Archinect - News 2017-10-20T19:39:51-04:00 Archinect rounds up critical reactions to Koolhaas' biennale Amelia Taylor-Hochberg 2014-06-19T11:42:00-04:00 >2014-06-24T18:12:24-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><p>This year's Venice Biennale of Architecture, curated by Rem Koolhaas, officially opened on June 7, under the theme "Fundamentals". The deluge of criticism and reporting coming out of the Biennale will surely continue until it closes November 23, but so far reactions from the architectural journalism community seem pretty consistent. Critics seem at once relieved that the biennale is not given away to preening and doting upon architectural personalities, but instead focused on "<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">architecture, not architects</a>", as per Koolhaas' design. The flip-side of this could be seen as replacing objects of starchitectural value with a too-safe generalism, imbued with the self-importance of Koolhaas' cult of personality. Responses seem largely concerned with interpreting the man at the same time as his Biennale, rather than investigating the interplay of national pavilions' personalities under a unifying theme. But we've got many months to go, and this is only the beginning.</p><p>But with the sheer mass o...</p> City: Ways of Making, Ways of Using Places Journal 2014-02-28T18:53:00-05:00 >2014-02-28T18:54:29-05:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>In the projects shown here, architects and artists reflect on the problems and possibilities of economic and urban growth. How is rapid urbanization happening? Who is benefiting, and who is being displaced or excluded? What can architects and citizens do to exert leverage on processes at once local and global?</p></em><br /><br /><p>On Places, Jonathan Massey reviews the 10th Sao Paulo Architecture Biennial, and presents a slideshow of selected works.</p> Gezi Park: Architecture and the Aestheticization of Politics Places Journal 2014-02-14T13:39:00-05:00 >2014-02-14T15:56:22-05:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>Our task &mdash; and we should well speak as architects &mdash; must be making the invisible visible, uncovering and retracing the concealed limits of the city. We must construct barriers and counter-spaces within and against the processes that tame and dissolve the crucial loci of democracy.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Within a few years, rapidly growing Istanbul will overtake London and Moscow as Europe&rsquo;s largest metropolis. Not coincidentally, Turkey is undergoing a profound shift toward privatization, as seen in the government's plan to redevelop Taksim Gezi Park into a shopping mall with a nostalgic Ottoman facade. On Places, architect&nbsp;Pedro Levi Bismarck examines the plan as a reflection of a larger democratic crisis, following Siegfried Kracauer&rsquo;s observation: &ldquo;Wherever the hieroglyphics of any spatial image are deciphered, there the basis of social reality presents itself.&rdquo;</p> Incomplete Architecture Places Journal 2014-01-30T15:40:00-05:00 >2014-02-03T14:11:58-05:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>"All great public squares have a monument with a statue, right? ... Everyone in town can agree about that. But whenever we discuss which historical figure should go up on that column, it turns into a fight. We can&rsquo;t come to a consensus. So we&rsquo;ve decided to leave it empty. One day, this person will come. And when they do, we will have a place waiting for their statue. This will bring great pride to Anse-&agrave;-Pitres.&rdquo;</p></em><br /><br /><p>On Places, artist and filmmaker Joseph Redwood-Martinez shares photographs and anecdotes from a research project investigating examples of incomplete architecture around the world: "buildings and structures that are activated or inhabited even though their construction is not complete."</p> On the Magical Thinking of TED Places Journal 2014-01-21T17:05:00-05:00 >2014-01-27T19:14:05-05:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>The particular danger of TEDification to the design disciplines, I think, is its core message that the chief obstacle to our discovering grand solutions to global problems &mdash; to achieving the grand design, to "making a comprehensive entity," as that reviewer of Big History applauded &mdash; is our lack of sufficient connection. What we need, we're told, is a seamless web of ideas, capital, products and data.</p></em><br /><br /><p> "We are living through the era of the TED Talk, much like an earlier generation lived through the era of the World's Fair, wondrous about our new world in the making," writes Simon Sadler on Places. "TEDification endows capitalism and globalization with a credible spiritual and ethical mission, just as the art of the Renaissance lent to the ruthless bankers of the Italian city states an enduring moral sheen." Sadler explores the magical thinking and many contradictions of the TED juggernaut &mdash; and the implicit threats to design and education.