Archinect - Features 2018-12-14T14:27:58-05:00 CONTOURS: Designing the Green Roof Sherin Wing 2012-02-20T15:52:00-05:00 >2012-04-13T09:46:59-04:00 <img src="" border="0" /><p> In Germany, approximately 12% of all buildings have green rooftops. Here in the U.S., the percentage is far less and in fact, that number is not even officially documented. But it is on the rise. Some more well-known examples include the <a href="" target="_blank">California Academy of Sciences</a> and the <a href="" target="_blank">American Society of Landscape Architects' HQ</a>. These are indeed admirable, but they are costly and difficult to replicate. Trying to persuade a client about the benefits of relatively inexpensive, passive, more sustainable building strategies is difficult enough and honestly a green roof is anything but.</p> CONTOURS: Urbanism, Housing, and the Economy Sherin Wing 2012-02-13T15:32:00-05:00 >2012-02-21T00:52:28-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><p> Two issues that effect everyone, whatever social, economic, and professional strata they occupy, are population and urban growth. What&rsquo;s more, ongoing shifts in population and urbanism across the world, especially in developing nations, have dramatically impacted the building industry. Housing and mixed-use projects in East Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America are rapidly increasing.</p> CONTOURS: On Business and Bosses Sherin Wing 2012-02-06T13:47:00-05:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><p> The business of business from the top is changing. The pace of that change for everyone who has directly suffered from the Great Recession is admittedly glacial, though some continue to argue that the Great Recession hasn&rsquo;t done &ldquo;too much&rdquo; harm to the building and design industries.</p> CONTOURS: New, Energy-Efficient Technologies, Part II Sherin Wing 2012-01-23T18:01:00-05:00 >2012-01-23T20:45:50-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><p> <em>Continued from CONTOURS: New, Energy-Efficient Technologies, <a href="" target="_blank">Part 1</a>:</em></p> <p> This week, we examine some very advanced technological developments on the <em>active</em> technology front that may potentially lead to more efficient and cheaper photovoltaic panels.</p> CONTOURS: The Divisions that Bind Us Guy Horton 2012-01-16T20:28:00-05:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><p> As if the narratives and infographics of Occupy weren&rsquo;t loud enough by now, Catherine Rampell, an economics reporter for <em>The New York Times</em>, decided to bang the drum a little louder by writing &ldquo;<a href="" target="_blank">Want a Job? Go to College, and Don&rsquo;t Major in Architecture</a>&rdquo;.</p> CONTOURS: New, Energy-Efficient Technologies, Part 1 Sherin Wing 2012-01-09T14:11:00-05:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><p> Smart and energy efficient is the new<em>-ish</em> approach for many architecture and design firms these days. The problem for the last decade has been that trying to persuade clients to incorporate some of these strategies into their needs has been difficult. Why? The prohibitive costs of implementing advanced technology-based elements into building design. PV panels are the first to come to mind. And when the cost is <em>perceived</em> as prohibitive by the client, firms balk at pushing them.</p> CONTOURS: The Year’s End: The Political, Economic, and Social Perspective Sherin Wing 2011-12-27T16:58:56-05:00 >2011-12-29T12:19:21-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><p> <em>By Sherin Wing &amp; Guy Horton</em></p> <p> We sit here in the joyous wreckage of The Holi-<em>daze</em> listening to one of the forgotten tunes of 2011, &ldquo;<a href="" target="_blank">Soothe Me</a>&rdquo; by the London-based band, Yuck. We think, yes, <em>soothe</em> us. Please. Just give us some good news. <em>Anything.</em> ABI? Unemployment? A functioning Congress? How about some cool projects that give us some hope that architecture matters in more than just narrow aesthetic terms? Too much to ask for?</p> CONTOURS: The Gender Gap in Top Management Sherin Wing 2011-12-19T12:47:09-05:00 >2017-01-19T14:58:35-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><p> According to a recent <a href="" target="_blank">special report on women and work</a> in the <em>Economist</em>, &ldquo;In America in the early 1970s more than half of all families with children consisted of a breadwinner husband, a stay-at-home wife and two or more kids; now only a fifth do. Instead there are lots of single-parent households, and even if couples live together they no longer necessarily marry. If they do, the wives are likely to go out to work, whether or not they have dependent children, and take only a short break for maternity. Life is too expensive for most families to be able to manage on one pay cheque. In most rich countries the dominant model now is the two-earner family, with both parents working full-time.