Archinect - Another Architecture 2017-10-18T12:53:52-04:00 https://archinect.com/blog/article/150019007/drawing-bombs Drawing bombs Mitch McEwen 2017-07-24T01:05:00-04:00 >2017-08-02T14:46:50-04:00 <p>This drawing by&nbsp;Ludwig Hilberseimer has been fascinating me recently. &nbsp;Most architects with any interest in urban planning in the USA know the story of <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/1262556?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">RAND corporation doing post-World War II consulting on the dispersal of the American city.</a> &nbsp;The assumption was that the kind of weapons deployed in WWII constituted implicit threats to American cities, as nodes of infrastructure and economy significant to the entire country. NYC for finance, DC for governance, Chicago for goods, etc. &nbsp; The defensive solution was to disperse American economy and institutions as much as possible.</p> <p>It all sounds like post-rationalization for the subsidy of the segregated post-WWII suburb.&nbsp;</p> <p>But this Hilberseimer drawing defines the terms of the argument so well. The archival title of the drawing is "Effect of H-Bomb on the size &amp; distribution of cities ." &nbsp;The drawing demarcates blast range, freshwater resource, the territory of major cities as hatched areas. The potential of the gridded dots dominates th...</p> https://archinect.com/blog/article/150003256/notes-on-time-travel Notes on time travel Mitch McEwen 2017-04-16T14:06:00-04:00 >2017-04-23T12:54:28-04:00 <p>This musing on time travel comes from notes that I jotted down in February of this year. &nbsp;With the beginning of the illegitimate real estate developer presidency, my only way of making sense of this moment in America was to think of travelling back in time (What if Comey hadn't done that, What if those of us in Detroit had dedicated ourselves more to getting out the vote? etc). &nbsp;</p><p>Also, I am interested in the limits of what might be relevant to architecture and possibly disciplined by architecture as a practice or way of thinking. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Time travel becomes possible, and even vaguely within the realm of architecture, when we consider time as a series of material states. Planets move, cells divide, bodies respirate. These things occur in intervals.&nbsp; Everything moves-- at some scale or in some condition.&nbsp; Stasis demands excessive control. Time happens through the repeated patterns of matter. Planets don't just move,&nbsp;they orbit. Bodies respirate until they don't, then they die. In that order....</p> https://archinect.com/blog/article/149999183/we-are-not-innocent We Are Not Innocent Mitch McEwen 2017-03-23T19:16:00-04:00 >2017-04-07T21:31:18-04:00 <p>Back in December I posted an entry about the <a href="http://archinect.com/another/the-white-flight-from-american-democracy" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">White Flight from American Democracy</a>, where I predicted that this new President wouldn't be using the White House and the L'Enfant Plan the way it was designed. &nbsp;Rather:</p><p><em>The axes of legislative authority and executive power must be extended dramatically -- to connect through Trump Tower in Manhattan and the Trump Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue. &nbsp;The resulting plan is not read through a figure of landscape that it demarcates, but through the procession of motorcades and private jets. &nbsp;It starts to reconfigure a private real estate empire into a nodal map of American political power. &nbsp;</em></p><p>This was before "winter White House" had become a phrase or military operations were planned over dinner at a private country club in Florida.</p><p>In this post, I just want to say briefly -- and this may be controversial -- that our discipline is not innocent. &nbsp;We watched, over the past few decades, the discipline of architecture veer off into luxury formalism for aut...</p> https://archinect.com/blog/article/149992856/geometry-doesn-t-have-to-be-white-on-descartes-baldwin-and-grids Geometry doesn't have to be white - on Descartes, Baldwin, and grids Mitch McEwen 2017-02-20T13:39:00-05:00 >2017-09-05T11:08:41-04:00 <p><a href="http://mcewenstudio.com/web/vmm-on-whiteness-descartes-and-grids" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">http://mcewenstudio.com/web/vmm-on-whiteness-descartes-and-grids</a>/</p><p>Here's a <a href="http://mcewenstudio.com/web/vmm-on-whiteness-descartes-and-grids/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">mini-podcast on Descartes, whiteness, and grids</a>. &nbsp;Let's liberate geometry from empire. &nbsp;Especially in honor of today's American holiday.&nbsp;</p><p><img title="" alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/j1/j1pijll8pm3yf9ko.jpg"></p><p><img title="" alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/jy/jymdvyemz5j840ar.jpg"></p> https://archinect.com/blog/article/149992126/watercraft-on-detroit-s-subsidy-to-its-suburbs-slum-clearance-by-infrastructure-pricing Watercraft - on Detroit's subsidy to its suburbs & slum clearance by infrastructure pricing Mitch McEwen 2017-02-15T18:41:00-05:00 >2017-06-21T10:42:33-04:00 <p>[This is an excerpt from a forthcoming article to be published later this year in Yale Perspecta #50]</p><p><img title="" alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/7t/7t4xb9047pf282yy.jpg">This study of water in Detroit and its intersection of racialized geographies of inner city and suburban sprawl uncovers parallels between water infrastructure and transportation planning as expensive enablers of white flight to the American suburb. As we face an era in which access to water will be increasingly important&mdash;due to rising flood levels, increased storm events, and the aging of early industrial infrastructure, among other issues&mdash;analyzing the infrastructure of urban water becomes critical for locating the spatial protocols of urban divides today.