</p> On the legacy of the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies Places Journal 2014-01-13T16:59:00-05:00 >2016-04-26T18:16:18-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>I wish that it still existed. &mdash; Frank Gehry It would be the world's biggest nightmare if the Institute were still alive. &mdash; Mark Wigley It was the moment for something to happen. &mdash; Diana Agrest //</p></em><br /><br /><p> In 1967 Peter Eisenman founded the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, and until it closed in 1985 the Institute &mdash; a heady mix of think tank, exhibit space, journal publisher and cocktail party &mdash; was one of the centers of American architecture culture. Belmont Freeman describes the new documentary by Diana Agrest, <em>The Making of an Avant-Garde</em>, as a remarkable contribution to the record, and a fascinating glimpse at the early years of many of today's stars: "There is something almost (almost) touching about listening to today&rsquo;s titans of corporate and haute institutional architecture remind us that once upon a time they were young, idealistic, radical thinkers."</p> Lina Bo Bardi: "I Am Somehow Special" Places Journal 2013-11-12T17:12:00-05:00 >2013-11-13T10:10:24-05:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>Lina Bo Bardi was loyal more to an emancipating concept of modernity than to the abstract, formal language of modern architecture. Her thinking and practice were situated at the intersection of different worldviews: north and south, city and hinterland, privilege and deprivation, modernism and tradition, past and present, abstraction and social realism. As she declared in 1989, &ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t make myself alone. I am curious and this quality broadens my horizons. ... I am somehow special.&rdquo;</p></em><br /><br /><p> Lina Bo Bardi's career spanned two continents and six decades, but we are only just beginning to appreciate what Zeuler Lima describes as the "vast and original body of work that emerged from her prolific but discontinuous trajectory as architect, designer, illustrator, writer, editor and curator."</p> <p> Places has published an excerpt of Lima's new monograph,<em> <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Lina Bo Bardi</a></em> (Yale University Press), with a slideshow of major projects.</p> Methodolatry and the Art of Measure Places Journal 2013-11-06T17:41:00-05:00 >2013-11-11T21:14:43-05:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>The default recourse to data-fication, the presumption that all meaningful flows and activity can be sensed and measured, is taking us toward a future in which the people shaping our cities and their policies rarely have the opportunity to consider the nature of our stickiest urban problems and the kind of questions they raise.</p></em><br /><br /><p> What do corporate smart-city programs have in common with D.I.Y. science projects and civic hackathons? &ldquo;Theirs is a city with an underlying logic,&rdquo; writes Shannon Mattern, &ldquo;made more efficient &mdash; or just, or sustainable, or livable &mdash; with a tweak to its algorithms or an expansion of its dataset.&rdquo;</p> <p> On Places, Mattern argues that the new wave of urban data science (and solutionism) is trending toward an obsession with data-for-data&rsquo;s-sake and an idolization of landscape research methods.</p> Evil Architecture: When Buildings Kill Places Journal 2013-10-30T17:36:00-04:00 >2013-10-30T18:38:34-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>We&rsquo;ve seen the movies, read the books, toured the spooky attractions. This we know: haunted houses are dangerous places. They&rsquo;re built on evil ground, or on sites where bad things happened, or above the graves of people who don&rsquo;t want company. ... But that&rsquo;s not what I want to talk about here. Sometimes buildings are born bad.</p></em><br /><br /><p> Just in time for Halloween, Eggener takes us on a tour of evil architecture in books and movies.</p> <p> &ldquo;'Organic architecture must come from the ground up into the light by gradual growth,'" he writes. "So said Frank Lloyd Wright, though none of his buildings ever murdered a client."</p> NYC Design Chief on Climate Resilience after Hurricane Sandy Places Journal 2013-10-10T19:20:00-04:00 >2013-10-14T18:32:57-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>I step out into the street but realize that I&rsquo;d better not &mdash; there&rsquo;s a current &mdash; and as my hallway fills, I remember the electrical panel in the basement. It shorts out, and I hear the breakers fall. Then there is an explosion outside, and the neighborhood goes dark.