Concrete Utopia

            <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>In the construction of the new Yugoslavia, modernist thinking and design were deployed to guide the country&rsquo;s rapid urbanization and industrialization as well as to unify the ethnically, religiously, and culturally diverse population.</p></em><br /><br /><p>In columnist <a href="" rel="nofollow" >Belmont Freeman</a>'s latest article for Places, he examines the exhibition &ldquo;<a href="" rel="nofollow" >Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948-1980</a>,&rdquo; now on view at the <a href="" rel="nofollow" >Museum of Modern Art in New York</a>, and finds a rigorous and revealing survey of Yugoslavia&rsquo;s extraordinary built legacy&nbsp;that until now has been neglected by mainstream architectural historians.</p>         

Unbuilding Gender

            <img src="" border="0" /><em>Gordon Matta-Clark&rsquo;s inventive site-specific cuts into abandoned buildings demonstrated approaches to the concept of home and to the market system of real estate that were anarchistic, creatively destructive, and full of queer promise.</p></em><br /><br /><p>In "Unbuilding Gender," Jack Halberstam extends the ideas of unbuilding and creative destruction that characterize Gordon Matta-Clark's work to develop a queer concept of anarchitecture focused on the trans* body.&nbsp;
Halberstam is the 2018 recipient of the Arcus/Places Prize for innovative public scholarship on the relationship between gender, sexuality, and the built environment. The biennial prize is a unique collaboration between the Diversity Platforms Committee of the College of Environmental Design at University of California, Berkeley, and Places, supported by the college’s Arcus Endowment.

What You Don’t See

            <img src="" border="0" /><em>Follow the intricate supply chains of architecture and you&rsquo;ll find not just product manufacturers but also environmental polluters. Keep going and you&rsquo;ll find as well the elusive networks of political influence that are underwritten by the billion-dollar construction industry.</p></em><br /><br /><p>In "What You Don't See," Brent Sturlaugson examines the supply chains of architecture to make the case that designers must expand their frameworks of action and responsibility for thinking about sustainability.&nbsp;<br>
Unraveling the networks of materials, energy, power, and money that must be activated to produce a piece of plywood, Sturlaugson argues that "any full accounting of environmental, economic, or social sustainability has got to consider not merely individual buildings and sites but also the intricate product and energy supply chains that are crucial to their construction." 

Marcel Breuer and the Invention of Heavy Lightness

            <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>How could an architect who had made the pursuit of lightness the essence of his design aspirations become one of the great form-givers of the aesthetics of weightiness?</p></em><br /><br /><p>In this rich examination of the work of <a href="" rel="nofollow" >Marcel Breuer</a>, <a href="" rel="nofollow" >Barry Bergdoll</a> explores the marked shifts between his early European and later American work, and finds a constant in the pursuit of lightness.&nbsp;In his efforts to&nbsp;reconcile vernacular traditions with modern expression and the conditions of contemporary life, Bergdoll argues, Breuer created buildings that&nbsp;"held heavy and light in remarkable equipoise."<br></p>           

The Flexible Heart of the Home

            <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>For too long, the issues of gender, disability, and user-centeredness have been relegated to the far margins of architectural history.</p></em><br /><br /><p><em>Places&nbsp;</em>columnist Barbara Penner uncovers a parallel narrative to the rise of flexible home design &mdash; often attributed to a handful of progressive <a href="" rel="nofollow" >postwar</a> designers&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;in the history of home economics. She explores the flexible domestic spaces created by designers such as Lillian Moller Gilbreth to accommodate what we now call "non-conforming" bodies, and shows how their work laid the foundations for&nbsp;the Independent Living and <a href="" rel="nofollow" >universal design</a> movements.</p>           

End Stages: The Future of Hospice Design

            <img src="" border="0" /><em>As hospice design becomes more formally ambitious &mdash; and standardized &mdash; we should remember there is no universal model for &lsquo;dying well.&rsquo;</p></em><br /><br /><p>What is the ideal setting for the end of life?&nbsp;The dominant templates of the mid-century mega-hospital and the domestic hospice set the rational spaces of medical institutions against the familiarity of home. Yet, we are increasingly seeing hybrid forms that deviate from these two distinct models. Nitin Ahuja looks ahead to the future of palliative architecture, and argues that in one's final needful hours, the most comforting hearths are those that feel serendipitously constructed.&nbsp;

