The Death of a Once Great City: The fall of New York and the urban crisis of affluence

            <img src="https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/80/8033dd81ffac193b3aca547eb9a106fb.png?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=1200" border="0" /><em><p>As New York enters the third decade of the twenty-first century, it is in imminent danger of becoming something it has never been before: unremarkable. It is approaching a state where it is no longer a significant cultural entity but the world&rsquo;s largest gated community, with a few cupcake shops here and there. For the first time in its history, New York is, well, boring.</p></em><br /><br /><p>The story keeps going. "This is not some new phenomenon but a cancer that&rsquo;s been metastasizing on the city for decades now. And what&rsquo;s happening to New York now&mdash;what&rsquo;s already happened to most of Manhattan, its core&mdash;is happening in every affluent American city. San Francisco is overrun by tech conjurers who are rapidly annihilating its remarkable diversity; they swarm in and out of the metropolis in specially chartered buses to work in Silicon Valley, using the city itself as a gigantic bed-and-breakfast. Boston, which used <!--more--> be a city of a thousand nooks and crannies, back-alley restaurants and shops, dive bars and ice cream parlors hidden under its elevated, is now one long, monotonous wall of modern skyscraper. In Washington, an army of cranes has transformed the city in recent years, smoothing out all that was real and organic into a town of mausoleums for the Trump crowd to revel in."</p>         

Q&A: Syria’s New Property Law

            <img src="https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/bf/bf7c90c8b767c764446662589a175895.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=1200" border="0" /><em>If an owner fails to make a claim within the 30-day period or the claim fails, the property reverts to the province, town, or city of the redevelopment zone and the owner is not compensated. There is no right to appeal.</p></em><br /><br /><p>"The&nbsp;<a href="https://www.hrw.org/middle-east/n-africa/syria" rel="nofollow" >Syrian</a>&nbsp;government is poised to confiscate and redevelop residents&rsquo; property without due process or compensation under a new property law, Law No. 10 of 2018. The law, which the government is promoting as an urban planning measure, will create a major obstacle to returning home for displaced residents."<br>
In other words, what's yours might now be Bashar al-Assad's. Or, you might say, "what's left there anyway?"

Irving Gill, Homer Laughlin and the Beginnings of Modern Architecture in Los Angeles

            <img src="https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/91/915fk0cgcekikuw2.JPG?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=1200" border="0" /><em><p>Gill, for Christ's sake, get your hair cut.-FLW</p></em><br /><br /><p>If you think architecture has a dense web of characters and influences now, read So. Cal's arch historian John Crosse's account of the development of modernism in Los Angeles, going all the way to Adler &amp; Sullivan's prestigious office in the Auditorium Building in Chicago.<br></p><figure><img src="https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/w1/w1m8b9dztbo45mck.png"><figcaption>Front elevation, George Steckel Residence, Normandie Ave. near 4th St., Los Angeles, 1910. Courtesy of UC-Santa Barbara Architecture and Design Collections, Irving Gill Archive.</figcaption></figure><p><em>"The evolution of modernism in Los Angeles architecture can arguably be traced back to the Auditorium Building offices of Adler &amp; Sullivan in the early 1890s. The Auditorium Building was Adler &amp; Sullivan's crowning achievement and met with rave reviews in the local and national press and trade journals as setting the bar for buildings of its typology upon its 1889-90 completion. The now famous partners and their chief draftsman Frank <!--more--> Wright excitedly moved their offices into their masterpiece of engineering and interior design's tower ...</em></p>            

Frank inhaled, a FOGgy memory…

            <figure><a href="https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/u8/u8d3iv41h12gc4f7.jpg?auto=compress%2Cformat&amp;w=1028" rel="nofollow" ><img src="https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/u8/u8d3iv41h12gc4f7.jpg?auto=compress%2Cformat&amp;w=514"></a>