</p></em><br /><br /><p> In October 2012, as Hurricane Sandy approached New York, Alexandros Washburn defied evacuation orders and stayed fast in his home in Red Hook, watching as his street flooded and became a "full-fledged river." But he had good reason; the city's chief urban designer wanted to observe first-hand "the dynamics of the storm surge and its effect on our streets and structures." In an excerpt on Places from his new book <em>The Nature of Urban Design</em>, Washburn&nbsp;recounts his experience during the storm and the hugely complicated &mdash; and ongoing &mdash; municipal recovery and response.</p> Smart Cities: Buggy and Brittle Places Journal 2013-10-07T20:26:00-04:00 >2013-10-07T21:24:23-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>My bewilderment quickly yields to a growing sense of dread. How is it that even in the heart of Silicon Valley it&rsquo;s completely acceptable for smart technology to be buggy, erratic, or totally dysfunctional? ... We are weaving these technologies into our homes, our communities, even our very bodies &mdash; but even experts have become disturbingly complacent about their shortcomings. The rest of us rarely question them at all.</p></em><br /><br /><p> Electric car sharing in Paris, dynamic road pricing in Singapore, nationwide smart meters in the UK.&nbsp;&ldquo;The technology industry is asking us to rebuild the world around its vision of efficient, safe, convenient living,&rdquo; writes Anthony M. Townsend in an excerpt on Places from his new book, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><em>Smart Cities</em></a>. But wireless sensor networks and integrated communications systems are vulnerable to power failure and hacking, not to mention software errors. What if the smart cities of the future are chock full of bugs?</p> Beyond the Pritzker: What's Next for Women in Architecture? Places Journal 2013-07-30T20:07:00-04:00 >2013-07-31T12:44:59-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>My own conviction is that the most meaningful prolonged response to the Pritzker &mdash; but much more, to the entrenched discrimination it both reflects and reinforces &mdash; will involve political action directed toward measureable change. It will involve ramping up the current professional and cultural conversation &mdash; now focused on sharing experiences, promoting awareness, influencing leaders in the field &mdash; and articulating specific goals, definable outcomes.</p></em><br /><br /><p> Lately the subject of women's status in architecture &mdash; long dismissed as essentialist and unnecessary &mdash; has bounded back onto the agenda. As recent articles, books, exhibitions, online discussions and petition campaigns all attest, the full integration of the profession remains a fraught and unfinished business. Nancy Levinson, editor of Places Journal, argues that it's time to engage the larger sphere of political activism &mdash; to translate the widespread awareness of tenacious inequality into an ongoing campaign with concrete goals.</p> Infrastructural Tourism Places Journal 2013-07-02T17:00:00-04:00 >2013-07-08T19:47:31-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>One of the most gratifying bits of feedback I ever received from one of my Ranger projects came from a 60-something woman who&rsquo;d attended a campfire program on freeway landscapes in Los Angeles. Months later, she told me that she never looked at a freeway in the same way. Who knows what this kind of change in perception might ultimately lead to?</p></em><br /><br /><p> For decades intrepid tourists have been journeying to the monumental dams of the American West to marvel at the infrastructures of hydroelectric power. These days they're just as likely to be on a field trip to trace the pathways of the Internet, or the footprint of communication satellites, or the transport of nuclear waste. On Places, Shannon Mattern reviews diverse works by environmental artists and media scholars, all seeking "to understand the material and immaterial workings of interconnected infrastructural systems."</p> Who's Your Data? Urban Design in the New Soft City Places Journal 2013-06-25T14:55:00-04:00 >2013-07-01T18:59:11-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>Smart city infrastructure can augment the ability of managers, planners, designers and engineers to define and implement a fundamentally better next generation of buildings, cities, regions &mdash; right? Maybe. For that to be a serious proposition, it&rsquo;s going to have to be normal for planners and designers not only to collaborate productively with engineers, but to do so with the full and competent participation of the only people they mistrust more than each other ... customers.