Beyond the Map: Spikescapes and Wild Strawberries

            <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>Geography is getting stranger: the map is breaking up. Now we need to attend to the unnatural places, the escape zones and gap spaces, the places that are sites of surprise but also of bewilderment and unease.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Negotiating the hostile architectures of the modern city&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;from the anti-pedestrian cobbles of a median strip to the unloved landscape of a traffic island&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;geographer Alistair Bonnett reflects on the increasingly disciplinarian nature of public space, and by crossing roads and planting strawberries, experiments with modes of resistance.&nbsp;</p>            

Naoya Hatakeyama: The Photographer and Architecture

            <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>Taking a photograph of architecture by using a camera is tantamount to placing a small architecture against another large architecture and having the small one swallow the larger one.</p></em><br /><br /><p>The Japanese word for buildings,&nbsp;<em>tatemono</em>, means &ldquo;things that are standing.&rdquo; On the occasion of a major career retrospective at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Naoya Hatakeyama considers the meaning and the practice of photographing the built environment, and the distinction between the architecture of standing things and lying things that can be made to stand up.</p>         

Your Sea Wall Won’t Save You

            <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>Concepts like &ldquo;making room for the river,&rdquo; which works well in the Netherlands, can mean mass evictions in the Global South. Too often, the rhetoric of climate adaptation is doublespeak for the displacement of poor communities, and an alibi for unsustainable growth.</p></em><br /><br /><p>As coastal megacities adapt to climate change, they often bring in outside planning experts who push highly engineered, technocratic resilience programs.&nbsp;Lizzie Yarina looks at how this trend is affecting local communities in Bangkok, Manila, Ho Chi Minh City, and Jakarta, and&nbsp;argues that "resilience is not fundamentally a technical question. It is social and political. Planners and designers must recognize and negotiate the diverse "resilience imaginaries" across the cities in which they are needed."</p>            

The Invention of Wessex: Thomas Hardy as Architect

            <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>There is a good case for listing Thomas Hardy amongst the greatest of all conceptual architects &mdash; the prophet, well before the fact, of a particular type of speculative, imaginary architectural project which would boom a century later.</p></em><br /><br /><p>The 19th-century author Thomas Hardy has never been considered much of an architect. Yet as Kester Rattenbury shows, his creation of Wessex was an architectural project - one that drew on the ideas of his time, but also predicted some of the most inventive architectural work of our own age.&nbsp;Hardy saw rural England through an experimental, modern frame, and his Wessex Project was as radical in its time as <a href="" rel="nofollow" >Learning from Las Vegas</a> and <a href="" rel="nofollow" >Delirious New York</a> were in theirs.&nbsp;</p>            

Josef Frank’s Modernist Vision: "Accidentism"

            <img src="" border="0" /><em>&ldquo;Away with universal styles,&rdquo; wrote Josef Frank. &ldquo;Away with the idea of equating art and industry, away with the whole system that has become popular under the name of functionalism. Modernism," he was fond of saying, "is that which gives us complete freedom."</p></em><br /><br /><p>More than an architect and designer, <a href="" rel="nofollow" >Josef Frank</a> was an &ldquo;intellectual, who built ideas.&rdquo; Christopher Long introduces Frank's 1958 essay, "Accidentism" &mdash; a humanist manifesto denouncing the banality of orthodox modernism and calling for a new pluralism in design. As Long explains, "the essay reads as a bracing critique of modern architecture, all the more notable for having been written by a prominent modernist" &mdash; the ultimate statement of his long-standing disquiet with the tenets of the mainstream movement.
The article is the latest installment of our Future Archive series, which republishes significant 20th-century writings on design, selected and introduced by leading scholars.

The Modern Urbanism of Cook’s Camden

            <img src="" border="0" /><em><p>The council housing designed 50 years ago for a progressive London borough remains a potent symbol of the achievements of postwar social democracy.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Prompted by Mark Swenarton's recent book,&nbsp;<em><a href="" rel="nofollow" >Cook's Camden</a>,&nbsp;</em>Douglas Murphy looks at the radically experimental public housing estates built by the London borough from 1966 to 1975, and the reevaluation of these extraordinary projects currently underway in our own era of unaffordable cities and triumphant privatization.</p>          