</p><p><img title="" alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/iu/iuiyl4wd5ukee5d7.jpg">Keller Easterling&rsquo;s notion of extrastatecraft becomes especially useful in understanding the regional water system as &ldquo;infrastructure space&rdquo;&mdash;ie something shaped by geology, urban form, socioeconomics, and policy. In the crafting of water resources and policy, there is no neutral ground. As Easterling notes, &ldquo;The aggressions within...</p> https://archinect.com/blog/article/149990360/a-short-piece-of-fiction-on-the-aesthetics-of-nuclear-fallout A Short Piece of Fiction on the Aesthetics of Nuclear Fallout Mitch McEwen 2017-02-05T21:05:00-05:00 >2017-02-07T19:31:59-05:00 <p><em>[I wrote this at the end of the summer, as I was mulling over certain relationships between aesthetics and warfare and image-making. &nbsp;At the time I was thinking of it as a sort of historical line of research I wanted to do.... &nbsp; Now it feels related to many weird and horrifying things, including this wonderful <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/01/30/the-atomic-origins-of-climate-science" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">article in the New Yorker on the atomic origins of climate science</a>. &nbsp;You can sense in the fight for continued nuclear arms, the struggle to suppress science, a passion that is more than greed or pragmatics.] &nbsp;</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img title="" alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/hp/hpzcfl00lxv6qrvo.jpg"></p><p>The footage of the cloud became known as a mushroom. &nbsp;It was from watching the cloud puff itself up in the sky and burst over and over again in the tones of gray on the film, watching this gave it the name. &nbsp;Mushroom cloud. Before this footage it didn't have a name. &nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Only select, highly classified, mission-critical men got to attend the testings. &nbsp;To see the test live - its billowing and recursive fluffiness, its breaking open of the sky, turning the world inside out in...</p> https://archinect.com/blog/article/149986246/interview-w-sampsonia-way-of-pittsburgh-reparations-algorithms-autonomy-and-black-american-poetics-gentrification-and-other-topics Interview w/ Sampsonia Way of Pittsburgh-- reparations, algorithms, autonomy and Black American poetics, gentrification, and other topics Mitch McEwen 2017-01-12T19:04:00-05:00 >2017-04-09T22:18:33-04:00 <p>The full interview is here -&nbsp;<a href="http://www.sampsoniaway.org/interviews/2017/01/12/recognizing-hungers-that-are-already-there-a-conversation-with-architect-mitch-mcewen" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">http://www.sampsoniaway.org/interviews/2017/01/12/recognizing-hungers-that-are-already-there-a-conversation-with-architect-mitch-mcewen</a>/ &nbsp;</p><p><img title="" alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/i8/i823na17vj8rxtss.jpg"></p><p>Interview <em>by&nbsp;</em><a title="Posts by Leah Wulfman" href="http://www.sampsoniaway.org/author/leah-wulfman/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Leah Wulfman</a><em>&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;/&nbsp; January 12, 2017 &nbsp;</em>Excerpts below:&nbsp;</p><p><strong>LW: You are opening up and engaging architecture outside of the discipline&rsquo;s established protocols and rarefied means of practice. How do you reach out to individuals and communities that aren&rsquo;t typically reached with traditional architecture practice and working methodologies? How is your engagement with open source architectural platforms and parametrics a part of this agenda?</strong></p><p><strong>MM:</strong>&nbsp;I actually am a bit skeptical about working directly with a community. We are trained to operate in a disciplinary way; there&rsquo;s a&nbsp;<em>techne</em>. So, I&rsquo;m skeptical of the pretense that we can walk into a room with people that have never done any architecture or urban planning and immediately have everybody get to work. The &ldquo;This Is What We Will Build When We Get Our Reparations&rdquo; chare...</p> https://archinect.com/blog/article/149983942/the-white-flight-from-american-democracy The White Flight from American Democracy Mitch McEwen 2016-12-27T16:26:00-05:00 >2017-08-10T10:31:04-04:00 <p>"The city in L'Enfant's Washington is really new nature. The models derived from the Europe of absolutism and despotism are now expropriated by the capital of democratic institutions, and translated into a social dimension certainly unknown at the Versailles of Louis XIV."</p><p>-Manfredo Tafuri,<a href="http://modernistarchitecture.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/manfredo-tafuri-architecture-and-utopia-design-and-capitalist-development.pdf" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"> Architecture and Utopia: Design and Capitalist Development</a>, Reason's Adventures, p32</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>When I grew up in Washington DC in the 1980s it was the Blackest the nation's Capitol has ever been. &nbsp;White flight had been an ongoing process for so long that the traces of a white majority city were hard to find or, for me, even imagine. &nbsp;Elders had to explain to me the ways in which the city used to be majority white, beyond the confines of Capitol Hill and Georgetown, and heavily segregated. &nbsp;For me the District was a wide open place where my mother took taxis to meet with clients all over the city, sometimes taking me along. &nbsp;Her legal office was up a few flights in a commercial building in Chinatown. &nbsp;In the...