This reminded me the story. People still won't believe me when I admiringly say Frank inhaled. I did too, and four-five of my classmates inhaled as well. We all smoked a joint together at the Gund Hall. I do have living witnesses. Year was 1980, when the true bad boy Frank Gehry was teaching a shopping mall studio to sober Harvard students who thought their school was the most important place in American Architecture. We were a group of students from SCI Arc, a leaky corrugated metal building in Santa Monica where the legend says they made LSD. Cambridge was our short stop driving a big American car from New York, where we were for a semester. It involved a spontaneously arranged meeting to participate in a day long discussions with Frank's students, see some low-end architecture in poor neighborhoods, and to put down some east coast booze. Those days Continue reading "Frank inhaled, a FOGgy memory…"

Van der Home – Renovating Mies

            <img srcset="https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/t7/t7uj0ucfjzoaad8t.jpeg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650 1x,https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/t7/t7uj0ucfjzoaad8t.jpeg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650&dpr=2 2x, https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/t7/t7uj0ucfjzoaad8t.jpeg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650&dpr=3 3x" src="https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/t7/t7uj0ucfjzoaad8t.jpeg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em>It&rsquo;s said that there are two kinds of architects: those who will only live in vernacular homes and those who would only live in a home of their own design. Now I know why. My partner Laura and I ignored both options and bought a townhouse designed by Mies van der Rohe. With my colleagues at Dash Marshall, made limited renovations after devouring all of the books about Lafayette Park, looking for clues as to what Mies would do if given a do-over.</p></em><br /><br /><p><a href="https://archinect.com/features/article/83076356/working-out-of-the-box-bryan-boyer" rel="nofollow" >Bryan</a> <a href="https://archinect.com/features/article/150038179/meet-dash-marshall-the-multi-disciplinary-design-studio-where-form-follows-fable" rel="nofollow" >Boyer</a> writes about renovating a <a href="https://archinect.com/news/tag/12264/mies-van-der-rohe" rel="nofollow" >Mies Van Der Rohe</a> townhouse in Lafayette Park, Detroit.<br>
"First, the original condition of these houses was not actually that nice when you got down to the small details like closet hardware, appliances, and lighting. Bathrooms and kitchens from the 1950s were not all that great, nor are we so devoted to history that we want to live with an antiquated Continue reading "Van der Home – Renovating Mies"

A Conversation with Guy Nordenson, Recipient of the 2017 Richard Neutra Award

            <img srcset="https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/cg/cgk3unuuhngmy6o6.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650 1x,https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/cg/cgk3unuuhngmy6o6.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650&dpr=2 2x, https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/cg/cgk3unuuhngmy6o6.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650&dpr=3 3x" src="https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/cg/cgk3unuuhngmy6o6.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" />On October 9th Guy Nordenson was presented with the 2017 Richard Neutra Award for Professional Excellence&nbsp;from the <a href="https://archinect.com/CalPolyPomona" >Cal Poly Pomona Department of Architecture</a>. Established in&nbsp;honor of Richard Neutra's architectural legacy,&nbsp;the medal recognizes&nbsp;individuals for their dedication to the research and development of new environments in everyday life. Nordenson joins&nbsp;the award's esteemed roster of recipients, which includes&nbsp;<a href="https://archinect.com/features/article/149984821/how-to-inject-poetry-into-architecture-carme-pin-s-in-conversation-with-orhan-ayy-ce" >Carme Pin&oacute;s</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://archinect.com/features/article/43132544/tadao-ando-interview-20-minutes-with-a-master" >Tadao Ando</a>, <a href="https://archinect.com/news/article/140088166/listen-to-highlights-from-enrique-norten-s-interview-winner-of-the-2015-neutra-award" >Enrique Norten</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://bustler.net/news/4041/sci-arc-co-founder-michael-rotondi-to-receive-richard-j-neutra-medal-at-cal-poly-pomona" >Michael Rotondi</a>, and Thom Mayne.&nbsp;<br>
A few hours before Nordenson received the award, Archinect's Orhan Ayyüce had a chance to meet with him at the historic Neutra VDL House. His unique position as a highly creative and visionary structural engineer led to this conversation.

