New Competition from Archistophanes: Complicity and Defiance in Architecture
This post is brought to you by Reality Cues. Architecture is historically complicit with the policies of those in power, both symbolically and functionally. It offers not only representations of power, but also vehicles for enacting power in its most grandiose, oppressive, and physically enduring... View full entry
RIP the National Endowment of the Arts
The Hill has penned an obituary for the National Endowment of the Arts, following its defunding at the hands of the Trump administration and the current Republican-controlled government. As the obit notes, the NEA has been threatened many times before, notably in the 80’s and 90’s following a... View full entry
Tear down that wall (proposal)
Rael writes that one of the most devastating consequences of the wall is “the division of communities, cities, neighborhoods and families, resulting in the erosion of social infrastructure.” When we talked, he wondered how we might create something positive from something so horrible: “Can reform happen through borderland investment? If you build 150 libraries along the border, you’d get a very different outcome.”
— The New York Times
The RFP for the border wall is out, but the conscience-bearing architectural community is staying in (and trying to imagine alternatives to this xenophobic concrete smear job). In particular, in this New York Times article they're suggesting building anything but walls, suggesting that perhaps... View full entry
The dictatorial aesthetic of Donald Trump
Trump’s design aesthetic is fascinatingly out of line with America’s past and present. If you doubt it, note that the interiors of the apartments his company actually sells bear no resemblance to the one he lives in. But that doesn’t mean his taste comes from nowhere. At one level, it’s aspirational, meant to project the wealth so many citizens can only dream of. But it also has important parallels...
The best aesthetic descriptor of Trump’s look, I’d argue, is dictator style. View full entry
These architects actually proposed building the border wall with shipping containers and micro-housing units
What if the border wall proposed by Trump didn’t have to be built in concrete, but rather out of that ubiquitous staple of BArch theses and “pop-up” urbanism, shipping containers? That’s the twee take of DOMO Design Studio, who propose a “softer, gentler” version of the wall, wherein... View full entry
A Trump Tower in L.A.? Thankfully, that was only part of "Never Built Los Angeles"
In LA, Trump bragged he was going to spend a billion dollars on what he claimed would become the world’s tallest building. His architect Bill Fain delivered a gilded 125-storey office tower etched in a diamond-patterned exoskeleton...David Martin also devised a skyscraper: ‘When I told Ivana [Trump] the basis of the idea was to put two diamonds together, she lit up,’ Martin said. ‘I think they were divorced a week later.’
— The Guardian
Whether you've been following the tumultuous life of proposed architecture projects in Los Angeles or not (a stretch of Grand Avenue, for example, has been undergoing elaborate proposals designed in part by Frank Gehry for almost forty years) "Never Built Los Angeles," a book by architectural... View full entry
Christo abandons $15 million U.S.-based river project as protest against "landlord" Trump
Christo's proposed silver-fabric-panel draped "Over the River" project has been in the making for about 25 years, after he started hunting for a natural host site in 1992 and then gradually garnered the neccessary official approvals and permits over the following decades for a 42-mile stretch... View full entry
Trump may eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts — here's why that matters for architecture
According to a report published by the Hill, President-elect Trump is planning significant cuts to federal programs, including the departments of Transportation, Commerce and Energy. What else is on the chopping block? The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the... View full entry
Donald Trump taps two of the richest developers to oversee infrastructure plan
Donald Trump has chosen Richard LeFrak and Steve Roth, “two of the wealthiest men in real estate” according to Forbes, to head a “council of builders and engineers”. This new council will be tasked with overseeing Trump’s plan to invest $1 trillion in infrastructure. As Archinect... View full entry
As the UK and US shift rightwards, architects react
The last year has seen a dramatic political shift to the right in the Western world (and elsewhere), marked in particular by Brexit and the election of Donald J. Trump. Alongside the former, the Tories secured a firm grip on the UK, with Prime Minister Theresa May stepping in to fill the void left... View full entry
Aamodt/Plumb Architects resigns from the AIA over Robert Ivy's conciliatory comments toward Trump
Don't pay your national AIA dues if you don't agree with the direction of the association. At least, that's what Mette Aamodt is doing this year. According to a press release issued by the firm, Aamodt explains that she: is calling on architects to join her in refusing to work for... View full entry
Trump's properties have suddenly become potential targets for terrorism
Even before Donald Trump became president-elect, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for his name to be scrubbed from Istanbul’s Trump Towers. Erdogan pinned his plea to Trump’s Islamophobia, saying that the candidate “has no tolerance for Muslims in America.”
Now that Trump is weeks from assuming the presidency, cities that host his many branded properties have an additional concern to consider: the potential terrorism threat brought by his name.
— Washington Post
More on the President-elect:With Trump's Presidency dawning, the final Jane Jacobs work "Dark Age Ahead" wins new relevancyElaine Chao wants speedier approvals for DOT's infrastructure projectBefore Trump has even taken office, his infrastructure plan faces an uncertain futureCities should be very... 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
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
Before Trump has even taken office, his infrastructure plan faces an uncertain future
It's not at all clear that President-elect Donald Trump's plans to spend massively on infrastructure are going to unfold as he promised.
Trump made rebuilding the nation's aging roads, bridges and airports very much part of his job-creation strategy in the presidential race. But lately lobbyists have begun to fear that there won't be an infrastructure proposal at all, or at least not the grand plan they'd been led to expect.
More on President-elect Trump:Former Texas Governor Rick Perry nominated as Secretary of U.S. Department of EnergyCities should be very wary of Trump's 'Plan for Urban Renewal'Trump pilfers Clinton's plan for an 'infrastructure bank'Why is Trump seeking private equity for public infrastructure? View full entry