Book Review: The Divided City

The Divided City: Poverty and Prosperity in America by Alan Mallach
Island Press, 2018
Paperback, 326 pages



Although I live in New York City, I haven't lived here all my life and therefore I like to think I'm more aware of some biases held by New Yorkers. With twelve years now as a NYC resident, following decades in Chicago and half a decade in Kansas, I've grown to understand, for instance, why people here are so focused on the city, as if blinders shut out the world – or at least parts not deemed worthwhile – beyond the shores of the five boroughs.

Not as cliché or hyperbolic is the way the media in NYC shapes issues well beyond the city, something natives might not be so aware of. Take gentrification, a very real issue for residents of lower-income neighborhoods that witness rezonings, public works improvements, widespread development, and then
Continue reading "Book Review: The Divided City"

Grimshaw Obscura

A highlight of Queens International 2018: Volumes (QI 2018), now on display at Queens Museum, is Volumes Cyanotype, a 100-foot-long tablecloth that documents a communal meal with the exhibition’s participating artists and which turned the building into a large camera – a camera obscura. I wrote about it for World-Architects.



Also check out the website for QI 2018 (screenshot below). Created by artist Ryan Kuo with Taekeun Kim, the website is structured about the Queens Museum building – built for the 1964 World's Fair, used briefly for the United Nations, and expanded by Grimshaw in 2013.

Architecture @ Kanopy

Ever since learning about Kanopy back in June, I've been using the free, limited access made available through two libraries – NYPL and Queens Library – to watch primarily documentaries on architecture. If you live in the United States and have a card at a participating library, then you might know already that Kanopy is excellent for watching documentaries of all sorts but also independent films, foreign films, and classic movies. This isn't binge-watching on Netflix; it's expanding one's mind by watching educational, intelligent films on a variety of subjects. Below are 40 architecture films worth watching, organized by film production company.



Checkerboard Film Foundation:

October in NYC

October in New York City means two things, at least to architects: Open House New York (OHNY) and AIANY's Archtober. I've been too busy to post about these events far in advance, so below are highlights for open-access OHNY sites and some events drawn from Archtober and other sites that I'm pretty sure aren't sold out. Everything is free, unless noted otherwise.

Bronx Community College

All October, Center for Architecture
Close to the Edge: The Birth of Hip-Hop Architecture
Hip-Hop Architecture produces spaces, buildings, and environments that embody the creative energy evident in hip-hop’s first four elements: deejaying, emceeing, b-boying, and graffiti. Close to the Edge: The Birth of Hip-Hop Architecture exhibits the work of students, academics and practitioners at the center of this emerging architectural revolution.

Various days throughout October, Guggenheim Museum
The Guggenheim Celebrates Archtober This Fall
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is excited to offer special tours, workshops, and
Continue reading "October in NYC"

Glenstone Museum

Here is an interactive slideshow with 74 of the photos I took last week at a press preview of the Pavilions at Glenstone Museum in Potomac, Maryland, designed by Thomas Phifer and Partners. The slideshow moves from the Arrival Hall, along the Main Path, to the Pavilions and its various Galleries that are organized with Passages around a central Water Garden. It's an amazing building that is well worth seeing in person.

Glenstone Museum

The Pavilions at Glenstone open to the public on October 4; visit the Glenstone website for information on tickets, which are free but must be reserved in advance. My review of the building will be on World-Architects later this week, linked from this blog for convenience.

So You Want to Learn About: ‘Learning from Las Vegas’

The "So You Want to Learn About" series highlights books focused on a particular theme: think "socially responsible architecture" and "phenomenology," rather than broad themes like "housing" or "theory." Therefore the series aims to be a resource for finding decent reading materials on certain topics, born of a desire to further define noticeable areas of interest in the books I review. And while I haven't reviewed every title, I am familiar with each one; these are not blind recommendations.

Well before the death of Robert Venturi last week at the age of 93, I'd planned a "So You Want to Learn About" post on Learning from Las Vegas, the classic text by Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour from 1972. It's only now that I finally got around to finalizing it. Last year I noticed that MIT Press had released a facsimile version of the hard-to-find
Continue reading "So You Want to Learn About: ‘Learning from Las Vegas’"

Book Briefs #38: Houses

"Book Briefs" are an ongoing series of posts with short first-hand descriptions of some of the numerous books that make their way into my library. These briefs are not full-blown reviews (though some might go on to get that treatment), but they are a way to share more books worthy of attention than find their way into reviews on this blog. This installment features five coffee table books on contemporary single-family houses.



