the socialist economic system in Yugoslavia and Albania has given rise to extensive informal building activity that represents a new form of urbanisation. The question is: how far do such urban transformations indicate patterns of future development for European cities in general? The exhibition uses examples from projects in Belgrade, Zagreb, Kotor, Prishtina and Tirana to illustrate the way architects, artists, urbanists and activists are dealing with these rapid new transformation processes. The outstanding yet hardly known buildings of socialist modernism in Yugoslavia are compared and contrasted with contemporary architecture.

When theatre and architecture merge
Spacing in Spacing Toronto • understanding the urban landscape
Since time immmemorial, we have constructed walls and defined boundaries to create spaces. What is often forgotten in the process is the experience of the space as whole, literally and metaphorically. What happens if the boundaries are challenged? In this time of collaboration amongst artists in various disciplines, Blue Note proves to be not only a successful theatrical performance, but an experience in which the audience is integrated and even written into the play. Created by Brian Quirt and Martin Julien, Blue Note is a character study of vocal ensembles. The collaboration begins with musicians, vocalists, actors and invites architects and artists to contribute in what seems to be a casual rehearsal.

Reason to Dream
WorldChanging Team in WorldChanging
The Otesha Project is a five year old, grassroots, youth-run organization which uses cycling and theatre to empower young people to make more just and sustainable life-style choices. Otesha Canada has presented to more than 80,000 people to date. This Ottawa based organization has proven so inspiring that there is now an Otesha UK and an Otesha Australia. We asked one of the cyclist actors to share what the experience of an Otesha cycling tour is like from the inside.
By Stefanie Bowles. Years of studying governments and public policy issues left me with what I think is a common perception of governments as powerful. I had to revisit this understanding of power when I started actually working for the government. I would look around me and think—ok—I’m here, who has the power? My experiences with Otesha—I signed up to join one of their two-month bicycle tours from which I recently returned—gave me a new perspective on power. We were eleven total strangers from across the country, between 20-28 years old, who signed up to live in a mobile community together for two months. The message we were to live and present theatrically was one of sustainability and social justice as articulated in the Otesha Book (to which the play we performed corresponds) with chapters/scenes on food, transportation, clothing, coffee and media. We had no leaders, and were encouraged to modify the script to make the message something which reflected our own ideas of justice, sustainability, humour and communication.

Synecdoche, New York and Infinitely Repeating Cities
Jimmy Stamp in Life Without Buildings
The trailer for the new Charlie Kaufman written-and-directed movie, Synecdoche, New York was released today and it’s every bit as weird and wondrous as you’d want it to be. A synecdoche, for those non-English majors out there, is a figure of speech in which a part of something is made to represent the whole; e.g. “all hands on deck.” The film follows the life of a failed, yet incredibly ambitious director (played Phillip Seymour Hoffman) as he attempts to stage a play inside a full-scale replica of a portion of New York City…built inside a warehouse. We learn during the preview that this process takes no less than 17 years. We also learn, as evident in the above image, that at some point during the production, another warehouse is built to encompass the already-cavernous warehouse that was originally adopted as a set — or does he build a replica of the original warehouse in itself? Intrigued yet?

DEAD WORDS
lebbeuswoods in LEBBEUS WOODS
There are words and terms that once had currency in architecture but have become, in effect, dead. This short, annotated list contains a few, but I’m sure there are more, and I invite readers to submit their own in the comments section. The point here is not merely academic, but rather to note the shifts in thinking that impact the nature of our field’s development. The words we use—and don’t use—are important.
radical This term used to refer to paradigm shifts and other important changes in thinking and practice that contributed to human progress [see below]. But today, it is associated with ‘extreme.’ In the era of terrorism and the so-called ‘war on terrorism,’ radicals are seen as the enemies of the currently hunkered-down system of social order—in short, as terrorists. They are to be shunned, especially in the application of the penultimate instrument of social order, architecture. It is certainly acceptable to propose extreme forms, now and then, but only in the service of already known and familiar programs of use, and therefore as a reaffirmation of the status quo. Proposing radical forms that implement radical programs is unacceptable. Indeed, radical programs of use are more unacceptable than they ever have been.


