Archinect - Another Architecture 2024-04-19T20:37:47-04:00 Are you from West Virginia? Mitch McEwen 2021-10-16T16:04:31-04:00 >2021-11-08T22:09:54-05:00 <p>My grandmother was born in West Virginia.&nbsp; She died last year (not of covid?) almost 100 years old, after many decades of retirement life in Columbus Georgia, a place for comfortable military widows, which she was, in her way.&nbsp; She retired from being a Washingtonian.</p> <p>Becoming a Washingtonian was, itself, a career.&nbsp; She earned some kind of recruitment to work in the US Treasury (as a typist?) by being valedictorian of her (must have been all Black) high school in West Virginia.&nbsp;</p> <p>I didn't know much about her childhood in West Virginia until she was so old that people could talk about her.&nbsp; Her mother died when she was 5.&nbsp; Her early memories of her mother were mostly cleaning alongside her.&nbsp; As a pseudo-orphan in the late 1920s she (lived and?) worked in a restaurant run by one of her father's new girlfriends.&nbsp; This, I now vaguely understand, was so terrible that no one can say anything about it.</p> <p>She left West Virginia because it was not a place that allowed her to be a child. She left...</p> Transitions of Power Mitch McEwen 2020-09-23T23:04:04-04:00 >2024-03-15T01:45:58-04:00 <p>This is not an architectural thought, particularly.&nbsp; I am writing in regards to the question of democracy and the peaceful transition of power, what it means to have that threatened as it is tonight.&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"></a>&nbsp;&nbsp;<br></p> <p>In the mid-1990s I accidentally worked at a right-wing think tank for two or three weeks.&nbsp; It was a summer job that I stayed in for as long as it took for me to figure out that 'non-partisan research institute' didn't mean anything, but also just long enough to get one paycheck.&nbsp; I might as well share-- it was American Enterprise Institute.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>While I was there I would lurk around the fax machine to see what was being discussed across offices.&nbsp; There were exchanges about burying welfare aid in requirements for work and drug testing.&nbsp; This was one of the efforts that became successful.&nbsp; But there was also fax machine chatter about efforts that never became well known.&nbsp; One of them was an outline for legislation to ban rap music.&nbsp; Ban an entire artform ...</p> On the White House Rose Garden “Renovation” Mitch McEwen 2020-08-27T20:16:00-04:00 >2024-03-15T01:45:58-04:00 <figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p><figcaption>(Photo from July 26th New York Times)</figcaption></figure><p>The project is presented as a &ldquo;renovation.&rdquo;&nbsp; It is presented not in terms of a project brief, a program, or any goals related to a national agenda.&nbsp; (The last garden change tied explicitly to a national agenda, of course, being Michelle Obama&rsquo;s vegetable garden.)&nbsp; Instead, there is a Before and After set of photographs and a time-span.&nbsp; No landscape architect is mentioned, though the landscape architect who designed this, Perry Guillot, published a book on shrubs in the Hamptons.&nbsp; He is nationally recognized only because the Hamptons are nationally recognized-- as a place of intensely concentrated wealth, a place of secluded mansions frequented by high-net-worth visitors from New York City, up and down the east coast and beyond.&nbsp; The mansions of the Hamptons are secluded from each other by landscaping, specifically shrubs and trees.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>So, the design expertise marshaled here is an invocation of the metonym of secluded wealth (the Hamptons) ...</p> Stay Black and Die: A Possible Ethos for Architecture Mitch McEwen 2020-07-25T22:08:00-04:00 >2022-02-16T10:01:07-05:00 <p>[This post consists of long excerpts from a text that got <a href=",_A_Possible_Ethos_for_Architecture_in_a_Post-Racial_Imaginary.html" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">published by Infinite Mile in Detroit</a> a few months before the 2016 election, a text which was quickly forgotten by the few people who read it, including myself.]&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p><strong>"Years before I had understood that all I had to do, really had to do, was stay black and die.</strong>&nbsp; Nothing could be more interesting than the first, or more permanent than the latter."</p> <p>(1957) Billie looked up from her drink and said, &ldquo;Speak for yourself.<strong> All I got to do is stay black and die.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p><strong>All I got to do is stay black and die</strong></p> <p>This statement has been repeated as something of a mantra, whisper, slogan or one-line autobiography within Black America for over half a century. Google will direct to you a Morgan Freeman line in 1989&rsquo;s &ldquo;Lean on Me.&rdquo;&nbsp; But Maya Angelou&rsquo;s 1981 autobiography (The Heart of a Woman) describes an encounter with Billie Holiday using the phrase in 1957.&nbsp; Today, the phrase is emblazoned across&nbsp; T-shirts and merchandise.</p> <p>What does it do to put &lsquo;sta...</p> Stop Wasting Our Time Mitch McEwen 2020-06-24T21:22:00-04:00 >2024-03-15T01:45:58-04:00 <p>This post is in some ways inspired by <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">the bold move that artist Shantell Martin made a few weeks ago</a> to expose the crass ways that marketing entities sought to turn Blackness into a quick response, a cheap way to be 'relevant.'&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p>There are not many of us Black folks in architecture, landscape architecture and urban planning.&nbsp; We are busy.&nbsp; Especially now.</p> <p>Early in June I got a request from Architects Newspaper to do an interview for a <u>feature</u> in their <u>print paper</u>.&nbsp; After 3 weeks of back and forth, in which I even encouraged the editor to take another stab at putting questions together, Architects Newspaper now says the content will appear in <u>bits and pieces as web content</u>.&nbsp; I would not have wasted my time.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Here below, in advance, is the interview.&nbsp; <strong><u>Stop wasting our time</u></strong>. Get serious or go back to what you are already doing-- ie ignoring us and, you know, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">objectively re-framing Confederate monuments</a>.</p> <p><strong>What tactics do you use when engaging with someone who says that systemic racism ...