Prop and Property: The House in American Film

            <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em><p>Cinema heightens the ambivalent but powerful pleasure we take in looking at property. The private property of the house is already a spectacle, of course, as the house is a medium for making visible the wealth of its owners and inhabitants. In a movie theater, this spectacular function is multiplied.</p></em><br /><br /><p>A history of the house in American <a href="" rel="nofollow" >cinema</a> might well begin with Gone with the Wind, a film that is fascinated with the loss, acquisition, and consolidation of private property; and To Kill a Mockingbird, a putatively antiracist film whose production history is actually an archive of racist urban development.&nbsp;The houses in these pictures tell stories about property that the films do not mention, but cannot cease from showing.</p>         

Spires and Gyres: Contemporary Architecture in Jakarta

            <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em>Jakarta is perhaps the truest realization of a post-colonial cosmopolis. Many former colonial capitals stage a rivalry between quaint traditional centers and desperation-driven peripheries. But Jakarta can be understood not as a dialogue with its former foreign overlords but rather as a fiercely insistent projection of Indonesian independence.</p></em><br /><br /><p>In his latest article for Places, <a href="" rel="nofollow" >Joe Day</a> examines the contemporary architecture of Jakarta through the framework of the utopian terms of the Five Pancasilas, the founding principles of modern Indonesia.&nbsp;
Day traces the development of Indonesian architecture from founding president Pak Sukarno's “modernism with Indonesian characteristics” to the new architectures heralded by the Arsitek Muda Indonesia (AMI) generation of the 1980s and '90s and their contemporary successors.

Tradition for Sale

            <img srcset=" 1x, 2x, 3x" src="" border="0" title="" alt="" width="650" height="" /><em>Yale has just completed two new residential colleges near the heart of campus: a superblock of neo-Gothic fantasy. This reversion to an archaic visual language exemplifies a troubling trend. With their new architecture, universities all too often abdicate leadership in promoting artistic innovation as they pander to plutocratic donors.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Columnist Belmont Freeman takes a critical look at <a href="" rel="nofollow" >Yale</a>'s <a href="" rel="nofollow" >RAMSA</a>-designed Benjamin Franklin College and Pauli Murray College in his latest piece for Places.&nbsp;
While Freeman marvels at their extraordinary evocation of tradition, he argues that their historicism represents a missed opportunity to reinvent the residential college for the 21st century — as Saarinen did on the same campus in the middle of the 20th. 

The Corner of Lovecraft and Ballard

For Lovecraft, the ubiquitous angle between two walls is a dark gateway to the screaming abyss of the outer cosmos; for Ballard, it’s an entry point to our own anxious psyche.

H.P. Lovecraft and J.G. Ballard both put architecture at the heart of their fiction, and both made the humble corner into a place of nightmares. Will Wiles delves into the malign interiors of their imagined worlds and the secret history of the spaces where walls meet. 

Socialism and Nationalism on the Danube

Both Vienna and Budapest can be viewed as battlefields in an unfolding European crisis of identity and confidence that threatens the continent’s political unity and raises fundamental questions about what exactly it means to be European, to be Europe. Can we read these crises at the level of architecture?

In light of contemporary political turmoil in the region, Owen Hatherley examines key moments in the architectural histories of two quintessentially European cities, from the development of Vienna's monumental public housing to Budapest's experimentation with an ethnonationalist style. 

Hong Kong, Grounded

Even in this relentlessly vertical city, famous for walkways that feel like aerial labyrinths, you can’t levitate forever. Where the mountain rises up faster than the towers, you bump into a hillside and come back to earth. In Hong Kong, the ground is everywhere.

The terrain that weaves between streets, through public spaces, and beneath buildings in Hong Kong reminds observers of the tenuous relation between the city and its geology. Karl Kullmann photographs these zones of contact between the multilevel metropolis and the mountain, reflecting on the city's genuine landscape infrastructure and the urban experiences that it grounds.

History of the Present: Mexico City

An unpopular president, a myth-making architect, and a multibillionaire tycoon are building an oversize airport in a nature preserve. Can they make Mexico great again?

The progressive capital of Mexico has a long history of massive infrastructure projects — megaproyectos — with egalitarian aims. Daniel Brook looks at the social, political, and environmental issues surrounding the latest — a $13bn new airport rising on a sinking lakebed. This article is part of Places' ongoing series, History of the Present, on global cities in transition. 

Within and Without Architecture

The imaginative possibilities of miniature things lie not in their being shrunken versions of a larger thing. The world of the miniature opens to reveal a secret life.

Sometimes you encounter a thing that is not “properly” architectural, but which yet has something profound to say about the discipline. In her latest article for Places, columnist Naomi Stead is drawn by a cartoon from The New Yorker to consider the relationships between the miniature, the uncanny, and mise en abyme in architecture.