Oculus Book Review: Paradise Planned: The Garden Suburb and the Modern City, by Robert A.M. Stern, David Fishman, and Jacob Tilove

As AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell, FAIA, cited in his introduction during the 11.10.14 Oculus Book Talk at the Center for Architecture, for the casual reader there are many surprises to be found in the text Paradise Planned: The Garden Suburb and the Modern City, by Robert A.M. Stern, David Fishman, and Jacob Tilove. The premise of the book is to redefine the “Modern City” in light of the evolution of suburbs, and to make suburbs not such a “bad” word. Co-author David Fishman spoke about this epic project. Fishman’s talk was decidedly populist, and ardently comprehensive. He was able to engage the audience in the greatest hits of the book, show the evolution of the Garden Suburb ideal, and adeptly entertain with his rapid-fire delivery. Continue reading “Oculus Book Review: Paradise Planned: The Garden Suburb and the Modern City, by Robert A.M. Stern, David Fishman, and Jacob Tilove”

Infinite Diversities

Characterized by various viewpoints, approaches, and processes, Kaleidoscope, an all-female Norwegian-Finnish architecture collective, synthesizes architecture and art through inter- and cross-disciplinary practices. Kati Laakso, cultural attaché at Consulate General of Finland in New York, introduced the group as one that deftly approaches the debate of architecture, urbanism, and city planning, a debate she finds particularly acute in Finland, as recently highlighted by the Guggenheim Helsinki competition.

The group introduced its approach to the standing-room-only audience with its winning entry for Europan 12. The master plan provides a framework for a national heritage site in Asker, Norway, containing an abandoned psychiatric hospital. The collaborative devised seven strategies and programs that would create a framework to revitalize the area. From landscaping and open spaces to a university outpost, permanent dwellings, and tourist lodging, the variety of uses and populations would support a self-sustaining town reminiscent of mixed-use cultural districts. Continue reading “Infinite Diversities”

Zip-a-ding Through the Airport: Place-Oriented Playlands

Airports built during the rise of commercial flying reflect the vast frontier the new technology created. Neo-futuristic designs, such as JFK International’s Eero Saarinen-designed TWA Terminal, focused on the glamour of flight, with grand, open spaces and large windows in the terminals. The result: the majority of airports built in the 1950s and ’60s refer more to the global and glamorous act of flying than they do to the city in which they are located. Following the deregulation of the airline industry, the efficiency-driven, hub-and-spoke airports of the 1970s and ’80s were built with undistinguished corporate design. Upon arrival, you could be anywhere; signs provide orientation. With as many as 50,000 employees working within one airport – as well as surrounding hotels, businesses, public transportation, malls, and even parks – architects are beginning to recognize airports as communities and small cities in themselves, vital limbs of their larger cities. Stanis Smith, executive vice president for Buildings at the mega-firm Stantec, came to the Center for Architecture on 11.14. 14 to discuss how Stantec is designing streamlined, place-oriented airports that make passengers as comfortable, happy, and stimulated as possible, an aim that coincides with that of maximizing the buying behavior of passengers waiting for their flights. Continue reading “Zip-a-ding Through the Airport: Place-Oriented Playlands”

American Architects Working in Post-Soviet Culture Sectors

From redefining and defending borders to establishing a national image and politics, the former countries of the USSR are negotiating their independence as nations in the global capitalist economy. On 11.06.14, “New Kids on the Bloc: American Architects Working in Post-Soviet Culture Sectors” shed light on the current relationship between architecture and national culture, economy, and social climate in three heterogeneous countries: Kazakhstan, Bulgaria, and Poland. Empires have come and gone, leaving their traces in architecture. After stating independence, how does a postcolonial country establish a national architecture? What is an American architect’s place in a postcolonial and post-socialist country? Three American architects addressed these questions as they presented recent designs. Continue reading “American Architects Working in Post-Soviet Culture Sectors”