Reinier de Graaf: “Architecture is in a State of Denial”

            <img srcset="https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/ld/ldqvnx4kq7a4ajio.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650 1x,https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/ld/ldqvnx4kq7a4ajio.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650&dpr=2 2x, https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/ld/ldqvnx4kq7a4ajio.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650&dpr=3 3x" src="https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/ld/ldqvnx4kq7a4ajio.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>I never realised how nostalgic I am, until I started writing. An architect is not supposed to be nostalgic but forward-looking. But I&rsquo;m nostalgic for a time when mankind was a lot more forward-looking than it is today; for a gradual optimism about the future. That&rsquo;s the paradox.</p></em><br /><br /><p>In his book&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/2xXG3j4" rel="nofollow" ><em>Four Walls and a Roof &ndash; The Complex Nature of a Simple Profession</em></a>, Reinier de Graaf paints an honest picture of what it is like to work as an architect today.&nbsp;<a href="http://oma.eu/partners/reinier-de-graaf" rel="nofollow" >De Graaf</a>, who is a partner at&nbsp;<a href="http://oma.eu/" rel="nofollow" >OMA</a>&nbsp;and director of AMO, the office&rsquo;s think tank, provides engaging stories about the banal, everyday reality of working for an acclaimed firm. These vivid, uncompromising narratives are contextualised with shrewd essays about architecture&rsquo;s lost ideals, its false pretentions, and utter dependence on forces far more powerful than design. We sat down to talk about housing and political <!--more--> his compromises, and his radical pursuit of the mundane.</p>         

Moneo & Frampton In Dialogue

            <img srcset="https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/on/on6m33551pwy1d7c.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650 1x,https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/on/on6m33551pwy1d7c.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650&dpr=2 2x, https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/on/on6m33551pwy1d7c.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650&dpr=3 3x" src="https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/on/on6m33551pwy1d7c.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>Therefore it ought to be recognized that even in the entire second half of the 20th century, the true way to try to find out what architectural theory means ought to be figured out by reading historians. In a way, historians are depositaries, they have defined the paradigm of what could be considered &lsquo;modernities,&rsquo; something that has changed radically in this new century.</p></em><br /><br /><p>"The ever diminishing role played by theory and thought in professional practice is, according to Frampton and Moneo, one of the principal challenges that contemporary architecture is faced with. Add to this the great transformations taking place in society, the economy, and architecture itself, thanks to which the traditional discourses, based on concepts like Zeitgeist, rationalism, and faith in progress, are ineffective. Not to mention the precarization of the labor market, with its terrible effects on young people. In this situation Frampton and Moneo call for a <!--more--> critical reading of globalization, and also an ethic of resistance grounded upon the principles of the architectural discipline."</p>            

Big data meets Big Brother as China moves to rate its citizens

            <img srcset="https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/io/iocv36e9vrmqlyuo.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650 1x,https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/io/iocv36e9vrmqlyuo.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650&dpr=2 2x, https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/io/iocv36e9vrmqlyuo.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650&dpr=3 3x" src="https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/io/iocv36e9vrmqlyuo.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step</p></em><br /><br /><p>"For instance, people with low ratings will have slower internet speeds; restricted access to restaurants, nightclubs or golf courses; and the removal of the right to travel freely abroad with, I quote, "restrictive control on consumption within holiday areas or travel businesses". Scores will influence a person's rental applications, their ability to get insurance or a loan and even social-security benefits. Citizens with low scores will not be hired by certain employers and will be forbidden from obtaining some jobs, including in the civil service, journalism and legal fields, where of course you must be deemed trustworthy. Low-rating citizens will also be restricted when it comes to enrolling themselves or their children in high-paying private schools. I am not fabricating this list of punishments. It's the reality Chinese citizens will <!--more-->. As the government document states, the social credit system will "allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it har...</p>         

Spec Houses from the Future; an Interview with LA-Based Design-Builders Domaen

            <img srcset="https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/4c/4cwvvnh9qlouz8f9.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650 1x,https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/4c/4cwvvnh9qlouz8f9.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650&dpr=2 2x, https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/4c/4cwvvnh9qlouz8f9.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650&dpr=3 3x" src="https://archinect.imgix.net/uploads/4c/4cwvvnh9qlouz8f9.jpg?fit=crop&auto=compress%2Cformat&w=650" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><p>
Domaen is a versatile, multi-disciplinary, and comprehensive service company based in Los Angeles. Two partners, Chris Lowe and Axel Schmitzberger, are the driving engines of the firm. I had met with Axel at one of their construction sites and had the following conversation.