</p> https://archinect.com/blog/article/149954772/another-review-of-the-15th-venice-architecture-biennale-insider-s-perspective-from-the-us-pavilion Another Review of the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale / Insider’s Perspective from the US Pavilion Mitch McEwen 2016-07-01T12:46:00-04:00 >2017-03-17T21:34:15-04:00 <p><img title="" alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/j6/j6wveo8nqzegnyrj.jpg"></p><p><strong>NO ONE CARES ABOUT AMERICA&rsquo;S STUPID ARCHITECTURE PROBLEMS</strong></p><p>The United States is accustomed to being the center of global networks in pretty much any field: film, finance, the art-world, pop music, development economics, tech start-ups, military strategy, and much more. &nbsp;Architecture, though, is an exception. &nbsp;Let&rsquo;s face it: in terms of USA&rsquo;s global significance, contemporary architecture is the creative equivalent of soccer. Europe and South America dominate the scene, with the US trying to hold on to some relevance on the world-stage. &nbsp;(Perhaps if architecture were divided by gender the US women&rsquo;s architecture team would also be world champions &ndash; but that&rsquo;s another discussion.)</p><p><img title="" alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/3c/3cshmtpv9jk2pkve.jpg"></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Team USA graphic by author. &nbsp;Taking the global-practice-as-soccer analogy a step too far&hellip;.</p><p>Beyond any half-hearted nationalism, this semi-peripheral global status means that those of us theorizing and discussing contemporary architecture with the public in this country have a special responsibility.&nbsp; Because we...</p> https://archinect.com/blog/article/149939555/teaching-representation-versus-fabrication Teaching Representation versus Fabrication Mitch McEwen 2016-04-10T20:29:00-04:00 >2016-05-01T19:50:42-04:00 <p>What is the relationship between representation and fabrication today, between drawing and building, or thinking and making? When are we building indications of a process or an idea, representing something, and when are we building the actual thing? If we no longer have to represent in order to fabricate, are we now fabricating in order to represent?&nbsp;</p><p>This undergrad class that Taubman College let me craft from scratch with co-faculty Malcolm McCullough has been a fun place to muse on these questions with talented students. &nbsp;Enjoy the course-blog, its still going for another week or so.&nbsp;<a href="http://repvsfab.tumblr.com" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">http://repvsfab.tumblr.com</a>/</p><p><img title="" alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/ly/ly8ixzi4q31zhiib.jpg"></p><p><img title="" alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/zz/zzkfh03ej1tz223c.jpg"></p><p><img title="" alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/7t/7t6marqlt0nm9d72.jpg"></p><p><img title="" alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/y9/y9p91z1zlnujxkmc.jpg"></p> https://archinect.com/blog/article/144602601/miami-beach-a-semi-private-party-that-might-continue-above-the-flood Miami Beach (a semi-private party that might continue above the flood) Mitch McEwen 2016-01-10T17:23:00-05:00 >2016-01-25T20:10:17-05:00 <p>Last month I visited Miami and witnessed the carting away of Art Basel.&nbsp; On the Sunday evening that Art Basel wraps up, as well as the morning after, Miami Beach looks like a truck stop ran into the ocean.&nbsp; Tents are being dismantled, beach signage points to furniture that's no longer there, and trucks park alongside each other row by row to haul off containers with global art exhibits stuffed inside.</p><p><img title="" alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/50/50o5lqwkbb4kx98o.jpg"></p><p>Visiting Miami, a few questions feel urgent-- &nbsp;not only to understand this unique totally weird international city, but to unpack paradoxes that feel relevant around the world.</p><p>- How is it that temporary one week festivals (Art Basel, Winter Music Conference, etc) can define so much of Miami Beach?</p><p>- How is it that luxury development occurs rampantly in the midst of <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/12/21/the-siege-of-miami" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">long-term flood crises</a>?</p><p>- What position does architecture take in relation to these two scales of time - the pop-up city of the 1 week festivals and the probabilistic crisis of 100 year flood management?</p><p>Over the last decade, fr...</p> https://archinect.com/blog/article/129901986/detroit-detroit-detroit Detroit Detroit Detroit Mitch McEwen 2015-06-19T02:17:00-04:00 >2017-03-17T21:34:34-04:00 <p>Detroit is now my home city, so I am thrilled that next year's <a href="http://www.anycorp.com/anycorp_article.php?id=242" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">U.S. Pavilion at the Venice Biennale</a> will be dedicated to exploring the intersection of Detroit and architectural imagination. &nbsp;As excited as I am that The <a href="https://taubmancollege.umich.edu/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning</a> at the University of Michigan will be the U.S. Pavilion producer and organizer, I cannot say that I have any inside information on how that theme will be explored. &nbsp;I hope that it will encompass both under-appreciated architectural histories - for example, the amazing built work of <a href="http://detroit.curbed.com/tags/minoru-yamasaki" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Minoru Yamasaki here</a>, the mega-structure of towers-on-a-plinth that is <a href="http://criticaldetroit.org/buildings/gm-renaissance-center/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Portman's Renaissance Center</a>, the plethora of early 20th century worker's housing - as well as subversive and imaginative projective futures.