Archinect - Another Architecture 2016-05-27T06:33:09-04:00 Teaching Representation versus Fabrication Mitch McEwen 2016-04-10T20:29:00-04:00 >2016-05-01T19:50:42-04:00 <p>What is the relationship between representation and fabrication today, between drawing and building, or thinking and making? When are we building indications of a process or an idea, representing something, and when are we building the actual thing? If we no longer have to represent in order to fabricate, are we now fabricating in order to represent?&nbsp;</p><p>This undergrad class that Taubman College let me craft from scratch with co-faculty Malcolm McCullough has been a fun place to muse on these questions with talented students. &nbsp;Enjoy the course-blog, its still going for another week or so.&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"></a>/</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p> Miami Beach (a semi-private party that might continue above the flood) Mitch McEwen 2016-01-10T17:23:00-05:00 >2016-01-25T20:10:17-05:00 <p>Last month I visited Miami and witnessed the carting away of Art Basel.&nbsp; On the Sunday evening that Art Basel wraps up, as well as the morning after, Miami Beach looks like a truck stop ran into the ocean.&nbsp; Tents are being dismantled, beach signage points to furniture that's no longer there, and trucks park alongside each other row by row to haul off containers with global art exhibits stuffed inside.</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p>Visiting Miami, a few questions feel urgent-- &nbsp;not only to understand this unique totally weird international city, but to unpack paradoxes that feel relevant around the world.</p><p>- How is it that temporary one week festivals (Art Basel, Winter Music Conference, etc) can define so much of Miami Beach?</p><p>- How is it that luxury development occurs rampantly in the midst of <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">long-term flood crises</a>?</p><p>- What position does architecture take in relation to these two scales of time - the pop-up city of the 1 week festivals and the probabilistic crisis of 100 year flood management?</p><p>Over the last decade, fr...</p> Detroit Detroit Detroit Mitch McEwen 2015-06-19T02:17:00-04:00 >2015-06-26T02:38:38-04:00 <p>Detroit is now my home city, so I am thrilled that next year's <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">U.S. Pavilion at the Venice Biennale</a> will be dedicated to exploring the intersection of Detroit and architectural imagination. &nbsp;As excited as I am that The <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning</a> at the University of Michigan will be the U.S. Pavilion producer and organizer, I cannot say that I have any inside information on how that theme will be explored. &nbsp;I hope that it will encompass both under-appreciated architectural histories - for example, the amazing built work of <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Minoru Yamasaki here</a>, the mega-structure of towers-on-a-plinth that is <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Portman's Renaissance Center</a>, the plethora of early 20th century worker's housing - as well as subversive and imaginative projective futures.</p><p>On the occasion of this announcement I am also inspired to share some urban-scale research that I have been mulling over for the past few months. &nbsp;National media often addresses Detroit's expanses of vacancy and abandonment. &nbsp;This p...</p> Interviewing a sociologist about equality, neighborhoods, and everyday people Mitch McEwen 2015-03-23T17:12:00-04:00 >2015-03-25T21:04:20-04:00 <p><em>Assistant Professor of Sociology at University of Southern California, Veronica Terriquez received her Ph.D. in sociology from UCLA. Her research focuses on educational inequality, immigrant integration, and organized labor. Her work is linked to education justice and immigrant rights organizing efforts in California. Dr. Terriquez has also worked as a community organizer on school reform and other grassroots campaigns.</em></p><p>[This is the 2nd in a series of interviews with non-architects about subjects discussed in architecture. The 1st was with French scholar <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Mahalia Gayle on style, sexiness, and power</a>.]</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p><strong>Mitch McEwen: How do you do your research?</strong></p><p><strong>Veronica Terriquez:</strong> Much of my research seeks to understand issues of social inequality and inform initiatives that aim to promote equity. &nbsp;In answering relevant empirical questions, I often partner with community groups that address some kind of social injustice. &nbsp;My actual empirical research tends to use original or published survey data to ident...