&rdquo;</p> CONTOURS: Immigration and the Economy Sherin Wing 2011-12-12T13:44:43-05:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><p> Listening to the Republican presidential debates, one would think that immigration is the single most important issue pressing on the U.S. economy today and that if it were &ldquo;solved&rdquo;&mdash;i.e. no immigrants of color (especially those from Mexico in particular, though those from Arab nations, China, and South Asia generally are also targeted by this discourse) were ever let across our borders again&mdash;that the economic woes would also be solved. In architecture, the presence of East Asian nationals in particular causes consternation amongst certain circles.</p> CONTOURS: EDD DE 1101 I - Part 2 Guy Horton 2011-12-05T13:07:50-05:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><p> There are so many metaphors for being unemployed. My preference is a burial scenario. You are being buried and the earth keeps getting piled upon you deeper and deeper until you eventually stop trying to dig your way out. It becomes your early grave. Might as well just stay in there. When the economy eventually does improve, 43% of those 13.9 million long-term unemployed Americans may very likely remain buried as the new sidewalks of hope are poured right over them. The new armies with stars and dollar signs in their eyes will blindly stagger along going in and out of gold-plated doors, making their way around the Monopoly board until the next recession&mdash;roughly every ten years.</p> CONTOURS: EDD DE 1101 I Guy Horton 2011-11-28T12:45:19-05:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><p> <em>Author&rsquo;s Disclaimer</em></p> <p> <em>Hello! Author here. Just interjecting at the onset of this article to make it clear that, yes, I am indeed biased and this is not intended to be purely objective in any sense. I&rsquo;m also blatantly stealing this device from David Foster Wallace, who used this little tactic in his posthumous novel, </em>The Pale King<em>. Have you read it? Quite good, I think, as long as you can get beyond the fact that he hanged himself. That&rsquo;s depressing. Another subjective P.O.V. on my part. Sorry.</em></p> CONTOURS: Get a Job! Guy Horton 2011-11-21T12:39:20-05:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><p> Disconnects. There are disconnects. You become aware of them when you pass from one reality into another. From employed to unemployed is one such transition. It&rsquo;s hard to understand unless you have gone through it. I would compare the experience to going to war&hellip;without all the weapons and death.</p> CONTOURS: What Should Architecture Occupy? Part Three Sherin Wing 2011-11-14T12:53:28-05:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><p> The results of the OWS poll are in. Now, there are many different approaches to summarizing the responses. One is to rely solely on statistics, but since many of the answers cannot be meaningfully summarized this way, and since OWS itself is about giving people a voice, the best way to encapsulate the results is to quote some responses. Of course, the flip responses were jettisoned because what we wanted were sincere, thoughtful responses, whether we agreed with them or not.</p> CONTOURS: What Should Architecture Occupy? Part Two Guy Horton 2011-11-07T12:00:00-05:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><p> Of course, we know why architects are quiet on these fundamental issues of wealth and inequality. On the one hand they are just too busy trying to run their businesses and chase after ever fewer projects for less and less money. The other reason is that architects depend on the wealthiest segments of society for their livelihoods. Thus it <em>seems</em> to provide an obvious reason not to support a movement that stands for social and economic justice and an end to rules that favor corporations, banks and wealthy individuals over &ldquo;everyone else.&rdquo; Again, if you aren&rsquo;t sure what the ruckus is all about, you can do some investigating on your own&mdash;start by reading outside the architectural press.</p> CONTOURS: What Should Architecture Occupy? Part One Guy Horton 2011-10-31T12:00:00-04:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><p> Unless you&rsquo;ve been living under a very remote rock, you know by now that the OWS, or <a href="" target="_blank">Occupy Wall Street</a> movement, with its many offshoots including <a href="" target="_blank">Occupy the Hood</a>, has been continued for over a month, now. And what&rsquo;s more, unless you are independently wealthy or a trustfund baby (and are therefore the &ldquo;1%&rdquo;), you are also part of the 99% of the population whom this collective movement addresses.