</p><p>On the occasion of this announcement I am also inspired to share some urban-scale research that I have been mulling over for the past few months. &nbsp;National media often addresses Detroit's expanses of vacancy and abandonment. &nbsp;This p...</p> https://archinect.com/blog/article/123590347/interviewing-a-sociologist-about-equality-neighborhoods-and-everyday-people Interviewing a sociologist about equality, neighborhoods, and everyday people Mitch McEwen 2015-03-23T17:12:00-04:00 >2015-03-25T21:04:20-04:00 <p><em>Assistant Professor of Sociology at University of Southern California, Veronica Terriquez received her Ph.D. in sociology from UCLA. Her research focuses on educational inequality, immigrant integration, and organized labor. Her work is linked to education justice and immigrant rights organizing efforts in California. Dr. Terriquez has also worked as a community organizer on school reform and other grassroots campaigns.</em></p><p>[This is the 2nd in a series of interviews with non-architects about subjects discussed in architecture. The 1st was with French scholar <a href="http://archinect.com/another/interviewing-a-french-literature-scholar-about-style-sexiness-politeness-and-power" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Mahalia Gayle on style, sexiness, and power</a>.]</p><p><img title="" alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/6b/6bj4vz74fxxx7di0.jpg"></p><p><strong>Mitch McEwen: How do you do your research?</strong></p><p><strong>Veronica Terriquez:</strong> Much of my research seeks to understand issues of social inequality and inform initiatives that aim to promote equity. &nbsp;In answering relevant empirical questions, I often partner with community groups that address some kind of social injustice. &nbsp;My actual empirical research tends to use original or published survey data to ident...</p> https://archinect.com/blog/article/118733120/i-can-t-breathe-you-can-t-dance I Can't Breathe = You Can't Dance Mitch McEwen 2015-01-19T17:13:00-05:00 >2015-01-21T22:36:47-05:00 <p>Thank you Archinect Sessions podcast for <a href="http://archinect.com/news/article/117886154/archinect-sessions-is-back-with-episode-11-another-year-another-architecture-with-the-multi-talented-mitch-mcewen" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">featuring me on the first podcast of 2015</a>. &nbsp;It looks like with everything happening in December I missed a chance to post here on Another Architecture. &nbsp;Let's catch up. &nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p>Mimi Zeiger wrote a <a href="http://www.dezeen.com/2014/12/12/mimi-zeiger-opinion-urban-unrest-police-violence-race-architecture-urbanism-ferguson/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">great opinion piece for Dezeen</a> last month asking why architects have remained silent during Ferguson protests. &nbsp;She quotes me toward the end of the piece saying: <strong>Architects and urban designers can take the #BlackLivesMatter campaign as an opportunity to look deeply into the ways that the tools of the discipline have been defined through attempts to erase black people from American cities.</strong> &nbsp;I don't mean 'in conjunction with', but actually the tools of the discipline emerging through the very acts of controlling, erasing, and displacing black bodies.</p><p>This is not work that black architects and urban designers can do alone, anymore than work on climate change can be left to only those living in threatened coastal areas. &nbsp;I am looking forward to&nbsp;participating ...</p> https://archinect.com/blog/article/114352354/90-s-throwback-rem-mies 90's Throwback: Rem + Mies Mitch McEwen 2014-11-23T16:05:00-05:00 >2014-11-26T17:17:20-05:00 <p>Posting this much about Mies makes me feel like this blog is circling back to where it started two years ago, when I posted about <a href="http://archinect.com/another/modernity-and-ideology" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Modernity and Ideology</a> from my studio in Germany. &nbsp;Somehow this recent time in the MidWest, transitioning from Brooklyn to Detroit, does remind me of settling into Stuttgart two falls ago. &nbsp;Stuttgart, like Detroit, has an overly defined downtown, an urban center that makes the language of 'destination' seem justified. &nbsp;Both cities also hold a rightful claim to global automotive history with giant complexes to show for it (The Renaissance Center in Detroit, Porsche and Mercedes museums in Stuttgart).</p><p>But it's really Mies that connects both for me. &nbsp;In Stuttgart I returned again and again to &nbsp;the&nbsp;<a href="http://archinect.com/another/how-to-live" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Wei&szlig;enhofsiedlung</a>, not so much for Mies' building there but for the complex as a whole, the notion of a neighborhood and full-scale built work as exhibition. &nbsp;This, of course, is not only Mies' work, but his collaborative project with Lilly Reich, also design partne...</p> https://archinect.com/blog/article/112878265/affording-mies Affording Mies Mitch McEwen 2014-11-04T13:02:00-05:00 >2014-11-12T20:43:26-05:00 <p>One of the principles that guides my approach to architecture and urban design is the sense that architecture has much more to offer than luxury. &nbsp;Whether you consider our field professionally in comparison to doctors and lawyers, or as a discipline comparable to art, we have a lot of room to be inspired toward serving a broad range of people. &nbsp;I often feel like, if we were doctors, we would be all striving to be plastic surgeons and taught by plastic surgeons, and no one would be working on cardiology or general medicine or anything close to public health (except for epidemiology - we are good at crisis) .</p><p>This is part of what makes living in Lafayette Park an everyday education. &nbsp;While totally problematic in its planning - typical mid-20th century "slum clearance" that erased a vibrant mixed use black neighborhood &nbsp;- the landscaping and towers and townhomes were designed for mixed income inhabitants. &nbsp;Coming from New York City, it is amazing to see modernist architecture - forget i...