Archive for March, 2008

Suburban Decline

03/31/2008

A few excerpts from an excellent article by Michael Gecan:

In DuPage County near Chicago, Nassau and Suffolk Counties in New York, in Montgomery and Baltimore Counties in Maryland, in Bergen and Essex and Middlesex Counties in New Jersey, in almost every mature suburb in the northeast and Midwest and mid south, families face … suburbia’s midlife crisis. It may be part of America’s midlife crisis as well.

No longer young, no longer trendy, no longer the place to be, no longer without apparent limitations or constraints, these places, like people, have developed ways of avoiding reality.

We have moved a long way from the vision of the nation that Abraham Lincoln described in his Message to Congress, on July 4, 1861, “To elevate the condition of man . . . To lift artificial weights from all shoulders; To clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all; To afford all, an unfettered start, and a fair chance, in the race of life…” “All” is what FDR had in mind when he formulated the New Deal. It is not a word you hear in the public arena—city, county, state, or nation—these days.

(In Chicago) the Democratic machine and its allies have fought an increasingly costly rear-guard action for nearly half a century. At the end of that period, the image of the city has been burnished, but Chicago is basically broke. Housing abandonment, homelessness, and foreclosure rates are all at historic highs. 34 public school children were murdered during the 2006-7 school year alone. The police force staggers under multiple charges of abuse and corruption. The old bungalow bedrock of the city—blue-collar and tax-paying—has disappeared.

During the most productive years of its housing revival, New York City spent more than the next fifty American cities combined on housing creation and rehabilitation. It shows. The return on this investment is incalculable.

Many of the current political structures and leaders are either unable or unwilling to deal with new realities.

There may be a need for less government and more planning.

New kinds of money, from new sources, used in creative ways, will be required if cities, counties and regions are to revive.

Read the whole thing here.

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Suburban Decline

03/31/2008

A few excerpts from an excellent article by Michael Gecan:

In DuPage County near Chicago, Nassau and Suffolk Counties in New York, in Montgomery and Baltimore Counties in Maryland, in Bergen and Essex and Middlesex Counties in New Jersey, in almost every mature suburb in the northeast and Midwest and mid south, families face … suburbia’s midlife crisis. It may be part of America’s midlife crisis as well.

No longer young, no longer trendy, no longer the place to be, no longer without apparent limitations or constraints, these places, like people, have developed ways of avoiding reality.

We have moved a long way from the vision of the nation that Abraham Lincoln described in his Message to Congress, on July 4, 1861, “To elevate the condition of man . . . To lift artificial weights from all shoulders; To clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all; To afford all, an unfettered start, and a fair chance, in the race of life…” “All” is what FDR had in mind when he formulated the New Deal. It is not a word you hear in the public arena—city, county, state, or nation—these days.

(In Chicago) the Democratic machine and its allies have fought an increasingly costly rear-guard action for nearly half a century. At the end of that period, the image of the city has been burnished, but Chicago is basically broke. Housing abandonment, homelessness, and foreclosure rates are all at historic highs. 34 public school children were murdered during the 2006-7 school year alone. The police force staggers under multiple charges of abuse and corruption. The old bungalow bedrock of the city—blue-collar and tax-paying—has disappeared.

During the most productive years of its housing revival, New York City spent more than the next fifty American cities combined on housing creation and rehabilitation. It shows. The return on this investment is incalculable.

Many of the current political structures and leaders are either unable or unwilling to deal with new realities.

There may be a need for less government and more planning.

New kinds of money, from new sources, used in creative ways, will be required if cities, counties and regions are to revive.

Read the whole thing here.

via

A mile-high tower?

03/31/2008

Twice as tall as Burj Dubai?
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Get naked for Mies!

03/31/2008


Artist Spencer Tunick creates a scene to photograph in the Four Seasons Restaurant in Mies’ Seagram Building in New York.

By chance, I had dinner there that evening! No evidence remained. The Four Seasons looked as distinguished as ever, the guests were very well-dressed indeed. I’m glad we were a little late for our reservation.

via c-monster

Jean Nouvel takes this year’s Pritkzer Prize!

03/30/2008

My National Public Radio story on this links here.

Creator of

The Arab World Institute in Paris

The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis

40 Mercer Street in New York’s SoHo
And more than 200 other good buildings around the world.

Projected are a new Philharmonic Hall for Paris:


and a nice video rendering of the inside of the concert hall:

He’s also designed a 75 story bent needle shaped tower for New York, next to MoMA:


a tall thin glass residential high-rise for Century City Los Angeles which all the way could look like this:

and a branch of the Louvre in Abu Dhabi:

“Oh finally, finally, I’m very happy he finally made it. It was a complete injustice for him not to receive it.”
-Jean-Louis Cohen
Architecture Historian
Institute of Fine Arts
New York University
A student with Nouvel in Paris in the rebellious days of ’68.

Nouvel says he took from the days of 1968 that all things are possible.

To close, the infamous “Separated at Birth” with “Dr. Evil”


Felicitations, congratulations to the firm, Ateliers Jean Nouvel.

The Pritzker Architecture Prize website links here.

L.A. rendering via Ateliers Jean Nouvel
Philharmonic Hall photo: Gaston Septet

The 2008 Pritzker Architecture Prize goes to…

03/29/2008

Tune in to this space Sunday afternoon at 1 pm Eastern Time to find out.

And listen to my report on this on National Public Radio.
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New Directions at SOM. Aren’t they still going up?

03/29/2008

Farnsworth House in Second Life

03/27/2008


Well-rendered, well-detailed.  The landscape is not at all accurate, but haven’t you always wanted to see the Farnsworth in various sites?  Via computer that is.  To see it in “Second Life” your computer will need to be able to access this address.

Here’s the story of how it was made, and why so many architects snap up ‘land’ in Second Life, the virtual world with almost eight million residents. 

Designer Dingson, the avatar of Lester Clark, (graphics manager for the British firm PRP, which won the Architectural Practice of the Year building award in the UK.) “Given what I know about the real Farnsworth and how it was almost completely unlivable in, (Second Life) is probably the best place for it,” he says. “I don’t have to bleach the decks every couple of weeks, nor worry about the ventilation or flooding. And people love seeing it – I’ve been getting 400 to 500 visitors a day.” 

Clark didn’t build his Farnsworth House from scratch. He bought it for 30,000 Linden dollars (about $120.) from an in-world store called Maximum Minimum, which specializes in modern designs. Its owner goes by the name of Maximilian Milosz, and he’s happy to teleport me to his showroom for a chat.

He looks like a big friendly goth, and tells me he is a Norwegian designer in real life, with a background in art direction and digital media. Since last November, he’s been making a full-time living selling his designs in Second Life.

“I found building very rewarding from day one,” he says, as we stroll past another Farnsworth House at his showroom (he’s sold quite a few, he admits). “In theory, anyone can do it, of course. But having worked with Photoshop since version 1.0 helps.” Working from drawings and photos, the Farnsworth House took him three weeks to “build”, he says. Like Lester Clark, he has never visited the real one.

More here.

Delicate Connections

03/17/2008


The good old stuff

03/14/2008

The Architecture Library at Notre Dame University
uploads its slide collection to Flickr.
Here ’tis.

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