</p> Gender and Design Leadership Sherin Wing 2011-10-24T13:12:37-04:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><p> Women in the architecture workplace is, oddly, a subject that does not receive a lot of press. Perhaps it is because from the time of school onward, women in the field are indoctrinated into being either as &ldquo;hard,&rdquo; &ldquo;iron-like&rdquo; or on a practical level, unbathed and unhygienic, as their male counterparts in order to be accepted. Indeed, at one school in Los Angeles, the women actively cultivate a hardened exterior that rivals any of their male classmates. Those who do not relinquish obvious signifiers of womanhood are dismissed as either attempting to &ldquo;sleep their way to success&rdquo; or as &ldquo;lightweights.&rdquo;</p> The Ideal Firm’s Profile Sherin Wing 2011-10-17T12:34:04-04:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><p> In publications such as <em>The Atlantic Monthly</em> and <em>The Economist</em>, articles have heralded a new economic era. An era that demands that business be done differently in order to survive not only the continuing recession but to create a new, more agile business model. As many economists have asserted, the effects of poor economic policies and deregulation throughout the 2000&rsquo;s will be felt for years to come.</p> A Macro Look at Unemployment and the Economy Sherin Wing 2011-10-10T17:48:37-04:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><p> Different approaches to alleviate the Great Recession&rsquo;s intransigence have been suggested. Repeatedly, policy approaches have been examined, only to be jettisoned, based on whether they concur with their own political ideologies. To combat this, we examine a few academic studies that offer views tested by more than mere opinion.</p> CONTOURS: The Real Guy Horton 2011-10-05T12:46:14-04:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><p> Let&rsquo;s get real. What we generally call Reality is not something we should lose sight of at this juncture, when our economy is <em>still </em>faltering, protests are erupting in cities across the country (you have heard about this, right?), and conservatives are arguing that taxing the rich will derail the engines of prosperity for all. So much for that &ldquo;recovery.&rdquo; Not in sight.</p> CONTOURS: Urban Justice Sherin Wing 2011-09-26T16:45:11-04:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><p> The Census Bureau just released its latest statistics from 2008 on, amongst other things, <a href="" target="_blank">poverty</a>. In an article on making housing more accessible to the <a href="" target="_blank">poor</a>, I cited some older statistics to highlight the much-neglected need. Too often, people focus on the &ldquo;other&rdquo; poor, those living in developing nations because it is easier than examining those who are impoverished in our own urban centers.</p> CONTOURS: Whither Goest Thou, Green Economy: Part 2 Sherin Wing 2011-09-19T13:12:29-04:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><p> There is an unofficial index in <em>The Economist</em> which they call the &ldquo;<a href="" target="_blank">R-word index</a>.&rdquo; It tracks the number of times the word &ldquo;Recession&rdquo; appears in the press. It is on the increase, and no wonder, with unemployment in the U.S. still hovering at around 9-10% (depending upon whose numbers one follows), and with growth flat and the <a href="http://http:/" target="_blank">Fed promising not to raise interest rates until mid-2013</a>. Meanwhile, the Eurozone has continued to falter over what to do about the drag that the so-called &ldquo;PIIGS&rdquo; (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain) continue to wreak on the Euro and what to do about it. Japan is not faring much better. In fact, most developed nations have had a very rough time of it over the past few years, and it looks as if the trend may continue.</p> CONTOURS: Whither Goest Thou, Green Economy? Guy Horton 2011-09-12T11:40:07-04:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <img src="" border="0" /><p> <em>Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?</em><br> --Jack Kerouac</p> <p> Did you tune into Obama&rsquo;s jobs speech last Thursday night? Hopefully, you were too busy putting in unpaid overtime at your office. Or maybe you didn&rsquo;t give a damn because you&rsquo;ve been out there looking for a job, shooting your portfolio into a black hole for months and months.</p>