</p> https://archinect.com/blog/article/107498494/interview-with-keller-easterling-about-subtraction Interview with Keller Easterling about Subtraction Mitch McEwen 2014-08-26T19:07:00-04:00 >2014-09-10T18:50:20-04:00 <p><em>Keller Easterling is an internationally-recognized architect and theorist working on issues of urbanism, architecture, and organization in relation to the phenomena commonly defined as globalization. Her latest book, <a href="http://www.sternberg-press.com/?pageId=1498" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Subtraction</a>, is published by Sternberg Press.&nbsp; Easterling is a Professor of Architecture at <a title="Yale University" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yale_University" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Yale University</a>.&nbsp;</em></p><p><img title="" alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/gq/gq1wwchwchkih54m.jpg"></p><p><strong>Mitch McEwen</strong>: Should we jump into the Subtraction?</p><p><strong>Keller Easterling</strong>: Sure. I confess, I don&rsquo;t have any prepared answers</p><p><strong>MM</strong>: Should we start with Detroit? Detroit, just in terms of how it operates, in the book?</p><p><strong>KE</strong>: The rust-belt cities, shrinking cities have been shrinking for as much time as they have been growing. These are fascinating to the Subtraction project because the failure is so spectacular that something almost magical happens, where all of the kind of trafficked mortgage products stop being trafficked mortgage products and turn back into heavy landscapes and houses again. Things back in a gravitational field, things made of material, things that have ta...</p> https://archinect.com/blog/article/105400829/when-an-emerging-design-firm-gets-an-office-in-downtown-manhattan-for-1 When an emerging design firm gets an office in downtown Manhattan for $1 Mitch McEwen 2014-07-30T19:09:00-04:00 >2016-04-18T22:37:55-04:00 <p><img alt="" src="http://d1xcqlxj49e9dd.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/P_storefront_P1190212_med-res.jpeg?f18fdf"></p><p>My collaborators and I have recently secured an office space in downtown Manhattan to lease for $1. &nbsp;That's one dollar. &nbsp;It's a pristine storefront, ideal location between the Lower East Side and Chinatown (easy biking from Brooklyn and 1 block from the Grand St subway). &nbsp;Wifi and utilities included. &nbsp;What's the catch? &nbsp;It's for one month only. &nbsp;</p><p>The arrangement is through a gallery called <a href="http://p-exclamation.org/about" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">P!</a>, and the whole set-up is part of a lead-up to their big fall exhibition on Speculation.</p><p>Operating as <a href="http://anoffice.us/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">A(n) Office</a>, my design collaborators and I are continuing to evolve a practice with ruthless opportunism, both conceptual and practical.</p><p>What would you do with an office in downtown Manhattan for one month? &nbsp;What are your speculations? &nbsp;</p> https://archinect.com/blog/article/101514963/ds-r-scanning-beyond-fashion-notinvenice DS+R Scanning Beyond Fashion #NOTinVenice Mitch McEwen 2014-06-10T13:09:00-04:00 >2017-09-19T12:31:03-04:00 <p>Perhaps we are so accustomed to hearing architect's present their designs as inspired by clothing -- whether the drape of a <a href="http://www.archdaily.com/43336/the-yas-hotel-asymptote/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">veil in Abu Dhabi</a> or the <a href="http://www.fjordreview.com/fred-ginger-gehrys-dancing-building-steps-out-in-prague/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">flair of a skirt in Prague</a> -- that we do not consider the intersection of architectural output and costuming to be newsworthy. The two modes of design have been related for sometime. What is amazing about the DS+R work on the Charles James exhibit, however, is something closer to the fundamentals of (architectural) design -- drawings and execution, sequencing, analysis of materiality and the presentation of both methods and effects.</p><p>From x-rays to robotic scope arms, DS+R's design of the Charles James exhibit is a masterpiece of visual apparati. Seeing here becomes making. The exhibition visualizes logic and materials, processes of assembly -- fundamental tasks of architectural production.</p><p>See my full article on DS+R's genre-busting exhibition design for <a href="http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2014/charles-james-beyond-fashion" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Charles James: Beyond Fashion</a> at The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mitch-mcewen/dsr-scanning-beyond-fashi_b_5421283.html" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">h...</a></p> https://archinect.com/blog/article/96431319/interviewing-a-french-literature-scholar-about-style-sexiness-politeness-and-power Interviewing a French Literature Scholar about Style, Sexiness, Politeness, and Power Mitch McEwen 2014-03-24T20:59:00-04:00 >2014-03-25T22:40:06-04:00 <p><em>Mahalia C. Gayle is from Seattle, WA. She completed her undergraduate studies at Princeton University and her graduate work at Harvard University, both in Romance Languages and Literatures with a specialization in French. She has taught at Harvard University, Boston University, Emmanuel College and Princeton University.</em></p><p><img title="" alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/qn/qnp59lk8x4yyj9oq.jpg"></p><p><strong>Mitch McEwen</strong>: Your new book project is concerned with politeness and its relationship to aristocracy or republican identity. &nbsp;As I mentioned, this may be a pertinent lens for architecture, as well.