</strong></p> Thoughts on Juneteenth: The Paradox of Pausing Mitch McEwen 2020-06-19T16:52:00-04:00 >2024-03-15T01:45:58-04:00 <p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><br></a></p> <p>Like many others, within a few groups of Black architects and urban designers, I have been processing this moment and what it might demand from the fields of architecture and urbanism.&nbsp; A paradox is becoming evident.&nbsp; In this rapidly changing reality, there are many pressures for speed. We have seen a number of professional chapters of practicing architects around the country respond to the protests and uprisings for Black lives.&nbsp; Often response is within days of a news cycle in that city or region.&nbsp; The calls from professional architecture chapters speak of rapidity in the re-building, the designing, the planning and design assistance, to quickly repair and restore and reconstitute any street fronts or buildings seen to be damaged.&nbsp; Simultaneously, with the call to de-fund police departments, resources may be arriving swiftly to places and organizations that did not previously have access to such civic resources.</p> <p>It is paradoxical in the midst of all this rapidity to look for oppo...</p> Interracial Dancing and Use-Based Zoning Mitch McEwen 2019-10-29T20:20:59-04:00 >2024-03-15T01:45:58-04:00 <p><em>Note: This is an excerpt from a 2015 article that I am updating to reflect that the cabaret law was finally over-turned in New York City in <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">November 2017</a>.&nbsp; I am posting it after presenting an 8 minute talk related to this subject for the <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Urban Design Forum</a>.</em>&nbsp; </p> <p>In the summer of 2001 I visited New York City from San Francisco and dropped in on an East Village lesbian night at Starlight. It was probably Sunday. I know it was the spring or summer of 2001 because neither<br>Bloomberg nor 9/11 had happened yet.</p> <p>The place had a lounge in the rear with a DJ and sometimes a flutist, a bar and coat-check in the front. It got crowded. I was dancing near the front bar, close to the coat-check when the coat-check woman looked at me, and said &ldquo;Please don&rsquo;t dance.&rdquo; I said &ldquo;What?&rdquo; She pointed to a sign on the wall to her left. It said &ldquo;No dancing.&rdquo; I stared at her in disbelief. &ldquo;How does anyone even define dancing,&rdquo; I asked? &ldquo;How does anyone know the difference between me dancing versus walking and gest...</p> Abolish ICE Mitch McEwen 2019-06-25T00:10:28-04:00 >2024-03-15T01:45:58-04:00 <figure><figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514" alt="El Paso Processing Center" title="El Paso Processing Center"></a></p><figcaption>The Department of Homeland Security's Inspector General has found "dangerous overcrowding" and unsanitary conditions at an El Paso, Texas, Border Patrol processing facility following an unannounced inspection, according to a new report.</figcaption><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"></a></p><figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></p></figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"></a></p></figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514" alt="Context - including Lone Star Golf Club" title="Context - including Lone Star Golf Club"></a></p></figure><figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514" alt="125" title="125"></a></p><figcaption>Watchdog finds detainees 'standing on toilets' for breathing room at border facility holding 900 people in space meant for 125</figcaption></figure><figure><p><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514" alt="900" title="900"></a></p><figcaption>Watchdog finds detainees 'standing on toilets' for breathing room at border facility holding 900 people in space meant for 125</figcaption></figure><p><br></p> <p><br></p> <p>Text cited in the drawings sourced from CNN via <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"></a><br></p> <p>Text excerpted below is from ICE via <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"></a></p> <p><strong>EL Paso Field Office</strong><br>El Paso Processing Center<br>Enforcement and Removal Operations Leadership<br>Field Office Director: Adrian P. Macias<br>Assistant Field Office Director (Detention): Frances M. Jackson<br>Assistant Field Office Director (Detained Case Management): Frances M. Jackson<br>Facility Main Telephone Line: (915) 225-1901<br>Field Office Main Telephone Line: (915) ...</p> What we allow ourselves to know Mitch McEwen 2017-12-27T14:34:00-05:00 >2024-03-15T01:45:58-04:00 <p>This is more of a musing that a full post. </p> <p>I've been thinking more aggressively these past months about what we allow ourselves to know in the discipline.&nbsp; Because a discipline doesn't just deliver unending knowledge or create knowledge out of nothing.&nbsp; It defines what is relevant, it collects and groups skills, delivers terms to make some things known at a refined and transferable level that not every thing can live up to.</p> <p>How much of the practices that we consider to be economical or common sense or simply &lsquo;practice&rsquo; are ways of covering up-- even destroying-- what we don&rsquo;t know? &nbsp;For instance, how much is demolished because it is too difficult or too expensive to survey, draw, record, measure? &nbsp;And how much of that difficulty, even impossibility, is a function of how we are defining our discipline, not what we-- as thinking, knowing people in the world-- even consider to be difficult or possible?<br></p> <figure><img src=";auto=compress%2Cformat&amp;w=514"></figure> Profound Modernity in Mexico City Mitch McEwen 2017-10-31T22:51:00-04:00 >2024-03-15T01:45:58-04:00 <p>Below is an excerpt from Profound Modernity, my essay on the design of dry ground in Mexico City and its image of modernity.&nbsp; See e-flux for the full text.</p> <figure><figure><a href=";w=1028" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img src=";w=514"></a></figure></figure><p><strong><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"></a><br></strong></p> <p><strong><strong>Maintenance is a drag; it takes all the fucking time&hellip;</strong><strong><br>&mdash;Mierle Laderman Ukeles</strong></strong></p> <p>This article is not about the damage of the 2017 Central Mexico earthquake, but about the ground it shook. It is about how an imagination of a city above ground can travel from one place to another, and how that traveling can lead to a centuries-long demand to reshape territory. As a specific urban morphology, Mexico City can be defined as much by built structures and land-masses as by processes of democratic governance and histories of development. The extensive reshaping of what lies beneath our feet&mdash;sidewalks, streets, and building foundations&mdash;that modernity demands from urbanism is related not only to rational engineering but to speculation, image, the collapse of great distances, and the suppression&mdash;the literal bury...