Earlier this month...

The broken heart of east Greenwich
BDonline
Maybe because of the unusually good showing in last month’s Olympics, it seems we’re already starting to forget about the space behind the 2012 fence — the Lea Valley, with its derelict industries and strange wildlife. That of course is the point: the fences are supposed to efface what was there before until the shiny new buildings arrive. So walking past a fenced-off London “regeneration site” recently, I was taken aback to see “Greenwich District Hospital was here” scrawled on the bright blue fence. Oh, so that’s what used to be here. I had almost forgotten.

Lakehead sets high standard. First phase of campus will meet platinum environmental benchmark
By COURTNEY WHALEN, THE PACKET AND TIMES
Forget gold. Orillia's Lakehead University is going for the platinum. The design of the first building and the name of the architecture firm behind it was unveiled Wednesday. The university campus will be the first in Canada to attain Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum standards. "We anticipate as the campus builds out, it should be a model -- a North American model," Lakehead president Fred Gilbert said of its design and environmental standards. Architectural firm Moriyama and Teshima will take the lead on the project after being selected from seven candidates. The Torontobased firm has worked on projects including the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa City Hall, Ontario Science Centre and Casino Rama, as well as several universities.

Talking with Rem Koolhaas, the architect behind the Central Library
By Mark Rahner
Mark Rahner talks to architect Rem Koolhaas, who designed the Central Library. The Seattle Public Library celebrates the completion of its "Libraries for All" building program Saturday.
The genius of downtown's awe-inspiring Central Library is that members of the former East German women's swim team would feel every bit as much at home there as the cast of "Logan's Run." A little something for everyone. Four years after the once-controversial project's completion, Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and his creation are a key part of the Seattle Public Library's celebration Saturday of the conclusion to its decadelong "Libraries for All" building program.

Asylum recently completed a new bookstore in Jakarta that they hope will bring new life into the realm of bookstore design.
By frame digital.com
Asylum has dubbed the project ‘a mad house’ of creative types. What does that mean exactly? Let’s take a closer look. Hoping to define the way the average patron experiences a bookstore was the main driving factor behind the project. Gone are the traditional boring aisles of bookshelves of yesterday. The Times flagship store in Jakarta, from first sight, is clearly not your average bookstore. The bookstore is housed in a large glass cube featuring a complete glass façade. The store is centred around a theme of ‘A Garden of Discovery’. This theme takes the approach of welcoming visitors to meander through the carefully placed maze like aisles, encouraging users to discover and interact with the books.

Of mini-Big Bang birth chambers, server farms, neo-cathedrals and Virgil's Tenth Circle of Hell
Alexander Trevi in Pruned
While everyone is waiting for the first high-energy collision of CERN's Large Hadron Collider sometime next month, might we interest you meanwhile with our previous posts on this mega-machine? In our first, we wondered if all those scientists working at CERN — after having successfully mapped out the landscape architecture of reality, of course — would want to reconfigure The Machine so that it could levitate a grove of trees.
 


The broken heart of east Greenwich
BDonline
Maybe because of the unusually good showing in last month’s Olympics, it seems we’re already starting to forget about the space behind the 2012 fence — the Lea Valley, with its derelict industries and strange wildlife. That of course is the point: the fences are supposed to efface what was there before until the shiny new buildings arrive. So walking past a fenced-off London “regeneration site” recently, I was taken aback to see “Greenwich District Hospital was here” scrawled on the bright blue fence. Oh, so that’s what used to be here. I had almost forgotten.

Lakehead sets high standard. First phase of campus will meet platinum environmental benchmark
By COURTNEY WHALEN, THE PACKET AND TIMES
Forget gold. Orillia's Lakehead University is going for the platinum. The design of the first building and the name of the architecture firm behind it was unveiled Wednesday. The university campus will be the first in Canada to attain Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum standards. "We anticipate as the campus builds out, it should be a model -- a North American model," Lakehead president Fred Gilbert said of its design and environmental standards. Architectural firm Moriyama and Teshima will take the lead on the project after being selected from seven candidates. The Torontobased firm has worked on projects including the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa City Hall, Ontario Science Centre and Casino Rama, as well as several universities.

