A Boom Interview: Mike Davis in conversation
“The middle class has finally come downtown but only to bring suburbia with them. The hipsters think they’re living in the real thing, but this is purely faux urbanism, a residential mall. Downtown is not the heart of the city, it’s a luxury lifestyle pod for the same people who claim Silverlake is the ‘Eastside’ or that Venice is still bohemian.”
Jennifer Wolch and Dana Cuff track down elusive writer Mike Davis for Boom California.+A previous conversation with Mike Davis for Archinect, "Meeting Mike Davis" View full entry
As President Obama leaves the White House, a closer look at his urban policy legacy
City residents and urbanists had reasons to believe Obama would usher in a new urban era. [...]
Now, as he leaves the White House, Obama’s legacy is being evaluated on many fronts, including within the realm of urban policy. In a new book called Urban Policy in the Time of Obama, academics appraise his successes and failures. CityLab spoke with the book’s editor, James DeFillippis, an associate professor in the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University.
Related stories in the Archinect news:What does President Obama's final year in office mean for architecture?Black Lives Matter and the politics of protesting in privatized spaceTod Williams Billie Tsien Architects selected to design the Obama Presidential Center View full entry
Editor's Picks #460
In response to Archinect’s December theme, Faith, Menis Arquitectos submitted a project of theirs from 2012, Holy Redeemer Church. Sited in Tenerife, the Church has a heavy, Brutalist-esque design and actually resulted in a new certified material (already in use for another project in Poland)... View full entry
How a mobile home community created a co-op and bought its own land
Park Plaza is a mobile home park, or what industry calls a manufactured housing community. Five years ago, the residents banded together, formed a nonprofit co-op and bought their entire neighborhood from the company that owned it. Today, these residents exert democratic control over almost 9 acres of prime suburbs, with 80 manufactured houses sited on them.
"There are no precise figures, but the U.S. Census Bureau estimates there are more than 8 million manufactured houses across the country. Housing specialists say they're an important source of affordable housing."Related stories in the Archinect news:5 housing experts offer opinions about Ben... View full entry
With Trump's Presidency dawning, the final Jane Jacobs work "Dark Age Ahead" wins new relevancy
At a time when pundits and political scientists were celebrating the end of history, pointing to an emerging Democratic majority and extolling the virtues of a flat world of globalization, she ominously predicted a coming age of urban crisis, mass amnesia, and populist backlash in her final work, Dark Age Ahead. Eerily prescient as always, rereading the 2005 book today serves as a survivors’ guide to the Age of Trump.
"Jacobs outlines an increasing distrust of politicians and politics, a burgeoning new urban crisis in cities, worsening environmental degradation, entrenched segregation, and an “enlarging gulf between rich and poor along with attrition of the middle class” as signals and symptoms of a coming... View full entry
Top Features: Our Favorite Feature Articles of 2016
These are the articles that made big waves in 2016 – not just in traffic, but in defining the discussions architects were having. From professional practice issues to academia to interviews and showcases, we present to you our favorite original editorial of the year:One student's solution to the... View full entry
Boring: how serious is Elon Musk about his latest traffic-solving venture?
Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk has a pretty good sense of humor, but sometimes we can't tell when he's just joking or mulling his next big idea.
For example, on Saturday Musk took to Twitter to say out loud what every traffic-plagued Los Angeles resident is silently screaming inside: The city is a gridlocked hellscape.
"Traffic is driving me nuts," wrote Musk.
But he didn't stop there. He also raised the idea of boring through obstacles to alleviate traffic woes.
All the news that's fit to archive: the biggest architectural preservation stories of 2016
2016 had its fair share of victories and losses in architectural preservation, but many of the biggest news stories were affirmations – of historical eras, styles, and struggles. Check out the projects that made preservation headlines this year, presented in no particular order:Chicago's Marina... View full entry
Kirksey Architecture selected to retrofit Houston's Astrodome
Harris County commissioners have chosen Houston-based Kirksey Architecture to design a project to retrofit the Astrodome by raising its floor and installing parking spaces underneath.
The $105 million project -- unveiled by county officials in September -- is the most recent attempt to secure the building's future. [...]
Many feared then that the world's first multi-purpose domed stadium for sporting events would face the wrecking ball.
— Houston Chronicle
Houston "Eighth Wonder of the World" previously in the Archinect news:ULI report says Houston Astrodome “can and should live on”Urban Land Institute issues recommendations for Houston's AstrodomeThe Astrodome: The World's Largest Indoor Garden?Can buildings be too young to save?Winners of the... View full entry
ALS-stricken landscape architect designs home controlled by his eyes
After being diagnosed with ALS, a disease of the nervous system that gradually takes away motor control, breathing, and speech, 38-year-old landscape architect Steve Saling decided to invent a home that he could control with eye movements. As CNN.com explains:With a grant of $500,000 from Berman... View full entry
A Salute to Garbage Fires: moving on from 2016 and predictions for 2017, on Archinect Sessions #93
It's that time of the year – for washing away the stench of the past and basking in the sweet, slightly terrifying promise of an uncertain future. This week on the podcast, we dish out our predictions for architecture in 2017, and try to digest the year that was 2016.This is our final episode... View full entry
Elaine Chao wants speedier approvals for DOT's infrastructure projects
Nominee for Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao laid out her vision for DOT should the senate confirm her, and it's heavy on lifting regulations while breezing past funding issues. According to Politico:Chao said she wants to reduce "regulatory burdens when appropriate." And she hopes to speed... View full entry
Researchers discover 'glue' that makes plant cell walls strong — foreseeing brighter future for wooden skyscrapers
Molecules 10,000 times narrower than the width of a human hair could hold the key to making possible wooden skyscrapers and more energy-efficient paper production, according to research published today in the journal Nature Communications. The study, led by a father and son team at the Universities of Warwick and Cambridge, solves a long-standing mystery of how key sugars in cells bind to form strong, indigestible materials.
— University of Cambridge
"But just as this could improve how easily materials can be broken down, the discovery may also help them create stronger materials, he says. There are already plans to build houses in the UK more sustainably using wood, and Paul Dupree is involved in the Centre for Natural Material Innovation at... View full entry
Not just #NotMyAIA: the top professional practice stories of 2016
From the nitty gritty of starting a business to the institutional upsets at the AIA, this year of professional practice issues took some big hits. The following stories showcase the work atmosphere for architects in the U.S. during 2016.Scott Frank, Senior Director of Media Relations for the AIA... View full entry
Blair Kamin's standout Chicago architects of 2016 are all female, "but that's incidental"
Jeanne Gang completed three exceptional projects, including the dramatic Writers Theatre in Glencoe, and saw construction begin on her 98-story Vista Tower [...]
Carol Ross Barney finished the latest extension of Chicago's downtown Riverwalk [...]
Juanita Irizarry, executive director of Friends of the Parks, led the successful fight against George Lucas' planned narrative art museum [...]
What unites these achievements? Probably the fact that gender, in the end, had little to do with them.
More on gender in architecture:Struggles persist for women in the architectural workforceUT Austin's architecture school begins new initiative focused on "race, gender, and the American built environment"North Carolina loses AIA conference due to anti-LGBT HB2 bill passageWhy Zaha Hadid's gender... View full entry