</p></em><br /><br /><p> "A city is not a BMW," writes Carl Skelton. "You can't drive it without knowing how it works." In a weighty think-piece on Places, he argues that the public needs new tools of citizenship to thrive in a "new soft world" increasingly shaped by smart meters, surveillance cameras, urban informatics and big data. "To be a citizen of a digital city requires understanding what the databases do and don&rsquo;t contain, and what they could contain, and how the software used to process that data and drive design decisions does, doesn&rsquo;t, and might yet perform."</p> A Manifesto for Hyperdensity Places Journal 2013-06-14T13:39:00-04:00 >2013-06-18T22:36:52-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>We cannot expect big American cities to reach their potential when the very professions that purport to defend and perpetuate urbanism recoil at the presence of towers. Left rudderless by the experts, we are forced to inhabit the bleak consequences of a poorly regulated marketplace, analogous to a population that must operate on its own cancers due to the confused surgeons who keep cutting away at the healthy tissue.</p></em><br /><br /><p> Americans are famously conflicted about urban development: somehow we've demonized both sprawl and density. But today there is a new conversation about the future of cities, driven by diversifying social desires, evolving technologies, and pressing environmental constraints.</p> <p> On Places, in an excerpt from the new book <em><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America</a>,&nbsp;</em>Vishaan Chakrabarti contributes a bold argument for hyperdensity. The very dense city, he says, not only promotes prosperity, sustainability and delight; it will also determine our strength as a nation.</p> Unforgetting Women Architects Places Journal 2013-06-03T17:15:00-04:00 >2013-06-10T11:15:04-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>A historian might spend decades undertaking research in archives and writing up discoveries in scholarly journals, but if the work does not have a presence online &mdash; and, specifically, a presence that is not behind a paywall &mdash; it is all but invisible outside academia. As Ridge states, &ldquo;If it&rsquo;s not Googleable, it doesn&rsquo;t exist.&rdquo;</p></em><br /><br /><p> Over the decades women architects have received scant attention from historians and prize juries. On Places, Despina Stratigakos writes, "The painful cancellation of Denise Scott Brown in the awarding of the Pritzker Prize solely to her husband and collaborator, Robert Venturi, is an important but hardly exceptional example of how female partners are written out of history by a profession suffering from Star Architect Disorder, or SAD." Stratigakos argues that it's time to write women back into history &mdash; and that the place to start is Wikipedia.</p> New York Design Commissioner David Burney on the Politics of the Public Places Journal 2013-05-28T20:33:00-04:00 >2013-06-02T17:34:16-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>Increasingly it's been cities that have taken the lead on critical issues, from gun control to immigration reform to economic stimulus to climate change. Given the migration of people into cities worldwide, this trend is sure to continue. We might even be in a de facto transition to a society dominated by economically and politically powerful cities &mdash; a contemporary version of the great city-states that arose in the 13th century and ruled Europe until the consolidation of modern nation-states.</p></em><br /><br /><p> For almost a decade David Burney has been Commissioner of the Department of Design and Construction in New York City.</p> <p> In an interview with Places editor Nancy Levinson, he reflects on the urban design record of the Bloomberg years, focusing especially on PlaNYC, the ongoing post-Sandy recovery effort, and the potential for cities to take the lead in 21st-century sustainability planning.</p> Architectural Photography without Architecture Places Journal 2013-05-13T13:44:00-04:00 >2013-05-15T21:04:11-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>Slowly it dawned on me that this was not a photograph of a real building but a total digital fabrication. I was shocked, not in a moralistic way but, rather, with amazement at the masterful deception and amused pique at being fooled.</p></em><br /><br /><p> The technologies of representing architecture have advanced steadily over the years, from drawing to photography to digital rendering &mdash; and have lately taken a new leap.