</p> Drawing bombs Mitch McEwen 2017-07-24T01:05:00-04:00 >2021-10-12T01:42:58-04:00 <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="" 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> Notes on time travel Mitch McEwen 2017-04-16T14:06:00-04:00 >2021-10-12T01:42:58-04:00 <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> We Are Not Innocent Mitch McEwen 2017-03-23T19:16:00-04:00 >2021-10-12T01:42:58-04:00 <p>Back in December I posted an entry about the <a href="" 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> Geometry doesn't have to be white - on Descartes, Baldwin, and grids Mitch McEwen 2017-02-20T13:39:00-05:00 >2019-01-05T12:31:03-05:00 <p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"></a>/</p><p>Here's a <a href="" 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=""></p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p> Watercraft - on Detroit's subsidy to its suburbs & slum clearance by infrastructure pricing Mitch McEwen 2017-02-15T18:41:00-05:00 >2018-08-18T13:01:04-04:00 <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="">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="">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> A Short Piece of Fiction on the Aesthetics of Nuclear Fallout Mitch McEwen 2017-02-05T21:05:00-05:00 >2018-08-18T13:01:04-04:00 <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="" 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=""></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> 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="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"></a>/ &nbsp;</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p>Interview <em>by&nbsp;</em><a title="Posts by Leah Wulfman" href="" 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> The White Flight from American Democracy Mitch McEwen 2016-12-27T16:26:00-05:00 >2019-01-05T12:31:03-05:00 <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="" 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> Another Review of the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale / Insider’s Perspective from the US Pavilion Mitch McEwen 2016-07-01T12:46:00-04:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <p><img title="" alt="" src=""></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=""></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> 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="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"></a>/</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p> Miami Beach (a semi-private party that might continue above the flood) Mitch McEwen 2016-01-10T17:23:00-05:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <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=""></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="" 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> Detroit Detroit Detroit Mitch McEwen 2015-06-19T02:17:00-04:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <p>Detroit is now my home city, so I am thrilled that next year's <a href="" 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="" 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="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Minoru Yamasaki here</a>, the mega-structure of towers-on-a-plinth that is <a href="" 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> Interviewing a sociologist about equality, neighborhoods, and everyday people Mitch McEwen 2015-03-23T17:12:00-04:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <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="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Mahalia Gayle on style, sexiness, and power</a>.]</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></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> I Can't Breathe = You Can't Dance Mitch McEwen 2015-01-19T17:13:00-05:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <p>Thank you Archinect Sessions podcast for <a href="" 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="" 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> 90's Throwback: Rem + Mies Mitch McEwen 2014-11-23T16:05:00-05:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <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="" 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="" 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> Affording Mies Mitch McEwen 2014-11-04T13:02:00-05:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <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> Interview with Keller Easterling about Subtraction Mitch McEwen 2014-08-26T19:07:00-04:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <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="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Subtraction</a>, is published by Sternberg Press.&nbsp; Easterling is a Professor of Architecture at <a title="Yale University" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Yale University</a>.&nbsp;</em></p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></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> When an emerging design firm gets an office in downtown Manhattan for $1 Mitch McEwen 2014-07-30T19:09:00-04:00 >2018-01-30T06:16:04-05:00 <p><img alt="" src=""></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="" 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="" 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> 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="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">veil in Abu Dhabi</a> or the <a href="" 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="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Charles James: Beyond Fashion</a> at The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">h...</a></p> 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=""></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=""></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="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Pierre Drieu La Ro...</a></p>