</p><p><strong>Mahalia Gayle</strong>: Politeness regulates proximity to the powerful body or proximity between bodies of <strong>unequal power</strong>. I thought you might mention segregation or service entrances in this connection, as they are one way in which politeness can be expressed in architecture, but I will try to answer as best I can&hellip;</p><p><img title="" alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/o6/o6izmdra65by2too.jpg"></p><p>[Le Corbusier's&nbsp;Villa Savoye, ground flr and second flr plans, servants quarters on ground flr with garage and laundry]</p><p><strong>MM</strong>: &nbsp;Let's talk about your work on&nbsp;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Drieu_La_Rochelle" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Pierre Drieu La Ro...</a></p> https://archinect.com/blog/article/95213576/her-analogous-city Her analogous city Mitch McEwen 2014-03-10T19:51:00-04:00 >2014-03-12T20:43:08-04:00 <p>In honor of <a href="http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/moviesnow/la-et-mn-oscars-2014-spike-jonze-on-her-20140302,0,184207.story#axzz2vQQ2BdGu" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Her winning best original screenplay</a> in the Oscars last weekend, I am going to finally post this.</p><p><img title="" alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/1k/1knkwsgtn8pd4dg0.jpg"></p><p><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1798709/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Spike Jonze's Her</a> is a masterpiece of a movie that lends itself to comparison to <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brazil_(1985_film)" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Brazil</a>. &nbsp;At least, architecturally and urbanistically, it does. One could also develop a comparison in terms of the role of commerce (Her) versus the state (Brazil) in these two narratives of a technologically-driven future, but here I am more interested in the film's ability to produce an <strong>analogous city</strong>.</p><p><img title="" alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/7j/7j8hqpml0uo737xa.jpg"></p><p>The phrase 'analogous city' is one I am borrowing from <a href="http://doubleoperative.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/rossi-aldo-the-architecture-of-the-city.pdf" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Aldo Rossi's The Architecture of the City</a>. &nbsp;Rossi famously cites the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canaletto" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Canaletto</a> painting above as evidence of the autonomy of architecture. &nbsp;Canaletto deploys the architecture of un-built projects and projects sited elsewhere to produce a recognizable image of another Venice - an analogous Venice. <a href="http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/#/people/k-michael-hays.html" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Michael Hays</a> replaces Rossi's notion of the analogous city with the phrase <em>virtual city</em>, which he links to the capacity of architecture to produce o...</p> https://archinect.com/blog/article/93922305/how-do-architects-fail How do architects fail? Mitch McEwen 2014-02-20T02:08:00-05:00 >2014-03-24T20:41:13-04:00 <p><img alt="" src="http://arttattler.com/Images/NorthAmerica/Missouri/St.%20Louis/Contemporary%20Art%20Museum/Bruce%20Nauman/Failure-to-Levitate.jpg"></p><p>What is it about failure that is so seductive in art and such anathema in architecture? &nbsp;</p><p>Perhaps there is something about the relationship between client and architect that makes failure so&hellip;. taboo, so unthinkable, and un-seductive.</p><p>For the past few months I have been part of an interdisciplinary group organized by curators Kerry Downey and Natasha Marie Llorens to investigate ideas or methods of failure, in preparation for a group exhibition in Manhattan this summer. &nbsp;Actually, it's possible that the group exhibition is more of a pretense to consolidate this interdisciplinary group around failure, which is obviously something people are wary of associating with too closely. &nbsp;The exhibition is tentatively titled "Failure to Levitate."</p><p>That title references a work by the artist Bruce Nauman, documented in the above photo titled "Failing to Levitate in My Studio (1966)." &nbsp;The photo manages to present the sequence of falling to the floor with just two time-lapse frames. &nbsp;The succinct ele...</p> https://archinect.com/blog/article/93061878/detroit-house-opera Detroit House Opera Mitch McEwen 2014-02-07T16:54:00-05:00 >2014-02-10T22:37:21-05:00 <p>Inspired by the flexibility of uses for houses in Detroit, in proximity to the major cultural&nbsp;institutions for opera and diverse forms of performance, this project stages an opera as a&nbsp;house, the house and its dramas of occupancy and vacancy, demolition, and re-purposing, as&nbsp;an opera.</p><p>The more serious and dry implications at the urban planning level include: how can residential vacancy be converted into an opportunity to support local cultural assets? What are the zoning, planning and building code changes that make this possible?</p><p>The project aims to address these questions, while developing a suite of spatial and architectural tactics to facilitate this exploration of performance, community, and form. The experimental aspects architecturally include strategies of interactivity, portability, and expanded territories of adaptive re-use. &nbsp;This project began in the research phase with my&nbsp;<a href="http://mcewenstudio.com/web/research/usa-house-project/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">USA House Project</a>.