</p> I Can't Breathe = You Can't Dance Mitch McEwen 2015-01-19T17:13:00-05:00 >2015-01-21T22:36:47-05:00 <p>Thank you Archinect Sessions podcast for <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">featuring me on the first podcast of 2015</a>. &nbsp;It looks like with everything happening in December I missed a chance to post here on Another Architecture. &nbsp;Let's catch up. &nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p>Mimi Zeiger wrote a <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">great opinion piece for Dezeen</a> last month asking why architects have remained silent during Ferguson protests. &nbsp;She quotes me toward the end of the piece saying: <strong>Architects and urban designers can take the #BlackLivesMatter campaign as an opportunity to look deeply into the ways that the tools of the discipline have been defined through attempts to erase black people from American cities.</strong> &nbsp;I don't mean 'in conjunction with', but actually the tools of the discipline emerging through the very acts of controlling, erasing, and displacing black bodies.</p><p>This is not work that black architects and urban designers can do alone, anymore than work on climate change can be left to only those living in threatened coastal areas. &nbsp;I am looking forward to&nbsp;participating ...</p> 90's Throwback: Rem + Mies Mitch McEwen 2014-11-23T16:05:00-05:00 >2014-11-26T17:17:20-05:00 <p>Posting this much about Mies makes me feel like this blog is circling back to where it started two years ago, when I posted about <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Modernity and Ideology</a> from my studio in Germany. &nbsp;Somehow this recent time in the MidWest, transitioning from Brooklyn to Detroit, does remind me of settling into Stuttgart two falls ago. &nbsp;Stuttgart, like Detroit, has an overly defined downtown, an urban center that makes the language of 'destination' seem justified. &nbsp;Both cities also hold a rightful claim to global automotive history with giant complexes to show for it (The Renaissance Center in Detroit, Porsche and Mercedes museums in Stuttgart).</p><p>But it's really Mies that connects both for me. &nbsp;In Stuttgart I returned again and again to &nbsp;the&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Wei&szlig;enhofsiedlung</a>, not so much for Mies' building there but for the complex as a whole, the notion of a neighborhood and full-scale built work as exhibition. &nbsp;This, of course, is not only Mies' work, but his collaborative project with Lilly Reich, also design partne...</p> Affording Mies Mitch McEwen 2014-11-04T13:02:00-05:00 >2014-11-12T20:43:26-05:00 <p>One of the principles that guides my approach to architecture and urban design is the sense that architecture has much more to offer than luxury. &nbsp;Whether you consider our field professionally in comparison to doctors and lawyers, or as a discipline comparable to art, we have a lot of room to be inspired toward serving a broad range of people. &nbsp;I often feel like, if we were doctors, we would be all striving to be plastic surgeons and taught by plastic surgeons, and no one would be working on cardiology or general medicine or anything close to public health (except for epidemiology - we are good at crisis) .</p><p>This is part of what makes living in Lafayette Park an everyday education. &nbsp;While totally problematic in its planning - typical mid-20th century "slum clearance" that erased a vibrant mixed use black neighborhood &nbsp;- the landscaping and towers and townhomes were designed for mixed income inhabitants. &nbsp;Coming from New York City, it is amazing to see modernist architecture - forget i...</p> Interview with Keller Easterling about Subtraction Mitch McEwen 2014-08-26T19:07:00-04:00 >2014-09-10T18:50:20-04:00 <p><em>Keller Easterling is an internationally-recognized architect and theorist working on issues of urbanism, architecture, and organization in relation to the phenomena commonly defined as globalization. Her latest book, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Subtraction</a>, is published by Sternberg Press.&nbsp; Easterling is a Professor of Architecture at <a title="Yale University" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Yale University</a>.&nbsp;</em></p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p><strong>Mitch McEwen</strong>: Should we jump into the Subtraction?