Clocks and Clouds, The Architecture of Escher GuneWardena

            <img src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/650x/ke/ke6vipup9m0ii78u.jpg" width="650" height="744" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em>The title Clocks and Clouds comes from philosopher Karl Popper&rsquo;s essay on rationality and freedom, but also describes the dreamy precision, the spirit, and the material of Escher GuneWardena&rsquo;s art.</p></em><br /><br /><p>A gem of an exhibition by Escher GuneWardena whose unbuilt and built work so meticulously navigates architecture, art and design. The quietly original and meaningful architecture of the firm that can be classified as timeless. The work reflects the best tenets of modern architecture and the geographical particularities of Los Angeles. Not to be missed if you are in Southern California. The show runs until&nbsp;Sunday, August 20, 2017.&nbsp;
The exhibition also features a new book on architects' work, 'Clocks and Clouds, Architecture of Escher GuneWardena.' Edited by Lilian Pfaff, featuring essays by Martino Stierli, Barbara Lamprecht, Nicholas Olsberg, Mimi Zeiger and Paulette Singley. Available here.

Monumental

            <figure><a href="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/1028x/qd/qdubxmead190qofc.jpg" rel="nofollow" ><img src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/1028x/qd/qdubxmead190qofc.jpg"></a></p></figure><p>As it was predicted and desired, the Constellations project is having its own life and form/format/look.
The most valuable here that we are finding a very hands on ways of studying and documenting the city like Tijuana where there are hundreds of stories, street patterns, densities, orthogonal collisions, urban stories and myths, risks, invasive spread, rewards, and punishments. There is always some type of return. A little snapshot of where we are going: The picture above is the ‘Monumental Constellation’ just south of beachhead border wall and south of the existing and remaining bullring. It is designed to be a car race track turned into the residential and civic area with schools, government buildings, parks and commercial use extending to the ocean front. Also recorded by drone videos and local interviews with people living in this area called ‘Playas.’ What people say in those interviews are the narratives we Continue reading "Monumental"

Monumental

            <figure><a href="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/1028x/qd/qdubxmead190qofc.jpg" rel="nofollow" ><img src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/1028x/qd/qdubxmead190qofc.jpg"></a></p></figure><p>As it was predicted and desired, the Constellations project is having its own life and form/format/look.
The most valuable here that we are finding a very hands on ways of studying and documenting the city like Tijuana where there are hundreds of stories, street patterns, densities, orthogonal collisions, urban stories and myths, risks, invasive spread, rewards, and punishments. There is always some type of return. A little snapshot of where we are going: The picture above is the ‘Monumental Constellation’ just south of beachhead border wall and south of the existing and remaining bullring. It is designed to be a car race track turned into the residential and civic area with schools, government buildings, parks and commercial use extending to the ocean front. Also recorded by drone videos and local interviews with people living in this area called ‘Playas.’ What people say in those interviews are the narratives we Continue reading "Monumental"

Why Is There So Much Modern Architecture In The NRA’s New Ad?

            <img src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/650x/m1/m1uzmhyxmqjsxrse.jpg" width="650" height="368" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em>For decades, authoritarian regimes have waged war on modern architecture and the philosophy it embodies. A new ad proves it&rsquo;s still a target.</p></em><br /><br /><p><u> </u>In an alarmingly threatening and dangerous ad, NRA attacks intellectualism (in its core sense) via modern architecture. This savage ad might not only spare your profession and/or your education but also puts the&nbsp;average citizen in front of the barrel of a gun.<br>

Why Is There So Much Modern Architecture In The NRA’s New Ad?

            <img src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/650x/m1/m1uzmhyxmqjsxrse.jpg" width="650" height="368" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em>For decades, authoritarian regimes have waged war on modern architecture and the philosophy it embodies. A new ad proves it&rsquo;s still a target.</p></em><br /><br /><p><u> </u>In an alarmingly threatening and dangerous ad, NRA attacks intellectualism (in its core sense) via modern architecture. This savage ad might not only spare your profession and/or your education but also puts the&nbsp;average citizen in front of the barrel of a gun.<br>

Fast Co Design wonders, "Why Is There So Much Modern Architecture In The NRA’s New Ad?"