</p> <p> On Places, Belmont Freeman argues, "the crafts of architectural rendering and photography have now merged into a common activity of digital image-making &mdash; so completely that one can conceive a work of architecture and produce a 'photograph' of it without having to go through the expensive, tedious and corrupting intermediate step of actually building the building. Welcome to the world of architectural photography without architecture."</p> <p> He discusses the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibitions "After Photoshop: Manipulated Photography in the Digital Age" and "Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop"; the MoMA exhibition "9 + 1 Ways of Being Political: 50 Years of Political Stances in Architecture and Urban Design," and recent books of photography by&nbsp;Fr&eacute;d&eacute;ric Chauban and Ezra Stoller.</p>... On the Folk Art Museum: Save Modernism from the Modern Places Journal 2013-05-07T13:20:00-04:00 >2013-05-10T16:36:11-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>The Modernism worth pursuing &mdash; worth protecting &mdash; is the one where Gregor Samsa wakes up transformed into a large insect, and ends up with an apple embedded in his carapace, which is exactly what the Folk Art Museum is to the Museum of Modern Art, right now, right where it is.</p></em><br /><br /><p> On Places, David Heymann presents an incisive critique of MoMA's decision to raze the Folk Art Museum building, by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects.</p> <p> From a quiet beginning &mdash; "Here is why I think the American Folk Art Museum is a great Modernist building" &mdash; Heymann works his way to a pointed conclusion: "Modernism in the architecture of the Modern is just another sad Historical Revival Style, the very thing Modernism as an ideology set out so intently to destroy."</p> Architecture as Child's Play Places Journal 2013-05-01T19:31:00-04:00 >2013-05-06T13:28:40-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>At university, students from other courses felt that we in architecture weren&rsquo;t really studying at all; to them the studio seemed like some kind of uber-kindergarten, legitimated for academic credit.... The architecture profession seemed from the outside, and perhaps even to us on the inside, to promise an idyllic eternal childhood of balsa and glue and gee-whiz drawings on computers.</p></em><br /><br /><p> On Places, Naomi Stead discusses the popular conception of architecture as a kind of "child's play."</p> <p> What do dollhouses and architectural models have in common? Why should we care about Lego Architecture and Architect Barbie and the romantic depiction of architects in Hollywood movies?</p> <p> She concludes: "If the profession of architecture is constructed from the outside as an escapist daydream, available for the idle fantasizing and wish-fulfillment of all, then this leaves the whole profession operating inside a doll&rsquo;s house: idyllic, hermetic and controlled, but largely powerless to act in the actual world."</p> Olympic Displacement: Atlanta 1996 to Rio 2016 Places Journal 2013-04-15T17:35:00-04:00 >2013-04-15T17:38:27-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>Atlanta and Rio are but two chapters in the long history of displacement that has accompanied mega-events like the Olympics. Similar dynamics reshaped London&rsquo;s Clays Lane Estate, Beijing&rsquo;s hutongs, the Marousi Roma settlement in Athens, Barcelona&rsquo;s Poblenou and Seoul&rsquo;s hanoks. . . . Today the people of Vila Aut&oacute;dromo are struggling for what housing scholar-activist Chester Hartman has aptly called &ldquo;the right to stay put.&rdquo;</p></em><br /><br /><p> As plans unfold for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, MIT's Lawrence Vale and Annemarie Gray consider the case of Vila Aut&oacute;dromo, a former fishing colony on the Olympic site whose residents have organized to resist displacement. They compare ongoing events in Rio to the demolition of Atlanta's Techwood Homes, the first public housing in America, prior to the 1996 Olympics.</p> The Story Behind the Seagram Building Places Journal 2013-04-08T13:43:00-04:00 >2013-04-10T00:25:02-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>Reading this was for me an epiphany. I could see, almost in a flash, the unity of building and landscape developing throughout Mies&rsquo;s building art, ultimately morphing into the podium that binds the Seagram tower to the urban landscape &mdash; plaza, platform, an oasis amid the chaos of New York. This led me to reevaluate the importance of surrounding context, in Mies&rsquo;s architecture throughout his career and to understand in a new light some of his statements, drawings, and photomontages.