Talking with Rem Koolhaas, the architect behind the Central Library
By Mark Rahner
Mark Rahner talks to architect Rem Koolhaas, who designed the Central Library. The Seattle Public Library celebrates the completion of its "Libraries for All" building program Saturday.
The genius of downtown's awe-inspiring Central Library is that members of the former East German women's swim team would feel every bit as much at home there as the cast of "Logan's Run." A little something for everyone. Four years after the once-controversial project's completion, Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and his creation are a key part of the Seattle Public Library's celebration Saturday of the conclusion to its decadelong "Libraries for All" building program.

Asylum recently completed a new bookstore in Jakarta that they hope will bring new life into the realm of bookstore design.
By frame digital.com
Asylum has dubbed the project ‘a mad house’ of creative types. What does that mean exactly? Let’s take a closer look. Hoping to define the way the average patron experiences a bookstore was the main driving factor behind the project. Gone are the traditional boring aisles of bookshelves of yesterday. The Times flagship store in Jakarta, from first sight, is clearly not your average bookstore. The bookstore is housed in a large glass cube featuring a complete glass façade. The store is centred around a theme of ‘A Garden of Discovery’. This theme takes the approach of welcoming visitors to meander through the carefully placed maze like aisles, encouraging users to discover and interact with the books.

Of mini-Big Bang birth chambers, server farms, neo-cathedrals and Virgil's Tenth Circle of Hell
Alexander Trevi in Pruned
While everyone is waiting for the first high-energy collision of CERN's Large Hadron Collider sometime next month, might we interest you meanwhile with our previous posts on this mega-machine? In our first, we wondered if all those scientists working at CERN — after having successfully mapped out the landscape architecture of reality, of course — would want to reconfigure The Machine so that it could levitate a grove of trees.

The New Museum of Contemporary Art to Expand, Figure Where Everything Goes Later
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
Apparently all that good initial press has done well by the New Museum of Contemporary Art, as they've just announced that they're set to buy the 47,000 square foot building adjacent to them for $16.6 million with further expansion plans in mind. The still reborn museum (it was founded over three decades ago, but likely hasn't gotten the press it has, combined over those thirty years, that it has once it landed in its fancy new space), wants to use the new expansion for just extra administrative space for the time being while it figures where it wants to go from here on out (meaning "the most positive growing pains possible," thinks we).

The Problems with Green Architecture Go Beyond Anything a LEED Award Can Solve
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
We think we have a new crush and she goes by the name Cathleen McGuigan. Her piece, "Bad News About Green Architecture," in the upcoming issue of Newsweek, is a terrific calling out of how much further the green movement, particularly in regard to design, has to go. Granted, this is not particularly new, as we were reporting on the negative co-opting of the term "green" by marketers across the globe, but McGuigan puts a nice spin on it by complaining that just because something takes home some flashy LEED award (we're looking at you, China), that doesn't mean that anything involved with the building even remotely follows the tenants of greenness (e.g. the "Green McMansion" or the greening of Vegas hotels). But she comes full circle and explains that these transitions are all part of the initial growing pains into something new and hopefully, people like Renzo Piano (she really likes his new California Academy of Sciences building), will help save us all from ourselves, eventually leading to "green" becoming bland and ordinary from hyper-familiarity.

Questioning Architecture Schools in the Middle of an Industry Downturn
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
An interesting point/counter-point between architect Tim Ronalds and architecture school head, Richard Hayward called "Are Architecture Schools Turning Into Factory Farms?" over at Building Design. The point of the piece is obvious, based off the title, of course. Ronalds says yes, explaining that there are more students, fewer teachers, and instruction so rigid as to not allow for much originality. Hayward says no, saying that schools still do foster creativity, but does accept that there's a problem within the industry as a whole. Beyond just their talk, it's an interesting discussion considering all of the financial woes the architecture business has found itself in, and in reading reports like in yesterday's Irish Business News that thousands of architects are expected to lose their jobs this year. And if that's just in Ireland, which is just now coming out of one the biggest economic booms in the whole of Europe, you can imagine the dire situation all over.