</p><p><strong>Keller Easterling</strong>: Sure. I confess, I don&rsquo;t have any prepared answers</p><p><strong>MM</strong>: Should we start with Detroit? Detroit, just in terms of how it operates, in the book?</p><p><strong>KE</strong>: The rust-belt cities, shrinking cities have been shrinking for as much time as they have been growing. These are fascinating to the Subtraction project because the failure is so spectacular that something almost magical happens, where all of the kind of trafficked mortgage products stop being trafficked mortgage products and turn back into heavy landscapes and houses again. Things back in a gravitational field, things made of material, things that have ta...</p> When an emerging design firm gets an office in downtown Manhattan for $1 Mitch McEwen 2014-07-30T19:09:00-04:00 >2016-04-18T22:37:55-04:00 <p><img alt="" src=""></p><p>My collaborators and I have recently secured an office space in downtown Manhattan to lease for $1. &nbsp;That's one dollar. &nbsp;It's a pristine storefront, ideal location between the Lower East Side and Chinatown (easy biking from Brooklyn and 1 block from the Grand St subway). &nbsp;Wifi and utilities included. &nbsp;What's the catch? &nbsp;It's for one month only. &nbsp;</p><p>The arrangement is through a gallery called <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">P!</a>, and the whole set-up is part of a lead-up to their big fall exhibition on Speculation.</p><p>Operating as <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">A(n) Office</a>, my design collaborators and I are continuing to evolve a practice with ruthless opportunism, both conceptual and practical.</p><p>What would you do with an office in downtown Manhattan for one month? &nbsp;What are your speculations? &nbsp;</p> DS+R Scanning Beyond Fashion #NOTinVenice Mitch McEwen 2014-06-10T13:09:00-04:00 >2014-06-18T00:11:28-04:00 <p>Perhaps we are so accustomed to hearing architect's present their designs as inspired by clothing -- whether the drape of a <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">veil in Abu Dhabi</a> or the <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">flair of a skirt in Prague</a> -- that we do not consider the intersection of architectural output and costuming to be newsworthy. The two modes of design have been related for sometime. What is amazing about the DS+R work on the Charles James exhibit, however, is something closer to the fundamentals of (architectural) design -- drawings and execution, sequencing, analysis of materiality and the presentation of both methods and effects.</p><p>From x-rays to robotic scope arms, DS+R's design of the Charles James exhibit is a masterpiece of visual apparati. Seeing here becomes making. The exhibition visualizes logic and materials, processes of assembly -- fundamental tasks of architectural production.</p><p>See my full article on DS+R's genre-busting exhibition design for <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Charles James: Beyond Fashion</a> at The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">h...</a></p> Interviewing a French Literature Scholar about Style, Sexiness, Politeness, and Power Mitch McEwen 2014-03-24T20:59:00-04:00 >2014-03-25T22:40:06-04:00 <p><em>Mahalia C. Gayle is from Seattle, WA. She completed her undergraduate studies at Princeton University and her graduate work at Harvard University, both in Romance Languages and Literatures with a specialization in French. She has taught at Harvard University, Boston University, Emmanuel College and Princeton University.</em></p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p><strong>Mitch McEwen</strong>: Your new book project is concerned with politeness and its relationship to aristocracy or republican identity. &nbsp;As I mentioned, this may be a pertinent lens for architecture, as well.</p><p><strong>Mahalia Gayle</strong>: Politeness regulates proximity to the powerful body or proximity between bodies of <strong>unequal power</strong>. I thought you might mention segregation or service entrances in this connection, as they are one way in which politeness can be expressed in architecture, but I will try to answer as best I can&hellip;</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p>[Le Corbusier's&nbsp;Villa Savoye, ground flr and second flr plans, servants quarters on ground flr with garage and laundry]</p><p><strong>MM</strong>: &nbsp;Let's talk about your work on&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Pierre Drieu La Ro...