</p><p><img alt="" src="http://mcewenstudio.com/web/wp-content/uploads/Step11-1024x512.jpg"></p><p><img alt="" src="http://mcewenstudio.com/web/wp-content/uploads/Step2-1024x513.jpg"></p> https://archinect.com/blog/article/89903539/mumbai-anthropocene Mumbai Anthropocene Mitch McEwen 2013-12-28T13:57:00-05:00 >2013-12-30T21:04:38-05:00 <p> This "Another Architecture" blog started as an intermittent chronicle of my architecture fellowship at Akademie Schloss Solitude.&nbsp; I was back in New York for the summer, preparing for the next phase of my fellowship in Zagreb Croatia, when I got a call from U. of Michigan to teach the Fall 2013 studio for their Master of Urban Design program.&nbsp; The studio was sited in Mumbai.&nbsp;</p> <p> [This last post of 2013 ends the chapter of&nbsp; this blog as a chronicle of research, theory, and travel.&nbsp; I am picking this up in 2014 as a more frequent update from the perspective of a practitioner, mostly based in Brooklyn.]</p> <p> Mumbai / Bombay is an incredible place - hyper dense, active, extreme.&nbsp; It makes New York feel empty and banal in comparison. Photos from the U. of Michigan studio trip, our pop-up exhibit at Studio X Mumbai, and links to the studio's work are below.&nbsp; 3 projects from the studio are being submitted to the UN Habitat competition on "Housing at the Center."</p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/rl/rlhcee6zv08h483q.jpg" title=""></p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/xz/xz8p8f823h8fdbsp.jpg" title=""></p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/vu/vugxzhpzykiip91e.jpg" title=""></p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/hh/hhob5pf9ksxb1e3u.jpg" title=""></p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/h1/h1txzra3kg6lxsji.jpg" title=""></p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/pp/ppd3czb84mocbcla.jpg" title=""></p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/lz/lz1wges8qli8gm78.jpg" title=""></p> <p> Studen...</p> https://archinect.com/blog/article/79230371/james-turrell-and-robert-irwin James Turrell and Robert Irwin Mitch McEwen 2013-08-12T12:30:00-04:00 >2013-09-24T01:33:06-04:00 <p> This summer in New York we are having a rare dose of major works from the West coast's "Light and Space" movement.&nbsp; That phrase Light and Space always makes me think first of Light and Air, that penultimate duo of Depression-era <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/1999/04/04/realestate/making-tenements-modern.html?pagewanted=all&amp;src=pm" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">tenement reform</a> and the 1916 <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/zone/zonehis.shtml" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">New York City zoning</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p> The major Light and Space exhibition this summer is, of course, <a href="http://www.guggenheim.org/new-york/exhibitions/on-view/james-turrell" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">James Turrell at Guggenheim</a>.&nbsp; The main focus of the exhibit is Turrell's <em>Aten Reign</em> installation, which takes over the Guggenheim rotunda.&nbsp; The work both repeats and obscures the ramps and the rotunda's skylight, in a way that could only make me compare the two, like a renovation that one unpeels in the imagination.&nbsp; To get myself out of this misplaced design-mind, I walked slowly up the ramp, but this only made it worse, as one can peer through the mesh and start to make out the scaffolding.&nbsp;</p> <p> Conceptually, though, I was surprised the work had such a clear back and front.&nbsp; The piece seems to rely on a specific orchestration of movement th...</p> https://archinect.com/blog/article/76602378/primate-is-doubly-digital Primate is doubly digital Mitch McEwen 2013-07-08T20:06:00-04:00 >2013-07-15T22:24:39-04:00 <p> This is a brief summary of Primate, the plugin that I created to integrate <a href="https://www.leapmotion.com/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Leap Motion</a> with parametric design in Grasshopper.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/cd/cdj025zu2twig5kg.jpg" title=""></p> <p> For me there are 3) big break-throughs that Leap enables.&nbsp; 1) bringing to digital processes an intuitive access to 3 dimensions.&nbsp; That is very different than a mouse that moves around on a fixed plane.&nbsp; 2) ability to model interaction from design through use 3) the specificity of understanding hands, which are arguably one of the most defining things about us as a species.</p> <p> Related to this 3rd point, I want to take a moment to mention the <a href="http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=digital" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">etymology of the word digital</a>.&nbsp;<img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/1f/1fehb42ug2qm5s2b.jpg" title=""></p> <p> Digital, itself, comes from fingers.&nbsp; The word digital emerges in the English language in the 1650s, meaning "pertaining to fingers," from the Latin digitalis, from digitus (see digit).&nbsp; So, when we are designing with our hands in the computer we are thinking digitally in both the 17th century sense of the word and the 21st century sense.</p> <p> That said, here are the basics on Primat...</p> https://archinect.com/blog/article/74711935/mobile-office Mobile office Mitch McEwen 2013-06-06T16:39:00-04:00 >2013-06-21T03:55:18-04:00 <p> My residency at Akademie Schloss Solitude has ended for the moment.&nbsp; I am back in New York for the summer, will be in Europe again in the fall.</p> <p> Here in NY my office is mobile.&nbsp; I am mostly at either the main library at Bryant Park in Manhattan or at one of the Goethe Institute locations.&nbsp; All of which have architecture books and magazines, ample desk space, decent-speed wireless internet, and coffee nearby.