The Adaptive City
Dan Hill in cityofsound
A few months ago, Scott Burnham kindly asked me to contribute to the exhibition catalogue for Urban Play, a project he conceived and then developed with Droog Design. It is being sponsored by the city of Amsterdam and is premiering there this September. In Scott's words, "Urban Play is about placing the individual at the heart of the city’s development and encouraging creative interaction between the individual and the physical city". You can also find out more at the Experimenta site. Scott's posting up focus pieces on some of the interventionists featured in the exhibition, starting with the quite brilliant work of Gilberto Esparza, a Mexico City-based artist who creates 'Urban Parasites', "small robotic creatures made from recycled consumer goods which wander, climb, crawl and explore the marginal areas of the city." (Check the videos at Scott's site.)

The Art of Unveiling
John in A Daily Dose of Architecture
On the triangular site formed by Gansevoort, West 13th and Hudson Streets on the edge of Manhattan's Meatpacking District junya.ishigama + associates renovated a one-story brick building into a boutique for Yohji Yamamoto. The austere yet clever design splits the existing building into two -- shop at the tip and storehouse in the back -- via a walkway linking Gansevoort and 13th and providing an entry to the shop. While I find the design appealing, and actually planned on featuring the project eventually, I was particularly intrigued by the wrapper that enclosed the project until its opening. These shots captured by Diane show the opening night of the Yohji Yamamoto store back in February. The "skin" is a wood-frame structure covered with stretched translucent plastic. This layer curves up and over the brick building(s) in an embrace that even conceals the project from those trying to sneak a peek from neighboring buildings.




Earlier this month...

Sustainable design overview from Gerard Lee Architects
Young in Architecture
"So how does sustainable or "green" design apply to your home? What is "green" design? Just doing a simple search on the internet will result in hundreds of thousands of references. All similar to a certain extent and yet different. Reading through some of them will make you realise that when it comes to "green" design, many experts and or architects who specialize in sustainable design differ in what they call "green" design.
For some, it means using natural materials, or waste products, utilizing the natural resources for fuel, lighting, recycling water and avoiding certain materials like steel studs that use high embodied energy through it's production. For others, it means that metal studs are good because they are an easily recycled material....

The Fate of BC's Carbon Tax
WorldChanging Team in WorldChanging
by Eric de Place
What Canada's tax shift means for the U.S.
British Columbia's recent carbon tax made waves in the US. (Sightline's written about it here, here, and here.) But it's not terribly popular in BC, as economist Marc Lee of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives explains: While there are plenty of good reasons why the Liberals should get beaten up at the polls, one of the key reasons for the change is the carbon tax, due to an aggressive (if questionable) campaign by the NDP and poor communications by the government.
In some public opinion work I’ve seen, two messages about BC’s carbon tax come out loud and clear. The first is that revenue neutrality is a bust — people may be willing to live with a new tax on carbon but think that giving the money back is a dumb idea; they would rather have revenues spent on public transit or anything else that would reinforce climate action. Second, they want tough action on industry.

[murmur] & the Junction Arts Festival
Shawn Micallef in Spacing Toronto • understanding the urban landscape
[murmur] is pleased to announce we have launched our latest project in Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood as part of this weekend’s Junction Arts Festival. We have installed 27 listening posts — those familiar green ears — throughout the neighbourhood (download and print out the map of locations here) with over 80 stories spread among them. More locations will be added in the coming weeks.

Palmyra House by Studio Mumbai
Kate Andrews in Inhabitat
Pitched as having over 800 uses, the Palmyra Palm (or Borassus) is recognized as one of the most important trees in Cambodia and India. Earlier this year, Indian born architect Bijoy Jain of Studio Mumbai illustrated the ecological potential of the palm when he designed and built the beautiful Palmyra House. Constructed entirely from locally sourced and sustainably harvested palmyra, the home is sited on a working coconut plantation in the East Indian coastal town of Alibaug.