Architects' Houses by Michael Webb | Princeton Architectural Press | 2018 | Amazon
Nearly ten years ago I stumbled upon a used copy of Taschen's huge 100 Houses for 100 Architects, which highlights just what the title says: houses architects designed for themselves. Since then I've had a soft spot for such autobiographical residences, having composed a long feature at World-Architects, "Architects House Themselves." Architects' Houses is the latest addition to this literature, in which Michael
Continue reading "Book Briefs #38: Houses"

Book Review: Michigan Modern

Michigan Modern: An Architectural Legacy by Brian D. Conway with photographs by James Haefner
Visual Profile Books, 2018
Hardcover, 300 pages


[Eero Saarinen's General Motors Technical Center (1956) graces the cover.]

When thinking "modern architecture" what places come to mind? In the United States, at least, it's probably the Chicago Loop's commercial architecture, or Southern California's residential architecture, or even Columbus, Indiana's surprising density of modern architecture of all types. But Michigan? Most likely that doesn't bubble to the top. Yet even a cursory glance at this lovely coffee table book of 34 buildings in Michigan from the late 1920s to earlier this decade reveals that is a huge oversight. The state -- or at least concentrated portions of its southern half -- is crammed with some amazing modern architecture.


[Frank Lloyd Wright's Dorothy Turkel House (1957) is one of the book's many highlights.]

Michigan Modern is the
Continue reading "Book Review: Michigan Modern"

Behemoth of the Moment

It's been six years since Phaidon released one of their gargantuan architectural atlases, meaning the publisher was overdue for yet another one. In 2004 they released the first, the Phaidon Atlas of Contemporary World Architecture; four years later came the Phaidon Atlas of 21st Century World Architecture; and in 2012 they released 20th Century World Architecture. Another atlas should have come out in 2016 to stick with the every-four-years time span. Instead, we get Atlas of Brutalist Architecture, which comes out next month.


[Images via Phaidon]

As boasted by Phaidon:
This is the only book to thoroughly document the world's finest examples of Brutalist architecture. More than 850 buildings - existing and demolished, classic and contemporary - are organized geographically into nine continental regions.

878 Buildings, 798 Architects, 102 Countries, 9 World Regions, 1 Style BRUTALISM



These spreads give a sense of what's inside the
Continue reading "Behemoth of the Moment"

The Lower Manhattan Skyline, with & without the Twin Towers

On Tuesday, the 17th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the Skyscraper Museum is hosting a conversation between photographers Camilo Jose Vergara and Richard Berenholtz: The Lower Manhattan Skyline, with & without the Twin Towers.



Details from the Skyscraper Museum:
Photographers Camilo Jose Vergara and Richard Berenholtz reflect on their decades of focus on New York’s changing skyline, in images and conversation.

In conjunction with the museum's new exhibition SKYLINE, two noted photographers of the New York will discuss their work over several decades of documenting the evolving identity of lower Manhattan. Berenholtz and Vergara will each show a selection of sequences that capture the lower Manhattan skyline from the same position over time and in many temporal conditions, recording in images that are authentic, poetic, and, ultimately, poignant. Join us on the evening of September 11 to remember the Twin Towers and pay tribute to what was
Continue reading "The Lower Manhattan Skyline, with & without the Twin Towers"

Book Review: TEN Arquitectos/Enrique Norten

TEN Arquitectos/Enrique Norten: Lines of Investigation by Enrique Norten
Princeton Architectural Press, 2017
Hardcover, 320 pages



Although the when and where are hazy, the first time I learned about the architecture of Enrique Norten it was definitely Televisa Edificio de Servicios, which won the first Mies van der Rohe Award for Latin American Architecture back in 1998. It is a relatively early work for the Mexican architect, and although the curved form of the award-winning building is echoed in other projects (e.g. Escuela Nacional de Teatro, also in Mexico City), the buildings of Enrique Norten and TEN Arquitectos are a diverse bunch, sharing a strong understanding of tectonics and a formal bravado that are appropriate to every given site.

My appreciation of Norten's work was carried through to last decade, when I was writing my Guide to Contemporary New York City Architecture and when Norten had expanded
Continue reading "Book Review: TEN Arquitectos/Enrique Norten"