</a></p> Her analogous city Mitch McEwen 2014-03-10T19:51:00-04:00 >2014-03-12T20:43:08-04:00 <p>In honor of <a href=",0,184207.story#axzz2vQQ2BdGu" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Her winning best original screenplay</a> in the Oscars last weekend, I am going to finally post this.</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Spike Jonze's Her</a> is a masterpiece of a movie that lends itself to comparison to <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Brazil</a>. &nbsp;At least, architecturally and urbanistically, it does. One could also develop a comparison in terms of the role of commerce (Her) versus the state (Brazil) in these two narratives of a technologically-driven future, but here I am more interested in the film's ability to produce an <strong>analogous city</strong>.</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p>The phrase 'analogous city' is one I am borrowing from <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Aldo Rossi's The Architecture of the City</a>. &nbsp;Rossi famously cites the <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Canaletto</a> painting above as evidence of the autonomy of architecture. &nbsp;Canaletto deploys the architecture of un-built projects and projects sited elsewhere to produce a recognizable image of another Venice - an analogous Venice. <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Michael Hays</a> replaces Rossi's notion of the analogous city with the phrase <em>virtual city</em>, which he links to the capacity of architecture to produce o...</p> How do architects fail? Mitch McEwen 2014-02-20T02:08:00-05:00 >2014-03-24T20:41:13-04:00 <p><img alt="" src=""></p><p>What is it about failure that is so seductive in art and such anathema in architecture? &nbsp;</p><p>Perhaps there is something about the relationship between client and architect that makes failure so&hellip;. taboo, so unthinkable, and un-seductive.</p><p>For the past few months I have been part of an interdisciplinary group organized by curators Kerry Downey and Natasha Marie Llorens to investigate ideas or methods of failure, in preparation for a group exhibition in Manhattan this summer. &nbsp;Actually, it's possible that the group exhibition is more of a pretense to consolidate this interdisciplinary group around failure, which is obviously something people are wary of associating with too closely. &nbsp;The exhibition is tentatively titled "Failure to Levitate."</p><p>That title references a work by the artist Bruce Nauman, documented in the above photo titled "Failing to Levitate in My Studio (1966)." &nbsp;The photo manages to present the sequence of falling to the floor with just two time-lapse frames. &nbsp;The succinct ele...</p> Detroit House Opera Mitch McEwen 2014-02-07T16:54:00-05:00 >2014-02-10T22:37:21-05:00 <p>Inspired by the flexibility of uses for houses in Detroit, in proximity to the major cultural&nbsp;institutions for opera and diverse forms of performance, this project stages an opera as a&nbsp;house, the house and its dramas of occupancy and vacancy, demolition, and re-purposing, as&nbsp;an opera.</p><p>The more serious and dry implications at the urban planning level include: how can residential vacancy be converted into an opportunity to support local cultural assets? What are the zoning, planning and building code changes that make this possible?</p><p>The project aims to address these questions, while developing a suite of spatial and architectural tactics to facilitate this exploration of performance, community, and form. The experimental aspects architecturally include strategies of interactivity, portability, and expanded territories of adaptive re-use. &nbsp;This project began in the research phase with my&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">USA House Project</a>.</p><p><img alt="" src=""></p><p><img alt="" src=""></p> Mumbai Anthropocene Mitch McEwen 2013-12-28T13:57:00-05:00 >2013-12-30T21:04:38-05:00 <p> This "Another Architecture" blog started as an intermittent chronicle of my architecture fellowship at Akademie Schloss Solitude.&nbsp; I was back in New York for the summer, preparing for the next phase of my fellowship in Zagreb Croatia, when I got a call from U. of Michigan to teach the Fall 2013 studio for their Master of Urban Design program.&nbsp; The studio was sited in Mumbai.&nbsp;</p> <p> [This last post of 2013 ends the chapter of&nbsp; this blog as a chronicle of research, theory, and travel.&nbsp; I am picking this up in 2014 as a more frequent update from the perspective of a practitioner, mostly based in Brooklyn.]</p> <p> Mumbai / Bombay is an incredible place - hyper dense, active, extreme.