The Secretive Story Behind Robert A.M. Stern's Hiring
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
Most of us know that starchitect and presidential library builder Robert A.M. Stern had landed the gig to do some new building on Yale's campus, but now the Yale Daily News has put together a fascinating piece on how the decision to hire Stern all came about, complete with sneaky, secret meetings and the University working with a small, tight-lipped team. What's even more interesting is although Stern was eventually brought in on all this secret talk, before he'd landed the job, he'd begun to get frustrated with Yale for utterly ignoring him while they made their plans internally: The School of Architecture alumnus desperately wanted to get in on the project to build two new residential colleges. He reached out to the University through intermediaries. His firm sent a portfolio to the University Planner's office, pulling favors to get it to the top of the pile. An aide even e-mailed a reporter to ask for help in getting his name in the mix.

Paul Overy RIP
owen hatherley in sit down man, you're a bloody tragedy
Yesterday, 6:34 AM
Fine obituary by Tim Benton - oh for the days when architecture correspondents regularly got sacked for getting too political. As an inadequate tribute, here's my short, over-compressed review for Blueprint earlier this year of his excellent Light Air and Openness, one of the very few serious theoretical books on Modernism published in Britain. Among the things not mentioned in here are the remarkable African prefabs designed by Ernst May, lost to history before this book was published, and a bit on the Magic Mountain-esque romance of sanatoria, which Overy interestingly places as the root form of Modernism...

A Skyscraper Grows on Randolph Street
Lee Bey: The Urban Observer
Outside my window at work, they're adding 24 stories to the top of the elegant Blue Cross/Blue Shield building at 300 E. Randolph. When I should be working, I find myself gawking. That's because lots of downtown highrises will get a penthouse or extra story or two, but how many almost double in height---while the existing building is still occupied and functioning underneath?

Sneak Peak: Venice Live/Work House
Preston D K in Jetson Green
How about kicking out a shout to the newly established blog by EcoSteel?  I was emailing with EcoSteel's Kevin Findlay about their new projects and the blog came up.  So I start looking through the first few posts and, of course, this Venice Live/Work home caught my eye.  I mean, how can it not?  Apparently the home is ready to go in California and EcoSteel is bidding out the contractor work at the moment.

Caligari Cubism on Sheridan Road
Lynn Becker in ArchitectureChicago PLUS
You may call it a delight, or you may call it an eyesore, but one of the most distinctive buildings along Sheridan Road - or in Chicago, for that matter - is the Granville Tower, at 6166 North, 29 stories tall and completed in 1965 to a design by Seymour S. Goldstein, Ltd.
Its weirdly contorted facades, which bring to mind Oscar Wilde's description of the Water Tower as a "monstrosity with pepper boxes stuck all over it", actually have a logical relation to the plan, which was made up entirely of duplex units with bedrooms on the upper levels.Seen from a distance on a day when bright blue skies put the structure into high contrast, all those zits broken out across its face destabilize your ability to see the tower as a stable, solid object; it almost seems to be folding and crumbling right before you eyes.

Agrotourism and Architecture
Michelle Linden in Atelier A+D
This design of an observation deck in Pinohuacho Chile is remarkable not only for its simple and lovely design... but also for the story behind the design. The region has been shaped by years of timid recovery after a 1971 volcanic eruption. With the land losing its value, villagers have been forced to move to the city. Not wanting to lose his way of life, Miguel Vázquez talks to his father about the possibility of agrotourism, where the land will be carefully cultivated to be enjoyed by villagers and visitors alike. The whole family has begun to take part, as well as the rest of the village.

John's Landing to parachute landings: John Gray is Architecture Foundation of Oregon's latest honoree
Brian Libby in Portland Architecture
The Architectural Foundation of Oregon has announced its annual Honored Citizen. And no, this doesn’t have anything to do with a discounted meal at Shari’s restaurant and pie house. Instead, it’s a kind lifetime achievement award for those who have made a lasting contribution to the built environment, either here in Portland or elsewhere in the state. Past honorees include urban naturalist/advocate Mike Houck, architect Robert Frasca, philanthropist Jean Vollum, and landscape architect Barbara Fealy. Although he won a Bronze Star in World War II parachuting behind enemy lines with the Army’s famed 82nd Airborne division, locally developer John Gray is best known for resort projects like Sunriver in central Oregon near Bend and Salishan on the coast just south of Lincoln City. Each is a remarkable and lasting demonstration of how Gray patronized talented, noteworthy local architects like Van Evra Bailey and John Storrs, the latter of whom designed Salishan.