            <img src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/650x/m1/m1uzmhyxmqjsxrse.jpg" width="650" height="368" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em>For decades, authoritarian regimes have waged war on modern architecture and the philosophy it embodies. A new ad proves it&rsquo;s still a target.</p></em><br /><br /><p><u> </u>In an alarmingly threatening and dangerous ad, NRA attacks intellectualism (in its core sense) via modern architecture. This savage ad might not only target your profession and/or your education but also puts the&nbsp;average citizen in front of the barrel of a gun.<br>

Fieldwork starts

            <em></em>
Partial model by Jesus Serrano Figueroa
Into the third week, our documentation and the ideas for the format are becoming clearer. We are into the fieldwork and the final exhibition is nicely forming. Among other material, team member Jose de Jesus Serrano Figueroa developing 3D prints of the constellations superimposed onto a large map of Tijuana. There’s a synopsis of the project by me towards the end of this Sessions podcast and we are collecting field information with a drone circling the areas we are documenting and piecing a video of the project. There is a reaction from my friend and the friend of the project Tijuana architect Carlos Gamino about last week’s Colosio post for connecting Tijuana with violence. Perhaps rightfully but that wasn’t our intention as it was an example of narratives we are developing, and they don’t necessarily dwell on violence. Tijuana is a relatively peaceful city Continue reading "Fieldwork starts"

Tijuana as a galaxy of constellations

            <a href="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/1028x/7z/7znww9i0q8srbe6q.jpg" rel="nofollow" ><img src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/1028x/7z/7znww9i0q8srbe6q.jpg"></a>
Into the second week of the research, series of constellations are fast emerging. We have located about two dozens already. Tijuana is like a galaxy with endless stories. A young city already rich in urban archeology. Here is a Constellation Colosio to give you a sample of constellar structures we are looking for. IE: The route ambulance took PRI presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio to the emergency hospital where he was pronounced dead in 1994, (in red.) FYI: Assassination [from Wikipedia] At 5:05 PM PST, on 23 March 1994, at a campaign rally in Lomas Taurinas, a poor neighborhood of Tijuana, Baja California, Colosio was shot in the head with a .38 Special from a few centimeters distance and nearby a person recording a video. Colosio collapsed, and was subsequently rushed to the city's main hospital, after plans to fly him to an American hospital across the border were Continue reading "Tijuana as a galaxy of constellations"

Constellations

Constellations originally started as a made to order work when I was invited by Bryan Finoki to participate in the Los Angeles issue of Postopolis L.A. curated by Bryan and Geoff Manaugh and others. It was the second installation of Postopolis! previously launched in New York at the Storefront for Art and Architecture under Joseph Grima’s directorship. Constellations is a way of recording and experiencing the city and creating its own codes of observation while doing it. 
Although the idea kept alive by its offshoots, it has been a while Constellations project has been updated or a new edition created and published under its namesake. Since, I have developed many new locations for the project and had a chance to test the effects of such studies. Escuela Libre De Arquitectura in Tijuana, Mexico, gave me the opportunity to do a Tijuana issue of the ongoing project of Constellations Continue reading "Constellations"

JR’s "Wrinkles Of The City", portraying the faces affected by gentrification and urbanization, hits Istanbul

If I was a poet, I would speak of Istanbul If I were a musician, my music would belong to Istanbul If I was a painter, I would paint Istanbul -Mihail



Prolific French artist JR continues to produce impactful work, following up his latest public exhibition with a special installation of his “Wrinkles of the City” series. First launched in 2008, the series is meant to visually portray the faces affected by gentrification and rapid urbanization in the world’s largest cities. Accordingly, JR spent the past two weeks in the alleyways and rooftops of Istanbul, forcing residents to confront the elderly’s personal stories through singular images.  While at it, a different context but the sentimentality of the wrinkles nonetheless, Los Angeles.