&nbsp; It makes New York feel empty and banal in comparison. Photos from the U. of Michigan studio trip, our pop-up exhibit at Studio X Mumbai, and links to the studio's work are below.&nbsp; 3 projects from the studio are being submitted to the UN Habitat competition on "Housing at the Center."</p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> Studen...</p> Columbia GSAPP Shocker Mitch McEwen 2013-09-23T20:41:00-04:00 >2013-09-30T20:35:56-04:00 <p> I can't believe Wigley is <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">stepping down from the Dean position at Columbia GSAPP</a>. &nbsp;The Studio X infrastructure seemed to be still ramping up and ready to take over another continent. &nbsp;Like Antarctica, for example.</p> <p> This makes me feel like I must have reached mid-career already, since I started in grad school at GSAPP the year that Wigley became Dean. &nbsp;</p> <p> Some work from that year is below. &nbsp;I'm incredibly curious what is next at Columbia now.&nbsp;</p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> James Turrell and Robert Irwin Mitch McEwen 2013-08-12T12:30:00-04:00 >2013-09-24T01:33:06-04:00 <p> This summer in New York we are having a rare dose of major works from the West coast's "Light and Space" movement.&nbsp; That phrase Light and Space always makes me think first of Light and Air, that penultimate duo of Depression-era <a href=";src=pm" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">tenement reform</a> and the 1916 <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">New York City zoning</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p> The major Light and Space exhibition this summer is, of course, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">James Turrell at Guggenheim</a>.&nbsp; The main focus of the exhibit is Turrell's <em>Aten Reign</em> installation, which takes over the Guggenheim rotunda.&nbsp; The work both repeats and obscures the ramps and the rotunda's skylight, in a way that could only make me compare the two, like a renovation that one unpeels in the imagination.&nbsp; To get myself out of this misplaced design-mind, I walked slowly up the ramp, but this only made it worse, as one can peer through the mesh and start to make out the scaffolding.&nbsp;</p> <p> Conceptually, though, I was surprised the work had such a clear back and front.&nbsp; The piece seems to rely on a specific orchestration of movement th...</p> Primate is doubly digital Mitch McEwen 2013-07-08T20:06:00-04:00 >2013-07-15T22:24:39-04:00 <p> This is a brief summary of Primate, the plugin that I created to integrate <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Leap Motion</a> with parametric design in Grasshopper.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> For me there are 3) big break-throughs that Leap enables.&nbsp; 1) bringing to digital processes an intuitive access to 3 dimensions.&nbsp; That is very different than a mouse that moves around on a fixed plane.&nbsp; 2) ability to model interaction from design through use 3) the specificity of understanding hands, which are arguably one of the most defining things about us as a species.</p> <p> Related to this 3rd point, I want to take a moment to mention the <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">etymology of the word digital</a>.&nbsp;<img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> Digital, itself, comes from fingers.&nbsp; The word digital emerges in the English language in the 1650s, meaning "pertaining to fingers," from the Latin digitalis, from digitus (see digit).&nbsp; So, when we are designing with our hands in the computer we are thinking digitally in both the 17th century sense of the word and the 21st century sense.</p> <p> That said, here are the basics on Primat...</p> Mobile office Mitch McEwen 2013-06-06T16:39:00-04:00 >2013-06-21T03:55:18-04:00 <p> My residency at Akademie Schloss Solitude has ended for the moment.&nbsp; I am back in New York for the summer, will be in Europe again in the fall.</p> <p> Here in NY my office is mobile.&nbsp; I am mostly at either the main library at Bryant Park in Manhattan or at one of the Goethe Institute locations.&nbsp; All of which have architecture books and magazines, ample desk space, decent-speed wireless internet, and coffee nearby.&nbsp;</p> <p> Some specs on my mobile office below:</p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> Everything's in a hard-body VCR case that I found last year in Brooklyn and thoroughly disinfected.&nbsp; A hotdog vendor yesterday asked me if I was carrying a million dollars in cash.