Leagues and Legions (aka LGNLGN, a think tank at the intersection of architecture and publishing) and the Institute for Urban Design (IfUD) are asking critics, practitioners, academics, community organizers, and the general public to weigh in on one of four questions dealing with issues of tactical urbanism. Each question will tackle a particular theme: the public, professional practice, evaluation, and failure. The City Sessions questions will posted online in the weeks leading up to Urban Design Week and culminate in a live discussion of the crowdsourced responses on September 18 at Parsons School of Design from 5-7 p.m.
Archinector's Quilian Riano is curating question #3 on tactics and the design professions and will be guiding that conversation over the next few weeks.
For your information tactical urbanism: "uses the city as a site of experimentation, deploying pop-up parks, vacant retail reuse, or unsanctioned street furniture as way to reprogram the urban realm. The practice traditionally takes an activist position in relationship to environmental, political, cultural and economic factors. However, as the practice is increasingly being absorbed into mainstream thinking on cities, it is critical that we look closely at both the underlying assumptions and resulting effects." Join in the conversation over at City Sessions
Author, preservationist and historian Barbara Lamprecht took on an earlier WSJ article called,"What's So Great About Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater?" In her response titled Is Frank Lloyd Wright a Modernist? Is Fallingwater Modern? Barbara said "It struck me that Modernism was not a look or a set of feature but the questions an architect raised and how he/she resolved them...Each Modernist, I realized, had their own critique, their own relationship to cities, to politics, to nature — landscape, geography, light, air, sun, color – and to the role of technology and the promise, if any, of prefabrication."
To which Orhan Ayyüce, responded "Modern lines were just what the doctor ordered for serial production...Fallingwater is a an antihithesis to serial manufacturing even though it uses steel, concrete, glass and etc.. But so are the many new buildings we see today. If Fallingwater is not modern, neither EOM’s cartoonish buildings.."
Wired Magazine's profile (in a collaborative partnership with Architectural Digest) of the Windy City’s first, (almost) net-zero-energy home, prompted holz.box to note "had it achieved passivhaus (which honestly would have only entailed better windows and a few envelope modifications) could have wasily achieved net zero w/ less PV."
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington was to be dedicated on Sunday but the event was postponed due to Hurricane Irene. As I already said I thought this passage from the NYT review by Edward Rothstein, the key criticism.
"It is difficult to know precisely why all this went wrong, or why this memorial never alludes to the fundamental theme of Dr. King’s life, equal treatment for American blacks. It strives for a kind of ethereal universality, while opposing forces pull it in another direction."
Samuel Allen at University of Tennessee suggested we take a video tour of the New Norris House and Matthew at University of Illinois Chicago shared a video featuring the final product (a pavillion) from StudioBerlin2011.
Lian at Harvard's GSD is thinking about what courses to take for the fall semester, so far she is interested in the following options studios: Istanbul: Between Contour and Silhouette with Hashim Sarkis, Dominant types and the idea of the City: Housing Beijing with Christopher Lee, Evolutionary Infrastructure - the new mega form with Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi, Light Monumentality with John Hong and Jinhee Park, Forward into the (Deep) Past / Back to the Future: The Harvard Kalahari Project Revisited with Lindy Roy and Water Line...Chicago's Urban River Corridor with Philip Enquist. She will also "be a TA for the second-year structures course, taught by Pat McCafferty, and for Jonathan Levi's section in the second-year studio section".
Barkitecture Magazine/BarkitectureMag.com (a new mock webzine that provides diverse and incisive coverage of architecture, architectural practice and education spanning all parts of the world) wins the prize for most "witty" new personal/member account, with recently created ed itor.
leeben pointed out that Herzog & De Meuron finally have a website. The conversation quickly devolved into a discussion regarding the "failings" of starchitects and leaky roofs. To which larslarson commented "it's about time they had something..but where are their roof details? everyone knows you can't be a proper architect until you design non-leaky roofs...there's practically nothing else to architecture actually." Meanwhile trace™ critiqued the websites looks which were he felt "about 10 years old (if I had a few more minutes I could go find them, particularly the text portion - "Image", etc.). Not really a fan of dragging windows, either (again, decade old idea)." For his part emergency exit wound found that "The site slows down my system (probably because the files put my anti-virus software into overdrive), so I simplified the project list file, stored it on my own computer, and now the browsing and data delivery is quick and easy. I suppose their files are heavy and organized the way they are (windows in windows in windows) to protect the content from being easily copied, but, you know, copies are right there in the...Otherwise, if content protection is not the issue, the site design could be delivering its content so much lighter and easier."
Dikor is working on a project and thinking of using "wall art" concept and wants to know if anyone has seen "something similar or have pics of similar ideas?" rusty! offered up two examples, one of which is in Toronto, by British artist Julian Opie.
Federico Pavese wants to start a debate with some local Municipalities about how their regulations are "too restrictive, conservative and in contrast with the most innovative theories of Suistanability" and is therefore looking for examples of "Governments, or Town Councils or whatever Territorial Jurisdiction which has been able to change its building regulations or town planning scheme so as to encourage a suistanable development of housing".
Finally, junior wanted to know if anyone has actually "received employment from applying to an Archinect job advert?" A number of members replied in the affirmative and Gregory Walker, offered that from the employer side, "we've hired 2 people off of ads we've placed here. or, at least they saw the ads here and applied accordingly."
As part of Scientific American's, Better Smarter Cities, special September issue, sci-fi author William Gibson wrote about "how we walk a line between the anarchy of choice and Disney-fication" in his essay, Life in the Meta City. Aaron Shattuck and Gary Stix also interviewed Gibson on Cities in Fact and Fiction.