Retro: Urban Sustainability, Mega-City Leapfrogging
Jamais Cascio in WorldChanging
The future of the city is a fundamental concern at WorldChanging, and is a topic we return to regularly, and for good reason: the planet as a whole is on the verge of becoming a majority-urbanized world. The question of the city's future takes two primary forms: How can the cities in the developed world become centers of sustainability, reducing the citizens' environmental footprint with smarter transit, energy and resource options? At the same time, how can the rapidly-growing cities of the developing world become both sources of sustainable economic growth and engines for ethical, democratic development? Alex's Urban Sustainability, Mega-city Leapfrogging brings these issues into focus, and shows how they are tightly linked.

i vant to live in a båthus
Justin in materialicious
Benita and Per-Olof converted the upper floor of their old boathouse into a living area and guest quarters, and have plans to maybe convert the lower area into a snack bar and/or bakery. Hell, I’d live upstairs and dock my old Riva Ariston downstairs!

Sullivan Shines Again
Lee Bey: The Urban Observer
The former Chicago Stock Exchange entry arch is seeing the light of day again. The sadly beautiful relic, which rests in a courtyard along Columbus Drive on the northeast side of the Art Institute's campus, has been hiding beneath a protective wrap for several seasons during construction of the museum's Modern Wing. Construction is winding down; the intricately-ornate terra cotta arch can enjoy a little sun before the dark fall sets in.

Oakland’s Stunning LEED Platinum Margarido House
Bridgette Steffen in Inhabitat
Mike McDonald and his wife Dr. Jill Martenson decided to build their home on a steep lot ravaged by a fire in the Oakland hills back in 1991. The 4600 sq ft Margarido House is by no means a small home, but with the addition of a plethora of green building features it will become the first LEED-H Platinum certified home in Northern California. It will also be GreenPoint rated, which is a separate third party rating system administered by Build It Green. The Margarido House will feature almost every green strategy you can imagine and will be 55% more efficient than California’s Title 24 energy standards.

A simulated Baltimore
Dan Hill in cityofsound
The Believer recently published a fascinating interview with David Simon, creator of the magisterial TV show The Wire. Among the many intriguing insights delivered in the interview, the following passage struck me as particularly interesting, in the context of a day job increasingly concerned with formulating simulations of cities, and particularly urban models which begin to layer in the more intangible aspects of city life, such as culture and creativity. "The show would instead be about untethered capitalism run amok, about how power and money actually route themselves in a postmodern American city, and, ultimately, about why we as an urban people are no longer able to solve our problems or heal our wounds. Early in the conception of the drama, Ed Burns and I—as well as the late Bob Colesberry, a consummate filmmaker who served as the directorial producer and created the visual template for The Wire—conceived of a show that would, with each season, slice off another piece of the American city, so that by the end of the run, a simulated Baltimore would stand in for urban America, and the fundamental problems of urbanity would be fully addressed."

Brazilian Architecture, Pearl River Tower, both at IIT Today
Lynn Becker in ArchitectureChicago PLUS
The fall season of architectural events is revving up with a vengeance. Today, Wednesday, September 3rd, the Illinois Institute of Technology has two worthwhile events. Pearl River Tower - at 3:30 P.M. in the Rem Koolhaas-designed, McCormick Tribune Student Center, Roger Frechette of Skidmore, Owings & Merill will talk on the firm's Pearl River Tower in Guangzhou, China, a 71-story skyscraper designed as a "zero-energy" structure that produces as much energy as it consumers.


Metropolitan Home article by Karrie Jacobs
lavardera in LamiDesign Modern House Plan Blog
Tuesday, 10:28 PM
Karrie Jacobs has been writing a series of articles for Metropolitan Home magazine, all under the theme of "How We Live". In the October 08 issue she wrote about our house plans. We've not seen the issue yet, only this scan from friend Jeff "jake" Jacobs.


 


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Last Updated on Saturday, 11 October 2008 03:37