&nbsp;</p> <p> Some specs on my mobile office below:</p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/42/42uzx8dg5yfgtadl.jpg" title=""></p> <p> Everything's in a hard-body VCR case that I found last year in Brooklyn and thoroughly disinfected.&nbsp; A hotdog vendor yesterday asked me if I was carrying a million dollars in cash.</p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/rz/rzy4r31sak3cl3lt.jpg" title=""></p> <p> The velcro straps hold down the Lenovo Ideapad laptop, running Intel i5 processor core, which works fine for me, since I'm rarely doing renderings or anything that speed-oriented.&nbsp; Dual partitions running Windows 7.&nbsp; I decided not to upgrade to 8 because I am using this <a href="http://schinagl.priv.at/nt/hardlinkshellext/hardlinkshellext.html" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Link Extension Tool</a> to run programs across the partition.&nbsp; (Plus 8 seems to be ...</p> https://archinect.com/blog/article/73544681/istanbul-the-bosphorous-corbusier-s-sketches-rex Istanbul, the Bosphorous, Corbusier's sketches, Rex Mitch McEwen 2013-05-20T19:34:00-04:00 >2013-05-27T20:40:48-04:00 <p> How much of the history of urban design as a discipline can be traced back to Corbusier's reading of foreground and background in Istanbul? He took his first research trip abroad to Istanbul in 1911 and wrote of the relationship between the massive forms of the mosques and the repeated typology of the wooden houses. Waterfront, trees, density - the contemporary concerns of urban design are already here. (His sketches and watercolor below are from "Turkish Architecture and Urbanism Through the Eyes of L.C.")</p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/6h/6hclfnlve6ju9ete.jpg" title=""></p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/s6/s67uhmbd0zn00z1h.jpg" title=""></p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/h6/h60tqc3rg7g4we12.jpg" title=""></p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/yd/yd5h1j22leskpe0i.jpg" title=""></p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/yj/yjtm1697xsbdhh7k.jpg" title=""></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> It is very unfair to position Rex's Vakko headquarters next to the New Mosque of 1597 and a detail of the Marble Door at Hagia Sophia.&nbsp; But the slumped glass holds its own.&nbsp; The interior of the Vakko, not so much.&nbsp; One reads the hurriedness of the project, which was, however, a major aspect of its intelligence.</p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/c1/c126hesspmbqlv58.jpg" title=""></p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/v6/v6om5c1esmaxrd1i.jpg" title=""></p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/h7/h7y5re2toumevxer.jpg" title=""></p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/x7/x73qxwzu8twxb8ia.jpg" title=""></p> <p> These towers below, photographed quickly from a taxi on the Asian side, are far from the business parks, much less the Bosphorous or t...</p> https://archinect.com/blog/article/72593089/peter-zumthor-s-kunsthaus-bregenz Peter Zumthor's Kunsthaus Bregenz Mitch McEwen 2013-05-06T12:13:00-04:00 >2013-05-13T22:43:36-04:00 <p> <img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/0y/0y3ymneeb4dhf6kg.jpg" title=""></p> <p> It's sort of 2 and a half buildings in one. &nbsp;A functional envelope that might remind one of the Eames' house, if the Eame's house were 4 stories and all glazed. &nbsp;Outside of that are the overlapped panels of glass that come all the way down to the sidewalk.</p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/sa/sastu5s47wu9acuv.jpg" title=""></p> <p> Inside is concrete - interior walls and stairs of the same finish. &nbsp;The brightest finish of concrete is reserved for the floor. &nbsp;The ceilings are also glass, clipped together - the clips showing, of course. &nbsp;</p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/io/io5l3hxdwi947u2v.jpg" title=""></p> <p> The ceiling brings in a filtered light from fixtures far enough away that the light becomes diffused. &nbsp;This is probably the most&nbsp;decadent aspect of the project - it's what enables us to read the stairs and floors through the envelope. &nbsp;It's the sort of ultimate 'reveal' - a gap between floors that functionally provides an amazing lighting effect.</p> <p> Urbanistically, the building basically participates in the dominant pattern of the city blocks near the lake. &nbsp; That means facing away from the lake. &nbsp;(There's rail ...</p> https://archinect.com/blog/article/71311806/messe-basel-when-big-architecture-knows-its-neighborhood Messe Basel - when big architecture knows its neighborhood Mitch McEwen 2013-04-15T12:23:00-04:00 >2014-09-03T17:18:35-04:00 <p>There is not much I could add to Herzog + de Meuron's own description of their Messeplatz Basel project, which is quoted in length <a href="http://www.dezeen.com/2013/02/13/new-hall-messe-basel-by-herzog-de-meuron/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">here on Dezeen</a>, along with photos. &nbsp;Often in our field a project description can sound a bit like an artist statement, heavy on intent and concept, but maybe overblown compared to the everyday effect of whatever is built. &nbsp;But the Messeplatz project delivers, even as Herzog + de Meuron states:</p><p><em>The surrounding Kleinbasel district will also benefit from the continuing upgrade of the Messeplatz and, at the same time, regaining former exhibition areas to convert into apartments and offices that will contribute to Basel's urban development.&nbsp;&nbsp;</em></p><p>Indeed, walking from Claraplatz to Messeplatz - one epicenter of the artworld - the streetscape is surprisingly inconsistent. &nbsp;Of course, the same was true of Chelsea until fairly recently, post-Highline. &nbsp;Maybe I am reading too much into this sentence and the sensitive architectural strategies that I will talk about next,...</p>