</p></em><br /><br /><p> "What led Mies to create the union of skyscraper and plaza on Park Avenue, a binding together so profoundly important in his oeuvre?" On Places, in an excerpt from the new book <em><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Building Seagram</a></em>, Phyllis Lambert recounts the evolution of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's architectural philosophy, from his early years in Berlin to the postwar American projects; in particular she explores his deep concern for the interrelationship between architecture and landscape, which culminated in his design for the Seagram Building.</p> The Irrational Exuberance of Rem Koolhaas Places Journal 2013-04-03T14:44:00-04:00 >2013-04-10T02:07:26-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>"Irrational exuberance" seems to me an apt introduction to an understanding of Rem Koolhaas in the '90s and beyond; it foregrounds his great success in navigating the intersection of the pragmatic corporate sector, on the one hand, and the &ldquo;delirious&rdquo; and volatile realm of desire and possibility, on the other. ... Koolhaas has encouraged his followers to shed the crippling shackles of critical theory and pick up a surfboard upon which to ride the shock waves of the new economy.</p></em><br /><br /><p> For decades Rem Koolhaas has been not only a leading global architect but also a restless provocateur. On Places, in a chapter from the forthcoming book <em><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Architecture and Capitalism</a>,&nbsp;</em>Ellen Dunham-Jones explores Koolhaas's protean career, from the early fantastical projects to the big books and bigger buildings of recent years. It's a career that has come to embody, she argues, "the inevitable contradictions in trying to marry art and capitalism, radicalism and pragmatism, icon-making and city-making."</p> Steve Jobs, Architect? Places Journal 2013-03-18T19:24:00-04:00 >2013-03-19T18:19:00-04:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>Yet another treatise on Steve Jobs? As an &ldquo;architect&rdquo; &mdash; really? And with Apple seemingly waning, aren't we behind the curve on this? Suffice it to say that my interest is not solely in Jobs himself, but rather in the challenge he poses to the methods and purpose of an architectural historian.... But since architectural stories are surprising rare here on the edge of the continent, I need a shtick; no matter my connoisseur-ish personal tastes and leftist political dispositions.</p></em><br /><br /><p> What is revealed when we contemplate the late Steve Jobs not only as a technologist extraordinaire but also as a sort of architect? And if we then compare Jobs with another complicated virtuoso, Rem Koolhaas? On Places, architectural historian Simon Sadler argues "Jobs and Koolhaas both seem to have been driven by the possibility that they can act inside, or around, a postmodern world resistant to purpose. Both share an attraction toward design as a type of hermeneutics &mdash; a will to learn about the world through the attempt to change it."</p> Mariana Van Rensselaer, Founding Mother of Architecture Criticism Places Journal 2013-03-01T19:18:00-05:00 >2013-03-03T20:19:58-05:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>Whatever you want, then, go to an architect for it; not to a carpenter, or a mason, or your own still more profound incompetence. Tell him all your practical, material desires, and insist that they shall be respected... Settle your practical desires and state them clearly; and, if you will, pour out your vague aesthetic wishes; try to explain those crude artistic preferences, those misty, formless visions which you are pleased to call &ldquo;my own ideas.&rdquo;</p></em><br /><br /><p> Mariana Griswold Van Rensselaer, though little known today, was not only a leading architecture critic of her day but also one of the pioneers of the field in the late 19th century. On Places, Alexandra Lange analyzes her writings and her influence. As she writes, "Mariana Van Rensselaer worked out the ground rules of the fledgling profession, struggling to be a critic of greater conscientiousness, while calling upon her players &mdash; architects, clients, public &mdash; to do their jobs properly."</p> <p> In a related features, Places has republished Van Rensselaer's 1890 essay, "<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Client and Architect.</a>"</p> Shanghai, Future City Places Journal 2013-02-18T20:30:00-05:00 >2013-02-19T13:10:11-05:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>There is only so far the gap between the migrant workers and the local Shanghainese they serve can grow before the foundations of the city buckle &mdash; and only so many well-educated, English-speaking, computer-literate, world-traveling young people the city can welcome before they demand change. Modernity is about more than fast trains and tall buildings. Despite the authorities&rsquo; strict controls, some among Shanghai&rsquo;s millions have surely figured this out.