</p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> The velcro straps hold down the Lenovo Ideapad laptop, running Intel i5 processor core, which works fine for me, since I'm rarely doing renderings or anything that speed-oriented.&nbsp; Dual partitions running Windows 7.&nbsp; I decided not to upgrade to 8 because I am using this <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Link Extension Tool</a> to run programs across the partition.&nbsp; (Plus 8 seems to be ...</p> Istanbul, the Bosphorous, Corbusier's sketches, Rex Mitch McEwen 2013-05-20T19:34:00-04:00 >2013-05-27T20:40:48-04:00 <p> How much of the history of urban design as a discipline can be traced back to Corbusier's reading of foreground and background in Istanbul? He took his first research trip abroad to Istanbul in 1911 and wrote of the relationship between the massive forms of the mosques and the repeated typology of the wooden houses. Waterfront, trees, density - the contemporary concerns of urban design are already here. (His sketches and watercolor below are from "Turkish Architecture and Urbanism Through the Eyes of L.C.")</p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> It is very unfair to position Rex's Vakko headquarters next to the New Mosque of 1597 and a detail of the Marble Door at Hagia Sophia.&nbsp; But the slumped glass holds its own.&nbsp; The interior of the Vakko, not so much.&nbsp; One reads the hurriedness of the project, which was, however, a major aspect of its intelligence.</p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> These towers below, photographed quickly from a taxi on the Asian side, are far from the business parks, much less the Bosphorous or t...</p> Peter Zumthor's Kunsthaus Bregenz Mitch McEwen 2013-05-06T12:13:00-04:00 >2013-05-13T22:43:36-04:00 <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> It's sort of 2 and a half buildings in one. &nbsp;A functional envelope that might remind one of the Eames' house, if the Eame's house were 4 stories and all glazed. &nbsp;Outside of that are the overlapped panels of glass that come all the way down to the sidewalk.</p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> Inside is concrete - interior walls and stairs of the same finish. &nbsp;The brightest finish of concrete is reserved for the floor. &nbsp;The ceilings are also glass, clipped together - the clips showing, of course. &nbsp;</p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> The ceiling brings in a filtered light from fixtures far enough away that the light becomes diffused. &nbsp;This is probably the most&nbsp;decadent aspect of the project - it's what enables us to read the stairs and floors through the envelope. &nbsp;It's the sort of ultimate 'reveal' - a gap between floors that functionally provides an amazing lighting effect.</p> <p> Urbanistically, the building basically participates in the dominant pattern of the city blocks near the lake. &nbsp; That means facing away from the lake. &nbsp;(There's rail ...</p> Messe Basel - when big architecture knows its neighborhood Mitch McEwen 2013-04-15T12:23:00-04:00 >2014-09-03T17:18:35-04:00 <p>There is not much I could add to Herzog + de Meuron's own description of their Messeplatz Basel project, which is quoted in length <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">here on Dezeen</a>, along with photos. &nbsp;Often in our field a project description can sound a bit like an artist statement, heavy on intent and concept, but maybe overblown compared to the everyday effect of whatever is built. &nbsp;But the Messeplatz project delivers, even as Herzog + de Meuron states:</p><p><em>The surrounding Kleinbasel district will also benefit from the continuing upgrade of the Messeplatz and, at the same time, regaining former exhibition areas to convert into apartments and offices that will contribute to Basel's urban development.&nbsp;&nbsp;</em></p><p>Indeed, walking from Claraplatz to Messeplatz - one epicenter of the artworld - the streetscape is surprisingly inconsistent. &nbsp;Of course, the same was true of Chelsea until fairly recently, post-Highline. &nbsp;Maybe I am reading too much into this sentence and the sensitive architectural strategies that I will talk about next,...</p> [Not Luxury] concept furniture Mitch McEwen 2013-03-14T10:38:16-04:00 >2013-03-26T18:04:41-04:00 <p> [Not Luxury] concept furniture line, on view with exhibition design for chessmaster Vera Nebolsina's performance next Saturday for Lange Nacht der Museen 2013 (Long Night of the Museums) at <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">R&ouml;merstasse 2 gallery space</a>, Stuttgart.