Melting Pot

Searching for what defines “milieu” and “identity,” the program “Fondue Pot Stickers: Divergent Voices” tackled a number of academic and philosophical issues in architectural processes and works. Hashim Sarkis, the evening’s moderator, inquired into whether geographic, institutional, or professional environments and situations define one’s practice. The introduction set the tone that resonated between proclamation and inquiry, an ambiguity that pervaded the evening. Continue reading “Melting Pot”

CFAF Hosts Architecture and Design College Fair

The Center for Architecture Foundation (CFAF) hosted the annual Architecture and Design College Fair on 11.21.14.  The event serves to connect high school students with architecture and design schools, scholarships, and mentoring opportunities.  This year the fair featured 18 colleges and several other institutions. With more than 150 students and parents attending, the Center for Architecture’s street-level galleries were abuzz with the exchange of questions and answers as students collected brochures from colleges as close as Harlem’s CUNY and as far away as New Orleans’ Tulane University.

We want to thank all of the schools in attendance: Boston Architectural College; City College of New York – The Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture; College for Creative Studies; Cooper Union – The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture; Cornell AAP Architecture Art Planning; Drexel University; Fashion Institute of Technology; New York Institute of Technology; The New School; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Roger Williams University; Pratt Institute; Tulane University; University of Buffalo, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Representatives from these schools joined a panel to discuss applying to school, portfolio development, studio culture, and other topics, followed by questions from the audience. Continue reading “CFAF Hosts Architecture and Design College Fair”

Names in the News

Paul Katz, FAIA, HKIA, Principal at Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, passed away on 11.20.14.

The AIANY New Practices New York 2014 winner Fake Industries Architectural Agonism is one of five finalists in the Guggenheim Helsinki competition…The AIANY New Practices New York 2014 winner The Bittertang Farm is one of the five finalists for MoMA PS1’s 2014 Young Architects Program…Young & Ayata is one of the five finalists in the YAP Istanbul Modern Competition…The Children’s Ziggurat Lali Gurans Orphanage and Library in Kathmandu, Nepal, designed by MOS Architects, won Silver at the 2014 Holcim Awards for Asia Pacific…The Seona Reid building by Steven Holl Architects and JM Architects has received the Glasgow Institute of Architects (GIA) 2014 Supreme Award…Richard T. Anderson, President of the New York Building Congress, will be awarded the De La Salle Medal by Manhattan College on 01.20.15… Continue reading “Names in the News”

New Deadlines

2015 Oculus Editorial Calendar
The Oculus 2015 Editorial Calendar has been set. If you are an architect in practice or by training, or see yourself as an astute observer of New York’s architectural and planning scene, Oculus wants to hear from you! You may submit projects/topics from anywhere, but architects must be New York-based. Please submit story ideas/projects by the deadlines indicated below to Kristen Richards, Hon. AIA, Hon. ASLA: kristen@ArchNewsNow.com.

Summer 2015: AIANY 2015 Design Awards
Submission deadline: 02.06.15

Fall 2015: “Home” (In conjunction with the Housing Exhibition + Archtober)
Housing progress report/report card: whether market rate or affordable, is it living up to our expectations for design, community integration, environmental responsiveness? For affordable and low-income housing, is innovation helping us hit the number of units New York City needs? Continuing controversy about “inclusionary” housing (80/20 and such). Off-site/modular construction. BSA Housing Awards. (To include input from social scientists, urban anthropologists, psychologists, etc.)
Deadline for story ideas, projects: 05.22.15

Winter 2015: “Makers in a Digital World” or “Architecture & the Digital World”
How we present and build what we do: 21st-century visual representation, mapping, big data. Life-cycle of a building: an idea, draw it, digitize for CNC milling machines, construct, share via Instagram, etc. Cooper-Hewitt tech “pencils”; etc.
Deadline for story ideas, projects: 08.14.15 Continue reading “New Deadlines”