</p></em><br /><br /><p> In just two decades Shanghai has been transformed from "mothballed relic" of Maoism to one of the world's largest and most dynamic cities, complete with the fastest train on earth and more high-rise buildings than Manhattan.</p> <p> In an excerpt on Places from the new book <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><em>A History of Future Cities</em></a>, Daniel Brook recounts the city's fast-forward and often ruthless reinvention &mdash; and describes what has become an enduring dilemma in Reform-era China. For all its new energy, he writes, "the new Shanghai has yet to live up to the city&rsquo;s historic promise &mdash; to sort out what it means to be Chinese and modern."</p> The Emergence of Container Urbanism Places Journal 2013-02-13T14:33:00-05:00 >2013-02-18T18:09:09-05:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>In its most far-reaching aspects, container urbanism proposes to take the fundamental organic/architectural condition of containment further by exploring how a boundary might be better coordinated, even merged with the flow of material/ideas. Can containment equate more closely with transmission and, in so doing, position architecture and urbanism more in line with societal mobility and change?</p></em><br /><br /><p> The repurposed shipping container has become a fixture of urban architecture &mdash; part of a movement, as Mitchell Schwarzer argues, toward an "urban design as flexible, responsive and electric as the currents that feed it."</p> <p> On Places, Schwarzer examines the rise of container urbanism from the mid 20th century to now, from Archigram and the Metabolists in the '60s to the pop-up markets and modular housing of today; and he sees in this latest phase a "landmark change" for architecture.&nbsp;</p> <p> "By facilitating an almost instant building complex," he writes, "the containers put architectural production more in sync with the speed and transitoriness of contemporary life, forcing it to respond to a city&rsquo;s many complex, adaptive systems."</p> Climate Change and Public Works Places Journal 2013-01-21T17:24:00-05:00 >2013-01-29T09:10:02-05:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>We seem to have lost the political capacity to grapple with the big picture, the long range, the global scale. To a degree we've even lost the vocabulary. In design circles it's as if the perceived failures of mid 20th-century planning &mdash; exemplified by top-down urban renewal and personified by the power-brokering Robert Moses &mdash; have induced a kind of conceptual paralysis, an inability to formulate the public sector, or public works, in terms not beholden to a discredited history.</p></em><br /><br /><p> On Places, editor Nancy Levinson argues for an intensified political agenda for designers.</p> <p> As Barack Obama takes the oath of office for his second term, the longstanding tension between the pressing need for public action and the tenacious culture of privatization remains the critical dilemma of U.S. politics. Nothing underscores the need to resolve this tension &mdash; and to commit once again to the ideals of collective purpose and common good &mdash; than the accelerating crisis of climate change.</p> A City for Books and Architecture in South Korea Places Journal 2013-01-16T11:21:00-05:00 >2013-01-16T11:22:01-05:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>When I first heard of Paju Bookcity, I imagined a bibliophilic paradise of human-scaled buildings with legible facades nestled side-by-side like volumes on a shelf. When I traveled to the real Paju Bookcity, I found an industrial estate created by companies related to all aspects of book manufacturing, sited north of Seoul in the marshes near the Demilitarized Zone. But if Bookcity is not the fairy tale I envisioned, it is a kind of Cinderella story: this is the industrial park remade.</p></em><br /><br /><p> On Places, Shannon Mattern explores the ongoing remaking of Bookcity &mdash; which seeks to reinvent invent Korean publishing, architecture and urban planning &mdash; in the digital era.</p> My Beautiful City Places Journal 2013-01-02T15:33:00-05:00 >2013-01-07T18:22:45-05:00 <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>Architects think people aren&rsquo;t interested in buildings anymore, and don&rsquo;t look at them, and consequently don&rsquo;t &mdash; can't &mdash; appreciate what architects really want to do, which is make fetishized constructions to sit on the landscape like mechanical praying mantids, which will make people look at them some more.</p></em><br /><br /><p> On Places, architect David Heymann writes about a heartbreaking house commission outside Austin &mdash; the kind of larger-than-life story that could only happen in Texas.</p> <p> The feature includes an audio recording of the author reading his work.</p>