&nbsp;</p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> The furniture is based not only on affordable recyclable materials but on the possibility of buying without credit (<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">layaway</a> assembly). &nbsp;The forms are based on modern classics, including the Eames La Chaise.&nbsp;</p> <p> <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="" title=""></a></p> <p> (Click for animated GIF)</p> Chess master visits architecture workshop Mitch McEwen 2013-03-06T10:03:00-05:00 >2013-03-11T23:12:59-04:00 <p> A month ago already <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">in this blog</a> I mentioned a collaboration I had started with a chessmaster. &nbsp;Here's <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">a video</a> of her visit to the workshop I led at Stuttgart's Staatliche Akademie der&nbsp;Bildenden K&uuml;nste.&nbsp;</p> <p> <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="" title=""></a></p> <p> Presented in the context of a workshop that I directed at ABK Stuttgart called "Parameters of Chess: Designing with Decisions," Vera Nebolsina lectures as a chess theorist to architecture students. Starting with Deleuze's theories about chess, go and the 'ideal game', Nebolsina talks about comparative value of chess pieces, the game of go and Japanese business strategies, lines of desire on the board, and the relationship between materiality and space.</p> Write your manifesto in 60 - 80 words Mitch McEwen 2013-02-13T17:03:00-05:00 >2014-04-05T20:04:24-04:00 <p> A friend of mine, a colleague who also manages a practice in Brooklyn, asked me to contribute to his collection of manifestos and influences for a presentation.&nbsp; Here are the instructions, followed by my own manifesto below.&nbsp; What would yours be?</p> <p> <em>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; (1) Write a theory that conceptually frames your ideas or a principle that drives your work.&nbsp; We imagine it to be longer than a sentence but shorter than a paragraph: 60-80 words.</em></p> <p> <br><em>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; (2) In partner with the preceding, provide one of your project images, from any time frame, that illustrates that principle. </em></p> <p> <br><em>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; (3)&nbsp; And lastly, we would love to hear what has influenced you.&nbsp; It could be a book, project, film, magazine, etc.&nbsp;&nbsp; If at all possible, this influence wants be something that students could look up. </em></p> <p> Result:</p> <p> There are too many problems in the world for architects to allocate our time and intelligence to making up new ones. To make a new architecture, make an architecture capable of participating in all of the values...</p> Parameters of chess Mitch McEwen 2013-02-04T12:02:00-05:00 >2013-02-06T19:31:05-05:00 <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> Photo by <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Vera Nebolsina</a>, Grandmaster</p> <p> As I've alluded to before (<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Brunelleschi = BIM</a>), I tend not to see digital design methods - such as Building Information Modeling or parametric design - as paradigmatic ruptures within architecture and its history. &nbsp;The capacity of parametric modeling as a means of reading and predicting the sea of boxes that comprises most of industrialized space may, ultimately, be more significant than its implementation in form-finding with differentiated and repeated components. (Summary of a course I taught at Columbia GSAPP about this is&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">here</a>)</p> <p> That said, I have been working recently with Vera Nebolsina, a Chess Grandmaster here at the Akademie, on a project that has got me enthusiastic about the conceptual implications of using Grasshopper (the Rhino plug-in). &nbsp;We are designing an environment that could host both formal and informal chess tournaments and workshops. &nbsp;One of the primary goals is to enable a Grandmaster to play up to 20 people simulta...</p> Sweating Tanks at Tate Mitch McEwen 2013-01-24T11:24:00-05:00 >2013-01-29T11:36:32-05:00 <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> The <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Tanks</a><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"> at Tate Modern</a> <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">opened</a> this past summer. &nbsp;They are spaces dedicated to performance that also launch the next phase of the Herzog &amp; de Meuron expansion. &nbsp;As Herzog &amp; de Meuron explain one aspect of this connection to the expansion "&nbsp;A row of new and inclined concrete columns penetrate the space and introduce a moment of structural force of what will be built above over the next years."</p> <p> Concrete columns do exactly that without taming the scale of the open spaces or their rawness. &nbsp;On a visit to the Tanks last week I was impressed that the space was even more rough than implied in the opening photos. &nbsp;Without bright lights washing out the tones, a visitor to the Tanks enters spaces with ladders to nowhere, patched up openings, dark discolorations and even writing on the concrete. &nbsp;One could read this as a mood shifter from the clean white galleries above or as an art historically savvy homage to the late 20th century history of performance art. &nbsp;On a wall asking for com...</p> Ceci n'est pas un BMW Mitch McEwen 2012-12-29T18:40:00-05:00 >2013-01-08T23:14:37-05:00 <p> Am I the only person who mistakenly thought&nbsp;Coop Himmelb(l)au had designed both the BMW Museum and the Porsche Museum? &nbsp;I saw Wolf Prix present the BMW Museum project 7 or 8 years ago. &nbsp;Maybe it's because some of the structural feats are similar that I got them mixed up. &nbsp;(UN Studio's Mercedes Benz Museum is also in Stuttgart.)</p> <p> Let me be very clear. &nbsp;Below are some pics and a few comments about the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, which is designed by **Delugan Meissl Associated Architects.**</p> <p> Porsche Museum. Delugan Meissi. Let's go:</p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""><img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> The primary gesture of separating and lifting the exhibition floors translates into this interior of a sky-lit lobby with central circulation to the exhibition floors.</p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> (It is a bit odd for a client company that has designed seating to treat seating as such an after-thought. &nbsp;This is consistent throughout.)</p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> One strains to find the sense of high velocity movement or precision that defines the Porsche brand, though the exhibition is lai...</p> Brunelleschi = BIM Mitch McEwen 2012-12-24T14:24:00-05:00 >2013-01-10T10:36:47-05:00 <p> Last week I had the great fortune to go to Pisa, Italy, for the first time and Florence for the second time. &nbsp;I am struck by many&nbsp;parallels&nbsp;between the era of the early 14th century and our own time, more than I can go into in this brief post. I am not talking about the post-modernist concern with visual communication. &nbsp;Rather, questions of process and&nbsp;disciplinarity are my primary interest.</p> <p> The hypothesis I'm announcing in the headline here - that Brunelleschi may be considered as a precedent to today's Building Information Modeling (BIM) - is not one I'm fully prepared to back up yet. &nbsp;My hunch is that the disciplinary position that Brunelleschi invented maps more closely onto how we work now than how architects worked in the 20th century. &nbsp;Here are some of the questions I am looking into:</p> <p> - What is the relationship between the work of Neri di Fioravante, the dome's 14th century designer, and that of Brunelleschi? &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p> - How did the herringbone pattern emerge? &nbsp;Here I am esp...</p> GIS across borders Mitch McEwen 2012-12-14T15:58:00-05:00 >2015-06-01T18:56:53-04:00 <p> Is there any more concise record of globalization and its various militaristic and managerial operations than the Coordinate Reference System options in your standard GIS software?&nbsp;</p> <p> For a project sited in Detroit, I have started building a Geographical Information Systems (GIS) map focused on downtown Detroit neighborhoods and the waterfront border with Windsor, Canada. &nbsp;The project is especially concerned with bike paths - really any alternative to automobiles. &nbsp;Biking is already established &nbsp;in neighborhoods on either side of this international border - through Mexicantown and Corktown on the Detroit side and downtown Windsor on the Canadian side. &nbsp; Part of what I am looking at is the possibility of local international bike paths.&nbsp;</p> <p> In the process, of course, I am bringing together data with varied Coordinate Reference Systems. &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title="">Windsor, Canada, above, with bike paths in heavy black and potentially skate-able sidewalks in dark gray. &nbsp;</p> <p> <img alt="" src="" title=""></p> <p> I have not yet got the Detroi...</p>